Tag Archives: writing tips

50 Shades of Mistakes That Sell Books #MondayBlogs

I warn you now, this post is for the open minded.

There are some books that are bound to cause controversy. 50 Shades of Grey is one of those books, so it makes sense that I don’t know many people who actually admit to liking it. But I don’t get it. There have been at least a hundred million copies sold worldwide, which puts it in the realm of the top ten selling books of all time. And that 100m figure was the from two years ago, with film releases it’s only going to boost book sales.

So somebody has to be buying it and reading it.

Most people I talk to are vehemently against the book.  The trilogy seems to ignite more ferocious battles than all the recent political Brouhahas. Most argue their dislike is because it’s written badly, or the subtly abusive connotations around how the male love interest treats the female protagonist.

If you didn’t know, 50 shades of Grey is actually fan fiction of the Twilight saga written by Stephanie Meyer which also sold in excess of a hundred million copies despite being yet another series of books that received significant critical attention.

But here’s my point, and the driver behind this post, if these bitches can sell nearly 300 million copies despite nearly everyone I know wanting to shove their books in a woodchipper, then there has to be something they’re doing right, and I wanna know what it is.

I don’t care if you’re Shakespeare himself risen from the dead to craft word-gold to hit the NYT best seller list, you don’t sell 300 million copies without giving your audience exactly what they want. And that, my dear sweet cherry pies, is the point of being a writer. I don’t know about you folks, but I sure as shit wouldn’t mind selling 300 million copies of my book.

So here’s me, suggesting to you, we all put our disjointed noses and misplaced egos aside for a moment and deconstruct what in the shizzle they did to make themselves so successful. Continue reading

13 Steps to Evil – How to Craft Superbad Villains – Cover Reveal

Today is a big day, for a lot of reasons… I’m still breathing for one, that’s always an achievement. But the real reason is because today is the day I reveal the cover of 13 Steps to Evil – How to Craft Superbad Villains.

I know cover reveals are a big and exciting moment for anyone, but frankly, I am a little terrified!

The first reason it’s daunting is because this is my first book…Okay, technically, it’s my second, but it’s the first one being published. Which means this is the first time I’ve done a cover reveal.

The second reason is because until now, I’ve been able to back out. I might have said I was writing a book, but there was no proof! Other than me being supremely antisocial and hiding away behind a laptop screen for months, who was to say I was doing anything? Maybe I was scouring the internet for the best small arms deals, or for Darth Vader lego sculptures made by the hands of the real Santa.

Book? What book? Phsst.

There was no evidence of book related projects, until now…..  Continue reading

Authors – Find Your Book’s Inner Truth & Hook Readers For Life

Once in awhile, you read a book that changes everything.

For me, it’s usually the ones that make me grip the kitchen counter because I need a minute to get a grip of the quivering and bug-eyed daze I’m in. In those seconds, I have a literary, emotional or philosophical ‘O’. A synchronizing of minds with my Muse, its heart beat, pumping in time with mine, pouring inspiration, epiphanies, and unadulterated universal clarity into my consciousness.

Sometimes I just smile, because the epiphany I had, is a small emotional win. Like the fact that when you can’t heal from something in your past, it’s because you haven’t let it go. If you want a scab to heal, you have to stop picking it.

Other times, the revelation is much more significant. I physically pause for thought because the story has just reiterated how inconsequentially small my life is in relation to the infinite enormity of the universe.

I like to think of these moments of pause as reaffirming moments of philosophy and truth. When it happens, that book stays with me forever. That author has single-handedly changed a part of me. Forget meditative yoga retreats and six-week long vows of silence. All you need is a bloody good book, with a bloody good book truth buried inside it and that’s enough to open someone’s mind, shove a whisk in it and jingle jangle their brain cells into a new alignment.

I want my books to have a book truth because I want to give somebody else that moment of clarity and change the way they view the world. If everybody could change just one person, maybe the world would be a better place. What I do know is, whenever an author has done that to me, I’ve read everything they’ve ever written. Isn’t that every author’s dream? So here’s a few lessons I’ve learned about book truths.

Continue reading

5 Things to Remember When Designing Your Book Cover With @AuthorhelenJ

5-book-coversToday is the last instalment from my lovely friends, who have been keeping my blog stocked with juicy tidbits in order to give me time to finish my book. A huge thank you to everyone who helped out, without you, I wouldn’t have had time to finish it

You can check out the other posts here:

3 Things You Need to Create The Perfect Gothic Story

11 Must Do’s When Creating A Podcast

4 Top Tips For Self-Publishing Your First Novel

But today, I welcome the lovely Helen Jones, to talk about book covers. I recently talked about mastering your genre’s book cover. But Helen goes into a tone of useful things you need to consider, that I hadn’t even thought of. So her post was super useful for me this week, because I just sent off my cover design brief! *squeal*. Without further ado…. Helen…
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Master The Outline – 12 Methods For Plotters & Pantsers – Part II

OutlineingLast week I confessed all kind of Pantser secrets. Like the fact I’m a filthy dirty  cheating hybrid and I actually sit somewhere in the middle of the plotter-pantser hot tub party.

One of the biggest differences between plotters and pantsers is whether or not they outline. In last week’s post, I talked through the first three of twelve outlining methods, including:

  • Chapter Outlines
  • 7 Point Plot Plan
  • 3 Point Plot Plan

Today I am going to run through the rest of them. Continue reading

Master The Outline – 12 Methods For Plotters & Pantsers – Part I

OutlineingIf you cut my wrist, I’d bleed pantser all over you. Which, for anyone that knows me in real life, is about as ironic as you can get. I’m hyper organised. I have lists of lists and spreadsheets to make even the hardiest of geeks weep. I’m so extreme my wife has to schedule in time for spontaneity.

Which is why, when I first started writing, I knew without hesitation I was a plotter. Except that I really wasn’t. I tried to plot my way through to finishing a novel and I couldn’t.

Plotting led to me drowning myself in cliches: balled up scraps of paper littered my living room, my laptop screen lay barer than the sahara and enough empty coffee cups loitered on my table to waken even the most exhausted mother. I was blocked.

In the end I threw my rigid-frigid-plotting rule book in the fuck it bucket and NaNo’d the shit out of November 2014. Victory was mine. I finished off the manuscript triumphant. I was a fucking writer at last. The arrogance did not last. After a 3 month break I picked up the manuscript and nearly paper machè myself a coffin out of it. It was worse than finding a maggot in your apple.

Right there. That was the moment I knew then I had to find a way to prevent myself from ever having to re-write anything again.

So I have amassed X different methods to outlining and made suggestions as to how you can use them as a pantser. A few too many for one post – so as is becoming a habit lately, I’ve split them over more than one post. Continue reading

7 Tactics To Grip A Reader At The End Of A Chapter

end of a chapterWhen you write the end of a chapter, you want readers to be desperate to turn the page and read on irrespective of the fact its 3:41AM and they have work the next day.

You want your book to be the cause of their bleary eyed appearance as they clutch the work coffee machine and growl at any one who comes near.

But what is it about a chapter ending that makes someone read on, rather than put it down and go to snoozeyland?

Here are nine tactics you can use to grip a reader and tickle their temptation soft spot to read on. Continue reading

3 Things You Need To Create The Perfect Gothic Story With @Icysedgwick

Gothic TalesOver the next month or so I am trying to finish my book so I can do the underwear eating exercise of handing my book baby to beta readers, *gulp*. I wanted to keep to two posts a week, but couldn’t with all the extra writing. So a few lovely friends have offered to step in and take the reigns for some of the posts. Be nice, play gentle and happy clappy rounds of applause please.

Today the lovely Icy Sedgwick, who came to the Bloggers Bash 2016 is talking to us about an area of her expertise: gothic stories. Icy is studying a PhD in film studies looking at space in haunted houses, so she really does know a thing or two about this.

If you want to know some neat little tricks to perfecting gothic tales, check out Icy’s tips below: Continue reading

13 Things I Learnt From Completing Draft Two of My Novel

draft twoWhen I wrote THE END on my second draft of Keepers, I cried. Just two tears mind, I am dead inside after all.

I cried because it was the end of more than just a marathon of RSI, obscenely late nights and incessant tapping that drove my wife to distraction. It felt like I had achieved my first real step towards freedom and the life I really want because a) I’d completed something real and tangible, all 72108 words were staring back at me like tiny dancing stick men.

And b) because I knew, this time, unlike my first draft, it wasn’t a total pile of turd.

After my two lonely tears rapidly dried up, I glanced at the clock on my laptop. The time blinked back at me, it read 1:04am. I’d sat and written 4025 words in the last 3.5 hours without moving. I was gobsmacked, that was four days worth of writing. In. One. Go.

Something told me to check the date. So I did. August 20th. I frowned. That rang a bell. I checked the post I wrote after completing my first draft. To my utter bewilderment, I completed my first draft the previous year on August 20th at 1:04am. If you don’t believe me, check the post.

It’s a beautiful thing, synchronicity. Perhaps I should publish it at 1:04am on the 20th August next year!

Here’s 13 things I learnt writing this draft. Continue reading

9 Ways to Help You Find Your Readers Part I

find your audienceAs writers we play the infinitely difficult Where’s Wally of reader spotting. But locating those pesky readers is more tortuous than tweezing your granddads nasal hair, and yet, it is THE most important thing we do.

As I draw nearer to handing my book to beta readers, the prospect of completing it, having to press publish and my labour of love subsequently disappearing into the utterly saturated Amazon rainforest of books, never to be seen again, is becoming frighteningly real.

In an attempt to prevent the only people buying my book being mumsy and wifeypoos, I read 3 marketing books last month:

Joanna Penn’s How to Market a Book

Nick Stephenson’s Supercharge Your Kindle Sales

And Tim Grahl’s Your First 1000 Copies 

The whole point of my blog is to share what I learn on this sanity testing journey to authordom and what did I learn? Well, I’m resolute on the fact finding your readers will always be the holy grail of authorlyness and because it’s the holy grail, not all of us will find it. BUT, I also learnt a whole heap of other neat tricks to help us along the way, as well as finding an answer to the 64 bergillion dollar question, should an author blog…?

I learnt a shit ton of stuff, so I’ve split this post into two.

So here are 9 ways to help you find your audience, this week I bring you way one to five. Continue reading