Great Stuff on the Writers’ Blogs, October 23 and 24, 2012

Business Tuesday continues into Business Wednesday with a lot of business-related posts today. But first, a couple on

CRAFT

You’ve probably heard about “morning pages” and we’ve ALL heard that the #1 rule of writing is “butt in the seat.” So how do you make that happen? Barbara O’Neal (@barbaraoneal) suggests a technique she calls The 20 Minute Win on Writer Unboxed. It’s really simple: she makes setting aside 20 minutes to write an early-in-the-day priority, then sets a timer, and writes about just about anything. How hard is that? Not so hard so long as you do that first thing.

So you’re in your 20 minute win window, and you’re writing that big conflict scene between the protagonist and antagonist. Whose POV should the scene be in? KM Weiland’s (@KMWeiland) post title on WORDplay should be a hint: When Not to Use Your Antagonist’s POV. Without giving too much away, here’s a clue: who should the reader care about most in that scene?

And now we can turn our attention to

BUSINESS

specifically marketing, to start with. Yes, marketing is about product, but it’s also and very importantly about the people who will buy the product (or not) and how you develop the ideas on how to do the marketing.

So, we’ll start with Joel Friedlander’s (@jfbookman) guide on The Book Designer: Authors, Gather Your Tribe on Twitter. I admit I’m still in the early stages of figuring this Twitter thing out, so Joel’s 8 tips are pretty much gold to me. Some I’m happy to say I’m using already, but others…? Got some work to do. If you’re like me, this one’s a keeper.

Gathering the tribe can help you with the next step, courtesy Rachelle Gardner (@RachelleGardner), which is building a marketing team. While her How to Create Your Own Marketing Team focuses more on Google+ due to its video-conferencing feature, these 12 steps might do for your marketing what your (useful) critique group is doing for your writing. The theme underlying this post is: this is a business, so treat it like one.

All right: the tribe is built, the marketing team created and working, and there’s even a book to sell online. Blitz time! Jan Dunlap offers her TIP (Timing, Images, Preparation) technique in How to Stage an Online Blitz on WordServe Water Cooler. Timing involves time of day as well as time of year; images need to be relevant and frequently refreshed; preparation—well, you want this to be successful, don’t you? Check out the details by clicking on the link.

One more post before we leave the self-publishing world. This one comes from Mark Coker (@markcoker), the founder of Smashwords, the ebook distributor. “Amazon Is Playing Indie Authors Like Pawns” he writes on selfpublishingadvice.org (via Dean Wesley Smith’s blog). This isn’t an anti-Amazon rant, however (Coker knows and says he likes Amazon executives), but more of a plea for Amazon to get rid of the exclusivity demand in its KDP Select program and a warning for Kindle-published authors to avoid the program because of it. Hmm, I wonder if this might become a B2B (business-to-business) spat played out on the internet. Anyway, interesting reading for how businesses deal with each other.

And speaking of how businesses treat other businesses (read, we authors), especially if you haven’t published yet, be sure to read Kristin Nelson’s If You Remember One Thing, It Should Be This on her Pub Rants blog. What’s the “this?” NEVER sign an unnegotiated boilerplate publishing contract! This isn’t a new topic but it’s a critical one. Kristine Kathryn Rusch has written a “deal breakers” series recently (see this, this, and this for starters; WARNING: long posts!). Kristin (no-e) goes into specifics on the pitfalls of boilerplate (standardized text) contracts in much less space and with a lot less angst. Never the less, the problems she lists are big, they’re serious, and they will hurt you. Read and heed!

OK, now it’s your turn: what Great Stuff have you found out there? Share it in the Comme

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Great Stuff on the Writers’ Blogs, May 30, 2012

Boy, spend a day “out of the office,” even for business, and look what piles up in the reader list! OK, then. No whining–two days’ worth of goodies, instead.

  • Every not-yet-published author wants to know What Does a Publishing Contract Cover? Happily for us, Rachelle Gardner (@RachelleGardner) provides the answer, including 25 typical items and, interesting to note, the nearly half of that list (11) she finds herself negotiating on most often. (Note: this is strictly about traditional-publishing contracts, NOT self-publishing ones.)
  • We’ve all faced this situation: someone asks us to do something and we don’t think (or know!) we can’t, and yet we have a hard time saying no. Michael Hyatt (@michaelhyatt) offers a technique for How To Say No When You Feel Pressured to Say Yes.
  • I’m not always a fan of “Top X” lists. “Top 47,386 Ways to…”? Not goin’ there. But DIY MFA (@DIYMFA) has a 12-entry Top 10 Website Picks list that’s worth a look, given the range of topics the sites cover: writing prompts to writing processes to agent blogs to querying. I’m pleased to note that some of the blogs I review here are on that list. Then, in a second (next day) post, Gabriela adds her Top 10 Twitter Feed picks.

That’s all for Monday and Tuesday. What have you found on writers’ blogs that was great?