Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Aspiring Authors: Never Give Up

Never give up.

This is the piece of advice I've seen most often when it comes to writing, and I have to agree with it. We're going to be faced with lots of rejections from editors, publishers, and literary agents until we find the right one who decides to take a chance on our work. It only takes that one. We're going to face a lot of feedback, both positive and some even harshly negative.

Never give up in the face of it. We write because it is something we love to do, and even because it is something we have to do. We write because it inspires our emotions and creativity, and does the same in others. It makes us laugh, it makes us cry. It makes us angry, or leaves us breathless with anticipation. It even wakes us up in the middle of the night with an idea that just won't let go and we know we have to write out that story somehow.

Never give up, because this is what we were meant to do. Write, create, have fun, and love exploring the craft. Read, and learn, and write some more. Keep honing skills, and play. Persistence will pay off.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Operaton Step Back is Complete. Now to Continue the Adventure...

After a major, major revision of the first chapter of The MirrorMasters and some light editing of the rest of the chapters I have so far, my step back is done! It's a great feeling. I updated the chapters on Protagonize last night, and added Chapter 6 this morning. So far there's no feedback yet, but hopefully soon. While I wait for that, I might work on a short piece and maybe even add some character pages to my website. I think it'd be cute to have a profile page devoted to each of the major characters, where they could sort of blog about their lives and post comments to each other. Or something. I'll think of some sort of creative and fun way to bring the world of The MirrorMasters to life. If you have any ideas, or want to share things you've done on your websites to bring the world of your story to life online, please comment here and let us all know!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Aspiring Authors: Kindle for Profit?

Have any of you out there placed a short story, a blog, or a completed novel on Kindle? It would be great to find out how sales go and what strategies people use to get their work on Kindle noticed. One idea I had from the online research I've been doing lately is that it might just be a good idea to work on some short pieces to sell and build up readership. I read one blog post somewhere (but for the life of me I can't remember now where it was) about an author placing a beta version of his novel on Kindle to bring it to the public and get feedback while submitting it for traditional publication. Pretty cool, right? Sales and feedback, without the wait of publishers making the decision about whether or not to put your book in print.

Just off the top of my head, here are a few free marketing ideas to let others know your work is available and to draw others to read it:

1. Participating in the Amazon forums, posting a plug for your work in the appropriate place to advertise. You could also have a link in your signature so that others can explore your work after seeing your posts that ideally should make a valuable contribution to whatever topic you decide to post in. It's free exposure for your work! For that manner, use this as a signature in whatever forums you participate.

2. Use the social networking sites, like Facebook and Twitter. Join an existing group, or create one that potential readers will enjoy and find interesting.

3. Create a banner for your book that others can adopt and display on their sites. Offer to display their banner on your website in return.

4. Create an author website, and have a web page devoted to each piece of your work.

Anybody else have great ideas about marketing/promotion to share?

Thoughts of going forward with this are really giving me some motivation to work even harder on creating a portfolio of short stories. Who knows? Maybe I'd be able to work on short stories while still focusing on finishing my book...and manage to get it all done. Yes, I'm still working hard on The MirrorMasters. It's slow going, but today finishing up my edit of Chapter 1 is on the agenda. There's a lot more to do, really, but it's been fun. Maybe I'll do an update later when it's finished. Here's hoping that today will be a very productive day!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Creative Marketing :Book Website and Blog

The other day, I came across an advertisement for a book that sounded pretty interesting just based on the adwords ad. It doesn't matter what the book was called; but it is enough to say that the title and single line hook captured my attention. So, I clicked on the ad. Not only was there a well-designed and interesting website devoted to the author and the book, but there was also something of a blog site devoted to the world within this book. The blog site came complete with streaming news feed about events presumably depicted in the book, and posts possibly written in the perspective of one character or another.

What a creative way to market a story and immerse potential readers in the story's universe! I may have to keep some of these creative ideas in mind when the time comes.

What ideas have you done, or have you thought about trying, when it comes to marketing a book?

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Step Back

Chapter 6 is finished! Or, rather, a first draft of it is finished. Now I'm thinking it's time to take a step back and review what I've accomplished. Yes, this is the point where doubts and second guessing are starting to set in. Is the overall pace of the story going well? Do all my scenes accomplish what they are meant to, and are they all engaging enough to keep readers on the edge of their seats, eager for more?

Admittedly, it's not at that level yet.

Time to go back and rework those pesky, awkward sentences that I know are in there. Time to go back and read out loud to see what sounds natural and what needs to change. That's something I've never done before, but recently I came across this great piece of advice. I'm going to try it. And, it's time to assess where improved descriptions are needed to make the writing lively and fresh.

In a way, all of this can seem so daunting. But I'll forge ahead in the faith that when everything is polished, it'll turn out really well. After several sessions of this along the way, the completed manuscript will be that much improved and ready for the final work of editing to begin.

For those of you working on a novel, what's your writing and editing process?