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Blog by Ron – Should I take a Writing Course?

Should I take a writing course? That is a question you might be asking yourself. And the answer is: You should consider it if you don’t know much about writing.

Our DNA

It is said that we all have a story in us. But while that may be true, it is also true that most of us are not born with a basic knowledge of writing. On the other hand, you may have been born with a desire to write as part of your DNA.

I believe that describes me. I was born into this world with a DNA that led me first to reading books and later a desire to write books. Unfortunately, I wasn’t born with the knowledge of how to write.

Later on when I asked Jesus into my heart and was born again, He gifted me with writing talents. But they were innate. That is, I didn’t sit down right after getting saved and begin writing books. I needed to be taught.

Writing Courses do Exist

There are plenty of writing courses available for you and they come at a variety of prices. Some are good and some not so much.

Have you seen the ads for writing courses that promise you four,-five,- and six-digit incomes from writing? Some of these involve copywriting, which we are not concerned with here.

But there are writing courses available.

School of Hard Knocks

Let’s say you google ‘writing courses’ and discover that they  either promise the world or are quite costly. You throw up your hands and say, “No way! I’ll do it myself!”

Well, you just signed up for the School of Hard Knocks, which I am a proud graduate. But I don’t recommend it.

Besides, why should you re-invent the wheel? Or in this case, why re-invent writing?

That is where writing courses come in. And it is why I write this blog and why I am now offering a writing course designed for your busy time and wallet. But before I talk about our course, I want you to be aware of others that are available.

More on the other side of this break.

T&R Independent Books brings you this blog post to keep you informed on the issues of today. Authors need to stay informed so that they can relate to their readers facts as well as entertain them with their imagination.

It’s Your Business is a Basic Writing Course that explains and guides you into becoming an author. Powered by video along with PDFs and Coaching you learn the basics of writing. Sign up is Coming Soon and Class will start shortly afterward. Watch for the headline ‘Authors Basic Training Open for Registration now’.

To discover how you can be the writer you want to be, write to us at [email protected]. We will respond.

Check us out and get your career moving.

Now back to the article.

Other Writing Courses

There are some excellent courses available. And there are others I would not touch. I am sure you have seen ads on Facebook and other social media where you are promised or perhaps guaranteed that you will write a bestseller within a very short time.

Consider this:

There are thousands of newly published books every week or two. That means that if you sign up for a course today, there are already multi-thousands of books and authors already out there before you get your first lesson!

What to Look For in a Writing Course

A good writing course will teach you the basics of writing. Some of your more expensive ones will teach you advanced writing skills. But what you need are basic skills. So, what are they? These skills are:

  • How to discover your genre (and what a genre is)
  • Character building
  • Scene development
  • Time and location of your story
  • Viewpoint
  • Grammar
  • Basic Editing
  • and more

As you can see there is a lot to know about writing, but don’t let that intimidate you. A good course will teach all of that in easily digested lessons.

School of Hard Knocks

The question is not what course to take if new to writing, but what course you will take. If you decide that you can’t afford to take a writing course or you have a strong do-it-yourself attitude, then you will take the School of Hard Knocks.

But before you decide on that plan of action, let’s take a look at the true cost.

  • Frustration – It is an extremely frustrating school.
  • Time – Failure is your primary teacher and consumes time and energy.
  • Wrong Tools – Wrong tools and wrong lessons learned.
  • No guarantee – No guarantee you will ever graduate.

Authors Basic Training Course

The killer for most people is the cost for these courses. I have seen courses that cost upwards of $1,000, $1,500, or more. I couldn’t afford them which is why I ended up in the School of Hard Knocks.

Earlier I said I would tell you about our writing course. We at T&R Independent Books started the Christian Authors Business Institute which offers the Authors Basic Training Course.

This six-month course covers all the items mentioned above and more. Each lesson comes with a brief video presentation plus a PDF lesson. All to be downloaded at your leisure and studied at your pace. Plus, these lessons come packed with additional tools that you can download and put in your digital library.

Writing Course Description

I am personally excited about this class. Registration for the next class has already begun and I will provide a link. But let me describe the class first.

One of the things I believe strongly is in a close relationship between student and teacher. Although we are not in a physical classroom, our digital classroom includes:

  • a brief video for every lesson
  • scheduled live Zoom meetings (two)
  • up to three student requested private Zoom meetings which will be private.
  • Downloadable PDFs for your digital library

Registration for Writing Course

If you are interested in a writing career and would like a no-nonsense approach that will provide you a level playing field where you will have the opportunity to succeed, then click on the ‘I want to Learn More’ link below.

I Want to Learn More

VISIT MY AUTHOR’S PAGE TODAY: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle.

Don’t forget to comment below. We are always interested in your opinions. And to make sure you get our blogs, simply check the box that says, Notify me of new posts via email.

Company information:

T&R Independent Bookstore is a division of T&R Independent Books founded in 2014 by R. Frederick and Tess Riddle. TR Ministry, aka Ministry Services, is both a charge and an exciting outreach to the Christian Community.

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Blog by Ron – Do I Need Multiple Streams of Income?

Do I need multiple streams of income?

Several years ago I learned about the concept of multiple streams of income and decided to try it out. But before I tell my story, let’s define something.

What Does Multiple Streams of Income mean?

In short, it means that you have more than one source for deriving income. For example, you could work more than one job. That is certainly multiple streams of income. But it is not recommended as it can wear you out.

But, at the very least, it gives you an understanding of the term.

My First Attempt at Multiple Streams of Income

One of the many blogs I followed pointed to Amazon’s affiliate marketing program. What you did was simple enough.

First, you set up a business account with them, get a code, put the code on your website, and wait for the sales to take place. Well, not quite. Actually the process was relatively simple, but you also had to pick authors you liked.

Then you needed to put those authors and their books on your own website. Once that was done, you then added the necessary code.

But lack of people visiting my website eventually caused Amazon to shut down the affiliate. It was a dud.

More on the other side of this break.

T&R Independent Books brings you this blog post to keep you informed on the issues of today. Authors need to stay informed so that they can relate to their readers facts as well as entertain them with their imagination.

It’s Your Business is a Basic Writing Course that explains and guides you into becoming an author. Powered by video along with PDFs and Coaching you learn the basics of writing. Sign up is Coming Soon and Class will start shortly afterward. Watch for the headline ‘Authors Basic Training Open for Registration now’.

To discover how you can be the writer you want to be, write to us at [email protected]. We will respond.

Check us out and get your career moving.

Now back to the article.

A Different Approach to Multiple Streams of Income

Times change, and so do I. I am still interested in multiple streams of income because it makes sense. But how to go about it has changed, at least in my mind.

Instead of affiliate marketing, my approach now is to generate multiple streams of income from multiple products. Nowadays, I and my wife both write books.

That means that there are two streams of income, mine and hers. We have similar interests and styles, but we are also different and offer customers different types of reading experience.

A New Stream

This year we are offering a totally new idea for our business. I have experimented in the past with what I called an academy, but it never came to fruition. But this year we have launched Christian Authors Business Institute which has Christian Authors Basic Training focusing on teaching the basics of writing.

This is a six-month course in the basics of writing. It is a good fit for me since I have been on the other end of writing courses. I actually took a course for a short time but when I got temporarily laid off my job, I had to drop the course. I was never able to get back in, but instead attended the School of Hard Knocks (not recommended).

Now I have 22 years’ experience as a professional writer that I can pass on to others. It is an exciting venture that each month offers the opportunity for new, struggling, or even experienced writers to attend a class that starts the following month.

A Third Multiple Stream of Income

One of the bloggers that I follow mentioned a marketing trend called Low-Content books. It didn’t sound very interesting at first blush. But I investigated and discovered a something that is new and yet very old.

The term Low-Content refers to such things as journals, notebooks, diaries, and the like. One reason I had not heard of it before was because KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) didn’t offer it.

But now they do!

So, if you visit our website, you will discover a new department called, ‘Journals & More’. It is something that is:

  • Needed
  • Easy to produce
  • Practical

I have already placed one product online and have additional ones ready and still others in my mind to be produced. And it fits within our motto, We have Books and more.

VISIT MY AUTHOR’S PAGE TODAY: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle.

Don’t forget to comment below. We are always interested in your opinions. And to make sure you get our blogs, simply check the box that says, Notify me of new posts via email.

Company information:

T&R Independent Bookstore is a division of T&R Independent Books founded in 2014 by R. Frederick and Tess Riddle. TR Ministry, aka Ministry Services, is both a charge and an exciting outreach to the Christian Community.

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Blog by Tess – My Author’s Journey Revealed

My Author’s Journey

For many of you my author’s journey is a mystery. It dawned on me that I am writing to people who may have never heard of me other than through by blogs and perhaps through my books. So, it is time I properly introduce myself.

My Birth and Early Childhood

I was born in Pontiac, Michigan, but grew up in what is known today as Rochester Hills, MI.  My love for reading books began when I was in the fourth grade.

My Education

My education includes two years at Oakland Community College (Auburn Hills, MI), a B.R.E. degree from Midwestern Baptist College (Pontiac, MI), and a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Louisiana Baptist University (Shreveport, LA).

I worked in the secretarial field for several years until 2004.

Then a Major Turn in My Author’s Journey

In 2008 my husband and I moved to Port Charlotte, FL to take care of my mom 24/7. She had Alzheimer’s. We were her caregivers until she died in 2013. That is a story in itself that I may someday share. But it was shortly afterward that a major event took place in my life.

More on the other side of this break.

T&R Independent Books brings you this blog post to keep you informed on the issues of today. Authors need to stay informed so that they can relate to their readers facts as well as entertain them with their imagination.

Authors Basic Training is a basic writing Course that explains and guides you into becoming an author. Powered by video along with PDFs and Coaching you learn the basics of writing. Watch for the headline ‘Authors Basic Training Open for Registration’.

To discover how you can be the writer you want to be, write to us at [email protected]. We will respond with a free copy of our Guide to Writing.

Check us out and get your career moving.

Now back to the article.

The Start of My Author’s Journey

While my birth, childhood, and education all contributed to where I am now, I want to focus on the author’s journey itself.

In 2014 my husband and I founded T&R Independent Books, of which I am the President, and he is the Vice-President. At the time, he was the only one writing books, plus he knew a great deal about websites, editing, and publishing.

But in 2014 he didn’t know a secret I had. This secret was a desire to become an author myself. When I told him, he was surprised but he also immediately supported my desire. Later that same month he had a heart attack which put both our writing careers on temporary hold.

Another Delay to My Author’s Journey

I started writing my first fiction book in 2017 but had to put it on hold when I was told in 2018 that I had cancer.  I received chemo and radiation treatments, which left me weak. Once the cancer was in remission and I gained my strength back, I started working on my book again.

In 2019, my cancer came back.  Again, I survived the chemo and radiation, gained my strength back, and continued writing my book. I was bound and determined that nothing would keep me from getting that first book published.   

My Author’s Journey Gets Started

I finished writing the book (Haney Place Secrets), and published it in 2020. It was my first attempt, and we were both proud of it. But it didn’t catch on due to several factors, including the pandemic. So, I turned my attention toward nonfiction, but I didn’t forget fiction.

Then we had a brilliant idea!

A Change of Title

My husband liked my novel and wasn’t ready to give up on it. He suggested earlier this year (2022) that I take the mystery and turn it into a murder mystery. The idea sparked my imagination and with a few pointers from him the change took place.

I pulled Haney Place Secrets off the market and rewrote it with a new Title “Keys to Murder” which I published in June. I also wrote and published my first devotional book in June (“Chatting with Tess – Walking with God”). It has been a busy year.

I am now an Author!

With two books written I can now make that statement. Plus, I am currently working on Devotional Book number 2, which I hope to publish by the end of August this year. I also have two other books I’m working on.

Influences on My Author’s Journey

From the age of 13 and on, I’ve been involved in various church ministries. They include but are not limited to singing in the choir, special music, bus ministry, Sunday school, janitorial work, working in the kitchen, and being a prayer warrior. And I love reading God’s Word.

I also enjoy music, reading books, cooking, and spending time with my husband. I’ve also traveled to 46 out of the 50 states, plus traveled to Canada many times.

All of this contributes to my author’s journey. Hopefully, you now know a little more about me.

Have a wonderful week.

VISIT MY AUTHOR’S PAGE TODAY: amazon.com/author/Tessriddle.

Don’t forget to comment below. We are always interested in your opinions. And to make sure you get our blogs, simply check the box that says, Notify me of new posts via email.

Company information:

T&R Independent Bookstore is a division of T&R Independent Books founded in 2014 by R. Frederick and Tess Riddle. TR Ministry, aka Ministry Services, is both a charge and an exciting outreach to the Christian Community.

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Blog by Ron – Need a Publisher?

Do you need a Publisher?

Previously, I dealt with the question about needing an agent and I also discussed publishers. Today’s blog dives a little deeper, but may contain similar information.

Concerning Whether You Need a Publisher

How does one seek a publisher? First, you must decide what kind of publisher you need. See my blog on Need an Agent which also covers a Self-Publisher, Traditional Publishing, and the Indie Publisher

This is actually a critical decision. Unfortunately there is a lot of mudslinging going on. Not to mention confusion. In my blogs I have written on the different types of publishing.

But before you make that decision you will want to search the internet and discover who and what these publishers are. Even more important, is to decide the overall direction you want to go.

Which Type of Publisher Do You Want?

In future chapters I examine each type of publisher closer, but here it is important that you know what you need.

Here are just a few things to examine:

  • How long are you willing to wait for your book to be published?
  • Can you afford $800 or more upfront?
  • Are you a new author?

There are other considerations as well. But these three will give you immediate indications as to what you need. For example, traditional publishers often have timelines that result in books being printed as much as two years down the road after signing the contract. On the other hand, self-publishers want you to pay for the privilege which often involves $800 or more.

And if you are a new author there are some publishers who will not consider you simply because you’re new. These are generally found in your larger traditional printing houses.

Then there are the publishers who are like self-publishers but have a minimum order requirement. For instance, I knew of one author who had to buy $5000 worth of copies at a time, which required that he maintain a storage area. Here you have the cost of the books plus storage costs. In his case he stored them at work, but not everyone has that opportunity.

Tip #1: Examine what your needs, perceived and known, are before searching for a publisher.

My First Novel

When I wrote my first novel, I didn’t know about costs, time, or submission requirements. So I began looking for a publisher while in the dark.

Fortunately, I had access to the internet and began learning fast. It didn’t take me long to figure out that traditional publishing was not for me. While they are free and pay royalties, they were too restrictive.

For example, as mentioned in a previous blog, the traditional publishers often required an agent (I didn’t have one) plus prospects for publishing soon were unreasonable (up to two years after signing).

I eventually signed with a self-publishing firm. It cost me about $400 upfront plus the cost of marketing tools which they sold. This was back in 2003, so costs have risen greatly since then.

Among other things this demonstrates that we all have a responsibility to find the right publisher for ourselves. Everybody has an opinion, but you are the one who has to live with your decision.

Read my chapters on the different types. Weigh the facts and decide which one best works for you.

More on the other side of this break.

T&R Independent Books brings you this blog post to keep you informed on the issues of today. Authors need to stay informed so that they can relate to their readers facts as well as entertain them with their imagination.

Authors Basic Training is a Basic Writing Course that explains and guides you into becoming an author. Powered by video along with PDFs and Coaching you learn the basics of writing. Registration for classes is open now.

To discover how you can be the writer you want to be, write to us at [email protected]. We will respond.

Check us out and get your career moving.

Now back to the article.

HANDLING REJECTION FROM A PUBLISHER

This is primarily addressed to those who plan to use a traditional publisher. Self-publishing companies rarely reject a manuscript, Indie Publishers never reject a manuscript because the Indie Publisher is you.

As a disclaimer I have never received a rejection slip because I have never used traditional publishers.

That said, I can say this with authority: Never let rejection slips stop you!

Use them as you would any tool. Learn from them. Why was the manuscript rejected? Did it come with any suggestions as to how you can improve? If so, you should consider them (but don’t violate your own standards).

Another thing to remember is that editors have their own ideas as to what makes successful writing. They are not THE authority.

Tip#2: Use rejection slips as learning tools to help you become a better writer. Don’t take it personally.

Since I have never had a book rejected, although I was rejected by an agent, I have no practical example to share with you. But the more meaningful example is one’s reaction to any roadblock, which is all that a rejection slip amounts to in one’s career.

That said check out your response to other roadblocks. If your response works in those cases, maybe it will with rejection.

But better is this: As I said in the Tip: Use rejection slips as learning tools to help you become a better writer and don’t take it personally.

My suggestion is to stay away from the Traditional Publishers and the preceding is only one reason. But if you must use Traditional Publishers, then please pay close attention when listening to them. They each have their own preferences and not following them will bring on a rejection quickly.

You have a responsibility to yourself. That is why I emphasize treating rejection as a tool. Instead of being discouraged, see it as something that will only make you a better writer!

VISIT MY AUTHOR’S PAGE TODAY: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle.

Don’t forget to comment below. We are always interested in your opinions. And to make sure you get our blogs, simply check the box that says, Notify me of new posts via email.

Company information:

T&R Independent Bookstore is a division of T&R Independent Books founded in 2014 by R. Frederick and Tess Riddle. TR Ministry, aka Ministry Services, is both a charge and an exciting outreach to the Christian Community.

For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to [email protected]. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

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Blog by Tess – HOW DO WE USE OUR MOUTHS?

How do we use our mouths or communicate with other people in our daily lives? Are the words we use kind and loving, or do we talk ugly to others?

If we’re honest about it, there are times we’re not always careful about how we say something and what we said. How many times have we opened our mouths and said something that we shouldn’t have said?

I know I have, many times.  I’ve walked away from situations and thought to myself why did I use that tone of voice? It was wrong for me to do that.

We’ve all been there. It’s so easy to react badly to someone, without thinking, when they say or do something that we don’t like.

The words we use in our daily lives can either build a person up or tear them down, depending on what comes out of our mouths.

WHY DO WE USE OUR MOUTHS IN A BAD WAY?

That’s a good question. I have an answer for that.  Here are some reasons why people say things in a bad way.

  • They get angry when someone says or does something that sets them off.
  • Some people love to argue with others.
  • Shame, belittle, and embarrass someone.
  • Swear so they can let off some steam.
  • Elevate self because they think they’re better than others. They want others to think they’re smarter than them.  
  •  Like to make fun of others who have a speech/health issue, or another problem.
  • Love calling certain people names.
  • They offend others by the way they express their political or other views.
  • Pointing out the negative after someone has said something positive (the person accomplished a goal, got a promotion, etc.).
  • Some people are jealous of others.
  •  People love to gossip and tell little white lies about someone.
  • Sometimes people will do it to make someone like them.
  • Some do it just to get attention. They want to feel like they’re in control/in charge of a situation.

There are other ways the mouth can be used in the wrong way. I’ve only mentioned a few ways.

We need to stop and consider the fact that words can have power, depending on how they are used. How we speak or react to others will reflect who we are. We do not want other people to get the wrong impression of us. 

More on the other side of this break.

T&R Independent Books brings you this blog post to keep you informed on the issues of today. Authors need to stay informed so that they can relate to their readers facts as well as entertain them with their imagination.

Authors Basic Training is a basic writing Course that explains and guides you into becoming an author. Powered by video along with PDFs and Coaching you learn the basics of writing. Watch for the headline ‘Authors Basic Training Open for Registration’.

To discover how you can be the writer you want to be, write to us at [email protected]. We will respond with a free copy of our Guide to Writing.

Check us out and get your career moving.

Now back to the article.

CONTROLLING OUR MOUTHS

What are some ways we can control our mouths?

  • Think before speaking. Before we speak, we need to ask ourselves these questions. What I’m about to say is, will it hurt the person or give them encouragement?  Will the words I say tear them down or build them up? Sometimes it’s better if we keep our mouths closed and just listen to people talk.
  • Don’t interrupt someone when they’re speaking, just because we feel that we need have the last say. No, we don’t always have to have the last say in a conversation.
  • Be careful about who we hang around with. Sometimes people will bring up political, religious, or other issues that can trigger our emotions, causing us to react in a bad way. When they do, we need to gracefully walk away from that person, so we won’t react.
  • Resist the urge to listen to those who gossip and speak badly of others.  Walk away from it.
  • We need to spend less time with people who are always negative. It can rub off onto us.  
  •  We need to surround ourselves with people who use positive uplifting words.
  • Find ways to praise someone and speak words of kindness to them. For example, if they have a need in their life, let them know (and mean it sincerely) that you’ll pray for them. Then do it. People like to hear that we’re praying for them. That will be an encouragement to them.

WE NEED TO PRAY AND ASK FOR GOD’S HELP

One last thing is this. As Christians, the most important thing is this. In our daily lives, we need to pray and ask God to help us have a good witness to those around us. That means asking for God’s help in what we’ll say to someone and how we’ll say it. It means using our mouths in a positive way that will glorify God.  It’s through prayer that the Holy Spirit will help and guide us in how our daily conversation should be with others.   

Have a wonderful week.

VISIT MY AUTHOR’S PAGE TODAY: amazon.com/author/Tessriddle.

Don’t forget to comment below. We are always interested in your opinions. And to make sure you get our blogs, simply check the box that says, Notify me of new posts via email.

Company information:

T&R Independent Bookstore is a division of T&R Independent Books founded in 2014 by R. Frederick and Tess Riddle. TR Ministry, aka Ministry Services, is both a charge and an exciting outreach to the Christian Community.

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Blog by Ron – Need an Agent?

Do you need an agent?

When I first began writing the need of having an agent quickly became a question that needed an answer. My first response was ‘Of course’. But, as you will see, my answer changed.

Since my answer was ‘Of course’, I proceeded to look for an agent. At first, I didn’t know what I was looking for in an agent or why I needed one. Thus, began my education.

But there was one thing I knew. I had the internet available and could research the subject. I began digging.

First Things First

One of the first things I needed to know was what genre I was writing. It turned out to be historical fiction. From that little bit of knowledge I now knew that if I was to get an agent, he or she must work in the historical fiction arena.

The next step was to learn what do agents do on behalf of the writer.

More on the other side of this break.

T&R Independent Books brings you this blog post to keep you informed on the issues of today. Authors need to stay informed so that they can relate to their readers facts as well as entertain them with their imagination.

It’s Your Business is a Basic Writing Course that explains and guides you into becoming an author. Powered by video along with PDFs and Coaching you learn the basics of writing. Sign up is Coming Soon and Class will start shortly afterward. Watch for the headline ‘Authors Basic Training Open for Registration now’.

To discover how you can be the writer you want to be, write to us at [email protected]. We will respond.

Check us out and get your career moving.

Now back to the article.

Searching for an Agent

Searching through the internet I learned there are three things they do.

  1. Find and submit to them the author’s manuscript.
  2. Negotiate contracts.
  3. Distribute money (royalties, etc.)

Sounds relatively easy, doesn’t it? But I soon discovered some interesting facts:

  1. Finding an agent in my genre is time consuming
  2. It requires knowing what you need
  3. Not every agent is accepting new clients
  4. My book needed to pass their approval
  5. Seeking a publisher in more productive
  6. Being a publisher is better yet!

Publishers May Require an Agent

In addition, I discovered that a growing number of publishers ‘require’ you to have an agent! They won’t look at your manuscript unless there is an agent!

It was shortly after I discovered this that I decided to go self-publishing. It was a major move; virtually a first step toward independence. Later I would take another step away from Self-Publishing and toward Indie Publishing that would change my life!

Note: some people use self-publishing and indie publishing interchangeably, but there are differences.

Self-Publishing

My going with a Self-Publisher quickly dispelled some of the misinformation I had acquired. For example, having an agent wasn’t required. You could have one, but you didn’t to have one.

In my case I thought it wise to continue looking for an agent. But this proved hard and boring. I eventually found an agent I liked, and I submitted my book to her only to get a rejection letter stating that she didn’t work in my particular genre. Bummer! By the way, my genre was still historical fiction which was her genre, but it was also Bible based historical fiction, and that is probably what she was referring to.

Indie Publishing

A lot of similarities between self-publishing and indie publishing, but one major difference is that indie publishers don’t charge fees because the author is the publisher. Of course, that means that the author assumes all responsibility for writing, editing, proofing, publishing, and marketing. But the author also reaps greater financial rewards!

Truths Learned About Agents

The truths I learned here were:

  1. It can take months to find the right agent
  2. That agent may not want you
  3. Agents are not required for self-publishing or indie publishing.

So I went with a self-publisher and learned that although there is more freedom than in traditional publisher, the self-publisher still had control of all the tools and most of the profits. Plus, you had to pay them upfront!

One advantage of the self-publisher/indie publisher is that they will help you market your book. They may provide you marketing tools for a small fee. But another truth is that no matter what publisher you have you will do most of the marketing.

This all leads to a question:

Can you benefit from an agent?

The answer is yes. They have the expertise and the experience to get things done. So, there is value in getting an agent.

However, I opted out.  Instantly I became Author, Publisher, and Marketer! Which means that I had the added responsibility that agents normally handle, which is quite a chore.

What Should I Look For In An Agent?

Ultimately you make that call. Discover your genre or genres, learn their characteristics, and search for agents in that genre. No matter what, I think you should consider it. But you should explore the world of agents. You might find one you like.

And remember that going alone, especially Independent, requires you to do the work of an agent!

That said, I believe that going Indie is the best way to go. Yes, you work hard but the rewards are greater also! As an Indie you have a lot of responsibilities, but you also have greater possibilities. As an Indie you can hire companies to help you with certain aspects of your business.

VISIT MY AUTHOR’S PAGE TODAY: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle.

Don’t forget to comment below. We are always interested in your opinions. And to make sure you get our blogs, simply check the box that says, Notify me of new posts via email.

Company information:

T&R Independent Bookstore is a division of T&R Independent Books founded in 2014 by R. Frederick and Tess Riddle. TR Ministry, aka Ministry Services, is both a charge from God and an exciting outreach to the Christian Community.

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Blog by Ron – What are Writers Resources?

What are writers resources? That is our question of the day. But another question also pops up. Why should I use resources? So, you have a what and a why. Let me answer the why first.

Why Should I Use Writers Resources?

Our ancestors didn’t have much in the way of resources available to them. If they were Christians they had God, but the average Christian did not have the Word of God at hand. So, they didn’t really have readily available resources.

But times have changed! We now have at least one Bible in our possession. Likely, more than one. Plus, we have dictionaries, grammar books, and so much more.

With so much available why wouldn’t we make use of them?

But as Christians, we are expected to do our best at whatever we do.

What are these Resources?

Generally speaking, there are writing resources, publishing resources, and marketing resources. We are only looking at writing resources today.

Brief List of Writing Resources

  • Books on writing
  • Grammar books
  • Dictionaries
  • Maps
  • History books
  • Bible
  • Bible commentaries
  • How to books
  • and more

You may have noticed Bible and Bible commentaries. These would be needed if you are writing Bible-based fiction and/or nonfiction.

More on the other side of this break.

T&R Independent Books brings you this blog post to keep you informed on the issues of today. Authors need to stay informed so that they can relate to their readers facts as well as entertain them with their imagination.

It’s Your Business is a Basic Writing Course that explains and guides you into becoming an author. Powered by video along with PDFs and Coaching you learn the basics of writing. Sign up is Coming Soon and Class will start shortly afterward. Watch for the headline ‘Authors Basic Training Open for Registration now’.

To discover how you can be the writer you want to be, write to us at [email protected]. We will respond.

Check us out and get your career moving.

Now back to the article.

Tip #1 – There is no excuse for not having information that you need. We live in the age of the internet. You can search for just about anything on it. But be careful. The internet is rife with false and misleading information. While it can be a rich source of material, you have to be careful.

I have found it helpful to stick with proven sources. Sometimes I venture out to new sources, but I also check their content against the proven sources and against my own knowledge.

Tip #2 – Bookmark your favorite resources. Chances are you will need them in the future. This is a small feature on the Internet, but bookmarks or favorites are extremely valuable for someone who does a lot of research, especially if on multiple subjects.

The resource list referred to earlier is just a brief list of basic resources. When you are writing you should have near you any resources that you may need. A lot depends on the genre you are working in, but having resources available is a good practice.

What Writers Resources do You Recommend?

You may not use these all the time, but I recommend having available a dictionary, a book on grammar, and  perhaps a book on writing even our very own Guide to Writing which we periodically update and is available in our store.

VISIT MY AUTHOR’S PAGE TODAY: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle.

Don’t forget to comment below. We are always interested in your opinions. And to make sure you get our blogs, simply check the box that says, Notify me of new posts via email.

Company information:

T&R Independent Bookstore is a division of T&R Independent Books founded in 2014 by R. Frederick and Tess Riddle. TR Ministry, aka Ministry Services, is both a charge and an exciting outreach to the Christian Community.

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Blog by Ron – Facing Your Obstacles

Facing your obstacles is a tricky business. In today’s blog I am going to give you some ideas on how to face and overcome obstacles to your writing career. But a warning right up front: this is not a one-size-fits-all approach, although it is.

Did I just contradict myself? No. This approach only works for Christians; those people who have invited Jesus Christ into their hearts and have been born-again. I don’t care what your denomination is, if you are a born-again believer in Jesus Christ as your Savior, then this is for you.

Facing Your Obstacles Involves Submitting to Christ

As a Christian author you have what all born-again believers in Christ have, namely an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent God. He cares for you and watches every move, every decision you make. And He already knows what those will be. Moreover, He loves you and has a plan for you for today.

Wow! What a powerful, wonderful God we have!

He has Promised Us Wisdom

Unfortunately, we often neglect the simple act of faith to ask for wisdom. Instead, we try to do things by ourselves, including trying to face our obstacles. Until we finally realize that we can’t do it myself. Once we realize that then we turn to Him. It would be so much better if we turned to Him at the beginning of the obstacles.

Facing Your Obstacles Requires Faith

When we turn to Christ and trust Him for all our needs, including those pesky obstacles, He graciously steps in and provides us the ability to use certain tools. But first we need to trust Him.

More on the other side of this break.

T&R Independent Books brings you this blog post to keep you informed on the issues of today. Authors need to stay informed so that they can relate to their readers facts as well as entertain them with their imagination.

It’s Your Business is a Basic Writing Course that explains and guides you into becoming an author. Powered by video along with PDFs and Coaching you learn the basics of writing. Sign up is Coming Soon and Class will start shortly afterward. Watch for the headline ‘Authors Basic Training Open for Registration now’.

To discover how you can be the writer you want to be, write to us at [email protected]. We will respond.

Check us out and get your career moving.

Now back to the article.

Tools for Facing Your Obstacles

Here is a small list of tools. Feel free to add to them.

  1. Pray to God seeking wisdom
  2. Identify the problem
  3. Rewrite the passage
  4. Form a picture in your mind of the scene
  5. Change the routine you normally follow
  6. Set the book aside for awhile and work on something else
  7. Don’t Quit

These are just 7 ideas. Please notice I put Pray first. That should be our first tool, then let God lead you to which tool you use next. Probably the second tool would be Identify the problem, but after that it can be in any order and include tools I have not listed.

Simplicity

You might think this approach is simplistic. You are right!

But that is one of the great things about our Christian faith: it is simple. Man-made religion is complicated requiring you to jump through hoops. But Christianity is simple. It all begins and ends with Jesus Christ.

I have lost count of how many times I have asked God for help whether at home or at work and He has answered in marvelous ways. Unfortunately, I have not always started out asking but He waited until I was frustrated or facing an unknown obstacle and then asked Him.

It would have been better if I had asked Him at the first when I came up against the obstacles, but thank God He waited for me to wake up and realize I needed Him!

Face your obstacles by first laying them out before God and then trusting His leading. It will save time and effort, and bring solutions faster and better than on your own.

VISIT MY AUTHOR’S PAGE TODAY: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle.

Don’t forget to comment below. We are always interested in your opinions. And to make sure you get our blogs, simply check the box that says, Notify me of new posts via email.

Company information:

T&R Independent Bookstore is a division of T&R Independent Books founded in 2014 by R. Frederick and Tess Riddle. TR Ministry, aka Ministry Services, is both a charge and an exciting outreach to the Christian Community.

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Blog by Ron – First Step as an Author

R. Frederick Riddle image

Taking the First Step means what? Let’s take a moment to answer that.

The First Step

You know someone like my wife or myself that are authors. And the thought has occurred to you that “I would like to do that.”

But you don’t.

Then you read a book, smile, and think, I’d like to write a book like that.

But you don’t.

Life continues on and one day you think, I wish I’d written a book.

But you didn’t.

What’s wrong with the above. It’s simple. You didn’t take the first step.

What is the First Step?

My wife, Tess Riddle, has recently written two books. One is a nonfiction titled Chatting with Tess: Walking with God and has been published. It is now available at Amazon.com and our site T&R Independent Bookstore. The other book is a novel and titled, Keys to Murder. It is in the process of getting published.

But Tess hasn’t always been an author. These are her first.

Tess Riddle went to college not to be a writer, but to seek skills she could use on the job. But the Entrance Exam showed she had writing skills. Plus, her English professors encouraged her to write. But I can truthfully say that I don’t recall her ever saying she wanted to be a writer until 2014 when we founded T&R Independent Books.

The desire had been there since her college days, but she had never taken that first step.

Again, What is the First Step?

Essentially the first step is making a commitment. Thinking about writing a book doesn’t get a book written, but if you commit yourself to something there is a better chance of it happening.

Think of a baby. They aren’t born walking. They have no commitment of themselves to walk. In their case, the mother and father want to see them walk, so they make a commitment. Then they encourage the baby to walk, assist the baby to practice and learn, and put them in positions where that first step will take place.

The baby doesn’t start off thinking I want to walk. Somewhere along the way the parents’ dream becomes their dream and purpose.

Writing is similar.

My wife was told she had the tools to write, but she didn’t really believe. The burdens of life got in the way. But she still had the tools and as time went on the concept of a story.

One day I learned of her secret desire to write. And I encouraged her. Did I know how well she could write? No. As her husband I loved her and believed in her, so I encouraged her.

But it wasn’t until she purposed in her heart to write the book that she really took that first step

More on the other side of this break.

T&R Independent Books brings you this blog post to keep you informed on the issues of today. Authors need to stay informed so that they can relate to their readers facts as well as entertain them with their imagination.

It’s Your Business is a Basic Writing Course that explains and guides you into becoming an author. Powered by video along with PDFs and Coaching you learn the basics of writing. Sign up is Coming Soon and Class will start shortly afterward. Watch for the headline ‘Authors Basic Training Open for Registration now’.

To discover how you can be the writer you want to be, write to us at [email protected]. We will respond.

Check us out and get your career moving.

Now back to the article.

My Story was Different

That first step is critical, but there are other steps to take.

As a teenager and later as a young man, I knew I wanted to be a writer. And I was committed to becoming an author. But I didn’t know how to take my imagination and put it in an understandable story on paper.

Though I thought I was committed, I wasn’t really.

I signed up for a writing course and was progressing. But then one day I got laid off from job and I had to drop out. Later, I returned to work but never got back into the writing course.

It is More than saying I Will Do It

Tess (aka Teresa) had to do more than think about writing. She had to do more than come up with a plot. She had to do more than say, I’m going to write.

The truth is that all of us have things we want to do. But we don’t take that first step. She could have given up when we moved down here to sunny Florida to take care of her mother. Yes, she was delayed, but the secret burned within her.

She could have given up when I suffered a heart attack shortly after she declared her desire to write. Even though I encouraged her, she could see difficulties at least for the short term. She had a husband to care for. But the dream still burned within.

Over the years, she’s struggled to get that first book on paper. But life kept getting in the way.  But finally one day, she committed herself to writing a book. She made a commitment to herself and to God that she would write. Making a commitment to God is very difficult to do, but also very motivating.

Commitment is the Key

On the other hand, my first step didn’t occur until I was 60 years old. And it came about through my Bible devotions when God showed me that there were stories I could write based on the Bible. That discovery changed my life and I committed myself to do it.

Commitment to do something takes you only so far. Part of commitment is to actually start writing. As for Tess, with life constantly demanding her attention, it was difficult and frustrating. Add to that the advice coming at her from me and others.

But the day came when she started writing. Not to please me nor others. And I don’t believe it was to please herself. The day came when she believed that God wanted her to write. That was a major step.

We both believed that God wanted us to write and we believed Him. That is part of the first step, but it wasn’t it yet.

Then What is the First Step

I’ve already mentioned the obstacles she faced. But here is where she finally made the first step. She sought God’s will, kept writing, and overcame the obstacles. In retrospect, the fact that she wrote a first draft of the book was the first step.

It is relatively easy to write the first few chapters but persevering and finishing the book takes a lot of faith, grit, and pushing on. She faced a constant battle that threatened to stop her, but she continued on and finally was able to deliver to me the first draft. Not only the first draft of a nonfiction book, but also the first draft of her novel. This put her miles ahead of my first step which resulted in a single book being published.

In my case, I had to overcome the roadblocks that had stopped me so many times in the past. It wasn’t until I did that and continued to the end that I truly committed myself.

That was when we took our first steps. I took my first step of commitment in 2003, but Tess took her first step in 2022.

What I’m trying to say, is that when that baby took his or her first step it wasn’t really the first step. But when that baby began walking ever so wobbly, falling, and getting back up that was the first step. And then the baby starts adding things like running.

As a writer you will face obstacles. If you stop because of them, you haven’t really taken that first step. But when you persevere and complete that first rough draft, you’ve proven to yourself you can do it.

Sure, there is a lot of work before the first draft becomes a published work. But now your confidence starts growing and you can take the second, third, fourth, and more steps! Now she was ready to get the help she needed to become a published author. And that is when I could really help her through. Now we are both authors and have learned the value of commitment. Writing is something we need to do on a regular basis. There are many steps an author has to take, but the first one is commitment. A commitment to yourself, but more importantly a commitment to God.

VISIT MY AUTHOR’S PAGE TODAY: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle.

Don’t forget to comment below. We are always interested in your opinions. And to make sure you get our blogs, simply check the box that says, Notify me of new posts via email.

Company information:

T&R Independent Bookstore is a division of T&R Independent Books founded in 2014 by R. Frederick and Tess Riddle. TR Ministry, aka Ministry Services, is both a charge and an exciting outreach to the Christian Community.

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Blog by Tess – Creating Characters for Your Book

When you’re writing a fictional book, there are some things to consider when creating characters.

THE NUMBER OF MAIN CHARACTERS  

How many main characters will you have in your book? You don’t want to have too many main characters, but at the same time, you’ll want enough characters to make a story line. In my Rita Honeycutt series, I’ve chosen to have five main characters. Two of the main characters are from one family: a brother and sister. The other three are from another family: Twin brothers and a sister.

NAMING THE CHARACTERS

I have a rule when using a name of a character. I don’t use the first and last names of people whom I know.  For my mom’s side of the family, I have family tree records dating back to the eighteen hundreds that I can select names from. I’ve also kept an old copy of a telephone book around to look through when needing to come up with character names.   There are different sources you can use to come up with names.  

You can even make up last names for a character, even if the name ends up being a funny one.  In a fiction book, the name doesn’t even have to exist in the real world.      

More on the other side of this break

T&R Independent Books brings you this blog post to keep you informed on the issues of today. Authors need to stay informed so that they can relate to their readers facts as well as entertain them with their imagination.

It’s Your Business is a Basic Writing Course that explains and guides you into becoming an author. Powered by video along with PDFs and Coaching you learn the basics of writing. Sign up is Coming Soon and Class will start shortly afterward. Watch for the headline ‘Authors Basic Training Open for Registration’.

To discover how you can be the writer you want to be, write to us at [email protected]. We will respond with a free copy of our Guide to Writing.

Check us out and get your career moving.

Now back to the article.

QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER ABOUT EACH CHARACTER

Now that you have the first and last name of each character, here is a list of questions to ask yourself as you develop each character and write out a bio page on each one.

  • What color is their eyes?
  • What is the color of their hair?
  • What is the height?
  • What is the age?
  • When is their birthday?  Be careful here in working with birth dates.   
  • What is the build of each character (tall and muscular; tall and skinny, etc.)?
  • What grade are they in, or are they in college?
  • What school do they attend?
  • Do they still live at home with their parents?
  • If in high school or college, do they have a part-time job?
  • What kind of part-time job do they have (if they have one)?
  • Are they out in the adult world with their own career?
  • What type of personality do they have (easy to get along with, love picking on a sibling, etc.)?
  • What are their likes?
  • What are their dislikes?
  • What foods do they like?
  • Do they have a church they attend? If so, where?

There are probably other questions I haven’t brought up that you’ll run into as you write each book.

INFORMATION ABOUT THE PARENTS

If the main characters still live at home, you’ll need to write a bio page on each parent. Here is some information you’ll need to consider about each parent.

  • Are both parents still living? If so, you need to create a bio page for each one.
  • Where and what type of job does the dad have?
  • Does the mother work outside the home? If so, what does she do and where does she work?
  • What physical description does each parent have (height, the color of hair, the color of eyes, etc.)?
  • What type of personality does each parent have?
  • What are their likes?
  • What are their dislikes?  
  • What are some things they won’t tolerate from their children or other people?
  • Do the parents attend church? If so, where?

Again, there may be questions that you’ll think of, as you write the book.

OTHER CHARACTERS

As you write your book, you’ll need to come up with a name and a bio sheet for each character that you add to your book. Uses the same questions that I’ve listed above to describe your character.  Also ask yourself, what part will the character play in the book? In other words, what role will they play?   Are they a good character, or a bad character?

In my closing thoughts, I’ll add this. It is important to keep good records on the bio sheets that you use for each character. For example, in book number three of that series you’re writing, you’ll want to make sure that the proper age and grade they’re in is appropriate. It wouldn’t do to write book number three and have them remain the same age and in the same grade of school.

Also, you need to ask yourself if they’ve learned a new skill since the last book you wrote. Have they changed part-time jobs? Are they attending college now?    This and other questions will need to be answered in each book that you write.

Keeping an updated bio sheet on each character will help you to keep the characters accurate in each book you write.  

That’s all for now.

Have a wonderful week.

VISIT MY AUTHOR’S PAGE TODAY: amazon.com/author/Tessriddle.

Don’t forget to comment below. We are always interested in your opinions. And to make sure you get our blogs, simply check the box that says, Notify me of new posts via email.

Company information:

T&R Independent Bookstore is a division of T&R Independent Books founded in 2014 by R. Frederick and Tess Riddle. TR Ministry, aka Ministry Services, is both a charge and an exciting outreach to the Christian Community.