Month: January 2017

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An imperative bridge

I’m going to talk about abortion. I know, it’s a word weighted with emotion, but I am approaching the subject from a different angle that I know you will benefit from no matter where you stand on the matter. I implore you to hear me out.

Two enormous misconceptions exist on the subject of abortion, and they are the reason for the seemingly unbridgeable divide between pro-life and pro-choice. No one will ever “win” that argument because we’re focused on polar outcomes.

The misconceptions are as follows:

  1. Making abortion illegal stops abortion
  2. Pro-choice means pro-abortion. (No woman wants to have an abortion. Nor does any woman want another woman to go through one)

If we can’t get past these misconceptions, the fight will never cease. That is a sad notion to me because we are so much stronger together.

Current narrative: The chasm between pro-life and pro-choice can never be closed. FALSE. Why? Because we’re smarter than that. We just need to get past the burning desire to prove our side is right and the other side is wrong.

How? We have to face the following hard truth:

FACT: abortion has always happened and will continue to happen, no matter what, forever and ever. Period. Even if it’s illegal, IT WILL CONTINUE TO HAPPEN. You can’t change this fact. I can’t change this fact. No amount of shocking images or protests or bible verses or legislation can change this fact. Women will never stop taking reproductive rights into their own hands. Ever.

Ever.

Ever.

Now, in keeping with that fact, both sides should be able to agree on this one common denominator: abortions are an unavoidable, unfortunate reality. I am deliberately avoiding words like “immoral” and “punishable” that imply criminality because those labels are based on belief systems which are unprovable and unquantifiable. We must stick to facts, not opinions. Facts, not beliefs.

You see, we (and by we, I mean men and women) have been doing it all wrong. We made it about right/wrong; us/them; winner/loser. Seems to be a popular theme as of late and it’s clearly ineffective, so let’s ditch that approach.

Instead, let us all work together with the mutual agreement that abortion is an unavoidable, unfortunate reality that we want to minimize. Notice I didn’t say make obsolete, because that is impossible and unrealistic given the FACT stated above.

Here’s another FACT: Anti-abortion legislation raises abortion rates and raises the frequency of unsafe abortions taking place that can result in injury or death for women. 

The abortion rates LOWER when abortion is LEGAL. Let that sink in. The reason this is true is because with that same legislation comes funding for organizations that provide, yes, abortions, but more importantly: education, resources, and affordable birth control. With the current legislation (abortion is legal, yo, but maybe not for long), abortion rates are at an all time low. Don’t take my word for it, look here.  

Okay, so now we’ve gone from two misconceptions to two FACTS:

  1. Abortion is an unavoidable, unfortunate reality because it has always and will always occur regardless of laws
  2. Abortion rates lower with pro-choice legislation because of access to reproductive education, resources, affordable birth control, and safe procedures

You see where I’m going with this?

If we provide sex/reproductive education, resources, and access to affordable birth control to lessen the occurrence of abortions…then both sides get what they want: Pro-lifers keep numbers low (lower than they’d be if it was made illegal) and pro-choicers keep the right to choose.

Everyone wins.

“Except the fetus!” screams pro-lifers. I hear you. But remember, abortions will never stop. We can’t control that fact, but we can control the legislation that keeps them at a minimum. We ALL want that.

The legality of abortions should NOT be a stance on whether or not it is immoral. That decision is up to each individual. Don’t believe in it? Don’t get one. No one is forcing beliefs on you.

Legal abortion is the knowledge and understanding that it is going to occur no matter what, but if we do everything possible to minimize the occurrence, then at least when abortion is opted for, it’ll be done in a way that doesn’t risk the safety and health of the women in our lives.

I promise you, if we can stop shaming, judging, and blaming each other, stop arguing over beliefs/opinions rather than coming together on facts, and if we can face hard truths about the perpetual reality of abortion… successful, satisfying solutions to this age-old feud will result.

 

*If you agree, show your support by sharing. If you don’t and you got this far, thanks for reading. Comments are closed because extremists be cray and I refuse to give over my space to negativity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beth Teliho

Author Beth Teliho’s Savvy Advice for First Time Novelists

(Originally published on The Right Writer for You, This is an interview conducted by Anne Goetz, where I discuss All Things Writing & Publishing.)

In May, I featured a review of a multi award-winning book titled “Order of Seven” that was blowing the mismatched socks off young-adult, paranormal/fantasy readers. Since then, first-time author Beth Teliho has continued to sell copies and rack up glowing reviews of her captivating book.

I asked Beth if she would consider writing a post for The Right Writer for You about what it takes to write, self-publish and market a successful first novel, and she was kind enough to consent. Today, I have the honor of sharing that marvelous post with you. It’s packed full of need-to-know information for first-time novelists — or for anyone anywhere who is considering becoming a self-published author.

What follows is a post abundant with common sense, priceless links and sound advice — all offered up from Beth’s own first-hand experience and in her distinctive and humorous voice. Trust me, you’re going to want to bookmark this enjoyable foray into self-publishing.

Making Sandcastles: The A – Z Guide to Writing and Publishing a Book 
by

Beth Teliho, award-winning author of Order of Seven

How on earth does someone go about the seemingly insurmountable task of taking a little idea in their head and turning it into a published novel? I’m glad you asked. There are secrets, and I’m going to break them down for you in three short sections. Okay four.

1. MAKE A GIANT SAND PILE

Believe with all your heart that you have a story to tell. You must know it in your marrow. Your story is unique to you, worthy of being told, and beautiful. It doesn’t matter who or how many read it. What matters is that you write it.

Write free. Turn your inner editor off and write what’s in your head. Give yourself permission to suck. It won’t be pretty at first. In fact, it’ll look like hell, but that’s exactly how a first draft is supposed to look. You can’t get a sand castle without a big pile of sand first.

Write everyday. Or nearly everyday. Like anything, writing is a skill that has to be practiced or it’ll atrophy. Done writing for the day? Then read, read, read, read — that’s writer school right there. If you’re a writer who isn’t regularly reading, your wordsmith skills will never evolve. After all, you got into this crazy writer thing because of the love of stories, right?

Right.

2. CARVE AND SCULPT

You stealth ninja warrior – you finished! Your story has a beginning, middle, and end. Now what? Your worst nightmare: Show it to someone. Yep. You have to.

Share it with friends, or colleagues, or relatives. A pair of eyes – several actually – need to be on your work for constructive criticism. Feedback is imperative. Your work cannot evolve without it. Pick people who will gently give valuable advice, thoughts, and suggestions. Have a list of feedback questions you’d like them to answer: Do they like the main character? Is there a part that was confusing? Do they like the ending? Etc.

Revise based on reader feedback, and when you’ve done all you know to do, hand your baby over to a professional editor. Writing your novel is the easy part; editing is where the real grunt work begins. Be prepared to rewrite your entire manuscript … many, many times. Even the most established, successful authors go back and forth with their editors, rewriting again and again. This is part of the process. I don’t care if this is your first book or your hundredth, if you don’t get a professional developmental edit, as well as copy and line edits, you are screwing yourself out of potential success.

Period.

3. TAKE PRELIMINARY STEPS TO FORTIFY YOUR CASTLE

Start building a list of readers who will read an advanced reader copy (ARC) for review, the more the merrier. These people will be the force that moves your launch from flaccid to badass by stacking reviews for your novel when it goes live. They can also point out any last minute errors. It happens.

Begin talking about your upcoming release – a lot. Amp up the curiosity and buzz about your book. Share quotes from the book or anything you can tease. List the release date in the teaser so people know when they can get it — anything to hook readers. Run a pre-order and get people to buy before it’s even live. You can run pre-orders up to a year before publishing!

Work on your blurb. It needs to be an airtight hook with no spoilers. This is the summary that’ll go on the back of your print copy, as well as the description people will read online. Need direction? Search all your favorite books and read their blurbs, or the blurbs of bestsellers. There are also a gazillion posts on the subject – just Google “how to write a book blurb.”

orderofseven

Beth’s engaging cover art

Start working on your book cover. Search other covers in your genre and see what catches your eye. HIRE A PRO. Do not try to do this yourself unless you are experienced with book designing. Share the main “feel” you want your cover to have, but trust the artist to deliver what sells. They know what they’re doing. A crappy, generic cover can kill a good book.

Get on Goodreads as an author, and for Pete’s sake, use their giveaway option to your advantage; it’s free and easy. Set the giveaway to run prior to the release. This really helps promote your book. Run as many as you want! They’re great exposure.

Get to know book bloggers in your genre. You’ll need them for reviews and promotion.

4. ADD A BADASS MOAT AND A DRAWBRIDGE

All your hard work has paid off. You’ve sculpted your castle – yay you! At least 80% of people who start a book never finish it, so pat yourself on the back! Yes, I made that statistic up, but it’s probably true.

So….Now what?

I’m writing this with the assumption that you want to self-publish. Unless you’re a tech-savvy guru, you’ll need help formatting your book for both electronic and print copies. You can use the services offered by your printer (Createspace, for instance) and Amazon OR hire independent professionals to format both. I did the latter and absolutely loved the cohesive and gorgeous finished product they delivered.

Send ARC readers your book at least a month prior to publishing. When they review (which can be done prior to publishing on Goodreads; on Amazon, reviews aren’t allowed until the book goes live), share the review all over social media. Make a Facebook group for all the people who are reading ARCs and everyone involved with your launch in any way. This way you can efficiently post info you want them to share through social media.

When uploading for publication, try to be as specific as possible with your categories and keyword searches to ensure you have the best possible chance of standing out in the crowd. Also, a little secret: You can use entire phrases as a keyword. This is helpful since you can only choose seven, typically. For instance, ghosts and spirits and paranormal is ONE keyword, but if you choose ghosts, spirits, paranormal separately, you’ve used three of your keywords. You can tinker and change these keywords anytime, so don’t stress too much about it. Nothing is permanent.

There are many decisions to make when publishing: exclusive or non-exclusive on Kindle? Buy your own ISBN’s or have them assigned? Create your own imprint, or have your book listed as published by Createspace? Make an audio version or not? Which genre should you market under?

These are just a few, of course, and they are all personal decisions with no right or wrong answer. To help navigate your choices so you can decide what’s best for you and your novel, I suggest research. Lucky for you, some killer sites and resources have already been compiled via Forewordz. This is a gold, I tell you – GOLD – list of resources for every step of your journey. If you do nothing else, bookmark this link:

43 Resources Every Author Should Bookmark

A couple extra faves of mine:

The Book Designer

Katie Cross

Final step?

Publish. Set your baby free into the wild!

Now the real work begins … marketing! You’ll need to use all forms of social media to your advantage. Spread the word. Make sure you attach images of your beautiful cover to brand your book into readers’ minds. Post reviews or any other good news about your book. Don’t be afraid to ask people who read your book to REVIEW it! Reviews are everything.

Reach out to book bloggers in your genre (again, a simple Google search can pinpoint those) and submit your book for review. There are also paid sites that will advertise your book, some of which are linked within the resource link above.

“Real Life” marketing equals doing stuff outside of cyberspace — you know, off the computer. Remember that place?

Yeah?

Okay.

Places you can contact to either sell your book or allow a potential book signing:

coffee shops (Starbucks tend to be cooperative)
book stores
libraries
school librarians and/or English teachers (if your book isn’t appropriate for younger audiences, you could always talk to kids about writing)
Any opportunities that come your way – even if they seem terrifying – don’t be skeert! Just say YES and figure it out along the way. You can do it!
This seems like a lot, I know. But remember, you don’t have to do all of it at once. Take one step at a time, one day at a time, and little by little you’ll get there. We write because we want people to read our work, so just getting it published is a WIN! Good luck!

… what are you still doing here? GO WRITE!

BETH TELIHO is an award-winning author and artist who lives in Texas with her husband, two adventurous sons, and a veritable menagerie of pets. Restless in the mundane, she writes about the abnormal, paranormal, and otherwise fantastical because that’s what quickens her heartbeat. She laughs at inappropriate jokes and prefers spicy food and margaritas to almost anything. One day, she hopes to live in a treehouse, where she can be an eccentric introvert with at least seven cats.

Beth Teliho Links:
Beth’s Blog

Visit Beth on Facebook

Twitterverse: @beth_teliho

Beth Teliho on Goodreads

Beth’s Amazon Author’s Page

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