As a thriller writer, I get to make up stories and create characters. I tend to put those characters in terrible situations and give them seemingly impossible mysteries to solve, but it’s all in the name of entertaining people.
Much of this happens in my head. Then I sit down to write the first draft.
And, for me, that tends to be the laborious part of writing a novel. I power through it, writing words, sentences, and paragraphs that I know will be deleted later. Writer Rick hates that.
But Editor Rick loves it. Read More
While emotional release and creative expression are the reasons why I write, I have spent almost two decades seeking validation for my writing through the act of publishing.
Unfortunately (and despite all my knowledge about good mental health) my personal Hell with seeking validation through publication can be summed up in this terrible (anti) mantra that used to constantly float through my mind: If I write something and no one reads it, did I really write it at all? Read More
Using social media to get our writing out into the world can be an amazing opportunity. It helps market our works and hopefully, gain a following that will continue to benefit from our writing.
But it can also be a curse. Because of so many social media platforms, most writers languish in obscurity and end up spending more time marketing their writing than just…writing.
Therefore, I’ve constructed this guide to help authors understand the erratic world of social media for writers and authors. I’ll show some of the better social media platforms for writers, how to best approach them, and which writers are doing it right –so you can see what it looks like when done to a level that will bring real success. Read More
As authors, we’ve all felt it. The awful self-doubt that creeps up and consumes us, threatening to squash both our creativity and our inspiration; two essential requirements of being a modern-day writer.
Without creativity, there is no story, and without a story … well, you know what that means.
When our inspiration suffers, it’s hard to keep moving forward. Giving up seems much easier, and yes, much safer than continuing to put your heart and soul on the chopping block. Read More
by Anne Leigh Parrish
We’ve all heard it said that readers have increasingly short attention spans. Spending time with a print medium isn’t as engaging as watching things move or interacting with content on a screen. Does this mean that we should write stories that can be eaten up in one sitting, or novels with chapters that are short, punchy, to the point, and don’t wander too much? Read More
By A.J. McCarthy
I attended my first writer’s conference recently, and I came home with one big regret. Why didn’t I do this sooner?
It wasn’t my intention to attend, having used up my travel budget to go to two book festivals in California in April, but an extraordinary event prompted an extraordinary trip.
I regularly enter writing contests, and sometime last spring, I came across the Killer Nashville Claymore Award competition for an unpublished manuscript. I dusted off an old one and submitted it, never imagining anything would come of it but, what the heck, I’m allowed to be optimistic. Read More
by Joseph Lewis
This is a departure from my normal fare, but I hope you enjoy it nonetheless . . .
I have been asked over and over where my ideas come from. I only wish I had a nickel each time the question was asked. In answer, I have to say I subscribe to what Stephen King said.
He wrote: “I get my ideas from everywhere. But what all of my ideas boil down to is seeing maybe one thing, but in a lot of cases it's seeing two things and having them come together in some new and interesting way, and then adding the question 'What if?' 'What if' is always the key question.” Read More
“…then sit very still and ask yourself, as a reader, what piece of writing in all the world you would most want to read if you had your heart’s choice. The next step is terrible, but so simple I can hardly believe it as I write it. You just sit down shamelessly and write the thing yourself.” -JD Salinger, “Seymour – An Introduction”
You would likely be amazed at the most common course of conversation I have with new students.
“Kathie, how do I break into publishing? How do I get my short story into a magazine? How do I get my novel with a traditional publisher?” New Student says. Read More
Reviews. Who among us couldn’t use more? As the lifeblood of indie authors, they encourage readers to take a chance on our books, increase our exposure on Amazon, and get us that much closer to a coveted BookBub promotion. A good review can make your day and validate all those months (or years) of hard work. But what can you do to get them?
When my first book, Sarah, was published in December 2016, I went the NetGalley route. I’d been reviewing books from NetGalley on my blog since 2013, and knew Sarah would be made available to loads of readers and reviewers. And it worked. Sarah received sixty reviews just from NetGalley. Most of them were positive, and I was ecstatic! A few negative reviews were included, but that’s to be expected. You can’t please everyone, and it’s more realistic to have both positive and negative reviews for your book. If a reader visits your Amazon page and is met with a sea of glowing 5-star reviews, they may assume all are courtesy of your friends and family members. In addition to the reviews, I was thrilled to be accepted for a BookBub promotion about a month after my release. Read More
What is a Beta Reader?
Through some phenomenal stroke of luck and maybe a healthy dose of Karma, my wife and I have managed to create three published books over the past four years. In all cases, these were, for us septuagenarians, major undertakings requiring the investment of huge sums of time, energy, money, emotion and sweat. We agonized over sentences, argued over the elements of plot, struggled with verb forms, squeezed out dialogue and tortured ourselves through the development of our characters. But one of the most difficult tasks was finding honest, subjective feedback of our drafts from our Beta Readers —avid readers who, when asked, cheerfully volunteered to comment on our manuscripts. Read More
I began writing my first crime thriller, Things Left Behind, in 2011. Being new to writing what did I do? I bought a lot of How to books at the local bookstore. These provided a wealth of information. The problem with taking this as my only course of study is the lack of growth. I’m not saying don’t buy books to help you become a better writer, but I’d advise against making them your only source.
So many authors fail to get their work critiqued by other writers. We see our manuscripts as works of art, when in fact, the writing could be better. It’s difficult to gauge your own writing because we don’t see our mistakes. We’re blind to them.
The Panhandle Writers Group (PWG) started in 2003 in Pace, Florida. They meet every week. I joined in 2011 and I’m still a member. Read More
When I started preparing marketing materials in anticipation of my second novel’s release, I relied heavily on what worked the first time around. Having two novels under my belt may not seem like much experience, but it has helped me figure out what marketing materials work for me and what don’t.
1. Find a printer that fits your needs and abilities. I started looking at the many online printers, and the array seemed daunting. Early on, I received a recommendation for Vistaprint, but I wanted to explore my options. In doing so, I came across UPrinting. They had good reviews and made a list of best online printers. Read More