The last time we put out an author manual was 2011. Lots has changed since then.
This boot camp training guide is a quick resource for the published author.
If you are an unpublished author, use it to assist you to not only reach competency, but to excel in every area of publishing and prepare you for the next step in your career.
As you review each section and subsection, you must be able to list a measurable goal that you reached before you can consider yourself proficient.
To help you evaluate your progress each section is also scored. Add up your scores to see how close you are to passing Author Basic Training.
Passed with Honors = +200
Passed with Honors and Edging To a First Sale =+300
Does The Author's Boot Camp Manual guarantee a sale? No. But it does ensure you are prepared to take your writing to the next level in a logical and systematic manner using training tools pulled from over 2,700 Seekerville posts and a few from other resources.
Is The Author's Boot Camp Manual exhaustive? No, there are far too many topics to cover. This is a primer covering the basics (Boot Camp covers the survival basics!) Check out our archives for more topics.
Is every section necessary? Not at all. There will always be success stories that bypass "traditional" methodology and of course, independent publishing zooms right past many of these steps.
|How do you spit shine combat boots? By polishing over and over again. How do you become a better writer? By writing more and more and more.|
Have you mastered these basics?
A. (5 pts) Point of View
Do you understand POV? Deep POV? Can you transition point of view smoothly and logically?
B. (10 pts) Conflict (Internal & External)
Can you explain the difference between internal and external conflict? Does your story have strong internal and external conflict that doesn't fall apart half-way through the manuscript?
C. (5 pt) Characterization
Characterization is how you create your characters using dialogue, narrative, pov, and interactions with other characters. Are you able to create strong and vivid characters?
D. ( 10 pts) Plot
Plot is your story structure consisting of goal, motivation and conflict. Define the GMC for your story.
E. (5 pts) Theme & Premise
Can you describe theme and premise separately?
Stanley D Williams describes theme as a universal truth.
Premise would be your story line.
F. (5 pts) Hooks
The catalyst that grabs the reader. Does your story have an opening hook? Chapter ending and beginning hooks?
G. (5 pts) Show vs. Tell
Can you define show vs. tell? Showing is expression through dialogue, action and the five senses. Showing enables the reader to see your story.
H. (5 pts ) Award yourself five points for each of these types of fiction you have written and completed in the romance genre-with or with an inspirational thread: contemporary, historical, speculative fiction/time travel/paranormal, women's fiction, novella, short story, young adult, new adult.
- The Nature of Deep Point of View
- Some Deep Point of View Tips
- Confessions of a POV Queen
- Why I love Debra Dixon's Goal, Motivation & Conflict
- Conflict in Every Line
- Two Dogs. One Bone
- Conflict~Gotta Love How They Hate Each Other
- Your Hero's Fatal Flaw
- 8 Tips for Making Your Heroine Unforgettable
- The Romantic Arc: Version 2.0
- Getting Into (Too Much) Character
- From Idea to Plot
- Michael Hauge's Six Stage Plot Structure
- Salvation for the Plotless Wonder
- Dr. Stanley Williams, The Morale Premise Guy
- Gotcha! Hooking Your Reader
- The Tease...Great Scene/Chapter Endings to Lead Your Readers
- The Perfect Pickup Line...Or How To Hook a Reader
- A Telling Example
- Seven Ways to Weave in Backstory without Slowing the Pace
- Write the Scene
- Show Not Tell Part I
- Show Not Tell Part II
- So Many Acronyms, So Little Time
- To Prologue or Not to Prologue: Answering the Question
- Epilogues: The Last Word on Your Story
- How to Write a Romantic Suspense
- Falling in Love in One Thousand Words or Less:The Art of the Romantic Short Story
- A Novel Approach to Novellas
- Talking Women's Fiction
- So... What is YA Fiction Anyway
|You are a soldier writer. Own it!|
Exhibit A-The Manuscript
A. (2 pts ) Professional Manuscript Formatting
B. (20 pt each) Completed Manuscripts- must include the words THE END
How many have you completed?
C. (2 pts each) Partial Manuscripts
A partial manuscript consists of three chapters or more. How many do you have? If you hit ten partials you must then subtract 2 points for every partial over ten and please read the post below called Writers Who Don't Write The End, asap.
D. (5 pts) Synopsis
A summary of the story and plot outline.
One page story selling synopsis or a multiple page plot outline synopsis.
E. (5 pts) Editing & Revising
Editing is a surface polishing or the mechanical cleanup of your story. Revising is structural cleanup for consistency and clarity of the GMC.
F. (10 points) Critiques (groups, one-on-one or professional editing )
Points are only given if you submitted material.
- Formatting 101: how to format your novel for submission by Marlys Pearson
- Scrivener-Everything But The Muse
- One Editor's Top 7 Revision Notes
- CRASH EDITS: Trimming the Fat from Your Novel
- Don't Limit Your Novel With Poor Editing
- CPFs – Finding and Keeping a Critique Partner Forever
- Putting Your Baby To Bed
- Your Best Writing Time
- Synopsis Writing-Your Voice
- Diana Cosby: Writing the Synopsis
- Tina's Holiday Miracle
- Manuscript Triage
- When It Comes to Writing...Sometimes Less is More
- Please Welcome the Grammar Queen
- Dare Your Reader To Risk Reading Your Book
- Secrets of the Slush Pile
- Writers Who Don't Write The End
|Tents are temporary. Don't get comfortable outside the Promised Land.|
Contesting: ( 2015 only)
A. Contest with or without a synopsis.
2 pts per contest for entering- 5 points per contest for finaling-10 points per contest for winning. An additional 5 pts for every request generated from a contest, IF you actually submitted the requested material.
B. Contest with Synopsis- Add an additional 5 points for a contest with a synopsis.
C. Diva/Divo Status- The Genesis, The Golden Heart, The Maggies, Tara and The Golden Pen.
Give yourself an additional 5 points, a high five and a pat on the back for each of these contests you entered.
- How To Support Your Contest Habit
- Contest Feedback Glossary
- Pimp Your Contest Entry
- Obsessive Contest Disorder (OCD)
- Exploring Contest Mood Disorder
- Should You Enter Contests?
- The 12 Stages of the Writing Contest Journey
- Thanking Writing Contest Judges Can Benefit Unpublished Writers
|If you can quit. Do it. Ten more will take your place. No place for sissies.|
The Submission Process
A. ( 2 pts) One Sheet
Multiply times the number you have written. Add two more points for every one you have actually given out to an editor or agent. BONUS: five points if it generated a request AND you submitted.
B. (10 pts) Query Letter
Multiply times the number you have written. Add two more points for every one you have actually mailed or emailed to an editor or agent. BONUS: five points if it generated a request AND you submitted. Subtract five points for failing to submit.
C. (10 pts) The Pitch
Multiply times the number you have pitched. BONUS: five points if it generated a request and you submitted. Subtract five points for failing to submit.
D. (2 pts per agent) Agent Due Diligence
Two points for every agent thoroughly researched.
E. (2 pts per publisher and/or editor) Publishing House Research
Two points for every publisher thoroughly researched.
- The Pitch Sheet and the One Sheet
- The One Sentence Hook
- Creating a Pitch
- Pitch Perfect
- The Pitch
- Query Letter Workshop Part I
- Query Letter Workshop Part II
- Top Five Mistakes Authors Make in Proposals
- Savvy Submission Strategy
- The Great Agent Hunt
|Yes, Drill Sergeant!|
A (10 pts) The Basics. Award yourself ten points for each skill you mastered.
Formatting print book
B. (25 pts) Audiobook.
Produced your own audiobook. (An additional 25 points for each project)
C. (25 pts) Hybrid.
Add these points if you were a hybrid author in 2015)
Publishing as a Hybrid Author
Using Free As a Marketing Tool
You Can't Judge a Book by its Cover...Or can you?
Book Cover Design Principles
Tips From An Indie Journey
Help!!! I’ve Dived into the Indie Ocean—and I don’t know how to swim!!
Behind the Scenes of Audiobook Production
From Page to Performance: The Making of an Audiobook
The World of Audio CX
Don’t Fear the Formatting! Tips from Marie Force, and the E-book Formatting Fairies
|You are an Author Forever.|
A. (10 pts) Conferences
Award yourself ten points for each conference attended in 2010, no matter how small. All day workshops are 5 points each and chapter meetings are 2 points per meeting.
B. (2 pts each item) Author Platform & Marketing
Internet Presence (Webpage, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, other Social Networking)
Branding (tagline created, business cards, stationary, promotional material, professional photos)
(extra 5 points for the following)
Hired or have a publicist
- Things to Bring to a Writer's Conference
- Conference Dos and Don'ts
- What You're Probably Forgetting To Pack For Conference
- Following Through After a Conference
- Author Branding & Author Tags
- The Power of Author Branding
- Blogging For Promotion
- The Ultimate (Budget) Guide to Ramp up your Holiday Sales
- The Everyday Author's Guide to Establishing a Book Marketing Plan
- Lazy Website Syndrome
- How To Help Your Publicist
- Why You Need a Publicist
- Videos: Take 127 and Counting
- Just Monkeying Around: Newsletters So Easy ANY Monkey Can Do It!
- What Makes an Author Newsletter
|Reality Check Anyone?|
The Writer's Life
A. (10 pts) Career Planning
Have you created measurable goals with steps toward those goals?
Do you have a one year plan and a five year plan?
B. (10 pts) Balancing Life and Your Career.
This is the quest for 25 hours in each day. Time Management. Give yourself the points if you have a written plan. Whether it works or not is moot. You tried.
Two extra points for every time management app. or tool you own.
C. Discouragement and Other Obstacles.
We don't shoot our wounded.
Unscored. But give yourself 5 points if followed the 24 hour rule or know what it is.
- Camping Outside the Promised Land
- Prepare Yourself for Success: Gaining Confidence
- The Joy of Rejection
- Rejection and Despair:Just Another Day in Writer Paradise
- The Hardest Contest
- Writing As a Business: How Do You Rate?
- How Do You Achieve Balance?
- What I Wish I Knew Before I Sold a Book
- Working Ahead of the Curve
- Who Ran Off With My Cheese?
- The Writer's Guide to Self-Sabotage
- Hurry Up and Wait
- Writing Through Grief
- Getting the Block out of Writer's Block
- Endurance to Cross Your Own Finish Line
- Diary of a Novelist
- Liminal Space
- A Writer's Enemy : Feeling Like a Fraud
As your DI (Drill Instructor) I am willing to reward you for taking the time to evaluate your Author Basic Training and share your results with Seekerville. Here's what's up for grabs.
Leave a comment today to win one of two $15 Starbucks gift cards. Remember you can buy an array of beverages to keep you happy while you are writing at Starbucks.
If you are a writer, holler if you would like a first chapter critique (inspirational & up to twenty pages.)
Oh, yeah, and if you want a copy of Rocky Mountain Reunion yell loud!
Winners announced in the Weekend Edition.
A link to this guide will be available in the Library Section of our web page, Seekerville the Town, so you can refer to it time and again.
Finished the test? Some fun challenges and encouragement for the New Year below!
Don’t Break the Chain - Jerry Seinfeld's Method for Creative Success (The Writers Store)
Copy Blogger-!0 Steps to Becoming a Better Writer. Download your own here.
Like this infographic? Get more content marketing tips from Copyblogger.
Tina Radcliffe looks horrible in O.D. green, but still spent three years in U.S. Army intelligence.
A 2012 Carol Award finalist and 2014 Carol Award winner, she has placed first in over 20 RWA contests. Her fourth Paradise series novel released from Love Inspired this month. You can find Rocky Mountain Reunion at discriminating book sellers everywhere.
Check out her critiquing service, My Critique Partner.
She currently works from her home in Arizona where she writes inspirational and sweet romance.
|Rocky Mountain Reunion|
Nurse Anne Matson's structured life derails when a familiar patient enters her ER—the ex-husband she left ten years ago. Matthew Clark is the last person she expects to see in Paradise, Colorado, especially with a nine-year-old daughter. The single dad is running the town's biggest expansion project, but one thing stands in his way—Anne's Victorian home. When his daughter falls ill, and Anne volunteers to help with her care, Matt recognizes he's never stopped loving the spirited beauty. But how can he get her back when he plans to take all she has left…or can Anne see she has everything to gain—the family she's been denied?
And P.S. This is the last call for Door Hangers, then they go back in the prize vault until Speedbo (Our Annual Book in a Month Challenge from March 1-31. Face Your Fears!) Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like one sent to you. Please provide your snail mail address.