No pressure, but the opening of your book is the gatekeeper in determining whether your novel will sell. If your opening is weak, it won’t matter if chapter two is a masterpiece. Editors and agents and booksellers and librarians and readers will stop reading before they get there.
Misconceptions about getting started often hold new writers back. You may think that to be successful as a freelance writer, you need a J-school degree, an impressive database of editorial contacts, and a truckload of supplies. Not so—read on to learn the most common myths that can sabotage you before you start.
You need to write a memoir—except the mere thought floods you with anxiety. You’ve got decades of memories; where would you even start? Lists to the rescue!
If fiction writing is something you’d like to pursue in your retirement years, follow these steps to help you prepare for the business of authorship.
For new writers, throwing in a few combat scenes can seem like an easy way to add some excitement to a novel, but the reality is that violence can be incredibly difficult to pull off effectively.
Taste is not static. Rather than a fixed endpoint toward which one toils away, it’s a target that moves over the course of a lifetime.
Debra Eckerling (@WriteOnOnline), founder of the writers’ support group Write On!, discusses common writer challenges, the value of blogs, what it means to take writing to the next level, tragic networking mistakes, and more in this 5 On interview.
All three paths to producing emotional responses in readers are valid, but all three have pitfalls and can fail to work. To successfully use each, it’s necessary to understand why each is effective when it is.
Unlike pure fiction, nonfiction is grounded in the real world, with real people, real names and real places, and this inevitably creates an environment where a legal misstep can occur.
When I ask most clients what their goals are in hiring me, I usually get some version of “to get more followers and sell more books.” I encourage them to think both bigger and more deeply about social media.
While you may wish to run your writing class completely by yourself (and I recommend it), you may also want to consider partnering. Here are the options.
Amazon offers two ways for authors to advertise ebooks at their site. Learn how to smartly set up and manage product display and sponsored product ads.
On the last day of your retreat or on your way back home, pose this question to yourself and take it seriously: How can I take the way I’m feeling home with me?
Productivity is certainly one goal of a retreat. But there are other desired outcomes, such as returning home rested, relaxed, and energized by the time away.
Learn about four tensions you may experience that have the potential to undermine your creative work and leave you feeling stuck.
There is one secret ingredient to crafting a novel that readers will read from beginning to end. All the other elements are important and necessary, but they play supporting roles to this one.
One of the first choices you have to make for your author website is determining its theme or template. It sets the tone and even defines the site.
Why must writers schedule time for residencies and retreats? Because in doing so, we honor an annual appointment with writer self-care.
Every reader starts a story cold, and you want to warm the reader up to your story as quickly as possible. Learn proven techniques for story openings.
Today’s guest post is from writer and Sidebar Saturdays blogger Matt Knight (@mattknightbooks). One of many worrisome areas for writers negotiating publishing contracts is who has final word when editing a manuscript for publication. Publishing agreements define the right to creative control over the manuscript in the editing clause. Typically, that right goes to the […]
Ultimately, concept is far less important than character when it comes to determining the overall quality of your story, but your audience is attracted to your story based on your concept alone. Does your concept have what it takes to draw people in?
Some stories require greater scope, more voices, or a different context than can be delivered through the eyes of one protagonist. When you find this to be the case, consider using multiple viewpoints. However, you must think about several factors before launching into this greater undertaking.
The most successful people in every industry use goals as road maps to help them reach their desired destination. It’s no different for writers.
If I could teach only one key to great writing, it would be this: Make every word count. Recognize the power of a single, well-chosen word. Trust it to do its work. As a rule, the more economically you use language, the more powerfully you will deliver your message.
There are countless ways to defeat ourselves, but the biggest and worst is to make the task too big and then feel daunted before we ever start
Every action in your novel should be justified by the intersection of setting, context, pursuit, and characterization. They all need to make sense. They all need to fit. If you have to explain why something just happened, you’re telling the story backward.
If you want to sell books and have people read them, you have to meet other people and tell them about it. Learn the best networking strategies for people who hate networking.
Reddit is an online community where you can get your book in front of hundreds of thousands of readers for free. That is, if you have the right strategy.
A short-term marketing campaign is a series of strategies designed to reach a goal in a defined period of time, and include projects such as book launches. A short-term campaign has four definite phases: planning, pre-launch, launch, and follow-through.
Book cover designer Joshua Jadon offers nine tips for creating a visually intriguing book cover.
Author Martha Conway discusses optimizing Facebook ad settings to ensure a realistic click-through rate, and her overall results with Facebook ads.
If you want to be successful at selling today, you need to quit pushing your needs (please buy my book) and messages at potential readers and concentrate on figuring out how to pull them in by putting their needs above yours. Give them something valuable.
Author Caroline Leavitt reveals the fears behind her middle-of-the-night writer anxieties, the contents of her colored book tour folders, her reaction to the praise her latest novel is receiving, and more in this 5 On interview.
Social media and marketing expert Andrea Dunlop lists five questions you should ask yourself when starting to plan your book launch.
Kirsten Oliphant explains how to reach out to others who can help you build your author platform and how to generate a great pitch for collaboration.
Author Robert Wilder explains the concept of pods (spheres of influence) and how to use them to help promote your book.
Author and social media expert Frances Caballo discusses the CARE acronym and how to use it to guide your interactions with readers on social media.
Author Daniel Parsons offers five tips for improving your Twitter interactions as a creative professional.
Author and social media expert Kirsten Oliphant explains how to manage your platform-building activities on social media sites.
Author and freelance editor Maya Rock offers six pointers for vetting a freelance editor.
Author and speaker Dorit Sasson offers tips on how to build author platform through local speaking engagements.
Sangeeta Mehta interviews agents Bob Mecoy and Kristin Nelson about how agents can assist the hybrid author.
Writing coach Angela Ackerman discusses how influencers can help you market your book, how to identify potential influencers, and how to reach them.
Author and editor Jessica Strawser offers guidance on how to write through illness, grief, and other major life events.
Kirsten Oliphant discusses various ways to grow your email subscriber list.
Most writers want an MFA for one of three reasons: They want to teach writing, they want to get published, or they want to make room in their life for writing. It turns out these reasons for doing an MFA are actually based on myths.
Author Jennifer Louden offers five tips for developing and strengthening your writer’s voice.
The greatest tool for gaining reader confidence is internal dialogue—because when a character reveals his thoughts, he’s confiding in the audience.
Author and writing expert Barbara Baig discusses the lessons about deliberate practice that writers might take away from Anders Ericsson’s book Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise.
Every author dreams of having a successful book reading in a roomful of admiring fans. Yet too few actually spend enough time planning what they will say.