Writers' Forum - October 2021

What Are You Traditions for October 31?

New Social Media Platform for Authors

Black Voices in Publishing: Is It a Trend or a Movement?


What Are Your Traditions for October 31 & November 1

My recent article for the Blackbird Writers blog to takes you on a little journey into the past, detailing where all of our Halloween and All Saints Day traditions originated. You may be surprised as to how this holiday has evolved!

This Founder Created a Social Media Platform for Authors that Aims to Disrupt the Publishing Industry

Author Allison Trowbridge will soon launch a new social media platform aimed at connecting authors. Copper was born out of her desire to connect with other authors and readers, and she “hopes that Copper will become the LinkedIn of the book world.” I know I’ll be following this platform as it is unveiled. Read the full article here on Forbes.

Black Voices in Publishing: Is It a Trend or a Movement?

This article from Jane Friedman is an update on an article from 2020 that follows a panel discussion of industry experts who are working to make changes/advances in the inclusion of black voices at all levels of publishing. “The difference between a trend and a movement is that the culture changes when there is a movement, said Wade Hudson, publisher of Just Us Books. ‘If we don’t have a cultural change, what we’re doing will be a trend.’” Read the full post:



Fiction editor and proofreader Louise Harnby offers so much amazing content for writers (and editors) on her website. I’m a big fan of her blog and read it regularly and (if you’ve been noticing) often share it here on the Writers’ Forum. Her website also provides links to her courses and other resources that writers can benefit from. Check out her blog here: https://www.louiseharnbyproofreader.com/blog

Louise Harnby is a professional fiction editor with 30 years' publishing experience, and specializes in working with independent crime, thriller, and mystery writers. She is an Advanced Professional Member of the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP), and cohosts The Editing Podcast with Denise Cowle. 


Literary Fiction: What is it?

This is a fascinating look at the definition of literary fiction—a somewhat nebulous genre from Mark Dawson’s Self-Publishing Formula podcast. Read the transcript and access here:  https://selfpublishingformula.com/episode-301/   Or watch below:

How to Raise the Stakes in a Novel

Nathan Bransford explains what is meant by the often-heard advice, ‘raise the stakes,’ and gives specific tips for doing just that. I love how he talks about rewards and consequences of a character achieving (or not achieving) their goal. Bransford says, “Thus, the very simple key is to ask yourself these two questions: 1) What does my character think will happen if they succeed? And 2) What does my character fear will happen if they fail?” The article goes on from there with excellent advice. Read it here: https://nathanbransford.com/blog/2021/10/how-to-raise-the-stakes-in-a-novel

Adversaries in Fiction: Who Is Standing in Your Character’s Way?

Angela Ackerman writing for Jane Friedman’s blog discusses adversaries and their necessity (of course) to the conflict (also necessary) in your novel. This is a super summary of the different kinds of antagonists that a writer can employ. I may actually print this one out to have handy when I’m at the developmental stage of a new story idea. 

Hacking: The Secret Spice of Modern Storytelling

Kristen Lamb has been delving into really specific fiction research that provides key details that truly (when done wrong) can make or break your novel. Earlier this month, she shared info on guns/firearms and how important it is to get those particulars right. In this most recent article, she explains how to properly detail hacking – as in computer or technology hacking. If you have this kind of storyline in your future, her article will safe you a ton of research time.



5 Skills Every Indie Author Needs to Learn

Daniel Parsons (writing for Mark Dawson’s blog) gives this simple yet important list of skills . . . which starts with the most logical thing of all . . . you must sharpen the skill of writing if you’re to be a successful author, but you also need to become an editor, a marketer, a broadcaster, and more. See what he says about each of these five categories: https://selfpublishingformula.com/5-skills-every-indie-author-needs-to-learn/

How to Protect Your Author Income

In a similar article on Mark Dawson’s blog, Daniel Parsons tells us how to protect our income as an author. The quick list is platform building, indie publishing, branding, diversifying income, and publishing wide. You’ll want to read it all here: https://selfpublishingformula.com/how-to-protect-your-author-income/

What Do Authors Earn from Digital Lending Libraries?

Great question! I’ve always wanted to know this more precisely and Jane Friedman’s blog post provides the answer with honest-to-goodness dollar amounts included:



How to Self-Publish a Hardcover Book on Amazon

Say what? Yup! You can now publish a hardcover book on Amazon through the KDP dashboard. Jason Hamilton’s Kindlepreneur article walks us through the steps and very briefly touches on why this may be a good risk in terms of cost and ease of set up. (A future article will more carefully compare the quality and ease of production between the Amazon hardcover with those printed by IngramSpark and Lulu, Amazon’s main competitor in this area.)


Be Your Own Book Publicist

Hiring a book publicist can be expensive, but can you do this work yourself? Book marketing and publicity expert, Sandra Beckwith, says you surely can and gives you the initial steps to take in this article: https://buildbookbuzz.com/how-to-be-your-own-book-publicist/

How to Sell Books Wide

There’s always this debate . . . should I be exclusive to Kindle and only sell my ebook on Amazon or should I go wide and sell it on all the other platforms. If you’re trying to make this decision, take the time to read Daniel Parson’s article about how you can make ‘wide’ sales work for you. I have had varying degrees of success with going wide. (The good news is . . . you can try it for a while and always go back to being exclusive to Kindle if it doesn’t generate the sales you had hoped it would.) And if you're looking for a recommendation, I really love Draft2Digital.

Getting Started with BookBub Ads: Launching a New Series

Do you have a new series that’s coming out soon? Check out Carlyn Robertson's article on the BookBub Partners blog. She gives a detailed analysis on how Krysten Harlow launched her new epic fantasy series with BookBub ads as a key element to the marketing process.


Two Tools to Help Every Author!

This QR Code generator from Dave Chesson at the Kindlepreneur website is super easy to use. (His article also explains QR codes if you’re unfamiliar and gives a great list of ways an author might use this handy scannable code.)

GeniusLink – I recently learned about GeniusLink from another author/book marketer and cannot wait to try it out. This seems to have more features and ease of use than any of the other link services out there. Looks like I’ll be able to manage multiple functions in this one place and track clicks in a more logical manner than I currently am.

15 Ways Authors Support Each Other on Social Media

Surprise – surprise. Social media is for being social . . . ha/ha . . . do we forget that sometimes when we are sell-sell-sell mode? Share the love and support your fellow authors with these 15 great ways to be a good partner to your fellow authors by Leila Hirschfeld. (I have always found that generosity breeds more generosity!) 

Noteworthy November Holidays for Book Promotion Potential

November’s almost here . . . . Sandra Beckwith gives us the notable holidays for the month to use in our social media posts/promotions.


Key Tips for Maximizing your Instagram Presence

Is it time for some Instagram updating/maintenance? Barb Drozdowich shares 10 key tips for maximizing your Instagram presence in this handy infographic. I know I need to do some of these right now. (Things are always changing . . . so even if you think you’ve got this covered, take a quick look to be sure.)

Bookstagrams of Audiobooks

Ooh-lah-lah . . . here are some gorgeous Instagram posts promoting audiobooks. Is your visual content up to snuff? (and what does that even mean?? See below) Grab some hints here as to how you can improve your posts.

UP TO SNUFF: Origin (according to the grand ol’ google search)

“Up to snuff' originated in the early 19th century. In 1811, the English playwright John Poole wrote Hamlet Travestie, a parody of Shakespeare, in the style of Doctor Johnson and George Steevens, which included the expression. ‘He is up to snuff, that is, he is the knowing one.’”

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

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