writer

Please Your Readers – 3 Trope Tactics

tropesI’m a genre whore. 70% of what I read is Young Adult fantasy or dystopian fiction. I’d make it 100% but I actually want to read my friends books and occasionally I like dipping my toes in other stuff like (thrillers, crime, literary fiction) and then there’s non-fiction business, marketing and mindset books and of course, my other love, conspiracies.

But the point is, I’m a big slutty slut slut when it comes to YA fantasy/dystopian. I gobble it up like a starving orphan. Why?

Because I love that shit. I love it so much I’d motorboat them books all night long and carry a caffeine drip to work because I stayed up so late reading (happens a LOT).

But, having read a lot of books in the same genre I can confidently say, they are ALL the same story. No really, they are. But its the familiarity that drags me back.

And it’s the familiarity that drags other readers back too. We actually want to be told the same story, over and over and over. It’s just that we want to be told it in a different way, so it doesn’t feel like the same story.

That’s where tropes come in. Tropes give your readers the familiarity they crave, which is why they are so important to you if you’re a genre writer. (more…)

6 Ways To Organise Your Beta Reader Feedback

beta-feedbackForget the fountain of youth, no one needs to live forever. I mean, can you imagine the botox bill? and not just for your face… EWW. Moving on.

Beta feedback is a gift from the holy fountain of book perfection. 

For some, it makes them face plant into a vat of sludgey self-loathing and bookpression. But for others it turns their sleep deprived eyes into glinty, sparkling ones accompanied by feverish hand rubbing and villainish cackles.

Your book, if you listen to your beta readers, will be oh so much better. That word-turd you vomited out over months of sleepless nights, will finally become a polished glitter covered book.

But receiving beta feedback can be somewhat overwhelming, especially if like me, you don’t do detail.

I’ve finally managed to get on top of the beta feedback and have almost finished going through it.

This post is dedicated to my amazing beta readers, there are no words to quantify my gratitude.

Here are 6 ways to manage and organise your beta feedback.
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Forget #Halloween Here’s 6 Reasons The Publishing Industry is Terrifying

industry-fear

I hate Christmas because it’s eye-twitchingly expensive. Mostly we spend it in the car or feeling bloated from greed. I don’t eat meat and honestly, I don’t really drink either, so the prospect of Christmas does not fill me with fluffy tinsel covered unicorns of joy. When I think of Christmas I think of the Grinch and smirk.

But Halloween, I don’t just like, I love it. And not for its real purpose of remembering the dead, or its meaningful roots derived from Irish mythology and Christianity, but because it’s filled with the weird and wonderful.

Halloween is the one time of the year when judgement stops and everyone is free. Ugly masks and unusual make up suddenly become acceptable, celebrated even. Fancy dress is no longer an oddity served with a raised bushy eyebrow, it’s compulsory.

Halloween has never been scary to me, but the writing business is and so is the publishing industry. 2017 is nearly upon us, and that means, that by hook or amputated butt cheek, I will be publishing next year.

So in a salute to Halloween, here’s 6 things I find terrifying about writing and the publishing industry  (more…)

Calling All Writers – A Villainous Survey – I Need Your Help

villain-surveyCan you help me? If you don’t know, I am in the process of writing a non-fiction book that aims to help writers create the best villains possible.

In order to make sure the book is as helpful as possible, I want it to capture everything that would be useful to a writer, so I’ve created a survey, if you have a few minutes I’d be super snog your face off grateful if you filled it in and if you have another moment, shared the survey with a fellow pen-rat to fill in.

Ta muchly, SB xx (more…)

30 Writing Competitions With Cash Prizes

30 FlashThis post is a cheat, partly because I’m exhausted after having thrown a surprise party for the wife’s 30th. But also because I happen to be in the midst of a significant bout of procrastination all because I am wallowing in a deep, deep pit of writerly self loathing.

So this week instead of my wordy bullshit, I bring you more writing competitions than you can shake a shakespearian cat at.

With any competition, it’s advisable to ensure you rake the rules of each one with your finest, slickest rule finding comb. I have not displayed the rules of any of these competitions, so if you don’t check, don’t expect to win. (more…)

7 Tactics To Grip A Reader At The End Of A Chapter

end of a chapterWhen you write the end of a chapter, you want readers to be desperate to turn the page and read on irrespective of the fact its 3:41AM and they have work the next day.

You want your book to be the cause of their bleary eyed appearance as they clutch the work coffee machine and growl at any one who comes near.

But what is it about a chapter ending that makes someone read on, rather than put it down and go to snoozeyland?

Here are nine tactics you can use to grip a reader and tickle their temptation soft spot to read on. (more…)

9 Ways to Help You Find Your Readers Part I

find your audienceAs writers we play the infinitely difficult Where’s Wally of reader spotting. But locating those pesky readers is more tortuous than tweezing your granddads nasal hair, and yet, it is THE most important thing we do.

As I draw nearer to handing my book to beta readers, the prospect of completing it, having to press publish and my labour of love subsequently disappearing into the utterly saturated Amazon rainforest of books, never to be seen again, is becoming frighteningly real.

In an attempt to prevent the only people buying my book being mumsy and wifeypoos, I read 3 marketing books last month:

Joanna Penn’s How to Market a Book

Nick Stephenson’s Supercharge Your Kindle Sales

And Tim Grahl’s Your First 1000 Copies 

The whole point of my blog is to share what I learn on this sanity testing journey to authordom and what did I learn? Well, I’m resolute on the fact finding your readers will always be the holy grail of authorlyness and because it’s the holy grail, not all of us will find it. BUT, I also learnt a whole heap of other neat tricks to help us along the way, as well as finding an answer to the 64 bergillion dollar question, should an author blog…?

I learnt a shit ton of stuff, so I’ve split this post into two.

So here are 9 ways to help you find your audience, this week I bring you way one to five. (more…)

7 Things You Need To Know to Master Your Genre’s Book Cover

Book coverI’m not shallow…But I definitely judge a book by its cover.

Shit. That makes me shallow doesn’t it?

Ah well, fuck it. At least I can admit it.

I’ve been thinking about marketing a LOT recently. Minus a total meltdown last week and a decision to bin (and subsequently re-write the last 30K of my book), I am still on track to send my book-baby to beta readers on 30th September.

Being the incessant 5 steps-a-head planner that I am, it means my mind is on marketing, book covers and that big ol’ scare-the-shitsicles-out-of-you decision: Do I run the poison, trap-infested gauntlet to a publishers door? Or drown in the overly saturated ‘Amazon’ rainforest of books as an indie? As it happens, I’ve finally made my mind up, but I’ll leave that for another post.

Book covers are without doubt, THE most important marketing decision you’ll make. Fuck it up, and you can watch your readers Foxtrot Oscar into the sunset, never to return to your bookshelf! So, I’m sharing my research and the lessons I’ve learnt in preparing to have my book cover designed. (more…)

3 Tactics To Make You A More Productive Writer

productivityDo you ever sit down at your desk/sofa/perch with the full intention of having an awesome writing session, only to look up at the clock, see it’s 11pm and realise you’ve written the sum total of, fuck all?

Well, me too.

But I’m trying to change that. After a catastrophic May, in which I managed approximately 3 WIP words, I decided June had to change.

I got books to write people. Wasting a month, no matter how many of those hours were spent on Bash stuff, just ain’t good enough.

But I don’t just want to write faster. I know what me writing faster looks like – a garbled shitstorm of gobbledycrap. And that ain’t helpful to anybody’s novel.

Instead, I approached this tactically. Here are 3 tactics I’ve employed to write quality words, faster. (more…)

7 Lessons I Wish Someone Had Taught Me Before I Started Writing

lessons learntWhen I first started writing, I was worse than a kid in a toy store. I wanted it ALL…NOW. I was desperate to be ‘good’ at writing. I didn’t want to just ‘be’ a writer, I wanted to Stephen King that shit.

I was deluded. Not because of my dream, but because I was unconsciously incompetent!

I didn’t know what I didn’t know. Which frankly, at that point, was less than fuck all. So I set about rampaging my way through everything that had even the faintest whiff of ‘writing tips’ attached to it.

The problem was, I got overwhelmed, saturated with conflicting advice and utterly bewildered as to which direction to go in. I didn’t know what to learn or how to learn it.

I realised there was no avoiding the fact it really does just take time to develop your writing muscle. However… along the way, I also picked up some pretty nifty tricks that helped me speed up the process. Tricks I wish I’d known earlier.

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