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

To Oxford Comma or Not?

Before one can make the decision about whether they should use an Oxford comma or not, one must first understand what the Oxford comma is.

Consider a list with at least three different items: apples, oranges and bananas. If one was to use an Oxford comma, then the list would look like apples, oranges, and bananas. Notice the use of the comma before the and. However, you won’t always find a comma before the and. If the list has only two items, that list of apples and oranges wouldn’t use a comma.

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Finding value in a critique…

Every writer who puts their work out there will have to face critiques of all flavors: the good, the bad, and the outright mean. For the new writer, one just starting down the journey, sending that baby out for review can actually be a terrifying experience. “What if they don’t like it? What if I’m doing it all wrong? What if they tell me my writing is shit?”

Well… Not everyone is going to like what you write. Writing is like art — filled with subjective opinions. If you’re determined to have everyone in the world like your writing, then you might as well give up now. It’s never going to happen. The best you can ever hope for is that the fans of books you like to read, the stories that influenced your writing, also like your book.

In terms of doing it wrong… I’m sorry, but this is your writing. You are the only one who can judge if you are doing it wrong or not. What others can do is tell you why something didn’t work for them, potentially providing suggestions to make your writing stronger. Whether you take on board those suggestions is entirely up to you.Read More

Editing Reality Check

When writers have spent such a long time at writing, crafting their stories, many will happily turn their attention to editing. However, it saddens me to realize that many writers don’t fully understand what editing actually entails.

In a post earlier this year, I spoke about The Who, What and When of Editing. In that article, I mentioned that editing falls into four main categories: critique, developmental, line and copy-edit. Each stage is important for a manuscript’s development but for different reasons. Unfortunately, the number of writers that seem to miss the critique and developmental editing phases, going straight to line editing, is surprising.Read More

The Value of a Synopsis

Many of my followers on Twitter will know that I have recently completed my manuscript and am now on the path of querying for agents and publishers. It’s a hard road, one that many turn away from.

Writing the manuscript was hard. Editing it into something worth reading was harder. Writing a query letter was harder still. And the synopsis was a nightmare. Let’s face it: compressing a full-length novel into one page is a frightening task. Not all agents want a synopsis, but most publishers do. So if you are fortunate enough to snag an agent without needing to write a synopsis, you will eventually need to write one.

During my preparation of my submission materials of my own manuscript, I struggled to bring my synopsis to under one page, like so many other writers, but I did it. Everything is now ready to go, it’s just a matter of working out where.Read More