April Writers' Forum 2020

How the Coronavirus Will Change the Publishing Industry

The Bakers and the Pot of Gold (An Allegory about Amazon Exclusivity)

How Reader Behavior is Changing

Free & Discounted Books!

April 2020 Writers' Forum -- All the publishing news and writing craft help in one place.


How the Coronavirus Will Change the Publishing Industry

Nathan Bransford interviews Mike Shatzkin (CEO of the Idea Logical Company) on how he sees the coronavirus crisis impacting the publishing industry. Interesting interview – you can listen here or read the transcript. One of the main takeaways is that he predicts that the supply chain for books will be permanently, dramatically altered.

The Bakers and the Pot of Gold (An Allegory about Amazon Exclusivity)

I appreciate this fun read from Canadian author Nicky Charles that takes us on an interesting journey where cookies are books, bakers are writers, and a new bigger café selling cookies to people in Far-Away-Places makes a lot of promises to the bakers. (Sound familiar, perhaps?) https://blog.smashwords.com/2020/03/the-bakers-and-pot-of-gold.html

How Reader Behavior is Changing During the Covid-19 CrisisQuarantine Flash Sale! May 9 and 10, 2020

Carlyn Robertson gives us some real stats behind the changes we know are occurring to print, ebook, and audiobook sales during this crisis. Read all the insights from this BookBub article here. 

Quarantine Flash Sale and Giveaways

Because we know that reader behavior is adapting to the challenges of living during the coronavirus lockdowns, Blackbird Writers has an upcoming Quarantine Flash Sale on May 9 & 10 – this includes some nifty giveaways. (Disclaimer: My books are included in this group of free and discounted books.) Thanks to author Tracey Phillips for setting this up. 

Other Publishing Industry News

Nine Publishing Trends We’re Loving Right Now

This BookPage article caught my eye because one of the trends is witches!! And if you know anything about what I write and what I like to read, you know this is right up my alley. Other trends include SciFi Fantasy Romance (SFF), Patriarchal Bad Ideas, Social Media Fiction and more. See if your favorites have made the list HERE.


I Dare You!

In an intriguing article for Jane Friedman’s blog, Susann Cokal writes “Instead of Setting a Goal, Try a Writing Dare." I love this concept. As a partially oppositional defiant person, the idea of daring myself to do something has a lot more weight than setting a goal. See if you agree.  

How to Lower the Grade Level of Your Writing

I came across this article out of necessity as part of my editing process for my middle-grade nonfiction book proposal. I was dismayed to see that my reading level was at least three grades too high! Yikes!! If you’re writing in the children’s market you might find these tips handy—from vocab to sentence structure—here's how to make your writing more accessible

Describing your Characters

How to Describe Characters in a Children’s Book” gives some excellent advice along with a downloadable crib sheet to aid you with your character development.

Along with that you might want to watch the video from Mary Kole about how to handle “Character Description in First Person.” This is a short video with clear tips. I’m so impressed with all of her videos that I’ve subscribed to her Good Story Company YouTube channel.

The Easy-to-Fix Tense Problem That Might Be Tripping Up Your Readers

This is a deep dive into changing simple past tense to past perfect to clear up confusion. I found this article contained really helpful points you might want to consider when you’re reviewing your manuscript. Read the entire article from Mathina Calliope on Jane Friedman’s blog HERE.

How to Keep Your Mystery Villain a Secret to Surprise Your Reader at The End

Writing mysteries is tricky! Writing them well is even trickier. If you’re working on a mystery, you might like these tips from author Zara Altair. Good advice!

How to Keep Your Mystery Villain a Secret - April 2020 Writers' Forum

Incidental Characters that Make Your Novel Zing

I love writing quirky, interesting characters who make brief appearances in my novels. While not central to the plot, they add a bit of flavor. C.S. Lakin has some good advice about these incidental folks who come and go from our stories! https://www.livewritethrive.com/2020/04/06/incidental-characters-that-make-your-novel-zing/

A Quartet of Editing Help ArticlesPublishing and writing craft information for authors!

Land Mines and Other Pointless Similes” by Nicky Bond delves into what she calls the rubbish phase of editing your work. And, if you can believe it, she makes editing funny!

Editor and Book Coach, Lisa Poisso, brings us “Are Your Editing Expectations Sabotaging Your Writing?” She gives you tips on how to work best with your paid editor(s).

Peer Critique Versus Professional Editing: When, Why and How to Use Both” by Barbara Linn Probst helps us know when it is time to move on from peer review to paid editing assistance.

7 Mistakes To Weed Out When Editing Your Writing” is a solid article by Dave Chesson that walks us through eliminating crutch words, poor dialogue formatting, too many short choppy sentences, vague modifiers and more.

How to Write a Novel Synopsis

It’s been a while since I’ve featured an article link to help with this dreaded task. Does anyone like writing these? See if this 5-step synopsis-writing process from Jen Petro-Roy can make this task less painful!

The Art of Condensing an Entire Book into a Brief Sales Pitch

Also painful, but possibly less so than a synopsis, is creating a pitch for your book. This is often called an elevator speech. Florence Osmond gives us guidance on how to make our pitch compelling by distilling our story down to three things . . . main character, main character goal(s), plus the obstacles that character faces. I love this approach. Read it HERE.

Writing Careers: The Business Behind Becoming an Author

This is a fabulous set of articles with links on the business of writing and an excellent guide to the education you might pursue if you are hoping to make writing a career. Good help for both new and experiences writers. This article was brought to my attention by a writing workshop participant in Salt Lake City. Thanks, Amelia for having your youth services librarian send this my way!

How to Write a Stand-Out Author Biography

We’ve talked about this in the past but not recently! Lois Hoffman gives good guidelines that will help you write your first bio or refresh one you’ve been using for a while.


4 Proven Steps to Creating a Rock-Solid Book Marketing Plan

C.S. Lakin is back with a stellar article that simplifies your approach to book marketing. Key to this is identifying your target audience, making sure your book is appealing (cover/description), having a solid online presence, and utilizing your launch properly. She has timelines and checklists!! YAY! Read it all HERE.

How to Identify the Target Audience for Your Book

This task is often listed (as it was in the previous article) as essential to your book marketing but the process is often not described well. In this article from miblART, you’ll finally have the steps necessary to identify your book’s target audience.

Sell More books by Utilizing Super Fans and a Street Team

We often hear the terms ‘super fans’ and ‘street team’ but might wonder what they really mean. Nina Amir from Write Nonfiction Now sorts out the difference between these two groups of people and how you might make them work for your book launch efforts. https://writenonfictionnow.com/sell-books-super-fans-street-team/


Are You Giving Up Too Soon?

I love this dive into behaviors surrounding all the information we take in. If you feel like no one is responding to your communication remember that our brains need repetition. And while there’s a fine line between becoming annoying and spurring folks into action, remember that we don’t often act on something the first time we read or hear about it. Good read!  


How to Submit Your Self-Published Book Directly for Sale to the Top Online Retailers

I love the comparison chart of the royalty rates paid by different online book retailers in this article. Check it out here.

What to do if Amazon Discounts Your Book

I’m glad that Russell Phillips addressed this question. Every once in a while I come across an author who is in a panic over a reduced price of their book on Amazon (usually the physical book - - not the ebook.) Amazon will put books on sale from time to time, but the important thing to note is that if the price change was not one you initiated, you will indeed get your full royalty. The article gives more advice on how to take advantage of any price reduction that’s worth reading HERE.

eBook Piracy -- how to respond if someone steals your book!eBook Piracy – How to Respond If Someone Steals Your eBook Online

Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon occurrence. If you find your being sold or distributed without your permission, there are steps you can take (sometimes.) This Digital Reader posts teaches us how to respond, depending on where we find our books being pirated. (This article does address the copyright infringement of The National Emergency Library, too.) 

Strippable Books Vs. Non-Strippable Books: A Guide for Self-Publishers

Here’s a quick podcast along with a full article giving an excellent overview on this bit of publishing knowledge from Joseph Kuzon’s website The Business of Self-Publishing. Strippable books are those when unsold at a book retailer are not sent back for refund, instead their covers are stripped off and returned for credit from the publisher. There’s more here to understand if you’d like to expand your knowledge. https://kunzonpublishing.com/2020/03/strippable-books-vs-non-strippable-books-a-guide-for-self-publishers

How to Create a Virtual Buzz Around Your Book

There are many digital or online avenues you can use to gain attention for your book. Jay Artale walks us through finding the virtual outlets to do this right from blogs to podcasts and more. https://howtoblogabook.com/create-virtual-buzz-around-book/

Not only is guest blogging a great place to start, you might want to begin a blog of your own. Check out “3 Reasons for Authors to Start Blogging, and 3 Ways to Do It Right” by Brandon Cornett. 

How to Choose the Right Social Media Platform

Barb Drozdowich from Bakerview Consulting always gives us great social media advice. In her recent post she talks about deciphering which social media platforms are worth your time based on where your customers (readers) hang out. Great demographic details! 

Happy Writing (editing, marketing, and more!) - Valerie  


I sooo look forward to your collection of writing wisdom each month. I always learn something I can use in a practical way. Thank you!

Thanks, Rita! I'm so glad you find this information helpful. There's just so much published every month in the world of publishing that it is hard to keep up! - Valerie

Add new comment

To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.
Your email will not be displayed to the public.

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.