There is Always a Reason NOT to Start Writing

The excuses we make: procrastination, bargaining and other disorders

For years, I have been collecting ideas that would lend themselves to stories at some future date. I used to write more poetry than anything and convinced myself I needed to go back to school to learn the tools of prose.

The stories grew in quantity and quality. Still I listened to others with well meaning opinions, “Stick to Poetry.” The first time I started to write a story it was long and clumsy. I used too many words and pondered too long on every detail.

I read other writers and their essays which seemed so full of thought. I hung on every word because there was meat, a satisfying nourishment that weaved throughout the work.

First I learned to shorten my paragraphs, to lessen the use of words and concentrate on sharpening the meaning. As the muscle improved, I began to weave meaning that would connect from one paragraph to another.

The structure of the paragraph began to make sense. I had developed a vehicle that could convey the story that was only an inanimate block on a page. My stories suddenly had legs.

All those years of excuses and procrastination suddenly dissolved the doubts that kept me from writing, from taking my own voice seriously.

Doubt allows us to do nothing. It teaches us to write things down for later. So many dust covered pages hide stories that will one day find a voice and get a breath of life.

Writing is that amazing world we envision come to life as we overcome our fear and doubt. Write until the muscle grows and write until you know how. It’s amazing what the future holds for someone who believes in themselves and writing. Start now.


This post is contributed as Guest post by Steven Linebaugh.


He is a creative and nature is his muse. His words are from his experiences in nature and the stories of depression and self awareness. His poetry has slowly mutated into prose and the future is open.
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How Do I Create My Male Characters?

Characters mostly choose their narrator. I can say that convincingly having experienced that a number of times with my characters: they come, I start the story and they take over!

I am often asked how I manage to portray my male characters so realistically? Is it difficult to switch from gender to gender and be equally convincing, giving them the same depth?
Well, after all, both female and male characters are people, and this is where the skill lies – in writing about people and their intertwined relationships honestly, skillfully and in-depth.

The majority of my novels are written in the first person perspective and in the body of one novel I write in both genders. When I start the story writing as a woman the reader enters into the world of certain sensibility. I am not talking of stereotyping and typical ‘female sensibility’, as my women are often very strong-headed with very distinguished characteristics and strength of character and psyche, but still, regardless of their strong personalities they are female characters.
Being a woman, it is easy for me to sympathise with any of my female characters regardless of their age, nationality or any kind of background. I can portray with equal zest and plasticity the girl of a tender age or a woman whose rich and long life is nearing its end, as I do in my books.

Characters mostly choose their narrator. I can say that convincingly having experienced that a number of times with my characters: they come, I start the story and they take over!

I am not going to claim that I get my male characters perfect as they are very demanding, capricious, strong-headed and tend to hide their feelings. I have to dig deep to discover their real feelings, and the depth of them, but the more reluctant they are to uncover their feelings the more determined I am to dig them out and expose them to the light of day. I love exploring human feelings, the reasons why we do what we do, why we act the way we act, what lies deep down that governs our behavior and leads us to chose a certain path.

When I was growing up I read classic literature.
There were only two female writers that were assigned as compulsory literature in high school: Charlotte Bronte and Jane Austen; the rest were male writers, therefore I read many great writers whose characters were predominantly male characters. I was fascinated by the majority of them, by their secret inner world, their psyche, the way they thought, acted, by their view of women et cetera.

My male characters are so far from my psyche that it seems like an almost impossible task to ‘get them right’. The only thing I had in common with the character of Vito Del Bianco was – we were both writers. He is a womanizer, a bon vivant, heavy drinker, cynic, and a cunning man. He loved and lived on the wild side taking advantage of people and situations.
Just like Nicholas O’B, a selfish, self-destructive wannabe writer, a gambler, liar, cheat and a skilled master of manipulation and deceit.

Otto Visconti is a misfit. A poet who interprets the world in a very unique way: he is suspicious, overwhelmingly pessimistic showing poor and degenerate demeanor and lifestyle due to the lack of self-confidence and inner strength. He blames his parents for his misfortunes and lack of stamina, mainly his mother, which makes him create an unreal view of women, unreal expectations and ridiculous, unsuccessful attempts to charm any woman or win any friend.

How do I fit there? Under the skin of such a character or in his milieu?
I let them be. I let them express themselves; I listen to them.
I evoke and explore old memories, the place where I store all the characters I’ve ever met; I study people thoroughly all the time and ask myself constantly, ‘How does he feel right now?’, ‘Why did he say that and how can I see on his face, in his gestures that he really meant it?’, ‘What is his body language saying about him, his feelings and hidden motives?’
I endlessly analyse my characters. I sympathise and empathise with them trying to get out of me all those feelings that they might feel or might hide.
While I write about them I live their lives, I get into their heads and I converse with them asking them to reveal their deepest thoughts, secrets and dreams: pleasant, unpleasant, ordinary, wild, cruel or unselfish, the whole range of emotions. For me it matters more what they feel than how they comb their hair or what type of shirt they are wearing.

When I bring out all of their emotions I know that it is going to be convincing … surely for some of my readers; as I can’t claim that my male characters are perfect, I know, at least, that they are – colourful.


This post is contributed as Guest post by Branka Cubrilo.


I am an author of 7 written novels (written from 1981 – 2011). Five of them were published by three different publishers (I am writing in two languages).

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5 Book Marketing Steps to Take Before You Publish

The most excellent book marketing approach unites online and offline elements, and if done correctly, it will improve the sales as well as the readership of your book.

Marketing is very important if you are doing a business because it helps you to earn a lot of new clients, retain current client, improve traffic to your business website, enhance client engagement, improve sales, boost up profits, etc. But, have you ever thought of marketing when you write a book of your own? If you haven’t thought of marketing your boo so far, you should think about it since it lets you to reach to more readers, improve the visibility of your book, increase the readers  of your book, and also to sell more books than ever before. Book Marketing is essential I you would like to achieve your goals.

It is very important for you as a book writer to understand the best and effective ok marketing tricks and ways to promote your book before you publish your book. Book marketing is really helpful and valuable for book publishers, self-publishing authors, book authors, and e-book publishers who wish for selling more books. A complete book marketing campaign brings into play a combination of tactics. It is possible for a book author to start an effectual book marketing campaign devoid of the support or assistance of book marketing professionals in the field.

The most excellent book marketing approach unites online and offline elements, and if done correctly, it will improve the sales as well as the readership of your book. Here are top and effective 5 book marketing steps to take before you publish:

  1. Make Use of Social Media

Keep in mind that book marketing campaigns definitely derive benefit from effective use of online social networks. Since, the majority of people around the world regardless of their age and gender spend much of their every day time in different social media sites; you can go a long way into promoting your book to a larger audience by capitalizing on social media. Social media networks including Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, etc, look like to be the center of attention of most book sales promotion these days.

You should create an account in all the social media sites and tell about your book that persuades the readers to buy your book once it gets published. Be social, active and engage with your readers in social media.  Share, and pass on information about your upcoming books with your readers in social media. Be active in your Facebook groups and social media accounts, and also try to take part in online forums. Share news of your book in diverse social media sites, but stay away from any buildup messages.

  1. Increase Your Web Presence

If you would like to sell more books and also to take your book to more readers across the world, you should think about increasing your web presence. You cannot thrive as a writer in the modern digital world without giving preference to developing web presence. Create accounts in different social media sites like Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, etc, so that readers can find you and your books. You should write about your upcoming books and post it on your social media accounts.

Make sure to update your visitors about the status of your forthcoming book.  If you have a website that includes every details of your book, you should implement best SEO methods to drive more traffic, improve the visibility of your website, and improve the sales of your book and also to enhance the readership of your book.  You have to inquire fans to post their reviews on your Facebook page and also in other social media sites.

  1. Build Your Fan Base

It is essential for you to build a community of fans and customers before you release your work to the general public. By the time your book comes out, you should have a solid base of readers and fans to work from. Remember that a loyal and strong fan base that was developed from marketing activities will aid you to sell more books and also to improve the readership o your book considerably.

You can build your fan base by means of beginning a FB campaign, starting a Google campaign to boost traffic to your site, connecting with other writers, engaging with readers, writing blog posts, keyword your blog posts, hosting guest bloggers, becoming a guest blogger, commenting on other blogs, becoming more active on different  social media channels and many more.

  1. Update Author Website or Blog

In the present day, the best parts of writers have got websites or blogs in order to inform their readers about their past works, current works and also the future works. It helps the writers to connect with their readers every time and also inform them when he publishes his next work or the genre or theme of the work. Updating author website or blog when writers are about to publish their book will help them to notify their readers about their upcoming book, its releasing date, etc.

When launching a book, you have got to invite people including reviewers, fans, media, readers, etc. An updated website or blog can o the job for the writer. An updated website or blog should have Author photo, Author bio, Book cover, Links to purchase the book, Links to purchase any past books, details about the book section, Social media links, Email sign up, etc. The objective of updated website or blog is to persuade visitors to stay on a publisher or author website, learn about a book, and provide them a reason to return again.

  1. Maximize Your Book’s SEO

One of the unavoidable elements of book marketing is SEO. The writers should maximize their book’s SEO if they would like to take their book to wider audience, enhance distribution and boost selling of their book. Effective SEO methods will aid every writer to gain the faith of prevalent audience and also to get traffic to author website or blog. One method to efficiently advertise your book and sell more books is to optimize the book’s metadata for search engines. Promote your book with certain Keywords and keyword phrases. It will assist you to allow search engines to easily find your books.


This post is contributed as Guest post by Susan Taylor.

I am Susan Taylor. I am working as a freelance writer for the past many years and I love writing which is the main reason for me to pursue my career in freelance writing. Presently, I work for dissertation writing services online and it helps me to deal with papers on a daily basis. I love writing blog articles whenever I get free time.

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5 Things You Should Be Doing As A New Author

While you’re writing your fantastic bestselling novel, there are some things you should be doing to make your writing better

Have you started writing your first book? Are you thinking about writing a book? Well, hot damn. That’s fantastic. Start writing. Plain and simple. While you’re writing your fantastic bestselling novel, there are some things you should be doing to make your writing better and hopefully; help you land an agent or set yourself up for a successful self-publishing career.

1. SOCIAL MEDIA, BLOGS, AND WEBSITES

I can hear the wails now. ‘Why do I have to get on social media? I just want to write a book, not a blog. What the hell, I have to build a website?’ Yes, eventually you must do these things. Nowadays, agents and publishers look at what new authors can bring to the table. Gone are the days of publishers building the author’s brand. You’re responsible for your author brand. Don’t wait until your book is complete to start building your author platform. You’re not building your platform/brand to sell books. You want to build relationships. This will translate into a much more successful long term career. By starting this now, when your book is complete, you’ll have people you’ve developed a relationship with who will be invested in you and will hopefully buy your book.So, what social media should you be using? Start with Twitter. Read How to promote your book on Twitter with Shout my book. Follow authors you like. Follow agents that represent authors who write in your genre. Engage with people, retweet others content. Don’t make it about you. Remember you want to use social media to build relationships. Don’t tweet about me, me, me. People do not want to hear all about you.Pinterest—As you get closer to releasing your book, either by traditional publishing or self-publishing, this can be a great marketing tool. Facebook—Read up on Facebook for authors. When you have decided where you want your writing to go, then you’ll have a better idea of how to approach Facebook.  Instagram—I’m just now learning about Instagram and using it for my author branding. You can also use free twitter book promotion services of Shout my book.

Blogs—As for a blog; you don’t have to start one now. However, you should consider starting one soon. Jane Friedman’s—How to Start Blogging: A Definitive Guide for Authors will explain why blogging is important for authors. Blogging not only gets you out there, put it helps people connect with you. You can gear your blog to whatever you want. I set mine up to help new authors. I try to relay information that will help with their writing, save them time, headaches, and money. If you don’t feel comfortable starting your blog, find places like Being Author and submit a guest blog post to them. All these things will help build your author platform/brand.

WEBSITES: You do not need a website of your own to start this endeavor. Wait until you have decided where you want to take your writing. Ultimately, if you decide you want to have your books published you should have an author website. You can combine this with your blog. Almost all the providers allow for a minimal free website. You can play around with them and see what you like best. Joanna Penn has a great article on author websites.

My only advice, pay attention to what you put out there. Everything you do on social media will reflect on your author brand. Don’t get into arguments on any social media platform. You will never win, and it will remain out there forever.

2. JOIN A WRITING GROUP

Not only will you meet other authors, but you’ll also have a built-in support system. In my writing group, each month, we critique someone’s writing. You submit a few pages and then everyone tells you what they liked, didn’t like, where they think you can improve. I found myself stuck in a chapter and emailed it to someone in the group, the immediate feedback and help were fantastic. I found my group on Meetup.

3. GO TO WRITING CONFERENCES

You don’t have to go the most expensive conference on the other side of the planet. Check out your area. In Oklahoma City, we have small writing conferences all over the place. I attend the Oklahoma Writers’ Federation Inc (OWFI) conference yearly. These conferences have industry leaders, agents, publishers, and editors there and they are accessible. At the last conference, I met three editors. I asked each of them if they would review three chapters of my book and give me some idea of where I was at as a writer and what kind of editor would benefit me in the future. Each did it for free. Each did three different chapters.

Hand in hand with conferences is joining a writer’s group like OWFI. There is the Romance Writers of America or the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. There is probably a writers group for every genre. These groups run contests, hold conferences and online workshops. It is usually very little to join and the benefits far out way that minimal cost.

4. Read

Yes, Read. Read books by authors who write in your genre. Read other genres. Read the bestselling authors and see how they do it. Follow them on your social media outlets. Connect with them, see what they’re reading. Find blog posts about writing. I read a lot that Jane Friedman posts. Frances Caballo’s website has great posts daily. You don’t have to read just books. Read about the writing process and ways to make you a better writer.

5. Write Regularly:

Sounds too easy huh? If you’re serious about writing a novel, you’re going to need to set aside daily writing times. If not daily, because shit happens, you should be writing several times a week. I don’t care if you write standing, sitting at a desk, or sitting in a recliner (that’s me) just write. If you have kids like I do, write when they’re at school and late at night. If you work, figure out a daily time to sit down and write. Then don’t do anything else for that hour or however long you’ve blocked out. Don’t get on your social media, don’t answer emails or pin stuff on Pinterest. When you sit down to write, write. DO NOTHING ELSE.Don’t get bogged down in the little stuff. It’s not rocket science; but if you want to be a serious author/writer, you’re going to have to put in the time and effort. It’s very rewarding and very demanding at the same time.It all starts in one place, though, writing. NOW GO WRITE.

 

This post is contributed as Guest post by Victoria M. Patton.

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Warning: This Children’s Book Portrays Real-Life

Why does realism in children’s books cause controversy?

So, I’ve just realised I’m one of THOSE authors who writes books that are ‘inappropriate’ for children.

Who tells me so? Well, my local librarian declined to stock my book in her collection and I’ve had reviewers refuse to review my book because of its subject matter. They obviously know what children should and shouldn’t read. I’m a mother of a four-year-old and read books to my child very day but what would I know? I’m just a self-published writer, so my book is not trade publisher validated as acceptable for kids.

There’s always been controversial books for young readers that divide the reading audience (the adult reading audience, that is). I read an enlightening article recently by Perri Klass, M.D. It is called “The Banned Books Your Child Should Read”. Among others, it cites a list “of frequently challenged books” for children and YA readers. I’ll borrow the well-known examples of Judy Blume’s ‘controversial’ portrayal of a young girl going through puberty in Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret and even the hugely successful Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey, which focusses on underwear and perhaps most alarmingly, children not always behaving well. This is just far too much reality for some adults to handle, therefore, it is their job to make sure the children in their sphere are not exposed to it.

Or, is it their job?

Do we underestimate children’s abilities to process and filter information that portrays the less-than-perfect side of life, or, stories that are written with subtexts, to keep parents entertained? Do all books for children need to be moralistic, to be suitable for them to read?

Or, can they just be fun and perhaps even a little bit naughty in some cases? Are parents allowed to get enjoyment from the books they read to their children? Being a parent, myself, I would argue that I’m more likely to pick up a book that appeals to me on some level, as much as there will be a point of appeal that I know will interest my son. It’s a win, win and that dear reader, is what I naively thought might appeal to others when I wrote and published my first picture book, Daddy and the World’s Longest Poo.

It has now dawned on me that I have written a book that divides people right down the middle and provokes some very strong reactions. Primary areas of concern seem to be that there is an image of a poo on one of the pages in a book about poo and the other problem is that I have dared to poke fun at the domestic relations between a man and a woman. Yikes!

In my defence, let me just say that I have road tested this book with children and it resonates best with 4 – 6-year-olds. They appreciate it on the level that it takes about poo and it is written from the perspective of a curious little boy, just like them. And even at that age, most children can identify with the fact that someone they know might spend a lot of time on the toilet. That’s real life and it’s funny.

On another level, parents who read this book to children realise that it does draw attention to a certain quirky behaviour. Some people like being on the toilet because it gives them precious alone time, and dare I say it, in the world of long term relationships and parenting small children, perhaps this even gives the toilet-goer some time away from their spouse, or their responsibilities. (Some time I said, not ALL the time!) My pure intention by satirising this behaviour was to make adults laugh, not to offend anyone. Even the person I wrote it about thinks it’s funny!

I liken this sort of multi-level appeal to almost every single successful animated movie that comes out these days. Sophisticated film makers know that saccharine sweet is not enough to get whole families to the movies anymore. In other words, they portray the quirks of life through characters and storylines that are written on completely different levels for parents and for children. This is so that the parents can bear watching these movies repeatedly and will shell out money for them at the cinema and on DVD. I’d like to give you one good example from the successful Toy Story franchise which seems to be pretty widely accepted by parents, as much as it is loved by children. It’s not on any sort of banned list that I can think of.

To be blunt, there is one scene in which Buzz Lightyear’s wings pop out when he is sexually excited by Jessie, as if he is having an erection. This double entendre is barely disguised and guess what, it does make me a teensy bit shocked every time I see it. It also goes completely over my child’s head and I do not stop him watching the movie, or this scene because it dares to be a bit naughty. I know this scene is included to hopefully make the adults watching laugh, even after the 1,000th time they have been forced to watch it.

So, I would like to leave off this ‘controversial’ blog by asking why we seem comfortable these days with exposing kids to movies written with double meanings, satire and cheeky humour but many still struggle with this type of writing in books?

If a children’s or YA book is generally obscene, or is actively encouraging that immoral behaviour is good, then sure, we do have an obligation to moderate its accessibility to young readers. But if it is drawing from real-life scenarios for the purpose of educating (think Judy Blume), or creating humour (shout out to Dav Pilkey), shouldn’t we just lighten up a little? Perhaps its time to acknowledge that our kids (and their parents) are not quite so much in need of protection, as we might think.

Would love to hear your views.

This post is contributed as Guest post by Brydie Wright.

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