Writers' Forum - December 2021

Writer Burnout: 19 Tips for Recovery and Prevention

Reigniting Your Passion for Your Author Career

How to Feel More in Control as an Author

A New Year - A Fresh Start: Sign Up Now


Writer Burnout: Tips for Recovery, Prevention, and Reigniting Your Passion

As often happens, at the end of the year there are often a number of articles devoted to getting your writing career back on track in preparation for the new year ahead. This year is no different. The first of these articles on Writer Burnout comes from Jason Hamilton on the Kindlepreneur site helps you to identify what burnout really is and gives tips on how to overcome it and even prevent it in the first place. (These tips work for really any kind of burnout.)

Reigniting Your Passion for Your Author Career and How to Feel More in Control as an Author

Daniel Parson’s articles fit together nicely. In Reigniting Your Passion for Your Author Career, he encourages authors who are feeling stagnant to change up their methodologies, perhaps even their genres and branch out to other author adjacent work—like teaching others. This segues right into How to Feel More in Control as an Author. While a great many things are out of our control as authors, the environment in which we work (physical and virtual) is within our control. Parson’s gives tips on tidying up these ‘workspaces’—which can be as simple as – well – actually cleaning/organizing, but also includes choosing which things will take up precious space for our attention like choosing our ‘influencers’ wisely. Nice approach to help us enter the new year ready to meet our goals.

A New Year - A Fresh Start: A Panel Discusion About New Beginnings and Inspiration

Holiday taking a toll on your writing? Get a fresh start and get inspired with the first Wisconsin Writers Association event of 2022 from 7 - 8:30 pm on January 6. Join writers Christy Wopat, Kristine Hansen and Valerie Biel for an online discussion about finding inspiration, how to keep going even when that inspiration just isn't there, and how to keep your butt in the chair all year long. 

We'll talk about: 

  • Identifying obstacles
  • Setting realistic goals
  • Charting your own path (and stop comparing yourself to others)
  • Employing workable strategies for success





After Covid Boom, eBook Aggregators Face Licensing Questions from Congress

The Verge article by Makena Kelly highlights a growing issue over ebook access through libraries that everyone in publishing needs to watch. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) “launched an investigation into how publishers license ebooks to libraries, calling on nine major ebook aggregators, like Overdrive and EBSCO to provide details on the licensing agreements they make with libraries, including examples on standard ebook licensing agreements for every major publisher they work with. Wyden wrote, “Many libraries face financial and practical challenges in making e-books available to their patrons, which jeopardizes their ability to fulfill their mission. It is our understanding that these difficulties arise because e-books are typically offered under more expensive and limited licensing agreements, unlike print books that libraries can typically purchase, own, and lend on their own terms.”

Business Musings: The If-Only Lawsuit

In last month’s Writers’ Forum, I noted that the US Department of Justice had sued to stop the merger of Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster. In her post reacting to this, Kristine Kathryn Rusch asserts that this is 15 to 20 years too late as so many mergers have happened in the past two decades without such lawsuits. This article is excellent and gives you a review of the most recent history of the publishing industry and what publishing house mergers have done to authors' earnings/contracts and careers. Mark this as a must read.


What Ever Happened to Amazon’s Bookstore?

If you’ve ever seen one of your books for sale at an astronomical price by a third-party vendor on Amazon and learned that there was nothing much you could do about it, you’ll want to read David Streitfeld’s article for the New York Times detailing author John C. Boland’s lawsuit against Amazon for not policing these sales. Again, worth a read if your curious about the backstory here. (NOTE: If you’re not a NYT subscriber, you usually get three articles for free a month.)

Will Publishing Sales Grow Again?

The Association of American Publishers' recently released industry wide sales report for 2020 is dissected here by Jim Milliot for Publishers Weekly. The key takeaway is that the report shows “another basically flat year.” There are some interesting bits of info about certain segments of the market that are worth reading about. 


How Authors Are Finding Success on Kindle Vella

There was plenty of discussion in advance about whether Kindle's serialized story offering where readers purchase access with tokens would e as big of a hit as predicted. Turns out the predictions were right. This Market Screener article comes directly from Amazon.com, so know that going in, but overall, Kindle Vella appears to be a hit. I know authors who have done extremely well, achieving excellent bonus payouts for high-ranking stories.



Wisdom from the Publishing World

In 2021, I started a new Author Series on my blog, asking published authors what they wished they had known before publishing their first book. Every month in 2021, a different author offered their wisdom on this topic. The final author of the year is also my literary agent, Tina P. Schwartz of the Purcell Agency. Read her advice HERE. (Catch up with the other posts from throughout the year HERE.)

How to Overcome Perfectionism to Achieve Your Writing Goals

Book coach Heather Campbell gives tips on how that pesky problem of perfectionism can actually sabotage your success via her article on Jane Friedman’s blog. Great article to help you identify how this might be happening to you and your writing projects along with how to change your mindset. https://www.janefriedman.com/how-to-overcome-perfectionism-to-achieve-your-writing-goals/

When and Whether to Hire a Developmental Editor

Tiffany Yates Martin helps you decide when you should consider hiring a developmental editor and, more importantly, when you shouldn’t. If engaging an editor is something you’re considering for 2022, this is a must read. Personally, this is the favorite kind of editing I do for clients. (If you’re interested in having me edit your manuscript, reach out to me at LostLakePress@gmail.com and we can decide if I’m a good fit for your needs.)

The Unagented Submission

We all know that typical advice in publishing is to find an agent first and have them navigate the submissions to editors/publishers. But many authors do go it alone and make unagented submissions directly to editors. Check out the pros and cons of unagented submissions in this article by Rhiannon Richardson for the Good Story Company.

Why You Should Be Writing in Anthologies

So, this is totally on my bucket list. I would actually love to be the editor of an anthology, too. Carol Van Natta is the guest on the Self Publishing Formula podcast discussing why anthologies are a good idea for authors. Watch the podcast below or click this link to read a transcript: https://selfpublishingformula.com/episode-307/



The Best BookBub Ads of 2021

Carlyn Robertson walks us through BookBub’s best ads of 2021. . . see them all here: https://insights.bookbub.com/best-bookbub-ads-2021/

Foreign Marketing Opportunities for Authors

One of the best ways to earn more as an author is to maximize revenue on projects you’ve already created. One way to do this is to consider foreign markets for your work. In another helpful podcast from the Self Publishing Formula, Alex Newton discusses translating your work into print and audiobooks in foreign markets. Watch on YouTube below or read the transcript here: https://selfpublishingformula.com/episode-308/


Tools to Make Your Writing Life Easier

Sandra Beckwith of Build Book Buzz has a nifty list of her favorite tools and apps that she can’t live without as a writer. This includes some of my favorites like Canva, Publisher Rocket, and Otter.ai. My list of favorites can be found here: Tools to Make Your Writing Life Easier

How to Keep Track of Your Book Sales and Marketing Efforts

It’s essential as authors that we organize our book sales and marketing information, so that we can see what’s working and what’s not. Follow Sandra Beckwith’s advice to get started. She uses excel spreadsheets as do I, but just lately I’ve heard of a tool called Scribe Count. Another author tells me that she loves how it saves her time. I need to try this out and luckily, they do have a 14-day free trial. Check it out here: https://www.scribecount.com/

More on the forever debate that goes back and forth: Does Social Media Sell Books?

Jane Friedman’s smart article “Yes, Social Media Can Sell Books. But Not If Publishers Sit on Their Hands” unpacks some of the assertions in a recent New York Times article Millions of Followers? For Book Sales, ‘It’s Unreliable,' lamenting that celebrity books aren’t selling all that well. Friedman explains that there’s a lot of ‘context missing from the article’ and asks, “Is it really unreliable? Or is it publishers falling asleep at the wheel? Or is it the case of not-so-great books being published and no one wanting them?” Take a minute to read through her post—it’s really good!

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

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