Feedback by Storyteller

Getting feedback on your writing, in any genre or form, is a good litmus test for the writer. Often, what we put on the page and think conveys a story or point, can be lost on a reader who doesn’t “get it” in some way or another. One of the best ways to get some true feedback on your writing is to share it before submitting it to an actual publisher or self-publishing and throwing it out there. One good source for this pre-read can be a critique group, if you can find and join one. An easy way to find such a group is to google “Meet Ups” in your area and specify for writing groups. Often they will offer options such as online meetings or local meetings you can attend. Some require a membership in a writing organization such as here–Writers of Kern. Others may not, so explore that venue.

Another good way is to put out a blog and see if you receive comments on what you have written. You can say it is part of a larger work or just test the waters with a short essay, poem, etc..

A third venue is friends or nearby/local colleges and universities who put out anthologies from their liberal arts division. They are often looking for aspiring writers and eager to help. Contact them and ask if they can help. Friends you may ask to read need to be ready to be honest and forthright so that you gain some insight into where you can improve and what is good that you wrote. It is not fishing for flattery. 🙂 It is asking for some constructive criticism.

We often find that feedback is priceless and many times we have found these avenues beneficial to our writing and a great learning experience. We often tend to write in our own “bubble” so we need outside sources to help us see our foibles and triumphs. Contests and submissions to same are good, but they will not always give you feedback–merely rejection or acceptance. It is up to you and your particular level of comfort in sharing that will determine which, if not all, sources you seek out. But remember, FEEDBACK is your greatest measurement if you want to make a living through your words–or share with the world.

We sincerely hope this helps!:)

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Judy Kukuruza’s book “One Body, Many Souls” can be found on Amazon at https://amzn.to/2FuA241; Their website is at https://onebodymanysouls.com/. Their blog is at https://storywritersthoughts.wordpress.com/.

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Tooting your own horn

(aka self-promotion)

Many people have trouble with self-promotion or as some folks call it “tooting your own horn”. This happens to folks in all professions, not just writers. It is hard for a lot of people and the majority of those are women, who are culturally conditioned to be humble and demure.

There is also an unspoken stigma to self-promotion, although it is a neccessary “evil” if you want to succeed in your chosen field. Often it is perceived as being egotistical and self-serving in a negative way.

However, there are definitely times and ways to do it, that are less “egotistically” perceived and more “informationally” received.

So what are the circumstances that will help you to promote yourself without coming across as being a butthead?

Well for starters, it is perfectly acceptable to spread the word near and far on social media, your blog, your online resume/portfolio, and in the newspaper when you have published something or have had something of yours included in an anthology that has been published. And if you decide you only want to do one of those – make it your online resume/portfolio that you definitely update with this marvelous information. If you can, link your announcement to wherever the book or item can be purchased. And encourage people who may be happy for you, to also spread the word.

If you have been invited to read your work in front of a live audience – as in a book signing or poetry reading – make sure you promote it, invite people, tell people when and where and how much it costs to attend. If you are truly ambitious, send out a press release! Make sure you post the event on your Goodreads.com author’s page, and for goodness sake, get photos and make sure those get posted to your blog, your social media and everywhere else right after the event. And again, provide a link to where folks can purchase your book or item.

When you receive feedback in any of those formats, THANK the person and share any upcoming news that might be relevent to their commentary. For example: if someone congratulates you on publishing your book and you have just scheduled a book signing – mention it. Or if it someone you know well, thank and offer to sign the book for them. You get the idea.

In short, even if you have hired a promoter (social media manager, or PR person) – it is up to you to manage the process, to make sure that the information is complete and out there and that your work gets in front of as many people as possible.

It is a small world, and you never know who knows someone who might read your work and review it well, causing it to spiral up to the best sellers list somewhere. Seriously, stranger things have happened.

PROMOTE yourself well and others will want to help to promote you, too!

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Perils and Plusses of Writing by J. Kukuruza

A lot of times, writers complain about “writer’s block” and how they are stymied because they can’t think of anything to write or they don’t know where to go and how with a particular piece they are working on. That can be a real pain and costly if you have a deadline to meet! But sometimes, the opposite is true and just as debilitating–too many ideas in too many genres. Which do you go with? Can you pick just one and focus on it? Or is your mind constantly teasing you with more and more ideas and more and more genres to explore? THAT can clog up the works even more so than the dreaded “Writer’s block,” leaving you wandering around in a maze of words and ideas, going nowhere. Ever have that happen? Personally, “writer’s block” is preferable to having topic after topic, idea after idea, bumping in your head and begging to be put on the page! For us, “Writer’s Block” will recede as we make a conscious effort to notice things, people, or animals and apply it to what we are writing or want to write about. But a plethora of ideas? Aaaaaaargh! We become like a kid in a toy store with limitless choices and feel the pressure to choose, but… The peril lies in having so much in your heart and head to choose from that you could conceivably walk out, choosing nothing, and hope it will all sort itself out. Result? Nothing written, nothing explored, NOTHING DONE! To avoid this, we choose a simple solution–at least to us. We write poetry and lots of true memoir stuff. So when overwhelmed, we often turn to a genre we are less familiar with and then write. Children’s stories, for instance, are HARD to write! Why not try to write a story for a 4-6 year old? Now that will tax your brain and creativity! Or try flash fiction! That is not an easy genre, either! You have to lure your audience in, hit them, and bang! Get out! Another challenge to creativity! There are so many genres to choose! And so many ideas floating around in your head–why not go there? You might find you simply CANNOT do it. PLUS side? An abiding respect for those who can!
We all learn as we go. We have tackled so many different genres and found some that feel really good, and others we now know to steer clear of. If you feel this way, don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone — go for it!
Having said this, and being tired of poetry presently, we are toying with historical fiction. Never done it, but so many ideas relating to history right now. Wish us luck–and the same to you!

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Judy Kukuruza’s book “One Body, Many Souls” can be found on Amazon at https://amzn.to/2FuA241; Their website is at https://onebodymanysouls.com/. Their blog is at https://storywritersthoughts.wordpress.com/.

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