Monthly Archives: February 2013


Here’s an article on a writing instructor who was stalked by a student.

Writers of crime fiction, mysteries, thrillers and suspense novels can turn to real-world experiences such as these for insight into their characters. In this case, since the victim is an author, the experience is presented especially well. The psychology of both victim and stalker is important to understand when you’re aim is to create real characters.


Historic Details

Here’s an article discussing the historic facts and fiction of several recent movies.

Even if you’re writing historic fiction, you do have some leeway to change things. Consider whether the changes will enhance the story or the character development. If they will, generally it’s all right to make some adjustments to actual fact.

Something for Everyone

A Norwegian show on firewood has caused controversy.

If you’ve ever wondered whether your particular topic, genre or category has an audience, the answer generally is yes. It might be a small audience but passion, even for firewood, can make for a success. You might have to redefine success, but the controversy over whether the bark should be placed up or down when new logs are added apparently has sparked the most responses!

The lesson: Don’t worry about your audience. Write what you’re passionate about and the audience will follow.

Short Stories

Over the past five years, there has been a resurgence in popularity for short stories. Usually authors have had to work with a book-length collection before getting a publisher’s eye. With digital technology, though, there’s a much bigger market for shorts. Check out this article from the New York Times for more.

Author as Entrepreneur

Here’s an article listing the 10 aspects of every entrepreneur. Every one of these applies to authors.

1. Passion. This is the sole driving force that will keep you moving through tough work days, endless rewrites, rejections, and deals that fall through at the last minute.

2. When you’re writing, you’re thinking about your idea…all the time.

3. You know that any issue in your piece is an opportunity to make it stronger.

4. Every new piece you work on is better than the one that came before.

5. There are no guarantees in publishing but you keep writing anyway.

6. You are social enough to network but know when to sit in the chair and be alone with your writing.

7. You know your strengths…and that means you also know where you are weak…and you get help from others with those weak areas.

8. You know your limits. You can’t write a book in a day. You can’t work on more than a few things at once. You pick the most important and get them done.

9. You are energized by writing. You are energized by talking about writing. You are energized by reading this blog!

10. You get something back from your work. It might be a paycheck. It might be a “thank you” from a reader whose hunger you fed particularly well. Both put something back into you.


For anyone who needs a laugh about all those “good” rejections they’ve been getting, check out this blog post.


If you’ve ever considered funding a project through Kickstarter or similar site, check out this article. It talks about the community involvement and personal connections needed to create a successful campaign.

Writing About Real People

When I read this essay from a memoir author, I recalled how often asked about work that involves real people. Often for memoir and biography authors, the question arises about whether to include events that would cause someone else pain. Even novelists and short story writers can face the same concerns when they mine their lives for material.

The pain can be as simple as a little embarrassment over a minor slip to revealing criminal activities. Remember that I’m not talking about legal aspects of the work; the question here is only about whether to write about things that will cause someone else pain.

Your truth is your truth. If you are driven to write your truth, there’s a reason for it. Honor that reason. Honor your truth.

Yes, that can be the difficult road to take. But writing in and of itself isn’t an easy pathway. The truth is often ugly, even harsh. It still shines because that is the nature of truth.

Clients Say It Best

Here’s a quote from a client. We went through a round of editing on his novel followed by the creation of his query letter and book proposal.

Laine, I’m writing to thank you for all your outstanding work. Five stars!!! As you know, competition is fierce in the writing business. It’s war. I attempted to do what you do. It didn’t work. Thanks again!

The Backlist

Ever wonders what happens to books that are no longer in the forefront of readers’ minds yet don’t go out of print? They’re on the publisher’s backlist. Usually anything more than a year old (and sometimes things less than 12 months old) are backlisted.

Think of it as a backwater where the already scant marketing assistance is even more rare. Yet if you want to get your hands on the rights so you can self-publish it and market it yourself, you’ll often meet opposition.

Here’s an interesting take on a trend to buy up backlists and redistribute them with fresh vigor.

Used E-Books

Amazon announced that it’s poised to start reselling used e-books in this article by Publisher’s Weekly. This is a tricky thing…e-books don’t have a physical presence so it’s difficult to ensure that the copies aren’t pirated.

And of course it’s problematic because it means authors get cut out of yet another revenue stream.

On the up side, of course, every sale means another reader who might become loyal enough to buy your latest the moment it comes out…as a freshly pressed e-book, not a used copy.

What do you think of this trend?

Travel into a Novel

In recent years, several books set in beautiful or popular places have had “book tours” build up around them. Not book tours where authors show up but tours where readers travel to the places mentioned in their favorite novels.

Now a start-up business is working to make that process easier to implement. Click here for the article.


Remember that post about how the closings of B&N could create new opportunities for indie bookstores? I said in a comment that the bookstores should remember to keep focused on creating a gathering space by offering community events that are based around different kinds of books.

Here’s an article from The Atlantic about libraries doing exactly that. They’re even redesigning their interiors to provide more meeting space.

Books bring people together. They always have. The faster indies focus on connecting people in their communities, the faster their sales will grow and the happier authors will be because they’re appreciated in a real, meaningful manner.