Archive for May, 2014

The Harris Burdick Online Collaborative Writing Project

This video was created to explain the award winning Harris Burdick Online Collaborative Writing Project. As 2nd place winners in the ISTE Sigtel Online Learning Awards, the creators got to present the project at NECC08.

NBPTS uses three types of writing. This vidcast explains them.
Video Rating: 5 / 5

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Posted by mark - May 29, 2014 at 2:21 pm

Categories: Online Writing   Tags: , , , , ,

Is There A Book In You? Ten Points That Will Help You Decide

The desire to have a book with your name on the cover seems universal – yet how many would-be writers really know if they have what it takes to succeed? Here are ten points that every beginner should consider.

Writing a book – and getting it published – is an ambition that is not hard to understand. Breaking into the ranks of published writers means that others, experts in the business, have decided that your talent is worth investing in. A book is a permanent thing: years from now you can take it down off a shelf and say ‘I did that’. It’s a solid, lasting achievement.

So, with this goal in mind, why is it that some writers get into print and others never make it? Of course you need to be able to write but it’s not always the ‘best writers’ that get published – sometimes it is those who have the greatest determination to get into print, or who are most businesslike in their approach to publishers.

So some qualities (other than writing ability) are obviously desirable; below are ten that every writer should possess. Read through them carefully and be honest with yourself. If you know (and you will know, deep inside) that on some points you are weak, work to strengthen that aspect of your writer’s persona. If nothing else, this will ensure that you are more capable as a person and the writer in you will grow also. The first point is, perhaps, the most crucial:

1. Determination. Let me be brutally frank. If you lack this quality you will simply not make it as a published writer. Remember that there are scores of people out there who are competing against you to get their own book published. Also, writing – especially novel writing – is hard and takes lots of time; most writers don’t earn much money and there will be plenty of people telling you to give up as it isn’t worth the effort. You must grit your teeth, tighten your belt and keep your nose to the grindstone. Nothing should matter to you more than getting your work published. Nothing! This is an absolutely core attribute for any writer – if it does not come naturally to you then work at it: take life coaching classes, read positive mental attitude books – anything to help your determination to succeed become an intrinsic part of you.

2. Support. This comes in various guises and means different things to different writers, yet the most important support is financial. Again it’s a stark truth: if you have a partner willing to bankroll you during the first hard years you are far more likely to get there than if you have the additional worry of wondering how you’re going to pay the rent. Perhaps the second most valuable support is that of being appreciated. If you have someone who knows how hard you work – and shows it – the difference can be crucial. They help through the blank, dark periods that all writers suffer, when self-belief can ebb away like wine from a cracked jug. On a more general level, some writers thrive in a chaotic environment, others need tea and sympathy. Whatever form it takes, you need support: never refuse it and let people know how important it is to you.

3. Presentation. Here I’m not talking about your work; I’m talking about you, the writer. Always, always think of yourself as a writer. Take lessons in self-assertiveness if you feel the need. It’s part of the self-belief system that you must instil within your character so that, when you sit face to face with your first publisher, they think of you as a professional, not a nervous amateur.

4. Knowledge of your market. Most writers are avid readers and publishers will expect you to have your finger on the pulse of your chosen genre – who’s hot right now? Whom do you consider the best in the field? Who’s beginning to fade? Ask yourself this: do you really expect to be taken seriously as a writer if you have little or no knowledge of other published writers in your field?

5. Rejection. Every writer suffers this – the dreaded ‘pink slip’ dropping through the door. For the aspiring writer this can be a very bitter pill to swallow yet you must learn to accept it. It’s not personal and it does not mean you cannot write. What it does mean is that this piece or work is either not right for this publisher or that you have sent it to the wrong one altogether. It can also mean that the publisher already has a full ‘book’ of this kind of work. So assess your manuscript, improve it if you can, make sure it’s the best it can possibly be – then take a deep breath and send it to the next suitable publisher. Never give up!

6. Habit. The habit of writing, that is. It’s very easy to start writing and then, a few days later, get side-tracked into something else, or your great-aunt Ethel calls round, or there’s a good movie on the television. You can always write later, can’t you? No. There lies the road to ruin as a writer. So prioritise your writing, write at certain set times that you let be known to all during which you can’t be disturbed. Get into this routine, stick to it mercilessly and it will soon become – habit. Surprisingly, it will to others also and they will then know that you are indeed serious about ‘this writing business’.

7. Subjects. Ideas for a book don’t often spring into your mind in one fell swoop. I have mentioned in another article the importance of your notebook and getting into the habit of always having it with you. Write things down that interest you – maybe an overheard conversation on a train, or an advertisment that strikes you as odd or interesting. Newspaper headlines sometimes offer headlines that are downright bizarre and an idea might spring from that. Try writing about someone you know well or admire – if you like a character yourself, chances are your readers will too! Use your notebook; never let it out of your sight. It’s your data mine for future work.

8. Creativity. Whilst it is true that a certain amount of imagination aids creativity, intelligent thinking also plays a significant part. The ability to present an old theme in a new way requires the creative spark to burst into flame, yet not everyone has the imagination of a Robert Heinlein or a J. K. Rowling. If you find imagination lacking then try thinking about how a situation can be presented differently – perhaps there never was a truer home for the old saying that ‘there’s more than one way to skin a cat’! How you put your ideas forward in your writing is entirely up to you but this is a vital part of your writer’s skillset – putting your work across in the way that is of most interest to your reader.

9. Targeting. If you write what people want to read, you’re halfway to getting your work published. It’s essential, however, that your would-be publisher understands from the outset where your work lies in relation to others within the same field. Tell him that if people like reading writer ‘A’ that he has published, you reckon he’ll like your work as ‘A’ has influenced you and your work exhibits style and content traits similar to ‘A’s’ best work. Maybe your book is a sci-fi work that has more than an echo of a popular TV series – make sure the publisher knows the viewing figures. Don’t ever be scared of presenting your case – it’s all part of getting into print.

10. Publishing. Try to realise that publishing is a business. Editors are responsible to their bosses for making money on the books they accept for publishing, not to make you feel good about writing a book. Study the publishers – what kind of books are they printing? Are they right for you? Are you right for them? The more you know about how a publisher might view your work, the greater are your chances of success.

Some may find these ten points a bit ‘uncomfortable’. Yet if you really serious – and I do mean really serious – about making a career from writing, or just getting that first elusive published piece under your belt, they should be the core of your attitude towards what you are doing as a writer, besides the physical act of putting words on paper. I wish you all success in your efforts – but in the end it is you alone who must make the effort in order to be a writing success!

Steve Dempster

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Posted by mark - May 28, 2014 at 1:24 pm

Categories: Book Publishing   Tags: , , , , , , ,

Blog 41 – Robin Hood and Gladiator

If this is the first of my Blogs that you have watched, I should quickly bring you up to speed – over a year ago I set out to make a feature film entirely on my own and I am blogging every step of the way with the help of my girlfriend, Gabi (helping on the blogs not the film itself) This has seen us uproot our lives, has had highs and lows and saw us struggle through Blizzards high in the Swiss Alps etc.

About twenty minutes walk from my childhood home in Farnham lies the Bourne Woods, a place that I used to walk regularly and would hang out with my friends after dark and drink Hooch – a cheap and nasty alcopop that we seemed to like for no apparent reason when we were less than legally allowed to drink. Then one day, Universal Pictures rolled in and filmed a third of an entire feature film over a period of months. The film was Gladiator, directed by Ridley Scott and starring Russell Crowe, Richard Harris, Joaquin Phoenix, Oliver Reed and Connie Nielson. Every single shot (apart from the memory scenes of Maximus’ home) was filmed here until Maxmus staggers through the desert. 20:20 casting turned up and held mass casting sessions in the Farnham maltings for the thousand or so extras they needed, and I became a Roman Soldier in Maximus’ army.

Since then on this site they have filmed Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, The Wolf Man, The Golden Compass, Children of Men, The Man Who Cried, many adverts and music videos (inc. Coldplay) and now, Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe have returned to film Robin Hood (previously known as Nottingham) starring Cate Blanchett and William Hurt.

So in these woods I am returning to my roots to film some scenes for my film and I show Gabi around the location explaining where and how various parts of Gladiator were shot.

Thanks to Harry at

for the use of his photos of the Nottingham film set (as I have been too busy to take a look around!)

Music licensed by audionetwork.

Duration : 0:3:25

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Posted by mark - May 26, 2014 at 1:05 pm

Categories: Blogging   Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Has anyone taken an online writing course by LongRidge Writers Group?

If so, were you successful in completing the course? Did your writing improve with the help of the course? Were you able to get published as a result of the course?

I took a course in writing for Children through the Institute of Children’s Literature (part of this group) about 18 years ago, when it was done by mail instead of on-line. I did learn a lot although I did not put my best effort into it as I was mom to a young child and rather busy. I sent two articles in to publications, was rejected by both and never got around to sending in anything else. I still plan to try again. I found the critiques from my assigned professional writer very helpful.

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Posted by mark - May 24, 2014 at 12:15 pm

Categories: Online Writing   Tags: , , , , , ,

Discover How Steven E Schmitt Enables You to be a Best Selling Author

Wake Up Live Team Publishers invites you to join some of these celebrities pictured on this website along with other world wide inspirational leaders in our next best-selling book. Wake Up Live Team Publishers is the best publishing alternative in the book industry. With Wake Up Live Team Publishers, you submit your story and Wake Up Live Team Publishers does the publishing in record time then Wake Up Live Team Publishers promotes your book to the best seller list making you a best-selling co-author. If you research self publishing instead of Wake Up Live Team Publishers, you will discover that there are many aspects to publishing and distributing a book. When you explore submitting your manuscript to traditional publishers instead of using Wake Up Live Team Publishers, you will find that most manuscripts are never read.

Wouldn’t it be great to get Instant Credibility with your clients and customers?

You have an invitation to join some mega-best selling authors, speakers, trainers, mentors and world class business leaders in an amazing book project. You will be included in a book series with coauthors who have appeared around the world on television networks and shows including Oprah, The Tonight Show, The Late Show, BBC, QVC Network, CNBC, PBS, Bravo Network and Good Morning America. You will be associated with authors who have been praised by The New York Times, USA Today, People Magazine, The LA Times, Money Magazine and Success Magazine. We call this Instant Credibility.

You will be taught the ultimate skill – How to attract clients, customers and create a rush of new business because, with a book, you will be considered a “celebrity” in your industry as a best selling co-author. A book will bring you a lifetime of powerful positioning that will go with you anywhere and anytime for the rest of your life. By following a few simple-to-understand, super-charged business building strategies, you will be automatically propelled to superstar status.

12 million stories in print around the world! Through our teamwork approach, we incorporate a unique joint publishing venture that now has 12 million stories in print around the world with highly effective training and powerful marketing to accelerate your life and business.  

It doesn’t matter how many training programs you have attended or accomplishments that you’ve made in your life. Everyone wants more attention and greater financial rewards.

StevenE Schmitt

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Posted by mark - May 23, 2014 at 11:36 am

Categories: Self Publishing   Tags: , , , , , , ,

Longman Academic Writing Series with Criterion

The Criterion online writing evaluation program is currently available for levels 3 and 4 of the Longman Academic Writing Series: Introduction to Academic Writing (Level 3) and Writing Academic English (Level 4). Please contact me if you would like a sample of the texts. You may email me at or call me at 858-761-4388.

Duration : 0:6:5

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Posted by mark - May 21, 2014 at 10:25 am

Categories: Online Writing   Tags: , , , , ,

Does anyone know the protocol for submitting a self-published book to a publishing house? Do I need an agent?

I’ve self-published a book, but to get maximum exposure I think it needs to be handled through a publishing house. I can’t find any submission info. on prepublished works. Any insights are appreciated!

To get optimum exposure for your book, you need aggressive marketing and promotion. By doing so, you will be able to get the attention of major publishers and have a higher possibility of them to pick up your book.

You might want to check out this site that offers several options to market your book:

I hope you find this helpful.

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Posted by mark - May 17, 2014 at 7:44 am

Categories: Book Publishing, Self Publishing   Tags: , , , , , ,

Birdman On Book Publishing Deal [Video]

Cash Money’s head honcho took a break from the set of Jay Sean’s “Like This, Like That” video shoot to chat with NBC Miami’s Peter Bailey about a few things that included: the expansion of Cash Money, venturing into movies/films, and more importantly, a book publishing deal with Simon & Schuster.

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Duration : 0:2:22

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Posted by mark - May 14, 2014 at 4:55 am

Categories: Book Publishing   Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Gauging Your Thoughtleading Potential

Has the time come to find out if you indeed are “thought leader” material, i.e., that expert of all experts to whom your target market turns to… every time? Maybe you’re a thought leader already and don’t know it. Or maybe you do know it, or suspect it, but could use some validation.

To some extent, we are all thought leaders on some level. If you’re an expert on anything at all (engineering, human resources, management, Chinese history, bartending, roofing), you are at least on the launch pad. You see, all thoughtleaders are experts, although not all experts are thoughtleaders. Thoughtleaders are experts who have made a commitment to optimizing their expertise—to fine-tuning their expert’s edge.

But if you haven’t gotten that far yet, you should at least know that if anyone is lauding you, or paying you, for your skills or knowledge or expertise, you have met the basic entry requirements. A Starbucks barista, for example, who is expert at concocting everything from venti-cinnamon-dolce-lattes to grande-lite-chai-tea-tall-doppio-half-soy-moccachinos doesn’t necessarily know any more than the barista who replaces her on the next shift, so in that sense the two baristas are both experts. But if she wishes to become a barista thoughtleader, distinguishing herself from her shift predecessors and shift successors, not to mention all the many thousands of other baristas out there at all the many Starbucks in the world, she can embark upon a personal thoughtleading strategy to get herself there.

Perhaps understanding the principal characteristics of thoughtleaders would help here. Often the only thing holding a would-be thoughtleader back is an array of misconceptions about what a thoughtleader is and is not. Such misconceptions feed into the thoughtleader wannabe’s low self-image, amounting to what I call “thoughtleader jitters.”

For example, it’s often assumed that a thoughtleader is someone whose ideas are totally original. Well, yes and no. While a thoughtleader’s mind should be open to new insights and lessons learned, these insights and lessons may be new to the thoughtleading individual but not new to the world in the strictest sense of the word. They may, however, be new to many of the people who read this thoughtleader’s article or book.

So in case your own misconceptions have created thoughtleader jitters that have been holding you back, here’s a “Thoughtleading Inventory” composed of seven questions and commentaries designed to help you gauge your personal and professional thoughtleading potential. Perhaps this inventory can put your jitters to rest and get you off your thoughtleader launch pad:

1. Are You an Entrepreneurial Personality?

Thoughtleading is all about trying something new, and diving deep into the subject of thoughtleading suggests a learning personality, a prime characteristic of entrepreneurialism. And although the term entrepreneurs is typically associated with people who own and run their own businesses, you can also be an entrepreneur within the structure of a firm that you do not own, but that instead employs you.

The key to unleashing your entrepreneurial side in your quest to become a thoughtleader, as even the corporate entrepreneurial personality displays, is for you is to eliminate whatever personal “blocks” might be getting in the way of allowing you to think deeply, think creatively, trust and have faith, develop interesting ideas, and firmly commit to a breakthrough result. So declare your own hour or two of free time every day so that you too can pursue what you choose. Use the time to develop your thoughtleading self. Stop telling yourself that you don’t have the time.

2. Do You Enjoy Finding Creative Solutions to Problems?

When you work with your clients, do you ever run up against a particularly vexing problem? Do you find yourself digging deeper for a solution or developing a new process for resolving a problem? Do you sometimes come up with a completely unexpected happy result?

If so, creativity is in your blood. Creativity is a prime ingredient in thoughtleading. By sharing individualized expressions of concepts that have been thought up and written about before, you can rightfully claim ownership of “creative” solutions. That puts you squarely in a thoughtleading frame of mind.

3. Are You Interested in Writing and Publishing an Article or a Book?

The question here is not whether you have written and published anything or whether you would be willing to do so, but rather whether you have any interest in doing so. Because to achieve their expert’s edge, genuine thoughtleaders must do this, and do it on a regular basis.

To attain this characteristic, it helps enormously if you actually perceive personal benefits from writing. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you must find the writing process enjoyable, just that you must see value in the doing of it.

4. Do You Have Any Interest in Speaking to Groups about Your Ideas?

Because again, as a genuine thoughtleader, you must do this. What thoughtleader jitters get in the way this time? The biggest by far is the abject fear of public speaking itself. Though fear of public speaking might seem like a valid reason for not getting up and doing it, it is not. By being brave and pushing yourself out to speak in public again and again and again, you will make your fear go away. You will then get better as a speaker and begin to reap the same kinds of rewards as you will with your writing.

5. Are You Passionate about Your Specialty?

This one’s pretty important. Why would you go through all the bother, trouble, sweat equity, and so on if you don’t really care about what you’re doing and advocating? Without passion, you’re not likely to dig deeper to keep learning about your thoughtleading specialty. You’re also not likely to try hard to develop original new ideas because it will all feel like just so very much work. So make sure you truly care about your area of expertise.

6. Are You Willing to Take Risks?

As an entrepreneurial personality, you probably have this one covered. The very essence of entrepreneurialism is risk taking, so undoubtedly you engage in it frequently. Since you can never be sure how what you have to say will be received, risk taking is an obvious prerequisite for thoughtleading. Although you’ll certainly develop followers who will agree with everything you have to say, others will object, argue, disapprove, and work to prove you are wrong. Risk taking, then, is the name of the game.

7. Do You Enjoy Musing about the Future?

Thoughtleaders are valuable to society and to their own businesses because they muse about the future. The non-thoughtleader 99 percent of the population goes bustling about every day keeping day-to-day things humming. So the other 1 percent has to step back once in a while and consider where all of this is going, or how it could be done differently, hopefully better, or maybe even not at all.

The thoughtleader then lays out a possible scenario, tosses it on the table, and invites the world to take a good look. That’s where the “leading” in thoughtleading comes in—the trail blazing, the breaking of new ground. Sometimes this characteristic results in a whole new way of doing things. Other times such musing falls flat. But the musing itself is essential, and by definition a sublime act, so settle back and enjoy it.

Because if a thoughtleader like you isn’t going to do it, who will?

Ken Lizotte

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Posted by mark - May 12, 2014 at 3:26 am

Categories: Self Publishing   Tags:

Ending returnability will save Canada’s book publishing industry over $330 million per year

Millions of books being wasted! Thrown into dumpsters. Here’s why… Learn about a broken business model. It is a secret publishers don’t want the public to know about.
The book industry is in dire straits — more publishers and retailers are going bankrupt every week. Massive lay-offs are happening. The pressures seem to be coming from every direction: the recession causing lower sales in stores, digital books threatening to erode sales of printed books, the cost of printing rising… Yet the best hope for regaining profitability is to FIX AN UNDERLYING BUSINESS MODEL that is hopelessly inefficient and scandalously wasteful of money and natural resources.
A simple change could be implemented within six months, and would save the Canadian book industry over $330 MILLION each year.
Please go to to learn more. Thanks for watching and doing what you can to build awareness and bring pressure to bear on publishers and retailers.

Duration : 0:7:32

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Posted by mark - May 8, 2014 at 12:30 am

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