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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Weekly summary

So here's a summary of the interesting happenings from last week (Jan 19 – 25). I didn't make a post the week before that because there just wasn't much happening out there, but this week's entirely different.
Self publishing may still be only in its nascent stage, but need I say anything about any platform that enables an author to earn THAT much money. Amazon and Kindle have totally changed the face of publishing; perhaps forever.
Amazon has started a new publishing branch catered specifically to the Christian publishing industry. With this it looks like Amazon has a finger in every single pie out there.
Whether you're a publisher, a published author or a wanna be one, this webcast is a must attend. If you're a publisher you'll learn why authors want to self publish, and if you're an author, you'll learn the benefits and negatives of going it both ways.
Finnish author Helena Halme gives you tips on how you can use your own life to write a fictional novel. Her tips are good, so good that you know that they are from experience.
Most self publishers don't do anything about copyrighting their books. Many of them don't know if self publishing is the best route for them in the first place. This and more is discussed here. A must read for anyone who is interested in self publishing.
A good interview with an author who's done it all. She's been a published author for more than 20 yrs and then turned to self publishing. Read about her journey with self publishing.

Friday, January 10, 2014

How do I deal with writer's block?

If you're an experienced writer, you know how to deal with writer's block. It's only new writers who have this problem because, writing is just like any other job. It's a JOB. And this implies that you have to work at it.
Of course, you'll hear stuff like how if you're doing something that you love doing, then the doing is much easier. Granted, it's not as much of a chore, but what many people don't seem to realize is that easier does not mean easy. Writing is not easy, not for me, not for you, and not for the best writers in the world.
Top authors sometimes spend years researching their topic before they even start writing! So if you think that you can start writing now and complete writing a book in a week's time, you're sadly mistaken.
Writer's block takes many forms and I'm not here to discuss all the different types. What I'm going to do is tell you what I do, and maybe some of you will get something out of it.
For me personally, writing comes out best when my mind is calm. I'm not talking about the Yogic, deep pool stillness kind of calm. Just the everyday calmness that you get after a good night's sleep. Mostly I wake up in a very good mood, and something external has to happen to spoil it. Unfortunately when you're married and have a 5 yr old, there's enough and more opportunities for you to loose it.
And what I try to do is to minimize anything that will trouble me. I make sure that everything is ready and packed for my daughter the previous day and wake her up at the last minute so that she just doesn't have the time to argue about anything. I keep my conversation with my husband short and to the point so that there's no opportunity for any flare ups. The good thing is that he too likes to be left alone in the mornings, so this system actually works quite well.
Once I've sent my daughter off (my husband drops her off at school) I don't hurry. I usually take my time to start up my computer and log in, and what I've found is that at the most, the longest this takes me is 15 min. Of course, for many people 15 min is very valuable, but not so for me. This extra time ensures that I don't feel harried and I get to maintain as much of my morning's good mood as possible.
The next thing I do is to open up an online copy of the bible and read a chapter. I've found that this has a very calming effect on my mind. Once again, I don't hurry through the reading, but read through the chapter slowly, trying to absorb as much as I can. (I mention the bible because I'm a Christian, but any of the holy books should be just as useful. My view is that all religions preach the same thing)
I then spend a couple of minutes in contemplation. Many times, my mind is just a blank. Sometimes I get the thought that I've been a naughty girl. Ultimately, this introspection not only helps me in my personal life, it also ensures that when I start writing, I'm not thinking about anything else other than what I'm writing about.
Generally, I have an outline in my mind before I start writing. I know what ideas I want to express and in what order I have to present them in, so all that's left is for me to actually put finger to keyboard and it just comes flowing out.
Of course you get interruptions, your phone rings or somebody bangs on your front door. I try not to let any of this affect me, and if it means that I ignore a few calls, well then so be it. In fact, I don't even log into my email or facebook ID's because they are just another distraction for me.
The introduction is usually the easiest part for me, although I do have to do a couple of drafts before I end up with something that I'm happy with. And once I've got the introduction right, everything just falls into place.
The next day, I read through what I've done the previous day and try to get into the same frame of mind. This is important because your writing is just an extension of your ideas. It's just a medium for you to express yourself. So if your mind isn't right, then what you write too will not be.
As many people like to say, you need to write from your heart for which the first prerequisite is that your mind is calm enough for you to hear what your heart is saying. If your mind is operating at a thousand miles a second, there's no way you can hear anything in the midst of all that clamor.
Of course, the final product is still not the finished product. The more times you read through it, the better you will make it. And I keep doing this till I'm happy with what I've done. My logic is that if I'm not happy with what I've written, what are the chances that perfect strangers are going to be?
And this is how I try to ensure that I don't get to this writer's block thingy. And on those days when I do loose it, either because my daughter is just too much or I've got a bone to pick with my husband, I don't do any writing. There's no point really because I've tried working when my heart is not in it and I just delete the whole thing the next day.
In my experience, every writer knows whether they are a writer or not. They just know. It's not something that can be taught or even inspired. It's just something that you know.
This means that all the writing is inside of you somewhere, just waiting to come out. All you have to do is give it the opportunity, and it will.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

The week's top articles on self publishing

If you're thinking of self publishing, this is the time to do it. 2013 was the best year for self publishers with the number of self publishers exceeding the numbers of traditionally published authors for the first time in history. And the projection for this year is even better.

I have compiled a list of articles that make good reading if you're interested in self publishing. From tips on how to self publish to success stories, it's all there. Hope you like it!

Self publishing to soar after 50 Shades' success
Ruth Lumley gives data on what people feel about self publishing and the most common books self published by authors.

How I do it: Kristen James shares the secrets of her self publishing success
Want to know how Kristen James does it. Well it's all laid out for you here. And right from the horse's mouth too!!

Blurb self publishing platform powers story album app on new Samsung Galaxy Note Pro & Tab Pro
Self publishing just gets easier and easier. Check out the latest PR release from Blurb to know how to design your own book using just your phone.

Self publishing: it takes a village
Lindsay Pyfer shares with us the time, effort and money that went into publishing a book.

GF Newman on self publishing: 'There are huge changes coming'
GF Newman shares with us his reasons for going the self publishing route and his take on the future of publishing as a whole.

Self publish your book in 2014... Here are 8 reasons why
Shawn Smucker gives us his take on why self publishing is the best way forward.

How to self publish your novel: 10 tips to producing an ebook
Author Laura Morgan - a first time self publisher shares her experience of self publishing her book.

Let me know what you think of the ideas mentioned in the different posts.