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Let It Go! Improve Your Writing and Free Yourself From Attachment

huffingtonpost.com – Monday April 4, 2016

In writing and in life, it behooves us to remain as free from attachment as possible. Now, you may immediately wonder, “What does that mean? Especially when it comes to writing?!”

Here are a few thoughts to consider. It’s not uncommon for writers to occasionally get attached to certain words, phrases or passages, which inevitably feel essential to getting our message or story across. The problem with such “attachment” is we find ourselves disappointed when we’re told (by editors or agents or publishers or readers), “That part didn’t really work for me.”

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It’s the Cover, Stupid! Why Publishers Should A/B Test Book Covers

digitalbookworld.com – Thursday March 31, 2016

Never judge a book by its cover. So the saying goes, yet consumers do it all the time. Every publisher and bookseller knows that covers sell books. But do consumers also form expectations from looking at the cover? Well, based on the results of some of the initial reader analytics data at Jellybooks, we think they do.

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The Book Inside You: The Business Of Selling It

boston.cbslocal.com – Thursday March 31, 2016

There is inherent passion in the written word, but there is also the business of selling it.

Enter Esmond Harmsworth, a founding partner of Zachary Shuster Harmsworth Literary Agency, which has offices in Boston and New York. He says every agency has a common ingredient – “You have to insanely love books.”

Harmsworth reads at least one full-length book a week, and the first 20 pages of another ten. He generally makes a quick decision.

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Writing Secret No. 1 Is Keep Your Day Job

courant.com – Tuesday March 29, 2016

Here's everything you wanted to know about writing and publishing but were too afraid to ask: These are the questions that come up at the end after bookstore readings. I thought it made sense to address them all at once.

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Inspiring writing advice from the greatest women authors

telegraph.co.uk – Monday March 28, 2016

Virginia Woolf (centre) died on this day in 1941. The pioneering modernist writer addressed the position of women after the war throughout her fiction, but with her collection of essays, A Room of One's Own, she contributed advice and thinking that still sounds fresh and relevant for women writing today. 

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Writing Sci-Fi? First Understand How Elephants Aren't Dragonflies (Op-Ed)

space.com – Saturday March 26, 2016

Animals come in all different sizes, but the laws of physics mean that you can't just arbitrarily scale up a dragonfly to the size of an elephant and expect the body plan to result in a functioning creature. 

For one thing, mass increases much faster than other qualities like strength or surface area as you scale up a body, and so the legs and wings of an elephant-size dragonfly would have to be proportionately much larger to support the extra weight — and it's doubtful muscle power could be sufficient to propel such a creature into flight.

Moreover, insects are generally small because they rely on diffusion to distribute oxygen to interior cells instead of the active oxygen-pumping systems found in animals like mammals. This imposes an upper limit on just how big an insect can get. It's true that there were gigantic dragonflies — still not the size of elephants, however — during the Carboniferous period (as well as housecat-size cockroaches and other horrors), but the oxygen level in the atmosphere at the time was much higher, and that likely played a role in making such bodies viable.

Let's pause for a moment and give thanks for the fact that we don't have to live in a world of pet-size cockroaches and meter-long scorpions.

All of this presents an analogy for fiction. It's tempting to think of novels (the elephants) as scaled-up short stories, or short stories (the dragonflies) as miniaturized novels. But having written both 100-word drabbles as well as 200,000-word epic fantasies, I can assure you that's not the case.

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The Impossible Task of Writing Historical Fiction

publishersweekly.com – Friday March 25, 2016

Kelly Kerney's outstanding novel Hard Red Spring spans the entire 20th century in Guatemala's history through four vivid voices. Kerney, who spent a decade writing the book, talks about the difficult task of fictionalizing the past.

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50 Writing Tips From My 15 Years As An Author

forbes.com – Wednesday March 23, 2016

One of the questions I’m asked on a daily basis is some form of, “I want to become an author. Can you help?” There are certainly better people to ask than me. But after writing hundreds of articles and nine books in 15 years—both traditionally published and self-published, both non-fiction and fiction, both epic failures and national bestsellers—I do have some thoughts on the matter.

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Why Fiction Authors Benefit from Indie Publishing

digitalbookworld.com – Tuesday March 22, 2016

Independent publishing has changed the way authors look at the industry, with many questioning whether it’s worthwhile to play the waiting game and pray for the payoff from a traditional publisher, or instead take their fate into their own hands. There are clearly benefits and pitfalls to either choice. What authors need to seriously consider when they make this decision, though, is whether or not they are willing to put in the time and effort to make it work.

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Writing Should Be Fun

huffingtonpost.com – Tuesday March 22, 2016

Yes, writing should be fun, and for most writers - even those writers who complain about writer’s block, and who claim they like having written more than writing, and who say writing is like sitting at a desk until blood comes out of your forehead - writing is fun. They just don’t recognize the fun when it’s happening. That’s because writers are overwhelmingly adults, and fun is what adults get to have when they’re done doing their important adult work.

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