Friday, October 31, 2014

NANOWRIMO returns. Stop procrastinating.

If you're excited by National Novel Writing Month, you're in good company. See my 2011 post for more about NANOWRIMO. Some writers have novel ideas ready to go, and others will work on a memoir or use the event to make a commitment to writing over 1,600 words a day or even commit to daily blogging. The goal is a total of 50,000 words, a great first draft on your project.

Too ambitions for you? Any effort is better than none.Either way, it is an inspiring community of writers. Learn more at NANOWRIMO.

Also, Story Studio Chicago has events to keep you motivated here.

And if you need help, there is a new productivity app Stop Procrastinating, designed to help writers stay focused by combining psychology with technology. I just learned about this today, and if you want to find out more, visit this link. ( The app is ridiculously inexpensive and can finally help you focus on your writing instead of online distractions. Do

Friday, October 24, 2014

Thirteen places to hold book events

Lucky 13... Thanks to Caitlin Muir for these great suggestions. Get motivated to plan a book tour schedule for next Spring to promote your books. Pick a few close to home and do winter events too. People love to get out and hear authors talk about their work.

Find a Place To Give a Book Reading:

  1. Your local coffee shop
  2. A hospital
  3. A retirement community
  4. A rehabilitation center
  5. A local church
  6. A locally owned bookstore
  7. The library (try the five closest to your house)
  8. The local community college
  9. A school
  10. Wherever the main setting of your book is
  11. Google+
  12. Videos you upload to Facebook
  13. Goodreads--stay active on this site

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Even famous authors can get a bad review

Book reviews help our books get noticed. That's a good thing, right? Usually...

People reading reviews on Amazon understand that when a grumpy person writes a negative review, the author doesn't deserve to be attacked. We tend to dismiss reviews that insult the writer's integrity, or when the reviewer is being mean.

But, how would we feel if said review was in The New York Times Sunday Book Review, and tore into the author's work in such a highly visible way? The author I'm referring to is Joyce Carol Oates, and the review was of her story collection, Lovely, Dark, Deep.

The reviewer, who shall remain nameless here, has decided the book is "a fatally slack enterprise, a makeshift heap of first drafts, blighted by shallow emotion". Worse, he refers to offhand manipulation of trauma, and prose that feels virtually unedited.


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Promote your events @ Poets & Writers

Poets & Writers has revamped their Literary Events Calendar. They cite its "beautiful new interface makes it easy to find readings and other literary events near you, and to post events you are part of." 

And, of course, its free! Post your upcoming events now, and they will also be listed in our their new app -- Poets & Writers Local -- coming later this fall!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Do reviews help ebook sales?

I;ll bet you think the answer is "Yes, of course."

Surprisingly, though, the chart below shows ebook sales attributable to a traditional media review represent only three percent. That means word-of-mouth and browsing are better methods of discovery. Of course, the best way is being a repeat author and having fans waiting for the release of your next ebook....

Thanks to Mark Coker of Smashwords for the chart below:

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

NAMW... finally

I [finally] formally joined the National Association of Memoir Writers at They offer a rich variety of events, articles and resources for those interested in good writing, including but not limited to memoir.  I have long recommended this organization for my clients, but its time I take my own advice.

You may have seen the recent New York Times article featuring NAMW leader, Linda Joy Myers, PhD and Brooke Warner of SheWrites.

Helen Gallagher

Friday, October 3, 2014

Why is so much writing so bad?

From today's Wall Street Journal...

"Why is so much writing so bad? Why is it so hard to understand a government form, or an academic article or the instructions for setting up a wireless home network?"

The answer in Steven Pinker's article, The Source of Bad Writing, points to what he calls the Curse of Knowledge: a difficulty in imagining what it is like for someone else not to know something that you know.  It is an excerpt from his new book: The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person's Guide to Writing in the 21st Century.