Speakers’ Showcase!

Thursday, July 21st, 2016
Speakers Showcase Catherine

Catherine Mowbray Lorenz

Last April, I participated in a Speaker’s Showcase.  Although,  I wasn’t sure what I was getting into, it turned out to be a very rewarding and useful experience.

The showcase included a moderator, a time keeper, and a videographer.  The moderator set up our presentations by introducing us.  Then the camera began taping.  The timekeeper clued us with two minute warnings.  We were each videotaped for 8 minutes.

Speakers showcase sylvia

Sylvia Becker-Hill

Twenty-two people spoke in the showcase.  We were all from varied backgrounds: investing, business, sales, authors, social media and a few toastmasters spoke.  After each presentation, we rated each other on a simple evaluation sheet.  That was really the bonus.

From the evaluations I learned at times I needed to raise my voice, I looked at my prompts too often (because I turned my head away from my audience), and I used the word “um” several times.

On the positive side, I received many encouraging comments:  You are so passionate about what you do – I loved it; Great Stories; I want to read your books.

I have to admit I am hooked.  I can’t wait to participate in the next showcase.

Check out my presentation.  It’s entitled “My Writing Adventures.”

Heads Up – The Winter Edition of the Writer’s Digest Yearbook 2016

Thursday, January 21st, 2016

LikeThis annual handbook for Writing Success by Writer’s Digest is filled with timely information particularly for children’s writers.

Jane Friedman in her article “2015 The Year in Review” points out the juvenile market stayed strong during the year. She also talks about other key developments in the market place.

In “Pitch Perfect” Zachary Petit talks about aiming and shaping queries. He gives you some game rules and breaks down a query into six components to help you stand out from the pack.

My favorite article “Top 10 Publishing Insiders (and Outsiders) to Follow Online” is once again written by Jan Friedman.  Through reading her article, I discovered Kristen McLean’s free database WriterCube. It contains over 20,000 vetted listings of book marketing resources for writers.  I also learned about Victoria Strauss’s website Writer Beware.

Hannah Haney in her article “The Top 100 Markets for Book and Magazine Writers” has picked out 50 book publishers who accept simultaneous submissions, are open to working with new authors (with our without agents), and pay advances.  Nine of them publish books for children.  She has also picked out fifty magazines that are currently open for submissions, pay a fair rate, and 50% of their content comes from freelance writers.  Three of the magazines are published for children.

Once again, the editors at Writer’s Digest have hit a home run with the bases loaded.

No New Year’s Resolutions for 2016

Thursday, January 7th, 2016

Instead of coming up with New Year’s resolutions for my writing in 2016, I decided to take a friend’s advice and try a new approach. I wrote down what worked and what didn’t for me in 2015.social media


  1. Blogging
  2. Facebook
  3. Twitter
  4. Seeking Reviews

Didn’t Work

  1. Blog tour
  2. Pinterest
  3. Goodreads
  4. Reviewing Books

Due to blogging, the activity on my website increased steadily over the year. My most successful blogs were about pitching your manuscripts to agents and editors and writing in general.  Blogs about historical trivia and book reviews were the least popular.  Setting up a blog tour took a great deal of time and was only minimally successful.

Joining Facebook groups dedicated to writing and sharing my blogs and other interesting information about writing resulted in a lot of activity on my website.  I joined Twitter in November and began sharing writing tidbits and my blogs. Creating a Tweet is short and quick and fits into my life style.  Goodreads was time consuming and sometimes confusing.  Although I like Pinterest, more of my pens about drawing and painting were repined than anything about biographies.

I was successful in obtaining reviews for my books simply by asking for them.  It was a time consuming process, but I received six 5 star reviews from Amazon reviewers and Debbie Alvarez, The Styling Librarian highly praised my biography of George Eastman on her blog.


My GoalsSo do I have a New Year’s Resolution? No!  But I do have goals.  What are they?  Keep doing what worked.  So I will continue blogging, making friends on Facebook, Tweeting regularly, and seeking more reviews.  Plus, I have two new goals for 2016.  I want to carve out more time to work on new projects and develop a workshop for writers on pitching their work.


What are your goals for 2016?


Advice: How to Effectively Represent Yourself and Your Book

Thursday, December 10th, 2015

I attended a writer’s forum at the San Diego Main Library downtown last night on how to Effectively Represent Yourself and Your Book.  I came away with lots of ideas and three people I want to follow.


Susan McBethSusan McBeth, the founder and owner of Adventures by the Book and AuthorPreneurs, spoke about planning for your book signing events and readings.  Susan advised authors to practice your  presentations until you are comfortable with what you want to say (don’t memorize.) And, before going on stage take three deep breaths to relax.


Kathi DaimantKathi Diamant the author of the Geisel Award-winning Kafka’s Last Love spoke about preparing for interviews, readings, and presentations. Kathi advised authors to dress like their books.  (Not literally)  Think about the colors on your book cover.  The main cover of my Thomas Nast Biography is a rich burgundy color and Nast has a flower in his lapel.  So, I am wearing a burgundy jacket with a flower pinned to my lapel for my next presentation.


FauizaFauzia Burke is the founder and president of FSB Associates.  She spoke about online marketing and is the author of Online Marketing for Busy Authors (coming in spring 2016). Fauzia pointed out that the job of an author is 15% writing and publishing a book and 85% getting it in the hands of readers.


Do you have any advise you would like to share????

Blogging Anniversary

Thursday, November 12th, 2015

Lynda Pflueger side viewAs of today, I have blogged for one year and  written 55 blogs. I started my blogging adventure when I established my website “Every Life Has a Story.”   Why did I chose that name for my website? Because it sums up my brand – Lynda Pflueger, biographer.  That is who I am.  That is what I like to write.  And every life does have a story.

Some writers look at me like I am crazy when I tell them I blog once a week.  Sometimes, when I have trouble coming up with a topic, I think I am crazy, too.  But, all in all, I like blogging.  It keeps me sharp.  I have to write and polish something every week to post.

Does blogging take away from other writing?  No.  I think it adds to it.  Through blogging, I have learned to write faster, concisely, and to stay on my topic.  I can pull together a rough draft much faster.  Does it help the editing process?  No.  But I get to editing much faster.

I am a late bloomer.  I should have established by website in 1997 when my first biography was published.  In my own defense, publishing was much different back then.  Now, I feel a website and a blog are a necessity for an author – particularly someone who writes for young people.   We need to be brave and bold and use every opportunity we can find to promote our books and reach our readers.

If you are interested in blogging here are some resources I found helpful.


Blogging for writers

Blogging for Writer’s by Robin Houghton.  This book is packed full of tips, advice and inspirational stories.  Houghton focuses on the two most used blogger platforms:  Blogger and WordPress.  I refer to her book often.


create your author platformCreate Your Writer Platform: The Key to Building an Audience, Selling More Books, and Finding Success as an Author by Chuck Sambuchino who works for writer’s digest books and edits the “Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market” guide. His book helped me realize that my platform is the outlets I use to sell myself and my books.   What are my outlets?  My website, blog, and social media presence (Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.)


Every day wrtingEveryday Book Marketing: Promotion ideas to fit your regularly scheduled life by Midge Raymond.  This book sits on my desk.  Her chapter  “Start A Blog” is excellent.  But, the best part of Raymond’s book is her “Everyday Market Tips” you can do in a short amount of time like thirty or fifteen minutes.  



If you decide to join me and blog, please let me know so I can follow you.







My Picks – People to Follow

Thursday, October 29th, 2015

LikeKathleen Merz

Kathleen Merz is the managing editor for Eerdmans Books for Young Readers and she writes a column entitled “From the Editor’s Desk” once a month.  Her articles are informative and well written.

(Eerdmans books for Young People also has an official blog entitled “Eerdlings.”


Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Kristine Kathryn Rusch writes about the publishing industry. Her column is entitled “Business Rusch Publishing Articles.”  I have learned a lot about the publishing industry by reading her column.  She tells it like it is and doesn’t sugar coat anything.  Be sure to read her column “Trust Me.”


Jane Friedman

Jane Friedman worked for Writer’s Digest as their editorial director for nine years. She teaches digital media and publishing at the University of Virginia. Plus, she is a columnist for Publishers Weekly. In her recent blog, “Feeling Like an Old Geezer at the New Social Media Party,” she writes about new social media networks:   Snapchat, The List App, and Periscope. They offer opportunities to explore.


(Look for Jane’s recent column in Publishers Weekly. Check out her post on “The Library Market: What Indie Authors Need to Know.”)



Heads Up! Check out the October Issue of Writer’s Digest

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

LikeAn article entitled “Start Your Agent Search Here” by Chuck Sambuchino piqued my interest . Why? Many of the 38 literary agents actively looking for new clients listed young adult and middle grade fiction as areas of interest.  I created an Excel spread sheet to analysis the information.


79 percent were interest in young adult submissions

68 percent were interested in middle grade fiction submissions

21 percent were interested in new age fiction submissions

21 percent were not interest in children’s books at all

Wow! My conclusion is young adult and middle grade fiction is “hot” and new age books are finding their audience.

Beta Readers

There is another good article in the October issue about beta readers by Amy Sue Nathan. A beta reader is someone who will give you the feed back you ask for about your finished work.  They are not proof readers. But someone who has a strong interest in the genre and will read your entire manuscript not just pieces of it.

My Picks: Three Articles about Writing

Thursday, April 9th, 2015



The Writer’s Digest and the Writer web sites contains several interesting articles on writing.  Below are the three articles I liked.

The Author Platform Explained

By: Courtney Carpenter

This article contains the best definition of an author platform I have ever seen.  The author, Courtney Carpenter, defines it “the turf you claim and name as your area of expertise.”  I wish I had found this article years ago.  It would have saved me from a great deal of frustration.  On the other hand, it reassured me I made the right decision to focus on biography when I set up my web site and blog entitled Every Life Has a Story.  Carpenter’s article is based on The Productive Writer by Sage Cohen.n [ Her article is so good, I am thinking about buying the book.]


E-reading Trends Among Young People

By Dale McGarrigle – December 1, 2014

e book illustrationIn his article, Dale McGarrigle discusses the recent trends in E-reading for children ages 2-13 and their parent’s attitudes toward E-books.  The article sites information from a report compiled by PlayScience and Digital Book World who conducted an online survey in October 2013, of 603 adults in the United States. When parents were asked what criteria they use to selected e-books for their children: 53 percent responded their child asked for the book; 35 percent because of the price, 28 percent due to positive reviews, and 27 percent because of the author’s reputation.


Karen Avivi: Self-Publishing

By Megan Kaplon – June 17, 2014

ShreededThis article tells the story of Karen Avivi’s adventure with her book Shredded.  She found the best way to get her unusual book about a BMX rider out into the world was to self-publish.  Publishers had told her it was “too niche” and rejected her manuscript.  Not a quitter, Avivi took matters into her own hands.  She hired professionals to design the cover and an editor and proofreader to make sure her manuscript was ready to make its debut. Shredded was awarded the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Spark Award in 2013.  The award “recognizes excellence in children’s books published through non-traditional publishing routes.”


Making the Perfect Pitch: How To Catch a Literary Agent’s Eye

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

sandsIn her book, Making the Perfect Pitch:  How To Catch a Literary Agents Eye, Katharine Sands defines pitching as “finding the right words and getting the right people to read them.” She also feels the “writing you do about your writing is as important as the writing itself.” Sands’ book is filled with advice from numerous agents:

Anna Ghosh

For Ghosh, a pitch must contain a “work’s spirit or essence.” She advises not to get bogged down with a synopsis that summaries your work but “try to find that magical phrase or two that expresses its core idea.”

Andrew Stuart

Stuart breaks a pitch down to these elements: a story in a sentence, one or two paragraphs about the plotline, the market for your book, and paragraph about your credentials.  He also points out you need to be selective.  Don’t pitch to someone who has no interest in your genre or topic – do your research beforehand.

Andrea Brown

Brown, a children’s book agent, points out that many editors passed over the first Harry Porter book and twenty-six publishers passed over the first Dr. Seuss book. Yet, they both went on to sell millions of copies.

Joseph Regal

According to Regal, “No agent is waiting for something that’s ‘almost’ there.” An agent’s job is to sell you manuscript not to give editorial advice.  Your goal as a writer is to pitch your work in a way an agent “cannot say no to for fear of missing something that just might me special.”

Sheree Bykofsky

For Bykofsky being passionate about your book is “everything.” You have to believe in yourself and your book.  She also advises that you “sit down with a friend and practice making your pitch.”

Although, Sands’ book is out print it can be found in libraries and used book stores.  It is worth hunting for!


The Art of Pitching – The Pitch Sheet

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

writingOne of the best ways to get ready to verbally pitch your manuscript is to develop a pitch sheet.  You can use it as a reference when practicing your pitch.  Also, if an editor or agent is interested in your manuscript, you can give it to them as you leave.

Make the heading on your pitch sheet the title of your book in bold, capital letters.  Underneath your title, list the genre, then your byline followed by the heading Short Synopsis.  When typing your pitch sheet use the same font and margins as your manuscript. It can be double or single spaced but no longer than one page. The purpose of the pitch sheet is to get all the information you need on a single sheet of paper.


Think about the following questions when writing your pitch sheet: What is the “hook” in your story? What about your story will intrigue your readers and will capture their attention? What are the obstacles preventing your main character from achieving his/her goal?  How does your story end? What makes your book different from other books like yours?  How could a teacher use your book in the classroom? Why did you write your book?

Show Your Enthusiasm

Answering the question, why you wrote the book gives you a place to show your passion for your work.  Enthusiasm is contagious.  Your want the editor or agent to catch it!

Sample Pitch Sheet




By Lynda Pflueger

Short Synopsis

Thomas Nast, a political cartoonist, believed that right was right and wrong was wrong.   He took it upon himself to bring down the notoriously corrupt “Boss” William Tweed, who ran New York City after the Civil War.   His drawings unnerved Tweed and he wanted the damn pictures stopped.  Tweed tried to bribe, threaten and scarce Nast.  But nothing worked.  Nast was determined to put him behind bars. And he did.

Eventually, Nast became a folk hero.  Many people waited to see what his drawings had to say before they took their stand on an issue.  Nast loved Santa Claus and refined Santa’s image to the one we recognize today.  He also created the political symbols of Republican Elephant and the Democratic Donkey. (Share drawing.)

Nast’s biography could be used by teachers of social studies, United States history and art from 4th to 12th grade while teaching the following topics:  biography, civil war, art history, editorial or political cartoons, drawing caricatures, political corruption, immigration, propaganda, and symbolism.

I discovered Thomas Nast while researching an article on collecting at my local library. A book fell from the shelf above and hit me on the head.  It was about a man who collected political cartoons.  His favorite cartoonist was Thomas Nast.  I was intrigued by Nast’s story and his sense of humor.  He often drew caricatures of himself. (Share drawing.)

I am a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and have published several nonfiction articles for children in Magazines.  Would you be interested in seeing a proposal for my biography of Thomas Nast?

Contact Information:  Lynda Pflueger, www.lyndapflueger.com, ldkpflueger@att.net

Last Tip

My final tip is always be ready for this question – What else do you have?   The editor or agent may be impressed with your pitch but aren’t interested in your topic.  So, be ready to pitch another project.  No editor or agent wants “a one book client.”

 Next:  Making the Perfect Pitch:  How to Catch a Literary Agent’s Eye by Katharine Sands.