Skip to Content?

Latest From The Blog

Welcome to the blog of author and speechwriter/ coach, Joan Detz.
View the latest blog posts below or choose from the categories in the right menu.
Subscribe to RSS Feed

Are you an editorial freelancer – or do you want to be one?

Editorial Freelancers to Rally at Salon on Sept. 7 at Content Marketing World

Freelance writers, editors, and editorial professionals now have an official presence at the largest and most important event for the content marketing industry: the Content Marketing Institute’s Content Marketing World, to be held Sept. 6 – 8 in Cleveland.

ASJA members Sherry Beck Paprocki, Howard Baldwin, Jennifer Goforth Gregory and Elizabeth Hanes will be a part of the CMWorld panelHunting the Unicorn: Five Ways to Rope In Highly Qualified Freelancers. They will outline winning collaborations with corporate and nonprofit clients and share tactics that content marketers can use to find and keep top-notch freelance talent. ASJA and Content Marketing World offer special rates for freelancers: registration code ASJA895 to pay $895 for the main sessions and code ASJA1370 to pay $1370 for the additional workshops.

ASJA offers writing conference in Atlanta: Sat Nov 5

Saturday, November 5, 2016: Dream Bold Atlanta

Join ASJA for Dream Bold Atlanta, a one-day writing conference at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, GA, where freelance writers will have an opportunity to meet one-on-one with editors, content providers and agents.

Keynoter and international bestselling author Robert Hicks will debut his new book: The Orphan Mother.

A limited amount of rooms are reserved for ASJA event attendees at Courtyard Atlanta Decatur Downtown/Emory at $159/night. The cut-off date to book your room is Thursday, October 13. Click here to reserve your hotel room.

Keynote Speaker: Robert Hicks

Named #2 in the most recent listing of the top 100 Reasons to Love Nashville by Nashville Lifestyles magazine, Robert Hicks was described as Nashville’s “Master of Ceremonies.” Saying “being a New York Times best-selling author should be enough – but not for Robert Hicks, award-winning author of The Widow of the South and A Separate Country. His passion for words is equaled by one for preservation, saving the history-steeped places associated with the Battle of Franklin. Writer, speaker, leader, world-traveler, preservationist – one person really can make a difference.”

His third novel, The Orphan Mother will be released on September 13, 2016 by Grand Central Publishing.

Registration rates: 

Fee Type Member Fee Non-Member Fee
   Individual
  Early: $145.00 $165.00
  Regular: $165.00 $185.00
  Late: $165.00 $185.00
   Student
  Early: $25.00 $25.00
  Regular: $25.00 $25.00
  Late: $25.00 $25.00

Location

Sponsors

   

REGISTER NOW


May 5 & 6, 2017: ASJA’s 46th Annual Writers Conference

Join us for our annual conference at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City.

GUEST POST: A literary agent reflects “On Authors and Book Talks”

On Authors and Book Talks

By Debbie Carter of Waverly Place Literary Agency

Living in the hub of America’s book publishing capital, I see new books churned through New York’s publicity machine of readings and TV talk shows.  Every new book competes for a slot in bookstores, libraries, bars and colleges. It’s great having the selection of famous and emerging authors in fiction and nonfiction.

But with so many events happening at once, I have to make the difficult choice of choosing one book over another. You would think my appetite would be sated, but really, most of the time I’m disappointed. Or bored.

Same old, same old. The author reads an excerpt, making mistakes as if they’ve never read it before. They talk too fast, or choke, or apologize for not being better prepared because of a crisis at home that day.

Then they take questions, which are uninspired, because the author has set the standard.   Even a generous offering of wine and hors d’oeuvres, which are nice, won’t persuade me to buy a book. If the author is a drone, I won’t feel obligated.

Why are authors casual in the presentation of their books? Do they prepare? Are they nervous? The point of author appearances is to entice readers to buy the book.

The acting teacher Stella Adler said that if actors insist on becoming casual, they will become uncaring. Acting students in Russia stand up when a teacher enters a room. They preserve a formality about themselves, dictated by tradition. When introduced to you, they bow over your hand. “When the visitor is singled out and made to feel special, the special nature of the theater is once again affirmed.”

In The Art of Acting she offers other advice on how to prepare for a role.  Actors, too, must cope with stage fright. Adler says actors prepare by building a relationship with the set; they imagine preparing the stage as a garden or they become familiar with the objects as though the set was their own bedroom. Props, too, are part of an actor’s character. Like hats.

The person who wears a high hat has to know how it lives. The high hat lives in a box, and that box gives you its nature and its value. Do you know how to brush this hat or put it down? Do you know you have to use both hands to put it on? It’s made to be worn straight. The person who wears it has a controlled speech, a controlled walk, a controlled mind. You must not bring your own out-of-control culture into the wearing the hat. In the society of that hat, the human being as well as the clothes were under strict control.

The Art of Actiing, p. 79

What if authors imagined themselves in hats?

 ______________________________

Stella Adler. Compiled and Edited by Howard Kissel. The Art of Acting. New York: Applause Theatre & Cinema Books. 2000.

 

From American Society of Journalists & Authors, Wed July 20: Learn about Hybrid Publishing

July ShopTalk

 Hybrid Publishing: Your Book, Your Way

 

The great news for authors is that they no longer have to choose between the restrictive arrangements of traditional publishing and the Wild West of self-publishing. Tanya Hall, publishing expert and Greenleaf Book Group CEO, will introduce you to the happy middle ground of hybrid publishing where authors can compete with the major publishing houses without sacrificing their control, ownership, or profits.

That’s what we’ll talk about in this month’s “Shop Talk” event.

Date:

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Time:

1-2 pm. Eastern (calculate for your time zone)

Register now

About our guest expert

Tanya Hall is CEO of Greenleaf Book Group, a hybrid publisher that specializes in creating best-selling books and compelling brands for independent authors, and a sponsor of the ASJA2016 Writers Conference. Tanya has worked directly with authors to develop publishing strategies (leading to multiple New York Times best-sellers); spearheaded Greenleaf’s ebook and digital-first programs; and built Greenleaf’s distribution organization, working with retailers and wholesalers to develop one of the fastest-growing distribution businesses in the industry.

What do reporters say they would like from government Public Affairs offices?

When I attended the annual NAGC Communications School (National Association of Government Communicators), I heard reporters’ perspectives on dealing with Public Affairs offices.

The reporters’ biggest frustration? “It’s so hard for reporters to find the right number to call in a government agency. Please put those numbers on the website.”

So to all the PIOs reading this: Put clearly marked direct phone numbers on your agency’s website. Make everyone’s work easier. Nobody likes being stuck in a phone maze.

stack of books

How to write perfect press releases … how to choose the right typeface … how to handle intellectual property: Book reviews for anyone who writes

My 7/5 blog talked about Technical Communication: the Journal of the Society for Technical Communication.

Technical Communication runs an excellent book review department. In the hard-copy issue I’m looking at (ISSN 0049-3155), the book review section runs from pages 57-79. That’s amazingly large.

Books reviewed include:

  • Conquering the Content: A Blueprint for Online Course Design and Development
  • How to Write Perfect Press Releases
  • The Evolution of Type: A Graphic Guide to 100 Landmark Typefaces
  • Technical Writing Process
  • Managing Chaos: Digital Governance by Design
  • Ethical Issues in Science Communication

I cite this journal to benefit two distinct groups:

  1. Professionals who need to write about technical topics [You can count on the quality of these detailed reviews.]
  2. Authors who want to get attention for their books [Authors: You won’t see many book review departments this good or this big. If you write a book related to communication, consider submitting a copy for review.]

Pick one adjective. Just one, please.

To prepare for teaching a corporate writing workshop, I read a wide range of speeches, press releases, summaries, PowerPoints, and speaker notes. One issue kept popping up: the word “and” appeared too many times.

Consider this sentence:

1. A key challenge each year? Keeping employees engaged and interested. [Pick “engaged” or “interested”. You don’t need to use both.]

Look at this one:

2. The forum prompted them to explore the topics and discussions in greater depth. [Pick “topics” or “discussions”. Audiences don’t want to hear both.]

Here’s a whopper:

3. We kept our customers engaged and involved by posting noteworthy information and updates. [You know what to do: cut.]

This is the most practical editing tip I know:

If you’re tight for time, just cut the unnecessary “ands” in your document. It’s the fastest/best way to boost your writing. You’ll get a great return on your editing investment.

I promise.

Joan-Detz_OPT2

Resource: Where can you learn about technical communication?

If you write about technical communication issues, tap into the resources of the Society for Technical Communication. STC’s journal, TECHNICAL COMMUNICATION, is a peer-reviewed quarterly journal aimed at both tech comm practitioners and academics.

The journal’s multidisciplinary perspective brings value to nonfiction writers in a wide range of fields.

I first learned about the Society for Technical Communication when I attended NAGC’s communications school last month. [NAGC is the National Association of Government Communicators, and I highly recommend their annual comm school to anyone who writes for government … writes about government … or needs access to government information.] STC exhibited at #NAGC2016.

http://www.STC.org

Writers & authors: Tap into the expertise of government communicators to get the information you need

A guest blog from Donna Harris, a government communicator who serves on the board of NAGC (National Association of Government Communicators) …

Argh…Government! That’s what you hear these days.  Either there is too much or too little government action. But wait, I work for the federal government—well to be honest—for an independent government agency and I have a secret.  The federal government is a wealth of knowledge.  How do I know?  I’m a government communicator and I can’t wait to tell you what I know—well mostly.

When I started this job, I really didn’t know much about the communication field or the resources available to be successful in addressing the onslaught of media concerns. Where to start? Where to look?  Okay like any other person, I Googled my way through press conferences, quotes, and other exciting ways to communicate.  But not until I learned of the government network, did I really start to percolate.  How did I learn this?  I went to the National Association of Government Communicators (NAGC) Communications School; a little known school established to offer networking opportunities and workshops, to address and advance the needs of the government communicator.  What I found during this school is the opportunity to interact with the media in a learning environment, and the ability to build networks and exchange ideas that can be useful when the need arises.  What was even better about the school is the ability to obtain resource information and gain the comfort level to pass along resources to both my communicating peers and the media.

As I type these thoughts, one recent example comes to mind. Last week I received a media inquiry for case information on illegal substances we’ve come across in the course of our investigations. I really didn’t have an answer, so what did I do; I got on the communicating horn and spoke to my folks, who in turn told me to call someone else—okay it’s government.  But mysteriously in my inbox and not from my Agency, I received an email of a press release announcing an arrest on the substance in question.  Well I called the reporter and passed along the information with the appropriate contacts, steering her to the correct Agency.  What did this tell me and the reporter? With the ability to communicate and research information, we could work as a team to obtain the elements needed for a great story.  This was a win-win and helped to shape a new and hopefully lasting partnership.

So the moral to this story is…always be willing to explore and communicate with government employees. While we may not always have the answer, I’m certain through trial and maybe a little error, we will find you the assistance you need.  Because it is really true…most of us are good and very conscientious workers, who strive to do good by everyone and the world.

By Donna Harris…a government communicator.

Do you write about finance?

If so, consider attending the Association for Financial Professionals annual conference: October 23-26 in Orlando FL.

I was invited to speak at their 2014 conference in Washington DC. With about 6000 attendees from all over the world, the networking was terrific. I gave a sold-out session on public speaking to a room of 300 and made great business contacts.

www.AFPConference.org

How to Write  Give a Speech smallforhomepage

Page 1 of 12512345...102030...Last »