Helen Wilkie puts out emails called Word Trippers. I've mentioned this before. She sends twice-weekly tidbits on correct writing or speaking uses of words. Today she addressed a favorite of mine. I eliminate the word "that" whenever possible. Most times it is not needed. Example: He told his employer that he would be absent. We commonly use similar sentences when speaking. However, if we wrote like we speak, no one would read. Boring! Now read the sentence without "that." Does it mean the same? Whether you are writing, critiquing or speaking, think about leaving out the word "that." It cuts down on your word count!
I mentioned at my writer's group I'm working on a marketing plan. (Notice I left out the word "that!") One writer suggested I take advantage of a free mentoring program at the Small Business Development Center. You must go to the one in your location. In other words, I can't use the one in Loveland, Colorado but must go to the Fort Collins center. On their website, http://www.sbdc-larimer.com/, they have a form to fill out first under counseling. Then they set you up with a mentor. They also offer classes to help with marketing plans and, of course, try to get you to take one.
When I mentioned this to my son last night he related an author's experience. Seems a reporter approached a bestselling author and asked how she could get started. He asked if she'd taken any marketing classes. She snipped her negative answer. He said, "Well, you notice this is a bestselling book, not a bestselling writer." Any author needs to know how to market in today's publishing world. I'm on my way to learning.
Which brings up another problem. As a first time author, I, in good conscience, can't charge for classroom presentations or other speaking engagements. I thought I'd do a year of free first. I checked several local authors' websites for their pricing. In emailing a few, I learned they started by giving freebies first also. Then as they received recommendations and built their reputation, they charged. The key is reputation. Debbie Dadey related how one author didn't really want to give many presentations so he raised his prices. He received more requests. Upon asking the schools why, they told him he must be better than people who charge less.
Charging is a two-edged sword. If you don't charge, they think you aren't any good. If you do charge, the schools can't afford you. However, I discovered schools do have money for presentations; you just have to have the right connection. Another author suggested to the schools how they partly cover the author cost through book sales. Schools get the books at a 40% reduction. If they sell books, they reap the profit.
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