If you squint really hard, you can almost see my books … Oh wait, no, that’s James Patterson.
Which is better, self-publishing or a traditional publishing deal?
If you’re a hands-on, DIY type of person with an entrepreneurial mindset, then you might be better suited to self-publishing. If you’d rather focus on the writing and not deal with the rest of it, you might prefer traditional publishing.
I’ve done both. Here’s the truth: there are benefits and drawbacks to both self-publishing and traditional publishing.
Copywriting for fun and profit. Don’t knock it ’til you try it.
I’m proud to say I’ve built a full-time career around writing, as both a novelist and a copywriter.
That means splitting my time between the two. Usually I spend the morning writing novels, then spend the afternoon writing marketing and advertising copy for business clients.
(“Copy” is just fancy ad agency shorthand for “words that sell stuff.”)
I’m not alone. There have been innumerable examples of copywriters who also successfully wrote fiction. James Patterson, Salman Rushdie, Joseph Heller, and Dorothy Sayers, to name a few.
Think Microsoft Word is a pain to use? Try cranking out 100K on this sucker.
I’m often asked what my writing process looks like.
How do I write a book? It’s pretty simple, actually.
(Not easy. But simple.)
First, I start with the basics:
- Who are the good guys?
- What are they trying to do?
- And, especially, why?
- Who are the bad guys?
- Where does this take place?
Then I boil all of that down into a strong core idea. For example: a bookish crystal shop owner has to save the world from the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse – who drive possessed muscle cars.
The idea has to work at the core level, it has to really grab me, before I start writing it. Otherwise, what’s the point?
Then I figure out how to make the whole book work, beginning to end, in a short synopsis. Maybe one page. That takes time. And even once I have that figured out, I don’t start writing it yet.
Try. Measure. Improve. Then repeat as needed.
Every writer I’ve ever talked to always wants to achieve more.
(Even Hugh Howey.)
We all want to reach more readers, sell more books, write better stories, and so on.
All of us, writers or not, want to do more and do it better. The question is, how?
DING! (That’s my lightbulb-moment sound effect.)
Believe it or not, IT HAPPENED ONE DOOMSDAY started out as a short story.
I was struggling with another novel, so I switched gears and wrote a fun little story about this awkward wannabe sorceress who ends up breaking the evil curse on a bad-boy hero with a muscle car.
It was half scary, half funny, and people seemed to really get a kick out of it. They kept asking me what happens next.
And I had to say, “There is no next. This is it.”
But then something funny happened.
Writer’s block(s). Get it? … Sorry. Couldn’t resist.
Let me tell you the secret to getting rid of writer’s block forever.
I’ll admit, I’ve certainly had days where I feel like I don’t know what to write, or I worry that everything I write is terrible.
Some people call that writer’s block. I call it “Monday.” :-)
But seriously, what most people call “writer’s block” is an insidious combination of those two problems.
Problem #1: Not knowing what to write. Continue reading
I first met Anita when she worked with my literary agent, Kristin Nelson. Anita is a freelance editor who helps writers bring out the very best in their novels. She was kind enough to share her editing insights, including why you should never let a rejection letter get you down, and why joining a critique group can not only improve your writing, but also save you money – and help you get published. Here’s Anita with all the insider info about editors. –L.
Anita, can you tell us what a developmental editor does, exactly?
Anita Mumm, founder of Mumm’s the Word Editing & Critique Services
The easiest way to describe a developmental editor’s work is that it focuses on the big picture: Does the plot work? Are the characters the kind of people readers want to spend an entire book with? Is the dialogue smooth or stilted? Is the voice appropriate to the genre and audience?
Developmental editing means making sure the foundation of the novel is sound, and that all of its parts come together in a meaningful whole.
Categories: For Writers
Tags: Anita Mumm, behind the scenes, editors, getting published, how to get published, how to write a novel, who, writing a novel, writing advice, Writing Coach, Writing Tips
Did you notice the red glowing tire tracks? Words can’t express how much I love this new cover.
So, this year I did something I’ve never done before. I wrote a sequel.
It was weird, because for the first time, I found myself writing a book with pre-established characters, relationships, settings, etc. Dru’s magic universe (or the “Druniverse” as I like to call it) was already firmly laid out in the first book.
If a story fact made things more complicated, it’s not like I could just change it. I had to work it out. For example, Opal doesn’t have magical powers, but now she’s caught in the midst of these epic magical struggles. What does that mean for her as a person? What does that mean for her friends?