Tag Archives: authors

If you really like a book …

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(I copied this from Facebook and could not find online if there was a copyright associated with it.)

On Writing, Part 1 – getting started

This is the first blog post in a 3-part series in which I have compiled links to articles and blogs that I hope will be helpful for the beginning Writer – and may even be of interest to you seasoned Authors out there, too.

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Why we feel compelled to write …
From Advice to Writers: Five Common Traits of Good Writers by James J. Kilpatrick
From Interesting Literature: 10 Great Quotations from Writers About Writing
From wordserve water cooler: Want to Write a Book? The Next Patch of Light by Gillian Marchenko
From Carving Out a Space: Great Wall of Husks: Utopia in the Making by Candice Mizell
From Writer unBoxed: Why We Write by John Vorhaus
From chazzwrites.com: Proving Dead Moms Wrong: Writing a book is among the least cynical things you can do by Robert Chazz Chute
From MorgEn Bailey’s Writing Blog: Guest post: The Seven Things You Need to Become a Writer by Melodie Campbell

Why we struggle with writing …
From men with pens: The Real Reason Why You Can’t Write by Esther Litchfield-Fink
From chazzwrites.com: Top Ten: Some things no one tells you about writing (#4 is my favourit.)
From Writer unBoxed: How to Uncage Your Inner Writer? Ask Your Inner Pulitzer-Prize-Winner by Julianna Baggott
From Nathan Bransford: Writing and Depression

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What we must do when we have a story that needs to be told …
From MorgEn Bailey Writing Blog: Francine Silverman interviews writer Patricia Fry
Very important advice from this interview: I always recommend that hopeful authors study the publishing industry before getting involved in this highly competitive business.
From Andrew Wille: Tell Me a Story
From Writers Write: Dear Writer – A Story of a Story

How we get started …
From Green-Fingered Writer: 7 great books about writing
I’m adding the following to this list: Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott and Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose
From Writer unBoxed: The Lessons I Should Have Learned from Stephen King’s On Writing …
by Jeannie Ruesch
From Anne R. Allen’s Blog: Six Pieces of Bad Advice New Writers Need to Ignore and Six More Pieces of Bad Advice for Writers to Ignore
From The Elephant in the Writing Room: Writing rules I no longer follow

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And, after all that, if you still want to write, be sure to read my next blog posts in this series: On Writing, Part 2 – following through and On Writing, Part 3 – getting help …

Between Authors and their Readers

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A timely quote from MY favourite (living) author-to-read, Richard Ford, that alludes to the reason authors write – to be read … by Readers. It’s a symbiotic relationship: Authors need Readers, and Readers need something to read. Quite frankly, these are the two most important people in the entire writing/publishing business. One could say THE MOST IMPORTANT. Authors and Readers can do without all the middle-men-and-women (publishers, sales reps, booksellers, distributors – although maybe not Editors, who are the Author’s *ultimate and best* reader, after all) but Authors and Readers cannot exist without each other.

This fact came to mind recently after I received several emails from Readers (some known to me personally and others complete strangers) who had enjoyed one or the other of my two published works. All of these readers commented on how my writing had “touched” them in some way or another, so that they felt a true connection with me while reading. That, my friends, is why we write – to make a connection with the Reader; to move them in some way so they react to what we’ve written. The bonus was that these Readers actually reached back to me, the Author, and told me how my writing had effected them. Not all Readers take the time to tell an Author about their reading experience. I know I don’t do it often enough with the books that have really grabbed me, although I do try to recommend those books to other Readers and spread the word that way. It is so important to our fragile Author-egos to actually receive some praise now and again, and I’ve been fortunate to have heard from many of my Readers over the past couple of years. Even constructive criticism is welcome, because it means that the Reader has given some thought to what they read and want to help the Author improve their writing.

So here is a selection of articles and blog posts I’ve been collecting that look at this very interesting relationship between Authors and their Readers, what each person contributes to the relationship, and how they can make that relationship – and the writing/reading experience a great one for both.

First, though, I will begin with a book recommendation that works for both Authors and Readers: Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want To Write Them by Francine Prose

What Authors need to keep in mind about their Readers …
From Writers Write: The Five Senses – How readers remember stories
From chazzwrites: When Readers Wander Away
From Jane Friedman: 4 Ways to Find Readers Who Love Your Work
by Sean Platt & Johnny B. Truant
From wordserve water cooler: Twelve Qualities of a Big Story by Rachel Phifer
From Anthony Bidulka: Book Reviews: Which Ones do Readers Pay Attention to?
From Rachelle Gardner: Focus on Writing a Great Book
From Writers Write: Setting the Scene – Four Ways to Put the Reader in the Picture

What Readers need to know about Authors …
From Writers Write: How to write a great book review
From Ploughshares Literary Magazine: 14 Ways to Tick off a Writer by Rebecca Makkai
From The Masquerade Crew: 11 things you should never do to an author
From The New York Review of Books: Writing to Win by Tim Parks

On how Readers find books to Read …
From Bookavore: The main factor contributing to the problem of book discovery is the sheer volume of books out there
From HuffPost Books: These Amazing Classic Books Are So Short You Have No Excuse Not To Read Them
From HuffPost Books: The Meaning of Libraries by Michael Benson
From BOOKRIOT:The Decline and Fall of the Book Reviewing Empire by Peter Damien
From The Atlantic: This Woman Read One Book From Every Country in the World: Here Are Her Favorites by Uri Friedman

Why we should all read …
From HuffPost Books: Why Everyone Should Read More Science Fiction by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
From Scientific American: Novel Finding: Reading Literary Fiction Improves Empathy

Further reading on Readers and Reading: Oh, Readers … where art thou?

If you are an Author, what would you like Readers to know? If you are a Reader, what would you like Authors to know? Please write your comments below.

Reading Recommendations – 7 Authors Listed!

And many more to come!

If you haven’t yet checked out the site since I first announced its inception, you may want to mosey on over to Reading Recommendations and find out about some terrific authors and their books. There are now seven authors listed and many more queued up for posting on the site in the coming weeks. You may read now about Armand Rosamilia, Tim Baker, J. Michael Fay, Mike Martin, Inge Bremer-Trueman, Brian Brennan and Lisa Bowes. There’s already something here for everyone: Horror, mysteries, coming-of-age fiction suitable for teens and adults, short stories, a picture book for children, and an autobiography. There are print books and eBooks listed by American as well as Canadian authors, and each author has provided us with links where their books may be purchased. You’ll also read about the authors’ own reading recommendations!

Coming up – watch for more fiction for adults, a just-published eBook (the first from a brand new ePublisher!), a restaurant review guide for Calgary and area, and erotica as well, all written by Canadian and UK authors. As I said earlier, there will be something here for everyone! So please, subscribe to the Reading Recommendations site and receive notice every time I post a new listing. You never know what new author you will stumble across on there …

And, Authors, please remember that you too may be listed on this new promotion site. Just read the About Page for information on how to submit your name for consideration.

I ♥ My Editor!

My editor, Rachel Small of Faultless Finish Editing, is the best! She’s dedicated to her vocation, is accurate, listens to her clients, and not only provides a quality edit that rids manuscripts of error, but also offers brilliant suggestions on how the text and story can be improved further for the benefit of the reader. And I love her for that, because she’s taking my writing – and me as a writer – to a new level. Rachel helps me see through all my beloved words and precious darlings with clear eyes that show me exactly where my writing is weak, where I need to beef up the story, where I must indeed hack off limbs in order to save the body of the manuscript, and where I excel and actually do something right – without false praise or flattery. If it sucks, she tells me so! Tough love for this writer’s ego, but definitely necessary treatment, and I’ve learned how to accept – nay, embrace! – her critiquing, corrections, and all attempts TO HELP ME MAKE MY WRITING THE BEST IT CAN BE!!!

Ultimately, that’s what all “good” editors do – they improve your book. AND EVERY WRITER NEEDS AN EDITOR!!! Editors don’t make changes; they suggest where changes might be made. They always (or should) ask “OK?” in their notes when pointing out faults they discover and how those faults might be remedied. They don’t change writers’ precious words without first allowing writers to make the final decision. If a writer decides not to take an editor’s advice and not make those suggested changes, it’s their call, but they should realize that what the editor suggests be changed is all in an attempt TO MAKE THAT MANUSCRIPT THE BEST IT CAN BE!!!

I attended a writing conference in Edmonton with Rachel. We rented a table together in order to promote our services. One writer approached and asked what business Rachel was in. She said, “I’m an editor.” The man immediately crossed his fingers in front of his chest, as though warding off evil spirits, and said, “You’re the enemy then. I’m a writer. Editors change my words.” You should be so lucky to have your words changed, Bub! was what I wanted to say to this writer. Rachel and I just laughed (a rolling-eye kind of laugh) and tried to explain that a good editor will help him become a better writer. I’m not sure he could ever be convinced, however.

When consulting new writers, I often suggest they take an introductory course in editing – not to learn how to edit their own work (which is impossible, because as I mentioned above, EVERY WRITER NEEDS AN EDITOR!!!), but to understand exactly what an editor does, how they do it, and how AN EDITOR CAN HELP THEM BECOME A BETTER WRITER!!! I believe that working with a good editor is better than workshopping a manuscript or asking peers to critique it, but that’s just my personal preference. The editor offers a second set of eyes. Their mandate, with any text, is to make it clear, cohesive and consistent. Please note that not one of those 3 Cs is change. For their part, writers need to get over sharing their work with someone who is only there to help and not harm. In some cases though a bit of harm can help… Not every writer is as brilliant as they, or their mothers, think they are, and they must get over that illusion.

The other misconception writers have is that they shouldn’t have to PAY TOO MUCH OR AT ALL for an editor’s services. I figure it this way – you get what you pay for. A good editor is worth their weight in gold, because they will do everything they can TO MAKE YOUR MANUSCRIPT BETTER THAN IT IS!!! Yes, a publisher’s editor will likely have at it again once you’ve signed a contract to publish the book. The key here though is to make the manuscript the best it can be so that you are offered that contract to publish in the first place. And for all those who figure they’ll just self-publish, thereby skipping the “unnecessary” expense of having your manuscript professionally edited (and maintaining total control over your book)… WRONG THINKING!!! EVERY WRITER NEEDS AN EDITOR! WITHOUT EXCEPTION!

Besides, we owe it to our readers. You know, those people we’re writing for in the first place? Those who will buy the finished book and trust that you’ve written something THAT IS THE VERY BEST IT CAN BE!!! Some of your friends may forgive many problems about your book just because they’re your friends (or your mother), but readers deserve a book that is free of error, consistent in character, timeline, with accurate details, and a story that flows. Just consider yourself to be a reader for a moment. Isn’t that what you expect when you read a book? The message an edited book sends to any reader is that YOU are a professional, not just some hack-writer. AND IT’S THE EDITOR WHO HAS HELPED YOU GET TO THAT POSITION OF BEING VIEWED AS A PROFESSIONAL!!!

So find an editor you can work with (compatibility is very important as not all editors are created equal). Ask for recommendations (if in Canada, contact the Editors’ Association of Canada for referrals, similar organizations in other countries) to editors living in your area – although it is possible to work with an editor via email and never meet them at all. Or ask your writing association for advice. (You do belong to a writing association, don’t you? Best support system for any writer!) When you do find an editor, and the two of you click, hang onto that editor for the dear life of your writing. You will never have a better association with anyone else in this business – publisher, mentor, critique group, mother – NO ONE will ever help your writing more than a good editor. Believe me! But go find your own editor – Rachel is MINE!!!

(Seriously, though, I highly recommend Rachel as well as a number of other editors I have met and come to know over the years. Contact me if you’re looking for a referral.)