You know that saying ‘can’t see the wood for the trees’?
It’s probably a bit like that with you and your book.
You’re so close to it, it’s very hard to see the objective viewpoint.
But there are people who can help you with this – they’re called beta readers.
Beta readers are ‘test’ readers for your story. They’re unpaid and work as volunteers rather than ‘professionals’.
We talk a lot on our blog about how to promote your book once it’s been published.
There’s a good reason for this. So many authors spend months and years working very hard on completing and publishing a book.
But their downfall is actually selling their book.
When it doesn’t sell, they think there must be something wrong with the book itself; the quality of the writing, the planning of the plotline, the believability of the characters.
But it’s likely to be none of these things.
There’s usually only one reason a book doesn’t sell:
Author Q&A with Dee Dee Chumley
With a career spent as a high-school English teacher, Dee Dee Chumley first channelled her creative ideas as part of a friend’s writing group.
Her other talents have included teaching girls’ softball, and even a spot of bus driving!
Dee Dee has received numerous awards for her short stories, essays, and poems, and in 2012 her debut novel Beyond the Farthest Star won Best Juvenile Book from the Oklahoma Writers’ Federation, Inc.
We were lucky enough to have Dee Dee answer some questions for us, and share her thoughts on writing and self-publishing.
If you’re about to publish your first book, are you undecided about using a pen name, or writing under your real name?
It seems to make sense that you should decide which name to use right from the start, as the name you write under will then be set in stone forever. But is this actually true?
Well, first let’s consider WHY you would want to use a pen name.
The obvious answer is to ‘hide’ your real identity. But what are the benefits of doing this, and are there any drawbacks?
Here are some of the pros and cons:
Author Q&A with Gordon Gravley
Gordon Gravley hails from the (sometimes chilly) Northwest United States.
Gordon first contacted us at the start of 2018, looking to update the covers for two of his novels, ‘Gospel for the Damned’ and ‘The Quieting West’.
We were thrilled to work with him to create new cover designs for his highly rated books, and also managed to sneak in a chat to find out a little bit more about him and his writing process.
Here Gordon tells us about a 25 year learning process, his interest in the Old West, and how maturity has benefitted his writing.
For the purposes of this blogpost, I am drawing a distinction between these two terms.
Let’s look at the dictionary definitions:
noun: writer; plural noun: writers
a person who has written something
noun: author; plural noun: authors
someone who writes books as a profession
There you have it. The crucial difference between the two.
Now, not every writer wants to become a professional, and this is fine. Some writers are publishing academic papers, or a family history only intended for a select group of people.
But if you’re a writer who dreams of calling it your career in a few years, there are certain steps you need to take. You need to build a bridge to get from being someone who writes, to being someone who writes as a profession.
Here are nine suggestions to help you make that leap.
We all know the saying: ‘the best things come in small packages’, and this includes your book’s blurb. But how do you condense down hundreds of pages of story into a few brief sentences?
As the author of those hundreds of pages, it can be a real struggle to work out what to include, and how to give an overview but still be brief.
So, if you’re striving to perfect your synopsis, here are 5 things you can do to create the most impact with such little word-count:
Those of us who don’t work in a creative environment think it must be very hard for those ‘arty types’.
All that sitting around waiting for the inspiration to hit them.
Artists, musicians, writers… What do they do all day while waiting for the lightning bolt idea to strike?!
In fact, any designer, actor or author will tell you that waiting for the ‘sunbeam through the clouds – ta da!’ is total nonsense.
You have to practice your craft ALL the time. Even when you have no ideas. You keep going.
I want to start this blogpost firstly by saying: don’t be afraid to make mistakes.
That’s how we all learn. When we’re children, we try to walk, fall over, get up and try again, and think nothing of it. As adults we’re just out of practice at getting things wrong, or perhaps we never put ourselves in the position where mistakes are possible.
The best thing you can do to avoid unnecessary mistakes is to arm yourself with as much information about writing and publishing as possible. But life is a learning curve and none of us would be where we are today if we didn’t get it wrong sometimes.
Here are some tips to help you on your way:
Author Q&A with LeAnne Burnett Morse
A professional writer for TV, LeAnne Burnett Morse has just published her first novel ‘The Willard’, a historical fiction set around the real-life Willard Hotel in Washington D.C.
LeAnne talked to us about where and when she writes, the differences between writing for TV and writing books, and the college professor who had a huge influence on LeAnne’s early writing career.