Writing a Novel Wrap Up – Part Two

This is the second part of the sixty-seventh post in a series about writing a novel as I wrap up the series.

Last week, I began the wrap up of my novel-writing series that started in August of 2017. Everything from story ideas to first drafts and beyond were covered and included in part one of my wrap up. But writing and editing a novel is not the end. You have your completed work but now you need to publish it and then market it to potential readers.

This brings us to part two of our wrap up – publishing and marketing. As with writing a novel, I have covered a wide range of topics and there are sure to be areas I might have missed. If you see any, please list them in the comments, and I will cover them in a future post.

Publishing

Image result for publishingWhether you choose to go through a traditional publishing house or self-publish, there are many things you may need to consider – book title, pen name, cover design, book blurb, front/back matter and selling price. And then if you are self-publishing, you will need to format your book and upload it to the seller (Amazon) or a distribution company (Smashwords or Draft2Digital.)

Every decision you make when publishing can affect your success. As with writing your book, you need to not rush. You need to take time to prefect your book description and design your cover. These are all major selling points for your book. If the cover doesn’t appeal to readers, they won’t even get to the point of reading the book blurb. And if the book blurb doesn’t leave them wanting more, they won’t be clicking the buy button.

Here is a list of the publishing topics that I have covered.

#37- Publishing Options for your book

#38 – Self-publishing an ebook decisions

#39 – Picking Your Book Title and Your Pen Name

#40 – Investing in an eye-catching book cover

#41 – Writing an awesome book blurb

#42 – Deciding on Front Matter for your novel

#43 – Deciding on Back Matter for your novel

#44 – Formatting your eBook for publication

#45 – Pricing your e-book

#46 – Selecting Categories and Keywords to improve your Novel’s visibility

#47 – Book Promotions: Cover Reveal and Pre-Orders

#48 – Publishing your novel with Amazon and KDP Select

#49 – Publishing your e-book with Smashwords or Draft2Digital

Marketing

Image result for marketingYour book is written, and you have clicked the button and published it. It is now out there for anyone to read. But you can’t expect readers to just stumble upon your book. You need to market to your target market though book promotions and blog tours. Even more you need to sell readers on your brand – that’s you.

Marketing is a never-ending process. So, it doesn’t stop as you write your next book or even the one after that. You need to explore new ways to get your name out to potential readers as you balance your time between writing and marketing.

Here is a list of the marketing topics that I have covered.

#50 – Marketing your E-book

#51 – Finding your Book’s Target Market

#52 – The importance of Book Reviews and how to get them

#53 – Is it worth it to offer your book for free?

#54 – My results from offering my novels for free

#55 – Amzon’s Kindle Countdown Deals explained and my results

#56 – Selling your book through book ads

#57 – Using a Book Trailer to promote your novel

#58 – Offering your novels or short stories as a box set

#59 – Deciding whether to offer your book as an audio book

#60 – Taking your book on a virtual book tour

#61 – Writing your Author Bio and selecting an Author Photo

#62 – Setting up your Amazon Author Page and International Amazon pages

#63 – Choosing between an Author Website or Blog

#64 – Holidays work for settings and book promotions

#65 – Choices for Authors: Marketing vs. Writing

#66 – Joining author groups and forums

And this concludes my 67-part series on writing a novel. I hope it helps. Keep writing. Nothing will improve your writing more or improve your credibility as an author.

 

Should good deeds and volunteering be recognized?

Should good deeds, donating or volunteering be rewarded? This is a conversation I had recently with a fellow parent. She believes that when we are collecting used books, box tops or having our kids volunteer their time that they should do so out of the goodness of their heart and not because any reward is attached.

To increase participation, our school has held class competitions with the winning class getting some time of reward. Sometimes the competition is for individual students. And our fifth graders have the option to record their volunteer hours and receive a recognition award at the end of the school year.

My friend feels these are all unnecessary as we live in a giving community. She says she can see implementing these in a less well-to-do area where the students or parents might need encouragement to participate. And while I agree with her that we should do things just for the inner joy of doing something you know is right or helpful, rewards are not a bad thing.

Rewarding good deeds can reinforce the good feelings. And there is nothing wrong with volunteers feeling appreciated for their hard work. All these good feelings can encourage people to continue their generosity.

Of course, there are some people who go out of their way to do good deeds just for the attention or the reward. And I can’t say that this is a bad thing but really you shouldn’t expect a reward or recognition for helping others.

I know I certainly don’t. I would keep donating and volunteering whether there is recognition at a volunteer’s breakfast or an award like the presidential volunteer service award, school district’s top volunteer or a Life Member award. And in the past three months I have received all these awards and know the school will be hosting a breakfast for the volunteers at the end of the school year.

No, I don’t do any of this for the awards, but it sure does feel nice to know others see all my hard work and appreciate it. I love when teachers, staff or even other parents tell me they appreciate everything I do for the students and school. It makes putting up with the rough parts bearable. Actually, just knowing that the kids enjoy the efforts of the hard work is enough, but who doesn’t like being appreciated for all they do?

I say, keep the rewards. We need to appreciate everyone’s good deeds and volunteering. There is nothing wrong with making people feel good, worthwhile and appreciated. Especially in this world where stories of animosity and hatefulness seem to dominate we can use some good feelings and to celebrate the good that others do.

Writing a Novel Wrap Up – Part One

This post is the sixty-seventh post in a series about writing a novel. And now it is time to wrap up this series…

In August of 2017, I started a series about writing a novel. I’ve covered everything from story ideas, setting, story/character arcs, dialogue, pace, and characters to name just a few of the topics. From writing the story to editing, publishing and then marketing, I’ve covered many aspects of writing and publishing your story.

And now, after 66 posts, I think I have covered most of the topics you would need to complete a novel. Some of the areas can obviously be gone into with more depth. If you see areas that I missed, please list them in the comments, and I will cover them.

Writing a Novel

Image result for writing a novelRemember that there is really no one way to write a novel. You can plan everything out or write on a whim. You may develop characters as you go or write detailed back stories for each of your main characters. Your first draft may turn out horrible, and you throw out most (or all) of it. You may finish your first draft in a few weeks as your write daily or it can take you months if you have to squeeze writing into your already busy daily life. and what works for one author will not necessarily work for you.

Also, remember that writing takes time. It takes time to write, edit and polish your work. Do not be in a hurry to publish. You want to have a quality product rather than a work riddled with errors that turns off the reader.

Here is a list of the writing topics that I have covered.

#1 – Deciding to write a novel – Writing Myths

#2 – Three areas to develop before starting to write a novel

#3 – Finding a Story Idea and How to Know if it “good enough”

#4 – Developing Characters for your Novel

#5 – Major characters? Minor Characters? Where does everyone fit in?

#6 – Developing the Setting for your Novel

#7 – The importance of developing conflict in your novel plot

#8 – To Outline or not to outline 

#9 – The importance of a story arc

#10 – The importance of tension and pace

#11 – Prologue and opening scenes

#12 – Beginning and ending scenes in a novel

#13 – The importance of dialogue…and a few tips on how to write it

#14 – Using Internal Dialogue in your novel

#15 – More dialogue tips and help with dialogue tags

#16 – Knowing and incorporating back story into your novel

#17 – Hinting at what is to come with foreshadowing

#18 – Tips for writing different scenes in your novel

#19 – Dealing with Writer’s Block

#20 – Killing a Character in your Novel

#21 – Keeping things realistic in your novel

#22 – Establishing Writing Goals and Developing Good Writing Habits

#23 – Using the five senses and passive voice in your novel

#24 – The benefit of research in fiction writing

#25 – Novella or Novel, Trilogy or Series – decisions for writers

#26 – Avoiding Plot and Character Clichés

#27 – Novel Writing – Endings and Epilogues

#28 – Fantasy Novel Writing – World Building, Dragons, Magic and More

Editing a Novel

Image result for editingNow you have your first draft done. As I said above, it may be worthless, or it could be a diamond in the rough. You need to be able to step back and evaluate what you have written. You may need to rewrite or even delete scenes that you spent hours writing or that you really love. But you are now in the part of editing stage where you are polishing your work, cutting, trimming, tightening and finally getting your story into a publishable form.

How many drafts you do or how long this process takes will definitely depend on each author. If you are on your sixteenth novel, it may go easier than it will for the newbie. If you planned and outlined your work, you may have fewer corrections. But again, this is not an area where you want to hurry. You want to make your story to shine. You want to refine your word choices, keep the action hopping and give the reader satisfying ending.

Here is a list of the editing topics that I have covered.

#29 – Finishing your First Draft

#30 – Your Second Draft and Beyond

#31 – Picking Stronger Words and Watching out for Homonyms

#32 – Omitting unnecessary words in your novel

#33 – Beta Reader, Proofreaders and Copy Editors

#34 – Knowing your grammar or at least using a grammar checking program

#35 – Using a Revision Outline during your Novel Editing

#36 – Editing Techniques: Taking a Break and Reading Aloud

So, you have written your novel and edited and revised it until you are sure it is ready to be published. Next week, I will wrap up publishing and marketing your novel.

A bad month for suits

A bad month for suits

Some men only own one suit that is pulled out for funerals or special occasions. Some men have never owned or worn a suit. And then there are those that because of their job they wear a suit daily. My husband falls somewhere between the one suit guy and the one who wears a suit every day.

He is an attorney, but because he isn’t in court daily or having clients come to his office, he mostly dresses casually – think jeans and t-shirts. It isn’t unusual to see his staff walking around in slippers. He does own four suits for those occasions when he goes to court or gives a speech.

January, however, was not a good month for his suits. It began when he went to a seminar held here in San Antonio. On the first day of the seminar, even though he wasn’t speaking, he chose to wear a suit as he had a city council meeting that evening. He doesn’t like suits, so he left the tie and suit jacket in his car while he was in the seminar.

And when he came out later…his car had been broken into and the suit jacket and tie were stolen along with a leather pouch. (No broken window so he is thinking he might not have locked the car.)

He didn’t have time to run home before the city council meeting, so he went with half a suit and no tie.  But at least he had a good story.

So now he was down by one suit. Two of the others needed altering as he had either gained or lost weight since he last wore them. He took them in to be altered. And when he went to pick them up…he ended up with 1 ½ suits instead of 2. The jacket on the second suit wasn’t his. Somewhere along the way when the suit was sent from the store to the alteration place, the pieces must have separated. The jacket that came back was definitely not his.

Now, we have always bought his suits at Men’s Warehouse. They have decent prices and when he first started wearing suits, he was super skinny, and they were one of the only places to carry suits in his size. They were very apologetic about the suit mix up, and to make it up to him, they provided him with a new suit.

And they didn’t steer him to the sale rack or push a cheap suit on him. They picked out some nice suits, and the one he went with was easily double the cost of the suit that he had brought in for altering.

At the beginning of January, he had 4 suits. He ended the month down to 2. And now, with the new suit, we are back to 3 but probably need to go ahead and replace the one that was stolen. Then he just needs to keep all these suits safe.

Joining author groups and forums

This post is the sixty-six post in a series about writing a novel. You can check out the list of past topics at the end of this post.

Becoming an author – self-published or traditional – doesn’t mean you have to work alone. You can connect with other authors to receive encouragement, discuss current publishing trends and advise you on which promotional opportunities helped them the most.

You can join author (or reader) groups or connect with others on forums.

Groups

Image result for groupsGroups are simply a collection of people who share a similar trait – went to the same school, have red hair, live near each other, write sci-fi books, or any of a gazillion other ways to group people.

Facebook

Facebook groups can b a fantastic way for a writer to connect, trade advice, swap war stories and find new opportunities. There are Facebook groups for every genre and some that allow you to promote your work. For a list of popular Facebook Groups, check out this website.

Goodreads

Goodreads groups are communities of readers who share similar interests, and they are purely meant for interacting, networking and connecting with other readers. The best way to interact with these readers is to be one. Join several of the Goodreads groups and participate. Get your name out there as someone who reads the books and as someone who writes good reviews. As readers view your posts, some will be curious enough to check out your profile and discover you are an author.

Note that on Goodreads groups, direct marketing is not only looked down upon, it is often forbidden. In other words, don’t join a group to just post about how great your book is and why people should want to buy it.

Others

When I first started publishing, I joined the Independent Author’s Network. This is a group of self-published authors that support and promote each other online. Members are asked to tweet and retweet about other member’s book releases, blog postings and book tours. There are different levels of memberships, some of which require a one-time setup fee.

For a list of some other groups, check out this website.

Forums

Related imageForums are very much like groups, but typically have you post on an online discussion board about the listed topic. The forum may or may not have a moderator. Depending on the forum, you can connect with not just authors but also readers.

If you publish on Amazon, you might consider checking out the KDP Community where you can find help on formatting, publishing, payments, marketing and more.

You may also want to check out this writing forum website or search for forums based on your genre.

Groups and forums can help you find find invaluable information if you find the right group/forum. But remember that while connecting with other authors – and readers – can be beneficial, I don’t recommend joining every group out there as keeping up with them can severely cut into your writing time.

Previous topics

#1 – Deciding to write a novel – Writing Myths

#2 – Three areas to develop before starting to write a novel

#3 – Finding a Story Idea and How to Know if it “good enough”

#4 – Developing Characters for your Novel

#5 – Major characters? Minor Characters? Where does everyone fit in?

#6 – Developing the Setting for your Novel

#7 – The importance of developing conflict in your novel plot

#8 – To Outline or not to outline 

#9 – The importance of a story arc

#10 – The importance of tension and pace

#11 – Prologue and opening scenes

#12 – Beginning and ending scenes in a novel

#13 – The importance of dialogue…and a few tips on how to write it

#14 – Using Internal Dialogue in your novel

#15 – More dialogue tips and help with dialogue tags

#16 – Knowing and incorporating back story into your novel

#17 – Hinting at what is to come with foreshadowing

#18 – Tips for writing different scenes in your novel

#19 – Dealing with Writer’s Block

#20 – Killing a Character in your Novel

#21 – Keeping things realistic in your novel

#22 – Establishing Writing Goals and Developing Good Writing Habits

#23 – Using the five senses and passive voice in your novel

#24 – The benefit of research in fiction writing

#25 – Novella or Novel, Trilogy or Series – decisions for writers

#26 – Avoiding Plot and Character Clichés

#27 – Novel Writing – Endings and Epilogues

#28 – Fantasy Novel Writing – World Building, Dragons, Magic and More

#29 – Finishing your First Draft

#30 – Your Second Draft and Beyond

#31 – Picking Stronger Words and Watching out for Homonyms

#32 – Omitting unnecessary words in your novel

#33 – Beta Reader, Proofreaders and Copy Editors

#34 – Knowing your grammar or at least using a grammar checking program

#35 – Using a Revision Outline during your Novel Editing

#36 – Editing Techniques: Taking a Break and Reading Aloud

#37 – Publishing Options for your book

#38 – Self-publishing an ebook decisions

#39 – Picking Your Book Title and Your Pen Name

#40 – Investing in an eye-catching book cover

#41 – Writing an awesome book blurb

#42 – Deciding on Front Matter for your novel

#43 – Deciding on Back Matter for your novel

#44 – Formatting your eBook for publication

#45 – Pricing your e-book

#46 – Selecting Categories and Keywords to improve your Novel’s visibility

#47 – Book Promotions: Cover Reveal and Pre-Orders

#48 – Publishing your novel with Amazon and KDP Select

#49 – Publishing your e-book with Smashwords or Draft2Digital

#50 – Marketing your E-book

#51 – Finding your Book’s Target Market

#52 – The importance of Book Reviews and how to get them

#53 – Is it worth it to offer your book for free?

#54 – My results from offering my novels for free

#55 – Amzon’s Kindle Countdown Deals explained and my results

#56 – Selling your book through book ads

#57 – Using a Book Trailer to promote your novel

#58 – Offering your novels or short stories as a box set

#59 – Deciding whether to offer your book as an audio book

#60 – Taking your book on a virtual book tour

#61 – Writing your Author Bio and selecting an Author Photo

#62 – Setting up your Amazon Author Page and International Amazon pages

#63 – Choosing between an Author Website or Blog

#64 – Holidays work for settings and book promotions

#65 – Choices for Authors: Marketing vs. Writing