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Wednesday, 27 June 2012

8 Tips for Writers

Although I love writing more than anything else, it can be hard going sometimes.

Here are some tips for writers to stay on track.

Be open to all possibilities and opportunities.
Writers have to do more than just write to stay in business. Make every connection you can with people - you never know what opportunity they may offer you. Serendipity can play an important part.

Study people who are successful.
Instead of focusing on other people's flaws, study what makes them successful. How do they write bestselling books? Are the books good because of their theme, or do they have an incredible plotline?

Identify your own weaknesses.
Although you might excel at writing quickly and you easily manage 5,000 words a day, there will be an area of your writing that won't be so strong. Recognise what that area is and spend time improving that particular skill.

Set yourself one new goal every month.
Just like any other career writers should always strive to work harder and push themselves out of their comfort zone. If you don't continually focus on improving your craft you can guarantee the feeling of complacency will take over. You should remember your work can always be improved.

Have faith.
When you have writer's block or a bad review, realise it's just a bad day and every day will not be like this.

Know other people will have different opinions on how to be successful.
Just as some people love chick lit and others love thrillers, their general opinions will usually differ too. That does not mean that they are right and you are wrong; it's just a question of having a different approach. If you set a goal, it doesn't matter how you get there - just as long as you arrive there at some point.

Focus on your strong points.
Especially when you're having a bad day. Remember there are things you are good at.

Realise you may need to take a different approach.
If you can't get something to work, approach it from a new angle.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Do Writers Need Routines?

I am a naturally organised person, an obsessive compulsive personality at that. So it comes as no surprise when I say I place routine high on my agenda. Although a free spirit with a tendency to do things spontaneously, when it comes to my working life I am as rigid as a corpse.

For me having a daily routine increases my brain power and helps provide focus. Having routine helps me manage my time keeping skills more efficiently because I know how long things take and I'm able to plan my life accordingly. I relish having structure to my day because I find the more I do the more I want to do. I find that I spend more time working and less time procrastinating, thus increasing my self discipline and motivational skills.

When I composed my second book I typed twice as many words in half the time. And I have put this down to stepping up my routine, thus becoming more organised.

However, I do realise there are many writers out there who just write when they feel like it or when the inspiration strikes them. Their creativity can be stronger because they only write when they have vivid ideas. And because they don't write everyday they can often write for much longer in their creative bursts. Often when I write I can only manage 500 to 700 words. A writer who only writes a couple of times a week may write several thousand words.

So, what kind of writer are you? Are you organised like me or do you prefer to write only when you feel like it?

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Who is Best Placed to Give Reviews?

I have been on the indie author circuit for a good while now, and during this time it has come to my attention that it's largely frowned upon for the author's family and friends to give reviews. This argument may seem logical on the surface but if you start to think about the issue in depth it can become rather blurred.

A review from the author's spouse or best friend may well be biased if it's all praise. Some people are really against this and argue that it's immoral. But what if the book is really good? Does the book really deserve a bad rating just because someone close to the author is writing the review? It seems that no one really questions poor ratings given by the authors friends and family. A family member or friend can give a review just so long as they make it a poor one.

So it seems like complete strangers are the best people to place reviews. Then there's no issue of writing a biased review because you're in love with the author, or have been friends with them since they were aged four. But reviews from complete strangers are extremely hard to come by. I have a few, positive and negative, but most of my reviews have come from people I have networked with over the year. And this again brings up the issue of friendship as I now consider some of my cyber friends closer friends than some of my 'real life' friends.

Can someone slate the author if they have networked with them for over a year? I really don't know but the answer seems unlikely. Requests to swap reviews is also frowned upon, for similar reasons this blog has already mentioned. People don't like to give a bad review to someone if they've already received a glowing review from them. The issue of scratching each other's backs can be rather awkward.

To reach a conclusion I asked other writers this question and I have received a huge response. But the answers really surprised me. The response didn't weigh in favour to any particular side. Instead it was a real mix of thoughts. A lot of writers argued that it doesn't really matter where the review comes from as long as it's well balanced and thought out. And some even said that if the reviewer was a close friend or family member, then they should state that in the review.

So that has helped me reach my final answer. Whoever the reviewer is they should do their very best to write a thoughtful, balanced review.

Please share your thoughts in the comment box.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Is Indie Publishing Taken Seriously?

When I first decided to go down the indie self publishing route it was a free choice. I didn't spend the previous decade hunting down agents and traditional publishers on an endless mission trying to find someone to take me on. I did the research for both options and decided indie publishing would be the best route for me.

I think I have been very fortunate to be an indie author in this era of spectacular technology. We are doing things now which didn't seem possible last decade. If someone had suggested to me five years ago that you could be a successful writer and earn a decent living through self publishing, I think I would have laughed in their faces. From time to time, it still seems so strange that people can write a quality book and place it on the Internet for the whole world to buy.

But that is now the reality. We can do this so easily, as long as we are prepared to dedicate ourselves to the commitment this career needs. And this is the pivotal point of my post: are people starting to take indie publishing seriously?

Maybe it's still a mixed bag of thoughts. Maybe at this present time it is still uncertain. But what about five years from now, when technology has developed further and the tardis is no longer just part of the fantasy world. Will indie authors be able to write their job description on a piece of paper without receiving funny looks? Will everyone know what that job title means?

Maybe indie publishing will give authors greater freedom and flexibility. Most people who have successful careers have the choice of where to live, and this is the thought that gave me the inspiration to write this blog post today. Will indie publishing give authors the option to move country if they so desire?

Most countries say in order for people to live there they have to have something of value to give that country. Skilled workers such as doctors and scientists can travel freely because they have desired knowledge about a specialist subject.

But would writers be on the same level if they just produced books and made a decent living? As long as you have the money and don't have a criminal record, I don't see why this would be a problem. It's something for us to think about anyway and I've had a lot of feedback to this question so far. So let's see if we can continue the debate. Would you move overseas if you're career allowed it? If I ever get to this point maybe I'll be on the first plane to Canada or the States ;)