Writers' Forum - May 2023

What Recent Publishing Controversies Say About the Industry

5 Common Mistakes People Make When Checking for Plagiarism

What to Do if Your Amazon KDP Account is Suspended or Banned


What Recent Publishing Controversies Say About the Industry

Nathan Bransford unpacks the latest industry news (aka scuttlebutt) at literary agencies and how the norms of the industry are changing. This is a good summary of what’s been happening lately. 


5 Common Mistakes People Make When Checking for Plagiarism

This is a super interesting article about how blindly trusting software that checks for plagiarism is causing some people to be improperly accused. In one case, an art student’s OWN WEBSITE was cited as the place where substantially similar designs were found. Well, duh!! Basically a good warning article about checking sources and also about ‘innocent overlaps.’ 


What to Do if Your Amazon KDP Account is Suspended or Banned

I feel like I should be snail mailing you all some Tums before you read this article. There have been a bunch of people having this happen to them lately – when they’ve done nothing to get their accounts in hot water. It’s a scary thing when our KDP accounts play such a big role in our incomes as authors. Read this and be prepared in case it happens to you. I feel better having a list of steps ready (Just in case.)


The Latest on AI in the Writing and Publishing World

Nope – this is not going away! (Beginning last month I started this separate section in the Forum for AI articles.)

EU Proposes New Copyright Rules for Generative AI

This collaboratively written article from Reuters gives the details of what’s being consider for new rules in the EU. The proposal is that companies using any generative AI technology “will have to disclose any copyrighted material used to develop their systems.”


ChatGPT – three articles

Using ChatGPT for research? Take Exceeding Care – by Susanne Dunlap for Jane Friedman’s blog is a very educational article that shows how ChatGPT information needs to be vetted with other sources. Definitely worth a read:

5 Ways to Use ChatGPT as an AuthorDaniel Parsons from the Self-Publishing Formula blog gives five ways that you might use ChatGPT as an author (as we can see from the previous article – research is definitely one of these areas.) Others he details include search engine optimization, tech support, and translation services.  See what you think here.

Writers Beware: There is one big problem using Chat GPT for blogs

In this medium article, Alexandre Lores explains how directly pasting content you find in ChatGPT into your online posts can get your content flagged by Facebook or Google because those systems are trained to identify AI generated content.  He gives tips for making the AI generated content your own.

The Fanfic Sex Trope That Caught a Plundering AI Red-Handed -- WARNING: Explicit language in this article from Rose Eveleth for Wired.com

Here’s the quick (and dirty) summary: A very specific vocabulary about a sexual act that comes from a specific sub-genre from an online community of writers was being included in AI generated content.  Which means that could only have happened if this copyrighted material had been scraped (taken without consent aka STOLEN) by AI programming. Read more here. 

Time Management for Writers Conferences

Daniel Parsons at the Self-Publishing Formula gives excellent tips for conference attendees to get the most out of their experience. A good reminder as we begin to get back into attending conferences.


Throughout 2023 writing instructor and pre-published author Tracey Kathryn (T.K.) Sheffield and I will be offering a blog series on plotting from the beginning developmental stage through the messy middle and all the way to the end, including editing advice on how to fix plot problems in a completed manuscript.

In Part 1, Tracey lists wonderful resources that are great for those that are new to writing or looking for a new approach to plotting in: "Plotting a Novel: Resources for Those Just Starting Out."

In Part 2, Tracey discusses how to use plotlines, tropes, and conflict to test your story ideas: "Testing Novel Ideas

Part 3 has Tracey and I discussing the virtues of outlining your novel vs. pantsing (aka: writing by the seat of your pants.) See what sides we take in this debate

In Part 4, I cover the difference between a novel’s hook and it’s inciting incident.

And Part 5, helps you to avoid the “Messy Middle.” 

Why You Should Start Promoting Your Writing Before You’re Ready

So, this article is about promotion  . . . but I think it needs to be here in the pre-publication area, because these are tips for how to start setting up your identity as a writer early in the game – when you’re still writing, before you’re trying to sell your work. Read the article from Catherine Baab-Maguira here.   


11 Ways to Promote Preorder Books that Drive Results

Therese Walsh writes this article for the BookBub Partners blog – and it covers some really helpful steps to get the word out about your book and start generating pre-orders in the months leading up to your book’s release.  


Marketing to Libraries

This post from the Good Story Company (from a librarian) gives a step-by-step approach for getting your books into libraries. Sometimes authors focus so much on reader sales that we forget to pursue the library market. Key info here.

Kickstarters and Collaborations with Martha Carr for the Self Publishing Podcast

Have you been wondering how kickstarter works and whether it’s a viable platform for promoting you work? Learn more in the podcast below or read the transcript here.

ReaderScout Review: A New Free Tool for Authors

Jason Hamilton pens this article for the Kindlepreneur website – the company offering up this awesome free tool--ReaderScout. It’s a free plugin that will ‘help you stay vigilant about unexpected price changes, new reviews, and the most convenient way to see your Amazon followers count. This comes from the makers of Publisher Rocket and Atticus.

All About Amazon Followers: Where to See that Stat and How to Find New Followers

Both of these articles are written by Jason Hamilton for the Kindlepreneur website. The first article – finding out how many follower you have – includes using ReaderScout for this information, but you can find this out by going to your Amazon Author Central account dashboard, too. The second half of these articles gives tips on how to increase the number of followers. Why would you go to that effort? Because these followers get an automatic email every time you publish a new book. This a free service, the author pays nothing.

Boosting Boxed Set Sales with BookBub Ads

Okay this article is not going to be for everyone – 1) you need to have a boxed set and 2) you probably should have an idea of how BookBub ads have already worked for your non-boxed set books . . . but if this fits the bill, check out the tips provided by Shailee Shah here:


And…sticking with BookBub for a moment: Are you curious How BookBub Editors Choose Categories? I didn’t realize that you do not have to choose your category when you’re applying for a BookBub featured deal. You can have their staff pick the right category for your book. This may be especially helpful to those of us who have books that span multiple genres.


Why Authors Should Ditch MailChimp and Move to Substack

The growing discontent with MailChimp as they continue to move more and more features behind their paywall is nearly palpable these days. L.L. Barkat gives succinct reasons why a switch over to Substack might make sense for you as an author. Check it out here.


The State of Author Newsletters: Data from 500+ Authors

AJ Stack compiled this information for the BookBub Partners blog – and it’s pretty cool to see this much info about author newsletters in one place. Where do your efforts stack up??


How Successful Authors Use Social Media: 29 Content Ideas

Looking for some new ideas for what to share/post on social media . . . here’s a fun list to check out.


Should You Pay An Influencer to Recommend Your Book?

Sandra Beckwith helps authors walk through the steps to decide if this is a good idea or not. Good detail here – including disclaimers and legal concerns.

Harnessing the Power of TikTok: From Self-Published to Traditionally Published Author

Julie Gray describes her unusual path to traditional publishing and how TikTok helped her do it. Interesting story – both her personal journey and the book she wrote.


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