Friday, October 11, 2019

Excuse Me – We’re writing.

Keen eyed blog readers will be aware that this blog is a 24 hours late.... I have a great excuse. I was teaching suspense and other deep dive techniques to young authors in a holiday writing camp. Teaching techniques is a sure fire way to tighten up your own writing. Add in eager bright young writers (and their writing is so good it keeps you on your toes,) and your day is fun but exhausting! Delaying my blog to assist the writers of tomorrow... a good trade off I think.

It’s October and that means it’s prep month for NaNoWriMo. In catchy phrase terms Preptober. This is where those people who set aside November to write a 50,000 word novel in a month start to plan their stories, get their new journals, and lay in a stock of food for the duration. Shayla Raquel has the ultimate guide on how to rock Preptober so you can hit the keyboard running on November 1st.

With NaNoWriMo around the corner... it is timely to be aware of how to keep yourself well as you binge write. Don’t forget to build in breaks... and figure out a way to keep yourself sane throughout November. Procrastination and writing excuses can hijack you at just at the wrong moment. Chris Smith has a 5 step guide to defeating writer procrastination. 

Janice Hardy has written a remarkable roundup of all the lessons she has learned from her decade in publishing. What she would do differently if she knew. This is the information you wished you had known, the advice you should have taken. Share this with all the newbie writers out there. Old hands will be nodding all the way through.

Sam Bleicher recently guest posted on Joanna Penn’s blog on dealing with facts in science based fiction. Writing science fiction means getting the science right. This can be paralysing for the writer. How much science is too much? If you write in a genre that relies on facts like gravity this is a good article to help you out. (Thought: Space explosions... if there is no air in space can you have those movie firey explosions?) 

Kris Rusch always like to change things up around her publishing schedule and she has come up wit an ambitious idea for the holiday season... which starts around now. However the idea is so novel there are no contracts out there to cover the kind of collection she is thinking of... How do you write a contract for  creative contributors  for something that hasn’t been invented yet.

Recently Penny Sansevieri asked if I would write a blurb for the revised edition of How To Sell Books By The Truckload On Amazon. I was happy to do it as Penny is one of my Go To resources for understanding author marketing. Take a look at this excerpt on writing Amazon descriptions that recently appeared on Jane Friedman’s blog.

In The Craft Section,

Choosing the right setting for a powerful scene- Angela Ackerman

Chekov’s gun and your story- Anne R Allen- Bookmark

Conflict in scene writing – Go Into The Story- Bookmark

How writing a novel is like romance- Janice Hardy Bookmark

20 writing tips to improve your craft- Reedsy- Comprehensive!

In The Marketing Section,

Audiobook promotion for authors- Alli Blog Bookmark

Font tips for book covers-Christine Holmes - Bookmark 

Tips for Compelling Book Descriptions - David Kudler

Free podcast tool- Cool Resource

5 easy steps to repurpose your blog into a podcast.- Kunzonpublishing
(If you are keeping up with changes in tech, you will be aware that voice search is fast becoming mainstream. Audio is taking off like a rocket and voice search bots will be playing audio clips more often. Check out Joanna Penn’s AI and the future podcast she did in July. Already changes she thought were coming in a few years were announced this week.)

To Finish,

NaNoWriMo is often a time when everybody starts to share their best craft books for writers. Sacha Black has pulled together 11 of the best books around. I have a few of these. Take a look there just might be the perfect book for you in the list. Feel free to comment with your own best book on the craft of writing.


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Pic: Flickr Creative Commons 1894 NCCA

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Life Is A Story

This week I had to come to terms with the mortality of one of my favourite writers. He slipped away into the next great adventure. I was asked to provide one of a series of public tributes and I found it quite hard and moving at the same time to reflect on a time and place that we both lived in and that feels like another country in today's world. The world is so fast-paced compared to my childhood which felt like a long summer of outdoor experiences. I look at my own children and wonder what their memories will be. Will it be wrapped up in technology? It got me thinking about literary estates and longevity of storytelling lives and the sheer breadth and depth of all the storied lives that have gone before us.

This week Ruth Harris looked at the seduction of the New Book idea. When you are tired of the old book idea... or the writing is dragging... isn’t it wonderful to play with the new shiny idea that makes writing fun again? Is there a danger in chasing after the new?

I’m always interested in book cover designs. Today I saw a fabulous cover of a book that will be out next year. But what was really interesting is that there are different book covers for the US market, the UK market, and the Aus/NZ market. What makes different countries prefer different motifs? IngramSpark has a roundup of the design trends they have noticed so far.

Statistics, love ‘em or hate ‘em, sometimes you just need to wrap your head around them. So this week Sandra Beckwith of BuildBookbuzz put together some publishing statistics for authors to help them understand and plan their careers. Take a look.

Branding is another subject authors love to hate. Yes, you are a brand but you can be a brand in a good way. Why branding confuses you and how to fix this in a good way written by Rachel Thompson especially for authors. 

Kobo has an eye on the fastest-growing format in publishing. This week they have launched an easy way to upload your audio files and you are not locked into anything. Another company entering the Audio publishing space.

Joanna Penn is always a fount of interesting wisdom and content. This week she had a great post on collaborative writing with  David Mark Brown who got together with his writing group to write stories... with fifty authors! Joanna also has a great interview with Blaire Palmer on transitioning to a creative career. 

Are you in danger of succumbing to the new cult of the first sentence? Do you need an intervention? Does the first sentence really matter? Scott McCormick takes issue with the cult and offers ways to get free.

In The Craft Section,

5 quick questions to help you write awesome characters- Bang to Write 

What are the traits of an espionage hero?- Piper Bayard- Bookmark

Give your readers someone to hate- Janice Hardy- Bookmark

How to identify Second Draft Writer Blues- Lucy Mitchell

When literary devices become tangled- Peter Selgin

In The Marketing Section,

Q and A with Literary Agent on identifying trends- Bookmark

How to spice up your boring author interview- Kathy Steinemann- Bookmark

Pinterest and Instagram for writers- Frances Caballo

4 ways Publisher Rocket helps authors- Dave Chesson

Bookbub Author profile examples- Bookbub

How to launch a book with more preorders- Penny Sansevieri- Bookmark

To Finish, 

A neat little video from author Jenna Moreci on the ten tips for writing your first chapter. Just when you thought you knew what to do... laugh out loud funny.


Do you want the best of my bookmarked links in a handy monthly newsletter?
When you subscribe you will also get a nifty mini book crammed full with marketing notes as a thank you.
If you like the blog and want to shout me a coffee, hit the coffee button up top. I appreciate the virtual coffee love. Thanks.

Pic: Creative Commons – John Lustig- Light reading

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