About Writers, inspiration, publishing, Uncategorized, Writers Co-op, writing technique

Insights

Secrets of Bestselling Authors

INSPIRATION & IDEAS
“Good writing is remembering detail. Most people want to forget. Don’t forget things that were painful or embarrassing or silly. Turn them into a story that tells the truth.”
– Paula Danziger

GETTING STARTED
“Two questions form the foundation of all novels: ‘What if?’ and ‘What next?’ (A third question, ‘What now?’, is one the author asks himself every 10 minutes or so; but it’s more a cry than a question.) Every novel begins with the speculative question, What if ‘X’ happened? That’s how you start.”
– Tom Clancy

STYLE & CRAFT
“What a writer has to do is write what hasn’t been written before or beat dead men at what they have done.”
– Ernest Hemingway

PURPOSE
“The only obligation any artist can have is to himself. His work means nothing, otherwise. It has no meaning.”
– Truman Capote

CHARACTERS
“The writer must always leave room for the characters to grow and change. If you move your characters from plot point to plot point, like painting by the numbers, they often remain stick figures. They will never take on a life of their own. The most exciting thing is when you find a character doing something surprising or unplanned. Like a character saying to me: ‘Hey, Richard, you may think I work for you, but I don’t. I’m my own person.’”
– Richard North Patterson

PLOT & STRUCTURE
“The problem for me is finding my own plots. They take a long time. … I like to have it happen, just like in our own lives. We don’t always know where they’re going, and if we make formal decisions on a given night, if we sit down and put a list of things we’re going to do on a piece of paper, they almost never work out right.”
– Norman Mailer

RITUALS & METHODS
“The conclusion to be drawn is that I am happiest writing in small rooms. They make me feel comfortable and secure. And it took me years to figure out that I need to write in a corner. Like a small animal burrowing into its hole, I shift furniture around, and back myself into a cozy corner, with my back to the wall … and then I can write.”
– Danielle Steel

REVISION & EDITING
“I do not rewrite unless I am absolutely sure that I can express the material better if I do rewrite it.”
– William Faulkner

PUBLISHING
“Publishers want to take chances on books that will draw a clamor and some legitimate publicity. They want to publish controversial books. That their reasons are mercenary and yours may be lofty should not deter you.”
– Harlan Ellison

READERS
“In truth, I never consider the audience for whom I’m writing. I just write what I want to write.”
– J.K. Rowling

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book sales, publishing, scams, Uncategorized, Writers Co-op

An Independent Voice

leechman

I find it illuminating and pathetic that a market exists wherein writers pay 3rd parties to “try” to find them a publisher or pay publishers to “consider” their work. Pathetic because it reeks of desperation. Illuminating because it works so well.

Make no mistake. These leeches know what they are doing, that it is legal (no refunds), and that they will have customers. I say leeches because, well, isn’t it obvious they make money off the blood & sweat of gullible writers? I include in this category of leech “marketers” who refuse to work on commission because they know their efforts on your behalf is not worth a percentage of sales.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t care what you do. I’m just hoping new writers will consider ROI before paying money to sell their book.

If you know of any of these questionable enterprises, please do new writers a favor and note them in the comments.

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Literary Agents, publishing, Uncategorized, Writers Co-op

Submit Today!

Looking GlassHaving a short fiction to submit, I took a fresh look at what’s out there in the way of getting it in front of readers. Googling “current fiction publishers” returned the usual half-million results. But a site that noted “a full list of publishers accepting manuscripts directly from writers” had already done much of the work for me.
Here are two current (May, 2018) sources.

Free:
Erica Verrillo’s
https://PublishedToDeath.blogspot.com/p/calls-for-submissions.html
lists hundreds of markets. 217 Paying Markets for Short Stories, Poetry, Nonfiction; 36 Paying Markets for Fiction, Poetry, Creative Nonfiction; Speculative Fiction Magazines Accepting Submissions; 163 Literary Magazines Accepting Reprints; even a spreadsheet with 300 places to submit.
Erica also provides a list of Upcoming (June, 2018) Calls.

$5 per month
https://Duotrope.com/  currently lists 6,863 active fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and visual art publishers and agents. I chose Duotrope because they successfully helped the Writers Co-op advertise for story submissions for our upcoming anthology, The Rabbit Hole. That, and, paying for updated information implies a contractual obligation on their part to keep their information updated.

Researching publishers that are actively calling for submissions and submitting Happyaccording to my preferences and their guidelines is, well, a fun and hope-full part of this business.

 

If you will, please tell us in the Comments section how you find outlets for your work.

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book sales, publishing, self-publishing, Uncategorized, Writers Co-op

Blockchain Update

It’s like a big spreadsheet where an entry, once made, cannot be changed. The advantage is that no middleman, no clearing house, no central authority is required. (My explanation is admittedly like my understanding of blockchain technology: simple minded. It’s like looking straight up at a big wave. I can’t see much. But it is here.)

Books sold on a blockchain could be searchable by author, genre, popularity, etc. You could offer your book for sale in such a way that anyone could purchase it through PayPal.  No publisher or retailer is required. The transaction would be solely between you and the reader.

ALLiBlockchain Could Put Authors At Center of Publishing Universe
https://www.allianceindependentauthors.org/blockchain-for-books/

IBMIBM is currently selling blockchain packages (starting at $1,000/month) that could be used by a service to provide writers a way to sell their books. Cost per author would depend on how many subscribed to the service. Could be quite cheap & I’d expect the pricing to go down as the tech becomes common.
https://console.bluemix.net/catalog/services/blockchain/

CannesCannes films are being distributed on blockchain this year.
http://www.cineuropa.org/nw.aspx?t=newsdetail&l=en&did=353794

astonishmentSix hours ago, CNBC reported that “HSBC says it’s made the world’s first trade finance transaction using blockchain.”

The news is coming in faster than I can type.

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About Writers, book promotion, book sales, publishing, self-publishing, Uncategorized, Writers Co-op

It’s Your Industry

Click these links to learn more…

The World’s 54 Largest Publishers, 2017:
https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/international/international-book-news/article/74505-the-world-s-50-largest-publishers-2017.html

Leading online print book genres in the United States in 2017, by revenue
https://www.statista.com/statistics/322187/book-genres-revenue/

2018 Book Industry Predictions:
http://blog.smashwords.com/2017/12/2018-book-industry-predictions.html

Amazon Author Rank:
https://www.amazon.com/author-rank

Amazon’s relationship to you, as a writer:
https://newrepublic.com/article/142616/amazon-steps-battle-book-industry

AND, consider a new hobby for when you are successful:
http://www.businessinsider.com/billionaire-hobbies-of-richest-people-in-the-world-2016-8#11-footballsoccer–131-10

(P.S. My hobbies are computer gaming and training cats to fly.)

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publishing, Stories, Uncategorized

Editors Choosing Stories

Imagine an app that lets you capture the email exchange between editors as they work to make the initial selection of stories for inclusion in an anthology. You would probably see comments like the following.
The comments are real. I didn’t identify the writers or their stories, of course. And the editors themselves, I’ll call Billy, Bob & Joe.

Billy: I find that the first read, leading to ‘yes’, ‘no’ and ‘maybe’, is pretty quick – just a matter of deciding if the writing’s ok and the story itself is interesting. After that we could compare lists and consolidate the categories. The main editing is obviously with the ‘maybes’ ones, but how many of those we decide to continue with will depend on how many ‘yeses’ we’ve got and the overall length we’re looking for.
Bob: I’m in. Sounds like fun.
Joe: Excellent! Send me some stories and I’ll get right on it!

Billy: Here they all are then, with names and emails removed. You can look at number #23 if you want, but, having read it, I don’t think it’s good enough to justify being included at over twice the maximum word count, even if we’re flexible.

Joe: My first thought on #23 is, we should only have to put up with writers who break the rules if they’re good writers.

Bob: I often tend to spot potential and think, ‘Ah, that story would be great if such and such…’ But it then depends how ready writers are to accept editorial suggestions.

Bob: Some of my choices are pretty soft. Shorter pieces tended to beneift from their brevity (including most of the poetry). In some cases I liked the quality or originality of the writing but wasn’t sure about the subject matter. A few showed promise but didn’t really have an ending.

Joe: Maybe on #12. I have a hard time judging a 20-page mental monologue. It put me to sleep. But, that’s just me.

Bob: You are right. Taste is subjective but there are objective qualities of good writing. A lot of the stories, even if they are competently wrtitten from a nuts and bolts perspective, are still sadly lacking when it comes to pacing, plot, realistic dialogue, that sort of thing — almost perplexingly so, in some cases.

Bob: As far as #24, I can take it or leave it. It would need a ton of cutting even if we did include it.

Billy: Yes on #14, if trimmed – takes a long time to deal with all the characters for no real gain to the story. Otherwise nice.

Joe: Yes on #47. Good story, well written, even if the hidden weapon seemed to magically appear when needed.

Billy: yes on #22 – dry and mischievous humor, nicely done.

Joe: No on #33. All tell, no show. (It could be brilliant in the end, but, my eyes glazed over before I got there.)

Bob: #48 is an okay idea for a story, but the writing is only meh, and the characters are so dull. They felt like unfinished holoprojections of people. I wish they had been. That would’ve been more interesting than the actual story.

Bob: #27 left me flat from the beginning, and you’re spot on about the ending. It was half a mouthful of nothing.

Joe: Maybe on #18. I like poetry that invokes feelings or images but I find these lines too
obscure to tantalize.

Bob: I wish the author of #38 had flipped the ending in some interesting way. As it is, it’s more like a five minute Hallmark made-for-TV special about how nice guys sometimes win after all. Heartwarming, I suppose, but ho-hum.

Joe: No on #16. Well done, but …thousands of words without dialogue until the last paragraph? My mind glassed over before then.

Billy: A minor flurry of submissions at the end, making a very healthy tally of 56 at the deadline. Now for the hard decisions…

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About Writers, blogging, book promotion, book reviews, book sales, inspiration, publishing, Uncategorized, Writers Co-op

It’s a Community

above: Terry Pratchett 1948-2015 By Artist ‘Sandara’

One of the advantages of joining a community of like-minded people on the ‘Net is the likelihood of meeting someone totally unlike yourself. That is always good for a writer. I can’t draw an expressive crooked line. But Sandara can create a whole world in one image. Her visualization of Terry Pratchett shaking Death’s hand is fresh, striking and memorable. Don’t we writers wish all our stories were that good?

Amazing, the talents in the writing community: Publishers, editors & marketing people of course. Cover artists, beta readers, blurb writers, personal assistants and reviewers are some more. I’m sure I’ve left out important categories. No writer has all of the talents needed for a successful book. Hence, the usefulness of belonging to a writing community. Want to know the best print-on-demand service out there right now? Ask.

And best of all is the feedback. Excellent services at reasonable prices receive as much publicity on a writers’ forum as do services that waste your time and money. Think you have a really good idea for marketing your book? Ask and see if anyone has already tried that. Not sure of your book cover? Post it for comments.

Finally, always return favors. While I do owe her one, the real reason I recommend Sandara Tang here is her art. Take a look at some. It will surprise your imagination.

The Art Of Sandara
https://sandara.deviantart.com/ (best Hi-Res images)
https://www.facebook.com/ArtofSandara3/

Who have you worked with that you would recommend to other writers?

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