Thursday, April 24, 2014

Are Print Books Necessary in the Digital Age?

By Julie Musil, @juliemusil

Part of the Indie Author Series

When I decided to indie publish The Boy Who Loved Fire, I knew I’d create a print version. I adore print books, and many people I know still don’t own e-readers. Heck, I just got my own Kindle last year.

As more writers venture into the indie jungle, many may wonder Are print books necessary in the digital age?

Necessary? No. Worth it? Absolutely.

Here are several reasons why it’s worth your time and effort to create a print book:

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Busting the Outline Myth

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

The word outline in the writing world has come to be synonymous with detailed planning, which is really a disservice to both the outline, and those who might benefit from it. Not every writer uses or wants to use an outline when they write and that's okay. I'm a fan of outlining, but I certainly don't think it's the only way to write a novel. But I think there are some misconceptions about what outlining is, and that might be keeping people from trying something that might work very well for them.

Mainly, that outlines are highly detailed in-depth summaries of every little thing in a novel.

This isn't true.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Top Three Turn-ons...When Reading (get your mind out of the gutter!)

By Joanna Volpe, @JoSVolpe

Part of the How They Do It Series

Join me in giving a big welcome to literary agent Joanna Volpe, who's here today to share a few of the things that get her excited about a submission. We hear the "don'ts" so often, it's nice to hear a few "dos."

Joanna is a literary agent and the president of New Leaf Literary & Media. She represents all brands of fiction, from picture books to adult. She has an affinity for stories that have a darker, grittier element to them, whether they be horror, drama or comedy. Her recent publications include Henny by Elizabeth Rose Stanton, The Sharpest Blade by Sandy Williams, Erased by Jennifer Rush, The Lost Planet by Rachel Searles, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Tucholke, The End Games by T. Michael Martin, Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo, I’ll Be Seeing You by Loretta Nyhan, and A Darkness Strange & Lovely by Susan Dennard. In addition to her recent books, Joanna has a project by client Veronica Roth just hit the silver screen this past March: Divergent (Summit/Lionsgate) starring Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Kate Winslet and Ashley Judd.

When Joanna is not reading (which is almost never), she can be found either cooking, playing video games, or hanging out with her husband and their chihuahua Tough Guy in their NYC apartment. You can listen to her random ramblings on twitter, facebook or instagram, and check out her latest deals on Publishers Marketplace.

Take it away Joanna...

Monday, April 21, 2014

Ten Things to Remember if You Want to Be a Published Author

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

Pulling from the archives today, with an updated look at the path to publication. 

With computers, the physical exercise of writing has never been easier. You open a file, start typing and wham! You’re writing. But this ease has some drawbacks that can shine an unrealistic light on the whole process. It makes writing look easy. And anyone who’s ever struggled over a stalled plotline can tell you it’s not easy at all.

So, for those starting out (or those struggling) here are ten things to remember if you want to be a published author:

1. Writing is Hard

Don’t get me wrong, it has its easy moments, but constructing a publishable novel is not an easy task. There’s a reason most people who want to publish a novel never do. It takes a lot of work, skill and dedication. It's helpful to remind yourself of this during those tough moments. It's not you, it's writing in general, and every writer at every stage struggles from time to time.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

On the Road: What Kind of Writer Are You? Finding Your Writing Process (+Giveaway)

My feet are getting tired from all the running around I'm doing, but today I'm visiting Elizabeth O. Dulemba to chat about finding your writers' process. Come on over and say hello, plus, you can enter a contest for a chance to win a signed copy.

On the upside, I'm getting a lot of chances to use the fun cartoon me my husband had done for me as a surprise last year. Win/Win!

Real Life Diagnostics: A Look at a Fantasy Opening Scene. Is it Working?

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 I diagnose it on the blog. 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: Six 

Please Note: As of today, RLD slots are booked through May 31. The Sunday diagnostics will shorten that some when my schedule permits, but I wanted everyone to be aware of the submission to posting delay.

This week’s questions:

1. Am I showing or telling?

2. Does this scene work, aka is there a definite sense of the people and who they are?

3. This is supposed to be adult fiction, does the story feel mature enough? If not what could I do to mature it?

4. Are there clich├ęs that could be reworded?

Market/Genre: Fantasy

On to the diagnosis…

Friday, April 18, 2014

Road Trip to Writers in the Storm: Do You Know Your Novel's Theme?

Continuing on my whirlwind tour, I'm over at Writers in the Storm today, sharing tips on how to find your novel's theme. Come on over and say hello!

Oh, That's Subtle: The Little Things Holding a Story Back

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

Today's Refresher Friday takes another look at the subtle things that might be holding your story back. Enjoy!

Subtlety can mean the difference between a passage that works and one that falls flat. One word change, one shift in perspective, and everything's different. These can be hard to spot sometimes, which only adds to the frustration. If you're struggling with a story right now, and getting good feedback, but just not quite landing the book anywhere, (or having folks tell you it's good, but not great, or lacking something they can't put their finger on) perhaps take a closer look and see if there's a subtle reason that's holding the work back. 

Is your premise creating the right expectation in the reader?

Are you writing a romance with a mystery subplot, or a mystery with a romance subplot? Both books can look quite similar, but what one genre expects is different from the other. There might be little things you're doing that nudge it toward the wrong side and makes it feel off, even though no one can tell you why. Check your plots, structure, tone, look at the tropes of your genre and make sure you're in line with the norm for that genre. Make sure that the story you want to tell is the one actually being told on the page. 

(Here's more on going from premise to plot)

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Finding and Working With a Cover Designer

By Jordan McCollum, @JordanMcCollum

Part of the Indie Authors Series

They say you can't judge a book by its cover. But they're wrong. A cover's there for readers to judge the book—it's a major factor in sales—so getting your cover right is extra important in the competitive market today.

Professional cover design is a major quality indicator for ebook readers. A poor quality cover that looks homemade often makes readers think the interior of the book is similarly unprofessional.

Finding a Cover Designer

As with editors, finding great covers and asking who designed them is the best place to start. Often cover designers are credited on the copyright page of a book, so be sure to check there if you love the cover.