Writers' Forum 2022 - February

Draft2Digital Buys Smashwords

When a Writer Dies . . .

Wattpad Contest Controversy


Draft2Digital Buys Smashwords

This is really interesting news—mostly for those of us already with either D2D or Smashwords. Nothing will change immediately, however as a D2D author, I’m really excited about the Smashwords Tools that I will gain access to for coupons and presales.


When a Writer Dies: Making Difficult Decisions About the Work Left Behind -- Eric Newton for Jane Friedman’s Blog

Estate planning is always a good idea, particularly when you have creative work that needs to be managed—both unpublished and published. Here’s a look at one particular situation: https://www.janefriedman.com/when-a-writer-dies-making-difficult-decisions-about-the-work-left-behind/

Wattpad Contest Controversy – from Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware

I always feel a little sick when I see a headline like this because I know there are writers out there who did not read the fine print. Thank goodness for people like Victoria Strauss who keep an eye on such things. The contest’s official rules includes “Prize winners must grant rights exclusively, perpetually, and without the option to terminate, and the contest sponsor can use those rights as it chooses, without notifying--or paying--the writer.” (…. And more.) Read the full article and see Wattpad’s response. 


E-Book Law Updates from Publishers’ Weekly

Wow, library e-book laws are just popping up all over. Last month I told you how the New York Governor vetoed the law that passed in that state. Maryland’s law was being challenged by the American Association of Publishers as unconstitutional in that it “required publishers who offer license e-books to consumers to also offer to license the works to libraries on reasonable terms.” A federal judge granted a preliminary injunction to the AAP, blocking Maryland officials from enforcing the new law.

Now we learn that even more states are jumping into the fray to require publishers to offer libraries their ebooks with terms “reasonably similar” to those offered to the public. These states include Tennessee, Missouri, Illinois, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. Read the Publishers Weekly article here: https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/libraries/article/88515-tennessee-missouri-introduce-library-e-book-bills-illinois-bill-advances.html

So, maybe you’re wondering how do libraries purchase ebooks . . . or more accurately . . . how do libraries purchase ebook licensing? What are the terms? How do those contracts work? Well . . . it depends. Some are for a set period during which unlimited loans of the ebook can occur. Other licensing agreements are purchased for a set number of ebook loans. Depending on how many ‘borrows’ of the ebook occur or how many are allowed, a library may pay more or less per book than it would cost to acquire say the hardcover version or if a consumer were to purchase the ebook outright for their own collection. Learn more in these two articles:



KDP Paperback and Hardcover Books Can Now Be Published in the Netherlands

Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) has added the Netherlands to the locations/countries where print-on-demand paperbacks and hardcovers are now available for publishing.


Write It in Garamond – R.E. Hawley for the New York Times

Earlier in February, this article was shared with me (by the author’s aunt who I happened to be traveling with at the time.) She knew as a writer I’d appreciate the discussion of font choice. As writers (and readers) we know that fonts matters . . . sometimes a lot. But can a font choice make you a better writer? Can it make it easier to write? Perhaps. Hawley is a fan of Garamond—as am I. Learn a bit about this font’s origins and how switching to this font made all the difference for one of her long-term projects.

I apologize in advance that this may be behind the New York Times’ pay wall. (You get three free articles a month if you’re not a subscriber . . . so hopefully most of you can read this if interested.) https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/01/magazine/garamond.html

How to Stay Passionate and Productive with Sarah Noffke

Noffke headlines the Self Publishing Formula’s podcast staying passionate and productive with our writing. (And why should we pay attention? Noffke writes 12 books (or more) each year and knows what she’s talking about.) Go to this link to listen or read the full transcript or watch on YouTube below.

Use Telling Details to Connect Description to Character – Joe Ponepinto for Jane Friedman’s Blog

Learn how to avoid “flat and generic” descriptions which show us only the “superficial aspects of a character." Great examples in this article:


Crafting a Believable Magic System with C.R. Rowenson

Anyone who has read my books will understand why I clicked on this podcast episode!! In it Rowenson discusses how “a magic system, like any world-building in a novel, requires rules and structure so that readers aren’t taken out of the story by confusion or a lack of logic.” Go to this link to listen or read the full transcript or click on the YouTube below to watch.

Parts of a Book (Cover to Cover) – Dave Chesson

Are you new to indie publishing? Do you need a refresher? Dave Chesson’s detailed and recently updated tutorial covers everything you need to include in your book. Bookmark this guide:  https://kindlepreneur.com/parts-of-a-book/


Can You Make a Profit with a Single Book? – James Blatch

Yes, but proceed with caution. Most authors don’t make much money advertising a single book or book one in their series. Instead, they make their money on the ‘read-through’ purchases . . . those folks who got hooked with book one and go one to buy the next books in the series or an author’s other titles. See how Blatch did indeed make a small profit on his single book.

5 Lessons Authors Can Learn from Big Brands – Daniel Parsons

Yes, authors can learn something from Nike, Selfridges, McDonalds and more . . . see if you can use these five lessons to build your author brand.


8 Ways to Leverage Someone Else’s Network – Sandra Beckwith         

This is an excellent article on cross-promotion and collaboration with others to expand your network and create a stronger platform for your work. Great advice as always.

15 Rules for Advertising Books – David Gaughran

As you all should know by now, I consider David Gaughran one of (if not THE) smartest digital advertising guru in the biz. Here are his succinct rules to put you in the right mindset and get you started with digital advertising for your book(s). https://davidgaughran.com/book-advertising/

How to Use BookBub with a Limited Budget – Miranda Ditmore

The top three book advertisers are Amazon, Facebook and BookBub. Often BookBub is viewed as a platform where you need an ample budget to advertise effectively – when in reality all three platforms can be ‘expensive’ if you fail to achieve a positive return on your investment. I love to see how to make BookBub work on a budget. This article mainly focuses on how to grow your presence on BookBub along with how take advantage of promos for reorders, new releases, and testing audiences for general advertising. It’s important to remember that the BookBub audience are deal seekers and react best to reduced-price books. Check out my full BookBub Advertising tutorial here.

How to Sell Books at Higher Prices – Daniel Parsons

Yes, I know I just talked about price reductions in the previous article; however, this is a smart article about what you can do to give more value to the reader so you can increase your price. I love the idea of a reverse sale – where you warn your fans of a price increase and encourage them to get the best deal by buying today. Read all the tips here: https://selfpublishingformula.com/how-to-sell-ebooks-at-higher-prices/

24 Great Prize Ideas for Book Promotion Contests and Giveaways – Leila Hirschfeld

I love running giveaways and taking part in them. From signed copies to goodie bundles and gift cards, there are a ton of cool ideas here. My favorite one (which I’ve never used) is an annotated book or ARC. I always think about how author Maggie Stiefvater has offered individualized art or an art print in special editions of her books. See more here.  

Boost Social Media Success with These 3 Image Types

We all know that social media posts with images draw more attention than those without . . . does anyone even post anything without an image anymore?? But Sandra Beckwith reminds us that the type of social media image matters in this article where she talks about images with 1) quotes 2) Tips (tipographics) & 3) infographics.

A Year without Social Media as a Freelance Writer – Alexander Lewis

Okay . . . I have some opinions here! There’s no doubt that writers (really creators of any type) have a love / hate relationship with social media. On the one hand, (when done right) social media is a wonderful way to reach audiences, but we must acknowledge, on the other hand, that social media can be a huge time suck that keeps us from creating at all. Balance, my dear friends, is the key.

But I do admire anyone’s ability to cut social media out of their daily routine and then be honest about how it has affected the business side of their writing. (Now in all fairness this writer is a freelancer and a ghost writer . . . so not the typical book author. And there are a lot of articles out there about how large social media followings don’t translate into book sales but ARE an important part of engaging with your reader community.)

Can you live without social media?? YES, for sure! However, I think the better question is – how can I work better WITH social media (and keep my sanity)? Social media is not the enemy – unrealistic expectations and poor time management (habits) are the more likely culprits.  

See if you agree -- full article here: https://www.janefriedman.com/a-year-without-social-media-as-a-freelance-writer/

Happy Writing (editing, marketing, and more!) - Valerie  


When a Writer Dies is so poignant - and important.

Yes, it has made me add some stuff to my to-do list, so my poor husband (or kids) aren't stuck unraveling all kinds of things related to my books.

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