Fiction

English is Complex

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by Rudy DeesArticle Categories: ,

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“English is considered one of the most difficult languages to learn, because it contains so many words that are pronounced the same but have different meanings.” — The Economist  English can be confusing. Well it depends. It mostly depends on the learner’s native language. For example, Germanic languages closely related to English—will find English relatively straightforward, while learners whose first language is Mandrin (completely unrelated) or Russian (distantly related) will find English much harder.  English is a difficult language to learn because it is so irregular in its spelling and pronunciation. Many words sound the same or are spelled the same and have multiple meanings. For example, the words bear and bare.  Bare. As an adjective has two meanings: (of a person or part of the body) not clothed or covered, or only just sufficient (surprisingly small in number or amount). As a verb bare means to uncover (a part of the body […]

How to Sell More Books

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by Alex CooperArticle Categories: ,

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Every day hundreds of books are published in each genre. There are lots of options to help your book stand out from the crowded bookshelves and online categories. You can pay for advertising, do endless book blog tours and try to befriend every reader you come across.  At the end of the day though, these things will help a bit, but there is only one strategy that is guaranteed to catch the right target audience’s attention—and money: Your Brand. Too often authors think that branding themselves isn’t necessary, or that their brand is simply the genre—or subgenre—in which they write. Not so. Your brand is what makes you unique. What makes you different than all those other people who are writing the same type genre, sub-genre, theme, plot, etc. Let’s look at two of today’s most successful authors and see what makes them unique. J.K. Rowling writes children’s books. So […]

Five Steps to How an Editor Reads Your Manuscript Submission

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by Carrie De SimasArticle Categories: ,

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Editors receive hundreds—if not thousands—of submissions every month. Each submissions package includes (in order) a query letter, a synopsis and then the number of manuscript pages as per the publisher’s specific requirements.  Most editors evaluate a manuscript submission package like this: We read the first line of the manuscript—not the query letter. Some people are great at writing letters but not at completing full books. For a first line to be good, it has to be catchy, and hook us. This means it has to make us wonder about something, pose a problem that your book will answer, or use an anecdote that engages our curiosity. If the first line is good we continue to the rest of the paragraph, then the rest of the page, then the rest of the chapter to see if the promise of the first line is continued. If the writing sample is solid, then […]

Five Things You Need to Know About Designing Your Book Cover

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by William TannerArticle Categories: ,

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The book cover is probably the most powerful marketing tool in your arsenal. Managing it is about more than just choosing a good cover model or stock image. In fact, it is not about what you choose but rather how you use it.  Answer these questions to decide if you have thoroughly planned out your cover for the best shot at success: A picture is worth a thousand words. But try to sum it up in less than 100 words. If someone points at an element on your cover (e.g., the city horizon in the background) could you explain in a succinct sentence why that city skyline is important to the story? If it is just set in that city, but the setting has minimal impact on the plot or characters, why does it deserve to be on the cover? Color my world. Is there a dominant color on the […]

Five Things You Need to Know About Being a Beta Reader

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by William Tanner Article Categories: ,

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Beta Reading is an integral part of any publishable work whether it is fiction, non-fiction, computer programming or anything in between. But how to critique a work that isn’t yours is a real skill. Though many of us have experience editing other people’s work, most of us have never been taught how to present our evaluations in a respectful, coherent and professional manner. It’s a real art. Here are some tips to help you on your testing journey:  Be clear about the parameters. Don’t enter into a beta reading position without understanding what is expected of you. Does the person just want a surface evaluation? Typos, layout, etc.? Or is the purpose to evaluate the veracity of the ideas and the effectiveness of the delivery? Don’t hand back a document with only typos highlighted if you were brought on to evaluate the information and articulation. Be Positive. If you are […]

Is Poetry Dead? How to Revive Your Poetry Career—Tips By Poet Candice James

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by Carrie De SimasArticle Categories: ,

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What is the biggest change in the poetry world since you ‪began publishing? CJ: The Internet, Facebook, Twitter, websites, e-zines etc. have made it easy for ‪all poets from beginners to established to have their poetry “out there” in ‪front of the global audience of people interested in poetry.  The next ‪biggest change is the myriad of venues and poetry events happening every week all over the world. Back in 1979 poetry readings were few and far between.  36 years later they are popping up all over even to the point of “pop up poets” walking around in groups on the streets ‪reading poetry.  I wouldn’t say it is a whole lot more popular, but it ‪assuredly is a whole lot more visible.  ‪What are some mistakes you have seen people make when new to literary ‪organizations?  ‪CJ: Not being organized when presenting a reading; ‪exceeding the allotted time give to […]

How To Write A Successful Serialized Series — Tips by Boystown Author Jake Biondi

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by Karyn ConnorArticle Categories: ,

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The Boystown series by Jake Biondi began as an online story released in installments, but was published in book form with the third book released on May 1, 2015.How much has reader feedback influenced plot or character decisions?JB: I love hearing from Boystown readers and fans — and I continue to encourage them to reach out to me so I can hear their thoughts.  Fans have been very vocal about several of the books’ couples; they especially want to influence whom Cole ends up with. I read every single email and comment I get and consider the person’s comments and suggestions. While I haven’t made any huge shifts in plot because of reader comments, I have emphasized certain characters more or less because of fan input. For example, the character of Justin Mancini was only intended to be around for a chapter or two, but because readers overwhelmingly seemed to like him […]

Writers: All You Need Is…

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by Carrie De SimasArticle Categories: ,

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What do words really mean? Think about it, each word has its own place in the written world, a separate function. But when it comes to the main thrust of it, the only words that really matter are the basic facts of the situation. Thus, all we really need are nouns and verbs. Nouns tell you the thing or person and the verb tells the action. That’s all you really need to tell a story. Verbs and Nouns? That’s it? Yup. Watch what I mean: The cat crossed the street.  [Noun, verb, noun.] The whole story with its scintillating climax summed up with only nouns and a verb. These are the only words that matter because these are the only facts in the story. Every other part of the story isn’t fact, it’s perspective. Watch again: The fat, orange cat slowly crossed the road. [Adjective, adjective, noun, adverb, verb, noun.] […]

Lessons I Learned After Hiring Professional Editors

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by Cotton Nightie Article Categories: ,

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Now that I’ve worked with a handful of different editors I can share some lessons I’ve learned. It takes a deft touch to tell someone that something they created isn’t working without making the criticism seem personal. Some editors I’ve worked with offered criticisms that, while honest, were not especially constructive. The best editors can not only point out your mistakes, but suggest a way to fix them in a way that stays true to your voice. You want an editor to help strengthen a story while remaining honest about its faults. The hardest lesson I learned highlighted the difference between stories written primarily to earn money and those with other goals. Genre fiction promises to provide readers with stories that meet their expectations. If you read a thriller, you expect danger and suspense. If you read a romance, you expect that happily ever after. Working with an editor who […]

Should a Writer Pay for Professional Editing?

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by Cotton Nightie Article Categories: ,

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When I started writing, I was lucky to have avid and responsive readers of my short stories. I was a true amateur, drawn into the craft of writing as a passion instead of a profession. Those friends helped me interpret my own words by providing feedback on what did and didn’t work in my stories. I recognized early on that storytelling isn’t simply relating events. I often had powerful emotional responses to some stories I read yet others left me untouched. There was some kind of magic in storytelling I could perceive but not reliably express. I began deconstructing my own stories to find what worked and didn’t, using the feedback of those early readers to provide the perspective I was unable to find by myself. Sometimes I fell in love with my own words to the point I could not maintain any emotional distance. Because of this, I wasn’t […]