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20 Favorite Pick-Me-Up Books

The right book can chase away even the gloomiest moods. In the company of cheerful characters and playful prose, worries slip away and anxiety fades. Everyone should have at least one pick-me-up book. We asked on Facebook and on Twitter: What’s yours?

Today we’ve got some of your top answers, from laugh-out-loud capers to heartwarming stories of friendship and romance. If your favorite didn’t make the list, share it with us in the comments!

 By Hayley
Source: goodreads

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Figurative Language in Poetry Writing

poetry

Figurative language says one thing but means another. However, figurative language does not intend to deceive. There is an expectation that figurative language will be understood and correctly interpreted by the listener or reader. We get the term “figure of speech” from figurative language.

In poetry, we frequently use figurative language, because it can be more meaningful, vivid, and expressive.

Let’s take a closer look at figurative language and how we can best use it in poetry writing.

Figurative Language

Most clichés are figures of speech: He’s as old as the hills. She’s a diamond in the rough. I was scared to death. You have nerves of steel. All of these statements are clichés, and they’re composed with figurative language. He’s not really as old as the hills. She’s not really a diamond. I’m still here, so I couldn’t have been scared to death. And your nerves might be strong, but they’re not actually made of steel. None of these statements are meant to be taken literally.

We all know that it’s best to avoid stale clichés in writing, but fresh figurative language enhances our work. And whether it’s fresh or not, almost everyone uses figurative language, but why?

Here are just a few reasons figurative language is so effective:

  • Figurative language adds dimension to our prose and poetry, allowing us to say things with more flair and color. Figurative language tends to be vivid, so it pops and comes alive in people’s imaginations.
  • Figurative language allows us to say more in fewer words. We can often express an idea in a single sentence using figurative language, but it would take a full paragraph to communicate that same idea in literal terms.
  • We often use figurative language in imagery (sensory details), making our language more sensuous and visceral.
  • Figurative language engages our emotions. “He’s very old” simply doesn’t inspire the same emotional response as “He’s as old as the hills.”
  • Figurative language allows us stronger or more intense expressions; this is commonly seen in the use of vulgarity, which is often used figuratively and to add intensity to an expression.

Literary Devices That Embody Figurative Language

Many literary devices, which are common in poetry, employ figurative language. Here are a few examples:

Metaphor: presenting one thing as something else, usually for demonstrative purposes: She’s a rock.

Personification: ascribing human qualities to nonhuman objects and animals. My computer is lazy. 

Satire: criticism through humor, often using irony and overstatement. Jonathan Swift’s famous essay “A Modest Proposal” criticized the British treatment of the Irish by suggesting they cook and eat Irish infants, essentially saying, “We treat them so poorly now, we might as well eat their babies.”

Simile: one thing is described as being like another thing. He’s like a bull. 

Symbolism: something that represents something else and is used to enhance a theme, evoke emotion, or establish mood in a narrative.

Synecdoche: A type of metaphor in which a term that refers to one element of something is used to refer to the whole thing or vice versa. Synecdoche is often used for personification. An example of synecdoche is referring to businesspeople as suits or to a car as wheels.

Using Figurative Language in Poetry

One of the best ways to master figurative language in poetry is to study it. When you read poetry, look for figurative language. Use a highlighter, underlining, or make notes to identify figurative language that you find in the poems you read. Analyze and asses figurative expressions that you find. Are they clear? Effective? Compelling?

Among the many tidbits of advice that young and new writers often receive is to avoid clichés. This is especially true with figures of speech, which tend to be widely used and can sneak into our writing. A phrase that feels like an ordinary expression may actually be a worn-out cliché. Look for fresh ways of using figurative language to express your thoughts in poetry.

Practice using figurative language by reviewing your own poetry and looking for phrases and expressions that might work better in figurative terms. As an exercise, set a timer for ten minutes and come up with as many figurative expressions as you can to invigorate a line or phrase from your poem, and then use whichever one works best.

Questions and Discussion

Why is figurative language an effective tool for communication? How often do you use figurative language in your poetry? Do you ever catch yourself using clichés? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment, and keep using figurative language in poetry!

By Melissa Donovan
Source: writingforward

Visit us at First Edition Design Publishing

This Twitter Guide Will Make You See What You’re Doing SO Wrong And How To Make It Right

Twitter is a terrible selling channel…

IF your goal is to spam your book links up there and hope for the best. Most writers write their book and then realize, oh hey, there are millions of potential readers just waiting to buy my book. I’m gonna tell them all about my book by repeatedly sharing my link with them! They’re all gonna buy my book and I’ll be rich!

Yea, no. Doesn’t work that way, writer friends. And if you’ve spent any time on Twitter spamming book links to random people who don’t know you, you’ve likely figured this out already.

Even for people who are really great using Twitter, the organic (non-paid) conversion rate is…0.5%. Yep, that’s right. Less than 1%. So…why bother? Twitter is a wonderful way to connect with readers, book bloggers, and book reviewers if you are connecting with them strategically. Many writers are completely flummoxed how to do that.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • How can you add value to your readers?
  • How can you be visible without constantly spamming your book link?
  • How can you connect with readers and influencers who will embrace your work? 

I love Twitter because it’s the best way I know to connect with readers quickly and without having to write novels (hello, Facebook) to connect. My goal here is to help you change your paradigm from selling to connecting.

Today I’m going to run down the top Do’s and Don’t of Twitter for writers. You certainly do not need to follow my advice — do whatever you feel is best for you. I can only share that, as a long-time Twitter user, instructor, consultant, author and book marketer, these are standard, accepted, industry practices that work (in no particular order):

Twitter Do’s

This Twitter Guide Will Make You See What You're Doing SO Wrong And How To Make It Right by @BadRedheadMedia, Twitter Tips, Social Media

  • DO add your website and book link in your bio. You have 160 characters. Add the link to your book there. See my bio example >>>>>>
  • DO pin a tweet to your book or website to make it easy for people to connect with you. Prime real estate.
  • DO have a hi-resolution header (aka, banner) at the top of your profile. Same with your avatar. Faces work best. People like to see eyes.
    • If you’re writing under a pen name, buy a photo that represents you. Use a face.
  • DO add your book cover in the header, not as your avatar. (See mine by visiting @RachelintheOC or @BadRedheadMedia).
  • DO provide consistent tweets around the topics you discuss. This is your personal branding. Articles, quotes, RTs. I don’t mean only your own stuff.
  • Do share occasionally info on your own books; 80/20, 30/40/30, whichever formula works for you.
  • DO participate in memes (e.g., #MondayBlogs, #WednesdayWisdom), hashtags, trending topics, Twitter chats, etc. Just don’t make it all about you. Listen, learn, participate.
  • DO share generously and without expectation. Retweet (RT) often.
  • DO interact often with people, comment on tweets and articles. Be smart, funny (if that fits your personality), positive, well-read (you are a writer).
  • DO read people’s bios and timelines before commenting. Be informed.
  • DO ask questions. Twitter is a great LISTENING channel. People love giving their opinion.Click To Tweet

  • DO create visuals (Canva, Pablo by Buffer) and share quotes (yours and others). Tweets with images receive 150% more retweets than tweets without images. (Source: Buffer, via Hubspot)

This Twitter Guide Will Make You See What You're Doing SO Wrong And How To Make It Right by @BadRedheadMedia, Twitter Tips, Social Media

  • DO use Twitter Lists to manage followers. Public and private options.
  • DO activate and USE Twitter Analytics.
  • DO use the assigned hashtag when participating in Twitter chats so all participants see your tweets and replies (I recommend using free TweetChat.com or Twubs.com. Some people prefer Tweetdeck. Whatever works for you.)
  • DO schedule and space out your tweets — I use Hootsuite, Buffer, and PromoRepublic. All have free options.
  • DO create Moments featuring interesting conversations between you and others.
  • DO follow people strategically, using an affordable tool like ManageFlitter, where you can put a keyword term in Search (or use Twitter’s Advanced Search tool instead, which takes longer yet is still effective).
    • Focus on readers, book bloggers, book reviewers, and other influencers (e.g., publishers, agents, etc.). Connect with writers but not ONLY writers.
  • DO use Twitter’s Help Section if you’re not sure about how something works. It’s quite robust.
  • DO research Twitter ads (aka, sponsored tweets)
  • DO brand yourself, not your book. Talk about something besides your book, your book, your book. Aren’t you a person? Then act like one.

Twitter Don’ts:

  • DON’T reply to tweets with your blog URL (it’s already in your bio, pinned tweet, and header). It’s self-serving and a total newbie move.
  • DON’T thank people for following by spamming them with an AutoDM asking them to buy your book. STOP THAT RIGHT NOW.Click To Tweet

  • DON’T DM (direct message) people with your book link. Everyone is not your customer (thank you, Seth Godin) and besides, it’s rude. In addition, it violates Twitter’s TOS (Terms of Service): We all agree not to “Spam or bother users, or otherwise send them unsolicited messages.” I personally don’t want to risk having my account suspended or worse, banned.
  • DON’T thank people for the follow by telling them where else on social media they can find you. We’re on Twitter, not Facebook, Instagram, or Snap. Put those handles in your header if it’s that important to you.
  • DON’T come to Twitter chats and talk about yourself and your books and how awesome you are. That’s your ego talking and everyone sees that.
  • DON’T come into a chat and ask ‘what’s the topic?’ Read the host’s timeline first. Every host posts it throughout the day. Besides, hosts are busy.
  • DON’T ask a writer what they write. It’s ALMOST ALWAYS on their bio or header. Take three seconds and look at their bio. Read bios!
  • DON’T tag people with your latest blog post unless you’ve quoted them in the post. This is spammy and they will mute or block you.
  • DON’T tag people with your book promotion (unless they are explicitly part of it) because ugh. Just stop.
  • DON’T ask random people to read your book and review it. Why do you do that? Are they even your demographic? Be smarter.
  • DON’T put a link in every tweet. This is against Twitter’s TOS (terms of service) “if your updates consist mainly of links and not personal updates” you are violating the ‘Twitter Rules’ regarding spam. More here.
  • DON’T be rude and then LOL at the end. It’s passive/aggressive and people will block you.
  • DON’T quote someone without giving attribution. Again, against the TOS and also, just a really sh*tty thing to do. The original author (or author’s estate) can also sue you.
  • DON’T ask someone why they followed you. Be grateful (unless ya know, it’s someone weird and then mute or block them).
  • DON’T ever bully a book blogger or reviewer or ask your writer friends to ‘jump in’ to bully them (especially for a bad review). Once your book is out there, you’re no longer invited to the party. Grow up.
  • DON’T feel obligated to interact with anyone, ever. If you’re uncomfortable, mute, unfollow, or block. Report if necessary. That is your right.
  • DON’T automate every tweet. Interact live with people. Some automation is convenient (e.g., schedule in tweets for #MondayBlogs). Then go in and RT people, respond to their posts, ask questions.
  • DON’T complain that Twitter is all spam. That’s on you — if you only follow other writers who are spamming their books link and haven’t read this post because you haven’t shared it with them yet :), stop following only other writers.

Twitter is Just One Spoke of the Wheel

Remember, Twitter is one tiny spoke of the big author platform bicycle. It’s a great one, but it’s not the only one. If you are spending all your time and effort there, you are missing out on readers who are not there. Go where your readers are, not where you are most comfortable.

Here’s a terrific article from Entrepreneur: 5 Things This Self-Published Author Did to Sell Over 20,000 Books with Almost No Money. Nowhere in there does this author mention spamming links on Twitter as an effective selling tool.

Click on the links I’ve provided here to read more about what I’ve suggested above. Most of what I mentioned is free, except for the time it will take you to scan the articles and figure out a few new slick moves. Attend my weekly #BookMarketingChat (Wednesdays, 6pm pst/9pm est on @BadRedheadMedia or see previous chats on our public Facebook page in Notes) to learn more about how to market your book. I have many amazing guests and I also share what I’ve learned along the way.

 None of this matters one iota if your books suck. Write great books. Learn how to market them. Do the work.
By Rachel Thompson
Source: badredheadmedia

Visit us at First Edition Design Publishing

How to Play and Pretend Your Way to Breakthrough Writing Ideas

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My little niece used to love to sit with a grown-up book spread across her lap, reading a story out loud — except she couldn’t read yet. She was making it all up — pretending.

During play, she invented new words. One time we were playing with some toys, and I asked one of their names. Without missing a beat, she made up the name Hoken. Hoken sounds to me like a great name for a character in a science fiction or fantasy story.

Play and pretend can lead to some innovative writing ideas, whether you’re looking for a simple concept for starting a new writing project or trying to break through a block in a project that you’re already working on.

The Quest for Concepts

Through play and pretend, children learn about themselves and their environment. You’d think that with all that practice, adults would have even better imaginations than children, but that’s not the case. Kids will engage their imaginations with hardly any effort. They don’t stop to think or reason; they just react intuitively.

The first time I asked my niece who put the moon in the sky, she said, “You did.” And when I asked my nephew the same question, his response was “Peter Pan.” Sometimes, it’s Mommy or Daddy who put the moon the sky. Sometimes, it’s Batman. Kids aren’t confined by rules, science, or belief systems. They are delightfully open-minded.

When I’m playing with my niece and nephew, I get tons of writing ideas: a story about someone who put the moon in the sky, maybe a superhero named Hoken who can fly.

If we grown-ups could shake off the realities we’ve all come to accept about the world, and if we could learn to play freely, without rules or limitations, then we could unearth an endless fountain of ideas and inspiration.

Breakthrough Writing Ideas

I recently got stuck in a story that I was working on. The characters were in the middle of a conflict, and I had to find a way to get them out of it. There were plenty of options, but I wasn’t sure which one they would choose. I tried to think through it, but I just thought myself in circles. I tried writing a list of possibilities, but that didn’t help me make a choice.

Then I decided to do a little pretending. It wouldn’t be interesting to show the characters working out a plan for overcoming their conflict in the narrative, but I could certainly write a dialogue scene between them, and then file it away and write the action scene. I sat there and played out a conversation between two characters. It was almost as if I was performing an impromptu scene. It was a little awkward at first, but the conversation moved along. The characters worked out a plan, and I saw the path they would take.

I was basically playing and pretending — play-acting in a little one-person scene and pretending that I was my characters. And after struggling for several days to work out a problem, I got to a solution in just a few minutes.

I think that’s pretty amazing.

Play and Pretend: Exercise Your Imagination and Act it Out

Those of us who are on a perpetual quest for writing ideas could benefit from a little playing and pretending. You might feel silly at first, but if you relax and trust your imagination, you might end up with some incredible ideas for a writing project.

  • Become one of your characters: Get dressed up like your character, and then go to a place where nobody knows you, in the next town or different part of the city. Act like your character, do what what your character would do. You can even do this around the house.
  • Get a recording device and act out the dialogue between your characters: You can do this with a piece of dialogue you’ve already written to see how it sounds. If you use a video recorder and make an effort to get into character, you can also find out how your characters move — which gestures and body language they use.
  • Use action figures to work out a scene in your story: Don’t have any? Head to a junk store. Any toys will do. Set up the scene with items from around your house and play out their dialogue and actions. Capture it by taking photos or take notes as you work out your scene.

Playing and pretending is not for everyone. Kids do it naturally, but for grown-ups, it can be awkward and uncomfortable. On the other hand, maybe one of your writer friends or a child in your family would be willing to play along with you. You’ll never know unless you try.

Have you ever acted out a scene or used play and pretend to develop writing ideas? Do you think these techniques would work for you? What do you do when you’re stuck or need fresh ideas for new projects? Share your thoughts and experiences by leaving a comment.

By Melissa Donovan
Source: writingforward

Visit us at First Edition Design Publishing

 

How to Stay Inspired

how to stay

Writer’s block is probably the most frustrating experience any writer faces. You feel creative and you want to create, but you’re just not inspired.

It happens to most artists from time to time, this disconnect from the muse. Yet there are creative people who seem to have overcome artistic roadblocks — authors who publish multiple novels every year, filmmakers who produce annual blockbusters, and musicians who are on the top-ten list week after week. They know how to stay inspired, but how do they do it? Have they tapped into a secret, endless stream of ideas?

How can you tap into that stream?

I always say look to the source. When I see successful artists and innovators who are consistently producing creative work, I find myself wanting to learn more about where they get their inspiration.

Inspired People

It makes sense that as a writer, you would look first to other writers to find out how they keep their creativity flowing. So go ahead and do that. Read biographies of your favorite authors and listen to interviews with writers to see where they got some of their best ideas. If you look hard enough (or listen closely enough), these writers will explain how to stay inspired.

But don’t limit yourself to writers. Inspiration is similar across all the arts. So check in with folks from other disciplines too. And don’t limit yourself to only those artists whose work you enjoy and appreciate. You might find that a movie director whose films you don’t care for has a creativity technique that works perfectly for you.

I recently heard a musician talking about inspiration, and he said it was like the music came through him rather than to him. He explained that his source is unknown and outside of himself. Other artists will talk about “the zone,” a state of mind in which concentration and focus are absolute and intense. In this zen-like state, inspiration can reach an all-time high. In fact, in this state, creativity is the high.

The Idea Zone

How do artists get into the zone? Some meditate; others use rituals, which might include working out or listening to music. Some read. Others do writing exercises to get warmed up. There are countless ways to get into the zone. At times, you might find yourself slipping into it by sheer coincidence or by accident.

There does seem to be this space that all creative people share. It’s not a physical place; it’s a place in our minds (though some believe it’s outside of ourselves, and that is certainly worth contemplating).

The point is that by stretching your boundaries and experimenting with various techniques, you can find what works best for you.

Do you have any tips for how to stay inspired? How often do you think about the source of your creativity? Share your thoughts and experiences by leaving a comment.

Source: writingforward

Visit us at First Edition Design Publishing

How to Engage Readers with Emotionally Charged Writing

creative-writing-prompts-3

In fiction and poetry, one of the greatest skills that a writer can possess is the ability to make the reader feel. If you can engage readers on an emotional level, you’ll have them hooked.

Think about it. Most of the books, poems, movies, and TV shows that you love best are the ones with which you forged an emotional connection. You felt like the characters were your friends, so you felt for them. You felt with them.

Sounds easy, but emotionally effective writing can be a complex and difficult endeavor. Let’s look at a few simple guidelines you can use to produce emotionally compelling creative writing.

Rules of the Road

To engage a reader, we have to create scenes that are so vivid they seem real, even if they are not. Through scenes, imagery, and dialogue, writers can emotionally engage readers with what’s happening on the page:

Show, Don’t Tell

The best writing shows readers what’s going on instead of telling them. If a character is sad, you don’t write, Kate was sad. You write, Kate lowered her eyes and swallowed hard, choking back a sob and blinking away the tears that were welling up in her eyes.

Use Imagery

Using imagery goes hand in hand with showing rather than telling. Instead of writing something like Jack’s heart was broken, use a compelling image to show the reader that Jack has a broken heart: Jack stood in the street with his hands clenched at his sides, and he watched her walk away. She didn’t care anymore. His entire body shook as tears streamed down his face. She had betrayed him and now he was all alone. It was over.

Try Dialogue

Feelings can be revealed through dialogue, and dialogue can also incorporate imagery. When you use imagery and dialogue together to show (rather than tell) the reader what is happening and to reveal the emotional aspect of the situation, the reader visualizes the action and becomes a part of it, often experiencing the characters’ emotions right along with them:

“Jack, stop talking. I’m not going with you,” Kate said.

“What do you mean you’re not going with me? We’re supposed to go together.”

“We’re not together, Jack. We were, but not anymore.”

Jack couldn’t believe his ears. “You’re leaving me?” he asked.

“That’s right,” she said. “You and me — it would never work.” She started to turn and paused briefly. Jack thought she had changed her mind. He saw her hand flicker, and for an instant, he knew she was about to reach for him, but then she pulled her hand back, turned on her heels, and walked off.

“That’s it? You’re just going to walk away?” he screamed. She didn’t stop, didn’t even flinch. Jack hung his head. “You’re just going to walk away,” he whispered.

It’s a lot easier to tell readers what’s happening. Kate’s sad. Jack has a broken heart because Kate left him. But when you show readers what’s happening through imagery and dialogue, they can enter the scene and become part of it. This makes reading an experience, and it helps readers connect on an emotional level.

Getting Emotional

Readers who are emotionally invested in a piece of writing are more likely to keep turning pages, to tell their friends about it, and to read more of your work. It doesn’t matter which emotions you engage; make readers feel something — anything — and they will reward you, because the experience you gave them was rewarded.

Do you incorporate emotions into your writing? Do you use imagery and dialogue to do it? What techniques and methods have you used to help readers connect emotionally with your work? Share your thoughts and experiences by leaving a comment, and keep writing.

Source: writingforward

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You Can Win Without Cheating FFS

ffs

Most self-publishers will agree: it’s getting tougher out there.

If you are in KU, then you’re pretty much dependent on one income stream and if Amazon sales dip or you run afoul of the Hall of Spinning Knives for whatever reason then you are totally boned. And it’s getting so competitive in KU that it seems to take more titles and quicker releases, along with multi-pronged marketing campaigns – which can be complex and/or expensive – to get any real traction or stickiness.

If you’re not in KU, hitting the charts on Amazon is increasingly difficult and holding on to position is near-impossible – especially when your book is being leapfrogged every hour by thousands of borrow-boosted KU salmon running all that mad marketing. And you can’t even advertise to the same level because they are getting reads on top of those sales to make ROI easier.

Getting visible at all is much trickier now too. The days are long gone when putting your book at 99c was enough to hit the genre charts, and when one small, cheap reader-site ad could put you in the overall Top 100.

But that’s only half the picture.

The rewards are much, much greater now also. The amount of money to be made at the top of the charts, and the upper end of KU, is incredible. I know authors who are regularly banking $10,000 to $50,000 a month from KU page reads alone. And they aren’t even close to what the top tier guys are making.

So, yes, it’s harder. But the prizes are bigger. You might even say it’s getting harder *because* the prizes are bigger. If the money was declining I’m sure many people would find another line of work.

Certainly, the scammers and cheaters would move on to an easier mark, just as most of them have done every few years since they started with their bullshit internet marketing scams and MLM pyramid schemes back in the 90s. WarriorForum is always ready to sell them the next “turnkey solution” and “passive income stream” – whether that’s real estate ads or importing pool noodles from China or selling bad boy romance by the ton.

But that doesn’t mean you must cheat.

Whenever an argument erupts in indieworld about some new skeavy tactic, there are always a bunch of writers ready to justify it, whether that’s review purchasing, bonus-stuffing, title-keyword-stuffing, click here inducements, or even clickfarming/botting – there’s always a group of vocal defenders. (Often anonymous.)

The defenses always involve the same fallacies. One being that all is fair in love and war – it’s all one big sales game, and whoever gets people to click on the buy buttons wins. These charming amoralists usually undercut that argument quite severely by whining how unfair it is on the rare occasions that Amazon takes action and strips rank from their books or boots them from Select.

The most popular defense is the old dopers’ one: everyone else is doing it, why shouldn’t we? Obviously, these cheap justifications are really for the cheaters and scammers themselves, so they can sleep at night.

Some of these guys have openly claimed that it’s “impossible” to succeed without engaging in things like bonus stuffing. In case you don’t know what that is, this is the practice of taking four or five other books you have written, and stuffing them in the back of your books – and then doing that across your whole catalog.

Book A might have Books B, C, D and E in the back. Book B will have Books A, C, D and E in the back… and so on.

This artificially inflates the book’s page count, so that when it is borrowed the author will get paid for 2,000 pages instead of 400. Historically, this practice has been accompanied with a Click Here inducement, often by adding a bonus or exclusive short story to the very end of the book, and encouraging readers to click same. Recently, these bonus stuffers have been getting more artful – no doubt trying to avoid Amazon’s radar – by working these Click Here inducements directly into the text of the novel.

And when readers skipped to the end, these authors got a full payout for all 2,000 pages, no matter how little was actually read.

Obviously, this practice has a number of awful effects. These cheaters are taking four or five times the KU payout that they should from the pool. That’s money directly taken from more deserving authors who are all paid from a communal pot, an amount fixed by Amazon. In addition, as these skipped pages don’t represent actual reading by readers, this must be exerting downward pressure on KU payout rates. Meaning that we all suffer further. And it’s also a terrible experience for readers – which is why there are explicit KDP rules banning this practice, despite the continual denials of the practitioners.

For those authors engaging in review purchasing or various “street team” shenanigans, they are undermining the credibility of the whole review system, leading readers to question whether any reviews are real – including those that hard-working authors organically received from happy readers.

And of course those clickfarmers and botters and mass-gifters undermine the trust readers have in the charts, diminishing its value as a crucial discovery tool for authors and readers, while they simultaneously deny crucial visibility oxygen to books that should be there on merit.

But that doesn’t mean you have to cheat.

The idea that you can only get ahead by cheating is especially pernicious because it creates more cheaters. It’s like that old cliché about the underworld where you can only join the inner circle after your first kill. You have skin in the game now, and it’s attached to your own ass.

However, it’s a lie.

While competition is greater now, the tools we have to reach readers have improved immeasurably: Kindle Countdown Deals, reader magnets, BookBub CPM ads, permafree, Facebook Carousel ads, cross-promo, RobinReads, free runs (now gold again in KU btw), Kobo promos, BookFunnel, iBooks First Free in a Series, BookBarbarian, merchandizing opportunities, mailing list automation – this is just a tiny sample of the powerful options we have at our disposal today.

When you put them together, it’s a heady mix. Incredible marketing campaigns that catapult books into the charts, bringing in thousands of dollars a month, or even tens of thousands of dollars a month. And all cleanly.

If all that sounds too hard, you’re just going to have to pull on your big boy pants and get stuck in. No one owes you a chart position, a readership, or a living. You have to build it yourself. Okay, sometimes you do work hard and don’t get the reward you deserve. That sucks, but that’s life. You must persevere.

Don’t be fooled by the scammers and the cheaters. They just want everyone pissing in the pool to cover their tracks.

Source: davidgaughran.wordpress

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What the (New) Book People Won’t Tell You: There Will Always be Publishers

new book

A couple weeks back I got on a tear about things Book People won’t say, including that B&N has been doomed by its senior management and digital is killing print.

Today I would like to turn it around and share something that isn’t said enough in self-publishing circles.

There will always be book publishers.

It is axiomatic in certain circles that in 2017 that authors have all the power.  Authors can hire they help they need and take their work direct to market, thus removing any need for a publisher.

While all of that is true, it does not automatically follow that book publishers are going the way of the dodo.

One detail that is often overlooked is that not all authors are equally imbued with the business skills – or the interest – required to publish their work and maximize revenues. There will always be some author who would rather focus on writing and hire someone else to do the packaging and selling.

I use the word “hire” in this situation because authors do have a lot of power, and they can easily walk away from the traditional publishing contracts that took all rights forever and ever, including rights for formats didn’t even exist yet (cough Julie of the Wolves cough).

Instead, indie authors are looking for publishers who have skills and abilities authors lack. For example, most indie authors can’t effectively access the print market, which is why some authors like Joe Konrath are signing print-only deals with publishers like Kensington.

So yes, ten years from now we’re going to be able to point to something and call it a publisher. We’re probably going to even have many of the same names then as now – after all, there is value in a publishing brand – but that’s no guarantee that the future publishers will be the corporate descendants of the present publishers.

In the same way that the major publishers have killed themselves by ignoring ebooks, other publishers are rendering themselves irrelevant by refusing to adapt to the times.

In 2017, publishers need to be nimble and responsive. The most successful publishers are going to be the ones that find out what readers want and try to provide it ASAP.

One way to do that is through reader analytics – understanding what readers are actually doing with their ebooks. Unfortunately, publishers just aren’t willing to change their processes in order to use the data.

Micah Bowers, founder of Bluefire Reader, pointed this out yesterday when he tweeted that Bluefire was shutting down its analytics platform:

 

Analytics is not a magic wand; it is a tool that can be used to identify and respond to market demand.

The publishers who learn how to use this tool are going to run rings around the ones that do not.

The same is true for authors. If you’re not using analytics then you need to learn, because those who don’t learn this (or can’t, or won’t) will end up paying those who do.

If you’re lucky, you’re just going to be paying for their webinar. If you’re unlucky, you’re going to be paying them a percentage of your revenues.

Which would you choose?

By Nate Hoffelder
Source: digital-reader

Visit us at First Edition Design Publishing

Eight Characteristics of Good Writing

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How important is it for a writer to be able to discern the difference between good writing and bad writing?

Pretty important, if you ask me.

I know some writers aren’t concerned with quality. In today’s do-it-yourself and get-it-done-fast world, quality plays second fiddle to quantity. Who cares if your books are full of typos, bad grammar, and poor logic as long as you have published lots and made a bunch of money?

Readers care. Agents, publishers, and reviewers also care. And while you can still make a million with a bunch of badly written books and a stellar marketing scheme, your work won’t be taken seriously. Also (and this is critical), while it’s possible to make it big by writing badly, it’s not likely. It happens, but it doesn’t happen often. The better your writing, the better your chances for securing a readership and building a career.

The Characteristics of Good Writing

So, what constitutes good writing? Opinions on the matter vary widely. There will be different traits that make good fiction versus good poetry or good nonfiction. However, we can cull together a general list of the characteristics of good writing (in no particular order):

  1. Clarity and focus: In good writing, everything makes sense and readers don’t get lost or have to reread passages to figure out what’s going on. Focused writing sticks with the plot or core idea without running off on too many tangents.
  2. Organization: A well organized piece of writing is not only clear, it’s presented in a way that is logical and aesthetically pleasing. You can tell non-linear stories or place your thesis at the end of an essay and get away with it as long as your scenes or ideas are well ordered.
  3. Ideas and themes: Is the topic of your paper relevant? Does your story come complete with themes? Can the reader visualize your poem? For a piece of writing to be considered well crafted, it has to contain clearly identifiable ideas and themes.
  4. Voice: This is what sets you apart from all other writers. It’s your unique way of stringing words together, formulating ideas, and relating scenes or images to the reader. In any piece of writing, the voice should be consistent and identifiable.
  5. Language (word choice): We writers can never underestimate or fail to appreciate our most valuable tools: words. Good writing includes precise and accurate word choices and well crafted sentences.
  6. Grammar and style: Many writers would wish this one away, but for a piece of writing to be considered good (let alone great), it has to follow the rules of grammar (and break those rules only when there’s a good reason). Style is also important in ensuring that a piece of writing is clear and consistent. Make sure you keep a grammar book and style guide handy.
  7. Credibility or believability: Nothing says bad writing like getting the facts wrong or misrepresenting oneself. In fiction, the story must be believable (even if it’s impossible), and in nonfiction, accurate research can make or break a writer.
  8. Thought-provoking or emotionally inspiring: Perhaps the most important quality of good writing is how the reader responds to it. Does she come away with a fresh perspective and new ideas? Does he close the cover with tears in his eyes or a sense of victory? How readers react to your work will fully determine your success as a writer.

I want to add an honorable mention for originality. Everything has been done before, so originality is somewhat arbitrary. However, putting old ideas together in new ways and creating remixes of the best that literature has to offer is a skill worth developing.

Why You Need to Know the Difference Between Good and Bad Writing

To write well, a writer must be able to recognize quality in a piece of writing. How can you assess or improve your own work if you can’t tell the difference between mediocre and better writing in others’ work?

Writing is also an art form and therefore subject to personal taste. Can you read a book and dislike it but acknowledge that the writing was good? Have you ever read a book and loved the story but felt that the writing was weak?

A writer should be able to articulate why a piece of writing succeeds or fails, and a writer should also be able to recognize the qualities in a piece of writing even when it doesn’t appeal to personal taste. These skills are especially necessary when writers are reviewing or critiquing other writers’ work and when revising, editing, and proofreading their own work.

Where do you stand? Do you rate other people’s writing? Do you worry about whether your own writing is any good? Would you add or remove any characteristics of good writing from this list? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment, and keep writing.

Source: writingforward

Visit us at First Edition Design Publishing

 

“If Animals Could Talk” is the Next Great NSFW Kid’s Book

Remember a few year’s back when Samuel L Jackson delighted parents everywhere with his narration of the NSFW humor book Go the F*** to Sleep?

I think I just found his next project.

If Animals Could Talk is a 96-page book that, at first glance, looks like it was written for beginning readers and contains innocuous sayings. But looks can be deceiving, as one parent found out recently.

Twitter blew up yesterday when a mother started posting photos of a book that had been recently given to her daughter.  “I’m dying. My mom bought this book for my 6 year old and I just called to ask if she had actually opened the book. She hadn’t,” the mom, Tiffany, tweeted when sharing this photo:

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You can find more photo’s on Tiffany’s Twitter account.

The book is filled with similar illustrations, including these screenshots from Amazon’s “Look Inside” option:

Unfortunately, Tiffany didn’t realize this until after hr daughter was reading the book. “6 year old was reading with Dad and said ‘I don’t even know what this means”, she tweeted.

The book was published last April, and can be ordered on Amazon for around $7, where it is out of stock in Amazon’s warehouses (but still available from 3rd-party sellers at $30 and up).

if you want one, you would be better off waiting for the next print run or heading to BookFinder to find another seller (this title is still cheap in B&N’s marketplace).

There is no Kindle or audiobook edition, but I would expect that to change soon.

Image Source: https://twitter.com/Tiffany1985B/status/915400202789326848

By Nate Hoffelder

Source: the-digital-reader

Visit us at First Edition Design Publishing