Thursday, November 27, 2014

Giving Thanks for Amazon and Smashwords

By Dario Ciriello

Part of the Indie Author Series


Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) and Smashwords both rolled out their author-to-reader distributor/aggregator services in 2008, lighting the fuse on the digital self-publishing revolution. Because of them, a book you publish today in Peoria can be bought and read tomorrow by someone in Pretoria, Mumbai, or Vladivostok.

The way I look at the digital publishing world, there’s Amazon—and there’s everyone else. Although I’m experimenting again with KDP Select for a couple of titles, giving Amazon exclusivity, I do currently have most of my press’s titles available across all platforms and outlets, including some of the newer subscription services like Scribd and Oyster.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A Big Thanks to All My Writing Buddies

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy
Before I dive in and get all sappy, I wanted to let you know that my monthly post is up over at Pub Crawl, sharing some thoughts on why this is a great time to appreciate the writer types in your life.

And with that in mind...

Since Thanksgiving is tomorrow, I just wanted to take the time to give a little thanks myself. I've been writing articles for this site since 2009, and I look forward every day to your comments and discussions and writing breakthroughs. It always makes my day to hear of your successes, and I cheer when those writing victories come in for you--be they that first page request, that first sale, that first manuscript, or a milestone in your ongoing career.

Monday, November 24, 2014

What Makes Your Characters Uncomfortable?

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

Everyone has their hot buttons topics--the ones that get their blood boiling, or makes their skin crawl, or triggers an inappropriate response to the situation. While this isn't much fun to encounter in real life, it's a great way to create conflict and tension in a novel. Pushing someone's hot button (either accidentally or on purpose) can cause a character to act in ways they otherwise wouldn't.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

On the Road to a Dream

Hi All!

I've been interviewed over at Ava Louise's The Road to a Dream, talking about writing, publishing, and some of the stops along the way. Come on over and say hello.


Real Life Diagnostics: Using Emotion to Hook Readers

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: One


Please Note: As of today, RLD slots are booked through November 29.


This week’s questions:

Do you get a sense of scene, particularly the house being impressive in some way? Do you get a sense of how the protagonist (Alexis- she is named before the page is out) is feeling in this moment? What are you curious about and what areas need to be fleshed out more to increase your interest?


Market/Genre: Young Adult

On to the diagnosis…

Thursday, November 20, 2014

How Authors Can Work Together to Achieve Success

By Marcy Kennedy, @MarcyKennedy

Part of the Indie Author Series

The perception of self-publishing is that you’re working alone. And you are, but it doesn’t have to be that way all the time. In fact, I believe the future of successful self-publishing is in working together as allies with other authors rather than viewing them as your competition.

Before I dive into some of the ways I see authors successfully teaming up, though, it’s important to cover the harmful and/or dishonest ways that authors sometimes work together. I want to be very clear that these aren’t things we should be doing.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Tag! You're It: Talking About Dialog Tags

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

Dipping into the archives today with an edited look at dialog tags. Enjoy!

Let's talk about talking!

Dialog tags are part of any story, but sometimes it can be a challenge to figure out how to keep them from feeling repetitive. "Said" gets old fast. Nodded, shrugged, frowned, smiled can only be used so often. Having a character push back their hair or clench their hands clogs up the narrative after a bit and can even feel melodramatic. Too much stage direction feels clunky, not enough makes a scene unclear.

Dialog tags work best when they're invisible--either by not drawing drawing attention to themselves or by blending in and doing more than just identifying the speaker. The harder they work, the less work you have to do to craft the scene.

You could eliminate them altogether, but then you might end up with something that looks like this:
"Are they still out there?" Bob peeked out the window.
"Doesn't look like it, but I can hear something groaning."
Jane frowned. "Maybe it's not a zombie. Maybe someone is hurt and needs our help."
"You want to go out there?" Sally pointed outside.
"No. But I wouldn't want to leave someone out there either."
"Maybe I can get a better view from the second floor."
"But that means going outside!"
"Yeah, it does."

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Best Non-Writing Tools for Writers

By Robert Morris

With the right tools, any craftsman can be more effective. This holds true for writers as well, and there are a plethora of writing tools out there to help us do our jobs better. But what about the non-writing tools? Robert Morris visits the lecture hall to day to share some non-writing tools that can help writers with their writing.

Robert is a freelance writer from New York working in his first YA novel. Circle him on Google+.

Take it away Robert...

Monday, November 17, 2014

Choosing Which Thoughts to Italicize

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

Following nicely with Saturday's Real Life Diagnostic, here's a question from the mailbag...
Q: When I first started writing, I though all internal thoughts should be italicized. Then during an embarrassing moment at a writer’s conference, I learned that only some thoughts need italics. So I started italicizing thoughts I felt my character spoke in her head. But since then I got another critique where my italics were still being questioned. When do I italicize internal thoughts?
Like so many things in writing there is no hard and fast rule here, because personal taste plays a role. Some writers dislike using italics at all, while others love them and use them all the time. Tastes will vary, but I've found italics work best when they emphasize something.They're also useful when you want to show internal thoughts directly "heard" from the character rather than a thought in the narrative.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Real Life Diagnostics: Conveying Internal Thought Without Using Italics

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: Two 


Please Note: As of today, RLD slots are booked through November 29.

This week’s questions:

How do I go smoothly into the thoughts of my protagonist. I am writing in the third person but loathe to present thoughts as reported speech. I've been using italics but feel that is difficult for the reader. I'm not sure how to present or punctuate it. Any suggestions?


Market/Genre: Supernatural Romance

NOTE: There's a revised snippet for the fantasy for the piece struggling with names and infodumps for those curious to see how the author revised.

On to the diagnosis…