Category Archives: Weekly Roundup

On Reading for Writers, and Writing for Readers

I’m still amazed by the number of writers who think they do not need to read books by other authors, or who think that reading other books while writing will somehow ‘influence’ or ‘change’ their own writing voice. WRONG!! I’m also amazed by the number of readers who, not knowing the first thing about what a writer goes through to create that book, write reviews or make comments that prove their ignorance. (I just witnessed this in a long string of comments about a book I had enjoyed. Not one of those negative readers said anything about the quality of the author’s writing style, which in my opinion was high and of more importance than whether or not he had based his *novel* on his own childhood and friends … But I digress.) So I’m posting a Roundup of articles on reading that I’ve been collecting over these past months – articles I hope will appeal to the writers and readers in all of us, so that we also have a better idea of how the other half thinks or approaches a book, whether they are writing or reading it. There are also a few reading lists thrown in at the end, just in case you’re looking for suggestions on what to read next. (By the way, the title of this blog refers to the fantasy course I’d like to teach one day. smt)

On Reading for Writers – and what readers like
From My Own Blog: I ♥ My Editor!
From BOOKRIOT: A Friendly Guide to Tasteful Disdain by Jeanette
From Bridget Whelan: Reader’s Bill of Rights — Quotes for writers (and people who like quotes)
and Stephen King on why readers stop reading — Quotes for writers (and people who like quotes) (Bridget has been featured on Reading Recommendations)
From ICT in Education: Reading in the Mobile Era
From HuffPost: Reader Reviews Vs. Reviewer Reviews: Is There a Difference? by Rachel Thompson


On Writing for Readers – and why writers write the way they do
From disappearing in plain sight: Gatekeeper or Renegade: What kind of Reader Filter do You Prefer? by Francis Guenette (Francis has been featured on Reading Recommendations)
From wordserve water cooler: What Stories Teach Us by Patty Kirk
From HuffPost: The World Needs More Poetry by Bryan Berghoef

Lists of books for your reading pleasure …
From HuffPost: HuffPost Editors Share The Books That Changed Their Lives (video)
and 21 Amazing Last Lines From Literature That Will Make You Want To Read The Whole Book
From BuzzFeed Books: 23 Books You Didn’t Read In High School But Actually Should by Spencer Althouse
From PW: Best Books of 2013 and Best Books of 2014 and PW Top Authors Pick Their Favorite Books of 2015
From The Telegraph: Best novels and fiction books of 2014
From The Guardian: Readers’ books of the year 2015
From Flavorwire: The 25 Best Websites for Literature Lovers by Jason Diamond
From BOOKRIOT: Book Lists for Every Type of Reader: A Roundup of “Bests” by Kelly Jensen and Used Bookstores: A Lifelong Love Affair by Amanda Nelson
From Pacific Standard: You’re Missing Out on Great Literature by Anna Clark
From Real Simple: 50 Books Real Simple Readers Love


On editors and editing

Here’s a roundup of interesting and informative articles I’ve been collecting over the past few months. I’m directing this post at those students I know who are just wrapping up their studies in a writing class, and for anyone who is currently writing for NaNoWriMo – to read and heed after the month-long slog ends on Nov. 30th. I hope all this information helps!

Why you need an editor in the first place
From Poynter: Why good copy editors are “abnormal” humans by Craig Silverman
From Indie Author News Editing – Why Not to Do-It-Yourself by Gerald Rice
From The Guardian: The age of Amazon still needs editors like Max Perkins by Gavin James Bower
From Publishers Weekly: Why All Self-Publishers Need a Good Editor by Betty Kelly Sargent

Self-editing you can do before you work with an editor
From HuffPost Books: Six Easy Tips for Self-Editing Your Fiction by Kristen Lamb
From Entrepreneur: 10 Words to Cut From Your Writing by Shanna Mallon

On finding an editor
From Rinelle Grey: 6 Tips for Choosing the Right Editor for your Book
From Writer’s Digest: 10 Things Your Freelance Editor Might Not Tell You – But Should by Brian Klems
From GalleyCat: GalleyCat’s Freelance Editor Directory
In Canada, you may contact Editors’ Association of Canada for information on hiring a professional editor.

How to work with an editor
From Nail Your Novel: How to deal with critiques and editorial feedback and 7 ways to cut a novel without losing anything important

Different types of editing and how long to expect the process will take
From Catharine, Caffeinated: Proofreading Explained and Copy-editors: What They Really Do by Robert Doran
From The POP Newsletter: Why Does Editing Take So Long?

The ins and outs of being a writer …

As I struggle to get back to my own writing and question why I’m doing something that often feels so much like I’m beating myself over the head, I thought I’d procrastinate just a little bit longer and post a few more links to some very interesting articles and blog posts that address the issue of being a writer …

First off, a flow chart from terribleminds, because I love flow charts (and I know that my designer, Jenny Ryan, loves flow charts, too!)

From wordserve water cooler: Being a Published Author Won’t Make Me Happy (And How I Know That) by Lucille Zimmerman AND The Writing Life: A Super Balancing Act by Rebecca L. Boschee

From Tim Baker at blindoggbooks: Step Right Up – I’ll Make You Rich AND Do We Write for Love or Money?

From C. Hope Clark: One Day I’ll Write This Story

From Michael Hyatt: The 4 Hidden Rewards of Rejection

From Seth Godin: Fearlessness is not the same as the absence of fear

From Writing Forward: How to Write Well Without Losing Your Mind by Melissa Donovan

From HuffPost Books: When Novels Become Assassins by David Biddle

And, as if the angst of writing weren’t enough of a worry, here’s an article for those of you who are considering whether to go the traditional or the self-publishing route …

From The Guardian: Linda Gillard on self-publishing: ‘I market myself, not a genre’

A Writing and Reading Life

It goes without saying … if you are a writer, you are a reader. The best way to learn how to write is to read – and to read A LOT – not just the genre you write, either, but across the board, good books and poorly written books (so that you get to know the difference and learn to avoid poor writing when you write your own work).

So I’ve gathered up some articles and interesting information for those of you who are Writers AND Readers. The Readers among you (and I hope there are some people who follow this blog who are Readers only, because where would we writers be without you?) may skip the first section and jump down to the Reading part of this post.

A Writing Life
From The Writing Corp: Revise Like a Hero
From Canada Writes: Can writing be taught? by David Bergen
From Rachelle Gardner: Are You Afraid to Tell the Truth? AND Developing Resilience AND One Simple Secret for Success as a Writer by Chad R. Allen
From What Is A Writer: Eight Reasons Why You Should Not Slap Your Critics With a Shovel
From Write With Warnimont: The Secret to a Writer’s Happiness
From The New York Times: Writers as Architects by Matteo Pericoli
From We Grow Media: The Experience You Create For Readers Goes Beyond The Book by Dan Blank


A Reading Life
From The Chronicle Review: The Ideal English Major by Mark Edmundson
From BOOKRIOT: The Best Books of 2013: Halftime Report by Sean Bell
From HuffPost Books: The 10 Most Talked About Books of 2013 by Jeff O’Neal
From The Guardian: Top 50 classic crime novels – what would make your list?
From Qwiklit: 15 Essential Irish Novels

Do you have any tips for coping with A Writing Life or lists of favourite books to share in A Reading Life? Please comment below. I’d love to hear from you.

The business of publishing

I’ve said it before, many times, and I will say it again: All writers and authors, whether they are traditionally published or self-published, print or ePublished, need to learn something – as much as they can, actually – about the publishing business. The more they know about the “business” of writing and publishing (because it is definitely a business if you hope to sell what you write) the more effective you will become in producing, publishing, and selling a quality product of which you may be proud. I don’t suggest that you enroll in a publishing program or learn everything there is to know about the business in order to become a publisher yourself, but you should at least know what goes into publishing a book, all the people who are involved, all the steps taken towards publishing and selling a book, and to know where you, as the writer, actually fits into the equation. The more you know the better equipped you will be to find new readers for your work.

The easiest way to gain some knowledge is by keeping abreast of publishing news, so that’s why on this blogsite I offer writers and authors interesting links to whatever I discover online that I think you should know about, too.

I’m devoting this post to links covering the “Business” side of publishing a book – ie. everything except the writing of it. I hope this will help with gaining more of an education. If you have any similar links to share, please post them in the comments below.

First off, check out this great infographic, The Publishing Highway over at YA Highway.

Terms you should know: Literary Terms Defined: The Common and the Uncommon by Chuck Sambuchino from Writer Unboxed

A brief description of Publishing in Toronto: Books Abroad: Book Business and Publishers in Toronto by Shannon Kobran from Publishing Trendsetter

A new publishing company: Figure 1 Publishing’s Second Rights by Kristen Hildeman from BCBusiness

Be prepared to work hard – really hard! – at preparing that manuscript: Critique by Suzanne Lakin (listing here is not an endorsement of blogger`s critiquing service)

What you need to know to successfully submit manuscripts to publishers:
How Writing a Proposal is a Lot Like Teething by Sarah Joy
AND Pitch Your Book Like It’s a Movie (The One Sentence Synopsis) by Kimberly Vargas from wordserve water cooler
AND The #1 Reason for Query Fails – How to Avoid Automatic Rejection from a Reviewer, Agent, Editor or Blogger by Anne R. Allen

How publishers are faring these days: Independent Penguin Goes Out on High Note by Jim Milliot from Publishers Weekly
Harlequin eBook Sales Account for 24.5% of Total Revenue by Michael Kozlowski from GoodEReader

Dealing with your rights: Getting Your Rights Back From the Publisher by Rachelle Gardner from Books & Such Literary Agency

When it comes time to promote and publicize: Anakana Schofield: publicising a novel – the problems from The Guardian
AND What J.K. Rowling and Robert Galbraith Can Teach Us About Author Platform by Joel Friedlander from The Book Designer

Selling copies – or as I like to call this, “Finding New Readers”: The End of Discoverability and the Rise of Merit by James Scott Bell from The Kill Zone
AND Is Seasonal Publishing Dead? by Judith Rosen from Publishers Weekly
AND eBooks Change the Season Concept in Publishing by Molly Pilkington from GoodEReader
What You Can Do When Your Books Aren’t Selling by Daphne from The Self Publishing Toolkit

On the business of bookstores: Borders Bookstore to Launch Once More in Singapore by Michael Kozlowski from GoodEReader

On the business of libraries: My Local Library Has an Espresso Book Machine by Nate Hoffelder from The Digital Reader

And finally, from Kate Hart there’s How to Get Published: A Flowchart


Any questions, additional information, comments? Please post below and let’s start a conversation!

On the creative process … on writing, and reading, creatively

Because to become a good creative writer you must first read a lot of creative books …


On Writing Creatively
From The Art of Non-Conformity: Starting in the Middle
From terribleminds: Writers: You Might Be Doing It Wrong If …
From Quill & Quire: University of King’s College to offer Canada’s first graduate degree in long-form creative non-fiction
From CBC – Canada Writes: 13 places where you can become a better writer AND How to survive being edited
From The Editors’ Weekly: The Inner Editor: The Useful Conversation by Virginia Durksen
From The Atlantic: Why Stephen King Spends ‘Months and Even Years’ Writing Opening Sentences by Joe Fassler
From The Writing Corp: Creative Constriction
From wordserve water cooler: What Is a Beta Reader, and Why Do We Need Them? by Sharon A. Lavy

(Image credit –

On Reading Creatively
From C. Hope Clark: Why Do You Read?
From GoodEReader: As Publishing Evolves, So Are the Readers by Mercy Pilkington
From goodreads: Goodreads Grows to 20 Million Readers
From The Huffington Post Canada: Less Stress, Stronger Communities: Why We Can’t Afford NOT To Read by Julie Wilson AND Spreading the Joy of Reading One Child at a Time by Maureen Dockendorf and Faye Brownlie
From TIME Ideas: Reading Literature Makes Us Smarter and Nicer by Annie Murphy Paul
From BOOKRIOT: 3 Steps to Reading Harder, Faster, Better, Stronger by Peter Damien
From Books & Such Literary Agency: Reading Style – Deep or Wide? by Wendy Lawton
From The Ottawa Citizen: Does reading have a future? A noted Canadian philosopher gazes into the future by Mark Kingwell


On using social media and the promotion of books


Because we authors and publishers can’t get the word out to readers about our books all by ourselves … So thanks for any help you can give us with the promotion!

On Social Media
From Writer Unboxed: Twitter: A Dangerous Sense of Entitlement by Annie Neugebauer
From wordserve water cooler: Build a Social Media Platform: Your Facebook Page by Janalyn Voight AND Build Your Marketing Wings on the Way Down by Kimberly Vargas
From Anne R. Allen’s Blog: Social Media Secrets Book Marketers Don’t Tell You – Part 1: How to Avoid Twitter-Fritter and Facebook-Fail
From BookWorks: Hashtags, Tweets and RTs — Here Are the Twitter Terms You Need to Know by Victoria McNally
From Jeff Bullas: How to Integrate Email and Social Media to Increase Engagement by Jennifer Watts
From Seth Godin: Principles for responsible media moguls

On the Promotion (and Marketing) of Books
From Jeff Bullas: 7 Marketing Trends You Should Not Ignore AND 8 Ways to Win at Marketing by Being Useful by Jay Baer
From Indie Author News: Four Ways to Think Long Term in Indie Publishing by Susan Kaye Quinn
From terribleminds: So, You Just Had Your Book Published
From Nathan Bransford: You Can Never Predict Your Bad Reviews
From Books & Such Literary Agency: The Fifty Shades of Grey Effect by Janet Kobobel Grant AND Basic Safety Techniques for Authors by Rachel Kent
From Outskirts: Virtual Book Tour Secrets to a Creative Mind by David Judd Nutting
From Masquerade Crew: 5 tips to make book reviews more legit
From GoodEReader: Taking Book Discovery to New Lows, New Highs by Mercy Pilkington
From wordserve water cooler: What Does Your Reader Look Like? by jandunlap
From Seth Godin: More people are doing marketing badly … AND But it only works sometimes

And is this the best book promotion ever or what??? My novel was really written by J.K. Rowling. Really. It was … (If I can get you to believe that, this will be the best marketing coup! No, wait. It’s been done already, hasn’t it?)
From Nathan Bransford: What J.K. Rowling’s pseudonymous novel says about commercial success

What about you? Do you have any social media or book marketing and promotion secrets you’d like to share? After all, as the poster at the top says, it’s all about sharing …

On Writing, On Taking Criticism … and Dishing It Out


On Writing, and the Writing Life
From Victoria Bell: 21 Days of Writing 21st Century Fiction: Donald Maass’s full list of prompts
From Writer Unboxed: 6 Ways to Make Sure Your Reader’s Brain Syncs with Your Protagonist’s Brain by Lisa Cron
From We Grow Media: Hidden In Front Of Everyone’s Eyes – Our Own Potential by Dan Blank
From wordserve water cooler: The 15-Minute Writer: Taming the Social Media Monster by denadyer70
From Writers Write: How to start writing by Natalie Goldberg
John Cleese On Creativity (Video)
For all you Coffee Shop Authors out there …
From The National Post: 30 pearls of advice for the aspiring writer working in his neighbourhood café by Dave Bidini

On Taking Criticism
From Writer Unboxed: Two Words Writers Should Avoid by Keith Cronin
From The Village Voice: I Will Not Read Your Fucking Script by Josh Olson
From Rachelle Gardner: Why Didn’t I Say “Yes” to Your Submission?
From Writer Unboxed: Dealing with a Bad Review by C.W. Gortner

And for those who need examples of how not to write a query letter, we have SlushPile HellIf you’ve been writing query letters that are anything remotely like these, STOP RIGHT NOW!!!

On Dishing Out Criticism
From Indie Author News: 10 Tips to Writing Excellent Book Reviews by Lauryn April

The weekly roundup – Part 3: On marketing, promotion, publicity

Just so we’re clear on these terms … Marketing is anything you do to sell your book, whether it’s direct to readers or sales to bookstores, libraries, etc., who then sell or lend the book to readers; Promotion is anything that you pay for to promote your book (printing bookmarks, advance reading copies or comp copies, advertising, paying another party to list your book and promote it for you); Publicity is any kind of notice or attention your book receives that costs you nothing (reviews, free listings on websites, buzz, word-of-mouth, etc.)

On Marketing
From Seth Godin: Magic beans (three steps to a successful marketing promise)
From blindoggbooks: Social Media Marketing for Indie Authors (and Dummies) by Tim Baker
From wordserve water cooler: A Book Marketing Retreat by Lucille Zimmerman
From Digital Book World: How to Sell Ebooks: 5 Proven Tips by Rob Eagar
From The Shatzkin Files: Taking book marketing where the book readers are likely to be
From Bestseller Labs: The Book Marketing Maze: 22 Wrong Turns and How to Avoid Them

On Promotion
From We Grow Media: What I Do All Day, and Why.
From wordserve water cooler: Beyond Boring Bookmarks by Michelle Griep

On Publicity
From Seth Godin: The cycle of media attention
The best way to obtain publicity? Don’t be Shy! Get out there, meet people, and let them know about yourself and your book! Build your tribe! (Just don’t be a pest about it …)
From Seth Godin: The sea of strangers

This is important information for all writers to know and understand – Reasons why readers may abandon reading our books … Does your book suffer from any of the faults cited?
From Book Patrol: DNF: Why we abandon books (an infographic)

Now, THIS is great promotion! Taking books directly to readers …


The weekly roundup – Part 2: On publishing, bookselling, and libraries

Probably one of the most important blog posts any writer can read right now is from Chuck Wendig over at terribleminds. In Hell With What Sells, Chuck hammers home the point I’ve always tried to make with writers – know the business before we tangle with the business. So, read this post first then read through everything that I’ve been posting all along, especially what I’ve posted about the publishing business. You will only help yourself in the long run, whether you publish with a traditional company or do the publishing yourself.

And I’ve published this link before from Publishing Trendsetter for the Life Cycle of a Book, but it’s definitely worth posting again. Great videos! Lots of information here.

On Publishing
From wordserve water cooler: The Joy of Categories and The Myth of the Crossover Book by Greg Johnson
From Writer Unboxed: Sold Your Debut? Congrats! Now, Come Here. by Julianna Baggott
From mental_floss: 5 Famous Books That Were Originally Self-Published by Clay Wirestone
From Seth Godin: Polishing junk – Short, sweet, and to the point!

On Bookselling
From The Independent: As long as reading survives, so will bookshops by Philip Henshler
From The Guardian: Independent bookshops: share your survival strategies
From The Telegraph: Why second-hand bookshops are just my type by Theodore Dalrymple
From HuffPost Books: Barnes & Noble CEO William Lynch Steps Down

On Libraries
From Mobiledia: The Future of Libraries: Short on Books, Long on Tech by Margaret Rock
From Quill & Quire: Guest opinion: why libraries should get into the book-selling business by Shirley Lew and Baharak Yousefi AND Toronto Public Library Adds Kobo to Retail Partners by Sue Carter Flinn

And, really, when it comes down to it, this is all about the READING, isn’t it?