Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Writers And Readers Websites Wednesday - Writing And Publishing


Writer? Then this site's for you. Publishing And Other Forms Of Insanity - aka, Published To Death. A blog run by Erica Varillo, it offers lots of resources and tips - and lets you know what she did wrong along the line. 

Articles, Links, resources you'll find it here. 

Reader? If you want a glimpse into the writers world and the world of publishing - come on in, you'll find it eye-opening and interesting.
Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity
Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

5 Tips for Aspiring Writers

 Aspiring Writer? Well for starters I’d stop ‘aspiring’. If you’re writing you’re a writer. I’ve said it before so pay attention, I’m going to offer a few tips to those writers out there who are about to break into publishing and who are determined to keep on writing. 

And speaking of determined to keep on, here’s the first tip. 

Get used to rejection. Probably a lot of it. Not the best ‘holiday’ news, but there you are. Or, think about self publishing. BUT, and it’s a big but, if you go the self-publishing route, make sure that book is damn near perfect before you toss it out there via one of the publishing platforms like Amazon, Smashwords or some other. It’s always important, but even more important on the first go. If people read your book and find it loaded with typos and disjointed sentences, believe me they aren’t going to go for book number two. And even if it’s a great first book, it’s probably not going to do too well – unless you have a lot of promotional savvy and a good helping of luck.

And if you do self-publish and find incredible success (rare though that is) don’t think of it as just a springboard to the ‘big publishers’. Maybe you’d want to publish with them if they offer you a contract, but maybe not. Weigh your options and do your homework – do they really have something to offer above that great success? Seriously, self-publishing can make your work available all over the world but the ball is squarely in your court for everything; arranging publication, book cover design, promotion, everything. And on top of that you have to already have created compelling stories and you better be really good at sparking online interest. Hmmm, like I said, weigh your options.

Here’s Tip Two. If you haven’t been published and your confidence is not up to where it should be, fake it. Pretend. Develop another persona. Whatever it takes to pump it up and put that writing out there or pitch ideas. The ability to do many things online can help, but it’s best to develop that confident fa├žade for the ‘in person’ times you’re going to have to pitch or talk to folks. Eventually it’ll be the real thing.

If you decide to publish with the big publishers you might run into the problem of exclusivity. That’s when that publisher wants exclusive rights to publish future works written by an author (you). This can be tricky, but if you need to get around that think about using pen names. That way, for Tip Three you can give a publisher exclusive rights to books by one name and perhaps go in another writing/publishing direction with another pen name. It also works when self-publishing in different genres or non-fiction vs. fiction.
Writing fiction and scripts? Cool. You have a pretty good grasp of writing with colorful abandon. Non-fiction? It still applies. You may not get as rowdy as you do with fiction, but there remains that need to keep the reader engaged. The writing can’t be dry as toast or you’re going to lose them.  So, for Tip Four,  add color, give detail as to what the driving force is, add insights from different perspectives, find ways to engage the reader. 

And finally Tip Five – write, write write – then write some more. Just because a book doesn’t sell immediately don’t assume it won’t. Don’t let unpublished works take the wind out of your sales. Consider self-publishing. Keep submitting . Create more. 

Now, didn’t that help? A pep talk right before the new year begins. Go get ‘em tigers!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Writers And Readers Websites Wednesday -Why To Read Books
Why To Read Books presents us with fun and fascinating lists of books to read. Lists such as 7 Great Book Titles That Make You Want to Read the Book, Best Sci-Fi Books: 7 Mind Blowing And Frightening Sci-Fi Books, Young Adult Books That Are Worth Reading, 7 Best Lines From Books Which Will Stay With You Long After You Read Them -- and others. 

They're great lists for both readers and writers. There's a lot here and it's great fun to explore. You might even find some books you want to read.  So go ahead, check it out, you know you want to. And after you do  come on back here and let everyone know what lists you enjoyed the most... go ahead, look below, added yours to the comments.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Writers Got To Move It, Move It… Mentally and Physically
                                                                                               Shall We Dance?

As writers we constantly think about things such as story, character development, arc, style, grammar and endless variations and extras. Bud underpinning all that has to be your basic every day stuff. From your writing fog you look up and say, what’s that? 

What that is is how you pursue your writing work, how you write, how you treat yourself when you write. 

Do you set daily priorities, know what you need to get done? Do you stick to those priorities, whether a daily word or page count or some writing business you need to get taken care of? Or do you allow yourself to get distracted by your email, the web or whatever? Email can be a terrible time sap, not just because you read it but because of what you allow it to do to you. You have to respond to this email, that one offers a special deal you can’t refuse, another is a friend texting to chat. 

There goes your morning if you check your email before you begin writing. Seriously, it can wait. Ask those people closest to you who may email or text you to use some code word in the subject line that indicates an emergency – heck just use ‘emergency’ if they really really need you and not to use it unless it IS an emergency. You know your friends and who you can count on. Then quickly scan your email for that word in the subject line. Everything else can wait. I repeat, everything else can wait. Your writing time is your writing time. No calls, no web, no nothing but writing. If you can’t do this simple thing to help yourself or you can’t get cooperation, then I recommend you not check your email first thing – leave it until later. Remember something you need to do on Email? Jot it down. Yes, it can wait. Don’t let others decide how your day is going to go for you. Take charge and stand firm. Write. 

Another thing, I hope you’re taking good care of yourself. How your mind works hinges on how you take care of your body and mind. It’s a shame I have to mention it, but coffee alone is not breakfast. To, eat well, drink water, exercise, skip the alcohol and caffeine (most of it anyway) and if you don’t think you’re getting enough of the right stuff in your food, add a good broad-spectrum supplement. You’ll be glad you did. You’ll feel better and think more clearly and that’s what writing is all about, right? Clear mind, great story. 

And don’t forget to take breaks – often. We so frequently get wrapped up in what we’re writing we forget to simply step away from the computer, get a glass of water or cup of tea. Get up for heaven’s sakes. Stretch. Take a short walk if you can. Get a stationary bike (I did and love it for my ‘quickie’ breaks). I also walk up and down the stairs and do easy stretches in my office. It refocuses, makes me feel good, and yes, science is on our side in this, the person who takes frequent breaks outperforms the foolish folks who sit transfixed like lumps at their computers. Have an adjustable desk as well – what a great thing! I can stand or sit and the desk goes with me. A Varidesk.

Just got back from walking up and down the stairs a couple of times. So, what are you going to do? Got little tips for writers to keep moving? Share them in the comments below.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Writers and Readers Websites Wednesday - Author Susan Day's Blog
Yep, we're celebrating Author Susan Day's blog this week. She has a great site for reading and writing - and lots of stuff for kids to get them reading and writing too. Susan's also an illustrator and writes Kid's books herself so it's an all around fun site. 

Really, don't miss it, chock full of story starters, interviews, guest posts, book reviews and free activities for kids to develop reading and writing skills. A real keeper. Bookmark this one.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Writers, Writing and Writer's Gifts For The Holidays

Okay, it’s that time of year – starting to think about what you can get your friends who write or who just spend a lot of time at a desk? I’m not going to beat around the bush with lots of filler and ‘words’ here, I’m going to use this blog to give you some ideas. I usually do this about once a year as we head into the holidays, and I cover some stuff that’s moderately expensive all the way down to free, so here goes. 

Got some cash you can part with? TheVaridesk is fantastic. It’s adjustable so the user can stand or sit easily, and its simple and quick to adjust, a pair of handles on the side and raise or lower.  I got one about a year ago and love it. Spend a lot more time standing and everything I hear points to that being the more healthy approach; a division between sitting and standing.

A new printer maybe? Just got the HPOfficeJet 8600 all in one myself. A Great machine for the money. 

Scriptwriting software for that special someone a possibility? I personally use Movie Magic Screenwriter 6 

If you’re kind of scraping the bottom of the barrel funds-wise yourself you can consider compiling a list of free apps and great websites that special person may not know about. For Example, there’s Adobe Story an online Scriptwriting App. The Writer can set up an account and away you go.  I’ll mention other freebies along the way here.

There are always the old stand-bys like pens, high-lighters, pencils, staplers, anything for the desk top and blank books of various descriptions. You can find those blank books online or locally, sometimes very reasonably or very expensively, depending. I put out a blank journal for writers called Weighty Words  A Quotable Writers and Artists Notebook. Slim and paperback = economical.

Amazon’s Kindles come in a variety of configurations and price range starting at $99 – link in and poke around 

You can get Word and on the freebie side there’s Open Office  It’s a totally free office suite. Mac or PC.

Or YWriter – free software for writers.

Then there are sites you can put on your ‘recommend’ list that are helpful for the Indie writer and self-publisher, a list you can compile with a bit of work and no $ outlay – here are just a few ideas:

J. A. Konrath – Newbie Guide To Publishing 

The Passive Voice - A Lawyer's Thoughts on Authors, Self-Publishing and Traditional Publishing  

Indies Unlimited – Site for Writing, Publishing and Marketing Books 

Don’t forget the Adobe Screenwriting App mentioned above.

The Book Designer – Practical Advice to Help Self-Publishers Build Better Books 

Jane Friedman – Helping Authors Flourish in the Digital Age 

There are lots more out there, websites offering first line story-starters, naming sites of all types, resource sites and a whole lot more. Amazing what you can unearth by doing some searches.

Maybe you’d like some links to Ebooks you can gift. Not necessarily on writing – or maybe on writing:

M Pax’s Backworlds – Sci Fi - starts with The Backworlds free beginning of the series.

Also M Pax’s The Rifters - Sci Fi/Steampunk/Adventure - also free & beginning of another great series.


Or Lorna Suzuki’s Imago soon to be a motion picture and reasonably priced. 

 Romance? You could try a couple of mine:

Cloud Dancer – historic romance 

Dark Side of Love – contemporary romance

 Television Writing From the Inside Out by Larry Brody - this one’s on writing!


 Need books, software and more for that favorite writer – you can visit Writer’s Emporium – an Amazon store 

Whatever you do no doubt it’ll be appreciated whether you can afford a high ticket item or expend your own sweat to do some digging. Get in the spirit and give the gift with the personal touch – something you really thought about.

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