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Archive for 'aspiring writers'

Writer Tip: Sandra Hyatt

“Have faith in your own story and your own process. When I first started writing I heard talks from authors who’d written practically since they could hold a pencil, and I heard about authors who plotted out entire stories before they wrote a single manuscript word. I, on the other hand, came to writing late, and I start a story, sometimes with as little as a single sentence, and having little if any idea of the path my characters will take to get to their happy ever after. I had to learn to trust that my way was okay. It works for me and that’s the only thing that matters.

Related to this point is not comparing your journey to, and through, publication with anyone else’s. To quote from the Wear Sunscreen song, The race is long, and in the end, it’s only with yourself.”

Visit Sandra Hyatt’s website
Purchase Sandra’s upcoming release, His Bride For The Taking

Writer Tip: Shelley Munro

“My advice is to keep hope in the mail ie. always have more than one submission out with editors or agents at a time. If you receive a rejection, this means you’ll still have another submission to pin your hopes on, and it will cushion your disappointment about the rejection.

During my pre-published days I found the hope in the mail method worked well for me. I entered contests. I submitted manuscripts to editors and agents. I worked out a plan for each manuscript, and if I received a rejection, I’d evaluate the feedback and move on to the next part of my plan. Since becoming published, I still adhere to the hope in the mail method as much as possible. Having more than one submission floating around really does help cushion disappointment if you receive a rejection.”

You’re already at Shelley’s website. Why don’t you explore a little while you’re here?
Purchase Shelley’s next release, The Bottom Line.

Writer Tip: Gail Carriger

“I believe that to make it as a writer takes a combination of skill, persistence, and luck. William Feather aptly puts it, “Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go.” There is no way to predict what will be the right pitch at the right time, so my only advise is the kind no one wants to hear. Sit down, write, and finish. Correct it and send it off. Then ignore it and write something completely different. Then send that off. Don’t get attached to your work. Because that’s what it is. Work. Not your art. Not your baby. Just your work. If you can’t disconnect yourself, I don’t think you’ll be emotionally able to survive this industry. ”

Visit Gail Carriger’s website at www.gailcarriger.com
Purcahse one of Gail’s books – Soulless was trust upon the unsuspecting public Oct 1, 2009. Changelessis due in April of 2010, and Blameless September 2010.

Writer Tip: Sasha White

“Don’t fall prey to believing everything you read in Craft books or hear in workshops is the only way to do things. Always remember that what people tell you works, is what works for them – and what works for them might not work for you. You may be different, and forcing yourself to do things in a way that isn’t natural to you will only hurt your writing. Ultimately you have to learn to Trust in yourself, and your own process.”

Visit Sasha White’s website at www.sashawhite.net
Sasha’s latest release, One Weekend is out today at Samhain Publishing!

Writer Tip: Crystal Jordan

“Form a network with other writers. This can be in person at local writer’s meetings, or online on forums and websites, or some combination of the two. More heads are better than one when it comes to knowing about new opportunities for authors or hearing about changes in the industry (and there are always changes). It gives you people to bounce ideas off of or to ask questions of that might not be appropriate for editors or agents. It also gives you a social group in this crazy world of writing. As important as it is to have non-writing friends to keep you grounded, you also need people who understand the process you go through every time you sit down at the keyboard.”

Visit Crystal Jordan’s website at www.crystaljordan.com
Purchase Crystal’s next release, In the Heat of the Night

Writer Tip: Louisa Edwards

“Go Low Tech

I don’t know how anyone ever managed to write and revise a novel before the invention of computers (laptops!) with word processing. The speed and maneuverability, the way you can lift whole passages out and slot them in somewhere better–it’s fantastic.

Louisa EdwardsIt can also be a little paralyzing. When I get stuck and realize I’ve been staring at that blinking cursor on my white screen for too long, I close my laptop and grab a pen and a spiral-bound notebook. (Some of my writer friends go for legal pads or composition books, whatever works for you.) I take my low-tech tools out of my office, curl up on the couch, and think about the scene. Something magical happens! It’s as if being unchained from my computer frees my mind to see the story from a new perspective. I might sketch out snippets of dialogue or notes on character motivation and interaction; I might even write a couple pages of the scene out longhand. But invariably, the change of pace from computer to paper engages a different part of my brain that helps me push past whatever was blocking me, and I discover something new. Then I can go back to my office and push forward.

I could never give up my iBook; I love all its bells and whistles, its cute, sleek styling. But when you need a jolt of creativity, nothing beats plain old paper and pen.”

Vist Louisa Edwards’ website at www.louisaedwards.com
Purchase Louisa’s latest release, On The Steamy Side

Writer Tip: Beth Kery

“My simple tip for writers is this: write. Write every day. Don’t let your internal critic talk you out of it because you still need to learn this or that skill, or you haven’t got that perfect synopsis yet or the ‘just right’ computer to get started. Tell that fussy critic to shut it. Learn from action. Set up a word count goal and meet it by writing X number of words daily. If you can’t hold yourself accountable, then do a check-in with a writer friend, and be honest when you don’t meet your quota. If you miss your word count, make it up the next day. Keep track of your progress in a notebook. Writing down your daily word count number is a kind of positive reinforcement, and you’ll be amazed at how quickly you accumulate 20 thousand words, 40 thousand, 60 thousand. Don’t get side-tracked by the glittery stuff associated with being an author. Writers write, and if you want to publish, you need to create product.”

Visit Beth’s website at www.bethkery.com
Release, Berkley Heat, February 2, 2010
Sometimes you have to let desire run wild.

Read an excerpt of Beth’s latest book, Release

Writing Tip: Shiloh Walker

“One thing I often hear is this…I’ve always wanted to write a book. I often respond with: Have you started it? Nine times out of ten? The answer is no.

There’s no trick to writing a book other than this. Write it. There are no magic beans, no secret ingredient, no special formula. One thing most writers have in common is the fact that we have stories in our head and we want to put them down on paper. Getting started isn’t always easy–finding the right words isn’t always easy and there isn’t necessarily any proven trick that is going to help you get that story from your head to the page or screen other than this: Write it. Even if the story sucks. I’m convinced that most of my stuff sucks rotten eggs, but I’m trusting my editors, my agent when they tell me otherwise. If you’ve got a story in your head and if you’re one of those people who ‘always wanted to write a book’…stop wanting. Start writing. Be the one out of ten who actually write the book.”

Visit Shiloh Walker’s Website
Shiloh Walker’s latest release: Broken

Writing Tips

This month I’m bringing you a series of writing tips from some of my favorite authors. There will also be tips from my writer friends. You might even find the odd writing tip from me.

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Come back every day for writing advice from authors such as Shiloh Walker, Nalini Singh, Larissa Ione, Sarah Mayberry and many more…

Pros and Cons of Writing for Different Publishers (part two)

This is part two about the pros and cons of writing for different publishers. Part one appeared yesterday.

Pros and Cons of Writing for Different Publishers (part two) by Brenna Lyons

Choosing your publishers: Risk Management?

Bride Ball by Brenna LyonsSplitting your investments- This is actually another reason that many people choose more than one publisher. There are authors who have experienced the fall of a publisher and had to scramble to place all their books again. Understandably, they don’t want that to happen to them again, so they keep their eggs in different baskets. But…

Watch your percentages in high risk baskets– You have to look on choosing publishers as risk management much as you would view investing your money. What makes a high risk? A new company. A company that doesn’t have a full, competent, experienced staff. A company based on a “radical new idea” for shaking up the industry. An owner who doesn’t have a solid business plan. An owner that lacks people skills…or depends too highly on people skills and too little on business sense. A business that has already had financial and interpersonal blow-ups. You can take on some high risk, as long as you balance it with low to moderate risk publishers. It’s a good idea to weight your basket toward low and moderate risk companies and not high risk. Even the most aggressive planning doesn’t advocate putting all your resources in high risk. Placing all of your work with high risk carries the high risk of losing it all.

Do your homework with ALL publishers– Having more than one publisher does not make you all knowing. No matter how much you might like to claim you can, you cannot “spot a good company or bad” at a hundred paces, though it is usually easier to spot warning signs of a bad risk than it is to say with conviction that the company is a good one at a glance. You have to research all prospective publishers and assess their risk factors. For more information see my two part series about choosing a publisher. Part one. Part two.

New companies/old associates: does experience translate?– As I said earlier, it is never a good idea to choose a company just for…the company you would be keeping, though choosing not to work with someone you clash with may be a very good idea. Just because someone has good ideas for marketing her own book does not mean the person is capable of marketing an entire company. Just because someone was an EIC for five years does not mean that person is skilled as a company owner and will make the right decisions for the company when given all decision making. Not all experience is equal, and friendship is not business savvy.

You can actually hurt your chances rather than help them– Choosing the wrong publishers can hinder you toward your goals….which we will cover more in contracts. But, you can also hinder yourself by spreading your books too thin. Conventional wisdom says that it takes roughly three books with any publisher to start making a name with the company…and making decent money. It is almost impossible to break even and build an audience when you have one or two books each thrown in a half dozen venues.

Special concerns when you have more than one?

Contract provisions to watch out for– You have to be very careful, especially with the contract you sign. There are contracts that specify that the author is expected to keep a web site for only the publisher’s books…or that the publisher will not link to your site if you don’t comply. Forcing you to split your audience (or not giving you the same exposure they give every other author) is counterproductive to your aims of building an audience, and you should not sign something that does it. Always keep your contractual obligations in mind when signing a contract. Can you live to each contract you sign? How long will your rights be held up? How soon can you move to another publisher if things don’t work out? Do you have an “out clause?” Never sign a contract that gives blanket first refusal rights. Why?

Splitting series and related books– You do not want to be forced into a position where you have to split a series or related books from a series because you have signed first refusal to someone else. Keeping related books together is usually a good idea. Putting out shorts in anthologies that relate back to an established world somewhere else, while not overly appreciated by the anthology publisher in some cases, are a different matter. I look on them more as throwing out bait. It’s further exploiting the idea of bringing readers from one company home to another. Always spell out how far that “series” ranges in first right of refusal clauses. If you write the same world in another timeline and with new characters, is that still the series? If you write related books not on the same world (don’t you love science fiction?), is it still the series? The first is debatable. The second is arguably no, even if you see characters from the series there.

Pen Names– Never allow a company to own your pen name. That both steals your word of mouth from you and forces you to split your marketing. Instead of selling YOU and the books. You are forced to sell YOU and YOU and the books. This is a bad idea all the way around. The closer you can bring your pen names, assuming you aren’t writing in clashing genres like erotica and children’s, the better it is for you. It is always better to spend $100 promoting Brenna Lyons than $60 promoting Brenna Lyons and $40 promoting Brenna Stuart, with no apparent connection between them. If you are separating two adult reading genres, you may want a single site that splits into the pen names/genres. That allows for possible carry-over from one pen name to the other from regular readers. If your genres are children’s and adult, you may want two different sites entirely! In fact, it’s probably preferable that you do it that way.

Brenna Lyons is a bestselling, award-winning author in spec fic indie press. With 21 series worlds and stand-alones, it’s not a surprise that Brenna works with between six and eight publishing houses at a time and fields ten or more releases every year. You can reach her at her site http://www.brennalyons.com

Thanks so much for the informative posts, Brenna! If anyone has any questions just ask them in the comments section.