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Best of the Blogs 9 September 2017

Best of the Blogs: 22 July 2017

Writing

#AuthorToolBoxBlogHop

This week was the monthly Author ToolBox Blog Hop hosted by Raimey Gallant. Over twenty writers shared their tips on writing, editing, publishing, and marketing. Erika Timar has helpfully compiled a listing of all the posts—and there are some good ones. I’ve included a couple of my favourites in this post.

LM Durand presents 35 ideas for marketing your book on Instagram.
Kristina Stanley shows how to open a scene.
ML Keller shows us when and how to transform telling into showing.

Song Lyrics

I’ve seen a lot of blog posts about whether authors can use song lyrics in their books (short answer: only if the song’s writer has been dead for over seventy years).

In Should I Use Song Lyrics in My Writing?, published at The Steve Laube Agency blog, Christian literary agent Tamela Hancock Murray suggests we’re asking the wrong question. We shouldn’t be asking “can we?”. Instead, ask “should we?”

Marketing

Marketing Must-Haves

Chris Syme shares a short post introducing her three marketing must-haves for newbie authors. At the risk of stealing her thunder, I’ll tell you what they are:

1. An author website with a URL that matches their author name (e.g. www.iolagoulton.com).
2. An email list.
3. A Facebook business page. No, your personal profile isn’t good enough (click here to find out the difference).

Chris goes into more detail about each of these in her marketing books, all of which I recommend:

SMART Social Media for Authors

Sell More Books with Less Social Media 

Sell More Books with Less Marketing

 

Marketing Plan

Everyone tells us we need a marketing plan. There are even some internet templates to help you write one. Unfortunately, most are so long it looks like writing the book would be quicker.

In this short post, Joel Friedlander takes us through the five essential questions that need to be answered in a book marketing plan (actually, substitute “customers” for “readers”, and it will probably work in other industries).

Missing Lettr

Over the last two weeks, I’ve written posts explaining how I use the paid versions of Buffer and Social Jukebox to manage my social media sharing. There are other tools, such as Hootsuite and CoPromote.

Missing Lettr is another tool. It allows users to promote blog content over the next year. The free version allows users to share one campaign (i.e. blog post) a week, from one website to one social media profile.

Smart Bitches Trashy Books are sharing a limited-time promotion on Missing Lettr’s paid plans—6 months for the price of 1. The cheapest paid plan (Personal) is usually $15/month, and allows users to schedule four campaigns a week from up to two websites, to four social media profiles.

It’s a good deal, and I might be tempted if I wasn’t already using the Power Scheduler and Buffer’s Awesome plan ($10/month) to achieve the same result. Let me know if you sign up for Missing Lettr—I’d love to know how you find it.

That’s all for this week! Which post did you think was the most interesting?

Best of the Blogs 9 September 2017

Best of the Blogs: 24 June 2017

Best of the Blogs: the best posts I’ve read this week on writing, editing, publishing, and marketing.

Although mostly on writing, thanks to the #AuthorToolBoxBlogHop hosted by Raimey Gallant. (Click here to read my contribution to the blog hop).

Writing

Passive Voice

What’s The Deal With Passive Voice, from ML Keller, is one of the best posts I’ve ever read on passive voice—what it is, when it’s bad, and when it’s not so bad (hint: it’s not removing every was or to be from your manuscript).

Point of View

Point of view is a huge issue for writing. With beginners, it’s understanding that third person is not omniscient, or that headhopping an issue. (Adding a *** every three lines doesn’t make it a new scene with a new POV character.)

In Deep Point of View, K Kazul Wolf shows how to write deep point of view. As she points out, it’s nebulous and hard—it’s moving beyond ‘rules’. You can make a ‘rule’ not to use filler words. But it takes skill and hard work to move from “they fought” to showing the reader the fight.

Micro-Plotting

Micro-plotting is David Farland’s term for ensuring you’ve got all those nitty-gritty details in your story that ensure your readers are engaged with your character, and that your plot makes sense. Confused? Read the post.

Writing Christian Fiction

Blog posts from Mike Duran at deCOMPOSE always get me thinking. In The Importance of Implicit (v. Explicit) Christian Content in Fiction, he explores the trend for Christian authors to write for the general market. Duran introduces Holly Ordway’s idea of a “two-step conversion”: moving first from atheism to belief in God, then to embracing Christianity.

He points out that many Christian novels focus on this second step (or feature characters who are already Christians), and don’t address the necessary first step. Duran says:

While a work of fiction may not explicitly articulate the Gospel, it can still contain implicit elements which engage a person’s imagination and move them forward in their spiritual pilgrimage.

Not Writing Preachy Characters

It’s not just Christians who overdo the preaching in their writing. In this post (also from the #AuthorToolBoxBlogHop), Raimey Gallant shares Five Ways to Temper the Preachy in Your Plot. She’s not talking about religious preaching, but about the issues preaching—the environment, assisted suicide, political views …

I can think of a general market romance author I stopped reading after her novels detoured from straight romantic suspense with a touch of comedy to romantic suspense with a heavy dose of gay rights. I could have lived with a gay couple (hey, I can skip pages I don’t want to read). What I couldn’t live with was the preachy telling. Remember the show, don’t tell rule? Well, this author switched to tell, don’t show, and it did her message no favours.

I’ve recently read a Christian romantic suspense novel where the heroine was All About The Issue in a way which made Erin Brockovich seem like a disinterested lightweight. I couldn’t like the character even though I agreed with her stance, and that made it impossible for me to enjoy the novel.

Marketing

Craft Your Self-Publishing Plan for Success: Tips From an Indie Author is an outstanding case study from author Laini Giles, visiting Your Writer Platform. Giles takes readers through her publishing objectives, and how she worked to achieve them. What I thought was especially clever was how she identified her target audience, then marketed to them—including attending events her target reader would also attend.

One learning point: for all her success, she wishes she’d started building her email list earlier.

Productivity

Book coach Nina Amir is also a Certified High Performance Coach. This week, she gives solid tips to reaching your writing goals (and not making excuses).

What blog posts have you read this week that are worth remembering?