Category Archives: Being an Author Advice

Promote Your Backlist

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It’s true that the best thing to do after launching your book is to concentrate on writing your next one, but that doesn’t mean that shortly after launch your book should be ignored other than a tweet now and then with buy links. The thing with traditional publishing, unless you’re one of the most popular writers in the world, your book won’t always be in the limelight. Even if it’s lucky enough to be moderately successful, it will still have to make way for the latest bestsellers, and eventually it will officially be backlist and have zero promotion from the publisher. Too many other shiny new books to see to.

The nice thing about being Indie published means that you can give your book a new party anytime you like. I like the idea of doing something every three months or so. As time goes by all of your online sites will grow with new followers. Followers who weren’t around when you launched your last book, and who might quite like it if they knew a bit more about it. Most people don’t inspect every link in the sidebars of blogs that they follow unless they’re looking for specific information, or if your words have impressed them so much that they simply  must have more of them immediately.

Every couple of months, have a look at your backlist, and think of your next promotion. If you have more than one book published consider having them all at the party. You could make one or a couple free as incentive, and then set the particular book that you want to promote at ninety nine cents, either as a Kindle Countdown or manually set the price for however many days you plan on promoting it. You could ask your fellow bloggers to participate in a blog tour, or you could simply announce your special deals on your own blog. Many of your community friends will share posts like these, and with Facebook, Twitter, and shares on other platforms you’re very likely to find at least a couple of new readers. You can run some advertisements on promotion sites, either paid or free, depending on what you can afford too.

Don’t be disappointed when your first book launch only yields a few sales to begin with. As you grow and write more books and gain new readers, all new promotions of them are going to be new to new fans, so dust off your backlist, consider new covers or rebranding if they’ve been languishing for too long, and give your older books a new lease on life.

The Need for Farsightedness

A Diary of Writing Wisdom (and other nonsense)

#FOUR

The Need for Farsightedness

Human beings are naturally shortsighted. The current opinions are the ones we see in front of us, the ones that are discussed in current magazines and on social media. It is natural to concentrate on current trends and hot topics. But there are two disadvantages in doing so. One is that we fail to learn from the past; the other is that we fail to look to the future.

Interestingly, these two forms of shortsightedness are connected, for one of the clearest lessons we learn from the past is that the “normal” of one generation is out-of-date in the next. In theory this is not hard to accept. At one time or another we have all read books/excerpts from articles written many centuries ago and smiled at the quaintness of the ideas and the language contained therein; and we realize that our own generation would be unique were it not for the fact that it will appear equally quaint in years to come.

I wonder, for instance, what our descendants will think of the Zombie Apocalypse theory or of stem-cell research. It is difficult for us to see it as future generations are likely to see it. Robert Burns once prayed for the gift to see ourselves as others see us. It would be an even greater gift to see ourselves as people in the 23rd Century will see us.

When it comes to writing, don’t be too shortsighted. Learn from your past. Don’t just let it lay dormant. Incorporate what you’ve learned from the past into your script of today. Believe it or not, this looking-back approach can help writer’s generate even greater power to look ahead. It can help writer’s ignore the temptation to write only about current trends and hot topics. It can even help writers become less shortsighted and more farsighted—nearby distractions become blurry while the ability to see distant goals and objectives become more and more clear.

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Are You A Published Author? Then I Have A Question For You.

When Ronovan initially started Lit World Interviews, his idea was that it would be a place where authors could promote themselves as well as their work.  It’s also a place where authors come to seek help and advice from others.  Of course there’s the book reviews as well.

I don’t know about you, but I often find that my pride gets in the way when I want to ask for some help.  That’s where blogs like this can really help because I don’t feel as afraid to ask for advice especially as many of the readers here are published authors.  I am sure that all of them will have been in a similar situation to  where I find myself today.

As yet I have never published a book.  However, I now find myself  at the beginning of a road whose signpost says ‘Published Authors.’ The road ahead not only looks very scary but very uninviting as well. I’ve been told it’s full of pitfalls and that if I do get to the end of it, then not to expect to find the roads paved with gold.   We all fear going into the unknown and many of us will turn away and never go down that road especially if we don’t ask for advice.

The question I want to ask may be one that some readers here today will probably want to ask and I am sure is one that most published authors would have asked at some stage.  I’m sure it will generate lots of different answers and where better to store all those answers than here on Lit World Interviews.  So here’s that question I want to ask you all.

What is the one piece of advice you would give to anyone who is at the beginning of that road, looking up at that sign-post and thinking about publishing a book?

 

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@RobertHughes05 (https://twitter.com/RobertHughes05)

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We are what we eat…

A Diary of Writing Wisdom (and other nonsense)

#THREE

We are what we eat…

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The Latin proverb simulac hoc, ergo propter hoc, which may be translated, “everything is the product of its environment,” is the basis for this writing theory.

According to this idea authors are like rivers. Rivers do not create water; they receive it from springs and streams. In the same way authors receive their ideas from the streams of thought that are flowing in the corner of the world in which they live. A middle-class Eastern author will receive middle-class Eastern ideas. A working-class Western author will receive working-class Western ideas.

To say it another way, authors “are what they eat.” This idea applies to minds as well as to bodies. It assumes that, just as my body is the product of red curry or pulled-pork BBQ (depending on my background), so also my mind is the product of French ideas or American ideas, liberal ideas or conservative ideas (depending on my background).

Growing authors, however, will realize this about themselves and seek out ways to “alternate” what they eat (every once in a while).

As a step toward becoming more aware of the kind of writer you now are. As a step toward becoming the kind of writer you someday wish to be—take time to consider not only how what you eat may be contributing to your writing, but how what you only eat may also be limiting your writing.

Variety adds spice . . . to writing life.

5 Psychological Blocks that Stop Bloggers (and Writers) Going from Good to Great @OlgaNM7

Hi all:

I was checking through some blogs and found one that I felt spoke to me and I thought I’d share it with you to see if it resonates with you too. The original post was in Problogger and it’s a guest contribution by a psychologist, Dr Alice Boyes. You can read it here. Although the title of the post is: 5 Psychological Blocks that Stop Bloggers Going from Good to Great, I felt those apply to writers in general, and of course, many of us are also bloggers.

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To summarise, Dr Boyes mentions five blocks to developing a blogger’s (read writer’s) career:

  1. Imposter Syndrome. You aren’t good enough, you aren’t really a writer, how can you compare with others, who are you trying to fool…This blocks you as you don’t feel you should reach to others whom you view as true… (bloggers, writers, authors…), or you don’t challenge yourself and put yourself to the test. Her suggestions of solutions include looking at the evidence, realising that this is just a thought (a negative thought indeed), asking yourself what would you be doing if you were the real deal and doing that, and understanding and giving yourself self-compassion. On the note of self-compassion, one of the things I used to tell my patients who came up with very negative comments about themselves was: what would you tell a friend, or somebody you knew, who came and told you what you’re telling me? Would you really think they were no good at what they were doing or not as professional…or whatever the issue was? Sometimes we are so much harder on ourselves than we are on others.
  2. Avoidance Coping. When you’re avoiding doing the things that should be your first priority by doing other less important things. I think we can all relate to this. I’m not pointing any fingers other than at myself. She suggests as solutions having a very simple to do list, putting limits on other tasks and being mindful of them (she suggest an App you can check although I’ve seen many advertised), and keeping a balance (80/20 anybody?).
  3. All-or-nothing Thinking. Everything should be done and done to perfection. Therefore as that is impossible, we give up completely on what could be a good idea. Although she doesn’t call it that, I think her suggestion for dealing with this would be ‘embrace the middle ground’ or ‘compromise’. If a task seems overwhelming, try and compromise on something workable you can do or break it in little chunks and do them at your own pace. Remember: Rome wasn’t built in one day.
  4. Running your Willpower Back to Empty. In talking about blogging Dr Boyes suggests that due to the many things one could do to ensure success at blogging, people might end up running round in circles, exhausting themselves and forgetting to take into consideration the big picture (the reason why we started doing something in the first place). And also losing sight of the goal (the doing becomes the end in itself). That’s also the case in writing and promoting/marketing. The amount of information, suggestions and new ideas are mindboggling. You can end up feeling like a hamster running on the wheel. She suggests shorter (microbreaks) and longer breaks, including disconnecting completely from the computer and going away, as that will give you a new perspective (the same most writers recommend doing once you finish your manuscript).
  5. Unwillingness to Tolerate Knockbacks. It doesn’t matter how well you do something, there will be people who don’t like it, or who think that it could/should be done differently. Dr Boyes says it’s important to build a level of tolerance (not insensitivity) to it, particularly if you’re prone to ruminating and overthinking what you could have done wrong. (She here recommends her book, but as I haven’t read it I won’t, although if the post is an example of what she offers, it might be worth a look). There’s much written about negative reviews and I think most of us know that however objective or neutral they might be (and not all are) they tend to feel personal because our books are our creations. As possible solutions she suggests: Expecting a 50% success rate rather than 100% (I guess we could call it redefining success). Also accepting your sensitivity rather than fighting against it and she recommends quick mindfulness meditations to help the negative thoughts pass quickly (with links). I have been meditating for over a year now, and although I’m sure it’s not for everybody (and I was’t very convinced it was for me) I’d say it has helped me. lontree (1)

Thanks so much to Pro Blogger and Dr Bloye for her article and inspiration, thanks to you all for reading, and let me know if you think those apply to writing too. And any tricks to deal with these or other blocks are welcome!

Are you an Author or a Writer? by @RobertHughes05

I was recently asked this question and had no hesitation in answering it.

“Why did you give that answer?” was the next question.

Although I had given an answer, the person asking me the questions went away not fully convinced I had answered their questions correctly.

Later that evening, while laying in bed and not able to get to sleep, the question kept going round and round in my head.  ‘Am I an author or a writer?’

When asked the question, earlier that day, my answer was that I was a writer. When asked why I was not an author, I put it down to the fact that I have never had a book published.  I’ve written quite a few short stories and am in the process of writing a book, but I have only ever published my short stories on my blog. Doesn’t that then mean that I am a writer, and not an author?

I’ve asked the same question to a few people who I know enjoy writing and those that have had books published declared themselves as authors, whereas most of those that have written, but never had anything published in a book, declared themselves as writers.  So I thought my argument was won and that I had answered the question correctly.  Then somebody mentioned to me that I should consider myself as a ‘trainee author’, which I guess I am because I want to have my stories published in a book one day, but the word ‘author’ still means something completely different to me, even with the word ‘trainee’ in front of it.

I suppose just about every human being in this world of ours is a writer.  Whether they write a letter, an email, a shopping list, or a greeting card, they’re actually writing, which makes them a writer.  However, if I look at it another way, writing a letter, an email, shopping list, or a greeting card is not being creative, is it?  So, maybe the word writer can mean lots of different things?

If asked, I’ll never answer that I am an author, because I don’t believe I am.  Yes, I have a number of short stories under my belt which have been published on my blog, but that does not make me an author.  Not just yet anyway.  If I go ahead and have those short stories published in a book then I would gladly answer that I am an author but, until I do so, as far as I am concerned I am a writer…for now.

Here’s something else to throw on the fire.  Having written this article, can I now consider myself as the author of it?  Does that mean I am, after all, an author? Am I digging myself into a very deep hole here or is there a simple answer to the question ‘am I an author or a writer?’

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@RobertHughes05 (https://twitter.com/RobertHughes05)

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Traditional Publishing Opportunity by @JoRobinson176

One thing I don’t understand is why writers firstly seek out small publishers, or worse still – vanity press. You’ve written a book – you think it’s fantastic. You’ve edited it and made sure that it’s the best that it can be. Why then would you send it to a publisher with three books on their list and sign your submission to them “from an aspiring writer”. If you’re writing, you’re not aspiring to write – you’re writing – you’re a writer dude! You don’t need a certificate to call yourself a writer. If you write you’re a writer. Yes. I’ve loved my self publishing trip. It’s been really hard work though, and there is no way I would ever submit any book that I’ve written to any agent or publisher that I thought wasn’t anything less than awesome.

If you’re going to be rejected, then get rejected by the best. Look up the very best agents in the world, and submit your novel to them. Expect to be rejected – all the greats have been. But don’t stop submitting to the best. So far, apart from a short story in an anthology, I only have knowledge of self-publishing, so I’m no expert by any stretch of the imagination. The further I go on my scribblers journey, the more I’m liking the word Hybrid. The best of both worlds. Finding ways to make your books appear to potential readers from the millions out there isn’t easy, and there’s no magic formula. Say what you like a about traditional publishing though, if your book gets published by one of the biggish houses, you’re most certainly going to have way more new readers for your Indie books as well.

It’s certainly worth a shot. A couple of publishers are accepting un-agented submissions at the moment. One that’s caught my eye is Hachette’s Tinder Press. As long as you’ve never been published by a traditional publisher – no matter how small a press it is, (except for short stories in anthologies) you can submit your book to them between now and the 15th March. Go for it I say. Even if your book is already self-published it’s eligible. Submit the first fifty pages in double spacing on A4, a short bio, and a one page single spaced synopsis as attachments to the email address there, and see what happens. Who knows? Your book could be the next break out novel of the year. So click on the Tinder Press link and good luck!

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Procrastination

I believe that procrastination is always caused by fear – not laziness. I’ve always really wondered with what ears we hear our inner voice. That’s assuming that all of us humans operate pretty much the same way and have these little guys yammering away at us all day long about one thing or another. I’ve also always wondered why my particular inner voice is sometimes as harsh as it is. I think that that little nag in your head that says things like – Why on earth would you think you could write a book? Why are you such a lazy sod? You should have written two thousand words by now – slacker! You’ll always be mediocre, because you never finish what you start – because it’s trying to protect you from failure, ridicule, and pain.

Most of our fears and general weirdnesses really do stem from our childhood. Thank you Dr Freud. Our parents generally (with even the most loving of intentions) plant the biggest seeds. If you don’t get A’s you’ll never get anywhere in life. I won’t even mention those parents out there who don’t have the most loving of intentions – they’d create some pretty nasty inner critics. Our school teachers plant more seeds. Stop making excuses – climb that rope – learn that equation, or you’ll FAIL! Or our peers – children growing up can often be hurtful little guys. You don’t get picked first for the team, and therefore you’re not good enough. That little voice that resides in you remembers every single one of these terrifying painful things, and wants to protect you from feeling the future pain of failing horribly. And of course, the best way not to fail is never to try. So that loving, caring, worried little terrorist will stop you any way that it can.

You’ve just had an amazing epiphany about what comes next in your book. You excitedly zoom over to your computer, load up your work in progress, read the last paragraph, and suddenly know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it’s utter garbage. Then that brief period of time when your mind goes absolutely blank, and you can’t even remember what your epiphany was. Now your turgid inbox, or the pile of dishes that need to be washed seem much more important to get to doing. Creativity nicely replaced with mundane, safe things. Before you know it you’re parked on the couch watching reruns of Friends, eating three thousand calories of Doritos in one sitting, and accomplishing nothing at all. Job done. No book will be written. No readers will scoff at you. You will not ever feel those sharp, icy tendrils of rejection in your soul. You will never have an epic fail. You’ll never know if you’re any good at what you know you’ve been called to do because you’ll never do it. Well done little inner voice guy.

Every writer will cope differently with this protective critic. Personalities are different – with some the voice will win every time and nothing will be accomplished, and others will squish it on arrival and finish their books at record speed. Some people agonise about how they are perceived. They worry about hurting feelings or offending people. Some people couldn’t give a continental, and write away without worrying about any sort of reactions. But for those of us who listen to the voices within, and creative souls spend a lot more time than most inside their own heads anyway, those paralysing little criticisms are impossible to avoid. The thing to do is to realise what they are, stare them down, and let them know that you know that they’re lying.

You’re not mediocre or untalented, and you don’t leave everything you start unfinished just because someone back in the forgotten mists of your life told you so. The fact that you actually have a work in progress means that you’ve already accomplished something totally unique – not many of the billions of people on this planet will ever get around to writing even half a book. So when you freeze, staring at your computer screen, unable to think of a single word, before heading off to the television, have a quick little look inside, and sooth your little protector with the truth that you can do anything you want to do. It doesn’t matter what anyone else has said or thought of you in the past. It doesn’t matter if you’ve failed in the past – everyone else has too at some point or another, or if you fail again in the future. All that matters is that you trust in your own ability, grab your desire to write your story, and just go right ahead and do that. This is your life – it is finite – there are no guarantees – it’s important that you do whatever you feel driven to do, regardless of the outcome. What’s the worst thing that can happen? You’ll have written a book. 2014-08-31 10.14.19 ab

What about those Reviews – The Good, The Bad, and the Confusing @JoRobinson176

LitWorldInterviews very own Jo Robinson,

Jo Robinson
Jo Robinson

shared something on her personal author blog that I thought was absolutely amazing, helpful, and something I have thought for so long.
Jump over and check it out. It’s a quick read that will help every aspiring author and established author as well to handle reviews we get of our work.

You get to see just one of the reasons I went after Jo so hard to be part of the LWI Team. Her experience is just a wealth for all of us to pull from.
Much Respect
Ronovan

Jo Robinson

If you publish with Amazon, you can be pretty certain that at some point or another you’re going to get a review that will make you scratch your head in confusion. The thing I like the most about these odd reviews is that it’s considered very bad form to ever answer one – I would hate to ever have to answer a rotten review. It’s not a good idea to answer any review for your book whether good or bad actually. Amazon reviews are a free forum type thing, and anyone who has read your book should be free to say what they thought about it without any fear of either a rant or a lot of fawning gratitude from the author.

Poor old Hannah. One of the first reviews that my Fly Birdie got was a two sentence one star clonker, where the reviewer said, “I was disgusted by…

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