There’s no one recipe to overcome a creativity wound, but putting a pen between your fingers and then resting it on a piece of paper is a pretty good start to finding one.
Author Russell Rowland discusses the big mistake he made with HarperCollins, whether the journey of writing is truly its own reward, why his Indiegogo campaign worked so well, and his experiences with publishing—from one of the Big 5 to self-publishing.
No matter how many books have been written about a topic, there is probably some important facet that has not yet been covered thoroughly or well. A key driver behind success is understanding how you fit into the existing landscape, what distinguishes your work, and why it is likely to appeal to a particular audience.
Younger generations (and older ones!) flock to Instagram for its feed of beautiful pictures. So how can writers use Instagram to their benefit?
Public speaking skills are more akin to musical or athletic skills than intellectual knowledge alone. Mastery does not take place simply in your brain; it takes place in your body, in the “doing” of it.
Writing a novel requires the creation of a living, breathing, fully populated world. Deities can pull off a trick like that in six days, but how long should it take to write a book?
Learn how to simplify the writing process for how-to books and write them in a way that provides maximum value in an information-filled world.
A trade distributor is a partner company who takes over the tasks and responsibilities of selling your books to trade accounts like bookstores and wholesalers.
Few of your readers care about what you know, no matter how many years you have spent accumulating that wisdom. They care about what they need or want to understand.
I’ve been air-quoting “reading” since my first legitimate introduction to audiobooks this past winter.
A checklist for repackaging and republishing your own backlist after you get rights reverted from your traditional publisher.
For every new venture, there is a learning curve. When it comes to self-publishing your book, however, that curve can be steep.
I used to laugh at the “Christmas-in-July” ads until I promoted my first holiday-related book. We actually started the promotion in July, and July turned out to be the perfect time.
Subplots help you pace your story and keep the tension rising. Unfortunately, the name “subplots” wrongly suggests they are somehow inferior or substandard.
To some degree, we get to pick and choose our publishing and publicity tasks. Sometimes we forget this and freak out because we think we have to do it all.
In many ways, a portrait photographer encounters the same great issue as fiction writers, chiefly, creating and revealing character.
It’s one thing to know how to setup something technical like an advertisement, an email system, or your book’s sales page on Amazon. However, crafting them so a potential reader will take action is something else.
Unless you are Harper Lee, you are probably going to launch more than one book during your career. For the introvert, learn six ways to keep your head above water not just for your first book, but also for the long haul.
On the whole, stories are about change. And scenes are a boiled down, less intense, mini-story. They should do the same thing your global story does: upset the life value of the character and put them on a path to try and restore it.
It can happen to you. Your carefully built author business and your reputation can come under attack and threaten to disrupt your livelihood and your personal life. But you can help prevent a crisis in the first place by using some simple engagement strategies.
Hiring an outside publicity firm is a big decision, and knowing what to expect on the front end can help you make the right selection and get more out of the experience.
Seven-figure deals seem to be given to more 20-something debut writers than debut writers in any other age group, yet Pulitzer Prize winner Annie Proulx started writing at 58—and Frank McCourt began writing in his 60s. Were these writers more talented than younger writers trying to break in at the same time? Or has the industry started gravitating more toward younger writers in recent years? Two literary agents, Sarah Davies and Dr. Uwe Stender, offer their thoughts on the publishing industry’s attitude toward age.
Book relaunches can take a variety of forms. If done right, they enhance your overall brand, as well as your book sales. Their first and foremost benefit is the new publication date. Having a new book opens up access to bloggers and media who might not have been available to you with an older book.
In many ways, it’s never been harder to get a traditional book deal. At the same time, there have never been more ways to establish a career as an author.
“If you build it, they will come” is the biggest crock of sh*t ever foisted. The second biggest is my own mental script: “If I write it, The New York Times bestseller list will come.” Nope. Wrong answer.
As writers, we’re always either setting up some moment or scene, or paying it off. Since scenes are the building blocks of narrative, we should always be writing scenes.
While fairy tales are ancient, dating back to the Bronze age, fantasy turns out to be a revival movement, rising from the grave of the recent dead. Mention of the word fantasy is minimal through through the twentieth century, with some peaks here and there depending on your source. Around 1945, fantasy took flight, soaring up and up, well into the twenty-first century. Why the change? What summoned the word fantasy back to life in 1945?
In this 5 On interview, author and publisher Ian Thomas Healy shares what he learned from his experiences with literary agents, what to look for when submitting to small press publishers, his feelings about Amazon KDP Select, and more.
First and foremost: Set realistic goals. Is this book going to change your life? No. After publication, you will not be a different fifty-plus-year-old person. You will be pretty similar to the person you were before, only this fifty-plus-year-old person has written a book. So ask yourself: What are you hoping to get out of the experience?
Literary fiction’s subsumption by other genres and vice-versa has become so pervasive one must wonder what distinction if any can still be claimed by “pure” literary fiction beyond pretentiousness.
Why should you care that there are only two story types? It actually matters. Like a chef, knowing what defines the concoction you’re about to create will help you figure out how to make it work. And how to stop it from failing.
One reason behind the supremacy of the writing rule “Show, don’t tell” is that telling is, frankly, harder. To gain and hold a reader’s attention through action and dialogue is one thing. To do so through exposition is another.
Sometimes going back is going forward—especially if you refashion the old, sloughing off what became untenable. This is why I’m going back to blogging. While every writer won’t find my reasons of interest, plenty of writers might want to explore their possibility.
To those who may object that the mere fact of two opposite-sexed people sharing the first scene of a novel (and a cockpit) doesn’t—necessarily—imply a romantic future between them, all I can say is … yes, it does.
If your readers are going to put themselves in your skin and live your experiences, you need to be hyper-conscious of what those experiences looked, felt and sounded like before you write them.
I have had mixed feelings about ghost narrators. As narrative sleights-of-hand go, it strikes me as a little too easy, a bit too glib. It also requires suspension of all four laws of thermodynamics.
When I began working as a freelancer, I wanted to find clients to pay me in the thousands. Once I figured out how to land writing jobs, I was working long hours, always seeking more clients, and somehow still getting paid next to nothing. I was missing something on the business side of things—an essential piece of the puzzle.
When we read about routines in fiction, or in any kind of story, most if not all the pleasure we get from the experience derives from our anticipation of seeing the routine shattered, or, at the very least, disrupted.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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?