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What is the best advice I’d give an author?

She reads out loud like I do too! 😀 Love it. ♥

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

What is the best advice I’d give an author?

How many times have you thought about this question? Those of you who know me would remember I’d say “Never give up on your dreams.” But what else would I say?

Read work by other authors in your genre:

If you write children’s books, or fantasy, or romance, read some of those books. What did you like about the author’s style? Was the book well written and engaging?

Check your spelling and grammar:

It’s easy to think if you have spell check on your computer you might feel confident you don’t need to check your work for spelling errors. But before you get too excited think about words like two versus too, or form and from. It’s easy to overlook them because the computer won’t help you locate them.

Revise, revise and revise again:

Have you ever written a chapter and…

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Eating My Frog Daily

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“Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” – Mark Twain

Let’s get something clear to start… if writing is like eating a frog to you… it’s probably not “your thing” in life.  So, that said, writing isn’t really like eating a frog (as Mr. Twain refers to it above) but sometimes it can be as hard to do as eating a frog.

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10 Emotional Hurdles for the Newbie Writer #writers #amwriting

Dead on thoughts about the hurdles in becoming a writer. With Nanowrimo fast approaching now is a good time to become aware of the things which lay ahead of you aspiring writer!

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As a newbie writer I am constantly trying to jump over emotional hurdles in order to progress.

I am calling them hurdles  because if you don’t jump them you will end up falling down and hurting your writer self.

They are emotional  because each one has the potential to bring on tears / sobbing / a low mood / a spot of soul searching.

  1. Showcasing your writing to strangers. This was a tough one for me. Its such a scary thing to do when you first start out. Starting a writing blog helped me jump this emotional hurdle.
  2. Getting your first piece of negative feedback. Fall at this hurdle and you may never get back up. You have to overcome this and see the feedback as a learning. Some reviewers have never been on the ‘how to give feedback constructively’  training course so you have to put your emotions…

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4 Assumptions that Help Authors Fail

Thoughtful blog entry about writing and the ways in which many of us drop the ball when attempting to make that leap towards true success. A great read.

The Published Author

Writing

10 years ago, only one book out of every ten would succeed. And by succeed, I don’t mean bestseller. These books would earn out the advance for the author and probably get in a little more on the royalty, they would earn the publisher a small profit (yeah, not the kind of profit traditional publishing bashers say publishers make), but good enough to commission another book by the author. Occasionally, one of these “success stories” would break out and become a bestselling A-Lister. All in all, 7 or 8 out of every 10 published authors would fail. Today, with the ubiquitous self-publishing model, the number is higher it’s probably 97 or 98 out of hundred.

Yes. Only 2 or 3 out of every hundred novelists will see success. Not Patterson kind of success but “I can quit my day job” kind of success.

I am considering for this post …

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One Simple Tool To Improve Your Story

Relationship Map

A lovely relationship map (very funny btw) done by Noelle Stevenson, pick it up at: http://www.inprnt.com/gallery/gingerhaze/fellowship-relationship-map/

Relationships are at the heart of fiction and life.  They are what make our own lives have value and make a book worth reading.  Sometimes it can be tempting to remove road blocks such as misunderstandings and failure to see eye to eye on things from between your protagonist and his/her sidekicks, mentors, etc.

However, in doing so we really do a disservice to our stories because at the heart of all stories isn’t just relationships… there’s also conflict.  Our character’s problems and how we do or don’t deal with them are how we keep a story going and our readers reading.  Do you know what you call two characters without conflict of some kind?  “Happily Ever After” or “The End.”  That’s right, the story is done between them.

So, conflict between even the best of friends and lovers is a must… however, the conflict has to make sense in the context of their relationship.  How do you do that?  Well, even characters who are utterly in sync with each other emotionally will vary in how they relate to others.  This is where a tool from rpg storytelling comes in VERY handy.

A relationship map is like a mind mapping exercise where the lines between characters show you what one character thinks about the other.  For instance in a romance the two main characters might have arrows pointed at each other which read “I love you” but maybe they hero’s mother in law is where they differ.  The male character may “love and respect” his mother while the heroine may find her “annoying and catty.”  The difference in how these two see the same secondary character is RIFE with conflict for you to exploit as a storyteller.

Additionally, the importance of subtext can not be overstated here.  With a relationship map you can easily define emotional states and opinions that might not be spelled out for the reader but implied strongly.  Backstory that need not be revealed right away (or ever) that adds a layer of depth to your world and will keep readers engrossed in your setting, in love with your characters, and even developing story theories of their own.

Have you ever done a relationship map for your characters?  Comment below and tell me about it!

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An easy way to sell more books

As a reader it doesn’t shock me that so many folks wanted to know what else an author has written. When I like a writer I usually look up their other books too *SO* take this advice and be sure to include that link in your ebooks! Check out the full post by following the link below.

Nicholas C. Rossis

Effrosyni Moschoudi was the very first one to suggest to me this little trick, and I have since used it with all my books. Now, Jonathan Gunson has written a great post with the same easy way to sell more books, as a comment on a presentation by Goodreads CEO Otis Chandler.

In a survey of Goodreads’ 15 million strong membership, he found that the main driver of eBook purchases was, unsurprisingly, ‘referral by a friend’.  But when a follow-up question was put to readers, another powerful sales strategy for authors emerged.

They were asked:  “What do you want to do when you get to the end of a book?”

The telling response was that 83%wanted tosee what else the author had written.

Here’s the actual slide from Chandler’s presentation:
Goodreads Readers

How Can Authors Take Advantage Of This ‘Show Me More’ Moment?

If most readers finish books and immediately…

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The Secret to Pleasing Readers

Accepted Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time

Accepted – Here I am with friends/fellow fans of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time… I am dressed as an Accepted, a character type from his famous series of books. In the photo I was attending a fan-based event hosted by TarValon.net which was attended by people from around the world.

Since man lived in caves drawing pictures on the walls, since he sat around fires telling tales about what lurked in the night just beyond the edge of the light, and right up until today with TV, movies, and (of course) books… mankind has always loved a good story and just importantly – he has longed to be a storyteller.

For those of us who aspire to be published authors (and most assuredly those of us who wish to do so successfully enough to call it a career) the title of storyteller can be a truly sacred thing.  A mantle granted in ancient times to those with wisdom, entertainment and information to share.  They were a person entrusted with the duty of doling out the latest news and lessons to be learned in the most engaging way possible.  Only those who could meet the expectations of the masses could ever achieve their hearts-desire to be known as a Storyteller and in many ways it’s the same to this very day.

Getting noticed and landing a publishing contract isn’t easy – any aspiring author can tell you that – but even more difficult is that last part:  meeting the expectations of the masses.  Convincing one person or three people in a publishing house that your story has the chops to make it is one (sometimes seemingly impossible task) but getting readers and pleasing those readers is something entirely different.

But I have a secret to share – something that the publishing world hasn’t yet figured out about me and I’m going to share it with you today:  the secret to pleasing readers  *OR* everything I know about successful storytelling I learned from fandoms, rpg, & cosplay.

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Three NEVERS of Social Media for Writers

Some really good points to take away are in this particular blog. Namely about acting professionally online, protecting your brand in doing so, and generally avoiding bad author karma! 😀 Check it out!

Kristen Lamb's Blog

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These three professional blunders can hang on like the smell of dead fish and stink up our author career, so avoid them at all cost. I understand that many of you who follow this blog are new, so if you’ve made one of these mistakes, you’re learning. We all oops (especially in the beginning), so don’t sweat it. Yet, I see these three behaviors far more often than I’d like.

You’ve been warned ;).

NEVER Be Nasty in a Blog Comment

I am fully aware that my blog can’t make everyone happy. I work my tail off to entertain and enlighten but I know I can’t be all things to all people. If I’m not your cup of tea? Just click the unsubscribe button at the bottom of the e-mail WordPress sends you or e-mail me and I will happily assist you leaving (and cry later *sniffles*).

There is no need for…

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Another Way To Look at 50 Shades

50 Shades of Bad Marketing

Something I shared on Facebook Earlier This Week

Okay so earlier this week I posted this imagine on my personal Facebook page after reading a blog that picked apart 50 scenes of straight up abuse in 50 Shades of Grey.

I have to admit to my stomach turning horribly as I read the blog and found myself SO thankful I haven’t read the book series.  Yes, confession time (for those who don’t regularly follow my blog): I haven’t read the book… but PLEASE stay with me here, I have something to say that I haven’t seen on the millions of blogs about the topic.

Let’s rehash the discussions about abuse, reality vs. fantasy, & the marketing machine behind 50 Shades of Grey.  AND how both sides in this great literary debate can be right – for ALL THE RIGHT REASONS.

So – click that “read more” because Mrs. Ross will see you now.  😉

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How do I get more followers on my blog?

A GREAT bit of advice on how to build your blog into a bigger success! Definitely work reading and sharing! 😀

My thoughts on a page.

Why are some blogs more successful than others? Where do they get all their followers, page views and visitors? Why do some wonderful writers have so few followers, while others with less well written blogs have  so many?

Most new bloggers will google this endlessly, (probably second only to “how can I make money from my blog?). The number one answer they will read is “write good content”.

Well listen up new bloggers. That’s not strictly true. photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/anniemole/85515856/">Annie Mole</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">cc</a>
Content is not what makes a successful blog, although it will make you more successful than others. No, in my opinion what makes a successful blog is the many different things a blogger does before pressing publish, and the efforts they make afterwards “off blog” to promote their post.

What do I mean?

Well firstly imagine you have written a post. Does it have a catchy title, feature photos, and begin with a…

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