August Writers' Forum

August Writers' Forum - The Book Event and Publishing Information in One PlaceIn my journey through the steps of independent publishing, refining my writing skills, and most recently completing a successful agent search, I’ve come across some excellent information, tips, tools, and shortcuts that I think would be beneficial to any writer. Once a month, I’ll share the “best of” information and news from the publishing industry as well as feature other authors and writing instructors with tips to share. I am incredibly thankful for the assistance and advice given to me from writing and publishing professionals and am happy pay that forward. On a professional level, I also use my publicity and editorial skills to aid other authors through my company Lost Lake Press. Some purchase links for books I'm recommending are affiliate links which pay me a small fee.  



New(ish) Books Terri Karsten's Historical Fiction for Middle-Grade Readers "When Luck Runs Out"

Historical Fiction writer, Terri Karsten, is newly retired from teaching and has tackled a new project with a historical blog entitled Bric-A-Brac “Thoughts on writing, reading, and exploring the past. At the beginning of the summer she released a new historical fiction title for middle-grade readers. When Luck Runs Out purchase link 

ABOUT THE BOOK: New York City is full of homeless orphans following the Civil War. Two of them, Meg Kelly and her little brother, Mole, take a chance on a better life. They travel Weston on an orphan train. Will they ever find a place to call home?

Midwest authors with lovely romantic and funny new releases included Angie Stanton with If Ever and Ellie Cahill with I Temporarily Do.  I recommend them both! Look for an upcoming interview with Liz and a review of this latest title.

Great new romantic read from Angie Stanton "If Ever"Great new romantic comedy from Ellie Cahill - "I Temporarily Do"

Bookish Events

September has a full slate of wonderful events to attend from Madison to Milwaukee. Here’s a few at the top of my list:

Mystery to Me Bookstore, 1863 Monroe Street, Madison (Full Event Details Here)

September 10 at  2 pm – Kevin Henkes and Laura Dronzek will celebrate their newest picture book collaboration In the Middle of Fall.

September 12 at 7 pm – Robert Madrygan will discuss his novel The Solace of Trees.

September 23 at 2 pm – Jim Thompson will give a talk about Peanut of Blind Faith Farm.

September 28 at 6 pm – Kathleen Ernst will launch her newest Chloe Ellefson mystery title Mining for Justice.

A Room of One’s Own, 315 W. Gorham Street, Madison (Full Event Details Here)

September 19 at 6:00 pm – Denise Dubois will discuss Self-Made Woman.

September 22 at 6:00 pm – Paul Buhl will launch his book Johnny Appleseed.

Books & Company of Oconomowoc is co-hosting an event with Michael Perry at the Pewaukee Public Library on September 22 at 5:30 pm. (Full Event Details Here)

Boswell Books of Milwaukee has a number of excellent ticketed events coming up in October. I’m posting these a month in advance as they tend to sell out. (Please note these are often in bigger event venues in the Milwaukee area.) (Full Event Details Here)

October 23 at 7 pm  - Scott Kelly, author of Endurance: A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery

October 8  at 4 pm – Rick Riordan, author of Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #3: The Ship of the Dead (and so much more.)

October 29 at 2 pm – Kate DiCamillo, author of La La La: A Story of Hope (and Tales of Despereaux and Because of Winn Dixie.) This event is co-hosted with Books & Company of Oconomowoc.

The Top 100 Banned and Challenged Books by DecadeAnd . . . BANNED BOOKS WEEK begins September 24 

I challenge everyone to read at least one book that has made this list through the years during the month of September. Report back here with what you read and what you thought of it. Inquiring minds want to know. This is a serious assignment!!  (If September is too busy for you, see if any of the books you’ve previously read have made this list. You might be surprised.) Here’s list of the 100 most frequently challenged and banned books by decade.

I feel like if someone tells me something is banned, it makes me want to read it even more. Right!!??

Please let me know of any upcoming book releases or events that you’d like featured in the Writers’ Forum!

How to Face the Daily Challenge as a WriterFeatured Subject

Several Ideas to Face the Daily Challenge

I read Terry Whalin’s article about making time for it all at just the right time. I have a number of projects in progress, a few speaking events to prepare for, regular work, and family obligations to fit into each day and week. I’m sure I sound a lot like you.

I appreciated his acknowledgement that somehow made me feel like I’m not the only one who feels like they run from thing to thing all day long. His questions are pertinent and made me reassess how I truly use my time. He talks about balance, using technology, and admitting that not everything gets done.

His approach made me feel a lot better about my to-do list. See if you agree when you read the whole article here.

Pre-Publication Information

The Dos and Don'ts of Dialogue Tags

He Said/She Said – The Dos and Don’ts of Dialogue Tags

I loved this article by Katie McCoach on the KM Editorial blog. She gets beyond the said and asked and shows us good and bad examples. “I compare adverbs and alternate dialogue tags to a strong spice. Some is nice, but too much will spoil the batch.” This is a great tutorial that is helpful even if you are ‘seasoned’ author.

Preferences vs. Rules

On another grammar topic, Louise Harnby of the Proofreader’s Parlor discusses grammar rules versus preferences. You might be surprised that things you were taught in school as rules can be bent a bit. I think this will be a fun article to share with my critique group as we often have discussions just like this.

What You Need to Know Before You Judge the Self-Published Author

As a self-published or indie author, I have felt the sting of judgement from those in the traditional publishing world. I know that any other indie authors reading this have felt this disdain as well. What I find most interesting is how many authors now toggle between the two worlds, indie publishing some titles while traditionally publishing others. While some people may lament the indie publishing boom, I think the technology and systems that have made it possible for the indie author to reach larger audiences are a godsend. The Liminal Pages article on indie publishing is a must read for anyone in this industry no matter HOW you publish.

After all, “Diversity in the arts is strength.”

The next three articles toggle between pre- and post-publication. Decisions about formatting and distribution take place (technically) before publication, but after the book is essentially complete.

The Hard Facts on Hardcovers

Kathy Rowe on Indies Unlimited writes a thorough article about creating a hardcover book as an indie published author. Previously, most print-on-demand technologies only allowed for soft cover books, but for children’s book authors—particularly picture book authors—the hardcover has always been seen as a necessity but unavailable. But things change!! This article gives a thorough review of where you can get your beloved hardcovers and compares pricing from platform to platform.

Getting Your Self-Published Book into LibrariesGetting Your Self-Published Book into Libraries

You must have a thorough understanding of how to get your book into libraries before you make decisions that might impact your ability to do this. So well before you hit the ‘publish’ button read this excellent article by Jane Friedman – How to Get Your Book Distributed: What Self-Published Authors Need to Know.  Further your education with a more detailed look at e-book distribution to libraries with the Digital Publishing 101 article on library distribution.


The Coveted Book Table: How Those Books Get There

How does a book get plucked from the shelves of obscurity to lay flat in all its loveliness for the casual browser at a bookstore? Amy Collins on the Bookworks blog tell us all about this slightly insane process here.

Amazon Ads How To

Have you tried an Amazon ad yet? I haven’t, but I’m stockpiling information because I definitely need to give this a try to boost my sales. Luckily, many authors have come before us and written very nice tutorials about how this is done. Frances Caballo gives us the basics, including Amazon specifics like rules and word counts. And Deanna Cabinian gives a very thorough breakdown of her Amazon ad experience in promoting her young adult novel as a guest author on Jane Friedman’s blog. It’s very helpful to walk through Cabinian’s trial ads and the statistics for sales each generated. Now we have no excuses not to try this ourselves.

Social Media Changes You Need to UnderstandJust when you think you understand social media they change things around . . .

One of my favorite bloggers (can’t you tell), Frances Caballo, has written a two-part series on changes that have been made to the most popular social media platforms. You probably have noticed some of these already and adapted to them without much thought. You can find these on the Social Media Just for Authors Blog under these headlines: Have You Seen These Changes on Facebook and Twitter? Part 1 and Have You Seen These Social Media Changes? Part 2

I hope that these articles helped you on your writing and publishing journey!

Happy Reading & Writing, Valerie  



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