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Thursday, March 05, 2015


The Business of Reading

I’ve got a conference to attend in a week or so, and I’m rushing to finish my reading. It’s a big part of my writing business, all this reading, though it’s changed a bit over the years.

Early in my fiction-writing journey, I read stacks and stacks and more stacks of the books in the genre I was pursuing for publication. Reading good writing can only help improve writing—that’s the advice given by just about every published author.

But now that I have improved, and have a few manuscripts of my own, I read with an added purpose.

What To Read Before the Conference

If your work is ready to submit, it’s time to take your reading to another level. Here’s a couple ideas of what to read, depending on what you’re looking for:


There could be anywhere from three to a dozen agents at a writer’s conference. If you’re looking for a good fit, read their websites and/or blogs. Then check out the books they’ve sold and/or had published. And then read a couple of those books. It won’t take long to get a good feel for what an agent likes. Because if you want an agent to fall in love with your book, give him or her what they like. Put another way, don’t waste your time or the agent’s time. If your work leans to dark and edgy, look for an agent who leans the same way. Like calls to like, my mom always said. (And Mom was right.)


Like agents, editors have specific likes. You’ll quickly pick up on them if you read a couple books from their list. That’s not to say that your manuscript won’t knock their socks off if it’s different from their list—it very well could—but you’ll have a harder sell. Look for a way to connect your manuscript in some way to what an editor already likes. The more you read, the more you’ll know. And they’ll appreciate that you’ve done your homework, perhaps giving you a connection for a future manuscript.

And what if you’re not attending a conference but you’d still like to get this insider information?

Reading is still the answer. Go to your library or bookstore and choose books similar to the manuscript you’re hoping to sell. Those are the publishers you’ll want to target. And if you need an agent to submit to the house, look inside the book, to the very back page of acknowledgements. What agent does the author thank? Start your list and continue your reading homework.

Reading. It’s a tough job, but a writer’s got to do it.

~Cathy C. Hall

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Wednesday, March 04, 2015


The Nonfiction Book Proposal Demystified Mini Review Tour

& giveaway contest!

There are a lot of writers out there trying to get a book published--and without much success. So where do you start? If you're writing a nonfiction book, your first step should be a book proposal. Oh no, not a book proposal. While that's the attitude many writers have toward book proposals we really should be saying "Hooray! A book proposal!" Because for most authors it's the book proposal that sells their idea to the gatekeepers: agents and publishers.

Nina Amir wants to change our attitudes about book proposals by providing us with an easy-to-follow manual: The Nonfiction Book Proposal Demystified: An Easy-Schmeasy Guide to Writing a Business Plan for Your Book. So take a deep breath, turn to page one, and start creating a book proposal that will sell your dream.

Ebook: 46 pages
Publisher: Pure Spirit Creations (July 9, 2014)
Twitter hashtag: #NinaAmir

The Nonfiction Book Proposal Demystified: An Easy-Schmeasy Guide to Writing a Business Plan for Your Book is available as an ebook at Amazon and Smashwords.

Book Giveaway Contest:
To win a copy of The Nonfiction Book Proposal Demystified, please enter using the Rafflecopter form at the bottom of this post. The giveaway contest closes this Tuesday, March 10 at 12:00 AM EST. We will announce the winner the same day in the Rafflecopter widget. Good luck!

About the Author:

Nina Amir, author of How to Blog a Book, The Author Training Manual and 10 Days and 10 Ways to Return to Your Best Self, transforms writers into inspired, successful authors, authorpreneurs and blogpreneurs as an Inspiration to Creation Coach. She moves her clients from ideas to finished books as well as to careers as authors by helping them combine their passion and purpose so they create products that positively and meaningfully impact the world. She writes four blogs, self-published 12 books and founded National Nonfiction Writing Month, aka the Write Nonfiction in November Challenge.

Amir holds a BA in magazine journalism with a concentration in psychology, has edited or written for more than 45 publications producing hundreds of articles and had her work published in five anthologies. She has self-published nine short books, including the popular workbook How to Evaluate Your Book for Success and 10 Days and 10 Ways to Return to Your Best Self. She is the former writing and publishing expert on the popular radio show, Dresser After Dark (, hosted by Michael Ray Dresser, which has approximately 80,000 listeners per month. Amir also speaks and writes about self-improvement, human potential, and practical spirituality.

Find out more about the author by visiting her online:

Author Website:

Blogs: and

Twitter: @ninaamir

Facebook: and




The Nonfiction Book Proposal Demystified: An Easy-Schmeasy Guide to Writing a Business Plan for Your Book

Review by Jodi Webb

After reading The Nonfiction Book Proposal Demystified, I'm looking at book proposals in a whole new way. In the past they seemed like a chore to do before sending your book out to an agents or publisher. Nina makes you see that, aside from being a helpful tool for agents and publishers, a book proposal can be a helpful tool for YOU, the writer. Do you have a dozen book ideas rattling around in your brain? Which one to work on will you decide? It's easy. Writing book proposals will help you judge the marketability of your ideas as well as strengthen any weaknesses you may find in your idea BEFORE you begin writing.

The Nonfiction Book Proposal Demystified breaks the book proposal down by section telling you what should be in each section and helpful tips like how long each section should be, what you shouldn't be saying and how the agent/publisher will be looking at each section. The book also recommends several other books that cover book proposals. This is short book that provides step by step instructions and makes an overwhelming job manageable.

----------Reviews and Giveaway of Authorpreneur

Wednesday, March 4 (today!) @ The Muffin

Tuesday, March 10 @ The Porch Swing Chronicles

Wednesday, March 11 @ Bridget Whelan

Friday, March 13 @ One Writer's Journey

Tuesday, March 17 @ Writer’s Bucket List

Monday, March 23 @ The Lit Ladies

Wednesday, March 25 @ Writing It Real

To view all our touring authors, check out our Events Calendar. Keep up with blog stops and giveaways in real time by following us on Twitter @WOWBlogTour.

Get Involved!
If you have a website or blog and would like to host one of our touring  authors or schedule a tour of your own, please email us at

Book Giveaway Contest: Enter to win a copy of The Nonfiction Book Proposal Demystified! Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below. We will announce the winner in the Rafflecopter widget on Tuesday, March 10.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

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Tuesday, March 03, 2015


Rosemary Jarrell, Flash Fiction Runner-Up in Summer 2014

We welcome WOW! flash fiction runner-up in the Summer 2014 Flash Fiction Contest, Rosemary Jarrell! She wrote an amazing story about when exes run into each other, and the ending has a bit of a twist. Check out "The Reunion" here, and then come back to read her bio and interview!

Originally from Brooklyn, New York, Rosemary is proud to call North Carolina her home. A lover of reading, writing and traveling, she is currently working on her first novel, a YA sci-fi/fantasy romp. Although a sucker for anything concerning time travel, she loves writing fiction of all sorts. It is her goal to write a short story in every genre. Visit her blog at and follow her on twitter @rjarrellwrites
WOW: Congratulations, Rosemary, on placing as a runner-up with your story, "The Reunion." Where did you get the idea for this story?

Rosemary: I'd been talking to some friends about awkward encounters with exes, and it just went from there.

WOW: It's a very moving and touching piece about an ex! What are some themes you are exploring in your flash fiction piece?

Rosemary: Family, loss, redemption--all of these themes are touched upon in my story. I'm a big believer in the concept of fresh starts.

WOW: What made you enter our contest (or any contest really)?

Rosemary: I've loved reading the stories that previous winners have written, and I wondered if I could write a story under 750 words. It's hard to do and has taught me so much about tightening the story and perfecting word selection. I have more to learn, but I truly enjoy the process.

WOW: You did great! (smiles) Your bio states that one of your goals is to write a short story in every genre. How are you doing with that goal? What are you learning from it?

Rosemary: I enjoy reading most genres, so the natural inclination is to say, "I can write that." What I'm learning is that each genre has something to teach me about the craft. So far, I've written fantasy, horror, middle-grade science fiction, and romance. I'd love to write a mystery and a spy thriller as well.

WOW: Let's end by talking about your novel in progress. Can you give us any insight into the plot/genre? What's the process been like for you?

Rosemary: My novel is a YA fantasy that explores time travel and multiple universes. I've finished the first draft, but have put it aside for now to work on my short stories. I have a full-time job and family commitments, and the novel was taking all my time. I plan to start working on it again in the spring when my work schedule slows down.

WOW: Life is such a balancing act. Congratulations again to you, and best of luck for your future in writing. 

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Monday, March 02, 2015


Afraid of Everything by Karen Jones Gowen: Blog Tour Launch and Book Giveaway

Afraid of Everything is a touching and expertly written book about the life and experiences of Helena Carr as she explores an intriguing new world.

Helena Carr is afraid of everything. After a crisis at work, she quits her job and feels lost. It’s time for a serious change, to beat the extreme anxiety that has plagued her since childhood. Something different, unplanned and radical. Sell her house, move to a foreign location, turn her life upside down in an effort to end the emotionally paralyzing fear.

Before Helena can act on her options, however, she has a terrible accident on a Southern California freeway. Instead of going on an exotic vacation, she is in a hospital, in a coma, traveling to strange worlds in another dimension, meeting people who seem to know more about her than she knows about herself.

As Helena explores this intriguing new world, she realizes the truth about her past and the purpose of her future. And she is no longer afraid. She is at last ready to live. But first, she must wake up from the coma.

Paperback: 285 Pages
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Publisher: WiDo Publishing (October 7, 2014)
ISBN-10: 1937178595
ISBN-13: 978-1937178598

Twitter hashtag: #AfraidGowen

Afraid of Everything is available as an e-book and paperback at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and IndieBound.

Book Giveaway Contest:
To win a copy of Afraid of Everything please enter using the Rafflecopter form at the bottom of this post. The giveaway contest closes this Friday, March 6th at 12:00 AM EST. We will announce the winner the same day in the Rafflecopter widget. Good luck!

About the Author:
Born and raised in central Illinois, Karen Jones Gowen now lives and writes in Panajachel, Guatemala. She and her husband Bruce are the parents of ten children. Not surprisingly, family relationships are a recurring theme in Gowen's writing. Her children’s stories have appeared in the Friend, and her essays in the Jacksonville Journal Courier. Gowen's published books are Farm Girl, Uncut Diamonds, House of Diamonds, Lighting Candles in the Snow, Farm Girl Country Cooking: Hearty Meals for Active Families and Afraid of Everything. She blogs at her website, and at Coming Down the Mountain. You can email her at karenjonesgowen[at]gmail[dot]com.

Twitter: @KarenGowen


-----Interview by Crystal J. Otto

WOW: Karen, I’ve heard you’ve been influential in the writing careers of others, but who has been the most influential in your writing career?

Karen: I have many family members who’ve been amazingly supportive and influential, from my sisters to my mother, then my husband and several of my children. But it’s my grandmother, Julia Walstad Marker, who was the first and strongest influence on my writing. Her poems and stories about the homesteaders in Nebraska inspired me at a young age to want to be a writer like her. In fact, the first two stories I ever sold, “The Dust Storm” and “Pioneer Sisters,” were based on actual events she remembered as a young girl, that she recorded as stories later in life. She had a true and simple writing voice which went straight to the heart. Once I started writing, I realized how much work and practice it takes to write like that and make it sound so easy and effortless.

WOW: I’m sure your grandmother is proud; what a great story! Speaking of where it all began, what advice would your current self offer to your previous self?

Karen: I was extremely busy during the ages of 20 through 40 having my ten children and raising this very large family; the years which are often the most productive for a writer. For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a writer and it bothered me how I never seemed to be doing it. What my current self would say, and it’s what I’d say to any woman or man who is so busy with life and family there doesn’t seem time to devote to any kind of creative endeavor, is this:

Never give up on the dream or the opportunity to explore and expand your creative side. Many elements go into writing, beyond simply putting the words down. It is living and growing and thinking and being the best person you can be, doing the work you are meant to do. I was meant to be a mother of many children, and while doing so, I also read voraciously, shared my love of reading with my children, and kept writing as I could. I wrote in a journal, wrote short stories and essays. I got into blogging when it became a thing. During all those years as a busy mom and frustrated writer, I was building and growing my creative side and refining my voice. Then when the time came, I was ready.

WOW: As a busy wife and mother, I needed to hear that (and I’m sure others did too). Thank you for that wise advice!

What is something readers may not know about you?

Karen: How old I am! It’s shocking really, compared to how young most writers are now. It is why I feel strongly about people never giving up on their dreams. If you want something bad enough, you’ll find a way. The timetable my turn out to be much different than expected, however.

WOW: I noticed you didn’t give a number – you’re a girl after my own heart, Karen. Don’t forget, we are all as young as we feel and your smile doesn’t give anything away either!

I’ve heard many opinions on writer’s groups. I believe you use the word caution when referring to them; could you share more on this particular topic?

Karen: I would advise people to approach writer groups with caution. I had a very bad experience with one that I ended up writing about in my novel House of Diamonds. One of the members turned out to be a villain in that novel (haha)--revenge is sweet for a writer! Generally, I don’t recommend writer groups because of what the Hemingway character said in Woody Allen’s film Midnight in Paris (which every writer needs to see!): “Don’t give your work to another writer to critique, because if it’s worse than his, he’ll dislike it and if it’s better than his, he’ll dislike it. Either way, you won’t get a fair critique.” (This isn’t an exact quote but that’s the gist of it. Go watch the film!)

However, I do think they can be helpful in getting a person motivated if they need a push. But if it’s hurting you instead of helping, then quit the group! For me, the Internet works as a powerful motivator. I follow many writers’ blogs, and follow them on Facebook and Twitter as well, because seeing what other writers are doing and saying about their work inspires me.

WOW: Such valuable advice for life! If it’s not working, it’s okay to stop doing it! You brought up the point of a fair critique, so as a published writer, how do you deal with rejection or a negative review/critique?

Karen: I deal with rejection and negative reviews by first getting depressed and discouraged. But that’s an unhappy, unpleasant state, so I have to work through it and get over it. I’ll pick myself up, make cookies and then if it’s rejection, I’ll find another way—an open door instead of a closed one. For negative reviews, I remind myself at least someone read my work and felt strongly enough to write a review. If I get too down about it, I’ll go read all the negative reviews on well-known, best-selling authors I admire. That always makes me feel better. Everyone gets negative reviews, even the best books and the best writers.

WOW: You’re awesome Karen! One of the reasons I was so excited about your tour is our similar passion for cookie baking. My husband always knows when things are a bit stressful, because I’m busy passing out cookies to the mailwoman, the milkman, grandpa, and anyone who happens to come to the farm. It’s a great stress reliever and really helps with one’s popularity!

Cookie baking aside, what’s next for you?

Karen: To write as much as I can, as many books as I can to make up for lost time when I couldn’t write due to being busy doing other things of great importance!

WOW: Well I’ll be first in line to read what you’ll be busy writing. Thank you for trusting WOW! to handle your book blog tour for Afraid of Everything and we can’t wait to hear more!

----------Blog Tour Dates

Monday, March 2 (today) @ The Muffin
Stop by for an interview and book giveaway!

Monday, March 2 @ Romance Junkies
Check in at Romance Junkies blog today and learn more about author Karen Jones Gowen and her latest book, Afraid of Everything.

Tuesday, March 3 @ The Lit Ladies
See what author Margo Dill has to say after reading Afraid of Everything by Karen Jones Gowen. There will also be a giveaway of Afraid of Everything for one lucky winner; Good Luck!

Wednesday, March 4 @ All Things Audry
Fellow author Audry Fryer reviews Karen Jones Gowen's latest work, Afraid of Everything. Stop by and hear from Audry and get in on a giveaway for your own copy of this fabulous read!

Thursday, March 5 @ Choices with Madeline Tasky Sharples
Madeline Sharples reviews the fabulous new novel by Karen Jones Gowen. Learn more about Gowen and Afraid of Everything and one lucky blog reader will win a copy of the book in a giveaway.

Friday, March 6 @ Create Write Now
Mari McCarthy reviews Afraid of Everything by Karen Jones Gowen. Fellow author reviews are always the best - stop by and see what Mari has to say!

Monday, March 9 @ Hott Books
Don't miss today's giveaway and book review for Karen Jones Gowen's Afraid of Everything! Guest author Melissa Bennett will be reviewing this fabulous novel and one lucky winner will walk away with their own copy to read (and hopefully review)!

Tuesday, March 10 @ Bring on Lemons
Join educator and guest blogger Cathy Hansen as she shares her thoughts after reading Karen Jones Gowen's latest book Afraid of Everything. Be sure to complete the Rafflecopter form and see if you'll be the lucky winner of the giveaway for your own copy of this great book!

Wednesday, March 11 @ Nutshell Newsletter Press
Join Sheila Gazlay as she reviews Afraid of Everything by Karen Jones Gowen.

Thursday, March 12 @ Lauren Scharhag
Avid reader and book enthusiast Cathy Kirby Contino reviews Afraid of Everything by Karen Jones Gowen. Readers of Lauren Scharhag's blog will also have an opportunity to win a copy. This is a blog stop you won't want to miss!

Friday, March 13 @ Selling Books with Cathy Stucker
Catch up with Karen Jones Gowen as she is interviewed by Cathy Stucker about her latest work Afraid of Everything. Don't miss this WOW! Women on Writing book blog tour stop at Selling Books!

Monday, March 16 @ Katherine Hajer
Katherine Hajer reads and reviews Afraid of Everything by Karen Jones Gowen. One lucky reader of Katherine's blog will also win the giveaway and take home their very own copy of this great book!

Wednesday, March 18 @ Renee’s Pages
WOW!'s own Renee Roberson reviews Afraid of Everything by Karen Jones Gowen and will host a giveaway for one lucky winner to go home with their very own copy of this page turning novel!

Thursday, March 19 @ I’d So Rather Be Reading
Find out what the lovely Kelli at I'd So Rather Be Reading has to say after reading the latest work by Karen Jones Gowen. Find out more about Afraid of Everything and get in on the giveaway to win your very own copy!

Friday, March 20 @ Author Ava Louise
Fellow author Ava Louise reviews Karen Jones Gowen's latest work, Afraid of Everything and offers a giveaway for one lucky reader!

Monday, March 30 @ Memoir Writer’s Journey
Join Kathleen Pooler at Memoir Writer's Journey as she reviews Afraid of Everything by Karen Jones Gowen

Keep up with blog stops and giveaways in real time by following us on Twitter @WOWBlogTour.

Get Involved! If you have a website or blog and would like to host one of our touring authors or schedule a tour of your own, please email us at


Enter to win a copy of Afraid of Everything by Karen Jones Gowen! Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below. We will announce the winner in the Rafflecopter widget THIS Friday, March 6th!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Sunday, March 01, 2015


Navigate Your Manuscript

If you are working in a lengthy manuscript and aren’t using Microsoft Word’s Navigation Pane tool, you are missing out on an easy way to track your progress or move around your document.

When you apply Word’s styles, the Navigation Pane allows you to look at the “skeleton” of your document. To move to Chapter Three, you click on those words in the side of your screen. Even if you use the default settings, if you apply subheadings (Heading 2, Heading 3), Word’s feature will nest them under the main heading (Heading 1).

It’s easy to practice in a shorter document before applying it to the draft you are revising.

  1. First, type a few words on a couple different lines in your Word file.
  2. Highlight all the text on the first line and then click on Heading 1 in the Word ribbon at the top of your screen. If you’ve never changed the default, it will probably change your first line to a blue, 16-point font.
  3. Then repeat step two by highlighting the second line with Heading 2, Heading 3 on the third line and so on.

You’ve applied styles to those various lines of text.

Now, to view them and move around them, you need to take a look for the Navigation Pane setting in Word. (Unfortunately the placement of where to click and access it depends on your version of Word.  You may need to enlist Help to find Navigation Pane in your version.)

To access the pane using Word 2013:

  1. Click on View and look for three check boxes [Ruler, Gridlines, Navigation Pane] in the Show field of the View tab.
  2. Click Navigation Pane so there is a check mark visible.

The left side of your Word file will present you with a panel that displays the structure of your document. Here's a draft of one of my works in progress:

The Navigation Pane appears on the left of your file. Heading 1 was used for each chapter displayed in the document above. Photo credit | EKHumphrey
 I use my styles and Navigation Pane for nearly all the documents I work in because:
  • It helps me visualize my document, especially its flow
  • I can manage my lengthy documents easier
  • It’s especially great for reference documents (style sheets or to jump to the letter “R” in an alphabetized lists of names)
  • It helps me keep track of my headings (did I forget to title my Chapter Five?)
I know Search can also serve in helping you to find things in your file, but Navigation Pane can help you keep an eye on the structure of your masterpiece. It’s a simple, amazing tool. It seems like such a small tool, but to be able to quickly see the document 

What do you think you could use Navigation Pane for in your writing? Are there other Word tools that you’ve always wanted to learn more about?

Elizabeth King Humphrey is a writer and editor living in North Carolina. She loves to teach people how to use Word to make their writing lives easier.

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