Tag Archives: writers

3 Tips For Promoting A New Author’s Book

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Whether it be your own or a friend’s book, here’s a few ways you can help get the word out there.

1.) Share The Book

My favorite way to share books is to give the book as a gift. If the recipient likes it they’ll recommend it to others and the book’s popularity will spread by word of mouth. Another way is to talk about the book on social media. Write a facebook status about it, tweet aboutit, blog about it, anything. You can reach hundreds of ears without a lot of work. You can also go to the coffeeshop and just read it, or read it on the bus on your way to work. Other people will notice the cover and maybe go look up the book at home to see what it’s all about.

2.) Face The Book Out At Bookstores

Head to all the nearest bookstores and rearrange the shelves so that the book’s cover is facing out to the buyers. We’ve all seen an interesting book cover poking out like that, and our attention is more drawn to it then to the other books. It’s a fantastic way to get the book noticed and it will for-sure get at least a few extra buys that way.

3.) Hit It Right At The Source

Leave awesome comments about the book on the bookstore’s website, on amazon, or on a book reviewing website. Most buyers will check out the reviews on a book before ordering it, so having an extra positive remark won’t hurt. Another way is to ask about the book. Go in to bookstores and ever if you know exactly where the book is ask an employee to help you. If enough people do this the employees will start to remember the book and maybe add it to the “employee recommendation” table. It works the same way at libraries. You can even reserve a copy of the book just so that the employees see it and recognize it. If they’re interested enough they’ll read it themselves.

Possibly the most important thing is to tell your friends and have them tell their friends! Nothing works better than a recommendation from a trusted source.

 

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How to Serve & Swallow Criticism – By Kristan Hoffman

Brilliant advice–I had to share.

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1. Deny, Defend, Debate

These are the normal human reactions to criticism. We reject what we don’t like; we justify what we do like; we argue about it all. These instincts are very human, yes – but they’re not all that helpful when it comes to improving our work (or ourselves).

For this reason, in many workshops, the author of a story being critiqued is not permitted to speak until after everyone else has shared their feedback. (Sometimes the author isn’t allowed to speak at all!) This forced silence keeps the deny-defend-debate monster waiting… and waiting… and waiting some more… so that by the time the writer finally gets a chance to open their mouth, that 3-D ogre may have given up and left altogether! At the very least, it should be lethargic or off-guard, allowing everyone’s feedback to slip by and reach the writer’s (hopefully open) mind.

Another technique I use to combat my own 3-D monster is to just say yes. No matter how much I hate a suggestion, or disagree with an edit, I force myself to accept it, to sit with it for a while, and then to reevaluate. After a few hours (or a few days), if it still doesn’t feel right, then I’m allowed to go back to what I had before. But more often than not, I find myself sticking with the changes my crit partners suggest.

All that being said, no matter how open-minded you try to be, sometimes feedback can be hard to swallow simply because of how it’s being delivered. Which leads me to…

2. “Goldilocks” Feedback

In other words, critiques are best (i.e., most helpful) when they’re not too broad, but not too specific either. And not too gentle, but not too harsh. Like Goldilocks, we writers need our feedback to be “just right” – somewhere in the middle of the spectrum, where it’s far more comfortable than either extreme.

Examples:

  • “I don’t like this ending” = too broad.
  • “I think the senator should tearfully confess, go through a series of grueling court appearances, and then be sentenced to 3 years in prison” = too specific.
  • “I don’t find the resolution fully satisfying because the senator faces no consequences for her actions” = just right.
  • “OMG I LOVE THIS YOU ARE THE BEST EVAR!” = too gentle.
  • “Your prose is the most detestable garbage I’ve ever read” = too harsh.
  • “Your metaphors work really well because they’re framed by the protagonist’s profession, but I think you can take out some of her daily work routine, which starts to get monotonous.” = just right.

Note that the “just right” examples incorporate the rationale behind the feedback – which allows a writer to understand the problem, making them more likely to accept the suggestion, or come up with their own solution.

I have two rules of thumb when I’m given the responsibility – and the privilege – of critiquing someone else’s work. First, I try to remember what type of feedback I find most helpful. Odds are, other writers will appreciate the same kinds of comments. And second, I always create what one of my professors liked to call a feedback sandwich. That means I start and end with the positives, and keep all the tough stuff in the middle. You’d be surprised how much “meat and veggies” a person can eat when they’re served between two delicious slices of “fresh bread.”

(via: http://writerunboxed.com/2013/05/31/how-to-serve-and-swallow-criticism)

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To My Poet Friends…

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I have so much respect for you.

Recently I’ve been having issues getting into my novel.  I just finished my first draft last week and now I have the usual slump of I-don’t-want-to-revise-all-of-this laziness.

So, following my “write every day” rule, I decided to try writing poetry.  I follow a lot of blogs that post only poems and I think every single piece I read is absolutely beautiful.

I sat down in my writing chair with a pen and paper and tried to start, but nothing happened.  Instead of doing my daily write I sat there for an hour staring at the blank page.  That page now has an impromptu sketch of my dog on it and I didn’t do any writing at all.

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But now I truly realize just how amazing you all are.  Great work.

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Stephen King

Stephen King

“The most important things are the hardest things to say. They are the things you get ashamed of because words diminish your feelings – words shrink things that seem timeless when they are in your head to no more than living size when they are brought out.”

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My Writing Process

My brain does not like to do what I tell it to.  

I can think up endless stories and worlds at any time of the day, but when it comes time to sit and actually write it down, it is a complete disaster.  My ADD only acts up when I actually try, so if I’m not working hard I have no issues.  Here’s a list of what my brain thinks I absolutely have to do in order to write.

1.) Wear comfortable pants.  

Or no pants at all.  I’m not one to wear sweatpants or leggings when I leave the house, but if I’m trying to write jeans are just out of the question.  My waistband is too tight, uncomfortable lines are digging into my thighs, etc.  So either it’s pants off or no work.  

2.) Get rid of the animal.

Mr. Kitty becomes at least 10x cuter when I have stuff to do.  He also becomes more loving. When I’m sitting on the couch watching a movie he hates me and tries to bite my face off.  But, when I sit down at my magical desk and tell him to leave me alone, all of a sudden his undying love for him must be pronounced via belly rub, ear scratches  etc.  Solution? I have close the door to my room and lock him out.  

3.) Fill the silence.  

Silence is killer for me.  I can’t even sleep in silence.  I always have an audiobook or soft music playing when I lay down at night to help lull me to sleep.  If I don’t, every item I need to put on my grocery list and every single thing I have to get done in the next month parades around my brain in a never-ending list.  Solution? I made a playlist of my favorite songs that I play every time I write.  I also have giant, super unattractive headphones to block out Mr. Kitty’s whining and scratching at the door.  This is actually the best thing I’ve ever done to increase my productivity.  

4.) Have snacks at the ready. 

It’s like magic.  As soon as I get 100 words into whatever I’m working on, hunger strikes.  Foods I don’t even like all of a sudden sound like the tastiest snacks on the planet.  So, whenever I sit down to write I always plan a snack to have nearby. 

5.) Set the thermostat.

If it’s too cold or too hot, just forget about it.  Nothing worthwhile is going to get done.

6.) Turn off the phone and the internet.  

No mom, it’s not a good time to talk.  No Meaghan, I can’t go get my nails done.  When I sit down to write I suddenly become the most popular person around.  Everyone wants to talk or go out only because it’s a bad time.  Any other time my phone lays silent on the counter and my facebook notifications remain at 0.  I find it extremely hard to say no to people, so I have to make sure they never even get ahold of me.  Sorry WordPress, but I have to block you too when I write.   

And if I get all of this done within a reasonable amount of time, maybe the I’ll actually get some good writing done.  Maybe.  

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One Of The Biggest Struggles I’ve Faced

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Writing on the road.

Poor pup thinks he’s going to the vet so he’s shaking like a leaf. My battery only lasts so long so I carry my charger in my purse and charge it on the floor of every restaurant we stop at. Bumps in the road make typing a struggle and if I don’t break to look out the window every 20 minutes I might throw up.

Oh the things we go through for our books!

I just can’t wait to have a sturdy table to sit at and write without distractions. A Wi-Fi network other than Starbucks would be nice too. And a meal that’s not McDonald’s. Is that too much to ask?

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It’s Common Knowledge That Writers Should Write Every Day…

But, if you’re working on a novel, you just can’t force it.

Last week I had a few days where I just wanted to throw my laptop out of the window. I was drained of good ideas and distractions were more prominent than usual. Nevertheless I bowed my head and cranked out page after page of my novel. I’m determined to make sure this won’t be just another unfinished project, but seriously, what a mistake.

As I’m going through the pages and editing them I realize that all of them SUCK.

There’s no attention grabbers, no action and certainly no meaningful dialogue. It’s all just fluffy nothing words. None of these pages add anything to my novel but empty, useless space that no one really wants to read.

Take my advice, next time writers block hits but you need to get in your daily writing, DON’T work on your novel. Write anything but your novel until the ideas start flowing again.

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9 of the Best Writing Tips Ever

1. Write every day.  Your brain is a muscle and it needs to be worked.  If you can’t imagine spending another second writing the dialogue in your novel, then write a poem or a letter to your far-away friend.  Whatever it is, just write.  

2. Read.  You can’t write unless you read.  In order to write an excellent novel, you need to understand the magic that reading a good book make you feel.. Without that magic, your book will be a bust.  Know what you want the final product to be before you start.  

3. Have a thesaurus.  Seriously, it will be your best friend.  When you use the same words over and over again you’ll sound like a broken record and lose the reader.  Keeping the wording fresh keeps your novel from getting dull and will keep the reader hooked and interested.  

4. Have an audience in mind.  I’ve seen far too many query letters that say “My novel is a science fiction based young adult book with traces of romance and a mysterious side that lends to the horror element of the story.”  What? You can’t combine so many genres and still have a novel that makes sense.  If you’re writing for Young Adults, don’t make it horror and romance.  Sure love is common in novels for young adults, but the actual romance genre is not for young adults.  Pick two at most.  

5. Most writers keep a notebook and a pen with them at all times so that they can write down all of their amazing ideas as soon as they hit.  If you’re like me, you won’t remember to do this.  What I do instead id keep a note open on my phone.  I have my phone on me at all times so this is a good alternative to pen and paper.  

6. Write the frame of your story before you edit.  Get all the way through your book before you try to proofread and edit.  Your book will be short, uninteresting and probably have a lot of grammer mistakes.  After you have the frame done, go through and add detail.  Scenery, character descriptions, everything.  Then go through two more times and do the same thing.  Then you can call it your first draft.  

7. Get to know your fellow writers.  Every writer should have a social networking device to gain fans and followers of their work.  Become one of them, and join the supportive community.  Build your writer’s platform!

8. Write full character bios.  For each character you introduce, you need to write a full bio about their past, present and future.  Write every feature of their appearance and every quirk they have.  How do they talk?  Do they have an accent? What color hair?  Your characters are real people, so get to know them.  

9. Don’t panic.  Sometimes weeks go by without a good idea reaching me.  My writing feels boring and lifeless.  My confidence is in the ground and I feel like I’ll never be successful.  I just suck it up and I write anyway.  The phase doesn’t last forever and as soon as I get back in my groove it all gets better.  

Just remember – your brain is one of a kind.  Your ideas are all your own and you can do anything as long as you put you mind to it, so don’t give up! 

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