Archive for the 'REAL WORLD' Category

The Magic Trick to Landing an Agent at a Conference (Hint: There’s No Magic Involved)

photo from Microsoft Office

You’ve revised your manuscript, sent it out to beta readers, revised again, and now it’s cards on the table time. You’re bringing your book to that fancy conference that’s coming up and shelling out the cash for a session with an agent.  But how do you make the most of your 15 minutes of professional attention?  How do you even choose which agent to meet with? 

There’s no magic password or handshake that will guarantee [...]

It Doesn’t Have to be Either/Or

photo by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes

I was sitting at my desk last Monday, working on my new manuscript (okay, kind-of working, kind-of surfing the internet) when Tweetdeck alerted me to the fact that Random House was offering my second novel, Time of My Life, at a promotional price of $1.99. I was as surprised as I was elated: namely, very. Surprised because I parted ways with Random House (amicably) when my imprint was shuttered (R.I.P. Shaye Areheart Books – I still love [...]

One Way to Connect DIRECTLY To Your Fans? *Yawn* Email. Boring Old Email.

Image by Kevin Fitz

There are so many entities that seem to put themselves between you and the folks who read your books: retailers, Amazon (they seem to be a special category all their own), publishers, agents, publicists, media, social networks (Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, etc), communities (Goodreads, Wattpad, etc), just to name some of the most obvious.

In other words, there is:

You, the author –> some other entity –> the reader/audience.

Now, for the most part, these entities add value. [...]

News for the Newbies

Recently a friend asked me to write a short call to action for her high school English class, to help them break out of the arrogant insecurity of youth and into the freewheeling creative writing process that you and I know so well. Below you will find, more or less, what I shared with them. Can I prevail upon you to share it with young writers you know? Because after all, hey, why should we adults have all the fun?

The [...]

Level 1 Experiment: Writer Unboxed Publishing. And the first guinea pig is ….

photo by Corey Holms

Greetings, lovely WU community. Kath here, back from the dead, with Therese. We invite you to gather ’round and let us tell you a story of endings, beginnings, and another WU experiment…

Prologue. The year is 2006. Kath is eagerly clicking open an email from her then-agent. She’s been working with said agent for a couple years now, shopping historical novels with a Gothic twist, but the traditional publishing world, awash in sexy dukes and vampires, with [...]

Bringing a Strong Vision to Your Fiction

QQ Li (Flickr Creative Commons)

Please welcome Laura K. Cowan to Writer Unboxed. Laura writes imaginative stories that explore the connections between the spiritual and natural worlds. Laura’s debut novel The Little Seer was a Top 5 Kindle Bestseller for free titles in Christian Suspense and Occult/Supernatural, and it was hailed by reviewers and readers as “riveting” as well as “moving and lyrical.” Her second novel, a redemptive ghost story titled Music of Sacred Lakes, and her first short story [...]

The Aspiring Writer’s Dictionary

The complexities of the publishing industry can confuse new and aspiring writers. Inspired by Ambrose Bierce’s The Devil’s Dictionary, I present this handy lexicon to
show you all the terms you need to know as you start your literary career.

#amwriting (slang): Twitter hashtag that signals the arrival of a context-free non-sequitur. Designed to make the activity of sitting in front of a computer sound interesting.

Advance (n.): a sum of money offered to a writer prior to publication; invariably smaller than the advance given [...]

Don’t Take Author Obesity Sitting Down

Provocations in Poundage

Yeah, I know. Better I make fun of about 10 religious faiths at once, right?

We’re not supposed to mention the other f-word, it’s not PC at all. (I’ll just spell it so we don’t scare the chubby children: f-a-t.)

Somehow in the States, it’s considered better to “not say anything.” Rather than embarrass someone or “hurt their feelings,” we’re encouraged to allow our friends and loved ones to eat themselves to death. I’m still searching for the kindness in [...]

Twitter Etiquette 101

photo by Ron Mead

It might (or might not) come as a surprise to you that many writers hate Twitter. I confess that I’ve had my own “die, Twitter, die” moments over the years, and it’s usually due to discourtesy. The character limit, the flood of information, the time drain: those I can stomach. But people being rude or obnoxious? Well, I think we’ve all had moments where we wanted to jump ship.

Unfortunately, we can’t make everyone else use Twitter [...]

Drawing from Real Life in Fiction

Unlike many people I know, I’ve never wanted to write the story of my life. And I’ve come to belatedly believe that this lack of autobiographic desire on my part has affected my fiction writing, and not necessarily for the best.

I say “belatedly” because I’ve been writing fiction for close to 15 years, but only a few years ago did I start to readjust what I now see as a rather closed and negative mindset I’d been maintaining.

In the past, [...]

The Labor of Launch

image by Ashley Webb

It’s not uncommon, especially among those of us who are both writers and moms, to compare books and babies. For a while there was even a blog called Book Pregnant. In my experience, having one go-around with each, books and babies are different in a whole lot of ways.

But as I prepare for the arrival of my second baby (likely later this month) and my second book (a decent interval afterward, thank goodness) I’m reminded of [...]

Navigating the Next Frontier in Digital Publishing: Audiobooks

Photo by Jeff Golden

When Audible launched its Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX) back in 2011, my initial reaction was to ignore it. I wish I could tell you that this decision was rooted in sound logic, but if I’m being totally honest, the very idea of producing an audiobook just seemed overwhelming. This was at a time when I’d finally gotten the whole MOBI vs. EPUB thing straight and the thought of learning a new vernacular threatened to make my head [...]