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Showing posts from May, 2021

Writers Gotta Read, Right?—References and More

Looking to fine-tune your writing? Need a little extra inspiration to jumpstart your initial draft or your final edit? Well, we’ve got lists (and in some cases, lists of lists) of books for your consideration. So, in no particular order, let's jump in! Reedsy offers this recently updated post: The 40 Best Books on Writing: A Reading List for Authors The Write Life provides a list of 34 of the Best Books On Writing Penguin Random House steps up with their take on The Best Books on Writing This list is a few years old, but still quite interesting: New York Magazine’s The Best Books on Writing, According to Novelists, Poets, and Writing Professors Listopia on Goodreads has no less than 722 books (!!) in the list Best Books on Writing (Books on writing, grammar, punctuation, spelling, and more) For those writing, or thinking of writing, children’s books, you might glance over this post on Michael Mahin’s blog, titled What Are the Best Books on Writing for Children?   What do YOU have o

The Pros and Cons of Self-publishing, According to Me.

So you’ve written a book. You think it’s pretty good, send out queries to agents and small presses. Get rejection after rejection. “Not right for us.” “Don’t know where to place it on the shelf.” “Too much like someone’s work we already represent.” Yada, yada, yada. I finally got an agent, but she couldn’t sell my books. I wrote a couple of erotic romances that were accepted by good online erotic publishers of the time, 2010, then decided to self-publish with Amazon the four suspense novels I’d accumulated from my previous years of writing. They made it easy and gave a good percentage. I was not sorry. Those first few years I sold a lot of books, got half dozen BookBub ads, gave a bunch away, which jump-started sales.  There are a few things writers MUST do if you intend to self-publish your books.       1. Write a good book (Duh!)       2. Hire a good editor                    3. Hire a good cover designer           4. Learn how to market The last one is the hardest

10 Self-Editing Tips

We can all use a little help in editing our work before sending it off to another editor for a final go-through. I do my best with my books, and I'm always surprised at how many mistakes my editor catches after I think I've got them all. In my years of editing for others and teaching editing workshops, I've come up with a list of tips that you might consider a good resource. Some of these have been written about before, here and on other blogs dedicated to writers and writing advice, but they are basics that bear repeating as a reminder.   1. Avoid using wordage that has become so common that it's almost a cliche.  When writing our first draft of a new story, we put down anything that comes to our mind, and often that is the most ordinary wordage.  In the second draft, the challenge is to change those ordinary words and phrases to make them a fresh delight for the reader.  One example of an overused phrase that comes to mind is having people turn on their heel . I'

Ask Us Anything About #Writing Part 2

Dani Last month, we started our new Ask Us Anything About #Writing feature with Amy Shamroe , a novelist-in-the-making.  Our Blogging Team continues to answer her questions with this important one!  Amy Is it better to just get scenes/plot points down and come back and fill in details or to spend time on everything you write in the moment? (i.e., get it all down NaNoWriMo style and go back and bulk it out or maybe spend two days on two pages getting it all down)... Shonell The better way is the way that gets your story finished. I like developing outlines that are a bit in-depth with notes about what happens in particular scenes, things characters say and do, etc. Doing this gives me visuals to jump into when I begin writing the story in earnest. Elle For a beginning writer, I would highly suggest learning to plot to start with - simply because this will save you time in the long run. Experienced writers who write to a "formula" (eg., genre conventio

Here a Book, There a Book

Once upon a time my life’s goal was to read every book in the library. I was devastated when I realized that was impossible. I’m still trying to read as many as as I can, though. I rely on lists of books to keep my own “To Be Read” list current and full of titles from many genres. I subscribe to the Shelf Awareness news via Old Firehouse Books in Fort Collins, CO. You can sign up for their newsletter at the bottom of the web page. The lists of new releases from Mystery Writers of America each month is excellent. The list is published on the website. International Thriller Writers does the same in their newsletter. You can sign up even if you’re not a member. For more book lists in all genres, a simple Google search turned up these sites for May . My personal favorite is the monthly blog post from Lesa’s Book Critiques where she describes the month’s treasures in her closet. With cover art and short synopses, this librarian/book reviewer gives a sneak peek at upcoming releases, mos

From Concept to Creation to Completion: the Art of Writing a Book

  Art of writing a book? Drawing is an art. Painting is an art. Sculpting is an art. Composing is an art of sound that creates moods, perhaps even more so than visual art. Writing? That's simply telling a story, right? Let's think about it. Good writing produces a movie in the mind. This is a tall order for any author because he/she must fill the shoes of scriptwriter, director, producer, reviewer of the daily rushes, inhouse editor, and more before it's ready for a public viewing (reading). Having a specific list of requirements up front and a practical way to address them can turn a chaotic writing process into a smooth, organized production. How does a writer (or writer wannabe) prepare for this multifaceted job? Listing the stopping points along the writing journey's route provides a solid starting place.  1. Read, read, read. I first heard this years ago. "That's silly," I told myself. "I don't want to be a copycat." Since those days o

The Five Hats of Self-Publishing

Traditional publishing requires that you find an agent who submits to publishers and hopefully finds a home for your book. As a traditionally published author, you still have to write, revise, proofread, submit, get accepted. But your work isn't done there. You still have to revise and edit per the publishers instructions. They design the cover and come up with the promotional materials and some promotional opportunities, but you are still in charge of self-promotion. With the publishing market in flux, many writers prefer to self-publish. Doing so involves you donning not one but five hats. 1. Crafting the Product Writing a really good book means endless rounds of critiques, revisions, editing, and proofreading. If you target a specific genre, and understand it, you are half-way there. Learning how to write is a skill set. Your very first draft of your very first book will not be a best seller. Studying the craft of writing and practicing it is job one. Once you have a manuscript