Monday, April 30, 2012

Why One Traditionally-Published Author is Now Choosing Self-Publishing—by Jessica Park

by Jessica Park, @JessicaPark24

Flat-Out Love cover 2012 smallI am an unapologetic fan of self-publishing. Massive, foam finger-waving fan. But, for the record, I realize that it’s not for everyone. Big publishers have obvious distribution and marketing power that authors don’t have. They edit your books, provide covers, and more. Well, sometimes more.

But there are huge downsides: advances are minimal these days, royalty rates are crummy, and we wait a year or more after a book as been accepted to see that book go up for sale.

The money, let’s face it, is often completely crummy. Terrible. Pitifully small amounts dolled out over time and delivered alongside truly incomprehensible royalty statements. Did I try to sell FLAT-OUT LOVE to a publisher? Yep. For me, there was still something to be said for having a big publishing house stand behind your work, so I thought it was worth seeing what kind of offers I could get. I wanted that New York validation. I wanted to hear, “We want you.”

My agent loved this book and was confident that she could sell it. Editors loved this book, too. But what I heard over and over from publishers were two things: 1. The heroine is eighteen years old and categorically too old for a young adult book, and 2. (I’m not making this up.) There are no vampires. “Realistic fiction” has taken a dive in the market and nobody cares about real people.

Okay, I’m paraphrasing that second one, but that’s the gist of it. Look, I enjoy a good vampire story, too, but that doesn’t mean that… Oh, whatever. Then I had editors from adult divisions saying that, while there was so much to love about the book, and it really “resonated” with them, the heroine is too young for mainstream fiction, and they didn’t know what they could possibly do with my little book. (I had a few ideas about what they could do with the book, but I’ll keep those to myself.) This all seemed silly to me. Am I the only person to have written a book about a college freshman? It’s such a pivotal time in life. Why is this age so shunned in the publishing industry? Flat-Out Love is a unique story, but very often publishers don’t want unique. They don’t want to take on what they consider to be a “risk.” They want as close to a “guaranteed” bestseller as possible.

So I was annoyed. And really angry. I hate, absolutely HATE having to tout my own book, but the truth was that I knew I had written a very strong book, and I knew that it deserved to be published. The feedback I got from publishers about my book confirmed for me how totally out of touch they were with readers because I knew, absolutely knew, that there would be an audience for my story. Before I had heard back from more publishers (a girl can only take “I’m head-over-heels for this book but we won’t buy it” so many times), I decided to self-publish. The rejections I’d amassed from pubs were, in almost every way, an enormous relief. I’d felt an obligation, almost, to try for a big New York deal. That was dumb. It was solely an ego thing. I realized that I’d been dreading getting into a relationship with a publisher, and I cared about this book too much to give it away for a next-to-nothing advance and then be forced to wait however long to get it on shelves, where it would then likely be hideously overpriced. I love my agent, and it was a little tough to tell her what I was doing, but I knew that I had to make a business decision. As much as I love her, I couldn’t leave the book with her just because she’s such an awesome person. That would’ve been crazy.

Self-publishing gives you massive control over your own work, which I find incredibly appealing. I get to choose my price and cover, and I can make changes to those and to the text at any point. I’m in charge of everything. I get paid monthly, whereas large publishers pay you (theoretically) every six months, and only after you’ve earned out your advance.

The book has been out for a year now, and I’ve sold over 75,000 copies. I have made more money on this book than I made writing five books for a large publishing house. A lot more. I obviously can’t guarantee these numbers for every self-published book, but even if you sell a fraction of this, you can still earn good money. I’ve put up one other full-length novel, RELATIVELY FAMOUS, and three e-shorts, and I have zero regrets. Like anything, self-publishing is a learning process, but once you get the hang of it, it’s plenty of fun.

The three most important things to focus on if you go this route are: 1. Get a strong cover. If your book isn’t selling, change it. And then change it again if you want. 2) Price your book smartly. I wouldn’t do anything over $3.99—maybe, maybe $4.99--for an ebook. 3) Pay for a good editor. Or more than one good editor. Don’t put up a totally sloppy book. Even professionally copyedited books have errors, and we’ve all read books published by a huge house that have mistakes. It happens. But you run a much greater risk of errors trying to proofread your own work. I cannot tell you how many times I have read my own book and missed blatant mistakes. You need to get as many people as possible to read you work, including non-professionals (who are great at catching missing words!), because it’s impossible to see typos and such in your own work. I’m sure I still have some. But it’s not a frightful mess. You’ll be doing your own marketing. Frankly, you’d be doing this anyway (unless, that is, you’re already such a huge success that you can just sit back and watch your sales numbers skyrocket). Bloggers are the powerhouse of reviews these days. I thought that writers were a generous bunch, but even that incredible group is getting a run for their money because book bloggers routinely offer to do whatever they can to promote your book. It’s really amazing. As the population as a whole is learning so much about the book industry (note: See six million articles about Amanda Hocking and Barry Eisler), bloggers and readers are becoming much more open to reviewing and buying self-published ebooks. More often than not, if you ask, bloggers will help and readers will buy.

The market for self-published books is growing, and more and more readers are finding that self-published books are not junk books that were haphazardly uploaded because they weren’t good enough to be traditionally published. Talented, skilled authors are choosing this route and intentionally bypassing the exhausting, often miserable, experience of working for a publisher.

Do I have plans to seek out a New York publisher again? No. Of course, after everything I’ve posted online about them, I can’t imagine that they’d want me anyway. That’s fine. I like working for myself. I have no deadlines, no one to answer to, no nodding and smiling at tragic covers, no wincing when my ebook is priced at $9.99…. None of that.

I am free, I am empowered.

There are some truly wonderful, talented, supportive people who work in publishing. Some authors have great experiences with houses. I can’t, offhand, think of any (Kidding! Kidding! Sort of….) but I’m sure there are some. What I unfortunately hear most often are the ways in which authors are struggling with their publishers, and I have friends who have nearly stopped writing because of what they’ve suffered at the hands of publishers. This is not an exaggeration; it is a painful reality for many authors.

When you sell your book to a publisher, that book is gone. These days, you are unlikely to ever get the rights back, and you will have no control over what they do with it. You may be okay with that, and you may prefer to have someone else in charge of your book. Now that I know what self-publishing can do for me, I’m not vaguely okay with that. I’m happy… ecstatic, actually… to be in such creative control of my work.

I’m writing another novel now, and I realized the other day that had I been contracted for a few books through a publisher, I could not write the story that I’m working on now. This book has stronger language and sexual content that puts it into a different category from Flat-Out Love. I know my readers, I know my audience, I know my market. I know what’s selling. I have a story that I want to tell, and I do not want to be controlled by the constraints of a publisher who in all likelihood would never allow me to stray this far from Flat-Out Love. I’m also working with a small app group and we are building an incredibly innovative enhanced edition of the book that will be loaded with multimedia and interactive and immersive elements. I also couldn’t have done that if I’d been contracted to a publisher.

It’s my book, it’s all mine. And I love that.

Jessica Park, AuthorJessica Park is the author of the young adult novel RELATIVELY FAMOUS, five Gourmet Girl mysteries (written as Jessica Conant-Park) , FLAT-OUT LOVE, and the e-shorts FACEBOOKING RICK SPRINGFIELD and WHAT THE KID SAYS (Parts 1 & 2).

Sunday, April 29, 2012


by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig

Twitter3Twitterific is a compilation of all the writing links I shared the previous week.

The links are fed into the Writer’s Knowledge Base search engine (developed by writer and software engineer Mike Fleming) which has over 15,000 free articles on writing-related topics. Sign up for our free newsletter for monthly writing tips and interviews with top contributors to the WKB or like us on Facebook.

Crazy_Cozy_Blogfest_v1-2_400pxDon't' forget the new release blogfest that Hart Johnson and I are hosting on June 5th—find more information and sign up here. The best entries get signed copies of our new releases. Have a great week!

Tips for writing about mental illness in your novel: @fantasyfaction

1 writer's process for final edits: @byrozmorris

3 important questions to ask your characters: @livewritethrive

Writing vs. marketing: Those 10,000 hours: @Porter_Anderson

Tips for writing better fiction: @mooderino

6 reasons writers still want publishers: @rachellegardner

Tips for writing a synopsis: @nicolamorgan

The Importance of Persistence: @thecreativepenn

Most Frequently Challenged Library Books of 2011: @galleycat

Study Shows that More People are Reading:

A look at common suffixes: @writing_tips

The 10 Bestselling Fiction Authors of All Time: @PassiveVoiceBlg

A Strong Take Off? Opening Pages That Hook: @janice_hardy

The basics of POV: @VirginiaKantra

Sonnet writing tips: @AnnieNeugebauer

Dial DRM for endless debate: @Porter_Anderson @doctorow @glecharles

Blog tours--tips for finding and querying hosts: @NickThacker

5 Tips For Writers on Planning Their Con Season: @BryanThomasS

When the Dream of Being Published Doesn't Materialize: @livewritethrive

3 Things to Know About Exposition & Telling: @victoriamixon

10 ways to spark creative connections: @cherylrwrites

When to Mail Short Fiction To Traditional Publishers: @deanwesleysmith

Groundbreaking Tools for Creating eBooks: @janefriedman

Being Subtle With Subtext: @StinaLL

5 ways to pace your story: @KMWeiland

Pushing our manuscript to the next level--1 writer's process: @aswinn

How Committed Are You, Really?

Shape Up Flabby Writing with Stronger Words: @2KoP

5 Ways to Enhance Your Facebook Timeline Page With Images: @smexaminer

Questions to ask yourself when reading your book's 1st 5 pages: @4kidlit

Characters Must Grow: @AdriennedeWolfe

Crime fiction--when to produce the body: @mkinberg

How To Dish Out Backstory In Digestible Bites: @roniloren

How to Get More Blog Traffic from Pinterest: @catseyewriter

The Importance of Persistence: @thecreativepenn

Jodi Picoult and the Myth of the Segregated Marketplace: @DavidGaughran

The Writing Life: Fear, Want, Dissatisfaction, Defiance: @DavidBCoe

Portraying a multiple individual: @JulietteWade

2 kinds of new agents: @behlerpublish

The wordplay and music of poetry: @diymfa

Avoid Overactive or Inactive Characters & Subplots: @writersdigest

Self-Publishing and Paperbacks — Is Print Still Worth It? @goblinwriter

10 Ways to Spark Creative Connections: @cherylrwrites

Ways to amplify your writer's voice:

Are Self-Published Authors Happier Than Traditionally Published Authors? @thecreativepenn

The 3 top monster stories and what keeps them popular in the 21st century: @tordotcom

Book Design: Choosing Your Paragraphing Style: @jfbookman

Daring to be an original--voice: @kristenlambTX

What to Do When You Offend or Disappoint a Reader: @jodyhedlund

Better Bend Than Break: On Staying Flexible: @DelilahSDawson @janice_hardy

5 Ways to Fix a Boring Bio: @KeithCronin

The artistic product: @Ravenrequiem13

The Secret to Your Next Creative Breakthrough: @jeffgoins

5 rules 1 writer lives by: @mooderino

How Amazon is redefining the book market: @InsideRetailau

The Atlantic's List of Greatest Girl Characters in Literature: Really? @tordotcom @mari_ness

An agent discusses the learning experience of being an intern: @bookendsjessica

Writing lessons learned from "Shatter Me": @juliemusil @TaherehMafi

How Authors Should Use Tumblr, A 5-Step Guide: @galleycat @RachelFersh

Listing and Quoting on GoodReads: @blurbisaverb

Does your story have something new under the hood? @behlerpublish

Worldbuilding--manners: @JulietteWade

Tips for pacing your novel: @Mommy_Authors

Retail DRM Is an Apple. Library DRM Is an Orange. @ShiftTheDigital

Why you should have comments, even when they're bad: @mathewi

Finding People to Read, Review and Recommend Your Book: @JFBookman

6 reasons authors self-publish: @rachellegardner

Dual duties of chapter endings: @noveleditor

5 Words Caught in Semantic Drift: @writing_tips

True Fans and Indie Publishing: @jenniecoughlin

Sorting Out the Mess of a Chaotic Book Draft: @originalimpulse

The Rejection Generator – Pay Your Dues Fast: @PassiveVoiceBlg

Post-Publication Depression? The Months after a Book Release: @womenwriters @authormonica

Are eBooks Really Good For The Environment? @ebooknewser

When Literary Opposites Attract: @NewDorkReview

25 reasons 1 writer might hate your main character: @ChuckWendig

Lee Child: Legendary Late Bloomer: @DebraEve

10 Lies You Might Tell Yourself While Editing: @elspethwrites

Publicity or spam? @nicolamorgan

Freelance Success Is About Process, Not Personality: @JaneFriedman @wellfedwriter

The process of agents submitting manuscripts: @SaraMegibow

Dualing with words--action & dialogue: @kaath09

10 ways to spark creative connections: @cherylrwrites

Tips for writing & receiving testimonials: @beth_barany

The Art of Collaboration in Writing: @mistymassey

Conferences--Where The Editors and Agents Are: @jhansenwrites

Start with Failure: The Advice No Aspiring Writer Ever Wants to Hear: @HilaryGraham @4kidlit

What 1 SF writer learned from watching Star Trek: @piperbayard @NicoleBasaraba

Unusual historical settings as story inspiration--Isle of Dystopia: @GeneLempp

Research--why you should start at the library: @EV_Mag

Plotting is Like a Jigsaw Puzzle: @fictionnotes

Creative Writing vs Professional Writing: @greyhausagency

Exploding Myths & Destroying Minds: @davidgaughran

Biographical Information in a Query: @Kid_Lit

Top 1,000 Best Romance Novels:

Writing is an illusion: @megmims @Ravenrequiem13

Are eBook Authors Unwittingly Losing Sales?

Some reactions to Tor's DRM-free announcement: @robotech_master

3 tips for developing and using a media kit: @duolit Returns: @victoriastrauss

Facebook or Twitter, Which Is Better for Book Promotion? @goblinwriter

The Poetic Process: @diymfa

How freelancers and other writers can use Pinterest: @michellerafter

Why The Elements of Style Breaks Its Own Rules…and Why You Should Too: @readingape

Professional Editors: The Smart Writer's #1 Competitive Advantage: @thecreativepenn @mattgartland

Believable fantasy character design: @BenGalley

5 Things Songwriters Can Do To Move Their Careers Forward: @cliffgoldmacher

8 Tips to Keep From Going Batty as You Launch Your Writing Career: @SamuelPark_ @annerallen

The Role(s) of Reversal in Fiction: @BTMargins @lgreffenius

Blog touring--write great guest posts by keeping your stories about your stories: @byRozMorris

Story Structure--2nd Half of the 2nd Act: @KMWeiland

What 1 writer has learned about writing a novel: @sarahpekkanen

Inside Amazon's Idea Machine: How Bezos Decodes The Customer: @GeorgeAnders

A Bit of Controversy in Your Platform? @THahnBurkett

A Quiz About Hyphenating Phrasal Adjectives: @writing_tips

Writing is a crazy profession. But you can take control over your stress: @sarahahoyt

The New World of Publishing: No Balance: @deanwesleysmith

Using archaeology, myth, & mysteries for writing inspiration--fairy chimneys: @genelempp

3 things you should know about your story:

Defining a scene and its length: @livewritethrive

Writing & Publishing Terminology 101: @janefriedman

Stretching emotions in category romance: @Louisa_George

Show Your Setting through the POV Character's Eyes: @JodieRennerEd

Tips for genre blending: @storyfix

Springtime for Amazon? Positive stories on the retailer: @ljndawson @Porter_Anderson @jwikert @brianoleary @gluejar

Writing vs. marketing: Those 10,000 hours: @Porter_Anderson

Freelance Success Is About Process, Not Personality: @JaneFriedman @wellfedwriter

Does your story have something new under the hood? @behlerpublish

The process of agents submitting manuscripts: @SaraMegibow

The Rejection Generator – Pay Your Dues Fast: @PassiveVoiceBlg

Plotting is Like a Jigsaw Puzzle: @fictionnotes

3 Dos and 3 Don'ts of Requesting Book Reviews: @duolit

How to Cure your Comma Overuse: @fantasyfaction

Why every man MUST read a romance – and every woman a thriller: @speechwriterguy

Worldbuilding--manners: @JulietteWade

How to Give Your Book Cover a Better First Impression: @TweetTheBook

A look at Young Adult Fiction: @NicoleBasaraba @julie_glover

Believable fantasy character design: @BenGalley

An Agent on Adjusting Expectations for Conferences and Critiques: @Kid_Lit

Is Your Character Talking the Talk Instead of Walking the Walk? @KMWeiland

The "It" Factor for your Protagonist:

Figuring Out Your Writing Style: @danyelleleafty

Friday, April 27, 2012

Don't Kill ‘Said Bookisms’ On-Sight--by Chihuahua Zero

by Chihuahua Zero, @chihuahuazero

3804543539_0225744185Pick any ten writing blogs in the writing blogosphere, and I bet nine of them will say: "don't use said-bookism!"

This is understandable. Excessive amounts of dialogue tags besides said and asked are often syndromes of an amateur. Pull up a random fan-fiction, and it's likely there's a dialogue tag like laughed or quipped or even the infamous ejaculated.

These types of words pop out and are clunky to the point of being distracting.


Counter-Examples: the good old "show, not tell" rule, the "don't use said-bookism rule'" isn't in effect 100% of the time. Or even 80%.

For instance, I used the Nicolas Flamel series as an example in one of my posts on dialogue tags. While it used the word murmured one too many times, it's still a good series that has a decent amount of popularity. And despite its the almost total absence of dialogue tags, The Chronicle of Vladimir Tod slips some by when there are.

The Book Thief? I spotted a few mentions here and there.

Harry Potter? Slughorn ejaculated at Snape. Really.

Acceptable Uses:

Despite what advice you receive, you can say said-bookisms aren't as poisonous as you might have presumed them to be. Sure, it's lazy and overly colorful if you use a handful of them in one chapter, but or two don't spoil the entire bunch.

You can argue that "just because many works use it, doesn't mean it's good", but I don't think it applies here. Said-bookisms are mostly a mechanical element. They're not lazy plot device or cardboard characters. They're only a link in a long, fictional chain.

There are some cases some borderline said-bookisms that can work. It's safe to use shouted and whispered, to the point they're accepted alongside said/ask. They're volume indicators.

Some said-bookisms are awkward (like laughed and smiled), while there are some other sound tags that work based on context. For example, bark. Can a person bark a sentence? If you stretch the definition. Can you also howl, rasp, and bray? Your mileage may vary.

And in specific cases, like explained, admonished, and quipped:

  1. I'm guilty of overusing "explained.” "Explained" are among the words that I tend to overuse, and will certainly be on my edit list. But I think other writers had that same compelling feeling to add it in, and decided to keep them in.
  2. I actually saw "admonished" in an old collaboration project. I wanted to delete it due to being wordy, but they voted to keep it. They said that it elaborated the sentences meaning, even though it's just a fancy word for "friendly explanation.” Thoughts.
  3. "Quipped?” Get back on me about that.

Why You Need to Know This:

The point is that like any type of story mechanic, said-bookisms aren't 100% bad. They can be (and often are) misused and overused, but their presence doesn't condemn a work.

One reason why it's important to know this because over-thinking this can spoil your enjoyment of reading. It's good to keep a critic's mind open when reading, but for a few months, my mind kept seizing onto these words that my mind has long glazed over before several blogs pointed out that they were "bad.”

It wasn't until I read a couple of fantastic works my mind dropped this peeve and filtered them.

So, put down that gun, and worry about something else.

Chihuahua ZeroChihuahua is a young, aspiring writer who loves writing, reading, music, Chihuahuas and dark chocolate. CO can be found at Thoughts of a Young Aspiring Writer.

Blog Image—Flickr-By krazydad / jbum

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The One Thing You Should Do to Sell More Books—by Nick Thacker

by Nick Thacker, @NickThacker

6869768383_84f708306e_zTwitter, social media platforms, Facebook pages, Google+, Pinterest, in-store signings, KDP Select, etc. All of these things are great innovations for authors, and can certainly help you get your books in the hands of more readers, but there's only so much you can do.

· After you've built the coolest Facebook page in the world, you have to tell people about it.

· After you've scheduled a million tweets promoting your new follow-up guide to your main character's life, you have to tell people to retweet it.

· And after you've booked a solid month of in-store signings, bookstore visits, and airplane kiosk drop-ins, you need to tell people about it.

As you can see, if there's one thing all of these promotions have in common, it's that they only work IF you can figure out how to tell people about them!

The catch-22 of it all is that self-promotion is supposed to be ABOUT telling people what you're up to!

So what can you do to guarantee that you'll get in front of hundreds—or thousands—of potential buyers?

I could say write, but I think that's obvious. J.A. Konrath writes a lot about the fact that he’s so successful is because he has a large backlist of books available.

Instead, I'll say write for other people.

As in write guest posts.

You may have come across a blog or website that featured an article written by someone other than the owner of that site (like this post!)--this is an example of a guest post.

The benefits of having your work posted on another site are many. First, you're getting exposure—for free. You're able to send targeted, ready-to-buy leads directly to your site, or your book's sales page. You can start conversations with people whom you may never have had the chance to meet, and you'll be able to extend your reach through this leverage.

I'm currently on a guest-posting binge, and I call it my "blog tour." These days, you can pay someone else to plan and run a blog tour for you, but I think most of the hard stuff can done on your own. I've identified the main concepts behind blog tours, especially as they relate to authors. Feel free to add in your own ideas:

1. Figure out what your "niche" is. If you're a fiction writer, this can be tricky—the people who read vampire dramas aren't always the same people who frequent paranormal websites. Identify some target markets that coincide with some of the subject matter of your book, and see if you can write a few posts in that niche.

2. Write a lot. Obviously, you're going to need to have a lot of content ready to go when you start the tour. If you can, start writing immediately--there's not really a limit to how many posts you can run, but I do recommend trying to shoot for at least 10-15 posts, each on different sites.

3. Start planning early. When I started my tour, I prepared a spreadsheet of the target blogs and websites I'd like to see my post on, and then identified the ways I needed to reach out to the bloggers. Also, I planned some good post headlines so I wouldn't need to write the post and decide on a topic at the same time.

4. Go for broke. Don't settle for small, silent blogs that are so desperate for content they'll bend over backwards to have you visit. It's great to help out the little guys, but it's even better when it's mutually beneficial. Try to "target" blogs that have a decent amount of activity—a few comments on each post, a regular posting schedule, etc.

5. Make sure you have time to continue writing your books. You're probably not in it to be the next great blogger—you're just using your blog platform and guest posting to reach out to people and build your author brand. Give yourself space to continue writing the stuff you love.

So, how do you find the blogs that you’ll be guest posting on?

· First, look through your RSS reader for those blogs you currently read. Don’t be picky, either. There’s a good chance that since you read that blog, it’s a good fit for the audience you’re trying to attract to your writing.

· Next, look on the blogs to see if there are guest posters. You’ll usually see this at the top or bottom of the post. It’ll say something like, “This is a guest post by…” These sites are great to write for, since they’ve already established that they accept guest posts.

· Then what you’ll want to do is single out the blogs that have posted guidelines for guest posts. These are the easiest to approach, since they’re comfortable with guest posters already, and are most likely used to unsolicited guest post submissions.

When you have a list of some great blogs, start pitching. Here’s what a pitch for a guest post might look like for you:

“Hi there!

I’m a huge fan of your site—been reading it for years, actually.

I’m trying to promote my next book, and I was wondering if you’d accept a guest post from me? I have one that I think would match your target audience perfectly, called, “[blog post title idea]”. Let me know what you think!

[Your name]”

Change it to your liking, but be sure to:

1. Thank the blogger for their hard work on building an awesome blog.

2. Be concise. Don’t waste their time with links to your book, your background, etc. Just pitch and win!

3. Add some information about the post. If they want the entire post, send it in the format they prefer. If not, give them an idea for a title that would fit in well.

Last, but not least.

Finally, don't give up. I've built a few blogs over the years, and every time I've gotten discouraged from writing so many posts that no one seemed to be reading, I'd give up. Now, my blog is getting some decent readership and it doesn't seem to be slowing down.

The difference this time, I won’t quit. I've pushed through the initial phase of slow growth, and I think if I stick with it, people will start to notice. If you take the same approach, and consistently add value to your readers' lives, you'll start to build a platform as well!

What do you think? Having a blog can certainly be a headache when you've got so much else to focus on as a writer, but it can also be a huge blessing—publishing companies are looking for authors who've started to build their own platforms now, and if you can do it well, you might just have a book deal on your hands!

nickthackerNick Thacker is a blogger, writer, and author of fiction thriller novels. He likes to “hack” his life, and help people to get more done and write better. You can subscribe to his mailing list here.

Post Image: 401k/Flickr

Monday, April 23, 2012

Platform Building for Writers—Getting Started

by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig

Author Services at the BistroStarting out with book promotion can seem like a tremendous undertaking. And it is. But the important thing to know is that anything you can do online to promote your book or create a presence for yourself online is going to help you sell books.

For tips on starting out with platform building (the very basics…some of which I’ve seen established writers forget to cover), please join me at Barbara Hightower’s blog, Author Services at the Bistro.

Saturday, April 21, 2012


by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig
All the links below, twitter_newbird_boxed_blueonwhiteand over 15,000 others are found in the Writer’s Knowledge Base search engine, designed by Mike Fleming—where you can search on any topic for free. Like us on Facebook or sign up for our free monthly newsletter for the web’s best links on writing.
Crazy_Cozy_Blogfest_v1-2_400pxDon't' forget the new release blogfest that Hart Johnson and I are hosting on June 5th—find more information and sign up here. The best entries get signed copies of our new releases!
Have a great week.
The 1st literary interactive book app: @Porter_Anderson @MirabilisDave @joningold

MS Word Trick: Combining Changes and Comments: @jamigold
Agent Contract Expiration:

Freelance Writing: 10 Tips to Better Interviews: @writersdigest

How to Finish Your Novel: @write_practice

Write Your Book Even When You Feel Clueless: @originalimpulse

Potential blog content problems and how to fix them: @problogger

Leading into a Scene vs. Including Backstory: @juliettewade

What Would "Insert YA Heroine Here" Do? @mittenstrings

Add details to ground readers in your scene: @juliemusil

A useful resource for describing settings, emotions, shapes, textures, and more: @AngelaAckerman #writetip

Mini-ebooks--a home for articles that need a little room: @annabaddeley

Will Hachette Be The First Big-6 Publisher To Drop DRM On E-Books? @laurahazardowen

5 things writers should know about being knocked out: @ajackwriting

Write to Universal Acclaim? Not Likely: @noveleditor

How to Write a Book When You're Really, Really Busy: @chucksambuchino

8 things 1 writer learned analyzing her yearly freelance writing expenses: @michellerafter

How to Scan Your Site for Free: @jasonboog

Why we should attend conferences and a list of upcoming US cons: @msheatherwebb

Tips for hooks in book openings: @PegEditors

Do Big Publishers Need Recognizable Consumer Brand Names? @passivevoiceblg

How to Fix a Flat (Novel Scene) in 3 Easy Steps: @JulieWuAuthor

A Quiz About Compressing Accordion Sentences: @writing_tips

The Savvy Writer's Guide to Simultaneous Submissions: @BTMargins

Identify your novel's genre: @rachellegardner

Discoverability and the New World of Book PR: @barbarahenricks @RustyShelton

The rejection resubmission: @nicolamorgan

Art of the Genre: Top 10 Literary Sci-Fi/Fantasy Covers of the 1970s:

Adding a musical element to your worldbuilding: @fantasyfaction

Little Fixes to Improve Your Book: @maryannwrites

Creating Reality: The Pleasant Psychosis of Writing: @BTMargins

Learning the writing craft over time: @bob_mayer

Seeing the World through Your Character's Eyes: @livewritethrive

Author Blogging 101: Widgets, Sidebars and You: @jfbookman

Movies about writers: @BTMargins

The Illusion of Writing: @Ravenrequiem13

Keep Your Unwavering Passion to Write: @evemariemont @4kidlit

Are your characters making misleading assumptions? @Janice_Hardy

Show, Don't Tell: How Much of Your Story Is Implied?

Tips for A Better Book Presentation: @BTMargins

5 Principles for Using Facebook: @janefriedman

Women's Fiction Format: @pprmint777

Self-Editing Tips to Make Your Manuscript Ready For Publication: @WritersCoach

The fully-developed book premise: @donmaass

Tips for reading novel excerpts: @beth_barany

Overwriting--areas to edit: @TaliaVance

Is Pinterest Traffic Worthless? @nestguy

Tips for finding an agent, from an agent: @luciennediver

Signs Your Character Is Wasting His Potential: @KMWeiland

8 tips for guest posting: @duolit

Crushes and chemistry: @Kid_Lit

An agent asks, "Bitter or Misunderstood?" @bookendsjessica

Why Writing Through Resistance is Essential: @ava_jae

16 Kindle Lending Library Titles Were Bestsellers In March: @ebooknewser

Turning Your Twitter Followers into Readers: @pushingsocial

Profanity in worldbuilding: @juliettewade

When Books Mattered: @NYTMetro

16 of the Top 100 Best-Selling Paid Kindle Books in March Are Exclusive to the Kindle Store: @PassiveVoiceBlg

Why Small Publishers Fail: @victoriastrauss

Meditate, don't caffeinate: @misfitsmascara

Tips for writing effective dialogue: @writersdigest

Success in fiction writing is 50% practice and 50% persistence. Talent is optional: @Yeomanis

Where to Find Ideas For Novels Or Short Stories: @writersdigest

11 Revision Questions: @fictionnotes

9 ways to upset an editor: @jameslsutter

Being a tax-wise author, parts 1 & 2 (for US writers, but possible deductions for others): ,

Plan the Story, Meet Your Characters. @christi_craig

Reading in Public: 3 Steps to Captivate Your Audience: @DIYMFA

Tips for writing suspense: @stacygreen26 @nicolebasaraba

Tips for writing convincing male characters: @BooksForABuck

Inspiration from a cryptic text: @GeneLempp

20 Rules About Subject-Verb Agreement: @writing_tips

Writing Lessons from the Newsroom: @torcon

Writing for the YA market--writing what's hot:

Scrivener review: @ajackwriting

Balancing story and prose: @katieganshert @rachellegardner

Write Because You Love It: @jodyhedlund

How To Balance Dialogue and Description: @serbaughman

Tips for submitting short stories (especially for SF/F writers): @amsmibert

What beta readers are and ideas for finding them: @jamigold

An agent says you can't turn one genre into another to try and sell the story: @greyhausagency

Explaining show, don't tell: @V_Rossibooks

What booksellers really mean when asked for recommendations: @deadwhiteguys

3 Reasons to Write Stream of Consciousness Narrative:

Why editors won't be excited if you want to write "a little of this and a little of that": @behlerpublish

Google wants to mobilize your Web site – for free: @kfitchard

Discipline of Writing. Writing as a Discipline. @LavChintapalli @womenwriters

Elements of a Great Suspense Story: @ChynnaLaird

Crime fiction--when sleuths must work with government employees for info: @mkinberg

The power of manipulation in crime fiction: @mkinberg

Inspiration from a cryptic text: @GeneLempp

Why Small Publishers Fail: @victoriastrauss

When Books Mattered:

Is Pinterest Traffic Worthless? @nestguy

5 Principles for Using Facebook: @janefriedman

20 Verbs Smothered by "Be"s: @writing_tips

An agent says you can't turn one genre into another to try and sell the story: @greyhausagency

Who and whom: @missedperiods

How to purchase ISBNs in the USA: @woodwardkaren

The taxman and the artist:

How 1 author handled writing an emotionally troubled protagonist: @kcraftwriter

Amazon Lets Authors Spy on Readers: @writersdigest

Tips for writing a synopsis: @nicolamorgan

How 1 writer reworked a 1st chapter: @DaveThomeWriter

How to Create Characters that Fascinate: @WriterThesaurus

4 Tips on Adding a New Twist to an Old Plot: @janice_hardy

Social Networking—Take Time to get Your Feet Wet: @novelrocket

3 Possibilities for Defeating Writer's Block: @CDRosales

Answers to Book Discount Questions: @jfbookman

4 Important Character Concerns: @vigorio

5 Effective Book Marketing Strategies: @KarinaFabian

The Writer's Life is Full of Second Chances: @RLLaFevers

Combating Confusion: @BretBallou

Patience Is a Writer's Most Important Virtue: @jeffgoins

Writing Advice from C.S. Lewis: @passivevoiceblg

Being habitually creative requires far more than original thinking: @JeffreyDavis108

Does One Book a Writer Make? @bob_brooke

21% Of Adults Have Read An eBook In The Last Year: Pew Research: @ebooknewser

Top 5 Tips to Maximize Your Writing Conference: @kristenlambTX

Grammar Today: Rigid Rules or Rhetorical Choices? @pubperspectives

How The Wall Street Journal Uses Pinterest: @10000words

Plot Fixer – Part I: Your Premise Isn't Compelling: @karalennox

How to boost the number of your friends on Goodreads: @PublicityHound

DRM is crushing indie booksellers online:

The Importance of Persistence: @thecreativepenn

Don't Just Create "On Demand," Create For You:

Industry in collapse: The strain is showing: @Porter_Anderson @RachelleGardner

How much lead-in time do you really need before your story's inciting incident?

Traditional mystery writing--tips for delaying the body's discovery:

Guidelines for story length: @noveleditor

Get to your inciting incident or call to action as soon as possible: @AlexSokoloff

Common logical mistakes to avoid: @readingape

Why Poetry Should Be More Playful: @hoodedu @theatlantic

How To Properly Harvest Your Very Best Ideas: @write_practice

Open Letter to Friends of Authors: @fictionnotes

Thoughts on using flashbacks:

Writing religion into speculative fiction: @sarahahoyt

12 Myths About Being a Writer: @annerallen

Story structure--the midpoint: @KMWeiland