I read a lot of website reviews of books by bloggers, and I have a few suggestions to share for those who want to write useful reviews. What is a useful review? It’s useful for the potential reader (who is wondering, Do I want to spend my precious time to read this or not?). It’s also useful to the book’s author (your review is well written and points to positive aspects – so is helpful to the author, who may wish to quote an excerpt from your piece). And it’s useful to you, the reviewer! As the review author, you want others to link toRead More →

This is a multi-post series, a Quick Guide to Social Media Strategy for Writers. Overview of this third post: Why Blogging for Writers is Helpful. How to Keep It Under Control & Effective. Pillar Posts on Your Blog (What & Why). Spin-off/Filler Posts on Your Site or Other Social Media Channels. Simple Editorial Calendar. A Checklist for a Good Blog Post. The first two posts in my series suggest prior steps: create a functioning website [link], and think about how to connect with people more influential than you who might share stuff on your behalf to their larger audiences. Now, let’s look at how toRead More →

The great Ray Bradbury summed up the limitations of plot when he wrote, in Zen in the Art of Writing: Remember: Plot is no more than footprints left in the snow after your characters have run by on their way to incredible destinations. Plot is observed after the fact rather than before. It cannot precede action. It is the chart that remains when an action is through. That is all Plot ever should be. It is human desire let run, running, and reaching a goal. It cannot be mechanical. It can only be dynamic. – Ray Bradbury Writers take heed: the issue is not “plottingRead More →

This is a multi-post series, a Quick Guide to Social Media Strategy for Writers. Overview of this second post: Identify Influential Organizations & People. Join Key Organizations; Court Individuals Develop Content of Value to Them & Their Networks. Send Directly & Ask Them to Share It. Connecting with influentials is a simple concept, yet may prove to be the most productive of your social-media efforts. Why? Let’s face it. You’re probably not the most popular or influential person on the Internet. How many followers do you have? How many will you have a year from now? If you’re starting from scratch (let’s say with 100–200Read More →

This is a multi-part series of posts, a Quick Guide to Social Media Strategy for Writers. Overview of topics in this first post: Your Website is Your Home on the Web. It’s More Reliable Long-term than Social Media Sites. Social Media: Use It to Send People To Your Website. Each Page is a Potential Entry Point. Simple SEO: Page Title, Headers, Footer. Authority = Good, clear, useful content 
(& inbound links from respected sites!) CTA: Calls to Action. Your Website is Your Home on the Web. The place to start your social-media strategy is on your website. This will be your home, your nexus. BilboRead More →

Not long ago, a writer emailed me to ask how to pick a good domain name for her author website. “Unfortunately,” she wrote, “my name is already taken and is actually hard to spell anyway.” She wanted advice. Good question! The question inspired me to look around at what some successful book authors were using for their website domain names. What is a Domain Name? To start, a domain name is the URL: www.ThisIsMySite.com; it goes in the browser address, and it’s what Google, Bing, etc. uses to send someone specifically to your site. (Currently, you don’t always need to include the www. part; itRead More →

I see posts that claim to list “great” award competitions for indie books. But they often contain mediocre contests, some of which I consider to be mostly profit-making ventures (and no, not for you) rather than serious award programs. I only respect and recommend a small number of indie book award contests. And I consciously avoid a batch of them. It’s hard to say that any award is “bad.” We all like awards. We all like praise, whether from the New York Times or from your mother. Or from an eccentric lady down the street. But if that eccentric neighbor decides to charge you $50Read More →

Fancy a bit of poisoned bakery? I’ve just finished editing and publishing (via Crickhollow Books, as a Crispin imprint edition) the paperback and Kindle versions of Cook the Books, by Oklahoma mystery writer Marion Moore Hill. Marion is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and Oklahoma Writers’ Federation, Inc. I didn’t meet her when I spoke a year ago at OWFI, but she somehow heard of Crickhollow and reached out to us about picking up her Scrappy Librarian Mystery series. So I’m publishing #3, Cook the Books, and will also re-release books #1 and #2 (Bookmarked for Murder and Death BooksRead More →

Last week, I was taking a walk in the woods out in the Wisconsin countryside (on the grounds of the Cedar Valley Center, not far from the Theresa Marsh and the northern Kettle Moraine area). I was taking a break from the sessions of the novel-writing book camp I was teaching at (terrific experience, by the way). And encountered a badger. First I’ve ever seen. After it scuttled a bit away from me, it quickly climbed a small tree, stopping about the height of my head. So we paused and looked at each other for a while. Did not know a badger would climb aRead More →

Are you an emerging novelists with a work in progress? Check out this week-long program: Novel-in-Progress Bookcamp. I’ll be teaching at this program for novelists at the Cedar Valley Center in West Bend, Wis. (May 18-24). I’m coordinating the teaching program and leading a number of sessions. I’ll also be there round-the-clock to work one-on-one with writers on their novels’ specific needs and challenges, not only to develop the work itself but also to discuss viable strategies to see it published in the best way. The best part: SJ Rozan (Edgar, Shamus, Anthony, Nero, & Macavity awards) will be author-in-residence! It’s a fantastic chance toRead More →