Authors Marketing: What’s in a Number?

 

Along with my other series, which will be out with the relaunch, I’m adding this bit of help in your own book marketing.

When I find authors doing something smart and new, I will include it here. That gives any author just a bit more help in their marketing efforts.

I strongly feel that each author should help others as much as possible. Not a new belief but hopefully I can showcase authors displaying new types of marketing tips for you to use in your own book marketing.

So, what is in a number?

Today I find Caron Kamps Widden   {@CaronWidden} adding her review numbers to her Twitter book tweets. I don’t know if she is the first one to do it, but it’s a smart practice. Numbers always help.

Case in point? If you subscribe to Bookbub, a powerhouse in marketing, you’ll notice that the add the number of reviews on either Amazon or Goodreads. That certainly gets me to check out more about the book and about the author if he or she is new to me. This is the exact thing Bookbub wants and it pays off in droves of traffic…with just a number.

Find Caron at her website and on Twitter.

Blog Mastermind 2.0: Launch Day for This Great Course

Have you downloaded your free Blog Profits Blueprint yet? Here is the link as well as Yaro’s 4th video in the Blog Mastermind course: Download The Blog Profits Blueprint

Have you seen the other videos that go along with the series Yaro Starak has made? This week, all the way to February 2nd, you can sign up for Blog Mastermind 2.0.

This week Yaro is launching his world famous Blog Mastermind course.

 

Listen to Yaro as he discusses the great blueprint he came up with to develop his Blog Mastermind.

For instance, Video #2 shows us How Blogs Make Money

In video #3, Yaro discusses what products you can sell.

Even if you’ve already taken blogging courses, I urge you to listen to Yaro speak about the Blog Mastermind 2.0 and, at the least, download the Blog Profit Blueprint. You can keep the booklet even if you don’t go for the mastermind, but there’s a reason I’m talking about Yaro today. You know I’m about ethical marketing. Beyond that, I can’t even be an Amazon Associate,due to state law  so you know I’m not rolling in dough. I only promote the people I’ve learned a great deal from. Otherwise, you and I would be wasting each other’s time, and nobody wants that.

I’ll tell you a bit about Yaro because he’s an interesting guy. Yaro has taught a great deal of the big names in blogging and writing. Names that, if you write and blog, you would know about, even receive their emails. Names I knew through my own blogging courses. The first thing that drew me to him, besides the Australian accent, was that he was hands-down honest. He would only write  if he had something to say. That’s unusaul in this day and age. And a great deal of the emails were very thoughtful,

I’d like to see you take the next step in your online business, whether you blog to sell more books or blog due to the economy. Many of the great business bloggers I know come home from a hard day’s work and still have to work on a blog post. They do that because they have to. I’m sure you can fit yourself into one of those categories. What I’ve learned is that you can blog all you want and get nowhere in five years. Or, you can spend less money over the five years paying hosting service fees and domain fees and reach the same amount of people than if you paid a bit today to forward your journey.

You understand the burden, but you can only do so much right now? I urge you to keep these resources handy and set a timer for yourself. See if you can sign up for Yaro’s next class when he opens. Just think about it and keep that book handy. Read through all of the pages and refer to it often. This chance isn’t an open door, unfortunately. It closes February 2nd.

 

As an additional bonus, I will throw in for free during this week only my Become a Better Blogger Toolkit. This toolkit is my secret weapon. It is a weekly email full of the best digital tools out there that every blogger needs but not many people know about. It shows all of the seemingly hidden digital tools I use for my blogging. It is suitable for bloggers that are brand new as well as those who have been blogging since the internet exploded. 😉 Just order from my affiliate link and email me the receipt (no attachments) from Yaro and you will begin the first installment from me of the bonus BBB Toolkit.

Yaro will be closing the doors in a week to begin focusing on all the new Blog Mastermind members, so don’t miss out.

P.S. The bonus package I am offering is only available to the first ten people who claim it. Make sure you act quickly if you want to be one of those ten people.

Here’s the link: Blog Mastermind 2.0

P.S.S. This is an affiliate link.

Launch of Blog Profit Blueprint: Learn from the Best

I have been following Yaro Starak for years and trust him implicitly. You all know I am a stickler for “ethical marketing” let alone in writing and life. Yaro has consistently brought the best information and only when it was ready, not just because it was a Tuesday! 😉

 

You need this Blueprint (it’s free)!

This is the 2016 Blog Profits Blueprint, an 88-page free report in text and audio from Yaro Starak.

Yaro has been blogging for over ten years and made over a million dollars selling his own digital teaching products from his blog, Entrepreneurs-Journey.com.

He wrote the Blueprint to teach other experts how to package up their knowledge and sell it as digital products using just a blog + email list.

If you want to break free from getting paid by the hour, per contract, or you’re tired of working with clients and want to create products that sell even when you’re not working, you need this blueprint.

Learn how to sell their knowledge online using a blog and email list.

What is the Blueprint?

It’s 100% free and will guide you through the four steps of setting up a blog and email list designed to sell your products, including:

  1. How To Refine Your Topic To Make Sure You Are Going Where The Money Is
  2. What Type Of Content You Need To Create To Attract The People Who Will Eagerly Buy Every Product You Offer
  3. How To Create “Traffic Assets” So You Only Need To Set Them Up Once And The Traffic Keeps Coming
  4. How To Quickly Turn Your Knowledge Into An Information Product That Sells On Autopilot 

The 2016 Blog Profits Blueprint is completely upgraded and will teach you how to make money from your blog

Click this link then enter your email on the page you land on to request access to download the Blog Profits Blueprint 2.0.

You will also receive a series of free training videos from Yaro to show you exactly how blogs make money. 

Download your free copy of Blog Profit Blueprint 2.0 and watch the first video in the training series. I will be posting more educational videos as the week goes on.

Don’t miss out on learning from the best. Download your free copy of Blueprint 2.0 now!

This is an affiliate link, but even if you don’t buy anything, you can watch the videos and keep the blueprint. From experience, I can tell you that you will refer to it again and again!

Sundays

Sundays are for writers

Sundays are for writers

I love Sundays. They’re unspecified, hours and hours to contemplate and allow your thoughts lead. Sundays for me used to mean reading a newspaper (the kind you hold in your hand, believe it or not), throwing on hiking gear and tromping through my favorite forests or up less than steep hills.

That has all changed for many reasons, the biggest one being my commitment to my writing.

In a strange way, I think all of our activities have changed since the website and blogging boom. Do you ever wonder how many hours you’ve spent learning website design, social media, and blogging versus simply writing? This Life 2.0 has brought us untold benefits but at what cost to our writing? A simple question that I haven’t seen addressed. Have you?

I’ve been up since 7a.m. working on css codes. You will be seeing some changes here as well as a great deal of information for you to grab and use to your benefit.

The biggest news is Mosaic has launched! You can grab a free copy here and benefit from the year of research I have dedicated to all writers in their efforts to promote their book among other writerly offerings to aid in your commitment to your writing life.

That’s all for now. Just wanted to wish you a lovely, thought filled Sunday.

Happy writing and enjoy your Sunday!

 

 

Book Launch for Mosaic

a writing collaborative

a writing collaborative

 

 

I am very proud to announce the launch of Mosaic: A compilation of creative writing by The Cartel Collaborative. This has been in the works for more than half a year. Why so long? Our aim, among writing intriguing stories for our readers, was to publish the most polished piece of story collections along with expert design both in the cover art and interior formatting.

 

I will be discussing more about the people and the process later and how you can use this knowledge to help you. Here is the book blurb written by one of our group members:

Follow Leonardo as he learns what his inventions have inspired. Wyatt finds hope in a time of darkness. One man learns that even in death his loved ones aren’t really gone. Josephine learns about a mother she hardly knew. Jane attempts to heal from the loss of her father during 9-11. Griffin learns about life on his journey to become a leader. Tracy learns something about the past that leads her to the future. Daniel’s magic pencil makes his drawings come to life. A child is haunted by the thoughts in his head. Zac finds exactly what he needs during an afternoon at a theme park. Sprinkled throughout is a collection of poetry sure to stir up emotions.

Each and every member of this group brought their own skills that lifted the work several notches each day over an eight-month process. You may download the book here and I look forward to hearing what you think. I’ll let you find out which story I wrote. 🙂

 

I have been thinking of you and how I might help you every day. In fact, each day I have accumulated research and written articles and tutorials on tools, writing, publishing, marking, productivity and, of course, the “brain hacks” that either send our muse running or curling up beside us.

I will be around more now but I only send emails when they are worthy of your inbox. So please, download the book and write me back or review it. It’s a labor of love from a great group of writers and we’d all love to hear your opinion on the work.

Here is to your writing muse!

 

 

Have You Killed Your Darlings Today?

editing your work

 

editing your workI once posted on my twitter feed, “I’m killing my darlings.” Most-likely, non-writers were horrified. Those writers that follow me probably smiled. I was, of course, editing my work.

We all have to do this evil thing, which is really quite beautiful and necessary in the writing process. We would take our readers directly out of our carefully crafted story world if we put in a flowery phrase for no other reason than because we are proud to have put those words in that order.

“Aren’t I just adorable?”

Here is where your problems start. If you find yourself rereading a passage you wrote…just because; kill it. Murder it. Delete it. If you must, take it out of your work and put it by your bedside so you can look at it. Don’t show it to anyone else and don’t, I repeat, do not put it in another work. When you leave your darlings in, the ones that just sit there on the page and smile at you saying to themselves, “Aren’t I just adorable?”, those little darlings will ruin your work.

 

This is part of the writing process. A very large part of it.

 

Don’t Leave Your Readers Time to Breath

Writing is about conflict. Without conflict, in your story’s situation, between characters in the story world or conflict within a character, there would be no great books.

Gillian Flynn, the author of the bestseller, Gone Girl, has taken conflict and strewn it throughout every aspect of this story world. You can’t find many sentences without conflict somewhere. That’s what makes it so great, and horrifying.

Rolling Stones¹ magazine did an interview with her which you can read online. (See link below.)

If you’ve read the book, you know that feeling of wanting the world to stop so you can read until the book is done. If there were any of Flynn’s darlings in there, it would have given you pause to sleep and go on with your tomorrow. All of her darlings were murdered.

Every Murder Needs a Detective

A clarification on the exact meaning of the phrase and who said it: Slate²as a great article about the movie Kill Your Darlings. The term means that as writers, we must take our favorite passages in our work out if they don’t further the story progression. It has been used, improperly, to refer to killing or creating conflict for your protagonist.

It has also been attributed to all manner of writers: Faulkner, Chekov, Ginsberg, Hemingway, Welty, Wilde. Just name your author. Steven King repeated it in his great craft book and autobiography: Steven King, On Writing. The true source of this oft-repeated phrase is Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, who lectured at Cambridge in the early 20th c. And whose lecture, which you may find at Bartleby³, is one best combed through with diligence. His original quote was, “Murder your darlings.” We’ve heard all manner of iterations but now Slate² and, more importantly, I have attributed the phrase correctly to the source.

Bookmark Bartleby with the URL address below. Yes, I am partial to Sir Quiller-Couch’s name, as you might imagine, but the lecture is above reproach and handily useful to any writer.

Lest you think that he eschewed all manner of writing, listen to him on the subject of, what we term, the living language:

“Literature must needs take account of all manner of writers, audiences, moods, occasions; I hold it a sin against the light to put up a warning against any word that comes to us in the fair way of use and wont (as ‘wire,’ for instance, for a telegram), even as surely as we should warn off hybrids or deliberately pedantic impostors, such as ‘antibody’ and ‘picture-drome’; and that, generally, it is better to err on the side of liberty than on the side of the censor: since by the manumitting of new words we infuse new blood into a tongue of which (or we have learnt nothing from Shakespeare’s audacity) our first pride should be that it is flexible, alive, capable of responding to new demands of man’s untiring quest after knowledge and experience.”

 

 

I hope you are deftly killing your darlings and staying true to the storyline in each line of your writing.

Please comment and share if you found this useful in your writing process. Sign up for my newsletter as I’m in the process of working on five series and two ebooks. These products are compiled after years of research to aid in your writing, productivity and the difficult task of marketing; made easier, I believe in the material to be presented. I have also been working on several series for the Quill on the writing process. This will take you from first draft through critiques and onto publication and marketing. I have an e-book on marketing your book filled with more resources than imaginable. Further series will follow the first post on The Prolific Writer, which includes writing pitfalls and their hacks with productivity and brain tips backed by science. Sign up now to get all of this information delivered to your fingertips. And no worries about your email as I never share emails with any person or organization. I will be discussing content creation and living our lives, the two are not mutually exclusive and in fact, should be paired together. Blogging tips from my years of experience and geeking out as well as the communities I have learned from will also be part of your diet to aid you in your efforts at online writing as well putting pen to paper, which is the point of the quill.

Happy writing!

Sources:

1. http://www.rollingstone.com/movies/features/gone-girl-author-gillian-flynn-i-killed-my-darlings-20141003

2. Slate, Kill Your Darlings

3. http://www.bartleby.com/190/

Changemaker 2.0 Series: CF Winn & SUKI

suki bookcover by davinci

I have recently read a book so beautifully written, so emotionally impactful that I sought out the author, Christine Winn, to discover more about her.

 

There was a lot to discover. Thus, I’ve included our interview and notes on SUKI in the Changemaker Series for reasons that will become quite clear.

For those of you who follow marketing tips on this website, you will want to discover the path that Chris has plowed through the web.

First, an introduction to SUKI

If you just glance at the five-star reviews on Amazon about SUKI, you will find reviews entitled:

“How is this book not on the NYTimes Best Seller list?”

“I only gave this book 5 stars because 10 stars was not an option”

“Like nothing I’ve ever read before”

The short introduction to the novella:

“Life offers one guarantee…death.

SUKI tells the story of Savannah, an independent go getter, who allows fear to keep her from being completely happy, and Dwayne, a softhearted ex-Marine with a talent for creativity. The couple is destined to find each other and carry out a preordained agreement made long before their human feet enter this Earthly plane. Their connection is tangible and their lives easy – until they are presented with one challenge that shakes them to their cores.

The couple’s subsequent struggle to make sense of their imploding world comes to a head in the epilogue, where a shocking secret is revealed in an overdue letter.

We all assume we know what love is, but think again. It comes in many shapes and sizes. If you knew ahead of time that you’d never see ”happily ever after“, would you choose to live at all for the sake of love?

CF Winn flexes her story telling muscle and shows us why she is an award winning author. SUKI will grab your heart and make you think about your place…and your purpose in this world.”

That in itself is intriguing, isn’t it? I concur mightily with the five-star reviews and all quotes above.

The writing in SUKI is so sublime, supremely smooth that you fall in love with the love story and never want it to end. But for those, including myself, who don’t read romance novels, this is far from the genre.

It is a love story though. Love has many faces. In reading SUKI, as I was already in love with the characters, there was a point, a very real moment in time when the story become something much more than what it started out to be

Here is a short bio on Chris as an introduction:

CF Winn is a freelance writer of articles and short stories when she’s not training others in the art of Market Research. Her day job has led her to places that few of us know exist. Worlds where eccentricity is the norm and even sometimes embraced. Her off kilter muses have graciously guided her into the awards arena, most notably, Wordsmitten Storycove for her flash fiction story, “SUNDAY DRIVES DONE MOJO STYLE”.

“THE COFFEE BREAK SERIES”, CF Winn’s collection of short stories, are wildly popular and available on both Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Some of the titles include “KAFE CASTRO”, “MOORE THAN MEETS THE EYE”, “PGB”, and “DEJA DREW”.

In between promoting the hugely successful “SUKI”, she is editing several books by new authors and working on “TIME SLIP”. She lives in New York with her three brilliant children.

In true George Plimpton fashion, I have become the Interviewer.

Interviewer: Thanks for coming over to the Quill.SUKI is so beautifully written; you bring us into the great love affair Savannah and Dwayne like no other author I’ve read. I’d like to know what your writing process look like?

Chris: I don‘t have much of a process. I usually write the bare bones of the story first – just to get it out of me because once I have an idea I can barely contain myself. Then I let it sit and I don’t look at it for a few days, but I do think about it. While I drive to and from my day jobs or my kids’ activities, I fill in the scenes in my mind. I take notes and when I allow myself to go back, I reread, editing and adding details from my notes. After repeating the pattern of putting the work aside before coming back to add and edit many times, the story will tell me that it’s complete. I have a background in professional acting, so I consider it the most natural thing to put myself in the place of the characters, acting it out in order to create a story that readers can feel a part of.

Interviewer: I’m sure all of your fans of THE COFFEE BREAK SERIES will be happy to know that there are more to come in the series.I know many authors do not stay within a certain genre for their writing, but I don’t think that I’ve met an author with such a breadth of emotional content and expression as you.
Chris: The Coffee Break Series stories are embellished retellings of real life events that have either happened to me or people that I know. I used to work for the NYTimes, putting together the pieces of the Sunday papers that would be delivered to different businesses. For ten to twelve hours on Saturdays I’d have nothing to do but talk to the person across from me at my table and make papers. I developed a friendship with a girl named Christine, and every week she’d ask to hear a new story. Finally, she said, “You really should write these down and sell them. People would love to read these.” I started by submitting SUNDAY DRIVES DONE MOJOSTYLE to a flash fiction contest and won. That was all that I needed to hear. I immediately started creating The Coffee Break Series. They are quirky short shorts, meant to be read on a coffee or lunch break or while waiting to be seen by the doctor – any time that one might find themselves with enough time to get bored, but not enough time to read a whole book. Each story references the ones that came before it to illustrate the fact that we are all connected, and I offer a bit more of the previous ones, just to satisfy the urge most of us have to know what happened after the story ended. Right now, four are available in e-book form only, but a fifth – HAUNTED HOUSE or HAUNTED LIFE? – will be released in August. I plan on writing ten to twelve of them before compiling and offering a print book.

Interviewer: The narrator is a very intriguing choice, and one I haven’t read before. Can you think of another author that is similar to your writing style or use of narrators?

Chris: No, can you?

Interviewer: Not at all! I think that you, and by extension, SUKI have created a brand new genre! Since you have a wide range of tastes as an author, can you give us an idea of your favorite book, author or genre that you enjoy reading yourself?

Chris: That’s a tough question because I will read almost anything….except maybe Westerns. Sorry Zane Grey. I love anything quirky, thought provoking and smart – Titles and authors that stand out for me: Augusten Burroughs, Tama Janowitz (especially THE MALE CROSS DRESSER SUPPORT GROUP), Dan Brown and JK Rowling are CRAZY smart, and 13 REASONS WHY by Jay Asher

Interviewer: You write so beautifully. You bring us into the story and when we have already fallen in love, the heart breaks ever so deeply. I am curious as to how you mold such perfect left brain and right brain skills at such a high level. I’m also aware that you do editing for other authors. Where do you think your breadth of expression and the exactitude of an editor come from? Would it stem from your days as an actress or was it further back than your acting days?

Chris: Ha ha…I think my editing comes in part from an uncontrollable urge to have all forms of writing flow smoothly. In some circles they call that OCD. LOL I really don’t know where it comes from. I just like to create art – or in the case of editing, co-create. It does NOT come from acting…if you ever saw the music video I did in the nineties – hot pants and all – you’d be as sure as I am about that. Before that I was just a crazy college kid hoping to get a degree that would eventually pay the bills. Editor is something I morphed into as a result of beta reading for my fellow indies. I went above and beyond because I wanted them to succeed and eventually gained a rep as a know-it-all, but a lovable and talented know-it-all. My first paid gig (complete with credits!), TRAILER TRASH WITH A GIRL’S NAME by Stacey Roberts is tickling funny bones everywhere.

I want to thank Chris for coming by and talking to us. She is an amazing human being and SUKI is something that I feel is a life-lesson for all of us, young or old, male or female. You can get it now on Amazon. Just search SUKI in Kindle.

 An end note: As all hybrid or Indie authors wonder about quitting the day-job and writing full-time, I asked that of Chris and her answer is put together perfectly on her blog Simply Stick.

 

Writers and Their Notes

 

artpad on dark mossy green floorAs writers, we need to come up with a name for all of those little notes we collect with dialogue or story ideas. A writer never throws those slips away, for within their scribbled lines, there a story awaits.

Do you have a cache of notes you refer to for ideas?

 

I had been considering this as I decided on a calendar for the half-year. I had plenty of calendars on the computer, but the act of writing down a note or meeting in my calendar somehow solidified it in my brain.

Then I chanced upon a study write-up in Psyblog. (Mueller & Oppenheimer, 2014) The study was conducted after one of the researchers, Pam Mueller at Princeton U., noticed that she had better recall of notes when written by hand. She and her co-researcher, Daniel Oppenheimer, discuss the beginnings of their research:

The study’s co-author, Daniel Oppenheimer, had a similar experience, which Mueller explains:

“Danny said that he’d had a related experience in a faculty meeting: He was taking notes on his computer, and looked up and realized that he had no idea what the person was actually talking about.”

This research was also written up in Scientific American, i09, The Atlantic & Psychological Science.

Another great study on the act of physically writing things down can be found at Lifehack.

I have looked up a great many studies on this topic, but the one that hones in on the process is conducted by Timothy Smoker, Carrie E. Murphy, & Alison K. Rockwell and ties the act of psychomotor skills while taking notes by hand and the subsequent recall rate:

This is an investigation into the possible links between psychomotor action, in the activities of handwriting, and memory.

The correlations are solidly behind the psychomotor factor in memory recall. What I wonder is if this will be an evolutionary sort of thing when you consider all of the students today take notes via their laptops or smartphones/iPads. How will this now and in the future affect their learning curves?

(Interestingly, I found the link from Lifehack re: the Norway study quite haphazardly after I had written this post. I point this out mainly to flog myself for not continuing my graduate studies in research. Also, this shows just how important this subject is, for everyone in today’s “go paperless” digital society.)

Further, I wonder how our brains work in the planning stages of something as complex as a novel. I among many have noted that outlining and many times the writing itself, during the creativity stage, is better done by hand rather than computer.

Have you noticed that as well? What are your note taking hacks? Leave them in the comments!

Oh, and I got my calendar. It’s perfect and cheap and has plenty of note-taking space. ;p

 

 

Free Author’s DIY Modern Marketing Workbook

Thanks is due wholly to the exceptional people at Noisetrade, Mixtus Media and especially Jean & Marcus de Paula for writing and compiling this beautiful and information packed book, offered free to all authors in this great new world of book development and marketing.

Please consider following this website for more marketing and media help with your endeavors. The Monster Media & Marketing Ebook is soon out! Sign up now.

The Write Tip, Your Quick Tip of the Day for Writing

writing help

Your characters are waiting for you! Follow these tips for mindful writing.

 

Do you find that there is more to do each minute of the day than there are minutes in the day? Do you feel that you could stay up all night and not feel caught up…ever?

You are not alone.

We’ve all been there. We need to immerse ourselves within our story world to create magic within out work in progress. Yet our phones are ringing and beeping, someone is knocking on the door, and the bills are waiting to be paid. Not to mention all of the social media sites we need to keep current on to build our author platform. What is a writer to do?

 

There is more pressure today than there ever has been to accomplish everything on your to-do list, immediately.

What’s more, the barrage of information has increased exponentially since the internet’s growth. How can you relax and write creatively with these pressure?

It helps me to listen to or read a beloved author’s discussion of his writing practice. Additionally, readiwriting helpng quotes from authors is helpful. Paris Review is always a muse for writers. This site jumps deep into the writing process as you will see here with an interview with Don DeLillo.

While I’m not a famous writer (yet), I have jotted down some tips for you that I find conducive to getting my wip whipped into shape. Hopefully, you find them helpful as well.

 I added something I had heard Michael Chabon mention while he discussed his writing practice (see the Great Reads Page in the menu). Instead of listing the music in your iPod under style and artist, make a genius list for yourself. Pick the songs that you personally find joyful, contemplative, angst-ridden or any other emotion that you need to provoke for your writing. Use these lists as needed for the soundtrack of your writing. I am doing the same and have started an Excel sheet coupling the music lists with the style or “vibe” of writing, story or article I need to write.

While writing; forget punctuation; it brings the right (logical) brain into a left brain more creative work; go back when you are not “in the zone” and get picky about punctuation and grammar.

You will be surprised at how mindful your mindless tasks can be.

If you are not finding time to write due to pressing tasks, take 30 seconds out to look at a picture that you’ve picked to draw out your protagonist. Still working on some mindless task? Make it mindful by looking over your outline.

Back at your writing desk, start with a page that you felt good about and flip through to a spot that needs work. Do this in stages of concentration blocks; two minutes, on and off. Don’t write on the breaks for at least twenty minutes. Then, allow yourself the option of continuing to write. It’s just an option. Purely up to you.

What this does is eliminate the guilt that every writer faces when they are not writing as much as they hoped for. Instead of worrying as you run through your day, take that mindless task and use it for thoughtful consideration, concentrating on areas of your manuscript that need some polish. Work on the secondary characters or plot points that need some tweaking. Doing this as you fold the laundry, as an example, will eradicate the guilt and leave you wanting to run to your desk and finish what you had started.

Remember to have your smart phone or moleskin handy when you do this.

Important: Run through this article on writer’s block. These tips can help you get further and deeper into “the zone” and your sentence and story structure will both be better for it.

There is far more coming. I am testing a number of things for the security tutorial that I am preparing for you. I am also working with some incredible people on several intensives in which you will benefit. But in the meantime, I would love to hear of tips that you use to increase writing time during your busy day. Leave your comments in the box below.
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Lifechanging Writing Course & Community Closes Enrollment This Wednesday Night

My writing community

My writing communityFollow my blog with Bloglovin

How would you like to work in a supportive environment to write and critique your work? What are you seeing in costs for the registration for writing conventions these day? Yeah. Then there’s the ticket and the gas. The kids and the pets. Shopping for needed supplies for just you and anyone left at home let alone for your computer, notebooks and the list goes on.

You’ve heard of Story Cartel, right? Joe Bunting, one of the best teachers and the man behind The Write Practice has developed this coure. Here are a few things he says about the process:

 

Most writers think writing is a solo business, that you’re supposed to do it all on your own. Except this “doing it all on your own” thing is a good way to make sure no one reads your writing.

 

 

When you look at the best writers, the Brontes, the Hemingways, the Tolkiens, they never did it alone. Their success, even their creativity, didn’t come solely from themselves. It took other people, a community, a Cartel.

If you are wondering why he named the course The Story Cartel, he describes it this way:

A “Cartel” is an agreement amongst competitors. You see, too many writers treat their fellow writers as competitors, when what they should be doing is treating them likeallies. By helping each other, you and I can multiply our efforts.

 

The course is usually run per quarter and was put off until now for Joe Bunting and his family to stay in Paris for a few months. Imagine the stories you’ll hear! It’s a writers’ mecca and sure stole my heart when I was there.

You have read my discussions on all of the opportunities to get the word out about your work, to market it and format it or stay up on the latest and greatest. This community helps you from start to finish. You grow together and you promote each other. This is different than the author clubs that I have discussed and continue to discuss as the bonds from the beginning of class last a lifetime. This takes the fear, a big problem with all writers, out of putting your work out there are wondering how to submit or format. Much like Bookbub, after you publish your book, it is is put into categories and sent out to subscribers for a fair and honest review, the real life example of critiquing in writer circles. The website for books is on the top fringes of new, responsive, and beautiful design to showcase your book and your blurb to all. The reviews are key for any author. It is the lifeblood and this is how it gets your author profile noticed, something I’ve repeatedly lectured on like the Paper Chase (though I don’t like comparing myself to the character. ;p)

Here is the link again: Story Cartel. It’s a not-to-be-missed opportunity. Grow your writing family tree now!

I Lost 500 Subscribers & How to Make Sure it Doesn’t Happen to You

thepointofthequill security issues

 

The Quill was hacked. Did you notice Russian lettering in many of my social streams? 

[Please note: For some strange reason, worpress decided to send out this post thought I hadn’t done a ting to it. This is the second time this has occured. And I can tell you it’s not the hackers. I have moved to Aweber as well, so please feel free to update your address and download Mosaic!}

 “Tom, don’t let anybody kid you. It’s all personal, every bit of business.”

 The Godfather

All things come down to The Godfather, right?

I’d been working on a writing project when my emails started flying in and Google+ and Facebook notices started piling up.

I opened the first email, “Lee, I think your site was hacked.”

The second, “There is something going on with your site.” This coming from all sectors of my social life.

So I checked it out.

I saw about 350 new administrators, including me! I deleted all of them and the posts they had created, changed my password and notified my hosting site and spent the rest of the night cleaning up my social streams

 Murphy’s Law is as true as the Law of Gravity

My computer was in the shop (of course) so I spent the rest of the evening on my iPhone deleting posts off of my social feeds and then crawling into the back pages of my computer and deleting the (new) subscribers that had signed up in a concentrated attack (throwing their grammar laden posts out with them. I of course changed my password in the process.

I also started the calls for help. There was no way that I could get rid of these hackers without help. No one around me was proficient in coding, social media, et al. The fix given to me by my server didn’t work. Their reason for the invasion was off as well.

The first thing I thought about was you. Yeah, you’re supposed to say that all of the time and it sounds trite, but I’m serious. I was lost without my computer. I was concerned that your emails were getting swamped with spam. I started calling subscribers that I knew and asked what was going on with their email. I called hosting but I was not getting to the problem because I had no computer. Murphy’s Law struck again. The host company thought they had fixed the problem but it hadn’t. And now I could no longer log into my own page.

Of course, I knew this wasn’t personal. They weren’t targeting me; they were taking advantage of a vulnerability (which occurred as I switched from one theme to a live version of another).

But, like the Godfather, everything feels personal whether it’s business or not.

Make sure your sign-in name is not “admin”

This is the first thing hackers look for when trying to break into your site. Then they will try and look on your social feeds to find something familiar only to you that you might use, like your first name or the name of your pet. Be aware of this. You cannot change the name after it is in the server. But you can make your password a triple barriar.You can also install a captcha plugin so it is even harder to get inside by a coded bot or mischeovous hands.

* For the record, I changed the “admin” at the sign in page to another passcode, which is what all of the security pages encourage you to do from the beginning. If you haven’t done this, please do it asap.

What to look for in wordpress plugins

Please be aware that this could happen to you as well First, change your password.

Especially after Heartbleed. if Google got hacked, someone could hack your site as well.Make sure that all of your plugins and themes are up-to-date with a code fix after Heartbleed. If you are looking to download plugins, make sure that they are also updated after Heartbleed. To check this, read the “detail” info on a plugin before downloading and look to the right in the box to see when the last update was, making sure it was after the latest problem and that it will fit with the theme you are using. Also, look to see ratings and how many websites have downloaded this plugin. I always go for the five star plugins.  Make sure you have Wordfence or one of the paid security plugins. You, as the webmaster, must do your due-diligence.  My window was when I switched and went live with another theme and then switched back again late at night because my old theme offered more so I had to reset everything on my site. Again. But somewhere in the world, there was someone looking for a free ride on the blogosphere and found it, and me, at the moment when I was most vulnerable. 

For security plugin, I use Wordfence Security. It lets me know if there is an update needed ony site or if there was an attack of 10 or less (the number I set it at) to my site. It keeps an eye out for me. It’s brilliant.

 

Don’t let this happen to you.

To help you make sure you are covering your…bases, this is a top-notch article on safety:

 http://www.creativebloq.com/web-design/website-security-tips-protect-your-site-7122853

For general security advice, check out Chris Wiegman’s site for great references.

That one known hacker from Korea will not be able to visit my site after installing this plugin basically banishing him from my site: WP Ban

Troy Hunt: Lessons in website security anti-patterns by Tesco use this plus all other 27th reminders

 

Back-up your site

You know this already but have you done it? If not, just go to the “add plugins” section on the back end of your site and hit Updraft Backups. It’s a free plugin but also a good one. If you feel more comfortable with a paid one just do a search for your budget and plug it in. Your site will be backed up by the time you wake up tomorrow.

 

Years and years of work to get great connections on Google Plus and to build up to Google Authorship for this?

Soon after, I had typed in my “admin” address for the back side of my site. In Chrome the url bar is also “search in Google”.

Whatever I typed in, obviously tied to “admin” brought up my profile and number of people in my circles and a page with all of the information on getting into the backdoor of sites. It was extremely jarring, my face–which is your “brand” as an author–right next to the post that discussed how to use loopholes, for any site and for servers. (My server has since closed that loophholes.)  It brought back all of the heartrending minutes upon hours stretched into days where I was deleting one “post” after another, thinking of all of the years that I worked on learning about google authorship and then putting codes in the header (without breaking the site) and the years of research and writing …it just drained my spirit.

At least my site ended up #1 on the first page of Google for hacking into my site. I would expect nothing less. 

My site had become not only was an outpost for paid postings but also a forum for the hackers and a way for them to touch base. Even after I had raided them and killed them dead they would send me messages from the contact page; spamming my site and crunching Askimet, my email host, and my patience.

Each time I logged into my site to update plugins there were hundreds of comments, apparently since they were only able to get at the site from the front of the page, they would still leave comments with many, many links so if there were any hackers living and they saw the comment, they would be able to regroup, if all went well, at the newly hacked site.

But you and I are going to make sure our business doesn’t get too personal from hackers that are deficient in morality.

The next post I have written for you is a tutorial on what you need to so behind the scenes to make sure your site stays away from the lesser-ones and I will give you a great many tools for you to help you be an even better webmaster.

 

I do want to thank you for all who hung in there, aware in generalities of what was going on and sitting patiently through it all. I very much want to hear from you. Were you overloaded with spam or worse, had control of your site taken away from you? Please let us know how you handled the situation.  And thanks again for being my loyal subscribers. After this next post, I have the Monster Book Marketing Post coming soon after the Webmaster post!

 

The Writer’s Read

The Writer's Read

The Writer's ReadI hope this finds you well and writing to your heart’s content.

 

Per the usual round-up, I have compiled a list of great reads that I have come across regarding writing, publishing, your platform, writer schedules, advice to writers and marketing information. Please let me know if you would like additional information for your writer’s read. 

 

I came across a blog on twitter that I wasn’t familiar with but, it turned out, had a very well-thought-out article on Amazon’s move to cut and cap the rates of audiobooks for its ACX platform for indie authors. This is fully worked over in the article and equates the expense of production and the rate of return nearing traditional publishing rates. Have a read here.

 

Are you an indie author who likes to make people laugh? As I have mentioned before, (see microcerpt) there has never been a time in history where author and reader can communicate at such crucial points in the writing, publishing and promotion process. This is further borne out with the newest website connecting authors and readers. It’s called Riot Press and is worth a look and the article on GalleyCat is a nice write-up of the site. Check it out here. 

Did you know GalleyCat runs educational programs for freelancers? You can even try your luck at getting a discount to this program. This is limited offering, both in time and in ‘seating”. Additionally, I would highly recommend Carol Tice’s Freelance Writers’ Den. She is such a powerhouse and will guide you through the learning process of this exciting new career and help you avoid the pitfalls that scare us all. Head over to Freelance Writer’s Den now to sign up for an opening.

 

 

Clive Eaton always has great marketing tips for authors. His article can show you how humor can capture attention. If you are feeling overwhelmed at this point, this is a good article to read.   

 

Including your readers (and future readers) in your “behind the scenes” research is a great way to-get steadfast fans. One of the best examples of this is author Keith Thomson’s website which not only links to his novels, but to research for each of his works. It’s a great way to leave them wanting more (ie:your book!).   

 

The National Association of Independent Writers and Editors (NAIWE) announce a discount on their JPass membership. Head to that link if you would like access to all journals in your research. This applies to freelancers, fiction and nonfiction writers.   

 

In line with the last item, if you are in the midst of sussing out information on the computer for instance who really wrote that piece that does not have the “voice” of the author listed, than you might be interested in reading this piece in the Smithsonian.

 

As part of the self-publishing series, though it is quickly becoming mainstream, there is a post on changing book covers if you decide to ditch the first cover. You can find the link here. The author is no less than Joanna Penn. If you are a self-published author or are considering it, she is a must follow. Her website is called The Creative Penn.

 

 

And for those who are looking to find where their readers hang out, try wattpad. No, it’s not new, but there is a new “try it out for free” marketing tool that you will, I believe, start seeing more and more. This has been a possibility with Amazon in the read a section option, but this marketing campaign is catching the eyes of readers and other important people within the publishing world. And this is really what we all want, whatever our goals in the publication “brave new world”. The only thing we have to fear is, obscurity. Get your name out there with wattpad. See this campaign for The Nememiah Chronicles by D.S. Williams.

 

There is a petition going around to stop bullying of authors on Amazon. It’s more intriguing than at first glance. Read up on it here.

 

This fills all of the loops in marketing and is one of the most brilliant tweets I have seen. He will drive attention to his book by the sheer number of eyeballs drawn to the offer, he will add to his email list one way or the other  He is marketing his book, increasing the views on his tweets with the offer (“Free” is one of those words that grab attention. See: GoinsWriter, Michael Hyatt and the king of grabbing attention, Jon Morrow. He literally wrote the book on writing great headlines.)

 

 

Russell Smith asks if we need Writers’ Unions in this day of “DIY” publishing. See what he has to say about it here.

 

After the big hoopla over Wool series author, Hugh Howey’s disclosure of earnings, are you studying everything that Hugh is doing? Tracking every move that J.A. Konrath makes? Well, here is an article that can help you without cyberstalking.

 

Are you wondering about all of the discussion about blogging? This is what I call the “to blog or not to blog” question? (That sound you heard was The Bard rolling over in his grave.) There is a great article on Write to Done by Kimberley Grabas about this very issue. You should also look at all of her posts at Your Writer Platform. She does a stellar job helping us writers write.

 There are fewer newsletters coming since I have tied myself to a strict writing schedule. I am also reviewing a number of books, so please excuse the lack of information. I do have quite a few drafts that I’m adding to so those will come out as the writing schdule allows. Do know that if you “mouse” over the grey outlines in the upper right corner of the page they will become hyperlinks for social media. Feel free to follow me on your favorite. You can also write to me using the contact form. 

I also want to thank all of the kind people who have sent me messages. These are the times that “try men’s’ souls” but “what won’t kill us can only make us stronger”. Platitudes, and yes, cliches, but there is a reason we fall back on them in real life; but never in our writing. ;p My warmest wishes as your write and create to your “heart’s content”.

Review of Writer’s Bounty by Valerie Hurry

writing end point of pen

Writer's Bounty: Funding, Publishing, and Writing Resources for the Literary Writer (Creative Bounty)Writer’s Bounty: Funding, Publishing, and Writing Resources for the Literary Writer by Valerie Hurry

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

 

 

 

This is not your ordinary “writing book”. This is an actionable text to guide you through the morass of writing groups, contests, literary journals, with references for all areas that need to be covered when submitting your work; for instance, whether simultaneous submissions are accepted et al.

The work itself is aimed at Canadian and U.S. residents, but many of the links can conceivably be used by any writer around the world to assist them on their writing journey.
This book would be helpful for any poet, fiction or nonfiction writer.
I was, at first, concerned about the price for a reference work, but in considering this extensively I realized that the price is only fair as it is far cheaper than any hardbound or eBook reference on the market today. The latter resources would charge over twice as much not to mention the membership sites which would charge far more per month let alone annually.In addition, instead of having to plug in the information from a book, 98% of the links are active and thus with one click you can be on the website for further information.
Writer’s Bounty also included information on help for underserved populations, fellowships, writing workshops and internships. The book also divides the resources for the reader’s specific niche which is easily found in Ms. Hurry’s work. Literary Agents are included, thus, you will be able to hone in on agents that are actively looking for books and writing like yours.
And for any and all writers, there is the most important part of your written work which is promotion and marketing. Information under this umbrella is just as important, arguably, as the writing.
This book has everything a writer will need to submit their work for consideration in literary journals, contests, to agents, and to publishers. A necessary reference for any writer. Not to be missed.

Please note: I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased and honest review.

book: Writer’s Bounty
author: Valerie Hurry

#amwriting

amwriting the point of the quill

#amwriting

amwriting the point of the quill

 

I am writing. Though a failed spinal reconstruction is now gripping my spine in an evil clamp, I am writing. Though I slip into fevers that last weeks from severe r.a./lupus sle, I am writing. Though I must fight with the state for the egregious bills they charge me because I’m under 50 and sick, I am writing. Though the pain grips me so much I stare into space unable to stand every second of it, I am writing.

Though I often can’t use my hands to type, I am writing. 

Why? Because a man whom I’ve never met but who understands far more than I obstacles is sitting in his wheelchair and building empires. Because of this man, I am writing. 

Thank you for your example, Jon. And this quote I am hanging on my bedside:

 

The more I write, the more I realize building a career as a writer isn’t about smarts or talent or even discipline. It’s about guts.

 

 

To guts and gumption and you.

 

What obstacles do you overcome in your writing? Be fearless and write a few words in the comments.

 

Notes:

See Jon Morrow’s Letter to Writers

An Open Letter to Writers Struggling to Find Their Courage

Photo Credit: Kozzi

Paper or Pixel?

 

our armor

Gioia De Antoniis via Compfight

How do you like to read your stories?

You know how you are always asked at the grocery store check out line, “Paper or Plastic”. Some are adamant about paper, some not so much. But for our crew of writers and readers I would like to ask your viewpoint on the digital revolution.

Here’s what I’m talking about…

There is something about stationary and other paper goods that has always attracted me. I find that other writers feel the same way.

Even in this digital age the fascination continues. I remember getting lost in the revolving rack stacked full of different types and colors of paper. The cute ragged ages of some cards. The smooth texture of full page stationary in my signature light violet color. What I called Paris Purple. Just the right shade.

I worked in a Hallmark shop when I was in middle school. Loved every minute of it. I was going to buy a stationary shop; always envisioned it. Of course, my love of books would require me to also sell books.

I wanted to make the customers feel comfortable so I watched out for the perfect chairs to be put in various areas around the shop. They would need drinks as well so tables would be necessary.

Soon famous for baking up a storm, I knew the smell of fresh baked items would keep them there. Carefully selected lighting and seating was just the ticket.

Does this sound familiar to you? Yes, well the big chain bookstores developed my dream of a small shop and expanded rapidly. I still wanted that homey small owner feel to my shop. Where you would find surprises around ever corner, not streamlined facilities that all looked  the same in whatever state or city you happened to be in. That might be a comfort to some but it was not my true vision.

Long before I knew of the play Parfumerie or either movie, I saw my little “Shop Around the Corner” as a bastion of book lovers against the great ‘homogenized’ chains. Of course, we know now that in this digital age one large chain was not able to keep their accounting books in order. However, even today there are shops that have withstood both the digital retailers and the big chain stores.  Read about the Literati Bookstore in Ann Arbor in a wonderful article in Poets & Writers Magazine. I salute them.  And lo and behold, I just found handmade stationary on DizzyCsCrafts blog. Made with loving care. For readers in America, my friends in Poland and environs, she is in the UK so you would need to consider shipping costs. Soon, I will have a Love of Library series on this site; and yes, this is the first salvo. You should read a lovely post by author Debbie Young In Praise of Public Libraries. (Young by Name articles are on her new url; www.authordebbieyoung.com). Poets & Writers Magazine also has a pivotal interview conducted by Michael Szceserban, an editor at Simon & Schuster with Agent and Editor David Gernert about the joy of reading and bookstores

No, it will never be all over. But if B&N doesn’t stay healthy, the publishing industry will change phenomenally. Bookstores are incredibly important—not just as retail outlets, but as places where people go and commune with other like-minded individuals, many of them strangers, and talk about big ideas and compare notes on what they’ve been reading and what’s going on in the world. That is a tremendously important and valuable part of our culture. It’s much bigger than just selling books. I find it appalling that our society is turning a blind eye—maybe through just a lack of awareness—to the fact that the number of bookstores in this country is declining all the time. It’s really serious…

So, my question to you is this:

Does it make a difference if you are reading a book on a device or holding the actual book in your hand?

I truly am curious about the difference in your experience of holding a book, feeling the pages between your fingers and flipping over to the author’s picture or the blurb within seconds.

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments. Commenting is always free and I know you will have thoughts on this as it is becoming the two sides to the one revolutionary change in publishing.

Writing 2.0 Changemaker Series: Focus on Melissa Foster

Fostering Success

Fostering Success

This is the first installment in a series I have entitled the Writing 2.0 Changemaker Series. In each interview, I will bring you the trendsetters in the new age of publishing for both traditional and self-published authors. My goal is to bring you those who are paving the way to educate authors in all sectors of the writing process from blank page to marketing.  Our focus today is on New York Times & USA Today bestselling  & award-winning author, Melissa Foster.

 

I had the distinct pleasure of discussing a number of issues that fall on writers these days with Melissa Foster via email. She has somehow managed to keep her fiction writing up, form an incredible support group called World Literary Cafe (renowned and respected), written her non-fiction book Fostering Success and pulled together a cadre of trusted format experts, editors and designers. She is also a delight to know.

Here is her philosophy and moral compass underlying all her enterprises:

My goal is always to help as many authors as I am able–and I take no compensation from either of my businesses, this is my way of giving back to the literary world. We are so very lucky to have the opportunity to bring our books to readers, but if we don’t understand how to publish, or the layers and processes behind book marketing, the gift we’ve been given will be meaningless.
The methodology she has developed helps authors from first draft to publishing and marketing:
I am asked on a daily basis basic, as well as complex, questions about all aspects of the self-publishing and book marketing arena. While I’ve tried to help authors with one-on-one consulting, I found that my window of writing time was becoming smaller and smaller, and I wasn’t able to help as many authors as were requesting my time. Fostering Success offers effective, easy to understand, answers along with real life, immediately usable solutions for self-publishing newbies to experienced traditional and non-traditional authors through self-guided courses that are available 24/7 with downloadable transcripts and multitudes of bonus materials that can be used over and over again–to breathe new life into old titles and to launch new titles as well. What pleases me the most, is that authors no longer have to flounder about in the industry. Between Fostering Success and the World Literary Cafe, authors are guided from pre-publication down their marketing path, so they can find their book’s success
About learning to compile your book:
My take on formatting a book -both paperback and ebooks, is that while you can learn them, the ease of doing so depends entirely on how computer savvy you are, and how much you value your writing and marketing time vs spending time formatting. I know how to format ebooks and paperbacks, but I have my staff do that for me (and I pay the same rate as everyone else to do so), because for me, writing and running my businesses are essential, and I believe in letting experts do their jobs. I can rely on my formatter and my cover designers, therefore, they save me money, and surely save me headaches of both time and money from improperly formatted files. Everyone has an opinion on this topic, of course.
After years and years of learning the “old system” of publishing, I took a year out to learn the new approach which is now de rigueur. That research has taken me away from my writing, and I’m sure you can relate to that frustration. Melissa has set up all of these options for other authors while continuing to publish. We all need to take a page from her book:
Author Melissa Foster
You can also chat with her here:

The Women’s Nest

forum

And please like her Fanpage on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter @Melissa_Foster.

As always, commenting is free on this site. Sign up for newsletters and follow me on Twitter @LeeJTyler.

Writing on the Brain: The Writer’s Read

writing on the brain

writing on the brain the writers readBrain function and the writing process are my passion and my life’s work.

I have studied the brain for years. I researched head injuries and the effects of neurotransmitters in arthritis, not knowing, as I kept my head down in the research building plugging in neurotransmitter formulas to aid in an answer, that I would be contracting R.A. and Lupus s.l.e. in my thirties. Life is ironic.

But finding this amazing infographic from Apple Copywriting (a site you must visit), was like coming home. The occipital, parietal and frontal lobes and their workings are infused into my memory. Broca’s and Wernick’s areas are my areas of study; like old friends.

In the Wayback Machine, here is a story on conquering procrastination that I wrote some time ago. The research I cited and the tools provided seemed to help many writers. Hopefully, you can find some benefit to apply to your writing.

This, kids, is why we must use evocative words for all of the senses. It’s why Jesus spoke to us in parables. These stories have been with us for over two thousand years. We are Wired for Story, as Lisa Cron, the author of this great craft book has famously said. I will share with you soon the mapping software I use to highlight the areas I need to hit more and the processes I make habit in order to add content to my story that comes up in the course of the day. I am always writing, even if not actively. The fleeting thoughts that tie the plot points together or help make that secondary character come to life in one sentence, that’s the writing life. That is what I live for, and I’m sure you feel the same way.

I do all of this so I don’t forget. So my story will be memorable.

In fact, Margo Fritz, writing from Cornell happily recounts “the first time [she] realized how beautifully science and creative writing can merge”.

Stranger than fiction

In Block 3 I took Stranger than Fiction: Creative Non-Fiction Writing About the Sciences. It was taught by Sandra Beasley, a visiting professor and author of a memoir and cultural history of food allergies called “Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl,” as well as two collections of poetry.

This was the first time I realized how beautifully science and creative writing can merge.

Some tools of the trade.

To help in that area, I head to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. You can see within the link that I was working on an evocative analogy for the time needed for reflection and the growth leading to a freer and more beautiful existence. The process I was looking for is in the link and is now one of my favorite words.

There are quizzes and brain training games that you can play to keep your mind sharp. For instance, if I am feeling too sluggish at the beginning of a writing session, I will play one of these games to drill down to the core of my brain and get the ‘plasticity going’ as I phrase it and the neurons firing.

Some of these tools require a paid membership and lose many of their best features after the trial period. And how much extra cash do writers have on their persons? Um hmm. Unless you are born into or married a duke or duchess than it is the free tools that are left.  Frankly, my imagination and the free thesaurus are enough to get words, phrases and even whole sentences on the page. I’m sure you can do much better.

What tools do you use to aid in your writing life?

To complement any reading you have finished this perfect reading day, here are some wonderful articles to help you along in your writing path.

Hints of Elain e’s in The Writing Room

Collection Highlights at the Library of Congress

Free Samples of The New York Times’ Top Ten Books of the Year

Did you catch Angela Clarke’s One Minute Critique

Jane Friedman and Orna Ross discuss how to make money from your writing

Lifehack has an immense collection of articles on the Writing Life that we lead:

How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life

Ten Simple Rules for Good Writing This isn’t just the usual list. We “know” these, but we need to be reminded of them every  once in a while.

And this one is stellar: 20 Free Resources to Create a Simple Ebook

I use a lot of these already, but it is wonderful to have all of them tied up in a neat little bow. ;p

This one fits my research and writing life if you’ve ever wondered How Does Writing Affect Us?

NPR has the Best Books of 2013

Stephen King famously and wisely said,

Among the forty writing books I have, I prize my copy of Stephen King’s On Writing. However, there is a quote I came across on Goodreads from Mr. King’s Different Seasons that is one of the most poignant thoughts I have come across, and I’d like to share it with you. You, as a writer, will understand this.

“The most important things are the hardest to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them — words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they’re brought out. But it’s more than that, isn’t it? The most important things lie too close to wherever your secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away. And you may make revelations that cost you dearly only to have people look at you in a funny way, not understanding what you’ve said at all, or why you thought it was so important that you almost cried while you were saying it. That’s the worst, I think. When the secret stays locked within not for want of a teller but for want of an understanding ear.”

Lynne Neary–back at NPR–discusses how all writers rework their favorite  stories.

Do you find you agree with her?

 

 

Shall I look for you in the sunset?

poem poetry bereavement writing

Some well-known people claim that you shouldn’t write a post about yourself. It should always be for the readers’ benefit. I have endeavored to do that throughout the many posts on this website.

But sometimes, life precludes such evasion.

My mother has passed away.

Grief has  engulfed me. When she disappeared, as she often did, I had mourned her even as I called hospitals, friends, acquaintances-looking for her. Our roles shifted when I was young and I became the caretaker; the mother rather than the child.

Naively, I thought all of those horrible days and nights constituted enough grief for a lifetime. For her lifetime. Of course, I find I am wrong. The tears do not end, the thoughts and pictures of our life, the happier times when she smiled. A consummate hostess for the dinner parties at our large house, she wore dresses that she had sewn but looked much like something Jackie Kennedy would wear.

I wish to remember her this way.

Thank you for your understanding. I will be back soon with the first post in the series “For the Love of Books.”, writing tips, and much more on the indie series.

Best to you,

Lee

 

 

The Framework of Publishing Has Shifted Once Again

publishing

publishing

The framework of publishing has shifted once again.

A new model has reached the showroom floor, in the form of  microcerpt, a new platform founded by George Douglas.

The chasm that once existed between the author and reader has been closing, bringing the two closer year after year. microcerpt [sic] has is the newest bridge to cross the chasm:

Independent (indie) authors find better ways to engage and expand their readership with microcerpt’s new subscription based eReader. The site today announced this enhanced functionality, that opens the door to extended creative and literary freedom for authors. Authors are now in full control as they can set the market price on their own customized package that can include just about anything they’d like, such as private book club memberships, eBook access, newsletter delivery, and opportunities for direct reader-author contact.

Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/1539057#ixzz2kAh1F4X3

This has shifted the tectonic plates of publishing once again. 

As reported by PRWeb:

microcerpt Pro authors enjoy the following perks, among many others:

  • One year of prominent advertising throughout the microcerpt site.
  • All excerpts are formatted and submitted for the author including custom artwork.
  • The building, design and hosting of an author’s digital bookshelf equipped with microcerpt’s eReader technology.
  • Author controls to create and maintain an exclusive community for fans.
  • eBook subscription packages at an author-specified price. eBook format conversions included.
  • Additional exposure on microcerpt’s social networks as well as valuable placement within the microcerpt Showcase.

PRWeb continues:

The site is making notable progress in this regard. The platform’s novelty—a first-of-a-kind network of writing samples called microcerpts—is in line with its author-centric, unconventional approach. For example, talented yet undiscovered writers enjoy equal footing with better-known writers, as they can present their writing samples and earn clout solely on the basis of content quality.

 

See these links for further information:

http://www.microcerpt.com/

http://www.youtube.com/watch/?v=AN0AS2J_KJc

http://img.youtube.com/vi/AN0AS2J_KJc/hqdefault.jpg

Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/1539057#ixzz2k8Un4G00

http://www.prweb.com/releases/publishing-breakthrough/ebook-ereader/prweb11226210.htm

I wonder what technological enterprises are coming our way. It’s not hard to imagine author readings with readers around the proverbial campfire, giving authors the chance to see their readers’ reactions to their work; much as Shakespeare observed his audience while the story was told.

The framework of publishing is changing rapidly. Are you ready to jump in? Tell me what you think in the comments below.

Just for fun:

As reported by Wired, you can now see full length movies thanks to a subreddit all in gif format. See this link.

The Cost of Self-Publishing: POD Price Comparisons + Matchbook, NaNoWriMo & SWD PDQ

Writing & publishing in the digital age

copy-cropped-logoo-from-jack.png

Are you doing NaNoWriMo …now?…

Well, if so, I have some juicy things for you so keep reading.

If you aren’t doing it this year, then sit back and read at your leisure. There is plenty more where all of this comes from. (Terrible cliché, I know. And I ended the sentence with a proposition!)

As an aside to the indie series, here is a promised tidbit on print on demand services:

Writer’s Weekly has a whole host of articles on the cost of print on demand this week. But, as always, I want you to check your choices against sage advice from

  • your writing forums
  • LinkedIn boards
  • Google Plus Communities
  • and friends who have self-published.

Remember also to check for a top-dollar to be paid; ask your friends what they would consider the top-dollar to be for, in this case, POD.

I will bring you much more in the way of POD, beta-readers, editors, interior and exterior book cover designers and information for formatting your own novel or reputable organizations that can do this for you.

Right now, though, we have some fish to fry in the way of writing a novel in a month. (Breath in, and breath out.)

For your resources this NaNoWriMo, I will be giving you questionnaires that I have dug up throughout the years. We cannot be writing with two-dimensional characters in November or any month of the year.

Here are some great writing prompts for NaNoWriMo at The J Letters.

If you, by chance, haven’t started the outlines or research yet and are someone who prefers to write by “the seat of their pants”, also known in some circles as a pantsers*, then the following character cheat sheets should come in handy right about now.

First up is from Wikiversity with a wonderful character check list that goes beyond just a questionnaire. The “pocket contents” is my favorite.

Ebooks4Writers has a great universal sheet for your novel. It is your roadmap on this journey.

They also have a great post on getting your novel logistics right.

P.J. Sloan has a great character quiz which you can find here.

Now, if those don’t help, Angela Ackerman wrote a great post which is on The Bookshelf Muse site explaining her tricks to get inside the head (or desk drawer) of your character.

What is coming up, you ask?

I have plenty more to help you out throughout this month. These will be a good start for now. For those who follow this site and do not plan on being self-published, you will find in almost all of the posts information that will help you from conception to promotion. Feel free to ask for help if you do not find it in the existing posts.

And a reminder to all writers; we are a sensitive lot, we are the ones who step around the ant hill, amazed at its system of holes and transport tunnels. It is quite hard to be anything else but careful of life in general. But remember, your protagonist is not alive and to save his or her literary life, you must be mean to them. At every turn. Make every day the worst day of their lives. Make sure that there is no pair of socks that match for them to wear, and the coffee pot is broken, and they have no money for take out. The person knocking on the door is not their friendly neighbor, but the killer who wants to chop off their limbs. And you, the writer, has left the door UNLOCKED!!

Forget about Road Rage; You Want Writer’s Rage! Remember William Faulkner’s advice:

“In writing, you must kill all your darlings.”

 

In publishing news:

 

We know that Amazon is a publisher as well as distributor/retailer/lending library et al. But did you know they are starting their own Literary Magazine? It’s called Day One

Your first 30 days are free, as in blog and other periodical publications

Caveat: You name and address will be given to the publisher. Not surprising as they say that for all periodicals. What is ironic is that this time, Amazon is the publisher.

As there are no Editorial Reviews yet, this is the content under the Editorial Review section:

Product Description

Day One is a weekly literary journal dedicated to short fiction from debut writers, English translations of stories from around the world, and poetry. Each issue showcases one writer and poet and includes an introduction from the editor, an interview with the authors, and occasional bonus content. Day One features cover art commissioned from emerging artists and illustrators, and readers will learn more about the artist and the genesis of the cover each week.Kindle Magazines are fully downloaded onto your Kindle so you can read them even when you’re not wirelessly connected.
 “Sheila” seems to be getting a lot of buzz, but I’m sure all of the stories in this inaugural issue are fantastic.
The first issue is available now for download. A low-priced annual subscription for 52 weeks will run you $9.99. (Not an affiliate link.) Try it out.
 Amazon Matchbook is also relatively new. It is similar to the Amazon Audio offers you see when you purchase a Kindle edition of a book.However, instead of buying an audio edition of a book, this is retroactive and pairs up hard copy issues with Kindle editions. Amazon is taking a long-range approach to their offer. Any book that you purchased from Amazon since 1995 will get you the Kindle edition of the same publication for a lower price of the current Kindle version. This only applies to those publishers who have agreed to participate in the program.
Smashwords has something new and shiny as well, which you may check out in this document.
Some additional reading material as you take a break from your writing can be found in The Smashwords Style Guide written by Mark Coker himself, which you can find with this link or, if you have a Kindle, on Amazon’s site, or in this adorable, information packed Slideshare. 

 

Don’t worry your pretty little head about editors for your freshly completed manuscript since Mark Coker, Mr. Indefatigable, has a list of editors that are reputable and also kindly affordable. I will keep you updated on this so all you have to do is write your wonderful story into a full blown novel.
The delectable thing about Smashwords and NaNoWriMo is the following update from the Smashword site:

About the Smashwords/NaNoWriMo Promotion
Smashwords is opening up the Smashwords platform to allow all NaNoWriMo participants to publish, share, track and promote their works-in-progress.

All NaNo books will receive promotion via:

  1. A special catalog hosted at Smashwords.com
  2. A special catalog in the native catalog of Stanza, the #1 most downloaded (2.5 million +) e-reading app on the iPhone and iPod Touch.
  3. A special catalog in the native catalog of Aldiko, the #1 most popular e-reading app for Android phones
  4. Promotion in the Smashwords blog, on Twitter, and elsewhere!

 

How to list your book as a NaNoWriMo title at Smashwords:

  1. Sign up for free with Smashwords (if you’re not already a member) http://www.smashwords.com/signup
    Between November 1 (12:00am PST) and November 30 (11:59pm PST), publish your NaNoWriMo novel:http://www.smashwords.com/upload/nanowrimo
  2. You can set the price of your book to FREE (recommended if you want to get the most readership), or you can set a price let readers pick their own price if you want friends, fans and family to financially support your month of writing madness. Free is better! If you do charge people to read your book, we suggest you donate your proceeds during November directly to NaNoWrimo to support their great program.
  3. During that same time period, whenever you feel like it, upload a new revision of your novel by going to your Dashboard and clicking “Upload new version” next to the title: http://www.smashwords.com/dashboard
    And yes! readers will always be able to fetch the latest version!
    A dynamic display of a bar graph and other statistics on your book’s public info page will help you and your fans follow your progress.
  4. Please note: Our word count may not match the official NaNoWriMo one!
    Send your friends, fans and family to Smashwords to read your novel, other NaNoWriMo novels, and to discover thousands of other great ebooks! http://www.smashwords.com/
  5. If you write 50,000 or more words by November 30th, you’ll see “Goal reached!” (If you finish after November, we’ll show your latest progress, but also point out that you eventually did reach the goal.)
  6. REMEMBER: Smashwords is providing a fun way to publish (and sell, if you want) your new novel. You still need to sign up for NaNoWriMo and submit your book there, too, to participate in the offical contest!http://www.nanowrimo.org/user/register

How to Promote your NaNoWriMo title at Smashwords:

  1. Use the social media links on your book page to share your book with friends, fans and family
  2. Encourage your friends, fans and family to share your work in progress with friends, using the social media links
  3. Celebrate your Nano entry by posting links to your Nano book at Smashwords, so fans can download your work-in-progress, readable in multiple DRM-free ebook formats!
  4. Review our free ebook, The Smashwords Book Marketing Guide, for additional marketing tips. Smart book marketing begins before you release your finished book, so star now!

 

The Details

  • Since you cannot begin your novel until NaNoWriMo starts, you cannot add your book to Smashwords until then, either. (In other words, your book must have a “published” date at Smashwords within the month of November, or it won’t be listed on this page.)
  • The book must be within the Fiction category at Smashwords.
  • During the month of November, whenever you upload a new revision of your work, its NaNoWriMo word count will be updated automatically.
  • Your book’s participation in NaNoWriMo will be listed on the book’s info page at Smashwords, along with the latest word count we saw during November.
  • Even after NaNoWriMo is over, please keep updating your book at Smashwords. And when you finish your novel, remember to uncheck the Work in Progress setting for your book!
  • PLEASE NOTE: Smashwords does not send your book or word counts to the official NaNoWriMo site! To officially participate in the contest, be sure to sign up at NaNoWriMo.org and update your book there, too!
    Click here to register at NaNoWriMo.org >

 

After NaNoWriMo is Over

How to Publish Your Finished Book on Smashwords

When you finish writing your novel, and after you get it properly edited and proof-read (ALL books need many revisions and edits before they’re truly ready to publish), and after you have carefully formatted it per the requirements of the Smashwords Style Guide, you can return to your Smashwords Dashboard, upload the finished version, and uncheck the “Work in Progress” setting to make it ‘live’ on Smashwords and eligible for free, Premium distribution to major online retailers such as Barnes and Noble, Sony, and others to be announced soon. Learn more about how Smashwords can distribute your book on our Distribution Information Page.

 

Commenting is free on this site:

A gracious nod to all of the new subscribers. I would like to hear from you if you have left a comment and it didn’t show up. Please use the contact form or email me at info@thepointofthequill.com making sure that you write my name, Lee, somewhere. I am inundated by spam both on the site itself and through the contact form, and I have found that it is impossible to go through 400-600 spam per day and get anything else accomplished. If you have been caught up in the spam, I am truly sorry. I am working on making this a members site, looking at other commenting services (I’ve tried more than a few, including disks), or finding another way to make the process as smooth as possible. I appreciate your time in informing me how things are on your end. I give the second shoutout to those who have already written to me.

*From Plot and Pant mash up. Yeah, I’m not a fan of it, either.

Warnings & Pitfalls in the Marketing & Publishing Process

warnings publishing

warnings publishing

Great advice from some great people in the business

 David Gaughran is already legendary in publishing and e-publishing. I have read his book, Let’s Get Digital which I highly recommend. His newest book is called Let’s Get Visible. We can forgive him the eighties music running through our heads when he gives us such great advice. He talks about two specific genres, literary and historical fiction and then shows us why Amazon makes it easier on these genres. He also throws in a few tidbits on the industry. All for free!

You will notice that there is a great deal of metadata discussed, though it isn’t called that. If you are a frequent reader of this site, you will understand that term. If you are new, just use the search field. It will help you in many of the stages of writing.

Nick Thacker is the best at delivering massive posts rich with information. I also find myself racing to open his newsletter. Check out his ultimate resource on Where You Should Self-Publish. If you like this site, you’ll also find Nick’s site great as well.

 I’ve written of Hugh Howey and his Wool series success on this site and in posts still to come. He’s a great guy and a great author, so it’s nice to read Jonathan Gunson’s article on him. And by the reactions in the comments, he did a very fine job indeed. He discusses Hugh Howey’s meteoric rise in the presses and Howey’s great marketing campaign. If you’ve seen interviews with Howey, you will know he is very genuine. It’s nice to see someone enjoying the process of publication and promotion. You can read Jonathan’s article right here.

Jonathan also did a two part marketing series called The Book Marketing Maze. Part II discusses the wrong turns that authors make in their marketing and how to avoid them.

Enjoy the ride but beware of potholes

As we ride the rocky road of the new publishing era, it is good to know that we have someone who is watching our backs. The Business Rusch should be on your must read list. Kris has done a two-part series on scams in the self-publishing industry. If anyone thinks this stuff just occurs in e-publishing, take a minute to read this post.

A note on this article. We, as writers, tend to think of the creative side of the business. But no matter how you publish, traditional or indie, you will be getting statements about your sales, you will be signing contacts and agreements, you will be entering into a business relationship with a number of providers. You will be the head of a business. Your business. Yes, as I’ve stated before, creativity does play a great part in marketing your book, but there is the back-forty you must deal with, and that’s the area where some people like to sneak in, or leave out, certain articles of truth to make the numbers add up just a little more on their side. It is your business to make sure that doesn’t happen to you.

This applies to all areas of your work and your publishing business. Do your due diligence when working with cover artists, editing of any form, and especially formatting. The latter is a confusing subject in the first place, and if you decide not to upload your files yourself there are a number of great people that will format and upload for you. There are also a lot of scammers. Please read everything before you proceed, no matter how excited you are at getting your work out there.

Search for any information on reviews or complaints regarding the business you are thinking of using. Run through this checklist:

  • Get into your LinkedIn groups that we’ve talked about and start a new subject specifically asking if anyone has used Such & Such Co. for formatting and what their experience was with them.
  • Do the same with the Google Plus communities I’ve written about.
  • See my Toolbox Page above; I’ve set up resources for you to peruse and use. You will need to spend time learning about either formatting yourself or working with a formatting service. It is necessary that you spend the time to protect yourself and your work.

After this “big sister” sermon, I clicked over to The Business Rusch again and read an article I have never read before. I was pleased that she said many of the exact same things I have written here. Her article applies to both indie and traditional published authors. It’s worth a read: What Writers Need To Know.

I have a number of articles for you and tons of tips and resources. They are all coming your way. A big welcome to all of the new subscribers. Please tell me what you would like or need to read. Whether it’s the process of traditional or e-publishng, the writing process, marketing, or articles with a more literary slant. Looking forward to hearing from you! Just leave a comment on this page or write to me through the contact form above. If you found this article useful, please share.

 

From Platform to Self-Publishing House, Kickstarter and Published Book

There is a great site you should visit called Indie Author Land. It is a wealth of information on self-published books. It also has the stories behind the books in the form of  author interviews posted with the books. This is the crux of the story behind Penpals; a story you don’t want to miss about a book that is surely not to be missed.

It seems that the author, Dathan Auerbach visited the social page Reddit a great deal. In particular, the subreddit No Sleep. One night, he decided to post a story to the subreddit. He was a little nervous  about it, but decided to dive in; he intitled that story Footsteps and hoped for a few votes and comments. It turned out to be a hit, so he posted more and everyone loved the stories. They were clamoring for them. This interview,  conducted at the end of last year, is a bestseller again for this past week. There is talk of a movie, all because of reddit’s subreddit community NoSleep. This is what a fan base can do both for you as a novelist and your book through the self-publishing options available for you.

This interview talks first about story, which must be the pillar to all of our work and then discusses an ‘impromptu’ Kickstarter project, a publishing house, isbn and publishing outlets on Amazon, over several countries, iTunes, Nook, and beyond with talks with the movie industry; all a great surprise to the novelist, Dathan Auerbach.

Please see these links about this story and more about Dathan Auerbach:

http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/dathan-auerbach

http://www.indieauthorland.com/archives/882

http://www.reddit.com/user/1000Vultures/?sort=top

http://www.indieauthorland.com/archives/882

The Queen’s English and Proofreading Your Novel

proofreader, self-publish, books, editing

Cottage Garden in Tissington, Derbyshire

or:

How do I proofread my book for overseas?

 

This will be rather short today, but it follows along the lines that I have stressed, which are hiring a great copy editor, line editor and proofreader. In doing my research for the self-publishing posts, I sent an email to someone in the UK concerning the use of “while” vs. “whilst” and “curb” vs. “kerb”. I had happened to be reading a book at the time from a British author who used all of the above, but “curb”. She was not following any of my advise for her story structure which fell apart half of the way through the manuscript. Not only did she not hire a proofreader, she was  inconsistent. An absolute “no-no”!!!
In my research for the self-publishing series, I wondered what is to become of authors that send their books overseas. Whether we are sending it “from here over to there
or “there over to here”, the question still stands as to what to do about the difference in spelling. Particularly “while” and “whilst” and “kerb” and “curb”.

Skipping the “how-do-you-dos”,here is Matt Male from Future-Perfect and his response to my inquiry:

Future Perfect is an English grammar consultancy, specialising in vetting companies’ written communications. English is often the only element of a document’s production without a top expert’s input. The design, colour, font, stock and message are all scrutinised by experts, yet the final copy is often not vetted beyond the level of the copywriter/proofreader or layman specifically for grammar, spelling, syntax and consistency. Working at an advanced level (usually after agencies, copywriters, proofreaders and legal experts), Future Perfect ensures that written communications are afforded specific technical and structural expertise in English, to complement the huge team effort which goes into all other elements of their production. Vetting will apply structure, without altering the intended style of a text, to achieve quality and consistency, creating the right impression – first time.

Matt is the founder of Future Perfect. I was horrified to find out that double spacing went out in the sixties. I thought it was the eighties. But I still can’t stop doing it. Though you will notice I didn’t use it in the paragraph.   Let’s try the BBC website and specifically, an episode of “The Grammar Police/Ask Tom” to see exactly how much nearly everyone goofs up one way or another. We are all in this together.

 

While it seems that Future Perfect doesn’t proofread novels, they do pretty much everything else!. So what is the answer to our quest? In this increasingly small world, it seems the best way is to hire an editor who writes and proofreads in both languages. In the coming resource post, I have some that I will share with you and their work is spot-on.

And an emphatic addendum to Word Geek Monday from The Urban Dictionary : The phrase is “for all intents and purposes”, and is NOT “for all intensive purposes”. I will dial emergency on this one if it is not drilled into every head that wishes to use this phrase. If you are speaking of the Intensive Care Ward at the local hospital and you wish to give them a large sum of money, then yes, by all means, use the mangled phrase. No money to give, you say? Well then, use the correct phrasing.

PLEASE SEE THE ORANGE HIGHLIGHT TO UNDERSTAND HOW UPSIDE DOWN THIS PHRASING IS WITHIN GRAMMAR HISTORY.
de facto: The phrase is a corruption of “for all intents and purposes” by persons who have heard the phrase, but have not read it in it’s proper form. It means “for all intents, and for all purposes.”de jure: Taken literally, the phrase means “for purposes which are intense. All purposes which are not intense are not included.” This is almost completely opposite to what is meant by most people, and is why it is imperative that persons use the proper phrase.

The Wise Geek weighs in on the matter:

The phrase for all intents and purposes or to all intents and purposes is often used in a variety of circumstances. It tends to mean under most usual circumstances, in most practical situations, or for purposes that are practical. Another interpretation could be in practical situations.

The phrase originated in legal language in the 1500s, and it may have been first used in court cases in England. The initial wording may have been “to all intents, constructions and purposes.” Some point out that pluralizing “intent” is unnecessary since the word can be singular or plural without an “s” at the end, such as “his intent” or “their intent.”

In the modern sense, this phrase could be used in the following example. A person is interviewing for a job, and the boss wants to hire him. She might say, “We still need to check your references, but for all intents and purposes, the job is yours.” Provided the applicants references are fine, he has landed the job and, under practical considerations, he can consider himself employed.
 
Unfortunately, the phrase has gotten a little more complicated because of the numerous misquotes or malapropisms that are used in its place. One common substitution is “for all intensive purposes.” This is very commonly used, and it means something almost directly opposite to the original phrase’s meaning of “for practical purposes.”

Phrases.org puts it squarely in history:

Origin

When researching the development of a phrase it is usually the origin that is difficult to determine; the spelling and the meaning are generally pretty well established. With ‘for (or to) all intents and purposes’ it is the other way about. The origin is unambiguous, as the first recorded use was in an Act of Parliament under Henry VIII, in 1546:

“to all intents, constructions, and purposes

Welcome to all of my new subscribers! (Do know I’m only stern on Mondays 😉 I hope everyone is taking just a few minutes to write down a bit more in your outline and manuscript. Keep up the good work!

Image credit:  JR P via Compfight

20 Shout to the Rooftop Tips for Your Book Launch Day

book marketing
How to market your book
Your job now is to make your book stand out from this pile.

 

 As writers, we do not lack creativity.

We’ve lived in our imaginations and worlds of words all of our lives.

But marketing takes a very different brain “muscle” to be exercised.
Creativity, lucky for us, is also one of the greatest aspects of marketing. It requires taking everyday, run-of-the-mill thinking and ratcheting the connections to seemingly disparate subjects and events to tie them together; creating a brand new opportunity to spread the word about a product. In our case, that product is our book. Our baby that we’ve worked so hard on for so long.
Who wouldn’t want to spread the word or shout it from the highest mountain-tops? Okay, maybe rock climbing shouldn’t be added to the list, but here are twenty suggestions, some you might have heard before and some that hopefully get you thinking along new lines.
Without further ado…

1. Get into a group (see World Literture Cafe) that tweets out things about your book

2. Put pictures of your book up on all social sites, yes, even Pinterest. Remember, you want to be everywhere. This is what the publishers do for major books, you can’t open a paper-or an app these days and not see the new book on the release date.

3.Go into Amazon’s Author Central and put in reviews, tweak your page, remember my advice about professional tweets at this time as they will show up on your author pages.

4.Whether you have set up a Google Page or a Facebook fan page, visit these at least three times a day for your launch period to add reviews, blurbs from reviews and to interact with anyone who visits.

5.Throw a Twitter Party with relevant Twitter followers. I have not seen this done for book launches, but I think if you use some creativity and find a reason, for instance, a contest winner or a discussion of current events in the area of digital publications, you might just start a trend. Remember to set up a visual invitation and –yes,  you know what I’m going to say now– put your book cover art on  it alone with the relevant words. You can see how to do this in this excellent pdf: http://www.mytravelresearch.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Tips-for-Growing-Your-Traffic-on-Twitter.pdf

 6.Set up an Evernote Account: If you don’t have Evernote on your computer, I suggest downloading it now and setting up a Book Marketing folder. There is a tool in Evernote that allows you to put in a check box for what you have accomplished and for what still needs to get done. You can get onto your Evernote account with your username and password through the interwebs say, at work or through your web browser on your phone; however, it is easier to download the Evernote app on your phone. There is a free and paid version but the free version gives you a great deal of memory and a usage dial for the month. Start an account now. It is always best to keep everything in one place. You can save articles with the Evernote clipper and easily refer back to them with the appropriate tags for each note in your folders. I recommend this over any note app or reminder app as this is an all-in-one tool for you. You can also set up IFFT recipes for your Gmail account. See the “trunk” in Evernote for setting up these recipes.

7.Keep a list of anyone who has helped you from the  research to publication. There will be basically two categories: those whom you want to thank in a personal way and those who you will add to the cover-pages of your book as special mentions and thankyous. You can run over this list every few days;  do this at night when you should be sleeping but won’t have time to sleep. (We’re all grown up; let’s be realistic about this.)

8.This ties into “spreading the word” which you will note is a theme here. Ask these people if they wouldn’t mind helping you spread the word. People who have helped you before are more likely to be happy to help you out again. It’s a proven fact (cognitive dissonance; remember my background ;). So don’t be the shy writer that we all are when we are tuned into our creative selves. Put your business clothes on while doing this if you have to (in the extreme cases-it does help) or just put your game face on. You can do it. And no one is going to buy your books if they don’t know they exist.

9.Run a contest on your blog look at other author pages and see what they did for their contests to get your creative juices flowing. Much of contests are basically additional marketing opportunities. If someone has bought your book (don’t require them to, that’s against the law) then have them take a picture of it (or on their reader with the cover showing).

10.You can also put a signature on appropriate emails, put a picture of your book and a blurb from a reviewer at the bottom of emails if you have Gmail. In marketing terms taken from a war term, you will carpet-bomb the web. Not in a spammy way, but if you want to get noticed and sell books you now have to think like a marketer. Not a writer.

You can do the above in the settings feature of Gmail. Just choose to upload a picture from your file folders in the signature settings and you are good to go. Don’t forget the blurb. Add your link to Amazon and all of the distributors you have set up.

11.Run a GoodReads Contest. You will  need a PoD vender to print a book if you only published via e-book. But it is worth the cost for reviewers. Please see the “note of caution” in this post. If you chose not to get an ISBN for your book, you may have issues with putting it on Goodreads. Though some suggest that you don’t need an ISBN, as the publisher, it is best to get one and you can then get listed in a number of places you wouldn’t be without one. It’s worth it. See this link on how to manually upload your book to Goodreads. Also, here is an overview of how to promote your book on Goodreads.

12.Think of local slants for your book and write to editors of newspapers and any city magazines. They are hurting for help material now so it will be easy to type up an article and ask if they would allow a blurb at the bottom for your book.

13.Get some people together for a Google Plus chat on your book; upload it to your youtube channel

14.Put the books on your YouTube profile.

16.Read Susan Gilbert’s great article “Why Your Author Website Should Include a Media Kit” I am very familiar with these, having been in marketing. In the digital age, they are even easier to put together. Her article explains it perfectly.

17.Do local advertising. Whether fiction or non-fiction, talk to your local library branches about activities they might have available for you. Sign up for mailings from your library now. They schedule these events months in advance, and you want to get on their schedule now.

18.Now is the time where guest posting will pay off–literally. Start thinking of web-sites that you have article ideas for and start outlining the articles now. You don’t necessarily have to have a slant for your book as you can usually put a blurb at the bottom of the article about the book and then one or two web and social site links., but if you do have a slant it will stick in the readers minds more than just the blurb. Pitch this to webmasters at least a month in advance (while your book is at the professional editors) since the administrators will have an editorial calendar set up and filled with their own and other guest posts.

19.Set up Google Alerts for any subject that you will be outlining for the articles above. It is much easier to then outline with a beefy reference list and quotes. This can also be done with local marketing as you can specify the locale you are in or targeting. Remember, locale isn’t always where you are at. Did you write a Southern Mystery? But you live in Minnesota? Target the area where your book is set.

20. Look through your contacts, not only your direct business and personal contacts, but those on Linkedin, those you’ve had long-term relationships with through a blog or forum. Talk to them and ask for suggestions, then see if they are open to helping you promote it. Leave the details open as you don’t want to push something on them but don’t let opportunities slip by you. Are any of your contacts running podcasts or in radio or local tv? Talk to them about any empty spots, even at 3am. Someone is watching. A radio interview gets a captive audience. They are in their cars and, if smart, aren’t on their phones. So they listen to the radio; hopefully the station on which you will be interviewed. Podcasts are wonderful as they can be put up on your site (if it was an interview on another site) as they can be replayed on blogs and reproduced as additional material for giveaways or to market your book. They are also evergreen. Anyone interested in the subject you are discussing on this podcast can download them if  on iTunes and listen to them later on their smartphone or iPod. This can help your sales in the long-haul, which is never a bad thing.

And a note of caution for reviews:

Give them what they asked for:

Professional book reviewers will have a “prefered format” for their book reviews. Easiest for you to send them a PDF? Yes, there is a chance that your reviewer has an iPad or other reading device which makes it easier for them to read say, a PDF. However, I wouldn’t assume anything. It is possible that they know how to download an ePub through Adobe Digital Editions or Calibre; but don’t count on that. Give them what they asked for. The steps above are a pain. Do you want to introduce your book to a reviewer starting out to be a pain? No, of course you don’t. give advance review copies to the respected reviewers

 

Take a deep breath. This is presenting your baby to the world. You worked hard on this and know what a treat it is; so it will be easy to talk about. it’s not work, it’s an opportunity to spread the word. Write that down and put it on a sticky or a note in your app.

One smart writer I noticed on Twitter today not only thanked someone for a ReTweet, but added the information about her book. Something along the lines of Thanks @soandso for RT The Tale of the Indie Author tinyurl.aren’tyousmart etc. Now that’s marketing.

Image Credit: Thomas Hawk via Compfight

Pretend You are the NSA; Have a Look at My Files

I have an appointment that will take most of the day, however I wanted to give you something to help you along whatever path you are on right now in your writing process.

 

I am on RebelMouse which picks up every little thing I look at and then spews it out through a link.

Take a look at what I’ve been looking at through my RebelMouse account.

No time for pruning and cutting so it’s all about books, technology and some decorating, which is a side-passion of mine.

I am working on a monster post for your book launch and continual marketing plans. I’ve even come across a great template so that you may follow through it step-by-step.

That is coming tomorrow or the next day.

Happy Writing!

 

 

When Your Story Takes Over Your Life

Batik Art In My Wild River…!!! :)

Image:Denis Collette via Compfight

 

(Please note: 1 correction on Oct. 2, 2013, Tom Clancy was replaced with the originally intended John Grisham reference. Nothing about Tom Clancy was ever 2-dimensional and I mourn his pacing with so many others. The author who knew too much but never said a word when it came to National Security. I have always had the utmost respect for him and his “great yarns”. May he rest in piece in the library in the sky.)

As many writers will understand, I have been working on my book for close to two years. The idea came to me out of the blue, like a flash; complete and perfect.(Or so I thought.) It was actually a tweet. I kid you not. I am deadly serious. It is still the same idea, with research behind it and still more to go, days stretching upon weeks of writing, character studies, outlining, etc. etc. The one problem is that it involved an existing company. All of the authors and lawyers that I discussed this with at, say, Quora, said (not knowing the company) that it was only going to lead to trouble, possible lawsuits and then there was the argument that the company would go out of business and once you get to publishing, then where would you be? Well, they didn’t know the company and there is no way this business is going under. It also involves something I could never dream would be very timely, though it is an evergreen subject. As another author did recently, I just made a dummy corporation. The government institutions will remain the same.

If I was not tied up mind and soul to this book, I could have written five and published them already, if I were to go the self publishing route. Quite seriously. I have a ton of ideas. But this book had me in its grasp and would not let me do anything else. I could have written 15 or 20 since I started studying the craft seriously

 

Beyond the novel itself, there is a problem…my wonderful protagonist morphed into some kind of…diva.

She will not leave me alone. She is always there. A woman of few words (yeah, I know, I sent her to dialogue therapy) but a strong, strong will.

My main character has gone through four major inner conflicts since her inception. I mean DSM Manual type inner conflicts. She has not been happy with any of them and secured her own counsel to negotiate. You know the type, two dimensional, straight out of a John Grisham novel. In the documents, the words “defamation of character” were used.The irony did not escape my legal team and me and, over pints at the closest pub, we all had a good laugh. The briefs were taken to deliberations, and after editing the print-out of the testimony, we settled on one that we are both “happy” about. She stuck me with the legal bills. The wench.

Then she got an attitude after all of the serious character interviews we did. Fully fleshed out now, she was in need of sustenance. She demanded it in the form of bottled water (specified bottler written in a contract to be signed by me that I found in my folder one morning). All food was to be served on my fine china and only green M&Ms were allowed. She is such a cliche!

I finally said, “Go away. Just leave me alone. Don’t wake me up at night. Don’t invade my conversations. Stop popping up when I’m reading the news. Leave me alone. ” If it wasn’t based on a real company then I would have finished it and gone on. But I can’t shake it. It’s like a bad bug. You know the old saying that the book picks the author? Or conversely, that there is a book that an author is meant to write? If that is truly the case, I curse the Fates.

I won’t even get into the other characters and the fiascos they’ve created.

Then one day, I thought to myself, “That’s it. I’m throwing that novel out. I won’t waste my time on it anymore.” I started looking through my card file of novel ideas. I set on one and began making notes. I was then turned away to do a chore. Sometime along the length of that chore, a huge solution unfolded around the structure of the novel.This unfolded over the span of two days. The problems I saw in the manuscript were gone, replaced by solutions for the overall slant of the MS. It’s’ like it took all of my critiques and came up with an updated manuscript. I had kicked this MS to the curb, and yet it came back to me better than ever.

We wonder if our characters dream, satirically. This was an author’s dream. I wanted it to go on until I could see the final page. Perfectly edited, formatted and ready with the most beautiful cover art one could image.

I am now typing away happily, and my angel turned diva is now, thankfully, back in line. I would say it was the adolescent phase of her growth.

Have you had a manuscript that would not leave you alone? What have you done about it? Tell me in the comments.

The New and Exciting Way to Increase Your Writing Profile

searching database

Imagine taking a few minutes out of your day to increase your author platform and your profile visibility. Imagine that this one site is optimized for search engines and helps your writing profile appear in all types of search engines, without you having to lift a finger.

Now imagine that such a database existed and was right at your fingertips.

No, this isn’t a fairy tale.

You have found it.

database found

You are no doubt familiar with the database for movies and actors.

Now there is one for writers and authors as well! It is called, appropriately, AuthorsDB and was started by a man named Jason Matthews.

 

This is an award-winning site with an easy-to-use interface: And it’s free!

As of August 17, 2013 we have over 2880 Registered Members & Growing Daily

At AUTHORSdB, it is easy to sign up and get started right away. All you need to do is:

1. Create an account using your facebook, google or windows live account or sign up with your personal email.
2. Log in and add your bio, photos and book images
3. Add all your social media contact information
4. Add your ‘Buy Here’ links to Amazon, B&N, etc
5. Share Share Share

If you are not a writer but have a service for writers such as editing, and promotions, you may add your business to this site for a great way to get found! What a fantastic idea!

This site also covers all of the major formats:

Don’t wait as every minute counts to increase your visibility whether you are already published or are currently working on your novel.

Hint: see how fast this website loads the minute you hit the connection. With all that it provides, that shows you what a powerful website they have; reinforcing their search engine capabilities.

Head over to AuthorDB now to check out even more great ideas.

(Images courtesy of Hubspot.)

Alternative to the Soon-To-Disappear Google Adwords Toolbar

the digital world

the digital worldI’ve had my nose in research for various products and work on my own WIP (work in progress), so this bit of news from Google has come as an unwanted surprise. I think I was aware of that, but the particular neuron storing that news was written over by my writing research.

The Google Adwords Toolbar will not be available within the next few weeks unless you have an Adwords account. They will be replacing it with the Adwords keywords planner Didn’t we do this dance just a month ago? Oh, I see on my dance-card that was for the Google Reader.

No, Google isn’t going out of business (can you even imagine?), I am sure that this is an effort to get more Adwords customers, based upon the snail mail I’ve been getting. I have an ironic sense of humor, and boy did I laugh when I got a paper ad in the old mailbox from Google!

As I am certain I’m not the only writer with her nose in research, having forgotten this particular fact; I’d like to aid you in your own WIP and online writing assignments with a ‘heads up’ and an alternative to this useful tool. From IT Business, they put up a baker’s dozen tools to help you in this oft-forgotten area which you can find here. But one tool–the Woo Rank–I found to be intriguing for the following reasons:                                        

  4. Woo Rank for the needy Do you need an SEO expert but don’t have the cash? Use Woo Rank when you’d like your very own SEO specialist by your side. This tool analyzes a wide range of elements such as internal linking structure, back links to your site, keywords, and content. Additionally, it reports page rank, security, and loading speeds.Another high point with Woo Rank is that it analyzes mobile usability. For instance, users consistently using their t-mobile cell phone plans to browse your site will be accounted for with Woo Rank.Another feature is that the Woo Rank reports give you valuable suggestions and feedback so that you are aware of areas you must improve.

 

Hope this helps you. Wouldn’t it be great to have a Harry Potter sorting hat to just sort out all of the SEO tools? What tools do you use in place of the Adwords Keyword Toolbar? Let me know in the comments.

Please note: This site gets over four hundred spam comments a day and counting. It has become impossible to sift through the debris and keep up the site at the same time as writing posts and working on my own writing.
If you get caught up in this, I am truly sorry. We are trying to find a feasible workaround. Sharing is always welcome and is easy on this site.
  • For more on this subject, I recommend visiting Eric Fettman’s Google Analytics Tip of the Day Blog.

Free Keyword Tool 30 of 30 keywords

Enter a keyword to get profitable keyword suggestions from our Free Keyword Tool. We have over a Trillion Keywords in our database, so try using long-tail keywords like ‘buy xbox 360’ to see exactly how people search for a particular topic.

Showing, Not Telling in Africa

Africa writing research

Burchell Zebra via Lee Ouzman’s Library

Word Geek Monday is Lead Astray

Well, it was bound to happen. This word geek found the World’s Greatest Site for Unusual and Interesting Words: Jacana.

But all writers should use this for research as it’s not just the word geeks that are being helped out.

Is your character working with an antagonist in a lab? Need to know what to call the “whatchamacallits”? Jacana has it. And if you aren’t sure what your antagonist is working on in his lab, this is a great spot for brain storming. Much better than Google as the possibilities are offered up to you on a virtual silver tray.

Flesh Out That Outline

Through osmosis, you can outline your next five scenes if not more by skimming for information close to you research inquiries. The setup of this site is what makes it so thought provoking.

Watch Your Characters Act Out the Scenes

We all know Google is the best, but you need to know what you are looking for to search for it. Jacana has subjects from Technology with sub-categories, Leatherman is listed with a wide array of self-defense tools for your hero. Safari sites and maps are all included in addition to pictures, GPS coordinates, and Safari clothing; just when you need to find the right word for what your characters are wearing as they start on a great adventure. Certainly you must include the specific Rogue hats they need to keep the sun out of their face and add that certain swagger and character trait to reveal a mood or emotion to your readers. Hats are great for “showing, not telling”. Certainly, that wasn’t just my secret, right?

Binoculars, knives, torches; all named and pictured for your imagination. I suggest that you start with the main page and dig deeper as you choose which way to go since this will bring you to your most fruitful sites for your novel. Who is the interesting pilot that your MC hires to charter them to their first scene in their adventure? The outline isn’t there, of course, but the ideas are if you look for them.

And, of course, there is a site for Unusual and Interesting Words. I won’t geek out on this post, but I linked to it for fellow word nerds (sobriquet used in the best possible light).

One of your characters specializes in zoology, I am certain. If so, she will need these words in her vocabulary: Zoological Glossary. She would pull up BioOne when she got back to base, of course.

Need translation tools, synonyms; Reverso is the new cool tool to use.

As for those that are interested in the self-publishing posts, I have enough information and book references, editors, formatting tools, etc. that this series will run long. Great book marketing tools coming up. And speaking of, I would follow what Jeff Goins is doing with his new book, The In-Between as news of it has been bubbling to the surface in all areas of the Inter-Webs. He has his tribe in full gear. Are you gathering your tribe?

I appreciate all of the shares. Please share with this link:http://bit.ly/1c4glfz

As always, please leave comments below and let me know what you are working on and any help you might need. This site is all about writers helping writers. I am here to help you.

As I’ve said since 2010: Stay Strong and Write On

APA Makes a Bold Move, One Format for All and Kittens, Too!!

Yes, would you like to buy a book? Fergus Ray Murray via Compfight

An entertaining overview…

I’ve had this article in my research database since it was published in TechCrunch. It is truly one of the best articles that I have come across on the entire process of self-publishing. There are many details I will be highlighting in this series. Adding to the editing, formatting & book design, marketing, audio and foreign rights but for now this article serves as an excellent aid in the series, which will be ongoing. I will be drilling down on the programs and processes, tips and referrals that you will need.

I just have to say I love James Altucher’s no-nonsense approach to everything in this Publishing 3.0 world we are in. The research and marketing points are amazing. Here is the article for your education and entertainment.

Okay, here are your kittens

And to show you the changes that have transpired within the last two years, I am linking two articles by Kristine Kathryn Rusch who runs a series called “The Business Rausch” detailing the changes in the industry and why she decided to go from traditional publishing to indie publishing. The first article was written just about two years ago, entitled Popcorn Kittens.The newest post was made at the advent of the “new” self-publishing era. And the follow up to that she published this week. The latest article shows how an author with a series yet to be written, a back-list to publish and audio and foreign rights to be handled, copes with such an onslaught of work. I am betting you will become just as addicted to reading her site, let alone her books, as I have become.

There is a treat in here that will be both symbolic and entertaining. You can find the article she wrote two years ago here and the one this past week here. Do you see why we are already in the  Publishing 3.0 era?

If only life was so easy…

And finally, though I doubt that Amazon and Kindle will jump on the bandwagon with this (think of cell phones and proprietary software.), there is a push by the American Publishers Association to move to EPub3 which would allow all e-books one format for cross-device reading. I am skeptical, but I would like to be proven wrong. This article is from one of my go-to favorites, Digital Book World, also known as DBW.

 

New Cool Tool to Share

I’ve been finishing up my next installment in the series last night and early this morning. But I couldn’t wait to show you this great app. I’ve been lauding Evernote since they first came on the scene and only ‘geeks’ (of which I’m one) knew about them. And of course, who doesn’t love gmail?

Well, this is similar to the peanut butter and chocolate ad. Who couldn’t love two great tools that work together?

Take a look and see for yourself.

 

Let me know what you think!

The Writer’s Read 2

The whole point of the quill.

The whole point of the quill.While I’m waiting for answers back, joining communities in Google Plus and consulting my colleagues at LinkedIn, I thought I’d leave you with a few articles to chew on in this ever evolving digital age. Only one of these links has to do with digital media. (There is more to come on that in the series. My Drive is full of posts.) The other two have to do with location and how it impacts the writer. A specific study in one and a reminiscence in the other.  I will leave you with my sign off from 2010; Be calm and write on.

Places every literary fan should visit from Flavorwire.

What are our children of today learning?

A New York Times Must Read.

Please leave a comment on how the digital age is impacting you. Or click over if reading this in your email. Would love to get your feedback. Please also sign up for all the series to come.

Word Nerd Monday: The History of the Hashtag

As I mentioned in another post, Twitter and Google Plus aren’t the only social media sites using hashtags. Facebook, as I’m sure you have noticed, is incorporating them and, of course, Pinterest uses them as well.

And speaking of Pinterest, this word-nerd found a dream infographic about hashtags that most any writer would find interesting. In general, the sign is used to group off categories and highlight text.

I thought you might find this useful:

hashtag history

Image credit; Social Media Today, Kevin Basset and Pinterest

You can find a hashtag dictionary on twitter for all of your needs here.

It is interesting that the Oxford dictionary has only a simple definition of the word:

  • (on social media sites such as Twitter) a word or phrase preceded by a hash or pound sign (#) and used to identify messages on a specific topic:spammers often broadcast tweets with popular hashtags even if the tweet has nothing to do with them
  •  the hash or pound sign (#):Hunt mistook an @ for a hashtag while tweeting derogatory thoughts about him.

while the definition on Dictionary.com is more extensive;

noun

1.

(on social-networking Web sites) a word or phrase preceded by a hash mark (#),
 used within a message to identify a keyword or topic of interest and facilitate a search
 for it: The hashtag#sandiegofire was used to help coordinate an
emergency response to the fire.
2.

a hash mark used in this way.

verb (used with object), verb (used without object), hash·tagged,

hash·tag·ging.

3.

to add a hashtag to (a word, topic, or message): Someone on Twitter
just hashtagged the film festival.
Origin: 
2005–10; hash (mark) + tag1  (def 9c)
Dictionary.com Unabridged
And to highlight the hashtag use for Twitter, Chris Messina is known as the inventor of the hashtag for Twitter. You can find his blog here.
There is a great tool that you can use to track your hashtags across all networks called Tagboard. This tool is most useful for businesses and brands that wish to keep track of their marketing reach, but can be used for any search needs.
More useful articles on using the hashtag;

Happy #MondayMorning to you all!

Kinks in the Machine

The bug that forever exasperated the early computer forefathers has visited The Quill in its current form of software and cPanels. After much consternation, we are happily back on. Thank you for your patience and we will continue where we left off.

Have you written today?

Here is a good article to get your Muse in gear:

A bit of advise from Ernest Hemingway that fits perfectly with the Pomodoro Technique we spoke of here :

“The most important thing I’ve learned about writing is never write too much at a time,” Hemingway said, tapping my arm with his finger. “Never pump yourself dry. Leave a little for the next day. The main thing is to know when to stop. Don’t wait till you’ve written yourself out. When you’re still going good and you come to an interesting place and you know what’s going to happen next, that’s the time to stop. Then leave it alone and don’t think about it; let your subconscious mind do the work. The next morning, when you’ve had a good sleep and you’re feeling fresh, rewrite what you wrote the day before. When you come to the interesting place and you know what is going to happen next, go on from there and stop at another high point of interest. That way, when you get through, your stuff is full of interesting places and when you write a novel you never get stuck and you make it interesting as you go along.”

Skyrocket Awareness of Your Book with These Resources

book marketing

Please note: None of the books suggested are affiliate links as the state in which I live does not allow Amazon (or their affiliates/sellers) Affiliates operating within its borders.

I have received a number of requests for information regarding the methods of self-publishing; specifically as it applies to the editing, a compilation process, book-cover design and marketing of a self-published work. Even authors who have gone through the process have questions and doubts themselves.book marketing

Today, the publishing world looks very much like the Wild, Wild West. See Porter Anderson’s report at Ether for Authors and a list of articles on the heated publishing debates at Publishing Perspectives.  This is evidenced by The New York Times’ Best-Seller List (June 20th, 2013). Authors who are generally published through traditional publishers are now choosing to self-publish at will. Vanity Press is now an antiquated term.

Note that authors are pressed to do all of the online presence and social media through traditional publishing as well, but the rights are at issue here. Traditional publishers have the beneficial heft to push for additional rights for audio and oversees publishing. If that is what you see as important in your overall plan, you might want to take that into account

Susanne Lakin has a fantastic article at Live, Write, Thrive by guest author Dineen Miller, who writes about creative ways to market your book. If you are a longtime reader of this site, you will understand why I appreciate new ways of marketing for authors.  The article will get your creative juices flowing thinking of all of the articles you can write for various magazines or online before and after your book is published. That link again is at Live, Write, Thrive.

I have followed Jane Friedman since she was the editor of Writer’s Digest. She then went to teaching in Cincinnati and also for Writer’s Digest University as well as lecturing  out at writing seminars, starting her own blog in the process. A few years ago she was called up to the Virginia Quarterly Review though somehow she still writes for her website and teaches at Writer’s Digest webinars and conferences. Recently, she has compiled a Self-Publishing toolbox, of sorts, with everything a person could possibly hope for in one nifty package. This is basically a book itself, though she will drill about the ramifications of blogging your book.  Do not miss Jane’s massive compendium How to Publish an E-book.

Joel Friedlander, of The Book Designer , just guest posted for her. His whole webpage is amazing but the posts that shine for me are the following:

52 Great Blogs for Self-Publishers

5 Keys to Pain-Free Book Promotion

The greatest asset an author has to help them navigate the unknown waters of self-publishing is the accumulated wisdom of people who’ve been there before. I’ve always been impressed by how friendly the independent book publishing community is.

And BiblioCrunch has some great book designer; a direct quote from Joel himself. They also have some great article on their site:

Common Mistakes Indie and SelfPub Authors Make

Self-Publishing Costs; the Ultimate Guide

 Dan Blank We Grow Media has published a book that is all about marketing and building a writer’s platform A Writer’s Guide to Blogging.

He also has a great post on his blog about author Hugh Howey who is the now famous indie author of the Wool series. It is worth clicking over for a great read.

Please take note of Dan Blank’s static front page. This is the portal to his website, but I think it’s a great way to market your book. You will see when you click on the link. Study what he has done, as he is a leader in the media industry.

If you would like a more interactive approach to setting out your promotional plan, Writer’s Digest University is the place to go. Writer’s Digest University Self Publishing Tutorials You can get a monthly membership to review all of their tutorials for $25 per month. If you do not want to be charged for the next month, do be advised that you must cancel prior to the next billing cycle. This is a ticket to a wealth of information on all levels of Writer’s Digest University.

Laura Pepper-Wu is the co-founder of 30 Day Books: a book studio. She has worked with a variety of authors to successfully promote their books, including many Amazon best-sellers. Laura is the author of wedding non-fiction guides and book marketing guides 77 Ways to Find New Readers for Your Self-Published Book.

Laura also runs Ladies Who Critique, a critique-partner finding site. When she’s not working at the studio, you can find her walking her dog, “yoga-ing” or at a coffee shop in Seattle.

You might like:

Laura Pepper Wu’s 30 Day Books, taken from her ideal book marketing course. While the class is not in session now, you can get on the watch list by clicking here

What is more; there is a link to a WordPress theme designed especially for authors to promote their books. It’s priceless. Or nearly so compared to hiring a designer and paying a webmaster as well as hosting, security, e-commerce themes, et cetera. The theme is called Authorlicious.

I have several author friends who are in search of a good designer for their books and I have sent them most of this material and more (including tips from one author to another, which is why it is a good idea to get into a group of authors not only for support, but sound advise. That is what this website is about and all of what I am about

I just found a plethora of books for author platform building on Goodreads. A five starred book by Shelley Hitz at Self-PublishingCoach website is available for you at a single click.  Check out her site to see what else she has to offer.

 One of the books on the list is David Graughran’s Let’s Get Digital which I have lined up in my Kindle. This man knows what he is discussing as he’s been through the mill and understands all of the machinations.

In fact, if you are interested in what David has to say, you can register for a free webinar that ALLi is putting on through Shindigs right here. It is set for June 27, 2013 @ 9:00 pm – 10:30 pm and I’m sure will prove to be an informative and enjoyable 90 minutes. Sign up today and put it on your calendar. ALLi (Alliance for Independent Authors) includes founder Orna Ross and is advised by all of my favorite people in the world of books. Jane Freidman, Joel Friedlander Mark Coker (Smashwords), The ever alert Victoria Strauss (Writer Beware), Joanna Penn and Passive Guy, David Vandagriff, Karen Lotter, among others. If you are going to publish as an indie, I would suggest signing up for their newsletter. All very good advise as is evidenced above.

Topics for the blog are scheduled as follows:

Mon: Author-Publishing News   (Updates, Press Releases, ALLi News)Tue: Opinion   (On Publishing, Writing and the Indie Business)Wed: Member Showcase   (Our Members’ Latest Books and Events)Thu: Advice on Writing   (Productivity, Motivation, Craft)Fri: Advice on Publishing   (Editing, Formatting, Printing)Sat: Advice on Reaching Readers   (Marketing & Promotion)Sunday: How I Do It   (Self-Publishing Success Stories)

For instance, I found this article in my in-box just today; There will now be clickable and searchable hashtags on Facebook which woke me up as I am more of the Twitter and Google Plus Communities girl though I am on Facebook. You enter searchable and clickable hashtags into the mix, and I look up from my writing. That’s a game-changer for me.

And Alli has addressed many of the concerns I have for the new world of publishing; for instance, the overseas rights which are normally handled through long-standing relationships with publishers. How are indie authors to branch out? Jennifer Custer answers this here, here  and has an update for you here.

Orma Ross addresses branching out here and links to Members Pack information which archives all forums from IndieReCon and also breaks down Members benefits according to the membership level. (You can also sign up for articles alone free of cost if you are strapped for cash at the moment. This is what I have done.)

The phenom of self-publishing, Amanda Hocking has secured another deal with St. Martin’s Press. See this New York Times article for details.

Speaking of platforms, Michael Hyatt whom you all know as a wonderful advocate of helping to develop your platform has started the Platform University which will guide you through all of the necessary factors that need to be addressed to set up your own platform.

If you are lost in looking for good editing services, cover design or formatting, BiblioCrunch, mentioned earlier, has a whole  set of tools and resources for you to pick and choose from according to your needs.  They are there to guide you through the process  with advisors that are trusted and know the publishing business and all that is involved. You can set your budget for proofreading, editing, design based on your budget. It’s a phenomenal service and one I think you will find very user-friendly and useful.

Along those lines, the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) has a great list of editing, design and publishing services that are very helpful. With Board Members from Shelf Awareness to all sectors of the publishing and publishing news areas, there is a wealth of information on this site. Bookmark it and refer to it often.

Ann Hill, the Creative Content Coach has an article about creating Author Platforms that last.

And Bob Mayer, the Full-Time Author and former green beret and New York Times Best-Selling Author, has an information filled podcast detailing the “secret sauce” of book promotion. He has written over 50 books and just started the publishing company, Cool Gus Publishing, with author Jennifer Crusie. I had a hankering for writing a book on the incredible life of Bob Mayer. After reading about Jennifer Crusie, now I’ll have to write about both. Do you think Cool Gus Publishing would publish them?

Nick Thacker of LiveHacked has “The Official Self-Published Book Marketing Plan”. Yes, they wrote the book on it. 😉

And if you have written a memoir, in the non-fiction rubric, the National Association of Memoir Writers (NAMW) has a great article helping indie authors to create a platform using YouTube. Video content is the next wave, so get ready for your close-up.

A note on breaking indie author news: Amazon World, which   has signed the famous Wool series indie author, Hugh Howie, to work within their Kindle World projects. See all of the news on this up and coming market for indie authors.

[Update: I just got the Writer’s Digest Conference sign-up form in my inbox. Please go here to see all of the details.]

Coincidentally, the next person I was going to write about is featured on the left side of  the IndieReCon page. This woman is as dynamic as she is kind. Melissa Foster. Watch for her in upcoming issues of this series. There are quite a few resources for your platform and articles and events (and explosions) that I still have left to write about. Some mentioned in this article will be discussed further in upcoming posts.

Sign up for much more in this series on self-publishing. Just add your email to the right top field and I will deliver it, sans spam, to your inbox.

Please leave a comment on any issues you are having as a self-published author and I would be more than happy to cover them.

This post is featured in Carol Tice’s Link Party. Check it out for great articles on writing, freelancing and productivity!

Closet Word Geek’s Predictions Come True

I am a closet word geek. I have a Google Drive Document with predictions on common usage words, and when they will become official; in other words, inked into a dictionary. This announcement is not earth shattering news but the following is quite shocking in the annuals of lexiconic rules.
oxford english disctionary

GalleyCat has just announced in an article by Jason Boog that the Oxford English Dictionary has added “tweet’ and ‘crowdsourcing’ to its lexicon.

OED Chief Editor, John Simpson (pictured above), wrote an article about the two new additions. The source of the words is always something a geek is interested in, and Mr. Simpson understands this. He attributed ‘crowdsourcing’ to the author of a WIRED article by Jeff Howe which was published in 2006.

Concerning other words that would be relegated to the Urban Dictionary, the OED has already adopted words that, are far less used than ‘tweet’, in my opinion. As Jason Boog notes in GalleyCat:

AllTwitter has more about the Twitter additions to the dictionary:

The OED added the word “tweetable” to its listing in February 2013, and “retweet” in August 2011. Other tech terms in this round of 1,200 newly revised and updated words, bringing the OED’s total number of entries to more than 823,000

As a sidenote, I worked with the man who brought the well-known word ‘blogosphere’ to our English lexicon. Brad Graham was his name and sadly he is no longer with us, passing at a young age. But he will always be remembered for his wit and his word-usage. Wikipedia will always have him in its archives.

History [edit]

The term was coined on September 10, 1999 by Brad L. Graham, as a joke.[1][2] It was re-coined in 2002 by William Quick,[3] and was quickly adopted and propagated by the warblog community. The term resembles the older word logosphere (from Greek logos meaning word, and sphere, interpreted as world), “the world of words”, the universe of discourse.[4][5]

Despite the term’s humorous intent, CNN, the BBC, and National Public Radio‘s programs Morning EditionDay To Day, and All Things Considered have used it several times to discuss public opinion. A number of media outlets in recent years have started treating the blogosphere as a gauge of public opinion, and it has been cited in both academic and non-academic work as evidence of rising or falling resistance to globalizationvoter fatigue, and many other phenomena,[6] and also in reference to identifying influential bloggers[7] and “familiar strangers” in the blogosphere.[8][9]

 

Displays interconnections throughout the all blogsThe Blogoshere, Image cred: Wikipedia

The Wikipedia article is full of great information for word geeks and tech geeks, of which I fall into both groups. Please say a silent hello to Brad when you read it. You would have loved his sense of humor. He saved many a staff meeting from lack of levity.

I can only hope that the spellcheckers are updated accordingly as I am tired of convincing the apps that crowdsourcing is indeed a word.

What word do you wish would finally be moved into the Oxford English Dictionary? Leave your comments below.

How the Ebook Revolution Compares to Another Great Revolution

publication changes

where are we in the digital culture?

 

I have been thinking recently about the twists and turns the music industry took when they had their great revolution; what we would now term, I imagine Music 2.0.

Remember Napster?

Back in the days of dial-up modems, the sound of the dial up modem wasn’t music to anyone’s ear, I don’t suppose, but I found the revolving triangle of the Netscape browser somewhat calming.

What wasn’t calming was the fear that the big music industry titans unleashed on music lovers when the lawsuits became frontpage news (when we bought the paper and got ink on our hands for reading it). There were more than several cases that were used to be an example for the Everyday Joe who ‘stole’ some billion dollar figure from music producers and performers every month and struck the fear into everyone on the world wide web. Yes, that’s what we called it in my day and we used all three words, as well.

Now, I wasn’t an offender, and I would swear this in a court of law,  because being an artist and working in the industry myself, I had a special affinity for those that produced any art in any medium and didn’t get fair-recompense. I didn’t go all medieval on the friends that downloaded music, but I sympathized with the artists that were not getting the paychecks they would get otherwise.

 

But this can go two ways.

A lot of the problem back then was one great behemoth of an organization that took over the music industry. It didn’t allow for free market competition and allow the markets to even themselves out in the economic climate. It was known as BMI. We’ve all seen the talk that Laurence Lessing gave at Ted with the overpowering support the courts give to new innovations.

 

How does this relate to writing?

Well we are going through another sort of revolution in the publishing industry with ebooks, and it’s been going on for some time.  We don’t have a behemoth industry to compare to BMI though some would call Amazon that giant, but there are plenty of other corporations that have the capacity to overtake them. It’s been done before. People can argue, and win in their minds, both ways when it  comes to the pros and cons of Amazon.

And yet, every minute the landscape changes. See what BitLit has to say in the latest salvo here.

I think this is a fantastic idea and would like to see how it works. now logistically the writers publisher if it is a trad pub would have to set up (and pay for) ISBNs for all version: print, digital, audio and of course there are the markets outside of your particular nation; these would have to be coordinated as well. And this is just off the cuff thinking; there is surely much more cost and arranging for this idea to work be feasible.

What do you think of what BitLit has to offer? Comment below.

This is part of a multi-part series on indie publications or self-publications is coming up this week. Sign up if you are interested.

The Story Cartel Course Starts on Monday, June 10th! Hurry!

what's best way to learn to write

what's best way to learn to writeThe Story Cartel Course starts on Monday, June 10th!

But if you hurry, you can sign up and get in. Hit the logo to the right of this post. If it is full, then at least you can get on their waiting list. You don’t want to miss this door to your writing life and future book promotion success! What is it, you ask? Let’s let Joe Bunting answer that question in his words.

The Best Way to Become a Full-Time Writer

“How do you become a full-time writer?” That’s a question I hear all the time.Three years ago, I quit my day job and achieved something most writers only fantasize about: I became a full time writer.

It wasn’t easy though. While I enjoyed the chance to do what I loved, I lived on pennies for the first year. Since then, I’ve talked to NY Times Bestselling authors, editors at major publishing houses, successful freelance journalists, and even a few full-time bloggers. I’ve discovered a few secrets—and started powerful habits—that have helped me support my family and my art.

Whether you want to be a full-time writer or just want to share your art with the world, the Story Cartel Course will help you increase your audience, create industry connections, and build a strong foundation for your writing career.

A Strong Foundation to Your Writing Career.

The publishing world is changing. Publishers are going out of business, and many authors are having a harder time making a living. But the same market forces that are causing the demise of publishing as we know it are making it even easier to build your audience, launch your writing, and ultimately start a strong writing career. In this eight-week course, we will learn how to thrive as a writer in an ever changing publishing industry. 

The Story Cartel Course Includes

Practical Inspiration
Eight weeks of lessons on how to write, publish, and market your stories. Even the shyest writers can market their writing and sell more books.

Expert Teaching
Glean publishing wisdom from 11 guest experts, including Amazon bestselling authors, book cover designers, and award winning bloggers. Learn the secrets of publishing success from the best.

A Thriving Community
Join a supportive community of fellow writers and authors. You’ll receive support, encouragement, and critiques on your writing from the Story Cartel community.

Special Access to Author Tools
Get special access to Story Cartel’s tools to reach our community of thousands of readers. Story Cartel is a platform to help authors build their audience, get more reviews, and ultimately sell more books.

 

See this site for more information on The Story Cartel itself. But for a run down, here is a brief synopsis:

What Is Story Cartel?


Story Cartel is a new way for readers and authors to connect.

This is a home to any kind of book you could imagine, from nail-biting thrillers to tender romance novels, serious literary fiction to self-help non-fiction. Story Cartel is full of books that are read and discovered by people like you. Since October 2012, over 70 books have been downloaded and read by over 6,300 readers, generating more than 1,000 reviews on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, and blogs. Thousands of readers are connecting with new authors right now.

Every book is free for a limited time.

The books you see on Story Cartel are all offered free by generous authors in exchange for your honest review. For book lovers, Story Cartel is a resource to discover great books and fresh authors; for authors, it’s a platform to build deeper relationships with readers. As long as it meets our guidelines, any author can launch their book on Story Cartel.

Readers support authors by leaving their honest review.

All books on Story Cartel are completely free, but in return you support authors by leaving your honest review, whether good or bad, of the book you downloaded. Your reviews help authors market their books and gives them valuable feedback to improve their writing.

An update from the administrators of the course: Course registration starts on Monday June 10th and ends Sunday, June 16th. The course work will begin on Monday, June 17th.

 

Grab your virtual seat now by clicking on this link or above The Story Cartel Logo to the right of this page now!