Saturday, January 23, 2010


New Community: The WM Freelance Connection

Seven women have joined together to start a blog and a Google group about freelance writing. It's called The WM Freelance Connection; and if you haven't checked them out yet, make some time this weekend! They started out as the "Writing Mommies," that's where the "WM" comes from, but they have resources for anyone who's freelancing--well, anyone human that is. ;) Here is some of the information they have to offer on their site:

  • Daily blog posts: This blog is full of information for freelancers. Here are some of the recent titles: "Tips for Using the Writers' Market," "Increase Your Chance of Winning a Writing Contest," "Let's Talk about Press Passes," and "Writing Opportunity: Plum Magazine."
  • Quick Links: They have several pages to this site, and some of the titles are: "Writing Opportunities: Paying Gigs and Writing Contests," "Money Tips for Freelance Writers," "Social Networking Ideas," and "Freelance Writing News and Ideas."
  • Join the WM Google Group: I like this group because they are very positive and happy! Also, they give you writing prompts, and they hold contests where your work can be shared with other members of the Google group. It is super simple to join the group to see if you like it. Just scroll down on the home page of the website to where it says join the Google group, put in your e-mail, and subscribe!
  • Writers' Unblock Tool: Further on down the left-hand side of the site, they have a "Writers' Idea Bank." This is a tool that randomly generates story ideas from Mode Room Press. If you are ever stuck for a story idea, you could check this out. It may not be the exact story you're looking for, but you just never know what could give you some ideas!
I hope you will check out The WM Freelance Connection, founded by Alyssa Ast and Angela Atkinson. At WOW!, we are all about brilliant women starting supportive and encouraging places for other women (okay and men, too:) to relax and become better writers!

A couple other things. . .

PREMIUM GREEN (WOW!'s Market E-book Subscription):
For just $4.00 a month, you can subscribe to one of the best resources on the market. Okay, so I admit I am a little biased; but seriously, women, who are members and who subscribe to this monthly market book (or win a subscription in one of the contests) and participate in the listserv, rave about it. This is only about $1.00 more a month than a Writers' Digest subscription (which is even more if you live in Canada--PG is the same no matter where you live). But a PG monthly e-book is around 160 pages of markets and articles--much more than WD. When I say markets, I mean MARKETS--fiction, nonfiction, business, niche, contests, anthologies, and women's. Angela does an awesome job. And we recently posted a sample PG listserv discussion. I am just so excited about Premium Green--that's why I always talk about it. :) (One more exciting thing--if you subscribe, you actually have access to all 27 previous issues, full of all those markets for no extra cost!)

WOW! Classes: In February, WOW! is offering these online classes. These are perfect for people who want to improve their writing or marketing skills, but need a flexible schedule!

Okay, ladies, I hope to see you on The WM Connection and Premium Green Google groups! Any questions about the classes, check out the WOW! classroom page or e-mail me at margo (at) (replace the (at) with @).

Margo Dill
Read These Books and Use Them

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Thursday, January 07, 2010


Self-Publish or Not? Advice From Joy Wooderson

Many writers have this goal on their 2010 list: "Find an agent or publisher for my novel." Joy had this same goal one year after working on her memoir for eight years. As you'll hear in her own words, she'll tell you why she decided to self-publish: Finding Joy: One Woman's Journey Back to Faith. And let me tell you, this is a well-written, excellent book--full of ideas, situations, and questions that will make you think about your own life. Here's a brief synopsis:

Finding Joy: One Woman’s Journey Back to Faith is an
irational book offering a strategy to lead the reader toward building an authentic, living relationship with the invisible God. Drilled in rigid religious beliefs from childhood, Joy Wooderson found herself trapped in a state of confusion, held hostage to the expectations of others. Sitting atop awe-inspiring Mount Sinai on a vacation trip, she wondered what it might be like to have an unhindered, one-on-one connection with God. Finding Joy tracks the quest triggered by a desperate desire to break out of her mental and emotional prison. The book explores the Biblical design for balanced living and offers pointers for the spiritual journey. Joy discovers that God’s desire is that we experience a life of joy and security in relationship with Him.

Margo: Hi, Joy. Thanks for talking to The Muffin readers about self-publishing. Why did you decide to self-publish Finding Joy?

Joy: I went the usual route of contacting publishers and agents who might be interested in an inspirational book. In most cases, the editors said I had a fascinating story, and my writing was good—but I was a “nobody.” I had no speaking or media platform, and the competition was too fierce (think Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert). No agent expressed interest in battling this level of competition. I realized I had hit a brick wall. But I could not bring myself to give up after eight years of thinking, learning, planning, writing, and editing. I had a worthwhile book that I wanted to get “out there.” I had also become increasingly wary of some young editor getting hold of my story and tearing it apart.

At the urging of my cousin in Spain, I began exploring the idea of electronic publishing, specifically getting the book on Amazon’s Kindle. I researched several publishing options, and determined that Amazon’s Print-On-Demand division, BookSurge (now part of CreateSpace), offered what I wanted.

Margo: I think it's great that you went for it, and you have a beautiful book now! What did you look at when you were deciding who to self-publish with?

Joy: I liked the fact that BookSurge expected me to take an active role in the publication process. Several things were nonnegotiable: total control over the manuscript, input on the cover design, flexibility of custom interior design, including page header layout, sub-headings, and font variations. Cost was an important consideration, and BookSurge offered a cafeteria menu of services and a range of prices. Since I am very computer literate, I was able to do much of the manuscript and file preparation myself. This made the cost of the BookSurge package I chose affordable. I also wanted technical support and advice from the company with whom I worked, and BookSurge provided this throughout the process. Further, they handled the transfer of the files to Amazon and sent me a converted file which I uploaded to Kindle. I particularly liked their royalty rate of 35% on Amazon sales.

Margo: Sounds great, and of course, you made very smart business decisions. It is so important to know your nonnegotiable points, too! Who did you use as an editor and why?

Joy: I had been fortunate to meet Amy Harke-Moore of The Write Helper at Saturday Writers in O’Fallon, MO several years ago. She not only provided excellent editing, but also gave invaluable guidance through the development process. A crucial element in working with Amy was her ability to edit, offer suggestions, keep the pace moving, and still allow my “South African voice” to remain intact. BookSurge required that manuscripts be professionally edited, either by one of their editors or an outside service, so I was ahead of the game in having utilized Amy’s expertise.

Margo: Amy is a great editor, and it shows in your book. And like you said, your South African voice comes through! Explain to us how you got such a wonderful cover.

Joy: Coming up with a cover design was daunting as I am not artistically creative. One day, as I reflected on the story and my life experiences, the concept of an awakening came to mind—perhaps a lovely flower emerging out of snow or ice. I spent hours looking at pictures on the Internet and trying to visualize what the cover could look like.

When I forwarded my suggestion to the design folks at BookSurge, they pointed out that snow and ice would never show up as an online cover. However, they captured and modified my concept, and the daisy emerging from parched ground was the result. I had the cover I wanted—one that “speaks.”

Margo: Thanks, Joy, for sharing your self-publishing journey with us. If you have any questions for Joy about self-publishing, feel free to leave them here.

Interview by Margo Dill

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