Tag Archives: book ideas

25 Ideas for Your Author Blog

By Bryn Donovan

Part of The Writer’s Life Series

JH: Writers hear it all the time—“Oh, you should start a blog.” Not a bad idea, but the hard part is knowing what to blog about. Bryn Donovan visits the lecture hall today to share some ideas on just what to do with our authors’ blog.

Bryn Donovan earned her MFA in creative writing from the University of Arizona, and in her day job, she’s the acquiring editor for Hallmark Publishing. She’s published novels both as Bryn Donovan and as Stacey Donovan, and she’s also the author of 5,000 Writing Prompts and Master Lists for Writers. She blogs about writing and positivity at bryndonovan.com.

Take it away Bryn…

When I first began my blog a few years ago, two friends of mine, my husband, and my sister-in-law were my only readers. Writing posts would sometimes feel pointless, but I told myself Well, you’ve got to start somewhere.

Now I have over 3,000 subscribers, and I get 4,000 to 5,000 people a day reading my posts because they found them in an online search or on Pinterest. It’s the main way people find out about me and my writing.

One thing that keeps some people from blogging is that they’re not sure they’ll be able to think of enough things to write about. In my book 5,000 Writing Prompts, I included 500 ideas for blog posts. Here are twenty-five ideas, most of which aren’t in the book, geared specifically for author blogs. I hope you like them!

25 Ideas for Blog Posts

1. Share ten weird facts about yourself. This is a classic for a reason. It’s a great first post…and it’s fun to do after people think they’ve gotten to know you, too.

2. If you’re trying to decide between a few different photos for the official author photo on your blog, ask people to weigh in. This is a great first or second post for a blog that gets people engaged and connected with you.

3. Can’t decide what story to write next? Share the ideas you’re considering and ask people to vote.

4. If you’re writing a horror story, write about haunted places or scary incidents. If you’re writing a mystery, write about a real-life unsolved mystery. If you’re writing a romance, share your favorite romantic scenes in movies.

5. Write about ten of your favorite books of all time.

6. Near the end of December, write about the best books you read in the past year.

7. Share your “dream casting” for your work in progress: choose an actor for each character in the story.

8. Share photos of your writing assistants—that is, your pets—and ask others to do the same. People love showing you pictures of their cats and dogs!

9. Post a roundup of your favorite public domain quotes about reading and writing.

10. Share your writing research! If you’re setting a novel in Chicago, post a list of movies set in Chicago. If you’ve learned something interesting about medieval weaponry or scientific breakthroughs, tell everyone about it.

11. Post a list of all the weird things you’ve Googled as a writer. It’s funny, and it may make people curious about what you’re up to.

12. Share a mood board of your work in progress: put together a grid of nine images that express the feeling of the story.

13. Invent and share a recipe for something easy, like a sandwich or a cocktail, inspired by your work in progress. Maybe you could create a few for various characters!

14. You can also create recipes, cocktails, or “mocktails” based on fictional characters you love from a TV show, book series, or movie…especially if you’re writing something in a similar vein.

15. Write about tropes or plot lines you love as a reader or a viewer. (For instance, I personally love any story that features strong bonds between brothers …and I love amnesia stories. We all have our favorites!)

16. If you’re a struggling writer, share your best dirt-cheap recipe or your best tips for being frugal.

17. Share the results of a personality test you took, and ask people what their type is!

18. Or share the zodiac signs, Myers-Briggs types, or enneagram types of the characters in your work in progress.

19. Write about a trip you’re planning or a goal you’re pursuing, and ask for advice.

20. Share your favorite writing tools: the best pens, journals, software, books about writing, and websites (like this one!)

21. Ask people what their three proudest accomplishments are…and share yours, too.

22. Post pictures of book covers you love.

23. If you ever happen to be in the very fortunate position of having two different choices for the cover of your next book, and you love both of them…ask people to vote. They’ll love it.

24. Share photos of the place where you do most of your writing. Maybe add photos of other writer’s spaces and studios. Ask their permission first, but if you’re linking to their blogs, they’ll probably love it.

25. Write about the top ten authors you admire in your genre. You don’t have to ask to link to their blogs or websites. They will definitely love it.

Whether you’ve just been thinking about starting a blog, or if you already have one, I hope you found something here to inspire you. If you’re a blogger, please share your advice for others in the comments—I’d like to learn from you, too! Thanks for reading, and happy writing!

Never have writer’s block again.

Source: janicehardy.com

Visit us at First Edition Design Publishing

 

9 Quick Fixes For Short Story Writers Who Run Out Of Ideas

It is Short Story Africa Day on 21 June each year! It is the shortest day in the southern hemisphere.

To celebrate, we’re sharing ways to find ideas for your stories. If you are a short story writer and you’re looking for a quick fix, try one of these.

1.  Find Out What Lies Behind The Lyrics

Choose a date. What song was number one on that day? Do some research about the song. Who wrote it? Why did they write it? Who inspired it? Use what you find out as inspiration for your short story.

2.  Use A Writing Prompt

Sign up for a daily writing prompt. Follow people who share them on social media. ‘A prompt can be anything. A word, a line from a poem or a song, a name or even a picture. Anything that gets you writing. Find ones you enjoy.’ (via) Your daily prompt could inspire your short story.

3.  Rewrite A Fairy Tale

Take a fairy take and write it as a modern day story. Change the sexes of the main characters. Choose a random setting. If the tale is too long for a short story, write the beginning or ending as your short story.

4.  Rewrite A Myth

A myth is an ancient story involving supernatural beings, ancestors, or heroes. It is used to explain aspects of the natural world or to show the psychology, customs, or ideals of a society. Examples: The Myth of Creation, Arthur and Camelot, The Rain Queen. Write a myth using one of our 20 Myth Prompts as a short story.

5.  Obsess Over Details

Find one thing that interests you. Keep a file and save these items in it. It can be in a photograph or something you’ve heard. Research it and use it as inspiration for a story. Use this random first line generator to start your story.

6.  Hashtags On Instagram

Choose a topic that interests you. Visit Instagram and click on a hashtag related to the topic. Look at the posts and choose an image that inspires a story. Use this ‘What if?’ generator to enhance your scenario.

7.  Ask Your Followers

If you have a social media following, ask your fans what they want you to write about. Create a poll of some of the ideas you get and write about the one that gets the most votes. Use easypolls or pollcode or pollmaker. Use the embed code to share it on your blog or link it to your social media platform.

8.  Use A Holiday

Which public holiday is next on the calendar. Write a short story about someone who is planning for this holiday, or a story that centres around the holiday in some way.

9.  Write About The Day Your Parents Met

Rewrite the story of your parent’s first meeting. Write it from the perspective of a stranger watching them. Change names, swap the sexes of the characters, change locations. Go!

By Amanda Patterson
Source: writerswrite.co.za

Visit us at First Edition Design Publishing

How to Develop Story Ideas Into Amazing Stories

I often hear practicing writers ask, “What if I can’t think of anything to write about?” Sometimes they even have notebooks full of observations, but they feel like none of them are good enough for a full story, and they’re not sure how to develop story ideas into amazing stories.

I’ve felt the same way, but there are more opportunities or seeds for story ideas in our notebooks than we think. It might be an image, a snippet of a conversation we overheard at lunch, or a social issue that grates against us. Once we have the seeds, how do we take those seeds and develop them into stories?

How to Develop Story Ideas

I love hearing the different ways writers develop story ideas into full length projects. It’s one part of the writing process that often remains cloaked in mystery. Sometimes, a writer isn’t sure how an idea develops, so they’ll say, “Oh I just write,” which makes the rest of us feel like failures when we sit down and nothing comes.

Sarah Gribble shared a great way to outline fiction in a post earlier this week, but what do you do in the space between “I noticed this thing” and “outline the story”?

Some might say, “Oh that’s the magic. You can’t teach that. It’s too formulaic. It just happens.” That might be true, but I can’t have my classes of fiction writers sitting around waiting for the magic to happen. I have to teach them how to make magic. (Do I have an amazing job or what?)

Here’s one way I help my students develop a story idea into an outline and draft.

Choose Something Specific

When students begin trying to find story ideas, they inevitably pick something too big.

“I want to write a story about the way technology makes us less human!”

“Global warming!”

“True love!”

“Space opera!”

These are all topics and themes that could yield great stories, but they are too broad and too general. We need to get much more specific to capture the humanity of these themes.

As I search through my notebooks, I look for a vivid image, event, or conversation. Here’s an example I found recently:

So good to have my sister here. Odd conversation tonight that stuck with me. She said her kids might not need to learn to drive the way self-driving cars are advancing. She said, “They use information from satellites, traffic cams and even other cars to minimize user error and fatalities.” It’s hard to imagine.

The thing that interested me was this idea of minimizing fatalities. Who gets to decide which one person can be “minimized” to allow the others to live in a car crash? I pulled the idea of self-driving cars along with that one phrase from our conversation: “Minimizing fatalities.”

Find the Heat

Once you choose a specific idea, find the hot spots in it or create one. A hot spot is a place where the temperature is higher or “a place of significant activity or danger.” It might be the inherent conflict in a conversation or the oddity in an image that could lead to or expose disaster.

Again, specificity is your friend. Some examples:

You overhear a conversation: “So help me if you leave with the hamster and espresso machine, I’ll …”

Or a headline from the news with an odd (and heartbreaking) image: “Woman who gouged out her own eye found standing next to church.”

Both of these moments hold immense potential for stories because they prompt us to ask, “Why?” and “What if?” The emotions behind these small hot places can be great places to develop an idea. If you can capture the emotion behind a moment, you can build any world you like around it.

A Character as a Hot Spot

Maybe your idea isn’t an image or event, but a person. If you start with a character, you can follow the same process by asking a few specific questions.

What does this character want from the moment we meet him?

How far is he willing to go to get it?

How can this character’s fears, anger, or insecurity get them in trouble?

You can short cut this by building from someone you know or using an actor or type. Then get specific. I can start with my Uncle John, because he is curmudgeonly and outspoken against technology, but I’ll need to change it up and give the character some details that belong only to him.

Also, remember you aren’t writing about a character’s life, you are writing about his or her problem. Specific, vivid details will make the character leap off the page.

An Example

The thing that interested me most in the conversation with my sister was this idea of minimizing fatalities. Who gets to decide which one person can be “minimized” to allow the others to live in a car crash?

I asked some questions: Who is responsible in a car crash involving a self-driving car? The driver or the car company? The tech company who built the algorithm? The satellite company reporting the data?

What if a new IT graduate buys a self-driving car and her grandfather disapproves? What if that same girl is in a fatal accident?

There are a number of hotspots in this idea that could create conflict, because there are so many emotions surrounding a crash and the element of responsibility. From here, I’m ready to outline the goal of my character, the conflict, and the climax that will guide my story.

Once you’ve explored the possibilities, you can outline the main beats of your story and get to drafting.

Do you have a method for getting from seed to draft? Do you have any tips for how to develop story ideas? Let us know in the comments!

By Sue Weems
Source: thewritepractice.com

Visit us at First Edition Design Publishing

Writing Prompts: 7 Inspirational Ideas to Spark Your Creative Writing

7 Creative Writing Prompts to Spark a New Story

While the event doesn’t officially start until Monday, you may be wondering what to write about each day. Here are seven inspirational ideas to fuel your creativity as you tackle each 1,000 words of the challenge! What kinds of stories will these writing prompts lead you to tell?

1. Tell a “True” Story

The truth is, indeed, often stranger than fiction. Changing names and events as necessary, tell a true story from your own life and childhood about characters other than yourself. As an example, I’m currently workshopping a story from my hometown where a disgruntled employee blew up a gas station.

Here are some questions to ask:

  • What crazy character from your own life is empathetic, at least in his/her goals or desires?
  • What happened before-and-after a memorable childhood event? How can I explore the causes and effects that I didn’t witness?

2. “Travel” to an Extreme

With a quick Wikipedia and Google Map search, you can “visit” the South Pole, Mt. Everest, the mouth of a volcano — darned near anywhere. Set a fifteen-minute timer (so you don’t get too distracted) and do some super quick research, and then start writing!

  • Who visits this place regularly as an employee or family member? For whom is this “normal?”
  • What important object or goal would one pursue here? Why?
  • What unlikely or surprising reason might someone travel to this location? Explore that possibility!

3. Explore an Abandoned Location

The world is filled with once-glorious places that have since been abandoned. These incredible locations easily inspire the imagination, and website Bored Panda shares dozens of hi-resolution shots to fuel your pen!

  • What did ordinary life look like in these places before the end came?
  • What did that fateful day bring when everyone had to, or chose to, leave?
  • What happens to when a team of explorers go there today?

4. Change a Law of Physics

Science fiction and fantasy stories begin with one simple idea: The laws of physics aren’t actually laws.

Inspire yourself by asking, what if gravity, light, chaos, color, or practically anything related to a law of the world, was different? Let your story explore the possibilities!

  • Does everyone experience this, or just one person? Is that your hero?
  • What goals would someone want in this different world?

5. The Past, but From a New Point of View

History is usually agreed upon by most of its students. But what about the men and women who lived these events? What about the people who lost, died, or were pushed to the side, even if they were in the moral right?

Give “historical fiction” a twist of your own with this fun spark to your inspiration!

  • Were any of history’s villains empathetic? Whose story would be fun to tell?
  • Who was a witness to a famous historical event, and how was his/her life changed by that event?
  • What common, everyday (boring) goals were our great historical ancestors pursuing that might be surprising?

6. Dialogue Piece

Set yourself comfortably in a busy place with lots of conversation, like a coffee shop, restaurant, or waiting room. Listen specifically for a conversation with some conflict in it. Without being conspicuous, take over the conversation with your pen and explore where it goes and why.

  • Why do people speak with certain speech patterns or habits?
  • What motivates people to curse or use certain terms of endearment?
  • What aren’t your characters talking about, but avoiding or disguising?

NOTE: This is a great starter for folks with “writer’s block.” Don’t let the pressure to be “good enough” stop you from creating! Just have fun and try new things!

7. “What if I Lost It All?”

With this prompt, we force a protagonist to take a risk and lose everything. Then, we have to answer, “what then?”

Take a character from a work-in-progress, or quickly dream one up by giving him/her a goal and a problem. Then, immediately describe that character making a choice to pursue his/her goal, and failing.

  • What physical consequences would arise, and how would your protagonist deal with them?
  • What new goal would the protagonist find, and how would he/she begin pursuing it?
  • What other characters might appear in this moment of total loss?

Get Inspired!

There are so many other ways to get inspired, and these seven ideas barely scratch the surface.

So don’t give up on your commitment to the 7 Day Creative Writing Challenge! No matter what, dig deep and find something fun to explore and write about.

You’re worth it. Your passion to write is worth it. And to give that passion the writing habit it deserves, you need to complete the 7 Day Creative Writing Challenge like a champ.

Because that’s what this is all about: Building a writing habit.

What inspirational idea helps you write something new? Let us know in the comments! 

By David Safford

Source : thewritepractice.com

Visit us at First Edition Design Publishing

How to Create Bestselling Book Ideas

First Edition Design eBook Publishing
  writing for The Future of Ink, March 7, 2014

5 Ways to Generate eBook IdeasIt’s one thing to write a book, it’s quite another towrite a book that will sell. We all want to follow our passion, write our dream and dance creatively with our muse, but wouldn’t it be fantastic if, amidst all of this creation, we also managed toproduce a bestselling book?That is, after all, the dream. Specifically we’d all like high ranking on Amazon and though I’veaddressed that and reviews in other pieces,I thought that a step back to the beginning might be a good place to focus on.

Finding Bestselling Book Ideas

I know this gal who fraternizes with a lot of SEO people; for those of you not familiar with the term, SEO stands forSearch Engine Optimization.These are the folks who spend their life trying to get on the first page of Google. One day several years back, she and I were talking about the topic ofhow to create ideas that sell.She told me that many of her SEO buddies would write books literally just based on keywords. It had nothing to do with their passion or what they really wanted to write about; instead, they focused on saleable terms, meaning phrases that were getting a huge bounce in Google. Now this may not be how you would ever consider writing a book, but there aremerits to this methodology: Book focus:Where will you focus your book?Don’t get too caught up in a set plan.Leave some room for flexibility and consider what’s “hot” to write about right now. What is an immediate need? You may still stick with your original plan, but slant it a bit more towards seeing what’s hot in search or in the media. Keep in mind that the speed of book production often allows us to jump on a trend or hot topic so take advantage of that when you can. Book title:If you have identified yourbest keywords for this market(which we’ll focus on in next month’s article) then you can and should use them here. Keywords in a title can really help to boost your exposure not just on Amazon but on Google as well. Book subtitle:If you already have your title set in stone, consider usingkeywords in your subtitleto help boost your exposure in search. Book topic:Let’s say you know your market, but you aren’t sure what to write about. Sure, you could align this with “book focus,” but consider that you’re an expert in consumer finance and want to write a book on this topic. Knowingwhat consumers are searching on(as it relates to finance) could be a great way to address the immediate needs of your reader. This is where keywords come into play but the research I share further in this article will help with this, too. The other element here is tocreate a topic that’s narrower.Instead of focusing on one broad area, focus in more granularly. For example, I recently taught a class about this very topic and we brainstormed ideas on creating segmented topics within one broader umbrella. Consider the real estate gal who has a book on buying or selling your first home. I suggested that instead of trying to reach a big, broad and cluttered market, that she instead focus on isolated industries. The ideas we brainstormed were: Buying Your First Home for Singles, Buying Your First Home for Seniors, Buying Your First Home for Domestic Partners. You get the idea, right? Createa series of booksthat sits under a broader market. This will net you better sales. Consumers like specializedtopics that help solve a specific problem.And the books don’t have to be long, but we’ll cover that in more depth later. Once you find this market or niche, you’ll want to publish regularly to it. Amazon and the associated algorithms tend to trigger quicker when an author has multiple titles so consider that as well. So, let’s assume that you’ve done some keyword research or are at least familiar with the keywords in your market. Let’s see how these searches relate to popular topics on Amazon. Step-by-step,here is what you’ll need to do:

  • On the Amazon page,search in the Kindle store tab.I want you to isolate your searches there for now.
  • Plug in your search term andsee what comes up.You’ll generally get 5-10 suggestions. Click on one of them.

Amazon Look at the books that come up in search andclick on the “customers also bought”section. AmazonCustomersAlsoBought Your focus should be on books thathave a low sales rank.Depending on the category, it could be as low as 20,000 or as high as 50,000. You want to make sure there’s a variety of books in this segment, preferablymore than fiveand they should all have this range of sales volume. If it’s lower than 20,000 that’s great, but when you get into the super saturated or unpopular categories, neither of those will help you. Some Amazon experts say that a 20,000 rank indicates that the book is selling five copies a day, but I find this hard to prove either way. Just know that given Amazon’s volume, it’s definitely not languishing. Regardless,this research will really help to expose hot topics and market segmentswithin your area of expertise that are selling well.

 Staying on the Short and Narrow

While full-length books will never go away, there’s a surge towards shorter, niche books—books that “own” a narrow market segment. When I first publishedHow to Sell Books by the Truckload on Amazon,I was surprised at how the sales outpaced my other books. While I know the title had a lot to do with this, it was also the fact that the book was shorter and focused on one particular area. If you decide to do this (write shorter books), I wouldn’t suggest justkeeping the book short.While short is the new long, there’s still plenty of room for full-length books, too. So, in other words, if you can mix it up, that’s the best track for success. How short can short be? Ten thousand to seventeen thousand words is generally acceptable. Keep in mind that if you do short, you don’t have room for fluff. You’ll want to be ascrystal clearas you can be on specific instructions, maybe even include step-by-step instructions or checklists, which readers love.

 Other Ways to Develop Book Ideas

There’s an element of research that goes into every book you create, and I’m not just talking about the topic research, but content, too. When you’re developing your book idea and trying todecide what to include and exclude from the book,consider spending a bit of time doing a comparison with other, similar books in your market. Take a look at their book pages on Amazon, read through their reviews. In particular, the negative reviews that give constructive feedback about what the reader thought was missing, or things they wished had been expanded upon, will be particularly helpful. Readers will tell you what they want, and they’ll often do it in a review.

Readers will tell you what they want, and they’ll often do it in a review.

 One Final Note on Shorter Books

On Amazon there is the “look inside the book” feature. This covers just a short section of your book, so be cautious when you’re preparing your final content. If your book is too short, the “look inside” feature will reveal most of the book, or enough of it that readers may glean what they want and not buy it. You want to fill the book with sufficient content so that you don’t end up with this problem. If you’ve finished the book and it seems a bit too short,consider adding things like checklists, free resources or bonus chaptersfrom other books you’ve written that relate to this topic. Keep in mind that this isn’t meant to pump up your book page count just for the sake of doing that, but if the book looks too much like a white paper or report instead of a book, you may end up with a lot of window-shoppers who don’t end up buying. How short is too short?Anything under 50 pages is too short.Generally I’d recommend that you sit somewhere over 55 pages, ideally 65 pages to be safe. And again, don’t stuff your book with useless content. Make sure that if you need to add pages, you are adding helpful, useful information. Doing somebook researchis not just a great idea to help develop some high-selling product, but a great idea overall. We invest so much of our time and effort into our books that the more we can make sure we’re on target, the less time we’ll spend languishing in obscurity. Given that there are3,500 books published every dayin the US, whatever you can do tostand out above the crowdcan make all the difference.   Read the rest of this article on The Future of Ink: http://thefutureofink.com/create-bestselling-book-ideas/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+tfoi+%28The+Future+of+Ink%29

Penny Sansevieri
Penny C. Sansevieri, Founder and CEO Author Marketing Experts, Inc., is a best-selling author and internationally recognized book marketing and media relations expert. She is an Adjunct Professor teaching Self-Publishing for NYU. She is the author of twelve books, including How to Sell Books by the Truckload on Amazon and Red Hot Internet Publicity.

Visit: www.firsteditiondesignpublishing.com