Tips 'N Treats: Week 21

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My Tip

This week, I want to talk outfitting your writing tech without breaking the bank. Specifically, buying refurbished. I’ve gotten mixed opinions about refurbished products. Some people love them and say they work better than new. Some people have had a string of bad products and swear never to buy refurbed again. As someone who’s bought three computers and one iPhone refurbished in the last few years, I’ll personally tell you that you can get some truly wonderful products that work like magic if you do it right. “Right” is the key word. If you want to buy refurbished, make sure to do the following:

-Research the seller: Don’t just buy from the first person that pops up. Look at a few places. Browse their websites. Read reviews. More importantly, read the subtext of reviews. If someone gives 1 out of 5 stars and then complains that they stomped on their computer and couldn’t get a refund, that’s really not the company’s fault at all. If there is a string of 1-star reviews that all say the company does shotty work and then disappears when you contact them, don’t buy from that company. On the contrary, if there are all five-star reviews that say the company is great in very little detail and with grammatical errors, wonder where those reviews came from. Nothing is perfect. Expect someone to not like something, even if there was nothing wrong with it. But make sure you look over companies before choosing one to buy from.

-Don’t buy the lowest price: Unless the lowest price product turns out to be from a reputable company that does good work. So, I guess I should say, don’t just whip out your credit card because the price tag is pretty. On the flip side, don’t automatically assume that a higher price means higher quality. You get what you pay for, true, but you also get what the company gives you for your money, regardless of price.

-Read the fine print: Know what you’re getting, both in terms of what the computer comes with and your options if what you get isn’t what you wanted/doesn’t work. Read the company’s returns policy. See if their products come with a warranty and for how long. Do they take products that are “dead on arrival” back? If you’re buying through a third party (like Amazon), get the policy from both Amazon and the vender. And if there is an issue when your product arrives, make sure you make contact/take action within your window of opportunity. Again, nothing is perfect. A product could get damaged in transit or may have slipped through the quality control cracks. Be prepared if that happens.

A quick note on warranties: Look at the price and what you’re getting as compared to the price of the product. If you’re paying $300 for the product, and the company offers a 1-year warranty that only covers certain things for an additional $120, that’s nearly half the product’s price for something that may not be useful at all. If they offer a $20 warranty on your $300 product that covers accidents, parts, failures, etc., that’s something to consider. In addition to price relativity, think about your lifestyle and plans for the product. If it’s just going to sit on your desk and the warranty primarily covers accidents, don’t put your drink beside the power supply, and odds are good everything will be fine.

Some companies I’ve bought lovely refurbished machines from:

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This week’s posts:
Monday: Giveaway: 17 YA Fantasy Books and a Kindle Fire 7
Tuesday: Excerpt+Giveaway: Apophis by Raj Anand
Thursday: Author Interview: THE WARRIOR'S PROGENY by Jeny Heckman

Guest Tip

This week, I’m pleased to welcome Elizabeth Suggs to Kit ‘N Kabookle. She’s here to talk about why authors should write for anthologies. Take it away, Elizabeth…

An anthology is a collection of stories that usually adhere to a specific theme. Depending on the anthology, it could be genre-focused or free-range. Anthologies can be silly or strange or specific to a particular niche group. They can help you expand your horizons and have a good time doing it. I highly suggest everyone try at least one.

To put it plainly, anthologies sometimes have more flexibility with their plot and theme, which makes them fun, especially since they're bitesizeable.

Anthologies can have one author or multiple. It really depends on what the collection of stories is going for. If you're just starting out, I suggest working with multiple authors as this will make marketing easier and help you create a name for yourself because, hopefully, the anthology you're part of has a few authors who are either established in the writing community or know how to market themselves, and thus can (hopefully) teach you, which is the best part about an anthology. To be an author means you need to learn to market yourself and it is so much easier to market yourself if you're getting help.

The idea of an anthology with multiple authors is that, in a perfect world, readers pick up an anthology on the bookshelf (especially if there's a familiar name on it), and then they'll read all the stories, and fall in love with some new authors along the way. That's why I highly suggest working in a multi-author anthology. It just makes things easier. But, of course, I said in a perfect world. Not every reader will digest every story, but there's a chance they will, and that's the chance you have to go on.

There are quite a few well-known authors who started out in anthologies. They took that step to success, and you can too. It may take a few times to get your writing voice down or to get accepted into a publication, but you just have to try because that's what life is all about, right?

So, how do you publish in an anthology? Well, simply, write. Write a genre or topic that's easily molded to several stories. Check submission guidelines, and submit both locally and internationally. There are hundreds of anthologies and collected works asking for submissions. If you don't know where to go, check out social media groups, writing groups, and more. There are tons if you look.

For starters, I have an anthology coming out next year. Submissions are due by September 2020. We are looking for historical fantasy stories between 2,000 - 5,000 words about characters who work in illegal or unsavory positions. Think you're up to the challenge to submit? If so, check out my website.

Elizabeth Suggs is a writer, an editor, and a leader in the writing community. She obsessively writes each morning, lunch, and evening. When she’s not writing, she’s leading a group of writers through bi-weekly workshops on feedback and focused writing. She believes these meetings help writers understand themselves in the world and better prepare them for major publishers.

She will be published in three anthologies, two horrors, and this anthology, a podcast, as well as a poetry journal this year. She also helped an author publish his children’s book.

Outside of writing, Elizabeth devours literature through reading or listening. She tries any genre once, but she especially loves classics, horror, sci-fi, and psychology texts. Sometimes she even listens to audiobooks while playing games because she can stay productive that way.

She used to be a journalist, so many of her publications are nonfiction hard news and events, but she hopes to break the pattern and publish works of art in fiction and poetry, just like the authors she loves reading.

If you’d like to connect with her, please find her on Twitter

Or check out her current project: Collective Darkness ~Elizabeth’s website

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