Okay, so the actual birthday was a couple of days ago, but close enough. Enjoy some lovely links for August!
Perfectionism is Murdering Your Muse
Veronica Sicoe’s excellent post about how to face and slay that dread beast, perfectionism.
Perfectionists are so obsessed with the fear of failure (which always follows them, since it’s nearly impossible to plan and work for that 1% of stellar success) that they become paralyzed. They constantly overplan, overthink, overprepare, second-guess, change their minds, backtrack and “correct,” then change their plans again, because they can’t face the possibility that their efforts might not lead to absolute success. That they might just be another writer, instead of THE Author.
What Authors Gain When We Edit After Gaining Some Distance From Our Work
Victoria Grefer on the Crimson League blog about the benefits of letting your draft cool off before starting the editing.
1. We’re less emotionally attached, less invested. This is the really obvious reason to distance ourselves from a work before an edit. It’s hard to change something that’s so close to our hearts, even when we know change is for the better. And the more changes we can make for the better before letting other eyes see our work–the more solid the work as a whole is–the deeper the feedback from beta readers and editors can be.
The Truth: A Three-Star Review Is Not a Bad Review
Brenna Clarke Gray on Bookriot wonders why writers get in such an uproar about a three star review.
I’m no math whiz, but this I know for sure: three stars, on a five-star scale, falls right in the middle. If the worst book in the world — I don’t know, something Bill O’Reilly wrote on the toilet — can only receive 1 star at worst, and the best book in the world — let’s say Harper Lee co-writes a double-secret prequel to Harry Potter with Salman Rushdie — can at best earn five stars, then surely it’s true that the vast majority of books ever written anywhere by anyone are going to be three-star books. That’s how bell curves and standard distributions work, kiddies (I assume, anyway, as I became an English major because it guaranteed no mandatory stats class).
Killing the Magic (and Putting it in a Box) – a plug in Three parts
Richard (K) Morgan discusses how excessive nitpicking and too much emphasis on categorisation sucks the life out of fantasy and science fiction.
In the end, we’re conjurors.
Magicians of stage or street, depending, perhaps, on how venerable and well-appointed the furniture of our act turns out to be. Mr Tolkien, now – he’s an old-school stage gent, with his intricately painted hardwood cabinets and baroque mirrors bought at great cost from Venice; snow white doves, a beautiful assistant or two, Toledo blades that glimmer in the low theatre lights; velvet curtains, cape and top hat, the whole nine yards. Mr Harrison, on the other hand, is pure street, and wouldn’t give you a thank-you for all those trappings. With him it’s all out of a box on the cobbles at his feet. It’s the flick of a wrist and the flicker of an eye, grubby cards and pigeons exploding from his sleeves, flames out of nowhere, and there! – look! – his head is gone!
How to Choose the Right Book Title by Anne R. Allen
Anne R Allen guests on the Romance University blog, with some guidance on the tricky issue of titling a book.
6) Use Specifics Rather than Broad, Poetic Strokes.
The kind of title that worked for a big novel a century ago may leave today’s reader cold. People want instant information about the book’s content. A memoir called Pen, Pencil and Poison didn’t sell until its title was changed to The Story of a Notorious Criminal. I know—the first one is better writing, but the keywords “notorious criminal” sell better.
Mainstreaming the Rainbow ~ Outside the Margins with Shae Connor
Shae Connor guests on Prism Book Alliance to explore how much LGBTQ+ romance is moving into the mainstream.
wo years down the road, some big changes have happened. In the intervening time, a book published by Penguin that centered on a primary same-sex relationship hit number one on the New York Times bestseller list. A book published by Harlequin’s Mira imprint that featured same-sex pairings won a Lambda award. Multiple large publishing companies have made room for LGBT romance books as part of their offerings, and multiple authors who started out writing male/female romance are branching out into writing LGBT-focused books. (I just beta read one of those this month.)
The two paths to uncovering the depths of your characters
Victoria Grefer on two different approaches to fleshing out a character.
Now, I could use term such as “deductive reasoning” or “inductive reasoning” here, but to be honest, I would have to look up which is which, I think using such terms can cause confusion, and I believe that terminology isn’t what’s important. Knowing what makes our writing come together is what matters. So I’m going to describe the two way we figure out who our characters are and what they’ll do without such terminology
Har! How to Deal with Book Piracy
Nicholas C. Rossis with some opinions about what to do about book piracy.
And I know that all this sounds awful, but in most cases it’s not. Contrary to what you might expect, my advice is to just ignore these “pirates.” To understand why, all you need to do is try to download your book from them. You’ll soon realize that they don’t actually have it. After an annoying merry-go-round, you’ll either be taken to a dead link or to Amazon…
Is gay romance about to disappear?
DP Denman asks a provocative question. In the wake of recent victories in the fight for gay rights, are the days of gay romance numbered?
For M/M authors who only write about the sorrow of relationships that can never be legal, yes. I’m sure they’ll have issues selling that plot, but that doesn’t mean the genre is dying. It just means some people are out of touch with the reason readers like gay romance. The angst inspired by discrimination isn’t what leads people to coo over adorable gay couples online. It’s not why the gay porn industry has such a tremendous following of female fans. It’s something else and as long as M/M authors continue to tap into that, books will sell because that same-sex dynamic strikes a chord with readers. It’s a unique pairing they can’t find in any other genre and that’s why they’re snatching stories off the shelves as fast as we can write them.
Why I Try Not To Take My Writing Too Seriously
Victoria Grefer again, about how not to lose the fun and enjoyment in writing.
Writing should be more about the intangibles than sales numbers and agents. For me, it’s about discovering who I am and who I’d like to be. It’s about the thrill of figuring out where that character’s journey is taking him, or how she’s going to overcome those odds.
Refresh an Old Title
Clare London on Not Your Usual Suspects about ways to generate new interest in your backlist books.
But what about reviving some of those older books and starting to make sales on them again? Most of us who have been writing for a while are sitting on a lot of content and a lot of older books that are taking up virtual shelf space on Amazon. I know I regularly come across readers who’ve never heard of me (amazing, I know! LOL) or who don’t know I have many more books in the market.
You have many options now to revive, renew and even re-release a book with minimal effort. Many of our books are with publishers, so at all times you’d need to check your contract before trying out a new scheme. But many publishers – especially the indie publishers who deal largely in e-books – are often open to suggestions that will benefit both you and them with higher sales.
Diversity or Die ~ Outside the Margins with KJ Charles
KJ Charles on how the publishing industry is still slow to deal with diversity in romance.
It was the Romance Writers of America conference 2015 conference last month. Author Suleikha Snyder wrote this blog post on her conference experience, which I urge you to read (you should read Snyder too, I love her stuff). In it she mentions both the great times, and the fact that publishers “still don’t quite know what to do with multicultural and queer romance”. A representative of Pocket Books on a panel referred to queer romance as “a trend”; other publishers suggested that multicultural romance ought to have separate marketing. Um.