Category Archives: authors

Breaking Out of Your Box with Help

A Box You Created

Breaking out of the box is tough for some folks. It means taking chances on making a change. Change is just as scary. You meet it head on with panic or avoidance. A new year doesn’t mean a list of resolutions you can’t commit to; it means you’ve taken a deeper look inside to consider that you may do better by the end of the year.

As a writer, hopefully you’re moving ahead with your book plans. Maybe you’re looking at increasing time on a pet project you just haven’t penciled into the day planner. A guilty conscience can be motivational, too. Maybe a character in your head has taken you hostage and wants more time than you can give him.

In fact, characters knocking on your virtual door and demanding to be heard is a good sign that you need to reorganize your priorities now. It’s not funny when that knocking is your heartbeat. Change is coming. Are you frazzled, frustrated, wishing you could move forward with your writing?

Maybe giving up your complete ownership of your project to someone on the outside is a move you can do… Maybe getting yourself out of your mental abyss is actually stepping out of your box.

Creating 3 Problems

Selecting someone to help you is a scary step because now you have three problems:

One, Pick a stranger to share your book project with is like going to a shrink. They’ll want to know more than you want to divulge.

Two, what kind of price can you pay on a big project that isn’t anywhere near completion? It has no value or pre-sales as yet. How do you set prices?

Three, what if it doesn’t work out and you’ve spent money and time without results on a marketing or author advocate who you know you need but may not be the right one?

No doubt this scenario is real enough.

And there it is. Fear of change that you created. You chose a path with no known outcome. You’ve also drawn in another person to help you and you’re not sure if you should.

Welcome to the other world of investment. Investing in time, money, outlook, loss, exhilaration, future, and leaps of faith.

So here is a short list before you commit:
  • Talk to  our writers who have paid for help
  • Research the people whose name was referred
  • Shop for someone with a track record
  • Don’t chose a person out of your genre
  • Ask ahead for pricing, time slots and projected need
  • Ask for a contract so you’ll keep it moving forward as a business
  • Ask for a termination clause that let’s you stop but retain what you have
  • Make the process as friendly as possible, so even if you mutually don’t work on this project, you might need him/her for later
  • Your commitment to yourself and your accountability to your “partner” are now that cornerstone allowing you to break out of your box.

So when you face a change in your marketing for your new book, for instance, is an undertaking that you wish someone else could do for you?

What does breaking out of the box really mean to you? Can you do it?

A Calculated Risk

Since I’ve never considered myself as mainstream in most everything I do, when I break away from my norm, it’s a bit more “out there” than most people. Breaking out doesn’t mean tossing your life out the window. It means re-evaluating what your plan had been … if you had a plan.

It means taking a calculated risk like taking a class to up your game a bit. Really, when is the last time your took any course in writing a novel or what marketing your “brand” is all about?

If you’ve read along this far, then please consider talking to me to help you take that leap. I’m an author advocate, a ghostwriter, a marketing /proposal writer, a grant writer and more. I’ve written and edited books, magazines, news articles, and websites … and I even write poetry. And won a few awards.

I can apply what I know to help make you grow.

~~  Rusty LaGrange


Writers Hone Their Skills with Character Development at HATM

Just starting out as a fledgling writer? Let’s say you’ve been writing a bit but never sharing your work. How about that you finally have retired and now you have that personal time to set aside and write. Whatever your situation, getting a good grasp of Character Development is a great start to creating a masterful novel.

High Desert branch of California Writers Club

Writers in training and experienced authors loved the craft of writing during the latest session of the High Desert’s “Howl at the Moon” Writers Conference October 6th. This one-day workshop featured dynamo Marilyn Atlas diving into creating characters by dating them. What?

The concept is personal. You must learn your characters traits inside and out to better show them as real people with flaws and warts. What better way than to “date” them and dig deep into their psyche. Your readers will appreciate it.

This sponsored conference was available to the public, and over 35 attendees took the advantage. The High Desert branch of the California Writers Club sponsored the event while bringing highly prized speakers up to the High Desert.

Too scary for me

Rusty LaGrange

Member of HDCWC since 2010


High Desert Authors Promoting Their Best Work — May 26th

Spring Book Fair — One Day Only

Stop by Jess Ranch Church for the annual Spring Book Fair. It’s the best display of local authors from the High Desert branch of the California Writers Club. It’s also one of the best collections of genre variety you’ll see in one place with High desert Authors promoting their best work.

Horror, Children’s, Romance, Memoir, Fantasy, Adventure, Sci-Fi, and non-fiction, we’ve got it all. It’s free to the public and open from 10-4. Check out the details in the flyer…

Book Fair
Variety of Titles and Genres to choose from

I’m Not a Speech Writer!

Devices & Tools That Writers Can Use Like Speech Writers

I came across a snippet of an online class offered by Microsoft Office. In the blog posting, devices that speech writers use are the same tools that authors and poets can use.

You say, “I’m not a speechwriter?”

Yes, you are. You are writing to a people of a discerning ear who can appreciate a good vocabulary, syntax, color, and clarity. Good speeches are written by good writers. Great speeches are created with tools taken from historically famous writers.

In the beginning, John F. Kennedy was not very interesting as a speech giver. He had to work on his presentation, his breathing, his choice of words, and his delivery. But what made a difference for him was learning how tools like “anaphora,” “chiasmus,” and “tricolon” aided his method of writing.

JFK was a list maker.


Lists — As his speechwriter, Ted Sorensen, noted in his memoirs, time and again Kennedy preferred to work in lists. Kennedy believed that using simple lists made points memorable, because they were easily repeated. Sometimes, those lists followed the “rule of three,” or “tricolon,” making sure to use three images, arguments or examples.

Other times, Kennedy made longer lists by using “anaphora”: repeating one word several times to expand a list and continue an over-long sentence well past the rules of grammar.

Kennedy often used the classical literary device, “chiasmus,” to invert the word order in a sentence and make a new meaning. (see samples below)

Consider how Kennedy uses “the rule of three” and chiasmus to begin his inaugural address:

“We observe today not a victory of party but a celebration of freedom, symbolizing an end as well as a beginning, signifying renewal as well as change.”

writing chart
writing tools chart

Experiment with Different Tools

Simple but powerful control mechanisms, when used in clarity for the audience or reader, will help define the voice of your writing. Are you like JFK? No. You are the writer within using the tools of the trade to define your voice.

Rusty LaGrange

Why Using All Marketing Elements Gives You the Bigger Advantage

3 Elements of Savvy Marketing

If you’ve arrived at my Biz Blogger Nation post through another link, then welcome! At this location I have tried to divide the elements of savvy business marketing using WordPress posts, email, and the concepts of blogging and Social Media.

You see, many people lump all this marketing writing stuff into one category — blogging.img_0465

But that’s like saying all dogs are alike.

It’s true that blogging is an extension of the marketing side of what you are selling but the Social Media outlets at your fingertips are not the only methods through which to reach out.

So here’s the dilemma: email lists with active readers are as necessary as an active Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram account with the compounding effect of a well-written and active blog. You need all of these pieces to place your product in the face of your readers.

Three Plans of Attack


If I wish to market a book I’ve just written then I need an informational post sent to my Social Media friends to let them know it’s available. I should talk about it, banter about the characters in it, and tease my friends about the storyline … just a bit. I should avoid selling the book due to restrictions of providers and avoid the sleazy, “used car salesman” pressure methods.

No one wants to be badgered by a friend to buy something they may not want. Awkward! I can place a hyperlink here to let them reach my page quickly. My words will disappear from the viewing screen in a day or so — that’s the nature o Social Media.


Then I should go create a nice friendly email letter with several follow-up emails  — maybe placed in an auto-responder service so my friends and readers will receive my info in their inbox. I know it won’t last forever in their email box, and they may not even read it. But I also know that a friendly letter written with a personal flair will be more readable than a heavy-handed sales letter. Be careful how you approach people.

My email might be saved for later reading, may be deleted, or may be flagged for a later look at the details. This is the life of an email.



Now I need a well-crafted blog post to introduce my book to anyone and everyone who visits my website. This is now the meat-and-potatoes of my selling campaign. I can share how the book was created, I can offer a sale, I can give my book away for a limited time, and I will know that all of my words will be archived on my site.

My professional looking blog post is composed of an urgency that my readers notice. They don’t wish to be left out of the premiere. They need to be curios enough to click on the link that will bring them to my new book “page” — not the blog post.

If my readers, and potential buyers, don’t have the time or money to stop and purchase my book, I know that I can send them a reminder email or an updated entry in Social Media to hopefully encourage them to return to my page. I also know that my page is stable and easy to find. It can be bookmarked and revisited.

It is archived on my website as part of my business element that keeps buyers coming to find my book. If I have a new book to add to my author library, then any visitor will see all of my books. More potential sales.


Hawking on the Corner

Do I want to stand on the corner of Maybe and Almost Streets? Is the weather too hot or cold or wet to let anyone stop and buy? Do I want my trunk full of books that I can’t sell because I didn’t use a blog post, an email, or a social media contact? Should I start advertising in magazines and newspapers as soon as I gain enough sales to warrant that expense? Does traveling to bookstores and book fairs give me the exposure I need? Can I afford to hire someone to help me sell my books?

Marketing is now part of your life. If you “self-publish” you must “self-sell.” It’s the difference in moving your product or using it as a doorstop.


If you want to learn more about marketing your book

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