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.
Featured Special: Support our Troops with Books
This week I found a great poster from World War I artist C.B. Falls calling for book donations to be sent to troops. It made me consider how valuable a donation of books can be to a solider far from home and desperately in need of a few moments of relaxing escape. During the discussion that ensued, one of my friends, Jennifer Tanner, shared her knowledge of current projects working to get books into the hands of our brave men and women.
Jennifer’s Post: “booksforsoldiers.com and operationpaperback.com are two organizations I’ve heard about. You might want to check out anysoldier.com, too. I’ve been sending care packages (and lots of books/dvds) through this site for six years. Also, if you want to send new books, Amazon ships to APO/FPO addresses.”
I hope you all will consider sharing the gift of your own and others works with our soldiers. This is a great way for us to help bring a bit of peace to those who ensure our peace every day. Thanks!
Inform & Inspire
Les Edgerton: Fortune Favors the Prepared. Excerpt: “All of the points we’ve covered in this dialogue series are intended for one purpose only—to help writers avoid the red flags that improper dialogue can create for agents and editors… and readers. And that’s what they are—red flags. That doesn’t mean that breaking any of these “rules” or conventions will doom your mss from being taken, but it does mean the presence of them can cast a negative light on your work. And, I imagine we all want to avoid that!”
August McLaughlin: Living Well to Write Well When Feeling @%$#-y. Great tips for keeping your mind and body in prime writing shape.
Julie Glover: Changing Horses, Or Goals, Midstream. Great advice on knowing when it’s time to reassess goals and find a faster “horse.” Great Post!
Janice Hardy: How to Set Tone and Mood in Your Scenes. Excerpt: “Setting the right tone can go a long way to drawing readers into your story and keeping their attention. Think of it like the scary music in horror movies. With the sound on, the scene makes you nervous, you jump when things happen, and it adds to the overall mood. Turn the sound off and the scene isn’t scary anymore. It’s just things happening in front of you.”
Roz Morris: Create your characters from different moulds. Excerpt: “I’m somewhat preoccupied with characters as I’m finishing NYN 2: Bring Characters To Life. I’ve recently read two novels with several main characters – one that made them real and the other that didn’t. I thought it would be interesting to compare the key differences.”
Jami Gold: The Thin Line between Character Strengths and Flaws. Excerpt: “Strengths and flaws are often two sides of the same coin. Interference is often the “bad” side of helpfulness, control can be the bad side of protectiveness, obsession can result from love, etc. The intentions and motivations for both sides can be identical. This fact gives us another method for developing our characters.”
Ava Jae: How to Write Multiple POV’s. Solid advice for ensuring that multiple POV’s retain their uniqueness from each other for a more powerful story.
Orly Konig-Lopez: Playing Dr. Frankenstein – 5 Questions To Ask Your Characters Before You Begin. Great tips for a safe and happy first visit with a new character.
Janice Hardy: Do We Expect Too Much Realism in Our Stories? Is fiction required to be “exactly” like real life? Great post and comments thread – Recommended Read for fiction writers!
Martha Alderson: Thematic Significance of Stories. A great look at theme and how to draw it out from your drafts.
Les Edgerton: Two Tips to Take Your Dialogue to a WHOLE New Level. Excerpt: “Here are the couple of things I neglected to cover in the first two posts. Format with Tags. One is the format of dialogue with tags. I suspect that this one will draw as many responses from folks who don’t buy it as there were who resisted using “said” as dialogue tag verbs. It’s your choice—I’m just relaying the mindset of many editors.”
Fae Rowen: A Museum Visit–and Four Editing Lessons. Excerpt: “As writers, we can use our lives to fuel our stories in many ways–from plots, to characters, to emotional journeys. This means that our daily lives become a field of rich experience to mine for writing gold. Let me share an excursion that resulted in unexpected treasure for my WIP.”
Suzannah Windsor Freeman: The Biggest Problem with Writing Advice. Excerpt: “Writing advice requires use of common sense in its application. Those who have been writing for many years have probably already learned this lesson, but newer writers often jump on advice like following all ‘the rules’ will get them to the top. All advice, in every realm of life, requires careful decision-making based on a variety of factors.”
Lindsay Buroker: How Do You Find Beta Readers? Some good ideas from Lindsay on how to find those second sets of eyes we all need.
Devon Flaherty: 11 Ways Stay-at-Home Moms (and Other Busy Folks) Can Find Time to Write. Great tips for staying productive in the midst of life’s chaotic swirl.
Kristen Lamb: Authors of the Digital Age–What It Takes to Be a Real Author CEO. Excerpt: “I do a lot of reading of other blogs, particularly blogs that aren’t about writing. I think this keeps my information fresh. As many of you might know, financial blogger Steve Tobak is one of my favorites, and he regularly inspires my writing. This past week he had a neat post What It Takes to Be a Real CEO, and there were so many of the principles that applied to being a Digital Age Author. We are now Author CEOs, no matter what path we take. So what does it take to be a REAL Author CEO?”
Susan Spann: Who Can an Author Trust? (Trusts in Author Estate Planning, Part 1). Excerpt: “Today we continue the ongoing series on author estate planning with a look at how to pass copyrights by means of a trust. The language we look at here applies only to revocable trusts, meaning trusts established by a living person or persons (the “settlor” – in our case, an author and/or the author and his or her spouse) which can be canceled or modified during the settlor’s lifetime.”
Indie / Self-Publishing
Chuck Wendig: “Indie First?” What Is Best In Publishing?. Excerpt: “What I want to do is to talk a little more about this “indie first” path — the path that Howey and others feel is the best way forward for new authors. This was also echoed a number of times at the Writer’s Digest East Conference, where I spoke this past weekend. Lots of folks were suddenly presenting self-publishing less as a standalone option and more as the new gate (kept or unkept) leading to traditional publishing. Self-publish first, they say, and get attention and audience. You can even query the published story while it sells on the digital marketplace. It’s an interesting shift. And not wrong or impossible. But, is it “the best?”
David Gaughran: Self-Publishing Grabs Huge Market Share From Traditional Publishers. David takes a look at Nook, Kindle and the breakdown of the “official numbers” for the first part of 2013. Excellent Post!
Elizabeth S. Craig: Make Your Content Work Harder for You. Excerpt: “Recently readers started really…well, I’d like to say encouraging me since badgering me sounds rude, to explore other formats for my work. I’d received random and scattered emails since the ebooks released, asking about print versions. I’d always been able to gently respond that I’d get around to print at some undetermined future date. Then I received a particularly direct email…”
Hannah Shepphard: 5 Tips for Self-published Authors to Maximize Rights and Licensing Deals. Excerpt: “The discussion of the pros (and cons) of self-publishing (or indie publishing, if you prefer) rages across a wide gamut of publishing media every day. But the debates all focus on the idea of getting a book published in one market — what few fail to address is how self-published authors can maximise the full potential of their creative work in terms of rights licensing deals.”
What is Dying Now?
This little segment is all about Scott Turow, “head” of the Author’s Guild. While I’d love to insert my own thought here, I’ll abstain. Decide on your own, if you choose to explore.
Barry Eisler: Scott Turow And The Politics of Cowardice. Excerpt: “There are a lot of substantively interesting aspects of “Authors Guild” president Scott Turow’s April 7 New York Times op-ed, “The Slow Death of the American Author.” Indeed, you could write a long article debunking all the factual mistakes, legal errors, misleading claims, and failures of logic that comprise Turow’s screed. Happily, Mike Masnick of TechDirt has done so, in a devastatingly well-argued and empirically based piece called “Authors Guild’s Scott Turow: The Supreme Court, Google, Ebooks, Libraries and Amazon Are All Destroying Authors.” I won’t repeat what Masnick has already so ably pointed out, and will instead add just a few observations of my own.”
David Gaughran: A List of Things Scott Turow Doesn’t Care About. Excerpt: “Scott Turow woke up from his slumber recently to bark nonsense about Amazon’s acquisition of Goodreads on the Authors Guild blog, before being thoroughly eviscerated in the comments. Undeterred, Turow sought out the considerably larger platform of the New York Times’ Op-Ed pages on Monday to decry The Slow Death of the American Writer.”
Kristine Kathryn Rusch: The Business Rusch: Anti-Published. Excerpt: “What you need to know is this: Our ignorant friend Mr. Turow believes that the American Author is under siege, that we’re losing ground, and that the Great American novel will disappear. He published that ridiculousness three days ago. Let me show you the life of a so-called besieged American author. My life. In the past three days, I have…”
Joel Friedlander: eBook Formatting Tips for Print Book Authors. Excerpt: “As soon as you introduce the types of formats found in many kinds of nonfiction—like subheads, bulleted and numbered lists, extracts, quotes, tables, charts, graphics, figures, captions, and so on—your book will get increasingly difficult to convert successfully to eBook formats. So how can you organize your book while you’re preparing your print edition so it moves smoothly to an eBook when it comes time to convert it?”
Elizabeth S. Craig: Audio Books for Self-Published Authors–ACX. Here is a complete overview and tips on using ACX to broaden the reach of your writing, audio-style.
Marcy Kennedy: 4 Ways Google+ Communities Help Authors Build Their Platforms. Excerpt: “Did you know that Google+ has the second most active user base of all social media sites? Yet one of the biggest complaints I hear about Google+ from authors is that they struggle to meet potential future readers and to get others to engage with what they’re posting. The solution to both problems is Google+ communities.”
Melissa Donovan: Pinterest: A Visual Marketing Tool for Writers and Bloggers. Excerpt: “My blog is about writing, which isn’t exactly a visual topic. I didn’t see how I could use Pinterest as a marketing tool and the last thing I needed was another online distraction. It didn’t seem like a place where writers would hang out, so I decided not to sign up. Imagine my surprise a few months later when I discovered Pinterest was sending a significant amount of traffic to my site.”
Amanda Luedeke: 5 Ideas for Using Pinterest as an Author. Five excellent quick tips for using Pinterest to both aid your writing and market your work/brand.
Talli Roland: O Blogger, Wherefore Art Thou? Excerpt: “Four years ago, I was like most other writers: feverishly blogging every day to try to build up my platform. Back in 2009, blogs were hot, and everyone and their dog (sometimes literally!) had one. Fast forward four years, and blogs aren’t what they used to be.”
Dan Blank: 4 Ways Blogging Will Make You a Better Writer. Excerpt: “Recently, social media seems to have stolen the spotlight from blogging. And while I am a huge advocate for writers engaging in social media, today I want to explore the value of blogging to help you improve your craft of writing and grow your audience.”
Dianna Dilworth: Turn Your WordPress Blog into an App in Minutes with UppSite. Interesting new tool for bloggers worth checking out.
Jessica Bennett: The Discoverability Challenge: With More Authors Self-Publishing Each Year, How Will Your Book Get Noticed? Excerpt: “When I first decided that I wanted to be a writer, I assumed in perfect naivety that the hardest part of the process would be writing the book. Now that I had a book, I thought the rest would be easy, or at least less hard. How wondrously wrong I was.”
Dana Lynn Smith: Use Relationship Marketing to Sell Books. Five smart common sense principles to keep in mind when marketing your work, and yourself.
Rachel Aydt: Smashwords Prioritizes International Self-Publishing Markets. Excerpt: “Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords, is moving his company — already heralded as the largest, global, indie, self-publishing digital outlet — to an even more global playing field. As international as the distributor/publisher is, all instructions on the Smashwords site remains in English (including a very lengthy and comprehensive self-publishing guide written by Coker). That is about to change…”
Porter Anderson: Ether for Authors: Who Is Pitching Whom?. Insights from the Writer’s Digest Conference, hybrid author initiatives, the danger of predictions in a fast-changing industry and much more.
Dennis Abrams: Barnes and Noble Rebrands Self-publishing Platform Pubit as NOOK Press. Because, when something is working correctly, it should be changed…
D.D. Scott: Self-Published Authors: Have You Switched from Nook Pubit to Nook Press? D.D. breaks down some of the important aspects of B&N’s transition. Worth the read if you are a PubIt! user.
Jason Boog: How To Self-Publish with Amazon: Video Tutorial. AND How To Self-Publish with Kobo: Video Tutorial. AND Self-Publishing with Smashwords: Video Tutorial. Jason put up one for Nook as well, but they made him take it down for privacy reasons (?) – have to love counter-intuitive marketing *smile*
Amit Agarwal: A Podcast Directory Integrated with Dropbox and Google Drive. Excerpt: “With Podcast Gallery, you can watch or listen to your favorite podcasts online in the browser itself. You can also send podcast episodes to your Dropbox or Google Drive accounts via the cloud itself.”
Dianna Dilworth: Turn Your Old iPhone Into a Security Camera. Excerpt: “If you’ve got an old iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch laying around, you can use Presence by Power People to turn it into a surveillance camera. Maybe you want to watch your pet while you are away at work, or you want to make sure that the new nanny you hired is doing a good job watching your child.“
Have an excellent day *smile*