Archive for the 'REAL WORLD' Category

Introducing Myself

Hi. I’m Allison. I’m introducing myself. I’m a writer.

It’s an odd choice for the title of this blog and the intro because, well, I’ve been writing here for a while, and a few of you may know me. Also because this is actually my final post here on Writer Unboxed. But it’s also not so odd because this was the title of my very first post, written seven and a half years ago here on Writer Unboxed. Yes, after a very, [...]

Story Mapmakers (No GPS Required)

My husband can testify I am a horrible road trip wing woman. Put a contemporary map in my hand, and I’ll turn it topsy-turvy before I can decipher anything of travel assistance. The road names, byways, mile markers, and intersections all blend into a flurry of ‘huh?’ God forbid he ask me where the nearest gas station or fast-food joint might be. My traditional response: “Get off the interstate and we’ll look around.” We had a tent revival halleluiah when [...]

Writer Unboxed Un-Conference Closes to Registrants in 4 Days!

If you’ve been waiting to register for the WU Un-Conference — hoping to clear your work schedule or land a great price through your favorite airline — heads up: We’ll be closing our Eventbrite page a few days early, on Halloween. We still have a few coupon codes left, and we’d love to have you join us.

If you can’t make it, and — as one writer recently told me — you’re witch green with envy over it all, never fear. [...]

Update on Steel and Song — and Our WU Publishing Experiment

photo by Corey Holms

As many may recall, in July, after a few years watching independent publishing go from vanity press to a viable path to publication, and after kicking the idea around, we took the plunge and decided to experiment with a project we are calling Writer Unboxed Publishing. We had no idea how the project would evolve – we needed a guinea pig! I offered up my novel Steel and Song: The Aileron Chronicles Book 1, to gauge the [...]

The Attention You Give; The Experience You Create

Photo by Toby Oxborrow

Many people bemoan the self-involved writer on social media, the one who is constantly vying for attention and over-promoting their own work. This puts other writers (you, perhaps?) into a conundrum: you WANT attention for your work, but only in an elegant manner. Self-promotion, with grace.

This week, I read The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande. He tells stories about people managing complex situations, where thousands of small actions mean the difference between life and death [...]

How to Rock a Writers Conference

For those of you attending the Writer Unboxed Un-Con – especially the newbies among us – it may be useful to give some thought to how to get the most out of your upcoming writers conference experience. For those of you not attending UnCon, it may be useful to store these tips in a cool, dry place, against the day when you next wander down the conference trail. And for those of you with long experience of writers conferences, it [...]

Deconstructing Micro-Tension

If you had to guess, what portion of the hundred-thousand-mile journey to basic fiction-writing competence would belong to the pursuit and mastery of micro-tension? Ten percent? Thirty? I personally don’t have a clue, yet I’ve been persuaded of its necessity since first being introduced to the concept by WU’s Donald Maass. Accordingly, I’ve done my best to read everything he’s had to say on the subject, several times. I’ve picked apart books that demonstrate micro-tension. (How about that Gillian Flynn’s [...]

The Secrets to Writing the Best Holiday Stories Ever

Warning: Hacks for Hacks tips may have harmful side effects on your writing career, and should not be used by minors, adults, writers, poets, scribes, scriveners, journalists, or anybody.

Have spooky decorations and giant grab-bags of candy put you in the mood to write a Halloween story? Or perhaps you’re skipping ahead to Christmas and writing a tale about the beloved Christmas icon, Krampus? No matter what you’re celebrating, holiday stories are a treat for readers and writers alike. You may [...]

Between a Blog and a Hard News Cycle

How Do You Know If You Can Say No to NaNo?

The Internet has mutated reasonable people into wannabe writers…We are blind to the harsh truth-light-radiating facts such as ‘half of self-published authors earn less than $500’, facts written about in newspapers by professional writers.

That’s Tom Mitchell (@tommycm on Twitter) writing an essay at Medium, War on #amwriting. I must thank my colleague in London, Sheila Bounford, for reminding me of it. It could have been lost in the Bavarian Ether: [...]

Celebrate yourself

photo by Luca Moglia

When I was in the midst of writing my first novel, I gave up. I’d never written fiction before. I had never even taken a class on how to write fiction. I had no idea what I was doing, and I knew I would never get published. I explained all this to my husband.

“You know, even if you never get published,” he said, “It is a huge accomplishment just to finish an entire novel. How many [...]

Interview: Ellen Edwards, Executive Editor at Penguin Random House

I have been with Ellen Edwards at New American Library, a division of Penguin Random House, since I became a traditionally published author. In an age where writers often lament that they do not get edited, I can firmly say that not only do I get edited, but Ellen’s sharp eye, brilliance, and insights have greatly enhanced my work. She is a master at finding the diamond in the rough, and like any great coach, she encourages me to grow and learn [...]

What You Pay for When You Hire a PR Firm

Let’s say your book is coming out in several months, and you fall into the camp of those who want to put some time and resources into promoting it.  Knowing that that your publisher can’t commit to much more on the publicity side than mailing out galleys to a standard media list, you’ve decided to give it your all, to go ahead and hire an outside publicist.

But as you research firms and see the 5-figure price tags for most campaigns, [...]