All Write Now Writers’ Conference

Kolb Web Inc is once again sponsoring a writing contest!


All Write Now Writers’ Conference 

Saturday July 16, 2016

On the Campus of Southeast Missouri University Campus

University Center , Cape Girardeau, Missouri

Click the link above to visit the website and enter!

1st place $50

2nd place $25

Check out the categories

  • Poetry (free verse or form poem, limit one single-spaced page), Sponsored by:
  • Short Story Fiction (Adult & YA, 3,000 word max)   Sponsored by: The Kolb Web, Inc.
  • Nonfiction (Essays only, 2,500 word max)    Sponsored by: John and Carol Fisher
  • Flash Fiction (Less than 750 words), Sponsored by: Deadly Writes Publishing
  • Short Story Fiction (Middle Grade, 3,000 word max), Sponsored by: Amphorae Publishing Group


So, how do you want to be published?  What is your dream?  Mine? It was really just to produce a present for my granddaughter.  Her present was the contract I could sign.  If she liked it, then it was good enough.

My self confidence was low.  My belief was sketchy, and my focus was scattered. It took a lot to get Snowball in print, virtual and ink.  Two years.  A huge stack of rewrites and reworks.  A lot of drawings that just plain sucked.

A lot of mistakes were made in book design, in so many ways, and areas.  For a while I focused on just those.  Now a year later, I am more amazed that I got it done.

It was a benchmark.  I have sold nearly a hundred copies of it between print and e-books.  Though it is more than sales goals that it has set for me, I want a better book for the next grandchild.  Design, layout, artwork, story, all of it.  Better.

The truth is, it won’t be the best, that is somewhere down the line.  This is a craft that takes practice, it takes risk, vulnerability and stubbornness.  It takes making mistakes and improvements to get better.

For those who self publish, they also have to decide if they want to incorporate or just be a sole prop; they have to be a business administrator as well as writer, marketer, public relations, accountant, . . .  and so on.  Those decisions and responsibilities take even more knowledge, research and decision making on how, what and who – if you choose to hire it out.  This is serious business, self published writing.

Those that opt for seeking a contract with an pub house have just as much to research.  Besides query letters, deciding about representations, seeking editors, pub relations and what not, most have to keep either hearing nothing back, or reading rejection letters with out letting it stop them.

There are many paths to get to this last stage.  The path is unique to each of us. How we traverse it, is entirely up to us. Happy travels my friends, happy travels.

Last Status

What is it?  Well, duh, ‘Publishing’ and all that goes with that. (Meaning the advertising, the books signings, the write ups, the donations, reviews, all that stuff).  This stage is actually starting from the moment you begin writing.

Personally on my business plan (and yes, I have one), this last stage will be coming in parts and pieces.  I chose to do this my way, which screams rebellion and ego. What plan I have involves the recognition that books, reading material, is much like food.  Consumable.  We don’t regurgitate and re-eat our food, over and over, nor do we pay once and never expect to eat again.

We buy, we eat (ok, so some grow and eat, but they still buy seeds and supplies  – over and over).  That is the way of books, reading.  Those particular dishes and bites we like the best we go back and buy again.  I love my chocolate, so, of course that is consumed and replenished in my candy dish.

Well, I want my product,  my writing is the manufactured good/product, to be sought and bought.  You aren’t going to buy the same loaf of bread, nor would I expect a reader to buy the same book over and over.  You want a new fresh loaf of bread, I do.  So would someone who reads and enjoys my stories.  Therefore, to me it is a waste of money to spend so much on one singular story.  Once I have accumulated several published stories in the same genre, then I will begin deciding where and how to allocate my pennies to advertise and seek the readership to purchase those stories.

Yes, I chose to publish my ‘stuff’ now.  First and worst, and yes, I made mistakes in writing, editing, formatting, and design.  That doesn’t out weigh the fact that I did complete and publish the first.  The start, five of the children at least, and no telling how many will make it to the last stage of my more favored mixed genre tales.  But once I have those several completed and published, then it is time to actively seek out my audience.

If they like what they read, and want to read more, there will be no waiting as there will be several options to purchase and read more.  It sounds like maybe I should just write and prep2pub for a while and then massively release a bunch at once.  Something on the order of the recent releases of entire seasons of shows on the streaming outlets right?  Well, yes I considered that.


How is that going to build a fan base? How is that going to build a readership?  So, slowly all these are trickling out.  I will find my way into the minds and hearts of those who enjoy my style and build my base, one that will require not flash in the pan publicity, but struggling along with me as I go from just an idea, to a dream, to a business.  Then we will do the publicity and the advertising.  Think the best of both worlds.

This also allows me some failure and learning time to get better at not just my craft of storytelling, but all the other stages and business aspects of publishing.  Being a kinetic learner this suits not only  my personality but my style.  Something every writer should consider during those first weeks of pursuing their dream.

Come to think of it what you want to achieve and how to do so best is something regardless of your dream you need to consider.  We talk so much about making ourselves happy, sometimes we neglect to realize that it isn’t always perfect.

I have had no false illusions.  I don’t expect to be come a J.K. Rowling.  First of all I am a J.K. but not a Rowling.  I am  Julie Kolb and I can’t be anyone else, nor would I want to.  I am stubborn and making mistakes, failing here and there won’t daunt me for long.

I am not a success, yet by many standards.  But I am by others.  I am doing what I set out to do. Check.  I wrote and completed all my eight steps to publishing a story.  Check.  I am writing more stories and working on other books.  Check.  Oh, wait, yes, I am a success.

So, before you hit the upload button on your first tale, get clear with your expectations.  Have a plan on how you are going to sell this tale.  What are you willing to risk?  This is a crap shoot people, there is no guarantee you will sell one, much less one hundred. So you will be better off, at least by my opinion, to know what you expect of yourself, and how you are going to accomplish that.  Read, again, and always read.  Research, educate yourself on what you want to do, how others have done it, how can you do what you want?

Best of luck to you!

April Time to REWRITE!

Yep, this is the next stage for my little ditties.  My stories, or as some people might be inclined to say ‘ideas’.  Here is where I take all the input from my betas and examine those comments.

I put them up against my purpose and priority for the story.  My concerns, my doubts, my middle of the night I want to quit and reconsider their comments.  The ‘if’ I go on moment.  Reread my own original without the comments in hand and then look at it again pulling valid concerns.

If they have any that is. Most people will just nod, and say “Good story.”  Or a mere “Great idea.”  Rarely do you/I come across someone with useful critique and commentary.  That? For that I had to pay.  Not dearly, since it was blessfully a distant family relation.  (Thanks Hairy Dude.)

What must be remembered is that you have to have someone to write for, and keep them in mind throughout.  Purpose.  Priority is to me the story you want to tell.  Say, X is who I am writing for, and the why, is I want them to see the depths of how whacked I can be.  Tell that story, I say to myself as I reread and rewrite every page.

Time and distance is a good point of that beta read.  To make me set it down and walk away.  Let my brain go to mush on the story, work on the concept of something else.  Come back with a fresh eye.

Now, rewrite the real story.  Some that was prominent in the first draft never make it into the second.  Some characters that were late to the first, show up on time and all prepared with their lines.  Scenes that you wanted to write but couldn’t quite make it work will just flow out of your finger tips effortlessly. Others that you know should be there are challenges that seem insurmountable.  Keep at it, that story is in there. Unlash the roots holding it in your brain and get it out here for the rest of us to enjoy as well.

That is fourth stage.  REWRITE!

The Writing Goes On

So, whether you started the month with an outline, or just sitting down to write every day, doesn’t matter. You should be about halfway to your goal word total.  If going at it wild and unruly, now might be a good time to take a gander at what you have.

By now there is probably a storyline in mind.  Jot it down, even try your hand at a really rough or detailed, according to your preference, outline, just a guideline.  Where are there holes? Do you need any scenes or events to get from one you have written already to another? Start working at filling in those blanks.

As stated before, if you couldn’t at the beginning of the month, by the end you should be able to, in as few words as possible, be able to give the basic answer to what the story is all about.  By the end of the month be able to write a short summary about the story.

As you go into the last couple of weeks start thinking about who would be the likely reader of this tale?  Who of your friends and family read this genre, read authors with a similar style, and indeed who doesn’t.  (I like a cross-section myself).

These would be your first line of rough beta readers.  They need to be people who won’t just say, “Ah, that was nice.”  Then turn their head and gag. You want someone who will not only tell you if  it is good or bad, but what works and doesn’t.  Is it the storyline or how you told it.  Are the characters believable?

They don’t need to fix it, they don’t need to have great grammar or editing abilities. They just need to be able to identify whether the story works or not in the form you give to them.  And tell you what doesn’t or does.  Once you have that third eye perspective you have something to work with, until then, it is all just guess-work, in my opinion.

You find out what voice you need to use from the responses. You find out if you have too much going on or too little.  You find out what characters and events move the story along, or stop it dead. To get that information you need someone other than yourself reading.

Finish up writing, and make that list of names. Even approach and see if they have time to read a rough draft of x number of words in the whatever time frame you have to give them. In this series of posts, for instance, it is the month of March.  If so, great!

Decided how you want to give them access. Photocopy pages? An online doc with comment or view only access?  You decided, and maybe negotiate if you have someone’s opinion you really want.  It is your story, so protect your ego, and your writing in the way best suited to you and the people with whom you are sharing your rough draft.

If you want to make them sign a contract, then you better get the opinion of a legal expert (LAWYER!) on this and if you draft something yourself, make sure it is within the bounds of your local laws.  As always research what you want to do and how you want to do it, seeking professionals to answer to your questions.


Second Phase of Writing


So, there is this idea, maybe a dream, a thought, whatever.  First you brainstorm about it.  Jotting down all the different possible perspectives.  Details, descriptions, characters, all the nuts and bolts of a story.

Now write.  Really write.  Some of the story may have already emerged in those brainstorming sessions.  Maybe even some of the scenes have found their way out of your imagination into some recorded format.  Now put all that together.

Basically a story needs a beginning, a middle and an end.  Search on the internet or any sundry of writing books, they will break down the elements of a story into antagonists, protagonists, any number of ways to slice up and dissect the story into teeny tiny bites.  If it helps you do that.

Or, just write a beginning, middle and an end.

My favorite dissection is to look at my brainstorming stuff and the scenes I have written and ask myself one question. (This genius from a self pub’d one awful children’s story know-it-all, remember do your own research and find your own path. This is mine, and hope it helps someone else start writing the story they would like to read that becomes a best seller.) That one question –  What is it really all about?

Seriously like the old Aesop’s Fables, the moral of the story is ______.  My belief is, as the writer if you don’t know what it is all about, then you have no idea what story you are writing.  If you can bottom line it for yourself, then you know where you are going with this and it will be so much easier to write.

After that, the next need to know information is how complicated does this story need to be?  Do you want to make the story thoughtful and require the reader to dig for what it is about? Do you just want to entertain? In other words, who are you writing this story for and why?  Now have an idea of how you want to write it.

Lastly, whether you are a pantser or outliner you have to know the storyline. Basically how are you going to get from the beginning to the middle to the end. You can change that outline, road map or whatever you want to call it, however detailed or loose it is at any time if you find it makes the story better,  just put something down out of desperation if necessary.

That is it. My bottom line.

The key questions –

  • What is it really about?
  • Who are you really writing it for?
  • Why are you writing this?

Know those answers and the writing with them in mind.  So, what are you waiting for? Write.

Keep Conceptualizing Until the End of the Month

First of February though, we need to switch gears.

Oh, yeah.  Now we get to writing.

Daily.  Every day.  No less than one word, and more than one word. Promise?

Quoting various sources have given the numbers as something along this –

Adult Fiction runs about this long

  • Short Story – 1,000 to 7,500 words
  • Novelettes 7,500 to 20,000 words
  • Novellas – 20,000 to 50,000 words
  • Novels – 50,000 to 110,000 words
  • Epics 110,000 plus EEK!

Children’s Fiction runs about this long -* Some variances here based on sources, check  with the publisher you are submitting prior

  • Board Books – 150 to 300 words
  • Picture Books – 500 to 900 words ( OR  UNDER 500 words)
  • Easy-To-Read – 3,000 to 6,000 words
  • Chapter Books – 12,000 to 18,000 words (OR 6,000+ words)
  • Middle Grade – 30,000 to 75,000 words
  • Young Adult Novels 60,000 – 105,000 word (OR 30,000+ words)

So, based on the number of words needed of the length of work you are wanting to write, divide by

  • either the number of days you can devote to writing to be completed on your deadline will give you the word count per day you have to write to meet your deadline –
  • OR divide by the number of words you feel is doable a day which will give you the number of days it will take.

So look ahead to February. What days can you write.  In fact, if you feel pretty confident and comfortable with all the conceptualizing and notes you have been making and are ready to start writing, well, then get on with it.

That is the whole purpose of February.  Write.  Write every day if you can.  Write in order, out of order, what order that you can write. Set aside a time of day.

What time of the day?  Well, if you are morning person, then the afternoon might prove better. If you are a night owl, it might actually be the morning according to Washington Post article.  But you know your schedule and lifestyle best.  You might be forced to have varied times each day due to obligations and schedules.

Writing everyday is the key.  Even if it is just conceptualize or brainstorming ideas.  Start there and move on to fully writing.  Whatever time you have been brainstorming the most is probably your productive time.  Can you make that your writing time as well?

So, get your writing on!

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