09 Mar

Book Rec: Crowdfunding Your Fiction by Loren L. Coleman (business)

Crowdfunding Your Ficiton by Loren L Coleman CoverThere are two types of business books: the ones that talk about business, and the ones that teach you how to do it. Coleman’s Crowdfunding Your Fiction falls solidly into the second category.

If you’ve ever thought about using Kickstarter (or a similar crowdsourcing platform) to launch a book, you need to red Crowdfunding Your Fiction.

CYF (which I’m going to call it from now on) gives you a high-level overview of everything you need to do in order to successfully launch a crowdfunding campaign. Then it dives into every little detail, and holds your hand while guiding you through every step, including pointing out where to click on the homepage. Read More

09 Feb

Book Rec: Killer Content by Andrea Pearson (Marketing Guide)

Book Cover: Killer Content by Andrea PearsonI’ve read a number of marketing books in my day, but very few that pack as much punch in as little space as Andrea Pearson’s Killer Content.

Killer Content is laser focused on tactics and results. You won’t find many anecdotes here (although, since this is Andrea Pearson, there will be a lot of smileys.) You won’t find heavy theory either – you’ll get a one or two sentence summary of the main points, then a link to the survey/study/rapport/other where it comes from. Read More

23 Aug

How to Write a Great Blurb (Warning: Giganormous Post)

Banner - TypewriterI’ve written several hundred blurbs, for myself, for other authors, and for non-authors, mainly academics.

That’s right, there are blurbs in academia. They’re called abstracts, posters, or one-slide presentations, but if it works like a blurb, and functions like a blurb, it is a blurb.

That’s my view. Don’t tell it to any academics. Also, when I say “blurb,” I mean “back cover copy.” That’s the correct term. Nobody I know uses it (OK, some pundits in the self-publishing sphere do, but most of us just say “blurb”.) I’m going to say blurb. So there.

Anyhow, blurbing (which is five characters shorter than “blurb writing” and I’m a lazy bastard) is not a writing skill. It’s marketing, and while you use your keyboard for both, they’re essentially different skill sets. And no, one of them won’t leave a trail of slime on your pristine, artistic soul.

Let me explain why, and how you go about writing an effective* blurb.

(* Please note the “effective.” The key point of a blurb isn’t style, information capacity, or ego, it’s effect – unless you’re writing to stoke your own ego, in which case feel free to skip the rest of this post…)

Oh, and this is a bit longer than my usual posts. As in “about 1500% longer.” Yeah, it needs a table of contents: Read More

04 Jun

Friday Links: Confessions of a Clarkesworld Slush Reader

Banner Mouse Click

Why did my story get rejected?

This is a forum thread in the form of an AMA by an (ex-)Clarkesworld slush reader.

Lots of interesting analysis of short fiction markets in general and Clarkesworld in particular. Great if you’re submitting or planning to submit to the big mags.

Pay close attention to the “I slushed 2000 stories, passed up 150-300 to the editor, and none of those got published.” Read More

20 Feb

Plotting with Pain – Who’d be the Most Hurt?

How to Plot using Pain

How to Plot using PainLet’s say you have an idea for a setting, or an event, or a new type of technology, but you can’t transform it into a plot. There’s simply no action there, no conflict. All you’ve got is a “what if…”

How about you take one of those what ifs and ask “who would be the most hurt by this?” I.e.:

“What if all people could suddenly fly? Who would be the most hurt by this?”

Airlines. Airline pilots. Airline maintenance workers. What if it’s a airplane mechanic who really loves his planes, but now they’re all worthless and nobody wants them? “The Airplane Whisperer, coming soon to a theater near you…”

Second point would be to see how badly you can make the person hurt. Read More

24 Oct

Short and Sweet Writing Advice – Writing to the Point by Algis Budrys Review

Writing to the Point by Algis Budrys - Review

Writing to the Point by Algis Budrys - ReviewSometimes you read a book at exactly the right time to change your world. Algis Budrys’ “Writing to the Point: A Complete Guide to Selling Fiction” was one of those books for me.

Writing to the Point is a short (152 airy pages) yet deep (spanning everything from “Chapter 1: The Basic Basics” to dealing with agents and who to format a manuscript) writing advice book. It took me slightly less than an hour-and-a-half to read, and I haven’t come away from a writing how-to book this turbo-charged in a long, long time. Read More

17 Oct

Design Your Author Website – The Basics

Design your Author Website

Design your Author WebsiteYou’ve written your novel, published your stories, signed an autograph or two[note]Yes, your mother does count.[/note]. And then you get the question: so, what’s your platform like?

What the hell is an author platform? Have you got one? Is it contagious?

Easy there, buckaroo. Help is on the way.

An author, or author’s, platform is all the online presence you’ve got[note]In fact it’s all the presence you’ve got, including offline, media and personal, but you don’t want fans trampling your mother’s petunias so we’ll stick to online.[/note]. It’s your website, Twitter feed, Instagram account, and forum moderator powers put together. And the most basic, and easiest to do, part of your writer platform, is your author website. Read More

10 Oct

Top Ten Writing Resources – Fall 2016

Top Ten Writer's Resources Fall 2016

Top Ten Writer's Resources Fall 2016There are some things that work plain better than others, that resonate with your needs better than others. When it comes to writing, I have tons of resources that I use on occasion, some that I use repeatedly and a few that I use all the time.

This is my Top Ten List of Writing Resources for the fall of 2016 (with some bonuses and honorary mentions). Read More

19 Sep

Write the Perfect Author’s Bio

Writing the Perfect Author's Bio

Writing the Perfect Author's BioIt sits there, right at the end of your book. Your author biography[note]Author biography, author bio, and author’s bio all seem to be legitimate spellings. So I’ll mix and the search engines will love me.[/note]. That little blurb where you’re supposed to put interesting facts about yourself. But what do you put in it? And, more importantly, why?

Because an author bio has but one function – and it’s got nothing to do with introducing yourself.

Here’s why. Read More

30 May

Easy and Safe Writing across Multiple Computers with Scrivener, Dropbox and Crashplan

Easy and Safe Writing across Multiple Computers with Scrivener, Dropbox and Crashplan

Easy and Safe Writing across Multiple Computers with Scrivener, Dropbox and CrashplanSome years ago I lost all of my writing in a hard drive crash. I’m not crying over spilled milk – the writing was rather horrible – but it did set me thinking about redundancy and safety. I started doing backups.

At first, I did backups to CDs. That worked all right, until I thought I had done a backup and formatted my hard drive. Of course, I didn’t have any CD with my latest stuff on it. And then, when my computer crashed and I had to reformat it, I lost a few months of work as well.

So instead of CDs, I started using an external drive to backup all of my files. Which worked fine, except that it’s a pain in the behind to hook it up all the time. And I didn’t want to leave it hooked up and out in the open because part of the reason of doing backups was to protect me in case my computer got stolen.

But, two years ago, I found my main backup and sync solution. And last month I found the perfect way to work across multiple platforms, multiple computers, in complete safety, without having to do anything. Read More