Seedlings by Aaron Paul Lazar

What They Say

“You do not have to explain every single drop of water contained in a rain barrel. You have to explain one drop—H2O. The reader will get it.”
—George Singleton


Aaron Paul Lazar

Aaron Paul Lazar writes to soothe his soul. A bestselling Kindle author of 22 books, including three addictive mystery series, writing books, and a new love story, Aaron enjoys the Genesee Valley countryside in upstate New York, where his characters embrace life, play with their dogs and grandkids, grow sumptuous gardens, and chase bad guys. Visit his website at http://www.lazarbooks.com and watch for his upcoming release, UNDER THE ICE. Aaron has won over 18 book awards for his novels and finds writing to be his form of "cheap therapy." Feel free to connect with him on Facebook or his website; he loves to connect with readers.


SEMI-FINALIST Kindle Book Review Awards 2015
FINALIST Readers Favorites Awards 2013
SEMI-FINALIST Kindle Book Review Awards 2013, Mystery Category
HONORABLE MENTION Eric Hoffer 2013
GRAND PRIZE * FINALIST 2013 EPIC Book Awards  * FINALIST 2012 FOREWORD BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARDS * Finalist DaVinci Eye Cover Award 2013 * WINNER 2011 EPIC Book Awards, BEST Paranormal * FINALIST 2011 FOREWORD BOOK AWARDS * WINNER 2011 Eric Hoffer BEST Book, COMMERCIAL FICTION *Carolyn Howard-Johnson's Top 10 Reads for 2012 * 2X FINALIST Global eBook Awards 2011 * Preditors & Editors Readers Choice Award – 2nd place 2011* Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s Top 10 Books of 2012 * Winner of Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s 9th Annual Noble (Not Nobel!) Prize for Literature 2011 * Finalist Allbooks Editor’s Choice Awards 2011 * Preditors&Editors Top 10 Finalist  * Yolanda Renée's Top Ten Books 2008MYSHELF Top Ten Reads 2008  * Writer’s Digest Top 101 Website Award 2009-2012

Contact Aaron at aaron(dot)lazar(at)yahoo.com.

 

Books by multi-award winning, Kindle bestselling author, Aaron Lazar:

LEGARDE MYSTERIES

LeGarde Mysteries

DOUBLE FORTÉ (print, eBook, audio book)
UPSTAGED (print, eBook, audio book)  
MAZURKA (print, eBook, audio book)
FIRESONG (print, eBook, audio book)
TREMOLO: CRY OF THE LOON (print, eBook, audio book)
DON’T LET THE WIND CATCH YOU (print, eBook, audio book)
THE LIARS’ GALLERY (print, eBook, audio book)
SPIRIT ME AWAY (print, eBook, audio book)
UNDER THE ICE: COUNTERPOINT (coming soon 2015)
LADY BLUES: forget-me-not (print, eBook, audio book)
VOODOO SUMMER ( print, eBook, audio book)

GREEN MARBLE MYSTERIES

Green Marble Mysteries

The Disappearance of Billy Moore (formerly Healey's Cave) (print, eBook, audio book)
TERROR COMES KNOCKING (print, eBook, audio book)
FOR KEEPS (print, eBook, audio book)

TALL PINES MYSTERIES

Tall Pines Mysteries Series

FOR THE BIRDS (print, eBook, audio book)
ESSENTIALLY YOURS (print, eBook, audio book)
SANCTUARY (print, eBook, audio book)
BETRAYAL (print, eBook, audio book)

PAINES CREEK BEACH SERIES

Paines Creek Beach Series

THE SEACREST (print, eBook, and audio book)
THE SEACROFT (print, eBook, audio book)
THE SEADOG (print, eBook, audio book)

 

 

Seedlings
by Aaron Paul Lazar, author of the LeGarde Mystery Series.

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Illustration © 2006 GinELF

October 2019

"Writing Columns and Branding Yourself" Copyright © 2019 Aaron Paul Lazar. All rights reserved.
Excerpt from Write Like the Wind volume 2 by Aaron Paul Lazar. Re-printed by permission of the author.

Write Like the Wind volume 2 by Aaron Paul Lazar

Writing Columns and Branding Yourself

Interview by Noelle Sterne with Aaron Lazar.

Award winning writer, editor, writing coach, and academic consultant, Noelle Sterne holds a Ph.D. from Columbia University in English and Comparative Literature. She has published fiction, essays, poems, and writer's craft articles in many magazines and online resources, including Absolute Write, ByLine, Children's Book Insider, Writer's Digest special issues, Writers' Journal, The Writer, and, most recently, the 2008 Novel and Short Story Writer's Market. Her bio goes on and on, and is incredibly impressive. In June, she interviewed me about the value of writing columns. This Q&A was part of a larger piece that Noelle published.

Noelle: Why do you feel a column is valuable for a writer?

Aaron: Columns provide multiple avenues to "spread the word." Not only are they ideal opportunities for building name recognition and growing one’s circle of readers, but they also provide connections with real live people, especially if they're online and feature a "comments" section.

There's nothing more satisfying than posting an article on writing advice, or even general "life lessons," and receiving a host of responses ranging from "thanks for sharing," to "you made my day." I love connecting with readers on every level, whether they are my fans or just plain folk with common passions or angst.

Of course, if readers enjoy your columns, they may well enjoy your books. So it's a natural progression for column readers to ask questions about and then devour the series, one book at a time.

Noelle: What drawbacks, if any, do you see in a writer having a column?

Aaron: Okay, here's the rub. Being asked to write a regular column is a coup, right? It's a validation that a magazine editor or literary journal host believes in your work and thinks readers would come back to you, week after week, or month after month. It’s an honor. But there is a down side. The pressure can be tough to produce something fresh and new on a regular basis. And of course, it takes away from your pure writing time if you're a book author.

For years I wrote "Seedlings," a monthly column that started life at Bob Burdick's "The Back Room" literary journal, then moved into the Futures Mystery Anthology Magazine and the Voice in the Dark Literary journal at mysteryfiction.net. I also used to host the Gather.com (a social network) "Writing Essentials" group on Saturday mornings for several years. The latter involved reading and approving/declining writing submissions for the day, depending on their quality and consistency within established guidelines. I also posted an article each week, addressing group members. Sometimes I appealed to their "writerly" sides, with articles filled with writing advice or even book reviews. At other times I wrote about my life, or grandchildren, or dog. But I tried to consistently show up (with the exception of vacations, severe illness or catastrophes) and touched base with the group on Saturday mornings. Of course, my weekends were packed with chores—so I had to rise extra early to prepare for this. It's a big commitment, and one I didn’t take lightly. Now I write a weekly column at my collaborative blog, Murderby4.

Noelle: What advice would you give to a writer who wants to pitch a column?

Aaron: I'm embarrassed to admit that I never had to pitch a column. They sort of "came" to me. That said, if I were trying to snag such a job from scratch, I would create my own "column" by branding it with a name, photo, and logo, and posting regularly on social or writers sites, such as Facebook or Murder By 4, a blog I host with three wonderful writers that appeals to both writers and readers. Murder by 4 started in March 2008, and we've seen amazing growth and the readership is soaring. We just received our fifth consecutive award from Writer’s Digest, as one of the “top 101 writing websites.” Quite an honor, let me tell you. Becoming a regular contributor to such sites will increase your name recognition and may result in someone else asking you to join their journal or newsletter.

Let me share what I mean by branding. For "Seedlings," I chose a beautiful photo I'd taken of my tangerine-colored Siberian Wallflowers. Full of color, it epitomized my passion for life, gardens, and all things beautiful. It symbolized "me," in that I am always digging in my gardens or dragging my characters around their gardens, or picking bountiful baskets of vegetables and fruit from my gardens. While up to my elbows in soft earth, I'm always happy. You get the idea.

Next, I needed a header or blurb that represented what in the world it is I write about. I chose this, and also use it for my blog header.

“This slightly out of place Renaissance man writes mysteries and more. Seedlings are sneaky little germs of ideas that refuse to go away. When they sprout and grow, they’ll appear here. Topics include writing, family, gardens, and more. They’re often infused with a bit of gentle philosophy and always with a lust for life.”

While you're creating your stable of columns, by creating these bits and pieces that go with it—you are branding yourself.

And as long as your host(s) don't mind you republishing your work, there's no reason why one can't post in multiple sites—social networks, writers groups, your own blog, simultaneously. It can get complicated, though. I have to keep a massive spreadsheet of all my reviews and columns to keep track of what posted where and when.

Be sure to have a collection of pieces you can draw on—if you are pitching a column, you need to "have" a column with multiple articles that you use to showcase your talents. Shoot for somewhere between 800 and 2000 words to start, but naturally you must comply with your host's submission requirements in all cases.

Noelle: How did you get your column?

Aaron: I started corresponding with Bob Burdick (aka R.C. Burdick) after reading his wonderful mystery, The Margaret Ellen(that's another great topic: how reviews help increase credibility and internet presence, see the article in Write Like the Wind, volume 1) and falling in love with his characters and writing style. We struck up a friendship, and one day he asked me to write a piece about "The Writer's Life." I did, and thus was born the "Seedlings" columns. Prior to that I'd thrust all my writing energy into my novels. But it didn't take long for this form—a bit more casual and folksier than my mysteries—to become addictive. Once established at Bob's site, I also posted on my blog and other locations. Soon I was asked to do Seedlings for FMAM (Futures Mystery Anthology Magazine), and it grew from there.

Noelle: Any other comments? They are most welcome.

Aaron: If your ultimate goal is to promote your books through networking—a worthy endeavor—columns are a wonderful way to enhance the process. But don't stop there. Be sure to join writers groups, read extensively and post reviews, keep your website fresh and exciting, and participate in as many library and book events as possible. I love reading aloud to my fans—and that has brought in new opportunities on radio and live events. Just be careful to balance these efforts so that you still have time to write.

Aaron Paul Lazar
www.lazarbooks.com


Write Like the Wind cover artwork

WRITING ADVICE: 

WRITE LIKE THE WIND, volumes 1, 2, 3  (audio books)

Aaron Paul Lazar writes to soothe his soul. An award-winning, bestselling Kindle author of three addictive mystery series, thrillers, love stories, and writing guides, Aaron enjoys the Genesee Valley countryside in upstate New York, where his characters embrace life, play with their dogs and grandkids, grow sumptuous gardens, and chase bad guys. Visit his website at http://www.lazarbooks.com and watch for his upcoming releases, UNDER THE ICE (2015) and DEVIL’S CREEK (2015). Aaron has won over 18 book awards for his novels and finds writing to be his form of "cheap therapy." Feel free to connect with him on Facebook or his website; he loves to connect with readers!

 

 

Bittersweet Hollow series by Aaron Paul Lazar

BITTERSWEET HOLLOW Romantic Suspense Series

DEVIL’S LAKE (print, eBook, and audio book)
DEVIL’S CREEK (print, eBook, and audio book)
DEVILS SPRING (print, eBook, and audio book)

"Loved this book! DEVIL'S LAKE is a riveting read, and It could have been ripped from today's headlines." Joan Hall Hovey, Canada's best selling, award-winning Mistress of Suspense.
- 2015 Finalist Readers Favorites Awards
- 2015 Semi-finalist Kindle Book Review Awards