July Writers' Forum 2019
Why publishers are mad about Audible’s new feature.
“Rules of Writing” from 42 famous authors.
Publishers Are Pissed About Amazon’s Upcoming Audible Captions Feature
As you can see, The Verge doesn’t mince any words in assessing the current issue with Audible adding a caption feature to their audio books. The transcription of each book will allow listeners to read along with the narrator. Audible claims this is an educational feature, but publishers are saying this infringes on the rights of authors and publishers and will impact sales as audiobook buyers will get the text with their Audible purchase. (I probably wouldn't have noticed this conflict, but I’m paying particular attention to anything Audible related lately as my first book is set to begin audiobook production soon.) Here’s the whole article link: https://www.theverge.com/2019/7/19/20698383/audible-captions-feature-audiobook-book-publishers-rights
42 Writes’ “Rules of Writing”
Just for fun, I’m featuring this article from AuthorsPublish.com with 42 famous authors' rules on writing. If you’re looking for a little inspiration from Elmore Leonard, Neil Gaiman, Rainbow Rowell and 39 others, this article has you covered: https://www.authorspublish.com/42-writers-rules-for-writing/
Why you need a critique partner or writing group and how to find one
Lisa Poisso’s writes the most comprehensive article I’ve seen on critique groups. She even has lists of where to find online groups where you might share your writing and extra links to more in-depth discussions of writing group etiquette and more. I seriously do not know where I’d be (probably no longer writing) if it wasn’t for my critique group. I was lucky enough to be matched with a stellar group through my membership in the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, but as you can see from this article, there are many environments where you can find “your people.”
10 Tips for Effective Networking at a Writers’ Conference
In an article for Writers’ Digest, John Peragine gives excellent tips for networking at writing conferences whether you’re attending your first or twenty-first! My fav tip from him is to post about going to the conference in advance on social media, you’ll build an acquaintance base before you even show up! As we begin to plan our fall schedules (which may include a conference or two), take this advice to heart. (You might even find other writers there who could become a critique group.)
Writing Novel Scene Description
Mary Kole always gives excellent writing craft advice, and this article about scene description is no different. How much description is too much – too little? She addressed the balance of scene description and keeping reader attention.
Lyrics in Books: Your Questions Answered
The BookBaby blog gives you the 411 on how to avoid copyright violations with music lyrics. I’ve addressed this issue before (mainly because I was having an issue with how to reference a song in my own writing.) Quick tip: Titles are fair game but using specific lyrics IS NOT. Learn more HERE.
Everything You Wanted to Know About Sensitivity Reading But Were Afraid to Ask – Top Ten Questions Answered
Sensitivity reader, Patrice Williams Marks, gives a ten question tutorial on what we might like to know about sensitivity reading. Great read to educate yourself (even if you already think you know what sensitivity reading is all about.) She also does two videos per month on this topic, if you’d like to subscribe.
Take Two: How to Adapt a Book Into a Screenplay
While we may dream of someone acquiring movie or tv rights to our novel, unless we’re screenplay writers we probably don’t know much about how this works. Jeanne Veilette Bowerman, Script Magazine editor walks through the process of adapting a book into a screenplay with the main advice for writers being: “tell an amazing story while enhancing it for the (script) format.” If you’re really interested in delving into screen/script writing, UW-Madison Continuing Studies has a Script Coach course.
Hey, nonfiction writers -- I haven't forgotten about you! Until I drafted my first nonfiction book proposal, I hadn’t given nonfiction a lot of thought from the author perspective. Surprised at how much I enjoyed it, I have been reading more articles about nonfiction writing. Here are two well-written articles if you’re into nonfiction:
5 Step Process to Write a Nonfiction Business, Self-Help, or How-To Book (podcast as well as article) by Laura Cross of Rebel Seed Studio
Writing a Business or Self-Help Book? Ask Yourself These Four Questions by Steven Spatz for the BookBaby blog (These are really pre-writing questions that you should ask!)
The Top Software for Writers (updated for 2019)
Kindlepreneur's analysis of the best writing software for 2019 includes coupon codes (Yay!) for some of these products. Personally, I use my Microsoft office products (word/excel) to write and organize my writing, but I hear good things from other writers about some of these products. So if you’re in the market, check out this writing software comparison article. SPOILER ALERT: Scrivener wins.
I can go weeks without reading an article about book formatting (ha – in reality I could go FOREVER because it is not always a fun task.) But this month there were three articles with formatting specifics or tips/tools to help you. (Note: the writing software compared above in the Kindlepreneur article often has formatting systems built in.)
Reedsy has a free book formatter worth checking out, because – well – FREE.
Louise Harnby’s article: Formatting Your Book in Word: How to Save Time with the Styles Tool is something I’ll be reading and bookmarking for future reference. Great tutorial!
The BookWorks Blog from the Self-Publishers Association has an excellent article from Carla King: How to Resize Image Files for Your eBook & Website. I wished I’d had these tips when I was uploading my last book with two different image files that kept wonky out in the Kindle previewer.
How to Run a Book Launch for Maximum Sales (& Hit List!)
Author Diana Urban details how traditionally published author, Brenda Novak, “hit the USA Today bestseller list during launch week by running a coordinated marketing campaign.” (These tips work for self-published authors, too.) If you’re nearing a launch date, this is a must read! Click HERE for the full article.
The Truth About Book Launches
Dan Blank discusses the expectations versus results authors often have about book launches. He minces no words about the hard work that MUST go into any successful book launch. Practical advice! https://wegrowmedia.com/the-truth-about-book-launches/
How to Waste Money When Self-Publishing a Book
If you click through to this article, the first thing you’ll see is this same picture of $100 on fire. (FYI- an image free to use from Pixaby.com.) At first I laughed, but really this is no laughing matter! It is so incredibly easy to waste money on things that one website or another is telling you are essential to your success as an author, like buying followers on Facebook/Twitter, antipiracy protection, email blasts etc… Take a moment to read Nate Hoffelder’s guest blog over on Anne R. Allen’s website for his full list of Self-Publishing Money Wasters.
Top 10 Frequently Asked Questions About Book Publicity and Promotion
Some of the tactics that Nate Hoffelder warns about in the previous article are touched on in this BookDesigner article. Read these 10 Frequently Asked Questions/Answers along with Nate’s article before you start spending money on marketing and/or promotional services. You’ll save money and be a smarter book marketer!
20 Book Marketing Strategies for New and Experienced Authors
The Self-Publishing Review’s checklist of 20 actionable items for book promotion and marketing will give you a broad approach that includes everything from creating your Amazon Author Central page to running giveaways. Not a bad list to start with if you’re at the beginning of your book marketing journey . . . if you’re an experienced author, you’ve likely done at least half of these already, but check out the rest.
Book Marketing from a Standing Start as an Indie Author
Alastair Crombie tells us in a funny self-deprecating manner the things he did right and wrong and what his results were. For all of the indie authors out there, this honesty is refreshing as his experience is very typically unremarkable in terms of sales. He regroups and provides us with a discussion around a list of four basics: What does success mean to you? What are your expectations? Know your genre. Identify your reader. (That last point is very, very important when it comes to your marketing strategy . . . click down to the next article from David Gaughran about finding your comparable authors.)
How to Find Your Comp Authors
Knowing where your book fits in on the grand world bookshelf is crucial to your ability to find and connect with the readers who might buy your book! While it’s difficult to identify individual readers, we typically can find them by knowing the other authors they’re reading and even more generally the genre they’re fans of. David Gaughran puts it like this: “Comp authors are used by indies to inform decisions on presentation: covers, pricing, blurbs, taglines, and marketing copy generally. But these days they have a much more important role in addition to all of that: ads.” Read the entire tutorial HERE.
If you read my tutorials on book advertising on Facebook and advertising on the BookBub platform, you’ll know that you’ll be targeting fans of certain authors with your advertising—so you have to know who those ‘like’ authors are!
Public Libraries: How Authors Can Increase Both Discoverability and Earnings
Jane Friedman’s savvy article begins with an analysis of the readership of titles via libraries versus book sales. “In 2017, OverDrive (the largest digital content catalog supplying libraries and schools) recorded 225 million eBook and audiobook checkouts around the world. To put that in context, consider that—during the same year—US traditional publishers reported 162 million eBooks sold.” Her article goes on to discuss OverDrive’s research project that “hopes to demonstrate quantifiably how libraries affect discoverability and sales.” The article gives early stats and goes in-depth on how indie authors can get into libraries. (All indie authors should take the time to educate themselves on library system lending and how they can access distributorship that gets them into libraries.) Excellent links . . . worth a read! https://www.janefriedman.com/public-libraries-how-authors-can-increase-both-discoverability-and-earnings/
Author Websites and Blogging
We’re all Bozos on this Bus: 10 Lessons from 10 Years of Blogging
Anne R. Allen’s humorous title made me dive right into her fun recap of 10 years of blogging with 10 things she’s learned along the way. (Are you sensing a theme here?) Here best advice here is “keep a schedule” and “question authority.” (The other eight are great, too . . . read them HERE.) I would say that her methodology is definitely working as I regularly enjoy (and share) her posts. This is a fun read if you’re just beginning or are a veteran blogger.
5 Tips for Popular Posts on Your Author Blog
Encouraging authors to communicate with their followers through a blog, invariably leads to questions on best practices for blogging. Shelley Sturgeon on the BookDesigner website covers five main tips for successful blogging . . . she even delves into the often-dreaded topic of SEO in one of them. (gasp!) My favorite part of this article is the list of the ten most popular posts this past year on the BookDesigner blog.
Website Tips for Authors . . . two articles that can help you find the style you’re looking for without breaking the bank:
45+ Author Websites with Stellar Designs from the BookBub blog
DIY Author Website Themes That Work & Save You $ from the BookWorks blog
Moving from Mailchimp to MailerLite: A Guide
You may remember the brouhaha about Mailchimp’s changes recently. (You can read about those changes in the May Writers’ Forum.) If you’d like to switch to another email system, MailerLite is a good option. David Gaughran has an excellent guide to make the switch simpler.
Are You Using the Right Social Media Channel?
Occasionally, I like sharing articles that have the most recent social media audience statistics. Make sure that you’re social media strategy matches the readers you’re trying to reach! https://marketingchristianbooks.wordpress.com/2019/06/10/are-you-using-the-right-social-media-channel/
And if Instagram is one of the platforms you ought to be using (and I’m guessing it might be), you’ll want to check out this article: How Authors Use Instagram Stories to Connect with Readers
Happy Writing, Valerie