Nonfiction writers who write fiction need to retrain their brains.

There are some out there who believe that writing is just writing. If you have training in writing of one nature, surely you can write other stuff too. Well…

There are certain aspects of writing that hold true no matter what type of writing you do. The rules of grammar, for example, don’t care if you write fiction, a scientific paper, or a cookbook. However, there is a massive difference between all three of those particular types of writing.

It is becoming increasingly common for those who have nonfiction writing backgrounds to shift into the fictional realms. Let’s face it, we have big imaginations and we want to share that with the world. Rightly so. Our stories should be told. However, nonfiction writers, you need to retrain your brains if you are serious about pursuing fiction.

Read More

You Need to Register Your Copyright

Every so often, I come across some blog post or a Facebook group message, or something, where a writer is asking about copyright certificates and the like. Amazon is becoming more insistent on obtaining those copyright certificates, and rightly so.

Too many times, I have encountered some horror story where some honest writer has had their precious work taken down from the Amazon sites because some BLEEP has chosen to claim that they own the copyright. If this happens to you, it falls on you to prove the other person is wrong.

To complicate matters, far too many writers choose not to register their copyright with a copyright authority because of the cost. However, these are the writers that run the risk of finding themselves being the victim of some copyright scam.

All writers want to protect their writing as much as possible, and for the most part, people are honest. It’s the shady ones that you need to worry about. Here is where taking a few simple steps can save you.

Read More

The Rush-The-Process Dish

Over a year ago, I jokingly reported about some of the flavours of the Rush-The-Process dish. I’m talking about those scenarios where writers are in such a hurry to submit their work for publications that they skip vital steps in the editing or publication process.

In that post, I spoke about the ones who only have family and friends looking at their work, not other writers or editors. I spoke about the ones who take editorial reports and stick to the most basic of rewrites. Then there are those who submit to agents and publishers unfinished works, only to go into full panic mode when they get the request for fulls. And my personal favourite: upload to Amazon without editing at all, because they supposedly can’t afford it.

But there are some other flavours to this Rush-The-Process dish that also requires some attention.

Read More

A Website and Blog are NOT the same thing.

There are many out there who will use the terms website and blog interchangeably. The difference between the two is not as clear as one might think. It probably doesn’t help that many blogs are hosted on personal websites. However, there is a BIG difference between a website and a blog, although the line is a little fuzzy.

A website is your internet home, containing information about yourself and your various projects. The pages are static, occasionally updated to reflect changes. It will contain the most up-to-date information about your work, assuming that you actually keep it up to date.

A blog, on the other hand, is like a diary. It will be constantly changing with whatever content or other information you choose to share with the world. In some respects, a blog will contain even more up-to-date information about your work. However, the information on a blog quickly gets buried, depending on the frequency at which you post. This means that you can’t rely on your blog as a marketing tool for older works.

If a reader visits your site, they want to be able to find your books, products, or whatever quickly — and with little effort. This is the key point that distinguishes a website from a blog.

Read More

Developmental Editors are NOT Copyeditors

When I tell people that I’m an editor, the first response that I typically get is something along the lines of, “You must love spelling.” It’s amazing how many people assume that editing is just looking at the punctuation and grammar, perhaps finding typos. However, this proofreading type of editing is the final stage of the process. Before you get to that point, there are so many other aspects.

I have written about the stages of editing before, posting the below info-graphic about when you need to seek those external eyes and what type of external eyes you need. However, I still encounter many who are confused about what editing really entails.

The stages of editing info-graphic

The stages of editing

In this week’s post, I thought I’d elaborate on the two main categories of professional editors that you’ll likely encounter, and why BOTH are vital to the health (and success) of a story. I’m talking in particular about developmental editors and copyeditors.

Read More

What is a Platform?

The whole concept of building a following can be overwhelming at times, and there really isn’t much solid advice out there. However, a writer’s platform is not the complicated concept that many turn it into.

A writer’s platform is NOT marketing, promotion, or publicity. It’s not just a website or social media — for that matter, it’s not just your books. A writer’s platform is everything that you do to connect with readers.

It’s your local writers’ group that you attend once a month, or more frequently, as the case may be. It’s those conferences and book festivals that you save your pennies for so you can afford the registration. It’s your participation in special events that have nothing to do with writing and your books.

Yes, a writer’s platform includes your books, website, and social medial, and yes, this online component in today’s market is important, but it’s not everything.

Read More

Hidden Traps by Judy L Mohr (Coming Soon)

Working with Graphic Designers

My readers will know that I’m working toward the publication of Hidden Traps: A Writer’s Guide to Protecting Your Online Platform, due to be released August 2017. It’s been an interesting journey: revisiting my nonfiction writing roots; learning about ISBNs and publishing options; and devising marketing strategies. It has definitely been a steep learning curve. I have learnt many things along this journey, topics of which will become future blog posts, but there is one aspect that I thought was perfect to reveal now.

Graphic designers think in images.

Looking back at it now, it seems so logical, but at the time that I commissioned the cover for Hidden Traps, it was a concept that completely eluded me. I’m a writer and editor. I spend so much of my time looking at how to craft that perfect sentence to convey the right picture. I’ve commissioned artwork before, providing only a line from my stories and getting the perfect image in return. Surely, I can do the same for a cover.

I’ll hang my head in shame now, because clearly my words weren’t enough.

Read More

A Methodical Way to Marketing (Guest Blog)

Writing takes a community, sharing ideas and supporting one another. So, when we get approached with an article that shares hard-earned knowledge, we couldn't be happier to pass that information.

Today's post is written by Joynell Shultz. Joynell writes speculative fiction, venturing into the realms of cloning, medial research and vampires (but not all in the same story). As an independent-published author, she knows a thing or two about marketing, and she is learning more all the time.

Take a read of some of the insights into marketing books that Joynell has gained over the years.

Read More

The Synopsis for Editing and Writing

Those who are heading down the road toward traditional publication will be familiar with a beast known as a synopsis. Many agents and publishers require that you submit a 1/2-page synopsis with your submission materials. The chore of writing a synopsis that length is a frightening task. Many writers have been known to run away from it, screaming. So, when I mention that writers should write synopses as an editing tool, it’s not surprising that many look at me like I’m crazy.

In a querying synopsis, you include only the main plot thread, ignoring ALL subplots. The only characters named are your protagonist, antagonist, and often a love interest; everyone else is irrelevant. I’ll be the first to admit that it’s completely disheartening to see this complex masterpiece whittled down to a few short paragraphs, but for the querying synopsis, that’s what you need to do.

However, for editing purposes, that short, main-plot-only synopsis is useless. You need to create an entirely different beast.

Read More

When is writing classified as published?

The publishing industry has changed in a big way, thanks to the Internet, social media and self-publishing. While some aspects have opened doors to so many writers who would have struggled in a big way to become a published author, there are some aspects that have actually closed the doors to traditional publication paths.

Let me start by saying that there is absolutely nothing wrong with the self-publication path. There are some brilliant novels that have been self-published and some extremely successful writers that have taken that particular road. As long as you’re prepare to put in the hard work, self-publication can be a rewarding experience.

Regardless of whether you are self-published or traditionally published, you will need to get your head around marketing within today’s industry. It really is a self-promotion game, hence, one of the reasons that many have turned to self-publication. You put in all that effort and energy. You should reap the benefits.

However, there might be other reasons that you have your heart set on the traditional publication path. Perhaps there is a particular publishing house that you have dreamed of for as long as you can remember. Maybe your local bookstores refuse to consider stocking books that are self-published. Maybe there’s another reason altogether. Regardless of what your reasons might be, if you are heading down the road toward traditional publication, you need to be strategic in your release of sample writing. If you release the wrong bit in the wrong location, you may have inadvertently published your work without realizing it, killing your chances at traditional publication.

Read More