Writing 2.0 Changemaker Series: Focus on Melissa Foster

Fostering Success

Fostering Success

This is the first installment in a series I have entitled the Writing 2.0 Changemaker Series. In each interview, I will bring you the trendsetters in the new age of publishing for both traditional and self-published authors. My goal is to bring you those who are paving the way to educate authors in all sectors of the writing process from blank page to marketing.  Our focus today is on New York Times & USA Today bestselling  & award-winning author, Melissa Foster.

 

I had the distinct pleasure of discussing a number of issues that fall on writers these days with Melissa Foster via email. She has somehow managed to keep her fiction writing up, form an incredible support group called World Literary Cafe (renowned and respected), written her non-fiction book Fostering Success and pulled together a cadre of trusted format experts, editors and designers. She is also a delight to know.

Here is her philosophy and moral compass underlying all her enterprises:

My goal is always to help as many authors as I am able–and I take no compensation from either of my businesses, this is my way of giving back to the literary world. We are so very lucky to have the opportunity to bring our books to readers, but if we don’t understand how to publish, or the layers and processes behind book marketing, the gift we’ve been given will be meaningless.
The methodology she has developed helps authors from first draft to publishing and marketing:
I am asked on a daily basis basic, as well as complex, questions about all aspects of the self-publishing and book marketing arena. While I’ve tried to help authors with one-on-one consulting, I found that my window of writing time was becoming smaller and smaller, and I wasn’t able to help as many authors as were requesting my time. Fostering Success offers effective, easy to understand, answers along with real life, immediately usable solutions for self-publishing newbies to experienced traditional and non-traditional authors through self-guided courses that are available 24/7 with downloadable transcripts and multitudes of bonus materials that can be used over and over again–to breathe new life into old titles and to launch new titles as well. What pleases me the most, is that authors no longer have to flounder about in the industry. Between Fostering Success and the World Literary Cafe, authors are guided from pre-publication down their marketing path, so they can find their book’s success
About learning to compile your book:
My take on formatting a book -both paperback and ebooks, is that while you can learn them, the ease of doing so depends entirely on how computer savvy you are, and how much you value your writing and marketing time vs spending time formatting. I know how to format ebooks and paperbacks, but I have my staff do that for me (and I pay the same rate as everyone else to do so), because for me, writing and running my businesses are essential, and I believe in letting experts do their jobs. I can rely on my formatter and my cover designers, therefore, they save me money, and surely save me headaches of both time and money from improperly formatted files. Everyone has an opinion on this topic, of course.
After years and years of learning the “old system” of publishing, I took a year out to learn the new approach which is now de rigueur. That research has taken me away from my writing, and I’m sure you can relate to that frustration. Melissa has set up all of these options for other authors while continuing to publish. We all need to take a page from her book:
Author Melissa Foster
You can also chat with her here:

The Women’s Nest

forum

And please like her Fanpage on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter @Melissa_Foster.

As always, commenting is free on this site. Sign up for newsletters and follow me on Twitter @LeeJTyler.

Writing on the Brain: The Writer’s Read

writing on the brain

writing on the brain the writers readBrain function and the writing process are my passion and my life’s work.

I have studied the brain for years. I researched head injuries and the effects of neurotransmitters in arthritis, not knowing, as I kept my head down in the research building plugging in neurotransmitter formulas to aid in an answer, that I would be contracting R.A. and Lupus s.l.e. in my thirties. Life is ironic.

But finding this amazing infographic from Apple Copywriting (a site you must visit), was like coming home. The occipital, parietal and frontal lobes and their workings are infused into my memory. Broca’s and Wernick’s areas are my areas of study; like old friends.

In the Wayback Machine, here is a story on conquering procrastination that I wrote some time ago. The research I cited and the tools provided seemed to help many writers. Hopefully, you can find some benefit to apply to your writing.

This, kids, is why we must use evocative words for all of the senses. It’s why Jesus spoke to us in parables. These stories have been with us for over two thousand years. We are Wired for Story, as Lisa Cron, the author of this great craft book has famously said. I will share with you soon the mapping software I use to highlight the areas I need to hit more and the processes I make habit in order to add content to my story that comes up in the course of the day. I am always writing, even if not actively. The fleeting thoughts that tie the plot points together or help make that secondary character come to life in one sentence, that’s the writing life. That is what I live for, and I’m sure you feel the same way.

I do all of this so I don’t forget. So my story will be memorable.

In fact, Margo Fritz, writing from Cornell happily recounts “the first time [she] realized how beautifully science and creative writing can merge”.

Stranger than fiction

In Block 3 I took Stranger than Fiction: Creative Non-Fiction Writing About the Sciences. It was taught by Sandra Beasley, a visiting professor and author of a memoir and cultural history of food allergies called “Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl,” as well as two collections of poetry.

This was the first time I realized how beautifully science and creative writing can merge.

Some tools of the trade.

To help in that area, I head to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. You can see within the link that I was working on an evocative analogy for the time needed for reflection and the growth leading to a freer and more beautiful existence. The process I was looking for is in the link and is now one of my favorite words.

There are quizzes and brain training games that you can play to keep your mind sharp. For instance, if I am feeling too sluggish at the beginning of a writing session, I will play one of these games to drill down to the core of my brain and get the ‘plasticity going’ as I phrase it and the neurons firing.

Some of these tools require a paid membership and lose many of their best features after the trial period. And how much extra cash do writers have on their persons? Um hmm. Unless you are born into or married a duke or duchess than it is the free tools that are left.  Frankly, my imagination and the free thesaurus are enough to get words, phrases and even whole sentences on the page. I’m sure you can do much better.

What tools do you use to aid in your writing life?

To complement any reading you have finished this perfect reading day, here are some wonderful articles to help you along in your writing path.

Hints of Elain e’s in The Writing Room

Collection Highlights at the Library of Congress

Free Samples of The New York Times’ Top Ten Books of the Year

Did you catch Angela Clarke’s One Minute Critique

Jane Friedman and Orna Ross discuss how to make money from your writing

Lifehack has an immense collection of articles on the Writing Life that we lead:

How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life

Ten Simple Rules for Good Writing This isn’t just the usual list. We “know” these, but we need to be reminded of them every  once in a while.

And this one is stellar: 20 Free Resources to Create a Simple Ebook

I use a lot of these already, but it is wonderful to have all of them tied up in a neat little bow. ;p

This one fits my research and writing life if you’ve ever wondered How Does Writing Affect Us?

NPR has the Best Books of 2013

Stephen King famously and wisely said,

[tweetthis]If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time to write. Simple as that.-Steven King [/tweetthis]

Among the forty writing books I have, I prize my copy of Stephen King’s On Writing. However, there is a quote I came across on Goodreads from Mr. King’s Different Seasons that is one of the most poignant thoughts I have come across, and I’d like to share it with you. You, as a writer, will understand this.

“The most important things are the hardest to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them — words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they’re brought out. But it’s more than that, isn’t it? The most important things lie too close to wherever your secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away. And you may make revelations that cost you dearly only to have people look at you in a funny way, not understanding what you’ve said at all, or why you thought it was so important that you almost cried while you were saying it. That’s the worst, I think. When the secret stays locked within not for want of a teller but for want of an understanding ear.”

Lynne Neary–back at NPR–discusses how all writers rework their favorite  stories.

Do you find you agree with her?

 

 

Shall I look for you in the sunset?

poem poetry bereavement writing

Some well-known people claim that you shouldn’t write a post about yourself. It should always be for the readers’ benefit. I have endeavored to do that throughout the many posts on this website.

But sometimes, life precludes such evasion.

My mother has passed away.

Grief has  engulfed me. When she disappeared, as she often did, I had mourned her even as I called hospitals, friends, acquaintances-looking for her. Our roles shifted when I was young and I became the caretaker; the mother rather than the child.

Naively, I thought all of those horrible days and nights constituted enough grief for a lifetime. For her lifetime. Of course, I find I am wrong. The tears do not end, the thoughts and pictures of our life, the happier times when she smiled. A consummate hostess for the dinner parties at our large house, she wore dresses that she had sewn but looked much like something Jackie Kennedy would wear.

I wish to remember her this way.

Thank you for your understanding. I will be back soon with the first post in the series “For the Love of Books.”, writing tips, and much more on the indie series.

Best to you,

Lee