Helpful Tips

Tip of the Day: ALL writers seeking publication need a website.

Reality check: ALL writers seeking publication, traditionally or self-published, need a website.

A website will be the first port of call for any potential reader. They  will go to your website to get the latest information about your various projects, both old and new. Yes, your social media will likely have information about the latest happenings. However, any older material will quickly be buried. Everything else that you do should point back to your website and the one, central hub where readers can get the most up-to-date information about your work.
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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.

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Helpful Tips

Tip of the Day: Play nice, kiddy-winks.

As writers seeking publication, either traditional or self-publication road, how we behave on public forums does play on our marketability. Let’s face it, published writers are public figures, maybe not as famous as some big-name movie star, but our fans still want to know more about us. If we behave badly on social media, that could be very bad for our careers. And don’t think that if you did something years ago that it’ll be buried forever. The ugly-nasty has a bad habit of turning up when you least expect it. Always play nice on social media.
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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.

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Helpful Tips

Tip of the Day: Don’t be cheap with your book cover.

It may sound like obvious advice, but you will be surprised at how many choose not to listen to it. If you are self-publishing, you need to be prepared to put money into your book cover. The cover will be the first thing that people see. Hence, it needs to be eye-catching, but in a good way. If your book cover looks cheap, people will instantly assume that you didn’t take the time to edit your writing before publishing. However, if you have a professional looking cover, then they might actually stop long enough to look at the blurb. There are many graphic designers out there who produce beautiful covers for a reasonable price. Ask other writers as to who they recommend.
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Helpful Tips

Tip of the Day: Writing is like art — filled with subjective opinions.

It’s often difficult to remember that writing is actually just another form of art. There is a reason it’s called creative writing. What one person loves, another will hate.  The writers that try to please everyone will drive themselves crazy in the attempt. But this subjectivity goes for the professionals in the industry too. Just because an agent/publisher has turned down your beloved manuscript doesn’t necessarily mean that there is anything wrong with your manuscript. It just means that they weren’t as passionate about it as you are and hence didn’t feel that they could best represent that story. One should always remember this in any dealings about your manuscript. At the end of the day, there is only one person that you need to make 100% happy with what you have written: yourself. Your name is attached to that story. Make it a story that you’re proud of.
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Helpful Tips

Tip of the Day: Have a marketing strategy for your book.

Whether you are self-publishing or traditionally publishing, you need a marketing strategy for your book. It’s not good enough to just post your book on Amazon and expect people to buy it. The “build it and they will come” philosophy only works for Kevin Costner. The exact strategy that you use will depend on your personality and goals. There is only one wrong answer: doing nothing.

By the way, marketing begins before your book is published and continues long afterward.
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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.

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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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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