Author’s Corner: Are You Wandering Aimlessly?

The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has been unbelievable, on so many levels. From the speed at which it spread, to the closing of borders, stores, schools and universities … and the cancellation of conferences, seminars, and businesses in general. It’s been a long, dark road. The discussions about opening up again are all interesting, but they are split between encouraging massive bursts of productivity and gentle, realistic spurts of things that are more manageable. So many authors I … [Read more...]

Author’s Corner: Why Does Your Book Pitch Matter?

Why Does Your Book Pitch Matter? When it comes to trying to sell your book, there’s a lot of noise out there. As a writer, I find I’m always listening to other people’s conversations. Don’t get me wrong … I don’t do it to eavesdrop … it’s just a habit I developed to help me understand how people really talk to each other. It’s enormously helpful when crafting realistic dialogue. I was at a writers’ conference, when something I overheard really struck me. While standing in the registration … [Read more...]

Author’s Corner: Believable Characters

How Do You Make Your Characters Believable? A story is a composite of myriad pieces: point-of-view, setting, theme, plot, action, conflict, character, pacing, dialogue and more. You need all of these parts to make good fiction work but, in my mind, none is as vital as character. No matter how we dress them up, stories will always be about people. The trick, of course, is making the people featured worth reading about. Readers want interesting plots, true. They want to be impressed by … [Read more...]

Author’s Corner: When Did You Start?

When Did You Start to Write Stories? I’ve been thinking about all the wannabe authors out there. I suppose it’s because I’m in the same boat with them. I’ve been writing as long as I can remember. I write because I feel the urge to put my stories down for others to read. It’s something I have to do. Have to … even though I occasionally wonder if I’m relevant. For instance, I often hear young people talking about what cool new music they’ve been listening to and, if they bother to ask me … [Read more...]

Author’s Corner: Creative Ideas

So, Where Do Creative Ideas Come From? The answer might surprise you. In Paul McCartney’s biography, he shared this secret: “… John often had just the first verse, which was always enough. It was the direction … the signpost … the inspiration for the whole song. I hate the word, but it was the template.” In other words, The Beatles, the most successful rock band in history, used a template to create blockbuster songs. They’re not the only ones. For instance, Agatha Christie, one of the … [Read more...]

Author’s Corner: Generating Ideas

Generating Ideas One of the most common questions a published author is asked is “Where do you get your story ideas? New writers sometimes think ideas are just supposed to pop into an author’s head … or else they use some secret formula. But fully-formed story ideas don’t do that - not usually, anyway. Nor do most established authors have some magic formula. The truth is they probably already have more great ideas than they could ever write. Every how-to book on writing will tell you … [Read more...]

Author’s Corner: More about Marketing

More about Marketing I talked in my previous article about creating a solid marketing plan to brand you as a writer. The question becomes, how do you want to be known? I still struggle with it, because I write things in different genres. Today, even the legacy publishing houses find themselves unable to promote more than a handful of the thousands of books they publish. Almost without exception, they expect authors whom they sign to have a significant online presence already. If … [Read more...]

Author’s Corner: The Power of Earned Media

The Power of Earned Media So, you’ve just written and indie-published your book. Now all you have to do is find fans, right? You’re probably going to be disappointed in what I say next, because I’m not going to offer a magic way to get a ton more readers. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. Anyone who tells you different is either trying to sell you something, or scamming you. Readers are only gained a few at a time, even if you experience a sudden and serendipitous burst of exposure. … [Read more...]

Author’s Corner: The Indie Publishing Revolution

The Indie Publishing Revolution As recently as ten years ago, it was a print-centric world. Printed books accounted for nearly all book sales and the traditional publishing houses controlled the means of production, distribution and sales, working strictly with agents who would screen manuscripts before they were sent anywhere. The agents and publishers of the traditional houses decided which writers actually got published; which books would become available for the public to read; which … [Read more...]

Author’s Corner: Preparing Your Manuscript for Printing

Preparing Your Manuscript for Printing For my first book, I had written the original draft in WORD. I told you in my last column what an effort it was to create the digital versions. The paperback books were a bit easier (or maybe I was just numb from creating those digital versions). In any event, when I was ready I downloaded that original manuscript (still in Word), into the size I wanted (5.5 x 8.5 is a standard trade paperback) making the necessary tweaks to the file for proper type … [Read more...]