Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Help for Dragging Plots

by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig

Walking DeadMy husband is a regular viewer and fan of The Walking Dead series on AMC.

It’s not the kind of thing I usually watch, but I’ve caught the show with my husband a few times. I know that a lot of writers watch it too, because I’ve see their posts in my blog reader.

Lately, the consensus of most of the posts I’ve read is that the show was dragging a little. That the plot wasn’t moving quickly enough, that there was too much dialogue, not enough action, and that the group of survivors seemed to be bogged down.

My husband just wanted more zombies. :)

But then, Sunday night was the mid-season finale (I didn’t even know there was such a thing) and the pace picked up.

There still weren’t a lot of zombies in the episode, but I didn’t hear any complaints from my husband. The writers had kicked the tension up a notch. I’ll be vague here so there won’t be any spoilers.

How the writers picked up the pace and made things interesting:

They pitted characters against each other in ways that developed the storyline.

They increased the tension by threatening a development that would put the characters at risk.

They added ambiguity to the situation by posing questions that they didn’t immediately provide the answers to.

They added a twist.

They put a character in a situation where he had to act against his own moral code. (Great internal conflict resulting from external conflict).

They added depth to supporting characters by showing other sides to them.

The reviews online from writers I follow were very positive---they thought the episode worked well….even without more zombies.

What do you do when your plot starts dragging?

Monday, November 28, 2011

On Signings

by Elizabeth S. Craig @elizabethscraig

bookCN_1412It’s funny that writing promo usually equals signings in the minds of non-writers.

Frequently, I’ll have an acquaintance or friend ask me if I’m planning to have a signing at one of the local bookstores.  Or they’ll suggest a bookstore in another town that they’re familiar with.

I’ll always try to summon up some enthusiasm and a polite response, but usually I’m shrinking away a little.  Signings are my least favorite form of promo.

The problems with signings:

It’s randomly targeted marketing instead of directly targeted.  You’re basically just hoping that someone who walks into the store that day is interested in having a signed copy of any book.

The signing table that the store provides is usually not in a great spot.

You’re having to basically do direct sales.  If you sit there mildly at your little table without saying a word, you likely won’t have any sales at all.

Making a tough situation better:

Don’t sit at the table.  Stand up or even walk around a little.

Have something to do…handing out bookmarks is a good thing to do (and can be a conversation-starter).

Plan the signing in a good location.  This could mean having it in the town you grew up in (where you still are acquainted with lots of people, but maybe they haven’t had the perfect opportunity to buy your book).  This could also mean thinking outside the box and having the signing at a local craft fair or venue other than a bookstore.

Goodies for the bookstore staff are always popular.

Goodies for the shoppers are popular, too.  You can just put a little basket of individually-wrapped candy on your table and many more people will come by.  Some writers are especially clever and will have little tie-ins for their books attached their giveaway.

Before you leave your signing, ask the store if you can sign the leftover stock (and if they have some “autographed copy” stickers.)

Unless you’re a big name, signings are usually not the best way to sell a bunch of books (although I’ve done well at signings in the town I grew up in…because my mother drums up business among her friends!)   Online promo is a free way to reach readers all over the world—who are interested in either you or the genre you write.

How do you feel about signings?  Have any additional tips to share?

Sunday, November 27, 2011


HivewordBelow are the writing-related links I tweeted last week. The Writer’s Knowledge Base search engine, designed by software engineer and writer Mike Fleming, makes all these links (now over 12,000) searchable. Sign up for the free monthly WKB newsletter for the web's best links and interviews: .

In big news this week, my writing and computer programming friend Mike Fleming has launched his Hiveword Novel Writing Software! To check out what it’s all about, just click here. For an interview with Mike on Krissy Brady’s blog, just hop over here. Congratulations to Mike!!

Why Writers Must Read: @Ava_Jae

Making Connections: Buses, Weaving and Poetry: @sueorton

5 Reasons to Use Social Bookmarking to Promote Your Blog: @blogherald

How To Focus Amidst Background Static And Ghost Channels: @coachcreative

Layering Complexity,Texture &Theme Using Subplots, Secondary Characters,& Villains: @RobinPerini @MireyahWolfe

Generating Story 4: The Story Setup: @authorjohnbrown

10 tools to keep your writing fresh: @novelpublicity

Writing and age: @HopeClark

How to format your manuscript: @LaurenClark_Bks

Thoughts on Convention Panels: @jimchines

5 Absolute Essentials for Making It as a Copywriter: @TiceWrites

On running gags in our stories: @lydia_sharp

3 Crucial Aspects of Writing Scenes: @VictoriaMixon

How to be professional as a writer: @nicolamorgan

Amazon Reader Reviews: 12 Things Everybody and His Grandmother Needs to Know: @AnneRAllen

6 Steps to Building a Strong Team for your Writing Career: @LyndaRYoung

An agent advises us to make a holiday writing plan: @RachelleGardner

Author Blogging 101: Blog Design: @JFBookman

Volume is important. Pace counts. @StoryFix

NaNoWriMo Tip: Fill Out a Character Chart: @GalleyCat

The refusal of the hero's call to action: @TheresaStevens

3 perfect gifts for writers: @BookEmDonna

Spacing books in a series:

An Open Letter to Simon and Schuster CEO: via @PassiveVoiceBlg

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Plagiarist: @scholarlykitchn

Too much tech? 7 authors respond: @junglereds

Dealing with criticism: @BryanThomasS

Too Many Facebook Friends: Blessing or Curse? @JaneFriedman

50 Handy Expressions About Hands:

Why 1 writer/editor sought certification: @Eliz_Humphrey

4 Reasons to Mimic the Masters—and 3 Reasons Not to: @KMWeiland

Breaking in, Breaking out, Dropping out of Publishing: @sarahahoyt

Setting up the punchline: @TheresaStevens

A Selfpubber's Morning: @gerarddemarigny

5 Scriptwriting Tips that Will Make Any Story Better: @LiaLondon1 for @JeffGoins

5 nontraditional publishing models from around the world: @artsylliu

There Are Suckers Born Every Minute and They Are Writers: @DeanWesleySmith

Indie publishing isn't for people who couldn't get published. It's for people who could. @DirtyWhiteCandy

Self-Published Authors Invited to the Kindle Owners Lending Library: @PassiveVoiceBlg

Hearing Voices? Maybe You're a Writer: @2KoP for @writeitsideways

Ads for ebooks – are they worth it? @HowToWriteShop

Why querying isn't a popularity contest: @sierragodfrey

How to Hold a Google+ Hangout and Why You Should: @smexaminer

Freelancers: 5 ways to sell more articles by being yourself: @lformichelli

100 Questions to Help You Write, Publish, and Sell Your Ebook: @lifehackorg

Why Daydreamers are More Creative: @sbkaufman for @creativitypost

Will Neuroscience Kill the Novel? @bigthink

The going rate for freelancing: @TiceWrites

Google Alerts for Authors: @CuriosityQuills

6 key writing lessons a writer learned from horses:

Defining success in publishing: @fingers_murphy

Living the stuff of novels: the ghostwriter's lot: @dirtywhitecandy

5 Subplot Blunders to Avoid: @LynnetteLabelle

Revising Away From The Computer: @YAHighway

Do you suffer from one of these maladies? @NathanBransford

Your book...2nd and 3rd acts: @AlexSokoloff

A Social Media Survival Guide: @jennreese for @RLLaFevers

For some kids, a book is just an iPad that doesn't work: @ivortossell for @globeandmail

How to Write a Blog Post About Writing: Dell Smith for @BTMargins

Plotting Through "What's Next?" @Janice_Hardy

Applied Description: @author_sullivan

How blogging can help an aspiring writer: @nickdaws

Write with the door closed, edit with the door closed and open: @eMergentPublish

Writing SF&F military: rank and rank systems:

A series on Goodreads promo: , , , @rsullivan9597

When do readers trust you? @HopeClark

Prompts for creating conflict in a scene: @DeeWhiteAuthor

Why 1 writer is keeping his agent: @jimchines

Stephen King, James Frey nominated for Bad Sex awards: @TelegraphBooks

The bus route of a writer: @sherrinda

5 Important Tips for Building a Strong Brand: @JeffGoins

Back up your work: @mistymassey

6 Common Writing Excuses (And How to Overcome Them): @aliventures)

Writing a Selling Query or Pitch in 4 Easy Steps: @elle_strauss for @Janice_Hardy

The Ultimate Gift Guide for Writers: @JamiGold

So, You Want a Book Blogger to Review Your Ebook…: @topshelfebooks for @GoblinWriter

4 Reasons for writers to be thankful: @JulieMusil

Use the Symbolitron: NaNoWriMo Tip: @GalleyCat

Are Zombies Truly the Harbinger of Genre Crossover? @ryancbritt for @tordotcom

Does Sentence Structure Affect Tone?

Online "Best of 2011" Book Lists: @largeheartedboy #books

Publicity: Soul Crushing or Life Affirming? @thebirdsisters

How to Build a Blog Following From the Ground Up: @JodyHedlund

13 ways to begin a novel: @gripemaster

Serial Fiction With Author Entrepreneur Sean Platt: @SeanPlatt for @TheCreativePenn

A profanity-laden shotgun blast of smart advice from @ChuckWendig: 25 reasons readers stop reading your story:

Tension or frustration? @KatieGanshert

Stimulus and Response: The Writer's Path through Story: @4kidlit

Twitter: "Social Media," not "Pyramid Marketing Scheme for Your eBook": @GeoffreyCubbage

Balancing the Scenes that Make Up Your Novel: @KristenLambTX

1 writer's screenwriting process:

8 Steps to Hosting a Successful Twitter Chat: @hubspot

Screenwriting : ratcheting up the tension using parallel stories: @jacobkrueger

Suspension of disbelief in crime fiction: @mkinberg

Writing Like A Lawyer: @inarascott for @4KidLit

How to Launch a Writers Group: 6 Pieces of Advice: @JeffGoins

Authors are the gatekeepers now, but must do 10 things to succeed: @Bob_Mayer

5 tips for compelling back cover copy: @amywilkins

Affect vs. Effect:

Beware of praise: @nicolamorgan

Literary Agents and Conflicts of Interest – A Compendium: @PassiveVoiceBlg

Filtered perspectives: @RavenRequiem13

Library ebooks, Book Country, dead girls & more--this week's news from @Porter_Anderson for @JaneFriedman:

3 Easy Steps to Critique a Friend's Poem: @write_practice

How to Describe Your Characters—and How Not to: @KMWeiland

How music played into 1 writer's manuscript: @erikamarksauthr for @BYROZMORRIS

Sudoku for Writers: @BTMargins

Should Christian authors write edgy? @slamballonbooks

3 Things You Can Do Now to Prepare for Published Authorhood: @RoniLoren

Use a spreadsheet to help organize your writing: @GalleyCat

1 screenwriter's writing process and software: @johnaugust #screenwriting

A good kind of reader manipulation: @jeanniecampbell

Fanfiction can be an eloquent tribute – it deserves more respect: @mathildia

20 Types and Forms of Humor:

Writing a Marketable Superhero Novel:

Platform and Social Media Must Not Be Your Center: @thewritermama for @JaneFriedman

5 Online Distraction-Busters for Writers: @krissybrady for @writeitsideways

Don't sign dumb contracts: @PassiveVoiceBlg

Black Friday: Writing Style:

How to be a genius (or just look like one): @justinemusk

The Critical Aspects of Digital Publishing: @barryeisler

4 Steps For Organizing Plot Ideas Into a Novel: @JodyHedlund

Disney parents--dead mothers & absent fathers: @FantasyFaction

The Dangers of Outsourcing Your Freelance Work: @fuelyourwriting

Top 5 Writing Tips the Grinch Stole:

Habits that Lead to Creative Writing Discoveries: @Musesland

Understanding Heroes: @TheresaStevens

10 Modes of Modifiers:

Hiveword Novel Writing Software Launched: @Hiveword

Can Search Engine Optimization Help You Sell More Books? @TheCreativePenn

How to make your own book trailer: @BubbleCow

40 Synonyms for Praise:

Remember the agent-writer relationship is a business arrangement: @PassiveVoiceBlg

1 Author's Writing Path: @Storyfix

1 writer's scriptwriting process: #screenwriting

The Psychology of Attraction: The Intertwining of Sex and Aggression: @lkblackburne

Real Life Diagnostics: Does This Prologue Work? @Janice_Hardy

An exclusive on slush? 1 agent's response: @literaticat

The 10 Secrets to Making a Spellbinding Video Trailer for Your Next Blog, Book, or Product Launch: @problogger

When do you need an editor?

Best articles this week for writers: @4kidlit

Write with fire: @NovelEditor

Designing our scenes:

Try communal world-building: @galleycat

When Does a Writer Become a Writer? @TheAtlantic

A Creative Space of Your Own: @KateArmsRoberts

Cozy mysteries--what they are, how they fit into crime fiction: @mkinberg

The 50 Greatest Moments in Comics:

Writers and traditional publishers:

Writers and traditional publishers:

The Low Cost of Books: @randysusanmeyer

Hiveword Is Here! An Interview with Creator Mike Fleming: @Hiveword

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Striking a Balance in a Cozy Mystery

confessionsIf you’re a traditional/cozy writer or reader, I hope you’ll join me over at Margot Kinberg’s Confessions of a Mystery Novelist.  I’m posting some ideas on striking a balance between the needs of cozy mysteries and the elements of crime fiction.  Thanks!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

mlk blog1Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends!  I’m thankful for all of you!

If you’re looking for something to read, I’m over at the Writers Read blog, talking about one of the last books I read (and I think you’ll enjoy it…as long as you don’t mind being scared!)

I’ll be at Confessions of a Mystery Novelist on Friday after 3:00 p.m. ET. 


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Local Promo

First of all, I want to thank Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi at The Bookshelf Muse for giving me the opportunity to give away one of their insightful 1000 word critiques (and for honoring me as a writing hero!) The randomly-chosen winner of the critique is Rosalyn! Thanks to everyone who entered. :)

Local promotion is an aspect of marketing that I usualmatthews, ncly neglect.

I doubt I’m the only one, either. I’ve talked to plenty of writers who don’t enjoy book signings, giving book talks, or doing interviews. And it’s true that doing local promo means that you’re deliberately drawing attention to yourself among people you know.

I feel the same way. But I’ve also found that when I do local promo, it leads to a spike in sales.

Recently I spoke to a local service organization. Actually, it wasn’t even originally my idea—my North Carolina writer friend Diane Wolfe had needed to cancel and suggested that I fill in.

The talk went really well. It was a great group of people, I had a nice time. I thanked them for letting me come, left, and didn’t think anymore about it.

Until a week later. I was at a church class and one of the ladies there made an announcement before the class started. “I know something about Elizabeth.”

Of course, I knew what she had to mean---there’s nothing else about me that’s particularly interesting. But I had no idea how she knew.

Sure enough, her husband had been in attendance at my talk. And the organization had also sent out an email newsletter about my visit, with a bio and my books mentioned.

And you know, everyone in the class seemed really interested. They even jotted down my pen name and some book titles. They, of course, asked why I’d never mentioned it before (I’ve been in the class a couple of years, at least).

But writing is frequently something that doesn’t come up in conversation. Which is a good reason why we should keep doing these kinds of events.

We should also interview or suggest stories to our local paper—and the more local the paper is, the better. Does your town have one of those free, weekly newspapers? Target them, for sure. I’ve found they’ve got a great readership. Who knew?

Don’t forget your alumni magazine, either. I’m not one to talk, because I did forget it, but a professor at my college somehow made the connection between me and the school and put an article in the magazine. Soon I had old college friends emailing me that they’d bought some of my books. And the college asked me to talk to the English classes there in March.

I’m writing this post as a reminder to me, too—do local promo. Even if it makes me uncomfortable.

Do you do signings, lectures, or interviews locally? How has that worked for you?

Hope my American friends have a Happy Thanksgiving tomorrow! And just a note that I’ll be a Margot Kinberg’s blog, Confessions of a Mystery Novelist, on Friday, talking about cozy mysteries.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Spacing Books

melodi2 4.25pmI recently found out that I’ll be writing a fourth Memphis Barbeque book. Good news! I'm really excited about spending more time with Lulu.

The tricky part was figuring out when I can deliver the manuscript to Penguin.

I’ve got the second book for the Southern Quilting series due in May (book one, Quilt or Innocence debuts in June 2012).

I also have a project I was working on independently. Let’s just say that that’s the one that’s now been put off until probably late summer of next year.

I’ve found that I can comfortably write three books a year. That’s just without me completely freaking out about deadlines and promo.

I was a little nervous about setting a deadline for the Memphis book that was too close to the Quilting series book. Although in that amount of time, I should be able to write a couple of books, sometimes life (holidays, kids, boring-but-essential stuff) knocks me a little off-track.

My editor for the Memphis series brought up a very good point to my agent—production time. Production time is really what’s trouble in publishing. There’s marketing and covers and catalogs and it all takes time. Usually, it takes about a year.

So I just had a release November 1, which was the third book in the Memphis Barbeque series. If I turned the book over to Penguin in, let’s say, October 2012 (which would be a piece of cake for me to make) …it would be another year for the book to launch. An October 2013 release…and the last book came out November 2011. Nearly two years between books. No. Not a good idea.

Obviously, keeping that in mind, I bumped up the time that I agreed to deliver it by. And I’m hoping that I can hand it in earlier than I'm contracted for because I immediately got what seemed like a really solid idea for the book and several different angles to work the mystery. In fact, I started making some real progress on it and had to stop and switch back to the other book (which is due first.)

On the reader end of things, lag time between books can be frustrating. My son was fussing about one of his favorite authors who is writing two series at once and how long it was between his releases. “Can’t he write faster?” he complained.

It made me wince. I explained to him that an author can write really quickly and still have a long period of time between books, especially if he had more than one series. There’s such a thing as quality control, too.

But then my mother pointed out that I just released a Myrtle Clover book, myself…the first one since 2009. That was a two-year gap, too. Sales have been brisk for Progressive Dinner Deadly, but—I believe most of the readers are new to the series. In fact, I’ve noticed a decided uptick in the sales for the 2009 Pretty is as Pretty Dies as a result.

I think I’ve come to the conclusion that you might sacrifice some of your old readers if you have too much space between books…although, with the right promotion, you may pick up new readers willing to read the books out of order.

With that in mind, I think it must be very important to write books as stand-alones if you’re going to have long spaces between them. The spacing with the next Memphis book won't be that long, but I'm still planning to make sure no one gets completely lost when they read it.

How far apart do you space your books? As a reader, when do you start looking for a new release in a favorite series?

Please remember I'm giving away a 1000-word critique from The Bookshelf Muse. Just send an email to me at elizabethspanncraig (at)gmail (dot) com with “contest” in the subject to enter. Entries accepted through November 21. The randomly-chosen winner will be announced here November 22. Thanks, Angela and Becca!}

Sunday, November 20, 2011


by @elizabethscraig


Below are the writing-related links I tweeted last week. The Writer’s Knowledge Base search engine, designed by software engineer and writer Mike Fleming, makes all these links (now over 12,000) searchable. Sign up for the free monthly WKB newsletter for the web's best links and interviews: .

A Storytelling Life: @canteenmag

There are no guarantees in writing. Be confident anyway: @HopeClark

An agent on authors and book piracy: @RachelleGardner

On avoiding stereotypes in our writing:

Tying the pieces of a chapter together: @JulietteWade

The Benefit of Selling at Craft Fairs:

6 Meta Tips for Book Marketing Success: @JFBookman

20 Synonyms for "Expert":

Ideas For Authors Stuck on Superhero Names:

1 writer's favorite opening lines in SF and Fantasy: @amsmibert

Brontëmania: Why the three sisters are bigger than ever: (The Independent)

Weekly roundup of links for historical writers by @2nerdyhistgirls:

Freelancer's Survival Guide--Giving up on Yourself:

Concise Internet Marketing Basics for Authors: @ianirvineauthor

New entry on the character trait thesaurus: independent: @AngelaAckerman

Go Farther, Faster, By Limiting Your View To Three Steps Ahead:

95% of All Authors Will Never Indie Publish: @DeanWesleySmith

How Do You Know Which Rules to Break? @KMWeiland

Why you should submit your best blog posts as guest posts: @problogger

The Elevator Pitch: A Guide for an Internet without Elevators: @GoodInkInc

11 NaNoWriMo Books That Have Been Published:

5 Ways To Self-Publish Your Way To Your Own "Cottage Industry": @bradvertrees

Making our fiction more authentic: @Janice_Hardy

5 tips for writing what you don't know: @stephbowe

Freelancers: 5 Mistakes to Avoid When Writing Job Queries: @freelancewj

An editor states that too many modern novels are assembled for a market: @guardian

The Business of Screenwriting: Weather vanes: @GoIntoTheStory

NaNoWriMo: Resistance:

Losing Control of Your Books: @PassiveVoiceBlg

Treating the Pain of Rejection: @AshKrafton

D-I-Y Publishing—New Tricks for an Old Dog: @LawrenceBlock for @AnneRAllen

Why confidence is so important for writers:

A checklist for deep POV (in 1st or 3rd person): @JulietteWade

A synopsis critique: @nicolamorgan

An Agent on Query Personalization: @Kid_Lit

3 tools for curation: @JaneFriedman

How To Get Published In A Magazine: @mrsionsmith for @BubbleCow

The Value of Professional Copyediting: @magicalwords

Writing Fantasy Gender Stereotypes: Writing the Opposite Gender: @FantasyFaction

Comparing E-Readers And E-Reader/Tablets: Kindles, Nooks, Sony, Kobo: @sdkstl

3 Good Things About Writing Part-Time: @BookEmDonna

The Art of Staying Sane:

Confessions of a NaNo Newbie: @RC_Lewis

A cheat sheet for writers: @peter_halasz @litdrift

Why Developers Are Interested in Kindle Fire and What It Could Mean for Publishers: @JDGreenGrass

10 Famous Literary Characters and Their Real-Life Inspirations (The Atlantic): @flavorpill

A writer rails against a dialogue rule:

3 Vital Steps to Creating Your Protagonist for NaNoWriMo: @VictoriaMixon

Goal Setting For You And Your Characters: @plotwhisperer for @thecreativepenn

What you have to (un)learn to be a writer: @jammer0501

The importance of adjustable writing goals: @DeeScribe

Best 11 Free Online ePub Converters: @FreeNuts

Cover Trends in YA Fiction: Why the Obsession with an Elegant Death? @syntactics

Risky Business: Forces of Nature, Acts of God, and Other Reasons a Book Can Flop: @syntactics

An agent on confusing agent behavior: @RachelleGardner

A reminder to look at cliches in our writing: @GalleyCat

Self-Publishing Strategies in 18 Slides: @JFBookman

Whether to Use "Whether" or "If":

More on Criticism, Confusion and NaNoWriMo Nausea: @storyfix

Searching for the formula to deliver illustrated books as ebooks: @MikeShatzkin

Write the Right Dialogue And Dialect Into Your Women's Fiction: @AmySueNathan

Why readers may hate indie writers: @HickeyWriter

Build or Boost Your Author Platform by Reviewing: @JanetBoyer

Tips for good author blogs and things to avoid: @SharlaWrites

5 Steps for Completing Character Arcs: @keligwyn

Dual monitors-- writing in a parallel universe: @junglereds

20 tips for approaching agents and editors: @nicolamorgan

Using public domain characters in our writing: @fuelyourwriting

Writing Lessons from a Mannequin: Building Character: @catewoods for @WriteAngleBlog

SEO Tips for Your Author Website or Blog: @CuriosityQuills

Signalling Viewpoints (using archaeology & artifacts to design stories): @GeneLempp

Teacher/Writer Interface: @lesliesullirose

Facing Your Fears as a Writer: @danyelleleafty for @QueryTracker

5 Tips for Creating Shareable Blog Content: @smexaminer

Contracts on Fire: Amazon's Lending Library Mess: @PassiveVoiceBlg

5 Things to Know about Publicity Before You're Published: @booksparkspr

Does age matter for writers? @RachelleGardner

Questions that readers ask writers:

Thanks @PassiveVoiceBlg: Writer's Knowledge Base – A Great Resource for Authors:

"Writing away madly, he made this fatal little mistake." : @Storyfix

NaNoWriMo Tip #16: Consult a Plot Doctor: @galleycat

The Undercover Soundtrack – Nick Green: @DirtyWhiteCandy

17 things 1 writer has learned: @artzicarol

The climax of a book is the whole point: @VictoriaMixon for @JamiGold

Making your characters fall in love on the page--avoiding "instabond": @FantasyFaction

Should you translate your ebooks? @rule17

Editing Your Manuscript... After Feedback:

Nanowrimo: The Good & The Bad: @magicalwords

Building a Global Business by Trusting in Translators: @Readuxreads for @PubPerspectives

Why Social Networks are Important for Writers: @Sarafurlong

Helpful tips for interviews: @BevVincent

Why Every Story Needs a Zombie: @JodyHedlund

9 Pieces of Bad Writing Advice it's Best to Ignore: @AnneRAllen

How to Give Meaning to Every Word You Write: @writeitsideways

3 Book Marketing Mantras: @FriesenPress

Your Inner Bad Guy: @JulieWuAuthor for @BTMargins

Research for writers--try getting help from experts: @swan_tower

An explanation of deep POV: @NovelEditor

Become an Expert – Write an eBook:

10 Tips For Writing Better Dialogue: @BryanThomasS

Kindle Fire reviews, Klout doubt, publishing debates--@Porter_Anderson examines industry news/views for @JaneFriedman:

NaNoWriMo Tip: Fix your computer screen color to reduce eye strain: @GalleyCat

How to speak publisher - D is for Delivery: @annerooney

4 crucial steps for hosting a successful write-in: @curtrice

An agent on holiday gifts for agents: @literaticat

An editor's response to a query meant to wow her: @behlerpublish

The publishing type: @JordynRedwood

A list of "-some" adjectives:

30 Writing Ideas for Writing Moms:

Conflicts Aren't all About the Punches: @Janice_Hardy

7 Simple Ways Writers Can Pay It Forward: @simplywriting

7 truths about writers, rarely discussed: by Ann Beattie for @newyorker

Publishers adding value on the marketing side: @MikeShatzkin

8 Ways Freelancers Can Show Gratitude: @urbanmusewriter

How traditional publishers are making money:

Writing in waiting time for an investigation--crime fiction: @mkinberg

Do Indie Writers Need Editors? @camillelaguire

A translation issue in some crime fiction novels: @mkinberg

Examples of behind the scenes sleuthing in crime fiction: @mkinberg

An agent's thoughts on the controversial no response= a no: @greyhausagency

Taking your novel from good to great: @KristenLambTX

Best articles this week for writers--11/18-11: @4kidlit

Marketing for the broke author: @FantastyFaction

Dropbox: A Primer for Writers: @inkpunks

Why Writing Category Romance Is A Huge Gamble: @greyhausagency

10 things 1 writer dislikes about your blog: @thestorysiren

What makes for a good book? @LyndaRYoung

Character Beauty in Imperfection: @Ava_Jae

3 Secrets to Not Getting Discouraged as a Blogger: @jeffgoins

A night of rejection, New York style: @dmcsween

Confessions of a Guy Who Likes Twilight: @write_practice

Join the Typewriter Brigade: @GalleyCat

Paragraph the end: @TheresaStevens

8 Counter-Intuitive Ways to Improve Your Well-Being & Creativity: @the99percent

25 reasons readers will keep reading your story--by the brilliant/profane @ChuckWendig:

Fathoming Amazon: 9 Things You Need to Know: @ebooknewser

An agent talks craft, social media, & branding: @LauraPauling

Promo--tips for finding readers by thinking outside the box: @LAGilman

Twitter---1 size doesn't fit all: @JaneFriedman

11 Famous Writers Who Were Rejected Before Making It Big: @BubbleCow

A Writer's-Conference Experience from a Presenter's POV: @RayRhamey

Aligning characters ambiguously (remember The Princess Bride?): @JulietteWade

Real Life Diagnostics: Writing for Younger Readers: @Janice_Hardy

Revamping a previously-published series: @sharonhinck

The power of freewriting: @annegreenawalt

Writing power-ups: @CherylRwrites

Stop apologizing for your art: @JeffGoins

Principles of Plain English:

Should authors comment on book blogger reviews? A discussion in the comments: @Enna_Isilee

1 writer takes a lifetime, plus a week to write a novel:

Kindle Touch vs. Nook Simple Touch: @PassiveVoiceBlg

Voices: the moment 1 writer realized she was a writer:

Writer Beware Alert: Light Sword Publishing, a.k.a. LSP Digital, Returns: @VictoriaStrauss

Fear of revision: @JulieWuAuthor for @BTMargins

The Personal Story Arc: @StoryFix

10 Things To Help You Bust Through Writer's Block:

6 Elements of Digital Marketing Success for Authors: @FauzisBurke @AuthorCAWilson

A Writer's Guide to Developing an Online Voice: @SeanPlatt

10 Things You Should Never Include in a Crime Novel: @JeanHenryMead

3 Things You Can Leave Out of Your Query, and 3 Things You Should Include: @lydia_sharp

Including hooks in our story:

Famous Authors' Harshest Rejection Letters: @TheRealRomy for @TheAtlantic

Please remember I'm giving away a 1000-word critique from The Bookshelf Muse. Just send an email to me at elizabethspanncraig (at)gmail (dot) com with “contest” in the subject to enter. Entries accepted through November 21. The randomly-chosen winner will be announced here November 22. Thanks, Angela and Becca!}

Thursday, November 17, 2011

9 Pieces of Bad Writing Advice it’s Best to Ignore--Anne R. Allen

by Anne R. Allen, @AnneRAllen

Hope you’ll join me in welcoming Anne R. Allen to the blog today. Anne’s blog is a great resource for writers…check it out. This week she has a guest post from Lawrence Block.

ARA pub photoFinding a beta reader or critique group is essential to any writer’s development. We can’t write in a vacuum. Nobody ever learned to be a good writer holed up in an attic with no one to review his work but the cat. (Cats can be so cruel.) But it’s good to be aware that not all the advice you’ll hear will be useful. As Victoria Strauss said in her must-read Writer Beware blog “never forget that people who know nothing are as eager to opine as people who know something.” Even worse than know-nothings are the know-somethings who turn every bit of advice they’ve ever heard into a “rule” as ironclad and immutable as an algebraic formula. Follow their advice and your book will read like an algebraic formula, too. Here are a few critique “rules” I find more annoying than useful. 1) Eliminate all clichés Unless your characters are wildly inventive poets, space aliens, or children fostered by wolves, their dialogue and thoughts will include familiar expressions. Don’t rob your Scarlett O’Hara of her "fiddle dee-dees" or deprive your Bogart of "doesn’t amount to a hill of beans." 2) More! Make it vivid! Would we really improve Casablanca with "a hill of Moroccan garbanzos, yellow-pale and round, of the kind the English call chick-peas"? 3) Avoid repetition Not necessarily. Beware what H.W. Fowler called "elegant variation". OK: "It was a good bull, a strong bull, a bull bred to fight to the death." NOT: "It was a good bull, a strong animal, a male creature of the bovine persuasion bred to do battle..." 4) Eradicate the verb "to be," especially in the past tense: “was” is the enemy. Yes, it’s generally wise to avoid the passive voice, which uses "was" in the past tense: "The cat was laundered by me," is passive and sounds lame. "I laundered the cat," is active and stronger. But sometimes the passive voice makes the clearest statement: "The cat was abused." Real problems arise when amateurs confuse passive voice with the progressive tense, which also uses "to be" (with the present participle.)

"I was just sitting there when the cat owner punched me," means something different from "I just sat there when the cat owner punched me." Eliminating "was" changes meaning instead of "strengthening." 5) Put your protagonist’s thoughts in italics. No. Don’t. Unless your editor specifically asks for this, avoid it. Italics are harder to read. When you write in the third-person-limited viewpoint, it’s read like first person: no italics or "he thought/she thought" necessary. "I walked away from the 'In Crowd’. They were just a bunch of ill-bred alley cats," can be changed to third person with just a switch of pronoun/noun: "Pufferball walked away from the 'In Crowd’. They were just a bunch of ill-bred alley cats." See? Just the same. 6) Characters must behave predictably Don’t let anyone tell you a character "wouldn’t" behave in a certain way. Only the writer knows if this particular truck driver would read Proust; this bride would run off with the florist’s mother; or that Maine Coon cat would pee on your Christian Louboutins. 7) Describe characters' physical appearance in detail. When your English teacher told you to beef up that "What I Did on My Summer Vacation" essay with long, colorful descriptions of your new kitty, she was looking for a complete page, not preparing you for publication. Brevity is now and ever shall be the soul of wit. The only thing Jane Austen told us about Elizabeth Bennett’s appearance was that she had "fine eyes." Let your reader's imagination do the work. 8) Protagonists must be admirable Saints are boring in fiction, unless they liberate France and get burned at the stake, and that’s been done. 9) If we don’t point out everything wrong, we’re not doing our job Newbies make a lot of mistakes. (You did too, remember?) But if you list them all at once, they won’t hear what you’re saying. They’ll hear a personal attack. When a person feels attacked, the brain shuts down.

A critiquer should tell you what’s right with a work as well as what’s wrong. When I was directing actors, I discovered the “sandwich” method is the most effective way to help someone improve: praise/criticism/praise.

All-praise-all-the time does nothing to help a writer’s work, of course, but neither does rigid thinking, power tripping, or misinformation.

My new mystery novel GHOSTWRITERS IN THE SKY was sparked by a particularly snarky and unhelpful critique workshop I witnessed at a writers conference many years ago. GHOSTWRITERS is set at a Z-list writers’ conference in the wine-and-cattle country north of Santa Barbara CA. where a young writer appears to have committed suicide after a savage critique.

I couldn’t help the young man who was humiliated in that long-ago workshop, and I’m not sure I ever knew his name (I hope he’s a bestseller now!) But I wrote the novel partly for him—and every other fledgling writer who has been the victim of a nasty, misinformed critique.

Ghostwriters in the Sky finalAnne R. Allen is the author of five romantic-comedy/mysteries debuting this fall with two publishers, Popcorn Press and Mark Williams international Digital Publishing: FOOD OF LOVE, THE GATSBY GAME, GHOSTWRITERS IN THE SKY, THE BEST REVENGE and SHERWOOD, LTD.

GHOSTWRITERS IN THE SKY is available in ebook from at and and will debut in January in paper. You can read more about Anne’s “chick lit noir” mysteries on Anne R. Allen’s Blog or her author page at

{Note from Elizabeth--There's been such a great response to this post that I'm foregoing my Friday post today to let Anne's stand at top-post position until Sunday. Thanks to everyone who has come by, and please remember I'm giving away a 1000-word critique from The Bookshelf Muse. Just send an email to me at elizabethspanncraig (at)gmail (dot) com with “contest” in the subject to enter. Entries accepted through November 21. The randomly-chosen winner will be announced here November 22. Thanks, Angela and Becca!}

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Talking to Readers

by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig

Micro_hLately, I’ve been interacting with readers quite a bit. This, honestly, is pretty rare for me. I usually speak to writers twice as often as to readers.

Speaking to writers is easy. I talk about promo or the writing craft, or something specific about writing mysteries.

But I’m frequently uneasy when I’m speaking to readers. I’m more worried about being boring. And I’m more aware that I’m supposed to be promoting the books that are on the table against the back wall.

I also find that I need to really brush-up on my books before I do the talks. The readers have usually read my books more recently than I have.

Lately, I’ve done a lot of reader-targeted programs. I spoke to a group of mystery readers, spoke to a local service organization, and participated in a chat with mystery readers online. In addition, I’ve been on several book blogs.

I actually put a good deal of time into preparing for these events. What I was most interested in finding out was, what do readers want authors to talk about? What’s interesting to them?

So here’s a roundup of the questions I got from readers, in case it helps you prepare for a talk or online chat: What made you choose to write your genre? How did you come up with your protagonist? What kinds of books do you like to read now? What kinds of books did you like to read as a child? Is your protagonist based on someone? Where is your book set? Have you lived in the place where your book is set? What made you decide to write a book about ______? Who is your favorite character? Who is the victim in your new book? What are you working on now? What is your writing day like? How fast do you write? Do you write more than one series? Why do you write under a pen name? What other writers inspire you? Do you know ______? (names a writer) When did you decide to become a writer? Do you have an English degree? Do your books have recipes? Who helps you with your recipes? Are your books available on Nook? Kindle? Where can I find your books? Are your books at the library? What’s your last release about? Do you put people you know in your books? Can I be in your book? Did you have to do a lot of research to write your books? Are you on Facebook? Are there other kinds of books that you’d like to write? Have you thought about putting your protagonist into (names a scenario?) How many more books will be in this series? Hope this helps a little. Want to add to it? If you speak to readers, what questions are you usually asked? As a reader, what would be interesting to you?

Through the generosity of Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi at The Bookshelf Muse, I’m giving away one of their insightful 1000 word critiques. Just send an email to me at elizabethspanncraig (at)gmail (dot) com with “contest” in the subject to enter. Entries accepted through November 21. The randomly-chosen winner will be announced here November 22. Thanks, Angela and Becca!

And—Anne R. Allen will be here tomorrow, with a post entitled: 9 Pieces of Bad Writing Advice it's Best to Ignore. Hope you’ll come by!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Why Confidence is So Important for Writers

by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         Confidence is incredibly important for writing, but it’s hard to come by.

There have been plenty of times when I’ve wanted to just throw a manuscript in the trashcan when I had a crisis of confidence in it—or in my ability to tell the story. One of the last times was for the book that launched November 1. I got 1/3 of the way through it and seriously considered starting over with a new concept.

There are so many times when we rely on confidence in this business. We have to:

Believe in ourselves enough to finish the draft. Believe enough to spend the time to edit the crappy draft we’ve finished.

Be self-confident enough to have the courage to reach out to others for feedback.

Believe enough in our writing to spend hours researching agents and publishers or, alternately, epublishing options, formatting, and cover design.

Believe enough in our story that we aren’t defensive about it if we get negative reviews.

Of course, there’s hubris too, and that’s not helpful. We’ve got to listen to folks who are trying to help us improve our manuscript or future manuscripts. But it’s also true that it’s important to listen to our gut and carefully weigh the advice we get from others.

It’s the confidence that gets us through the whole process. Or maybe…it’s stubbornness. I’m not sure. :)

How do you talk yourself off the ledge when you’re writing?

Through the generosity of Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi at The Bookshelf Muse, I’m giving away one of their insightful 1000 word critiques. Just send an email to me at elizabethspanncraig (at)gmail (dot) com with “contest” in the subject to enter. Entries accepted through November 21. The randomly-chosen winner will be announced here November 22. Thanks, Angela and Becca!

Sunday, November 13, 2011


by @elizabethscraig

Below are the writing-related links I tweeted last week. The Writer’s Knowledge Base search engine, designed by software engineer and writer Mike Fleming, makes all these links searchable. Sign up for the free monthly WKB newsletter for the web's best links and interviews: . Recent news: the 3rd book in the Memphis Barbeque series released November 1—Hickory Smoked Barbeque.

Ghostwriting: Does It Matter If You Don't Get The Credit? @shurleyhall

Why Bloggers Should Be Stalkable: @charissaweaks

5 Ways to Stay Motivated While Writing a Novel: @nathanbransford

Speaker Tips for Authors: @sparrowgrp for @Bookgal

50 Quick, Dirty, and Cheap Ways to Improve Your Social Media Presence: @smartwoman

11 Ways to Improve your Writing: @soulofaword

Correct use of commas: @FantasyFaction

Smashwords to Start Accepting More eBook Formats in 2012: @ebooknewser

10 SEO Optimizations That Make A Difference: @danny_cooper for @seanplatt

Chekhov's Gag Tropes for Brainstorming Humor:

Twitterific--my week in tweets:

1 indie author's October sales report and analysis: @DavidGaughran via @PassiveVoiceBlg

Getting the most from your Facebook fan page: @curiosityquills

How to Write a Cover Letter That Is Both Modest and Confident:

7 things to remember when writing for young adults:

How to Download Ebooks onto an Ereader from Project Gutenberg: @PassiveVoiceBlg

10 reasons why pursuing your creative work is actually highly productive: @justinemusk

Keys to self-pub success: @TweetTheBook

How to Query a Book Review Blogger: @AnneRAllen

Do Readers See Your Characters the Way You Want Them To? @KMWeiland

Tips for readings and signings: @marthawells1

Tips for book promo from @Janice_Hardy:

10 resources for educating yourself on contracts: @/BryanThomasS

Structure-Getting Primal & Staying Simple: @KristenLambTX

5 Mistakes Writers Make When It Comes to Virtual Book Tours:

6 Strategies To Help Get Your Family On Board With Your Passion: @OllinMorales

Barnes & Noble Introduces $249 Nook Tablet; Calls Kindle Fire 'Deficient' : @laurahazardowen

Writing memoirs – meeting the burden of marketability: @behlerpublish

10 Steps to Writing Mindfully for Your Blog: @SeanMMadden

HarperCollins to pay $200 mil for Thomas Nelson: @GalleyCat #publishing

The Art of Performance = Not Wasting Your Audience's Time: @kameronhurley

Why moving on to our next book is a good tactic:

Inspiration vs Perspiration in Writing: @FaeRowen

1 agent's concerns with NaNo: @greyhausagency

5 writers with great Twitter bios: @MarianSchembari

Download Seven Free Writing eBooks from @WritersDigest: @galleycat

The Challenges of Editing an Anthology: @Colin_Barnes

What 1 writer has learned about improving plot: @@Kathy_Crowley

Konrath releases his ebook v. print sales numbers: @jakonrath

Author Blogging 101: The Blogging Mindset: @JFBookman

YA writers--a reminder of the many 1sts that kids face: @CherylRWrites

Tips for Using a Plot Board to Plot:

An agent on Amazon Kindle Owners' Lending Library: @RachelleGardner

Why story beats character: @jammer0501

Create, Publish, Market, and Sell Your Own E-Book: @TheCreativePenn

How to hire the right website designer: @JaneFriedman

The Nook tablet's target audience: @laurahazardowen

Fantasy stories in a non-fantasy world: @DirtyWhiteCandy

Using Character to Fuel Momentum: @VictoriaMixon for @jan_ohara

How to gain perspective on your work: @writersdigest

A Pulitzer-winning biographer with 6 writing lessons: @michellerafter

Good Writing Habits & Motivation:

Authors can't skimp on cover design or editing: @novelpublicity

A Better Way Of Managing Your Author Website:

How to Recognize and Recover When You've Started Believing Your Own PR: @lizstrauss

8 rules for developing a good plot:

5 Ways to Take the Ickiness Out of Marketing Our Books: @JodyHedlund

1 writer explains how his focus and motivation: @RobertSharenow for @Janice_Hardy

Using The 12 Stages of Physical Intimacy To Build Tension In Your Novel: @JHansenWrites

Best self-publishing sites: @rule17

Tips for marketing your novel from @Janice_Hardy for @AngelaAckerman:

Using triggers in our writing: @authorterryo

Publishing in literary journals--an endangered rite of passage:

A Love Affair...With Index Cards: @JulieMusil

True "do-it-yourself" publishing success stories will probably become rare? @PassiveVoiceBlg

An agent with "Submissions 101": @BookEndsJessica

Be a More Confident Writer: 5 Choices That Might Be Hurting Instead of Helping: @AnnieNeugebauer

10 phrases freelancers hate to hear: @michellerafter

How movie money works: #screenwriting

10 Intensifiers You Should Really, Absolutely Avoid:

Attaining the impossible: @HP4Writers

Indie publishing is professional suicide? Authors respond: @PassiveVoiceBlg

Kobo Acquired by Japan's Rakuten for $315 Million: @GalleyCat #publishing

Tips for writing dialogue:

How To Succeed At Screenwriting… By Really Trying, Part 2: Watch Movies:

Thoughts on what pages authors should sign books:

Magic Bullet: The WISE Screenwriting Method: @scriptmag

8 Ways Writers Cause Trouble: @dollycas

The Creation of an Agent's TBR Pile: @SaraMegibow

10 tips for getting published: @nicolamorgan

1 writer's experiment with Facebook ads: @LizzyFord2010

Tips from a self-pub success story: @JFBookman

3 Essential Guidelines for NaNoWriMo: @VictoriaMixon

When to Modify Your Name Due to SEO Concerns: @JaneFriedman

7 More Fixes for Dangling Modifiers:

Ebook as artifact: @camillelaguire

Crime fiction writers: 1 way to write sleuths that readers identify with: @Mkinberg

Creepy houses in crime fiction: @mkinberg

Save The Bookstore Day: @NicholeBernier

Why indie authors need to produce professional products: @joebeernink via @p2p_editor

The Brit Writers Awards: Questions and Threats: @VictoriaStrauss

The Art of Receiving Criticism: @storyfix

Understanding Advances And Royalties: @HeatherMcCorkle

Social media--1 size doesn't fit all: @KristenLambTX

The Secret to Writing While Driving: @christi_craig

5 Things To Consider When Turning Real Life into Fiction: @ProcrastWriter

Thanks to @AngelaAckerman & @beccapuglisi for making me a hero! . Ck out their sidebar resource for writers.

How and why 1 writer changed his book's title: @AuthorGuy

Create Visibility Before Getting Published: @KarenCV for @spunkonastick

5 levels of slush pile manuscripts: @camillelaguire

5 Mistakes Virtual Book Tour Mistakes: @Working_Writer

Tips for organizing information: @CherylRWrites

How to Keep Writing When the Honeymoon is Over: @JodyHedlund

Indie pub drama, Amazon's library, book piracy, con-confusion. Great wrap-up by @Porter_Anderson for @JaneFriedman :

An agent on the stages of an edit: @BookEndsJessica

8 Press Kit Elements for Your Author Website: @sandrabeckwith for @FriesenPress

The trouble of calling ourselves writers: @writeitsideways

Keeping your writing interesting to keep yourself engaged: @originalimpulse for @fuelyourwriting

How to speak publisher - D is for Design: @annerooney

Great covers--tips from 4 design pros:

'Every Book is a Leap of Faith': Int'l Lit. Publishing: @pubperspectives #publishing

The different types of plotting writers: @C_Herringshaw

Author platform--it's not about you: @JFBookman

Book Bloggers: The New Publishing Gatekeepers: @jenniecoughlin

Faking It – acting like you know what you're doing: @behlerpublish

A Get Out of Jail Free Card for Some Authors: @PassiveVoiceBlg

What Makes a Story Feel Unrealistic? @JamiGold

Survey of Low Fantasy Subgenres: @FantasyFaction

When Characters Betray Other Characters: @janice_hardy

Tips for using a storyboard for revision: @joanswan

When, in your drafts, to add the details of your worldbuilding: @HP4Writers

Examples of description used in novel openings: @KarenMusings

How to feel miserable as a writer: @JamesScottBell

Writing Adult Vs. YA Titles, one author's experience: @LeannaRenee

Build a questions list to keep writing fresh:

Song structure and plot (what novelists can learn from songwriters): @JLeaLopez

Best articles for writers--11/11/11: @4KidLit

3 tips for giving readings:

10 Phrases to Purge From Your Speech & : @nancyragno for @JaneFriedman

15 Tips for Writing a Murder Mystery: @JHansenWrites

Write the beginning last: @elanaj

Indie v. traditional. Choose according to your project: @LAGilman

Character v. trait: @TheresaStevens

Myth-Busting About Uncertainty: @Later_Bloomer

Backstory: A Lesser Known Reason Not to Dump it Upfront: @jeanniecampbell

1 writer admits to not being totally present with her family: @tessgerritsen

15 Words for Household Rooms, and Their Synonyms:

How to Be a Better Parent AND a Better Writer: @write_practice

Why Would You Ever Want to Outsource Your Voice? @chrisbrogan

Juxtaposition of relationships: @RavenRequiem13

A free directory of #ebook pros--for covers, editing, formatting, & more:

Introducing Writer Beware's Small Presses Page: @VictoriaStrauss

Why 1 writer has been happy with his decision to self-pub: @DavidGaughran for @jakonrath

YouTube Video Marketing Tips for Authors: @curiosityquills

4 Ways to Fix a Stalled Story: @Janice_Hardy

Why an author's early works are usually most original:

Tips for writing book proposals:

An interesting interview with Stephen King: (NY Times): @errolmorris

10 point website checkup: @Bookgal for @KarenCV

Hook your reader from the start: @HowToWriteShop

Generating Story: Develop The 6 Core Parts, Start Anywhere: @authorjohnbrown

How The Kindle Fire Will Attack The iPad: Newsstand: @JonMwords

How to Write Fast and Well: @gatekeeperspost

5 Great Websites for Thriller Writers: @worddreams

The Art And Craft Of Story With @VictoriaMixon for @TheCreativePenn:

How to Style Compounds After the Noun:

3 Hidden Benefits of a Controversial Guest Post: @webtrafficcafe

5 Ways to Make More Time to Read: @robertbruce76 for @michaelhyatt

Writing for Middle Grades: Voice: @magicalwords

1 writer's lessons learned after 20,000 tweets: @JeffGoins

Treating characters as if they were real:

The subconscious shelf: (NY Times)

The Pleasures and Perils of Rereading: @RealLiveCritic

Speed bumps on the road to publication:

5 features to help you grow your ghostwriting business: & @KarenCV

How Independent Bookstores Sell E-Books: @laurahazardowen

Romance in fantasy: @FantasyFaction