Great Stuff on the Writers’ Blogs, August 3, 2012

Some funny stuff and some serious stuff today. Let’s get the serious stuff out of the way first, shall we? (Kinda like that “eat your peas and you’ll get dessert” thing.)

  • The most serious piece is also something of good news: Victoria Strauss (@victoriastrauss) writes on Writer Beware that Literary Agent Scams [are] Still Around, But On the Wane. Independent publishing is the major reason for this, with fewer opportunities for sleazy agents or pseudo-agents to sucker naive new authors. But there are still scams out there.
  • A couple pieces come via Nathan Bransford’s (@NathanBransford) blog:
    • Michael Shatzkin (@MikeShatzkin) writes on The Shatzkin Files that Just because the author does a lot of marketing doesn’t mean the publisher can’t help. His argument is that social media advertising/tweeting/whatever-ing by the author is NOT going to be enough to get substantial sales, so it’s still in the publisher’s interest to do some marketing work, too. Now, whether publishers are listening…that’s another story.
    • But, along that same vein, the Ted Weinstein Literary Management (@twliterary) is offering a FREE “buy this book” widget for installation on an author’s web site or blog. NOTE: you will need to know how to insert HTML and JavaScript code into the source code for the page you want the widget to appear on. The code for the widget is already written, although you’ll have to provide some technical details, like your Amazon “affiliate ID.” With the widget installed, site visitors will have one place from which they can order the author’s books, rather than having to run through multiple links.
  • Still on the topic of marketing, Jordyn Redwood (@JordynRedwood) continues her series on Marketing Your Debut Novel on WordServe Water Cooler with a post on Guest Blogging and Guest Hosting. Jordyn discusses why she asked certain writers to guest post on her blog and why she sought out the blogs she did to guest post on. She also kindly provides links to the previous three articles.
  • One last serious piece: Gabriela Pereira (@DIYMFA) brings the next-to-last series in her lessons learned at ThrillerFest. This one is: Writing Techniques and Devices Should Serve the Story. Seems obvious, but it’s easy to fall into the trap of being too clever or too technique-y and put things into a story that don’t make it stronger, and in fact pop the reader out of what John Gardner calls “the narrative dream.” This can even include humor, properly done, to offset or relieve pathos…
  • …which is my transition to today’s funny pieces. First up is Kathryn Lilley’s (@kathrynelilley) hilarious but oh-so-true piece on The Kill Zone, Words We Love Way Too Much. If you’ve been writing for any length of time, you’ll be nodding your head in been-there-done-that agreement.
  • And finally is Colson Whitehead’s (@colsonwhitehead) New York Times Sunday Book Review article, How to Write, in which he lists his 11 (very tongue-in-cheek) rules for writing. This piece also comes via Nathan Bransford, and like Nathan, my favorite is #8. What is it? I’m sorry, it’s a secret I can’t reveal here. You’ll have to go read the article to find out. 😉
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