Taking feedback is never fun

Drawing of a storm trooper with a gunA long time ago in a galaxy called the Milky Way, a young teenager decided to write a book.

What he really wanted to be was Luke Skywalker, but that didn’t seem any more likely than being Superman or Peter Pan, the runners-up. He probably wasn’t even cut out to be a stormtrooper.

But when it came to writing, he loved reading.

As cause-and-effects go, that meant he didn’t have a clue what he was doing when it came to crafting stories, and so it didn’t progress particularly well.

Furthermore, it wasn’t long before dating, partying, marriage and kids became more important than being a hero with mystical powers.

Yet the dream remained and he eventually got his act together, learned a lot about writing, finished the novel, and got it agented and picked up by a publisher.

Despite apparent success, this only resulted in more delays when the publisher collapsed.

And so self-publishing whispered, calling him to the Dark Side. He crossed over, printed a few copies and gave them to proofreaders (who weren’t writers).

The plan was a simple ‘once over’ before publication. The book had been through enough critiques and edits.

And after all, it had been good enough to get an agent and publisher, right?

And that’s when ‘first novel syndrome’ reared it’s ugly red pen once more. 

***

A cartoon of a scared face with hands.Prophecy of Power: Prey was the first book I wrote, and as a consequence it had a lot of problems. I probably should have abandoned it years ago, but I was too emotionally invested in it to give up.

I now consider it my ‘teaching myself to write’ book, and so it was always going to be problematic.

Through trial and error, learning and feedback, I fixed most of the problems, but despite numerous edits and rewrites, the protagonist still wasn’t working properly – and that’s my fault.

Agents, editors and other writers aren’t necessarily the best judge of this – sometimes it takes a reader to tell you they hope your protagonist dies a sticky death, alone and unloved.

As writers, we have blind spots we don’t want to face. My protagonist was mine. I’d resisted earlier feedback on her, making only minor tweaks when I should have gone back and done a total rethink.

I’m thinking of Grasshopper parables at the moment…

As a writer, readers can’t be allowed to hate a protagonist (or any character) so much they don’t want to finish the story: they won’t tell their friends to buy it, they won’t leave positive reviews, and they won’t buy the sequels.

That equals failure if you want to sell copies.

And so I’ll do another pass and hopefully make the protagonist more likeable right from the start. It’ll be the ‘final’ final pass.

Definitely.

Hopefully?

Who said this writing gig was all fun and muses…?

Story planning and creation: Names

Story planning and creation: NamesI find searching for the right name for a character, place or anything else I’ve created in a story about as much fun as seasickness.

Running through options to find the right name for an important character can suck up a lot of time, but the right name can add a whole new dimension to a story.

I used to choose names based on the ‘get it chosen ASAP and get on with the story’ approach, usually choosing anything serviceable at the time.

That usually meant taking the first name I liked.

If something better struck me after the choice was made all well and good, but I’d often accept anything that got me past the hurdle, whereas a little thought could have delivered something infinitely better.

Recently I took an unanticipated lesson from Joss Whedon, the creator of Buffy, Angle, Firefly and more, when I realised a lot of the names he gave his characters have a deeper meaning, usually in tune with their part in the story.

Take Buffy the Vampire Slayer, for instance:

  • Buffy. The protagonist’s name is pure irony. What kickass vampire slayer would be seen in public with a name like Buffy? It perfectly reflects the show’s tone.
  • Angel. The perfect guy who turns into the perfect bad guy during his first moment of pure happiness. Another healthy dose of irony.
  • Dawn. Buffy’s new sister. A new Dawn (because Dawn didn’t actually exist prior to her appearance in season 5). Theme-wise, wow.
  • Faith. The vampire slayer who has no faith. (Whedon really loves his irony, doesn’t he?)

Following on from that logic, I’ve found it helps to choose names that fit the story and add another level of value.

Based on what we know about the protagonist from the previous posts, we need a name that suits her situation, and for that we need to revisit (and perhaps add a little more information about) her origins:

  • She wakes up alone and dirty in the woods and is forced to dig her way out of a shallow grave.
  • She has no memory of what happened to her.
  • Memories of her life beforehand are vague.
  • All she really remembers is her name, though other memories slowly return.

And here comes the ‘secret’ I’ve been holding onto so far – a dryad changed her; brought her into the team, so to speak. I’m not entirely sure what the dryad’s motivations are yet, but that’s another question.

What I do know is that it was the dryad who gave her her new name. So what would a dryad call a woman who’s just been turned into another dryad?

A line drawing of a rose on a stem with petalsAfter a bit of consideration, I’ve decided to go with Rose Thorn. Why? Because:

  • First name: Rose. It works for her newfound youth and her growing and sensuous ability to lure people to her.
  • Second name: Thorn. It hints at the hidden danger she represents despite her beauty; her unrevealed dangerous side.
  • It’s fun and unusual, but not unpronounceable or totally off the chart. Rose and Thorn are also real names, though you’d probably feel sorry for someone with both. Considering her recent origins, it fits well.
  • It sounds dryadish… I hope.

As mentioned, there’s a little bit of fun to be had in her name as well. Can you imagine being asked by some cop or medic what your name is?

Repeat your best Bond voice: “Thorn. Rose Thorn.”

They’d think it was a joke. And then there’s the fact she was born with another name she doesn’t feel is hers anymore, yet the people she loves and who love her still hold onto it (a name to figure out later.)

Another major character is her daughter. Hope would be a good name for her. Hope wants her mother back the way she was before the she disappeared. Hope may be a little too obvious or ‘on the nose’, but we’ll run with it for now.

And then there’s the antagonist, someone who seeks the fountain of youth.

A little research shows that Methuselah lived to be almost a thousand years old and he’s mentioned in several religions. That means there’s some pre-existing mythology surrounding him that we can lean on.

Perhaps that’s all we need at this point – the myth of a man who lived for nearly a thousand years, a man who had at least one child, Lamech. Lamech lived to be almost eight hundred years old himself, and was said to be Noah’s father (as in Noah’s Arc). A noble line, indeed.

Yet where does our antagonist fit into all this? Is he Methuselah? Lamech? Noah? Someone else entirely, but descended from the same family?

I don’t want to get too far into the myth/legend/religious history, so let’s go with the same family, but merely related.

He’s a bad apple in an otherwise distinguished group, someone who once had access to the fountain of youth but lost it, and now must take it by force to get what he wants.

Considering he’s the antagonist, let’s make him someone with no regard for anyone but himself. He’s a man who would do anything to get revenge on the people who made him an outcast, including destroying the very thing that gives them (and himself) their long lives.

That seems like pretty good motivation to me.

A sketch of a man leaning against a wall.For a name, something ironic would work here – the complete opposite of what he is.

How about Christian Godson? Outcast. Murderer. Would-be king. It also ties to the mythology surrounding his ancestry.

I like it.

And there we have it, the three most important characters in this story: Rose, Christian and Hope, with the added bonus of some strong character motivation backed up with a little ‘real life’ history.

Do you think they work for this story? How do you choose or create the names in your own stories?

Dropped balls

Chris Andrews - head and shouldersIt looks like I’ve dropped the ball this year as far as writing goes (not to mention maintaining this blog).

Up until late last year I was working part-time which allowed me plenty of time to write, run my editing business, interact on social media, and blog. Since then I’ve been working full time, training for (and in October walking) the Kokoda Track (one of the toughest and most dangerous walks in the world), and now I’m moving house (which should be sorted by Christmas – hopefully) while trying to sell the old one. I also participated in a novel critiquing group (critting a novel a month) and began editing Transcendence of Power: Genesis with my publisher (Satalyte Publishing).

All in all a busy year, and next year may not be any less busy. January’s a write-off due to the Christmas holidays, I have to start training to walk the Camino (a month-long walk across Spain I’m doing in early 2018), and my novel is due to come out in the second half of 2017 which will require a lot of work in the lead-up (and follow-up). Of course I’ll still be working full time – certainly until the end of June when my current contract expires (and most likely after that as well), and perhaps even maintaining the editing business. Not sure about the last one. It’s a lot of work for very little financial reward considering the hours I put in – but if I charged even the equivalent of what I earn while working in a job the business wouldn’t get any customers.

So what does all that mean?

It means my writing is going nowhere lately. I’ve got four novels written that need editing/rewriting and three sequels that need to be written for the one Satalyte is publishing. I’d do more work of an evening, but it gives me serious eyestrain. Until I got glasses recently I was struggling to work for more than an hour or two a day before wanting to crash and sleep. At least they keep me going for the whole work day now, but more than that and I’m in trouble.

Yet the dream is still alive. One book is coming out next year, four are ready to be edited and written, and I’ve got more stories I want to write and things I want to do (like create short courses I can make available online).

So that’s me this year – very busy, but I don’t feel as if I achieved much. Next year however, I should have a published book in my hand. That’s what it’s al about, after all. I hope your dreams area just as successful, if not more so.

 

Update on the writing side of life

Chris Andrews - head and shouldersI can’t believe how long it’s been since I posted. Slack. Very slack.

In my defence I’m working full-time, editing and assessing manuscripts many evenings, and trying to fit a life in around that, including training to do the Kokoda Track next month. I haven’t written or edited my own work in months, and so you can imagine how high my priorities are for writing blog posts.

Still, here I am, plugging away at a writing career by what seems to be inches at a time.

On the good news front I’ve received a general publication date from Satalyte Publishing for my epic fantasy, Transcendence of Power: Genesis, which is set to appear on shelves some time during the second half of 2017.

Woohoo!!!

It seems almost surreal.

We’ve started the editing process, and I’ve even seen concept art for the cover which I might share later if Satalyte’s okay with it.

My next update however may involve photos from the Kokoda Track and me looking wiped-out, assuming my body survives ten days of mountainous jungle adventures over a hundred kilometre romp. The spirit is willing, at least…

Until next time!

How busy are you?

Today was one of those days when I looked at all the things I’m doing (or planning on), and realised it’s no wonder I’m not getting any writing or editing of my own done.

For example:

  • I just finished teaching a 6-week evening course (which took just as much time if not more in preparation as it did in teaching hours)
  • I have to prepare for the next 6-week course (on a different subject, of course, so I can’t reuse much)
  • I have a novel to critique and report on in a few weeks (and another one every month thereafter for about five months).
  • I’m mentoring a writing student – we catch up once a week, and this also requires additional preparation time
  • I need to submit applications to local and interstate writers centres to do workshops for them (I have three major centres on my ‘next’ list)
  • I’m giving a writing workshop in two weeks – and as it’s a few hours’ drive each way, it’ll consume the entire weekend
  • There’s a potential writing weekend event I might be involved in next month, which will require planning and preparation as well as the weekend away
  • I want to put in an application for a research fellowship in the next two or three months
  • I want to put in an application for an arts grant in the next two or three months
  • I’m preparing to self-publish a novel by September, which is only just past the second draft stage (and needs more work before I send it out for critique next month)
  • I have to prepare workshops (and deliver other info) for an upcoming writers’ festival in September
  • I’ll be giving workshops at a writers’ convention in October
  • I have a novel with a publisher that will soon need editing when they get back to me – no publication date as yet
  • I have three more sequels I need to write in the series currently with the publisher
  • I’m training to do the Kokoda track later this year (a 10-day, 96 Kilometre hike through mountainous jungle in Papua New Guinea)
  • There’s an upcoming week-long skiing holiday with my family
  • I have two more 6-week courses to prepare for later this year.

And that’s just off the top of my head. It doesn’t include family stuff like sports on weekends or socialising with friends etc. Oh yeah, I’m also contracting in a job, so I’ll need to find more paid work about 6 weeks from now.

Occasionally I also write a blog post. Just saying.

How busy are you, and how does it impact your writing or other things you want to achieve?

Upcoming courses & workshops

Chris Andrews - head and shouldersHi all,

Just a brief post to let everyone know I’m running two courses at CIT Solutions in the first half of this year.

The Foundations of Story and Structure will run over six consecutive Monday nights from 1 February to 7 March, starting at 6pm, and will give participants a solid understanding of their readers expectations and how to meet or exceed them.

Creating Compelling Characters will run over six consecutive Monday nights from 2 May to 6 June, starting at 6:30pm, and help writers understand what their readers are looking for in a character, and how to put that on the page in the most compelling way.

Please let anyone know who might be interested, share the info around, and come along if you’re a local and keen to learn some new tricks of the trade.

New blog series: The Darkest Hour – stories of success over adversity

Woman reaching outHave you ever heard of The Darkest Hour?

In a story, it’s the point where your protagonist is struggling to find a reason to continue.

It usually appears around the three-quarter mark, quite often where the mentor dies or some other tragedy strikes, forcing the protagonist to reassess everything and second-guess themselves.

While The Darkest Hour is an emotionally-charged part of many stories, no matter how bad it gets there’s always a way through it, and the protagonist generally finds it.

Inspired by this concept, I want to create a collection of inspiring stories by writers who have faced the odds and succeeded, despite everything standing against them.

This idea has been bouncing around in my head for nearly two decades, but I’d shelved it a long time ago due to the difficulties of contacting authors (think pre-social media, when you had to go through publishers and/or do some serious research).

A panel at a recent convention rekindled the idea. That, and the ability to reach out quickly and easily using social media.

So this is me reaching out and asking for your stories of success despite and the adversities you’ve faced.

How you define adversity and success is up to you.

So send me your inspiring stories about how you conquered the odds, overcame personal setbacks, and succeeded. I want to run them as a series of blog posts initially. If they do well, I might compile them into an eBook or something.

Perhaps you’ve had:

  • so many rejections you’ve lost count
  • health issues
  • family problems
  • self-doubt
  • depression
  • naysayers
  • setbacks, etc.

Whatever the issue you’ve faced, I want to hear how you overcame it.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re an international bestselling author or just starting out. It’s your story that matters.

In sharing, maybe we can inspire others to overcome their own setbacks.

If you’d like to contribute, please contact me through the form below (or you can email me directly if you already have my email address – I’m disinclined to post it online).

Inspiration from reading

I tried everyting to get to sleep last night. Well, everythign except closign the book and putting it on the nightstand. Let's not get too crazy.Inspiration comes from many places when you’re a writer – friends, events, things you do and see.

Sometimes by reading books.

Writers are readers, but there’s a catch. The more I understand the craft of writing, the more difficult I find it to get drawn into a book.

If you’re anything like me, you tend to notice craft issues:

  • telling (versus showing)
  • POV shifts
  • poorly constructed sentences
  • passive voice.

The list goes on, and they all throw me out of a story.

And then there’s a further limiting factor – the story itself. When you’ve read a lot, stories start to look the same.

It’s probably why short stories often aim for originality. You can devour a dozen or more short stories for every novel you read, if that’s your passion.

I love epic fantasy, but I struggle to read it these days. I’ve seen my full share of evil overlords and farm boys and similar tropes, and so it takes a rare book with those tropes to draw me in.

That’s not to say they’re not a valid trope, only that I’ve read hundreds of incarnations of that story.

When reading for pleasure, I tend to pick up books and give them a chapter at most to draw me in.

If they don’t, they’ll probably never get read.

Harsh? Maybe.

And so it’s a complete pleasure when I pick up a book and get sucked right in, as I did recently.

While I’m not going to call it high art, I came away feeling inspired to write.

Here was a rare author who could draw me in and get me involved in the character’s life.

For the first time in about a year I cared what happened to a protagonist.

That’s a rare gift.

And an inspirational one.

If you’ve got a favourite book you think will draw me in, please let me know in the comment section below. Until then, the muse has struck, so now it’s time to write.

Publication News

YesGreat news! I’ve officially signed with Satalyte Publishing for my epic fantasy novel, Transcendence of Power: Genesis.

I sat down with Satalyte’s owner, Stephen C. Ormsby, over last weekend’s Conflux convention and exchanged signed contracts. I’ll let you know as soon as a publication date is set.

Satalyte publish some fantastic authors, including Kevin J Anderson, Jack Dann and many more.

 

Three Great Lies with Vanessa MacLellan

Head and Shoulders shot of Vanessa MacLellanI met Vanessa on G+ and we immediately hit it off thanks to her fantastic sense of humour. In her own words, Vanessa is a tattooed, vegetarian, outdoorsy woman with one head in the clouds and the other firmly settled in her hiking boots.  She’s an environmental engineer by day, author, runner, reader, gamer, and naturalist by night (and weekends). When she told me she had a book coming out, I asked her over for a Q&A.

Q. When did you start writing, and why?

When I was a wee lass I’d make up stories to tell my mother while she was gardening. I think it started there.

My favorite subject was Baggy Piggy, who had a curly Q tail that never ended (I knew this, because I drew him incessantly with pink crayons).

I remember, before I could even write, ‘writing’ (aka doodling) on paper and then reading them to my great grandmother.

Storytelling is in my blood. I guess that’s enough of a reason why, although the fact that I enjoy it doesn’t hurt.

I have little people in my head (doesn’t every author) that want me to explore their worlds, flesh out their personalities and goals and give them something to do.

I can’t take all the credit, it’s partially their fault.

Q. What do you write and why? What do you enjoy about what you write?

I write speculative fiction. Mainly fantasy, though I mix horror and magical realism in there.

I write fantasy because fantasy is what first got me excited about reading.

I remember my older sister, Audrey, handing me the first of the Pierce Anthony Xanth novels, and I was astounded at these magical places, characters with magical talents, all of the magical beasts.

Magic. Magic. Magic. I wanted that. To live there. Be special. Be something more than just human.

And I read as much fantasy after that as I could. Tolkien, Eddings, Pratchet, Weiss and Hickman, Duncan. You know the era and the authors.

That’s what fueled me as a young reader. I hope to fuel other readers too.

The joy comes from creation and imagination. Of speculating: What if? and expanding from that.

I am the master of my own universe, what is not to like?

Q. What is your latest book? Any forthcoming books?

My debut novel, Three Great Lies, releases August 6th. It’s fantasy, with historical and literary trappings. It carries a bit of a Finding My Place in Life theme.

Jeannette Walker, a modern scientist, ends up in ancient, mythological Egypt. Though she constantly casts doubt on the existence of such a world, she has to learn to live in it.

While trying to save her mummy friend’s soul from a wicked tomb robbing ring, she realizes a few important things about life.

What those are, well, you’ll have to read the book!

I have one complete manuscript for a dark fantasy I’m currently shopping out, and am working on a modern super hero series. There’s always something I’m working on.

Q. “Welcome To My Worlds”: Tell us a little about the world of Three Great Lies.

Ancient, mythological Egypt.

It never rains. People’s lives aren’t equal. Prayers constantly dance upon lips. Beer is a meal. Sand is a major filler in the bread. Children of gods walk the street with the heads of animals and prophecy on their lips.

To Jeannette it’s, of course, a total shock.

There are people about in public naked and jackals speak.

A mummy—a desiccated, lumbering thing—chases her through the crowded streets, accusing her of stealing his ba!

It’s not necessarily a friendly place, but people are people, and even Jeannette is able to find friends in ways she never expected.

Q. Introduce us to some of your characters. What do you like about them?

Three Great Lies book Cover featuring a person running from something between unseen in a rocky desert envoirnment.Jeannette Walker is my protagonist. She’s mid-twenties, a scientist with a jilted past.

She still holds the hurt from a past betrayal and has learned to trust nobody and nothing.

I love her voice and her mind-chatter. She’s got a good heart that struggles to show through her armor.

Abayomi is the dead man walking, a reanimated mummy who seeks his lost ba container so he can continue on to the afterlife.

He’s a perfect citizen who knows his place in the world and doesn’t seek to unbalance tradition.

Until his friends are endangered, then his loyalty shines like a beacon. True best friend material!

Sanura is the young daughter of Bast, cast out from her litter.

She’s lost and alone and Jeannette saves her—saves her—and she’ll never forget such gifts.

Sanura, like most young people, is soul-searching, trying to found out exactly why she’s been cast away and what her purpose and place is in life.

Her journey is one everyone can connect with. She’s the spirit of the story.

Q. A fun fact you would like your readers to know about Three Great Lies.

A major aspect of the book (the stray dog theme) sprang to life at an agility dog show.

The midsummer day was baking hot and I had parked myself under a tree for the next show.

A Jack Russell Terrier was looking at me, with that intelligent tongue-lolling smile terriers have.

Honestly, the dog was smiling.

And that was the original start of the novel: “The dog was smiling at her.”

It’s since changed, but that line and scene are still in there, the theme planted throughout the novel.

The story just unfolded from that one dog’s smile.

Q. Any challenges with getting Three Great Lies to where it is today?

Three Great Lies has been on a long journey.

In 2008, I wrote my fifth NaNoWriMo novel.

That was Three Great Lies.

It was simply titled “Egypt” back then.  It was a 50,000 word rough draft. Then I added extra plot threads and themes, and it topped out at 140,000 words.

That’s quite an addition!

Then there were years and years of critiquing and editing.

Egyption ArtifactFinally in 2013, I begin seeking representation for Three Great Lies, and it was picked up by Hadley Rille Books (which was the most perfect place for this book to land).

Now for the rough stuff.

As I was due my edits, my publisher had a stroke.  (Though he insists he was abducted by aliens to an alternate universe.)

It was terrible, we weren’t sure if he would make it. The entire press huddled together in worry and anticipation.

I was wavering between feeling devastated for my publisher’s situation and worrying about the state of my book (and feeling so so guilty for that.)

But he did pull through and has worked tirelessly on my novel, by my side every step of the way.

Now, we’re here, and my novel is published!

I think other authors might have pulled their book to seek other representation, but I knew Hadley Rille and my publisher were perfect for my book.

Q. What’s your writing process?

First and foremost, Three Great Lies was a ‘pantser’ book.

I didn’t have an outline. I wrote forward from the smiling dog on guts and intentions. I had this idea of where I wanted to go, with no map on how to get there.

Now, I am an outliner.

I think the process, for me, would have gone so much faster if I’d had a more solid idea of the substance of the story.

As it was, lots and lots and lots of editing and rewriting were necessary to make this book shine.

When I’m in the thick of writing and editing, I try to work on the novel every single day. It keeps my writing sharp and my mind on the storyline.

It keeps me from losing plot threads and missing finer details.

For me, every day is the way (ooh, that even rhymes.)

And another thing I’ve learned: Do not work heavily on writing in the summer.

I like to play outside too much and I feel guilty if I don’t write.

Now, I just hold up my hands and let it all go.

Summer, for me, is play time. No guilt for taking some time off writing. Because, we’re our worst guilt-trippers.

Thanks for reading!

I hope you come by and check out my site and my novel. It was a joy to write and I hope it brings joy to you as well.

About Vanessa:
Vanessa MacLellan was born and raised in the farmlands of eastern Washington, works as an environmental engineer, and is an avid birder, naturalist, gamer, and runner living in Portland, Oregon. Her website is vanmaclellan.com. You can also find her on: Twitter, Facebook and Google+. You can find Three Great Lies on Amazon.

It’s time for a new look

Screenshot of this blogWhile the standard look and feel for this blog’s current theme grabbed me when I first saw it, I’m a little over it now.

Actually, I’m a lot over it.

I’m looking for something a little simpler and cleaner.

If you’ve got any suggestions for a nice, easy-to-setup, WordPress theme that doesn’t annoyingly hyphenate words all the time, I’d love to hear it.

Please leave your suggestions in the comments section, or else can contact me via the social media buttons on this page. There’s also a “contact me” item in the drop down menu under “About Me”.

Thanks!

The Easiest-Ever Guide To Story Outlining!

Easiest Ever Guide to Story OutliningI have a guest post up on Cholontic – The Easiest-Ever Guide to Story Outlining.

It’s definitely worth a look if you struggle with outlining.

It’s a simple two-step process, each step broken down into easy-to-do parts.

http://jenchristopherson.wix.com/cholontic#!The-EasiestEver-Guide-to-Story-Outlining/c1q8z/551e2ab90cf215f35a384c8e

 

Things I wish I knew about Author Promotion when I started writing

Everything I wish I knew about Author Promotion when I started writingIt’s really tough getting word out about your creative endeavours, so it’s good to know what works and when to start doing it.

With this problem in mind I asked a group of writers to throw their best tips at me, and they responded with some fantastic advice.

My own tip: Be the kind of person that other people want to be friends with by helping and supporting them whenever you can. (It doesn’t hurt to put the name of your latest book or your website address in your email signature either.)

Here’s some more great tips:

“My biggest one-day bump came from an article a newspaper reporter/recent acquaintance wrote about books featured locally. The second was from doing a reading at high school that then ordered a classroom set of books. Both involved being open to the opportunity. Neither was based on a sale or a paid advertisement. In 20 months as a published writer have seen no appreciable return from sales or paid advertisements!” Robert L. Slater

“Connect with – and support – other authors by commenting on their blogs, hosting them on your blog for releases, Tweeting about their books, etc. People are more willing to help promote authors that they already know and like.” Quanie Miller

“Every now and then try a new author promotion strategy. Ask yourself – Have I done anything new lately to promote my books?” Aditi Chopra

“Promotion also is all about presentation to the right market who is interested in your writing.  Make sure you are targeting the market for success.”  Debra Hargrove

“Promote soft or hardcover editions via a public book signing and leave a copy or two to be discovered in a public place to create a public awareness of your work.” Douglas Moore

“What I learned was that resistance is futile and you need to embrace this part of the process. Sometimes it is even – gasp! – fun.” Janine Donoho

“Think outside the box. That is where the growth occurs and if you don’t grow, you stifle.” Karin Halford

“Be patient. Maintain personal integrity, and hold on to your moral and ethical beliefs.” Armando Almase

“Create a writer’s platform, starting with a blog you own.” Carly Compass

“Social media is a must for any author who wants to earn a steady income from writing. Update your blog(s) and make use of Twitter and Facebook and Google + with a mix of self promotion and reposting other articles of interest. Self promotion alone will lose you followers on social media platforms.” Douglas Moore

“Write, write, write, join a critique group, critique, critique, critique. Then, rewrite what you wrote! [Start with a great book!]” Cholontic (Jen Christopherson)

“An author platform online should encompass many sites. Twitter, an FB page, website optional but definitely a blog, Google Plus, maybe YouTube trailers, Instagram & Pinterest, WattPad, Goodreads, if on Amazon fill out your bio area. Fill that out everywhere and utilize the free online real estate at your disposal. Update your LinkedIn.” Tosca Johnson

“Author promo is separate from book promo. Author promo begins long before you have a book on a shelf, the attention of an agent, or hit ‘upload’ on your first self-pub’d masterpiece. Author promo means standing up in the world, both visceral and virtual, and saying ‘Hello, I’m _ and I’m a writer.’ Author promo means connecting with peers, networking with the writing community, and making sure potential readers know your name long before you have anything other than yourself to promote.” AmyBeth Inverness

“Do what you love.” Joe Machney

“I wish I had known how to do it. I didn’t really promote my first book very much. I wish I had been friends with writers who could point me towards the better sites for helpful hints.  Have an author page on all the major social media sites and keep it up to date with  anything appropriate. They are a great way for people to get to know you as a person and want to buy your books because of it.” Karin Halford

Check out some of the other posts in the “Things I Wish I Knew About” series: Point Of View, Critiquing, Dealing With Rejection, Editing Your Own Work, Short Stories, Creating Characters, Story Development, Worldbuilding and Writing.

CMS Structural Analysis Report giveaway.If you’re looking for a little help with your own writing, head over to Creative Manuscript Services and enter the free Structural Analysis Report giveaway.

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