Congrats to our latest Anniversary Giveaway winner: CHIHUAHUA ZERO! He won a query critique from Kelly Simmons. There’s still 2 weeks left – next week’s prize is a 10-page developmental manuscript critique from Kathryn Craft.
If you’re looking for guest post opportunities, Gina Conroy’s Writer Interrupted is in search of guest bloggers.
The Birthday Party Pledge is a new initiative to promote diversity by encouraging the giving and reading of kid and teen books with Characters of Color.
It’s Christmas in July over on Michelle Kyrs’ blog with an agent-judged contest touted as 30 pitches, 10 agents, 1 week.
The Teen Librarian Toolbox is taking part in a Teen Read Week art contest themed “It Came From A Book.”
Ash Krafton supports using writing contests to improve your manuscript, although Tonya Kappes advises making sure the contest you enter is worth the investment of your time and money.
Character seemed to be on everyone’s mind this week! Ashley Clark talks about how to convey deeper levels of your characters; Write On The Edge comments on how the use of passive voice can lead to passive characters; Carol Despeaux advises working like a visual artist to write detailed body language; and K.M. Weiland shows how to spot and fix non-reactive and over-reactive characters in your story.
Tim Kane explores how to utilize tics and mannerisms to flesh out characters; Jenny Hansen asks if your characters fight in a way that advances your story; Carol Despeaux explains how to show vs. tell character emotions; and Susan J. Morris reveals why when your characters do the wrong thing, it feels so right.
The antagonist is a character that deserves close scrutiny. K.M. Weiland wonders if you should give your antagonist a point of view, while Angela Ackerman dispels 3 myths about villains.
When we get to the revision stage, beta readers, editors, and writing groups can be invaluable tools to make our work shine. Jami Gold tackles both sides of the coin, explaining what we should look for in a beta reader AND why she loves being a beta reader. Chuck Wendig waxes Western in his “Ode to the Editor” (after which he invites you to share names of wonderful editors you have known); and Jon Gibbs explores the reasons why people don’t join or stay with a writing group.
The wonderful writing community is awash with advice, as always! Donna Galanti advocates peeing on a tree, or something else that would move you out of your comfort zone. For many writers, their first conference is a big step outside their comfort zone. Colleen Lindsay gives astute advice on convention etiquette, while Sean M. Chandler shares 5 things attendees shouldn’t want at a convention.
For the debut writers out there, Michelle Haimoff humorously compares publishing your first novel to running for student body president, while Natalie Bakopoulos gives some notes to a first time novelist.
C.S. Lakin asks if you can still find joy in writing if you fail to reach your big goal. Behler Publications reminds us that goals are a matter of priorities and keeping it real, while Catherine Kuttson explains how to put your writing first.
In the world of traditional publishing, Barnes & Noble sends a blunt letter to the Department of Justice, stating their opposition to the settlement reached in the agency pricing lawsuit.
This week, the self-published world has been quite vocal about the merits of bypassing traditional publishing: Dean Wesley Smith debunks some traditional publishing myths; Stephen Woodfin finds the Barnes & Noble self-publishing machine lacking; and Cheryl Shireman wonders how soon it will be before new authors don’t even consider traditional publishing and go straight to self-publishing.
Meanwhile, a little more momentum builds for print-on-demand publishing. Stacy A. Anderson explores POD as an antidote to ebooks.
If you have been traditionally published, your books sometimes go out of print. Sherry Garland shares steps to take and options available when your book goes out of print.
In legal news authors should know about, Jennifer L. Armentrout writes a blog about book piracy and the cost to authors; Work Made For Hire describes what to do if you get a cease and desist letter; and Brad Frazer demystifies the use of Trademarks in your work.
Queries are necessary to open the doors to traditional publishing. Red Sofa Literary lists how NOT to query an agent; Rachelle Gardner adds two things she does NOT want to see in a query; and Sarah LaPolla tries to stamp out the use of rhetorical questions in queries once and for all.
Rachelle Gardner explains how understanding the role of emotion can help you as a writer, from getting an agent to marketing your book, and Jonathan Gunson talks about finding the “beauty spot” that can turn a book into a bestseller. Susan Bearman helps develop your writing presence on the web, while Bernadette Jiwa reminds us that the internet is not a shortcut—just a tool.
Speaking of marketing tools, book trailers are all in vogue now. Word for Teens tells what they are looking for in a successful book trailer, and Tim Kane shows how to create your own book trailer with iMovie. Book trailers can be expensive, so how are you going to pay for one? Enter Kickstarter, and its huge pool of backers.
Here’s some marketing advice from the author’s point of view. Dineen Miller wants us to examine why we market our books the way we do, while Susan Dennard shares her experiences with self-promotion. And GoodReads provides a case study in how readers discover books—information that is vital to anyone trying to market a book.
Twitter is one of those marketing tools we use. Janice Hardy did a Great Twitter experiment to see what tweeting more often actually gets you in return. N+1 magazine posted an interesting essay about Twitter and language. And for those of us who get a little lost on Twitter, Caitlin Muir has listed the 44 essential Twitter hashtags every author should know.
Some people claim that blogging is dead. Others say it’s a vital part of your platform. Anne R. Allen subscribes to the Slow Blog Manifesto, which states that blogging less frequently but with more quality will help your career. Tonya Kappes is puzzled by the statement that blogging doesn’t make you money. And since so many blogs do author interviews, Natalie Aguirre shares her formula for doing kickass author interviews.
THE UNIQUE SHELF
Perhaps after reading Natalie’s author interview post, you will not say awkward things when faced with an author, as Amanda Nelson confesses to doing.
Here are some amazing Ray Bradbury predictions that have come true.
Alex Wain pulls together the 10 Worst Book Covers in the History of Literature.
For you James Joyce lovers, last week we celebrated Bloomsday—and Joyce scholars battled over copyright. And in an ultimate Bloomsday celebration, Colin Dickey set out to read Ulysses in a single day.
Greg Zimmerman amasses the Top 10 Literary Quotes from The Simpsons.
More old but really cool stuff has been digitized over in England! The personal journals of Queen Victoria, 1832-1901, are now digitized & browseable, as is the Folger Shakespeare Libraries collection of books, theater memorabilia, manuscripts, art, and more.
And, in a break with 410 years of policy, the Bodleian Library considers lending books.
That’s it for this week!