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.

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Be a Good Reader of the Unpublished

There is a mantra among many writers: to be a good writer, you need to be a good reader. Many have taken this to mean that you need to read widely, reading every published book you can get your hands on. Some insist that you need to read at least a book a week while others spout that it’s one a month. However, is all that reading of the published works really doing your writing any good? Let me explain.

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Sawn Book

Length matters, but story matters more.

Every writer that is serious about publishing, particularly those attempting the traditional publication path, will know that agents and editors put a lot of weight on word counts. The acceptable limits vary depending on the age category and genre of the book.

(By the way, Young Adult is NOT a genre. It’s an age category. And Fiction is NOT a genre either. You can find more information about the various age categories here. More information about the main genre classifications can be found here.)

It’s incredibly important to have a good understanding of the average word counts for the type of story that you are writing, but it’s just as important to understand word counts are not an excuse for poor story telling.

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We can tell you haven’t edited your book.

There are many out there now self-publishing. They’re decisions to head down this path have come about for a variety of reasons and there is nothing wrong with it. There have been many successful writers who have self-published, just as there has been many writers who have been traditionally published that bombed.

In some cases, writers elect to push for self-publishing because it’s the fastest way to get your book out there. For time-sensitive, non-fiction books, this is likely the path you’ll take. However, there is a HUGE difference between (1) producing a quality product that was self-published and (2) self-publishing because you want it out there.

In a previous post, I spoke about rushing the process. One flavor of the rush-the-process beast is the publish-without-editing variant.  Read More

Facebook and a Writer’s Platform

I frequently find myself in the middle of a conversation on some forum about Facebook and how one might include that particular social media site into their writer's platform. There are a lot of things to consider.

Unlike Twitter, where you can have as many accounts as you do email addresses, on Facebook, you are meant to have only the one account. Yes, there are some writers out there who have two accounts: one for personal use and the other for their writing persona. For those that get away with it, good on you. However, for those considering doing this themselves, be warned. There have been reported cases where writers have been locked out of their accounts by Facebook because of this. This is a standing policy of Facebook: one account per user. If they discover that you have multiple accounts, they can and will put you in Facebook Jail. It's a real thing, people. Considered yourself warned.

So let's carry on and assume that you've joined the masses in Facebook with only one account. So now what?

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Pitching Blog Posts

Guest blogs can be a great way to get your name out there as a writer. Most blog hosts will allow you to have links to your various online accounts and are happy to include a brief bio and profile picture. Let’s face it, for the time and effort that it takes to write that blog post, you get free advertising. However, there are some rules that you should follow when it comes to pitching guest blog posts.

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Headaches of Domain Transfers… What was I thinking?

Those who have been following my personal blog, my Twitter, or this blog will know that I have been working on moving my sites to a self-hosting provider. For the past two years, my sites (personal and business) have been hosted by WordPress.com. It was a brilliant place to start: easy to use and cheap (i.e. free for the site with the option of adding a custom domain for little financial outlay). For someone just starting out and building that on-line platform, I honestly can’t think of a better place get that momentum going. But for financial business reasons, shifting to a self-hosted site was important.

Let’s face it… I was paying $60 USD per year for a single email address for Black Wolf Editorial. This was on top of the $26 USD per domain that I was paying for the domain registrations itself. (Before anyone says something about the cost of that, it’s $18 USD for the domain registration through WordPress.com and an additional $8 USD for privacy. Sorry guys, but I don’t want my home address plastered across the internet for all to see — or my phone number, private email, etc. This is all stuff that is required with registration of domains.)Read More

NaNoWriMo is over. Let the editing begin.

November is over, everywhere around the world. Congratulations to all who have met the 50,000 word target, but an even bigger congratulations to all those who actually wrote that story that was whizzing around in your heads. But with NaNoWriMo over, now is the time to think about the next steps in your writing journey.

The first thing you need to do is ask yourself the following question: have you finished that first draft in its entirety? Have you actually typed those coveted words of The End?

If the answer is no, then stop reading this post right now. Get your butt over to your manuscript and carry on writing. I mean it. This post will be here when you’re finished. Come back when you actually have a full manuscript to work with.

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Time to Add Zombies to Your Manuscript

We are midway through the month and many writers are pushing themselves toward their NaNoWriMo or CampNaNoWriMo goals. It might be just to write the 50,000 words to become a winner. Or maybe they're pushing themselves that much further to complete a full first draft within the span of one month. Regardless, it is roughly about this time of the month when many writers start to lose steam and they feel that their stories are running flat.

Time to add zombies.

It's an old saying, one that relates to how some writers deal with that age old problem called writer's block. Some writers will take the phrase literally and add flesh-eating monsters into their manuscript. Why not? This is NaNo. Anything can happen in our manuscripts. However, those monsters only suit certain genres and only a fraction of the stories in those genres at that.

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Developing the habit of writing…

Right now, writers from around the world have pledged themselves to either the NaNoWriMo or CampNaNoWriMo challenge.  They’ve signed their lives away, at least for remainder of the month, determined to write 50,000 words within the span of 30 days. (For CampNaNoWriMo, they have elected to work toward something much smaller.) 50,000 words may sound like a lot, but it really isn’t. In many cases, it’s not even a full novel. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was 76,944 words.

So, 50,000 words in 30 days… For some, it can seem like a scary number, but it’s only 1,667 words a day. But this is where things can start to go awry.Read More