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Ten Tips on Using Social Media to Promote Your Books

By Paula Margulies

Many of my clients are stumped by the social media aspect of marketing their books. They understand that establishing a strong social media presence is important, but a good number of them avoid it because it appears time-consuming and somewhat daunting.

But creating an effective social media marketing strategy doesn’t have to be difficult. I recommend that authors focus on sites that will give them the most bang for their time and effort. Rather than attempting to establish a presence on all sites, it’s better to start with two or three of them. For those new to social media, I usually recommend beginning with Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads, and building a presence on those sites first before expanding to others.

As far as what to post on a site, the most important concept to understand is why readers use social media in the first place. Most people don’t visit social media sites in order to be sold goods and services; they’re there to connect with others and t…

Algonkian Writers Conference - The First Prep Letter

FYI, below is the first Algonkian Writers Conference prep letter we send to writers registered in our novel workshops. The articles that follow are a must read for productive novel workshop discussions and assignments. Most were authored by Michael Neff, Algonkian director:
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We have some initial assignments and readings for you, designed to introduce you to the realities of writing a publishable manuscript for a commercial market. Whether or not you are able to utilize all of the information for your particular project remains to be seen, however, you will definitely acquire useful craft and premise knowledge that might well take you in new directions. We hope that you will be open to learning and evolving both your project and your writing.

For your first assignment, go to your nearest library or book superstore. Read the first ten pages of at least five new literary novels (no genre, i.e, SF, mystery, etc.). Once you've spent a few hours, take out a laptop, or sheet …

Algonkian Novel Writing Courses and Program Review

The Writer's Edge Publishes An Interview With Lois Gordon About Her Writing Life
TITLE:  DEATH AT IRON HOUSE
GENRE:  Cozy Mystery
COMPS:  REAL MURDERS by Charlaine Harris
WORDS:  85,000+

Lois lives in southern Ontario, Canada, on a hobby farm, which provides great fodder for writing humour essays about a certain City Mouse surviving country living (think Green Acres), and it explains why she uses a "U" in humor. Several of her personal essays have appeared in anthologies, and many have won awards. Her most recent claim to fame is winning first prize in a national competition; the short story was subsequently published in "Never Trust a Smiling Bear - An Anthology of Canadian Humour." But she is also proud of receiving honorable mention in the Erma Bombeck Humor Writing Contest, with a touchingly funny article about the death of my father.

In my 30s I finally picked up a pen and started to write a romance novel, and I haven't put the pen down since. I …

Top 10 Mistakes Writers Make (According to Me)

I see these lists all over Facebook on a regular basis so, just for fun, and hopefully to help you, I compiled my own list. I swore I wouldn’t, but a respectable period has passed, about three years, since that vow, so I think I can break it now. Think less of me if you will. These are going to annoy you because most of them are deceptively simple. But, admit it, we often make life more complicated than it has to be so – trust me. You’re doing a lot of crap you shouldn’t and it’s unbelievably easy to fix in some cases.

When someone doesn’t write well, I find it’s for two reasons: ego and ignorance. People who think they are amazing writers usually are not. Whenever someone tells me they’ve written an amazing story and they think the writing is really good, best seller material, I know eight times out of ten that I’m in for it as an editor. Ego. The ones who come from ignorance (untrained, unskilled) usually write stilted, often nonsensical (due to their use of a dictionary and thesauru…

Review - Author Salon Novel Writing Program

The Writer's Edge Brings You an Author Salon Talk With Brittany Hughes About Her Writing Life and Novel

TITLE:  BREAKING CLAY
GENRE:  Upmarket/literary
COMPS:  FLIGHT BEHAVIOR meets WINTER'S BONE
WORDS:  85,000+

Brittany Hughes graduated from the University of Washington with a Bachelor's degree in Creative Writing, and subsequently earned a Masters in Teaching. Although raised in the Emerald City, Brittany recently spent two years living in the Midwest, a landscape that inspired the setting of her novel, "Breaking Clay." With past experience volunteering within underprivileged communities, she was surprised to find the level of impact her travels through the hills of West Virginia had upon her. Witnessing the spread of current-day poverty led to the birth of her novel. Brittany now lives with her husband, and Westie, in Seattle, where she is the administrator of a financial planning firm. When not shuffling papers, she spends time writing and seeking insp…

The Monterey Writers Retreat in California

The Mission of The Monterey Writers Retreat
Do you wish a review of your short story or flash fiction? Do you need to discuss the reality of the market, or your novel project, plot and characters, or perhaps get feedback on the opening hook? Or would you simply like a relaxed and productive dialogue about your goals as a writer? 
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Writers, memorists, authors and aspiring authors have journeyed for over a century to this most scenic and literary location on the California west coast known as the Monterey Peninsula. They come in search of inspiration, individuality, purpose and vision, but more importantly, they all eventually come to share an understanding that art has preceded their arrival in the form of a brutally beautiful sea and windswept white shore, in the poetry of the twisted cypress, and in the kaleidoscope of abundant wildlife. It is this setting that inspired the poet Robinson Jeffers to pen:

Fresh as the air, salt as the foam, play birds in the b…

New York Pitch Conference Review

Conversation With Author Pam Binder

Pam Binder is an Award Winning and New York Times Best Selling author. Pocket Books has published five of Pam's Fantasy Romance novels, including the New York Times best selling anthology, A SEASON IN THE HIGHLANDS. Pam is the President of Pacific Northwest Writers Association, an advisory board member for the Writer's Program at the University of Washington and an instructor in the University of Washington's Popular Fiction extension program.
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Under guided sessions, we learned how to make sure our pitches hit all the right notes. Our workshop leader was dedicated to not only helping us perfect our pitch, but acting as our mentor when we met with editors.

- Pam Binder
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A New York Pitch Conference Review

NYC: How would you compare New York Pitch Conference to other writer conferences?

PB: This conference exceeded my expectations. It is a no-nonsense, no frills conference, and not for the faint of he…

Algonkian Writer Conferences - Michael Neff and 3POV on Author Salon

STORYBOARD CONSIDERATIONS FOR PRODUCING EFFECTIVE SCENES    by Michael Neff of Algonkian Writer Conferences

If you're working on a commercial fiction or narrative non-fiction manuscript, you will benefit if you view your project as possessing three layers of increasing complexity:

Layer I:Overall story premise and plot. These involve top level decisions regarding major characters, the overall setting, plot line evolution, dramatic complications, theme, reversals, and other, as defined in the Six Act Two-Goal Novel guide (see below).

Layer II:The actual scenes in the story, as well as the nature of the inter-scene narrative. Consider your story generally composed of units of scene, each scene performing specific tasks in the novel, always moving the plot line(s) forward and evolving the character(s). Each scene contains an opening set, an evolution of middle, and conclusion. But whether scene-based, or inter-scene, this layer comprises the matter and techniques that clarif…