Category Archives: Being a Writer

Adrian King Writing revolution guest post headshot

Self Publishing: The Writing Revolution

Becoming an author is easier than it has ever been - we have something to say and now, with the advent of self publishing in all its forms, we are able to reach an audience through our own efforts, rather than relying on being noticed by an agent or publishing house. This week's guest poster, Adrian King, has some tips on how to take full advantage of the writing revolution.

The Writing Revolution

By Adrian King

Adrian King Writing revolution guest post headshotI consider myself privileged to be a writer living in one of the most extensive revolutions to ever hit the publishing industry. Authors have more access to their readers than any other time in history. We no longer rely on the decisions of a few publishing houses to determine the destiny of our work. Rather, we can look to our audience, and create our own success. The wide distribution of E-readers and more access to print-on-demand companies in the last ten years have transformed how our business works.

“Tweet something personal. Post a picture of your pets.”

So, how can a novice writer begin their solo journey to published author? This short guideline can help you begin a strong foundation.

  • Start by testing your work. Ask family and trusted friends to read your piece, and get it edited. If you can't afford a professional editing service, then seek out writer's critique groups. You have asked these people for their opinions, so be prepared when they offer them. Some writers become so attached to their work that they cannot accept constructive criticism. All they have done is ignored the fact that their work could be better. However, do not let anyone dilute your focus either. Keep an open mind about suggested changes and consider every option, but ultimately it is your name on the cover.
  • Build a strong author's platform.
    • Create an author's page on Facebook, and link it to your Twitter account. Once you link them, your Facebook posts will tweet, and your tweets will post as status updates on Facebook. Invite all of your friends to like your page. Be sure not to make your pages one long running commercial. Tweet something personal. Post a picture of your pets. You will be ignored if you bombard your friends and followers with commercials about your book. It is also important to grow your audience. Follow industry professionals, invite everyone you know to be your friend, and even include your Facebook and Twitter information on your printed materiel. It is common now for people to judge the reputation of artists, authors, and companies on their number of likes on Facebook or followers on Twitter. This is why many large companies have entire departments dedicated to their social media coordination.
    • Also, an author's website is a must. Have your complete bio available. Have descriptions of all of your available titles, along with a link to where they can be purchased.
    • Want to make two royalties for each sale? Amazon makes it possible.
      • First, make sure your book is available for sale on Amazon.com.
        Then become an Amazon Associates Member. This allows you to sell Amazon products on your author's page for a commission.
      • Finally, create links to your book at Amazon Associates and use them as the links to purchase your book. Now, when people click the link to buy your book, you will get paid a commission for the advertisement and the royalty for your book sale.
    • Start a blog. Your blog doesn't need to be about writing. Blog about something you love. Your family, travel, pets, anything. People who do not typically read Sci-Fi might buy the Sci-Fi title of their favorite travel blogger. You may not look forward to starting another regular commitment, but there are plenty of good reasons to get it done. You will get good practice writing, grow your audience, and provide content for your social media posts.
  • Choose your weapon. Choosing your printer and distributor is like choosing a relationship. Carefully define your budget, and then do your research. Createspace.com, Lulu.com, and iUniverse.com all have their pros and cons. You will need to choose a company that fits your needs and budget.
  • Get your name out there. When people search your name, you want them to find your book. There are many ways to get this done, but here are a couple of simple and cheap methods that I like.
    • I listed my book on E-bay. Most search engines will display E-bay results on the first page.
    • Next I created an author's bio on Amazon.
    • Become a guest blogger. Establish your blog and write enough content to show your expertise on your topic. Then, offer to write posts for other blogs similar to your own. This will not only spread your byline, but also help drive some traffic back to your own blog.
    • Finally, a blog tour is a great way to get your book mentioned on several websites in a short period of time.
“You are no longer just a writer. You are an Author”

All these things can help you build a strong base. Remember, how successful you become is completely up to you. You are no longer just a writer. You are an Author... Not to mention publicist, head of marketing, editor-in-chief, and designer. It is hard work to be your own publisher, but it can also be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life.

Useful tips there from Adrian King - there were a few I hadn't thought of! How do you let people know about your books? Use the comments below to share your thoughts - and the handy buttons to share this post with your friends, too.

Giulia Simolo Writers Multiple Lives post graphic

The Writer’s Multiple Lives

As authors, we often feel like we're multiple people living multiple lives. This week's guest poster, Giulia Simolo, explores this concept. How do you experience the Writer's multiple lives?
[sendtokindle]

The Writer’s Multiple Lives

By Giulia Simolo

Giulia Simolo Writers Multiple Lives post graphicIt was midnight. I could not sleep and my mind was wandering like a ship in the night, unsure of its destination but unwilling to throw its anchor overboard. That was when the voice came to me. It felt like that of an old friend, and yet it belonged to someone completely new and utterly fascinating.

Was I going crazy?

“how do you explain the connection you experience with these characters”

To the world, you might feel that this would be labelled insane. Hearing voices? Seeing images of someone in your mind? You, of course, know that this is a character for your new story that demands being written on the page immediately. But to the world, the idea that someone out there is speaking to you could make people question your stability! Added to this, how do you explain the connection you experience with these characters, and how you feel loss when the story ends and they stop pestering you at midnight? How would you explain to a non-writer that you feel that the characters choose you instead of you picking them from your imagination?

And yet, these are the kinds of things that happen to a writer. Once you meet your character and he or she settles in for tea, you start building on that initial impression to ensure they are not a whimsical creature made of slivers of lace but actual three-dimensional beings. When tackling characterization, there are often tips and various forms of advice handed out to writers, such as that it’s important to have a full sketch of who your character is (and this should be very detailed) before you embark on the writing journey. Tips such as the above are helpful, however there is one aspect that no one can control and which must not always be reined in during this process: the writer’s mind.

“The writer takes on a role similar to that of an actor”

Award winning Irish writer Emma Donoghue once said, ‘[Writing stories] lets me, at least for a while, live more than one life…’ Through our writing we can experience various things, many of which are in contrast to our daily lives. For instance, we might put ourselves in the shoes of a protagonist who travels the world or is obsessively dieting, or a drug addict… The writer takes on a role similar to that of an actor: he or she has to play the part, explore it, invest in their imagination, and try to make it as real as possible. This experience in the mind will be different for every writer. Although one’s characters are essentially made up, the writer is spending hours, days, weeks, months and sometimes even years with them, constantly perfecting them and their stories. Through these characters, the writer not only explores their lives but their own life if they were the character - all inside their own head. It is a vicarious way to live out a different reality, which can be exciting and liberating.

We have been told many times that keeping a diary or journal can help us process feelings or situations. Writers take this idea one step further by allowing their characters to do the elbow work for them. If you cannot understand or surrender to a situation you find yourself in in real life, such as illness or heartache, it can be vastly therapeutic to allow your character to find ways to deal with the problem on your behalf. Turn your character into a sci-fi knight to slay your disease! Allow your character to be a tough-talking, independent woman who rejects the man instead of getting her heart smashed into pieces! Perhaps, if you feel you cannot do or say something in your real life, you can take your frustrations or solutions out on the computer screen, changing reality somewhat. The power that comes with the imagination! Allowing ourselves to live different lives on the page can transform our reality, helping us come to terms with our dilemmas, and offer the world an incredible story that will hopefully inspire readers who can relate to it. As the brilliant writer Virginia Woolf expressed: ‘Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind is written large in his works.’

The reason I say one cannot, and should not, control the writer’s mind is that, as brilliant writer Oscar Wilde once said, ‘Art is the most intense form of individualism that the world knows.’ Every writer starts with a perspective, thought or idea that no one else would fully perceive. This is what makes every writer so unique, like a snowflake or fingerprint. Maintaining this state of being instead of feeling afraid of it is crucial to the writer excelling in his or her craft. However, the writer’s mind is at work long before any contact with the pen and paper occurs. It is as though characters are marinating in our subconscious before we meet them. They appear to us as though they are answering our private call in the small hours of the morning, and maybe they have been waiting for the right time to enter our lives. The most amazing part about characters is that they are really just ourselves answering our own calls.

“Meeting your story’s character is like meeting a part of yourself”

Meeting your story’s character is like meeting a part of yourself. Even if your character is very different when compared to you, they are a part of you. You created them, even if you didn’t realize you were doing this until they stormed in unannounced. Before pushing them out so you can get back to bed, ask them why they are there and who knows? It might just be the start of a wonderful story.

Is the writer crazy? Absolutely not. On this earth, we are all walking stories, made up of different ideas, contradictions, and sometimes feeling like different people. We change, sometimes from one minute to the other. All we are doing as writers is allowing ourselves to live out all those fancies and ideas in another realm. The beauty is when this reaches full circle: when a reader grasps onto the character and feels that they are mirrored in them, that they can survive another day or the character’s words echo the machinations of their own soul. That is when the writer’s so-called folly becomes beautiful fiction, the caterpillar of self-doubt transformed into the hopeful butterfly with wings constructed out of the most powerful material that exists on earth: words.

Giulia Simolo's book, Eat Your Heart Out, can be found on Amazon.

Some of us have many narratives all going on at the same time. What's your experience of this? Please share your thoughts in the comments below - and this post with your friends!

Danielle Kelly why I write post graphic

Why I Write | Being a Writer

Why do you write? In today's guest post, Danielle Kelly answers this perennial question, partly in the way we would all do so - we have to.

Want to know why I write? Read to the end for the answer!
[sendtokindle]

Why I write

by Danielle Kelly

Danielle Kelly why I write post graphicIn essence, I write because I can’t not write. I was that quintessential nerdy loner kid as long back as I can remember, always reading. I had absolutely no problem with my preferences, and there were plenty of other weird kids in the library with me. The reading to writing path happened to me the same as all the other kids who sucked at organized sports. The choice was attempting to catch a ball, or sit and read, and to me that was insanely easy. To give you an idea of my early devotion to reading, I have always read Crime and Punishment every time I am sick. No illness can take priority when I am trying to remember all those crazy Russian names.

“if it isn’t terrifying you to write something it isn’t worth reading”

As we got older, the world widened for most of my book reading friends. They chose other pursuits, but I stuck with my books. I tried many other things in my day, but I always came back to writing. I write because I have things that I want to say to people, or situations I need to work out, but I don’t want to hurt others’ feelings. I write because I hurt and feel and cry, and writing is the only way I know to make it feel better. I read a quote, and if anyone remembers who said it let me know, but they said if it isn’t terrifying you to write something it isn’t worth reading.

I read things that make me see the world differently, like Chuck Palahniuk and Matt Ruff. The first time I read Sewer, Gas, and Electric I was beyond furious. Partly because it was brilliant, and the epitome of the story I have always wanted to write. At the same time, I was terrified I might not ever get there. My favorite is getting a new edition of The Paris Review, because their interviews either redeem my faith in the literary world, or spitting mad.

“It is totally okay to be way too excited over homonyms”

I write because in doing so it is okay that I really care about the words I use. I care that although two words may be synonyms their meanings can be technically different, and I want to use the right one. It is totally okay to be way too excited over homonyms. I was going to be a grammar drill sergeant anyway, and when I write that is just fine.

When I read I see the bones that make up the story and if I really like it I want to mimic it in some way, feel what it is like to write. I read Fahrenheit 451 and think of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. Then that makes me think of Brave New World, because I read those two simultaneously once and it became a whole new experience. Ray Bradbury’s Zen and the Art of Writing took me a year because I would read a page, and then spend the next week thinking about the implications.

I write because I have things I need to say even if I know no one will read it. I write because there is nothing better in this world than someone reading it. Without my writing I wouldn’t know how to navigate a world completely out of my control. As I am writing, the characters control the flow, but I am a happy and welcome participant. It always stunned me when my characters make choices completely unlike me. It took me so long to get past forcing my characters into a sensible existence, which I can tell you from experience is a boring read.

“I am a conduit for a story just dying to be told”

In my nonfiction I try my best to literally give a voice to those who feel they don’t have one. Whether real or imagined I am a conduit for a story just dying to be told. I have answered this question in a very personal way, and I don’t intend for it to be taken as my belief of requirements. Instead I hope that you enjoyed my story, and maybe even see something in common. Something that resonates, or makes you so angry you have to tell the world just how wrong it is. Either way, I hope it helps you write, or makes how you feel seem right.

A most heartfelt piece from Danielle - thank you so much for sharing it!

Why I write? My hero, Mrs Takata, taught with stories from her life. I make up stories for similar reasons.

Please share your own writing story in the comments below - and share with your friends, using the handy buttons!