Encouragement, Jane Friedman, Kirsten Lamb, Rachel Gardner, Self Publishing, Writer Unboxed, Writing, Writing blogs, Writing classes, Writing Resources

How to Save Time for Writing

There are few things I like to do other than write or find writing resources to help me become a better writer. Sure I miss watching my favorite television shows, coffee with friends, walking the dog, and watching my kids grow (I’m lying they are all 18-25, they’re grown). Sometimes I prefer to write than go on a date but perhaps that will change when the right one comes along. How I save time for writing besides the aforementioned is to look for shortcuts, i.e. good advice. Why reinvent the wheel? 

When I find great resources I believe in sharing them to help the next writer in his/her endeavor. Many publishers, agents, and authors have blogs that help writers become better. I usually stay away from any with bells and whistles on their blogs (flickering ads) or anyone admantly pushing their book. I don’t mind that their book cover is on their sidebar I just don’t want flashing arrows pointing to it or their ad popping up on my screen.
In the past few months I’ve found that I’ve kept returning to the same bloggers, who I believe are experts in the writing field. These are, in no particular order:
Jane Friedman‘s blog. She featured Writing Advice That Saves You 5 Years. It links to Steal This List. She has an archive of free advice for writers and is an editor at Writer’s Digest, a magazine I finally subscribed to after reading it at the library for four months.

And for plot and structure, I know no better teacher than The Plot Whisper. I learn better when I can read something and hear something. TPW has YouTube videos on each lesson, for FREE. 

Kirsten Lamb is the Queen of Blogging and Social Media. Her post The Right Way, Wrong Way, Smart Way caught my attention and is well worth the read. 
Rachell Gardner is a literary agent who has resources for writers who want to improve their craft and prepare themselves for publication. 
Writer Unboxed was started by two aspiring writers who began a community of contributing authors. They are “about the craft and business of fiction.” 

Deciding to go the e-book route and self publish, Joe Konrath’s blog tells it like it is-to him. He makes a lot of sense (he has sold books the traditional way) and now sells tons of his books, for e-readers. 

Also check out some more of my favorites listed on Top Ten Blogs for Writers

These resources save you time and money because many people pay for the kind of information these writers give and you can read them whenever you carve out 10 minutes. If you haven’t fulfilled your dream of writing a family history, memoir, magazine article or essay, here’s your chance to start again in the new year and save time to watch your children grow or go on that date. 
Guisada, Kindle Fire, NaNoWriMo, Self Publishing

Friday’s Guisada of Tips

Some days it’s all about bundling up, cooking and then vegging out. I vote for that day to be today. It’s cold, but not Minnesota cold, not even Oregon cold, but just cool and dreary enough for us spoiled Southern Cal people to whine. It’s 57 degrees out.

I tried making some leek and potato soup, vegan style, for my son. Since I’ve begun receiving “Farm to You,” organic produce I get stuff like fresh leeks, persimmons, and artichokes. This girl from the projects does not know how to cook those things. But I looked up a recipe on line. It was too salty and oniony for me, but the vegan son ate a couple of bowls.

And to think I could have made a good old fashioned Mexican guisada (see above). It has a little of this, a little of that and you can use pork, beef, hamburger, or groundless round soy product. My mom used to call it a ‘guisado,’ but maybe she just liked the male sound of it.

So now that dinner is over, I’m so excited to play some more with my Kindle Fire. I’ve already named her and bought her an ‘outfit.’ (Not really-this outfit is not out for the Fire yet).

 I bought her a conservative outfit. I know, I was one of those people who vowed to keep only books in the house, but technology lured me, like a male version of a siren.  I think it started when I bought a laptop last year. After that I traded in my old Blackberry for an iPhone 3 and I’m resisting any upgrades, I don’t care how nice Suri sounds. When she can wash the dishes, I’ll trade up.

For today’s ‘guisada,’ I found some great  tips for NaNoWriMo inspiration. I must catch up this weekend. I’m at 26,832 words and 4K behind as of today. The article on the Kindle Lending Library debate is a good one too. I must say I see both sides of view. I already downloaded a book from the ‘library.’ Don’t skip the article on the future of book covers. It dazzled me. I like to be dazzled sometimes.

Skip the Jerry Sandusky’s link to his memoir. Amazon pulled it after a deluge of outraged customer reviews. I particularly enjoyed Wicked and Tricksy’s article on Self Publishing. I’m starting to lean more and more in that direction. When I lean more than the Tower of Pisa, I’m jumping into the waters.

I hope you enjoy the guisada of resources and hope you get a chance to make some real guisada this weekend while you catch up on your reading. Media Bistro  provided this weeks host of links and Nathan Bransford provided “This week in Books.” Very clever people.

Authors, E-book sales, E-books, Self Publishing, Writing

E-Books and New Authors

For the past couple of days I’ve been catching up with my dashboard blogs. One of them, Joe Konrath’s “Newbie Guide to Publishing,” has an ongoing dialogue about publishing your work on e-books versus the ‘legacy’ big 6 publishers or print publishing. There are several valid points to consider when deciding whether to go e-book self publishing or through the traditional method.  
Today the Wall St. Journal featured an article about the same subject, “Cheapest E-Books upend the charts.” The writer believes that 99 cent titles from unknown authors puts big pressure on the big publishers.”As digital sales surge, publishers are casting a worried eye towards the previously scorned self-published market.”
 The link to the entire article is at the bottom of this blog.

Digital sales are surging. Just look at the latest figures from booktrade.info
E-book sales growth showed no signs of letting up in February, increasing at an even faster rate than they did in January. According to AAP’s monthly sales estimates, e-book sales jumped 202.3% at the 16 publishers that reported results, hitting $90.3 million. The rest of the trade segments, however, all had declines in the month with adult hardcover sales plunging 43%, to $46.2 million at the 17 houses that reported figures, while mass market paperback sales tumbled 41.5%, to $29.3 million at the nine reporting houses.

Then we have the recent article that announced that owners of the Kindle e-Reader will be able to download products from their local libraries later this year. Humm, now libraries across the country will begin buying e-books.

To be fair, I need to let you know that the other blogger I follow, JM Tohline, has the opposite view. His post today reads, ” Hey look, I can avoid the fiery hoops of the Publishing World.” Some good points there too. 

IMHO, I think one has to make a personal ‘pro/con’ list of what publishing path to take. One size doesn’t fit all and all that. I do think that self publishing, with an Amazon platform, right price point and hard work can outweigh the traditional venue. This is particularly true for authors who have already published books in the traditional manner and/or have name recognition.

 Although I haven’t made a choice, the writing on the wall, for this newbie, has become more clear. 

Read more: 

Agents, Ojai Wordfest, Pat Fry, Publishing, Self Publishing, Writers conferences

"Simple Steps to Successful Authorship" workshop-Ojai Wordfest

     Laptop, coffee, pajamas, more coffee….that is some of what it takes for me to sit my butt in the chair and write. So say you are now finished with your manuscript (MS), one, three or ten years later. How do you prepare that MS for publication? Pat Fry of S.P.A.W.N (info below) has written since 1973 and has hundreds of magazine articles and 33 books to her name. I think she’s qualified to tell us how we can do that. Her introductory line, “Publishing is not an extension of your writing. It’s a business and fiercely competitive,” got my attention. So you finished your manuscript, now what?
     These are your choices: The big 6 publishing houses, small presses or choosing the booming industry of self publishing or as she called it, the ‘pay for publishing.’ (I’ll call it P4P). But first, be aware of the daunting 2009 USA stat which cites 76% of all published books fail. Failure is defined as selling 100 copies or less. Over 1 million books are published per year, yes per year. The Big 6 and their subsidiaries published 288 thousand, with 756 thousand self published. There are more than 90 thousand P4P’s. You want to be in that 24% who publish, right, so how do you decide?
     First, what is your genre and how does it fit into the big 6 or small presses? Pick up a book in the genre you’ve written, look inside for the publisher and determine if your MS falls into their scheme of things. Second, find an agent. Many writer’s found an agent by participating in writer’s conferences, use http://www.allconferences.com or http://writersconf.org to find conferences. They often have a pay for review of pages workshop where you can meet face to face with an agent. Get a referral from an associate. Another source is from blogs. Follow agent or publishers blogs (I follow three) to see what they’re about and whether you want to send them a query. They all have instructions on how to send the query and what genre they accept.
    Let’s say you’ve decided to go with a P4P. Don’t just Google ‘self publishing’ (remember there are thousands of them). A book by Mark Levine, “The Fine Print of Self Publishing,” is now in its 3rd Edition. He lists the outstanding ones (Aventine Press, Booklocker, and 8 more), then the good, the bad, and the ugly (Authorhouse, Publish America, Trapper, and more). I’m sure Amazon has more of the same type of books.
   Finally, educate yourself about the business of publishing: read, read, read. A place to check, or a ‘warning site’ for unscrupulous publishers are: http://www.writersweekly.com/whispers_and_warnings.php, http://www.sfwa.org/for-authors/writer-beware or for specific companies or individuals use Google, keyword ‘warning’ plus name of person or company.
     Bottom line, Pat says, you have to approach the publication of your finished MS like a business person with a business plan. Daunting yes, but very important if you want to be in the 24%. The workshop was valuable and I’d probably go to another one just for the educational refresher. But for now, excuse me, I have to go brew another pot of coffee.

Pat is the President of Small Publishers, Artists & Writers Network (SPAWN): http://www.spawn.org and she owns Matilija Press in Ojai, CA.

Tomorrow I’ll go over the ‘Ten Best Ways to Promote Your Book’ also by Pat Fry. Until then,
Write On.