Articles
Articles

Let’s Talk About AI

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the current hot button issue in the world of writing. Some people say it’s the greatest thing for writer productivity since the word processor. Others say it will destroy the entire field. As a writer, web designer, and someone who was coding before he hit puberty, I can assure you that it’s not the former and probably won’t do the latter. It’s not even actually artificial intelligence, which is something I am not going to get into in this article, as the semantics of what we call it is less important than what we use it...

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Scams and How to Avoid Them

My father defined a shortcut as "the longest distance between two points." Keep this in mind whenever someone offers you an easy way to become a successful writer. Because there is no easy way. But any time there is a group of people willing to work hard to achieve their goal, there will be people offering them a shortcut — a shortcut that will not work. This is the general rule of writing, publishing, and well, everything. If someone offers you a guarantee of success predicated on how much you pay them, the only guarantee is that you are being scammed. That's the general idea; now let's talk specifics.

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Three Act Description Structure

If you’re looking for an easy way to write blurbs, why not use the structure most writers use — whether they know it or not. It’s based on the three act story structure, as featured in this portal fantasy blueprint. The structure is three acts split into three sections each like this: Act I — Set Up Exposition — The setup. Show your protagonist in their ordinary life. Inciting Incident — The thing that happens to start the protagonist on their journey through the plot. Plot Point One — The thing that solidifies the protagonist going on their journey (despite...

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Analyzing Story Beats

Whether it’s on your own stories or someone else’s, learning how to analyze the beats of a story can be an important tool in a writer’s toolbox. First of all, what do I mean by story beats? Story beats are not the plot. In fact, you can map out the beats of a story without talking about the plot at all. Story beats are shifts in tone, in action, in emotion. They are the highs and lows and the movement between those points that make a story enjoyable or tragic or comedic or whatever it is determined to be by...

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Finding Your Niche

Finding your niche is writing to market for people who aren’t comfortable in just writing anything. Which, frankly, is most writers. It’s hard to write in a genre you don’t love. We all have our favorites, our go-tos. And reading widely within the genre you write in is a near essential skill for writing successfully in that genre. If you don’t understand the genre, and at least like it or hopefully love it, most times the readers can tell. And in the end, it’s the readers who decide whether your books will be successful or not. Ignore them at your...

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Simple Guide To Social Media Promotion

This isn’t as tough as you might think, we promise. Listed below are the basics to any social media campaign and the specifics to the major ones. Study them, find the ones that suit you, and become a social media maven. Two Steps to Social Media Success If you want to successfully use social media to promote your books, you must begin to use it as a tool — not for fun, not to troll, not to find someone who is wrong on the internet and scold them, but as a tool for finding readers and turning them into fans....

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The Key to Keywords

When you publish your book on Amazon, you are given seven spaces for keywords. Notice that I didn’t say seven keywords, I said spaces. You can put more than one keyword in those spaces.  There are some things we don’t know about these keyword boxes, and some things that are frequently changed. But let’s start with the things we do know, that have been fairly constant for the last five years.  If you only put one keyword in a box, it is given slightly more weight than if you pack in as many keywords as possible. You get fifty characters...

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Accounting And Taxes For Writers

So you’re a self-published author. Congratulations, you are now an entrepreneur. We know, you just want to be a writer. But the “just a writer” career path is quite rare these days. Instead, you chose to control your own financial destiny, which means that you have to actually deal with some financial stuff. If you’re still single, you may wish to marry a money manager or accountant so you can avoid all of this bookkeeping stuff. If you can’t do that, then welcome to managing your own income.  Taxes and Basic Business Accounting Paying your taxes quarterly is really the...

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Launching a Book with Kickstarter

Is Kickstarter right for you and your book? For many independent authors, the answer is a resounding yes. Before we start talking about how to run your Kickstarter campaign, let’s figure out if it’s the right platform for you.  Kickstarter is most useful if you already have some social media reach or an email list. It doesn’t have to be huge, but having a little head start can make a big difference. You can run a successful Kickstarter without a big audience, but it’s a ton of work and for probably  a small reward. You don’t need a huge following...

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From Idea to Book

(Originally appeared as “Taking a Book from Idea to Bestseller” on the WrittenWell front page) There are bits of advice scattered all over the internet on how to write a book, how to market it, how to outline, how to write a great ending. But seeing it as a linear process will help you to do everything in the right order without missing a step—and that is something I don’t see anywhere else.  What I can’t do in this article is explain how to do every step. That would take, well, an entire website. But seeing the steps will help...

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