October 2019 Writers' Forum


How the CASE Act Benefits Authors

New York Times Shifts Its Bestsellers’ Lists

All the publishing news and writing craft help you need! The Writers' Forum


How the CASE Act Benefits Authors

The Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement (CASE) Act has been making its way through Congress and will (if passed) allow for an alternative to pursuing copyright infringement in Federal Court by creating a small copyright infringement tribunal within the U.S. Copyright Office. The Publishers Weekly article about CASE by Authors Guild director Mary Rasenberger is worth a read!

‘NYT’ Shifts Its Lists Again

The New York Times is bringing back the mass market paperback best sellers’ list after cutting it in 2017, and they’re adding a new combined graphic books list with include fiction, nonfiction, children’s, adult, and manga. Plus, they are creating two new monthly children’s lists for middle grade paperbacks and young adult paperbacks. Read about all the changes. 

Other Publishing News on the Business of Writing . . .

From the Philippines, Not with Love: A Plague of Publishing and Marketing Scams

Victoria Strauss from Writer Beware lists the many scammy companies out there preying on unsuspecting authors. Take the time to educate yourself on these baddies. Her backlinked articles are a treasure trove of information if you need to check out a company that looks promising but you’re just not sure.

Book Publishing Statistics

Sandra Beckwith of Build Book Buzz gives us a handy list of statistics about the industry. For instance, did you know that Amazon sells 83% of the e-books purchased in the US? Or that they were 1,835 independent bookselling companies running 2,470 independent bookstores in 2018? Read more HERE.

Author Income: How to Make a Living from Your Writing

Ricci Wolman from Written Word Media analyzes the results of a survey of authors and how they are making their money. Really great information that might guide you on how to increase your writing income. Read it here.

Additionally, Allie Freeland at Clear Voice gives us a breakdown on freelance writing rates that will help you see if you’re charging enough (or paying too much) for freelance work.

Author Income- How to make money writing and more writing advice on the Writers' Forum



How to Create the Ideal Writing Space

Are you at the beginning of your writing journey or do you feel the need to change up your writing location? The Fussy Librarian details how to create an ideal writing space. 

Writing Rules: When Can You Break Them?

I am seriously in love with this analysis of writing rules from Kathy Steinemann that we’re always told we’re not supposed to break—and when it is okay to break them. This first article covers rules 1 – 6; however, in the article there are links to the discussion on rules 7-10, 11-14, and 15 -18. Love it!! 

14 Questions to Ask When You’re Revising a Scene

This is the most helpful editing article I read in the past month. Definitely bookmark this one if you’re not at an editing point with your current work in progress. It will be helpful to you later. My favorite part was the description of how each scene needs the GCD formula:  Goal - Conflict – Disaster. This is usually followed by a sequel scene that is Reaction – Dilemma – Decision. Read it all at: https://christianediting.co.nz/scene-structure/

14 Questions to Ask When You're Revising a Novel -- That helpful article and more on the Writers' Forum



Two Quick Tasks to Improve Momentum and Voice

On the Wisconsin Romance Writers’ Association blog Christine DeSmet writes a smart article that has us analyzing the hooks in each scene and the ‘clutter’ words that dot our manuscripts. Another smart editing tool to bookmark. Check it out here.

Crafting the Perfect Chapter

Dawn Field on the BookBaby Blog discusses the balance of chapter structure, how long chapters should be, how to end them so that readers want to continue and more. Every story has different requirements for chapter structure of course, but her questions are good ones to keep in mind as you make these decisions. 

Creating the Best Protagonists and AntagonistsDon't miss the Writers' Forum: All the publishing news and writing advice you need in one place once a month.

There are reams of information devoted to creating the perfect antagonist and the perfect protagonist. I find articles like this serve as good reminders on the traits we should consider as we begin crafting a new cast of characters. “Writing Tips: Creating a Compelling Protagonist” by Justin Attas for the Creative Penn website reminds us that your protagonist needs to have “realistic flaws that give them depth.” To work on our antagonist development, check out the series of articles that begins with The Fussy Librarian’s “What Makes a great villain? Creating an Antagonist for Your Story.

Can a Book Blog Still Land a Book Deal?

In this article by Julie Valerie for Anne R. Allen’s blog she discusses “Book Blog Reviews and Bookstagram: How Influencers Help Authors Reach Agents, Publishers, and Readers.” Specifically, she addresses how her blog gained attention for her work within the publishing industry. 


Title Your Mystery

Author Zara Altair gives tips on titling your mystery novel; however, I think her methods can work for creating a great title in other genres, too.

Compelling Book Descriptions

Even more difficult than coming up with a title is the task of writing your book description. David Kudler takes this on in Compelling Book Descriptions Part 1 and Compelling Book Descriptions Part 2. Smartly written, very helpful articles.

7 Kindle Keywords: Use All 50 Characters or Not?

I’m a huge fan of Dave Chesson at Kindlepreneur.com. His courses and articles are up to date and always insightful. Recently, Chesson performed an experiment with a number of authors who agreed to change around their keywords to determine if certain premises hold true or not in terms of using all 50 characters in each keyword field and whether the order of your keyword phrase matters. This is important if you’re already published and want to go back and make some changes to improve your ‘findability’ on Amazon or if you’re loading in keywords for a new book. Read the analysis HERE.

Self-Publishing is the Best Solution to Low Author Earnings

The Alliance for Independent Authors’ article by Orna Ross makes the case for self-publishing. (Hint -- it's as easy as "following the readers.")

Gaining Reviews

I put this in the pre-launch area because you really need to have your review strategy in place before your book is released. Stephanie Chandler of the Nonfiction Authors Association gives us a comprehensive list of book review options.

How to Speak to Journalists Before Your Book is Published (And Not Give It All Away)

Lisa Tener (The Book Writing Coach) recounts a “lively discussion from her book proposal course” that tackled the subject of getting media attention for your nonfiction book but not giving so much away that people don’t have to buy it once they’ve read the article. The best advice “save the freshest parts for your book so they don’t seem old before you publish.” Read the complete article HERE.

In a related article on the BookWorks blog, Chris Well discusses how to “Attract the Media by Pitching Relevant Topics & Angles.” These strategies can work to earn publicity at the time of your book launch but also aid you in continuing to gain media that relates to your book topics long after publication. Coming up with relevant hooks is vital.

How to gain media attention for your book.


3 Ways to Get Past What’s Holding You Back

Sandra Beckwith gives us three barriers that typically hold us back from getting on with our book marketing: Confusion – Time – Uneasiness. The good news is that she also gives solutions to each of these.  

Amazon Eliminates Two Promotional Options

The Self-Publishing Review gives us the scoop on the elimination of Amazon Giveaways and the Kindle Matchbook program. Is that news to you? Read all about it HERE.

Using Facebook to Promote Your Book

15 Ways Authors Use Facebook to Promote Their Books” is a nice little list to keep for reference how Facebook can help you promote your titles. You may not have thought of each of these.

BookBub Ads

Are you planning a BookBub promotion? You'll want to look at “20 BookBub Ads you HAVE to See for Design Inspiration.” Believe me it helps to go through these before you start creating your ad image to see the types of images and designs that appeal to the BookBub audience. 

How to Use MailerLite (So You Can Dump MailChimp)

Social Media for Authors gives you the details on making the big switch from MailChimp to MailerLite. I haven’t done this yet because I’m still fine with MailChimp, but I know there are authors out there who feel differently. 

Social Media Promo for Authors - That and more on the Writes' Forum


How to Do a Social Media Audit in Seven Surprising Simple Steps

Barb Drozdowich of Bakerview Consulting is back with another excellent infographic to aid our social media activities. This one gives you a list to audit your social media presence. Just a little fall housekeeping! 


How to Effectively Use Live Video (Even If You Fear the Camera) to Reach Readers

Yes, video is important! Let Amy Collins help you get comfortable with this medium which you cannot ignore. See her entire article HERE on the Jane Friedman blog.

Once you’ve become comfortable creating videos, you’ll want this next infographic from Barb Drozdowich on “How to Rank for YouTube Videos.” She gives you all the tricks on picking titles, descriptions, tags, thumbnails and more to make your videos more findable on YouTube.


Happy Writing, Valerie  


Thanks for mentioning my posts on writing rules, Valerie! (Exclamation point intentional. I love breaking an occasional rule.)

Hi Kathy,
You seriously made my day with your rule breaking! I will be referring back to these lists in the future. Thank you! - Valerie

Impressive list, as always!

Hi Christine,
Thanks! There's always a lot of news and tips to choose from each month. I feel like I need to create an indexing and/or search function for my readers so it is easy to find specific topics in each of the Forums. Maybe time to update my website functionality?? Just a little thing. LOL - Valerie

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