How to Write Like a Professional

How to Write Like a Professional
6 Surprising Mistakes That Make Writers Look Like Amateurs... and How to Avoid Them

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

How Barnes & Noble Sucked Me In

...With Tea and Crumpets

For Christmas, my husband gave me a very thoughtful gift: a refillable silver Cross pen. The funny thing about it was that I already had one! He knew I had one in the past, but he thought I had lost it because he hadn't seen me using it in such a long time. So, when I went to the mall to return it, I went to Barnes & Noble afterward. Because a writer loves her journals and novels and books of all kinds.

How Barnes and Noble Sucked Me in With Tea and Crumpets || reading, writers, journals, stores with great customer service ||

The Journals

For starters, Barnes & Noble is a bookstore, after all. And I am a writer. So I guess it goes without saying that writers love bookstores and could camp out there for hours on end every single week. Some people would argue daily. I love the trinkets, the games, the pens, the pencils, the bookmarks, the children's section, the calendars, the journals, the novels, the cookbooks, the EVERYTHING!!!

The last time I had gone there was to buy a few things for my kids for Christmas, and here I am again, about a month later. Well, whaddya know... I told the cashier, "I could live here." She said, "Well then, this is a very dangerous place for you." She knows me well.

So, I walk toward the journals because that's what I had my heart set on this time around. Oh, they were so pretty! Some were colorful with exquisite artwork on both sides of the cover. Others had no spine, but were bound with fancy thick cardstock fronts and backs, and of course the pages were glued together, and painted a fun color. Some were small and cute and fun to hold. Other journals were leather-bound and handcrafted in Italy with a fancy tree of life symbol or Celtic symbol on the front. Some of the leather journals were bold red or green colors.

I browsed the journal shelves for 45 minutes!!! I even saw journals with promptings for writers, teens, Christians, and more! So what did I settle on, you may ask? First off, my husband had also gotten me a really nice leather-bound journal for Christmas. I have never owned a leather journal in all my years of journaling. That's about 35 years worth of writing in journals. I have maybe 20 that are full! So, I didn't opt for a leather one, since I had just received a really nice one.

I chose a simple cardstock bound journal with a paint colored cover. It's mostly a light purplish-pink color with a little bit of blue, green and yellow on the edges. The quote on the front sold me.

"With freedom,
books, flowers,
and the moon,
who could not
be happy?"
- Oscar Wilde

Maybe it's the last name, I don't know, even though mine doesn't have an 'e'. The second book I found was a little reading journal published in 2010: My Bibliofile: A Reading Journal for Book Lovers. It's basically the printed format of the journal I used to be so diligent in keeping when reading so many picture books.

Each 2-page spread has a place for the title, the author, the date published, the category, date started, date finished, and a 5-star rating system. I'm going to use if for my novel reading adventures. I don't recommend it for picture books because you could easily fill it up in a short period of time. It also has a section that you could write about how the book inspired you to learn about other subjects, and a whole page to take notes. Perfect! I just had to have it! There's also a section in the back full of reading lists with Award winning novels. If anything is going to get me to read a little more, it's this book!

Great Customer Service

Back to Barnes & Noble, though. So was it the books that sucked me in? Yeah, a little bit. But what I really mean is that even though I love books, I don't really buy a lot of them. When I went to pay, the lady at the register asked if I wanted to get a rewards card and save a percentage off my purchase today. I said "No" because I would have to buy like $250 worth of books in order to get any savings, since the annual savings card is usually $25.

But she must have seen the longing in my eyes, or the hesitation in my voice, or maybe she's simple required to sell, sell, sell and it wasn't a long line, either. She continued to tell me all the wonderful benefits of being a member. And for a limited time, they were giving away a Starbucks coffee each month, just for getting the Member Card. Well, that alone would pay for itself!

"But I don't drink coffee," I said.

Tea and Crumpets

Well, I don't drink tea either and I'm not in the habit of eating crumpets, but Starbucks has coffee and cookies. And apparently, the cashier said the magic words:

"They also have smoothies."

Wait. What? Smoothies? I love smoothies! Where do I sign up? And that was all it took. Such clever marketing, I noted. And that's how Barnes & Noble sucked me into their Member Card savings program with tea and crumpets... er, I mean smoothies and cookies.

Needless to say, I had a chocolate banana smoothie and 2 large cookies for dinner that night as I drove home.

How often do you go book shopping? How much money do you spend on books in one year? How many books do you read in a year? Take your pick! Share in the comments!

Keep on keepin' on...


Monday, January 22, 2018

Book Coaching Strategy Session for Writers

Writing a Book? Schedule Your FREE Strategy Session!

If you're looking for a little writing strategy to help you with your book, you're in the right place! I am happy to announce that I now offer coaching calls for authors. I have three different strategy sessions for writers. Each of my free 15-minute phone consultations will help you get more specific on your idea, your title, or your logline -- all important elements you need to think about when writing a novel or a picture book.

FREE Strategy Session for Writers || || book coaching strategy call for authors, free 15-minute phone call to coach writers with planning their books

Idea Validation

The first strategy session for writers that I offer is Idea Validation. An Idea Validation Strategy Session is perfect for those writers who have several ideas for the next book, but can't make up their mind. Perhaps one idea excites you, but you'd like a little validation before diving right in.

What if the idea isn't as marketable as your other ideas? Wouldn't it be nice to know which idea resonates the most with potential readers? This is not an idea brainstorming session to help you think of an idea for something to write about. In the end, go with the story that lives at the intersection of personal excitement and marketability.

Title Brainstorm

The second free strategy session I offer to authors is that of the Title Brainstorm. This session will get your gears a spinnin' with many ideas for a great working title. Whether you already have the book finished or you are just getting started, a good title will help grab the attention of an editor.

Yes, chances are very high that the title will get changed, and that's okay, but if you don't have a great title to capture an agent's attention, you might not make that far. Let me help churn out some title ideas for you. They don't call me the "Title Machine" for nothing!

Logline Creation

Lastly, I offer assistance with your 1-sentence logline, or pitch. The one-sentence logline is the quick summary of what your book is about. It's enticing, engaging, and makes people want to read the book. There's a simple formula for writing a logline and I'll take you through it to help you write a logline that you can use in your query letter.

Even if you're not ready to submit yet, writing a logline will help you define your book better so that you can succinctly tell someone what your story is about. If you can't do that in one sentence, your story structure might need a little help. But then again, there's an art form to writing a logline for a novel (or a picture book).

What Happens During a Strategy Session?

We'll introduce ourselves to each other with a quick hello. I'll ask you about your book, and we'll talk about ideas, titles, or loglines. Easy peasy lemon squeezy! Be sure to schedule your free 15-minute book coaching strategy session (ie. phone consultation) with Christie for the best time that suits your busy schedule.

How was your call with Christie? Leave a testimonial here! Share in the comments!

Keep on keepin' on...


Monday, January 15, 2018

ROUND UP: Best Writing Blogs of 2017

Most Popular Blog Posts for Writers

Welcome to 2018!!! It's time for my annual Round Up Post! Below, you'll find 6 of the most popular posts from last year, in no particular order. If you're looking for a little help in writing a query letter, motivation to keep writing another year, a little somethin' somethin' to make you chuckle, a tip or two on how to achieve your writing goals, how to handle critiques, or how to get a literary agent, then this round up is for you. Yee-haw!!!

1. How to Personalize a Query Letter

Before you send a query letter, you need to know how to gain the attention of an editor or an agent. Every editor is different, and every publisher is different. Sending Editor A a query letter according to Editor B's guidelines may get your query letter tossed in the trash. So, follow these guidelines. READ MORE...

2. 50+ Best Motivational Race Signs

If you have ever run a marathon, then you know the power of the motivational spectator sign. Many are quite humorous, just enough to keep you going. Several are also motivating, an emotional pickup at just the right time to keep you going for another mile. Whether funny or inspiring, race signs are always appreciated. These are some of the most unique race signs out there. READ MORE...

3. You Know You're a Writer Series [1 of 10]

You write when you're excited. You write when you're scared. You write when you're mad, sad, and glad. You're a writer. But are you really? If you've ever wondered if you're really a writer, then this series is for you. READ MORE...

4. Episode 08: Prepare for Progress in Your Writing and Running

On my YouTube Channel, I provide writing (and running) insight. Episode 08 focuses on preparing for progress. There are a few similarities to take note of, even if you don't run. WATCH IT...

5. Getting Your Manuscript Critiqued is Like Buying a New Pair of Running Shoes

As a writer, you know it's important to revise your work until it shines. That's why you joined a critique group. That's why you look forward to your manuscript critiques. It's just like buying a new pair of running shoes. Let me explain. READ MORE...

6. How I Got My Agent

Writers always want to know how other writers got their agents. In fact, someone recently asked me how I got my agent and I realized I hadn't yet shared it on my blog. So today, you're in for a treat! READ MORE...

Which one was your favorite? Share in the comments!

Keep on keepin' on...



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