Monthly Archives: January 2013

Self publishing tools: PressBooks and ISSUU

As the market evolves, so do the tools available to writers.

Personally, for the moment I’m pursuing traditional publication. However, I do not exclude that in the future I may want to publish something independently: I see no reasons why (and I haven’t read to the contrary) not to experiment with both options.

Self publishing is not considered vanity publishing anymore (although for some still is, but equally, not all traditionally published books are golden), and it does allow for more personal experimentation, both in terms of narrative, content and marketing strategies.

I came across two interesting looking tools, both free at the basic level (of course there always premium options to pay for, if one wants more themes, formats, etc), covering most I think of the digital publication modes and platforms available:

PressBooks

ISSUU

I haven’t tried any of these yet, but I thought you may want to look into them if you’re thinking of self-publishing. They both come highly recommended (various sources, articles, etc), and seem relatively easy to use (usual procedure: register a free account, start uploading/choose your options, etc).

Once I’ve used them, I’ll write a review. If you know of similar tools/softwares, do share 🙂

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Board Games for book lovers and Sci-Fi for 2013

Ah, Board Games! I love them 🙂 In the back of my mind, I have a deep seated wish to invent one (do you invent a board game? do you assemble it? do you design it?).

In the meantime, have fun with this selection by flavorwire:

10 Board Games (for book lovers)

I support genre fiction in general, and speculative fiction in particular (genre has so many nuances, these days, good and bad, and for some, it excludes literary endeavours, which I really don’t agree with!)

This is an interesting article from the Guardian about the 2013 scifi trends (a HBO series of Gaiman’s American Gods? Sounds jolly to me 🙂

Writing advice:

Give yourself some off time from writing, now and then, and instead read a book, watch a film, have a walk or go to a museum. We have senses that can be stimulated by diverse experiences, and it can all be channeled to enrich your writing.

 

 

 

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Is blogging really that powerful?

I was reading through a number of blogs – I’ll post a bunch of links next week so you too can procrastinate develop a feel for the writing blogs out there, those by writers and those for writers and the ones in between (I am master of procrastination, one day I’ll collect all my tips and share them for the greater good of procrastinators all around the world!).

Blogging, whatever the social network (Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, Tumblr, etc), always seems to be the one essential platform building tool. Making yourself known, creating an audience, etc etc. Some people are incredibly good at it, and they have in fact built a reputation and a profession on their use of social networks, and they happily share most of it for free and some of it through books and workshops and seminars. Which is brilliant, and a great help for those of us just starting out with the platform building.

However.

I can’t help thinking that it all sounds really very involving. The best way I know to build/enter into/be part of/help grow a community is by interacting. 

Interacting requires reading other people’s posts, commenting, establishing a rapport, asking questions and offering answers. In a global world, where some of the blogs you read could be in the opposite part of the world to yours, it means a potential 24/7 influx of conversations. And it’s brilliant, absolutely brilliant. But again, really quite time consuming.

Is blogging really that powerful, then? So necessary and impossible-to-do-without?

I don’t think so. And yes, I am blogging as I write this, but bear with me.

What most of the blogs out there don’t say is this: once you have written your books, short stories, essays…then yes, becoming part of a community and sharing what you’re writing and hopefully making it interesting enough so that people will want to buy your work (whether traditionally or independently published) is absolutely worth the effort and time needed. Also good for keeping up with those social skills you’ve been neglecting while writing.

But until you have that material available to you (not all that you’ll write in your writing career, but an initial portfolio), you should focus on writing and getting better at it with every new thing you write. Blogging is fun, and it’s good to be able to share your thoughts and experiences, but, if you’re a writer, writing  should always come first.

It’s about discipline, of course, and discipline doesn’t come easy (to me, anyway, I hope it’s easier for you). Which is why I’m going to switch the internet off right now and go write, because I have a novel to finish (and a second one to plot, and short stories to polish, and ideas to consider) and all the platform building in the world will not write it for me.

Are you disciplined? Do you think blogging is essential? Let me know.

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Tools for writers

First of my weekly posts, something for writers.

1) Duotrope (a web-list of venues for submissions and competitions) apparently moved from being free to asking for paid registration (I haven’t checked it yet myself).

These guys (Diabolical Plots) are offering a substitute website, for free: a place where you can upload your submissions, keep track of acceptances and rejections, browse the available markets, etc etc. The system is still in beta, therefore expect a few glitches, but it’s worth looking into it:

The Submission Grinder

I’m going to register and see how it works 🙂

2) Two competitions here:

Made-up Words competition

The Jeffrey Archer Short Story challenge

 

My writing advice for the month of January:

Look at your writing projects, and make a priority list. It’s easy to get distracted, because all projects are shiny, but pick one and make it a priority, so that one will get finished. And then on to project number two on the list.

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2013 plans (in brief)

I’ll be away for a few days (a funeral, to say goodbye to a dear friend, and a visit, to say how-are-you to an old friend), give myself some time to grieve and regroup, but just so you know, plans for 2013 are as follows:

  • One weekly post (on any of the topics discussed until now and anything else may be interesting, with the usual collection of links to useful bits and bobs from the web)
  • An update on the services I offer as writers’ coach and content editor (two new static pages with all the info)
  • Random updates on my writing activity (because, if I can, you also can 🙂 academic and creative
  • A monthly post with answers to your questions on writing (leave your questions in comments and I’ll collect and reply to them to the best of my ability)

My priority for next year, 2013, will be to finish the nth draft of my novel and send it away to agents.

Do you have priorities for next year? Feel free to share 🙂

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08/01/2013 · 10:02 pm

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 2,300 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 4 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

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