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Guest Posts

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 >

6 Book-ish Summer/Holiday Activities for Kids

By: Kate Stead | Posted on June 4, 2019

Aaah… school holidays and summer vacation. Sometimes fabulous, sometimes horrible. Like many parents, Chris and Kate Stead, founders of the children’s publishing company Old Mate Media, have a love/hate relationship with school breaks. Like most of us, they struggle with the never-ending challenge of finding inexpensive and fun activities to do with the kids. The good news is, they’ve discovered some fabulous book related options to share with us. Here are six bookish activities that Kate has put together for you to do with the young ones during school holidays or when they’re home in the summer. 1: Visit the Library I can hear you all groaning. This seems so obvious that it’s barely worth including. But when did you actually last visit the library with your kids? Our children love going to the library and often they will run school holiday specific activities for kids. If they don’t have… Read More >

Hollywood Could Learn from Romance Novels About Strong Female Characters

By: Simone Scarlet | Posted on May 31, 2019

Hollywood is desperate for ‘strong female characters’ – but romance/adventure author Simone Scarlet believes they’re looking in the wrong place for them. Here is her argument to Hollywood that they would be better served by mining romance novels for examples of strong female characters than continuing to write ‘shared cinematic universes’ using the same tired tropes that haven’t worked for years.  She even ends the post with a few book recommendations of where they can start looking! Warning, this post contains some a spoiler or two about Captain Marvel. The other week, I went to the cinema to watch Avengers: Endgame, which came off the back of Captain Marvel. I’ll have to admit – I loved them both, especially the inaugural outing for Marvel’s newest superhero. With Captain Marvel, it was great to see the 1990s brought to life again, to watch Samuel L. Jackson as I remembered him from… 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 >

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 >

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 >

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 >

Using Amazon Ads to Sell Your Novel

By: Liam Clay | Posted on March 22, 2019

These days, advertising is an integral part of any book launch and not something any self-published author can ignore. We’ve covered the topic of advertising in the past, but one of the things we didn’t go into in details was Amazon’s advertising platform (formerly called AMS).  Luckily, Liam Clay recently spent time learning their system and testing it out, and in today’s guest post he shares what he’s learned. Are you an indie author with a recently completed debut novel? Then chances are good that you either have, or are about to, place your book on Amazon. The question then becomes, what next? Because if you think that strangers are going to start buying your book en masse without any further action from you, I urge you to think again.  I say this because two months ago, I was in exactly the same position. Watching tumbleweeds roll through the ghost… Read More >

Three Things My Developmental Editor Fixed

By: C.J. Persson | Posted on March 8, 2019

One of the many jobs (aside from actually writing your book) that a self-publishing author has to worry about is hiring their own editor.  Even the most seasoned pros hire editors, as there will always be things you miss after staring at your own book for weeks on end – but what type of editing do you need?  Today, author C.J. Persson takes us through the three main ways a developmental editor helped improved his debut novel, and how to watch out for those same issues in your own work. In January 2018 I had burned out and I quit my job. I had a manuscript rattling around in my proverbial desk drawer and figured this was the perfect time to self-publish it. There was one problem though, my novel didn’t sing. I needed a developmental editor. This is not to be confused with a line- or copy-editor. They help polish… Read More >

Combined Knowledge: You and Your Subject Matter Expert

By: Robin Reardon | Posted on February 22, 2019

We’ve published articles in the past about the importance of writing what you know vs writing to market, or about using personal experiences to fuel your stories – but what about when you want to step outside of your comfort zone? In that case, you need to do your research. Author Robin Reardon has a lot of experience with this, and today she’s giving us her advice on when you can research something on your own, or when (and how) it’s better to find and contact a subject matter expert.  There’s a maxim fiction authors hear all the time: Write what you know. That’s fine, as far as it goes. But does it go far enough? Not for me. But sometimes I need help. Because while much of fiction writing is making up stories, many novels are grounded in real world settings, touch on historical events, or include characters with a… Read More >