Improving Your Writing Skills & Marketing

Bookpleasures' is excited to bring you some excellent articles on how to improve your writing skills and other topics related to writing. Check these out. I am sure you will find them very useful.

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    Your job is to frequently surprise you readers with the words you use and their juxtaposition.

    I recently started and finished a tiresome editing project that had been hanging over my head for about two months. In my defense, I can say the delay was the result of some holidays and also some excruciating back pain. But, if I was honest, I'd also have to admit I was, well, procrastinating.

    I think poetry may be our best ally for connecting with the earth, with our roots, with our spiritual nature. Mystics for generations have used poetry as a way to convey their oneness with everything – a state of being that all say is so very hard to describe. We don’t have to have undergone an enlightenment experience, however, to struggle with how to put into words the wonderment, the awe, we feel about our lives and this world.

    When it comes to promoting a book there is the obvious metric of sales.  But what’s not obvious is how many book sales the PR campaign generated.  Did the story in the Wall Street Journal move books or was it something else?  Often there is a delay in gathering complete sales numbers so it’s hard to tell cause and effect.  Further, if one were to build their brand with a PR campaign, long-term residuals are likely even though they don’t appear in the immediate balance sheet. 

    It is difficult to predict too far into the future, given the industry is subject to changes in technology.  It didn’t used to be that way.  Books are now becoming commoditized products that will depend on technology on all aspects—to research, write, and edit books; to sell them; and to market, promote, and advertise them.  So the book publishing industry will sink or sail based on the path technology leads it.

    Your character enters the dark room, hearing the ticking of the bomb, ready to explode. But as we place our characters into the major conflict of the story, how do we blend the mini-conflicts? Who set the bomb could be one question. What prompted the character to a life of danger, or are more than two factions fighting, could be other questions.

    Inspiration for writing can manifest itself in myriad ways. It is important therefore to pay attention to the tenor and tone of your writing. Your personality will shine through.

    Writing is a little bit like giving directions. As the writer, you know the landscape. You’ve had the benefit of doing the research, conducting the interviews, pondering the material and then, actually writing it.

    We talk a lot about narrators in our prose, but did you know your poem has a narrator as well? While perhaps hidden, someone is the speaker behind the poem. Who is it? What is her/his mood? How does he/she speak?

    The publishing industry is fraught with scams. There are publishing houses that claim to be traditional but aren’t. There are companies that have hidden fees or make promises off paper that they never intend to follow through on. Sabrina Sumsion has compiled a list of questions to ask publishers and the answers you want to receive.

    The craft of writing is a blessed one. The ability to freely express thoughts milling round our heads into a coherent essay is something exciting, challenging, liberating and highly fulfilling.

    Metrophobia is the fear of poetry. Many people believe poetry is only for extraordinarily gifted writers, for special occasions, for the intellectuals. But poetry is about life, about our daily existence – how we love, die, grieve, celebrate, and find meaning.

    "Why should I want to write quickly?" That gauntlet, thrown down by a colleague recently, caused me to sit back -- rather like an astronaut pressed into the chair by G-forces. But for me, the only force was astonishment.

    Probably one of the biggest mistakes writers make is not going deep enough. They just skim through the scene, the emotion, the scenery, the problem, or the resolution.

    Nancy Hatch Woodward Discusses What Is Freedom In Our Writing?

    Nadia Janice Brown Sums Up How To Move Your Book Forward

    There is a notion in Buddhism that the more restrictions a person has in her life, the more freedom she is able to enjoy. The idea behind it is that if you know and accept what must be done, you don’t have to spend time considering options.

    This week's column is about mistakes and I am supremely well qualified to write it. I'm the idiot who once let an email subject line read, "Why you should ignore your grammer checker."

    Have you ever encountered a four-year-old who hasn't eaten enough? It's not pretty. It almost always involves a tantrum with screaming and tears -- and maybe even kicking and punching. But offer some apple juice, fishy crackers and a cheese string and, voila, the problem is usually solved.

    Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules,making mistakes, and having fun.” -- Mary Lou Cook

    Nancy Harch Woodward tells her classes they can find sources for their stories in their own lives and in the lives of others. But that will only take them so far. As John Irving says, “A writer uses what experience he or she has. It’s the translating, though, that makes the difference.”

    Last night, in my “Creative Writing for Absolute Beginners” class, a participant asked about the art and craft of writing. He wasn’t certain whether he had the talent (art) to be a good writer, but he was in the class to learn the how-tos (craft) of writing. I’m glad he asked that question, because I hear this debate a lot when it comes to creative writing – that the really good writers have a special talent most of us are not born with.

    What happens to you when you've written an article, chapter or report and it feels wrong or "off"?

    Anyone who believes you can't change history
    has never tried to write his memoirs.
    ---David Ben-Gurion.

    People frequently ask me how many times they should rewrite. I try to dodge this question because, in truth, there is no easy answer. Pieces of writing are like snowflakes; each is unique. There are, however, some questions you can ask yourself for guidance

    Nancy Hatch Woodward Contributes Her Thoughts On Being A Writer

    Additional ways to strengthen you dialogue

    Daphne Gray-Grant Contributes Her Thoughts Concerning Three Writing Resolutions For 2012

    Oh, Yeah, Well”

    Tips on Dialogue

    You can’t blame yourself for what the characters say.”

    -- Truman Capote

    Words are the tools of our trade. Just like a carpenter, we need to make certain our tools are in good working order, which means they need to be sharply honed, well-oiled, and solid. It’s so easy to get lazy with the words we use – using hackneyed expressions, clichés, or boring, ordinary words.

    Daphne Gray-Grant Contributes Her Thoughts On How To Being Your Sentences In A Winning Way

    Nancy Hatch Woodward Shares His New Year's Resolutions

    Do what you feel in your heart to be right –
    for you’ll be criticized anyway. You’ll be damned
    if you do, and damned if you don’t.” – Eleanor Roosevelt.

    Daphne Gray-Grant Thoughts On "Darling" Writing

    Writers today have many options and choices – self publish or traditional publish; e-book only or printed book only -- or both; what should be available for free and how much should you charge for your content?  As authors, you then must decide how you will promote, market and advertise your book.  What is your budget, in time and money?  Who will you hire, to do what?  What will you do on your own?

    None of us likes criticism, but as writers, we put ourselves out there into the world to be criticized. I think it is even harder for creative writers than others. As a freelance writer, I’m comfortable going back and forth with executives (who may or may not know anything about writing well) and editors (who often know a whole lot) to come up with the final draft. That’s just part of the business. But when it’s my short stories or poems, I’m a bit more sensitive. After all, creative writing contains more of me than my articles and corporate work does.

    Memoirists do not have perfect memories, but they do know how to mine for them. None of us can remember every detail of any event we’ve experienced, especially if it happened several years before or back in our childhoods. And that knowledge – knowing we don’t remember everything – often stops us in our tracks when we want to write about the past.

    Amanda Hocking, as I’m sure you know, is a best-selling e-author on Since uploading her first e-book in the spring of 2010, she has grossed about $2 million. She’s got 10 novels under her belt, all of which fall into the paranormal-romance category. The prominent entertainment company, Media Rights Capital, optioned her four-book vampire series “Trylle”.

    Poetry surrounds our lives. You may not think this is true, and certainly we don’t have a culture of poetry the way many other countries do, but still we are exposed to poetry in all sorts of wonderful ways. Of course, we hear them in song lyrics, but we also find poems

     Nancy Hatch Woodward Offers Once Again Useful Writing Tips

    Who is your audience? I don’t mean who is going to buy your book, though that crowd is undoubtedly your final audience and their needs certainly need to be considered at some point. That’s especially true with nonfiction – are they war buffs, diabetic patients, young mothers, career-minded executives, or lay scientists? But let me talk about audience for fiction. I know Janet Evanovich keeps fans in mind when crafting her stories for them. But I want to venture even further into the process and talk about the audience in your head when you are actually in the middle of writing (not editing). Who are you seeing in your mind’s eye as your reader?

    David Meerman Scott Comments About the Usefulness of Kindle Fire

    Nancy Hatch Woodward Offers Advice Concerning Grammar

    The Three Jewels of Writing

    The stories and poems we write matter. Stories help us share our humanity with each other.

    Perhaps the number one tool for writers is the journal – not the type where you record what you did for the day and how you felt about it, though that kind can be helpful. No, I’m talking about writing journals. Notebooks if you prefer. They can be spiral bound, composition style, loose sheets gathered in a three-prong folder, leather bound, lined, graphed, blank, whatever. Find the ones you love. My favorite are the environmentally friendly, cardboard, spiral bound, 8” x 11” ones I buy at Stables that cost less than $3. I like them because I don’t feel that I my writing has to be remarkable or exquisite, the way I do when writing in journals that are hard covered and cost a pretty penny.

    You’ve heard the advice about how essential it is to your writing to find your own voice, but when it comes to fiction, it’s more important to find your characters’ voices. How your characters speak and what they say can often provide your readers with more insight into your protagonist and antagonist than a physical description does.

    Jerry D. Simmons Contributes His Thoughts On Creating Content

    Marsha Friedman Offers Advice As To Give A Great Print Media Interview

    Author Pamela Bitterman Discusses the Craft of Writing

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