Category Archives: Writing Tips

New Website Launch – Sacha Black Books – Coming Soon #MondayBlogs

img_0441I’m doing something exciting… At least I think it’s exciting. So much so I’m liable to wee my pants.

I’m launching a new website. A new blog. See, I made a bit of a school boy error when I started this blog, I focused solely on non-fiction, and I swore, a lot.

Now, that’s great, if you read non-fiction or are a writer, or have dark sense of humour like me. But not so good for  if you’re trying to attract fiction readers of a very specific genre.

DEEP SIGH. 

So here is me, warming you up to the fact that come January I’ll also be blogging somewhere else… That doesn’t mean this blog will go. Oh no. This blog-badger is here to stay. I’m just going to make my life supremely difficult and have two sites!  Continue reading

How To Be A Smart Author in 2017 – 3 Simple Tools

smartThere’s enough bull shit and hot air on the web to fill an army of hot air balloons. It’s confusing. It’s irritating and frankly it’s totally overwhelming.

But here’s the thing, if you’re an indie author, then the only thing that matters is what you want, what you think, and what you decide.

It’s almost mind-boggling. There aren’t many decisions that are just ours any more. Sometimes I swear societies need for control has gone insane, it’s like their trying to control every single breath we take.

But not as indies. We stick our fingers up and give the corporate conglomerates a big fuck you. Our writing is the product of our minds and our minds only. It’s yours, and no one else can have it, or tell you what to do with it.

But that also means you’re on my own. Where you take your stories is up to you, as is the marketing, the business, the strategy, and the publication.

I’ve said this before, but next year is big for me. I’ll be publishing my first and second, and hopefully third and fourth books. It’s been an excruciatingly slow road to get there and I don’t want to fuck it up now I’m this close. I don’t want to go into to next year disorganised, unplanned and not knowing what I’m doing.

So cut through the crap, and make 2017 you stop listening to everyone else and do it your way. If you do anything, then use these three simple tools and make 2017 your year. Continue reading

7 Description Tactics – The Art of Writing – Deconstructing Lauren Oliver

descriptionsI’ve been Indulging in a binge festival of guilty pleasure reading. Tactical reading. That’s what I’ve been doing.

When I finished my novel and handed it over to beta readers. I knew there was still a lot a fucking legion of stuff I needed to work on. Including the need to develop some skills that much to my annoyance STILL weren’t honed properly. Like my powers of description. Give me non-fiction or blog posts and I can whip out my bad word baps, and filth-filled metaphors with the best of them. But put a fuckitbucket in a YA book and you’re going to regret it. So I started bingeing on popular YA books hoping I’d absorb some of their skills.

Right now, I’m reading Delirium by Lauren Oliver. Her description is borderline excessive (in my humblest crumbliest opinion), but I quickly dropped into the rhythm of her sentences and now I kinda think it’s beautiful. So I thought I’d spend this post deconstructing her sentences to see what I could learn about description.

Here’s 7 tactics for creating the perfect story descriptions. Continue reading

Please Your Readers – 3 Trope Tactics

tropesI’m a genre whore. 70% of what I read is Young Adult fantasy or dystopian fiction. I’d make it 100% but I actually want to read my friends books and occasionally I like dipping my toes in other stuff like (thrillers, crime, literary fiction) and then there’s non-fiction business, marketing and mindset books and of course, my other love, conspiracies.

But the point is, I’m a big slutty slut slut when it comes to YA fantasy/dystopian. I gobble it up like a starving orphan. Why?

Because I love that shit. I love it so much I’d motorboat them books all night long and carry a caffeine drip to work because I stayed up so late reading (happens a LOT).

But, having read a lot of books in the same genre I can confidently say, they are ALL the same story. No really, they are. But its the familiarity that drags me back.

And it’s the familiarity that drags other readers back too. We actually want to be told the same story, over and over and over. It’s just that we want to be told it in a different way, so it doesn’t feel like the same story.

That’s where tropes come in. Tropes give your readers the familiarity they crave, which is why they are so important to you if you’re a genre writer. Continue reading

6 Ways To Organise Your Beta Reader Feedback

beta-feedbackForget the fountain of youth, no one needs to live forever. I mean, can you imagine the botox bill? and not just for your face… EWW. Moving on.

Beta feedback is a gift from the holy fountain of book perfection. 

For some, it makes them face plant into a vat of sludgey self-loathing and bookpression. But for others it turns their sleep deprived eyes into glinty, sparkling ones accompanied by feverish hand rubbing and villainish cackles.

Your book, if you listen to your beta readers, will be oh so much better. That word-turd you vomited out over months of sleepless nights, will finally become a polished glitter covered book.

But receiving beta feedback can be somewhat overwhelming, especially if like me, you don’t do detail.

I’ve finally managed to get on top of the beta feedback and have almost finished going through it.

This post is dedicated to my amazing beta readers, there are no words to quantify my gratitude.

Here are 6 ways to manage and organise your beta feedback.
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10 Things Every Writers Needs To Know About Conflict

conflictConflict – the foundation of every novel bled onto the page.

Without it, your book flatlines harder than the grim reaper. No self-respecting book doctor will even attempt to resuscitate it. And yet, you need to, because conflict is the god of novels.

If you’ve been a good little girl then conflict will dip its mighty hand into Santa’s sack and bestow heavenly book treasures on you, like: pace, tension, plot line and well-rounded characters with enough depth to drown a reindeer. But without it we’re talking dead Kipper slaps to the face.

And no body wants a stinky dead fish face mask.

But when you love your precious little bundle of baby hero joy more than life itself, torturing them with a bout of – villain/antagonist/insert other form of conflict shaped nappy rash can be rather more difficult than one expects.

Here are 10 tips for shaping your books conflict. Continue reading

The Power of Stop. Breathe. Write On.

stop-breathIf we’re honest, us writers tend to be a little on the obsessive side. We get an idea, a character forms, and before we know it, we’re tits deep in 30,000 words of wordish vomit. We swim in it like it’s a jacuzzi with naked waiters continuously handing out glasses of champagne. No one wants to get out of that jacuzzi, I know I sure as shit don’t.

But sometimes, after you’ve been chucking up the good kind of word vomit (the one that’s rough round the edges but makes pretty pictures in the middle) all of a sudden it stops. Then you’re pouring out illegible turds, minus the glitter and shine.

Something’s broke. Really broke. It’s not writers block, because the words still come. Only now they’re turd-words instead of smothered with genius literary butter.

Now, no matter what you do, the pretty word vomit won’t come back. So what do you do? If you’re anything like me, you either:

  • Beat yourself with a pen chain and spiral bound notepad until your face is pitted with imprints or
  • Fall into a deep pit of self-deprecating writerly hatred

Neither of which are particularly effective at producing anything other than obscure shaped bruises. Trust me.

I had to try something new… So today, is less of a crazy lesson with bookish explanations and crude examples, and instead a lesson I’ve learnt through experience on my writing journey. Continue reading

Capture Your Marketing Voice – Know Your Messenger in 3 Steps With @cynthiatluna

Today brings another guest post – This one is from marketing professional and bloggers bash attendee all the way from Switzerland, Cynthia T. Luna. Cynthia is the author of Write Your Marketing Strategy a fab marketing book which I had the pleasure of beta reading.

Cynthia is filling in for me today while I catch up from months of ignored admin having finished Keepers and even more ignoring of said admin as I am balls deep in my non-fiction book 13 Steps to Evil – An Writer’s Guide to Creating Better Villains.

So, Cynthia, you hero, thank you for coming, it’s an honour. This post is an excellent lesson for any author stuck on how what to say when marketing their book.


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30 Writing Competitions With Cash Prizes

30 FlashThis post is a cheat, partly because I’m exhausted after having thrown a surprise party for the wife’s 30th. But also because I happen to be in the midst of a significant bout of procrastination all because I am wallowing in a deep, deep pit of writerly self loathing.

So this week instead of my wordy bullshit, I bring you more writing competitions than you can shake a shakespearian cat at.

With any competition, it’s advisable to ensure you rake the rules of each one with your finest, slickest rule finding comb. I have not displayed the rules of any of these competitions, so if you don’t check, don’t expect to win. Continue reading

Street Teams – The Smart Author’s Tactic for Book Launches

If I continue my night owl tactics and don’t… you know, die of exhaustion first, then next year I will be launching not one, but six books. That’s the aim anyway. Much as it’s traumatised me not to publish sooner, I’ve been sitting on these books for a reason.

It terrifies me to say it, but 2017 will see me publish actual, word filled, hold in your hands books, and hopefully, a few of them.

But any author worth their salt, knows they can’t and shouldn’t be launching alone. Visibility is the one thing that connects indies to new traditionally published authors. I say it all the time, but Amazon, is a rainforest of books. Getting seen in any part of it is difficult.

We might day dream about coffee shops and alone time to ink our hyperbolae in peace, but getting a book from chapter one to finished product isn’t a one man job. While the writing might be, there are beta readers, cover designers, formatters, editors and reviewers that help with the rest. If writing a book isn’t a one man job, why should launching one be?

Mastering a book launch isn’t really about the big day, it, like anything you anticipate for a while, is  a bit of an anticlimax. Besides, if you want sustained sales, then don’t focus on the launch. Focus on the lifetime of a book. It’s not about its first day, or week, or even its first year. It’s about optimising that book as an asset, it’s a product you can earn from again and again and again, so why worry about getting sales in it’s first week. You want to be worrying about getting them for the next ten thousand weeks.

Launches are about driving yourself crazy and into a six foot deep grave through stress sustained activities over long periods, garnering stacks of reviews, running competitions, paying it forward for other authors, teaming up or compelling your own boxsets and unfortunately, paying for advertising.

I’ve been doing a chuff load of research on marketing and book launches, so today, we’re talking street teams, and for anyone willing, there’s a personal request from me, to you, to join my street team.


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