Words do change their meanings as each generation develops their own colloquial tongue. The most notable word-meaning change would be for gay. The word, in it’s original context, means happy, bright, excited. However, now many don’t use the word gay in that fashion anymore because of its other common meaning: homosexual. Other words that have taken on colloquial meanings include cool, chill and dank.Read More
Publishing, like so many other industries, can be solitary, and any activity that you have on social media can reflect badly on you, depending on the nature of your posts. An innocent comment could easily be taken as negative, even if it’s not intended that way. To avoid putting anything out that can be misinterpreted, it is vital that you have a person whom you trust that you can grumble to. Perhaps you received a critique that made your blood boil, or maybe you are reading through a passage that you are struggling to understand for whatever reason. Maybe you have provided feedback to a fellow writer who just refuses to listen and have gone on the defensive. At all times, you need to be professional on public forums, but when in private with your grumble buddy… Everyone needs a grumble buddy.
If you don’t want to have a blog, don’t. There is no hard and fast rule that writers need a blog. A writer’s platform consists of all the platforms that you feel comfortable with. If that includes a blog, then great. It if doesn’t, then that’s fine too. However, I would recommend a website for all. Using systems like WordPress, means that a website is easy to build and it is one of the best ways to keep your readers up to date with the latest news about your 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.
There are some out there who are so afraid that they’ll make a grammatical error on a blog post that they never update or release that blog post. Mistakes happen. No one is perfect. Even this editor has made a few whoppers (i.e. you’re instead of your, and colonial instead of colonel). It’s okay. If you strive for perfection, you’ll never get anywhere. Publish the post anyway. However, if you do notice the mistake after it’s been published, then go into the system and edit it. It’s that simple. At the end of the day, it’s just a blog post.
It doesn’t matter if you are traditionally published or self-published: books don’t promote themselves. You need to put some time, effort, and energy into book promotion. It’s all about getting the word out there. To make matters worse, there are no magic answers. (If you know of a magic answer, please tell me. I could really use one.)
The moment you make the decision that you want to become published, start thinking about a writer’s platform. It’s never too early. Get involved in Twitter — start connecting with other writers. Connect on Facebook — lock away a custom author’s page. Think about a blog/website. Maybe you like taking photos, so use Instagram. There are so many options. Let’s face it, agents, publishers and fans will google you. The more hits you can get on the Google search, the better off you’ll be.
Writers are the worst procrastinators around, able to find any excuse not to write, edit or anything else in preparation of that manuscript — even stare at the ceiling and count the holes in each tile. Social media is our worst procrastination tool because it holds all the illusions of productivity. If you’re struggling to get the words down, put yourself in a bubble and disconnect from the world. Remove the distractions. However, it won’t stop you from staring at the ceiling.
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.
Sometimes the reason that writers get stuck is because they don’t know their characters well enough. Shift gears slightly, and work on the character development. Even if you write a few paragraphs of pure backstory that will be taken out of the final manuscript, it all helps to create the insight that you need, as the writer, to put yourself into your character’s shoes.