Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

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Wordsmith’s Collective Thursday – What About Those New Year’s Goals? How are you doing?

October 28, 2021
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At the start of each year, some of us decide on goals for the year. These range from the most common ones, such as weight loss, fitness, and stopping smoking, the ‘healthy ones’ in other words. But, what of the other goals, the practical ones, so to speak? For authors this would be improving our brand, more sales, promotional opportunities, presentations or speaking engagements and more. As writers, we want to increase our word count, the number of projects completed, or receiving publicity or publishing deals.

Obviously, many of these goals go by the wayside pretty quickly, while others make it to mid-year, or possibly later. The question that arises is – why make goals in the first place? Are we swept along with the possibilities of a fresh start? Do we think we can achieve them, and stay committed to our self-inflicted goals? The excitement of a whole new year ahead of us is a powerful momentum for change. I think that is the key to our initial thinking, when it comes to annual goal making.

As we all know that momentum gets harder to maintain as the months roll by. We get off-track.

There are time constraints, health issues, family matters, work events, vacations, seasonal holidays – the list goes on. Each scenario affects how we feel, our ‘free’ time, and what we are able to accomplish. There is always some ‘distraction’ pulling us away from that initial elation of new year possibilities.

So, what is the answer? This is a difficult question to answer, as we are all experiencing life in a multitude of ways. No one person is the same as another. I think the first step is to be totally honest with yourself, when it comes to setting goals in the first place. Too many goals, too loftier a goal and the ‘good grief’ goals should be shelved before they even get ‘out the box’.

Making a goal is a very personal thing. You need to look at what your time will allow and also your personality trait. Do you have a week to week, or month to month planner or do you hope for the best? Or something in-between? Having too many goals sets you up for failure and that isn’t good for anyone.  Remember we don’t have to do ALL the goals in one year – pace yourself. Put the most ‘important’ one first, then plan accordingly and stick to it. Put less pressure on yourself and accomplish one or two instead.

My goal board

You can even make a ‘goal’ under the umbrella of a wider spectrum, such as ‘improvement’, whether for your health or for your writing career. Many of you saw my 2021 goal board link – it is the best board I have made in many years and I don’t think I will be changing it very much for 2022. I have goals I want to reach in the next few years and the board reflects that for me.

Realistically, a goal can take longer than a year. Accept that and work towards it at your own pace. Time constraints and deadlines are not applicable here. We all ‘work’ at different paces, make that work for you.

How are your 2021 goals coming along?

Have you succeeded or are you on track?

Wordsmith Collective Thursday – An Author’s Reputation

October 21, 2021
mandyevebarnett


I was watching a documentary series on Netflix, Bad Sport, which looks at the underbelly and criminal side of sports. Greed is one of the main components of why ‘deals’ are done. In all of the cases, a person’s reputation is dragged into the gutter. Their honesty and integrity are forever questioned from that moment on, no matter where they go or what they do.

It got me thinking about how authors need to, not only guard their reputation, but also ensure they uphold a certain integrity for their work and their place within the writing collective. As authors, we have an obligation to be honest and transparent in our dealings with our readers and others in the writing community.

As many of you know, I am a staunch supporter of my writing group, the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County, of which I am the Secretary. I am also more than willing to encourage and assist other writers in their careers and I advocate for the writing community as a whole.

I have created a list of steps I adhere to to uphold and protect my reputation. I would hope other authors would take similar steps too. These guidelines will ensure we are providing the best content, but also the best support for fellow writers, the writing community at large and our readers, that we can.

  1. Behave professionally online and offline.
  2. NO plagiarism.
  3. Do not mislead readers about our books, their status or their content.
  4. Be respectful and courteous when dealing with readers, other authors, and all industry professionals. These include, but is not limited to, publishers, reviewers, publicists, agents, etc.
  5. I will not air grievances, complaints or engage in public attacks on someone, either online, in person or to the press. Instead I will seek consultation and mitigation to resolve the matter.
  6. I will not damage another person’s reputation.
  7. When reviewing another author’s books, I will not mislead or deceive the reader for my own gain. If I know the author (or not – this has happened before to me) and find something that requires attention, I will contact them directly and privately.
  8. I will not make false statements concerning my books.

Personally, I do not engage in, or post on social media or anywhere else, any religious or political content. These subjects are inconsequential to my author platform, my branding, or my narratives. This is a personal choice and one that all writers/authors can decide upon themselves.

Can you think of any other steps an author can take to build and maintain their reputation?

Please share in the comments your thoughts and ideas and rules you abide by.

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Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – Favorite Books

October 19, 2021
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Do you have a favorite book?

Which is the book you regularly return to? Why?

The Book of Lost Names by Kristin Harmel

My review: A powerful story of chance, decisions, love and loss for a woman caught in an impossible position, trying to survive and finding courage where others fled. Beautifully constructed and written.

I am returning to a favorite book, Ferney by James Long. No matter how many times I read it, I am always transported to the world of Ferney and Gally, their connection across time, their love spanning decades in different guises. For me it is the consummate reincarnation story. It was decades before I began writing after reading it and more years before I wrote my own reincarnation novel, The Twesome Loop. It is homage to Mr. Long’s perfect story and my own decades long interest in reincarnation and life after death.

I wondered what famous authors chose as their favorite book, and found these.

‘Ship of Fools’ by Katherine Ann Porter, Chosen by Stephen King

‘Love Medicine’ by Louise Erdrich, Chosen by Tana French

‘The Mill on the Floss’ by George Eliot, Chosen by Ken Follett

Victory by Joseph Conrad, Chosen by Joan Didion

Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury, Chosen by R.L. Stine

 Emma by Jane Austen, Chosen by J.K. Rowling

 

Wordsmith’s Collective Thursday – Tips on Who to Ask for Feedback on Your Writing

August 5, 2021
mandyevebarnett


As writers we are constantly second guessing our writing. Is it descriptive enough without too much exposition? Is that character’s personality clear? Does my action scene work? Are my character’s developing? There are many and varied queries as we write. To enable us to grow as writers, we need constructive critique from people we trust.

Here is a list of who you should ask:

  1. Experienced editors and writers.

2. A writer in your niche.

3. Someone who has read your work before.

4. Your writing group.

When asking for feedback be specific in what you are asking, rather than say “let me know what you think.”

Here are a couple of examples of questions to ask:

  1. Do you get a clear idea of the genre?
  2. Can you relate to the characters?
  3. Do you understand their motivations?
  4. Does it have a good beginning/ending?
  5. With specific scenes name it and then ask a question in relation to it.
  6. Does the story flow?
  7. Were the characters reactions to situations believable?
  8. Was the story predicable?
  9. What surprised you?
  10. Which part was your favorite?

Remember feedback should be taken as constructive critique. You may not agree on their viewpoint, but use it to see your work in a different light/perspective. It is your work and you tell it the way you want.

Wordsmith’s Collective Thursday – Creating An Amazon Author Profile

April 29, 2021
mandyevebarnett


The next site that offers an author profile page is Amazon. As you can see from the image below of my author page on Amazon, it can detail not only your bio and books but have a link to your blog, book trailers, videos and more.

As with the Goodreads process there are steps to follow to create this author profile. It is a simple step by step procedure.

  1. Go to https://authorcentral.amazon.com/ and click “Join for free.”
  2. Sign in with your regular Amazon username and password. If you don’t have an account, select “I am a new customer.” You’ll need to give a little more information.
  3. Read the Terms and Conditions, then click “Accept.”
  4. Enter your author name, pen name, or book title into the search field. A list of possible books appears. (Once your account gets set up, you can add more titles by clicking on the “Books” tab in the navigation menu and select the blue button labeled “Add a Book.”)
  5. Select any one of your books to create the account. If your book is not on the list, you can search for it by title or ISBN. (Note: Your book must be available for purchase on Amazon to set up an Author Central Amazon Account.)
  6. Amazon will send you a confirmation email to finish creating the account. (Amazon may contact your publisher(s) as an additional measure to verify your identity, which may take three to seven days.)

Once again there is a follow button for your readers to click and you in turn can follow other authors. It is a great tool for marketing and increasing your author platform.

Let me know when you have yours set up so I can follow you and if you wouldn’t mind please follow me. https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B01MDUAS0V

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