Great Stuff on the Writers’ Blogs, August 15, 2012

Too bad today’s not Tuesday. Why? Because if it was I could have called today’s post How-to Tuesday, or even better, How-Tue Tuesday. How-to Wednesday just doesn’t have the same ring. But since I’m stuck with that lemon, it’s time to make lemonade. We’ve got how-to’s on craft, marketing, social media, and self-publishing, plus one non-how-to on the Author’s Guild. Lot’s to cover, so let’s get right to it.

Let’s start with craft:

  • Joanne Brothwell (@JoanneBrothwell) lists the 7 Things [She’s] Learned So Far on The Guide to Literary Agents blog. Nothing really new here for experienced writers but a terrific summary for new writers, like many members of my own writers’ group.
  • In a similar vein, Mary Jaksch (@Mary_Jaksch), chief editor of Write to Done, offers 7 Instant Fixes for better writing. Much like Joanne’s post, these fixes are post-first-draft techniques and are especially good for new writers, but hers are more specific and focused than Joanne’s.
  • Finally for this section, Kim Weiland (@KMWeiland) asks, Can You Define Your Character in One Word? Of course, she acknowledges, doing so leaves out so much of a character’s personality, but like a log-line does for a story, it gets to the core of that character. Challenging! Can you do it?

OK, on to marketing, promotion, and social media.

  • Jane Friedman (@JaneFriedman) offers a set of very practical tips to Build a Better Author Bio on Twitter. You’ve only got 160 characters plus room for a photo, your name, your Twitter handle, and ONE link. Using that limited space well is not just a real-world exercise in tight writing, it’s a matter of focusing on achieving your purpose: effectively communication who you are as a writer.
  • Rachelle Gardner (@RachelleGardner) stretches beyond Twitter to provide 8 Tips for Promoting Your Book Online. Some of her suggestions are outside my personal comfort zone, but that’s just me. I’m sure she’d say, “pick the ones that work for you and ignore the rest.”
  • Dealing with how to get outside your comfort zone, if that’s necessary, is also the theme behind Gabriela Pereira’s (@DIYMFA) Networking for Authors: 5 Survival Tips on DIY MFA. This time, though, the topic is doing that networking in person rather than from the comfort of your own keyboard. These tips range from business card etiquette to having a wing-man along at writers’ conferences.
  • Abhishek Raj’s (@buddinggeek) post on @ProBlogger, Protect Your Content from Being Copied in 3 Steps really jumped out at me. I’ve wondered for a long time if there was a way to keep someone from simply copying blog or web site text straight off the screen. It turns out there is and the author provides links to the JavaScript code for Blogger and the plugin for WordPress. He also describes how to watermark images and manage RSS feeds. If all that sounds like gobbledegook, well, if you’re a blogger or have a web site, it’s time to learn the language. I’ve flagged this post as a “favorite.”

Next up is a how-to, or how-not-to, regarding self-publishing.

  • Joel Friedlander (@JFbookman) was a judge recently for the Bay Area Independent Book Publishers Book Awards competition. In Why Self-Published Books Look Self-Published, he describes the kinds of mistakes self-published authors make too often that leave their work looking amateurish (beyond poor writing).

And last of all, the one non-how-to piece:

  • Nathan Bransford (@NathanBransford) continues a conversation that’s been bubbling for a while in some corners (e.g. some of Joe Konrath’s and David Gaughran’s posts) when he asks, Does The Authors Guild Serve the Interest of Writers? It’s a provocative question, but one that’s been coming up more frequently given the AG’s position on the Justice Department’s suit against the Big 6 publishers. Nathan’s post is more measured and less emotional that those you might come across elsewhere.


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