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?
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.