Practical Writing Tips

I don’t like to share promos or ads. But this advice from Writers Life is pretty good. It matches a lot of what I’ve been telling my writers at the Agile Writer Workshop. While I don’t necessarily endorse the Writers Life products, I do like their advice. Caveat emptor…

Practical Writing Tips You Can Actually Use
1. Say something; Think about what your message is
2. Use short sentences & simple language
3. Be specific & use details
4. Use an active voice
5. Break up your text
6. Don’t overwrite
7. Become a brutal editor

Get more tips and tricks in our ‘Get It Done’ toolkit: http://www.writerslife.org/writing-tips-toolkit

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Bookstore Sales Rose $741M

Bookstore sales rose from $741 million last May to $745 million in May 2018, according to preliminary estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau. The $4 million rise in sales amounted to a 0.5% increase year over year.

The small May gain is in keeping with the sluggish start bookstore sales have had in 2018. Through the January to May 2018 period, sales were down 2.1% compared to the same time frame last year, falling from $4.09 billion to $4.01 billion.

Read more at Pubishers Weekly

Indie Audiobooks on the Rise

Looking to offer indie authors access to a booming audiobook market, Smashwords, the self-publishing platform and e-book distributor, is teaming with Findaway Voices, an online production platform and distributor of audiobook content, to create a turnkey solution.

In a blogpost, Smashwords CEO Mark Coker said the new partnership would give authors and publishers “greater control over pricing and distribution.” The deal, he said, will make it, “more economically feasible for authors and publishers to invest in audiobook production for shorter books, or books that might carry lower prices.”

Read more at Publisher’s Weekly

Life in 10 Introduces Hybrid Publishing Service in RVA

Our friend Valley Haggard over at Life in 10 Minutes has just launched a hybrid press. The concept behind a hybrid press is different from an independent or even traditional press. With hybrid, the publisher acts as an assistant to the writer. For a fee, they will perform all the activities that transform your manuscript into a publishable book – but the author retains the rights and royalties. Typical cost for an 80,000 word book is $3,900.

From their website…

“Sales via third party vendors such as bookstores are processed and fulfilled through IngramSprark’s print-on-demand (POD) services. Typically, a book sold through a bookstore or other vendor will net 50% of its sales price (or $7.50 for a $15 book). Average manufacturing costs range from $3 to $5 depending on book size, as well as several other factors. Net profits (net sales price – manufacturing costs) are divided 60% to the author and 40% to Life in 10 Minutes Press. Life in 10 Minutes pays earnings to our authors quarterly. Your project manager will deliver a payment schedule to you during the production process.”

Hybrid publishing is a growing movement in the self-publishing world. It offers the advantages of self-publishing for those without the skill, resources, or time to do the work themselves. And it relieves a lot of the drudgery that is often associated with the business side of self-publishing.

However, just as in traditional or independent publishing, the author is still very much on their own for marketing. Hybrid presses (and L10 Press in particular) will send out notices to their marketing channels. However, it is still up to the author to create a platform for getting the word out and marketing their books.

Also, hybrid publishers, like Haggard’s, are differentiated from “vanity presses.” The vanity press preys upon unsuspecting authors by charging exorbitant fees, keeping author’s rights, delivering paltry royalties, charging high prices for copies of their books, and doing little to no marketing.

I’m very excited by the introduction of L10 Press to Richmond. Haggard has assembled a talented team of professionals to bring local authors to the market. Check them out at Life in 10 Minutes Press.

Evoking Emotion in Fiction: 7 Pragmatic Ways to Make Readers Give a Damn

In Writer’s Digest, author Dustin Grimmel gives these 7 ways to engage readers. Do you agree?

  • Evoking Emotion #1: Positive moral judgments about the protagonist
  • Evoking Emotion #2: A protagonist who wants something really badly
  • Evoking Emotion #3: A protagonist who pursues their desires
  • Evoking Emotion #4: A protagonist who never gives up
  • Evoking Emotion #5: Characters who do the right thing
  • Evoking Emotion #6: The benefits of sorrow
  • Evoking Emotion #7: Characters helped by unseen hands

Read more at Writers Digest.

Hollywood comes calling for self-published authors

Film and TV production companies are increasingly turning to self-published authors to pick up potential screen blockbusters.

The latest indie writer to get a call from Hollywood is best-selling thriller author Mark Dawson.

Advanced negotiations are taking place with a leading TV production company that wants to snap up his Beatrix Rose series, according to a report in The Guardian.

Mark Dawson is a prolific author of thrillers who has written four series of novels. The John Milton books feature a hitman while the Beatrix Rose series also has the leading character of an assassin. The Soho Noir novels are set in London from 1940 to 1970 and there’s also the Isabella Rose thriller series (she’s the daughter of Beatrix Rose).

 

 

Read More at Roger Packer’s Blog.

B&N CEO Fired – no explanation

In a brief statement released late Tuesday afternoon, the retailer said CEO Demos Parneros was terminated for “violations of the Company’s policies.” While not saying what policies Parneros violated, B&N said his termination “is not due to any disagreement with the Company regarding its financial reporting, policies, or practices or any potential fraud relating thereto.” In addition to being fired immediately, Parneros will not receive any severance, B&N said. B&N said Parneros’s removal was undertaken by its board of directors, who were advised by the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP.

 Read More at Publishers Weekly