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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
There are many good reasons to hire a professional editor, but also a number of compelling reasons to hold off and save your money.
If you’re pitching your book to agents or editors, the perfect title for your book will define your subject and grab their positive attention. It should be a label they can confidently share with colleagues in editorial board meetings and use to convince the powers-that-be to release money to acquire your book.
Series have become extremely popular, and secondary characters are now in the spotlight. Readers enjoy trying to spot the next potential hero or heroine.
Do you know what time it is in Mumbai, India? Knowing time differences in the countries where you sell books is key to social media engagement, and ultimately sales.
While Amazon sponsored ads haven’t been a marketing miracle, I also haven’t lost that much money—and copies of my YA novel have sold at a steady pace.
A self-published author breaks down her expenses and resulting sales after promoting on social media and email, paying for reviews, advertising, and more.
Author Dario Ciriello talks about breaking writing rules, what publishing other writers taught him about the business, and how little he as a writer cares about what other writers think.
When I work on a project—with clients, but particularly with my own writing—I start by acknowledging a blunt but important truth: Nobody cares about what I have made.
Screenwriter and novelist Nina R. Sadowsky shares screenwriting techniques that have influenced her novel writing, and writers can learn from the screen.
The two biggest mistakes in book publicity pitches: they are too long in length, and not pointed or provocative enough.
You should consider how secret you want to be about your true identity. Maintaining secrecy is difficult. The higher the level of secrecy, the more complicated the process
Marketing FOMO is more debilitating than distracting—and if you suffer from marketing FOMO, your marketing tasks will never be done.
How do agents—generally considered the gatekeepers to publishing companies—approach the issue of diversity in the publishing industry?
Every writer’s pet fear stems from the mother of all fears: What other people think of what I write is more important than what I think of what I write.
How to Spot Toxic Feedback: 7 Signs That the Writing Advice You’re Getting May Do More Harm Than Good
If you recognize the following characteristics in the critiques of your work, it may not just be inept—it may, in fact, be toxic.
Turns out there is only one universal rule of plot, and it goes back to what Joseph Campbell uncovered: every single story worth telling is about transformation via trials.
When you’re wooing the media, what you’re really trying to do is to intrigue them. To whet their appetites. Sometimes the best way to do that flows from remembering that less is often more.
As writers, we don’t always know how much of ourselves to share with the public. But it behooves us to create and curate an author persona—the public face for our work.
Half of writers are plotters, and the other half are pantsers. One is not the right way or the wrong way; there is only the way that works best for you.
Every author, regardless of when or what they’ve published, has an Author Central page. But many authors have not claimed theirs—which is a big mistake.
How do great authors develop stunning narratives, break from tradition, and advance the form of their fiction? They take whatever basic ideas they’ve got, then move them away from the typical.
Learn the difference between all ready/already, altogether/all together, all right/alright, any time/anytime, anyway/any way.
By far the most common entry-level mistake in the writing game, the thing that can get a perfectly good story rejected by an editor on the first page, is overwriting.