Author, publisher, and book marketer Julie Smith shares what she loves to write—and read—in a mystery, how her writing obsession evolved into marketing, the mistake many authors make with their book covers, and more.
In most works of fiction, either a character’s status-quo condition of discontent is challenged when opportunity presents itself — or — a character’s status-quo condition of contentment meets with an obstacle.
Among a novelist’s chief challenges is that of determining what information to supply when and where: how to balance the desire to arouse suspense with the need to prevent confusion.
Book launches are intense and can feel very high stakes, so use the time between them to take a step back and consider how to build a career over many years, and many books, to come.
I’d like to highlight two common writing flaws that clutter the manuscripts of many aspiring authors. I call these culprits “hedge words” and “inflation words.”
Danielle Lazarin: “At every stage of my work, questions are my most essential writing tools. I use them to move through to the other side of murky. It’s only by stepping into that unknown and uncomfortable space repeatedly during my process that I can become more deliberate in the story I’m telling.”
There are real risks to working together on a business with your spouse or partner, especially if you are both still learning how to do it well and manage your household through the uncertainty of the start-up existence. Adopting formal agreements on how to interact with one another can help avoid stress and anxiety.
New authors have no symbolic capital. They are not (yet) known for producing quality books that seduce readers. Is it possible for self-publishing authors to create symbolic capital? Absolutely yes, and many have. In today’s increasing online world of book shopping, it is book reviews that build symbolic capital.
If people judge books by their covers, then typesetting is the difference between a brief or a lasting impression. The cover may grab a reader’s eye, but what the reader sees when they crack open the book is what will hold their attention.
Keeping up with the latest book marketing trends and learning new tactics can be expensive. Couple this with the growing cost of self-publishing, and it’s important that we be economically shrewd in our endeavors. Here’s how.
If you are an indie author on Amazon, in Amazon’s Kindle Select Program, you can use five free days to promote your ebook in exchange for three months of exclusivity. Many traditional publishers are increasingly doing free promos as well, and the competition is growing with thousands of free ebooks available every day. So how do you stand out?
What I learned from the total eclipse was this: What wasn’t phenomenal? Everywhere I looked, something grand was there for the taking.
There’s growing unrest surrounding the proliferation of free and cheap books, particularly ebooks. The reasons for sharp discounts and giveaways are legion (and some reasons are better than others), but regardless of the reason, I see greater shaming of those who are seen to “devalue” literature in our culture.
A round-up of publishing industry trend articles, helping freelancers and authors anticipate changes coming in 2018.
I have been speaking at the Midwest Writers Workshop in Muncie, Indiana, continuously since 2003. Here’s why I keep returning, year after year.
There’s a very famous piece of advice from Anne Lamott that occasionally makes the rounds on social media. She says: “You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.” This advice, especially when shared out of context, makes me cringe.
I regularly round up and comment on book marketing advice that have writers buzzing. Here’s what sparked discussion in 2017.
The more your book is optimized for search at Amazon, the more often it’s going to come up in searches, and—consequently—the more you’ll sell. Part of making your book more discoverable is understanding how to set your categories and keywords on Amazon, which is accessible to any indie author.
Memoirists have to write their story, the events of their life, from a future perspective. From NOW. Now brings with it maturity, wisdom, insight, and grace. The mature self speaks from a place of distance but not detachment.
While there are seven deadly first-page sins I commonly encounter, there is one that’s most deadly of all: default omniscience. No point of view = no story.
Issues touched on: Barnes & Noble woes, the maturity of the self-publishing market, Wattpad profits, traditional publishing’s problem launching blockbusters, and the growth of the Amazon ebook sales/borrows
While it’s not easy to launch a book without any kind of online presence, many first-time authors are in exactly that position. Here’s a 4-step game plan.
A step-by-step guide to finding literary agents, plus how to select the right agent for you and your work.
Novelist Sophie Chen Keller offers an incisive look at what’s different about writing a novel for adults when the narrator is a child.
What should writers do if they feel that an agent isn’t honoring their obligations, contractual or otherwise? What’s the best way to speak up?
Yes, it is possible to have a very successful writing career later in life—and doing something new later in one’s career helps to keep you young.
The gist of all marketing advice for authors essentially boils down to: try everything and see what works. Here’s what didn’t work for me.
Anthology advances are small, contributors have little stake in the sales of the book, and branding a collective group is hard. But anthologies are still valuable and worth the effort. Here’s why.
I started writing seriously after being diagnosed with early onset Parkinson’s. Now was the time to do it, or quit talking about it.
What’s the overriding reason for an author to find an agent and a traditional publishing deal? Is it possible that the reasons may be flawed?
More books are translated in France than in any other country: 1 out of every 6 books has been translated from a foreign language, many from English.
I have an uneasy relationship with sales because I came to writing through academic means, and academics still live with an idea of meritocracy as the way people get recognition for what they do.
If you plan to pursue writing as a professional, long-term career, I recommend starting and maintaining an author website even if you’re unpublished.
Opera is the single Western art in which voice determines character, or, more closely, expresses character. For writers, opera offers a set of finger exercises, if not pointers.
Over a last year, a consistent theme has emerged in my discussions with writers around the country: They feel distracted. What is to be done?
At its core, a query letter is a sales document, and so it’s meant to sell. But opinions differ on the best possible sales approach in a query.
I would never tell someone to publish with a hybrid publisher—every writer’s goals are unique, plus hybrid publishing puts the financial risk on the author.
Author Jay Swanson discusses how he’s succeeded with Patreon, which allows fans to pledge monthly financial support to his creative efforts.
Many people want to be rock stars—and many people want to write books. But there are many ways in which a writing dream can crash and burn. One way is to be unclear about what you want with what you are ready to do.
I’m a contributor to a new essay collection, WHAT EDITORS DO, edited by Peter Ginna and published by University of Chicago Press.
Each scene in your book requires a beginning, middle, and end. Here are four paths to launching your scene—plus the questions you should ask about each one.
Giving characters painful backstory makes them feel credible to readers. But when it comes to describing what happened, many writers jump headfirst into an info dump, hoping a summary will create a shortcut to empathy and “catch readers up.” Unfortunately, this can have the opposite effect.
I’m the featured guest on the new Backmatter podcast from Leanpub, which is focused specifically on the publishing industry and its latest trends.
There’s a term thrown around in the world of writing that I’ve never fully understood: emerging writer. To emerge as a writer, or anything else for that matter, you must emerge from one thing into an entirely different something else.
Any author can successfully launch their book through crowdfunding if they are willing to put in the effort. However, it may not be the right path for everyone.
Fiction writing, while not closely associated with affecting one’s real-life relationships, can indeed have that power and develop one’s empathy.
Four lessons for YA: Make it real, get rid of parental oversight, feature topics making the headlines, and include hope.
Lisa Tener shares important lessons learned when writing her first book, the ups and downs of co-writing, the most important platform writers should have, and more.
When I hear professional publicists offer advice to authors, one theme that comes up again and again is: start where you are.
There are many good reasons to hire a professional editor, but also a number of compelling reasons to hold off and save your money.