noticemeThis is my own personal 10 steps on how NOT to get noticed by other writers, agents, various other publishing types, and assorted book junkies.  These tips, of course, are in no particular order.  Failure to follow any one or more might risk exposing yourself to being (gulp) noticed.

Step 1 – Don’t be funny.  Seriously, humor brings smiles, which then bring good feelings.  Humor, smiles, and warm fuzzy feelings breed a sense of familiarity.  If someone in any way feels that familiarity towards you, you feel like a friend to them and you have been noticed.

Step 2 – Don’t follow blogs and other websites.  You never know when the author might peek to see who is following.

Step 3 – Don’t use a memorable picture.  We don’t all like the idea of pasting pictures of ourselves online for the whole world to see.  Sometimes we’d prefer a photo of something else, like your cat or an apple, or better yet that generic silhouette default picture a few billion other users are using.  Best to stick with the generic silhouette, everybody is sick to death of looking at the Grumpy Cat and all those other over-used images.  If you use a memorable picture of something interesting, you risk being noticed.  Worse, use a good picture of yourself and you might be recognized across more than one social media site.  Then you would feel like a real person to others instead one of the multitude of online semi-anonymous acquaintances.

Step 4 – Don’t bop around blogs leaving comments.  Sometimes those comments actually get read.  You never know when someone might decide to follow the link back to your own blog, and then, you got it, chances are you’ve been noticed, and maybe even a few more followers.

Step 5 – Don’t blog regularly about writing, being a writer, your hobbies and passions, family, cooking recipes, or the thousands on thousands of other things people blog on.  A regular blog gets followers.

Step 6 – Multi social media.  This is a definite ‘no’.  Sharing and posting your own blog posts, links to others’ blog posts and book reviews and reviews on their books, and general sharing across multiple social media sites is a recipe for disaster if you want to stay entirely anonymous.

Step 7 – Don’t follow other writers and publishing world peeps in sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, et al with wild abandon.  They have a tendency to follow back and even re-tweet/repost your posts to their own followers if you do the same for them.  That will only build your online presence, instead of keeping you in that obscurity it is so easy to hide behind.

Step 9 – Be selfish.  Don’t do favors for others without the expectation of a return on your investment of time.  Hosting other authors in the forms of interviews, guest blogs, and posting links to reviews on their books or reviewing their books for nothing more than the exchange of a free copy of their book, these are all recipes for disaster when you want no one to notice you.  Not only will those people share your posts with their own followers, they might even be grateful, appreciate your kindness, and even return the favor some time.

Step 10 – This one is maybe the most important.  Don’t keep writing and writing and writing. The more you write, stories, blogs, and anything else you publish for free download or for sale, the more likely it is that you will develop a fan base.

Now let’s get serious about why you really read this article.

When you feel rejected, dejected, and let down that no one seems to be noticing you … stop it.  This isn’t high school; it only feels like it is.  Everyone out there is trying so hard to get you and everyone else to notice them, that they might not even see you.  Yes Virginia, it is a popularity contest, and the winners are the ones with publishing contracts and large book sale counts.

We all want the same thing, to be writers; and not just that, but to be published writers and have someone love our books.  In order for that to happen, you have to be noticed.  People have to find your book and actually buy it, read it, and rave to their friends about it.  The hard part is getting your book noticed in the sea of books out there.

Don’t let yourself feel down about that when it doesn’t happen.  Even some of the most popular authors struggled in the beginning to be discovered by their fans.  We are all struggling for the same thing, so you are not alone.  Getting discovered has as much to do with luck and it does putting yourself out there and working hard.

And, as a final word, don’t assume that breaking any or all of the rules above will get you noticed.  Sometimes you just have to be at the right place at the right time, and sometimes you have to do something very noticeable to get noticed.  The World Wide Web is a vast dark and dusty weaving of emptiness filled with the intangible beyond your computer screen.  Sometimes, you just can’t get noticed sitting in a room by yourself no matter how hard you wave your arms.   And other times, you might hit on that one magic stroke of luck and you are made.



L. V. where the bodies areGaudet is the author of Where the Bodies Are

What kind of dark secret pushes a man to commit the unimaginable, even as he is sickened by his own actions?

Watch for book 2 of the McAllister series coming soon at Second Wind Publishing, LLC:  The McAllister Farm.  The secret behind the bodies is revealed.

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Other links to purchase L.V. Gaudet’s books

Link to reviews of Where the Bodies Are on Angie’s Diary


Follow L. V. Gaudet:

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Originally posted on Second Wind Publishing:

noticemeThis is my own personal 10 steps on how NOT to get noticed by other writers, agents, various other publishing types, and assorted book junkies.  These tips, of course, are in no particular order.  Failure to follow any one or more might risk exposing yourself to being (gulp) noticed.

Step 1 – Don’t be funny.  Seriously, humor brings smiles, which then bring good feelings.  Humor, smiles, and warm fuzzy feelings breed a sense of familiarity.  If someone in any way feels that familiarity towards you, you feel like a friend to them and you have been noticed.

Step 2 – Don’t follow blogs and other websites.  You never know when the author might peek to see who is following.

Step 3 – Don’t use a memorable picture.  We don’t all like the idea of pasting pictures of ourselves online for the whole world to see.  Sometimes we’d prefer a photo…

View original 775 more words

chatperoneThe beginning of your story is the most important part.  This applies no matter what you are writing; an epic trilogy, a novel, a short story, memoire, fiction or nonfiction.

Now that I said it, I will tell you that this is a statement I personally do not agree with.

Some writers, publishers, and agents will argue that if you don’t hook the reader in the first sentence then you failed.  I’ve heard variations of this same idea multiple times.

But what kind of a first sentence does it take to have that instant hook?  And, is it even possible?

Advice will run between keeping it short and simple to using a complex sentence including multiple ways to draw the reader in with those few first words.

Set stage and tone, time and place, conflict, theme, foreshadow, tell a truth, surprise the reader,  shock them, promise a reward, don’t start with a question, relate to the reader, do not start with dialogue, be funny or absurd, raise a question, start with an action, incite an emotional reaction, connect the reader with the main character, it must be vivid, offer a tease, introduce your main character, get them fascinated with the scene, sum up the novel.

This is only a sampling of the advice you might see on how to write the perfect first sentence.  None of it is either wrong or right.  It’s also probably impossible for you to pack all of that into a single sentence without making it incredibly long and unwieldy.

As with everything about writing and every other form of art what is good, or as seems to be demanded of us the perfect reader trap, is subjective to the individual’s taste.  And each individual’s tastes are determined by too many factors to count, including their personal tastes and preferences, culture, experiences, and so much more.

So who is to say what is the perfect opening sentence?

Best First Lines from Published Novels

Consider this list: “100 Best First Lines from Novels” by American Book Review.  How many of these lines made the list simply because of who the author is or because the book became a classic?  How many of these lines would even be considered for this list if they had been published today by a less famous author?

Given the single first sentence and no other reference, which first sentence from this list would you have been hooked on, driven to read on?  Of course, many of these lines are dated and were probably red hot in their day.  But it is also too easy to look back and say that first line must have been perfect because the book was a classic.  For me, more than a few of these invoke a response of “meh”.  So they are certainly someone’s perfect first line, but not mine.

So ask yourself this: if you take the top 100 current worldwide bestsellers and poll a group on a list of only that first sentence with no reference to the author or what book it was taken from, how many would be voted as perfect first lines?  How many would instantly hook the reader, driving him or her helplessly forward to read the rest of the book?

The publishing world is full of books of every type.  Those whose perfect first line went on to set the tone for a fantastic piece of writing, those that fall flat into abysmal blandness after a great opening line, those whose opening line was only the opening to something that draws you in and hooks you as you continue, those that flop on every level, and everything in between.

Let’s face it; it takes much more than an epic first line to make a story a success.  And there are very few readers who would stop at the first line and make a judgment without reading further.

The internet is full of advice on how to write that perfect first sentence that Snaps, pops, and otherwise grabs your reader’s attention and refuses to let go.  Even WikiHow gets in on the action.  But as you research how to make that first line that promises to make your story and career soar to unimaginable heights, you will also quickly learn that this advice is neither absolute nor universal.

Here are just a few articles on writing the first line:






While some people tell you that first line is all important, others will argue that it is not the first sentence that is the most important; that the first sentence is not the do or die of your story and writing and publishing career.

Like this writer, Chuck Sambuchino, who says this of the often pushed list of alleged literary first line masterpieces, “So here’s the deal, or my theory of the deal:  These authors didn’t worry about the opening sentence; they just started telling their stories.  There has to be a beginning.  That beginning might indicate time and place, might introduce a character.  Might reveal a thought.  Present a fact.  Drop in on some event or action in the middle.  Whatever starts the telling makes the first sentence.  Just as whatever concludes the story will make the last.”

So, how do you write that perfect first sentence?

The best advice I can give you is to just jump in and write the first sentence.  Don’t even think of it as the first sentence.  Just sit down, think about where your story starts, and start writing.  But don’t stop there.  Keep going and write the next sentence and the next.  Keep the momentum going.  Do not let yourself get bogged down and lose the feeling of the narrative worrying over whether or not that first sentence snaps.  If you feel the flow, just keep going and worry about perfection later.

Now put it aside.   Let your mind take a break before you go back to it.

Read it and ask yourself, “Would I read this?”  Does the first sentence do justice to the rest of that first paragraph?  Does that first paragraph make you want to read the next?  Do you feel compelled to turn the page when you reach the bottom?  Do you yearn to learn what happens next when that chapter ends?  Do you feel bored or confused anywhere?

Your first sentence sets the stage for the paragraph.  And the first paragraph draws the reader into the chapter.  But it takes so much more than one person’s opinion of whether or not your first sentence is perfect.  It takes more than the opinions of your writer’s group, your mentor, or even your publisher.

Why?  Because the truth of it is that there is no such thing a perfect first sentence.  I would compare it to the search for the ever-elusive perfect man or the perfect woman.  Every individual’s needs and ideas for what makes that ‘perfect’ are different and ever changing.

From first sentences that invoke emotion to those that set place, time, and mood, the first sentence is only the beginning of something much deeper.  What makes it right depends on what your story needs it to be.  What makes it right is not obsessing over whether or not that first sentence is perfect enough, but rather how it works as a foundation for that first paragraph and the story as a whole.

What makes it perfect is making it feel perfectly natural.

Research what others recommend, take advice from different sources, and most importantly, know that every story is different and that means that what works for each story is different.  Every piece of advice is exactly that, it is that individual’s personal opinion, their recommendation and offered guidance.

Now go out there and write the first sentence that is perfect for your story.

How Not to Get Noticed by Other Writers, Agents, Other Publishing Types, and Book Junkies.


where the bodies are

9a87e-grammatically_correct_catIs being grammatically correct really correct?

From the beginning years of grade school, you were admonished to “watch your grammar.”  Through the years growing up, your grammar was corrected, your papers were graded on the use of proper grammar, and you were advised to fix your grammar.

Now you have made that final step and there is no turning back.  You have decided, “I am a writer.”  Great!  Now you can finally use all those perfect grammar skills that have been demanded from you all those years.  Are you ready?  No?  Good.

Is it correct to be grammatically correct?  The short answer is ‘sometimes’.  Should you write that way?  Sometimes.  In fact, there are no doubt some wonderful tombs parked somewhere on dusty shelves written entirely in perfect grammar, although I haven’t actually seen any personally.  Should you write your story in correct grammar?  Probably some, but not all of it.

As a writer, correct grammar is just as important as it was in grade school.  But, it is also important to know when ignore those grammar rules.

right and wrong grammarConsider the rough character.  He has lived on the streets, surviving the best he can.  He has a full history of problems and hardships that have driven him to this point.  Now imagine that character talking and thinking in perfect grammar.

Good writing draws the reader in.  It flows in their mind so that they are absorbed into the world you created, feeling and living it without consciously reading it.

Now here is a writing exercise you can practice anywhere.  Pay attention.  Pay attention and take mental note of the conversations around you and the words going through your own mind; not so much on what is being said, but on how it is being said.

Most people do not think or speak in proper grammar.  They use contractions a lot and at some point break various other perfect grammar rules.  People also often speak in incomplete sentences and using the forms slang speech common to their particular lifestyle, background, and community.  Speech and thoughts expressed in perfect grammar sounds formal.  It could be a good tool as well when you want that formal feeling in your story.  But it won’t likely draw the reader into the story in the long run.

You want your story to flow in the same way that most people’s thoughts flow naturally.  You want your characters and the situations you put them in to feel real.  Use formal proper grammar where needed, but also know that a more casual flow of thoughts and words are essential to make a story flow naturally.

balancing timeWho isn’t balancing time?  Life is full of commitments and responsibilities.  And then there are the things we just want to do.  Family, work, school, friends, Game of Thrones, Vikings, you name it.

Sometimes balancing time for writing and editing can seem almost impossible.

For myself, I juggle full time work, being the “housewife”, a term many detest but nevertheless is the reality for the majority of married women working or not, the kids who take first priority, being on the daycare board and involved in our local crime watch group, and writing and editing.

Life is full of challenges, and time is only one of them.

As a necessity, we all have to prioritize our time.  Work, family, and kids take up the most.  Unless you want your home to be declared a disaster zone, as it sometimes feels like it should be, housework chores likely has to come next.

So after everything else, how do you find time for writing and editing?  Sometimes you have to just take it where and when you can find it. I spend my lunch breaks editing.  My smart phone notes app has become both my best friend and worst enemy.  Particularly after I recently deleted the most important note with all my writing notes, thoughts, and excerpts when the phone decided to highlight the whole note and refused to release its grip of death on it while I was trying to add some thoughts to it. (p.s. like a computer, smart phones also have a “cache”, a secret temporary memory stash that the right third party app can hack and possibly retrieve some or all of that lost data.  Also, listen to your gut feeling and back up regularly!  If your gut says, “I should email myself this note as a back up just in case.” – do it immediately!)

Fifteen minutes, ten, half an hour.  If you are like me, in a small house with nowhere to go to escape the mini me minions who have to do everything under your feet, every minute you can grasp for writing and editing can be precious.

The most important thing in time management is knowing and understanding your priorities.  You cannot push your kids and partner aside so you can write.  They have their own priorities, and you are probably one of them.  Bills have to be paid, laundry done, and life managed.  But you also cannot neglect yourself and your own needs, including your need to write.

name tagAs most writers have already figured out, names are an important tool in writing.

The name alone, on first impression, can make a character seem weak or strong, nasty or gentle, or even wise or foolish.

As an example, in the old television series Grizzly Adams (the younger generation of writers may never have heard of it), two of the main characters are Grizzly Adams and Gentle Ben.  As his name suggests, the woodsman Adams is a grizzled sort, a rough looking mountain man.  Contrary to his name, he was also kind hearted and ran around saving everybody.  His name also plays on his role as a mountain man and keeper of a pet grizzly bear.  His co-star’s name, Ben, itself seems gentle and calm, more so with adding the prefix Gentle to the name.  If you haven’t figured it out from the description of Adams, Ben is a gentle and peaceful grizzly bear.

The same first impression applies to the titles we give our works.

As the writer, you may agonize over the names of every character, searching for the perfect name.  You also may find yourself agonizing over the name of the story too.

The title of the story is the first thing a reader sees, aside from the cover art.  A bad title can be just as damaging to the image of the book as bad cover art.  That first impression is what will decide whether or not that potential reader will pick up that book to read the back cover blurb or skim the pages, or bypass it to pick up the book beside it instead.

Here are three books that are on Amazon.  You have only a title and cover art to decide.  Which one would you pick up?

Lobsters On The Rampage Cover

Listening to Voices book coverWhere The Bodies Are cover .

But what about the name of the author?

In the same way the book title is the first impression a reader gets of your story, your author name is the first impression they get of you.

For some, living in obscurity and safe from the prying eyes of their fans is preferable.  After all, not everyone is cut out for a life of being recognized, especially if he or she is shy.

For others, an assumed pen name is all about finding the perfect name for the author image they want to put out there with their books.

Some writers would not hear of using anything but their real name on their writing, after all it is their hard work and they deserve the credit.  Right?

Some may even see writing under an assumed name to be akin to hiding behind a mask, as if afraid to let their true identity be known.

Of course, secret identities are not always a bad thing.  Super heroes do it all the time.

Sometimes it is in an author’s best interest to don that mask of invisibility and watch the world through a pseudonym.

The reasons for using your real name vs. a pen name are as numerous and there are authors.

Good vs. Bad Names

Authors and actors alike work under assumed names for many reason.  For some it is because they do not think their real names will cut it.  Maybe they’ve been made fun of as kids and are embarrassed by their real names.  Or they are just looking for a name that pops.  One that stands out as memorable so it will help them get ahead in a business that is almost impossible to break into.

The many rejections of Stephen King

Even Stephen King wrote under a pen name for a while.  Like many other writers, Stephen King also faced his share of rejections before becoming a household name.  I’ve read repeatedly over the years that he turned to the pen name Richard Bachman after being unable to sell a single novel under the name Stephen King.  Mostly that was around the rumour mill.

However, this article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Bachman refutes that claim, which puts the former in the category of hearsay and gossip.  According to this article and others like it, writing under the pen name was more about getting more books published than the publishers would allow by one author for fear of saturating the market with a single author.  And, perhaps as the article suggests, it was in part an experiment.  After being outed as Richard Bachman and Stephen King being the same person, he went on to write exclusively as Stephen King.

Oh For the Love of Privacy

Of course, another reason for using a false name is to protect the privacy of the writer.  Some writers may be concerned that if they ever make it big their private lives will be put out there for the entire world to see.  Of course with technology and information sharing the way it is today, this will probably happen regardless of attempts to hide behind an assumed name.

However, there are some steps that can be taken to make it harder to find out who you are.  Such as is outlined here:  U.S. copyright office – pseudonyms

Genre Confusion

It may be advisable for any writer publishing in more than one genre to use pen names.

Readers like consistency and reliability.  When they pick up a book by a certain author, they expect that author to follow through on the promise implied by the quality and nature of their other books the reader has read.

It wouldn’t do for Suzy Homemaker to buy Sally Schoolgirl that new chapter book by her favourite author only to discover through the child’s look of horror and disgust that the book is actually an erotica novel.

And a horror novel lover probably won’t be buying your books ever again if that next one turns out to be a sappy 18th century romance.  The same goes for that romance fan who starts reading to discover to her disgust that the twists and turns are about what brutal way the heroine will be murdered instead of whether or not he will kiss her.

So, for the sake both of not alienating your readers, and for your own reputation, it is probably wise to use a different pen name for each genre you publish in.

Of course this does not apply to sub-genres.  Using a different pen name for your thriller mystery with a touch of romance than the one used for your thriller suspense would possibly push all your many pen name aliases into obscurity.

Picking a Pen Name

Picking a pen name can be as hard as picking that perfect baby name, the character name that gives the right impression, or the story title that sells.

Why do you think actors often choose the stage names they use?  Do you think Vin Diesel would have the career he does with his real name Mark Sinclair Vincent?  Not as catchy, huh?  Definitely not when his target audience tends to be teen boys and like-minded men who want to see boobs, guns, and car chases.  And considering the types of role he plays, the stage name gives the characters the right feel.

Your pen name is perhaps just as important as your character names. After all, the character is a fictitious person in a story and may never even be carried over into another story.  But your pen name is the fictitious YOU.  This is your alter ego, your alias.  This is you and the identity you will be known as for all of those stories.  Of course, pen names can be changed and stories can be reprinted under the new name, but if the book became popular under the assumed name, it may be best to keep it as is, especially if you’ve never succeeded in making a name for yourself as yourself.

The same resources that can help you find the right names for your characters can help you find the right name for your pen name.  Sources like online baby name finders and baby name books (helpful if you want something with certain origins or meaning).

Pen Names and Copyrights

While under both Canadian and U.S. intellectual property copyright law your writing is automatically copyright protected through the act of creating it, it’s still basically a big game of he said – she said when a copyright dispute goes to court.  Without any proof it boils down to who comes off as seeming more believable to the judge.

In Canada and the U.S. you cannot copyright a pen name any more than you can a book title.  But using a well-known name of another author might leave others thinking you are only trying to ride their coattails of fame.

It may be interesting to note that according to this U.S. copyright office – pseudonyms, in the U.S. at least, your work is actually copyrighted longer if you file under a pen name and do not let your real name be known than if you do list your real name.  Of course that will only matter to whoever gets your estate after you pass on, since it counts in years after your death.


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