Where were you twenty years ago?
I was teaching and scribbling stories at night. We had just got internet and I found a great group of UK writers on a listserv. One night the discussion turned to word of mouth promotion.
‘There’s a great debut story just published, everyone is talking about,’ said one UK author. I went to my local specialist bookseller (who passed away recently,) While he was stacking on the counter the pile of books he thought I should read to my class, I asked him about this book, Harry and the stone... He put Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone on the pile saying- ‘my last book, it’s a good read.’ I finished it at 2am and started reading it to my class that day.
It became the most talked about book in the playground. I was seeing in real time the power of good storytelling transporting children to another world. Teachers and parents would stop me and ask about the book that even the non readers were talking about....
That’s the holy grail of writing when the reader can’t bear to close the book. It has nothing to do with clever phrases or perfectly executed grammar. It grabs you by the throat and demands your attention. You can’t sit down to intentionally write a story like this. The magic can't be forced.
This week is the 20 year anniversary of the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and Di Dickenson looks at the criticism leveled at the book series and asks is it justified.
Kris Rusch has her next post on discoverability. This weekshe looks at brand loyalty. This series is cracking along. Kris always gives you plenty to think about.
Brain Pickings has a great post on different styles of great writing. Are you an explainer, an elucidator or an enchanter? Which should you aim to be?
Orna Ross has been thinking about the underlying prejudice towards self publishers in the wake of the recent Byte The Book debate. Why is self publishing still seen as vanity publishing when the reality is very different. Is traditional publishing the new vanity?
R L Stedman has an interesting post on rights. Do you know all the different rights that you have in one piece of work? This is a great reference and eye opening for the new writer.
If you are an illustrator or know one, point them in the direction of this global award for illustration. Entries close in a few weeks and the prize is quite nice...
Jami Gold has been struggling with burnout. She writes an important article on writer self care.
A group of grad students have got together to pool their talents and set up a research group for writers to use. Check out their new weekly blog. If you need a grad student to do some research for you this could be a valuable resource.
Litreactor has an interesting blog on book reviews, specifically why they don’t look at 5 star reviews. This is a really interesting read about how important the 3 and 4 star reviews are to people looking for the next book to invest time in.
In The Craft Section,
4 reasons to outline your settings K M Weiland - Bookmark
Write better fiction- Killzone blog
Better book titles- April Davila- Bookmark
Check out Writing excuses podcast. This weeks episode –outlining
Book disclaimers don’t have to be boring- Helen Sedwick- Bookmark
6 fantasies that stop writing success- Anne R Allen- Bookmark
In The Marketing Section,
Getting book reviews- Book marketing tools
Reasons your bookbub got rejected- Bookmark
Do this not that book promotion- The Book Designer
3 best practices for marketing- Kevin Tumlinson- Bookmark
I met a composer friend yesterday and I was lamenting that I couldn’t make up my mind on whether to take up the offer of a piano to replace our keyboard. It means moving some bookcases to make room. He laughed and noted that I could always put the books on top of the piano... win/win.
It’s not that I hoard books... um they are just good friends... all of them... (over 2000.) But I’m not a true hoarder. These famous people had much more extensive collections....
Pic: The first cover. Ours is a patchwork of spellotape holding it together... but nobody in the family wants a new edition. The magic is still in the old one.