We Are Not Alone . . . Are You?

Dear Girls With Pens subscribers,

Lisa and I are incredibly excited about a new opportunity for writers and other creatives that launched this past Monday, and we just had to share it with you.

WANA International is bringing together 40 instructors (including Lisa and I) to teach online classes in craft, technology, social media, lifestyle, and businesses.

WANATribe is a new social media platform exclusively for creatives where we can mix and mingle with people who really “get” us. It’s spam and automation free.

To learn more about both, read Kristen Lamb’s launch post.

You can also check out what WANA means, what it means to us, and why we’re excited about being a part of this new project in our posts about the launch.

Lisa wrote WANA Party!

Marcy wrote Is Now Really the Best Time Ever for Writers?

For those of you who’ve subscribed in the past month, we also wanted to remind you that we now blog on our own sites. Same great content, different location.

To catch you up, here’s what you’ve missed in the past month.

From Marcy’s blog…

Should You Move from WordPress.com to WordPress.org?

Eight Reasons Paper Books Will Become An Endangered Species

How to Use Taste to Make Your Readers Hungry for More

Four Little-Known Factors that Could Destroy Your Blog’s Chances of Success

Click here to subscribe to Marcy Kennedy’s Blog

Lisa is no longer blogging about writing on her website. Instead she’s launched a newsletter for writers. Click here to subscribe to The Candid Writer. In her first two issues, she wrote about self-publishing and interviewing.


Farewell from Girls With Pens

This week marks a change that’s both exciting and sad for us. This is the final week of Girls With Pens. We’ve decided to follow the advice of our blogging mentor Kristen Lamb and focus our efforts on the blogs on our websites rather than putting our writing posts here and our other posts there. Trying to divide our time and spreading our online presence out in this way has become more than we can manage.

For those of you who might be worried, this decision has nothing to do with our novel or our friendship (both of which are still going strong). This is a practical choice for us based on needing to make sure that we have time to write, help others, build our platforms, and still live lives away from the computer.

We have some very exciting changes coming up over the next few months, including beginning to teach online writing and social media classes. We can’t give you more details on that right now, but we will have announcements on exactly what classes we’ll be teaching, when, and how you can sign up in the Girls With Pens newsletter and on our blogs.

We’ve loved getting to know you and have appreciated you reading our posts. We hope that you’ll use the links below to subscribe to both our blogs and the Girls With Pens monthly newsletter.

Sign up for our NEW free Girls With Pens newsletter! – The Girls With Pens monthly ezine will bring you interviews with industry professionals as well as other juicy tidbits.    

Subscribe to Marcy Kennedy’s Blog by Email – Starting in April, Marcy will be posting her writing and social media posts on Wednesdays. She’ll also write about how science fiction, fantasy, and life collide on Mondays, and share author interviews, movie trailers, mash-ups, and other fun on Fridays. If you want to subscribe to Marcy’s blog by e-reader rather than email, just pop on over to her website.

Connect with Marcy on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+. Twitter is her daily hangout, but if you want active conversations about publishing trends, join her on Google+. Her Facebook page will share writing links like the GWP Facebook page did, but she also shares nerd-related fun and inspirational quotes.

Subscribe to Lisa Hall-Wilson’s Blog – Lisa will be blogging about history, humor, and things that challenge and inspire on Mondays, and Thursday will cover writing, publishing and platform topics.

Connect with Lisa on Twitter and Google+, but she hangs out on Facebook. Like her page for writing links and the same great content you’ve enjoyed from her on the Girls With Pens page, or subscribe to her profile for a more personal connection.

The Girls With Pens Facebook Page will be shut down April 1st as well.

Do Writers Deserve to Be Paid for Their Work?

Two great discussions of interest to writers flew around the internet this week. So great in fact that I couldn’t choose between them to highlight for you.

Do writer’s deserve to be paid for their work?

This debate blew up after Seth Godin was quoted as saying, “Who said you have a right to cash money from writing? Poets don’t get paid (often), but there’s no poetry shortage.”

You can read the original argument-inspiring article Godin to Authors: You Have No Right to Make Money Any More, and also literary agent Rachelle Gardner’s respond on her blog with do Authors Have A Right to Be Paid?

Should writers avoid controversy on their blogs?

Kristen Lamb wrote an excellent post called Deadly Doses – Politics, Religion, and Our Author Platform suggesting that unless you’re a religious or political writer, you should avoid talking about religion and politics on your blog (or at least be very careful about how you do it).

This ended up sparking responses both in the comments and on other blogs about not just politics and religion in blogging but controversy in general. My favorite reply came from Amber West in her post The Controversy Over Controversy.


Marcy’s Posts This Week

What Do We Mean By “Strong Female Characters?” – Do female characters need to deny all traditionally feminine qualities to be considered strong? The first in a series Marcy is starting.

Yoda Was Wrong – At the risk of a nerd lynching, Marcy argues that Yoda was actually wrong when he said “there is no try.”

Lisa’s Posts This Week

Mare-Milkers and War Lords – The Scythians aren’t a well-known people group, but their innovations revolutionized ancient warfare. In their day, they were the boogey-men of the Greek world. These guys were downright scary.

Reminder: As of the end of this month, Lisa and I will no longer be blogging here at Girls With Pens. Instead we’ll still be writing the posts on writing and social media that you’ve come to expect on our own blogs, and we’ll be creating a monthly Girls With Pens newsletter to bring you amazing interviews with industry professionals.

Sign up for our NEW free Girls With Pens newsletter!

Subscribe to Marcy Kennedy’s Blog by Email

Subscribe to Lisa Hall-Wilson’s Blog

Kodak Shakes the Publishing World

Check out Marcy’s newest post: 3 Lessons on Reaching Your Goals from The Vow – My attempt to avoid Jar-Jar Binks in 3-D turned into watching The Vow, where a woman loses her memory and her husband tries to make her fall in love with him again. The movie was mediocre, but I ended up learning three great lessons about goals and dreams.

Check out Lisa’s newest post: Ever dreamed of going somewhere – your dream destination. You’ve spent so much time looking at photos, planning trips you can’t take, and dreaming you’re afraid if you actually do get to go you won’t want to come home?

Lisa is also being interviewed here today on writing. Pop over and check it out!

Kodak Is Now the Biggest News in Publishing

Last month, Kodak filed for bankruptcy and caused many to start thinking about whether the publishing industry is going to continue to head down the same path. If you haven’t read these posts on what the publishing world can do to avoid the same fate, take the time today. It’s well worth it.

Rachelle Gardner has a three part series asking “Do You Know What Business You’re In?” “Do You Know Your Customer?” and “Are We Ready for Change?

Kristen Lamb talks about Bracing for Impact – The Future of Big Publishing In the New Paradigm.

What do you think about the path publishing is on? What one change do you think would make the most difference?


Subscribe to Marcy’s blog Life At Warp 10 and Lisa’s blog Through the Fire.

Connect with Marcy on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or follow her brand new boards on Pintrest. Connect with Lisa on Twitter, subscribe to her on Facebook, or follow her Pin Boards on Pinterest

Tips for Writers Thinking of Self-Publishing – Guest Post

We’ve decided to go the traditional route with our novel and are currently querying agents (as you may have guessed from our trip to the Writer’s Digest conference in New York a few weeks ago), but we know that many of you are considering the self-published or indie publishing route. So when self-published author Darlene Jones asked if she could do a guest post for us here at Girls With Pens, we knew exactly what we would ask. Could she give some practical starter tips on things that writers considering self-publishing need to consider? Take it away Darlene . . .


Darlene Jones self-publishingI did all the things writers are supposed to do: joined a writers’ guild, attended workshops, participated in a critique group, had a few short pieces published, started a blog, sent out queries to agents, received rejections, and built up a thick skin.

At the Willamette Writers’ Conference (August 2011), my writing partner and I heard much rumbling about self-publishing. We agonized during the drive home. Self-publish? Oh, but the stigma. Our pitches were successful, so should we wait to hear from those agents and then decide? What to do? What to do?

I got a two paragraph response from agent number one—to say “No.” I opened the next email, which was from my writing buddy. She’d received a rejection from the same agent. Two different genres and two very different writing styles. Both professionally copy edited. The rejections were identical except for our names.

That was it. Self-publishing here I come.

Tips from my experience:

Make the decision to self-publish.

This is the biggest step, and you must be committed to going that route. Self-publishing is as hard or harder than going the traditional route.

Set yourself up publicly.

I already had a blog and was on Facebook. I joined Twitter and Goodreads since they were the social media sites most often mentioned in my research as good for author support. I also built a website using Webstarts, who I’d worked with before. Be sure to choose a user-friendly platform if you want to be able to revise it as you go without a web guy.


I spent over a month trolling the Internet, reading everything I could find on self-publishing. John Locke’s “How To” was a must and reading that really inspired me to “go for it.” Many of the sites I visited were ones recommended on Twitter, so follow other self-published authors there.

Make lists.

Make a list of websites to go back to when your book launches—sites where you can ask for reviews or interviews. I’m still adding to that list as I find sites. I also have a long list of marketing ideas and a long list of personal contacts to announce my launch to.

Hire professionals to help you.

I already mentioned I’d had my work professionally copy edited, but there are other professionals you’ll need to hire.

Unless you are a total computer whiz, I think the headache of formatting isn’t worth it. Concentrate your energy on writing and marketing.

You must also have your cover done professionally. Look at the covers of other self-published authors to find a good graphic designer. I was reading an author site and liked his covers. I contacted the artist he listed, and we emailed back and forth discussing possibilities. The deal was cemented for me when she refused a deposit, saying, “You’ve worked hard on your book. You should see my work and decide if you like it before we talk money.” I also wanted to work with her because she could do the formatting as well as the cover

Decide where you’ll publish your book.

By now, with all your research, you should have some idea of who you want to publish with. I went with Createspace for the print version, and with Amazon Kindle and Smashwords for all other formats. I chose these largely based on advice from speakers at the Willamette conference. All three have been very good to work with. The instructions on their sites are easy to follow, and their support people were prompt in answering any questions I did have.

Be patient. This all takes time.

I launched my book a couple months ago. I’ve had wonderful support from family and friends. I’m doing guest blogs like this one, and I have people lined up for reviews. I believe my book deserves readers and hope that I can market well enough to attract those readers. But I don’t expect overnight success. Gaining readers takes time.

Self-publishing tipsWant to know more about Darlene? You can find her on her website, on Facebook, and on Twitter, and you can check out her book at Amazon or Smashwords.

How many of you are considering self-publishing and how many of you want to traditionally publish? What’s your number one reason for your choice?

Fire At Warp 10 (February 2)

Every Monday we blog about writing, and Thursdays we post a collection of our favorite writing posts from the last week. Have a link to share – leave it in the comments. For great writing linkage every day (stuff we don’t share here), ‘Like’ the GWP Facebook page.

Marcy Kennedy blogs at Life At Warp 10

What Star Trek Race Are You? – Just for fun, a quick personality quiz to find out whether you’d be a Klingon, Vulcan, or one of the other famous races of the Star Trek world.

Lisa Hall-Wilson blogs Through the Fire

The Lady of the Lake is a figure surrounded by much mystery and mystique. Her role in the Arthurian legends varies from one storyteller to another, but I think the Lady of the Lake was an Amazon – at least at heart.

Writing Links

Have you joined Pinterest? Author Tricia Goyer is all over this new and super popular site. Check out how she uses Pinterest to promote her writing. (If you’re not on Pinterest and want an invite, shoot us an email – we’ll set you up. marcyandlisa@gmail.com)

20 Most Beautiful Bookstores In The World – no drooling please.

Do Blog Tours Sell Books? from Roni Loren.

Writers are artists who deserve to be paid. How to make money giving away FREE! books by Kristen Lamb

20 Common Grammar Mistakes – how do you fare?

Agents Tweets That Made Us Laugh

@literaticat “Just got a client email: “There is some kind of goblin dog, or fox zombie, on our property!” File under: Things an agent can’t help with.”

Fire At Warp 10 (January 26)

Every Monday we blog about writing, and Thursdays we post a collection of our favorite writing posts from the last week. For great writing linkage every day (stuff we don’t share here), ‘Like’ the GWP Facebook page.

Marcy Kennedy blogs at Life At Warp 10

Five Reasons I Wish I Were A Jedi – While Marcy was recovering from New York, her husband guest posted on his ultimate fantasy career.

Are You Brave Enough to Punch A Shark? – Marcy and her husband were crazy brave enough to swim with sharks on their honeymoon. But should we deal with the sharks in life the same way we deal with sharks in the water?

Writing Links

What’s the Problem With FREE ebooks? by Kristen Lamb – Before you decide to give your ebook away to try to entice new readers, you need to consider the questions Kristen raises.

How to Look Good on Your Webcam by agent Rachelle Gardner – Whether you’re doing meetings from home, recording vlogs for your blog, or hope to talk to book clubs once your books comes out, Rachelle Gardner gives some tips for making the best possible impression.

Is Your Writing Client A Pain? 5 Tactics to Stop the Agony by Carol Tice – Please, if you’re trying to make your living as a freelance writer, read this article. It could help you avoid some very big headaches.

Reflections on the Value of Bestseller Lists Vs. the Long Tail by Bob Mayer – He makes some interesting points about the ways we judge the success of a book and the cold hard cash facts.

New Agent Alert from Chuck Sambuchino

Girls With Pens in the Big Apple

Marcy and Lisa are heading to New York City for the annual Writer’s Digest Conference this weekend. We’re off on another whirlwind adventure – and you’re welcome to tag along. As we have access to a wifi hotspot, we’ll post photos and video blog about our weekend in the Big Apple.

We’ll give you the inside scoop into one of the largest writers conferences in North America – but here’s the catch. You won’t find those updates here. We’ll be microblogging on Facebook so make sure you head on over to the GWP Facebook page for all updates.

If you’re on Twitter, Porter Anderson will be tweeting behind the scenes all weekend (so we’ve heard) and you can follow the action with the hashtag #wdc12

Lisa’s on deck on Monday here at GWP with a summary post.

Happy Writing!

Fire At Warp 10 (January 19)

Every Monday we blog about writing, and Thursdays we post a collection of our favorite writing posts from the last week. For great writing linkage every day (stuff we don’t share here), ‘Like’ the GWP Facebook page.

Marcy Kennedy blogs at Life At Warp 10

My Life As A Three-Headed Chimera – Sometimes we try so hard to fit in that we forget who we really are.

Lisa Hall-Wilson blogs Through the Fire

A Pitfall of Creativity – I’m not clumsy – I’m just creative. Another humorous post

Everyone could use a sidekick – Who are your favorites?

Writing Links

Eliminating Echoes in Our Writing from Elizabeth S Craig

Author Highlighting Is A Google Must for Blogger by Duct Tape Marketing

Tie-ins, Swag, and Merchandising Ops for the Streetwise Writer on Writer Unboxed

Fire At Warp 10 (January 12)

How many resolutions have you broken already? Shake it off – tomorrow is a new day 🙂

Every Monday we blog about writing, and Thursdays we post a collection of our favorite writing posts from the last week. For great writing linkage every day (stuff we don’t share here), ‘Like’ the GWP Facebook page.

This week, we’d like to feature a group of really fabulous bloggers we met while taking a social media class. A group of about 100 people from across the continent gathered on Twitter to encourage and support one another while we worked on our social media presence and blogging skills. As a result of this class, Marcy and Lisa both launched their own blogs – but here are some of the other blogs launched from that class. Take a look – what are they doing right/wrong, what makes you want to click on their site, what keeps you there – what can you take away and apply to your own blogging? Part of the class was to begin using a logline – a short pithy description of the topics you blog about.

Marcy Kennedy blogs at Life At Warp 10

Star Wars: The Old Republic – I welcome a special guest poster to explain why she thinks this newly released game is perfect for Star Wars fans and non-Star Wars fans alike.

My Dark Secret – I have a dark secret, one certain members of my family feel should never be admitted to. It’s just too embarrassing. Too pathetic. Too geeky. It marks me as a social misfit.

Lisa Hall-Wilson blogs Through the Fire (back up and running!)

Living With Regret – Carpe Diem is a dangerous slogan to hand a 17yr old, I have to say. But since I first heard it, I have tried to live so I have no regrets, but some decisions you only come to regret years later.


Diane Capri is Licensed to Thrill

Fabio Bueno blogs Diamonds and Rust

Myndi Shafer – Blogging Barefoot

Rachel Funk Heller…is too smart for her own good

Alicia McKenna Johnson – Arm Chair Adventures

August McLaughlin – Savor the Storm

Debra Kristi – Sparks In The Fire

Samantha Warren – Stealing Starships

Lena Corazon – Flights of Fancy

Jennifer L. Oliver – World Beneath the Evening Star

Kara P. Flathouse – Eskimo Kisses And Air Hugs

Prudence MacLeod – Valkyrie Rising

Julie Hedlund – Write Up My Life

Emma Burcart – Occasional Epiphanies

Tim L. O’Brien – Static In The Airwaves

Janelle Madigan – Tangled Up In Words

Tameri Etheron – A Cup Of Tea and Sorcery

Ginger Calem – I am blogger…hear me tweet

Gene Lempp – Unearthing The Future

Karen McFarland – Expressions Of The Heart

Jessica O’Neal – Sexy Little Nerd

Lynette Burrows – Of Martians and Marshmallows

Shannon Esposito – Mysteries, Magick and Murder

SJ Driscoll – Come Sit By My Fire

Coleen Patrick – Read. Smile. Repeat.

Louise Behiel – Journey of a Thousand Miles

Sheila Seabrook

Susie Lindau’s Wild Ride