Showing posts with label elizabeth s craig. Show all posts
Showing posts with label elizabeth s craig. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 21

Picking Up The Threads: Getting Back Into Your Story

From the blog of Elizabeth S. Craig:
Jumping back into your story:

Consider limited Re-reading: The worst part is losing the story thread. I’ll usually read the last couple of pages and just forge ahead. If I poke around too long in past pages, I start getting my editor hat on. For me, that kills the creative process. But every writer is different. And this is harder to do if you’re way behind.

Timer: I’ll write as quickly as I can for 10 minutes. I won’t worry about if it’s something that’s going to need to be cut later. The important thing is making process on the story…mentally, that’s important. The next day, the writing will be more focused.

Lists: At the very least, sit down and make a list for options for your next scene, options for your character’s development, options for the next big conflict. Get your mind back into the story again.

Silence your inner critic: It’s not doing us any good.

Don’t try to catch up: It’s not fun to meet your daily goal and then write more than that to satisfy your catch-up goal. If I’m not close to a deadline (and right now I’m not), then I’m going to forget about those 8 or 9 pages I’m behind on. Each day is an opportunity to meet that day’s goal.

The important thing is to pick up your story again. It might be that the only way of doing that means taking a small notebook on the go to jot down story notes. I’m doing that today when I take my kids to their dentist appointment. Just figure out a way to fit it in.
"Silence your inner critic: It's not doing you any good." Truer words were never written! Another great article by Elizabeth Craig: Jump Back Into Your Story.

Other articles you might enjoy:
- How To Be A Writer
- 8 Ways To Become A Better Writer

Photo credit: LifeSupercharger

Saturday, August 11

What To Write About: Fiction That Sells

What To Write About: Fiction That Sells

This advice comes from Elizabeth S. Craig, and it is twofold:

1. For folks who aren't sure what to write about, here are a few points to mull over ...
Your own interests, as a reader: What do you naturally lean toward when writing or reading? Which genre? What do you think you’d most enjoy writing? We have to spend a long time with a book—we need to enjoy the process and pour that love of writing into the book. Which story would you enjoy telling the most?

Analytics of the genre: In that genre, what are some of the factors that make it a good read? Humor, action, strong characters, magical powers, three murder victims, etc.? As a reader, what do you enjoy most about the genre?

Market saturation: Is there an area or subgenre that is currently saturated? Or does it seem like the readers are avidly buying the books as fast as they are written, even if it IS saturated? (Vampires and zombies come to mind.)

Book length: What is the length of most of these books? Have you got an idea that you can develop into that length? Is your idea too broad and can’t fit into one book? Book length, of course, is also going through a change with the digital trend—but you still want to shoot for the right ballpark. Editing a trilogy out of a single book can be a bear.

What are publishers of this genre looking for currently? If you’re going traditional, who represents and publishes this genre? Go online and see what kinds of things they might be asking for on their submissions page.
2. Let's say you have ideas, lots of ideas! How do you decide which one to work on?
Protagonist: Which protagonist can carry my story better? Which is better-developed? Does one have more opportunity for internal conflict? Does one have ample growth potential?

Characters: Which project has secondary characters that are more appealing? Which create depth for my protagonist by interacting with him/her? Which may be a villain that readers will love to hate?

Plot: Which storyline can I easily picture? Which one has more conflict and more depth?

Time: Is there a story that requires more research than another? How much time do I have for the project? How long would I, ideally, prefer to spend on a single project?

Market: Which story will appeal to a greater number of readers? Which has more of a hook to sell to a publisher? Or…which has the better hook for a direct-to-reader/self pubbed book?

Series potential: This may be genre-book specific---but is there a story that lends itself to more than one novel?
Elizabeth concludes:
Again, y’all, this is all in the for-what-it’s-worth category. And…another important thing to remember is that we shouldn’t have our whole writing career riding on one book. The fear of failure has got to be a huge factor in this writer hesitation when choosing an idea. The important thing about failure is dusting ourselves off, learning what it was that we did poorly, and writing another—better—book. Better because we failed or didn’t meet our own expectations. It’s killed me when a couple of great writers that I know have completely given up writing when their books didn’t do as well as they hoped. We’ve got to keep on going.
Elizabeth's entire article can be read here: Writing for an Audience/ the Marketplace. A list of her books is here.

Further reading:
- 8 Ways To Become A Better Writer
- Helping Writers De-Stress: Meditation Apps
- How To Sell 100 Books Per Day: 6 Things You Need To Do

Photo credit: Johan Doe

Thursday, July 26

How To Increase Your Sales: 6 Tips From A Successful Indie Author

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Elizabeth S. Craig, a Penguin/Berkley author who has recently taken the plunge and self-published, writes about what has worked for her. These are her tips, paraphrased:

1. Use a loss leader
This is what grocery stores do all the time, they price one thing low, the loss leader--for some reason it's often bananas--to try and get customers in the door then they sell everything else at a normal price confident that the average customer will buy much more than the loss leader.

2. Release your self-published title about the same time as a traditionally published one
Many folks aren't going to be able to take advantage of the publicity push arranged by a traditional publisher, but if you have one then take advantage of it!

3. Use your real name for your self-published books
It's easier for fans of your traditionally published work to find your self-published work that way. Elizabeth writes:
I’ve made more money following a traditionally published release in my own name (i.e., the recent Quilt or Innocence release) than following a release with a pen name (the November 2011 release of Hickory Smoked Homicide as Riley Adams.) This tells me that readers are looking for other books under my real name.
4. Make sure everyone is on the same schedule
This point isn't so much about increasing sales as making sure there will be a book to sell! Elizabeth advises keeping in contact with everyone on your team (if you have one)--your editor, formatter, and so on--to make sure that they have time to devote to your book.  Elizabeth writes:
From a production standpoint, I’ve learned that I have to think ahead in terms of reserving editors, artists, and formatters. Last year I was ready to put my first self-published book through the production process and everyone I contacted was busy. This time I will contact everyone on my team before I complete my final draft.
5. Release a print version as well as an ebook
This will help keep your fans happy.  Sometimes folks are used to reading paper books and they don't want to change. Setting up an account at CreateSpace is simple and cost-effective so there's no reason not to. (I haven't done this yet because I don't want the bother, but I know I should.)

6. Write the book your readers want to read
If, for example, niche books are popular in your genre, then think about writing one, especially if you're at the beginning of your writing career and few readers know your name. For instance, if you're a mystery writer, cozy mysteries are popular and might be a good way to build an audience. Elizabeth writes:
I'm thinking that niche books with built-in, dedicated audiences (like cozy mysteries) tend to do well with self-publishing. It certainly doesn't hurt, in my observations, to have traditionally published books releasing regularly, either.
To read Elizabeth's entire article, go here: A Few Self-Publishing Thoughts and Discoveries

I hope you've found something useful in amongst these six points. If anyone has anything to add, please do!

Elizabeth's self-published books:
- Progressive Dinner Deadly (A Myrtle Clover Mystery)
- A Dyeing Shame (A Myrtle Clover Mystery) -- [July 26, 2012: Only $0.99!]

Elizabeth's traditionally published books:
-  They're all listed over on Elizabeth's book page.

Related reading:
- Self Publishing: 3 Steps To Success
- 10 Reasons Why Stories Get Rejected
- How To Find The Right Freelance Editor For You

Thursday, July 5

Mystery Writer Elizabeth S. Craig's Reasons For Self Publishing

Don't worry, Elizabeth isn't saying goodbye to Penguin, but she has decided to write one book expressly for the purpose of publishing it herself. She writes:
It’s baffled me how acrimonious the traditional publishing vs. self-publishing debate has become. Emotions have run high in both camps and it seems to be centered around who’s right and who’s wrong.

I don’t think it matters who’s right and I don’t think it really matters what we choose to do with a particular book. We should probably just write plenty of books and experiment.

I’ve just handed in the fourth book of my Memphis Barbeque series to Penguin.

Now I’m writing a book to self-publish. I’ve self-published two other titles, but one was backlist and one was written for traditional publishing but didn’t sell. This is the first time I’ve written a book for the sole purpose of self-publishing it.

After that, I’ll be working on my 3rd book for the Southern Quilting mysteries for Penguin.

I couldn’t feel less-conflicted about it. I won’t try to shop the book I’m writing independently—it won’t be sent to my agent. I won’t agonize over the fact that I’m writing books for a traditional publisher and whether that means I’ll miss out on higher royalties.

Actually, it’s a real luxury to have more than one option. What’s a good approach for one book may not be right for another.
Exactly! I especially like this line: We should probably just write plenty of books and experiment. I couldn't agree more.

Read the rest of Elizabeth's article here: The Luxury of Having Options. Her wonderful Twitter feed is here: @elizabethscraig.
Elizabeth Spann Craig writes the Memphis BBQ mysteries (as Riley Adams) & the Southern Quilting mysteries (2012) for Penguin as well as the Myrtle Clover mysteries for Midnight Ink. (Taken from Elizabeth's Twitter bio.)
Cheers, and good writing!

Related reading:
- 5 Points To Ponder Before You Self Publish
- Amazon Award-Winner Regina Sirois & The Problems Of Indie Distribution
- How To Self Publish: An Introduction
- Kobo's Self-Publishing Portal: Report From A Beta Tester

Photo credit: Writers In The Storm Blog

Thursday, June 21

Thursday, June 7

7 Tips On How To Launch A Book Without Losing Your Mind

Elizabeth S. Craig writes:
Today is the launch for the first book in a new series—Quilt or Innocence in the Southern Quilting mysteries. 

How often will I track its sales numbers? Rarely.

7 Tips for Releasing a Book Without Losing Your Mind:

1. Get off the grid. That’s right. Take yourself offline. It can be done! The longer I stay offline when I’ve got a release, the more relaxed I feel.

2. Don’t watch your numbers. Sales numbers will fluctuate…and most of the time we don’t know what’s behind them. It’s sort of like the flapping butterfly wings creating the hurricane.

3. Don’t read your reviews unless you can be objective. You don’t even have to be objective…being analytical about the reviews is good enough.

4. Write your next book. Always a good idea to get a jump on a sequel or another standalone.

5. Write guest posts. Not only will a well-crafted guest post keep you distracted, it will also help circulate that book cover and headshot of yours. 
Read the rest of Elizabeth's post here: How to Launch a Book Without Losing Your Mind.

I love getting tips from a pro! I can't wait to read Quilt or Innocence, I love Elizabeth's books.