Saturday, October 30, 2010

It's All About the Social Network

Nearly 80 publishing professionals tuned in to a BISG-sponsored webcast, “Marketing ‘Books’ in a Digital World,” on Wednesday. The hour-long discussion covered a range of tactics publishers are taking to get their books into readers’ hands, but the topic that loomed largest was social networking.
Rob Goodman, director of online marketing at Simon & Schuster, revealed a battery of impressive figures about how social networking influences consumer buying habits, among them: consumers are 67% more likely to buy from the brands they follow on Twitter, 51% more likely to buy from a brand they fan on Facebook, and 79% more likely to recommend brands and products they follow on social media. The other speaker, Peter Milburn, digital products marketing manager at Wiley Global Finance, called Facebook (which has 500 million users), Twitter (125 million users), YouTube, and LinkedIn “the new retailers,” an idea moderator Jim Lichtenberg, president of the management consulting practice Lightspeed, confirmed when he noted, “You go to Facebook, hear about a book, then go to a retailer and buy it—so at that point the retailer’s just fulfilling your desire.”
Milburn advised publishers to “know your ecosystem. Learn to speak the language” that consumers are speaking. That might mean using to understand phrases and words like IMHO, hashtag, and API, or reading’s Twitter guide book, which explains basics, building a Twitter community, Twitter for business, and more. Being involved in consumers’ world also lets marketers see what people are saying about their books and brands online, Milburn said.
“It’s not enough to create a page on a social media site like Facebook,” Milburn said. He cited Peter Schiff, whose book, How an Economy Grows and Why It Crashes, Wiley published in May. Schiff created his own Web site and made sure that as people searched online for terms related to his book’s topic, they would land on his site. Milburn noted that it is important not to barrage consumers. “Don’t spray and pray. Listen, reply, and engage.”
Goodman also advised marketers to connectt with people online. “Things can go viral and feed out to millions of people in amazing ways,” he said, but first, “You must engage people to get them talking.”
Like many companies, S&S has increased its online advertising in the past three years with good results. Goodman said the company has had “great success” with Facebook engagement interactive ads, which, in an effort to tackle the grim click-through rates of traditional online ads, encourage people to interact with the ads by leaving comments, sharing virtual gifts, or becoming fans.
*From an article in PW by  , It's All About the Social Network

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Professional Writing: Courses, Resources, Mentors

Want to make a living through writing? 

Thought of approaching an agent or publisher but don't know how?  

Need a mentor?

Well, we found a place you might want to check out. is an online network for writers looking to brush up their skills, showcase work and have it critiqued by peers and experts. Their expertise has grown out of MA Professional Writing, which they run at University College Falmouth – check out their full and part-time courses; there's more info here.

They have more than just courses though. There's a Members Room where you can pitch ideas and browse a job board. They can pair you with a Mentor or you can submit your work for a Peer Review and they run a monthly short fiction and nonfiction competition called Bloc.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Unsure about submitting your writing?

Every author has doubts about submitting their work, whether for publication, or in a writing competition like our YA Mystery Short Story Competition Mystery Times Ten

You worry, 'It's not good enough. Who am I kidding, I have no talent!' or  'No one will want to read this!' or even 'What if they absolutely hate it?'

You think, 'It needs more editing, I'm not happy with the fill in the blank (beginning, middle, ending).'

At a certain point you have to stop tinkering, tweaking, messing with your work and bravely send it out into the world. Don't get me wrong, I firmly believe in writing followed by rewriting, editing and more rewriting and editing. One thing is certain though: If you never send it out, it will never have a chance to get published. Of course it can't get rejected either as long as it stays on your computer or desk and nice and safe and unseen.

That's when you have to look yourself in the mirror and ask - Do I want to be known as a writer? or a wanna-be?

If you don't want to listen to me, then I offer up these words of encouragement from one of your fellow writers, Karen Simmonds, a recent double winner in the WOW! (Women-On-Writing) Spring 2010 Flash Fiction Contest. Here's a snippet from the WOW! site:

WOW: Karen, congratulations on your double victory in WOW!'s Spring 2010 Flash Fiction Contest. Not only did you nab Runner-Up honors for Fly Girl, you also earned an Honorable Mention for another of your stories, The Costume Party. That's simply awesome! Based on your experience, what advice would you offer to writers who are considering entering a writing contest?
Karen: "Take that step! I kept my writing under wraps for years. It can be tough to know when something is ready, but sometimes you just have to let go and not work a piece to death. Sending your story out into the world can be very exciting. Keep challenging yourself, learn as you go, but don't hide it away."
Now what are you waiting for? Enter your YA Mystery Short Story in our competition today! 

*To read the rest of Karen's interview on the WOW! site, CLICK HERE


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

7 Tips for Writers to Overcome Procrastination

“When I’ve caught up with my emails and dealt with xxx, I’ll write my blog post.”
“I’ll just do xxx and then I’ll write the next section of my book.”
Recognise either of these statements or variations on the same theme?
Feel free to fill in the xxx with whatever fits your particular situation and your way of thinking. Whatever xxx you come up with, essentially they all relate to the same issue – procrastination.
However plausible the xxx appears to be, there are times when all writers fall under the spell of procrastination.
Procrastination simply means that we put off taking action on something we want or need to do, and convince ourselves that tomorrow will be a better day to make a start. We allow ourselves to become side-tracked and find endless ways to justify why it makes more sense to do something else first.
On occasions, taking some time out to allow more space for ideas to develop is absolutely the right decision. However, we need to balance this with the reality that “tomorrow” may never come and sometimes the delay results in lost opportunities.
For some people who want to write, procrastination is a chronic condition which unfortunately means that their writing just doesn’t get done – ever! Or it may take so long that by the time the words meets the page the energy and enthusiasm have all but drained away.
In such situations, there are usually other factors at work including lack of self-belief, fear and a whole host of other resistance-related issues which need to be addressed separately.
For most writers, procrastination pops up in milder forms. It holds us back when we have a challenging topic to write about, when we’re not entirely sure what we want to say or when we don’t feel confident about undertaking activities relating to building our platform.
Yet, as anyone who writes regularly knows, overcoming procrastination is part of the process of becoming an author and living the truth of that each and every day.
So here are 7 tips to help you to overcome procrastination:

1. Reduce the time between decision and action: once you have decided to write an article or work on the next section of your book, schedule it into your diary and when the moment comes, write!
2. Do your preparation the day before: this is especially important if you are still exploring a topic so sketch out a few preliminary ideas, identify 5 key points you want to make, come up with a working title and then let your unconscious mind work on it for you overnight.
3. Do your writing first! Having completed whatever preparation you need to do in advance, sit down to write before you make any phone calls, answer emails or open up your social networking accounts.
4. Practise overcoming procrastination with short, easy projects: you don’t have to start by writing a book. Begin to build up your writing muscles with short blog posts and subjects that you know well and enjoy.
5. Reward yourself with a break at the end of your first draft: have a drink or something to eat, take a walk, have a conversation with a friend or dive in to see what’s happening on Facebook or Twitter.
6. Break challenging topics or tasks into manageable chunks: if you do have a piece to write that feels like a stretch, make a plan of how you can address it in several short sessions of preparation and writing so that it feels do-able.
7. Don’t wait for the perfect moment or try to write a perfect piece! There really is no perfect moment to write and no such thing as a perfect piece of writing. Simply choose what seems to you to be an optimum time for you to be focused, creative and in the flow … and just do it!
What are your favorite ways for overcoming procrastination? Post your comments below

Guest spot by 
© Julia McCutchen 2010. All Rights Reserved.

Julia McCutchen is the founder & creative director of the International Association of Conscious & Creative Writers (IACCW) where writers discover their authentic voice – on the page and in the world. A former managing director & publisher (Element, Random House), Julia is a successful and intuitive writer’s coach, mentor and professional publishing consultant. She has over 20 years’ experience of publishing and a track record that includes UK no 1 and international bestsellers. Julia is the author of The Writer’s Journey: From Inspiration to Publication and the creator of the How to Write the Ultimate Book Proposal Online Masterclass Course. For a FREE Special Report, Discover Your Authentic Voice – on the page and in the world, visit, and for a range of FREE articles, audios and videos for writers visit

Friday, October 15, 2010

10 MORE Resources for Writers

As promised here are 10 more resources to help you in your quest for a well-written, perfectly polished manuscript.
  1. Need a grammar check? Not sure you're using the right word? Have a question about punctuation or capitalization? Then hurry over to Grammar Book where they have answers to all these questions and more.
  2. If Grammar Book isn't friendly enough for you, then the site you want is Grammar Girl where they promise "quick and dirty tips for better writing"!
  3. Enough of the grammar you say! Agreed! You thought I was going to say all right or certainly, didn't you? If so, then you might want to check out Strunk and White's List of Misused Words and Expressions at Bartleby. Although it can't possibly cover everything, it hits the highlights from 'as good or better than' all the way to 'worth while'.
  4. Need some creative help? Staring at a blank screen with no ideas at all? Get some help at Writing Fix, a site that creates writing prompts on the spot. They even have left-brained and right-brained prompts!
  5. Are you a 'newbie' to writing or just have questions about agents, query letters, submissions . . . then you want to check out J.A. Konrath’s A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing blog provides great information for new (and veteran) fiction writers. He also has links to plenty of good resources and other blogs you might want to check out.
  6. Speaking of agents, are you tired of trying to keep track of who you sent your query to and what agency they were with that week? Well, Query Tracker  can help you organize all that information. In addition to their method for organizing and tracking your queries, they also have an extensive database to help you find the perfect agent and useful statistical information about literary agents and publishers. While you're there you might want to join their community of writers who are also on the query track.
  7. Another great free online sumissions tracker is available to registered members at duotrope's digest.  Where they also have an award-winning, free writers' resource listing over 3100 current Fiction and Poetry publications.
  8. Confused about copyrights, fair use, trademarks and electronic rights? The site for you might just be The Publishing Law Center. They have all the answers and more.
  9. Worried about scams, fake writing contests and other nasty stuff? Go to Writer Beware. Sponsored by the SFWA "Writer Beware’s mission is to track, expose, and raise awareness of the prevalence of fraud and other questionable activities in and around the publishing industry."
  10.  Checked your grammar, no misused words or phrases, finally understand fair use and copyrights, tracked all your submissions, and anxious to tell the world you're an author? If you're looking for some good 'writer' fun, try Write Side Out where you can have t-shirts, totes and more printed up with the title of your book front and center complete with a choice of mock cover. Be your own billboard! Better yet, give some to your friends. They can say they know the author personally. Boost those presales!
Well, I hope you enjoyed this collection of sites. I'll be bringing you more as the weeks go by. Meanwhile, "sit your butt in the chair and type like crazy!"

YA authors, be sure you check out our YA Mystery Short Story Competition - Mystery Times Ten. Happy writing!

This article may be copied and quoted as long as you include the byline below:
© 2010 by MaryChris Bradley, Publisher Buddhapuss Ink LLC, the proud publishers of The Last Track by Sam Hilliard and the upcoming Mystery Times Ten, a collection of Mystery Short Stories for the YA audience.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

E-book Sales Jump 172% in August

While sales in the print trade segments shrank in August, e-book sales had another strong month, jumping 172.4%, to $39 million, according to the 14 publishers that report sales to the AAP’s monthly sales estimates. For the year-to-date, e-book sales were up 192.9%, to $263 million. AAP said that of the approximately 19 publishers that report trade sales, revenue in the January to August period was $2.91 billion, making the $263 million e-book sales 9.0% of trade sales. At the end of 2009, e-book sales comprised 3.3% of trade sales. The mass market segment, where sales were down 14.3% in the first eight months of 2009, represented 15.1% of trade sales through August.

*From PW Daily 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

5 Reasons Why Some Writers Go Cat, and Never Go Back

Sam HilliardLong before publishing became a viable career path, writers turned to pets for companionship, love and the occasional moment of inspiration. As is the case with pet owners, writers often forge a particular allegiance to one kind of pet, be it a cat or dog. While felines and canines can coexist quite well, since writers tend to work at home, they seldom introduce chaos—at least intentionally—into their workplace. So it’s generally one kind of pet or the other. And sometimes it can be quite a lot of that kind.
More than fifty cats roamed Hemingway’s grounds and writing studio; however, most writer’s cat households are more modest in size. Regardless of the number though, the real question of why some writers prefer cats remains unanswered.
As the head of my own Cat Army, Oedipus, Electra, Abra, and Mooshy, I have given the question of why writers go cat great consideration—usually while cleaning up hairballs.
1) Generally quiet. This is critical since most writers alternate between broke and destitute and therefore must rent their abode. A quiet cat makes for a happier landlord. Since cats sleep roughly 65 percent to 95 percent of the workday, depending on the make, model, and age they don’t have many opportunities to make noise.
2) Legal reasons. Plenty of housing complexes restrict dog ownership, but allow cats. Irony is such a cunning mistress.
3) Self-regulating by nature. As long their human provides clean water, food, and checks on the litter box periodically, the cat usually takes care of the rest. No need to rush home to walk them. Going away for the weekend isn’t a problem either. That’s just more bed for them.
4) Cats communicate directly. For instance, when the cat wants his person to start writing so he can claim his bed again, he might gnaw pages left on the night stand. After going a few rounds with an editor, this might seem refreshing but can make the rewrite fun and it generally achieves the desired result of a now writer-free bed.
5) Superior memory. While the writer can’t remember where he put his favorite pen, the cat does. It’s hidden in their lair behind the couch, right where they dragged it.
6) Esoteric taste in people food. Pork rinds, beef jerky, pork lo mien and uncooked pasta are just some of things I’ve caught my cats nibbling.
Hopefully this sheds some light on one of the most pressing questions in contemporary fiction.

*This post was originally done as a guest post on The Book Faery Reviews and was written by Sam Hilliard the author of The Last Track: A Mike Brody Novel.  

Mystery Scene Magazine called Brody "such a riveting character that he could easily anchor an entire series" and The Midwest Book Review said "The Last Track is an exciting adventure and mystery, highly recommended."

Friday, October 8, 2010

Harris Poll Finds Mysteries, Thrillers Edge Out Romance Novels

A new Harris Poll is out, and among its findings are that mysteries, thrillers, and crime novels beat out chick-lit and romance novels by a large margin; and that more women than men read mysteries, thrillers, and crime novels.
The poll, conducted among 2,775 U.S. adults online this past August, found that among those who say they read at least one book in an average year, equal numbers—about eight in 10—said they have read a novel or nonfiction book in the past year. Almost half (48%) of fiction readers said they read mysteries, thrillers and crime novels, while a quarter read science fiction (26%) and another quarter (24%) read “literature.” One in five said they read romance novels (21%) and one in 10 have read graphic novels (11%) in the past year. Chick-lit (8%) and western (5%) books are less popular among respondents.
Among those who read nonfiction, 31% read histories, 29% read biographies, and 26% read religious and spirituality books. Lesser numbers have read political books (17%), self-help books (16%), current affairs (14%), true crime (12%), and business (10%) books in the past year. Respondents aged 18 to 33 are more likely than other age groups to read “literature” (42%) and graphic novels (18%). Readers 65 and older are more likely to read mystery, thriller, and crime novels (61%) and westerns (9%). Women are more likely than men to read mysteries, thrillers, and crime novels (57% versus 39%), romance (37% versus 3%), chick-lit (12% versus 4%), and religious books (30% versus 21%). Men are more likely to read science fiction (32% versus 20%), history books (40% versus 23%), political books (25% versus. 10%), and business books (16% versus 4%).
Respondents’ favorite authors were those on the top of the bestsellers lists: Stephen King, James Patterson, John Grisham, Nora Roberts, Tom Clancy, Dean Koontz, Danielle Steel, Dan Brown, J.K. Rowling, and J.R.R. Tolkien.
  from PW Daily

How to Defeat the Sloth Monster: A Workout Program for Writers

So how do writers shoot down the sloth monster that seems a ready-made date for those in such a sedentary profession? Here’s a sample writer’s workout routine. It’s a careful blend of resistance training and aerobics, and of course sensible eating.

NOTE: This strenuous routine may not be appropriate for all writers. Please consult your physician before making any changes in your own diet or physical regimen.

6:40 AM – Crawl from bed to bathroom. Feed cats on return to bed.
6:42 AM – Meditate.
7:59 AM – Beat the alarm clock to pulp for interrupting morning meditation session.
8:10 AM – Steal paper off a neighboring lawn, running back to home quickly so they don’t throw garbage at you again.
8:20 AM – Complain about crappy coffee.
8:45 AM – Shower, dress (in something besides a robe), eat breakfast and read purloined paper.
9:10 AM – Commence Power meditation while positioned horizontally with head supported by pillows.
11:13 AM – Interrupt meditation to curse world for not having written a word.
11:19 AM – Screw around on Internet, checking mail, blogs, Twitter, Facebook and stock quotes. Tell your editor you’re deep into “research” when they call to ask how the book is coming along.
11:59 AM – Write for seven minutes and then make lunch.
12:59 PM – Return from lunch. Resume writing. Break every forty five minutes to stretch or eat something crunchy, whichever feels better.
2:00 PM – Doritos break.
2:17 PM – Mid-day caffeine break.
4:56 PM – Read the day’s pages. Curse world for forcing you to read your own written words.
5:30 PM – Eat a balanced dinner that includes at least one of the following food groups: pizza, tacos, hot dogs, donuts, or beer.
6:10 PM – Think about working out. Just thinking about it usually makes you feel better about not
 doing it.
7:30 PM – Channel surf while holding some form of alcoholic beverage in your other hand.
9:35 PM – Read (hopefully someone else’s work).
11:14 PM – Wake  up to cat licking drool off your face, and retire for evening’s meditation, but not before final power snack from one or more of the following food groups: cheez whiz, potato chips, or leftover Chinese.
11:20 PM – Begin evening meditation session.
 *Originally a guest post on Teresa's Reading Corner, this piece was written by Sam Hilliard, the author of The Last Track: A Mike Brody Novel.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

10 Resources for Writers

Having trouble getting started? Need the perfect quote for an article or story? Just looking for a synonym? Here's a short list of sites to help you over those hurdles and more.

1) Looking for a starting point for a blog post, article or journal? Try the "of the day" entries on refdesk. This site is also great for checking facts or just satisfying your trivia cravings.

2) Long considered one of the authorities when it comes to dictionaries and thesauri, Merriam-Webster's site will help you find just the right word, and spell it correctly too!

3) Need a funny quote to get things going? My favorite source is cheekyquotes.
They have a wide variety of quotes to choose from and you can even tweet them to your followers direct from their site with just a click of your mouse.

4) Perhaps you had a more serious type of quote in mind for that story or article? Then try Brainy Quotes. They cover everything from Age and Anger to Wisdom and Work! They also have a daily list of birthdays. Did you know today was Thor Heyerdahl's birthday? You can even click on the person's name and get quotes by them.
"I also believe that when one dies, one may wake up to the reality that proves that time does not exist. "
Thor Heyerdahl

5) Looking for help from other writers? Need an opening? Researching the perfect weapon for your villain? Trying to track down some information? Try Mike's Writing Workshop.    Note - they brook no nonsense and post this warning clearly on their opening page:  NO SPAM, NO NEGATIVITY, NO EXPLICITLY SEXUAL OR EXCESSIVELY VIOLENT MATERIAL, NO VEERING FROM WRITING. Violators will be banned!

6) Whether you are a writer looking for the perfect place to store and display your masterpieces or a reader willing to offer feedback for writers and their work, Writing dot com may be the website for you.

7) Ready to just kick back and LISTEN to others talk about writing? Then tune into the online radio station writersfm. They bill themselves as Radio by writers, for writers.
8) Looking for inspiration and encouragement from published authors? Check out 18Q. A series of 18 questions that over 100 authors have answered are posted here for you to peruse. 

9) Really stuck and need a something to get you started today? Choose from over 1 BILLION (yes, I said billion!) random story starters at this appropriately named site, The Story Starter. They also have a Story Starter for kids, and a cool word maker game for those times when you just want to exercise the old gray matter.

10) Looking for the ultimate writing challenge? Then hop over to Book-in-a-Week where their motto is “butt in chair, hands on keyboard, typing away madly”—and you’ll need to adhere to it if you want to live up to the challenge. "No editing, no going back over what’s been written. Write, write, write. What is important is getting the words down, creating a first draft. Editing and revising comes later. Allow yourself to write quickly and without worry. Get your ideas down first."

So there you have it - 10 resources just waiting for you to tap into them. Now what are you waiting for? GET WRITING!
This article may be copied and quoted as long as you include the byline below:

 © 2010 by MaryChris Bradley, Publisher Buddhapuss Ink LLC, the proud publishers of The Last Track by Sam Hilliard and the upcoming Mystery Times Ten, a collection of Mystery Short Stories for the YA audience.


Monday, October 4, 2010

Name that Baddie! Contest

Think you have the perfect name for a villain? Don't keep it to yourself - share it! Buddhapuss Ink LLC was founded with the mission of putting their readers first and getting them involved in the storylines of the books. Together with Book Reader Addicts, here’s your chance to name a villain in an upcoming book, the sequel to The Last Track: A Mike Brody Novel by Sam Hilliard.

What's in it for me?
First Prize: Sam Hilliard will use your bad guy/gal's character name in a future Mike Brody novel. In addition the Winner will be credited in the Acknowledgments in that upcoming book and Sam will send you a signed copy of the new title when it is released. The winner will also receive a signed copy of the first Mike Brody book - The Last Track and an official Buddhapuss Ink LLC T-shirt

What if I don't win first prize?2 Runners Up: 2 (two) additional entries will be selected as runners up and will receive signed copies of the current book - The Last Track and an official Buddhapuss Ink LLC T-shirt.

How do I enter my villain name?
First, Like Book Reader Addicts on Facebook! Then send an email via Facebook to Cynthia Hatfield-Garcia of Book Reader Addicts with the character name by 5PM EST on 11/2/2010. If your character name is picked or you are one of the two runners up, Cynthia will message you back on Facebook and request a shipping address for your prizes.


Need a Kickstart for Your Writing Today?

Lots of things can be used as writing prompts, pictures, memories, quotes. It's truly whatever works for you. Really lacking the inspired muse today? Then try one of these prompts. There's almost a year's worth to choose from!

Now, get writing!  Oh, and don't forget to enter our YA Short Story Competition - Mystery Times Ten!