Sunday, January 25, 2009

Writing Tips About Obama's Inauguration

Mary Emma's Writing Tip of the Week

Each Sunday, I try to post a writing tip at my One Book Two Book blog. This week, since we've just experienced the Inauguration of the 44th President of the United States, I gave suggestions for writing about this occasion.

Even though these ideas were directed toward young writers, you still may find something to jumpstart your writing. If you have young writers in your life, teach school or home school, you may find them useful in that area.

Check out Mary Emma's Writing Tip - What Did You Think of the Inauguration?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

References to Lincoln During Obama's Inauguration

With so many references to Abraham Lincoln, during Barack Obama's Inauguration festivities, it might be helpful to have some resources so youngsters can learn more about our 16th President. He was criticized during his term in office and was blamed for mistakes in the Civil War fought at that time.

Yet he was important to the black people because he issued the Emancipation Proclamation giving the slaves their freedom. Also, his leadership ensured that our country stayed together.

Abraham Lincoln for Kids: His Life & Times with 21 Activities (For Kids series) by Janis Herbert
A Picture Book of Abraham Lincoln (Picture Book Biography) by David A. Adler
A. Lincoln and Me by Louise Borden
Abraham Lincoln and His Family Paper Dolls by Tom Tierney
You Are There: Abraham Lincoln's Greatest Moments: The Emancipation Proclamation/The Gettysburg Address (DVD) starring Walte Cronkite and Paul Birch
Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation: The End of Slavery in America by Allen C. Guelzo
Lincoln at Gettysburg: The Words That Remade America by Garry Wills
Just a Few Words, Mr. Lincoln (The Story of the Gettysburg Address) by Jean Fritz
Lincoln on Leadership by Donald T. Phillips (One of my favorite books about Lincoln)Emancipation Proclamation Silk Necktie (produced for the NY Historical Society from Lincoln's handwritten original)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Looking for News Trends or Topics

When searching for topics to write about, look to current happenings and trends. Right now everyone is focused on the Obama family and their first days in the White House. Whether one voted for them or not, they're newsworthy. So writers might look for some "hook" that ties in with these events.

Ladies generally are fascinated by what the First Ladies wear, the fashion trends they set, how they entertain and with what taste they decorate the private quarters of the White House. I thought this would be newsworthy and fun to write about. So I've begun a blog, White House Fashions - Past & Present, to explore history and today through the style of the First Ladies, from Martha Washington to Michelle Obama.

My first post is What First Ladies Wear and mentions how I got started writing this blog, as well as highlights some of the ladies' styles.

Books About Obama, the Presidency and Past Presidents

Whether you voted for Obama or not, he has become the President of the United States. As such, he'll affect our lives, our country and the world. So that the you and your youngsters can keep abreast of current happenings regarding the Presidency and the 44th President, I've compiled a few books and resources here.

Barack Obama, President for a New Era (Gateway Biographies) by Marlene Targ Brill
Barack Obama: Our 44th President by Beatrice Gormley
Barack Obama: Out of Many, One (Step Into Reading) by Shana Corey
Michelle Obama: Meet the First Lady by David Bergen Brophy
The U. S. Presidency (Our Government) by Muriel L. Dubois
The American Journey of Barack Obama by the Editors of Life Magazine
The Story of Abraham Lincoln by Patricia A. Pingry
Time Line Presidents
Presidents Learning Placemat
Presidents of the USA Floor Puzzle

Do you have any favorite books or resources that have informed you about the Obamas, the Presidency, and former Presidents?

Monday, January 19, 2009

Authors - Use Obama Techniques in Your Promotions

Promotional Techniques in the Internet Age

More than any other presidential candidate, Barack Obama and his team appear to have utilized the wide reaching appeal of the Internet and the technique of branding to appeal to the masses and promote him as the best person to lead our country. Whether you agree or not with the results of the presidential election, you’ll have to admit that the Obama team used promotional methods that worked.

Can we as authors learn from this?

BRANDING – Finding a key word or buzz word that captured the attention and emotions of the public seemed important in the campaign. What did they settle on? Something very simple…. the word CHANGE.

This word has a different meaning for everyone. It can evoke images of change for the better or fear of change for the worst. Somehow the Obama team was able to construe images of changing one’s present situation for the better so that the majority followed blindly with images of something they considered “better” dancing in their heads.

As more and more people picked up on CHANGE, the campaign gained momentum for most Democrat candidates.

Can you find a buzz word that will appeal to your readers? It should be something simple…something that ties in with your book, your writing, and/or you. It should evoke appealing images and emotion in the minds of your readers (who will become your fans or followers).

However, be cautious that your buzz word doesn’t give the idea that you promise more than you can deliver.

USE OF THE INTERNET – In today’s world, it’s almost imperative that you utilize the Internet as much as you can. You saw this in the Obama campaign with web sites, blogs, and YouTube town meetings.

Web Site/Blog - Most authors have a web site and/or blog where they post information about their books and their lives. Blogs enable them to keep their readers informed on a day-to-day basis.

YouTube can help you with book trailers, talks, and demonstrations, even meetings with your readers. How did Obama utilize these online features to reach the public, whereas other candidates appeared still to be learning there was an Internet out there?

Do you have a Buzz Word?

Friday, January 16, 2009

Spin-Offs from Quilting Novels

In the quilting field, we begin to see novels with a quilting theme that evolve into pattern books and even cookbooks. This becomes just one way a writer can produce spin-offs from their books. One of these books is The Quiltmaker's Gift.

I'd read The Quiltmaker's Gift to children when I was subsitute teaching and mentioned it on my Quilting and Patchwork blog. A reader inquired where she might find fabric with the Quilter's Gift as a theme.

As I was researching her query (and I haven't found any fabric yet, but asked for other quilters' input), I discovered some books with quilt patterns that accompany the story book, called Quilts from the Quiltmaker's Gift and More Quilts from the Quiltmaker's Gift.

Another quilter read my post at Quilting and Patchwork today and said she checked out these quilt pattern books and discovered they are "must haves." She's going to get one as a gift for a friend, too.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Carolyn Howard-Johnson Wonders, "What Has Happened to Literary Fiction?"

Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This is the Place, The Frugal Book Promoter, and The Frugal Editor, ponders why so much sci-fi, fantasy and romance is published, but less and less literary fiction? I think you'll enjoy her ideas. At least they will get you thinking.

For me the real topic is this: Why is it that literary fiction seems to be losing readers? The only reason my literary novel This Is the Place sold well in 2001 (at least for a first novel) is that I am also a marketer and took lots of time nurturing the sales and thinking of angles that would appeal to large segments of readers (yes, like the romantic aspect, that it is based on a true story, etc)

Here are some reasons I think literary work is not being read, in no particular order:

* Literary fiction (including poetry) isn't being published, at least not in the numbers it was published in the past.

*Publishers are assigning their marketing dollars to their top authors and stars and very nearly ignoring their midlist people. In fact, they aren't building midlists in any genre as they once did which doesn't bode well for publishing in general as the big names age and retire.

*Our education system isn't encouraging critical thinking or reading.

*Our education system is failing to teach reading/vocabulary building, etc. at a level required by many literary novels. So must we dumb-down our literary writing?

*Evidenced by the way our culture votes for their leaders, it doesn't much value anything intellectual. No matter what your politics I think we writers might agree that Obama's critical thinking, speaking and writing skills might be an encouraging sign for the future.

Please don't forget to discuss the sorry state of poetry. I read recently that even poets aren't buying books or chapbooks of poetry. Sorry, I can't find the article in my files.

Carolyn's web site: How To Do It Frugally.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Books I've Found for Tots through Teens

From time to time, I compile lists of books for young and YA readers. Here are some in categories I've been researching:

Bird Books: Stories, Information & Fun

World War II Books for Children & YA

Controversial Books

When you check out these lists, you'll also find the information about where they're available. Also, you may be able to find most of them in your local library.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year's from Potpourri of Writing

May 2009 be a wonderful year for you.

It's cold (3 degrees F.) and windy here where I live.

But we're looking forward to a grand 2009 with writing goals coming true.