Longer Books Through Better Planning

Anodyne-cover-2015Elizabeth Spann Craig’s Twitterific writing links a couple weeks back led me to Ryan Lanz writing about stretching your word count.

In a moment of weakness, worried that Anodyne is too short, I followed it.

Expecting smarmy tricks, I found solid advice, which if implemented properly and with good motives is, what’s the phrase I’m looking for . . . oh yes; Good Stuff.

The 5 stretches listed by Lanz:

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When is it Appropriate to Offer Unsolicited Criticism of Someone’s Art?

cat-up-a-treeThere’s an old story about a chap who goes on vacation and leaves his dull-witted brother to care for the household.

After a week, he calls home and asks how his cat is faring.

“Cat’s dead,” his brother blurts.

“What? It’s what? That’s no way to tell someone their beloved pet died! Ya gotta work up to it.”

His brother, eager to learn, asks how one might do that.

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Following Every Rabbit Down a Hole: The Endless Search for All the Marketing

I started reading an article about how Amazon search really works and why authors need to know this.

I had to look up “lemmatisation” and shortly thereafter my eyes glazed over and I gave up.

this is not that

Maybe I’m a lazy slacker. Maybe I just want to write and then hope books sell themselves.

Maybe there’s only so much one person can do.

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Think Like a Writer (You Want This Book)

Think-Like-a-WriterMy friend, sometime lyricist, and most excellent editor Tom Bentley has finally released a book on writing.

Think Like a Writer: How to Write the Stories You See is both practical and entertaining. Much like its author, come to think of it.

I’ll let Tom tell you about it:
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Learn to Love Marketing, or Give Your Books Away (or Both)

left, right, or middle?Almost every author I talk to wishes someone else would sell their books for them. The few exceptions are those who, by nature or training, enjoy marketing their books. They’ve learned enough to have a plan and to execute it consistently, persistently.

Even my wife‘s clients, who pay her large sums for social media marketing for their books, engage fully in the process. Those who don’t quickly become frustrated because she isn’t selling their books well enough, not realizing that’s not how it works (despite having that clearly explained at the outset.)

Here’s the good news: if you hate marketing and you don’t want to sell your books, you don’t have to spend another second on marketing.

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Meanwhile, at Dave’s: Self Means Self

a-barcode-not-an-isbnAnother good article at Dave Bricker’s site about what self-publishing really means.

Also the beginnings of a conversation in the comment section about free ISBNs.

After I used up the 10 I bought from Bowker, I started using the free ISBNs CreateSpace offers. I don’t care who the publisher of record is. I care who’s credited with the intellectual property (and the payments.)

Other authors have tried to convince me that owning your ISBNs is the only professional route.

Until now, that’s been the whole argument: it looks more professional. Leaving off the rest of the sentence: to other authors. I don’t sell to authors, I sell to readers. Argument over.

Except, Dave makes some points we’re working through. Interesting points that have me thinking.

Your Character’s Symbol

yellow trashWell-written television has much to teach a novelist. The visual nature of its exposition reaches our brain differently.

It’s how Longmire taught me about assigning your character a symbol. It’s a concept I haven’t fully explored yet, but when it comes to Sheriff Walt Longmire, it’s been a powerful tool.

Walt hates trash. His small town deserves better, so from the first episode it’s a common scene for Walt to stop as he crosses the street to pick up some bit of trash and toss it where it belongs.

At first, it’s just Walt, picking up a gum wrapper.

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Outlining My Feelings On Outlining

outlineA new list member asked about outlining; how to, more than why to (or why not to.)

Below is an enormous excerpt from my cute little book Getting Your Book Out of the Someday Box. While it describes my nonfiction writing process, it’s really an information-gathering-and-sorting process, which, in a way, is what outlining is about.

If this raises more questions than it answers, as I fear it will, ask and ye shall receive.

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I Think I’ll Take the Day Off

pause and reflectMonday, Tuesday, and Wednesday we drove 600 miles.

Each day.

Yesterday, I didn’t even know what day it was.

Today, I’m sitting in Phoenix while it rains.

In Phoenix. In late April.

Back home, we left 70 degree weather. Which turned to a day-long blizzard the next day.

Schedules are good. Habits are good. Plugging along, doing the work — also good.

Sometimes, though, it makes more sense to pause and reflect. Or just pause.

I’ll be back with my usual brilliance next Friday. In the meantime, if there’s something you’d love to see me write about, tell me about it down in the comments.

It’ll give me something to reflect on when I’m done pausing.