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Thursday, September 19

6 Ways to Build Traffic to Your Website

By Chrys Fey, @ChrysFey

Part of The Writer’s Life Series

JH: Being an author these days also means being a promotor, marketer, and even social media guru—at least to some degree. Today, Chrys Fey takes the podium to share tips on building traffic to our website.

Chrys Fey is the author of the award-winning book Write with Fey: 10 Sparks to Guide You from Idea to Publication. Catch the sparks you need to write, edit, publish, and market your book! From writing your novel to prepping for publication and beyond, you’ll find sparks on every page, including 100 bonus marketing tips. Fey is an editor for Dancing Lemur Press and runs the Insecure Writer’s Support Group’s Goodreads book club. She is also the author of the Disaster Crimes series. Visit her blog, Write with Fey, for more tips.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Blog | Newsletter

Take it away Chrys…

Wednesday, September 18

Don’t Make This Common Characterization Mistake

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

A flat character can kill an otherwise good story.

I was chatting with an editor of a publishing house recently, who mentioned a problem he sees in a lot of the submissions that cross his desk.

Poor characterization.

Cardboard characters. No sense of depth. Names, but not people. Without that characterization, it's impossible to connect with the characters or the story.

Compelling characters are vital to a novel, so if you want readers to love and connect with your characters, they need to feel like real people. So remember:

Tuesday, September 17

Guest Blogging Builds Platform and Sells Books: 5 Tips For Landing Guest Blogging Spots.

By Anne R. Allen, @annerallen

Part of The Writer’s Life Series

JH: Guest blogging is a fun and easy way to get your name out there without pestering your fans or scaring off potential readers. Anne R. Allen visits the lecture hall today, to share tips on the benefits of guest blogging for authors.

Anne R. Allen is an award-winning blogger and the author of 13 books, including the hilarious Camilla Randall Mysteries, and the Amazon #1 bestseller The Author Blog: Easy Blogging for Busy Authors, named one of the “99 Best Blogging Books of All Time” by Book Authority. She’s also co-author, with Catherine Ryan Hyde, of How to be a Writer in the E-Age. Anne blogs with NYT million-seller Ruth Harris at

Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter |

Take it away Anne…

Sunday, September 15

Sunday Writing Tip: Add More Internalization to Your Scenes

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

Each week, I’ll offer a tip you can take and apply to your WIP to help improve it. They’ll be easy to do and shouldn’t take long, so they’ll be tips you can do without taking up your Sunday. Though I do reserve the right to offer a good tip now and then that will take longer—but only because it would apply to the entire manuscript.

This week, check each scene for internalization. Are your characters sharing enough of their thoughts?

Last week, you added more emotion to your scenes. Emotion and internalization are often found together, so let’s build on that this week. Check your scenes and make sure you have enough internalization to show what the characters are thinking and feeling.

Aim for a good balance between thoughts that illustrate the character and how they feel about the situation, and the action and dialogue of the scene. While you don’t want a character who never shares their thoughts, you also don’t want one who’s too much in their head.

Saturday, September 14

Real Life Diagnostics: Is This Scene Showing or Telling the Tension and Surprise?

Critique By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

Real Life Diagnostics is a weekly column that studies a snippet of a work in progress for specific issues. Readers are encouraged to send in work with questions, and we diagnose it on the site. It’s part critique, part example, and designed to help the submitter as well as anyone else having a similar problem.

If you're interested in submitting to Real Life Diagnostics, please check out these guidelines. 

Submissions currently in the queue: Three

Please Note: As of today, RLD slots are booked through October 5.

This week’s question:

Am I showing or telling to convey the tension and surprise Gail feels at this moment?

Market/Genre: Science Fiction

On to the diagnosis…

Thursday, September 12

Indie Author Reality Check: Are You Ready to Go Indie?

By Ray Flynt

Part of The Indie Author Series

JH: The decision to go indie or not is a choice authors have to make for themselves. Ray Flynt returns to the lecture hall today to share a fun quiz and thoughts on the "indie or traditional?" publishing path choice. 

Why would you want to be an Indie Published author? Is it right for you? Are there any downsides? (Spoiler alert: Yes.) Isn’t it better to become traditionally published? (Ummm… stay tuned).

We’re going to begin with a quiz. It’s okay, I’m not looking over your shoulder as you mark your paper.

Get ready...set...go!

Wednesday, September 11

Writing in a New Genre. Should You Do It?

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

Common publishing advice says stick to one genre, but what happens when you want to write in other genres? Should you take the leap or stay where you are?

Growing up, I was a mostly science fiction and fantasy reader, and thus the same as a young writer. As I got older I broadened my reading interests some with YA contemporary, but it wasn’t until around six years ago that I really stepped outside my favorite genres.

My sister in law lent me one of her Jennifer Crusie romance novels when I was visiting one weekend. I’d never read romance, but I had a lot of friends who read and wrote it, so I figured I’d give it a try.

And I loved it.

Tuesday, September 10

Why Writers Should NEVER Carry a Notebook

By Laurence MacNaughton, @LMacNaughton

Part of the How They Do It Series

JH: The right tool for the job applies to writers, too. And sometimes, the right tool can make all the difference in our productivity. Laurence MacNaughton takes his monthly place at the podium today to share one of his go-to tools for keeping track of his notes and story ideas. For all you NaNoWriMo'ers...this would be very handy come October when you're planning your November novels (and pair well with a certain plotting book, too!).  

Before I became a published author, I used to carry around a writing notebook in my back pocket. You know the kind I'm talking about: the little black book that tells the world you’re a Serious Writer. But that little notebook is a big mistake, I eventually learned. Here are three reasons why you should ditch it, and what you need to keep in your pocket instead.

Monday, September 9

Looking for a Writing Workshop? Here Are September & October Workshops from Janice Hardy

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

It's been a busy conference year, and the next two months are the busiest of them all. I'll be attending conferences and giving workshops in both Florida and Texas in September and October.  

If you're looking for some serious in-depth novel tweaking, try my full-day "Bringing Your Novel to Life" workshop in Gainesville, FL.  

Gainesville, FL: FL-SCBWI Boot Camp Workshop (full day)
Saturday, September 21
10:00 am to 4:00 pm
Members: $85, Non-Members: $115
Saint Leo University
4650-B NW 39th Place
Gainesville, FL 32606

Sunday, September 8

Sunday Writing Tip: Add More Emotion to Your Scenes

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

Each week, I’ll offer a tip you can take and apply to your WIP to help improve it. They’ll be easy to do and shouldn’t take long, so they’ll be tips you can do without taking up your Sunday. Though I do reserve the right to offer a good tip now and then that will take longer—but only because it would apply to the entire manuscript.

This week, go through each scene and find three places where you can add or deepen the emotion.

Unless you’re writing a heavily plot-driven genre (such as a thriller or procedural), getting emotion into the story is vital. The more your readers connect emotionally with your characters, the more likely they are to love the book. “Not caring” is a big reason readers put a book down.