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!
Excerpt: “I came from a broken family who only knew broken ways. I felt adrift and couldn’t seem to find direction. Everything I did was always to please others, yet it left me empty and even more lost. I saw others being happy, successful, but every day felt like just more pain. I was terrified of making mistakes, paralyzed by the thought I might “fail” or be a “failure.” That’s one of the reasons I blog so much on changing our relationship with failure. If we don’t, we can never see success.”
Inform & Inspire
Jenny Hansen: What Lights Your Creative Spirit on Fire?. How do we nurture, grow and express our creativity in meaningful ways?
Bob Mayer: Survival for Writers. S.U.R.V.I.V.A.L techniques from writers and former Green Beret, Bob Mayer. Recommended Read.
Chuck Wendig: The Art of Asking: For Writers and Storytellers. Chuck breaks down the “Art of Asking” by Amanda Palmer – great insights!
Elizabeth Spann Craig: Avoid Reader Confusion. Great tips for ensuring readers aren’t lost for lack of information.
Janice Hardy: Three Questions to get to the Heart of Your Story. Excerpt: “Writing is such a strange thing. As writers, we get these characters and stories in our heads and put them down on paper. Sometimes we know exactly what happens plot wise, other times we have a character shouting in our heads. We all have different processes and write with different voices. What I find interesting, is that no matter what genre we write in or what age group we write for, one thing stays the same. The story.”
K.M. Weiland: 5 Things Children Teach Us About Writing. Excellent observations and advice on how to spark our writing with a bit of youthful vigor.
Ava Jae: Three Important Critique Steps. Excerpt: “I’m not promising that these three tips will make all your future critiques feel like butterflies and cotton candy, but if you keep these things in mind, it will (hopefully) make it a little easier. Starting with…”
Cate Russell-Cole: Impossible Matches: Romance Writers Plot Ideas. The “marriage squeeze” offers plot possibilities for different forms of romance.
Chuck Wendig: 25 Things Writers Should Beware. Excerpt: “The act of writing is awesome. The business of writing is, nnnnggghyeah, less so. Sometimes this thing we do seems like frolicking nude across a minefield while some shady assailant fires paintballs at your crotchparts. It’s hard to know which way to step. One wrong move and you’ve given some scam-artist all your copyrights or granted some publisher the right to tattoo its logo above your father’s ass-crack. We inkslingers have to stay frosty lest we get skuh-rewed.”
Shannon Donnelly: A 12-Step Checklist for Writing A “Sexy” Synopsis. Excerpt: “When I first started writing, I found out you needed a synopsis to submit to agents. Okay, I thought, I can do that. Well, I did, but not so well—twenty pages later I had a synopsis that rambled, wandered, and just did not do the job. Thankfully, someone pointed this out to me. These days, I actually like writing the synopsis—yes, that’s right, I like it. Well, okay, maybe, not like, but I find it’s an invaluable tool.”
Gabriela Pereira/Mark Travani:
Excerpt: “In December, I had the opportunity to attend the Random House Open House. It was a fabulous event, providing valuable information to writers and readers alike. One of the highlights of the open house, though, was a panel discussion with Ballantine publishing team behind Justin Cronin’s bestselling book THE PASSAGE–and now the sequel THE TWELVE. This panel included editor Mark Tavani, who shared an insider’s perspective of the acquisitions process for a blockbuster like THE PASSAGE and what goes into bringing a book like that to the market.”
Roz Morris: How to Cut a Novel (and Enjoy it). Excerpt: “How long is too long? Actually, length is not a question of wordcount. It’s about pacing. No book seems too long if the material has been handled well. A tome of 100,000 words will read like lightning if it is well paced. A novel of half the length will be a tedious trudge if the pacing is poor. Of course, the book may be considered too long because of the market and genre. That’s a whole subject in itself. But let’s assume for today that you can have any length you like, so long as it is, like Goldilocks’s porridge, just right.”
Jean Hansen: 10 Tips for Effective Proofreading. Quick read, excellent tips.
Cate Russell-Cole: The Best-Kept Editing Secret. Brain secrets and editing – interesting read.
Joel Friedlander: Measure Your Self-Publishing Competence. Excellent insight and advice in this thoughtful post.
Elizabeth Spann Craig: Should Writers Query Publishers or Self-Publish?. Thoughtful post with an excellent discussion of the topic in the comment thread. Recommended.
Dan Blank: How do we Open the Doors of Success in Writing? By Shipping. Are “write a lot” and “read a lot” the only two things writers should be doing? Great advice and tips in this post.
Genevieve Pearson: When Visibility Doesn’t Lead To Book Sales. Excerpt: “Writing is easy. It’s the marketing stuff I don’t understand.” I remember telling my husband. So many queries, review requests, blog posts, ad space purchases, and my new book, Revelations, was still just…lingering.”
Kristine Kathryn Rusch: Business Rusch Binge Reading. Excerpt: “Many of you expressed surprise at my interchangeable widgets comment last week. Here’s what I said: Traditional publishers know that when one writer goes away, another will step into her place. You’re a rotating group of widgets that might make the publisher some money. If you don’t make the publisher money, then they’ll find someone who will. Now, thanks to Hydra, you can see that attitude in action.
Manon Eileen: How to Build an Online Audience. Incredible post with charts and insights based on Manon’s experiences – Recommended Read.
Lisa Hall-Wilson: Facebook: Should We Use a Profile or a Page? There are advantages and disadvantages to both – find out which will serve your needs effectively.
Amit Agarwal: How to Write a Twitter Bot in 5 Minutes. Excerpt: “This step-by-step tutorial explains how you can create your own Twitter bot using Google Scripts and the new Twitter API. The bot runs inside the Google cloud.”
MediaBistro: Twitter Discontinuing Older TweetDeck Apps. Excerpt: “Twitter announced it has chosen to discontinue older Tweetdeck apps in order to focus on its web app client. Tweetdeck for iPhone, Android and Air will also be removed from their respective app stores in May and the apps will no longer work.”
Lindsay Buroker: Book Promotion — What’s Working at Amazon in 2013? Excerpt: “Amazon has made some changes in the last year that have had an impact insofar as what works and what doesn’t for getting noticed over there. Let’s go over those first, because I still see people telling authors to do these things.”
Joanna Penn: 3 Ways to Build Meaningful Connections to Move Your Writing Career Forward. Excerpt: “I believe the cornerstone of marketing today is a relationship built on trust. That trust can be based on incredible customer focus, which explains why we buy from Amazon so much. But for personal brands like you and I as authors, it is based on connection with people on a personal level.”
Rochelle Melander: Book Signings that WOW. Excellent overview and advice for making the most of your book signings.
Joseph Lallo: Book Promotion Advice from Popular Indie Fantasy Author Joseph Lallo. Tons of excellent tips and advice in this post – Recommended Read!
J. Daniel Sawyer: How to Record, Produce and Distribute Audiobooks. Excellent information, tips and advice in this post.
Leslie Helakoski: Making a Book Trailer. Simple and effective tips and methods for creating a low-cost, high-impact book trailer.
Sara Hawkins: 5 Top Legal Issues for Authors and Self-Publishers. Excerpt: “As an author, you probably don’t often consider many legal issues about writing your book. Sure, there’s the contract with the publisher, designer, or copyeditor. Traditionally, for most authors there just weren’t many legalities to consider. That was until traditional book authorship and publishing met the internet and created their lovechild called self-publishing.”
Sterling Lord: Sixty Years of Sterling Wisdom from the “Lord of Publishing.” Excerpt: “As the world has changed around me, my goal as an agent has remained the same: to help the writer advance his or her career, rather than just to increase my personal income. If I did the former successfully and chose my clients well, I assumed the latter — the personal income — would follow, and it has.”
Mike Shatzkin: How much time and effort should established publishers be spending on startups? Excerpt: “There are three areas in particular which the startups seem to think the publishing business needs their help with, if the frequency with which we hear about propositions in these spaces is any guide. They can overlap.”
Nick Ruffilo: Books as APIs: What are They and Why Should Publishers Care? Excerpt: “An API allows you to make your content easily available online. In turn, more people are likely to share and consume it.”