SPS 128: How I Sold 1,000,000+ Copies Of My Book Through An Informercial with Anthony Morrison

Today I’m chatting with Anthony Morrison, an infomercial creator. He has several businesses and has written books, including The Hidden Millionaire: 12 Principles of Uncovering the Entrepreneur in You, and has sold over a million copies of his book.

Starting His First Business

Anthony started his first business in affiliate marketing over a decade ago. He was successful and wanted to share his business methods with others, so he put his business process in his book The Hidden Millionaire and Advertising Profits from Home. The purpose of his books was to teach entrepreneurs how to think and act to make the right decisions.

Buying Books from Infomercials

People who purchased Anthony’s books from his infomercial were looking to find out how to change their mindset and think like an entrepreneur. So with Advertising Profits from Home, he started teaching people how to live like an entrepreneur and what the lifestyle entails daily. 

Listen to discover his mantra “self-made” pertains to how he created his infomercial around selling his books and why you want your CTA to be a phone call.

Show Highlights

  • [02:23] How Anthony started his affiliate marketing business.
  • [05:03] Learning how to create infomercials to sell his books with Dean.
  • [11:55] How he structured the infomercials to sell his books.
  • [20:14] Using a phone number as a CTA for your sales.
  • [29:06] Finding price points for his products and services.
  • [36:20] The process of automating a webinar.

Links and Resources

allegory in writing blog post image

Allegory: Tips for Writing (and How To Use With Characters)

Allegory is the kind of thing that can get readers, and writers, a little frustrated. 

When using literary devices like allegory, symbolic language and sweeping extended metaphor get confusing, and for some readers, it’s downright frustrating to try and pick apart hidden meaning in stories, let alone incorporate that hidden meaning into their own work. 

But there’s no need to be frustrated! Allegory is actually pretty straightforward. 

Let’s talk about what it is, where you might have seen it before, and how you can use it to add depth to your own novels or stories. 

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What is Allegory?

An allegory, in simple words, is when a story contains a symbolic, ‘hidden’ meaning underneath its literal surface meaning. This meaning is used to explain a hidden message, or a moral. 

This is easiest to identify in children’s books or T.V. shows. 

In a given book or episode, the characters will be faced with a problem which translates to some real-world issue, and the way the characters work to solve it gives us the moral of the story. 

For example: in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, the characters will be faced with a threat, usually a threat to their friendship. 

Each character’s approach to handling this solution will represent a different way that real-world people respond to these sorts of threats. Eventually, they come together and handle the issue, and the episode ends with a lesson about how to be a good friend. Knowing your character’s motivation is key in allegorical story-telling.

While allegory is maybe most easy to identify in children’s media, it’s also a powerful tool in adult fiction. 

Adult fiction can use this hidden meaning to add commentary on contemporary society, which can make for a very compelling reading experience.

Much in the way that My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic teaches children how to be better friends, the best allegorical adult fiction teaches us how to be better people.  

Side note: if you’re not sure how allegory works, using children’s shows is a great start, since they generally take a moment to explain to the audience what the message was at the end. This means you can go back through and figure out what each character was meant to represent, basically putting the clues together in reverse.

Examples of Allegory

Let’s take a look at a few examples of allegory across genres and reading levels. 

1. “Animal Farm” by George Orwell 

On the surface, this is a story about farm animals trying to overthrow the owner of the farm. A reader needs no outside information or clues to get this—this is the literal meaning of the story. 

However, allegorically, Orwell uses this setting and these animals to comment on totalitarianism and the Russian Revolution. The owner of the farm represents the totalitarian leader, or Czar Nicholas II in specific. 

The animals are meant to represent the working class of Russia—they’re the ones actually doing the work to keep the farm going, and they’re overseen by the owner. These animals are initially charged up to make sweeping changes to the farm, but in the end, they recreate the same sort of oppressive regime they meant to get out from underneath. 

What’s the point? 

Following this allegory, we can see Orwell delivering a pointed message about effective revolution. He argues, through the symbolic meaning in his surface story, that a small, radical group overthrowing a government will always replicate that government. 

In other words, tyranny is inevitable without empowering the lower classes. Just replacing the people in power won’t solve the problem. 

2. The story of Icarus 

In the story of Icarus, a father and son create wings made of wax to escape from the island of Crete. Icarus puts his wings on, flies out, and gets cocky. He flies too close to the sun, which causes his wings to melt, and tragically falls. 

The summary I just gave is the surface story. These are the literal events that take place in it, which a reader can follow. 

However, there’s also an allegorical meaning here. Icarus is a famous example of getting too cocky, crashing, and burning.

If we apply this meaning, the story has a message: don’t get arrogant in pursuing your goals, or you might be destroyed. 

3. “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins 

On its surface, the Hunger Games follows Katniss Everdeen, a citizen from District 13, which is a region in Panem. Panem is meant to be a dystopian America. Panem hosts an annual Hunger Games, where children are recruited to fight and die for sport. 

Katniss volunteers when her sister is chosen, and she’s sent to the Capitol, where she fights for her life in the Games. In the end, beats the Games and keeps both herself and her partner, Peeta, alive by having them both threaten suicide. 

The Hunger Games also has an allegorical read. Panem represents our society, and maybe also Hollywood, and the Districts represent regular people. 

Following this reading, Suzanne Collins is making a comment on how people in our contemporary society have become desensitized and numb to the extreme violence being done to real children in oppressed groups. 

How to Use Allegory in Your Story 

Now that we know what allegory is and how it works, let’s talk about how to make sure you’re using allegory effectively in your novels or stories. 

1. Identify your hidden story 

Before you set out to write an allegory, you’ll want to identify the hidden story you want to tell. What’s the message you’re trying to give to your readers? 

It’s extremely difficult to apply allegory to a story after it’s already been written. Unlike symbolism, which can happen without the writer meaning for it to happen, allegory involves carefully placed clues. When these clues are put together, the message becomes clear.

This means you need to know what your message is from the start. 

You should also figure out how the surface story connects to that hidden story. Orwell, for example, uses the farm as his setting, and works with this extended metaphor throughout the book. Your surface story should give you the tools you need to deliver your message. 

2. Label your characters and settings 

Next, you’ll want to label your characters and settings clearly. This is where that surface story comes in—assign different elements of the allegory to specific features in that surface story. 

To go back to Animal Farm: the farm animals are producing the labor, so they’re the working class. The owner of the farm is the totalitarian leader. Orwell’s using these elements of a farm to his advantage. 

Keep track of which characters represent what in your story. I personally recommend keeping a chart to help you map your characters. Getting these mixed up will muddle your meaning, and it’ll make your message unclear or illegible. 

If you need more help on developing your characters, check out this video.

3. Keep allegory references subtle, but not invisible 

Allegory can be a very powerful tool when it’s used well, but when it’s used badly, it can come off as corny. This is especially true if you use surface elements that are a little too obvious. 

If you’ve got a story critiquing capitalism and the villain is literally someone’s boss, for example, that might feel on-the-nose. 

Basically, you want to avoid lecturing your reader. If your story sounds like you’re using a closely-related metaphor to write an essay, the allegory may be too heavy-handed. 

You also don’t want it to be too subtle. You definitely want readers to be able to connect the clues you’ve laid out for them to get that message, so making it too difficult to understand or too abstract can also cause problems. 

If you’re not sure whether you’ve struck the balance, it might be helpful to enlist the help of a few beta readers or a close friend. 

4. Don’t forget about the story 

Finally, when you’re writing an allegory, the surface story should still make sense and be satisfying.

The reader shouldn’t have to put your message together in order to understand what happened. 

Maybe they didn’t get the allegorical meaning—and not every reader will—but the literal story should still be followable and satisfying. 

In other words, your characters should still be characters unto themselves in the setting you’ve created. 

They should still have motivations that relate to their character, and the events in the story should still be motivated by those wants and needs. Your reader shouldn’t need a degree in political science to understand why one of your characters is doing something in your story. 

The Hunger Games, for example, is still a fun dystopian series without thinking about contemporary issues with American media. You are missing out on a lot of depth if you don’t catch that second layer, but you’ll still probably enjoy the story, and that story still makes sense. 

Take a look at your story when you’ve finished drafting it and consider whether the events make sense on their own, without any allegorical meaning. If not, you need to get to work on your surface story. 

Character-Mapping for Allegorical Story References

Writing allegory can be a fun way to explore new ideas in the novel you’re writing or the short story you’re creating. It’s also an opportunity for you, as the storyteller, to make bolder statements about society or politics without making it too obvious. 

As you write this kind of fiction, there are some techniques that will help keep things feeling subtle and more natural. 

  • First off, label all of your characters with their hidden traits so readers know who they are reading about at any given time. You can use a template, like our Character Development worksheet, to help you have a clean reference in front of you when writing.
  • Second, remember not everything has to have an allegorical meaning—you want people engaged by the interesting events happening on screen or page. 
  • Finally, try keeping references subtle instead of being outright overt—this allows readers to feel like they might have found something out themselves

Want to learn more about using creative writing strategies, like allegory, in your writing? 

Sign up for our free online class!

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Experience Product Masterclass Review

You may have heard of Marisa Murgatroyd and her Experience Product Masterclass and wondered what the hype is all about. We’re going to peel back the curtain to take a closer look at the class and overview how to decide if it’s a fit for you and your business.

Let’s start with the basics. The Experience Product Masterclass is a 12-week course that promises to teach you how to harness the power of “experience products” to make at least $2,000 in the next 10 weeks.

First of all, what’s an “experience” product? It’s an information product that keeps your students engaged and hooked on taking action and getting results.

I’ve gone through the Experience Product Masterclass training and can attest to Marisa’s expertise, the course’s actionable step-by-step guidance, and the high-quality training in both the core modules and the extensive bonuses. If you want to learn how to leverage the power of online courses from a product-creation master, then look no further than Experience Product Masterclass.

Who is Marisa Murgatroyd?

Marisa is the founder of Live Your Message, where she turns entrepreneurs into online superheroes. At 4’11 and a quarter, she’s called the shortest woman in marketing, but that doesn’t stop her from having huge ideas.

She’s the “go to” brand builder for industry luminaries and heavyweights such as Justin Livingston, Callan Rush, Danny Iny, Alexis Neely and Susan Peirce Thompson.

Marisa helps entrepreneurs create a business that is authentic and aligned with who they are, to empower them to turn up the dial on their “inner superhero,” so they can be the superhero to their audience, as well as in their own lives.

What is the Experience Product Masterclass?

Do you dream of designing and launching online courses people actually want to purchase and complete? The Experience Product Masterclass teaches you how to combine gamification, adult learning theory, and the psychology of motivation to create an unforgettable experience for your students — whoever they may be.

No matter whether you’re just starting out and you’re still searching for your first product idea, or you already have a product that you’d like to see perform better, this program will teach you how to design and launch a product that gets real results.

Here’s the Experience Product Masterclass promise: “Harness the Power of ‘Experience Products’ to Make at Least $2,000 in the Next 10 Weeks…GUARANTEED!”

What you’ll learn in the Experience Product Masterclass

experience product masterclass review

The Experience Product Masterclass training itself consists of five modules packed with practical training you can take action on right away.

Module 1—Your Lightbulb Moment

This section focuses on setting revenue goals, studying the market, determining your product price point, designing your profit plan and building out your product-to-market timeline.

Module 2—Nailing Your Offer

From there you’ll focus on figuring out your product category, learning how to connect with your customers on an emotional level, creating your product origin story and choosing your product name.

Module 3—Crafting the Perfect Experience

Here is where you’ll take a big-picture view of your product and begin designing your signature system, process or framework. The Experience Product method of product creation incorporates 10 core experiences, which move you (and your students) from mission to mission accomplished.

Module 4—Experience Marketing Essentials

This module helps you connect with your deepest “whys” so you can move past marketing objections and promote your product to the people who need it most. Learn about different types of marketing campaigns and how to start small with a beta launch.

Module 5—Deliver the Wow

Once you’ve launched the beta version of your product you’re now positioned to learn from your students and iterate your way to awesome. This is the Experience Product method to develop products your students love: the anti-perfectionist, earn while you learn, just in time approach to product delivery.  

Bonuses

  • A personal success coach (Includes 10 90-minute “open office” group calls)
  • The Profitable Product Idea Challenge and Student Success Challenge Bundle (free five-day challenge to kick off the Experience Product Masterclass)
  • Niche Down, Profits Up ($497 value)
  • Sales for Superheroes ($997 value)
  • Two Tuition Waivers to Live Your Message LIVE (Virtual Edition)
  • Three-month Growth Account on the Xperiencify Platform
  • Done-for-You Membership Site on Xperiencify
  • Graduation Bonus: Lifetime license to use the Experience Product trademark ($1,000/year value)
  • Mission Accomplished Bonus: Speak! How to Use Talks and Webinars to Grow Your Business ($997 value)

This course offers almost 40 hours of live coaching in addition to material and support designed to guide you through the entire process of creating your own experience product.

How the live coaching breaks down:

  • 10 x 90-minute live group coaching calls with Marisa
  • 10 x 90-minute implementation calls with Marisa’s team of certified coaches
  • 3 3-hour coachathons with Marisa
  • Access to the Experience Masterclass private Facebook Group where you can ask questions and get advice from coaches and students
One of the many bonuses available

Full Disclaimer: We are affiliates of the Live Your Message course. This does not affect the review of this course. What it does mean is if you purchase Experience Product Masterclass through our link, we’ll earn a commission at no additional cost to you.


Start With the Profitable Product Idea Challenge

This exciting course launches with a simple five-day challenge where you have a chance to check out the membership site while also figuring out what the perfect product is to create for your ideal customer. The challenge also reviews positioning, branding and building experiences around the information you’re presenting.

The Profitable Product Idea Challenge will help you uncover your perfect product idea, which you can bring with you when you start the Experience Product Masterclass. To make the most of this challenge, prepare to dedicate between 10 and 20 minutes per day to the teaching.

Day 1: The Four Proven Approaches to Online Course Creation

Learn four easy and proven formulaic approaches to selecting your perfect product idea.

Day 2: The 20 Most Profitable Mega-Niches

Pick the perfect niche from a list of 20 most profitable online courses.

Day 3: Identify Your Micro-Niche

Decide on your topic using the E-Z topic checklist creator.

Day 4: Define Your Target Audience

Discover your target audience using a simple Google trick!

Day 5: State Your Mission

Craft your product mission statement using a fill-in-the-blank template.

A Look at the Experience Product Masterclass Lessons

Here’s what’s covered in each module throughout the 12-week masterclass.

Module 1—Your Lightbulb Moment

  • Show Me the Money: Create Your Product Revenue Goals
  • Right Product Right Market Right Time: Choose What Type of Experience Product You Want to Create First
  • Experience Pricing: Set Your Product Pricepoint
  • Running the Numbers: Design Your 10-Week Profit Plan
  • Schedule Your Way to Success: Create Your Idea-to-Market Timeline
  • The Chatterbox Campaign: Validate Your Idea, Show Up & Sell
  • (Optional) Test Your Product Idea: Run Your First Give Them What They Want Campaign

Module 2—Nailing Your Offer

  • Pass the 3 Second Test: Design Your 5-Step Product Sales Sequence
  • What Is It? Define Your Product Category & Micro-Niche
  • Why Should I Care? Enroll Hearts & Minds with Your Product Mission & Future Self Vision
  • (Optional) Captivate & Connect: Tell Your Product Origin Story
  • I’m Your Guy or Gal: Build Credibility with Who You Are
  • The Art of Naming: Craft Your Blockbuster Product Name
  • (Optional) Get Noticed Anywhere: Create Your Visual Product Branding
  • (Optional) Turning “I Don’t Know” Into “I’m In”: Overcome Concerns with a Scary “You Can’t Fail Guarantee”
  • There’s No Time Like Now: Create Real Urgency
  • (Optional) But, Wait, There’s More! Supplement Your Offer with the Right Bonuses

Module 3—Crafting the Perfect Experience

  • Earn While You Learn: The Anti-Perfectionist Path to Rapid Product Creation
  • Take a Bird’s Eye View: Define Your Signature System, Process or Framework
  • Homing In on the How: The 7-Step Product Brainstorming Process
  • What’s In the Box: Translate Your Bird’s Eye View System Into Features & Benefits
  • Experience Exclamation: Getting from Mission to Mission Accomplished
  • Core Experience #4: Constant Wins
  • Core Experience #5: Normalizing Challenges
  • Core Experience #6: Peak Emotional Experiences
  • Core Experience #7: Feedback Loops
  • Core Experience #8: Community
  • Core Experience #9: Unstoppable Momentum
  • Core Experience #10: Mission Accomplished
  • Bringing It All Together: Your 10x Delivery Checklist
  • Ready, Aim, Fire: Create Your Experience Product Design & Delivery Schedule

Module 4—Experience Marketing Essentials

  • Marketing Mindset: Redefine Marketing & Connect with Your Big Whys
  • Bring in the Bucks: Create Your Experience Product Launch Plan
  • Make It Beta: Star Small, Release the Pressure & Iterate Your Way to Awesome Fast
  • The Start with an Experience Campaign: Hook Them With a Taste of What You Do
  • The Application Campaign: Pre-Qualify Your Customers, Students and Clients
  • The Perfect Email Campaign: Win Them Over One Message at a Time
  • The Fast Result Campaign: How to Design Free Gifts that Build Your List & Sell Your Products
  • (Optional) Website ATM: The Only 4 Pages You Need to Sell Anything
  • (Optional) Copywriting Basics: Writing Headlines, Bullets & Copy that Sells
  • The Marketing Mindfuck: How to Reach Mission Accomplished No Matter What

Module 5—Deliver the Wow

  • I’m Glad You’re Here: The Art of Creating Engagement from Moment 1 of Day 1
  • Disciplined Creativity: Organize Your Product Creation
  • Product Delivery, Simplified: Serve Without the Fuss
  • Just in Time Delivery: How to Become a Mindreader Without Being Psychic
  • The Psychology of Imperfection: Make Your Product Better by Letting Go

Experience Product Masterclass Review

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to design, market, and make $2,000 (or a whole lot more) with an Experience Product in 10 weeks or less, so you can get off the marketing treadmill, make more sales, and have greater impact.

The course begins with this mission statement and it’s repeated many times throughout the training. It’s impossible to lose sight of the goal. As soon as you log into the membership site for Experience Product Masterclass it’s clear the course was designed with your success in mind. The dashboard is bright and easy to navigate and the modules are laid out in an intuitive way. 

Before you get started with Module 1, you’re prompted to watch a welcome video and customize your goals for the course where you’ll experience the fun, gamification of the membership site: experience points. 

Every time you check off a lesson, task, or goal you’ll hear an encouraging sound and see some confetti. It may seem like a silly feature, but the deeper you go into the training the more you’ll find those little “huzzah!” moments especially satisfying. These small wins help you keep going through the material even when it feels tough.

It’s obvious Marisa knows her stuff, and throughout the training she uses tons of personal examples of her own failures and successes, as well as case studies from her students, to help reinforce the teaching. The training is extremely thorough and easy to follow. It is high quality, uses proven strategies and has good video and audio production.

Another reason why this course is so good is because Marisa practices what she preaches—the Experience Product Masterclass is set up exactly the way she instructs you to create your product. The lessons are also good at showing rather than just telling. You’ll learn about a concept in one training and then see it put into practice in a later lesson, helping you connect the dots.

If you’re ready to invest the time into growing your business through creating and launching products, the Experience Product Masterclass is for you.

Experience Product Masterclass Pros

In addition to my positive review, here are a few more pros for joining the Experience Product Masterclass.

You’ll plan and launch a product in 10 weeks

There’s an expected outcome in this course, not just passive learning. If you want to create an impactful product that connects with your ideal customers, then this is the course to walk you through it. Not only does it do a deep dive and guide you step-by-step through the process, you have access to coaching and support throughout the 10-week sprint from idea to product delivery. 

You have access to your own certified coach and personal coaching

Going through an experience with a steady coach by your side helps you reach your goals faster and the value of this aspect of the course cannot be overstated. The support within the Live Your Message team is wonderful and getting the chance to be coached by Marisa and her team is something you don’t want to miss.

Hundreds of success stories

The Experience Product Masterclass launches once per year and it gets a little bit better every time. There are more than 1,400 success stories you can browse through and feel confident this is a trustworthy product with predictable results.

Optional overachiever track

You have the choice of two tracks while going through the Experience Product Masterclass. The core track is the bare essentials, great for the person who is just getting started or doesn’t have a lot of extra time to spare. If you’re coming into this course with previous experience or are ready to go all in and make the most out of EPM and your experience product, then you can with the overachiever track, which offers additional in-depth training and strategies. 

Payment plan

The course has two payment options: a one-time payment of $1,997 or six installments of $379. For those who don’t have a spare $2,000 kicking around, the payment plan is a nice option.

The “success guarantee”

This is not an inexpensive course but there is a “you can’t fail” guarantee that definitely takes the sting out! If you put in the work and follow the steps outlined in the Experience Product Masterclass and you don’t make $2,000 in the program, Marisa will personally send you a check for the difference up to $2,000. 

Experience Product Masterclass Cons

Just like any course, while it has many positive attributes, there are also some aspects you may not love as much. 

The material is very thorough and could be overwhelming

While there is a BIG prize waiting for you on the other side of the Experience Product Masterclass, this is not going to be an easy 12 weeks. There’s a lot of work involved, and a lot of material to go through. If you’re new to online courses, online products or marketing, then you may find the learning curve quite steep. The information you need to create and launch a product that makes at least $2,000 in 10 weeks is all there, but you still have to learn it and take action each and every lesson. Make sure you’re up for the challenge before signing on.

You have to set aside time to go through the training every week

While you certainly can go through the course material at your own pace (you get lifetime access to the training once you purchase), you’re missing out on the main benefit of going through the Experience Product Masterclass in the expected timeframe. Honestly, the biggest value is the support and coaching you get as part of the live launch. To make the most of this opportunity, you do need to set aside time to work on your lessons, do your weekly missions, keep up with the coursework, and take part in the community and coaching.

If you miss the annual enrollment, you have to wait another year to join

The Experience Product Masterclass only opens once a year so if you procrastinate or miss the deadline then you’re out of luck till next year.

Premium price tag

This course is not cheap; $1,997 is a big investment and something not to be taken lightly. If you’re serious about putting in the work to create and launch a product in 10 weeks that makes $2,000 or more, then this is money well spent. However, if you’re not quite there yet, then this may not be the right investment for you right now. 

To get a refund, you have to do the work

You can’t just try the course on, change your mind and ask for your money back. You have to give it a complete effort and follow all the steps outlined in Experience Product Masterclass. If you fail to make $2,000 after implementing everything you’ve learned within the 10-week period, then you’ll qualify for the success guarantee.

Who is the Experience Product Masterclass For?

This course is designed for both new and experienced online business builders, and there are two tracks available depending on your previous experience and available time. 

While you do need some time set aside to spend on going through the lessons and taking action on your experience product, you don’t have to take time off from your day job or drastically change your lifestyle in order to fit Experience Product Masterclass in. You do need to make time for it though.

Here’s who the Experience Product Masterclass is the best fit for:

  • If you want to create and launch an online product, this course is for you
  • If you’ve created a product in the past but it’s not performing like you think it should, this course is for you
  • If you’re looking for a way to leverage your time and scale your business, this course is for you
  • If you want to make a bigger impact through sharing your message, this course is for you

Here’s who the Experience Product Masterclass is not a great fit for:

  • If you’re looking to generate passive income while you sleep without learning how to make money while you’re awake, this course isn’t a fit
  • If you aren’t interested in creating experience products, this course isn’t a fit
  • If you are already creating and launching experience products and are happy with your current income level, this course isn’t a fit (but if you’re looking to scale and grow…then it IS a fit!)
  • If you’re not prepared to put in the work to create something special for your target audience, this isn’t a fit 

If you’re ready to dig deep and discover what needs you can meet with your unique skills and knowledge through an experience product, then sign up for the Experience Product Masterclass today.

Symbolism In Writing blog post image

Symbolism – How To Use Symbols With Confidence In Stories

This article is for writers looking to learn how to use symbolism as a literary device to expand and layer meaning in their stories, by using symbolism in stories.

Symbolism can show hidden meanings and help set tones in the story to help the reader to understand and better connect with your story.

When using symbolism as part of writing your story, a balanced approach is best, so that your reader does not become confused. Symbolism, used well, should continue to advance the story forward.

By the end of this article, you’ll have a better idea of how to find hidden meanings in the art you consume, and you’ll know how to use that hidden meaning in your own work to attract and engage readers. 

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What is symbolism?

A simple definition of symbolism is that symbolism uses people or objects to represent a concept. These objects might be colors, animals, or parts of the setting – like the weather or lighting. 

Symbols are often used to get certain aspects of a story’s mood or tone across to a reader without being too on-the-nose.

Symbolism if often used in story-telling to key the reader into important concepts like death, rebirth, love, or even doom, but the author doesn’t want to spell it out for the reader too plainly. Symbols can be used to impart these concepts to the reader while moving the plot forward.

Symbols can also be used to identify themes and subplots in a story.

Writers might give characters certain symbols which show them at different stages in their journey—following these symbols as a reader will help you understand where the character is in their journey and what sorts of changes they’re going through. 

You can note these symbols on a character development worksheet for fast reference later.

Examples of Symbolism

Most symbols in a story take their roots in universal symbols. First, we’ll talk about some universal symbols and give examples, then we’ll talk about how writers work with those universal symbols in the context of their own stories. 

Universal symbols 

Here are some common universal symbols, broken down by category.

You may notice that some of these have meanings that don’t seem to have anything to do with each other—that’s because one symbol rarely has one agreed-upon meaning. That meaning will often depend on how the symbol presents itself.

For example, the meaning of the color yellow changes depending on the context, and depending on whether it’s a pastel or a vibrant yellow. 

Color symbols 

Black: sophistication, elegance, formality, mourning

White: life, purity, sterility

Red: romance, passion, danger, or lust

Green: prosperity, rebirth, nature 

Yellow: hazard, cowardice, dishonesty, friendship

Brown: groundedness, home, hearth, comfort 

Animal symbols 

Snake: deceit, cunning

Dog: loyalty, friendship

Bear: courage, threats 

Lion: courage, bravery, physical strength 

Flies: decay, rot, death

Raven: prophecy, foreboding

Object symbols 

(A quick note: you’ll notice that object symbols often combine with color symbols.) 

Money: prosperity, wealth

Ladder: ascending, connecting lower and higher concepts like heaven and earth 

Bridge: connectedness, togetherness

Rings/chains: restraint, joining together, commitment

Mirror: one’s own soul, beauty

Bones: death 

Water: life

Symbolism Tip: Water is almost always associated with “life”.

Story-specific symbols 

Writers take symbols like the ones listed above and incorporate them into their own stories when planning out the parts of the story for their book.

Example: The ‘Golden Snitch’ in Harry Potter 

  • ‘Gold’ symbolizes wealth or a prize, and the golden snitch symbolizes enlightenment and victory. 

Example: Night by Elie Wiesel 

  • Throughout this book, the night is used to symbolize death, danger, and doom. Nighttime is dark, and we already associate the darkness with fear and the unknown. 

Example: The green light in The Great Gatsby by Scott F Fitzgerald 

  • The famous green light! We associate green with prosperity and hope, and so does Gatsby. He looks out on the green light and believes he will be reunited with Daisy. However, this dream falls apart. Fitzgerald uses green a lot in this novel to symbolize wealth—notice where it comes up, and what happens to those characters who identify with it the most. 

How to Identify Symbolism in Writing

If you’re completely unfamiliar with symbolism, it might be easiest to start with movies, where directors and screenwriters use visual symbols. Being able to literally see the symbols on screen is super helpful if you’re new to this sort of thing. 

That said, these skills will help you out whether you’re looking for symbols in movies or in your favorite books. 

1. Look for symbolism in the most important scenes 

Go through a movie or book and pick out the most important scenes.

The best spots to find symbols are the introduction or beginning, the inciting incident, the climax, and the resolution. Find the moments with the most dramatic tension and identify the setting, characters, and description

Start by searching for universal symbols. Yes, this means underlining that the curtains in the climax of the novel are blue. It might not mean anything—not every single description is going to have a symbolic meaning, and that’s okay.

Keep an eye out for what symbols pop up at important plot points will help you notice them when they resurface again. 

Speaking of which… 

2. Symbolism is usually found in recurring imagery 

If you have a physical book, highlight every time a specific image or symbol resurfaces. Maybe you notice that one specific setting has water or bones, or specific types of animals always hang around one particular character. 

What sorts of items are associated with different characters? What colors are those items? What happens to those characters, and what happens to those items? Maybe the items change hands, get lost, or take on a new presentation. 

How to use symbolism in your plot

Now that you know how symbolism works and how to spot it, here are a few tips for using symbolism in your own work. 

1. Worry about it on the second draft 

The first and most important tip, for the sake of writing, is to get through your first draft without worrying too much about your symbols. Editing your book can wait.

This is the kind of thing that can get writers tied up in a never-ending first draft, constantly going back to make sure that everything is consistent. 

Write your first draft all the way through, pausing as infrequently as possible.

Then, when you revise, take the time to work on your symbols. Make a sheet of characters, settings, and themes with their associated symbols. 

2. Tie a specific universal meaning to your symbols 

Make sure you keep your symbols consistent across the board.

If green represents money and greed for some characters but life, prosperity, and nature for others, the meaning will get muddled and fall apart.

If rainbows appear in times of sadness, happiness, anger, and excitement, it’s difficult to pin down the significance of that symbol. 

This is where your symbolism planning sheet comes in handy.

Use that list to make sure the symbols you’ve chosen retain their meaning.

The meanings might change and evolve as the characters do, and that’s totally fine! But the meanings shouldn’t change randomly, or out of inconsistency on your part. 

3. Using symbols for foreshadowing 

Symbols are a great way to foreshadow events in your story. After all, the whole point of symbolism is getting across figurative meaning without being too direct.

Stories aren’t fun if the writer is spoon-feeding it to you.

It’s fun to be able to go back and notice that actually, the flies in chapter one signaled that character’s oncoming death. 

If you want to use your symbols to foreshadowing, double-check your symbols when you revise.

Make sure you’ve set that symbol up with that character or theme so that when it reappears later, your reader can recognize it. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uom2gtQazso&t=16s

Also, you don’t want to beat your reader over the head with symbolism. Which leads me to… 

How to Avoid Heavy-Handed Symbolism in Your Writing

Say chapter one opens with a horrible storm approaching. A character arrives to the scene in a black car. A flock of ravens descends as he steps out, wearing black from head to toe. A skull and crossbones decorates his bumper. He walks up to our main characters as thunder rumbles, and we’re thinking, oh, gee, I wonder if this guy is going to end up dying or killing someone else. 

This is an example of heavy-handed imagery.

We don’t need all of this to get across a sense of foreboding or doom. We could pick any one of these symbols to suffice on its own. 

It’s also important to be aware of clichés. Sometimes using cliché is helpful, but relying on it to get information across will make the story fall flat.

A dark and stormy night, a black cat crossing a character’s path, a raven squawking in the background, a red-lipped seductress in a little black dress, a sweet little girl in a white dress—these are all cliché images.

If you want to use them, you need to do something with them. 

Maybe the sweet girl in a white dress is actually a murderous villain, or after the black cat crosses a character’s path, that character receives some great news.

In both instances, the writer is aware of the symbol they’re using, but they’re subverting the expectation to make for an interesting, engaging story.

Want to learn more about how and where to use symbolism in your story?

Join us for a free creative writing class! Choose your time below and get an email reminder when we start!

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onomatopoeia in writing blog post image

Onomatopoeia: How To Use (And Not Abuse) Them In Writing

Are you looking to spice up your writing? Do you have a scene that falls a little flat, or do you find yourself looking to add dimension to your description, settings, or characters?

Maybe you have all the technical details in place, but you’re just looking for that little something to make it pop. 

Well, allow me to introduce you to onomatopoeia!

You may have heard of these guys before, but I bet you haven’t heard of all the different ways you can incorporate them into your prose. In this article, we’ll talk about what they are, give you some examples, and discuss different ways to use them to make your writing shine whether you’re writing a short story, a nonfiction book, or even if you’re writing a novel

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What is an onomatopoeia?

An onomatopoeia, plainly put, is a word that sounds like the thing it’s describing. 

If you’re like me, you might have learned that onomatopoeia is reserved for writing comic books and writing children’s literature. They’re fun, but they’re always accompanied by an exclamation point, and they’re not really useful for anything above middle grade fiction. The examples I learned growing up are things like Zap! Bang! Pop! 

But as it turns out, onomatopoeia includes a much wider umbrella of words than you may think. Some of them are single word phrases accompanied by an exclamation point. These are your comic book phrases: Bam!, *slurp*, and Pow! are all examples of this. 

There might also be more subtle uses of onomatopoeia in writing.

The word ‘pop,’ for example, sounds like something popping. These words evoke the thing they’re describing, so they’re super useful in making your descriptions and scenes come to life.

Not only do they describe the object to your reader, but they’ll also add a textural element that’s super satisfying when done right. 

Examples of Onomatopoeia

Let’s take a look at some examples of onomatopoeia that might be helpful in your writing adventures! 

Example: “The onions sizzled on the stove.” 

In the word ‘sizzled,’ the ‘s’ and ‘z’ sounds sort of mimic the way food cooking in a skillet sounds. Sizzled sounds like sizzling, which is how we know this is an onomatopoeia. This is a lot more lively than saying something like “onions cooked on the stove,” because with the onomatopoeia, we have that textural element from the ‘s’ and ‘z’ sounds. 

Example: “Popcorn crunched under their feet in the dark theater.” 

We actually have two here—’pop’ and ‘crunched.’ The ‘p’ sounds, as well as the short percussive structure of the word ‘pop,’ mimic a popping sound. This is why popcorn is fun to say, and it’s why it’s so evocative! We also have the hard ‘c’ and the ‘ch’ in ‘crunch,’ which sound a bit like something crunching. This combo of sounds mimics the sound of popcorn crunching underfoot, which is a great sensory experience to put the reader right in the scene! 

Example: “I snap my fingers. ‘Get back here!’” 

 Here, the onomatopoeia is ‘snap.’ Like with ‘pop,’ we have a short word, which automatically gives the word a clipped, quick feel. We also have that ‘p’ sound again. This makes the word ‘snap’ evoke the sound of a snap. 

Example: “‘You’re safe now,’ she murmured.” 

In the word ‘murmured,’ we have the ‘m’ sound and the ‘ur’ sounds doing some heavy sensory work for us. This combination, when spoken aloud, sounds soft and a little blended together, much in the way murmuring does. You might notice that it’s kind of hard to shout the word ‘murmur.’ It’s possible, but it feels wrong, because the sounds are so soft. 

Example: “When I thought my head couldn’t hurt worse, the city bells started clanging.” 

Onomatopoeia is often at its most potent when it comes to impact sounds. ‘Clanging’ is the perfect storm of syllables. We have the hard ‘c’ and the tangy sound from ‘ang,’ which, combined, sound kind of like reverberating metal. Have you ever hit a sheet of metal and heard the sound it makes? It sounds like ‘clang,’ doesn’t it? 

Example: “I still couldn’t hear the movie over the teenagers’ chatter, so I shushed them again.” 

Similarly to “murmur,” the ‘u’ sound in ‘shushed’ helps give this a soft feel. But the real impact here comes from the double ‘sh’ sound on either side of ‘shush.’ This makes ‘shush’ sound like you’re actually saying ‘shhh’ to someone. 

Side note: You might notice that when someone gets mad and really wants someone to be quiet, they’ll go for a more percussive variant: “Shut up!” Why is that? 

Soft and Hard Sounds Using Onomatopoeia

Take a look at the examples listed above. Do you notice some common traits or differences? 

Onomatopoeia relies on the sounds in a word, and to evoke certain sounds, you need to distinguish between hard and soft sounds. 

A soft sound will come from soft vowel sounds, like the ‘uh’ sound in words like ‘chuckle,’ ‘murmur,’ or ‘mutter.’ Soft sounds also come from soft consonant sounds, like those ‘sh’ sounds in ‘sh,’ the ‘m’ sound in ‘murmur,’ and the ‘s’ sound in ‘sigh.’ 

A hard sound, on the other hard, will come from harsher vowel and consonant sounds. These words will usually also be shorter, especially if they’re describing an impact. Remember the ‘p’ on either side of ‘pop?’ Shorter, more percussive sounds will give a punchier feel. ‘Punch,’ too, is an example. Yes, we have the soft ‘u’ sound, but the hard ‘p’ offers it some oomph, while the ‘ch’ does here what it did back in ‘crunch.’ 

This is why our curse words tend to be short and full of those satisfying consonant sounds. They’re fun to say, and they sound exactly as harsh as what we’re searching for when we, say, stub our toe. It’s also why someone yelling ‘hush’ doesn’t sound nearly as harsh as someone yelling ‘shut up!’ 

When is the best time to use onomatopoeia in writing?

Hopefully now you can see that onomatopoeia is absolutely everywhere, and that they cover a ton of words you may not have even realized it covered. Now that you have this descriptive power, you may be ready to take it to your novel and pop, bang, and sizzle! 

But there is a time and place for onomatopoeia, and like any literary device, you want to make sure you’re using it intentionally. So, when’s the best time to use onomatopoeia? 

1. You’re writing a creative piece 

First things first, onomatopoeia belongs in creative writing. If you’re writing something technical, like an essay for school or copywriting for a manual, you’ll almost never want to use onomatopoeia. 

Let’s take an essay, for example. If you’re describing something that happened in a book, you could say that on page six, the main character ‘murmurs’ to her lover. However, this is going to read a little informally, because academic writing generally doesn’t include a lot of descriptive or image-heavy language. Instead, you would say that the main character ‘said’ something. 

This doesn’t mean your technical or academic writing needs to be as bland and robotic as possible. It just means that you’re not trying to evoke imagery here—you’re trying to argue a point or analyze something, which means you need to be simple, clear, and concise. 

There are exceptions, of course. In a manual, for example, maybe you need to say that if a customer hears a ‘pop’ when the product is turned on, they should unplug it immediately. If there’s a word that best describes what you need to describe, and it happens to be an onomatopoeia, that’s fine. Just don’t go out of your way to get super artsy when you’re doing technical writing. 

2. Your description needs a little pizzazz 

Onomatopoeia should be one of the first things you reach for when you want to give your description a little extra something. It adds texture, and therefore, dimension. 

Let’s look at this sentence: “Traffic deafened him on his drive home.” 

Let’s add in some onomatopoeia: “Car horns blared the whole drive home.” 

This first sentence isn’t terrible. ‘Deafened’ is a pretty strong verb, and we have an active sentence, which puts the reader right alongside the action. But we aren’t really getting what that traffic sound feels like. We could use onomatopoeia to get closer. 

The words ‘horn’ and ‘blare’ both add some extra description here. This ‘a’ sound, like the one in ‘clang,’ gives that loud, aggressive feeling we’re going for. Try to whisper the word ‘blared.’ Not impossible, but it always sounds just a little bit loud, right? 

3. You’re not ditching ‘said’ 

Contemporary literature demands that dialogue tags be as invisible as possible. Occasionally, you may need a ‘whispered’ or ‘sighed,’ but you should overwhelmingly stick to ‘said.’ If the line of dialogue beforehand falls flat without ‘yelled’ or ‘roared,’ you probably need to rewrite that line and work on the surrounding action. 

Just like you shouldn’t overuse basic verbs, like “jump” or “walk” in every sentence when describing your characters actions (you’ll want to swap out these for strong verbs to help keep your audience’s attention and better convey your story points), swapping “said” for some new onomatopoeia words can be fun!

Let’s look at this infamous snippet from a literary classic called “My Immortal,” published on Fanfiction.net between 2006-2007. 

“My name’s Harry Potter, although most people call me Vampire these days.” he grumbled.

“Why?” I exclaimed.

“Because I love the taste of human blood.” he giggled.

“Well, I am a vampire.” I confessed.

“Really?” he whimpered.

“Yeah.” I roared.

This section is packed with onomatopoeia. We have ‘giggled,’ ‘whimpered,’ ‘roared,’ and ‘grumbled.’ But, as you can probably tell, the writing isn’t better for it. Instead, it feels like way too much.

Leave onomatopoeia out of your dialogue tags, and use it sparingly for maximum effect (plus, learn how to write dialogue well in the first place, and you’ll naturally avoid this). 

Using Onomatopoeias in Children’s Books and Fiction Books

If you’re looking for a way to give your writing more flair, onomatopoeia is the perfect tool.

Onomatopoeia are words that imitate sounds and they can add some extra flavor to any creative piece of writing—whether it be fiction or nonfiction. 

In fact, nonfiction books can be turned into children’s books for greater reach of your message.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F2JZzZM0jpY

You may have noticed this word used in children’s books while reading with them before bedtime; it adds an element of fun while simultaneously teaching kids about different animals and their noises! 

Ever wanted to use ‘hissed’ instead of saying ‘he whispered?” Now you can! 

There are many variations so don’t feel limited by these examples–find what works best for your project and get started!

Learn more about how to write the perfect children’s book that both kids and parents will love to read by choosing a time to sit in on one of our video training sessions below!

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SPS 127: Traditional vs. Self Publishing: Dropping The Mic On Which You Should Choose with Ruth Soukup (And How I Sold 500,000 Copies Of My Self Published Book)

One of the most asked questions when it comes to publishing is whether to go the traditional or self publishing route. Ruth Soukup has done both and is here to share both her experiences and her recommendations. 

Ruth is a New York Times Best-Selling author, founder of Elite Blogging Academy, and host of the Do It Scared Podcast amongst so many other things. After blogging for several years she decided to write a book and so started her journey into publishing.

A friend of hers referred her to an agent and after paying thousands to have a book proposal written up, her blog exploded. While she was in the process of pitching one book, she decided to write and self publish, How to Blog for Profit. She kept being asked the same question over and over again and the book was born.

She received amazing feedback on the book and later built Elite Blogging Academy to further help her audience learn to create a source of income from their blogs. By the time her traditionally published book came out, she’d written and self published another book.

Ruth signed a contract with her publisher for two books and after she fulfilled her obligations, swore she would never go the traditional route again.

Later on she did end up going the traditional publishing route one more time, but is now completely done with it. She has more control over her self published books and she receives almost 100% of her royalties. 

Listen in as she shares her experiences from both sides of the publishing world and why, for her, self publishing makes the most sense. She stresses that the way in which you publish your book needs to align with your overall goal for that book. 

Is your book meant to be an introduction to your company or are you publishing so that you can be labeled an author? Do you plan on writing more than one book and want to be able to use earlier books in your marketing? Are you building a business rather than JUST becoming an author.

If you’re on the fence about which publishing journey you want to take, then you need to listen to this episode. Ruth lays it all out there so that you can truly make an informed decision!

Show Notes

  • [00:41] Welcome back to the show New York Times Best-Selling author Ruth Soukup.
  • [03:24] What’s the difference between traditional and self publishing? 
  • [04:27] If you want to do traditional publishing, you have to have an existing platform.
  • [07:41] During the process of trying to propose her book to a publisher, her blog exploded and she wrote a new book and self published it.
  • [09:59] Traditional publishing is a much longer process than self publishing.
  • [10:56] What was the most difficult part of the traditional publishing route? 
  • [13:23] The experience has gotten worse and worse with each new book.
  • [16:26] Were her self published books outselling her traditionally published books? 
  • [18:16] All this said, why did she decide to traditionally publish a third book? 
  • [20:23] One thing traditionally published books do is make it easier to make the lists.
  • [23:08] Learn more about “list” practices and why they mean nothing. 
  • [24:37] Why will Ruth never traditionally publish again? 
  • [26:56] How you can use your book in your buyer’s journey when you self publish.
  • [29:45] Which path does Ruth recommend for someone who has never published a book?
  • [31:48] Is there a good reason to traditionally publish? 
  • [35:25] How has How to Blog for Profit helped boost Elite Blogging Academy?
  • [38:21] Putting the book before the course has absolutely worked best for Ruth.
  • [39:33] Has the free + shipping funnel been successful in generating leads for EBA? 
  • [43:33] If you want to see Ruth’s funnel go to www.elitebloggingacademy.com/book.
  • [44:29] Which marketing strategy has moved the most copies of her book?
  • [46:43] Ruth gives one last amazing tip to take away from this conversation.
  • [48:05] What advice would she give to the earlier version of herself? 
  • [48:56] Connect with Ruth.

Links and Resources

Ruth’s Books:

The difference between a memoir and autobiography blog post image

The Difference Between A Memoir And An Autobiography…

What’s the difference between a memoir and an autobiography?

If you’re considering writing your own, getting some clarity about these easily confused genres is a good place to start!

Autobiographies and memoirs are two of the most popular genres on the market right now. They’re right alongside thriller and romance novels in terms of sales. 

If you’re like me, that might surprise you—I personally have only read a few autobiographies and maybe a handful of memoirs. I definitely don’t go looking for them. 

But when you think about it, it makes sense. Memoir and autobiographies have an appeal to them in that they’re real stories that actually happened to real people. Want to learn how a boy from the Midwest ended up playing for the NFL? Want to learn how a scrappy young businessman became one of the wealthiest people alive? 

There’s a thrill to these sorts of stories when they’re real. It makes us think that maybe that could happen to us. Or, in the event of a memoir detailing a particularly tragic life, it makes us worry that could happen to us, or that that might happen to someone else. 

Autobiographies and memoirs are increasingly popular and important—but they aren’t the same thing, it turns out. Although they’re often used interchangeably and even shelved together, there’s a few differences between these genres, and that’s what we’re here to talk about today! 

So if you’re gearing up to write a memoir or to write an autobiography, hang tight and make sure you know the difference first.

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The difference between a memoir and an autobiography

At its core, here’s the difference: 

An autobiography tells the full story of someone’s life in the order the events happened. It follows them from birth to the present day (or whenever they finish the autobiography). While an autobiography should definitely be written well, it probably won’t read much like a conventional novel.

It’s focused on facts, details, and giving as much information about the subject as possible. That information is still supposed to be portrayed in an interesting way, but the emphasis is more on chronicling, data, and following the subject’s entire life. 

Memoir, by contrast, is a little more artistic. Instead of detailing someone’s life, memoir might only focus on a few key moments in a person’s life, or even just one major event.

These events might take place out of order or incorporate flashbacks. They’ll often include more elements you’d see in a traditional novel, and the objective is not to record facts. It’s to get at the emotional truth of an event or period of time, often accompanied with an overarching lesson to teach. 

What makes a good memoir?

How do we distinguish the good from the bad when it comes to memoir?

Let’s review: 

1. A Nuanced Perspective 

A nuanced perspective is absolutely vital for writing a compelling memoir. 

A subject who writes a memoir without doing any real self-reflecting is probably going to write something flat, one-sided, and maybe a little whiny. 

What does this look like in practice? It means people shouldn’t use memoir as an outlet for trashing people or painting out their exes to be horrible villains. 

For one, this is rude, and for another, it makes for an uninteresting reading experience. 

Memoir needs to be entertaining, and flat characters aren’t entertaining. 

It also means that writers might need to get some therapy and space from a traumatic event, if that’s what they want to write their memoir about. 

It can be really hard to write in a nuanced way about people who have done you harm. It can be hard just to think about all the stuff that’s happened in your life, honestly. 

When thinking about how to write a memoir, a writer should consider all sides of the events in their memoir. 

Self-Publishing School students, Justin and Alexis Black, recently published their memoir, Redefining Normal. Here’s an excerpt from the interview with these memoir writers regarding the writing process: 

“From many blogs that I’ve read and podcasts that I’ve listened to, I learned that you have to be careful when you write a memoir and not become the victim in it,” says Alexis. When you are the victor, people can learn the lessons you want them to take away.

She also recommends getting a good book editor because not everything needs to be in your book for your memoir. “It’s important to have your story buttoned up tight and really well-written so people can follow-along and relate to your story.” Justin adds the importance of being self-reflective, authentic, and intentional of your experiences in your story.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t3PeTxWBg8k

It’s the same as writing any other book—even if we’re writing from the protagonist’s point of view, it’s still important to understand the villain as a character unto himself. 

2. An Interesting Life 

Another way that memoir is like any other book: it should be interesting! The subject should have something interesting to say, and they should say it in an interesting way. 

This isn’t to say that you have to have a crazy rags to riches story or have traveled the world in order to have an interesting life. Powerful memoirs can come from anybody. 

The key is that the writer needs to find the interesting things about their life and show the reader why those things were interesting. 

Basically, no one wants to read a memoir where the reader is forced to attend high school day in and day out with the author for no apparent reason. In a fiction book, you would say that if an element of the book isn’t serving the plot’s progression, it needs to be cut. The same goes for memoir. 

A writer isn’t bound to relay their entire lives the way they might be if they wrote an autobiography, so there’s really plenty of room to leave out whatever doesn’t fit. A memoir about a mother experiencing the birth of her first child doesn’t necessarily need to include information about how the mother felt when she was in middle school. 

3. Vulnerability and Honesty 

Memoir should also be vulnerable and honest. 

Writers shouldn’t shy away from the more dramatic pieces of their past when they’re penning their memoir—it doesn’t do to tell half the story, and the story will be extremely stilted if the reader can tell there’s an elephant in the room going unaddressed. 

This comes along with the nuanced perspective I mentioned earlier. 

A good memoirist knows their own faults, acknowledges their own low points, and turns that critical gaze inwards as well as outwards. They should be making this memoir personal, which is, you know, kind of the whole point. 

Writers should also interrogate themselves about the significance of the events in their memoir. What impact did that event have on them then, and what impact has it had on them since? 

Why was that event so important? (This interrogation is a great way to stay vulnerable, but it’s also a great way to make more mundane events magical.) 

4. A Satisfying Narrative 

Finally, and yet one more way in which a memoir should look like any other story: we need a satisfying narrative

Sometimes, authors think they can get away with compiling their journal entries or blog posts to make a memoir. 

It’s authentic, it’s usually pretty vulnerable, and it’s got all the good stuff! 

But it can be disorganized. 

Our daily lives don’t have a structure to them—to make it understandable, we need to apply that structure after the fact. 

One solid difference between a memoir and an autobiography is the author’s flexibility with the timeline of events when writing a memoir.

But to keep a story cohesive, we need a writing tool….

Introducing…the narrative arc

Popular narrative arcs in memoir include: rags to riches, person vs. self, person vs. society, voyage to home. 

There’s a few thousand more on Google, but these are some of the more common and simpler ones. 

These structures are a godsend, because they give us an order to put the events in. 

Because it’s not autobiographical, it’s not super important to stick with chronology, but it is important that the reader is able to follow the events in an engaging way. 

Memoir Examples

Looking for some memoirs to check out? Here’s a few recommendations: 

  • The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green 
  • On Writing by Stephen King 
  • Fun Home by Alison Bechdel 
  • The Liars’ Club by Mary Karr A Life’s Work Rachel Kusk 

What makes a good autobiography?

We’ve covered memoir, so let’s take a look at autobiographies. What does a good autobiography include, and what does it do well? 

1. A Clear Timeline 

First and foremost, it’s very important that an autobiography has a clear timeline. This is pretty easy, in a way—it’s going to follow the subject from birth to the present day—but it can get complicated. It’s important that everything happens in chronological order, and it’s important that readers can tell when events took place. 

For example, if there’s a chapter about a person’s life in college, we should know which events took place during which year or term. It shouldn’t all be jumbled together in one four-year block of time. 

It can be difficult to establish a clear timeline for every part of someone’s life, and it’s okay if not every single thing has a date stamped on it. What’s most important for the reader is that they can tell which events happened before or after the surrounding events, and that it’s consistent throughout. A thorough edit and careful outline can prevent a lot of timeline confusion for autobiography authors. 

2. Extensive Research 

Memoirists may still need to do some research to make sure they’ve got the basic facts of their story straight, but they’re more focused on emotional truth than relaying information. 

Autobiographists, on the other hand, are here to relay information. 

When beginning to start an autobiography, the author needs to have the facts down, which means they need to do a lot of research. This might mean getting in touch with parents to ask questions about their childhood home, or revisiting their hometown, or even reconnecting with old flames. 

Not only is this research going to give the writer a more balanced perspective to work with, knowing more information, but it’s also going to guarantee that the facts of what happened are correct, and as much of the story is being told as possible. 

3. Balanced, Clear Perspective 

Does this sound familiar? That’s because it’s the same for both of them! 

Autobiographists need to worry about this just as much as memoirists do. Writing someone in a one-sided way will cause a few issues. 

First, it will possibly get a writer in legal trouble if they didn’t ask permission before portraying that person that way. 

Second, it’s going to create a noticeably flat character. Your characters need to be lifelike, and lifelike characters, like real people, have multiple dimensions.

 If there’s a parent, for example, who’s just the Wicked Witch of the West, the reader’s going to get the sense that there’s information missing. 

And if you’ve got information gaps, you’ve got a bad autobiography. 

Flat characters or settings come from a lack of understanding and information. It’s not that a writer should be trying to portray everything in the best light possible, rather that the writer should be trying to portray everything in the most nuanced light possible. 

Maybe from the writer’s point of view, Susan was an absolute monster. But we need more information about Susan to understand this conflict. 

4. A Satisfying Narrative 

Guess what! This is also important for autobiographers and memoirists alike. 

A memoir has more space to play around with style. They can throw things out of order if they want, and they can make it look more like a creative piece. 

Autobiographers definitely need to stick to the birth to present day trajectory. Again, the objective is to tell the story of someone’s life from start to present, so any deviation from that is going to be weird. But that doesn’t mean an autobiography can’t still have a narrative. 

Like I said earlier, our human lives are chaotic, random, and not easily divided into a three act story structure. 

It can be extremely difficult to find a way to make an autobiography cohesive and follow a narrative throughline. 

It’s not impossible, though. You can even use those same narrative arcs I shared earlier. 

An autobiography written by an immigrant, for example, will document their entire life and give information about their upbringing and journey to a new country, but it might focus particularly on the immigrant’s experience coming to that new country. This journey to acceptance or belonging is a narrative (person vs. society) that a reader can follow along with. 

It’s also, again, an awesome way to categorize the endless information a writer ends up with.

Knowing what your narrative is will tell you which parts to elaborate on and which parts to summarize. Since an autobiography isn’t a memoir, it won’t do to just cut entire sections of someone’s life, but if they aren’t particularly pertinent to the narrative, they can be mentioned more briefly. 

5. Autobiography examples

If you’re looking for some autobiographies, here’s a few you can check out today! 

  • Becoming by Michele Obama 
  • A Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas, a Slave by Frederick Douglas 
  • The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank 
  • I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai 
  • Me by Elton John 

Shaking Out The Difference Between A Memoir and An Autobiography

Memoir is a term that means “to remember.” It denotes an account of one’s own life, thoughts or feelings in prose form.

The author may be the protagonist in the story but not always; sometimes they are minor characters in someone else’s narrative who have had some significant impact on their lives.

A memoir can contain information about others’ lives and recollections from other people than just oneself- it isn’t limited to your personal experience only.

What makes for great memoir? Great writers know how to weave together vignettes with deep meaning so readers feel like they’re reliving memories along side them– you’ll find yourself laughing at funny anecdotes and crying when difficult parts arise.

While memoirs focus on “emotional truth”, autobiographies centralize around a chronological timeline of the author’s life.

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Assonance [Definition] & How To Use In Creative Writing

One of my favorite writing tips goes as follows: if you want to write better prose, read poetry

This seems counterintuitive to some people, especially to people who don’t love poetry. The reason this advice is so solid, though, is that poets are doing the absolute most when it comes to language. They’re pushing the envelope in creating new imagery, phenomenal description, and wordplay. 

Basically, reading poetry is a crash course in making each word of your manuscript shine as much as possible. The tricks poets use can also help you make the most of your prose, and ultimately tell your story in the most artful way you can! 

Today, we’re going to talk about one of poetry’s best tools: assonance.

We’ll talk about what it is, give you some examples, and finally get into how you can use assonance in your own work.

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What is assonance?

Assonance is a type figurative language commonly used with other literary devices when the author is trying to use creative means to hook and keep reader’s attention while telling the story.

The simple definition of assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds close enough together to be identified as a pattern. 

This repetition might take place within a single work, a single line, or even throughout a stanza or paragraph.

A given line or stanza may play with several different uses of assonance, and it’s usually combined with consonance or alliteration for maximum effect. We’ll get into the uses a writer might have for assonance in a minute. 

Assonance vs. Consonance vs. Alliteration 

Before we go any further, let’s talk about the difference between assonance, consonance, and alliteration. 

Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds. These sounds can happen anywhere in a word—it doesn’t have to be the first syllable, although it may be. 

Consonance is the repetition of consonant sounds. These sounds can also happen anywhere in a word—this also doesn’t need to be the first syllable, but it can be the first syllable. 

Alliteration is specifically the repetition of sounds at the beginning of the word. 

For more tips on Literary Devices, like Assonance, check out this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JIFG3ojJSug&t=89s

Examples of Assonance

Let’s take a look at a few examples of assonance. It shows up everywhere, and once you get an eye for it, it’ll be everywhere you look! 

Examples of assonance in songs: 

“The Last Great American Dynasty” by Taylor Swift:

  • “They say she was seen on occasion facing the rocks staring out at the midnight sea” 
  • Taylor Swift’s got a few things going on here. We have the repeating ‘ay’ sound in ‘they,’ ‘say,’ ‘facing,’ ‘and ‘staring,’ as well as the repeating ‘o’ sounds in ‘on,’ ‘occasion,’ and ‘rocks.’ There’s also the repeating long ‘e’ in ‘seen’, ‘she,’ and ‘sea.’ 

“Hey Stephen” by Taylor Swift :

  • “Hey, Stephen, I could give you fifty reasons why I should be the one you choose” 
  • Again, this is loaded down with assonance. We have the long ‘e’ in ‘Stephen,’ ‘reasons,’ and ‘be.’ We also have the repeating ‘eye’ sound in ‘why’ and ‘I,’ the short ‘i’ sound in ‘give’ and ‘fifty,’ the ‘uh’ sound in ‘could’ and ‘should,’ the long ‘o’ in ‘you’ and ‘choose.’ 

“She” by Dodie Clark :

  • “She smells like lemongrass and sleep” 
  • For a much simpler example, here, Dodie repeats the long ‘e’ sound in ‘she’ and ‘sleep.’ 

“Washington On Your Side” from Hamilton: 

  • “Every action has an equal opposite reaction
  • Thanks to Hamilton, our cabinet’s fractured into factions
  • Try not to crack under the stress, we’re breaking down like fractions
  • We smack each other in the press, and we don’t print retractions.” 
  • This ‘ay’ sound repeats throughout the stanza. Here, you’ll notice a trick a lot of songwriters use: all of the lines end with the ‘tion’ sound, which isn’t super interesting.
  • To keep things fresh, the songwriter turns to internal rhyming. This ‘a’ sound continues throughout this verse, and it sort of acts as the thread holding everything together.

Examples of assonance in poetry:

William Wordsworth’s “Daffodils”: 

  • “A host, of golden daffodils;
  • Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
  • Fluttering and dancing in the breeze…”
  • Here, we have a repeating ‘oh’ sound in ‘host,’ ‘golden,’ and ‘daffodils.’ We also have a repeating long ‘e’ in ‘beneath,’ ‘trees,’ and ‘breeze.’ 

“Bells” by Edgar Allen Poe: 

  • “Hear the mellow wedding bells,
  • Golden bells!
  • What a world of happiness their harmony foretells!”
  • Poe repeats the short ‘e’ sound in ‘mellow,’ ‘wedding,’ ‘bells,’ and ‘foretells.’ He also repeats the round ‘oh’ sound in ‘golden,’ ‘harmony,’ and ‘world.’ 

“May-Flower” by Emily Dickinson: 

  • Dear to the moss,
  • Known by the knoll,
  • Next to the robin
  • In every human soul.
  • Here, we see the long ‘oh’ sound repeated in ‘known,’ ‘knoll,’ and ‘soul.’ 

Examples of assonance in tongue-twisters: 

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers: 

  • We have a repeating short ‘i’ sound in ‘picked’ and ‘pickled,’ as well as the repeating short ‘e’ sound in ‘peck’ and ‘peppers.’ 

I have got a date at a quarter to eight; I’ll see you at the gate, so don’t be late.

  • The ‘ay’ sound repeats in ‘date,’ ‘eight,’ ‘gate,’ and ‘late.’ 

You know New York, you need New York, you know you need unique New York.

  • This one is a lot, so bear with me: the ‘oo’ sound repeats in ‘you’ and ‘unique,’ the ‘oh’ sound repeats in ‘know’ and ‘York,’ and the long ‘e’ repeats in ‘need’ and ‘unique.’ 

Using Assonance in Poetry and in Writing

Now that we understand what assonance looks like, let’s discuss how to use it in your work. Remember, this stuff isn’t just for poets! Taking advantage of tools like assonance will help your prose stand out. These tools apply to both poets and fiction writers alike. 

Internal Rhyme 

Assonance is perfect for creating internal rhyme. My personal favorite example of this is any given Taylor Swift song, but it’s super common in music across genres and especially in lyric-heavy genres like country, rap, or showtunes. 

Internal rhyme means that words rhyme with other words in a line. Sometimes, writers will use internal rhyme instead of an end rhyme, but usually they use both. Internal rhyme makes a line feel cohesive and contained. It also just sounds nice, and it’s satisfying to the ear. 

Assonance can also be used to create slant rhyme, which is when words almost rhyme or come very close to rhyming. Having these words share a vowel sound makes them sound like they go together—again, it’s a trick to make the cadence more pleasant to listen to. 

Enhance the Mood of a Line or Paragraph 

Vowel sounds go a long way in determining how a word feels.

Longer vowel sounds tend to feel slower or larger– these are our ‘oh’ and ‘ah’ sounds. Sounds like the short ‘i,’ which makes an ‘ih’ sound (like in ‘give’ or ‘fit’), feel shorter. 

Writers can use this to their advantage when they write to speed up or slow down certain passages. Combined with consonance, this can dramatically change the feel and mood of a given line or phrase. 

For example: “She yawned and dawdled across the hallway” feels different than “She was sleepy when she went down the hall.” 

While some of the difference has to do with active voice and showing instead of telling, you can also see how those wide ‘ah’ sounds sort of lend themselves to that slow, sleepy feeling. 

When you write, go for the strongest verbs you can, and see how these descriptions map out. Do you have recurring sounds?

If so, what do those sounds feel like when you say them out loud? Maybe you have a section that you want to feel fast, and you’ve included a lot of long vowels and clunky words. 

Make a Line or Stanza Memorable 

Because assonance makes a line feel more cohesive and gives it a little pop, it’s also going to make your lines more memorable.

Take a look at the example I just gave—you’re more likely to remember the dawdling down the hallway than you are to remember the latter. 

And when you combine literary devices, like assonance and extended metaphors, the line is more likely to stick with your reader.

You’ll often find that when you reach for stronger verbs and active phrasing, you’ll find yourself using tools like assonance and consonance naturally, since these things are woven into our language. 

Also, a quick tip for songwriters: if you want people to remember your lyrics, pack them with internal rhyme. It’s pleasing to the ear, which means it’ll be satisfying to listen to the different rhyme schemes pay off, but it’s also going to make the words easier to remember.  

Take a look at the more dramatic moments in your manuscript.

Make sure you’re avoiding passive voice and picking the strongest verbs you can.

Then, read it out loud.

Listen to the way the words sound, and see whether the words get across the feeling you want them to. 

Using assonance in your own writing

Assonance occurs when the vowel sound in every other word or syllable matches. For example, “I woke up with a terrible taste in my mouth this morning” has an A-A pattern.

Consonant sounds are not included for counting purposes unless there are four vowels in a row without any consonant sounds between them.

Alliteration and rhyme also create similar patterns of sound repetition but they use different elements than just vowels to achieve their desired effect on readers. 

They can be used for various reasons such as enhancing the mood of a line or paragraph, making one line memorable among many others, etcetera.

Learning how to incorporate these poetic devices into your writing will enhance your writing and keep reader attention. 

If you want help exploring these techniques and even learning the basics of poetry, sign up for our online class on Creative Writing!

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How To Write an Autobiography – PLUS 3 Things to Exclude…

When researching how to write an autobiography, it’s also important to research “how to write an autobiography WELL”.

But just in case you didn’t research those two search terms, this article touches on how to write your autobiography well and also the “how-to” steps to get it done!

Unsurprisingly, this is one of the more popular of the book genres that self-published authors gravitate towards.

People want to share their own inspirational stories with others, impart their knowledge, and ultimately compile their lives into a neat narrative for their kids and grandkids to read…and we’ll teach you how below.

But, like writing any other book, it takes a little know-how and practice to write a good autobiography. In this article, we’re here to break down what to include in an autobiography, what to avoid, and how to write your own. Let’s get started! 

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What to Include in Writing an Autobiography

So first, what are the key components of an autobiography? A lot of people conflate ‘autobiography’ with ‘memoir,’ but there are a few differences between memoirs and autobiographies.

Namely that a memoir is a more artistic take on a specific period in a person’s life. It’s going to read a little more like a traditional novel, usually, and it’s going to take a little more creative liberty. 

In an autobiography, here’s what you’re looking for: 

1. An Entire Lifetime 

An autobiography will cover the entire life of the subject. It’ll cover upbringing, schooling, lack of schooling, teenage years, the whole thing. It might not spend an equal amount of time on each of these areas—for example, if an astronaut who went to space in her thirties wrote an autobiography, she might not spend quite as much time on her uneventful childhood in midwestern suburbia as she does on, say, her space adventures. 

The purpose of an autobiography is, at its core, to document the subject’s life. So even if we skim some parts, we should still be getting the full picture. 

2. Attention to Detail and Chronological Order 

Since autobiographies are about chronicling their subject’s life, it makes sense that it should be in chronological order.

Research for your book is key.

A well-written autobiography should go from birth to the present-day. Again, it’s fine if there are some sections that are more eventful than others, but an autobiography shouldn’t fail to include entire decades of someone’s life. 

Additionally, autobiographies should dig into detail. After all, we came to read this book to learn about the author’s super interesting life—we want interesting details, and we want lots of ‘em!

Where did they go to school, for example, and what did they study? What was their first job out of college?

In a memoir, someone might skip over some parts of their life because it’s not what they’re there to talk about. But an autobiography can’t afford the same exemptions. 

I’ll put it like this: say I read a biography about Joe Smith, a man I just invented. If I pick up another biography and find out that he actually went to college at Stanford and graduated at the top of his class, but didn’t end up using that degree in his later work, I would think the first biography was poorly researched and incomplete. 

3. A Clear Narrative 

People’s lives are messy, complicated, and, not to get all existential, sort of without a climax or summit point. We have plenty of spiritual awakenings, moments of clarity, or points that feel like culminations in our personal character arcs, but if we mapped these out over the course of our lives, we wouldn’t find a solid Freytag’s Pyramid structure. 

When it comes to autobiography, it’s important to remember that these are still books. They’re still stories. While they might not follow conventional fictional storytelling methods, there should still be a common narrative to thread all of these events together. It shouldn’t feel like a string of unrelated events—it should feel like a story. 

A few common narratives: rags-to-riches, voyage and return, person vs. self, person vs. society. 

4. Balanced Characters 

An autobiography should also include balanced characters! 

Now, I know what you may be thinking: real people are a hot mess. Much in the way we don’t write dialogue exactly how people talk, because it would be nonsense, we also don’t write people to be exactly like real people. Real people can be boring, inconsistent, random, and difficult. 

While an autobiography should absolutely not edit people to make them more pleasing or more suited to an easy reading experience, it should make the characters in the story realistic, and it should portray them with nuance and balance.

If the mother in an autobiography, for example, is just plain absolute evil, it’s going to read flat, even if that mother really was cruel to the subject. 

What to Avoid When Writing an Autobiography

Now that we know what sorts of things you should include in your autobiography, let’s talk about some things you should avoid. 

1. Mundane Detail 

It’s true that there’s beauty in the mundane. Plenty of people, myself included, lead relatively normal and uneventful lives that still have their moments of extreme beauty and significance. And there’s nothing wrong with autobiographies about regular people!

You don’t have to have gone to space or become a billionaire to have had a life worth commenting on. 

However, readers don’t want the mundane to be mundane. Every scene in an autobiography should be doing some work, and if it’s just taking us through a business meeting or a high school history class or another commute to work without any broader comment on how that event impacted the person’s life, we probably don’t need it. 

This is why it’s really important to learn about the craft of writing, even if you’re not a fiction writer.

You can do that by reading some of these helpful blog posts: how to show not tell in writing, narrative writing, elements of fiction, how to write dialogue.

2. Smear Campaigns 

Remember what I said earlier about having balanced characters? Autobiographies are not the place to wreak havoc on your ex who broke your heart ten years ago. You need people’s permission to publish their names, and publicly slandering someone will not only get you sued (though you can avoid getting sued while still telling your story), but it will probably turn off a lot of your readers. 

This is where perspective becomes important. If you have someone in your life who was cruel to you, it can be painful to look at them with a complicated, nuanced lens. It isn’t necessarily about making everyone look good so much as it is about making everyone look honest. 

3. Glossing Over the Big Stuff 

There’s nothing more frustrating than getting to an interesting bit of an autobiography, only to discover that the author has elected to skim over it. If you traveled to Europe with nothing but a backpack and a couple dollars, I want to know about that! If there was a specific relationship in someone’s early life that really impacted them, I want to see how that followed the person into adulthood. 

How To Write an Autobiography: Necessary Steps for Quality

Okay, we’re ready to get started on our own autobiographies. This advice will also be helpful if you’re doing something smaller, like a personal essay, and it might even help if you’re looking into writing a memoir! 

1. Do a Deep Dive 

First, get into your childhood. Revisit old artifacts you might have from when you were a kid, stop by old haunts, and write down whatever you remember.

This might mean a trip to your hometown (if possible), it might mean fishing that box of childhood keepsakes down from your attic, or talking to your parents about where you grew up. 

Don’t be afraid to get into the nitty-gritty. Write down the good stuff and the bad, too. 

A side note: if going back into your childhood and revisiting these old memories is traumatic for you, your best course of action is to take that directly to therapy and revisit the autobiography later. It will not make for a better autobiography if you retraumatize yourself. 

2. Research Your Subjects 

Talk to your parents, reconnect with your old childhood friends, hit up some old professors. If you intend to write about them in your autobiography, you’re going to want to talk to them. You should also make sure to visit places, research events you went to, and talk to other people who experienced the same event you did. 

Why? 

A few reasons. One, you want to make sure you’re giving the most balanced perspective you can.

You’re not a journalist, but you are writing a book, and that means you want to be nuanced and fair. Two, memory is very weird, and this will not only give you the chance to correct things you may have remembered strangely, but it will also help you remember things you might have forgotten over the years. 

3. Outline Your Autobiography 

Ah, the book outline! You can’t escape it, not even in an autobiography. Do yourself a favor and grab a narrative structure and use it here. Maybe you pick rags-to-riches—look up the components of that story arc, map them out, and fit all of your information into those boxes. 

Doing this is going to make your autobiography organized, satisfying to read, and easy to follow. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kieAfi3hLEY

4. Draft 

Once you’ve got our outline, draft your autobiography until it’s completely finished. I personally recommend going through it as fast as you can, but use whatever method works for you. If you’re writing a particularly harrowing piece, you may need to take breaks and come back to it when you’re ready—don’t stress yourself out. 

5. Give it Time 

After you’ve drafted, let it sit for a little while. Work on other projects and give it the chance to breathe. This will give you some emotional distance from your finished work. This emotional distance is important when you’re writing anything, but it’s especially important when you’re writing an autobiography. 

All of our lives feel important to us, and it’s hard not to take a critique on an autobiography as a critique on the life you’ve lived, but ultimately, the autobiography will need to be critiqued, revised, and edited. Adding some space makes that process much easier. 

6. Revising and Fact Checking 

And, at long last, you’re in the revising stage! 

Once that autobiography has sat for a little while, dust it off and get to revising. You should be looking for gaps in the chronology, anything that drags, flat characters, arcs that don’t go anywhere, and above all else, incorrect information. 

To help with this stage, try approaching it like a novel. First, check to make sure you’ve got a clear narrative. Then, start playing with individual sentences, characters, settings, and events. Lastly, go through with a fine-tooth comb and fact-check everything. 

7. Publish Your Book! 

You’ve got an autobiography! You have a few options now: you can self-publish your autobiography, you could traditionally publish it, or you could keep it for yourself and your loved ones. Whatever you choose to do with it, congratulations on writing an entire autobiography! 

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SPS 126: How To Turn Your Nonfiction Book Into A Children’s Book (Advanced Publishing & Fulfillment Strategies) with Ellaine Ursuy

Today, I’m joined by Elaine Ursuy, a self-published author of two books, a coach at SPS school, and has completed hundreds of coaching calls with students. Since she is well-known in her peer group for having the ability to explain concepts to others that are hard to understand, she thought turning her adult non-fiction book into a children’s book would be her next step in publishing.

“I remember being five and people telling me that I’m going to do big things one day.” Her intuition told her that she would do bigger than life projects, but she wasn’t sure where her journey would take her in life. “When I got the opportunity to work for Self-Publishing School, it was an obvious choice.”

Her first book, Don’t Be Weird, was a book based on Gospel teachings. She decided to write a children’s version as she saw a need in the market for another way for children to learn God’s teachings besides large, expensive courses. “I’m Not Weird was born in about 15 minutes.” With her first draft in hand, she was excited to move forward in her publishing process.

Elaine’s biggest takeaways from her creating her children’s book are the differences in the editing process from adult to children’s books, types of books, binding and printing, and how fulfillment is different on Amazon for children’s books.

Listen in to find out how she assigned every page a job in her book, how she chose the age range to write her book for, and the most challenging phase of writing her children’s book.

Show Notes

  • [01:43] Why Elaine decided to write her first book.
  • [03:02] How she made the transition from adult non-fiction to children’s book.
  • [04:12] The process of writing her first children’s book.
  • [06:35] The differences in both of her processes of book writing. 
  • [09:50] Hardest part of the children’s book process for Elaine.
  • [12:39] How she decided what age range to write for and who she received her best feedback from during the editing process.
  • [15:35] The advice she gives clients she coaches on publishing children’s books.
  • [19:15] Fufillment choices and how KDP is the best for easy fulfillment.
  • [22:00] How she found the novelty press she used to print her children’s book and her tips on finding an illustrator.
  • [29:02] What Elaine decided to do to market her book and how she chose her niche market.
  • [32:47] Tips on choosing keywords and categories to sell your book.
  • [35:19] What you should prepare for before you jump on your first coaching call with a book coach.

Links and Resources