23 June 2009

Which Niche Tickles Your Writing Itch?

What separates a successful writer from an underpaid freelancer?
Niche writing

Nothing spells success more than having a specialty. Anyone can do a variety of things in a mediocre fashion. Very few can do one or two things exceptionally well. Niche writing focuses your interests and talents in one direction. Like a laser beam, writing and selling in a niche market exponentially increases your cachet, your credibility, your success.

Those who research such things say that if you study a subject for five years, you will know more about it than 90% of the population. Why diffuse your time and your talent by catching freelance jobs here and there when you can develop a niche expertise and have clients coming to you.

Which niche tickles your writing itch? What's your expertise? What's your interest? What's your passion?

Finding a writing niche at which you can be successful can be as easy as discovering what makes you happy to write about. What could you work at and delve into happily day to day?

The Nitch Witch's niche writing guides don't tell you what to write, but they do tell you who's buying what you're writing. Current titles include:
  • Guide to Business Book Publishers
  • Guide to Catholic Book Publishers
  • Guide to Children's Book Publishers
  • Guide to Food & Cookery Book Publishers
  • Guide to GLBT Book Publishers
with more to come later this year.

Each guide profiles publishers in the particular niche, including: what they publish, representative titles, what they're currently seeking, whether they accept unsolicited manuscripts, and query/submission guidelines.

Expand your writing world by narrowing your focus. Find your passion and then know your niche for writing success.

Happy writing!

08 April 2009

Bookplates Are Bella!

Last fall, as the weather turned cold and the economy turned harsh, I noticed an increase in orders at ChicagoWriter.com for our personalized bookplates. It seems people were staying in more with good books and building libraries with personal flair.

I began designing bookplates a couple of years ago as gifts for book-loving friends and family. As the designs outgrew my personal needs, I began offering them on the website. I figured that writers are natural book lovers.

Not always the same people who buy our books purchase our bookplates, but, happily, there seems to be a renaissance in collecting and maintaining personal libraries. And bookplates are a natural adjunct to proclaiming ownership of beloved titles.

As sales have increased, it was time to make a permanent space for our bookplates on the internet. So, today, BellaBookplates.com was launched. No books, no workshops, no consulting services. Just beautiful, bella bookplates.

Bella Bookplates are full color printed on self-adhesive paper. They come six bookplates to a sheet and sell for $3.00 per sheet. There are currently 36 designs and all can be personalized with your name. They're also great for gifts! And the best prices on the web.

The art of bookplate design goes back to the mid 1400s. I think it's time to revive the custom of putting our personal touch on an important part of our lives.

28 March 2009

Screenwriting/Scriptwriting in Chicago

ChicagoWriter Books has titles that cover book publishers, magazine publishers, multicultural publishers, young writers, professional writers, writing in the not-for-profit market, the zine scene--and now, the screen scene with the release of A Guide to Chicago's Screen Scene & Scriptwriting Market.

Think you need to head to LA to write scripts for a living? Forget about it!

Sure, they produce blockbuster action movies in California, but if you have a facility for dialogue and a knack for describing scenes in visual terms, Chicago’s screen scene can keep you busy full time!

Hundreds of theatres, ad agencies, and marketing communications companies routinely hire writers and buy scripts. They service corporations, associations, and educational institutions locally and around the globe. Specialize in a segment or write across the board and script writing success can be yours!

A Guide to Chicago’s Screen Scene & Scriptwriting Market lists names, contact information, and representative markets and specialties. Also included is information on professional organizations, staffing firms, industry publications, scriptwriting software, and local training opportunities.

No need to pick up and move to make your move in movies. Let A Guide to Chicago’s Screen Scene direct your career to screenwriting success.

Find out more at ChicagoWriter.com.

27 March 2009

Art Challenge March Results

This challenge was more about the process than the results. I say that because I'm not especially thrilled with the outcome--and I want to believe that I gained something from my endeavors.

March's Theme was "Favorite Tales."
I started with a sheet of Yupo. That's the new polypropylene support created for water color techniques. I sponged thinned watercolor on to give the page four distinct backgrounds.

I then brushed on two coats of Golden's Digital Ground for Nonporous Surfaces. Using MS Publisher, I formatted four 4x4 text boxes with the first paragraphs of four of my favorite books. I ran the Yupo through the inkjet to print the text on the painted background. I then finished off with a coat of glossy gel topcoat. Note here that even allowing for 24 hours drying time, the ink still blurred a bit when I attempted to apply acrylic on top of the gel topcoat. I think Yupo was not the ideal surface to use with this technique.

Once all painted media dried, I collaged paper and found items, punched holes, and added ribbon. Once gel medium was added to the surface to tack down the collage items, the Yupo began to curl. (This is pretty expensive paper to be so tempermental.)

Finishing the challenge, I mounted the Yupo to matboard. No wet glues adhered--even those boasting plastic, wood, and metal staying power. The only adhesive that took on the first try was a good old glue stick. A frustrating process, but a finished challenge nevertheless.

And speaking of Favorite Tails, Darcy wasn't impressed with the challenge results either, but is always available for a photo op. (His brother, Paris, buried himself in the bedclothes this morning and could not be bothered to join us.)

19 February 2009

Art Challenge February Results

Month two of my art challenge is ready to shine! This is such a fun--and educational--process. One would think that making tiny 4x4-inch artworks would only take the better part of a Sunday afternoon. But, no. Painting, staining, layering and glazing all take their own drying times regardless of whether you're working large or small. Plus there's the process of discovering just the right bits and pieces and found items for the composition.

Well, here it is. The theme this month in honor of St. Valentine's Day is "Billet Doux."

I started with plywood 4x4s faux painted in gemstone finishes of: malachite, lapis, topaz, and garnet.

The central technique this month was working with photo images and acrylic transfers. Clockwise from top left, I used a matte gel medium transfer, a hand tinted black and white photo, a clear gloss gel medium transfer, and a heat transfer.

Completed, the works include painting, image transfers, collage, found objects, and stamping.

I'm pleased with the results and can hardly wait to march on to next month's project.

14 January 2009

Art Challenge 2009

As a writer and artist, I'm a member of a number of email groups that I subscribed to in order to keep in touch with interesting items in both industries. I read through most of the email fairly quickly, deleting subsequent posts if the thread is irrelevant to me. Last year, however, an assemblage artist (yay, Stacy) challenged herself to create one 3x3 piece of art each day. By the end of the year she amazingly created 365 stunning little masterpieces.

I was so impressed by this that I decided to challenge myself for 2009. I knew that there was no way I could even attempt a one-a-day project. (Truth be told, I'm still working on my 2007 to-do list.) But I did think that I had it in me to set a monthly goal. So here it is, my very own Art Challenge 2009.

Each month I will create four (4) 4"x4" pieces of art. It's my 4x4x4 challenge.
The parameters are:
1. Four pieces of mixed media art, each with a finished size of 4"x4".
2. Each month's work will have a cohesive theme and technique.
3. I will incorporate as many techniques as I can learn/implement throughout the year on a variety of supports.

Not overly complex, but enough of a goal to get my creative juices flowing. And create I did. Here are my January results.

January Series: "I Resolve..."

The paintings are ink and watercolor on paper. They are mounted on mat board covered with handmade paper and stamped in metallic ink.

The pieces were then spattered with metallic gold acrylic and sealed with semigloss gel medium.

I think I found a happy size to work with. Small enough to manage, yet big enough to actually try some media techniques. This might actually work!

Of course, I also have a list of goals for my writing, business, family, home improvements, personal life, social obligations, fitness, diet, reading list, education... You get the picture.

Hopefully next year at this time, I'll at least have 48 4"x4" little gems in my accomplished pile!