July 2020 Writers' Forum

Irregardless is NOT a Word!

How Do Publishers Decide Which Books to Bet On?

What I’ve Learned About Presenting Online Writing Workshops.

Is Copyright Broken? The Indie Authors Guide to Managing Piracy and Plagiarism.


The July 2020 Writers' Forum - Writing Craft Help, Book Marketing Tips, and Publishing Industry News


Irregardless is Not a Word!

I don’t know about you, but I was deeply annoyed by the inclusion of the NON-word irregardless in the Merriam-Webster dictionary. If you agree with me, you might enjoy this 1-minute discussion on the topic on NPR.

How do Publishers Decide Which Books to Bet On?

Nearly every author has pondered this question at one point or another. Anne Trubek writes a detailed post for Jane Friedman’s blog, giving us a walk through profit/loss projections. I found this fascinating, particularly the estimates on the costs associated with bringing a book to market. All authors should know and understand how this works. Read the full post: https://www.janefriedman.com/how-do-publishers-decide/

What I’ve Learned About Presenting Online Writing Workshops

Everything is online these days (if it hasn't been canceled entirely) and you may be in a position to adapt in-person workshops or lessons to a digital format. What works? What doesn’t? Sophie Masson tells us what she’s learned HERE.

Is Copyright Broken? Part 1 – The Indie Author’s Guide to Managing Piracy and Part 2 – The Indie Author’s Guide to Managing Plagiarism

Wow! Thanks so much to the Alliance of Independent Authors for this two-part education on book piracy and plagiarism. This is the most comprehensive discussion I’ve ever read on this topic. We’re all concerned with protecting our work and these two articles detail how (and when) to fight back. Read part one on piracy here. Find Part two on plagiarism here. 


6 Principles for Writing Historical Fiction

Andrew Noakes gives us six useful tips for writing historical fiction. It’s no surprise that one of them is do your research well, however, he also gives tips on when to bend history to suit your story and when not to be too historical—for instance, writing in Old English might be a bit cumbersome to read. See his other tips HERE.

Tips on Making Your Adventure Story Convincing

C.S. Lakin helps us make our adventure story convincing by encouraging writers to find settings that intensify the story, include risks and twists, creating compelling characters and more. We’ve heard this advice in general terms before, but the author covers the specific ways to up the tension that adventure stories require. 

Keys to Start Your Mystery Novel and other writing craft help on the Writers' Forum

Keys to Start Your Mystery Novel

Are you writing a mystery? Not sure where to start? Zara Altair gives us a handful of essential tactics to jump into your mystery in the right way. She calls this giving “readers the key to the story” by following the mystery trop requirements that firmly establish the hero and where they are and gives the beginning action or problem. She also gives a list of ‘story stoppers’ that will make your story easy to put down.

Switching Genres and Genre-Straddling Books with Cassandra Morgan

I was drawn to this article because my Circle of Nine series is genre straddling, and I will (eventually/hopefully) be published in multiple genres. I know other writers in this same predicament. See how Cassandra Morgan has handled this in the Book Echoes podcast. Listen HERE.

Writing in Different Children’s Book Genres and Categories

Do you write for the children’s market? You’ll appreciate this article from Mary Kole about writing in different children’s book genres and categories. She gives an excellent advice that it’s best to establish yourself in one category first before attempting to switch to another. See if her advice can help you: https://kidlit.com/2020/07/13/writing-in-different-childrens-book-genres-and-categories/

8 Tips to Write a Successful Memoir

I LOVE this list of 8 tips to write a successful memoir. My favorite is to write your memoir like fiction. I give this advice all of the time – that your memoir must feel and read like a fiction novel. A memoir isn’t a biography, it’s about a pivotal ‘season’ in your life. But the best part of this article may be the way he provides a self-described bad joke to illustrate the difference between memoir (a summer dress), autobiography (clean underwear), and biography (a funeral gown.) 

Choosing Character Names and Making Up Fantastic Words

One of the best parts of being a writer is getting to name your characters. But another fun thing is creating new words. This is a great way to give your story a unique voice. Read the Good Story Company’s list of 5 Tips to do this right and have a little fun along the way. 

The Best Software to Plot or Outline Your Book

This question about the best software for writing a book comes up from time to time. Here, specifically, Dave Chesson examines the best plotting/outlining software. I tend to use excel, word, and lots and lots of notebook pages . . . but for those looking for something more technical, this is a great article.


Color Theory in Book Cover Design

Have you ever heard of color theory? There’s a whole science behind color combinations that you may want to reference when you’re picking the color(s) for your book cover. This is a fun article to read with lots of examples in different colors. Read it HERE.

How to Set up an Online Bookstore

Here’s a little bit of a twist on the Print-on-Demand (POD) experience. There’s actually a way that you can avoid distribution fees. Yeah, THAT got your attention didn’t it. Check out this option that works as a partnership between LuluXpress and Shopify: https://www.darcypattison.com/publishing/online-bookstore/

Pre-Order Your Book: Why I don’t recommend it!

It seems like getting your book loaded into Amazon to accept pre-orders would be a great idea. But -- wait – not so fast. There are reasons why this can work against you due to the way the Amazon algorithm rewards steady sales vs. a high spikes in sales. Dave Chesson has a quick video to explain this HERE.


Marathons, Sprints, and Pounces: 3-Tiered Approach to Book Launches

Turns out there are lots of ways to approach a book launch. Barbara Linn Probst discusses the difference between activities that fall into three categories marathons, sprints, and pounces on Jane Friedman’s blog HERE. Marathon activities are those that take a long time to develop, Sprints are launch-specific short-term activities, and Pounces are unforeseen opportunities that arise and require an immediate yes or no. This is a fabulous way to break down your book launch approach. See if it works for you HERE.

Book Launch Advice and more for indie pub authors on the Writers' Forum

6 Tips to Create a Memorable Virtual Book Launch

Ideally, you would probably prefer to have an in-person event to launch your book; however, current times dictate that we adapt and virtual book launches are becoming more and more common the longer the coronavirus hangs around. These six tips are excellent guideposts to help you make the most of your book birthday launch event.

How to Promote a Book Launch (and How BookBub Can Help!)

This is a longer video from BookBub that gives you some really specific tips to promote your book launch, including understanding your target audience, utilizing ad campaigns, discounting a previous book, getting blurbs from other authors and more. The last 8 minutes are devoted to how author Brenda Novak launched a bestseller.

Public Libraries: An Asset for Independent Authors

This article gives great tools to approach libraries with your indie published book – the best gem is that “to boost chances of a library acquiring your book, do some research to discover specialty preferences and regional inclinations of the libraries.” Read more for tips on getting your audiobook into libraries, too.

176 Resources and Tools to Market and Launch Your Book

The Digital Pubbing website amassed this incredibly helpful list of resources to help you market and launch your book. Even if you don’t have time to review the whole thing right now, click on the article here and bookmark it so you can access it as needed. 


Make Inroads into the Homeschool Market

Do you think your book would be an asset to students as more and more are being homeschooled? Here are some great links to access publications and associations geared toward homeschoolers where you might gain attention for your book. 

5 Ways to Use Videos to Promote Authors and Their Books

Yes, I keep harping on how video content is desirable and helpful to marketing your books – even before we were hanging out at home more. Cristian Stanciu on the Book Designer blog gives us five different types of video content we should think about developing: book trailers, behind-the-scenes video, author interviews, book readings, and book giveaways. There are super descriptions and examples of each – read it all HERE.

Best-Kept Fiction Marketing Secret and other great writing and book promo tips

The Best-Kept Fiction Marketing Secret

Well, dang, I want to know what this is, don’t you? Sandra Beckwith teases us with this headline and I hope I don’t get in trouble for giving it away here – but she says Guest blogging is a great way to expand your readership, even if you write fiction. Read the full article as she walks you through how to identify the topics you might be able to write a post about and how to find the best blogs to approach with your idea. https://indiereader.com/2020/07/the-best-kept-fiction-marketing-secret/

Amazon Editorial Reviews: Are You Using This Incredible Section?

I really hope that you know how to access your editorial reviews and you’ve been adding in those reviews as you’ve gotten them – BUT – if you haven’t, you can go back and do that now. Dave Chesson gives you the instructions on how to do this via Jane Friedman’s blog HERE

How to Use a Short Story to Sell More Books

This is a fun article that details how to approach short story writing and then how to use a short story (related possibly to your longer works/books) as a giveaway to entice readers to sign up for your email list or buy your other books. See how this works HERE

Why You Need a Template for Your Newsletter (and What to Put In It)

Do you have an author newsletter? If so, you’re going to want it to be consistent in terms of fonts, colors, images, so that it helps you to build your brand and so your subscribers know what to expect. These template tips are helpful for those just starting out or looking to rebrand their newsletter look. 


These articles are very specific and a little technical; however, if you are designing your own website, concerned with website security, or delving into improving your website’s SEO, these articles are for you:

How to Safely Choose Colors for Your Author Website from Bad Redhead Media 

How to Perform a WordPress Security Audit from Bakerview Consulting 

Boost Your Blog Traffic with the Yoast SEO Secrets of the WordPress Elves from Anne R. Allen

Social Media for Authors and other help on the Writers' Forum


20 Amazing Facts about Facebook

Are you on Facebook? Probably -- as this infographic from Social Media today says that there are 1.74 billion monthly active users. See all the latest cool Facebook demographics and details HERE

Facebook Engagement Bait and Shadow Bans

Facebook has some rules about what you can’t do to encourage engagement on your posts or page. Did you know that? Engagement bait is defined as “a tactic to create Facebook posts that goad people into interacting, through likes, shares, comments, and other actions, in order to artificially boost engagement and get greater reach on News Feed.“ The article from David Gaughran identifies the tactics that are not allowed with clear examples so you’ll know what to avoid doing. 

Instagram Tips for Authors

Do you love Instagram like I do? Make it work better for you as an author. Amanda Zieba has excellent tips on how she’s doing this HERE

Great Twitter Chats for Writers

I find that a lot of people are confused about how to engage on Twitter as an author. Nate Hoffelder identifies twitter chats that can be great fun for writers . . . see if any of these appeal to you. I know I am going to check out #IndieAuthorChat for sure. https://natehoffelder.com/blog/nine-great-twitter-chats-for-writers/

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


If you guys are looking for the best book reviewers, I would highly recommend https://usbookreviews.com/ check out their website. Had a great experience with them. Good luck

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