3 Top Tips, ambition, creative process, So You Want To Write A Book Part One, Writing

So You Want To Write A Book? Three Top Tips…

By Antonio Litterio

1. Start with social media. There are two great reasons for this: commitment, and publicity. Talk’s cheap. Anyone can say they’re going to write a book. When you put the word out about your ambition on Facebook, it’s there for everyone to see, for all time. You’ve made a commitment. Your friends can encourage you. Post extracts, and Tweet teasers to get feedback from your audience. They’re potential readers for your finished book. Let them in on the ground floor of your ambition.

2. Set aside some dedicated writing time every single day. Carry a notebook with you everywhere. Keep a diary, and make quick notes about everything you see, hear and think. If you only manage a handful of words a day, that will make a sizeable haul in no time. You’ll have created a source of inspiration you can draw on, all through your writing career.

3.  When you get a minute to yourself, alone, read your work aloud. You’ll catch all sorts of things you don’t notice when you’re in the act of writing. Injecting some feeling into your precious words as you speak will make the good bits sing, and encourage you. It also shows you where you need to add punctuation, or alter your sentence structure.

To make sure you don’t miss any of my top tips, follow my blog using the sign-up form on the right hand sidebar of this page. I send out a newsletter a couple of times a year with news about my writing, country life, competitions and offers—join my mailing list here.

3 Top Tips, books, Her Royal Risk, His Majesty's Secret Passion, Leena Hyatt, marketing, Nas Dean, selling, Valentine's Day

How To Succeed with Blog Tours: Three Top Tips

Available from http://bit.ly/1ujX5zc

1. Decide what you want to get out of the experience: selling tons of books would be ideal, of course, but it doesn’t always happen. You also run the risk of overexposure if you’re a one-trick pony (see Tip 3, below). Concentrate on building and strengthening your on-line networks. Open a spreadsheet, and log the details of your number of followers, comments, and other details before you start. Make sure you provide the entertainment and information your followers are looking for in your pieces. If the totals on your spreadsheet increase after your blog tour, that leads to more satisfaction in the long-term than a temporary blip in downloads. You may never know whether a purchased copy of your book was read, but it takes positive, measurable action for a blog reader to sign up for your newsletter, or “like” your author page.


2. Get someone else to handle to admin. I work with Nas Dean, although other on-line assistance companies are available. Compare several before deciding which one to use. I’ve found Nas offers great value for money and has lots of contacts, so you get plenty of opportunities for networking. This spreads the word about you, and your work. A good admin person will arrange dates, and supply an idea of the material your host is looking for. An administrator will also arrange giveaways and competitions. Don’t leave everything to them, though: when your blogs go live, visit the pages to make sure things are running smoothly, and reply to all comments.

Available from http://bit.ly/1GQPIIq

3. Hide Your Message, So They Go Seek: Mary Stuart wasn’t in the business of selling books, so she only had the phrase “Philip and Calais” engraved on her heart. The three words branded on an author’s every organ should be “buy my book” although you should keep it in mind, rather than out in plain sight. Shrinking violets don’t sell many stories, but avoid veering from no promotion at all to becoming the most shameless self-publicist since P.T. Barnum. Make sure your cover art and buy links are there on every piece you submit, but be careful to include more than simple advertising in the content of those blogs. You want to engage, entertain and maybe even inform your readers. My first book for The Wild Rose Press, His Majesty’s Secret Passion, came out at the beginning of February this year. On the 14th of every month, I have a regular blogspot with Leena Hyat’s Authorsoundrelations. Of course, this ties in nicely with Valentine’s Day. Rather than do a straight “Buy my Book!” with links, this year I provided hints and tips on keeping your Valentine’s Day flowers fresh for as long as possible (you can read that piece here).  The information came from my flower-growing life outside of writing. The tie-in with His Majesty’s Secret Passion was that my heroine Sara was given a beautiful bouquet by a mysterious stranger.

Blog tours involve a lot of writing, but they are good fun. I’ll be scheduling another one in a few weeks to promote Her Royal Risk, the next book in my Princes Of Kharova series.  Visit my author page here on Facebook to find out more details about what’s going on.

3 Top Tips, Characters, readership, Rudyard Kipling

Three Top Tips On Characters and Readership

Power of Words by Antonio Litterio.jpg: Antonio Litterio derivative work: InverseHypercube
By Antonio Litterio

1. Make your readers care about your characters and what happens to them. Grab them on page one, and don’t let go. Your audience is hungry for action, whether it’s romance or drama. They want to escape from their everyday lives into a different reality.  Give them heroes and heroines they can relate to, and give those characters aspirations, a job to do and a journey to make, whether it’s real or metaphorical.

2. Let your characters grow and change through the course of your book. Make them interesting and multi-dimensional. Remember the words of Rudyard Kipling: “I keep six honest serving-men (They taught me all I knew); Their names are What and Why and When And How and Where and Who.” He trained as a journalist, although his verse hold true for fiction, too. “Why?”is the main man you want nagging away at your reader, urging them to turn the page to find out what happens, how and where, when and to whom (or “who to”, if you’re going for the popular vote).

3. If you’re determined to launch your writing on the public, make sure you aim in the right direction. Find out exactly what readers want, and give it to them. Nothing less (or more) will do. Writing for profit doesn’t work in the same way as producing meals for children. You can’t say; “you’ll have this, and like it.” or “how can you say you don’t like it if you’ve never tried?’ The purchasing reader has the right of ultimate veto. If you want to sell, fit your work to your audience.

This is an extract from my next release, You Can…Write a Book. To find out more, mail me at christinahollis(at)hotmail.co.uk, putting “Booklet 2014” in the subject line.

#1k1hr, 3 Top Tips, Creative Writing, fiction, Neo, Susan Maushart, Twitter

Three Top Tips for Getting Your Writing Done…

Distracted? Who, me? 

1. Enjoy yourself and your work, and it’ll be reflected on the page. If you’re wrapped up in your characters and can’t wait to find out how their story unfolds, then it will show in your work. Indulge yourself in your imaginary people and their fictional landscape. Those powerful feelings will travel from your brain, all the way down to your writing (or typing!) fingers.  To paraphrase the old quote: write, and they will read–but only if they get swept up in your enthusiasm.  You’ll know when you’ve found the right mix of characters and plot. The writing won’t feel like work!

2. I love using  #1k1hr on Twitter to join forces with other writers who need the motivation of writing to a deadline. It’s really useful to be part of that supportive online community, but like fire, the internet is a great servant but a terrible master. If you want to produce a reasonable amount of quality work, you’ll have to find some way to stay off-line for long periods.  Who hasn’t gone online for a few minutes to check their emails, only to then lose hours to WILFing (What Was I Looking For?) as Susan Maushart put it. Read her book “The Winter of Our Disconnect” to discover that there really is life on the other side of the screen.  

3. Like it or not, whether they’re going to be self-published, emailed to an agent or publisher, or sent out conventionally by post, manuscripts have to be put up on a screen eventually.  Writing things out longhand then transcribing means you get an extra look at your work as it goes through the process. That’s useful, but it takes more time than simply tapping away at a keyboard from the start. If you’d rather type than write out in longhand but get easily distracted by the internet, try a Neo. It’s a simple keyboard with a basic memory–that’s all. No facility for going online means no distractions (well, not from that direction, anyway!). When you finish your writing session, you just upload your work into your current WIP document. 

If you’ve enjoyed these tips, you can find more at my website, christinahollis.com What’s your most useful tip for getting the writing done? 
3 Top Tips, Creative Writing

Three Top Tips – How To Give Your Writing Appeal…

By Antonio Litterio

Last week, I told you that underestimating the intelligence of your audience is a bad idea. Whether they dropped out at 14 or if they’re looking at their doctorate in the rear-view mirror, everyone knows something about the human condition, even if their field of experience is only a narrow strip. If we’re talking of qualifications for writing or reading fiction, however fantastical the subject you need to germinate it from a grain of reality. Don’t give your landlord-evading private eye a Bugatti Veyron to drive, unless he’s stolen it. Even then, at 3 miles per gallon, he’d better take a Saturday job if the bailiffs aren’t going to be winching it onto a truck. And that’s before he’s paid for the insurance.

Aways do your research, but leave them wanting more. Drip feed information. Coax them to keep turning the pages by revealing only a little bit of what they want to know. Be a literary fan-dancer, but like the best burlesques, know how much to give, and when. Lead your reader up a blind alley or two, distract them with the occasional red herring but give them the pleasure of exposing the odd secret along the way as well. Don’t frustrate them too often, or for too long. When there are so many real-life distractions both on-and-off line, there’s a balancing act to be managed between suspense and revelation. Keep it fresh to keep them reading.
One cliche that no tip-sheet can avoid is “write what you know”. It works. You’re an expert on at least one thing – your own experiences. That’s a rich seam to mine, so get digging.  That doesn’t mean you should regurgitate your life story and nothing else ad nauseum, though. Did Shakespeare murder his wife over a pocket-handkerchief? Did Thomas Hardy hang children from clothes hooks? No, but they used their own experiences of human nature, jealousy and misery to colour their inventions. people are people the world over, and they’ve been like that down all the centuries. Powerful emotions  drove Cain to kill Abel and King David to send Uriah the Hittite away to war, and they’ve throbbed through the veins of thousands since then. Find your story, and make it speak to everyone.
I write both contemporary and historical fiction – when I’m not cooking, gardening or beekeeping. You can catch up with me on Twitter and Facebook, see a full list of my published books at http://www.christinahollis.com and get full details of my latest release, Jewel Under Siege, here.