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.
Inform & Inspire
Alan Tucker: How to Become a Successful Writer. Excerpt: “It’s funny sometimes how our lives can turn on a simple thought. I had a first draft finished around October. It took longer than expected, but I hadn’t completed a piece this long before, clocking in at around 90,000 words. My daughter’s reaction after reading it? “It’s really good, Dad,” delivered in that teenage, noncommittal monotone that those of you with kids will know perfectly well. With that less-than-resounding vote of confidence, that winter I embarked on researching the publishing industry.”
Dan Blank: The Experience You Create For Readers Goes Beyond The Book. Excerpt: “The work itself (the book or song) is alive. Evolving. In the minds of those who read the book, in their experience of talking about it with friends, in how the work itself shapes their actions in life. This is really what an author’s platform is, and the true effect of a book. Not a “bestseller list,” and not “Twitter followers.”
Piper Bayard: Everything I Know About Writing Sci Fi I Learned from Star Trek. Excerpt: “There are dozens of books out there that will teach you to write, but I learned everything I need to know about writing Sci Fi from Star Trek: The Original Series. Star Trek has it all.”
Kristen Lamb: Learning to Drop the Donkey–Is Perfectionism Killing Your Career? Excerpt: “All of us want to do a good job. We want to put our best foot forward. We all say that we want feedback and critique, but deep down, if we are real honest, we want people to love everything we say and do. Unfortunately, this isn’t the reality. We can’t please everyone, and it is easy to fall into a people-pleasing trap that will steal our passion, our art, and our very identity.”
Jami Gold: How to Make the Most of a Scene. Excerpt: “Good scenes should have at least three reasons for existing. Those evil info dump or backstory scenes falter not only because of bad structure, but also because they fail to be relevant to the overall story. They’re missing those other reasons for existing.”
Janice Hardy: 10 Traits of a Strong Antagonist. Excerpt: “A strong antagonist makes a strong protagonist, which makes a strong story. Strong stories make for happy readers. It’s a win/win for everyone involved. Except maybe the antagonist, who probably gets defeated, but that’s kind of her job. There are also plenty of things that make a great antagonist, but the ones who stay in our heads (and hearts) and there one who are more than just cardboard cutouts of “evil” people. They’re worthy of the hero, colorful in their own right, and might even make us like them.”
Ava Jae: How to Write Description Through Character. Excerpt: “You see, when writing in first person, or even limited or close third, it’s very important to always keep the character in mind, but not just in the sense of getting to know them and perfecting their voices. You need to be able to climb into their heads and not only imagine the scene from their eyes in the sense of how they will react to their situation or their actions thereafter, but pin down what they notice when writing description.”
K.M. Weiland: 5 Ways to Write a Killer Plot Twist. Excerpt: “I love plot twists. Mistaken identities, sneaky plans, sleight of hand—it’s all grand. Nothing makes me happier than a story that pulls the rug out from under me and shows me that my perception of the story up to that point is nowhere near as cool as the reality. But, by the same token, nothing annoys me more than a story that fools me and then laughs at me—or, worse, thinks it’s fooled me when, really, it’s only bored me.”
Larry Brooks: Saturday Morning Version of “The Hero’s Journey”. Excerpt: “You’ve heard of The Hero’s Journey. Chances are you’ve studied it. Joseph Campbell gets credit for it (calls it a Monomyth, a term borrowed from James Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake), as presented in his book, The Hero With A Thousand Faces (1949… it didn’t hit the bestseller list until 1988 — there’s always hope — when PBS aired a special entitled The Power of Myth). This is how it’s done, no matter how you label the parts.”
Cressida Downing: 5 Ways To Get The Most Out Of Your Editing Experience. Excerpt: “Self-published authors are often urged to get their work edited, to give it that professional edge – but it can be a costly and frustrating experience. Here’s how to get the most out of your editing experience.”
Lindsay Buroker: A Full-time Indie Author Answers Your Questions: Part 1. Excerpt: “I’ve gotten a lot of nice email since Forged in Blood II came out, but I’m woefully behind in my responses. A lot of them are related to my books, but because of this blog, I often get questions related to self-publishing and book promotion too. I thought I’d try to whack two birds with one stone (if you’d seen me throw, you’d be snickering at this notion) and share some of my answers here. Then the next time someone emails with one of these questions, I can point them to this post. (If you have any questions of your own, feel free to leave them in the comments below.)”
Joanna Penn: The 5-Step Mission Statement (An Author Essential). Excerpt: “In the business world, corporations of all sizes look to their company mission statement as a guidepost for important decisions. When things get muddy, a good mission statement gives clarity to the company’s purpose. It’s like a cliff’s notes guide and a compass wrapped in one convenient package. So why don’t you have one? Authors are entrepreneurs in their own right, which means we should use the same set of tools any other business would use to move toward the company’s goals.”
Ali Luke: How to Finish Your Novel (While Life Goes On). Excerpt: “The good news is that you can do it. You CAN produce a finished novel – without your fairy godmother waving a magic wand and granting you six months away from your regular life.”
Jenny Hansen: 10 OneNote Features that Will Rock Your Writing World. Excerpt: “OneNote is a planner and note taking software. Capture text, images, video and audio notes, and keep important information readily available. If you’re the organized type, it’s likely that you have a binder with all of the research information and pictures for your book.”
Jami Gold: The New Face of Book Pirates: Plagiarists. Excerpt: “The reality of book pirates is far scarier than we think. Welcome to a wild, lawless—and more importantly, consequence-free—mash-up of fan fiction, plagiarists, content scrapers, and Amazon scammers.”
Susan Spann: Taxes 101 for Authors. Excerpt: “Most people in the United States work as employees of someone else. This is true of writers also – many of us do something other than write full time. For those of us who qualify as self-employed, business owners, or independent contractors of one type or another, the purpose of this post is probably already clear. For those who work as employees, however, a writing career means it’s time to think outside the W-2.”
Publishing / Indie Publishing
Kristine Kathryn Rusch: The Business Rusch: Dreams and Bestsellers. Excerpt: “Because of this blog, I see a lot of publishing contracts. People want advice on certain clauses. I tell folks that I can’t give legal advice because I’m not a lawyer, but I will look at the contract and tell them if they need to hire a lawyer to negotiate it. Most of the time (99.9% of the time), they need that lawyer, and I will help them find a lawyer if need be.”
Joanna Penn: Three Ways Marketing Fiction Differs from Marketing Nonfiction. Excerpt: “For nonfiction writers, an author’s platform is gold. And for good reason: it can sell a lot of books. But over the past five years, as I’ve transitioned from authoring nonfiction advice books to writing thrillers, I’ve had to learn how to spread my message all over again. I’ve also discovered three significant differences between fiction and nonfiction book marketing.”
Jane Friedman: Audience Development for Writers: Your Life-Long Career Investment. Excerpt: “In my lunch talk at the 2013 Midwest Writers Workshop (20 minutes), I discuss my personal story of growing my readership, then share principles I follow to make it an enjoyable and sustainable process.” Video.
Cate Russell-Cole: Indie Author Organizations for Publicity. Excerpt: “Here is the list of the sites I have found so far. Please research them and use your discretion before joining, especially if payment is required. As usual, I am not liable for your experience. (I hate having to say that!) If you find a great one, tell everyone.”
Bob Baker: Three Easy Steps to Selling a LOT More Books and Information Products. Excerpt: “There’s a mistake I see many authors make when it comes to creating and promoting books and other info-products, such as online courses, teleclasses, webinars, etc. It’s a blunder that causes dwindling cash flow and frustration over slow sales. But there’s a simple remedy I can sum up in three simple steps. First, let’s identify the problem …”
Lindsay Buroker: How To Win Followers and Influence Readers on Wattpad. Excerpt: “I’ve had a few folks write guests posts about Wattpad in the last year and I keep running across news stories on Wattpad authors getting picked up by publishers, so it must be the place to be right now. At the least, it’s a place where you can offer samples (or full books) of your work for free and build an audience.”
Marcy Kennedy: 7 Reasons Every Writer Needs to Be on Twitter. Excerpt: “Twitter often gets a bad rap by people who don’t understand it, misunderstand it as full of spam and celebrity stalkers, or don’t know how to use it to its full potential to build an author platform. When used correctly, though, Twitter can be one of the best tools for meeting new readers and increasing traffic to your blog. Not to mention it’s fun!”
Dianna Dilworth: Facebook Adds Embedding For Select Media Outlets, More to Come. Excerpt: “Facebook joins Youtube, Twitter and Instagram in allowing news organizations to embed public Facebook posts within their websites and blogs.” Bonus Article from Amit Agarwal: How to Embed Any Facebook Post [Workaround].
Amit Agarwal: A Simple Way to Create RSS Feeds for Twitter. Excerpt: “Twitter has dropped support for RSS Feeds but there does exist a solution, slightly complicated though, that you may use to generate feeds for your various Twitter streams including Twitter search results, user timelines and even Twitter lists.”
Jason Boog: Moleskine Combines iPad Case & Paper Notebook. Excerpt: “Moleskine has released a new iPad 3 or iPad 4 cover and notebook combination, helping you scribble on paper or the iPad while creating.”
Dianna Dilworth: Cornucopia: The 3D Printer for Food. Excerpt: “We’ve heard a lot about 3D printers being used to make things, but would you eat what comes out a 3D printer? MIT researcher Marcelo Coelho thinks that you might.”
Ruth Harris: The Writer’s Toolbox: Must-Haves for Today’s Author, with Links to FREE Downloads. Excerpt: “Even writers just starting out will probably already have at least some of these tools, but there is so much out there on the web with new stuff appearing constantly, much of it FREE, that we want to add a page to the blog to round up what’s currently available.“
Hi Gene. Thanks so much for the shout out. Always an honor to be included on this list of yours. Have a great weekend. 🙂
Always welcome, Piper. Hope you have a great weekend as well. 🙂
Thanks much for the shout-out for Ruth Harris’s post on “the Writer’s Toolbox” our blog. We’re going to put her post along with my “How to Get Your Book Published–with links to FREE info” on a permanent page on our blog.
Most welcome, Anne. That is an excellent idea. Love all the resources on your site, it truly is a Writer’s Toolbox. 🙂
A cornucopia of great links. Thanks for this versatile collection
Thank you!!!!!!!!!! You’ve made my Monday! 🙂 (Yes, I am rather behind.)
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Another excellent list, Gene! Loved Ruth Harris’ post and Jenny Hansen always has something to teach us. Dan Blank and Ava Jae also had awesome posts. Thanks for pulling so much great info together!