5 Tips to Hone Your Craft

This month we’re sharing our ideas on how to become better writers. In this post, I’m sharing what’s helped me to hone my craft. Let’s get started.

Writing

Practice makes perfect. Just like musicians learn a piece of music by practicing every day, a writer learns by writing. The more you write the more writing becomes second nature. If you’re not writing every day, you’re missing out on opportunities to hone your craft.

Joining a Critique Group

I can’t say enough about this tip. Nothing can teach you more than critiquing another’s work. When I’m reading a manuscript—or a book—I listen to the cadence of words in a sentence. I notice what works and what doesn’t. If you’re not in a critique group, make it a priority to join one today!

Blogging

Whether you post every day or once a week, blogging connects you with an amazing group of people who will teach you even more about the craft. You will learn the art of networking as you follow and meet new people. Blogging also adds accountability to your writing schedule. And who knows, you just might meet that fantastic critique partner!

Conferences/Online Classes/Websites

The last weekend in September, I attended the ACFW At-Home conference. The classes included downloadable lessons, PDFs, and PowerPoint® presentation along with a Facebook Group where the attendees could meet and ask questions. It was fun and informative.

Another way to hone your craft is online classes. I’ve taken several classes on writing and self-care this year and enjoyed each one. I like the convenience and the affordability of online classes. Some were free while others required a small fee.

Finally, websites are a great way to hone your craft. Find one you like—like this blog—and follow. A search for writing on your favorite social media app will list several sites to follow. I’m sure you will find one you like. Here’s a link to get you started.

Books

Need advice on editing your story? How about publishing? You can find a how-to book on most subjects in your local library or your favorite bookstore app. While you’re there, don’t forget the fiction section. The more you read, the more you learn!

And there you have it. 5 tips to hone your craft. So, don’t waste anymore time. Your story is waiting!

Click to Tweet: If you’re not #writing every day, you’re missing out on opportunities to hone your craft. by @GailJohnson87 via @InspiredPrompt

Writing Prompt: Plan to search the web and social media for blogs on writing. Make a list of sites and books that would help you hone your craft. Then put that plan into action.

Writing to Inspire

I have loved reading and writing from the moment I learned to do both. I wrote my first song when I was twelve, my first poem at fourteen. Later, I wrote about life. I never thought those scribbled notes of reflection would one day become a book of encouragement for others.

What the book is not

TreasuresofHopeFrontFinalWhen thoughts of telling my story bounced around inside my head, I kept pushing the idea aside. I refused to write a book about a hopeless situation. I didn’t enjoy reading those kinds of books so, why on earth would I write one? Who would want to read it? But when I couldn’t shake the idea, I set aside my WIP and prayed about the project. My goal in writing the story was to help others. And in doing that, I didn’t feel like the book should be about my story but HIS story.

So, I recalled the facts without sharing all the details. I concentrated on the aftermath and what victims of abuse and injustice deal with as Christians. Aren’t we supposed to forgive? What about justice? How do we let go our anger? How can we overcome fear? How can we move forward? How can we help others in our situations? How can we silence the lies inside our heads? How can we live a victorious life?

I think I accomplished my goal.

About the book

Treasures of Hope: Discovering the Beautiful Truth Beneath My Painful Past is about overcoming the lies we believe about ourselves, whether those lies come from another person or the enemy of our souls.

During my journey, I found answers through the lives of women I’d heard about all my life but never connected the dots to how their lives pertained to my situation. Through Rachel, Sarah, Rahab, Hannah, and Esther, I discovered hope. In the chapters, I addressed intimacy, identity and purpose, fear, worth, and victory. I also included chapter questions, encouragement, and recommended songs and books. Although it is a memoir, readers have used it as a Bible study and a devotional.

I hope you find it inspiring no matter your situation.

Click to Tweet: I hope you find Treasures of Hope inspiring no matter your situation. #hope #bookgiveaway @GailJohnson87

 

 

About Gail

Gail Johnson enjoys sharing her passion for life and Christ through the power of the written word. Whether it’s through stories, articles, or songs, she invites her reader and listener to “taste and see” the hope she has found in a faithful God and loving Savior. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the author of Treasures of Hope, Discovering the Beautiful Truth Beneath My Painful Past, a memoir.

You can learn more about Gail at gailjohnsonauthor.com

March Madness and Inspired Prompt Blog: Think Winners

By Jennifer Hallmark

March Madness. The Division I men’s basketball tournament is considered one of the premier events in sports. The 68-team single-elimination tournament holds 67 games in 19 days, a jam-packed end to the season that aptly earned the nickname March Madness.

Here at Inspired Prompt, we’re having our own tournament of sorts. But without the basketball and cheerleaders and buzzer-beating wins. Throughout March, you’ll hear from many of the writers how they wrote their books, why, and a lot more interesting information. No competition here, though. All of our authors are winners. 🙂

You might be too!

The best part is the tournament trophies—er—prizes. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, you’ll have a chance to win books and other fun things. And for March only, we’ll even let you win twice.

Stop by and visit.

Leave a comment.

Let us know how you’re doing and how we’re doing on the blog. We’d love to see you!

Maybe you’ll even find a basketball…

Click to tweet: #MarchMadness  Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday in March, you’ll have a chance to win books and other things at Inspired Prompt blog. #winners

What’s in Your Media Kit?

by Tracy Ruckman

One of the first tasks authors should tackle when their first book is scheduled for release is build a media kit. This task applies to both traditionally published and self-published authors. Assembling the kit before the book is released will save hours and frustration later and having a media kit could provide you with more opportunities for outreach.

Purpose of a Media Kit

The main purpose of the media kit is convenience – you want to make it easy for anyone wanting to promote or interview you about your book to get information quickly. Before the internet, media kits were physical packets assembled and mailed out to publicists and editors of newspapers and magazines. Today, the media kit is usually a dedicated page on your website where publicists, editors, bloggers, media outlets, and others can grab your information instantly.

You can provide the information two ways (and providing it both ways is a huge plus): as individual elements that can be downloaded or copied/pasted by whoever needs it; and as a single downloadable pdf. The pdf would include all the elements listed below.

What to Include in Your Media Kit

  • Headshots – provide two to four different types of headshots, with various poses from casual to formal and in different color clothing. Use professional quality shots and provide them in high resolution formats, in jpeg format. The variety will allow each outlet to decide which image best fits for their readers and their format, and the high resolution will give them the best quality so they can make the photo any size they need. (If you provide a low resolution image, your picture will be grainy and pixelated, so it might not get used.)
  • Book cover image – provide the front cover image of your book, also with high resolution.
  • Back cover blurb
  • Your bios – Please provide two bios, one long and one short, and identify them as such. The short bio should be around 100 words, the long bio 200-250 words. Write them in 3rd person. Some markets may allow or want longer bios, while others can only use the short ones.
  • Press releases – Press releases are optional, but they’re handy to have on hand. If you don’t know how to write one, you’ll need to learn. Press releases follow a specific format and layout, so if you make them available in your media kit, you’ll need to do it correctly.
  • List of links to your website/blog, links to your book, links to your top social media pages
  • Media – If you are a speaker or teacher, or if you’ve already conducted some radio interviews or podcasts, include video and/or audio clips of some of those in your media kit. These samples will let media see and hear your personality to know how you’ll best fit their own programs.
  • List of Topics/Themes – Including a list of speaking topics and/or themes in your book serves different purposes. The list provides media with talking points, especially as they are relevant in today’s headlines, while also providing event organizers ideas for how to use you in their programs. The list also serves as keywords for SEO purposes, so your website/blog can be found under searches for those themes, which could bring you new readers or opportunities.
  • Events – If you already have experience as a speaker or workshop presenter, list those events with dates, locations, topics presented.

Safety

In today’s world, we must take safety precautions, and this includes within your media kit. Press releases must contain contact information but use caution in sharing your home address or phone number. I always recommend that my clients leave out both of those in their online kits, but be sure to provide other options, like a business e-mail address (or two) and social media contacts. If you have a dedicated phone line for your business that’s listed publicly, you may list it, but remember that the information in your media kit will now be accessible by anyone worldwide.

Media kits are great marketing tools. Review your media kit once or twice a year, adding updates and deleting older information. Remember to keep it professional and put your best self in the spotlight.


One of the best ways to learn is to look at what others are doing. Here are a few excellent media kits I found online:

Lori Roeleveld: https://loriroeleveld.com/press/
Elizabeth Noyes: http://elizabethnoyeswrites.com/media-kit/
Rachel Hauck: http://www.rachelhauck.com/media/
Edie Melson: http://ediemelson.com/media/
Matt Patterson: http://matt-patterson.com/mediakit

Writing Prompt: Choose one of the bulleted items above and create it as a promotional tool for your latest release.

Click to Tweet: A #media kit makes it easy for anyone wanting to #promote or interview you about your book to get information quickly. What’s in Your Media Kit @TracyRuckman @InspiredPrompt


Tracy Ruckman is an entrepreneur, writer, and photographer. As a book publisher, she’s published over 100 books, and is current publisher at TMP Books. She logs her journey as artist, writer, and screenwriter at The Thriving Artist on Patreon, and interviews artists and entrepreneurs on her Tracy Ruckman blog. Her artwork is available in her Zazzle store.