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Writing Craft

Don’t Get Lost in Translation

By: Désirée Nordlund | Posted on June 14, 2019

Many authors would agree that it’s hard enough to write in the language you grew up speaking, let alone trying to do so in a second language that you learned later in life. And if your native language happens to be English, you’d probably wonder why you’d ever bother trying in the first place.  But for writers whose native language is anything else, there are some definite benefits to writing and publishing in English – and some very obvious obstacles as well. Désirée Nordlund is an author who has taken this challenge head on, and we’re thrilled that she’s sharing tips and encouragement to other writers considering doing the same thing. I am one of many authors who write in English though it is not my native language. I am also one of many who gets this choice questioned — a lot. Why don’t you write in your native language? Because… Read More >

The Hidden Gems Amazon Keyword Organizer

By: Hidden Gems | Posted on June 7, 2019

You can have the greatest cover and blurb around, but if readers searching for something new to read can’t find your book in the first place, it won’t matter.  That’s why most authors spend a lot of their marketing time researching the best keywords for their book or genre, and why many of them are very secretive about which ones they use. But while there are lots of different tools and articles written about picking keywords and the rules around which words you should or shouldn’t use, there doesn’t seem to be a lot out there for helping you add your list of keywords into Amazon in the most efficient way possible. Until now. The Problem Amazon’s KDP provides very little in the way of instruction for self-publishers,  We’ve recently discussed the deficiencies in Amazon’s KDP blurb field and our solution for it, but it turns out that their keyword… Read More >

Hiring a Character – Tips on Character Development

By: Peter Gelfan | Posted on May 17, 2019

Proper character development isn’t easy, but when it’s done right your book gets filled with a host of memorable characters that keep readers thinking about your story long after they’ve finished reading it. But how do you produce and pull together this cast of personalities? Here to give you the techniques to do just that is author, editor and writing tutor Peter Gelfan. When creating a new character for a novel, a writer often approaches the task in a utilitarian way, just as we might hire someone. If we need a toilet fixed, we hire a plumber. A character needs a boyfriend, so we write a guy about her age, decent looking but no movie star, employed but not rich, likes wine but no drunk, done. And now the plot has the necessary boyfriend. But have we missed something here? Character development is much more important than simply creating characters… Read More >

The Hidden Gems Amazon Blurb Tool

By: Hidden Gems | Posted on May 10, 2019

When it comes to selling your book, the importance of a strong cover and blurb cannot be overstated, which is why we keep coming back to the topic.  The thumbnail of your cover is the eye candy that will draw readers in to click, and a strong blurb will convert that click into a sale. But merely knowing what to include in your book description isn’t the only step.  Just as a cover needs to draw the reader in from just a thumbnail, your Amazon blurb has only a few lines to grab their attention and make them want to click through and read the whole thing. And if you confront them with a big block of text, you’re much more likely to lose the sale than if your description is a well formatted, easy-to-read masterpiece. Headers, bold type, underlining, italics… …they’re not just for blogs anymore!  Your Amazon blurb… Read More >

Free Cover Promo Creation Tools

By: Ellen Mint | Posted on May 3, 2019

A professional, eye-catching cover is a key start to getting your book noticed against a sea of competition, but book promotion shouldn’t end there.  Many authors create other imagery for marketing their book in a variety of different places, whether it be on social media or paid advertising spots. While you can usually commission these from designers, if you are comfortable with photo editing and have an eye for putting together compelling imagery, you can save money by doing it yourself.  Today’s guest author, Ellen Mint, gives us a quick primer on some of the free tools out there to get you started. Writers, you’ve got an amazing book, a perfect cover, and can’t wait to tell the world about it. You need a beautiful picture to make ads for facebook, amazon, or blogs. Readers are far more likely to click on a link if an eye-catching infographic entices them…. Read More >

Word Count Tracking – A Quick and Simple Spreadsheet Tool

By: Ginger | Posted on April 26, 2019

A couple of weeks ago, we published a post about Word Count Tracking – the method most-often attributed to Ernest Hemingway, which was the source of his notorious productivity. This week we’re sharing a free, quick and simple tool we’ve put together to help you get started tracking your own words! One of the most common pieces of advice our guest authors have written about is the importance of writing every day. It really is the secret to being a productive writer – as in, actually producing the written word – and the discipline really helps with many other aspects of a writer’s life. I doubled-down on that a few months later in one of my own guest posts, in which I stressed the importance of setting the time for and keeping to a daily writing session. I outlined my daily routine – and, as you will see, the first… Read More >

Writing Against Time – Avoid Anachronisms

By: Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban | Posted on April 19, 2019

No matter what type of story you’re writing, getting the details correct is a key component to creating an immersive reader experience. If you’re making up your own world or society, you also get to make up the details – but when your settings are based on real events and different time periods, you have to be much more careful.  Those aren’t rules and norms you can easily break – and author Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban is here to explain why and what happens when you do. As a writer of historical fiction, I am aware of the importance of adding well researched details to bring a past period to life. If the story takes place in the present, readers will have their personal experiences to draw from when imagining the characters’ daily lives, but when it is set in past times, it’s the writer’s responsibility to recreate in their minds a world… Read More >

Word Count Tracking – The Secret to Productivity

By: Ginger | Posted on April 12, 2019

There are many tools and tips that writers can use to try and increase their overall productivity, but the one thing that is the most effective – and has been used at least as far back as Hemingway – is daily word count tracking. Today, Ginger breaks down what makes it so effective and shares how he uses it to improve as a writer. Unless you’re one-hit-wonder Harper Lee, the fact is that you’re never going to become a successful writer unless you write and publish a lot. Authors like Ernest Hemingway and Stephen King are celebrated for their prolific publishing schedule and it’s certainly part of the reason for their success.  We’ve written before about how you should write every day and that’s certainly fantastic advice. I know from a personal perspective that any day I manage to commit words to paper, I feel better about everything – and it also… Read More >

A Writers Life – Mistakes I’ve Made Along the Way

By: M.G. Crisci | Posted on April 5, 2019

After over 30 years in advertising, M.G. Crisci got a late start to his writing career, but has already published a dozen books in the last decade. Along the way, he’s managed to distill his vast pool of knowledge, pulled from both his successes and failures, into a set of life lessons that can help both young and experienced authors figure out who they are and where they’re going. There’s a bit of advice on a wide variety of writing related topics here, which means almost everyone will find something useful from reading his words. My story is the same as so many authors, and yet quite different, since I didn’t complete my first book until the age of 61.  It’s ten years later, and I think I’ve learned a thing or two along the way that might be worth a read. KNOW WHO YOU ARE When you are about to… Read More >

Write a Blurb That Sells Your Book

By: Hidden Gems | Posted on March 29, 2019

Crafting a killer blurb is one of the key ingredients to a successful book – yet too many authors treat it as an afterthought or leave it until the last minute. Anybody who has been writing and self-publishing for a while understands that the key to success is ‘conversions.’ What does that mean? Well, it’s the likelihood that somebody who visits your book page on Amazon (or any other book seller) will actually click ‘buy’ and purchase your book. It really is what makes all the difference – you can sink thousands of dollars into advertising, and send hundreds of potential customers to your book page, but unless they are inspired to buy your book, all of that time and money is wasted. It’s generally accepted that three or four things make the difference when it comes to converting visitors to your book page into paying customers. Blowing the old… Read More >