How To Become An Author

Write. Edit. Publish.

Ta-da! End of article! Kidding, I’m kidding. If it were that easy, everyone would do it. Sure, in its stripped down form, yes, that’s the process. But when you break it alllll down into its steps, it’s a wee bit more complex.

Let’s start with the obvious. You need to have a story to tell. Then, within the context of that story, you need to have all the elements of a story (learn more HERE) to make it worth reading. There are eight of them:

Here’s the deal. You cannot have a story (a good one) without these elements. The good news is this: you already know this. Maybe you can’t rattle all eight off the top of your head but you do instinctively know it.

How do I know you know (that I know, that you…)? It’s a safe bet that you’ve read some books and watched some television shows & movies. You understand the flow of each – There are people (characters) in a place (setting) who have to do a thing (plot). The story is told (shown) through the eyes of___ (POV) and it’s a comedy/drama/mystery (theme). Tone and style give you an overall understanding of the story – how they dress & talk, time period.

See? You know all this already! Now, you need to understand the “rules” of writing. Good news again! You don’t have to be a perfect anything. There’s help for that (my fave writer’s helper is Pro-Writing Aid) in many forms. However, learning the rules can only benefit you. A great place to start is by reading the Elements of Style. 

And there is still more to determine before you write. (I mean, sure, you can start without knowing these things, but your task will be harder and you have a lot of backtracking to do.) 

Start here:

What kind of writer are you? A pantser? A plotter? Maybe a hybrid? Pantsers just sit down and write, letting the story “tell itself” while plotters will outline, plan, and map out their story (see different ways HERE

Where & when do you do your best thinking/writing? In a crowded place like a coffee shop or park? In an office setting? A library? You favorite chair?

What time of day works best for you, creatively and lifestyle-wise? Morning, evening… mid day?

It’s okay if you’re not sure. Take your time trying out different locations, times and styles to see what works best for you. Then be consistent. Routine may sound like a creativity killer, but I promise you, it is an excellent way to keep yourself on track to accomplishing your writing goals.

The above are your absolute best practice techniques for working toward becoming an author. By doing so, you’re making a commitment to yourself to treat this thing you’ve been calling a dream or a wish, into a reality. No one is going to make you sit down and write. No one is going to carve out time for you. Be the one who takes you seriously enough to turn the dream/wish into a goal.

You’re the only one who can convince yourself that what you’re writing is worthy. Don’t hinge your value on someone’s else’s opinion. Take a leap of faith in yourself, find your tribe, and put people in your corner that will root for you, applaud your goals and successes, and push you to do your best work.

Oh, and hell yes, I’ll be that person for you. It’s kind of my thing. If you feel like you need a coach & cheerleader by your side, let’s talk. 

*For more detailed definitions on some of the writing terms in this article, click HERE

xo Elsa

Elsa Kurt is a multi-genre, traditionally & self-published author of over twenty-five books. She is also a speaker and creator of Path To Authorship, coaching for new and aspiring authors. Thanks to her fabulous ADHD, she also designs several apparel lines, took up roller skating, and is pressuring her long-suffering husband for a fourth dog. For more tips, insights, and observations on the author’s life, visit Elsa HEREFor all of Elsa’s links, visit HERE.

Join CAPA Today!

Become a CAPA member and join a wonderful, supportive community of writers, authors, and publishers. Whether a new, established, or emerging writer (or publisher) you’re welcome to join us at meetings, events, and much more. Join HERE.

Roadblocks Of Writing (And How To Get Around Them)

Let’s Get This Out Of The Way

Hello CAPA friends! To know me & my blog writing style is to know I abhor fluff and nonsense. So, I’ll do this obligatory first paragraph grudgingly (because I know your time is as valuable as mine), then we’ll jump right in. My guess is that you’ve opened this link because you need the information the post title suggests I have, and you don’t want to read five paragraphs of me philosophizing and waxing poetic about roads and journeys and blah, blah, blah (like those recipe links we all love). Let’s get to it…

 Roadblock Number One

Time. Listen, we are busy as heck, I know. Work, family, spouses/partners, commitments & obligations, housework… the list is endless. And when we do find time? We’re exhausted. And yet, I still say, make time. Not find time, make time. It’s there, tucked in between this and that. Even if it’s twenty minutes, it counts.

Roadblock Number Two

Energy. It goes hand in hand with time. One might think, “Why do I need energy to sit and type (or write)?” The simple answer is, your brain needs to be firing on all cylinders to write anything of merit. If you’re feeling meh when it’s time to write, take a few minutes to do something physical/mildly exertive or stimulating. (I walk on the treadmill for ten minutes.) Eat brain food (oh, hell, have some chocolate!). Psych yourself up the hour before writing by listening to anything that motivates you- music, podcast, Tony Robbins, reading The Authority, whatever does the job.

Roadblock Number Three

Procrastination. For as much as I deeply love writing, I am guilty of procrastinating… often. Maybe it’s because I know that once I sit down behind the computer, it’ll be hours before I get up again. Or maybe it’s just my ADD. Whatever the case, I stall and allow myself to get distracted by every little thing. So, my solution is TIMERS! Yep, I set the timer. 30 minutes to run around, or mindlessly scroll Facebook or Tik Tok, or stare at the wall. It works about 90% of the time.

Roadblock Number Four

Inspiration. You know how it is. Sometimes (usually when driving, sleeping, or in the shower) inspiration hits and the ideas are like endless waterfalls that you can’t get onto paper or screen fast enough. And then there are the times when you can’t get past the word “The.” You can handle this effectively in two very different ways. 1) Walk away & relax, it’ll come back to you. Panicking will only chase the idea fairy further away. Give yourself a three-day vacay and start fresh. 2) Do a brain dump. Stream of consciousness writing can be quite illuminating. Set a timer for 15-20 minutes and write anything that pops into your head. This often “unclogs” the mind and shows you what’s blocking your progress.

Roadblock Number Five

Fear/Doubt. Sometimes We use one through four as excuses for this guy here. Fear and doubt kill more dreams and goals than anything else. They say that it isn’t that brave people don’t have fear, it’s that they operate in spite of fear. So, the only advice I have for you here is: be brave. Write, publish, and promote in spite of fear. You’re not alone in this.

The Final Roadblock is…

You. Sorry, but there’s no other way to say it. You’re roadblocking yourself. Also, I’m kind of a jerk, because this number six is really number one, two, three, four, and five. So much for hating fluff and nonsense, huh? All of that stuff up there is the winding way of saying you’re in your own way. Do this thing that you say you want to do. Write your book. Today. Now. Stop reading my blabber and write. I’m cheering you on the entire way!

xo ~ Elsa

Elsa Kurt is a multi-genre, traditionally & self-published author of over twenty-five books. She is also a speaker and creator of Path To Authorship, coaching for new and aspiring authors. Thanks to her fabulous ADHD, she also designs several apparel lines, took up roller skating, and is pressuring her long-suffering husband for a fourth dog. For more tips, insights, and observations on the author’s life, visit Elsa HERE. For all of Elsa’s links, visit HERE.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/bookseries/B0892NTY1J

Interested in becoming more involved with CAPA? We’d love to hear from you! Click HERE to contact us. Be sure to check out our upcoming events HERE, too!

News from Amazon – Kindle Changing from MOBI to EPUB Files

By Dennis Schleicher

Amazon has long been the odd man out in the world of ebook files for their requirement of MOBI files. All other platforms use EPUB. But yesterday, Amazon sent out emails to authors to let them know that they have finally listened: to simplify the uploading process, they will begin using EPUB files on June 28, 2021. You won’t have to worry about changing your existing files, unless you upload a new version, but for all new books and any updates, you’ll want to make sure you have an EPUB handy. 

What Happens on the Kindle Side

Even though Amazon is now only accepting EPUB files, Amazon will still be delivering MOBI files to Kindles. This means that the EPUB file will be converted by Amazon on the backend into a MOBI file. Because of this conversion, it’s important to double-check your ebook in Kindle Previewer 3 to be sure everything looks correct after it is converted.

For support, please visit Kindle direct publishing or KDP.

Happy publishing,

Dennis Schleicher

Winning with Instagram Algorithm – Becoming an Influencer

By Dennis Schleicher 

Instagram would be my primary source of traffic and business. That means that I am 100% keeping tabs on how to beat the Instagram algorithm. Rumor has it that only 10% of your audience can see your posts in their feed- what a rip off! But we can do this! It is still possible to beat the Instagram algorithm.

I’m going to show you my secrets and top tips for growing and winning the Instagram algorithm. 

Two Factors for Winning the Instagram Algorithm  

Okay, so when it comes to your newsfeed, it looks like there are four main points the Instagram algorithm takes into consideration. These points can be put into two categories. Let’s talk more about those and what they have to do with the Instagram algorithm.

#1: Engagement Is Key for Winning with Instagram 

The Instagram algorithm in 2021 works by showing users the content they are likely to engage with. As previously stated, have you ever noticed that when you like someone’s posts, you tend to see more of them on your feed? If you scroll down you’re feed long enough, you will see posts from most accounts you follow. Typically, you have to scroll very far and Instagram will eventually stop you from scrolling with a, “You’re all caught up now!” note. I tried this and it took a LONG time to get to the “bottom” of my newsfeed.

It’s not likely that your followers will do that. It’s much too long of a process. That being said, If only 10% of them actually see your posts! So how do we engage enough to beat the Instagram algorithm in 2021?

#2: The Instagram Algorithm Believes Time is Everything  

Instagram is a social platform that makes money from ads. The easiest way for your followers to see company ads is to keep your followers on the app longer. That means that the more time you keep your followers on the app, the more the Instagram algorithm will favor you. MUAHAHA.

How The Instagram Algorithm Works 

  • How Does The Instagram Algorithm Work in 2021?
  • The Instagram algorithm watches what you like
  • The Instagram algorithm looks at how you engage
  • The Instagram algorithm keeps tabs on time
  • Frequency is used to sort posts
  • Two Factors for Beating The 2021 Instagram Algorithm

Consider Engagement

  1. Engage with your followers
  2. Create content your followers will enjoy engaging with
  3. Consider Timing
  4. Post when your followers are online
  5. Post frequently
  6. Okay, so now that we know how the algorithm works and what we need to do to beat the Instagram algorithm, let’s talk about specific tactics you can use daily and beyond in your social media strategy.

Beating the Instagram Algorithm 

Instagram, as an app, is a compilation of many parts, but let’s focus on your newsfeed for a second here. The items listed below should happen every day if you want to beat the 2021 Instagram algorithm! I have used these same techniques to grow my page. I break these things down in the next section.

  1. Post Posts
  2. Post Reels
  3. Reply to your DMs
  4. Respond to Comments
  5. Engage with Accounts You Follow
  6. Color Grade your Feed
  7. Turn On Post Notifications

This is all stuff I have done that has doubled my following on Instagram over the past six months. Followed Dennis Schleicher on Instagram at @denschleicher

News – Free Virtual Author Meetings Scheduled for March

March 8: (6:30 – 7:30 pm, ET): How to Get a Book Deal From a Publisher, by Author Stasha Healy. She will tell us how to be well-prepared and organized before you approach a publisher or tackle any big project. A former editor at Condé Nast Traveler, Fodor’s Travel Publications, and Travel Agent magazine, Stasha is a freelance travel writer whose work has appeared in publications like Time Out, Frommer’s, and Moon Travel Guides. She also writes travel content for travel businesses such as tour operators and visitors bureaus. The link to attend is: https://zoom.us/j/3671572517

 March 15 (6:30 – 7:30 pm, ET):  Dream, Hope, Trust. A presentation by Connie Bombaci offering tips from her writing journey. The link to join is https://us02web.zoom.us/j/6762224705

 March 20 (10:30 – 11:30 am, ET): Katherine Pickett will talk about “Crafting a marketable manuscript” including a discussion of defining your hook, researching the competition, identifying your target audience. These make up the basis for the “Potholes” in the book. The link to join is https://us02web.zoom.us/j/6762224705

 March 25 (6:30 pm ET – 7:30 pm ET): “The Science of the F-Word No One Talks About: Failure” by Dr. Cheryl Lentz. Failure is a word that few like to talk about; fewer still understand how to harness its power and gifts that it offers to redirect and empower to move forward faster and more effectively. Learn to receive the gift that failure brings. 

  1. Learn to adjust your perspective by changing your language of failure
  2. Learn to process failure to see as a gift; what might be your greatest failure might be your greatest triumph
  3. Avoid punishing yourself for failure
  4. Learn to use failure as a tool in your toolbox of leadership and empowerment
  5. Learn to fail faster to succeed sooner

 The link to attend is: https://zoom.us/j/3671572517

Known as the Academic Entrepreneur, Dr. Cheryl is a unique and dynamic speaker who intensely connects with her audience, having one foot in academia and one foot in the business and entrepreneurial space. Her goal is to offer you pearls of wisdom today you can use tomorrow in your personal and professional lives. It is not enough to know; the expectation is for participants to take action and do. Join Dr. Cheryl on her journey to connect these dots to provide inspiration, knowledge, and counsel to move forward effectively. 

    Known globally for her writings on leadership and failure, as well as critical and refractive thinking she has been published more than 44 times with 25 writing awards. As an accomplished university professor, speaker, and consultant, she is an international best-selling author, as well as top quoted publishing professional on ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox. She will take the stage as a TEDx Speaker in *Farningdale2020, October 10, 2020. 

Happy writing, 

Dennis Schleicher – President of Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association

Follow on Instagram @DenSchleicher

Get Booked On TV Shows – Why Major News Media Works

By Dennis Schleicher

Are you building your name as a brand? From a business or career point of view, being known in your industry as an influencer and thought leader leads to major opportunities. You have demonstrated your knowledge and wisdom personally with your viewers, some of whom are in a position to hire you.

Getting booked on these shows is a big deal. You don’t just walk on the set and sit down. Annie Jennings PR just makes it look easy. Guests are carefully selected according to their credentials, point of view and media history. You must qualify for the segment and be able to prove it. Our company knows how to jump you through lot of hoops in the approval process to get you on the show edging out others who wanted to get on as well. Congrats!

Get Booked On TV Shows To Help Build Your Influence, Reputation

Potential clients or those in a position to hire you as a consultant may not know you personally but they know FOX NEWS, they know CNN, they know other major media outlets such Kiplinger’s, Wall Street Journal and TheStreet.com and hey, your clients and prospective client may feel that if you are good enough for Associated Press to quote in their lead story, well you are good enough for them! Appearing on the TV media. both national shows and your local city shows helps close your deals and secure new money making opportunities. You create a tremendous advantage.

Take it from someone who knows. At age seventeen, Dennis appeared on seven talk shows, including Larry King Live, and Sally Jessy Raphael, after being a victim of a brutal hate crime that occurred in his high school.

Talk with Annie Jennings Publicity Firm Mention Dennis Schleicher referred you from Connecticut Authors and you’ll receive a discount.

Follow Dennis Schleicher on Instagram @DenSchleicher

Books Sales Are Growing Exponentially

By Dennis Schleicher President of the Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association

Sales of printed books – Printed book sales were 750.89 million in 2020 – a growth of 8.2 percent, the highest year-on-year increase since 2010. Statista (reports on the largest self-publishing co. in the US 2018) reports that Kindle Direct Publishing (formerly Create Space) has over 1.4 million authors in 2018. Next is Lulu Press with 37,000+ authors & then comes Blurb, Inc. with about 17,600 self-published authors in 2012.

Follow Dennis Schleicher on Instagram @DenSchleicher 

Looking for a Literary Agent

Dennis Schleicher is currently the President of the Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association. Schliecher is the best-selling author of Is He Nuts?: Why a Gay Man Would Become a Member of the Church of Jesus Christ. As an in-demand public speaker, specializing in devotionals and social media marketing with the LDS church, Dennis’s relationship with many acquisition editors gives him a unique edge. Talcott Notch Literary Services LLC

Dennis at age 17 in 1990, he appeared on seven talk shows, including “Larry King Live,” where he talked about being a victim of a brutal gay bashing that occurred in his public high school. The ratings for his appearance on “Sally Jessy Raphael,” which aired January 19, 1990, were so high that they asked him to appear again. The bashing was reported in more than a dozen local and national newspapers and magazines. Dennis resides in Glastonbury, Connecticut.

Accepting queries for the following genres:

Biography, Christian living, children’s books, church life, devotional, inspirational, LGBTQ, theology, bible study, reference, health, finance, fiction, self-help, psychology, grief, suffering, marriage, family, women’s, men’s, philosophy, history, social issues, parenting, clean romance, Latter-Day Saints, LDS, and Mormonism. 

Dennis says “I am the first to specialize as an LDS literary agent, willing to work with all. I am looking for unique ideas from writers. As the market has changed, so has many of the demands on the author. Your project has to be more than an extended magazine article. It has to have something unique that will make the publisher jump at the chance to invest in you and your work.” Dennis goes on to explain that the “something” can be your platform, it can be the power of your idea, or it can be that your writing .” And if you can bring all three? I’m confident we can find you a publishing house. What will set you apart? What will establish you as a thought-leader in your genre?”

Recent Deals:

Lisa Barlow

The star of Bravo’s TV new hit: “The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City.” Born in New York, Lisa Barlow has been living in Utah for over 20 years. As the owner of LUXE marketing company and various businesses including VIDA tequila, she considers herself “Mormon 2.0” as she is not one to adhere to all of the traditional and strict Latter-day Saints rules. Lisa attended BYU. Married to her husband John with two children in Utah. 

Dennis is currently shopping Lisa’s riveting memoir; Jewish by Heritage Mormon is my Choice?

Stand Guard at the Door of Your Mind by Drew Young

Written to give hope, confidence, and strength to those going through rough times and trying to figure out ways to add more fulfillment/peace into their lives. It’s vulnerable and real.

Some topics include: suicide, pornography, mental illness, bullying, success, failure, disease attitudes, and not quitting on your worst day.

This is Drew’s 2nd book with Cedar Fort after the success of his first book The Meaning of Your Mission: Lessons & Principles to Know You Are Enough Paperback – July 14, 2020

Acquisitions editor Angela Johnson at Cedar Fort, in a nice deal, in an exclusive submission, for publication in early summer 2021.

Fractured Souls and Splintered Memories : Unlocking the “Boxes” of Trauma by Christy Kane PhD, CMHC’s Paperback – July 13, 2021

Mental health professional, presenter, and author Christy Kane PhD, CMHC’s. One of the sacred offerings of therapy that’s protected by a code of ethics is the gift of confidentiality. The purpose of this book is to guide readers through the healing steps of therapy. In this book, you’ll discover the resiliency of the human soul as it’s protected and shepherded by a gifted mental health professional. The ultimate aim of this book is not to highlight darkness but to emphasize the truth that healing is possible-if those who seek it are dedicated to the work required to obtain this gift.

Acquisitions editor, Angela Johnson at Cedar Fort, with Suzy Bills editing, in a nice deal, in an exclusive submission, for publication in fall 2021, by Dennis Schleicher at Talcott Notch Literary Services (world).

Follow Dennis Schleicher on Instagram at @Denschleicher

Help For Aspiring Writers

Have you always wanted to write a book or are you writing one? Is your book ready for publishing and are you looking for a literary agent or help to self-publish? Are you seeking creative ways to market your book? Members of The 25 year old Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association (CAPA) are ready to welcome you. The not-for-profit organization’s goal is to “assist, encourage and inspire published and unpublished writers and increase their knowledge of writing, publishing and marketing by providing a forum for the exchange of ideas and information.”  

Topics of discussion include books, magazines, trade journals, newspapers, audio books, all types of electronic media and diverse paths of learning and growth. CAPA chapters in Avon, Groton, and Shelton boast a wide range of genres and experience. Come for the knowledge and support but be prepared for friendship.

Membership benefits include:

  • Networking virtually with and receiving peer support from published authors, aspiring writers, illustrators, agents, and publishers. In-person meetings will resume when restrictions are lifted.
  • Three or more monthly webinars on a variety of interesting and informative topics by local and national experts.
  • The Authority monthly newsletter packed with useful articles about writing, publishing, marketing, and CAPA events.
  • Local and regional participation in diverse events including books signings and book sales.
  • Writing contests.  
  • Access to CAPA Big E (Eastern States Exposition in Springfield, MA)Bookstore, in the CT building, with substantial foot traffic and logistical support for member book sales and signings.
  • CAPA University and Book Publishing University classes.
  • Library of video meetings and classes.
  • Library of member articles in The Authority.
  • Access to Publisher’s Marketplace to connect with podcasts, radio, and TV professionals seeking interviews.
  • Facebook pages for the statewide organization and individual chapters.

by Elizabeth Saede Elizabeth@MysticRest.com Author of Lobster Summer. Freelance writer.

Free Virtual Author Meetings Scheduled for February

February 8: (6:30 – 7:30 pm, ET): What to Include in Your Memoir (and What to Leave Out), by Sharon Dukett. If you are writing a memoir, or thinking about it, are you struggling with what to include and what to leave out? Where to start or where to end? In this session, you will learn techniques for identifying the content that belongs in your memoir, and how to part with the stories that do not. The link to attend is: https://zoom.us/j/3671572517 

February 15 (6:30 – 7:30 pm, ET): Ellen Feld.  To date, Ellen has published 15 books primarily for the “tween” horse/ animal lover (9 – 12 ages).  She established her own publishing company shortly after her first book in 2001. To date Ellen has sold just over 100,000 copies of her print books. In 2008, frustrated over various review sites to consider her books for review simply because she was self-published, she started a review site, Feathered Quill Book Reviews which focused on indie authors equal recognition with mainstream published books. Feathered Quail has reviewed between three and four thousand books. In 2015, Ellen expanded Feathered Quill to include a yearly awards program. The link to attend is: https://zoom.us/j/3671572517 

February 20 (10:30 – 11:30 am, ET):Seven Ways To Monetize Your Book. Karen Strauss will discuss these topics: 1. Using your Book as A Business, 2. Sponsorship, 3. Developing Products, 4. Expert Positioning, 5. Speaking, 6. Creating Multiple Streams of Income, 7. Collaboration Books. The link to attend is: https://zoom.us/j/3671572517 

February 25 (6:30 pm ET – 7:30 pm ET): “What Publicity Can REALLY Do for You — and What it Can’t, by Penny C. Sansevieri. The link to attend is: https://zoom.us/j/3671572517 

Happy writing,

Dennis Schleicher – President of Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association

Follow on Instagram @DenSchleicher