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Blog2019-06-25T14:22:33+00:00
2311, 2022

Local paper features my publishing and volunteering work

November 23rd, 2022|

A local newspaper just ran one of the most comprehensive articles about my experience both publishing The Black Lens novel and volunteering with She Has A Name:

Observations, service provide insights for author – Clintonville Spotlight

More than a dozen other news media outlets have also reported on The Black Lens. Here are just a few excerpts:

“The grim reality of modern-day slavery in America.”

— Kirkus Reviews Magazine

“The Black Lens is clearly the work of a journalist. It exists to inform and disrupt, and it succeeds.” 

— Columbus Underground

“Authorial Advocate.”

— Writer’s Digest Magazine

“A work of fiction. A world of truths.”

— WBNS-10TV

“Will go a long way in giving a voice to victims and helping raise awareness of sex trafficking in rural America.”

— The Columbus Dispatch

“Christopher Stollar, a former Oregon journalist, won the grand prize in the 2016 Writer’s Digest Self-Published e-Book Awards, beating out more than 600 other entries, for his debut novel, ‘The Black Lens,’ about a teenage girl and her sister fighting sex trafficking in Oregon.” 

— The Oregonian

“Stollar is a former reporter who conducted more than three years of research including interviewing survivors, social workers and police officers to write the book.”

— The Mercury News

“A fictional horror told through a ‘Black Lens.’ Christopher Stollar weaves a despairing tale of sex trafficking.”

— The Register-Guard

“A work of fiction … based on the disturbing reality that human trafficking is one of the fastest-growing crimes worldwide.”

— The Bulletin

“The Black Lens reminds us that human trafficking, sex slavery and exploitation are real. For many young people in Central Oregon, the world of sex trafficking is non-fiction.”

— The Source Weekly

“Former newspaper reporter turned author, Christopher Stollar of Columbus, spent a decade researching trafficking — three years of which was done in Ohio.”

— Dayton Daily News

“Christopher Stollar, author … and anti-trafficking advocate”

— KTVZ News Channel 21

2709, 2022

10 tips for transitioning from indie to traditional publishing

September 27th, 2022|

Writer’s Digest just agreed to publish my fifth article in their magazine, which reaches about 70,000 subscribers across the country.

My new article will appear in the March/April 2023 issue within the regular IndieLab column that follows trends in the self-publishing business. This piece focuses on 10 tips I’ve learned while transitioning from self-publishing The Black Lens to traditionally publishing my new novel with senior agent Paula Munier from Talcott Notch Literary.  Here’s a brief summary:

Some self-published authors assume that if they ever sign with a literary agent, they’ll secure a traditional book deal a few weeks later. While that happens to some lucky writers, it can take months—or even years—for an agent to find that perfect publisher and home for your book. This article will follow one author’s journey transitioning from the world of self-publishing to traditional publishing and everything he has learned along the way. Based on both his own experience and surprising insights from other agented authors on submission with their debut novels, the column will cover best practices for those undergoing (or considering) that same transition. It will help you learn how to focus all energy on the next book, how to stop refreshing that inbox for updates, and how to keep hope alive along the journey—no matter how long it takes.

Writer’s Digest published my first article in 2019 about how to craft the perfect media pitch, my second article in 2020 about how to create successful book media kits, my third article in the 100th anniversary edition of their magazine about how to research like a reporter, and my fourth article in 2022 about three simple strategies for marketing your book.

Take the next step

Learn more at christopherstollar.com, buy a copy of The Black Lens on Amazon, or book me as a speaker.

806, 2022

Writing with Aria

June 8th, 2022|

“Daddy, are you writing your story?”

Aria asks me this question at six in the morning. She should be sleeping, even though I’ve been up for an hour working on my next novel, but I can’t resist this little moment to talk with my daughter about writing. Aria sits on my lap as I sip coffee and the sun starts to rise outside our home in Ohio.

“Can I work on my story with you?”

I smile, treasuring this moment as both a father and a writer. I save my story and open hers. Aria has only written three sentences in the past three days, but she came up with the idea all by herself. A new tooth fairy tries to protect her first assigned child from an evil fairy who wants to steal kids’ teeth. It’s cute—slightly creepy—and good. Really good. Like Neil Gaiman’s Coraline, which we’ve been reading together at night. I try not to edit as she types, speaking only if she asks me questions about the craft.

Aria taps her next sentence on my keyboard one letter at a time. I love watching her think about what happens next, then bring that thought to life through nothing but words on a screen. One letter at a time. One word at a time. One sentence at a time. Three sentences in three days—progress.

We’ve been doing this now for the past few mornings, her getting up each day a little earlier before school starts to write her next sentence. Each one she drafts makes her stronger, more creative, and more excited about the craft. As Aria keeps writing, I’m reminded of the letter she recently wrote for me on my old typewriter:

“You are the best dad ever … You and I both love to read and write. We both love to read Coraline and write stories. I will love you forever.”

This—all of this—makes me so proud. Aria’s second grade teacher recently told us that she has “a writer’s voice.” I don’t say that to brag, but because writing is such a solitary craft I’ve been pursuing for years mostly by myself and with a few core friends. I come from a family of writers, including my brother, mother, and grandfather who have all encouraged me along the way.

But for the first time, I may have found another writer in my own family.

“Daddy, can we write again tomorrow?”

I save Aria’s story, looking forward to the next day and sentence we author together.

704, 2022

Teaching my second webinar for Writer’s Digest University

April 7th, 2022|

Writer’s Digest University just invited me back to teach my second webinar, this time about How to Crowdfund Your Book and connect it to a cause. Here’s a brief overview of my session, which will take place on May 26:

It can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars to produce a high-quality, self-published book that competes with its traditionally published counterparts. While some authors may be independently wealthy, most of us don’t have those funds lying around to spend on a professional developmental editor, graphic designer, and every other piece of the self-publishing puzzle. Even if you do have those dollars, the lack of exposure to any readers outside family and friends will probably limit your sales. If planned and executed well, a crowdfunding campaign can provide self-published authors both the funds and exposure you need to kickstart your writing career.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN:

  • What crowdfunding is and the main platforms available
  • Why you should consider crowdfunding
  • How to lead a successful crowdfunding campaign
  • Examples of crowdfunding campaigns: the good, the bad, and the ugly
  • How to transition from crowdfunding to publishing and marketing
  • How to connect your campaign to a cause

WHO SHOULD ATTEND?

Writers who want to:

  • Self-publish fiction or nonfiction, but don’t want to spend thousands of their own dollars on that process
  • Expand their reach of potential readers and reviewers beyond just family and friends through an online community and platform
  • Understand what crowdfunding is, the main platforms available, and the core benefits of each
  • Learn how to lead a successful crowdfunding campaign—and common pitfalls to avoid
  • Get best practices for transitioning from crowdfunding to publishing and marketing
  • Connect their campaign to a cause

I taught my first Writer’s Digest University webinar in December about How to Research Your Novel like a Reporter, which provided writers with best practices from the three years of research I conducted for my award-winning debut novel The Black Lens. Writer’s Digest Magazine also published a related article about that topic in their 100th anniversary issue.

Register today: How to Crowdfund Your Book (writersonlineworkshops.com).

802, 2022

Three simple strategies for marketing your book

February 8th, 2022|

Writer’s Digest just accepted and agreed to publish my fourth article in their magazine, which reaches about 70,000 subscribers across the country.

My new article will appear in the May/June issue, specifically in the regular IndieLab column that follows trends in the self-publishing business. This article focuses on three simple strategies for marketing your book, drawing from my own experience as both a senior marketing consultant for a Fortune 100 company and an award-winning author of The Black Lens novel. Here’s a brief summary:

Many authors who self-publish focus more on publishing their book than they do promoting it. While the reasons vary, some have no clue where to start. Others don’t want to waste hundreds to thousands of dollars on marketing that may not result in any sales. But probably most of us would just prefer to sit back, write, and hope the book sells itself.

All those reasons make sense. Yet unless you hit the publishing lottery, your book won’t sell itself because you’re competing against millions of others. That’s why—assuming you want to sell copies to more than just family and friends—you must build a strategic marketing plan for your story.

While that may sound daunting, this article will demystify the complex world of marketing by breaking it down into three simple strategies for promoting your book. Drawing from my own experience as both an award-winning author and senior marketing consultant for a Fortune 100 company, I will teach you the fundamentals of earned, owned, and paid strategies. You will learn how to earn free publicity for your book (earned), promote it through the channels you control (owned), and pay to increase that exposure even further through digital media (paid). 

Writer’s Digest published my first article in 2019 about how to craft the perfect media pitch, my second article in 2020 about how to create successful book media kits, and my third article in the 100th anniversary edition of their magazine about how to research like a reporter.

Take the next step

Learn more at christopherstollar.com, buy a copy of The Black Lens on Amazon, or book me as a speaker.

 

 

1611, 2021

Teaching my first writing webinar through Writer’s Digest University

November 16th, 2021|

Writer’s Digest University just invited me to teach my first writing webinar. Titled How to Research Your Novel like a Reporter, this class will provide writers with best practices from the three years of research I conducted for my award-winning debut novel The Black Lens. Here’s a brief overview of the webinar, which Writer’s Digest Magazine also published a related article about last year in their 100th anniversary issue.

About the webinar

Too many fiction writers start their stories without any research. And those who do some research barely scratch the surface, sticking to what they can find on Google or watch on TV. This unique session will teach you how to interview actual sources and research primary documents that can enrich your stories, whether you’re working on a crime thriller, a cozy mystery, or even science fiction that involves new technologies.

As a former reporter with a master’s degree in journalism, Christopher will share with you best practices from the three years of research he conducted for his award-winning debut novel. He’ll also show you how that research helped convince more than a dozen media outlets to publish stories about his book—and how you can do the same.

What you’ll learn

  • What research is—and is not
  • Why you should research
  • How to research, especially through interviews, exposure, and travel
  • Common pitfalls to avoid when researching
  • How to incorporate research into your story
  • Key resources for research

Who should attend

  • Writers who want to understand more of the value behind research
  • Writers who want to learn how to research
  • Writers who want to get techniques for conducting interviews
  • Writers who want to incorporate travel into their research
  • Writers who want to see how they can weave research into their novel
  • Writers who need additional resources for conducting research
  • Writers who want to avoid common research mistakes

Register for my webinar, buy a copy of my book on Amazon, or book me as a speaker.