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Writing Craft

How to Use Time in Your Stories

By: Ginger | Posted on December 6, 2019

You’ve likely heard someone discussing whether a book had a good or bad flow often enough that you understand how important the concept is to get right – but there are many factors that contribute to it.  Stilted writing, repetitive ideas, even word choice can all break the flow of your story, as can grander things like pacing.  You want your reader to be able to move easily through your story, be drawn in, follow along, and ultimately arrive satisfied at the end. So while it may seem risky, even counter-intuitive, to write a story that doesn’t flow through time in that same straightforward, linear fashion, when done right it can be a fabulous technique to add to your author toolbox.  Books and movies are full of examples of non-linear timelines used to enhance their story, and today we’re going to explain the whys and hows so that you can… Read More >

The Paperback Problem – Print or Not?

By: Ginger | Posted on November 22, 2019

For some authors, they’re first and foremost. For others, it’s an afterthought. Today, we ask where physical, paperback or hardback copies of your books fit into your self-publishing strategy. Ginger uses images of one of his own books as an example, but if you’d like to share pictures of your own physical books – plus any tips or tricks you have for printing them – we’d love you to hear from you in the comments section below. “There’s nothing like a real book,” one of my old college buddies recently told me. “The feel of it in your hands. The smell of the paper. You’ll never catch me reading anything on a Kindle.” We’d studied English literature together – so far from sounding erudite and cultured, I argued that his position was kind of arrogant. In refusing to read eBooks, my oh-so-cultured friend cut himself off from 37% of fiction… Read More >

10 Software Essentials for Authors

By: Hidden Gems | Posted on November 15, 2019

With the rise of self-publishing, there’s a growing differentiation between people who just publish – and the truly successful authors who produce books that are indistinguishable in quality from those of the top 5 publishers. One of the ways in which they achieve this is by using the same tools as publishers do; or often, even better versions of them. Here are some software essentials as recommended by our community of Hidden Gems authors – which could empower you to add additional speed, precision and polish to your published works. Vellum It’s a cliche that writers tend to favor Apple products, but in the case of this highly-touted formatting software, the fact that it’s only available on MacOS suggests there’s some validity to that.  Vellum is designed to streamline the entire process of formatting books – including inserting links and pretty flourishes, assembling box sets and store links, and even… Read More >

The Most Important Part of Your Story Is the Dialogue

By: Hollie Jones | Posted on October 18, 2019

Writing great dialogue is just as important as creating the imaginary world or colorful characters of your book, and so it shouldn’t be ignored or rushed through. In fact, when done right, your dialogue will not only make your characters seem more authentic, but can help with the rest of your world building as well. Not convinced?  Today’s guest author Hollie Jones breaks down why dialogue is so important and how, when done well, it can improve so many aspects of your story. I’m no great fan of silent movies, but I acknowledge that they offer value to the cinematic world. In the absence of the spoken word, the visuals step up to shape perception, with deliberate framing and subtleties in body language conveying the intended themes. But think for a second about what people remember of the classic movies — in Gone With The Wind, is it the pause… Read More >

What Goes Into Choosing Your Genre?

By: Sloan Quinn & Katherine Stark | Posted on October 4, 2019

In your spare time you may read a number of different types of books for pleasure, but as an author, you need to focus on a particular genre to write in.  For some, that’s a fairly simple decision, but for others it may not be so easy.  So how do you decide? What factors go into choosing your genre, or your sub genre?  There are many ways to do it, but in today’s guest post authors Sloan Quinn and Katherine Stark offer up a few ideas based on the process they used. Romance as a genre is huge. There are so many different sub-genres contained within it: paranormal romance, contemporary erotica, thrillers and romantic suspense, romantic comedies… the list could go on for ages. We both are newer romance writers: Sloan Quinn writes the Dirty series, enemies-to-lovers romances centered around the criminal underground in Philadelphia (where she went to college);… Read More >

Successful Writers Write

By: Ginger | Posted on September 27, 2019

Despite all the marketing and promotion suggestions that we’ve provided in the past, if we could only offer a single piece of advice that would apply to authors everywhere, it wouldn’t be anything to do with getting reviews, or how to market your book, or even about where the best places are to advertise. It would simply be to keep on moving forward. Keep writing that next book, keep to a publishing schedule, and eventually success will find you.  There’s one reliable path to writing success – but it’s a lot of hard work! Whatever you do, just keep writing! When I speak to writers 1-on-1 with advice and tips on their advertising strategy, a lot of them are surprised by what I always feel is the most important factor – to just keep writing. Authors who write and publish on a regular basis are more successful than those who… Read More >

The Writing Craft: Dan Harmon’s Story Circle

By: Ginger | Posted on September 20, 2019

Looking for a new way to bring your stories and characters to life on the page? Dan Harmon’s “Story Circle” adapts and broadens the tried and true “Hero’s Journey” template to extend it for use with virtually any genre or story. Ginger takes us through how it works, and how you can apply it to your own novel planning process. Go from Pantster to Plotter with this invaluable template for crafting your stories. A few weeks ago, I wrote about the value of getting out there and interacting with your fellow writers. It’s gotten to the stage now in which my wife actively boots me out of the house on Thursday nights so I can meet with my writing group, and it’s done wonders for my mental health (and, by having me gone for two hours, hers too.) Last week, though, we had a session that really blew me away… Read More >

Should I Stay or Should I Go? Sticking with Amazon’s KDP Select, or Going Wide?

By: Ginger | Posted on August 30, 2019

One of the most frequently asked questions about self-publishing is whether or not to sell your books on Amazon exclusively, or to ‘go wide’, sending them out to a multitude of different online bookstores. There’s no one right answer, just like there is no one right way to write a book – so today Ginger is diving into the issue to give you some of the pros and cons – and also on what his choice is, how he made it, and some ideas on how you can decide for yourself. Of course, this is just one author’s opinion – and if you have one of your own, please let us know via the comments below. This is definitely a conversation that benefits the community most when we hear from many different sources… What are the benefits of ‘going wide’ when it comes to your books? So, let’s not beat… Read More >

Writing Groups – Fighting the Myth of the Hermit Writer

By: Ginger | Posted on August 23, 2019

Being an author is a solitary experience that only other writers truly understand, but it doesn’t have to be – at least, not all the time. There are benefits to socializing with like-minded people who share your passion of putting words together and understand everything that goes along with making that your career choice. As Ginger recently discovered, writing groups are a great way to get out there, and you may find that they inspire and energize you in ways you never considered. Writing is a solitary experience – but it doesn’t need to be. Make socializing with other like-minded people a priority, and your writing will benefit. I was recently watching a fascinating discussion between Stephen King and GRR Martin about the nature of writing, and King recalled an event at Radio City Hall in Manhattan, in which JK Rowling rolled her eyes after a discussion with her publicist… Read More >

Successful Self-Publishing – It’s All About the Conversions

By: Ginger | Posted on August 2, 2019

Advertising expert Ginger is back this week with some more thoughts on what happens after you’ve written and published your book – specifically how to advertise, promote and hopefully sell copies to eager readers! Today, he’s talking about the cornerstone of any successful promotional campaign – conversions. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote an article about how to make sense of your Amazon Advertising facts and figures – and I had a few questions from readers about one important aspect of that: Conversions. Conversions are the technical term for when you ‘convert’ a visitor to your Amazon product page to a paying customer; or, in short, when they buy your book! In terms of successful self-publishing, any promotional efforts you make to drive potential customers to your product page need to result in a good percentage of ‘conversions’ – otherwise you’re leading horses to water, but none of them… Read More >