6 Creative Ways to Name Your Fictional Characters – Written By Andre Clayton

Thank you, Andre Clayton for a great blog post about naming our fictional characters. We all have been there. And for all of us it’s always interesting to find out how other authors are doing it!


on The Write Life:

When you start writing your story, how long does it take you to come up with character names?

Choosing the perfect name for your protagonist and antagonist can take ages, especially when you’re not sure how to start.

I’ve been there. After wasting days staring at a blank computer screen, attempting to come up with names for all of my characters, I developed with some helpful naming strategies. And I’d like to share them with you!

Continue reading HERE

The Fault in Our Reviews – Written By Deborah Grant-Dudley

Deborah Grant-Dudley informs us about the review rules on Amazon. It is hard to get reviews on Amazon, particularly for us Indie Authors. Deborah tells us why. Thank you very much.


How to avoid having your book review deleted

Indie authors rely on book reviews to help sell their books. But Amazon are notoriously strict about reviews. They frequently decline new reviews and delete existing reviews. If you want to help an indie author, it’s important to stay in Amazon’s good books. Yes, I went there!

Here’s a handy guide to writing reviews that will be accepted. Be aware other bookstores have their own guidelines. I’ve focused on Amazon as they are the biggest bookseller, and they sell lots of indie books.

Image of scrabble squares spelling out the word rules.
Photo by Joshua Miranda on Pexels.com

Check you allowed to review the book

Amazon has a minimum spend threshold you must meet before you can leave a review. Currently, that’s £40 in the UK and $50 in the US. You must have spent at least that amount in the past 12 months. If you meet this criteria, you can review a book on their website.

CONTINUE READING HERE

The Ultimate Guide to Launching a Book for Indie Authors – AskALLi Team

Launching a book is an exciting moment in an indie author’s life–but there’s so much to do. What order should you do it in and how much time do you need in advance of your launch to complete it? Today’s post is the Alliance of Independent Authors’ Ultimate Guide to Launching a Book (including timeline).

A few caveats before we begin this post.

No two indie authors launch books in the same way. The below is not a strict “this must be done here” guide but a suggestion of how you can time the activities for your launch. Of course, not everyone will have a long lead time either and not every author does every single item listed.

Continue reading HERE

Sales: How Can You Sell More Books When You’re Terrified of Selling? – Written By Kristen Lamb

Sales can be one of the most terrifying words in the English language. If one happens to be a creative professional, let’s just multiply that fear level by ten…or a thousand.

In fact, many writers spent decades longing to sign with legacy publishers for the sole reason that they believed a major publisher would tend to all that vulgar sales business for them so they could simply write and create!

*clutches sides laughing*

It’s cool. I once thought the same. We’re all friends and philistines here .

The first hard truth is that, even if we are fortunate enough to score a contract with a major publisher (scant few that remain), if our book doesn’t sell, the publisher will eventually have to cut their losses (‘losses’ being code for ‘writers who fail to sell enough books’).

Second hard truth? In the modern publishing era, Big Six Publishing has been replaced with self-publishing, indie publishing and smaller, more efficient boutique publishers. Again, building a brand and book sales will largely be on the author.

Regardless of size, publishers are businesses not charities, and throwing good money after bad is better left to Hollywood. This said, the idea of having to ‘do sales’ is still enough to make many creatives break out in hives.

Which is why I am here to help.

CONTINUE READING HERE

5 Ways To Avoid Info-Dumping – Written By K. M. Allan

K. M. Allan writes a phenomenal post about authors and info-dumping. Read about it on her blog. Thanks a lot for your advice, K. M. Allan.


When you become a writer, one of the “rules” you’re advised to learn is to avoid info-dumping.

If you haven’t heard of it before, it’s when the writer bombards the reader with everything they think they should know—all at once.

While you might think there’s no way you do that, info-dumping is an easy trap to fall into. It’s one of those writer-blind spots where we can easily see it in other’s work, but don’t notice it in our own.

It can worm its way in like typo gremlins, but here are some likely places you’ll find info-dumping so you can work out ways to avoid it.

5 Ways To Avoid Info-Dumping

Check The Starts

Info-dumping likes to live at the start of things, such as the first chapter, the first introduction of a character, or the first instance of world-building. It sets up home there because the writer makes it the perfect place to build.

Think about what happens when you’re penning the first draft. You’re discovering the story, telling it to yourself, and getting it all on the page. Once it’s there, we forget to examine it in later drafts for info-dumping.

As an example, let’s say it’s the first time your MC has visited the place your story is set. Trying to work out where you’re going with it, your writer-brain brought in another character with a lengthy explanation of the town’s history and why no one goes near the creepy abandoned two-story house on Cliché Crescent.

You needed to know those things to move onto your next chapter, but it’s likely the reader doesn’t need to know it all on their first read.

CONTINUE READING HERE

 

6 Rules for Retelling Classic Stories – Written By Bethany Henry

Bethany Henry published a post about six important rules for retelling classic stories. Thanks for your advice, Bethany!


on Fiction University:

I love retellings of fairy tales and classic stories. They can be filled with adventure, love, and magic that is both familiar and fun. When done well, these retellings can resonate with us deeply and be wildly entertaining—the base of the original story providing extra background that enriches the experience.

However, not all retellings are created equal.

There is a tricky balance in recreating a classic story in a new way. Readers have expectations and high standards for stories they may already love. Too many changes to the story and the reader will feel tricked or confused. Too few changes and the reader is bored.

And of course the story we tell needs to be good.

No pressure.

Whether you’re inspired by Shakespeare, Jane Austin, or Grimm’s fairy tales, here are some simple rules to guide us in writing great retellings.

Continue reading HERE

Is There a Point in Character Bios? – Written By Charles Yallowitz

On the ‘Legends of Windemere’ blog, Charles Yallowitz published an interesting view on character bios. Thanks a lot for this post, Charles!


I can already hear at least once pantser preparing to explain why they don’t do this.  If it helps, person with fingers at the ready, you’re right.  Character biographies don’t work for everyone.  They aren’t even universal because everyone has their own way of doing them because every author has different needs.  Some even change from story to story or as our own skills grow.  I know that I’ve been all over the map as you’re about to see.

Character bios are where I started since tabletop games were my first inspiration alongside fantasy books.  This resulted in my originals being more about numbers stats and basics instead of depth.  I had hair, eyes, height, weight, skin, and physical attributes with very little variety.  I couldn’t tell you what the real difference between a 4 and 5 in strength really was.  A 1-5 ranking was probably a dumb choice.

CONTINUE READING HERE

Inspiration – Fellow Writers, Where Do You Find Yours? – Written By Don Massenzio

On Don Massenzio’s blog, I found an extended and very interesting post about inspiration. I’m generally fascinated to hear where experienced writers like Don Massenzio, author of the Frank Rozzani-series, got their inspiration from. In this article, Don informs us about different ways inspiration came to him. Thank you very much, Don!


It is a great day to start something big – motivational handwriting on a napkin with a cup of coffee

 

2020 – The Year Without Writing Inspiration

2021 is a year full of possibilities. I keep telling myself this over and over.

The pandemic caused me to pause my creative writing for a number of months. The reasons for the lull in my literary creativity are many, but I’d like to believe that most of them are under control or behind me at this point.

As I look for inspiration to jumpstart my writing and to ignite the fire to finish my next book, I decided to go back to those things that inspired me in the past.

I thought I would share these inspirational elements with you to help you find inspiration and invite you to share those things that inspire you to write when you have a lull in your creativity.

Here are the things that have worked for me:

CONTINUE READING HERE

Returning Author Aurora Jean Alexander of Southern California – By Allan Hudson

In December 2018, I was lucky to be a guest on the ‘South Branch Scribbler’, author Allan Hudson’s blog. Back then, I introduced ‘Soul Taker’, the first book in ‘The Council of Twelve’ series. Today Allan Hudson allows me to talk about the series, books two and three, Sundance and Demon Tracker, and of course, book four, Bounty Hunter. Thank you very much, Allan!


Aurora visited us last in December of 2018 when she published the first book in The Council of Twelve series – Soul Taker. We chatted about the book, the series, childhood memory, and her exceptional website/blog – The Writer’s Treasure Chest, and she shared an excerpt from Soul Taker. If you missed it, please go HERE.

A lot has happened since then, and we are beyond happy to have Aurora back. She is kind enough to answer a few more questions and share an excerpt from Bounty Hunter.

Aurora Jean Alexander grew up in a family involved in politics and was blessed with an excellent education in several countries. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in BA. Currently, she lives in Southern California, all by herself, with three cats. A. J. Alexander is the author of ‘The Council of Twelve’ series, with three published books. The fourth book will be published soon.

4Q: Let’s start off with your newest book, Aurora. Demon Tracker has a fantastic cover. It’s generating a lot of excitement. What can a reader expect when they pick up your novel?

AJ: Demon Tracker is the third book in ‘The Council of Twelve’ series and introduces Zepheira to the reader. Zepheira is the best Demon Tracker working for the good side. She is hired by ‘The Big 7’ to find a lost demon and angel and find them quickly before the angel will be lost forever. During her assignment, she meets Archangel Uriel, the ‘Fire-Angel,’ and gets involved in the eternal fight Good versus Evil.

CONTINUE READING HERE

How To Use Author Central And Your Amazon Author Page – Written By Derek Haines

Derek Haines provides us once again with excellent information on how to use our Author Central and our Amazon Author Page. Thank you very much, Derek!


on Just Publishing Advice:

Amazon Author Central is an essential tool for authors who are publishing on Amazon.

From Author Central, you can improve your Amazon Author Page and your book sales page. If you are not using it, you are missing out on a huge bookselling opportunity.

When you first publish your paperback or Kindle ebook on Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), you only get the chance to enter the essential but basic details of your book.

Your Amazon book page or sales page will include your cover and book description. But it will be unformatted and very plain.

In This Article

Amazon Author Central has so many tools to help you sell more books

Follow the author button
Use Author Central to make your Amazon book sales page stand out
Add your editorial book reviews
So much more you can do with Author Central
Add more information about your book
Check your improved book sales page
When you publish with Amazon, you are an international author
Summary

Continue reading HERE