Danger of writing groups

The 4 Hidden Dangers of Writing Groups

Writing groups can cause fatal frustration, deep self-doubt, and sometimes years of wasted effort. Learn the most common dangers of writing groups, and find out how to improve your group to give you more of what you need—and less of what you don’t.

Image of colorful typewriter by Ralph Aichinger / via Flickr

Begin Your Novel with Action: A Good Rule?

You’ve probably heard the adage that you must begin your novel with action—even if it’s not the main action of the book. While this rule is fairly well-accepted in fiction teaching circles, not everyone agrees with it.

How to Plot and Outline Without Using a Formula

When we talk about plot as separate from the characters, the symbols, the locales, the dialogue, and the philosophical introspection, what we are doing is privileging events over everything else. But nothing exists in a vacuum.

by Aurélien Bellanger

Could You Benefit From a Website Redesign?

Today’s interview is by contributing writer Chris Jane (@chrismjane), who does every-other-Wednesday interviews for the 5 On series. Anyone who pays any attention to my Facebook feed knows that I’m more than a little happy with my newly revised website. I didn’t understand why, at first. After all, the previous (and free) template I’d been using did what it […]

Indie Authors and the Question of Kindle Unlimited

Today’s guest post is by Hellen Barbara (@hbarbara27), president of Pubslush. Recently, Amazon joined the e-book subscription playing field alongside Oyster and Scribd to offer subscribers unlimited access to more than 700,000 e-books and 2,000 audiobooks for the monthly price of $9.99. This service is called Kindle Unlimited. When a player as big as Amazon enters […]

Should Children’s Book Authors Self-Publish?

Note from Jane: Today’s guest post is by Sangeeta Mehta (@sangeeta_editor), a former acquiring editor of children’s books at Little, Brown and Simon & Schuster, who runs her own editorial services company. With all the changes taking place in the publishing industry, it seems harder than ever for even the best writers to secure a […]

Stephen King by Oscar Oliva OA / DeviantArt

Stephen King Still Fears Failure. How About You?

Today’s guest post is by freelancer and author Marcy McKay. The November 2014 issue of Rolling Stone interviews the master of contemporary fiction, Stephen King. The Q&A covers a myriad of interesting topics for writers: the author’s typical working day, his literary legacy, as well as how alcohol and drugs affected his writing back in the […]

critic

You’ve Got Hate Mail: How to Deal with (Annoying) Critics

Note from Jane: Today’s guest post is by publisher and author L.L. Barkat (@llbarkat). She has one of the most gracious and welcoming personalities in the online space—so I’m delighted she’s written about how she maintains a calm and open demeanor even when faced with difficult or antagonistic personalities. In a career decision that might look, to some, […]

7 Reasons Twitter Isn’t Building Your Author Platform (And How to Fix It)

Note from Jane: Today’s guest post is by Marcy Kennedy (@MarcyKennedy). Almost as soon as authors were told they should be on social media to build their platform, a counter-contingent of people started talking about how social media was a waste of time. They’d tell stories of using Twitter or Facebook or whatever the flavor of […]

How to Customize a Template-Based Author Website

Note from Jane: Today’s guest post is by Simone Collins (@SimoneHCollins) at ArtCorgi. See her earlier post on The Advantages of Author Portraits. Through my website ArtforAuthors.com and my company ArtCorgi, I help authors style websites and social media pages in a manner that best presents their personalities and writing style. All too often, I visit […]

How to Tell If Your Story Idea Is Mediocre—And How to Improve It

Note from Jane: Today’s guest post is adapted from The Writer’s Advantage: A Toolkit for Mastering Your Genre by Laurie Scheer (@mediagoddess213). So you think your idea for a new vampire novel is a good one? Think again. Nine times out of ten, your idea is really quite mediocre and has been done before, actually a […]

Mike Cogh / via Flickr

The Long-Term View: 3 Exciting Mind Shifts for Author Entrepreneurs

Note from Jane: Today’s guest post is from Joanna Penn (@thecreativepenn), and is based on her new book, Business for Authors: How to Be an Author Entrepreneur, out now in ebook, print and audio. During the last five years, I have seen a major shift in the publishing arena because of emergent technology and a changing […]

German book market

The German Market: A Guide for Indie Authors

Note from Jane: Today’s guest post is by Beate Boeker (@BeateBoeker), whom I met at the International Women’s Fiction Festival in Matera, Italy. It was the first writers conference I attended that offered any kind of in-depth information (geared toward authors) about the international and translation market. Find out more about Beate and her novels at […]

A polished author portrait

The Advantages of Author Portraits

Today’s guest post is by Simone Collins (@SimoneHCollins) at ArtCorgi. My job is to help people commission original art from up-and-coming artists via ArtCorgi, a company I started earlier this year. Though the art I help people create consists of everything from romantic gifts to mobile game assets and painted scenes for wall art, I have […]

photo by Professor Bop / Flickr

What Is a Developmental Editor and What Can You Expect?

Today’s guest post is excerpted from Perfect Bound: How to Navigate the Book Publishing Process Like a Pro by Katherine Pickett (@KPickett_Editor). What Is a Developmental Editor? Developmental editors (DEs) are concerned with the structure and con­tent of your book. If your manuscript lacks focus, your DE will help you find the right direction—the “right” […]

Episode

4 Things I Learned From Writing on an Emerging Mobile Story Platform

Today’s guest post is by Los Angeles–based writer Kathryn Stanley (@kathrynstanley_). About six months ago, Pocket Gems, a mobile game developer, launched a new platform called Episode. It allows writers to script a story and then turn it into an animated interactive mobile story. It combines parts of TV shows, comics, and novels, and provides the […]

Self-Publish or Perish: Why I Made the Leap from Traditional Publishing to Indie

Today’s guest post is by New York Times bestseller Eileen Goudge (@eileengoudge), whose newest novel, Bones and Roses, releases today.  I read Claire Cook’s recent blog post with great interest and a jolt of recognition. OMG. She was telling my story! I wasn’t alone. There were other authors like me who were traditionally published in […]

Why Design Matters for Your Author Website

Today’s guest post is by literary agent Maria Ribas (@maria_ribas); check out her website, cooks & books. When I was starting out as an editor, I was surprised to see just how very subjective the acquisitions process was. I think I was a little bit (well, a lot) disappointed that there wasn’t a secret equation behind […]

Jane Eyre Detail

The 4 Different Types of Conflict in Dialogue

Today’s guest post is by author K.M. Weiland (@KMWeiland), author of the newly released Jane Eyre: Writer’s Digest Annotated Classics. Conflict in dialogue provides authors with one of their best opportunities for jazzing up their stories and powering their plots. Slow scene? No problemo. Just throw in a nice, heated little argument. What could be […]

Why I Left My Mighty Agency and New York Publishers (for now)

Note from Jane: Today I’m beyond honored to feature bestselling author Claire Cook (@ClaireCookwrite), who has just released Never Too Late, from which this post is excerpted. Claire has a fascinating story to tell about her decision to leave her agency and traditional publisher, and chase after her publishing dreams. As the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus said, […]

Both Sides Now: A New York Editor and Author Goes Indie

Today’s guest post is by author Leslie Wells. I’ve been on both sides of the publishing desk—as an acquiring executive editor for several decades, and as an author. The experience has provided insights that I wouldn’t have had otherwise, and made me more sympathetic to the nerve-wracking process of trying to get your book published. […]

How to Create Your First Booktrack (and Get 2,000 New Readers)

Today’s guest post is by author Laurence MacNaughton (@LMacNaugton). When I first heard about Booktrack.com from my literary agent, Kristin Nelson, I was fairly skeptical of the idea. Ebooks with music and sound effects, really? But then I tried the Booktrack of the short story Dagon by H.P. Lovecraft. I’ll be honest—I was blown away. […]

Steven de Polo / Flickr

How to Write a Competitive Title Analysis

The following post has been excerpted and adapted from The Author Training Manual by Nina Amir, recently released by Writer’s Digest Books. If you’re embarking on a nonfiction book project, your analysis of the competitive landscape is critical, whether you self-publish or traditionally publish. You need to understand and be able to explain how your […]

The Art of Marketing Conference

7 Things I Learned from the World’s Best Marketers

Today’s guest post is by author Tiana Warner (@tianawarner). The Art of Marketing conference in Vancouver was a full day of marketing insight from Seth Godin, Nancy Duarte, Mitch Joel, John Jantsch, Brian Wong, Keith Ferrazzi, and big-name sponsors like Microsoft and CBC. Each highly qualified speaker offered a unique perspective on the current and […]