Here you will find a selection of the best of the blogsphere from the past week. Grab your coffee, straighten the glasses or spritz those contacts and above all – enjoy.
Top Read Recommendation
Jane Friedman: Commodity Publishing, Self-Publishing, and The Future of Fiction. Excerpt: “Is self-publishing going to become the predominant, preferred, or recommended means for authors to launch their careers? While we might all agree there are more paths than ever to get published and be a successful author, some advocates of self-publishing—primarily those (perhaps exclusively those) who write genre fiction go a step further: Don’t even bother getting traditionally published. Self-publish first.”
A follow-up to Jane’s post from Henry Baum: Self-Publishing: For Genre Writers Only.
Jami Gold: Self-Publishing: Prioritizing Fast, Cheap, and Good. Excerpt: “All writers, especially those who self-publish, have to decide: Are we writing and publishing just for ourselves? Or are we writing and publishing to get customers (readers)?”
Penultimate Writing Conference
Kristen Lamb: And Now for Something Completely Different! Redefining the Writing Conference. Excerpt: “Today, I can finally announce some very exciting news. We are holding the very first Worldwide WANACon. The Digital Age has completely altered the publishing world, and writers need to be equipped. Changes are coming faster than anyone can keep up, so we no longer have the luxury of waiting a few months or a year for a standard writing conference. With new opportunities come new challenges, and new predators.”
Inform & Inspire
Marcy Kennedy: Do We Have the Right to Judge Other People? Opinions are powerful things – they can shatter or reinforce with equal force. However, the best of intentions can have the worst of results – read this post.
Chuck Wendig: 25 Thoughts on Book Piracy. Excerpt: “Here’s the deal. I want to talk a little about book piracy. I’ve been blabbering about the realities of publishing recently, and this is one of them. It seems easy to assume the post should be as short as, “HEY FUCK THOSE GUYS,” and to a degree, yeah, absolutely. But it’s a sticky wicket, this wocket, and so it deserves a way-too-long-post from yours truly.”
James Scott Bell: How to Get Emotional About Your Novel. Excerpt: “I don’t think you can write a great novel, even with a high concept and cool characters, unless you, the author, are emotional about it. If the story doesn’t grip your own heart and soul, how will it grab the readers? Without some emotional connection, the writing will too easily become paint-by-the-numbers.”
Roz Morris: 3 Ways Your Novel Might Carry Unwanted Junk. Are past version of a work-in-progress cluttering the current version. Here are a few techniques for pulling the weeds so the flower can grow.
Darcy Pattison: 5 More Ways to Add Humor. A dash of levity with a sprinkle of clever can liven up any writing dish – well, almost any *smile*
Writer’s Relief: Short Story Checklist: Techniques for Getting Short Stories Published. Nice checklist for ensuring the strength of short stories.
Janice Hardy: Five Edits to Strengthen Your Writing, Right Now. Excerpt: “Back when I was learning how to write and trying to figure it all out, one of my favorite things to discover was a great writing tip. Something that I could immediately apply to my work and see actual improvement. I got especially excited over list of words or specific examples, because I could do a search and find the weak areas right away.”
Kristen Lamb: Feeling Overwhelmed? Social Media Can Make Us Crazy–Part 2. Learn effective techniques for making the most of social media without the need to pull your hair out from the Social Media Jedi Master and Sith Lord, Kristen Lamb.
Elizabeth Craig: Goodreads for Authors. Includes tips, tricks and some highly useful screen shots for all of us visual learners.
Maria Peagler: 64 Google+ Content Strategies. Excellent tips for using all aspects of Google+, includes a well-designed infographic for ease of use.
Matt McGee: Game Over: Twitter Mentioned In 50% Of Super Bowl Commercials, Facebook Only 8%, Google+ Shut Out. Marketing is a two-edged sword with perception on one side, spin on the other and reality for a tip.
Brian Gardner: Claim Google Authorship for Your WordPress Website in 3 Easy Steps. Excerpt: “Google Authorship basically amounts to the biggest shakeup in search since the link. It’s Google’s way of identifying the author of a piece of content to factor it as a signal of content quality.”
Iain Broome: 7 Splendid Articles on using Goodreads as an Author. Splendid means awesomesauce in this case – if you plan to use Goodreads to market and promote these articles will give you a solid foundation.
Neal Schaffer: The 17 Best WordPress Plugins for Social Media, SEO, and Better Visitor Engagement in 2013. Tons of ideas and overviews for the self-hosted WordPress user.
Dana Sitar: Why Even a Novelist Should Know How to Write Strong Copy. Copywriting can improve discoverability, among many other things – find out here.
David Gaughran: The Author with the Biggest Mailing List Wins. Excerpt: “What happens when a reader finishes your e-books? What’s the first thing they see? What’s the first thing they do? Back-matter is extremely important. Presuming you have done your job as a writer well, it’s a golden opportunity to draw readers into your world. The basic components of effective back-matter are fairly straightforward: blurbs for and/or links to your other books, links to whatever social media presence you have, a short note requesting reviews, and, most important of all, a link to your New Release Mailing List.”
Jeri Walker-Bickett: How To Use MailChimp – From Sign-Up To “Send!” Excellent overview of MailChimp, includes useful screenshots.
Bill Hartzer: Measure Title Tag Length in Pixels, Not Characters, for Search Engine Optimization. Seemingly minor details can have a major impact on discoverability. Take a look.
Andrew Cunningham: Keep it secret, keep it safe: A beginner’s guide to Web safety. Learn how encryption techniques can work to keep your online presence safe.
Kristen Lamb: Digital Sheep Get Slaughtered–Being Safe On Social Media. Tips and solid proven advice for protecting yourself from the bone-crushing trolls lurking in the shadowed alleyways of the digital mega-city.
Porter Anderson: Ether for Authors: What We Leave Behind. Porter’s Ether digests are a great way to keep up with the publishing industry – provocative and thoughtful.
Edward Nowotka: Bookish.com Launches, Applies Big Data to Book Discovery. Excerpt: “After a nearly 24 month wait and a revolving door of CEOs, Bookish.com, a new online bookstore financed by Hachette, Simon & Schuster and Penguin, has finally launched. Print and ebooks can be purchased directly from the site or through affiliate partnerships with all the major book retailers.”
Dean Wesley Smith: Think Like a Publisher 2013: Chapter Four: Production and Scheduling. How to plan out project productivity and set realistic deadlines to get to the finish line. Also from Dean: Some Odd Stuff, that you’ll want to read up on – short post.
Kristine Kathryn Rusch: The Business Rusch: What Writers Need To Know. What do you need to know, at minimum, to run a successful indie publishing endeavor? Find out in this enlightening post.
D.D. Scott: Authors: Why Self-Publish/Indie Epublish? A great look at the legitimate reasons and payoffs of pursuing self/indie publishing.
James Calbraith: 5 Things I’ve learned from Self-publishing. Good observations, worth a look.
The Guardian: Attention ‘Artisan Authors': Digital Self-publishing is Harder than it Looks. Article focuses on using Creative Commons and other techniques to increase discoverability.
Wise Ink: How to Be a Writer Who Thinks Like a Publisher. Nice overview of the business end of indie publishing.
Erika Morphy: Apple Opens Its Arms to Self-Publishing E-Book Authors. And this one from Leslie Kaufman of the NY Times: Apple to Highlight Self-Published Books.
C.J. Brightley: Choosing Cover Art for Your Indie Book. Excerpt: “One of the great things about indie publishing is that you retain so much creative control. And one of the terrible things about indie publishing is that you retain so much creative control! Choosing cover art can be a nerve-wracking experience. A few steps can help make the process a little less painful.”
Shelley Lowrey: Ebooks — Self-Publishing Your Way to Internet Success: Part 5 Ebook Design (HTML). Great tips on smoothing out and running successful e-publishing code.
Shelley Hitz: Free Note-taking Software: 8 Tools to Keep You Organized. Great listing!
Nick Ruffilo: Tips for Using Technology #8: Know Your Boolean Math. Shows how to use code-like search strings to target hard to find information.
Fun is not a Swear Word
Marcia Richards: The Art of Goofing Off. You know you want to go look. *click*