Join Me 2/22 for NFAA Podcast on Resistance

On February 22nd members of the Nonfiction Author’s Association will be listening to NFAA CEO Stephanie Chandler interview me about Resistance, and 6 ways I’ve found to make that bully irrelevant.

The free NFAA membership level includes the weekly live interviews. Paid memberships would also give access to recordings. I encourage you to join (even at the free level) and listen in. (My wife, Sue, is Special Projects Director of the NFAA and we’ve known Stephanie for years, so these are people you can trust.)

We talk about dealing with Resistance including some specific steps, plus I list my 10 favorite books to help you make Resistance irrelevant, every single day.

Create the Villain Your Hero Needs: Superb Infographic from David “Villain” Villalva

3 Ways to Create a Villain Who Audiences Want & Heroes Need [Infographic]David Villalva is a story nerd like me. Smart, friendly, smart, generous, and smart.

He created this superb infographic to explain how to create your story’s villain, and why doing it like this matters. Click to make it big.

Adding a MailChimp Newsletter Signup Form to Your WordPress Theme

blow-your-own-hornLast week I wrote a geeky article I hope makes it easier to choose a WordPress theme (short version: it’s about look and feel, not how it works.)

Since the origin of this series of posts was a conversation about your newsletter being the most important marketing tool you have, this week, we’ll go over the basics of adding a MailChimp newsletter signup form to your WordPress site. (There are other newsletter tools. I think MailChimp has the right balance of power and simplicity. The concepts here apply adding any code to your WordPress site to varying degrees, so you can mentally stretch them to include other newsletter tools if that’s your preference.)

Overview: … more … “Adding a MailChimp Newsletter Signup Form to Your WordPress Theme”

Your Author Website: Choosing a Good WordPress Theme

Big fan of WordPress. I use it for all my sites and for Spinhead’s clients’ sites as well. As a writer you’ll note the correct use of apostrophes in that sentence. (See below for the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org and trust me, you want to know this.)

Choosing a theme seems to be a massive roadblock to beginners.

Let’s blow that up and shovel it into the ditch, eh? … more … “Your Author Website: Choosing a Good WordPress Theme”

Turning Your Website Into a Connection Machine

I am not using “machine” in the cool and/or hip sense, as in, your website will magically cause magic to magically happen.

I am using it the sense of a mechanism which does a thing. Because your website is probably an online brochure, limiting, perhaps even repelling, connection. Do these things well, and your site will have the mechanics to allow, even foster, connection. (These are mechanical steps, not social engineering, which is a subject for a different marketing-based post.)

The-Machine

Quick and dirty, not necessarily in order of importance unless otherwise stated.

… more … “Turning Your Website Into a Connection Machine”

How Not to Throw a Mess Over the Transom; or, Who Cares More, You or Your Editor?

the-best-part-of-waking-upMy finger hovered over the mouse button, ready to click “Send” and turn That She is Made of Truth over to Tom for editing.

But wait; there’s more!

Rather than tossing a soiled manuscript over the transom and letting Tom wipe it down before he even begins work, why not tidy it up myself, and let him spend his time doing what he does best?

I always run my manuscripts through AutoCrit before asking anyone else to work with them. It’s the least I can do (and sometimes, the least is exactly what I do.)

… more … “How Not to Throw a Mess Over the Transom; or, Who Cares More, You or Your Editor?”

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:
… more … “Think Like a Writer (You Want This Book)”

In Praise of Robert McKee’s “Story”

In the past few years I have started, but not finished:

  1. A coming of age story with a strong musical element
  2. The first mystery in a new series with a rather artistic protagonist
  3. The first mystery in a new series with a female protagonist
  4. A Jeeves & Wooster/P. G. Wodehouse-inspired light comedy with a mysterious twist.

They are unfinished, not because they aren’t good, but because I didn’t know how to make the last 1/3 (or 1/2 or 2/3) as good as what was already written.

Not because I don’t know how to use words. Never been a problem. I was reading at college level when I started Kindergarten back in the Jurassic Era.

What I didn’t know was, once you start building a bridge of story from over here and it spans half the chasm, how do you keep it from collapsing into the ravine until you can make it land over there?

In other words, what is the structure of a story?

… more … “In Praise of Robert McKee’s “Story””

Another Structure: Shawn Coyne’s Story Grid

As a story structure geek, I’ve been thrilled to learn from Larry Brooks over at Storyfix.

And just as thrilled to discover the work of Shawn Coyne, by way of Steven Pressfield’s site.

An acquisitions editor for a million years, Shawn knows what it takes for a book to succeed. He knows what makes a story work, which is, as Larry keeps saying, the bare minimum, the ante, for this game. And he’s teaching it, a bit at a time, at StoryGrid.com.

The image below is the story grid for Silence of the Lambs which, though I have not indulged in either book or movie, is a classic example of story done right, according to Shawn.

… more … “Another Structure: Shawn Coyne’s Story Grid”

Catherine, Caffeinated: Self-Printed 3.0

selfprintedsplashbadgeCatherine Ryan Howard taught me how to do a Goodreads giveaway, among other things. Wanna know what she can teach you? Here’s a single Q&A with Catherine, and down below, the scoop on the latest edition of her book Self-Printed: The Sane Person’s Guide to Self-Publishing.

I asked: Is there any specific data on the ROI for freebies? I’m curious about data like “100 copies given away results in 13 reviews and 3 copies sold” or some such nonsense. Separated by fiction and nonfiction. Also, what’s your opinion on whether such data would have any practical value?

… more … “Catherine, Caffeinated: Self-Printed 3.0”