Do you have a company or product you need to advertise but don’t know where to start? Do you have questions about starting up a website, branding your image, or getting your name out there? Are you frustrated by conflicting information or answers on Google? It’s time to ask the experts!
At Allwrite Advertising, we’re celebrating the recent renovations to our UPDATED ADVERTISING SITE by hosting a Twitter party for anyone who wants to know more about advertising and marketing. We will answer all of your advertising questions, no matter how big or small, such as…
• What is the difference between PR and Marketing?
• How do you turn Twitter followers into clients?
• How do I use social media to promote my book?
• What are some common mistakes people make while marketing?
• What is one common mistake businesses make when first setting up a website?
• How do I get traffic to my website?
This is an open forum and no questions will go unanswered!
What is a Twitter Party?
A Twitter Party is a virtual “party” in which Twitter users can connect and discuss certain topics while using a designated hashtag. You can learn more about them on Twitter.
When is the Twitter Party happening?
Wednesday, May 1st. From 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m EST.
Who can ask questions?
Anyone with a Twitter account! Simply ask your question (in 140 characters or less) and don’t forget to include our hashtag: #itsallwrite
How many questions can I ask?
As many as you want! This is your opportunity to get answers to all your burning questions, utilize it!
What types of questions can I ask?
You can ask whatever you would like. However, we do ask that people keep their questions broad and accessible to a wide audience (ex: “what colors should I use in my logo?”) rather than specific questions about their own product (ex: “Should I take away the blue line in my logo?”).
Where can I find out more about your services?
If you are interested in our advertising services, you can visit our website at http://www.allwriteadvertising.com. You can also call us at (678) 904-7477 to schedule a consolation.
Everyone knows a good story can sell, but what about its composition? It’s one thing to have a good story; however, if your grammar, punctuation and spelling fall short, you might not have the adequate tools to tell it or at least not clearly. You want to put your best foot forward when presenting your writing to an audience or a publisher. Proper grammar, therefore, is a necessity. While it may seem petty to some, poorly constructed sentences can be the death of a good story. If your grammar is not up to par, publishing houses will not even give your story the time of day. With that said, here are five common grammatical mistakes that you can make sure to correct before you submit your manuscript:
1. Keep your punctuation inside the quotation marks. Whenever quotation marks are used, make sure to keep any punctuation (commas, questions marks, exclamation marks) inside the quote.
“What’s going on”? Sally asked.
“What’s going on?” Sally asked.
2. Make sure you have a new paragraph for every new speaker. As long as there is more than one character speaking, each character needs his or her own paragraph, no matter how long or short the dialogue is.
“Who’s there?” Sally asked. “It’s me,” Charlie said.
“Who’s there?” Sally asked.
“It’s me,” Charlie said.
“You scared me.”
Notice that the last sentence has no attribution (speaker identified), but we know Sally is speaking. How do we know? The writer started a new paragraph immediately after the character to whom she was talking.
3. Use commas to separate character names from their descriptors. When introducing a new character, authors often like to give them a small description to separate them from the rest of the cast. If the description is not essential to the meaning of the sentence, you need to set it off with commas.
Sally was angry with Charlie her annoying younger brother for scaring her.
Sally was angry with Charlie, her annoying younger brother, for scaring her.
4. Watch out for tense changes mid-sentence. Present tense (I am) occurs in the here and now, past tense (I was) explains things that have already happened, and future tense (I will) refers to something that is going to happen. Unless it is a conscious stylistic choice, the narrative of the novel should always remain consistently in one tense.
Sally chased Charlie through the house but can’t catch him.
Sally chased Charlie through the house but couldn’t catch him.
5. Use contractions to make dialogue sound more believable. Contractions occur when two words are combined to make speech flow smoother (ex: do not becomes don’t). Any lack of contractions should be purposeful character quirks or your character will come off sounding stuffy and stilted. Mostly likely, if a character isn’t using contractions, they’re a historical figure.
“I am sorry for scaring you,” Charlie said and offered his toy dinosaur as reparation.
“I’m sorry for scaring you,” Charlie said and offered his toy dinosaur as reparation.
The error comes, however, when these contractions are used incorrectly. This is especially true with the following:
Its vs. It’s (it is)
Your vs. You’re (you are)
Their vs. They’re (they are)
Were vs. We’re (we are)
With these tips in mind, you will make sure readers lose themselves in your storytelling, not your grammatical mistakes. To learn more about editing or to receive quote from editing professionals, contact our editors at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Authors, it’s about time we faced the truth: there is a method to the madness of a starving artist. Structure does not hinder our creative freedom. It, in fact, challenges us to write smarter. Are there ways to get around the three-act structure? Yes, there sure are, but you can’t break the rules if you don’t first know the method behind them. With that in mind, here’s a quick and easy template into which writers should challenge themselves to fit their own novels.
Plot Outline: Describe your novel in one to two sentences. You should be able to whittle your story down to the essence.
Answer these three questions for your readers:
Who is your main character?
What does he/she want? (motivation)
What significant event changes everything?
This significant event will be called your inciting incident. This inciting incident will kick your novel into action. It marks the point in which the readers have finished getting to know the characters and now are propelled into the plot of the story. For example, the inciting incident in the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone occurs when Harry, the forgotten child living under the steps, decides to accept his invitation to go to Hogwarts.
Your second act is the meat of your story. These will be the various trials your main character goes through in attempt to get the single thing he/she wants. Every trial should be an obstacle in your character’s way to keep him/her from getting what he/she wants.
Your second act should end with a turning point. This is often known as the “black moment,” or the moment when all seems lost. In order for the resolution to be truly satisfying at the end, you need to use this point to make everything as hopeless as possible for the hero. For example, in a romantic comedy, this is usually the moment the main character has committed some seemingly unforgivable act and the lovers have separated, fully intending never to get back together (of course, as an audience, we know better). On the flipside, if your novel is a tragedy, this is the point in which the main character is on the top of the world and the author is preparing the readers for the fall.
For the most part, Act III will be split up into two sections:
False resolution: how does your main character get what he/she wants?
True resolution: how does your main character get what he/she needs?
The false resolution is exactly what it sounds like: when the characters have achieved what they want, but not what they need. The false resolution and true resolution are what separates our main characters from the rest of the flock; it’s the very thing that makes their story worth telling.
(Spoiler alert:) in TheHunger Games, the false resolution occurs when Katniss and Peeta seemingly beat the Hunger Games. However, their trials are not over, there is a twist: the rules of the Games have changed and they now have to kill each other. The true resolution occurs when they defy the system and threaten to take Nightlock together, refusing to play by the rules. In defeating the Games, they have survived the main drama of the story, but it isn’t until they threaten the system do they become more than survivors; they become heroes worthy of having their story told.
Is it possible to write a successful story that does not adhere to the three-act structure? Certainly. However, make sure that you know and understand the rules before you try to break them. To learn more about how to strengthen your writing, contact our editors at email@example.com.
It’s no secret that the world of publishing has changed. Books are going digital, self-publishing is coming out of the shadows, and authors are no longer hermits hiding behind a mask of anonymity. In many ways, we should have seen this coming. Musicians do more than just play instruments; they also design clothing lines and create fragrances. Actors don’t only act; they also speak on panels and support popular causes. And now, writers cannot only write; they must also find ways to promote themselves.
However, before you pack your bags and hop on the tour bus, you have to do a little preliminary work called branding. As anyone selling a product will tell you, you have to know what you’re selling before you try to sell it. You need to know who you are as an author before you can try to promote yourself to the world. Skipping the branding step is like handing out blank business cards to potential clients. With that in mind, here are five easy ways for authors to brand themselves:
1. Get your own website. Remember that blank business card? Neither does anyone else. Like contact information on a business card, authors need to think of their career as a business and make sure they provide their readers with everything from contact information to personal tidbits. Probably the best way to do this is via a website. In fact, a website is vital to an author’s success. After all, what is the first thing anyone does these days when they hear about something that interests them? They type it into Google to find more information about it. Having your own website does not only put your name out there, it also gives you complete control of your online presence.
Without a website, you’re allowing readers to define who you are, which can be a tricky slope. One bad review can put a mark on your character. However, once you buy your own website, you become the one in control of telling readers exactly who you are. Just as many readers judge a book by the cover, they may also judge the author by the website, so make sure to put your best foot forward and give it an simple, easy on the eyes design. Websites are also useful for promoting all of your books in one place and keeping readers up to date on all your activities.
2. Get a book trailer. If a website is a tool to define the author, a book trailer is a great way to define your book. Book trailers are quick and easy ways to spark some real interest among readers and get their attention instantly. In the world of movies, many screenwriters will develop what they call an “elevator pitch.” The premise is, in case you find yourself in an elevator with Martin Scorsese, you can pitch him your script in a way that will catch his attention before he reaches his floor. The book trailer, in many ways, is the author’s “elevator pitch.” This is your opportunity to catch your reader’s attention instantly and make sure they want more.
3. Talk to your readers. The digital age has given readers and writers something they never had before—an instant method of communication. The dialogue between readers and writers used to be a one-way street, generally speaking, a brief bout of praise at a book signing or a long-winded letter of admiration. Now, through social media, readers have the chance to get to know their authors and engage in a genuine two-way dialogue.
Develop a genuine interest in your readers. People respond to genuine emotion. With that said, be careful not to alienate potential readers. Unless the driving force of your novel revolves around politics, try to steer clear of controversial issues, even if they “started it.” The internet is full of bad apples, so don’t let one negative commenter turn you into the petty author who argues with his or her readers. Remember, the internet is a public space and everyone is watching. Rather, if you take the high ground and treat all comments (even the negative ones) with respect, your readers and followers will be the ones to defend you.
4. Give yourself a platform. It’s the first question anyone will ask you when they learn that you are a writer. “What is your book about?” Every book should have a cause or a theme behind it. If you know the underlining theme of your book, you will know your target audience. A political biography about Al Gore might be, at the heart of it, about climate change. A fictional story about family dynamics might have mother/daughter relationships at the core of it. A dystopian fantasy novel might really be about empowering young women. Once you know your platform, make sure you use it to open up discussions among your readers. Brand yourself as an expert or, at the very least, an important voice in the field of your study or topic.
5. Give something away. Promotions always catch the interest of readers—especially when they see a product for free or for a discounted price. Online promotions via social media outlets are a great way to attract the attention of your readers and to keep your books flowing off the shelves.
Building partnerships is a vital part of promotions. Once you know your platform, reach out to organizations with similar interests or target audience as yours. For instance, find bloggers with a comparable focus who are willing to promote your book. You can also find companies to give your readers free products for using their services. With everyone working towards the same cause, a partnership can be easily beneficial for everyone involved. It’s important to note that you have to know your platform before you can build a partnership. Otherwise, if you partner with people unrelated or even antithetical to your cause, you may be sending your readers mixed messages.
With these 5 tips, you can (and should) start promoting yourself as an author even before your books hit the shelves. Then, once you have a concrete online presence and a solid idea of what your book represents, you can start to really market your book. You will be able to get involved in activities such as book signings and meet your readers face-to-face, knowing you know how to use the tools to engage them in meaningful, relevant discussions. At Allwrite Publishing, we offer many tools to help authors market and brand their books, such as book trailers and more. Allwrite Advertising offers branding services for authors, including online marketing and public relations. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
In a perfect world, every new writer would receive one, definitive manual loaded with insider secrets designed to give writers a realistic idea of what to expect when they write their first novel. After all, such books exist for every topic, including how to handle pregnancy and how to land your dream job. Although there are countless books and articles about writing, several magazines for writers, and numerous online writing communities, I don’t know of any one source that offers everything writers can expect.
So you wrote a novel and someone offered to publish it. If you were like me as a first-time author, you’re wondering how this will work. You’ve dreamed about this day, but now you’re a clueless publication virgin and with no one to tell you what to do next. Luckily, writers are creative, and we’re more often than not able to learn as we go. With that in mind, I thought I’d share a few words of advice that I’ve learned from my own experience. Here are ten things no one tells writers to expect—things that will happen sooner or later:
If you’re serious about writing as a career, you’re going to work harder than you ever have in your life. Whether you still have a day job or not, you’re going to be pounding the computer keys at odd hours, on weekends, even on holidays. No one will understand why you need to work so hard or long. They won’t understand deadlines or edits. But if you want to succeed, the investment of time is vital.
Your first edits will seem like Greek. Most writers approach new edits with a tight ball of dread in their stomach. Once the file arrives with the tracked changes and other incomprehensible edits, it’s easy to panic. I know I looked over mine, freaked out, figured I’d never be able to do this, and all but decided my career as author would crash before it began. But it’s really not at all hard to learn. I did and so can you.
If you haven’t already, create an online presence. Facebook, Twitter, Pin Interest, and LinkedIn are good places to start. Start a blog immediately, since it takes time to grow an audience. Establish yourself as a credible writer. By the time your novel is released, you’ll already have a wide audience.
Promotion is the dirty word you’ll come to hate. Some hate feeling like they’re flaunting themselves to the world, and others think that it eats up too much time. But in a fast changing world of eBooks and more, competition is fierce. If you want readers to find your book, let alone read the thing, you have to be as dedicated to promoting it as you are to writing it. There’s also a fine line between promotion and overkill. You’ll find resistance and even outright opposition in places like the Amazon forums where people may shred authors who dare to self-promote their work. Be aware that the internet is full of all types of nasty characters, so grow a thick skin, and don’t violate their rules or they may put you on their “never buy” lists. Also, if you use Facebook and Twitter only to promote, you’ll lose followers.
Speaking of a thick skin and growing one – do it. Now. When you put your work out to the world, some people will love it. Others will hate it. You’ll get reviews so glowing you blush and others so bad they send you for your favorite stress reliever. If you write anything with sex, violence or anything controversial, get ready for your community response. In the small town where I live, some say I write dirty books, and others call it smut or trash. Still yet, others applaud my efforts and read my books. Be ready for a myriad of opinions.
Be real. You may use a pen name, but your readers still want to know something about you. Tell them simple things like your favorite color, your favorite author, or your favorite music. Through social networking tools, authors are more accessible to the public than ever before, and people are curious. So share what you’re comfortable sharing. You don’t have to tell them where you live or the names of your kids or your dog, but open up and be a real person behind the back blurb. On the same token, if you used to dash out to the grocery store wearing your oldest, stretched out T-shirt with those pedal pushers your Aunt Susie gave you ten years ago, I’d suggest you stop now. If you don’t, it’ll be the one day someone rushes up to you, calls your name, and tells you how much they loved your book.
Think before you post. Like everyone else, I have opinions, and many of them. But I don’t post much on any social network about my religious views (or lack thereof) or my political affiliations or anything that’s sure to anger someone. I learned the hard way, but after a few simple comments went viral and started a firestorm, I stopped. You don’t want to lose readers because you support a different presidential candidate or are on opposite sides of an issue. It’s just simpler to keep your views out of the broad public spectrum.
You aren’t going to get rich anytime soon. Almost everyone I know assumes I’m very wealthy now just like Danielle Steele, Stephenie Meyer, Stephen King, and the other biggies. I have multiple novels out there in both eBook and paperback, so of course I’m rich, right? Well, no. Actually I’m a long damn way from it, but I am making a little money. It takes a lot of time to build an audience and to sell books consistently. Oh, and royalties, they’re months behind. If your work is sold on a third party site (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, any online or other retailer), the royalties don’t show up for another quarter. This means your first quarter (Jan, Feb, March) may reach you sometime around the end of summer – or beyond.
After the first book or two, some people who have known you for years will assume you’re somehow working the system and can’t be a “real author” because they know you. Others will become tongue-tied in your presence and will have no clue what to say. You’ll be most comforted by the family, friends, neighbors, and others who still treat you the way they always have, especially if they read your books too.
One day, when you least expect it, a reader, possibly one you’ve never met before, will make your day and touch you on a deep emotional level. When you manage to reach someone with your work, it’s a humbling and beautiful emotion. I tend to write about everyday people, and some of my novels are set where I live. I used to teach school in my spare time as a substitute teacher. A young man who never cracked a book in school and didn’t even finish high school called me one day to tell me he read one of my novels and it gave him a sense of purpose. He could connect to the main character who, like him, came from the wrong side of town. Now he can’t get his nose out of books.
On the road to publishing, there are so many other things you will learn the hard way, but at least now you won’t be as blindsided by a few of them.
How to Write Three Novels a Year in Your Spare Time
This blog article is for all the writers who are wondering what I’m talking about when I claim to know how they can write three novels a year in their meager spare time. I’m not talking about 50K novellas masquerading as novels. I’m talking real books, around 80K words minimum.
The math is actually simple. There’s no trick, or rather, there’s one big trick: Developing enough self-discipline to sit down and write for one hour a day.
Before I get too far into this, let me offer some statistics on my own writing. I started self-publishing in June 2011. By June 2012, I had published 15 novels, including two non-fiction (a pet biography titled “An Angel With Fur” and a writing self-help parody, “How To Sell A Gazillion eBooks In No Time”), two trilogies, and a slew of thrillers. These were not short pieces either. My average thriller runs 85K-90K words.
Here’s how I did it: I committed myself to writing seven days a week, twelve hours a day. I figured I would do that for three or four months, then slow the pace, but I got carried away and kept it up for a year, mainly to set a kind of personal best. The truth is it became a habit. Not necessarily a healthy habit, as sitting in one place for twelve hours a day isn’t the best thing for your physiology, but it is what it is, and I’m still in one piece.
I’m not a whiz typist. If I can manage 700 words of decent quality work in an hour, I’m happy. Then I’d take a few weeks off and edit what I’d written, then spend some time plotting the next one, and then I’d dive in again.
I have a very special situation. I don’t work a day job, so I can do this. I recognize most can’t. That brings me full circle back to the topic of this blog.
Can you write three novels a year, say an average of 80K words each? Of course, you can.
Commit to spending one hour a day, every day, to writing your novel. If you are slightly better than I am (which wouldn’t be hard, really, as my typing sucks), you could average 800 words per hour. Multiply that by 300 days. Presto! You have three 80K word novels.
All you have to do is develop the discipline to write one lousy hour a day. That’s it. And you can take 65 days off per year from writing, and use 5 or 10 to plot the next one, and another 12 to edit what you just wrote. When you’re editing/rewriting, spend two hours a day. This will pay off and seem like not a whole lot after you’ve gotten good at writing 800 words every day.
Part of the secret is the preparation. I do a two or three paragraph outline of the high concept of my book idea, and then I do single sentence descriptions of each chapter, telling the story in snippets from beginning to end. Nothing fancy. Here’s an example:
Chapter 1, car explodes; protagonist introduced; bad guys chase her to mine; she escapes.
Chapter 2, flashback to claustrophobic accident as child; sibling dies but she is saved; flashback to present; she breaks into daylight at end of Chapter 2.
And so on…
That way I know roughly what I want to accomplish with each chapter, and I can estimate the number of words it will take. 2K. 3K. Whatever.
Then I sit down, and I start writing. I keep writing until I’m done. I don’t edit as I go along, and I don’t spend a lot of time agonizing over the perfect sentence. I have good days and bad days. I catch the bad days on rewrite. The good days tend to outnumber the bad ones so far.
Can this simple recipe actually work for you? Sure it can. Why not? It’s not superhuman. It doesn’t assume you’re Hemingway or some kind of writing ninja. It merely assumes you’re willing to devote an hour a day to your craft, and commit to it without making excuses or finding reasons not to write.
If that seems like too much, you can write two novels a year, and have more like 150 days where you aren’t writing – where you’re editing, or outlining, or researching, or just relaxing. The point is that you need to commit, focus yourself for an hour, then write, come hell or high water. If you want to be a writer, you need to write. An hour a day isn’t a marathon. It’s actually not much at all. Virtually anyone could manage it.
So here’s a question and a challenge. What are you waiting for? What’s your excuse for not being a writer? If you’re not writing your novel after reading this, you have no excuse. Stop telling yourself you have nothing to write about. Everyone has something to write about.
Now you know what you need to do. Have at it.
Russell Blake is the author of Fatal Exchange, The Geronimo Breach, the Zero Sum trilogy of Wall Street thrillers, Night of the Assassin, King of Swords, Revenge of the Assassin, Return of the Assassin, The Delphi Chronicle trilogy, The Voynich Cypher, An Angel With Fur, How To Sell A Gazillion eBooks In No Time (even if drunk, high or incarcerated), and his latest, releasing July 23, Silver Justice. His blog can be found at http://RussellBlake.com and his books can be purchased at Amazon, where his author page lists his full backlist at http://www.amazon.com/Russell-Blake/e/B005OKCOLE/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1
I have published two novels and I’m now working on another novel (as yet untitled). One of the characters is English, and as much as I would love to hop over to London to get a sense of the speech patterns, that’s not in my budget. What I have been able to do is send excerpts to someone there to see if what I have written sounds right. The world has become so accessible through technology that there is just no reason for anything you write to ring untrue. Research has become amazingly easy! Although I am by no means an expert when it comes to research, I have learned some common sense techniques that could be helpful to anyone.
1) Don’t stress about what you don’t know. Here’s the beauty about research: There is almost nothing you can’t find via Google. For example, I have a character in a novel I have yet to publish who is bipolar. Not only can I download information on the disease, medications and personal experiences, but I can even download the questionnaire given to someone suffering an episode and used to rate how manic and/or depressed they are. There is no limit to what you can learn, so long as you are willing to put in the time.
2) Enjoy what you are researching. I hear you asking, “What if I don’t love learning about bipolar disorder?” Of course, you don’t! However, I do love my character and I find the ups and downs of her life to be fascinating. I want to understand what she is going through in order to better be able to describe it, and, therefore, I need to know as much as I possibly can.
3) Know why you are researching something. Does it make sense to go into detail that a secondary character is a marine biologist? Does it move your story forward or are your readers going to end up bogged down in a lot of useless information? We don’t need to know the extensive analysis of biological data he or she has collected to determine the environmental effects of present and/or the potential use of land and water areas. Maybe it’s enough just to know that he’s in the profession and, therefore, environmentally aware.
4) Include personal knowledge and hands-on experience. This goes without saying. After all, as writers we have all been told again and again that we should write what we know. There is nothing as great as firsthand knowledge. In my second novel, “On a Hot August Afternoon,” I knew I wanted to be familiar with the Bay Area, where my main characters had grown up. There are a lot of flashbacks within the story, so I had to reacquaint myself with places I hadn’t seen in years. I have now lived in Los Angeles longer than the Bay Area, where I grew up. Since I still have family there, I was able to easily revisit the places that were once so familiar. My sister and I hit all of the old neighborhoods and had a blast doing it. I even photographed hangouts that my characters would have frequented, as well as the kinds of houses in which they were raised. It made all the difference.
5) Don’t try to write and research at the same time. This is admittedly my downfall. When I write, ideas have a tendency to come fast and furious. I want to get everything out before I lose my train of thought, and yet I want it to be perfect all at once. The temptation to look up something quickly is often overpowering. I have learned to go back, though. So long as you get the gist of what you need, you can always go back and fill in later. That’s what editing is for, right?
One of the things that regional retailers love is an unique event that will bring customers through their doors. This, in turn, attracts the local media and enables both sides to benefit from the exposure. Weekly newspapers, in particular, are always on the prowl for human-interest stories. For example, suppose you’ve written a murder mystery that takes place at a winery. Instead of sitting at a table in a bookstore and hoping someone will walk by and notice you, create an event wherein you schedule a reading or a talk at an area winery. Customers who buy an autographed copy of your book are then entitled to a modest discount on their wine purchase. Since they were already on the premises to buy a bottle or two, half your work of selling is done before you even start talking. Here are some more ideas:
Volunteer for literary events and festivals. Organize readings and discussion groups at the library. If it’s not cost-prohibitive, attend national conferences/conventions and participate on panels. Leverage your expertise through consulting, mentoring and training gigs. Teach workshops at community centers or through distance-learning forums. Build your email list from registrations and routinely forward articles of interest and monthly tips that supplement the classes your recipients have attended. The goal is to keep your name active for every outreach group with whom you come in contact.
Civic organizations are always looking for dynamic speakers for their luncheon meetings. Whenever you have the opportunity to give a talk to these groups, be sure to not only have copies of your books on hand, but also what’s called a one-pager to distribute to attendees. The one-pager is a tidy summary of your background, your publications, your website(s), your professional affiliations and, most importantly, your availability as a speaker. Gregarious people typically belong to multiple clubs and organizations (including the Chamber of Commerce) and what you’re providing them is an easy way to make their next meeting a hit. The more you can become a known – and reliable – commodity, the more bookings you’re going to get and, accordingly, the broader your platform will become.
For cookbook authors, do a cooking demonstration at a gourmet shop that not only whips up excitement about the products and utensils they sell but also reinforces your “expert” status. Pass out free recipe cards that feature the cover of your book on the back.
Are you writing YA books? Offer to be a speaker for Career Day at local schools. In concert with the exciting advice you dispense about what it’s like to be a writer, distribute pencils and pens with the titles of your books imprinted on them, hand out free bookmarks, and give them mini-teasers in the form of a tri-fold brochure or simple booklet that contains the first chapter and ends on a cliffhanger.
Give your fictional YA characters their own blog and encourage teens and tweens to contribute to it, post reviews, and ask advice about writing, relationships and life. This strategy will also keep you in the loop on the topics that interest them.
There are just a couple quick and easy tips to help you self-promote your own work. For the authors who don’t have the time to market their own work, email email@example.com for information about our promotional packages. Guest author: Christina Hamlett is an award-winning author whose credits to date include 30 books, 146 stage plays, five optioned feature films, and squillions of articles and interviews. She is also a ghostwriter and script consultant for stage and screen. Check out her latest book, Media Magnetism at http://www.mediamagnetism.org
When writers ask for advice, they tend to get the same line, over and over again. “If you want to be a writer,” says Stephen King, “you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” Just do it, they say. And the advice stops there. Yes, a large problem with writers is that they simply have trouble putting their pen to paper. But there seems to be some misplaced blame here on the writers themselves. You can’t simply sit a novice writer down, tell them to write, and expect the next great American novel. Just like you can’t tell a beginning dancer to simply dance or a new singer to simply sing. Writing, like all other art forms, has to be practiced. There are techniques, tricks of the trade, and skills writers develop with experience. With that in mind, here is a compellation of five important writing tips from famous authors that every writer should have in their back pocket:
1. “Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.” –Kurt Vonnegut
From the man who wrote Breakfast of Champions and Slughterhouse Five comes a tip that most beginning writers (and even some experienced writers) easily forget. A passive character who doesn’t have something motivating them weighs down the tension of the story. They slow the forward momentum of drama and often read like cardboard stick figures. It’s in human nature to want, so give your character something to strive for.
While this is a big point for main characters, it’s also a helpful tip to keep your minor characters interesting. The waiter who impatiently wants to end his shift so he can go home livens up a scene and gives the characters who are dining, something to react to rather than a waiter who lists menu items mechanically. Naturally, your “extras” don’t all need expansive backstories, but the more human everyone is, the more life your novel has.
2. “Be a sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them in order that the reader may see what they are made of.” –Kurt Vonnegut
I had to do back-to-back Vonnegut because both of these words of wisdom are essential to character building. As writers, we tend to treat our characters like our children. We want to pamper them, give them the best of everything, and make sure they ride off into the sunset. While this might keep your character happy, it’s putting your readers to sleep. The more the character has to overcome, the more satisfying the happy ending, that is, if you’re generous enough to give them that ride into the sunset.
3. “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” –Anton Chekhov
Anton Chekhov was famous for his ability to create beautiful imagery with his words, so it’s not surprising that his word of advice is about Show, Don’t Tell. A novel can have an engaging plot and riveting characters, but unless the readers can see them and visualize the events, the story will fall flat on its face. We live in a visual age and it’s important for writers to keep their stories engaging.
4. “If you have a problem with the third act, the real problem is in the first act.” –Billy Wilder
In keeping things visual, a word of advice from screenwriter Billy Wilder, who wrote hit moves like Some Like It Hot. Though writing a novel isn’t exactly the same as writing a movie, there are definitely lessons writers can take from film. For example, while all novels may not have three defined acts, it certainly makes for a strong novel if, by the end of the book, you’ve taken all of the characters and plots full circle and completed any arcs. That way, there aren’t any loose threads that leave the reader wondering.
5. “Write freely and as rapidly as possible and throw the whole thing on paper. Never correct or rewrite until the whole thing is down. [Rewriting during the initial writing] process is usually found to be an excuse for not going on. It also interferes with flow and rhythm, which can only come from a kind of unconscious association with the material.” –John Steinbeck
In the spirit of Billy Wilder, we come back around to the beginning of this article. The only way to get a novel is to write. However, Steinbeck (Of Mice And Men) brings up a good point about first drafts. It’s easy for writers to get anxious about their novel and eager to start the rewriting process mid-novel. However, the first novel is all about finishing. There will be time to go back and fix the plot holes and loops. Finishing is the hardest part, and it’s important for a writer to throw away any preconceived notions of their perfect novels and just get out the first draft.
Keep these words of wisdom with you as you go forward in writing and rewriting your novels. There is, however, one last word of advice (and one of my favorite) from modern bestseller Seth Godin, author of Unleashing The Ideavirus. “Pay for an editor. Not just to fix the typos, but to actually make your ramblings into something that people will choose to read.”
If you want someone to work with you to help you master the techniques that famous authors have impressed upon us, email our editors at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 678-691-9005.
With the advent of print-on-demand technology and e-books, more people are choosing to self-publish books. Here are the three common reasons why, and all have control as its basis:
Creative Control – author claims publisher will rewrite or take away their voice. Similarly, the author may want to be more involved in designing the cover or even the layout.
Cost Control – author believes royalty is too low or believes no one else should share in his or her profits.
Copyright Control – authors want to retain full ownership of their works. They see no benefit in assigning anyone else copyright or subsidiary rights.
However, many new authors go straight to self-publishing because they’re missing another, essential C: choice.With all the buzz about self-publishing, it’s easy to forget what other options are out there. Self-publishing is a viable option, but it isn’t for everyone. Before deciding one way or another, let’s first understand the publishing options;
Traditional Publishing: authors can get their book transitionally published usually via a literary agent or a manuscript sent directly to a book publisher. With traditional publishing, the publisher invests their own time and money into the book’s success when they think a book will sell well. Therefore, the author pays nothing and may even get an advance on his/her royalty. However, it can take a lot of tries to get your book traditionally published. J.K. Rowling of the Harry Potter fame was rejected by 12 major publishing companies before her novel was picked up by a small publishing house. There are many types of traditional publishers, including genre specific that only publish certain types of books (religious, science fiction, essays, etc.) and volume specific that only publish certain amounts of books (small press, etc.). With these publishers, the author may lose all three types of control but will get better marketing and exposure.
Vanity Publishing: authors can get a book published through a vanity publisher that will take anything submitted. Unlike traditional publishing houses, vanity publishers do not take into account the content of the book; rather, they publish whatever they are paid to publish. The author will retain creative and copyright control but may, in some cases, get paid a royalty rather than keeping all the profits. With these publishers, authors may be able to retain all three types of control and can pay for standard marketing.
Self-Publishing: an author can establish his/her own publishing company. As such, the author is responsible for hiring professionals to work on the book and all the expenses that go along with book production, marketing and distribution. The author remains in control of all facets (creative, cost and copyright) but will have to split profits if the author chooses to distribute the book through a printed or online service, such as Amazon or Barnes & Noble. The author can choose to forgo the profit split with a distributor and ship the books him/herself.
How much is remaining in control worth to you? Here are the pros and cons:
The author pays nothing to get published.
The author may receive royalties.
Publishing house is invested in your success.
Very hard to break into.
Lose creative control.
Lose copyright control.
Lose cost control.
Guaranteed to get published.
Retain creative control.
Retain copyright control.
Pay to get published.
Company makes money even if author never does.
Responsible for hiring professional editor for “real” feedback.
Author may not know if they have an inferior project.
May lose cost control.
Retain creative control.
Retain copyright control.
Retain cost control.
Spend time learning the publishing business and making contacts.
Responsible for paying professional fees, including ISBNs.
Responsible for hiring graphic artists.
Responsible for hiring editors.
Responsible for marketing or hiring PR professional.
Responsible for exposure.
May have to split profits with distributor.
Now that you have a full understanding of the publishing objectives and options, you may be able to find the right niche for your book. We, at Allwrite Advertising & Publishing, are a traditional publisher, but we also provide book production services (design, layout, editing, marketing) for self-publishers. If you are interested in our services, contact us at email@example.com.