Sharing your other work at work

I work for Thomson Reuters, and in January, our brand marketing team solicited responses from employees around the world. They regularly showcase the people who define our culture, and in this instance, they were interested in our activities outside the office. Since I’m passionate about writing – and <cough> always looking for an opportunity to share and connect with others – I wrote the following submission. Somehow, I managed to keep it under 300 words, which is nearly impossible for a writer writing about the book he’s writing.

Anyhoo, without further ado or digression, here it is:


I’ve spent the last two years working on a fantasy novel featuring a young heroine who can literally become anyone. This allows her to break stereotypes and see how the world treats the person she has become. Her world is largely patriarchal, but living a secluded life in the woods with her adoptive mother, she brings a different perspective to everyone she meets, human or otherwise. With an indomitable spirit, keen intellect, and unwavering sense of justice, she could restore her father’s throne. She just doesn’t know that she’s the princess who was supposedly killed twelve years ago.

Written for fans of Harry Potter and Lord of the RingsThe Lost Royals follows Tildy as she crosses the realm of Evereign to regain her true name and kingdom, while struggling to maintain a sense of self in a body going through more changes than your average teenager.

——————–

In our world – the real one – where we continue to see gender inequality and other prejudices, I think girls and boys need more role models who help them look at others as human beings first. I see the book series as a way to encourage reading, form a more compassionate society, and expand children’s minds to think in creative ways. I want to someday sit down and read these books to my kids, nieces, and nephew, telling them, “I wrote this with your future in mind.”

Depending on my level of success with the series, I then intend to start a non-profit that will create illustrated books for the waiting rooms of children’s hospitals. As someone who spent a lot of time with my premie son in Children’s – Minneapolis, and watched my older son reading to him, I can attest to the welcome distraction that a storybook can provide.


I share this today because it’s an example of me refining my synopsis (some might call this a blurb, talking points, or elevator pitch). It’s something you need to write and revise several times, smoothing down the rough spots until it rolls off the tongue or keyboard. If you’re lucky, people will ask about your story. They’re more likely to be intrigued and engaged if your response is interesting, effortless, and concise.

Take any opportunity to work on this – it will help when you finally sit down to write that inquiry letter you’ve been dreading.

Good luck with your writing!


Michael Wallevand is a Senior Product Manager at Thomson Reuters, managing Integrated Marketing Solutions for FindLaw, the world’s leading provider of online legal information and law firm marketing solutions. He has developed products that have generated a hundred thousand unique pieces of content, whilst using organic and paid advertising to drive traffic to attorney websites across the US, UK, and Canada.

© Michael Wallevand, February 2018

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Is This Blog Still On?

This quick post will take about a minute to read. It’s an attempt to return to a regular posting schedule.

There are, and will be, many recurring themes on this blog, among them: my love the English language, character development, human rights, and varying posts about writing, of course. These are all important to me and I love writing about them. But there’s another recurring theme that keeps turning up, like that pesky garbage-eating scrut that follows your caravan on a long journey to Evereign.

Neglecting the blog.

It’s a long recurring issue, going back ten years or so into other blogs I’ve managed. It’s not unique to me, either. Many blogs I’ve followed go through similar dry patches. Those who survive – and create large followings – always get back into it, devoting enough effort to assure subscribers they aren’t wasting their reading time.

My current neglect is two or three months.

The usual excuses abound: family, life, work, beautiful weather, the writing – all of these things take priority, as they do with most people. I think I also put too much effort into writing my posts, transforming the work into a chore. It appears I simply need to remove the ‘business writer’ hat to don the ‘social media writer’ one. Sigh.

I don’t expect this post to garner much interest. It’s more of a ‘Dear Diary’ kind of thing for Future Me to read as a cautionary tale. It’s also something I could kick out quickly over morning coffee while a sales report generates.

Tl;dr: Keep writing. Shoo, scrut!

–Michael


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© Michael Wallevand, July 2017

My Wagon Is Draggin’

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This post is approximately 400 words. Weirdly written, stream-of-consciousness words.

The title is a synonym for being exhausted. Not to be confused with a dragon wagon, which is a concept I’ve been trying to fit into a story for years. But I digress before I’ve begun.

The household was restless last night. My wife caught whatever cold our youngest has. Our big dog, Atticus, seemed to be rotating his body on our bed in time with the hands of the clock. The smaller dog, Scout, scratched her bed regularly, looking for comfort. I’d moved 800 pounds of retaining wall bricks, so I had some complaining muscles that I forgotten were muscles.

This morning, I was in a fog. Honestly, it lasted most of the day. I buried myself in reporting at work, which meant minimal human interaction (i.e. fewer people to question whether I’d been replaced by a malfunctioning mandroid).

Can you tell I’m a bit punchy and sleep-deprived?

So, the point of this post is this: when your brain’s in a fog and you’re in the middle of writing a book, how does a person put forth the creative energy to work on the manuscript? Continue reading

May 14 writing update

This post is approximately 400 words.

Sometimes the writing can be an obsession. You’ve hardly enough brain power or typing ability to keep up with the flurry of thoughts racing across the vision of your mind’s eye.

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And sometimes, you need a break. Maybe not from writing in general and certainly not from creativity. But another outlet, perhaps.

For me, this occurred in late April. I’d been writing pretty consistently for four months: through the holidays, through one of the busiest and most stressful points in my corporate career, and through those long Minnesotan winter days when we all go a little stir crazy.

I was happy with my progress, which had been more satisfactory than most other writing periods in my life. Still, I needed to take a step back.

KIEV UKRAINE - MAY 12 2015:Collection of popular social media lo

Six out of nine ain’t bad. Wait…is that a MySpace logo? Six out of eight.

I found that starting on the marketing – the social presence – of the book series was an excellent way to keep my writing and creative energy going. I now had outlets for blogging and photography, for sharing inspiring landscapes or thoughts on books. When there are too many distractions or I’m walking a dog, I can still be doing things to promote the project. It also allowed me to put into practice many of the things I’ve learned about digital marketing over the last ten years.

It’s a welcome distraction, but hopefully, not too much of a distraction from the most important part of the project: the book itself. At 72,000 words, that’s quite an investment of time. I’d hate to derail myself by spending too much time away. Believe me, every day away from the manuscript makes it that much harder to return.

Fortunately, the words for the first book are still flowing, as are ideas for the next books in the series. Honestly, that’s the greater danger: the excitement of a new project when the current one has its luster smudged a smidge (more on that in a future post).

For now, my time on the project is split between the manuscript and things like this website, which I’ve soft-launched until I’ve finalized all the details. Expect more updates like this: May 31 is my deadline for the first draft of book one.

–Michael

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© Michael Wallevand, May 2016

You can’t only focus on the writing.

This post is about 300 words.

Sometimes you need to step away from the manuscript because you’re so close that you only see parts, not the whole. Or it’s become all-consuming and you need to think about something else, if only for a little while.

When I need a break, I work on the other aspects of bringing a book to life. The marketing plan. Sketches. Mailing materials. Business cards? Sure, why not?

To be honest, I probably spent too much time on Amazon and Office Depot browsing colored envelopes, custom address labels, and sealing wax.

Oh yeah, you read that right: sealing wax. For me, it’s all about presentation. There’s a story to tell in the presentation itself. And while authoritative might not be the first word used to describe that author you know, that person has absolute control of the world being created.

I think that extends to the other aspects of bringing a book to life. From the moment you join me on the journey, whether the website, a mailing, or an in-person discussion, I will have put considerable thought into how I want you to begin that journey. Among other things, that includes fonts, colors, word choice, and imagery. The various social platforms I’m using all have different strategies, so you will see something different on Tumblr or Instagram than you will see here.

Assuming everything goes (roughly) according to plan, I intend to look into other ways of changing your experience as a reader. For example, a leather book cover as an add-on to enhance your reading experience. I don’t just want to take your mind to another world, I want your eyes to see, your fingers feel, and nose smell a different experience than you might otherwise have in your reading chair.

And the words on the page can’t do that alone.

–Michael

Enjoy what you read? Leave a comment or like the post and we’ll ensure that you see more like this from Michael!

© Michael Wallevand, April 2016