I don’t know about you, but I get a little excited when a new writing guide comes along. Today I get to spill the news that The Conflict Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Obstacles, Adversaries, and Inner Struggles (Vol. 1) has hit the shelves.
This guide is about that killer ingredient our stories need: Conflict. It shows you exactly how to use conflict to raise tension, create a fresh story premise, and pull readers in. The guide also dives into over 100 conflict scenarios and how each can be endlessly adapted to challenge a character inside and out. Problems, Moral Dilemmas, Ticking Clocks, Obstacles, No-Win Scenarios…this book is plot brainstorming in overdrive!
I’m part of Angela & Becca’s Street Team for this release, and we have an important question to ask you:
It’s time to find out by taking the Conflict Challenge! I dare you to become the protagonist in a special story Angela & Becca have created. And heads up, if you survive, you win some pretty cool stuff!
While you’re at Writers Helping Writers taking the Conflict Challenge, make sure to enter The Conflict Thesaurus celebratory giveaway, too. But hurry – it’s only on for a few days.
So, take the challenge…if you dare. And don’t forget to come back and let me know how you did against Camp Deadwood!
I want to recommend a helpful resource for authors! Read to the bottom for my review of K.M. Weiland’s new book. First, here’s the cover and her Amazon description:
Theme Is What Your Story Is Really About
Theme—the mysterious cousin of plot and character. Too often viewed as abstract rather than actionable, theme is frequently misunderstood and left to chance. Some writers even insist theme should not be purposefully implemented. This is unfortunate, because in many ways theme is story. Theme is the heart, the meaning, the point. Nothing that important should be overlooked.
Powerful themes are never incidental. They emerge from the conjunction of strong plots and resonant character arcs. This means you can learn to plan and implement theme. In doing so, you will deepen your ability to write not only stories that entertain, but also stories that stay with readers long after the end.
Writing Your Story’s Theme will teach you:
Conscious mastery of theme will elevate every story you write and allow you to craft fiction of depth and meaning.
Take Control of Your Story Via a Powerful Implementation of Theme
This is a useful resource for any author wanting to strengthen their novel’s theme. I’ve never read anything so in-depth on the subject! But don’t try to read this book when you’re tired or at less than peak mental alertness – it’s so deep and rich that takes a lot of brainpower to fully absorb the details. There are so many useful concepts here that I found myself highlighting dozens of separate passages, which I’ll have to look back over when I’m plotting out my next book. Thank you, K.M. Weiland, for another excellent writing resource!
Click here to buy Writing Your Story’s Theme from Amazon.
Some of you may know Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi of Writers Helping Writers. Well, today they are releasing a new book, and I’m part of their street team. I’m handing the blog over to them today so they can tell you a bit about their Writer’s Showcase event, new book, and a great freebie to check out. Read on!
Think about it: how much time do you spend on the job? Does it fulfill you or frustrate you? Can you separate work from home? Is it causing you challenges, creating obstacles, or helping you live your truth?
Just like us, most characters will have a job, and the work they do will impact their life. The ups and downs can serve us well in the story.
Maybe you haven’t thought much about jobs in the past and how they act as a window into your character’s personality, interests, and skills. It’s okay, you aren’t alone. The good news is that The Occupation Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Jobs, Vocations, and Careers is going to do all the heavy lifting for you. (Here’s one of the job profiles we cover in this book: FIREFIGHTER.)
To celebrate the release of a new book, Writers Helping Writers has a giveaway happening July 20th & July 23rd. You can win some great prizes, including gift certificates that can be spent on writing services within our Writer’s Showcase. Stop by to enter!
Some of the amazing writers in our community have put together additional career profiles for you, based on jobs they have done in the past.
What a great way to get accurate information so you can better describe the roles and responsibilities that go with a specific job, right?
To access this list, GO HERE.
Happy writing to all!
You Don’t Have a Kindle, but You Have the Kindle App on Your Computer, Tablet, or Phone
If you’re checking your email on a computer that has the Kindle app installed, simply download the mobi file in the attachment. Then, go to your downloads folder or wherever you saved it and double-click the file. It should automatically open up in the Kindle app, and you’ll be able to start reading immediately.
If you have the Kindle app on another device, follow the 8 steps above to send the book to your Kindle’s email address.
Note: Those 8 steps work for most devices, but not all. Here’s what Amazon has to say about it:
In that case, you’ll probably see a screen like the one below, that skips the section above “Personal Document Settings” where the Kindle’s address would normally be:
In that case, I suggest you install the Kindle app on your computer (see the instructions below) or ask the author if he/she could possibly send you a PDF instead.
You Don’t Have a Kindle or the Kindle App Installed on Any Device
It’s easy (and free!) to install the Kindle app. Just go to this link.
Then click on whichever of the black buttons applies to your device. Follow the instructions to download and install it. Once you’ve done that, come back here and follow the instructions in the section above (“You Don’t Have a Kindle, but …”)
This second edition is more than a new cover. It’s been been enhanced and expanded to include 55 new entries and double the teaching material. Now we can go even deeper when showing our characters’ emotions!
Anyway, if you want to look into it further, you can read some of the reviews on Goodreads or find more information here. Also, one more thing I want to share…a MEGA-OPPORTUNITY to win something amazing!
To celebrate the new book & its dedicated readers, Angela and Becca have an unbelievable giveaway on right now: one person will win a free writing retreat, conference, workshop, or professional membership to a writing organization, winner’s choice (up to $500 US, with some other conditions which are listed on the WHW site). What conference would you attend if the fee was already paid for…or would you choose a retreat? Something else? Decisions, decisions! This giveaway ends on February 26th, so hurry over and enter!
This book is available for preorder, so you can find all the details about this new book’s contents by visiting Amazon, Kobo, Apple iBooks, and Indiebound or swinging by Writers Helping Writers. You can view the full list of emotions included in this new book, too.
I recently purchased a program called KDROI. Once installed, it makes it easy for you to submit a Kindle book to as many as 16 sites that promote ebooks, with just a few clicks and a few words to type. (Of course there are no guarantees that every site will agree to feature the book; it just submits the book to them quickly and easily.) Once I purchased it, I decided to use it to help out other authors, as well as to submit my own books.
I’m not trying to make lots of money off of this service (though I certainly won’t complain if I can make back the purchase price! 🙂 ). Mainly, I’m just trying to bless some fellow authors as so many people have blessed and helped me along my publishing journey. So, I’ve chosen not to charge as much as some of my author friends suggested. I want this service to be accessible to those on even the lowest budgets. Hence, the prices that I hope you’ll consider very reasonable: $1.99 or $2.99, depending on the details (more information below).
For those who are curious, the following screenshots show how the program actually works, using my book The Collar and the Cavvarach as an example.
To begin with, I go to the book’s page on Amazon, then I activate the program. This is the first screen I see (it fills in most of the details automatically, so I just have to check that they’re correct then fill in a couple of blanks):
After that, it’s a simple matter to click “Submit Promotion” and wait a few seconds while the form is sent out. For the last step, the program shows a log report of how many sites the book information was successfully sent to, and how many sites “failed”. (Failure can be due to a number of issues; I list some of them in my form at the bottom.) There’s a pretty high success rate, though, as you see in this record of 4 different books I submitted for other authors. (The Collar and the Cavvarach isn’t listed here because I didn’t finish submitting it. I actually had already scheduled a promo for a couple weeks from now and had sent requests to many of the same sites manually before I bought KDROI. So I just used it as an example in the first part of the program’s form.)
When I click on the blue links, it tells me which sites experienced the “failure”. After I submitted Heartsick for a free promo and saw that it didn’t work with two sites, I tried the form again, selecting only those two this time. I thought it was worth trying to see if it would go through to them the second time, but as you can see, it didn’t. Oh, well. 30 out of 32* isn’t bad! (The other books in the list were all 99 cent promos, so there were only 18 possible sites they could be sent to.)
Update: I’ve heard back from a couple authors whose books I’ve submitted, and they’ve said that some of the sites where the submission “failed” actually confirmed receiving their book information. So, apparently book submissions that have supposedly failed actually do go through, at least some of the time.
If I submit your book through this service, I’ll send you a confirmation email to let you know when I’ve done it. In addition, you will receive confirmation emails from a number of the sites, some of which contain links you’ll need to click on to finalize your book submission.
Anyway, that’s how KDROI works. Fairly quick and simple for me to use, which is why I can afford to offer book submission services at such a low rate! Any questions? Feel free to mention them in the comments below this post, or email me at AnnieDouglassLima (at) gmail (dot) com.
For $2.99, tell me the next set of dates in which your book will temporarily be free, and I will submit it to all 16 book promotion sites on the list. The sites may or may not all decide to feature the book, but it will be submitted to them.
Or, for $1.99, tell me the next set of dates in which your book will temporarily be 99 cents (if it’s permanently 99 cents, that’s fine too; just pick some dates when you want it featured) and I will submit it to the 9 sites that accept 99 cent books. They may or may not all decide to feature the book, but it will be submitted to them.
Or, for $1.99, tell me the next set of dates in which you would like your permafree book to be featured, and I will submit it to the 10 sites that accept permafree books. They may or may not all decide to feature the book, but it will be submitted to them.
Another option: instead of paying the fees mentioned above through PayPal, you could buy one of my books instead. 🙂 Most of the ebooks are $2.99 or less; feel free to pick any one of them at any price (as long as it’s not free at the time) and either download it for yourself or “gift” it to a friend. (I emailed Amazon to make sure this doesn’t violate their terms of service, and they assured me it’s fine.) If you choose this option, simply send me a screenshot that shows what you bought, or forward me the confirmation email from Amazon, and ignore the PayPal link on my form.
Sorry, but I won’t submit erotica or books promoting religions other than Christianity. Don’t take it personally if that’s what you write. We can still be friends! 🙂 But I can’t in good conscience help to promote those books.
So. Are you interested? You could spend nearly $50 and buy the program yourself (you should definitely do that if it’s worth it to you), or you could fill out the form at this link and let me submit your book to those sites for you for about the cost of a cup of coffee.
1.) Banish those Assumptions
Maybe you already know how publication works and what being a published author is like. Or maybe you just think you do ….
Ten Things That Might Surprise an Unpublished Author
This little article by Denise Moncrief may burst your bubble. But it’s always better to know the truth so we can figure out how best to deal with the reality, right?
2.) Outline and Structure Your Novel
If you really have finished writing the book, this step probably won’t be necessary. But if you’re wondering if all your scenes are truly in the best order or whether the progression of your plot makes sense, here are a few helpful links you’ll want to check out. (Or bookmark them for when you’re ready to start planning the sequel!)
A Quick-Start Guide to Story Structure Methods
Janeen Ippolito lists and explains a number of different ways to outline a story’s structure. She includes diagrams and links to books that go into more detail about the different methods.
6 Ways to Outline Your Novel Faster
K.M. Weiland presents six quick suggestions for story outlining. Unlike the ones in Ippolito’s list, they aren’t really complete methods as such. They’re more like possible angles of approach.
Personally, I can highly recommend two books about plot outlining that I now use with every novel I write. Clicking on the pictures below will take you to the Amazon pages where you can find out more about the books and order them if you’d like to. I promise, they’re worth it!
3.) Choose a Title
Perhaps you already have a title for your book. But if you haven’t decided on one yet, here are some suggestions to consider.
How to Choose a Book Title That’s Perfect for Your Story AND Good Marketing!
K.M. Weiland explains why the right title matters so much and puts forth three ways to pick a good one.
How to Choose the Right Book Title
Anne R. Allen presents three different ways to choose the right title. (She also has an interesting list of famous books and their little-known original titles.)
20 Book-Title Hacks for Any Genre
David H. Safford suggests a whopping twenty different ways to come up with a good book title: everything from making it a story symbol to using a famous quotation.
3 Book Title Mistakes that will Murder Your Marketing Efforts
Using the right or wrong kind of title can have a big impact on how many people buy your book. Dave Durden explains how.
4.) Start Building a Platform
An author platform is important for anyone who wants to sell books to more than just their personal friends and family. Even if your book isn’t ready for publication yet, it’s never too early to start building your platform through your website/blog, on social media, etc.
Building an Online Presence: Websites, Blogs, and Social Media for Authors
This is a collection of information about starting a website or a blog, along with different types of social media (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+, Tumblr, YouTube, and LinkedIn) and how authors can use each one. There’s even a link to an article about what to do if you don’t have (or want) a social media presence at all.
5.) Join an Author Group
I cannot overemphasize how much this will help you. If you don’t have a physical group of local authors to be a part of (or even if you do), find an online one (or two, or three, or four …). Try searching Facebook for “authors” or “author group _____” (your genre). If you end up in a group without much interaction, or where people spend most of their time just advertising their books to each other, find a new group. Joining some excellent Facebook author groups has helped me more than anything else as an author. They are a great place to share ideas, ask questions, and support each other in our journeys as writers. You can also ask around in author groups for beta readers, editors, cover artists, etc.
The following groups may or may not be a fit for you and your books, but here are a few that I have personally found helpful. Below each one, I’ve included excerpts from the group’s description on Facebook. If nothing else, they’ll show you some examples of what’s out there.
Clean Indie Reads
Finally! A book / author group that isn’t just a post-and-run! We are here to offer real, useful support. Welcome to the workplace that feels like home.
CIR is a group for INDIE AUTHORS of FLINCH-FREE FICTION (no explicit sex or violence and limited swearing). We’re here to support each other in the whole process of writing/publishing/marketing quality indie books.
Use this Google spreadsheet of service options to see if we’re a good venue for you. http://bit.ly/IsCIR4U
Iron Sharpening Iron
Before requesting to join, please be aware we have three requirements for joining, which you will be asked to affirm:1) That you are a Bible-believing Christian2) That you are (or are working to become) a Christian Author, or are an enthusiastic fan and reader, in the Speculative Fiction genre3) That you are willing to try and be an ACTIVE member.
This is a CHRISTIAN group run by biblical principles. The idea behind the group: Proverbs 27:17 “Iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another.” It is not by placation and empty praise that we learn and grow, but it is by godly brothers and sisters, practicing “truth in love” that we can learn and grow together to improve our collective witness for Christ in the literary world. May the Lord bless you all in your work.
Christian Indie Authors
Christian writers with works not openly Christian are welcome! Please alert us to language, sex, or violence when sharing or asking for a review. Liberty in Christ can give different standards. Share what you can.
Please don’t post and run. Take a moment; offer assistance to a fellow Indie. Share a book; answer a question. We are a family.
To share blogs etc you must be an active member. What is active? It’s talking. It’s taking a few seconds to share a post. It’s being a part of our family. Not everyone is going to post. We have members who just read.
This might be helpful, too:
60+ Facebook Groups for Authors – Promote Your Books, Blogs, and More
Shelley Hitz lists groups of readers, groups of writers, groups specifically for sharing discounted books, etc.
Depending on where you want to upload and sell your ebook, you may first have to save the file as a mobi or an epub.
To save your file as a mobi (needed for publishing as a Kindle book) or an epub (needed for publishing on most other platforms), I recommend using Calibre. Simply click on the link above and download the program (for free). You’ll need to save your Word doc as a PDF first, then use Calibre to change it to a mobi or epub. There are places online to convert documents similarly, but some of them mess up the formatting, title, etc. Calibre is reliable and highly recommended by many professionals.
14.) Format and Publish Your Book as a Paperback
There are several POD (print on demand) companies out there that are easy for authors to use, but you’ll want to pick just one. KDP Print and Ingram Spark are the main ones. (Again, I suggest not actually completing the publishing process until you’ve considered item #13 on this list.)
DIY: Print on Demand 101
Daniel Lefferts and Alex Daniel talk about 6 POD companies and the differences between them.
How to Prepare Your Manuscript for Paperback Publication through KDP Print
My personal experience is with KDP Print (formerly CreateSpace). In this blog post, I offer step-by-step instructions for how to format your manuscript to make a professional-looking paperback, and then how to upload and publish it through the KDP website.
15.) Plan Your Book Launch
Sending a new book out there into the world is a big deal! But don’t plan on just clicking the final “publish” button and sit back waiting for the sales to roll in. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. You have to put the word out about your book, and ideally, that process should start before the book is published.
You should try to get people to review your book as soon as possible after it’s available for purchase (the day of, if possible). To do this, you will need to contact possible reviewers beforehand and offer them a free (yes, free!) copy of your book in exchange for an honest review. (I recommend offering digital copies only if you’re on a tight budget, but be aware that some reviewers will only accept paperbacks.) Asking around in your author groups often works, but for long lists of book bloggers, check out these two links (of course, make sure you only contact reviewers who have expressed an interest in your genre):
The Book Blogger List
The Indie Reviewers List
5 Steps for Crafting the Perfect Book Review Pitch
In this article “BookGal” has some great tips for actually contacting reviewers.
Book Review Banzai
Jason B. Ladd offers an entire course on how to get far more book reviews than you would get just by contacting reviewers the normal way. I’ve taken the course myself, and I can recommend it. Or, if you don’t have a lot of time on your hands, you could just read his book by the same title and apply the principles he explains. (Clicking on the picture below will take you to the Amazon page where you can read more about the book or purchase it.)
Creative Book Launches that Command Attention
In this article, author Angela Ackerman suggests a number of fun approaches and strategies to launching a book in a way that will attract attention and generate sales.
Ten Tips to Have a Successful Book Release Party on Facebook
Many authors use Facebook to hold fun events on their book’s release day. Victoria Holt gives a clear and succinct list for how to make that work, and work well.
Marketing Your Book with Press Releases
Another book launch strategy some authors use is to send press releases to newspapers and other publications. Connie Dunn explains how it works, where to find periodicals’ contact information, and how to compose a good press release.
How I Put Together My Great Big Blog Tour and Giveaway
Personally, I like setting up blog tours for my new books. This method works best if you already have connections with bloggers who write about book-related topics. If you have joined any author groups, as suggested in step 5 above, some of your fellow authors will probably be willing to host your book. In this post, I explain the method I used to put together one particular blog tour, which I combined with a giveaway to attract more interest.
How to Create a Global URL for Your Book
When you start sending your book’s Amazon link to newspapers, reviewers, potential buyers, etc., there’s an important point to consider. Amazon has different stores for different countries. When you make your book available on Amazon, it will automatically show up in Amazon’s online store in Italy, Japan, Australia, and Brazil (to name a few), along with the one in America. But your book’s page in each of those stores requires a different link. So if you’re in the US and you give your link to someone in, say, Canada; and if that person clicks on it to take a look at your book, they will see an error message that tells them to log into the Amazon Canada site instead of the Amazon US site. But once they log in, they will no longer be on the page where they can see your book. Of course they can still find it by searching, but not everyone will bother to do that, and you may lose sales to international readers. To solve the problem, you can create a “global URL” that will take anyone who clicks on it to your book’s page in the Amazon store that matches their geographical location. I have included screenshots with these step-by-step instructions to show you how to do that.
16.) Celebrate! But Keep Marketing
If you’ve made it through this list (or even most of it), congratulations! That’s an amazing accomplishment! You have brought a book into the world and worked hard to achieve a goal that to many people is only a distant dream. Now go out and treat yourself to something special. You deserve it!
But … don’t rest on your laurels. In order to get consistent sales, you will need to continue marketing your book indefinitely. Make a plan and keep following it!
71 Ways to Promote and Market Your Book
Kimberley Grabas has a great list here. Many of her suggestions don’t cost anything.
Author Marketing Checklist
The Author Marketing Club has a great list of things you can try. Some of them are ones I’ve already mentioned in this post, but there are plenty of new ones. Best of all, each item on their list comes with a little video that shows you how to do it.
The Ultimate Guide to Book Marketing
Diana Urban has a very thorough list here. Like this blog post, it’s made up mainly of links to helpful articles and resources. Hers are divided into categories like “before you publish”, “after the book launch”, etc. Again, some of them have been covered here, but not all.
Wooing Book Buyers to Get Your Book Into Stores
Want to see your paperback for sale in actual brick-and-mortar bookstores? Amy Collins explains how to make it happen.
Working with Bookstores
Once your book is in a brick-and-mortar bookstore, how do you get customers to notice it and buy it? Amy Collins offers some great suggestions.
Free Promo Sites for 99 Cent Books
One of the best ways to get potential buyers to notice your ebook is to temporarily discount it (or even to make it free for a few days at a time). You can do this on your KDP Bookshelf. But you’ll want to make sure to advertise your discounted or free book to some of the sites that alert readers of good deals. In this post, I list (to the best of my knowledge) every single book promo site out there that will promote your discounted ebook at no cost to you. I have created three more posts with similar lists for free books and for sites that charge for their services; you’ll find them at the top when you click on the link. (I update the lists often, so keep checking back!)