Category Archives: Writing tips and tricks
tips for writers, blog posts I love, and a weekly shout out of great links
For those of you who hang out at my site, you may have noticed the title of my novel has changed. I did this for a good reason – and feel like I dodged a bullet in the process.
I thought it would be cool to use song lyrics for the titles of my Claire Wiche books, and I was so enamored of the idea, I didn’t even think of one little detail – copyright.
A random thread brought it to my attention, and after I finished having heart palpitations, I promptly did some research. There is a law known as Fair Use. Wikipedia gives a great explanation, but here is the bottom line – use song lyrics anywhere in your writing, and you better have permission.
A song title can be quoted, since it can’t be copyrighted, but lyrics are like any other kind of writing – and they are protected.
Think of it this way – would you want your opus quoted, and not get the credit for it? Nope, neither would I.
So I decided to avoid the entire issue, and changed my book title. By the way - the new title is from the Bible, which is completely public domain. I checked.
If you want to go ahead and use those lyrics, get the permission, give the proper credit, double and triple check the law. You can also simply refer to them – or write your own.
Yes, you can – it’s not as hard as you think.
Now, for the experiment:
you may have also noticed as you stalk my site that I have my novella exclusively for sale on Amazon. I did that for a reason.
Since this is my first release, it is also my chance to play, try things out, see what flies, and what crashes. My first big leap is a free promo through KDP Select. From today until Tuesday, Feb. 21 at midnight Pacific Standard Time, When Walls Can Talk will be free to download.
The purpose? To bump myself up in the rankings, get on some lists, and get more eyes on my book.
I am going to have fun with it, enjoy the ride – and I’ll report the results next week.
And yes, I believe this calls for a squee!
Until next time – write on
So I was formatting my ebook last weekend. . . .
Yeah – ALL weekend.
I had a great guide, which saved me many hours and much hair tearing: Guido’s Guide to Formatting. It looks long, but every section is brief, to the point, and has what you need for a clean .mobi and .epub file. If you’re planning on taking this adventure, I highly recommend it.
After a few false starts, I got everything formatted the html way. What did me in was the fact that I was going back and forth between two versions of Word. And some of the formatting went a bit – sideways. It was easy to find once I converted – I simply compared the converted file to my html file, and fixed mistakes as I went.
Finally, after *mumble mumble* hours, I was ready to upload. Yep, the proud mama of a newborn ebook. *wipes forehead*
Then I had to do it all over again for Smashwords. Oy. Writing the bloody book was the easiest part.
But it is done and gone, and I can rest easy knowing I have someone doing my next book for me. Oh, yes – I am HAPPILY paying someone else to format my 60,000+ novel, especially since we are headed into paperback realm, and I do not want to go there. Not alone.
My first foray was with a 22,000 word novella – not bad, since each readthrough took less than an hour. But multiply that hour by several readthroughs and, yeah, you get the picture. All I kept thinking was it was time I could have used writing. Hence the formatting guy, who is now my new best friend.
Would I do it again? For a short story or novella, most likely. Now that I know the ropes, and the Word issue has been fixed, I know it will go much faster. For a novel – not ever. But that is my choice, and it is one made from the position of been there, done that, man I earned the t-shirt.
So, what are your formatting stories? Good, bad, ugly? Share them here.
Until next time – write on.
Now that I am reviewing books every week, I have spent mucho time scanning samples online.
Now I can overlook some formatting issues, but the appalling punctuation I am finding out there seriously has me bothered.
As indie authors, we have complete control over our work – our product. And like any product, it should be the absolute best you can produce, at this moment. Like any art form, the more you do it, the better you get at it. But while you’re spinning those stories out of your mind, do yourself a favor and keep them in the right framework.
Know that rule before you break it. Better yet – know all the rules. Imprint them in your head, type them up and paste them on your computer – whatever it takes to remind you that how you write is just as important as what you write.
If you don’t follow the basic rules and put that book out there with errors, your readers are going to let you know – often in the form of angry reviews. And those reviews can cost you.
Remember, the book you put out represents YOU. Now ask yourself – how do you want to be seen by future readers?
Make sure your answer is one you can live with for a long time.
Okay – rant over. Thanks for listening.
Until next time – write on, with style.
Oh, yes – it’s that time. Again.
Time to unearth the various exercise machines.
Time to start the new diet.
Time to write out the resolutions.
I go through the same angst every new year. And by February, sometimes sooner, those good intentions have become nasty little regrets, tapping on my shoulder.
This year, I’m not making resolutions.
Instead, I’m writing out my goals. Yep – goals.
Positive, concrete, can-make-a-to-do-list goals.
I already feel lighter.
So what are your goals for this year? Have you mapped out where you are headed with your writing career?
I found some fabulous posts that offer advice for any goal you could possibly want to achieve – plus some laughs along the way. I’m going to put you in their capable hands, and wish you all the best writing year yet!
Let Jim Devitt’s list of goals inspire your own.
Larry Brooks inspired Jim’s post – and inspired me.
Kristen Lamb and the silliness of the New Year’s resolutions we make.
The Girls with Pens help you break down your goals, with a little SMART.
The Creative Penn – her goals, and a good blueprint for creating your own.
Another Kristen Lamb contribution – read this one and just do it!
Until next time – write on.
I was so excited about my new book cover that finishing this post flew completely out of my mind. So here it is, a little late but with advice I wish I’d found sooner in my eye bleeding search for answers. Enjoy!
The first time I read the words “author platorm” I thought What? What is that? And how am I supposed to get one? Then I read about branding.
What? How do I do that?
Bring on the panic attacks. Next came heart palpitations and shortness of breath. I was wandering naked through the valley of information overload, and more confused than when I started.
Not a pretty sight.
Not only that – it was fun.
Not long after I added Are You There Blog? It’s Me, Writer to my growing collection. Because of her advice I completely restructured my blog, and how I thought of it.
I was fortunate, because I found these resources early on. They answered all my questions and then some, gave me the confidence to build an author platform and a brand I can be proud of – and still love ten or twenty years on. Because I am here for the long haul.
For all of you just starting out, or lost in information overload valley - do yourself a favor and buy both of these.
Go on, I’ll wait.
Got them? Good. Now read, then reread. Use that handy notes thingie on your ereader and bookmark everything that grabs you. It will make finding it later that much easier. These two books are your social media bible. Kristen Lamb knows what she’s talking about, and my results after implementing her advice have surprised and impressed me.
Now it’s your turn to go out and wow everyone with your own unique, intriguing author platform. And you’ll be able to say author platform without breaking out in hives. Greatest thing ever.
I wish you the best – and let me know how your own sites and blogs are coming along. I’d love to hear from you!
Now for the weekly shout outs – posts and sites I am loving!
~ A great post by Jeff Bennington with tips on how he realized his writing sucked – and how he fixed it.
~ Rachel Aaron gives an excellent lesson on upping your word count – and it really works!
~ Another great guest post about book covers by Maria Zannini, over on Kristen Lamb’s blog – the more information we can gather on how to get the perfect, eye-catching cover, the better!
~ I have been following Holly Lisle’s advice for years – she even got me to start writing outlines! Check out her excellent articles and workshops here.
Enjoy, and until next time – write on.