As a newbie author, I love to squirrel away titbits of information about the writing and publishing process that I find on social network sites and blogs. I’d like to share some of those gems with you. So I’m launching a monthly blog post, called My Pick of the Month.
I hope you find the info below, helpful, informative, or even amusing.
So here we go.....
via Shelly Stinchcomb Tegen on The Writers’ Network on LinkedIn.
She believes that one of the most overused of the unnecessary words is "that".
Shelly states: "A good rule of thumb is, if you can read a sentence without ‘that’ in it and it makes sense and conveys what you want, leave it out. Before you go saying, "Oh but Shelly, it makes this particular sentence so much better", let me say every rule has exceptions. Use your good judgment on when to break the rule."
This is Shelly’s example of an unnecessary use of "that":
He knew that a swing band was performing at the reception.
She suggests this is a good use of "that":
He was thankful his boss called him that night to warn him of the upcoming layoffs.
Another author mentioned an overuse of the word "though". He didn’t realise he used it so much until a reader pointed it out.
Author Philip Catskill suggests using a word frequency counter (never knew there was such a thing – but why wouldn’t there be, there’s everything else) such as:
It’s free and according to Philip, you can paste the whole of your book.
"I copy the results into a spreadsheet and boy, you learn a lot about your writing style!" he said. "Have to warn you - it can frighten you!"
Let me know if it works for you.
ANYONE FOR GOLF
I’m a keen golfer. One of my fellow golfers often tells people that I never achieved my potential because I don’t focus. She’s right, I lose interest if I’m playing badly, and play worse, frittering away shots by looking at the scenery or weaving stories in my head.
To play good golf you need to focus and concentrate. Writing is much the same. You need to dedicate time for your writing and use it productively by concentrating on that task.
So it was interesting to come across author Loree Lough’s interview on Jason Bourne’s Author’s Roundtable where she compares writing to golf:
This is what Loree says: "I often compare writing to golf. Now, before I continue, I must confess: My golf score would be fantastic…if I was bowling! Despite my obvious lack of talent on the green, the analogy makes sense. At least to me.
"Everything about golf, from choosing the right club to how you grip it, your stance and approach…it all requires complete concentration. Focus. Determination. During those moments leading up to impact, if you allow yourself to think about where your new puppy is leaving little surprises or your Visa statement, the ball isn’t going to land where you want it to.
"Writing is like that. To do it well, to do it "write," you have to concentrate and focus on the story, on the characters. So, while you’re at work, you don’t have to worry about the puppy mess or where you’ll find the money to pay Visa. And here’s the kicker: While they’re reading your story, neither do your readers!"
Well said Loree.
If you want to read the rest of Loree’s interview, here’s the link:
And if you want to read my interview in the Round Table hot seat (discussing reviews, inspiration & whether writing is therapeutic) here’s the link:
SOCIAL MEDIA TIPS
I came across this: Three quick tips and tools using social media to sell your book.
I’m not using any of these three but I’d like to share them in case they help anyone reading this blog. I don’t know how writers have the time to use so many sites – and write – and have a personal/family life. If you do have the time, tell me your secret. And I’d be interested to know if any of these sites work for you. Keep me posted.
On the subject of selling your books. Someone on LinkedIn posted this:
"I have 500 facebook friends, but I only sold 50 books, and most of the books I sold weren't to those friends. The friends and family that bought it, haven't read it. Did they hate the cover? The first page? Me? Can anyone relate to this and tell about it?"
This was my reply: "I completely identify with this. I published my first novel last year. I have one brother. I gave him a copy months ago and he hasn't read it. I know we all have busy lives. But, hey, I take the time to involve myself in his affairs. It's a children's book (24,500 words long). An adult can read it in just over two hours. He likes to read in the bath. So he would come out like a prune - so what, I am his only sibling, fulfilling her childhood dream of becoming an author. I also gave it to my "best" friend. She says she's read it, but I am doubtful. I now plan to put her on the spot by asking her what her favourite scene and character is. And I won't take "all of it" for an answer. As an author, if we can't get our friends and family to read the work we have poured our love, sweat and tears into, just think how hard it is to sell it to complete strangers."
What's your experience?
ARE YOU REACHING YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE?
I’ve had some great reviews but I'm not sure if I'm reaching my target audience.
If you are wondering the same, perhaps this article - via Build Book Buzz - will help:
Or this article by Jan Bear on Build Book Buzz:
and this (courtesy of Gary Korisko on WritetoDone.com)
My debut novel ANTics is based on a dream. I woke up one morning with the idea in my head and started writing – without a thought about my target audience. It’s a children’s story about bugs, so chances were girls wouldn’t like it. But I’ve had some great reviews from girl readers. You can check out my blog about the subject of gender reading choices on Goodreads:
WHAT'S WORKING ON AMAZON IN 2013?
I came across this from author Lindsay Buroker:
Lindsay looks at the changes that have been made on Amazon and gives an insight into what’s working and what’s not for authors promoting their work.
This month, I discovered another free tool to get the word out there about my work and myself:
Here’s what I say:
Hi, I live in the North East of England, where I'm fulfilling my childhood dream of becoming an author. So far, I have penned two children's novels, for ages 7+. One about bugs. Urghhhh! I know. But ANTics was inspired by a dream and my cheeky characters are very cute. The other novel is called WOOF. No marks for guessing that it's about a dog. But no ordinary dog. Rufus has a red nose (no relation to Rudolf) and a flair for the unusual.
Check it out and you could create your own about.me page.
A TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE
This month, on Twitter, I e-met writer, teacher and lover of ancient history Luciana Cavallaro @ClucianaLuciana The name Luciana brought memories flooding back of the stories I used to spin in my head as a youngster, while smashing a tennis ball against the brick end of a block of garages, right next door to my home.
Flame-haired Luciana was a character in a series of stories my imagination created. She was the exotic one of four girls, who became best friends in an English boarding school. (I can still picture two of the other three but the fourth escapes me now. Must rack my brains).
Growing up on Tyneside, there weren’t many Luciana’s in my street or school. None in fact. I would definitely remember. Someone shouting, "Luciana, come and get your tea" would have stood out. There were plenty of Linda’s, Mary’s, Margaret’s and Susan’s. I was introduced to the name by Bond, James Bond. Italian actress, Luciana Paluzzi played a baddie in the 4th and my favourite 007 movie, Thunderball and I thought she was FABulous.
As I perfected my tennis shots, I created stories around my fab four – even made clothes for them. Imagine that, when I can’t sew for toffee. How wonderful a gift imagination is for a shy child.
DO SOMETHING ABOUT BULLYING
I stumbled across this very thought-provoking blog by author/poet Janna Vought. Read it and if you were never bullied as a youngster (like myself) thank your lucky stars.
A writer friend and former teacher, Mark Newhouse, has created a handbook all about bullying. Mark was bullied as a child and now works very hard to help stop it. His handbook is FREE to download. It’s packed with useful information, facts and creative ideas.
For a copy, visit http://bullystoppersclub.com
HOW MANY SPACES SHOULD YOU PUT AFTER A PERIOD?
This, I have to admit, is something that had previously passed me by. But, apparently, it is something that arouses passion among writers and designers.
Is double spacing a remnant of typewriter days and is single spacing now the norm?
Check this article out:
I saw this sentence in a children’s book and it peeked my interest:
"What have we here?!"
I thought it was a typo and asked my Twitter friends if they’d come across it before.
Some like myself, didn’t like it and thought it was wrong. Others had used it in emails and in their writing.
Someone even knew its name. An Interrobang.
Sounds like a Weapon of Mass Destruction. But it’s not – it is a bonafide piece of punctuation.
Devised by an American ad exec, it can be used the other way around i.e. !?
It asks a question in an excited manner or expresses excitement or disbelief in the form of a question.
The name is inspired by the word interrogatio, which is Latin for a rhetorical question.
Hey! The cool things you learn.
More on interrobangs at:
That’s all for this month. I’ll be keeping an eye out for interesting info in April. And you never know - you might provide it.
Thanks for reading and don't forget to keep reaching for the stars.