Friday, September 30, 2011

10 Reasons It's Great To Be A Writer

Elspeth Antonelli wrote this list earlier this week. It resonated with me (especially the accidental neologisms in step 3). How many of these resonate with you?






10. There is no dress code.

9. You're not eavesdropping; you're working.

8. Your rather eccentric computer history of websites can be explained as research.

BONUS: Actually, anything can be explained as research - it just takes a bit of thought.

7. Your active imagination now has something to focus on.

6. Although you say you don't base your characters on anyone you know, you could. Revenge is sweet.

5. People expect odd behaviour from creative types. This is an advantage.

4. You know talking to yourself serves a purpose.

3. You can tell yourself your typo isn't a typo, it's a new word. Language evolves.

2. If you write romantic scenes you can blush and tell people you couldn't possibly confirm whether they're autobiographical.

1. You can make your own rules and then break them.

hat-tip, Mystery author Elspeth Antonelli
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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Authors Against DRM, by guest Tommie Lyn

Most of us don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the nuts and bolts of how things work, we just want them to do what we expect, when we expect it. The only time we pay attention to our appliances, for instance, is when they don’t perform properly.

And you have faith that the manufacturer of your refrigerator, say, has designed and built it to meet your needs…i.e., to keep your food cold and produce ice when you want a glass of iced tea.

But what if the manufacturer has built in a feature that you’ve not been informed about...a feature that will cause it to reject certain food items—send them flying out through a chute in the door--merely because they had previously been stored in a different brand of refrigerator. Would that get your attention?

Or, to change the analogy slightly to make it more applicable, what if each food item had to be stored in a particular brand of refrigerator and refused to be cooled by a unit made by any other manufacturer?

Crazy, huh? But that’s a little bit like the situation we find with ebooks that have DRM.

DRM (Digital Rights Management) has the ostensible purpose of protecting music, movies, ebooks and other digital products from being pirated. Sounds like a worthy cause, on the surface. Until you realize that DRM does not stop professional pirates; it only presents a tiny speed bump on the road to theft.

However, it can create needless difficulty for honest people who buy digital products, like ebooks.

For instance, let’s say you own an older Kindle, and you have an extensive library of favorite books accumulated on it. Then, your family gives you a brand new Nook for Christmas. No problem, just convert your ebook files from .mobi to .epub and move them to your new device, right? Not necessarily. If any of your ebooks are DRM protected, they are on that older ereader to stay. You can’t take ‘em with you.

This is why, as an author and a reader, I object to DRM on ebooks. It’s an unnecessary inconvenience to legitimate purchasers. (Two of my books available on Kindle currently have DRM protection, because I didn’t know the implications at the time I uploaded them and allowed the default to be applied. I have plans to unpublish those two books and republish them DRM-free, like my others.)

~Tommie Lyn

If you’d like to read more about DRM, here’s a link:



And if you’d like to join some of those who are objecting to the use of DRM, here’s a link:


This image, created by Nina Paley, is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license, http://readersbillofrights.info.
Tommie Lyn is a prolific writer of thriller/suspense novels. Visit her site, Tommie Lyn Writes, for a list of her fascinating books.

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Monday, September 26, 2011

Resources For Writing SF/F

For this Resource Roundup I thought I'd share some writing resources I use as a genre-lover and fiction writer. Each book is dog-eared and filled with highlighter, unlined sections, business cards, and Post-It notes to indicate where the good stuff is.

Three of the four books deal primarily will novel writing, and the fourth is my favorite go-to book for writing short genre fiction. While the books are primarily focused on writing science fiction and fantasy, much of this material can be used for any kind of fiction writing.

All of this is the good stuff!  ;)

How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy by Orson Scott Card
This is a slim volume worth its weight in genre-loving gold. Card focuses specifically on writing Science Fiction and Fantasy, however, there's something here for anybody writing fiction. This book won the non-fiction Hugo award in 1991 and is one of two I recommend for writers who want to know how to write SF/F. In this book, Orson Scott Card defines what science fiction and fantasy is (and isn't), tells you how to build, populate, and dramatize a credible, inviting world readers will want to explore, and spends a good deal of time telling you what the MICE quotient is (milieu, idea, character and event) and how to use it. He also tells you how to structure a successful story and where the markets are and how to reach them to become published. I'm on my third copy of the book because the first two I lent out never returned. This is also the book where Card makes his argument on why authors should think twice before writing a prologue for an Event story. Highly recommended.

Worlds of Wonder: How To Write Science Fiction & Fantasy by David Gerrold
Perhaps best known as the author of the Star Trek episode, The Trouble With Tribbles (winner of the Hugo award), David Gerrold is a pro's pro. This book is chock full of information about the art and craft of writing SF/F. And this is the book where I first discovered the 'million words of dreck' meme. He figures that a million words is roughly equivalent to ten novels and writes “Your first million words are for practice.  They don’t count.  Remember that.” 

Dynamic Characters by Nancy Kress
How to Create Personalities That Keep Readers Captivated
In this guide, award-winning author Nancy Kress explores the crucial relationship between characterization and plot, illustrating how vibrant, well-constructed characters act as the driving force behind an exceptional story. In teaching writers the fundamentals of creating characters that will keep their readers spellbound, Kress utilizes: Dozens of excerpts from well-known fiction; Enlightening exercises to help writers build strong characters starting from the outside-in; Beginning chapters that focus on the physical elements that comprise a character, providing techniques for using external qualities to reflect personality; Building skill upon skill, writers blend these qualities with emotional and mental characterization, forming multi-dimensional characters that initiate exciting action, react to tense situations, and power the plot from beginning to end.

My favorite chapter is this book is her excellent treatment of secondary characters and plot construction. Nancy has a knowledgeable, breezy style and yet packs insight after insight into her work.

Creating Short Fiction: The Classic Guide to Writing Short Fiction by Damon Knight
The Classic Guide to Writing Short Fiction
Distilled from decades of teaching and practice, this book offers clear and direct advice on structure, pacing, dialogue, getting ideas, working with the unconscious, and more. Newly revised and expanded for this Third Edition, Creating Short Fiction is a popular and widely trusted guide to writing short stories of originality, durability, and quality. Celebrated short-story author and writing instructor Knight also includes many examples and exercises that have been effective in classrooms and workshops everywhere.
This is my favorite book on writing short fiction. Knight was known for his short stories, novels, and editing prowess. With Kate Wilhelm, he founded the Clarion Science Fiction & Fantasy Writer's Workshop. He founded the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) and the Grand Master Award for lifetime achievement was later named after him. Next to Card's book on writing SF/F, this book has been marked up more than any other. Knight was the first to identify something astounding about using one's unconscious mind (he called it 'the silent mind, or simply, Fred') to troubleshoot one's writing. This is an astoundingly helpful book. I consult it regularly.
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Friday, September 23, 2011

Fabulously Fun Friday: Cats and Their Writers

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Killing me softly?


Recently I've seen something come up on a couple of Christian websites that probably needs to be addressed, because sooner or later some us may find ourselves caught squarely in the crosshairs ... so to speak. Namely, violence in Christian fiction. Not surprisingly the subject quickly found "some agin 'em and some for 'em," as we used to say down South.

In the first group are the … well, call them the "traditionalists", for lack of a better term. Without painting these folks with too broad a brush, they're mainly women, mostly older, and they prefer romance fiction, with a likeminded readership. Violence is anathema to this group, as it should be. These ladies prefer writing--and reading--books with a female lead who is either going through a life crisis or having survived the same, the resolution of which causes them to meet Mister Right. I understand sometimes bonnets are involved. Or something. If that sounds like I don't understand chick lit, you're probably right. But God bless those that do, and God really bless the houses that seem to produce them in freight car lots.

On the other side are the Others (sounds like a Lost episode). For good or ill, I find myself in this group. We're the ones trying to push our books a bit further out. Oddly, this bunch seems (the operative word being "seems") to be growing more rapidly than the first. Is it because our stuff is better-written? Doubtful; over the years I've read some CBA novels going for "edgy" that were simply poorly-penned dreck with Jesus tacked on. Story is still king, folks.

On reflection, I think this group is trying to fill a perceived need: to wit, a dearth of hard-edged fiction that delivers a solid story without "crossing the line" … wherever that is. Sometimes the experiment works, and sometimes it doesn't. When it works, it seems to work splendidly. And when it doesn't ... well.

Which brings us to violence. What's been going hot and heavy on those other boards is the discussion of "how much is too much." In other words, if a story features a showdown between the hero and the villain, what is its logical conclusion? Does the villain suddenly drop his gun, repent his ill deeds, and vow to Walk the Straight and Narrow Evermore? Or does the said bad guy go for his gun (a fraction of a second too slow) and get drilled through the pump for his trouble? Anyone who's ever seen a John Wayne movie can answer that. I'll confess my own stuff tends to the latter resolution. Why? Because as I said upstream, the story demands it. In my world, simply put, some villains are no darn good, and will never be (Adolph Hitler, anyone?).

I'll admit the whole thing is as sticky as new paint, and I'll also be the first to admit that in my own case having a Christian hero who not only packs a gun, but is willing to use it to defend the weak and the powerless, is less than an ideal situation. But we live in a less than ideal world, and sometimes all that's left is to kill a rabid dog rather than trying to reason with it.

At any rate, it's an ongoing conundrum, a debate which has now gotten so heated even the secular press is staring take note. Where will it end? God knows. He really does, though, and about the best we as writers can do is write the most honest story we can.

So with that said, where do you find yourselves on the writing spectrum? Is there a middle ground? Are there some subjects you won't tackle, for whatever reason? Where is your "dividing line?"
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Monday, September 19, 2011

Persistence Pays Off ~ Guest Post by Sylvia Stewart

Somewhere between 1986 and 1988 I took a college course in Creative Writing. Chimwemwe’s Quest began as a writing-a-short-story assignment.  O.K., it began short and got longer and longer the more I thought about it.  (Can you guess that I’m a seat-of-the-pants writer?)

Many of my critiquing friends complained that my protagonist’s name was too long, unpronounceable and almost unreadable, so, with great reluctance, I changed her name, which meant “joy,” to Chikondi, which means “love.”  Kondi is an abbreviation.  Kondi’s name may have changed, but her plight remained the same.  She longed to know that her father loved her.

Shortly after I finished this college class, we left for another missionary term in Malawi, East Africa.  I taught classes in the Bible College in English, The Gospel of John, and Typing.  I taught Beginning Reading for the illiterate or nearly illiterate wives of students, helped with a sewing class for them and did some work in the small library.   Writing slid into an as-time-permits slot.  I kept a journal when I had time in the evenings, writing by hand or typing on an old hammer-the-keys typewriter, often by the light of kerosene lamps.  (The generator went off at nine p.m.). 

Women of my generation weren’t expected to have a career; they weren’t even expected to work outside their homes, so I didn’t think of planning time to write or developing a career.  It felt like a small miracle when an article would be published in one of our denominational magazines.  But Kondi’s story niggled at the back of my mind and wouldn’t give me any peace.

I would add a page or two from time to time and re-write the story again.  I’m sure there were at least 15 revisions before I submitted Kondi’s Quest to a publisher.

I wanted, so much, to leave a small legacy for the African children who pulled at my heartstrings.  Many of them were ill, deformed, in pain or had nutritional deficiencies.  (It was common to see red-headed children under five whose tummies bulged in the typical symptoms of Kwashiokor, a protein deficiency.)  If I didn’t write a story for them to tell them about God’s love and His concern when they were lonely or in pain, who would?  The message I wanted to share was one of the driving factors that kept me adding, bit by bit, to Kondi’s story.

By then, our children had grown and were leaving the home nest.  One by one, they married – and then a wonderful miracle happened.  We began having grandchildren!  Oh, I longed to hold them and tell them stories and share my heart with them, but we lived half a world away.

After 21 years in Malawi, we uprooted to pioneer a work in Ethiopia.  Our mission organization wanted us to start a Bible College in Addis Ababa.  We were in our 50’s so language learning did not come easily.  Finding and settling in to a new home took time and energy.  We had no car, so we walked to the bus stops and rode the local taxis or mini-buses. 

Slowly, the Bible College developed.  We finally found property to rent, ordered furniture, and I became the Librarian for the college.  Since I’m not trained in library science I had a huge learning curve.  The initial purchase of 150 books grew to almost 4,500 volumes over the next several years. 

I also taught college English to our Ethiopian students, many of whom had never had a grammar course before – not even in their own language, Amharic.  I loved interacting with the students but didn’t like teaching grammar.  However, learning it well made me a much better writer.

Kondi’s story was pushed into the background again.  During breaks between school terms I’d take it out and add a bit.

After serving 21 years in Malawi and 11 years in Ethiopia, we retired and returned to Oregon.  I joined Oregon Christian Writers and began soaking up all I could of writing techniques.
 
Kondi’s story was finally finished and went through another re-write.  I sighed with delight as I signed up for a critiqueing class during the Summer Conference.  When I walked through the classroom door my heart pounded with excitement.  Kondi’s Quest felt ready for print.  I’d done my best.  Soon, I could look for a publisher. 

The group loved the story, and the mentoring editor liked my writing style.  However, I learned to my dismay, that my book was only half as long as it needed to be for the pre-teens I had targeted.  My excitement deflated like a punctured balloon.  However, I determined that almost 19 years of off-and-on writing for this book was not going to be wasted.  Back to the keyboard!

I sent out some more articles while I worked on Kondi’s Quest.  It was fun to continue her story.

Meanwhile, our daughter, Lynnette, had submitted and been accepted to the OakTara stable on recommendation of a friend of mine.  After her book came out, she recommended my book to her editor and I slipped through OakTara’s oaken door on my daughter’s coattails.  I had a contract!

My pre-teen’s novel, Kondi’s Quest, is FINALLY in print.  It has been a 24-year journey – a journey of love and concern for African children.

I took encouragement from Philippians 1:6:  “. . . He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion . . .” God gave me the step-by-step persistence to finish what I started – for His glory.
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Friday, September 16, 2011

Fabulously Fun Friday ~ Lessons in Ransom Note Writing

It appears that even ransom note writers need a class or two, every now and then. This made me chuckle. Happy Friday, everyone.



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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Review of The Art and Craft of Fiction by Victoria Mixon

Most of us read writing how-to books for the cold hard facts. We’re searching for some nugget handed down to us by in-the-know people that will transform us into prodigies or bestseller s—preferably both. (Actually, if I had a nickel for every cold, hard, dry, and deadly tome on the craft I’ve slogged through, I wouldn’t need to be a bestseller.) But longtime editor Victoria Mixon’s book offers much more than cold hard facts—it offers a hilarious, engaging read that would be worth the effort of turning every one of its 368 pages even if it failed to offer a single nugget. Happily, however, it’s teeming with gold.

Mixon’s broad look at the writing life encompasses everything from general advice and encouragement to copyediting, but she also zooms in on the meaty specifics of good storytelling. She opens her segments with fun and enlightening chapters that use examples from the lives and works of great authors such as Hemingway, Capote, and Poe to make hard-hitting points about character building, plotting, selecting POVs, writing descriptions, and crafting dialogue.

Mixon’s ridiculously entertaining voice makes this book is a joy to read. Awash with humorous and practical examples of what and what not to do (based on her own experiences as an author and editor), The Art & Craft of Fiction will make you love being a writer if only because it means you belong to the special little club that gets to read this book.
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Monday, September 12, 2011

Grin and bare it (your soul, that is)


Recently I came across an old list of questions a publicist once asked me, and I thought I’d ask them of you, dear reader. Depending on where you are in your writing journey, some of these may not apply (yet). But if you’re up to answering a few—or all—of them, and putting your replies up in the comments box below, I think it would prove an immeasurable help to everyone who reads them. So be honest, and tell all! *G*

What writers have you studied with, if any?

If you haven't studied writing, what inspired you to write?

Do you think your book will qualify for any awards?

Who do you see as your target market (reader)?

Is this your first book or are you multi-published?

Tell the world about your book. (Not the book blurb, the meat).

Give one line (a tagline) that describes your book.

How would you like to see your books promoted?

Do you have head shots, promotional photos?

Are you actively using social media to meet readers?

Do you have a website?

Do you maintain your website or do you have a webmaster?

Have you done public speaking?

Have you done television interviews, been before a camera before?

Have you done radio interviews?

Do you have a marketing and publicity budget?

What have you done to date to market your book? What do you feel the results were?

Where have you lived?

Children, grandchildren? Names and ages?

Pets? (Yes, I realized they could be listed under children!)

Do you have another profession? If so, what?

Hobbies?

Likes & dislikes?

What professional organizations are you members of—in any field?

Have you won any awards, grants, or any type of honor—in any field?
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Friday, September 9, 2011

Author Submission Bombed


Persistent writer leaves script in briefcase outside office of literary agent who calls bomb squad

This movie really bombed - but not at the box office.

Los Angeles cops clad in protective suits had to blow up a "suspicious" briefcase Thursday outside the office of a Beverly Hills literary agent.

The LAPD bomb squad feared an explosive was inside - but it turned out to be nothing more than a struggling screenwriter's movie script that the agent couldn't have cared less about.

The writer wasn't around to see his dream blown to bits, but cops were questioning him following the fireworks. Police did not release his name.

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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Nerdrage: When Changes Become Blasphemy

The original Star Wars trilogy changed the way I saw genre adventures forever. A combination of saturday matinee adventure, galaxy-spanning escapism, with a healthy does of classic hero mythology, Star Wars spawned a Golden Age of a whole new wave of genre storytelling. The films changed everything.

However, those of us who saw the original films in the theater starting in 1977 remember those stories and those iconic images in a certain way. In 1997, George Lucas sparked controversy when his 20th Anniversary Special Edition verions of the films were released.
After ILM used computer generated effects for Steven Spielberg's Jurassic Park, Lucas concluded that digital technology had caught up to his original vision for Star Wars.[5] For the film's 20th Anniversary in 1997, A New Hope was digitally remastered and re-released to movie theaters, along with The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, under the campaign title The Star Wars Trilogy: Special Edition. The Special Edition versions contained visual shots and scenes that were unachievable in the original release due to financial, technological, and time restraints; one such scene involved a meeting between Han Solo and Jabba the Hutt.[5] The process of creating the new visual effects for A New Hope was featured in the Academy Award-nominated IMAX documentary film, Special Effects: Anything Can Happen, directed by veteran Star Wars sound designer, Ben Burtt. Although most changes were minor or cosmetic in nature, some fans believe that Lucas degraded the movie with the additions.[58] For instance, a particularly controversial change in which a bounty hunter named Greedo shoots first when confronting Han Solo has inspired T-shirts brandishing the phrase "Han Shot First".[59]
He changed even more things for the DVD release in 2004. This last week, news broke that George Lucas isn't done changing Star Wars. We learned that even more things have been changed for the upcoming Blu-Ray releases.
"...several dozen or even hundred tiny tweaks have been made that will actually enhance your Original Trilogy viewing experience. These are mostly audio/video fixes, such as extensive color correction, removing matte lines, fixing problematic audio issues, and that sort of thing. The nitpickers will find these changes most welcome, because it looks like every last glitch has been meticulously and carefully addressed. They’ve even fixed whatever few technical issues the Prequel Trilogy had.


If Lucas had stopped there, I think we’d all be pretty happy. But of course he did not."
While many or even most of the changes are small and welcome, and at least one is large and welcome (switching the puppet Yoda for a new CGI Yoda in Episode I, The Phantom Menace, to be more like the CGI Yoda in Episodes 2 and 3), at least one change is receiving nearly universal outrage.
 "The climactic scene of Return of the Jedi — and in fact, the entire saga, since the whole shebang is Anakin Skywalker’s story — comes when the Emperor is electrocuting Luke Skywalker, while Vader looks on. Inside, he’s feeling horribly conflicted, because he wants to obey his master, but his son is dying. Finally, at the last moment, he grabs Palpatine and throws him to his death, absorbing all of that Force lightning and saving the life of his son. In the Blu-ray version of Jedi, Vader croaks out a moaned “No…” while watching his son suffer, and then belts out a big “NOOOOOOOOO!!!” as he intervenes."



Fans are delighted with the clarity of the new Blu-Ray version, and rightfully so. But they are also furious at the continued twiddling of an iconic series.
"Lucas' constant tinkering has become a turnoff, and even the most loyal Star Wars fans can't take it anymore. After the director confirmed to the New York Times that "Nooooooo!" has been added to one of the most pivotal moments in the entire series—it was the straw that broke the camel's back. There have been rumors of boycotts, petitions and plenty of confirmed web outrage."

I have no issue with fixing technical glitches, however, I have a huge problem when major changes are made to a work well after release. One fan summed this up for me: "What if Picasso saw fit to go back and retouch paintings he had done earlier in his career? They'd be worthless now."

That's not to say that one can't cleverly handle changes to a work after publication. Engineering problems in the first Ringworld novel by Larry Niven led to a fascinating sequence of events.

"In the introduction of the novel, Niven says that he never planned to write more than one Ringworld novel; however, he did so in a large part due to fan support. Firstly, the popularity of Ringworld resulted in a demand for a sequel. Secondly, many fans had identified numerous engineering problems in the Ringworld as described in the novel. A major problem being that the Ringworld, being a rigid structure, was not actually in orbit around the star it encircled and would eventually drift, resulting in the entire structure colliding with its sun and disintegrating. In the novel's introduction, Niven says that MIT students attending the 1971 World Science Fiction Convention chanted, "The Ringworld is unstable! The Ringworld is unstable!" Niven says that one reason he wrote The Ringworld Engineers was to address these engineering problems."
You'll note that Niven didn't retcon this major plot point in the original novel, he worked the problem into a Hugo and Nebula nominated second novel.

In Star Wars (before it became Episode IV), smuggler Han Solo fired before the bounty hunter Greedo. It told us something about his character, it demonstrated that this was a smart, dangerous man, and it made his eventual redemption all the more powerful because we saw what he was capable of. Han Shot First became a rallying cry for people outraged that this critical plot point was changed in later versions of the film.


If you're a genre author, the lesson is simple—the time to make major changes is in the planning stages of a genre work. Once the project is released, the work belongs as much to the fans as to the creator. It does them a disservice to make major changes to works the fans have already embraced.
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Monday, September 5, 2011

5 Ways to Get More Amazon Reviews

Not only is Amazon one of the largest book-selling venues in the world, it’s also the first place many readers stop to get the lowdown about books when deciding what to purchase. The candid reviews of other readers are one of the most important elements in this purchasing experience, and authors everywhere check and double-check their Amazon pages for their next review. Reviews not only give your book credence among readers, they also lift it in Amazon’s algorithms, making it visible to more potential customers.

But sometimes those reviews are slow in coming. What can you do to get more reviews? Here are a few tips.

1. Just ask. Whenever a fan contacts you with rave reviews about your book, don’t be bashful about asking if they’d be willing to take a minute to post the review on Amazon. Link to your book for easy access and explain that reviews are gold to starving author types. Most people are more than happy to help out their new favorite author. Don’t forget to be polite, respectful of their time, and modest.

2. Send the book to volunteer reviewers. Publishing houses routinely send out Advance Reader Copies to influencers who will review the book and help promote it. Authors can take this one step further by offering copies of their own in exchange for honest reviews. Make it clear you’re not asking the reviewer to praise your book if he doesn’t like it, and, should the unthinkable happen and he does indeed end up not liking it, show you’ve got class by accepting the negative review courteously and professionally.

3. Put a note in the back of the book. If you have control over the formatting of your book, stick a note in the back, reminding readers how valuable their reviews are and asking them to take a moment to review the book on Amazon if they enjoyed it. Kindle books automatically provide a “rate me” page at the very end, which will send the reader to the book’s Amazon page. If possible, avoid including traditional back matter (such as the author bio), which readers generally skip, to ensure readers actually reach this important “rate me” page.

4. Remind social media followers. Every so often, send out a bulletin to your Facebook and Twitter fans, reminding those who have read your book how much you would appreciate their reviews. You can also remind your followers of how valuable reviews are by occasionally posting links to recent good reviews. Don’t go overboard with this, since followers won’t appreciate being inundated with these backhanded sales pitches, but a few every now and then are fine.

5. Review other authors’ books. Give and you will receive. In some instances, thankful authors may read and review your book in return, but, even if they don’t, going out of your way to help others in the same way you want to be helped can only benefit everyone involved. That said, “trading” good reviews is a shaky and generally unethical practice. Even should you trade review copies with another author, make it clear you want their honest opinion in exchange for your own.

There is no magic formula for gaining hundreds of Amazon reviews, but these tips should have you on the road toward an ever-growing number of reader opinions.
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Friday, September 2, 2011

Downright punny!

Most writers love puns, the more convoluted the better (a few unfortunate scribes don't enjoy them; we shall not speak of them). So here's an oldie but one of the best:

There once was scientist who’d extended the lifespan of some dolphins. but to keep his experiment private he kept them in his home swimming pool. After many years of trial and error, he'd succeeded to such a point the animals would never die. Unfortunately the secret ingredient for the formula–which the dolphins had to ingest each day to keep them alive–came from the necks of baby seagulls. Worse, because of the freshness issue, the scientist found he had to kill the birds and put the glands in the formula while they were only seconds old. This required him bringing the seagulls onto his property every day while they were still living.

Knowing full well he’d get in trouble with the ASPCA if he was caught, he decided to buy a lion–a tame but very regal beast–from a traveling circus, and use it to scare away snoopers.

Early one morning he stepped onto his porch with a small paper sack clutched tightly in his hand. In it was a freshly-caught bird, struggling valiantly for life. But as he came up on his steps, he found the lion asleep across his doorway. He stepped over it, and immediately was arrested. The charge?

Taking a young gull across a staid lion for immortal porpoises.



Thank you! AuthorCulture crowds are the greatest crowds in the WORLD!! Be sure to tip your waitresses, and good night! *G*
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