From Fiction University: Enabling third party cookies on your browser could help if you have trouble leaving a comment.

Thursday, July 2

How to Set Up Your Sponsored Product Ads in Amazon

By Dave Chesson, @DaveChesson

Part of The Indie Authors Series 


JH: Advertising your book on Amazon might seem like a challenge, but it's easier than you think. Dave Chesson shares a step-by-step process on setting up your sponsored ads. 


Dave Chesson is the founder of Kindlepreneur.com and creator of Publisher Rocket, a software that helps authors market their books more effectively.

Website | Twitter | Facebook

Take it away Dave…

Amazon ads are an amazing marketing tool for authors who want to see more conversions--whether that means Kindle Unlimited borrows or just plain sales. For that reason, indie authors should probably be investing some of their marketing budget, no matter how small or big, into Amazon’s advertising platform.

Wednesday, July 1

Moving Forward: Writing Smooth Transitions

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

The flow of a novel is an important and often overlooked aspect of keeping readers immersed in the story.

When I'm reading, I'm much more engrossed in prose that goes smoothly from one thought to the next and one scene to another. If the text is too choppy, it jars me right out of the story and I have difficulty getting back into it. It's like getting interrupted every few minutes when you're trying to focus--before long, you just give up.

A strong story usually has a strong sense of story flow. The author smoothly takes the reader from idea to idea, scene to scene, and chapter to chapter. The information shared is handled with care and readers aren't given too much or too little. Everything flows so effortlessly readers forget they're reading.

Weaker prose doesn't flow so well. Chapters end in odd places, scenes just stop, and paragraphs contain awkward phrases that jars readers right out of the story. Readers are reminded over and over that they're reading, and they notice the flaws more than the story.

Tuesday, June 30

Writing Through Difficult Times

By Shanna Swendson, @ShannaSwendson

Part of The Writer’s Life Series 


JH: When the world is falling apart, it's hard to be in the right emotional space to write. Shanna Swendson share tips on balancing stress, emotion, and getting words down when we need to. 

Shanna Swendson earned a journalism degree from the University of Texas but decided it was more fun to make up the people she wrote about and became a novelist. She’s written a number of fantasy novels for teens and adults, including the Enchanted, Inc. series and the Rebel Mechanics series. She devotes her spare time to reading, knitting, and music. Her most recent release is the young adult fairy tale fantasy Spindled.

Website | Twitter Facebook | Goodreads

Take it away Shanna…

Sunday, June 28

WIP Diagnostic: Is This Working? A Closer Look at a Screenplay

Critique By Maria D'Marco

WIP 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 WIP Diagnostics, please check out these guidelines

Submissions currently in the queue: Four

Please Note: As of today, critique slots are booked through May 1.

This week’s question: Do you think it/they work?

Market/Genre: Screenplay

JH Note: Something very different this week—a screenplay. I know nothing about them, but Maria has had experience here, so I thought we’d give it a whirl.

On to the diagnosis…

Thursday, June 25

The Best-Kept Secret “Real” Writers Use to Crush Writer’s Block

By Jacqueline Myers 

Part of The Writer's Life Series 


JH: Not every writer has the same process, and the wrong process can actually 
keep you from writing. Jacqueline Myers shares thoughts and tips on how who you are influences how your write.

Jacqueline is currently happily at work on her second mystery series (under a pen name) while sharing what she's learned with other writers. Using the synergy of personality theory and brain science, Jacqueline coaches writers using a proprietary methodology that helps them overcome their debilitating creative blocks so they can write un-put-down-able books.

If you are struggling, she'd love to see how she can support you! Schedule your free story strategy session here. You can also email her at jacqueline@intuitivewritingcoach.com.

Take it away Jacqueline…

Tuesday, June 23

Why You Can't Concentrate Right Now

By Bonnie Randall

Part of The Writer's Life Series 


JH: Writers everywhere are experiencing something that's far worse that simple writer's block, and for a very good reason. Bonnie Randall shares why it's hard for us to focus right now. 

It has been a wild year. 2020 has impacted the quantity, consistency, and flow of my writing. Productivity has been a challenge because my concentration has been nebulous, jittery.

Unsurprisingly, many other writers and content creators are reporting similar challenges—and as a result I’ve seen multiple articles offering solutions to these issues: ‘How To Stay focused During COVID’, ‘How To Muscle Through the Multitude of World Events And Keep Creating Content’, ‘How To Crank Out a Bestseller In the Midst Of Global Meltdowns (I should probably take a peek at that one). 'Writing in the Time of Covid-19'

Saturday, June 20

WIP Diagnostic: Is This Working? A Closer Look at Show, Don't Tell in an Opening Page

Critique By Maria D'Marco

WIP 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 WIP Diagnostics, please check out these guidelines.

Submissions currently in the queue: Four


Please Note: As of today, critique slots are booked through July 18.

This week’s questions:

1. Is it better as first person or should it be written as third person

2. Should I develop the main character before this segment or is this okay as a start of a story.

3. Is there too much telling?

4. Would you want to keep reading?


Market/Genre: Unspecified

On to the diagnosis…

Thursday, June 18

Word of Honor: Revising Your Book for Word Choice

By Rochelle Melander, @WriteNowCoach

Part of The How They Do It Series


JH: The right word at the right time can turn a bland sentence into a memorable one. Rochelle Melander discusses ways word choice impacts your writing.

Rochelle Melander is an author, speaker, and certified professional coach. Melander is the author of 11 books including Level Up: Quests to Master Mindset, Overcome Procrastination and Increase Productivity. As the owner of Write Now! Coach, Rochelle teaches writers, professionals, and business owners how to turn their ideas into books, navigate the publishing world, and connect with readers through social media.

Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Take it away Rochelle…

Wednesday, June 17

5 Ways to Add Internal Conflict to Your Scenes

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

Strengthening the internal conflict in a scene can lead to a deeper connection with your reader.

Back in my “still working out this writing thing” days, I didn’t even know what internal conflict was. I had a vague sense that conflict was the plot, and that it involved grand battles and exciting fight scenes (it didn’t, by the way). I thought that in order to write an exciting novel, I needed to pack it full of exciting action.

Since I’m a plot-focused writer, this misconception fit my writing style well and kept me struggling to understand conflict longer than I should have.

Eventually I figured it out and my novels improved. And once I knew what skill I lacked, I focused on developing that skill—in this case, conflict in general, internal conflict in particular. This “skill cycle” was also part of my process, where I’d hit a technical wall in my writing and then shift to learning how to handle it.

Tuesday, June 16

Harsh Does Not Equal Honest: Pick Your Beta Readers Carefully

By Dario Ciriello, @Dario_Ciriello 

Part of The Writer's Life Series


JH: Feedback doesn't have to be mean to be useful. Dario Ciriello shares thoughts on dealing with beta readers, tough crits, and the struggles of new authors just trying to get help. 

I’ve seen more than one new author crushed by tactless or even downright mean feedback from beta readers, and I don’t like it. So a couple of weeks ago, I tweeted the following as a simple PSA:
Too many writers upset by overly harsh feedback from betas. PICK YOUR BETAS CAREFULLY. They should be people you know well, who get your genre, whom you trust, and who are experienced, secure writers. Don't just let anyone read your draft.
Surprisingly, this got pushback from a few people who insisted they wanted and welcomed harsh feedback, didn’t want to be coddled, didn’t want to use people they knew as betas because they wouldn’t give honest feedback, wanted people who didn’t read their genre because that would let them appeal to a wider audience, and yada yada.

Wrong.