Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Writing Wednesday: Turkey Break!

I'm in the middle of moving houses and hosting my entire family for Thanksgiving (in my new house. That I haven't finished moving into.)

My life.
Sooooooooooooo no Writing Wednesday today guys! I am still (slowly) answering questions on my NaNo thread AMA though, so if you need some Emergency Author Assistance, pop by! Until then, I hope you have a great holiday/final week of furious novel writing.


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Writing Wednesdays (Special NaNoWriMo Edition!): AMA Thread Highlights #3!

Round 3!

Today (since I'm still moving and I'm in the run up to the end of writing Heartstrikers #3 (SQUEEEE!)) we're going going back to take another look at the best (or, at least, the ones I like best) of my NaNoWriMo thread!

Highlights 1 and 2 are here for those interested, and if you have a question about writing, publishing, or books in general that you want to me to answer, come ask! I will answer you to the very best of my ability.


Writing Wednesdays (Special NaNoWriMo Edition!): AMA Thread Highlights #3!

I'm going to start out with two interrelated questions about starting over. The first is from Midnightatmoon (who's asked some really great questions this year!)

I'm 25k into this sucker, and I might have just realized that everything about my story is wrong. Like, so off, it's not even funny. My core group of characters have rebuilt themselves, and now they're much tighter as a group, which is super important since this is a heist story. They feel like a living, breathing bunch of people instead of a barely hanging together on a string. My MC has decided that the POV needs to be switched from 3rd to 1st, and I re-discovered that one of my core aspect of the story I wanted to incorporate in the beginning fell to the wayside (I didn't know how to add it, but I do now if I change the location to give it the environment it needs to thrive). 
This feels both really exciting and a little aggravating. I wouldn't have known what's wrong with it if I didn't make it this far, but on the other hand I don't feel like it'd be a step forward for my story to continue on in my NaNo. Sure, I'd get to the end of an art theft story, but it doesn't mean much if it's supposed to be a casino robbery. But all that new stuff feels like a much more solid foundation of my story-house, and I haven't even really gotten into the conflict, or the antagonist in the new setting yet. And the whole point of NaNo is to write now, fix later. Writing or the sake of writing isn't always helpful, is it? 
So my question to you is, what are your thoughts on mid-draft rewrites?
My answer

I struggle with some level of this on just about every book I write (Fortune's Pawn being the notable exception), and from the looks of things above, you are on exactly the right path.

The first draft is what you write to teach yourself how to write the book. It's the place where you can try out all those amazing ideas and see which ones can actually hold up. No matter how great a novel looks at the planning stage, you never know which ideas will actually be good until you're in the novel. This is where the rubber hits the road in writing, and it's why the #1 advice for how to be a good writer is to just write. Because there is absolutely no way to find these things out unless you're in there discovering and fixing all the stuff you're talking about.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Writing Wednesdays (Special NaNoWriMo Edition!): AMA Thread Highlights #2!

Hey everyone! I know I promised a post, but we're in the process of moving to a new house and everything's going to hell. So since last week's AMA highlights post was so popular (and since I'm basically writing giant blog posts for this thing anyway), we're doing it again!!

Here are a few more of my favorite questions from the year so far. And if you have a question about writing, publishing, or books in general that you want to me to answer, head on over to the NaNoWriMo Fantasy forum and check out my thread! Just think of me as your own private pro author :) (unless you already have your own private pro-author, in which case I'm happy to be your second string). I'll be answering questions whenever I can until the end of the month, so drop by say hello!


Writing Wednesdays (Special NaNoWriMo Edition!): AMA Thread Highlights #2!

Rare image of the writer at work loafing on the internet.

First up, DavidJGreen has a follow up to the question I answered last week about how to find a freelance editor and how does this self publishing thing work, anyway?
"Sorry if you've already answered this one. I've noticed you've answered one similar (but that was more regarding the marketing) but I don't know whether you'd categorise it as the same 'question'. How do you go about contacting an editor/publisher? Or, if you tend to self-publish: What are your first steps in self-publishing?"
My reply:

Monday, November 9, 2015

Let's Talk Numbers: Selling Books Sells Books

Trav has put together an amazing post for you guys looking at what factors make a book's sales rank go up once the initial release frenzy has ended, but first...

I'm the Kindle Daily Deal for BOTH of the books in my Heartstrikers series today!! That's right, both Nice Dragons Finish Last AND One Good Dragon Deserve Another are on sale today only for $1.99, so in other words I'm getting nothing done today due to massive Amazon sales rank stalking ヽ(^◇^*)/!

(Chelsie shows up behind me)

Um...maybe writing will be getting done after all! (types frantically)

Anyway, that's what's exciting in my life today. I'm still live answering writing questions on my NaNo thread, so if you have a burning question about writing, feel free to pop over and ask me anything! And now, as promised, here's Travis and his really impressive tea leaf reading of Amazon's sales rank charts, how they change over time, and what we as authors can do to make them move in our favor.

Take it away, Travis!


Hi Everyone,

I've got a treat for you all today! Serious usage of Rachel's author central sales rank graphs! Today I'm going to show you which events over the last several years have made the biggest differences in Rachel's book sales. But first,

I was originally expecting to talk about how the best thing to do to sell books is to write more books and how promo is over rated. I felt that we (and modern authors in general) focus on marketing a lot because its the one wheel we can crank outside of writing to help sell books... I even rounded up a lot of sales data for ya'll to show this. Except that, when I got our data together, this wasn't a black-and-white truth at all.

True, writing more books is a great way to sell more books. Really though, the truth is that,

Selling Books Sells Books

Turns out sales beget sales, and some promotions are almost as effective as releasing new books is. However, cross-promotion is key to maximizing the impact of your sales spikes.

Let's take Nice Dragons Finish Last for example,

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Writing Wednesdays (Special NaNoWriMo Edition!): AMA Thread Highlights

First up, I'm DELIGHTED to announce that One Good Dragon Deserves Another was an Romantic Times Magazine Top Pick for November!! HOORAY!

Yep, that is a print page from a legit paper magazine! You can read the review online here if you don't feel like squinting, or you can pick up your own copy of RT Magazine and read it in glorious, glossy color! Whichever floats your boat. 

On to the post!

So, as you've probably already noticed if you're anywhere near my social media, I'm doing my yearly NaNoWriMo AMA thread on the NaNo Fantasy forum.

This thread is one of my favorite things I do all year. I always get a ton of amazing questions, and I love talking to NaNo peeps. They're just so excited about writing, and that makes ME excited about writing my own stuff. It's a lovely, happy feedback cycle, and I really can't recommend it enough.

That said, the thread does take a huge amount of time out of my schedule, which is already packed since we're also closing on a house this week! (FINALLY! My own sequestered writing office! SQUEEEEEE!!). So, since I'm already making giant posts about writing answering questions, I thought for today's Writing Wednesday I'd share some of my favorites so far.

If you're already following the thread, I'm sorry for the cop out! I promise to be back next week with an actual new article. If you're not on the NaNo forums, I hope you'll find this highlights reel interesting.


Writing Wednesdays (Special NaNoWriMo Edition!): AMA Thread Highlights

First up, we have a great question from BLynchBooks about building characters.
"I know you'd mentioned the "Knife Test" on your blog in terms of testing motivations (which has been a huge help for the book I'm writing now, thank you!); do you have any similar methods for figuring strengths and flaws out?"
My reply: