Beyond the E-hype

When you write a book, today for the first time, there seems to be an extreme sense of urgency. Not only are people choosing to self-publish to avoid the often fruitless agent/book deal dream, but because time wasted is lost opportunity in today’s fast-moving digital book marketplace, they are often skipping print and going straight to ebooks..

But resist the urge to rush through the writing and production process. You don’t want to publish a book with poor editing, or a bad cover, just to get it on the market while ebook sales are soaring. Ebook sales levels are still a small part of the overall book market. Good writing will last forever, but poor production or obsolete formats will go to the digital dump, just like cassette tapes and previous media fads.


An online lit festival from

Okay – I want in on this …

Mediabistro Launches Online Literary Festival & Writing Workshops

By Jason Boog on April 13, 2012 3:29 PM

From July 16 through August 1, 2012, Mediabistro will host its first online literary festival and writing workshops.

Author Susan Orlean open LitFest with a keynote speech about the story behind her new book, Rin Tin Tin. It will be a chance to learn from famous writers, meet editors and agents, and workshop your writing project with an online community of writers over three weeks.

Check it out: “This is an innovative online conference and workshop that bridges the best of conferences and online learning: Keynote speeches by world-class authors, with interactive Q&A sessions. Practical how-to sessions from agents, editors, and writers that show you how to put big ideas into immediate practice. Writing workshops with authors and peers. Get feedback on your writing project. Peer interaction: Make connections with other writers from across the globe and participate in our summer reading group.”

Wondering what it costs?  It’s clearly for serious writers: The cost is $400 for AvantGuild members.

But still, I want in…

Two steps to get unstuck

Most writers can’t wait for the muse to visit. We need to write on deadlines, or squeeze the words out when we have time, or when guilt drags us back to the computer to query agents, one after another.

Sometimes though it seems we can’t concentrate, focus, or turn off the judgmental editor sitting on our shoulder.

Find your way over to the National Assn. of Memoir Writers site and get recharged with a look at their memoir roundtables. The site has a generous archive here, but note that some of the content is open to members only.

For more motivation, Poets & Writers suggests The Time is Now, their highly motivating writing prompts sent out weekly with a poetry prompt on Tuesdays, a fiction prompt on Wednesdays, and a creative nonfiction prompt on Thursdays.

Nudge, nudge… another way to stay committed to writing your words.


Learn from the experts

Spring seems to be the ultimate season for those who love to learn, especially authors. In the last week, I’ve seen over a dozen good online courses, teleseminars, or workshops, all offered for free.

One was today. The National Assn. of Memoir Writers ( five-hour teleseminar(!).

Then Stephanie Chandler, of Authority Publishing, one of the power author promoters also issued an interesting blog post today: The 5 habits of successful authors. It’s not possible to summarize her post – go read it, but consider these five keyword.

Commit, Invest, Dedicate, Pursue, and Leverage

Now go read the details. The web continues to offer us an abundance of great information. Be sure you allow a little time on your Saturday to explore a few good resources. Being a successful author requires investing time in your books. If you don’t love your books, who will?


Write for Women’s Journals

The friendly staff at Writer’s Relief has compiled a great list of literary journals by and for women. If you’re seeking a market for an essay, use this spring Saturday to find your next successful publishing opportunity here:

This is the perfect way to find a new market for that sparkling essay you’ve polished.

Irish writers we read most …

Today’s Washington Post has a nice tribute to the well-known, most-read Irish writers:

James Joyce

Oscar Wilde

George Bernard Shaw

C.S. Lewis

Samuel Beckett

Johathan Swift

Edmund Burke

Brian Friel

Sean O’Casey

Oliver Goldsmith

If you’re like me you’ll see a few favorites on the list and a few we don’t recall. It’s a good day to walk to the library and explore their work.

Want a bestseller on Kindle? Do the work

Do the work… That is the take-away message from this article about Mark Edwards’ success with a bestseller on Kindle and iBook:


What advice would you offer to unpublished novelists?

“Firstly, you have to really really want it and believe you have a talent. Writing is hard work, and the universe doesn’t care about your hopes and dreams. It takes a great deal of persistence. Secondly, you need to write stories that people will want to read. Finally, these days you have a choice: try to find an agent and publisher, or self-publish. The second route worked for us but I still think it’s worth pursuing the traditional route first.”

What’s the secret to getting noticed on the Kindle and iBooks charts?

“For iBooks we were lucky because Apple put us on the home page of the Crime and Thrillers category so we got noticed very quickly. With Kindle, it took months of spending hours every day plugging away, using social networks, blogs and doing everything we could to find readers – eventually, if you’re lucky, Amazon pick you up in their algorithms and start to display the book more prominently. But the real secret is to write a great book that people will tell their friends about. Word of mouth is by far the most effective tool.”

Read the full article here on this U.K. site.

Publish something this week….

My usual Saturday morning post, so you can work on your writing and marketing in your P.J.s was deferred, but not forgotten.

Spend 20 minutes looking at this call for writing at, and see if you can find a place to submit that essay, story or poem you’ve been working on. Take a step this week toward getting something new published in March.

New Pages submission opportunities


Still considering your publishing options?

If you’re still wondering whether there’s room for you in the publishing world, of course my answer is Yes.

Here’s a brief summary of the four options available to you now:

Traditional publishing, where you:
Build your platform
Write a book proposal
Research and find an agent
Complete your book
Undertake all marketing

Independent self-publishing:
Complete your book
Get help as needed with layout and format
Create a solid marketing plan
Arrange a print-run, all at your expense
Get listed in bookseller and library databases
Manage or pay a service to handle fulfillment
Undertake all marketing

Print-on-Demand (POD)
Complete your book
Choose and submit to a POD firm
Pay a one-time production fee
Create your marketing plan
Undertake all marketing

The same work to write a good book
Unlimited potential at lowest cost

That’s it. Traditional has the longest timeline, Independent is the most expensive, POD is the fastest at lowest cost for a print book, and Ebooks open all doors to you at the lowest cost and fastest time.

Author Marketing: The last hundred hours

In Release Your Writing, I refer to several concepts that continue to generate feedback year after year.

Last week I wrote here about the need to continue promoting your book, for years, not weeks after it launches. In the book, I suggest you do one thing each week and one larger task each month, to keep the book alive. You can read last week’s post for inspiration if you’re currently marketing your book.

Today, lets talk about my concept: “the last hundred hours.” It refers to all the work left to do on your book once you ‘think’ it is is complete.

The Last 100 Hours

When you finally have the text nailed down, and your chapters flow, it still takes about 100 hours for reader feedback, final review and editing, reading cover-to-cover, chasing down citations, and submitting for publication. Even writers with a traditional publisher need that huge time push at the end.

Don’t get scared though. It’s not 100 hours without sleep, just two to three weeks where you won’t watch TV, open the mail or read the newspaper. You will use all your available time for the final push to publication, because you’re so close to being finished, and it feels so good.

Maybe you’re tired of revising, or up against your deadline. This is not the time to rush. Your book has taken shape from a dream to a reality, but the professional editing, formatting and last minute clean up should not be rushed. Even when you think you’re done, print the manuscript, put it in a binder, and read it cover-to-cover, or read it aloud. If you love it, and you know your target audience, your readers will love the book too.

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