November Links – check them out after you get your 1667 words for the day

Take a look at this month’s links – which you won’t have time to read if you’re doing NaNoWriMo like me!

What You Can Do (Yes, You!) to Grow the Genre, Part Two
Talya Andor on growing the LGBTQ fiction genre.

When you buy them, you’re showing the publishing companies with your dollars where you want to see more product. Do you love m/m romance? Buy more! Do you love genderqueer fiction? Buy it up when you see it! Looking for titles focused on lady-love, or trans* characters? Fork over that cash! And if you can’t spend your own dollars, ask your library to buy it for you. Put it on your wish list. Or get it with your Amazon gift card or birthday/holiday money or tax return.


Goodreads: Where readers and authors battle it out in an online “Lord of the Flies”
Things are getting so hairy on Goodreads lately that even the norms have heard about it.

The impetus for all this is a raging feud between relatively small groups of reviewers and authors. (Goodreads has about 20 million members, although only a fraction of that number actively uses the site.) That conflict, mostly carried out far from the public eye, rose to a little prominence over the summer when Lauren Pippa (aka Lauren Howard), a self-published author about to release her first book, challenged a Goodreads member who had given her book a two-star rating. Goodreads explicitly permits members to rate books that have yet to be published, and publishers often distribute advance copies to those they deem influential in the community. Furthermore, some members use the star system to flag forthcoming books they want either to seek out or to avoid.

In Someone Else’s Story: life as a minor character
KJ Charles talks about handling minor characters in your fiction.

The relevance of all this to writing? (Yes! There is relevance!) Supporting cast are not supporting to themselves. They may have a place in the book purely because of their interactions with the main characters, but that can’t be their motivation. If the doctor makes sexist remarks purely so the heroine can show off her snappy comebacks, he’ll be implausible. If the policeman pursues the heroes because the plot requires a secondary antagonist, he’s not a character, he’s one of those annoying Hero’s Journey archetype things.

Strange Bedfellows: The Evolving Relationship between Authors and Readers
Josh Lanyon on how the way authors and readers interact continues changing.

When Fatal Shadows was published in 2000, the total extent of contact I had with readers — fans — was (remember listservs?) and the occasional letter forwarded by my publisher. Reviews came from paid professionals. I never anticipated or intended to interact personally with my reading public. I couldn’t imagine such a thing.

Why you shouldn’t listen to writing tip blogs 100%
Alyssa Hubbard on why not to take writing tips you read as gospel.

I probably repeat myself a lot in this post, but I’ve noticed a growing trend. When bloggers post tips, a lot of writers continually believe it to be an end all be all. I get plenty of emails a day asking about how certain tips have helped me, and whether I think certain tips will work or not.

12 things that will get your book review request turned down.
Things to avoid when requesting a review from a blogger.

The second reason I refuse requests, and why only 2% of the books I accept for review are self-published, is because many authors have no idea of how to approach a book blogger the right way.

There is an etiquette you MUST follow. Skipping it will almost always guarantee you get a big fat no!

I’ll break it down into DO’s and DON’Ts, but I’m going to start with the DON’Ts, because that’s what is going to hurt your chances the most.

Maintaining Visibility: How Often to Publish?
Talya Andor on how many books a year a writer in the m/m romance genre should release.

I am a prolific writer myself, but the thought of putting out something every quarter seemed pretty exhausting. After all, the process involves brainstorming, turning out a first draft, going back for the first edit, submitting, doing another, potentially more extensive edit for pre-publication that might involve re-writes, and galley approval. All of that for one manuscript–then the prospect of juggling four (or more!) manuscripts a year can be overwhelming.

5 Ways For Authors to Handle Bad Reviews
Beth Bacon with some interesting thoughts about dealing with bad reviews.

All authors’ hearts break a little when negative reviews show up on their books’ sales pages. But a book with lots of reviews has real legitimacy and gives browsing shoppers a range of perspectives, making them more likely to buy it. So seeking lots of reviews is a good thing. But how do authors handle the inevitable bad ones? Here are five techniques for dealing with customers who pan your book.

Bumps in the Road
Maisey Yates on how to cope with the bumps in the road on your writing journey.

1. Learn from the rejection – you’ll always have to take criticism concerning your work. Always. From editors, from readers, from agents. I get revisions on every manuscript I send, with very few exceptions. I’ve had to learn to take constructive feedback – or no feedback in some cases – and figure out what to do with it and how to apply it. Don’t feel like it’s meant to discourage you, rather figure out how you can use it to make your MS better.

How to Blurb (and How Not to)
E M Lynley about writing the much-dreaded blurb.

First, let’s make the distinction between a blurb and a synopsis.

In fiction writing, a blurb is targeted to readers, to encourage them to buy the book. A synopsis is written for a publisher, agent or acquisitions editor to tell your story in a concentrated format, saving busy publishing professionals from having to read a whole book in order to find out two-thirds of the way through that the whole plot falls apart. If you send a publisher a blurb when they expect a synopsis, you won’t be considered a professional, and they may just dump you into the slush pile and never even read page one of your manuscript. (I’ll do another post on writing a synopsis later.)

Thoughts on the Great Erotica Panic of 2013
Victoria Strauss on the Writer’s Beware blog about how self-publishing writers may have less control over their distribution than they think.

Beyond all the other issues raised by this incident–free speech, censorship (though IMO this isn’t censorship; these are businesses, which have the right to sell what they choose), where the lines for objectionable content should be drawn, the slippery slope of book banning–there’s one that I’m not seeing much discussed: the degree to which the apparently free market of self-publishing is vulnerable to Big Brother control.

10 reasons to write a hot scene by Sue Moorcroft
Sue Moorcroft on the Female First blog about reasons to include sex scenes in stories.

1. In the bedroom, characters show another side to their personality. Traits are accentuated – strength, vulnerability, history, control. Sometimes new traits become apparent

18 Weird Things That Authors Do
Finish with the funny!

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