Marci Seither has been published in Guideposts Magazine and has had hundreds of articles published in local and national publications.
Her first nonfiction book, The Empty Nest, and her middle grade novel, The Adventures of Pearley Monroe, were published in Spring 2014.
With a great sense of humor and years of experience in the trenches, Marci shares what she’s learned during her writing journey by encouraging and inspiring writers through her workshops on article writing and creative marketing.
You’ve had quite an exciting year celebrating the publication of your first nonfiction book, as well as your first middle grade novel. How did your years of writing articles prepare you to write The Empty Nest and The Adventures of Pearley Monroe?
Empty Nest: Strategies To Help Your Kids Take Flight was an extension of what I had been doing for the paper for several years, getting information and interviewing people. Each chapter is a stand-alone topic such as “Military Minded”, “College Bound”, and “Siblings Matter,” so it really felt like writing several big articles.
The Adventures of Pearley Monroe was a whole other ball game. I had never written a novel before. I had to learn all I could about the craft. Every year at Mount Hermon Writers Conference and Redwood Chapel I would take classes to help me with plot, character development and story line.
Everything I learned about fiction writing also made me a better non-fiction writer.
Why is it important to invest in writing articles before and after a writer has published their first book?
I think it depends of whether you write fiction or non-fiction. Since I consider myself a non-fiction writer I can’t imagine starting off with a book verses articles. I have had a lot of people tell me they felt compelled to write a book to help others, but in reality an article reaches a bigger audience than a book does, unless you already have established yourself as an author. I wrote articles for Gold Country Media for several years and every week over 20,000 people read some of my stories. Stories in Guideposts are read by 7 million. A book run will usually be between 5,000 to 10,000.
Writing an article is a great way to hone your craft. I love what Anne Lamont wrote in her book Bird by Bird, about thinking in terms of a 1 inch picture frame. A book is a panoramic view but an article is the smaller section.
Plus, it is good to have samples of your work for your resume. Even if you write fiction, being able to write a blog post or article is important for marketing.
What are the vital components of a quality article?
Here are my top five vital components to being able to write a great article.
# 1. Being able to decide who is looking for what. Really study the publications you would like to submit articles for and try to figure out their format. Being able to know your audience is the first step to writing your article.
# 2. You also need to practice getting interviews and think about interesting questions you would like to ask. I always record my interviews so that it is more conversational and I never turn off my recorder until I am all the way back to the car because sometimes the best part of the interview is as at the very end.
# 3. Being able to write a good hook and tie it into the closing is a great skill.
# 4. One thing that cannot be underestimated is being able to write great sidebar content.
# 5. Learn to take photos. Not all publications have a professional photographer so if you can supply a quality photo that reflects the heart of the story, then you are much more valuable to a publication. Phone cameras and not high enough resolution, but being able to capture a good photo does not require a top of the line camera, just one that is a 10 megapixel or higher.
What would you say to a writer who may be concerned that investing in crafting an article would take away from their book projects?
Crafting and article should not be that big of a distraction…now, skipping out on laundry to spend more time on your book project…well, that might have some merit.
What final word of encouragement would you like to offer writers?
If they had a “Least Likely To Write” category in my high school yearbook, I would have won it hands down. I was the only one in the history of Ponderosa High School history to ever be DEMOTED from electric typewriter back to manual. I didn’t read a lot, but I always loved stories. Proof that God has a sense of humor.
Don’t quit. Persevere and press on. Be a light in a dark place and bring a WORD of hope and truth to those who need to hear it. If the Lord put it in your heart to write, then do it to your very best. Trust the Lord to be the keeper of your dreams, and fan the flame of passion to write.
Start. Right. Now.
The Empty Nest: http://www.marciseither.com/books
The Adventures of Pearley Monroe: http://www.marciseither.com/books
Marci’s website: www.marciseither.com