New Release: There’s No Right Way to Do the Wrong Thing!

The Inspira team is excited to announce the launch of author Christopher Gilbert’s book, There’s No Right Way to Do the Wrong Thing (catchy title, right?), released in May of 2018. Seriously, as our team worked on this book we all had numerous little “aha” moments as we became more aware of the “little things” we and other people often do–or are at least tempted to do–in the course of a day.  Even things like where we and how we parked that day in the office parking lot! (Oops.)  It’s how we all conduct ourselves in the little things that can have big impact in our communities, cities, and world.  That’s the message of this book.

Dr. Gilbert (aka Chris) has a Ph.D in Organization, Management, and Leadership Ethics, and teaches ethics at the University of Washington in Tacoma. He also has over thirty years experience in organizational development serving as a strategic facilitator and leadership and operations consultant.

Within the sphere of higher education, Dr. Gilbert has served as COO for Bainbridge Graduate Institute and global faculty at the University of Washington and educational institutions in the US, China, Switzerland, Iran and the Russian Republic. Whether providing a keynote speech or facilitating a workshop or team coaching session–or writing a book, for that matter!–Chris brings a unique blend of practical experience and accessible personal connection into all of his work.

There’s No Right Way To Do The Wrong Thing is an exploration in how we can all make better choices for a better world. It’s full of great insights and a lot of laughs as Chris tells humorous stories (sometimes about himself) about the ethical mis-steps we all navigate in life.  It’s a great book, and we hope you’ll check it out!

Arlyn Lawrence is the founder and senior editor at Inspira. One of her favorite things about her job is the many things she learns while editing our authors’ books!

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Those Dang Participles!

Hang tight, because this one can get a little convoluted (but it’s important!).

Participles of verbs usually introduce subordinate clauses, and are used as a way to give extra information about the main part of the sentence (or main clause—the “point”). The participle describes an action carried out by the subject of the main clause. Sound confusing? Here’s an example:

“Peter, slowly tiptoeing down the hall, successfully snuck past his parents’ door.”

Here, the present participle (tiptoeing) is referring to the subject in the main clause (the fact that Peter snuck past his parents’ door).

Sometimes, however, we forget this rule and dangle the participle—meaning it doesn’t properly refer to the subject of the sentence. Doing this is grammatically incorrect. Here’s an example:

“Traveling to Morocco, the weather got hotter and hotter.”

If you were to read this literally (and follow participle use rules), this sentence would be saying that the weather is traveling to Morocco. Of course not! If the sentence were reworded to have to the participle referring to the subject, it would make more sense. For example:

“Traveling to Morocco, I found that the weather got hotter and hotter.”

We hope this helps you better understand participles and their use! As always, keep writing–and read, read, read to help improve your grammar skills!

This post was written by Inspira’s Managing Editor, Heather Sipes.

(c) 2018 Inspiralit.com.  All Rights Reserved.

10 Tips to Harness the Power of Networking to Promote Your (Non-Fiction) Book

The publishing landscape is, unfortunately, littered with books that never sold more than a few hundred (or even a few dozen copies). What makes the difference between a book that sells and one that doesn’t? There are number of factors, but I’ve found one that makes a tremendous difference, particularly with non-fiction books, is the power of networking.

For example, one self-publishing project I worked on, a leadership and life skills book and course for teens, found its way into educational networks, first in the Family & Consumer Science field, and more recently in the “at-risk” and alternative education realms. The books and its curricular resources are experiencing widespread success in public schools around the country, as well as in mentor organizations, and has been published in Indonesia and most recently in China.

Another author I worked with had his book and accompanying workbooks picked up by an international Christian ministry organization and ultimately translated into a number of languages including French, German, Arabic, Chinese, and more. As a result of the impetus initially gained through that ministry’s networks and international reach, the program is now experiencing widespread success not only in multiple countries, but on multiple continents.

Yet another, a marriage enrichment course developed by a non-profit organization in Seattle, fell into military networks. It eventually became one of only a few such courses approved by the Department of Defense for distribution and use on DOD installations in the U.S. and internationally.

The common denominator in the success of all these self-published projects was undoubtably the power of networking. How can an average author or organization hope to experience similar success through networking? Here are 10 tips:

  1. Identify what networks you want to get into. Who would like to read your book or use your curricular resources? At first, when we were launching the leadership and life skills books, we thought they might be a good fit for public school counselors. So, our first conference was with the NASC (National Association of School Counselors). It was there that multiple visitors to our booth told us, “You should really be at the national CTE (Career & Technical Educators) conference!” We heeded their advice, found our tribe with the FACS (Family & Consumer Science) teachers we met there, and the rest is history.
  2. Start by making a comprehensive list of probable organizations. It’s best to do this with a group of friends or colleagues, to broaden the list of ideas and possibilities.
  3. Brainstorm whom you know in those organizations. Assign various individuals the responsibility of reaching out to their contacts. A personal connection is your best calling card!
  4. Create and rehearse your basic branding:
  • two-sentence summary of your book
  • 30-second elevator pitch
  1. Develop an email list and feed it regularly. Send a weekly or bi-weekly email with useful content (not marketing).
  2. Be intentional with social media. Think Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn; post frequently and strategically. Encourage your tribe to comment and share to help boost your posts’ SEO (Search Engine Optimization), to make you more easily found on the internet by those searching your topic.
  3. Find out about conferences where you can exhibit and speak. For a small extra fee when you book an exhibit table, you can usually register to give a workshop or two and get in front of an audience. Give away books; it will make your booth a magnet!
  4. Contact bloggers and book reviewers in fields associated with your book. Read their guidelines on what and how to submit, and send them your book for reviews and give-aways.
  5. Be an active networker. This means: .
  • Carry business cards at all times with your book and website on them (and give them out freely!)
  • Include social media links on your email signature, as well as links to your book website.
  • Be constantly thinking: whom do I know that might be interested in this book? e.g., reconnect with your university/high school alumni, etc.
  1. Let people know you speak. Don’t be shy! Make yourself available for speaking engagements to anyone you know who has an audience or access to an audience. These generate opportunities to sell your book, just as having a book generates opportunities to speak.

Bottom line: put yourself out there. Don’t be shy. Get the word out to as many people as you can and ask them to pass the word to their friends and colleagues, too. You never know: your best friend’s aunt’s mother-in-law’s next-door neighbor might be the president of an organization that needs hundreds or even thousands of YOUR book. That’s the power of networking!

Arlyn Lawrence is an author and editor, and the founder and president of Inspira. She loves to see great books with important missions and messages find their way into the world and impact the lives they touch.

 

 

 

 

New Book Launch: “Am I Loved?”

The Inspira Team is proud to announce the launch of Shawn Petree’s book, Am I Loved? Petree_cover_frontThe Question You Might Not Know You’re Asking.

Shawn is a dynamic writer, speaker, and storyteller—a passionate ministry leader, teacher, husband, and father. In his book, he addresses the question many of us grapple with (and that some of us may not even know we’re asking) internally: am I loved? Shawn shares with readers his deeply personal experience with this question, and his passion for helping others find the answer is abundantly clear.

Shawn wants to help the reader answer other questions as well, such as: Is what the world says about me true? If I can’t love myself, how can others? What do I need to do to be loved? Who am I, anyway? His aim is to help tear down the destructive, self-loathing thoughts that so many of us play on a loop in our head. It’s a warm and provocative invitation to break free of the negative self-talk that tears people down, with detailed instructions on how to do so.

photo-5178553797836800The process in which Shawn’s book came to publication is a perfect example of Inspira’s “idea in head to book in hand” promise. He took advantage of the concept coaching service we offer, where he received coaching from the Inspira team on his book concept, layout and organization, voice, style, and more. From there, we completed a chapter-by-chapter developmental edit, working closely with him to perfect his voice every step of the way.

Since the launch of Am I Loved? on January 9th earlier this month, the book has already been fifth on Amazon’s Hot New Releases list of Spiritual Self-Help books on Kindle! It’s being welcomed with high acclaim by readers of all ages and backgrounds. If you would like to know more about Shawn’s book, his ministry, and his mission, you can ShawnPetree-1visit www.amiloved.org. If you’d like to purchase the book (either paperback or Kindle), you can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/Am-Loved-Question-Might-Asking-ebook/dp/B077W2YCM9

It has been a joy and pleasure to work with Shawn on his project, and we hope you’ll check out his work and read the book.

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Becoming Book Launch Party

On October 2nd, the Inspira team had the honor of attending the book launch party for one of our amazing authors—Super Bowl-winning former Seahawk, Clint Gresham. Clint’s first book, Becoming: Loving the Process to Wholeness, was released that same day and is available on Amazon.com.

clint-book-launch-1002The venue for the launch party was a 114-foot yacht—Karina Jean—moored on beautiful Lake Washington near Seattle, which was generously provided by a friend to host all 50 guests. The Cascade Mountains silhouetted against the setting sun were a gorgeous backdrop to the catered event, which provided  delicious hors de ’oeuvres as guests sipped on drinks and enjoyed the view.

At the end of the night, Clint spoke to the gathering about his heart for Becoming, his mission, and his hopes and dreams for the future. It was an absolute delight for our team clint-book-launch-1064to be a part of the evening and hear him speak, as he is definitely gifted with words! We closed the night with a moment of prayer for Clint and his wife, Matti, as they embark on a nation-wide book tour for a couple of months. (Clint and Matti live in Dallas, Texas.)

Clint’s book, Becoming, starts a conversation with the reader about identity, and the parts of ourselves in which we find our greatest worth. The book asks really important questions, such as: Do we matter? If so, why? Who are we becoming? Who do we want to become? Becoming is about learning to love yourself and fully embracing the unique destiny you were made for.

Clint uses his experience as a professional football player to highlight the importance of NOT placing your identity in what you do, but rather in who you are. It’s a powerful and transformational message for people of all ages and walks of life.

clint-book-launch-1083It was a joy to partner with Clint in bringing Becoming to print. He is a passionate man of integrity and his words are bound to change thousands of lives—maybe even yours!

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So You’ve Got a Story, Now What?

 Do you have a skill, a story, a memoir, or message burning inside you —but you’re unsure how to get it into print?

Inspira Literary Solutions provides authors with every service necessary along the way to publication, from book idea to book-in-hand. Our a la carte menu includes:

Concept Coaching – before you even start your non-fiction manuscript, concept coaching with Inspira will help you establish:

  • an overall thesis for your book
  • a clearly-defined targeted reader and a strong benefit for that reader
  • a workable structure and chapter outline
  • a sample chapter that contains all key chapter elements (intro, thesis, cohesive sub-sections, transitions, conclusion) that you will use for a template to rework the other chapters

Manuscript Review and Evaluation – many would-be authors want to know, is my manuscript publishable? Our manuscript review of your fiction or non-fiction manuscript will provide you with concrete feedback on the quality of your writing craft, subject/plot organization, character development (if fiction), and logic and flow of your ideas, and will provide specific recommendations for editing and publishing.

Manuscript Development – we can work with you as you write your book—chapter by chapter, every step of the way providing feedback, accountability, and refining to help you complete your manuscript and grow as a writer along the way.

Editingdevelopmental, copy editing, and line editing

Designcover and interior layout, illustrations, and graphics

Self-publishing – from obtaining your ISBN to registering your copyright to getting your book on Amazon and into the databases of major retailers, and everything in between—we provide a complete menu of services to help you get your book “from idea in head to book in hand”!

Print project management – whether you want to print 10 copies of your book or 10,000, we can direct you to the best value printer for your needs. Breathe easy; we can manage the whole process for you—or, if you prefer, we can help you get set up to easily manage the process yourself.

Traditional publishing – for those seeking traditional publishing, we provide traditional editorial services and assistance with book proposal development.

Check out our portfolio to see the dozens of books we’ve helped develop. Then contact Inspira today for a complimentary consultation—and start the journey of bringing your message or story to the world!

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Writing a Non-Fiction Book Proposal

aaron-burden-90144Writing a book proposal (and knowing what to do with it) is an incredibly important process that all authors and aspiring authors should have down pat. A literary agent can receive hundreds if not thousands of proposals each year.  Very few of those make it past the slush pile, even fewer actually get their manuscripts read.  That’s why it’s important to nail down the ability to deliver a powerful proposal for your manuscript.

When writing your proposal, there are six things that are paramount:

  1. Develop a one-sentence summary of your book. Not only will you use this to interest and engage potential publishers, but it will become your “elevator pitch” when others ask you about your book.
  2. You’ll need to convince publishers why your book (or idea) is a marketable product. This is the MOST IMPORTANT aim of the proposal. What is your idea/vision/mission? Why is it unique? How will it help or impact others? In this case, the creativity and prose of your writing matters less than the actual business impact (or marketability) or your book.
  3. Be sure to identify your target audience. Avoid blanket statements like “football fans,” or, “Christians in America.” Those are far too broad. Who specifically will read it, and why do they care about your book? You need to make the market clear for the potential publisher.
  4. Share freely about yourself (author bio). Who are you? Why are you an expert on this topic? Why are you credible, and what is your experience (e.g., you’re a blogger with 2,000 hits a day, you have a degree in metaphysics, you’re a mom of three and an ordained minister, you’ve spent the last four years researching search engine optimization, etc. Share facts that are relevant to your book.). Cite any other previously published work.
  5. Create a table of contents (or chapter outline). Even if your manuscript is not complete, it’s important to have a chapter outline, and a brief synopsis of the contents of each chapter. Demonstrate to publishers that your book is organized, has a cohesive theme, and an obvious beginning, middle, and end.
  6. Research existing competition. What other books out there are similar to your work? Are there any title similarities? How is your book different from what’s already on the market? Why will consumers buy your book over the others?

Here are three excellent sites with good information about developing an effective book proposal; we recommend you read all of them:

 

Start Here: How to Write a Book Proposal

https://janefriedman.com/start-here-how-to-write-a-book-proposal/

 

How to Write a Book Proposal

http://www.rachellegardner.com/how-to-write-a-book-proposal/

 

Write a Book Proposal That Leaves Publishers Begging to Publish You

http://www.michaelhyatt.com/writing-a-winning-book-proposal

 

Remember, the BEST way to learn is by doing. Just reading these posts isn’t going to give you the skills you need to write a concise, well-phrased, and persuasive proposal. You will not be convincing of how important your book’s message is unless you PRACTICE. Also consider having other people in your life (friends, spouses, professors, etc.) read your proposal and share their thoughts. Feedback can be an incredibly constructive part of this process!

How to Develop Your Book’s Purpose Statement

Are you thinking about writing a book? If you’re feeling inspired, motivated, or simply have a message you want to share with the world, then maybe checking “author” off on your resume is in your near future. We couldn’t be more excited for you!

One of the most crucial steps in the book-writing process (potentially even THE most important step) is developing your book’s objective. Every book (except for fiction work) needs a clear and defined objective as it provides direction, organization, and gives readers a “take-away.”

In order to determine the objective of your book, ask yourself these questions: What do I hope people will gain by reading it? What do I have to say that is unique? Why is my mission or message important? Who are my readers? How will my book impact their lives?

At Inspira, we’ve developed a simple formula to help our authors create a purpose statement for their book. Once you’re ready, you can use this formula (as well as the questions listed above) to dial in your point and start writing with definitive purpose:

If. . . (Insert here the kind of people who will be reading your book, or your target audience. What is their gender, age, socioeconomic status? What are their interests? )

Read. . . (Insert your working title here. Read here for tips on naming your book.)

They will overcome. . . (Insert what you see as the readers’ main need or obstacle.)

And ultimately achieve/experience/be able to. . .  (Insert the unique benefit or “take-away” you’re providing.)

Example purpose statement:

“If young millennials (age 18-25) read my book, 10 Steps to Getting Your Perfect Job, they will overcome joblessness, boredom, and anxiety, and achieve the skills they need such as determination, charisma, and flexibility to land their dream job in their ultimate career field.”

Your message is important and deserves to be shared with the world. If you’ve been considering writing a book but aren’t sure where to start, this could be the step you need to take. As always, Inspira Literary Solutions is available for consultations, writing coaching, developmental editing, copy editing, design, and even book production.

Happy writing!

Inspira Abroad

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Recently we had the incredible opportunity to take our work abroad and we wanted to share the adventure with you all!

In January, (Assistant Editor) Heather and I (Arlyn) traveled to England to work with one of our clients there. Kate Chislett, who owns the Instrumentally Music Studio in Ascot with her husband David, has developed an innovative (and fun!) preschool music curriculum, and we have had the delightful privilege of helping publish it.

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Heather and Kate in the Instrumentally Studio in Ascot

For several days we worked with Kate both on and off-site, drawing from the inspiration of the studio (a fabulous place!) and Kate’s passion and creativity for her topic – infusing a love for and foundational knowledge 0f music into young children. Alligator A, Bunny B, Catty C and other characters like Mrs. Crotchet and Miss Minim are springing to life in Carnival Zoo with illustrations by designer Brianna Showalter.

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Meet “Froggy F” on the musical scale!

But a trip abroad wouldn’t be complete without taking time to see the sights, would it?!  We took a few days to see London:

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Heather meets a Beefeater at the Tower of London

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Art appreciation at the National Gallery 

 … and even squeezed in a quick trip to Paris:

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The Arc de Triomphe

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What’s Paris without the cappuccinos and the croissants…?

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… and pastries and macarons!

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Shopping on the Champs d’Elysees

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And a visit to a bookshop cafe … of course!

I also had the privilege of speaking to a group of parents in Ascot, who invited me to come share some parenting tips from our Parenting for the Launch book:

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At All Souls Church in Ascot, UK

We were certainly a little tired when we came back from our whirlwind trip, but more than that, we came back inspired! It was a tremendous opportunity to work with an amazing client with an inspirational and exciting publishing project, be inspired by incredible sights and people, and have the joy of some inspiring mother-daughter time in London and Paris.

It’s no coincidence that our name is Inspira; it is meaningful to us on so many levels. We love our work!

Arlyn Lawrence is the founder and president of Inspira Literary Solutions. She loves books, travel, people, and books.  And books. 

Providing Background for Your Reader: Keep Exposition Light

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We have all likely been in conferences, churches, or classrooms where the speaker felt it necessary to give a 30-minute historic preamble before making his main point. Maybe this has happened to you: as an audience member, you found yourself repeatedly checking your watch. You were sure the point could have been made just as well without the entire history of the Greco-Roman empire. You lost interest because the speaker took too long setting up his premise, and never got to the actual point. Don’t let this happen with your readers!

What we’re talking about here is narrative exposition, which is an important part of every book, whether short or long, fiction or non-fiction. For example, it might include information about the setting, introductory information to your topic, historical context, or a character’s backstory. Exposition sets the stage and builds the foundation for the entire book. Without it, readers would be lost. However, if a book is too exposition heavy, the readers will lose interest. Usually, most of a book’s exposition takes place within the first few chapters of the novel, although there are several alternative narrative structures as well!

As a non-fiction author, you are probably writing a book because you are an expert in your field. You know about your subject. Perhaps you have been in the industry for years or you have spent hours perfecting a hobby about which you are writing. You may want to begin by expounding on the problem before you give your solution. However, unless you are writing a scholarly thesis for a niche audience, you will need to first draw in your reader. Break up the research by providing antidotes or personal thoughts. Once the reader is hooked on your idea, he or she will be willing walk with you as you make your points; just don’t dump them on the reader in the first few chapters.

If you are writing a novel, you have probably gone to great lengths to develop your character and your setting. However, in order to transfer your passion to your reader, you cannot drown them. This is not to say you cannot include all the necessary details, but you must be very aware of how you organize and present your material. For example, don’t introduce a character like this:

John stooped when he walked into the room. He was 6’3″ with broad shoulders and a thick neck. He was 46 and had black hair that swept over his black eyes. John was used to stooping because he had grown up in small village in . . .

This is heavy exposition; it feels like the author is going through a checklist of necessary expeditionary points. It also makes for boring reading! All this information may be important, but it can be spread out and embedded more naturally into the text. Light exposition feels more natural. When we first meet someone, we don’t need to know their exact height and complete childhood background. That can come later.

The bottom line is that overly heavy exposition takes away from a narrative. It bogs down the reader at a critical time when you want to be grabbing his or her interest. If you need expositional information, make sure to only give what is necessary; if there are ways to spread it out throughout the novel, do it.

Be willing to admit that the reader does not need to know all that you know. Your years of preparation and research will help you write, but do not need to be included in your book. Ease of reading and quality of narrative will always trump superfluous information and tangents. (Who knows, perhaps that information would be perfect for book number two!)

This post written by Kerry Wade, Assistant Editor.