Friday, July 1, 2016

If Barnes & Noble closes stores...

The New Republic has an important article on the last great bookstore chain, Barnes and Noble.

"If Barnes & Noble were to shut its doors, Amazon, independent bookstores, and big-box retailers like Target and Walmart would pick up some of the slack. But not all of it. Part of the reason is that book sales are driven by “showrooming,” the idea that most people don’t buy a book, either in print or electronically, unless they’ve seen it somewhere else—on a friend’s shelf, say, or in a bookstore. Even on the brink of closing, Barnes & Noble still accounts for as much as 30 percent of all sales for some publishing houses."
Link to full article: Pulp Friction

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Writers: a reminder of the basics, courtesy of J.K. Rowling

Thanks (again!) to Infinity Publishing for this great post.
"J.K. Rowling may be one of the bestselling authors of all time, but she's never forgotten where she came from. Her roots as a poor single mother struggling to publish an unusual book cause her to help out other beginning authors whenever she can. Rowling's been interviewed on writing hundreds of times, but she emphasizes the same basic lessons each time she's asked."

Here is an excerpt:
  1. Planning is crucial.
    The worst way to create a great book is to dive into it without any plan at all.
  2. Write in what time you have. 
    If you want to be an author, you have to make the time or steal it, one small bit at a time.
  3. Rewriting is as essential as planning.
    Rowling wrote the first chapter of her first book 15 times before she was satisfied.
  4.  Pay attention to pacing and plot. It's possible to ruin the pacing of a book or series by excitedly telling too much, too soon.
  5.  Write your passion. Rowling has said that what you write becomes who you are, so it's important for you to love what you write.

I am especially grateful to see this quote from her:
Sometimes you have to get your writing done in spare moments here and there. 
J.K. Rowling

See the full article at Infinity Publishing

Sunday, May 22, 2016

On the American essay

What Makes An American Essay ‘American’?

“The essay, in its American incarnation, is a direct outgrowth of the sermon: argumentative, insistent, not infrequently irritating. Americans, in my observation – and despite our fetish for the beauties of individuality and personal freedom – are always, however smilingly, trying to convince somebody, somewhere, of something, and our essayistic tradition bears this out.”

Monday, May 16, 2016

Consider a workbook companion for your nonfiction.

Something new from Infinity Publishing blog:
Turn Your Non-Fiction Book into a Workbook
By Arthur Gutch, Mon, May 16, 2016 @ 09:29 AM
While it's true that independent authors make more money on digital books than hard copy, traditional publishing can offer additional income through add-on books. If your non-fiction work is in the self-help category, or if it teaches how to do something, creating a companion workbook can give you another income stream. Older books can benefit from this treatment, as well. If your book's been out for six months or more, publishing a workbook that features your non-fiction book can uncover additional sources of readership you might never have found before. 

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Write today

Here is a brief essay on not-writing by Rita Mae Reese on Poets & Writers. 

Take it to heart on this rainy Saturday and write about what's on your mind today.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Natalie Goldberg writes again...

If ever there was a writer who can persuade us to settle down and write, it is Natalie Goldberg. She is as down-to-earth in print as she is in person. Treat yourself to her newest book, The Great Spring, Writing, Zen and This Zigzag Life.

With decades of experience, she looks both backward and forward, knowing there are many ways to manifest our true life. Join her on her journey and pick up a pen to explore your own.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Finding time to write well

Does this seem familiar? The writer, Hilary Mantel, writing in The Guardian, exemplifies what so many of us experience in trying to put writing first, and hoping for the essential sense of flow will stay around for a while.

"I used to be a late starter, but now I get up in the dark like a medieval monk, commit unmediated scribble to a notebook, and go back to bed about six, hoping to sleep for another two hours and to wake slowly and in silence. Random noise, voices in other rooms, get me off to a savage, disorderly start, but if I am left in peace to reach for a pen, I feel through my fingertips what sort of day it is. Days of easy flow generate thousands of words across half a dozen projects – and perhaps new projects. Flow is like a mad party – it goes on till all hours and somebody must clear up afterwards."
Enjoy the full essay here:

Friday, April 15, 2016

Annie Dillard and essay

Poets & Writers issue of March-April 2016 has a pleasant feature, "Such Great Heights," covering the career of Annie Dillard and celebrates her "masterful essays."

Take time to enjoy reading of her life and work, in this piece spanning about six terrific pages.

Such Great Heights: A Profile of Annie Dillard 

The article itself is in print only, not online. Stop by your local library if you are not a P & W subscriber.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Monday, November 30, 2015

Beyond NaNoWriMo

Whether you made a fantastic effort at NaNoWriMo or not, life goes on. Our December motivational post for writers comes courtesy of Infinity Publishing. Here is the link to their recommended author apps.

Personally, I already like using 'Writeometer' to keep me focused for article deadlines, and I will surely use 'Avoid People' when I need to seek out a quiet place to write.

Here is the full list from Infinity:

This handy app will become your go-to spot for increasing your word production and keeping records. It includes a 25-minute timer for those who write using the Pomodoro Technique, spots to include your daily word count, charts and graphs to see your progress, records on all your works in progress, and even virtual treats for reaching your word count goals. Free, available on Android.

If you're the type of author who likes music when you write, this is the perfect app for finding the right mood music for your current scene. Songza offers a variety of music based on moods and time, instead of artists or genre. For example, on a recent Saturday morning, Songza offered music for trimming the Christmas tree, cleaning the house, taking a nap, or recovering from a hangover. Search for music by activities, moods, decades, and more, or just let Songza suggest something for you. Available on Android or through your browser.

Wi-Fi Finder
Available both on iTunes and Android, this is the perfect app for the author on the go. Wi-Fi Finder will search your surrounding neighborhood and show all the free wi-fi spots that are available around you. Ideal for road trips or even just when you need a different environment for your writing once in a while.

Avoid Humans
Love to work at coffee shops and outdoor plazas but have a hard time working in a crowd? Avoid Humans takes on that challenge admirably. Click on the app and it will show you bars, coffee shops, restaurants and other places with wi-fi, all with little to no crowds at the present time. Solitude away from your desk: the best of both worlds.

The Brainstormer
Fiction writers who do book series have a unique problem. They use the same environment and the same group of characters in all of their books, but they need to write a different story around them multiple times. When the new plot ideas just won't come, The Brainstormer can be a help. It creates endless combinations of plot or conflict, style or setting, and subject or location. Mix and match until you find one that fits your series. In the App Store for iTunes.

Podcast Republic
Keeping up with the business end of writing can be a tough job. Luckily, dozens of authors and publishers broadcast weekly audible shows each week on that very topic. Podcasts can give you valuable information on any subject, giving you down time from your writing while still not goofing off. Podcast Republic, like many other podcast aggregators, allows you to search for podcasts by topic, saving and updating your favorites each week.

Monday, November 2, 2015

More NaNoWriMo...motivation

Alright, of course you can't write a bestseller in a month, but Writers Relief staff has a great piece on four NaNoWriMo books that went on to become bestsellers!  Ever heard of Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen? Of course you have!

Bounce on over to Writers Relief here, or click the image below.
NaNoWriMo Books

Thursday, October 29, 2015

The real work of a writer

Thanks to Joan Dempsey,, for posting this quote in her Revise with Confidence newsletter today. Joan's online classes are every writer's dream. She offers an escape from fear and doubt, while providing the structure and motivation to finish your writing projects with confidence. 

Notable Quote

A writer's real work is the endless winnowing of sentences,
The relentless exploration of possibilities,
The effort, over and over again, to see in what you started out to say
The possibility of saying something you didn't know you could.

~ Verlyn Klinkenborg, Several short sentences about writing