Nathan Bransford, Author


Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Should You Use RT or the Retweet Button on Twitter?

It's a battle as old as time. Or, er, at least as old as when Twitter launched "New Twitter" last year.

RT or the Retweet Button?

In this corner, you have the Old School, the way people always used to pass along a fun or hilarious or awesome or interesting or all of the above Tweet:
"
"RT @Username Their Tweet

And in this corner, you have the New School, the Retweet Button, which pushes someone's tweet into your follower's feed:

Now, before we get into which one you should use, it's important to understand exactly what the Retweet Button actually does. (If you use Twitter via certain third party applications, you might not have access to the Retweet button and may be limited to the old-school RT.)

Retweeting something using the button makes that Tweet appear in your followers' feed. It's almost as if the user is following the person you're retweeting just for that Tweet. It looks like this:


See the little symbol there? That's how it looks when something is Retweeted.

There's one important distinction though: If someone already follows the person you're Retweeting, they won't see that you Retweeted them.

If you're Retweeting, say, some breaking news from the New York Times, only the people who aren't already following the New York Times will see it.

That leads us to the Big Question. Which method should you use?

Count me in favor of the New School Retweet Button in almost all instances. Here's why.

Twitter has woven the Retweet button into the overall experience, and it's now the way things like "Top Tweets" are determined:


Basically, the Tweets that are Retweeted using the Retweet button the most rise to the top, which is important in trending topics.

It's also being used by social scoring measurers like Klout to track who is influencing conversations on Twitter. People can also easily see how many times their Tweets have been Retweeted:

In other words: If you want to give someone full credit for their awesome Tweet, the Retweet Button is the way to go.

When the Retweet Button was first introduced it took a while for people to get used to seeing strangers in their feed, but I think that has become less jarring over time and I've gotten used to looking for the Retweet symbol. Most of the time I'm happy to see those strangers' Tweets because they might be someone I want to follow.

That said, I think the old school RT method has its place, but only when you're adding to it and participating in the conversation. A great example of that is the Colson Whitehead Tweet above. He added to the person's Tweet and made it something new, giving credit with the RT.

My feeling: "RT @Username Tweet" is so 2010. Time to get with the Retweet Button program.

What about you? Are you a RT'er or a Retweet Button-er?






Saturday, May 28, 2011

This Week in Books 5/27/11

This week in Champions League Finals I mean books...

Whew! Lots and lots of links for you. First off, you still have a chance to win a copy of Jacob Wonderbar over at From the Mixed Up Files, where there is also an interview with me where I talk about favorite books and character name inspirations.

Also, this is reason #278,621,098 I love the Internet (from the Jacob Wonderbar Amazon page):


Oh, Gaga. Why must you steal 3% of my readers.

Meanwhile, BEA was this past week, and it sure seems like the biggest news is that Amazon is looking more and more like a traditional publisher. After previously announcing the formation of a romance and mysteries imprint, Amazon has hired former Warner Books CEO Larry Kirshbaum to start a general interest imprint  (Warner Books is now Hachette). Mike Shatzkin summed up what that means for publishers. While this isn't completely unprecedented as Barnes & Noble had previously entered the publishing fray, it's yet another challenge to publishers, especially given Amazon's ability to maximize online sales.

And remember how Barry Eisler announced he was self-publishing? Well, turns out he came away from BEA with a book deal from Amazon. With an advance. Posting in the Kindle message boards, Barry explains what led him to accept the deal with Amazon and what could lure him back to traditional publishers. Namely:


And what could lure me back is precisely what I've never been able to get from any legacy publisher -- not the two who have published me; none that I've negotiated with, either. Specifically:

1)  A *much* more equitable digital royalty split.
2)  Full creative control (packaging, pricing, timing).
3)  Immediate digital release, followed by paper release when the paper is ready (no more slaving the digital release to the paper release).
Is this the future of publishing deals?

In e-reader news, Barnes & Noble introduced a new touch screen Nook and claimed its batteries last two months. Then Amazon claimed the Kindle also lasts two months if you use B&N's metrics, but then B&N said no way, the Nook still lasts twice as long. So there you have it. (Also: links are to CNET, I work at CNET).

There has been a lot of talk in the comments section about what real self-publishing sales look like (as opposed to Hocking-esque success stories), and Megg Jansen pointed to a post that offers one of the more comprehensive views I've seen. It shows a couple dozen self-published books and charts their month-by-month sale over time. Pretty interesting.

In agent/publishing advice news, there's a relatively new agent blog on the scene, Courtney Miller-Callihan from Sanford J. Greenburger, Jessica Faust at BookEnds talks about what happens when an agent or publisher has an idea for a book and passes it on to an author, and Bloomsbury publisher Peter Ginna compares publishers to venture capitalists and considers the similar reasons they find themselves saying "no."

One Story listed their top ten favorite short stories of all time. What do you think of the list? I was a little scandalized Hemingway didn't even make the long list. (via Bookslut)

The Millions rounded up the best books about the Great Recession, and Amazon rounded up the Top 20 most well-read cities in America.

My former client K. Marie Criddle, whose blog you should be following for her incredible visual posts/art about the writing life, has an awesome guest drawing from her husband about how to offer support during revisions.

In social media news, TheNextWeb wonders if social media makes us nicer people, and Dave Pell has an awesome and hilarious post about how there's a lot more to life than your follow counts and social scores.

And it's Memorial Day weekend, which means many publishing employees across the land had their first summer Friday yesterday. GalleyCat lists the Top 6 reasons why the publishing industry needs this tradition.

This week in the Forums, Borders' losses are increasing, ten things you shouldn't say to an agent, can you have a viewpoint character die, current event fiction, and how do you find the time to do everything you do?

Comment! of! the! Week! goes to Alison Pensy who commented on Tracy Marchini's guest post on self-publishing. Alison shares her experience experimenting with free e-books:
This is a great post. I am still in the midst of a crazy 2 weeks, thanks to Amazon. I self-pubbed my YA urban fantasy in Fall 2009, after numerous rejections from agents. It did next to nothing until I released the 2nd book at the end of April this year, despite my best marketing efforts (which aren't great, I admit).

I decided to put the 1st one as a free promo 2 weeks ago and I was dumbstruck when overnight it went from around #80,000 to #22 on Kindle (free) Bestseller list. The next day it hit #1 on the Children's (free) bestseller list where it stayed for 3 days. It stayed in the Top 10 children's (free)bestseller list until yesterday both here and in the UK. So far in 2 weeks over 26,000 people have downloaded it.

Because of this, a week after the free promo, my 2nd book debuted at #25 on the Children's hot new releases list and has been in the top 100 children's bestseller list since. I am totally blown away at the power of Amazon.

In just over a week, the 2nd book has sold over 600 copies. That's more than the 1st book did in nearly 2 years. But I had to be willing to put the 1st for free and I'm so glad I did.
And finally, you probably know Tahereh Mafi from her awesome blog, and her debut novel, SHATTER ME, coming in November from HarperTeen, was one of the hot titles at BEA. Check out her new, very cool teaser book trailer:



Have a great weekend!






Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Real Skinny About Indie Publishing

NB: Hi Everyone, Tracy Marchini is a former colleague of mine and she recently self-published a nonfiction guide to publishing terms, Pub Speak: A Writer’s Dictionary of Publishing Terms, and a middle grade novel, Hot Ticket. She's guest-posting today to share her experiences with self-publishing. Enjoy!

Since the news that one indie goddess and one traditional publishing guru were switching their publishing strategy for the other’s, the buzz about self-publishing ebooks has been incessant. And now that Pub Speak: A Writer’s Dictionary of Publishing Terms has been out for about two months, I thought I’d whip out a big ol’ can of wasp spray and share what I’ve learned in the indie ebook world.

Crossing The Line

The first thing I’ve noticed is that there’s still a mental division between the indie world and the traditional world, despite many authors having success on both sides of the line. The most astounding part of this to me is that most of the really successful indie authors, started by publishing their traditional backlist.

Don’t get me wrong, I think this is brilliant. If you have a book that was already edited, reviewed and is languishing in your reverted rights pile, then why not put it back in circulation as an ebook and hit a new audience? But sometimes I think people miss the distinction between a successful indie that started with a traditional backlist and an indie that is starting from absolute, 100% scratch. Obviously, it can be done (see: Amanda Hocking, Victorine Lieski, David Dalglish), but it’s a completely different animal, for sure.

In going indie, what you give up for the total control of your book and manuscript is the distribution and visibility that a traditional house can give you. So if you have already been established by the traditional houses, there is already a fan base that has read and loved your work. That is no small potato. (In fact, that is a farm of potatoes.)

An indie that starts from scratch is going to have to hand-sell at least their first hundred books. This means that they are going to have to make a personal connection, talk about their book, and hope for a purchase. This is done through blog tours, book reviews and other methods. Getting reviewed as an indie through the traditional reviewers (Booklist, Kirkus, School Library Journal, NYT) is all but impossible, unless you’re willing to pay for Kirkus Indie. And because most indie book review sites don’t have the name recognition and following that Kirkus or The New York Times does, you’re going to be doing a lot of research and subbing to try and find the same audience.

Book reviewers that are open to indie books are, as expected, becoming swamped with potential titles. If your book is accepted for review, you can expect to wait at least one to two months for that reviewer to get to your title. The most successful indies have given away at least a hundred copies, if not hundreds of copies, of their book. Building “word of mouth” is a long, hard process, and most indies notice that it doesn’t really start to take off until their seventh month. (For some, it’s the fourth month, and for others, the book might never take off.)

Paying For Publicity

There are, however, plenty of people willing to take money from aspiring authors, whether you’re seeking traditional or indie publication.

Yes, as an indie, you will have to invest in a cover artist, editor and copyeditor/proofreader. If you can’t format the book yourself, then there are affordable options there as well. My advice when it comes to advertising though -- if you can’t afford to lose the money, don’t spend the money. Yesterday, I received a packet in the mail that offered me television and radio exposure for just $498 a month. I’ve heard of other services that charge a monthly payment for a year of publicity, and will charge a large penalty if you cancel early.

The truth is though, that any advertising money you spend before you’ve spent the time to get reviewed by both book reviewers and customers, is like lighting your wallet on fire. Let’s say I spent $498 to put my brand new middle-grade mystery, Hot Ticket, on the air. Here are all the reasons I would not see any money from that investment:

1) Hot Ticket has been bought, but not reviewed yet. People are leery of making a purchase on Amazon that hasn’t been reviewed.

2) Hot Ticket retails for $2.99. I would have to sell 250 books per month just to equal the TV and radio investment.

3) Hot Ticket isn’t currently available in paperback, which means that I would have to find a radio audience that has a decent number of ereader owners.

4) There are too many steps involved between hearing about the book and making the purchase. You hear the ad in the car, then you have to remember when you got home that you wanted that book, then you have to remember the title and author and look it up… etc. Unless you’ve already been established as someone’s favorite author, chances are, they’re not going to be thinking about your book when it’s time to go home, eat dinner, and watch some TV.

5) Note the ad promised exposure, but you’re not buying airtime for $500 a month. The truth is, nobody can promise you radio or TV time unless they’re a producer or you’re flat out buying advertising time. A PR person could do their very best, but if there isn’t a newsworthy angle, then there isn’t a story for that radio or TV show.

I’ve noticed that the one thing that’s sold the most copies of Pub Speak for me, was a stroke of luck. I wrote a blog post during the Pub Speak blog tour that was picked up by Visual Thesaurus, a subscription website with a large following.

Okay, it wasn’t completely luck. I had to set up the blog tour and write the post. But just like traditional publishing, what takes off and what doesn’t can sometimes be attributed to the stars aligning. Amanda Hocking wrote what she loved, and she happened to do it in a time when YA paranormal romance was on fire. I’m not saying that she wasn’t working her butt off, because I’m sure she was. But if what she loved to write was biographies of the Presidents for children, I don’t think she’d have nearly the same career path.

Indie and Traditional Publishing Have Both Mid-lists and Outliers

One thing to note about Lieski and Dalglish though, and which I think is amazingly encouraging, is that you don’t have to be Amanda Hocking to make a living as an indie. Lieski and Dalglish aren’t millionaires (yet), but they’re writing full time and supporting their families. That’s amazing, and it says to me that indie authorship is actually more similar to traditional publishing than one might think.

Some will rise to the very top, some will languish at the bottom, and some will make a comfortable living doing what they love. The difference between the two is when a book sees the chunk of sales. In traditional publishing, the focus is on pre-selling to retailers and trying to launch the book as successfully and large as possible. For most books, that big push in the beginning is going to determine what happens to the book for the rest of its shelf-life.

In indie publishing, most authors see the opposite sales pattern. It might look more like this:

Month 1 – 10 books
Month 2 – 37 books
Month 3 – 100 books
Month 4 – 300 books
Month 5 – 800 books

What you’ll notice is that all of the marketing is cumulative, and the jumps that a successful indie sees will become larger and larger.

It seems to me, that most indie authors have to be popular to become popular. And what I mean by that is that people have to be talking about your books when you’ve stopped handselling, in order to really see the groundswell of activity that someone like Hocking, Lieski, etc. is seeing.

Still, you’ll note that in five months, there have been less than 2,000 copies sold. The traditionally published author might sell 10,000 copies in that same timeframe. But since the indie author’s sales patterns tend to look more like bell curves, rather than that initial push and then a lower plateau, they have time to catch up.

(And, before you get all excited about selling 800 books in a month, consider that 800 books at the $0.99 price point that many indies start a series at, is $280 in royalties.)

Growing A Dedicated Audience

Trade in a Lieski for a Konrath (who was originally traditionally published before going indie) and suddenly you notice something else about successful indies: they each write in just one or two genres, have at least one series, and are extremely prolific. Konrath has over 40 books, Dalglish and Hocking around a dozen. Their release dates are within weeks or months of each other, instead of about a year apart. To be honest, I still don’t know how anybody can write a finished book every month. It’s truly astounding to me. But the key word there is finished. Or you could replace it with good, excellent, publishable, etc.

Am I worried that because of all this press for successful indies, suddenly everybody is going to fill Amazon and B&N with books and the whole industry will turn to a pile of crap? No. And here’s why. Indie authors have to be:

-- excellent writers and moderately good marketers
-- moderately good writers and excellent marketers
-- zombies who don’t ever sleep, and are both excellent writers and marketers.

If the book isn’t well written and well marketed, it will fall to the bottom, and won’t affect traditional publishing at all. It would reinforce the stereotype that indie publishing is a bunch of authors with crappy books who were tired of being rejected by agents and publishers. But hopefully this stigma will change over time, too.

Because in the future, I think we are going to see more and more authors using both traditional and indie publishing to build their careers. And I think this is good news for traditional publishing, too.

Tracy Marchini can be found at www.tracymarchini.com or on Twitter as @TracyMarchini. She is a former Curtis Browner turned freelance editor and author. Pub Speak: A Writer’s Dictionary of Publishing Terms is available in print and ebook format at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords. Her new middle grade mystery Hot Ticket is available as an ebook at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords.






Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Do Typos Annoy You?

Photo by Jeff Deck
Let's get this part out of the way: I'm a terrible copyeditor. I can't spot typos for the life of me, my comma usage is suspect, and I wouldn't know a dangling modifier from a split infinitive.

As a result, I really don't get very exercised when I spot typos online or in books. I figure, hey. It happens! We're all busy, right?

But sometimes I feel distinctly in the minority. As Amazon reviews can attest, people get extremely outraged about finding typos in books. The grammar and typo police takes no prisoner.

So, You Tell Me: Do typos annoy you? If so, why?






Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Reversals in Novels and Movies


This image from the Telegraph inadvertently illustrates one of the most important writing concepts every author should master:

The reversal.

Storytelling is all about reversals, and we humans are drawn to them like crazies to the Bachelor house.

Tatooine farmboys became intergalactic heroes. Greek kings accidentally marry their mother and fall from grace. And in real life, we are totally gripped by famous people falling flat on their face at the same time that we love a good comeback story.

These reversals of fortunes are at the heart of good storytelling. Characters find fame, crash and burn, then find redemption, and maybe crash and burn again, and maybe get back on top again.

So why is that image is funny? It's the abrupt shift from romance and pageantry to OSAMA BIN LADEN IS DEAD. Or that Kate and Will are celebrating something different than we thought they were. Maybe both. Either way, as our eyes move down the page our brain registers the shift.

That transition from up to down or down to up and having our expectations upended is at the heart of storytelling.

A Series of Ups and Downs

Similar to what I outlined in the post on dynamic character relationships, the arc of a character should follow a path of ups and downs. A good reversal can jar your reader and grip them with the drama.

Taking the Star Wars example, Luke goes through a series of reversals:
  • Bored, unable to go to Tosche Station to pick up power converters (down)
  • Droids! Cool! (up)
  • Assaulted by sand people (down)
  • Rescued by Obi-Wan Kenobi! Takes possession of lightsaber! (up)
  • Aunt and Uncle killed by stormtroopers (very down)
  • Finds Han Solo! Smell ya later, Greedo! (up)
  • Trapped on Death Star (down)
  • Finds the princess! (up)
  • Nearly drowned by disgusting trash snake thing, smashed in compactor (down)
  • Rescued by droids! (up)
  • Obi Wan dead/disappeared? Nooooooo!! (down)
  • Fights off Tie Fighters (up, don't get cocky)
  • Han Solo refuses to go on mission to destroy Death Star (down)
  • Luke charges ahead anyway! Red 5 on the way! (up)
  • Darth Vader has him in his sights (down)
  • Han Solo had a change of heart! Take that, Vader!! (up)
  • Death Star: KABOOM! (very up)
So you see, Luke has a pretty consistent series of reversals between up and down moments throughout the narrative.

He also has the one major reversal in Star Wars, which is a transformation from a farmboy to a hero.

Even over the course of the trilogy you see the reversals:
  • End of Star Wars: just destroyed Death Star, received medal (up)
  • End of Empire Strikes Back: hand forcibly removed by Darth Vader/father, Han Solo trapped in carbonite (down)
  • End of Return of the Jedi: New Death Star blown up, Emperor defeated, Vader redeemed (up)
Reversals reversals reversals! On a scene to scene level, from a beginning to the end of a novel/movie level, and on a series level.

Plot out those reversals and you'll have yourself a gripping story.






Monday, May 23, 2011

How to Use the Twitter @Reply

It's 2011. We're more than a decade into the 21st Century. Still no flying cars, but Twitter has been around for five years now.

And it's time we all banded together to make sure our friends and family members and followers and followees understand one of the most crucial and oft-misunderstood functions in social media.

The @Reply

I covered the @Reply in my How to Use Twitter post, but, well, I still see it misused rather often so I thought I should dedicate a post to it.

Do you understand the @Reply? Do you? Are you sure? Do you see my skepticism? DO YOU?!

Here's what you need to know.

When you start a Tweet with @Username (whether that Username be @NathanBransford @LadyGaga or @YourMom), not everyone who follows you will see it. Only the people who follow both you and @Username will see it.

In other words, if you want to Tweet about this book that you've read and you want all of your followers to know about it, don't start your tweet with @ReallyGreatAuthorPerson

Example #1:

I want to Tweet about this great post I read by The Rejectionist. Let's say I write this Tweet:
@TheRejectionist wrote a great post! You should totally go read it! http://bit.ly/lxYL9w
WRONG WAY!

See how I started with @TheRejectionist? The only people who are going to see that Tweet already follow The Rejectionist and likely already read (and liked) the post.

Correct way:
Check out this great post by @TheRejectionist! You should totally go read it! http://bit.ly/lxYL9w
CORRECT!! Now everyone who follows me has been exposed to the wonders of The Rejectionist. Also acceptable:
.@TheRejectionist wrote a great post! Check it you must! http://bit.ly/lxYL9w
Notice the period? Anything but starting with @TheRejectionist will expose it to everyone who follows me.

Example #2:

Let's say I want to have a MOST HILARIOUS DIALOGUE with The Rejectionist that may be of interest to those who know both us both but perhaps not others. In that case, we use the @Reply freely

(Note: Conversation made up/wildly improbable)
@TheRejectionist Aren't @replies the most!

@NathanBransford Golly gee they sure are!

@TheRejectionist Isn't it just wild that only the people who follow both of us will see this conversation?

@NathanBransford I'll say!
CORRECT USAGE! We did not annoy/confuse the people who don't follow both of us with our most hilarious banter.

A few other points of note about the @Reply:
  • If someone visits your profile directly they WILL see your @Replies. They will also appear in Tweet boxes like the one on the right side of this page, and may appear to users who use some third party applications like TweetDeck depending on their settings. So don't treat your @Replies as private. They are not. If you want to send a private message, use a Direct Message.
  • @Replies are a great way of engaging with people on Twitter, so reach out and @Reply someone.
  • One more time, this time with even more feeling, cowbell, and the kitchen sink: If you want to broadcast your Tweet widely, don't start with an @Reply!
Understood? Good! Now please spread the @Reply gospel!

Twitter has not heeded my call to set up a Twitter DMV to make sure people have been through Twitter driving school before they hit the road, so please spread the word. Let's make sure we have both flying cars and correct @Reply usage by 2012..






Thursday, May 19, 2011

This Week in Books 5/19/11

Books! This week! A little early!

I have some friends coming to town so This Week in Books is getting an early jump on the weekend. You and I may have to work on Friday and all but we can PRETEND it's the weekend, right? No? Not really?

First up, the book that seemingly everyone is talking about... isn't even out yet. Yes, the adult picture book GO THE F**K TO SLEEP is already #1 on Amazon and it still doesn't come out for another month. Dang it, I KNEW I should have titled my book JACOB WONDERBAR AND THE @%^@$ SPACE KAPOW.

More e-reader news as Barnes & Noble looks set to release a new version of the Nook next week. This would be an update to the e-ink version rather than a new version of the Nook Color. According to my CNET colleague David Carnoy, rumor has it an e-ink touchscreen may be involved, a la the Sony Reader.

Socialfish had an interesting infographic on the death of print, which had me completely shocked. Only 31% of Americans subscribed to a newspaper in 1940?? Really?? For all the talk of plummeting newspaper print sales, I didn't realize they were starting from such a low ledge.

There were some great agent posts this week. Jenn Laughran tackled perhaps the #1 question asked question: What are the average word counts of X children's book age group? From now on I'm sending everyone to Jenn's post. As she says, remember those word counts are guidelines, not laws.

Agent Jenny Bent is starting a new series on how her clients found their agents and/or their book deal. Always great to hear the success stories.

And my former colleague Sarah LaPolla has a really awesome post that looks back on the history of YA as a genre.

Meanwhile, over at Writer Beware, Victoria Strauss takes a look at the new trend of agent-as-publisher.

And congrats to Philip Roth for winning the biennial Man Booker International Prize, which actually had one judge resigning in protest, saying, "I don't rate him as a writer at all." (via The Millions)

This week in the Forums, what we were doing while Blogger was down, writing sex scenes, what do you do with your drafts,  and a hilarious Tumblr that pairs book quotes with TV shows: Slaughterhouse 90210.

Comment! of! the! Week! goes to Richard Gibson regarding traditional publishing, self-publishing and control. He has a different take on why he enjoys the self-publishing process:

For me there were many reasons to go with print-on-demand beyond control. I liked being able to design my own cover, page layout, everything, but I certainly didn't have to. And was happy to make many revisions based on comments from reviewers.

The niche market (as pointed out by the agents who liked it but worried about sales) was probably the main factor, together with speed to press (one month vs 2+ years) and confidence in enough sales to recoup the small investment (vs a likely small advance, if I got to that point) were more driving factors.

Once I had a POD publisher I trusted everything chugged along incredibly smoothly. Since I'm also comfortable with marketing (and expected I'd have to do pretty much the same if it had been traditionally published), I'm right where I want to be.

I'd say "control" was more a matter of my enjoying the aspects that a traditional publisher might control, rather than being unwilling to give them up, and it was low on the list of reasons for going with POD.

And finally, this is basically the most mesmerizing thing ever:



Have a great weekend!






Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Do You Tell People You Write?

Promoted from the Forums (Find out how to have a chance at a guest post here)

By: Teralyn Rose Pilgrim

I don’t spread around that I want to be a novelist. It’s not that I’m shy or feel too inadequate to call myself a writer; it’s because of the crazy reactions I get from people.

The Q&A Session: Often people tell me they have a book and ask how to get it published. Talk about a broad question. Someone on an airplane asked me this when we were going to land in 30 minutes. I gave him a crash-course in query letters, suggested some books to read, and most likely scared him away from publishing completely.

The Bandwagon-Jumper: When I told people in college I wanted to be a novelist, they always, always, always said the same thing: “Oh, like Stephanie Meyer?” Even my professors said this. I always responded the same way: “No. Not like Stephanie Meyer.” I write mainstream and historical fiction; I don’t write YA and I don’t like vampires.

This bothers me because they assume I sat down, read a famous book, and said, “I want to do that. It looks easy and I could make a lot of money.” I’m not a bandwagon-jumper.

The Advocate: I’m surprised at how many people give me pep talks. Not too long ago someone asked what I want to do with my life and I admitted I want to write. She said, “That’s great! You should write everyday and take creative writing classes. I know you can do it.” I don’t think this girl even knew my last name, but she knew I could “do it.” Then she asked, “Have you ever written anything before?” Instead of saying I had finished manuscripts, I just said, “Yeah, a little.”

The Head-Tapper: I can tell when people don’t take writing seriously. They all but say, “That’s nice.” Once I refused to give away the ending of my book to someone and she rolled her eyes and said, “Yeah, like I’m ever going to read it.” That was unusually blatant. Most head-tappers just ask, “What else do you want to do?” I always told them I wanted to be an editor to make them happy.

The Readers: These are the people I like. They don’t know anything about writing and they don’t care, but they like books and they want to know what I’m writing. I tell them about my book and they tell me what a great idea it is and make me feel warm and bubbly inside. What I really love is when the same people ask me years later how the book is going.

The Professionals: These people are my favorites. They recognize writing is a job like any other, wish me luck, and go on to talk about their own jobs.

Do you tell people you like to write? How do they usually respond?






Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Blog Directory

In an effort to make the blog more navigable and to help newcomers discover old posts, I've categorized all the posts into categories (except for those that are hopelessly out of date). Just click on the category to move down to that section.

I'll keep updating this directory with new posts, so please bookmark it if you want a central place to keep up with the different topics!

Categories:

Books
Business of Publishing
Contests
Culture
E-books
Genres
Jacob Wonderbar (And Its Author)
Literary Agents (How to Find One/Work With One)
Literary Agents (What the Job Is Like)
Page and Query Critiques
Promoting a Book and Social Media
Publishing Industry
Query Letters
Self-Publishing
Writing Advice
The Writing Life
This Week in Publishing/Books

Books:

Business of Publishing:

Contests:

Culture:

E-books:

Genres:

Jacob Wonderbar (and its author):

Literary Agents (How to Find One/Work With One):

Literary Agents (What the Job is Like):

Page and Query Critiques:

Promoting a Book and Social Media:

Publishing Industry:

Query Letters:

Self-Publishing:

Writing Advice:

The Writing Life:

This Week in Publishing/Books:






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