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Writer Resources

Louis Sachar: “Always be willing to rewrite.”

LouisOver the weekend, Louis Sachar visited New York City to headline an event for the 92Y’s Children’s Reading Series. Attendees listened to him perform a reading and joined in on a Q&A session.

When asked for writing advice, Sachar (pictured, via) recommended that one “always be willing to rewrite.” He shared that he always comes up with the best ideas as he is re-writing. He feels that initial ideas can sometimes seem superficial and it is only in subsequent drafts that those ideas become more substantial.

For Sachar, each book typically requires him to write six drafts. He usually devotes the first three or four drafts to ironing out the plot and character development. For his final drafts, he tries to write the story in the most artistic way he can. What do you think?

Noise Trade Books Helps You Market Your Book

noisetradebooks
NoiseTrade, a music marketing startup founded in 2008, has expanded its platform and to help authors and publishers market books.

Authors and publishers can take advantage of this platform by releasing free chapters or entire books and giving this content away in exchange for customer data.  NoiseTrade Books lets authors make content available to readers for free and connect directly with content creators in exchange for an email and a zip code. The idea is to help authors build up their own mailing lists. NoiseTrade also sends out a weekly email highlighting eBooks and audiobooks and this email goes out to 1.2 million people.

Authors including Cory Doctorow,  Guy Kawasaki and Dave Ramsey, as well as publishing sites DailyLit and Byliner are already using the platform.

DIY Tips to Help Market Your Book

market-book_articleSo let’s say you’ve published your book (hooray!) — no doubt with the help of your stellar nonfiction book proposal. Your work is done, right? Not exactly. Your next step is crucial: you need to get people interested enough to actually buy your work. That’s where the marketing efforts comes in.

In the final “Book Publishing” installment of our Profit From Your Passion series, we talked with a variety of publishing experts about how to promote your book, even if you can’t afford to hire a publicist. One of the biggest lessons learned? Don’t stop writing:

There are literally thousands of magazines and websites that regularly hire freelance writers (see our How To Pitch column for leads), and if you’re interested in penning an op-ed or trend piece around one of the topics in your book, it can be a great way to actually get paid to promote your own work. ”It’s important to think about not only the topics that the author has the authority to write and that may interest them, but also how it ties in to the book,” says [Dana Kaye of Kaye Publicity]. “If your audience mostly reads a lot of hard news, then you want to be pitching CNN, the Wall Street JournalThe New York Times. If your audience reads more lifestyle stuff, then going to women’s lifestyle publications and websites makes sense.”

For more book-marketing tips, including advice on how starting a blog can help, read: 6 Ways to Effectively Market Your Book.

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

Experts Break Down the Elements of a Nonfiction Book Proposal

book-proposal-2_articleAs part of this week’s Profit From Your Passion series, yesterday we offered advice on how to get your book proposal off the ground. Now that you’ve got an outline in your head for your nonfiction book idea, the next step toward attracting a publisher is to sit down and compose the formal proposal. Although easier said than done, the process can actually help you narrow your focus, determine what your unique angle is — and help you stay organized.

We talked to seasoned writers, agents and editors about the basic elements of a nonfiction book proposal, mistakes to avoid and more. The takeaway is that your book proposal shouldn’t be taken lightly:

One thing [Brian Klems, author and online editor for Writer’s Digest] wishes he’d known ahead of time was that writing the proposal, even after having done most of the research, takes a really long time. “I thought the hard part would be writing the book, and that I’d knock out the proposal in one night. A friend of mine said no, don’t do that… don’t hand it in, give it a couple of days to sit down and start going over it. This is your one shot, you want to get it as right as possible.” In light of how we writers tend to be perfectionists, however, he adds, “You always feel like you can improve, but at that point, you do have to cut yourself off and say, it’s time for me to put it out there.”

For more information on how to write a compelling nonfiction book proposal, read: Getting Started on Your Nonfiction Book Proposal.

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

How to Get Your Book Proposal Off the Ground

a12000So you’ve got a great idea for a book. Congrats! Before you plunge right in, you’ll want to take some time to craft a book proposal. A few questions to ask yourself: Do you have some knowledge of the publishing industry? Could you be considered an authority on the subject of your book? Are you ready to wholeheartedly promote your book for about a year following its release?

In the third week of Mediabistro’s Profit From Your Passion series, we talk to three leading industry experts, who discuss the various stages of the book-proposal process.

Rachelle Gardner, literary agent at Books & Such, states that you’re likely ready to write a book when you’ve spent years “thinking about [your topic], studying it, writing about it, both in your personal journals and in public spaces, possibly speaking to audiences about it, getting a degree in it or building a career around it.” Your own expertise is an essential selling point in the eyes of an agent or editor. Gardner adds, “You’re ready to write a book when you know what everyone else is writing about your topic, and you are confident that you have something fresh to add to the conversation.”

For more information on the book-proposal process, read: Laying the Groundwork for Your Book Proposal.

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

How Do Writers Create Fictional Worlds?

“How can human-made squiggles on a page reflect lights into our eyes that sends signals to our brains that we logically and emotionally decode as complex narratives?”

The animated video embedded above features a five-minute TED-Ed lesson with tips on how to build fictional worlds in stories. Kate Messner, a children’s books author and a speaker at the TED 2012 conference, served as the educator who crafted this lecture.

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Amazon Has a New Online Story Building Tool For TV & Film Writers

storybuilderAmazon’s film division Amazon Studios has created a new tool to help writers build scripts called Amazon Storybuilder.

The digital tool borrows from the paper notecard approach to writing story boards only it does it virtual. Screenwriters can create digital notecards and move them around on a virtual cork board. Writers can add text and photos to these notecards to help build out a story. The new resource comes after the launch of Amazon Storyteller, which turns scripts into storyboards.

The free tool is available online, as well as on their mobile devices. And don’t worry, Amazon doesn’t acquire the rights to any of these ideas just because you are using their tool.

“Technology is already transforming how filmed entertainment is produced and distributed, and many of the tools writers use to craft stories could become more accessible with a technology update–paper notecards are a perfect example,” stated Roy Price, director of Amazon Studios.

 

‘Selfie’ Named Word of the Year

oxforddictionariesThe Oxford Dictionaries have chosen “selfie” as the Word of the Year for the United States.

A “selfie” is defined as “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.”  According to the OUP blog, the organizers voted unanimously for this word.

Here’s more from The Huffington Post: “There have also been lots of plays on this word, such as ‘welfie’ (workout selfie), ‘drelfie’ (drunken selfie), and even, for you book lovers out there, ‘bookshelfie’ (shelfie in front of your bookshelves). Though selfie is not in the Oxford English Dictionary yet, it is being considered for future inclusion.” Would “selfie” have been your choice for “word of the year”?

Journalist Reflects on Future of New Orleans Times-Picayune

hellAuthor and journalist Rebecca Theim wrote about the future of a famous newspaper in Hell and High Water: The Battle to Save the Daily New Orleans Times-Picayune.

The book is out this month, and we caught up with the journalist to find out more about the book and how Mediabistro’s courses helped her write the story.

Her answers follow below…

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How Writers Can Pitch Online Outlets

Author and technology consultant Scott Steinberg shared some important advice for writers in this encore edition of the  Morning Media Menu podcast (embedded below).

Steinberg shared tips for pitching online outlets about your book. We caught up with Steinberg while he promoted The Modern Parent’s Guide to Video Games.

To promote his work, he shared columns and essays on a number of sites–reaching out to new readers at major outlets like CNN.comAll Things D and ESPN.com.

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