So you want to write a novel… Morgen Bailey’s Writing Essentials

My previous posts about writing have proved very popular, so I have asked Morgen Bailey – blogger extraordinaire and talented author – to offer some words of wisdom on the craft of writing.  American science-fiction novelist Jerry Pournell is reported to have said “I think it takes about a million words to make a writer. I mean that you’re going to throw away.” I started writing for fun seven years ago and more seriously four years ago and with three NaNoWriMo novels, one-and-a-half novels in between, three NaNoWriMo story collections (a cheat on doing a novel November 2011 but I still made the 50,000-word minimum), part of a script, some poetry and loads of short stories under my belt, including one and a bit 31-story collections for Story A Day May, I’m pretty sure I’ve reached that target. How much of them I’ve thrown away I couldn’t tell you but

So you want to write a novel… but where do you start?

The world is full of people who really want to write. For some, it’s a burning ambition. They dream about days of sitting in front of their computer (or even more whimsically, in their attic – with pencil and notebook), having great ideas and getting them all down on paper. Some of it is like that. It’s exciting seeing your ideas grow and develop and watching the words appear on the page – sometimes it’s as if your sub-conscious has taken over and when you read back your latest chapter you think “where the hell did THAT come from?”. It’s a wonderful experience. With the growth of self-publishing and the ease with which any writer can publish their work, that dream can become a reality. But where do you start?

What makes a perfect thriller?

Asking that question is a bit like asking “What makes a man sexy?” or “What makes a plate of food delicious?” because for each of us, the answer is different. And that’s just the way it should be. With that in mind, I will say at the outset that all the opinions stated in this post are entirely my own. When I started to write this, I realised I was prefacing every paragraph with “In my opinion” or “For me,”  – so can we please take it as read that this is just what works for me and is in no way a definitive list of prerequisites for a good thriller. The first thing that occurs to me is the range of books that are often classed as thrillers. I love all crime books, providing they are well written. But not that many of them actually make my spine tingle,

From Professional Hockey Player to Published Novelist

Author Luke Murphy talks about his journey to becoming a published author – and his book is currently free on Amazon.com until 20th February – see link below.  From a family of avid readers, even as a child, I always had a passion for books. Whether it was reading novels on road trips or writing assignments in school, literature was always part of my life. In the winter of 2000, after sustaining a season ending eye injury while playing professional hockey in Oklahoma City, I found myself with a lot of time on my hands, and a new hobby emerged. I didn’t write with the intention of being published. I wrote for the love of writing, as a hobby. I continued to hobby write through the years, honing my craft, making time between work and family obligations.

A Champagne Moment – indie author turns traditional?

Most of the regular readers of this blog will know me as an indie author – ie self published. I have spoken at length about my fantastic and exciting experiences over the last twelve months or so, and written about more or less everything that I have learned. Well, today is another landmark in the journey – because my first novel, Only the Innocent, is today being published in paperback and audio formats as well as the original Kindle format in the US and Canada. This is my first ever traditional publishing deal, and it is so very interesting to compare the experiences.

Hooking Readers – The Power of a Great Book Blurb

A guest post by Mark Edwards Writing a novel is hard. Writing a good synopsis is really hard. Writing a great blurb for your novel is harder still. And writing a fantastic single tag-line is almost impossible. It seems that the shorter the piece of writing, the more difficult it is to do it well. Everybody will tell you that the most important thing is to write a good book, and that is true, but the sad truth is that good books don’t sell themselves. Great books do not sit on Amazon, or on bookshop shelves, emitting rays of goodness, drawing people towards them. You have to work to let people know that your work exists – only then, if people like it will they write reviews, tell their friends and do the hard work for you.

Marketing in a nutshell : A year in the life of a self-published author – Part III

This is the third in the series of blog posts to celebrate the first year anniversary of the launch of Only the Innocent, and today I’m going to talk about the Marketing Plan. Yes – I know that I’ve done several posts on this already, and you can find them here and here – but I couldn’t talk about the last twelve months without talking about the marketing plan, and even in this short time, I would change my approach to marketing. Those of you who have followed these blog posts in the past will be aware that I didn’t actually have any plan at all at the launch of my book. That was a very significant mistake, because I had taken no time at all to build a sales platform and could only rely on friends and family to buy in the initial stages. (A sales platform can be

A year in the life of a self-published author: Part II – Preparing the book for launch

In the second part of this blog series to celebrate a year since the launch of Only the Innocent, I want to talk about everything that happened between the decision to publish, and the actual launch date. I will touch on the things that I did, and more importantly the things that I should have done – the lessons that I have learned. In the world of technology, things move at a remarkable rate. When I was preparing Only the Innocent for the Kindle, the process I went through to convert my file from a Word document to a mobi file was very long-winded. I couldn’t find any really good converters, and there were plenty of warnings about bad output from Amazon’s own system, so the first thing that I had to do was spend time considering how best to format my book.

UK Indie Authors – Tax on US royalties

If you are a non-US citizen and you have self published your books in the US, you will already be aware that there is a 30% withholding tax applied by the distributor, and if you’re selling a reasonable number of books, that could be quite a bit of money! But you CAN do something about this. I put it off for far too long, and when I eventually got around to it, I found a website with a great article by Karen Inglis – and I followed her instructions to the letter. The whole process was straightforward, and so I thought I would ask her to write a post for me to share with you. I should point out that I made the decision a few months ago to form a company for my publishing activities. That may or may not be the right way to go for you –

3 Ways to “Automate” Your Social Media Efforts—And Why You Should

I’m delighted to welcome back a guest blogger, Nick Thacker, whose post earlier this year resulted in some interesting feedback. He has some great ideas here, many of which are new to me and I am already planning to try out.  “Automation” is a word that tends to invoke thoughts of iRobot-style post-apocalyptic societies, machine-versus-human world wars, and other disturbing concepts. It’s easy to see why: we’ve gone from an unplugged, eating-dinner-at-the-table family lifestyle to a smartphone-wielding, status-updating and Pinterest-crazed world. There are automated banks, door-to-door grocery delivery services, and machines that will eat your money and turn it into a hot and “fresh” hamburger. But that’s just one side of the argument. We can’t forget that all of this automation and the fast-paced society we now live in have given us some remarkable innovations as well—including marketing innovations for authors.