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
Jami Gold: WANACon: A Conference for All Writers. “Imagine a writers’ conference with high-quality speakers, matching those found at national conferences. Imagine being able to attend for a fraction of the cost of other national writers’ conferences and with no travel costs. Imagine being able to attend no matter your location, time zone, health or family issues, etc. Now imagine all that in a virtual conference center, complete with a “lobby” for chatting between sessions, social activities to get to know other attendees, live presentations with webcams and screen sharing, and real-time question and answer sessions. In short, imagine an online conference that felt like an in-person conference—other than the pajamas and fuzzy slippers.”
Gabriela Pereira: What I Learned About Balancing Writing and Life From Elizabeth Craig. “For most writers a book a year is a great goal. It’s difficult, sure, but still manageable. After the release of Quilt Trip in December, Elizabeth Craig will have released four books just this year. In addition to that she writes an award-winning blog, tweets links to some of the best writing info on the web, and manages the writer’s equivalent of Google. Oh, and did I mention she also has a family and a life, and even finds time to drive the carpool?”
Jeff Goins: Rules, Discipline, and the Paradox of Creativity. “For an artist, rules are tricky. In creative work, they can be your best friend or worst enemy. They keep us safe from going off the “deep end” but can also restrict our passions. So how do we use these regulations for good?”
Kristen Lamb: How Sick is Your Novel—Can It Be Saved? “Many writers struggle. We hate our beginnings, revisions are a nightmare and endings can fizzle. We work, rework, cry, try again and still don’t nail it. The second act sags and we start wondering if maybe we should reconsider learning medical billing instead of writing. Yet, I do have good news. I’ve never worked with a
dying patient manuscript that couldn’t be saved.”
Jami Gold: Are Beat Sheets Intimidating? Cut through the Clutter. “It’s no secret that I’m a fan of story structure. I’ve created several beat sheets and have oodles of posts about the topic. But I’m also not a math person, so the idea of working in Excel for all those worksheets gave me the heebie-jeebies at first. I’m probably not the only one.”
Chuck Sambuchino: How to Start Your Novel. “One of the most common reasons why agents and editors stop reading sample pages is simply that the story starts too slow. Gone are the days when a book could “get good on page 12.” We also can no longer compare our writing to classic works or even books written 30 years ago that started slow and found marketplace success. Today’s novels — especially debut novels — must grab readers from the first page, the first paragraph, even the first sentence.”
Ali Luke: Choosing the Right Viewpoint and Tense for Your Fiction [With Examples]. “Who’s telling your story? Perhaps the choice is easy and obvious: you’re writing from a particular character’s viewpoint in the first person (“I”) and the whole story is from their perspective. Or perhaps it’s trickier than that. You’ve got a story to tell involving multiple characters, and you need to make some choices.”
Elizabeth S. Craig: Writing Setting and Other Description—Getting Past the “Who Cares?” Aspect. “I dislike writing setting and description, but I used to absolutely despise it. I’ve got plenty of now-published manuscripts in my Word archives with helpful editorial direction on them: “Elizabeth, could you share with us what this car looks like? I can’t really picture it.”
Marcy Kennedy: How to Write a Tagline for Your Book (And Why You Need To). “As writers, we hear about loglines all the time—how to write them, why we need them, when to use them. And so, when we hear about this thing called a tag line, it’s easy to make the mistake of thinking tag line is just another name for a logline. It’s not and we need both because the tagline is what goes on your book cover.”
Chuck Wendig: 25 Things You Should Know About Worldbuilding. “Worldbuilding is one of those topics that bakes my noodle every time my brain chooses to dwell on it. I have a whole bucket full of opinions, many of them in stark disagreement with one another. So, this list below should never at any time be taken as “25 Exhaustive Universal Truths About Worldbuilding,” but rather be regarded as, “25 Things Chuck Wendig Thinks About Worldbuilding At This Exact Moment In Time, Oh, Wait, Some Of Them Just Changed.”
Cate Russell-Cole: Writing Toxins: Optimising A Fully Functioning Mind. “Like all writers, I have days where I just can’t get work done. I have goals, deadlines and a schedule I try and follow, but it can be easier to plan than to write. If I have failed to nurture my mental energy, I just want to fall asleep on my keyboard, achieving nothing. One of the biggest source of this problem comes from the mind – body connection we all have. Brains need fuel. The most critical components are oxygen and sleep.”
Debra Eve: How to Create a Three-Phase Writing Ritual. “Literature abounds with the quirky things writers do to entice the muse. Victor Hugo wrote in the nude so he wouldn’t leave the house. Steven Pressfield recites the Invocation to the Muse from Homer’s Odyssey and writes on his computer until he starts making too many typos. Then copies his work to disk and stores it in his truck in case the house catches fire. Victor Hugo and Philip Pullman have writing habits, but Maya Angelou and Steven Pressfield engage in writing rituals. The difference is immense.”
Bob Mayer: Redux: “I’m convinced fear is at the root of most bad writing.” Stephen King. “Actually, I believe fear is at the root of almost every problem a person has. Fear can be paralyzing. It’s an insidious force that destroys from within.”
Porter Anderson: Hybrid Author Hugh Howey on Self vs. Traditional Publishing. “If publishers price their ebooks low enough…readers will buy more than one version of the same book. Speaking earlier this month, a few days before Amazon announced its MatchBook plan to offer “bundling” of low-cost or free ebooks with print book purchases, self-publishing entrepreneur and hybrid author Hugh Howey was — as seems usual — a bit ahead of the game: ”Ebook-plus-audio or ebook-plus-print,” he told Publishing Perspectives in an interview.” Also from Porter: 10 Counterintuitive Tips for Self-Publishers.
Dean Wesley Smith: Killing the Top Ten Sacred Cows of Publishing: #4… You Need an Agent to Sell a Book. “Some myths are very, very deep and based in old publishing and I’m afraid this agent myth is one of them. This one caused the most anger the first time I wrote it and now in this updated and redrafted version, I’m sure it will have its detractors. (I love that kind of understatement.) The key is to just step back and think it through, decide what path, what method, is right for you. Very easy for me to say, very hard for all of us to do.”
Dianna Dilworth: Indie Author & Graphic Designer Launches New eBook Store Called Libiro. “ ”
Susan Spann: Copyright Formalities Part 2: Copyright Registration. “Today, we’re continuing discussion of copyright formalities with a look at copyright registration, meaning registration of copyrighted works with the United States Copyright Office.* The U.S. Copyright Office allows authors and publishers to register copyrighted works. Registration can be completed online or by mail (though the Copyright Office prefers online registrations, and I suspect before long online registration may become mandatory).”
Cate Russell-Cole: Facebook Groups for Indie Authors. “There are many… here’s a starter list. Not all these groups are Indie specific. Try searching under Indie, Author and Writer on Facebook to find more. I am not involved with many of these groups, as I simply don’t have enough time: so please use at your own discretion. I have left the full web address here so this page can be printed.”
Lisa Hall-Wilson: 5 Reasons to Use a Facebook Profile (Not a Page) to Build Platform. “My host here today, Jane, was among the first to announce she was only going to use her personal Profile on Facebook rather than starting an official Page. That trend is growing, and there are a number of reasons why that might be a good idea for you too. First, let’s make sure we’re all using the same terms. A Page and a Profile are distinct things in the Facebook environment, and there’s an easy way to tell the difference between them.”
Jenny Hansen: 3 Tips On Cleaning Up Your Twitter Account. “I just did my yearly Twitter clean-up in Tweepi, which is something I recommend you try. Mind you, I don’t advocate doing this very often. It’s time consuming to go through all the people you follow 20 at a time. That’s all you can see at once on the free version of Tweepi, so this will yearly clean-up will take you an hour (or more, depending on how many people you follow).”
Kristen Lamb: Top 5 Panel-Van-Creepy Social Media Tactics. “It is estimated that the average American is exposed to about 3,000 advertising messages a day. Everywhere we go there is yet another ad—billboards, commercials, radio, train tunnels, e-mail, cereal boxes, mail boxes, and even on the golf holes and bathroom stalls. The simple truth is that we are over-saturated with marketing, and it is making us sick. Those who continue to pour it on will not be regarded fondly. One tactic some “marketers” are using to get beyond our mental ad filters is to “make their approach personal,” but are they simply going too far?”
Anne R. Allen: Blog Communities: Forming a Safe Place for New Writers in a Scary Online World. “Some pretty scary things have been happening in the online book world recently—stuff that’s been shocking to those of us who expect our fellow book-lovers to behave like civilized adults. I spend a lot of time telling new authors how to use social media to create a “platform,” but I probably don’t warn you enough about the dangers. I did write a post last spring on Gangs of New Media, talking about how the “hive mind” and rage addiction are adversely affecting our industry.”
Lindsay Buroker: Pricing for Launch: Book 1 in a New Series, Go High or Low? “If you’ve been following my blog for a while (or since last Thursday), you know I’m releasing the first book in a new series next week. As an independent author, you get to choose your own price for your ebooks, and it’s no surprise that “how much is right?” is hotly debated.”
Kristen McLean: Understanding the Five Phases of Book Marketing. “For a book to successfully find a reader, there are two big things missing from this “new publishing” equation: Marketing and Discovery. In other words, how do we (the content creators) tell people about our work, and how do they (the readers) find new things to read?”
Jeff Goins: Why Building Your Own Platform Is Essential. “If you want to be heard by hundreds or even thousands, you really have no excuse. Nothing’s holding you back. But if building a platform is so accessible, why aren’t more people doing it? Why aren’t people sharing their art? Maybe it’s not for a lack of resources. Maybe it’s lack of understanding — how to use the tools they’ve been given. Maybe you can relate.”
Dianna Dilworth: Smashwords Releases Book Discovery Tool. “Self-publishing platform Smashwords has released a new tool to help authors make their books more discoverable. It’s called Series Manager and it gives writers the ability to attach their books to series, as well as manage series metadata.”
Amit Agarwal: Don’t Use Google+? You Can Still Use it for Editing Photos. “You want the vacation photographs to look awesome before you upload them to your Facebook or send them via email. Image editing tools like Photoshop can help but they seem a little overkill for simple enhancements and you would also need some understanding of Levels and Curves to fix the dull photos.”
Dianna Dilworth: Essay Starter App Helps Writers Add Footnotes. “Sometimes it is easier to write when starting with research. Essay Starter is a new $.99 app from Ashton East that is designed to help writers start essays based on research and then wrap footnotes around these references.“
Lots of great links, as always, Gene! (Huh? You can edit photos with Google+???) Thanks a bunch. 🙂 Hope you’re having a fabulous weekend.
AWESOMER than usual, which is pretty darned awesome to begin with!!!
Looks great, Gene. I’m looking forward to checking out the links.
I’m heading over to Debra’s, Dean’s, Chuck’s and Lisa’s! I was able to get to the rest this week. I feel so productive! Great lineup as usual, Gene! Hope things have settled down a bit for you.
Yay! It worked!
Thanks for the link love for my guest post on Jane Friedman’s blog 😀 Great list!
Thanks for the blog love, Gene. You put together such a wealth of resources I could spend all week-end here!
Thanks, Gene. Going to share
Reblogged this on Amber Dane's Blog and commented:
Helpful links for Writers
Fantastic resources, Gene! Really need to clear some time and give them their due. And thanks for the shout-out. It was a fun post to write, and finally got to put that anthro degree to work :).
Gene, you’re awesome. Thank you!!!!!!
Pingback: Mind Sieve 9/30/13 | Gloria Oliver