Anne R. Allen informs us on her blog about four newbie writer mistakes that can derail a great book idea. Thanks for your information on that, Anne.
You’ve got a fantastic idea for a novel. It’s been hanging around for quite a while, knocking inside your noggin. The idea keeps saying, “Let me out! Release me! Put me in a book!”
Maybe there’s a scene in your head that plays like a video, with every detail of the setting right there, as if it’s on a screen. You know those characters. They’re like real people to you.
But you’ve never had the time to write it all down.
Now you do.
So here you are, finally banging out that scene. And another. And pretty soon you’ve written 10,000, maybe 15,000 words of brilliant, deathless prose. It almost wrote itself. Wow. That was almost too easy.
It IS brilliant, isn’t it?
Well, maybe not. Maybe what’s on the page isn’t quite as good it seemed when you were in the zone.
In fact, it could be terrible. What if you have no talent for writing at all? Maybe you should be in the living room doing that kitten jigsaw puzzle with Grandma instead. How do you know if you’re any good?
You’ll have to ask somebody knowledgeable. Like a published author.
And this — this is when you fall down the rabbit hole.
Kristen Lamb once again teaches us about writing and how storms are the center of all great stories. Thanks so much for a new blog post and your education, Kristen!
Every story begins with ideas. Alas, stories can only be created when at least two vastly different ideas collide. The place where these ideas meet is the BOOM, much like the weather.
Storms erupt because of two very different bodies of air meet…and don’t get along.
Only one idea, however, can win. In the meantime, lots of metaphorical rain, lightning strikes and maybe some tornadoes. After the powerful storms, the landscape is altered, lives are changed, some even lost.
It’s the same with powerful stories. Yet, instead of weather fronts colliding, differing ideas are colliding.
It’s wonderful to have a great story idea. Alas, an idea alone is not enough. It’s a solid start but that’s all. Loads of people have ‘great ideas’ and that and five bucks will get them a half-foam latte at Starbucks…one day when it reopens.
Ideas are everywhere…especially now *sighs*
What differentiates the author from the amateur is taking the time to understand—fundamentally—how to take that idea and craft it, piece by piece, into a great story readers love.
On ‘Mixtus Media’ I found an excellent post about blogging mistakes. The article was written by Jenn Hanson-DePaula and I’m sure, I’m not the only one who learns a lot from her advice. Thank you, Jenn.
It doesn’t matter if you write a blog, have a podcast, or produce a video blog – creating quality content for your audience is one of the most important elements of your book marketing.
Providing content is – hands down – the best way to drive readers to your website and give them a chance to learn more about you, your books, and create a deeper connection.
But I hear lots of complaining when it comes to writing a blog or creating content. So many times I hear, “But no one reads it!” “I don’t’ get any comments!” “This is a waste of time!”
I get it – it can be frustrating when you put time into writing a blog post and no one responds. But more often than not, when I look at some of these blogs, they are making one of the following mistakes. And the good news is, these mistakes can be easily fixed.
So let’s dig in and fix your problems!
The Wrong Content
When you write a blog post as an author trying to promote a book or to draw attention to their writing, readers will automatically see it as marketing. It’s easy to fall into that habit because, well, we want to promote our book, right?
Many authors don’t know how important their newsletter is. I’m still working on that too. I think I made significant progress lately, but I’m still a beginner. On the Mixtus-Media blog I found two phenomenal posts, written by Jenn Henson-DePaula. She helps us with her experience and makes it easier for us to connect with our readers and subscribers. Thank you, Jenn!
How To Easily Create a Year’s Worth of Amazing Newsletter Content
Tell me if this sounds familiar:
I have a blog, so why do I need a newsletter? No one reads newsletters! Why even bother? I don’t want to bother people with a newsletter. I don’t have time to write a newsletter!
I’ve heard it all. And I get it! When we first started Mixtus Media I put off starting a newsletter because I had those same thoughts running through my head.
But here’s the thing: a newsletter is one of the most important assets to incorporate into your book marketing plan.
When a reader signs up for your newsletter, they are moving from a mere spectator to a participant – someone who is one step closer to buying your book.
The key to growing a solid and thriving newsletter is to approach the process from the viewpoint of your readers. This will give you more clarity in what to provide for your readers and it will make your newsletter so much more effective.
When you focus on growing your newsletter list, one of the best ways is to provide a hook to make readers want to sign up by offering a free incentive. Offering a well-crafted incentive also ensures that you get the right people signed up for your newsletter – your ideal readers.
But for fiction writers, it can be difficult to think of creative or innovative incentives to drive interest.
The go-to incentive for most authors is the free chapter download. Now don’t get me wrong, this is a fine incentive, but nearly every author out there offers this.
To stand out and to offer great value to your growing audience, it helps to think outside of the box.
‘There is no such thing as a new idea’, Mark Twain once wrote. Which is bad news for anyone trying to be original! But as he goes on to say, we can create new and endless numbers of new combinations. Still, what if you find that you keep coming up with ideas that have already been done? I’m reading a charming little book at the moment, ‘How To Fall In Love With A Man Who Lives In A Bush’, (quite easily, it seems, apparently Austrian men aren’t up to much) where the protagonist dreams of becoming an author. The only problem is that every story she comes up with has already been written …. by Charlotte Bronte or Stephen King!
It’s something of an occupational hazard for storytellers – even when it comes to choosing a title for your book. A quick search on Google will reveal that your…
There are two types of content that I usually post on my blog:
Daily Experiences – things I see and do, journal-type notes, general thoughts etc. These posts are generally just for fun – I write them for enjoyment and they keep within the original purpose that the blog was intended for: therapy. I don’t pay much attention to SEO, keywords or images as I know that these sorts of posts will be seen over a period of about a month and then will be considered to be out of date. Essentially, non-evergreen content that has an expiration date.
Evergreen Content – posts that will be generally relevant over long periods of time and aren’t necessarily specific to my own life. Within these I am much more focused on keywords and SEO techniques, I spend a much longer period of time crafting beautiful and pinnable images and I make sure…
This post is about setting up pages – or SPREADS as they are known in the Bullet Journal community.
Before I even started, I worked out what I needed to help with my blogging activities each month.
A monthly overview (1 page)
A weekly calendar that would incorporate my To Do lists (4-5 pages)
Blog post ideas and earnings (1 page)
A daily checklist with a list of blogging tasks and stat tracker for the month that would incorporate clients social media trackers too (1 page)
For the last two years, I’ve requested one thing for Christmas – a notebook. In that notebook, I keep ongoing trackers of my blog and social media stats, monthly and daily checklists, trackers of my social media client stats and some ideas and small drafts for blog posts.
What I didn’t realise that I was doing was creating my own version of a bullet journal. In fact, up until about two months ago I’d never really heard much about them, that is, until I watched a ‘July Plan With Me’ YouTube tutorial from AmandaRachLee on creating a monthly set of ‘spreads,’ (that’s page layouts to us ordinary folk). Since then it has become a bit of an obsession – I’ve watched more tutorials than I can count, allowed myself a small budget to buy materials, practiced different handwriting styles and layouts and began the process of setting up a bullet…
By now I guess, it’s known that I have been sick for a few weeks, being ‘blessed’ with shingles and pneumonia to the same time. I could have done the one without both, but after all, I’m afraid, I had to take it the way it got me.
Now, being in pain and feeling sick, having a fever and not finding any comfortable position, I wasn’t able to do much more than drinking, resting, sleeping, watching TV and trying to keep my cats away from climbing on me.
And here exactly is the point I start complaining…
I’m a writer. A sick writer. And I would have loved to ‘use’ the time getting some work done. Typing, blogging, scribbling, planning new stories, reading and whatever else belongs to a writer’s life, but I had no chance.
Shingles caused me that much pain that all I could do was trying to find a way to spend the days on the couch with plenty of pain killers inside of me that nearly knocked me out. There was no way I would have been able to sit behind the computer and type much.
I was unable to turn onto my stomach to write by hand on paper. And when I tried to read I started feeling dizzy enough, I was ready to vomit.
I wanted to work, develop ideas, find new characters, plots, storylines, whatever came into my mind, and nothing was possible.
But of course I’m smart, right? I got my phone next to me. And whenever I had an idea, I recorded it. What a wonderful girl I am! The idea would have been amazing, if…
… yes, there’s an ‘if’…
… if, I hadn’t been too sick to make sense.
Yes, you can laugh. I did too once I listened to my ‘notes’. I was sick enough that I couldn’t hear much more than some mumbling. And if there was a clear word or two, it didn’t make sense.
My fever was high enough to cook my brain, which means, the ideas I got are entirely useless. This is annoying and nearly make me consider getting either a secretary, a nurse – or both.
I’m almost sure I’m not the only writer ever being sick. How are you doing this? Are you able to use your time fruitfully during this forced break? If yes, how are you doing it? Thank you for your advice!