Great Stuff on the Writers’ Blogs, August 14, 2012

Another day of great variety, and only one with much focus on “craft.” Where to begin? Where to begin? Oh, heck, how about here:

  • “Doctor Rita,” a.k.a. Dr. Rita Hancock (@RitaHancockMD) warns on WordServe Water Cooler that SEO is Not Enough To Grow Your Blog Subscriber List! Her point is that while SEO (Search Engine Optimization) done right will get you initial hits/visits thanks to the search engines finding your blog, there are three other value-adding things that will cause one-time readers to become subscribers: forward links out to other blogs or web sites, back links coming from other blogs or sites to yours, and the emotional connection the content of your blog makes with readers. If they feel it, they’ll read it. And come back to read it again.
  • This giving value is what Rachelle Gardner (@RachelleGardner) discusses in a way, today, when she counsels Give Them What They Want. Now I admit have more than a little discomfort with the way this post begins–while acknowledging the sometimes-necessary utility of the philosophy–but when Rachelle gets to the end and reminds us to follow submission guidelines, I’m all over it. Cold-hard-world reminder: publishers, editors, and agents DON’T have to buy your work. It’s the Golden Rule of Business: he who has the gold, rules. If you can’t, won’t, or don’t follow their rules, don’t be surprised when they reject you for failing to do so.
  • Still in the vein of doing your homework, C. Hope Clark’s (@hopeclark) guest post on Writer Beware identifies The Red Flags of Writing Contests. Clark lists half a dozen things that can warn you away from entering your work in a contest, ranging from the contest being brand new to one that demands ALL publishing rights from the winners. A very useful post if you’ve ever considered entering you work in a contest.

Fair warning: these next two posts are quite long.

  • Porter Anderson’s (@Porter_Anderson) EXTRA ETHER: Bookstore Bake Sale on Jane Friedman’s (@JaneFriedman) blog is a response to Sarah Callender’s (@sarahrcallender) Writer Unboxed plea, Imagine Saving a Life: An Indie Bookstore Pledge, in which she advocates making a commitment to regularly buy books from independent bookstores to keep them open. To summarize, Anderson disagrees with Callender’s suggestion (which he calls a “bake sale approach”), the “misguided” idea that is the enemy of the independent bookstore, and the lack of creative thinking on the part of independent book sellers and their advocates to create a market niche in which they can not just survive, but thrive. Controversial stuff, maybe, but thought-provoking.
  • Finally, speaking of Writer Unboxed, comes Therese Walsh’s (@ThereseWalsh) Interview with Yuvi Zalkow on the occasion of the release of his first novel, A Brilliant Novel in the Works. Now, I realize the wry, neurotic, self-mocking style of Yuvi’s WU videos (and the book trailer, viewable from the interview), which apparently carries over to the novel, isn’t for everyone, and the interview deals a lot with his process of creating a likely very “literary” pseudo-memoir featuring a protagonist named Yuvi Zalkow. So if you’re not into self-revelatory memoir or fiction, most of the interview may not be for you. But Yuvi’s final comment, to Therese’s request for his advice to writers is, in Yuvi’s typical style, worth repeating here: “Never pretend like you know what the hell you’re doing. Keep stumbling.”

Stumble on!



Great Stuff on the Writers’ Blogs, July 14, 2012

Maybe today’s title should be “Great Scott!”, not “Great Stuff.” Why? Because the only thing I have for you today is Yuvi Zalkow’s (@YuviZalkow) announcement on Writer Unboxed that, sort-of due to Project Mismanagement, a.k.a. having more to do than time to do it, in a few months he’s going to take 3 months off from his “I’m a Failed Writer” video blog series. (Pause for hair-tearing and breast-beating.) Well, we’ve got August and September to enjoy Yuvi’s wry and off-beat humor before “Failed Writer” goes dark. And then? Stay tuned.

Great Stuff on the Writers’ Blogs, June 16, 2012

Another Saturday, another “uh-oh, isn’t there anything out there…anything?

  • The Yuvi Zalkow (@yuvizalkow) came along with his attempt on Writer Unboxed to get  Beyond Microsoft Word…Or Not.  His conclusion, which I share, is that it doesn’t matter which word processing program you use, it’s what you write that counts.
  • I don’t normally post inspirational pieces here–I’m not into that sort of thing–but to keep Yuvi company, here’s Nichole Bernier’s (@nicholebernier) How Rejection Can Lead to Hope from the Guide to Literary Agents blog.

And just because, a picture of tonight’s sunset. It’s been horribly dry here but today we got rain, and after the rain, this:

Arizona June sunset

What’s great in your world, blog or not?


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

Really good, even great:

  • Already got a work in progress? Not sure if you’ve got a story? Quickie suggestion on DIY MFA (@DIYMFA): Extract an Outline from what you have. Suddenly you can see the forest, rather than the tree bark.
  • For those of you who’ve maybe been wondering what an agent does all day, Greg Johnson, founder of WordServe Literary Agency, gives an insight into his days in Agent Expectations and Priorities, Part 1.  Don’t get too wrapped up in the numbers: each agency is going to be a little different. Look at the tasks.
  • Hey! Wait! Angela’s (@AngelaAckerman) and Becca’s (@beccapuglisi) Random Acts of Kindness week at The Bookshelf Muse isn’t over yet! Day 6 (will there be a Day 7???) features two more copies of Scrivener (again, 1 for PC, 1 for Mac) and “a slot in Kristen Lamb’s (@KristenLambTX) Blogging Class.” (The only reason I put the phrase in quotes is because I can’t confirm that it’s on-line. I presume it is, but you know what happens when you…
  • Wow, good thing I hit the refresh link on Google Reader before the Publish button. Otherwise, James Scott Bell’s (@jamesscottbell) 5 Things Every Author Needs to Understand About Self-Publishing on The Kill Zone would have had to wait until tomorrow. All five points are good, but #1 (You are going into business), #3 (This isn’t get rich quick) and #5 (It is first, and always, about the book) are key.
  • And finally: Hooray, it’s time for Yuvi Zalkow’s (@yuvizalkow) monthly “I’m a Failed Writer” video post on Writer Unboxed: Networking for the Cowardly and Terrified. Now, fair warning, for those of you who haven’t encountered Yuvi before, his humor is a bit neurotic and, um, what’s the word I want here? Wry. That’s it: wry. And maybe a little twisted. That’s probably why I like it so much. But I’m not including the post here just because I like his humor, but because he’s also got a good point–an encouraging, stress-relieving (I hope) point–about this whole social networking thing. “What is it?” you ask. Go watch the video. (You knew I was going to say that, didn’t you? :))