Once upon a time…
Two novice writers met in an online critique group called the Critique Circle and became fast friends. Angela (a Canadian) wrote about zombies and pirates and a magical bookstore that kidnapped customers. Becca (an American) wrote everything from a coming of age YA during California’s Gold Rush to a dark tale of a doughy gingerbread boy being baked alive (and here you thought Angela was the weird one).
The two also shared something else: a passion for learning and helping others. So they turned to studying the craft of writing and how they could help others work through common writing struggles.
One of the bigger hurdles writers faced was showing and not telling character emotion, so the two collaborated on a list of ways to show fear. This brainstorming list was well-received, and led to the next, and the next. Then in January 2008, they decided to start a blog so they could share these lists more widely. At The Bookshelf Muse, this collection of lists was given an official name: the “Emotion Thesaurus.”
This thesaurus became the first of many on different aspects of description, and finally, on May 9, 2012, they self-published their first writing guide: The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression.
Truth be told, it was terrifying. The industry wasn’t so keen on self-publishing back then, and some experts were vocal about how they believed writers were throwing their careers away if they self-published. To know about this bias and then put a book on the same industry-dominated shelf anyway took a lot of inner convincing, especially as this was their first publication, meaning they had no bestselling-this or editor-that to give them credibility.
But they did have something special. You.
Right from that first list, first blog, and first book, YOU were in their corner. You supported, cheered, and encouraged. You helped spread the word, told other writers about the helpful nature of this book, and then did the same for all the ones that followed.
Thank you for being in our corner!
Becca and I are stunned that a million of our books are in the world. Never could we have dreamt of being able to help so many writers, but we’ve been able to because of all of you. Your kindness, generosity, and support is unmatched. We are so grateful–thank you so, so much!
(Find Out More: Press Release & Quick Facts)
A milestone like this calls for a special giveaway, so we reached out to our Resident Writing Coaches for help.
And boy, did they ever deliver!
Look at this incredible load of writerly things you can win…
A Story Audit from RWC & Editor, Lisa Poisso
This small but powerful diagnostic examines your one-page synopsis, a comprehensive assessment of the story’s narrative elements (story structure, plot, character arcs, conflict, and more), and an overview of the writing in your full manuscript. It will help you determine if your book is ready for editing, saving you time, energy, and money by diagnosing any big-picture issues before you pay someone for editing. A winner can redeem this Story Audit anytime after July 2023. (Psst. Lisa is great to work with!)
First 5000 Critique from RWC & Editor Michelle Barker
Your query letter and synopsis are important parts of the submission package, but your writing sample is the true test. In fact, many agents read the sample first. This service includes a developmental edit of your first 5000 words & complimentary access to Query Quest. Find out more.
Online Confidential Platform & Networking On Demand Course from RWC, Script Editor & Author, Lucy V. Hay
Marketing and platform building can be a challenge, but this step-by-step guide will help you utilize the online space to your best advantage as a writer or screenwriter. If you feel you aren’t getting traction online now, or you just don’t know where to start, this course will help you! Find out more.
A Wicked Good Bootcamp Seat from RWC, Editor, & Author Suzy Vadori
The 8-week virtual book coaching experience will teach you to write a book that readers will love. Get clear on the story you’re dying to tell (and WHY you want to tell it), so you can turn it into a book readers actually want to read without compromising your creative vision. Skip the writers’ learning curve and get over a decade’s worth of Suzy’s insider writing industry tips in just 8 weeks to make your writing as strong as possible. Come away with a detailed action plan to get your ideal book written and into the world this year.
A Crime Scene or Climax Critique, (Winner’s Choice) from RWC & Thriller Author Sue Coletta
Attention, mystery, thriller & crime writers! This unique prize has been designed just for you from an expert in crime scenes, serial killers, tension, and suspense! (Did I mention she has her own Murder Blog?) Sue will assess your scene and offer feedback to help you ramp up the intensity. Note: the winner will need to provide a short synopsis of the story so Sue has context for the scene.
Have you ever dreamed of joining a bunch of writers on a writing retreat in some beautiful location? Then imagine a situation where you get to visit several stunning locations, be pampered as you relax, and have a chance to learn and network with industry pros! Cruising Writers is a fantastic option for retreaters – rest, relax, and fill your creative well aboard a stunning cruise ship. The winner will get a hefty $150 discount on your package when you book! (Stating the obvious, but you must be a writer to win.)
A 20-Page Critique of Your Middle Grade or YA Novel by RWC & Editor, Marissa Graff
Wouldn’t it be great to have help with the opening of your story, especially from someone who was a freelance editor and reader for former literary agent Sarah Davies (ranked #2 in middle-grade fiction sales) for over seven years? Someone who has had clients go on to nab agents, sell their books, and even win the Newbery Award? Heck yes it would! Marissa Graff will help you bring out the best elements of your MG or YA opening by critiquing your first 20 pages.
A Full Picture Book Critique from Our WHW Blog Wizard & “PB Fairy Godmother” Mindy Alyse Weiss
Mindy is the mastermind behind PBParty, an annual contest that connects talented picture book writers and author/illustrators with agents and editors. This has led to many success stories. Mindy has a ton of experience in what agents and editors are looking for in a picture book. The winner of this prize can send up to three PB manuscripts. Mindy will give light comments on two and in-depth feedback on the PB with the most potential.
A 1-Year Subscription to One Stop for Writers from your biggest fans… Becca and me!
We have created many thesauruses over the years, but not all of them become books…some go straight to a THESAURUS Database at One Stop for Writers. This web app is how we help writers beyond our books and where we’ve built powerful tools that make it much easier to plan, write, and revise your way to a publish-ready book. Take the tour, start a free trial, and make sure to enter below for a chance to win a 1-year membership! We’d love to help you bring your best story to the page.
Want a chance to win one of these amazing prizes? Click the link below.
WHW’s 1 Million Book Milestone Giveaway
(Final day to enter is May 9th, 2023, EST).
Winners are being notified! Watch your inbox!
Note, one entry per person. Prizes have no cash value and cannot be transferred. For full legal rules and conditions, please go here.)
Thank you again for all your kind support. We are honored to be part of your storytelling journey!
If you’d like to help us celebrate this milestone, feel free to share this post. And good luck in the draw!
Angela is a writing coach, international speaker, and bestselling author who loves to travel, teach, empower writers, and pay-it-forward. She also is a founder of One Stop For Writers, a portal to powerful, innovative tools to help writers elevate their storytelling.