Tag Archives: publishing

Write Fiction: 3 Tips To Make Assembling Your Novel’s Cast Easy

Write Fiction: 3 Tips To Make Assembling Your Novel’s Cast EasyYou write fiction.

Want to improve it? Here you go: focus on your characters. Fiction is always about the people.

People care about people. Of course your “people” might be purple dragons from the outer reaches of the galaxy, or rabbits as in Watership Down.

How to write fiction: it’s always about the PEOPLE

It’s impossible to emphasize this enough. Here’s an excerpt from Blurbs Sell Your Books: Craft Irresistible Blurbs, And Sell More Fiction And Nonfiction Today.

Readers read fiction for the people. Therefore, no matter how amazing the story world you’ve created, start your blurb with your story person; your main character.

The most common error I see authors make in fiction blurbs is that they start by describing their story world.

This rarely works, because… who cares? We’ve no reason to care about your amazing world until we meet the characters who inhabit that world.

So let’s look at some tips for assembling a cast of characters for your novel (or short fiction).

1. Think in terms of an ensemble cast

An “ensemble” is a bunch of things or people intended to be used together.

Here’s why an ensemble matters when you’re collecting a cast for your current or next book: you get to differentiate your cast.

You’ve heard the writing advice to “contrast your characters.” Characters in bestselling fiction, hit movies, or long-running TV series, always play off each other. They’re different.

My favorite example of contrasting characters is the movie The Odd Couple, original version. Felix and Oscar couldn’t be more different.

My favorite quote from the movie:

(Oscar) I can’t take it anymore, Felix, I’m cracking up. Everything you do irritates me. And when you’re not here, the things I know you’re gonna do when you come in irritate me. You leave me little notes on my pillow. Told you 158 times I can’t stand little notes on my pillow. “We’re all out of cornflakes. F.U.” Took me three hours to figure out F.U. was Felix Ungar!

2. Collect intriguing jobs to help you to create intriguing people

In Fiction Writing Tips For Beginners: Create A Character there’s a fast and simple character creation template:

  • Name
  • Age
  • Occupation
  • Attribute
  • Primary external problem

Your plot is what people do.

Notice the “occupation” in the template? Harping on bestselling fiction, hit movies, or long-running TV series again, what your characters do to earn a crust is important.

Consider:

  • James Bond (secret service agent);
  • Harry Potter (apprentice wizard);
  • Super heroes…

Of course, you don’t need to write about secret service agents, wizards, et al. Your characters’ occupations can be more mundane. Check out the classifieds in your local paper, or even job hunting websites to find fun occupations.

For example, in Dying To Please, Linda Howard’s romance novel, the main character is a female butler.

3. Keep a collection of intriguing situations too

Similarly to collecting intriguing occupations, collect intriguing situations.

Sources:

  • Gossip: family and friends’ gossip, as well as news stories and celebrity gossip;
  • Nonfiction books, especially histories, as well as biographies and autobiographies;
  • Your imagination.

Writers and authors tend to be magpies. We collect glittering bits and pieces which attract our attention. We may never use those bits and pieces, but items in your collection will inspire your “what if” brainstorming sessions.

I keep my various collections in Evernote, primarily because I can jot down something intriguing anywhere I happen to be.

When you write fiction, you’re writing about people

To hammer the point once again: fiction is always about the people.

Another example of the importance of people. I just received an email promotion for Sally Koslow’s Another Side of Paradise: A Novel.

The callout sentence…

In 1937 Hollywood, gossip columnist Sheilah Graham’s star is on the rise, while literary wonder boy F. Scott Fitzgerald’s career is slowly drowning in booze.

The movie The Great Gatsby came out a few years back and I just did a search for “F. Scott Fitzgerald.” Lots references to him in Google, as well as suggestions for additional searches. Fitzgerald died in 1940, but there’s still considerable interest in him, which means that Sally Koslow’s novel should do well.

Remember (a final time): fiction is about people.

Happy writing. 🙂

Discover what sells in mystery fiction — YOU can write it

Check out our new program, Write Your Bestseller: Write HOT Mystery, Thriller & Suspense now. You can write a mystery, even if you’re a new novelist.

Planning And Writing A Hot-Selling Series: Selling Writer Strategies, Book 7

Planning And Writing A Hot-Selling Series: Selling Writer Strategies, Book 7

eBook: $4.99

When you write in series, you're giving yourself more chances to sell with every novel you write.

More info →
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Blurbs Sell Your Books: Craft Irresistible Blurbs, And Sell More Fiction And Nonfiction Today

Blurbs Sell Your Books: Craft Irresistible Blurbs, And Sell More Fiction And Nonfiction Today

eBook: $5.99

You can, when you discover the secrets of writing blurbs (book descriptions) which sell.

More info →
Buy from Scribd
Buy from Kobo
Buy from Barnes and Noble Nook
Buy from Apple Books
Buy from Amazon Kindle

Resources to build your writing career

Check out Angela’s Writing Classes and Angela’s books for writers.

Book Marketing On Pinterest: 3 Fun Tips You Can Use Today

Book Marketing On Pinterest: 3 Fun Tips You Can Use Today

If you’ve got a blog which you’re using for book marketing, be aware that Pinterest is a great source of traffic. You may find, as many authors do, that Pinterest sends you more traffic than Google.

If you’re just getting started using social media for your books, you may find this post on book marketing on Twitter useful. My program, Social Media Copywriting And Graphics: Get Attention And Sell More, provides advanced strategies.

Book marketing on Pinterest: make it fun, and be consistent with your pinning

When I coach authors, I always suggest that they choose social media networks which are fun for them. I love Pinterest, but many authors prefer Facebook.

Your social media posts needn’t take much time, and consistency counts.

When you get started on a social media network, it takes time to build traction. That needn’t concern you; everything you do is cumulative.

1. Create a board for each book you’re promoting

Consider creating a “book board” for each book. Alternatively, create a board for the book’s genre, or category.

Create a board for your book

You can also create boards for your interests, as they relate to your books, as you can see from one of my boards, above.

Remember that Pinterest is social, so do repin others’ pins. Some successful Pinterest users have a formula for the number of promotional pins they pin, to promoting others’ pins. Do what works for you.

2. Join with other authors in your genre/ category for a group board

Group boards can be very useful; they can also be useless. Newer Pinterest users tend to join as many group boards as they can, without any intention of interacting on a board.

A tip: make your group board invitation-only, and populate the board before you invite others.

Once your genre/ category board is established, invite other authors, one at a time. Send each author a personal message.

mystery boards on Pinterest

Image: boards for mystery books.

3. Mix it up: get creative with your graphics

As well as posting your book covers, and inspirations for your characters, you can post:

  • Image of the location where your books are set;
  • Brief quotes from your book, added to appropriate images;
  • Snippets from book reviews, with an image…

One author was thinking ahead to promotional opportunities before she published her contemporary romance. She included recipes in the novel, then cooked the recipes, and posted wonderful images to Pinterest.

Book marketing on Pinterest: is it for you?

Much like Twitter, some authors adore Pinterest, others look on it as a chore.

If you’ve never used Pinterest, use the network for a couple of weeks first. See what other authors are doing on the network. Then use Pinterest with confidence.

Self-Publishing Strategy Made Easy: How To Market Your Books In 15 Minutes A Day

Self-Publishing Strategy Made Easy: How To Market Your Books In 15 Minutes A Day

eBook: $5.99

Do you enjoy writing and publishing your books, but find that marketing them is a challenge? You're not sure what works, so your efforts are muddled, half-hearted, and inconsistent.

What if you could market in just 15 minutes daily?

More info →
Blurbs Sell Your Books: Craft Irresistible Blurbs, And Sell More Fiction And Nonfiction Today

Blurbs Sell Your Books: Craft Irresistible Blurbs, And Sell More Fiction And Nonfiction Today

eBook: $5.99

You can, when you discover the secrets of writing blurbs (book descriptions) which sell.

More info →
Buy from Scribd
Buy from Kobo
Buy from Barnes and Noble Nook
Buy from Apple Books
Buy from Amazon Kindle

Resources to build your writing career

Check out Angela’s Writing Classes and Angela’s books for writers.

Self-Publishing Pay To Play: Hello, Book Advertising

Self-Publishing Pay To Play: Hello, Book Advertising

Few authors are thrilled about the big shift in self-publishing in 2018, because the process became more a lot expensive. Both Amazon (AMS) and Facebook shifted to pay-to-play.

No more free visibility. If you want to sell books today, you need to advertise.

I prefer to keep all my blog posts positive. I know that this new “pay up!” situation will be disheartening for many authors.

We’ll look at how to cope in 2019. For now, let’s cast an eye over the terrain, so to speak.

Self-publishing: slimmer margins, more work

Pay to play means slimmer margins for authors who now have to advertise, or forgo sales.

Russell Blake has an excellent post on Amazon’s changes, and on advertising:

Amazon has taken real estate on their product pages and turned it into revenue streams… (because it’s a) revenue generation engine, it would have been dumb for them to offer visibility that doesn’t involve publishers and authors paying Zon…

Paying for ads wouldn’t be such a pain in the rear end if the reporting process made sense; at least then authors could make decisions. Unfortunately Amazon’s reporting is plain horrid.

Sales and advertising on Amazon: what the…??

On the sales side, many authors have been complaining about huge drops in their Amazon KDP sales since October. This book sales downturn isn’t across the board — not all authors are affected. However, it encompasses both straight sales, and KENPC income.

Affected authors believe that there’s a major glitch in KDP. Who knows? It’s a mystery.

As for the Amazon advertising situation… Authors advertising on Amazon can spend a lot of time wondering what on earth is going on too.

Suffice to say that AMS’s reporting is a mess. This is beyond-frustrating when you’re advertising on AMS. You’re throwing money into the void, and don’t know whether your ads are working, or not.

The solution? Roll on 2019

We’ll look at solutions in 2019 — many self-publishing authors will need to change what they’re doing, but this is nothing new. There’s an Amazon challenge every few months, and publishing is of course a business.

In the meantime, write on. 🙂

Blurbs Sell Your Books: Craft Irresistible Blurbs, And Sell More Fiction And Nonfiction Today

Blurbs Sell Your Books: Craft Irresistible Blurbs, And Sell More Fiction And Nonfiction Today

eBook: $5.99

You can, when you discover the secrets of writing blurbs (book descriptions) which sell.

More info →
Buy from Scribd
Buy from Kobo
Buy from Barnes and Noble Nook
Buy from Apple Books
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Self-Publishing Strategy Made Easy: How To Market Your Books In 15 Minutes A Day

Self-Publishing Strategy Made Easy: How To Market Your Books In 15 Minutes A Day

eBook: $5.99

Do you enjoy writing and publishing your books, but find that marketing them is a challenge? You're not sure what works, so your efforts are muddled, half-hearted, and inconsistent.

What if you could market in just 15 minutes daily?

More info →

Resources to build your writing career

Check out Angela’s Writing Classes and Angela’s books for writers.