Great Stuff on the Writers’ Blogs, June 24, 2012

Just a few things for you today.

  • Let’s start with some classically wry Harvey Stanbrough (@hstanbrough)–“classically,” that is, if you know Harvey; if not, let me introduce you to wry–in his Size Really Doesn’t Matter. Let’s be clear, here: he’s referring to the lengths of synopses and the works they summarize, not…well, never mind. (What were you thinking, anyway?)
  • Next, we’ll shift from length of work to the length of time it takes to produce said work. Kim Weiland (@KMWeiland) asks Are You Writing Your Novel Too Fast? on WORDplay. This, as it happens, is something I’m going to be talking about when I critique one of my writers’ group member’s work later this week. (DS: this is a heads-up for you.) Kim’s right on target when she reminds us that high speed does not equate to high quality.
  • And finally, Joel Friedlander (@jfbookman) provides his own list of good reads from the blogosphere in his Self-Publishing: Carnival of the Indies Issue #21, which isn’t all about indie-/self-publishing. Just as one example, he links to three separate articles on mistakes writers make, but there are also articles on marketing, book design, and more. Good bet you’ll find something of interest there.

‘Til next time…


Great Stuff on the Writers’ Blogs, June 23, 2012

Feeling a little Clint Eastwood-ish this morning. Not Harry Callahan-ish, but man-with-no-name-ish, as in The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. Not good/bad/ugly about me, personally, you understand but about what’s out there on the blogosphere today. Let’s start with the good:

  • Two very helpful posts for anyone who uses WordPress as their software backbone for their blog (from, not .com):
  • And now the bad, as in bad (poor, excessive, hyped, cliched) use of language. Porter Anderson (@Porter_Anderson) waxes lengthy on Writer Unboxed about ‘Social’: Over the Top language on Twitter, Facebook, etc. The. Best. Ever. (Not!) 🙂 (His assessment, not mine about his.)
  • And the really ugly: Victoria Strauss (@VictoriaStrauss) warns about yet More Money-Wasting “Opportunities” for Writers on Writer Beware (R) Blogs! It’s depressing how many companies there are out there whose business model is simply preying on the gullible, the greedy, and the desperate-for-success.

That’s all for today. Have a great, fab, best-ever 🙂 weekend.


Great Stuff on the Writers’ Blogs, June 22, 2012

Happy Friday, everyone, and thanks to all of you who are tweeting, retweeting, Facebooking, or otherwise sharing this Great Stuff with others. That, too, is Great Stuff.

And there’s lots of Great Stuff out there today. To wit:

  • Gabriela Pereira (@DIYMFA) ponders, in a guest post on Adventures in YA & Children’s Publishing, whether To MFA or Not To MFA. It’s a good question and one which her post and my comment both demonstrate that it’s not an easy one to answer.
  • Sharon A Lavy (@SharonALavy) asks on WordServe Water Cooler Does Reading Fiction Affect Your Brain? In the past the answer has tended to be couched in religious (it’s sinful, unless you’re reading what we approve of), social (it’s corrupting, unless you’re reading what we approve of), or political (it’s evil, unless you’re reading what we approve of) terms. Sharon’s piece, fortunately, is none of that. Instead, she reports on studies that show how our brains react–physically–to what we read. But I’ll bet you won’t be surprised by that at all.
  • Two more entries today in the self-/indie- versus traditional-publishing “discussion” actually have some convergence while still taking somewhat divergent paths. Both John Gilstrap (@JohnGilstrap) and Harvey Stanbrough (@hstanbrough) agree that writers shouldn’t avoid the self-/indie-publishing route. Beyond that, though,
    • Harvey argues in On Self-Imposed Limits that a writer’s “unreadiness” to self-publish is needlessly self-limiting and denies the author the opportunity for those higher-percentage royalties that self-pub venues offer.
    • John, on the other hand, argues in My Unsettling View on Self-Publishing on The Kill Zone that there are so many dangers and half-truths floating around out there about self-pubbing that far too many writers are deluded into going that route when they’re not skilled enough, not business-savvy enough, or too focused on the wrong things (e.g. money), and as a result (a) get burned, (b) produce something that (to be kind) shouldn’t have seen e-print.
    • James Scott Bell (@jamesscottbell) chimes in in a comment to Gilstrap’s piece to warn about the excessive emotions on both sides of this argument and to agree that there are both dangers and opportunities.
    • FWIW, my own view hews most closely to JSB’s. For my own WIP, I plan to seek traditional publishing, with e-pubbing as part of the package. If that doesn’t work, I know I’ve got the e-pub option, which is Great Stuff.
  • Let’s move to happier but related material, like making good use of social media.
    • Douglas Lim (@duggiel) offers practical ways to Set Up Social Media to Give You Great Post Ideas on @ProBlogger. Sure, that looks like it’s focused on blogging, but with just a little turn, Lim’s ideas can be helpful for both publicizing your own work and generating ideas for more work (as if you really need the help, huh?).
    • Meanwhile, over at The Book Designer, Joel Friedlander (@jfbookman) provides Keyword Basics, tools which can help not only increase blog traffic but also, again, generate ideas.
  • And if discussions of self-publishing and social media aren’t proof enough that times are changing, today there were two announcements of changes on the blogosphere. In the same post discussed above, John Gilstrap announced he’s about to leave The Kill Zone (one more post to go), and Jane Friedman (@JaneFriedman) announced on Writer Unboxed, I Have No More Advice Left to Give. Whatever their reasons for moving on (Jane’s are new-job related, John’s haven’t been announced), I wish them the best. They’ll be missed.

Have a great weekend!

Great Stuff on the Writers’ Blogs, June 21, 2012

It’s Thursday, so that must mean there’s really useful stuff out on the blogosphere today…doesn’t it? YES!

  • Let’s start with a case of synchronicity and look at two blogs that both address where to publish e-books. While there’s a fair amount of overlap between them, there are also differences, so it’s worth your time to read through both (and bookmark/favorite-ize them [is that a word?]).
  • Janice Hardy (@Janice_Hardy) “takes over” The Bookshelf Muse to write about narrative prose that accidentally consists of lists, and what you can do to spot and fix that when it happens. This is a topic I haven’t seen covered before.
  • And finally, 17 year old (yes, really) Anthony Wijaya (@AnthonyNotStark) offers his Top 5 Google Chrome Extensions for Bloggers on @ProBlogger. (In case you’re wondering, they’re SEO for Chrome, Evernote Web Clipper, Google Dictionary, Ruul screen ruler, and G.lux.) I’m writing this post using Chrome, so this caught my eye. But I also use Mozilla Firefox, so I wonder if these “top 5” have counterparts over there. Have to go look. Does anyone out there know?

Happy Thursday, everyone.

Great Stuff on the Writers’ Blogs, June 20, 2012

We’ll start with a warning that came in late yesterday.

  • Victoria Strauss (@victoriastrauss) reports on Writer Beware (R) Blogs that Author Solutions Introduces BookStub. The “loyalty card-size” BookStubs seem like a clever idea but what Author Solutions is charging is crazy-high–$1,199 for starters. No, that’s not 11 dollars and 99 cents. Yikes.
  • On a much brighter note, Kevin Kelly (@kevin2kelly) describes on The Technium how he’s using “crowd-funding” through Kickstarter ( for User Pre-Funding of a project he’s working on. This isn’t for everyone but it is interesting.
  • Urban fantasy writer Suzanne Johnson (@Suzanne_Johnson) continues the Guide to Literary Agents blog series 7 Things I’ve Learned So Far by listing her 7 things, including, to my surprise, “Expect pushback from other authors, especially online,” referring not to negative reviews (which she addresses, too) but to the traditional vs. indie publishing kerfuffle.
  • Harvey Stanbrough (@hstanbrough) and Kim Weiland (@KMWeiland) both address clarity in writing:

That’s all for now.

Great Stuff on the Writers’ Blogs, June 19, 2012

“All things e(lectronic)” seems to be the theme of the day. Let’s start with e-books:

  • We’ll start with Kathleen Pickering’s (@KatPickering) announcement on The Kill Zone, MOVE OVER HARDCOVERS: E-Books Just Outsold You. A word of caution–even “audited” sales numbers aren’t necessarily accurate, but Piks’ point is clear: e-books are becoming more and more of a reality and a force in publishing. You can run from them, but you can’t hide–and why would you want to, anyway?
  • Melissa K. Norris (@MelissaKNorris) offers step-by-step instructions on How to Create a Free E-Book for Your Website on WordServe Water Cooler. Why do this in the first place? Melissa’s reasons include thanking your readers for visiting and to give (literally) them a sample of your work, with the hope/intention that they’ll like it enough to buy more.
  • Over the weekend I mentioned Yuvi Zalkow’s (@yuvizalkow) video on writing tools. That prompted Gwen Hernandez (@Gwen_Hernandez), author of Scrivener for Dummies, to offer More Things to Love About Scrivener on Writer Unboxed. Now, I haven’t “drunk the Kool-Aid” on Scrivener (at least, not yet), and I do worry a bit about it becoming over-hyped or overly complex (even more than it already is), but at the same time, it IS a cool tool and Gwen’s piece offers some tips I wasn’t aware of.
  • Getting out of e-books but staying in the e-world, Rachelle Gardner (@RachelleGardner) asks Should Unpublished Novelists Be Platform-Building? Not surprisingly, the answer is “yes, but secondarily to learning the craft of writing.” Seems like common sense, doesn’t it, but as they say, “common sense ain’t so common!”
  • And finally, stepping out of the e-world, Robert Bruce (@robertbruce76) provides a short list of What Classic Novels Were Almost Called on 101 Books, plus a link to more names we’re glad didn’t get used. Trimalchio in West Egg anyone?

Have you come across something great, good, or just cool today? Share it with us in the Comments below.


Great Stuff on the Writers’ Blogs, June 18, 2012

It’s Monday, so let’s get the work week off to a good, or even great, start with…

  • Now let’s race ahead to that point where you’re ready–or think you are–to have your critique group take a look at your work. But maybe your group isn’t all that helpful. Or maybe there are some ego issues. Jan O’Hara (@jan_ohara) offers CORBS: 5 Little Letters That Can Keep the Drama on the Page and Out of Your Critique Group on Writer Unboxed. Not only is this great stuff all by itself, but it also lets me get in a plug for my Critique Technique series right here on this very blog (and which I’m behind on–sorry!–next post coming soon, I promise) because it fits perfectly with the S of CORBS: “specific.” Jan also offers six resources for finding online critique groups. And don’t forget your local library, community college, or university as potential places to find in-person groups.
  • And for one more step along the writing journey, we travel via Robert Lee Brewer’s (@robertleebrewer) My Name Is Not Bob blog to Chuck Wendig’s (@ChuckWendig) terribleminds blog and his Ode To The Editor, in which he waxes creative about what editors do for–not to, for–writers and even offers writers and editors a chance to list good ones they (the writers) have worked with or shamelessly plug their own services, to which I’ll add the Editorial Freelancers Association.

There. That’s an excellent set of Monday starters. Want to add something great? Or even good? That’s what the comments section below is for.