Kootenai River in NW Montana, near Canadian Border

Kootenai River in NW Montana, near Canadian Border
photo by Gene Tunick of Eureka, Montana

Monday, October 31, 2011

Tip O'Day #203 - "The Dead File"

Guest blogger Madison Woods on publishing stories that previously appeared in your own blog.

Earlier this year I learned a valuable lesson. I have a 'dead file' where I put the short stories that didn't gel for some reason. A couple years ago I posted one of these stories to my blog in weekly segments to get feedback from readers. Did a little rewriting on it but still wasn't satisfied so I put it back in the dead file and forgot about it.

This past summer I found out about a new magazine that was going to pay professional rates (5-6 cents/word). Browsing through my dead file brought me back to that story I'd given up on. I realized what was wrong with it and made changes that revived it and made it sale worthy. The magazine bought it. Contracts signed.

Then one day, I found the posts on my blog. Oh boy. I knew I had to tell the editor that the story had been 'published' on my blog. A writer friend of mine, K.d. McCrite, had warned about this but I didn't listen. Some editors wouldn't care because it's not likely any of the magazine's readers would have read the story on my blog. This editor did care, and it cost me the sale.

Madison blogs at http://www.MadisonWoods.wordpress.com/

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Tip O'Day #202 - "The Undead"

Guest blogger Glenn Gamble says “Print is Not Dead.”

Although it’s not my preferred method of publication, the print medium is not dead. I’ve seen statistics that e-books account for less than 15% of all book sales despite their phenomenal growth. I haven’t done in-depth research on my own, but the fact remains that I’m leaving 85% of sales on the table. “Why?” you might ask.

As many mid-list authors have discovered, e-books are more cost-effective and less expensive than print. I had previously self-published a book in 2009, but then didn’t publish one for the next two years due to the expense of a print run. Discouraged by the results of my first attempt at self-publishing, I stopped publishing period. My sales didn’t justify the costs and I had neither the time nor money to do the needed legwork. Another author suggested publishing on Kindle, but I dismissed the idea because Amazon only paid a 35% royalty.

Two years later, that same author is making a nice living selling her books on Kindle, and I… I’m starting over because I didn’t share her foresight on the Kindle Revolution. However, missing out on this opportunity has reinvigorated me. Since May of this year, I have released three books - four in a few days - and I’m currently working on a prequel to the Jim Money series. I didn’t have such drive two years ago, but I’m hungry now and looking forward to getting my work out to readers. Kindle provides the easiest and most cost-effective way for me to publish my work. This is why I choose to miss out on 85% of print sales.

Glenn’s books are available on Amazon Kindle http://www.amazon.com/Glenn-Gamble/e/B002BMGSVK and Barnes and Noble Nook http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/Glenn-Gamble?keyword=Glenn+Gamble&store=allproducts and Smashwords http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/glenngamble and most recently in the iBookstore.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Tip O'Day #201 - Research (and Be Nice)

Guest blogger Daisy Dunn on the reason for her success.

I decided last November to follow my passion and try to have a novel published this year. I researched the industry tirelessly for two months. I studied publishing houses, submission guidelines, what's hot in the market, how to write a query letter and the dreaded synopsis, etc. On January 1st of this year, I started writing. I finished it at the beginning of April and submitted it. A week later I received my first acceptance letter. I continued to write novels, novellas and short stories and I now have six books in total coming out this year from two different publishing houses.

My advice from this amazing experience is to research the market before submitting. Another suggestion is be nice at all times. It's amazing how much help and advice I've been given from people in the industry (editors, publishers, established authors) because I've been nice. My editor, for instance, has taken me under her wing and not only are we now friends, but I consider her my mentor. That’s my experience in the publishing world so far - very positive (and very lucky!!)

Check out Daisy’s (adult) blog at www.daisydunn.blogspot.com

Friday, October 28, 2011

Tip O'Day #200 - Just the Right Facts, Ma'am

Guest blogger Leslie Budewitz – local attorney, research pro, published author, and a friend of mine - on getting the facts right.

As writers, we build our fictional worlds one detail at a time. If we get too many of those details wrong–whether in the foundation or the frosting–our readers’ ability to live in that world for a few hours crumbles. Still, you can kill yourself–and your story– trying to get everything right. What should you check and what can you let go?

- Check out facts related to major plot elements. If your villain intends to kill his wife with an overdose of insulin, make sure you know it can be done–and how.

- Focus on the dog, not the fleas. Don’t worry about whether a captain or a lieutenant would take charge of the investigation. But make sure you get the basic procedures right.

- Verify widely known facts outside your experience. If you’ve never been on a jury, talk with your neighbor who has. What surprised or upset her about the process? Was she intrigued–or bored? What were courthouse security measures? Where did she park? Did the bailiff bring donuts?

- Don’t risk a mistake in things easily confirmed. If you’ve never seen a purple Subaru, chances are they weren’t made.

- We often make mistakes in the things we think we know. If it matters to the story, check it out–or leave it out.

- Historicals attract readers who love history. And some readers love to tell writers where they goofed. Does that mean you can’t write about 14th century England because you weren’t born until 1970, or that you need an MA in the period? No. You need reliable references and a passion for the details that set the scene and bring the characters to life.

- Read your manuscript with your reader’s hat on. What might the typical reader question? Ask your critique partners to note anything that creases their brow.

- Accept that you’ll make mistakes. Don’t let that fear paralyze you.

Getting it right matters. But getting it written comes first.

Leslie Budewitz is the author of Books, Crooks and Counselors: How to Write Accurately About Criminal Law and Courtroom Procedure (Quill Driver Books, October 2011). To learn more, visit www.lawandfiction.com

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Tip O'Day #199 - Don't Stop Submitting

Guest blogger Catherine Cavendish on the perils of self-publishing

It has probably never been harder to get a publisher or agent but, conversely, it has never been easier to self-publish. There are many avenues to choose from. It can be genuine self-publishing where you literally do everything yourself and become your own publisher, or choosing to go straight to e-book with Kindle or others, or selecting print on demand (POD). You can always choose to pay shedloads of money to a vanity publisher - and end up with a garage load of books to sell.

These days all writers need to be their own marketers, but a real publisher will provide a much bigger shop window than most of us can provide for ourselves. If you go it alone, you will have to generate all the buzz yourself, and that in itself is a full-time job. You won't have much time left to write your second novel.

We have all read the 'amazing success stories' from authors whose self-pubbed books have been picked up by leading publishers and gone on to make them fortunes. Or the author who has done it all by herself and become her own bestseller. These success stories are rarely, if ever, exactly what they seem. When you dig a little deeper, you find that the author is already well known in some other field, has an uncle in a leading publishing house, has a great deal of money to shell out in marketing campaigns, and so on. And, let's face it, of the thousands of writers now bypassing traditional publishing routes, not many sell more than a few copies.

A few years ago, I went down the POD route myself. I sold a few books but I wouldn't do it again. I now know what a difference a professional editor makes and my writing is much tighter than it used to be because I have learned so much from her. I know how frustrating and depressing it is to get those rejection slips but I urge you to think very carefully before embarking on self-publishing. Try joining a writing community such as where you will find serious writers and writing professionals supporting each other, helping each other and becoming successful. Follow their advice and your writing will improve, plus you will add valuable contacts to your writer’s network. A number of us have gained publishing contracts as a result of information and help supplied on Litopia.

Don't give up. Keep on writing. Work at perfecting your craft. Don't stop submitting to agents and publishers. It worked for me. And I keep on learning more every day. Good luck!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Tip ODay #198 - "You Can't Do THAT!"

Guest blogger Anna Alexa on helpful advice.
Throughout your life, people will tell you how to write. They will make a point to show you what you can’t do. Your job as a writer is to do those very things and show the world how your techniques work and why. Few things are concrete if you take the time to dive into them, and even those you can’t pass through, are likely to bend with enough force. The only way to make a career out of writing is to be a constant innovator - move people’s feelings the way a parent late in picking up a child weaves through traffic.
To learn more about Anna, check out: scribblesofastoryteller.com
Dixon says: What should we do with you-can't-do-that-if-you-want-to-get-published advice? (1) Ask for it in writing, and save up for a huge New Years Day bonfire. (2) Save them for your biographer. (I wonder if Grisham saved the rejections he got for his first novel from pretty much every NYC publisher?) (3) Wallpaper your den, or wherever you write. Any more ideas?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tip O'Day #197 - Believe in Yourself & Get Published

Guest blogger Shah Sight on getting published.

I never lost hope of getting published, and always believed in myself and in my work. I got many rejections from publishers but they never affected me in a negative way. If there was anyone in the whole world of writing to have given up on writing, it should have been me, because I dared to write in a different language, which I had much less knowledge about, concerning the war in Afghanistan, a most difficult subject.

Now, I am published by a very good, small publisher, and I am very happy because they did not alter any of the important things. They just polished the work and it reads fantastically good. You may want to check my book, The Interpreter, and see it for yourself.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Tip O'Day for Authors #196

Guest blogger James Fouche on the writing life.

For the longest time my wife struggled intensely with the fact that she was married to someone who goes into a coffee shop and sits there for seven hours straight, then strolls out with two thousand words for the day. She couldn’t understand how easily things could distract me from completing a scene or why I had to be in a specific mood to tackle a specific scene. She couldn’t picture my ramblings and she couldn’t detach herself enough from life to imagine my fiction.

It’s only when she finally read my first novel, when she finished that last page and looked up at me with tears in her eyes, that my apparent madness became apparent ability. She finally understood what writing was all about, that seven years of slaving on a project could result in an end product, much like a farmer’s goods are finally packaged and sold at markets.

Authors live for depth and purpose. We tend to do a thorough research and our reasoning could be intense. This is our work. We reason, we analyze, we deliberate and we write it all down. How often have authors stumbled upon economic and business solutions or resolved political disputes by merely writing about them?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Tip O'Day for Authors #195

Guest blogger Robert Walker says to write “hands on.”

To open a scene, it is a great idea to focus on a character's hands. You can pull back at any time but open with the camera eye on a character's hands and what this person is involved in. Gets you right into action immediately on sentence one, page one.

Robert has an author’s how-to entitled DEAD ON WRITING as both a POD and Kindle.
Dixon says: This sounds like screenwriting advice, but it’s also effective for novels or short stories. You can start small and expand (earthworm, to Robin, to cat, to coyote, to man looking through a rifle scope) or start grandiose and scale down (satellite shot of earth, to Great Lakes, to isolated peninsula, to treetop view of wolf watching a deer, to deer drinking from a stream, to face of a corpse floating beneath the surface).

Friday, October 21, 2011

Tip O'Day for Authors #194

Guest blogger Clifford Garstang asks “What are the stakes?”

A writer should never lose sight of what's at stake for his characters, and for beginning writers that's a common oversight. When I'm teaching creative writing, I'll often see perfectly interesting settings, with fresh characters, but because there's nothing at stake, the story goes nowhere. It's a "slice of life," the student might say in defense, and there's nothing wrong with that as a building block toward something larger.

To keep most readers' interest, even a character-driven story needs the tension that is created through conflict. And what is conflict but frustrated desire? If the writer knows what is at stake for the protagonist, that will make it possible to place obstacles in his or her way. If that obstacle is the desire of another character, so much the better!

Clifford, the author of In an Uncharted Country, blogs at http://perpetualfolly.blogspot.com

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Tip O'Day for Authors #193

Guest blogger Karen Mueller Bryson says to write for your most important audience.

Remember that all criticism is subjective. Most writers want readers to love their work but not everyone will. There is a reason for the saying, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Even J.K. Rowling, who has sold hundreds of millions of books, has critics. Harry Potter was rejected by a number of publishers before it was sold.

The most important thing is to believe in yourself and your work. Take the criticism that rings true and reject the rest. You won’t be able to please everyone but you can please yourself. No one else is going to care more about your work than you do, so you’d better make sure your writing pleases you.

Karen is an optioned screenwriter, produced playwright, and published author. To learn more about her, check out http://www.ahorsewithnoname.com/

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tip O'Day for Authors #192

Guest blogger Rebecca Fyfe has concise advice.
I think it is really important for writers to believe in themselves and in their ability to write. Nothing holds you back more than the fear of not being good enough.
Dixon says: Books have been written containing less wisdom than these two sentences.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Tip O'Day for Authors #191

Guest blogger Matthew Carter on the writer’s long and winding road.

In college, I tried different styles, searching for one I could go with, but none seemed to mesh with who I was. After trial and error and plenty of frustration, I was able to find what fit me best. My professor was right there with me and encouraged me to become the best writer I could be.

Whether it be finding your own style, editing your work, bringing it to publishers, or dealing with poor reviews, perseverance is a key to writing that all authors should be made aware of.

It took five years to pen my first novel and it took time to find a publisher. Writing can be a long arduous process, frustrating at times. The important thing is to keep a level head no matter what frustrations may occur around the writer.

Matthew’s book website is www.liquidsoulsessence.com

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Technology Must Die (Revisited)

This was my second ever attempt at a blog post, in early 2008 when writers were still squabbling about whether agent queries should go by email or snail mail.

Technology Must Die!

My very first e-query flew back within 12 hours with a request for a partial manuscript. Omigawd, the future is bright. Grisham labored in obscurity for years, selling his first self-published novel out of the back of a station wagon at swap meets, and here I've struck gold with my first effort. Before shopping for a Mercedes, I thought it might be prudent to research my new best friend. Oops. Google came up dry. Other than the brief entry on First Writer that led me to him in the first place, I found nada on the usual literary agent databases. I emailed Mystery Agent to see if I should send the partial by email attachment or snail mail, and also politely asked whether he had a website or blog. Since then, silence reigns.

Great. My first query, and I get VaporAgent.

The rejections I've received so far have all been professional and polite, usually along the line of "not for me" or "not a match." That's fine because I understand that this business is more about art, not science.

I've noticed that replies to e-queries tend to be very minimal and safely-worded, whereas those returning to my mailbox sometimes have more positive, even helpful comments scrawled on the letter. One snail mail rejection came back yesterday from a prominent NYC literary agent and actually had nearly 100 words of feedback - my synopsis was a "compelling presentation" and he couldn't see any obvious flaws, but didn't feel the necessary "connection" to take me as a client. Wow! That rejection will keep me motivated for months to come. I'm thinking it's suitable for framing.

As I said, I'm still new to querying and with some of the most successful agents only accepting e-queries, maybe that's the best way to go. I admit to getting a minor tactile thrill from folding up an SASE and slipping it into another envelope along with a crisp piece of stationary with my brilliant, well-researched query. But I don't get creepy over it.

I have important reasons for dragging my query letters down to the post office and dropping them through a slot, reasons that have nothing to do with the odds of success or failure or helpful comments. Once a query is mailed, there is Hope for a period of time. That Hope helps me glue my butt to a chair and tap out more queries, rewrite my old nonsense, and create gawd-awful first drafts of future nonsense. The fact that there is no scientific or logical basis for this Hope is inconsequential. It's the best buzz I've gotten since I threw Jim Beam out the back door.

On the other hand, last night I emailed a carefully-crafted, well-researched query to an agent who's supposedly waiting breathlessly for a thriller to represent. The rejection showed up among my incoming emails before my morning coffee break today.

Technology must die!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Tip O'Day for Authors #190

Guest blogger Sara Curran-Ross wonders “do I really need an agent?”

...(received) yet another rejection letter from a literary agency. Ah, yes my favourite topic of torment, literary agents. There doesn’t seem to be any way to please these people in my experience. Replies from literary agents in the past have ranged from apologetic to pompous and arrogant. But yesterday I got a new variation. I had gone back to a couple of agents after getting three publishing contracts hoping this time I might have more luck. Hmmm, scratch that! In a very short, one-sentence, abrupt, bordering-on-rude reply, this agent informed me that she doesn’t take on anyone who hasn’t obtained an advance of a certain amount from their publisher. Talk about a slap in the face.

Rightly or wrongly I felt like a loser. I am fed up with twittering agents who rant and rave about writers who don’t follow their submission rules to perfection. But when I see how many writers are now ditching their agents, it prompts a question, do I really need an agent? I’ve managed so far without one. Perhaps it’s time to realize that in these changing times, writing is not just about generating stories to share but a private business. As they say, if you want something done, do it yourself!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Tip O'Day for Authors #189

Guest blogger Sue Julsen on what she looks for as a reader.

First, I'm backlogged on books that have been given to me, plus there are many author friends I've met online that I want to read. Second, when I want something else to read, I look for anything by a favorite author, such as John Saul. Third, I look at the front and back covers to see if it's something I might like. If a line grabs me, I'll start reading.

One thing that will make me stop reading is tons of mistakes, especially when writers can't keep their own characters straight.

Sue’s book Bitter Memories tells a powerful true story of abduction and abuse. I’m amazed she was able to eventually face her past and write this book. You’ll be seeing more of Sue on this blog before long.
Check out her Goodreads blog at http://www.goodreads.com/suejulsen or the book link http://www.outskirtspress.com/bittermemories/

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Tip O'Day for Authors #188

Garland Arnaud on holding a new book in your hands.
To paraphrase Garland: Even with all our technology, nothing compares to opening a new book, fresh off the press. One can almost feel the heart and soul of the author as you take in the smell and feel of binding and ink. Then comes the joy of turning each page, captured by the wonder of what comes next and how well each illustration moves the story into one’s imagination. The senses of the reader become focused on what's in the pages, not life all around. Physical time stops until the book is closed and set down.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Tip O'Day for Authors #187

Guest blogger Anna Haney on what keeps clueless writers buried deep in the slush pile.

Did we meet through my job as a submissions handler? In that case, you may have received an email congratulating you on acceptance, but more likely you got a rejection, always with a reason attached. Some of the reasons are listed here.

(1) You started every sentence of your second paragraph with, “Then suddenly...” (2) You were arrogant enough to think I wanted to read your stuff so badly, that I would format it for you. (3) You felt that a paragraph plucked from one of your longer stories would make great flash fiction. (4) You were under the impression that bizzaro does not need to make any sense. (5) You made it clear that you are an archeology major by including a term paper word for word. (6) Cookie cutter characters – remember, I have 150 more submissions to read. (7) Your characters were talking but not like anyone I have ever met in real life. (8) If you are going to show me a new world, you had better be on your game, because that sort of setting is all about the details. It is not enough to be a cop in the year 3000 and talk on a Dick Tracy wrist watch. (9) This is not your fault, but your limited life experience has surely limited your setting and key characters. We all know what happens on campus; your job as a writer is to make it interesting. (10) The first few paragraphs are important. I'm not saying to come crashing through the gate, but you didn't even try to interest me in your character or main conflict. (11) You introduced an interesting character at the start of your story and I never heard from her/him again. I felt cheated.

Do I sound awful? I am bound by the same rules as the rest of you, and I too suffer rejection. We are all up against competition and the best will rise to the top. So take your time; it’s better to polish your story for a year and know it stands a chance. You do not want sub-par work accepted, only for it to embarrass you years later.

To learn more about Anna, check out bravebluemice.com

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tip O'Day for Authors #186

Guest blogger Sarah Ballance on “bad” critiques or edits
It never feels good to get your "perfect" manuscript torn to shreds by a critique partner or an editor, but once you get past the initial shock, consider the great opportunity you have to improve your work. It's quite difficult for an author to polish without help. We know our own stories. We have them in our heads. The viewpoint provided by an outside reader is invaluable in getting your words across the way you intended.
To learn more about Sarah, check out her website: http://www.sarahballance.com/
Dixon says: This is an excellent point. Nearly every critique session, I have a head-slapping moment of why-didn’t-I-see-that clarity. I don’t have the emotional distance from my work to be able to recognize my mistakes, but the rest of my group lacks that barrier. Sometimes all they need to do is say “what if…” Thank God for their help.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Tip O'Day for Authors #185

Guest blogger Joe Mynhardt on the writing community.
Always keep your eye out for opportunities. Having stories ready and helping other writers in need has opened up more doors for me than anything else. Writing may be a solitary endeavour, but the literary world cannot be taken on alone.
Check out Joe’s blog at http://www.joemynhardt.com/blog.php.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Tip O'Day for Authors #184

Guest blogger Corinne Shaw on seeking criticism.
Love your story, but be willing to accept that it may need work. A brutally honest critique partner is fundamental. You don't want a friend reviewing your work, but rather a person who has no reason to lie to you.
Dixon says: I agree with Corinne except for the word brutally. I believe you can be frank and direct without being brutal, and I suspect Corinne does as well. We mean well when we say, “I want you to be brutally honest” but it’s a short road to “this is the worst garbage I’ve ever read.” I’ve tried brutal honesty. It ended up costing me a good friend.
Let me suggest instead specific honesty. My critique group has vigorous discussions with no sugarcoating, where you’re likely to hear comments like, “That dialogue doesn’t work for me because of ABC, and I’d suggest you try instead XYZ.”

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Tip O'Day for Authors #183

Guest blogger Tom Winton on lessons from Hemingway.

There are three guidelines Ernest Hemingway laid out many years ago that still make good sense. The first one pertains to getting the literary juices flowing when they seem to be all dammed up in your subconscious--when you want to start that next masterpiece and don’t know how to begin. Old Hem said something to the effect of, ‘When you can’t get going, simply sit down and write the one truest sentence you can.’ Now, when we want to write a novel or a story, we obviously have a reasonable idea what the subject matter is about. Mull it over a bit and then type or scrawl that one truest sentence. I have done this. And when those first few words are down, and I’ve ended that sentence with a period, question mark, or exclamation mark, it helped me every time.

The old master also firmly believed you should end your writing session at a place where you know what will happen next. The benefit of this advice is quite obvious—if you stop writing when you know what’s coming next, you won’t need a jumpstart for the following session, other than maybe a cup of coffee or tea.

EH’s third rule is invaluable as well. He staunchly believed that when you finish writing for the day you need to get your conscious mind out of the book—totally! He felt it’s necessary to let your subconscious mind replenish your creative well. Sometimes I have a problem with this. When I’m writing a book it’s very difficult for me to get outside its pages after a writing session ends. But if I try real hard, there are times that I can clear my mind of all literary musings. The funny thing is, when I manage to do that, some of the damnedest ideas come out of nowhere.

For the story of Tom's first novel’s twelve year journey to four Amazon best-seller lists, check out the April 2nd, 2011 post on http://tomwintonauthor.com/

Friday, October 7, 2011

Tip O'Day for Authors #182

Guest blogger Joan Lane on an author’s platform.

I'm no expert on writing and getting published, but having gone through the process I have a few thoughts. The first is, it's mandatory for a writer to start building a platform of followers before their book is published. When I was writing The Tangled Web, this was the last thing on my mind. I felt like writing a book and that was my only focus. It wasn't until my book was actually in print that it dawned on me, OMG I have a book to sell. When The Tangled Web was published, I think I had something like 17 Facebook friends and I was completely in the dark about promotion. Since then, I've learned a lot, though I still don't know half of it and I certainly don't do half the things I need to do. According to statistics, more books sell by word of mouth than any other form of promotion.

If you go by the traditional marketing model, about 2% of people who have heard about a book are likely to purchase it. It's daunting when you think of how many people you have to reach in order to have half decent sales. So my advice to anyone embarking on the journey of being an author would be to start developing a sound marketing plan from the get-go, because it can be a year before you start seeing any results.

To learn more about Joan, check out http://jplanewrites.blogspot.com/

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Tip O'Day for Authors #181

Guest blogger James Fouche on “Second Novel Hazards.”

Here are the three most prominent hazards for a new author attempting to complete his second novel, while still trying to promote his first one.

First, location: We relocated to a town where very little occurs from a literary point of view. I’m out of touch with the writing community.

Secondly, vocation: Generally first-time authors don’t step into the position of full-time author overnight. Chances are you have to work elsewhere, or manage a number of jobs at the same time, in order to keep food on the table. Sadly, this eats into your writing time, not to mention the loads of research time that precede the actual writing.

Lastly, inspiration: Here lies the snag, the ever-present thorn in the side, the ultimate counter-weight that always tips the way you don’t want it to tip. Inspiration drives the creativity of what we do. As long as there is no drive there will be an empty Word document on the screen.

If writing is not all you do, then the world quickly gets in the way and steals away your time and your inspiration. Luckily I have a very supportive and understanding wife. Let’s face it, living with an author is no day at the beach. At times we can be our own worst enemy.

So how to overcome these terrible pitfalls that face an aspiring writer every day? How can a first-time author complete that next novel and get his or her book into the world? There are only three possible solutions, and here they are: determination, determination, determination.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Tip O'Day for Authors #180

Guest blogger Jeremy Duley on what one reader looks for.
Jeremy lists three factors that influence his decision to read one book rather than another: (1) recommendations from friends, (2) familiarity with the author due to a previous book, and (3) mention of the book or author in a blog he follows.
"Now what catches my eye in the book store or online is the cover and title, of course. I guess that's why you hear so much about how important a good cover is to a book, especially for a new author trying to stand out."
Jeremy blogs at http://jeremyduley.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Tip O'Day for Authors #179

Guest blogger Elynne Chaplik-Aleskow on anthologies.

When I began my professional writing career four years ago, non-fiction was a natural fit for me. I have been blessed to have experienced a life filled with many stories I wish to share. I made the conscious decision that in starting my career as a published author, anthologies would offer me a diverse and potentially larger audience and distribution than having all my stories in one book.

For now, my plan is working well. The publishers and editors of the anthologies my work is published in all promote their books. I am happy to be part of their families with my work exposed to their many audiences. I have also developed my own loyal following based on my published work, my performances of my stories for various organizations and my Public Broadcasting television background. I have been invited to NYC at 11:00 a.m. on October 20th to perform my newest story “MORE THAN LIFE” for the launch of the book Moms & Grandmas (Kiwi Publishing) at The Museum of Motherhood, 84th Street at 1st Avenue.

The anthology market for publication is very competitive, with very talented writers vying for a place in these books. Some anthologies are non-fiction. Others are a combination of fiction, creative non-fiction and poetry. Check out the below publishers’ submission calls. Write and submit!

Elynne Chaplik-Aleskow is an author, public speaker, and award-winning educator and broadcaster. Her non-fiction stories and essays have been published in numerous anthologies including Thin Threads (Kiwi Publishing), Chicken Soup for the Soul (Simon & Schuster Distributor), This I Believe: On Love (Wiley Publishing), Forever Travels (Mandinam Press), Press Pause Moments (2011 Clarion Award) (Kiwi Publishing), and My Dad Is My Hero (Adams Media). Visit http://LookAroundMe.blogspot.com

Saying for Writers #104

"Asking a writer how he feels about editors is like asking a lamp-post how he feels about dogs." - E.L. Doctorow
I woke up grumpy to a rainy morning, so decided to send a little humor into the world. Have a sunny day, no matter what the weather is doing.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Tip O'Day for Authors #178

Guest blogger Terry Ravenscroft says 35% of something is better than 70% of nothing.

In January of this year I published my eight paperbacks as Kindle e-books. Amazon UK pays the writer 70% of the price for books priced at over £2.00, 35% under £2.00. I priced my books at £3.49 each. My share was £2.15. Average sales were less that 8 per week.

Ten weeks ago I re-priced one of my books at 99 pence, which netted me 30 pence per copy. The first week I sold 10. The next week 57. The third week 188. The fourth week I re-priced all my books at 99 pence. This week I sold 3,350. Do the math, as they say.

Check out Terry’s Amazon page at http://amzn.to/nKRuEI

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Tip O'Day for Authors #177

Guest blogger Linda Lavonne Barton says, “Typos must die!”

Most of my frustration has come because I'm still learning what not to do. My number one lesson was to never release a book until you are 100% sure it’s clean of typos. In my haste to release my first book, NEXT MOVE, YOU’RE DEAD, I made that mistake. I was going through some health issues and decided to go ahead with the release. After I had several people make me aware of numerous typos, I had to do a complete re-edit and currently have it with a proof reader who is giving it a final look. The book received several 5 star reviews in spite of the typos, but I never wanted to be known as a sloppy writer.

My second book, PURE JUSTICE, was recently released and I took the extra time to make sure it was as clean as possible of typos. Lesson learned, never to be repeated. My only other frustration is learning how to market my books. There are so many different ways to go about letting the reading public learn about a new author. I guess I need to just think of it as another adventure and enjoy the thrill every time readers let me know they enjoyed reading one of my books.

Linda was a guest blogger several weeks ago, a reminder that repeat patronage is appreciated.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Tip O'Day for Authors #176

Guest blogger Jennie Spallone has editing advice.
Use a developmental editor before sending your sample chapters to a potential agent. A developmental editor differs from a copy editor in that she/he focuses on finding errors in POV, pacing, tension, and plot while the copy editor focuses on grammar and sentence structure. Look at the back of Writers Digest Magazine for developmental editors. Be sure to interview a few before making a choice.