Writers' Forum - April 2023

45 Writers’ “Rules for Writing”

The 10 Awful Truths about Book Publishing

Kobo Offers Kobo Plus in the US/UK

New Section Dedicated to All Things AI


45 Writers’ “Rules for Writing

Emily Harstone from Authors Publish compiled this list of lists – featuring 45 authors and the rules they have set forth for writing. Tips from great writers like Elmore Leonard, Neil Gaiman, George Orwell, Annie Proulx and more.   https://authorspublish.com/45-writers-rules-for-writing/

The 10 Awful Truths About Book Publishing

This is a seriously depressing list of stats from a senior editor at Berrett-Koehler Publishers; however, it is an eye-opening list. And on the upside, there’s a list of how to combat these awful truths immediately following. Basically, the number of books being published every year has exploded while sales have remained flat or are falling, and certain genres are completely saturated.

Read it here: https://ideas.bkconnection.com/10-awful-truths-about-publishing

NOTE: There’s a great reaction to this frightening article, scroll down to the very least entry in this Writers’ Forum to the Books PR and Marketing Questions Answered article.

Kobo Offers Kobo Plus in the US/UK

The all-you-can-read (or listen) Kobo Plus subscription service is now available in the UK and the US. This service is a direct competitor with the Kindle Unlimited subscription system. Read more here. 

The Latest on AI in the Writing and Publishing World

How AI May Change Writing and Creating by Dan Blank

This is a very thoughtful and thought-provoking article by Dan Blank on how AI is already being used and what its impact may be moving forward.

The Self Publishing Show: AI Artwork for Authors with Stuart Bache

A recent podcast features Stuart Blache- “a book cover designer with strong roots in the indie publishing scene and his observations on the book cover market, how to be a good client, and the ethical implications of AI Art.” Read the transcript here:  https://selfpublishingformula.com/episode-379/

How to Make Productive Use of ChatGPT

This discussion between authors Elisa Lorello and Kristen Tsetsi about ChatGPT is very interesting and highlights ways ChatGPT can enhance writer’s existing creativity.


40 Good Ideas for Books to Get You Inspired

The Good Story Company has an inspirational list to help you generate new story ideas – broken down into four areas: character ideas, plot ides, theme ideas, and setting ideas. Just reading this list had me thinking of all kinds of potential stories.

Writing Tips: Setting and Sense of Place

Joanna Penn gives some excellent tips on developing the settings for your stories through sensory details, the character’s viewpoint, and more. Read it here: 


8 Pieces of Advice for Weaving Your Heritage into a Novel

Award-winning author Kimberly G. Giarratano explains how she weaves her cultural heritage into her story and gives 8 pieces of advices for how you can do the same thing . . . from language, holidays, food, and other traditions there’s a lot to draw from to make your cultural heritage come alive in your stories.


Create Effective Dialogue by Asking the Right Questions

Tiffany Yates Martin guides us through these questions in her article on Jane Friedman’s blog. I love how she distills the approach to dialogue with these questions – Why are your characters speaking? When are they speaking? What are they saying? How do they say it? Read the full post here. 

Are You Giving Yourself Writing Credit?

Jessica Conoley gives us permission to celebrate the milestones of writing and gives us ideas to reinforce good writing habits, sharing our achievements with others. I really liked this, because apparently the only way I get writing done is if I reward myself for my little achievements along the way!



Part 3 - Plotting & Outlining vs Pantsing: A conversation with authors Valerie Biel & T.K. Sheffield

Throughout 2023 writing instructor and pre-published author Tracey Kathryn (T.K.) Sheffield and I will be offering a blog series on plotting from the beginning developmental stage through the messy middle and all the way to the end, including editing advice on how to fix plot problems in a completed manuscript.

In Part 1, Tracey lists wonderful resources that are great for those that are new to writing or looking for a new approach to plotting in: "Plotting a Novel: Resources for Those Just Starting Out."

In Part 2, Tracey discusses how to use plotlines, tropes, and conflict to test your story ideas: "Testing Novel Ideas

And, now in Part 3, Tracey and I discuss the virtues of outlining your novel vs. pantsing (aka: writing by the seat of your pants.) See what sides we take in this debate in the video below.  (See the other resources here.) 

Ask the Editor: How do you move beyond three-act structure?

Also by Tiffany Yates Martin for Jane Friedman’s blog . . . I really appreciated this approach to plotting, which encourages to forge our own path and not rigidly follow any one plotting map. Read it here. 

Five Pieces of Book Blurb (book description) Advice You Should Avoid

Jessie Cunniffe for Written Word Media helps us digest the many tips we may have heard about writing our book descriptions and why many of these ‘rules’ shouldn’t be followed, from adhering to specific word counts, or not including questions or more than two names. Learn more here. 

How to Format a Book

Dave Chesson’s updated formatting guide! You’ll want this if you’re an indie published author.

An Author’s Guide to Stock Photos for Book Covers

Also from Dave Chesson’s blog – this article from Jonathan Green delves into the legal issues of stock photos on your book cover. Important information – definitely take the time to read this so you don’t find yourself in a legal mess.

Update on Transparency Codes for KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing)

If you’re wondering what IS a transparency code, you’re not alone. It’s a code similar to a QR code that can appear on your book cover next to the bar code. You can link it to author information, the rating or review area, or the Amazon detail page. Kind of a neat feature. Read more here: 


The Tools and Services Joanna Penn Uses in Her Business

This is a good list of services (some of which I also use), that Joanna Penn finds useful in her author business.  See her list on everything from writing help to editing and marketing and more here: https://www.thecreativepenn.com/2023/04/07/the-tools-and-services-i-use-in-my-author-business/

Here’s my list in “Tools that Make My Writing Life Easier.”  

Describing your Book in Two Sentences Q&A with Ann Garvin

Author Laura Bird and Ann Garvin discuss the need to be able to distill your book into a short pitch of one or two sentences . . . and how hard this is for authors who want so very much to explain every wonderful detail and nuance of their stories. But that’s not how pitches work, so check out the recipe they discuss for crafting the perfect pitch for agents and editors.

The Ultimate Guide for How to Market a Book Online

So I was initially skeptical when I read the headline of Ted Galdi’s post, but I was pleasantly surprised when this post carefully details all the areas of an author’s online presence that need to be developed. He also talks through paid advertising options. A thorough article to guide yoru own book marketing plan.

Good Story Podcast: Emily Enger/Book Marketing Coach

This is a delightful conversation between Mary Kole and book marketing coach Emily Enger. I find Emily’s approach refreshing and flexible, and while she doesn’t do the marketing for authors, she teaches authors how to approach their own marketing. Good listen!


How to Make More Money than the Average Author

The Self-Publishing Advice & Inspiration Podcast from the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) features ALLi director Orna Ross in conversation with Joanna Penn on how ways to make more money as an independent author.

YouTube Shares New Shorts Report to Highlight Key Content and Trends

If you’ve noticed that YouTube is now taking part in the short video trend made popular by TikTok, you might be interested in Social Media Today’s tips for creating this type of content. https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/youtube-shares-new-shorts-report-to-highlight-key-content-trends-and-tips/609282/

Mastering Amazon Ads One Tweak at a Time: One Author’s Success Story

Wendy Raebeck shares her Amazon Ad journey, detailing how the process requires persistence, patience, and attention to detail.


Books PR and Marketing Questions Answered: Take Inventory

This article by Ann Marie Nieves for Writer Unboxed starts with her reaction to 10 Awful Truths about Publishing listed above as one of the featured articles  . . . she writes:  

“When this article, The Ten Awful Truths About Publishing by Steve Piersanti of Berrett-Koehler Publishers, landed in my inbox, I breathed a deep sigh of relief. Warning: It’s a positively frightening read that will make you want to hide underneath your covers… or hurl a glass across the room. If there is bourbon in that glass, down it quickly, read the article, and then throw the glass across the room.

So why did I breathe a sigh of relief?

Because someone else far more important than me said it – all the things I’ve been thinking, saying, that have made me change the way I work. A publisher said the things. The things about the many, many books on the market; how they sell or don’t; and the constant change due to disruptors (TikTok) and disruptions (supply chain issues).”

She then tells us to get to work by resetting our expectations and taking inventory of what we know about our audiences, marketing, platforms, what you know, what you think you know, what marketing activities you like/dislike and more. This is a FABULOUS article you'll want to bookmark.



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