Today is Promo Day!

The annual online event, Promo Day, dedicated to promoting, networking, and learning, takes place today at www.PromoDay.info. This event is completely free to attend and open to everyone.

Why attend?

Free presentations:


Live pitch sessions:


PLUS loads of opportunities to promote and network.

If you haven't registered yet it's not too late. Go to www.PromoDay.info and join in the fun now!

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How to Reuse and Recycle Your Content

If you're anything like me your 'to-do' list is probably worthy of being made into book form. So how do busy people like us find the time to keep putting out content on our blogs, social media channels, and all the other places that our audience hangs out? 

Coming up with new ideas and keep all your platforms fresh with new content can take away valuable writing time. Good news though! You most likely already have content you can share without too much hassle. 


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Know Your Weakness

Before I became a writer I was a psychologist, and a lot of what I learned about human nature applies to our work and that includes writing. I’m a big proponent of self-knowledge and growth. If we don’t know ourselves, our tendencies, our flaws - how can we grow?

All writers have areas in which they are stronger than others. On the flip side, we all have weaknesses. (See? Right there I just used a clique.) But the key to being the best writer you can be is in realizing where your writing needs improvement. Maybe your descriptions are stilted, or your dialogue is wishy-washy. Perhaps you fail to convey your characters’ emotions powerfully enough, or maybe you tend to be long-winded and stray off course.

To help you assess your writing, have several people whose opinions you respect critique your work. You will probably begin to see a pattern emerge. When one person complains about your pacing it’s one man’s opinion, but when five people notice the same thing – you’ve found a weakness.

Consider this a victory rather than a defeat. Because if you didn’t know you needed improvement – you’d never improve. While criticism can be painful it can also help us get in touch with our strengths and weaknesses so we can work to improve them. And every opportunity for growth gets you closer to being the writer you want to be.

A former psychologist, Normandie has always been fascinated by human behavior. She loves writing quirky characters that are all too human. Fiber arts, baking, and Pinterest are a few of her favorite pastimes. She lives on a farm with a passel of kids, an adorable husband, and a pet pig who’s crazy for Red Bull.

www.normandiealleman.com 




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Interview with Mike Pace

What genre do you write and why?

Thrillers and horror/supernatural thrillers because that’s what I like to read.

Tell us about your latest book.

Think CSI meets The Exorcist.

...it’s a matter of light and death...

Dead Light employs a method to knock off people we’ve never seen before—everyday light. Milton teaches that at the beginning, Lucifer was the angel, the master of light, and used light for Godly purposes. Thus, when banished to hell, we can assume he would use light for malevolent purposes.

Three hundred and fifty years ago, an evil Light is released during a mysterious satanic ritual. “Lucifer’s Light” unleashes unspeakable horror upon an American colony, and many of its inhabitants die brutally by their own hand. A heroic priest recaptures the Light, and arranges to have it buried with him to protect the world from Satan’s destruction.

Now, in the sleepy college town of Cumberton, MD, an old cemetery must be moved to make room for a new dormitory, and the ungodly Light escapes. A rash of gruesome student suicides rocks the town. Sheriff Estin Booker teams up with former Baltimore homicide detective Anna Tucci to investigate the deaths. What neither expects is to have all roads point to a 2000-year-old legend which, if true, could lead to the destruction of mankind. With the clock ticking, and an impossible burden placed upon their shoulders, they must defeat their own long-hidden demons or Satan himself will claim the ultimate victory.

What formats is the book available in?

Trade paperback and ebooks. Available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Who are your favourite authors?

Too many to list, but here’s a few, in no particular order: Gayle Lynds, Steve Berry, Doug Preston, Jon Lands, Hank Ryan, Stephen King, Daniel Silva, Wilbur Smith, David Baldacci, Michael Connelly, Sandra Brown, Harlan Coben, Ken Follett, Stephen Hunter, M.J. Rose, and Nelson DeMille

Where can people find out more about you and your writing?

Facebook, and website: mikepacebooks.com

Who is you favorite character in your book and why?

The city female cop, Tucci. She tough, abrasive, and a smart-ass. But under the thick skin she is vulnerable and has to fight hard to conquer her fears.

Why do you think readers are going to enjoy your book?

I would like to think it offers something new and fresh to fans of thriller fiction. The pacing is fast, the characters are multi-layered and hopefully readers will think, This could really happen!

Did you learn anything from writing your book that was unexpected?

Yes, how hard it is to write the occasional love scenes.

How do you research your books?

Firsthand where possible. For example, I recently climbed to the top of the tower in the National Cathedral, and to the top of the Capitol Rotunda to research a scene in an upcoming book.

What is your work in progress? Tell us about it.

My next book, One to Go, will be released by Oceanview Publishing December 4, 2014. Think John Grisham meets Stephen King.

Does your family support you in your writing career? How?

Very much so. My wife is my first editor, and is not hesitant to offer constructive criticism. Of course, when she reads a passage that may be a bit grisly, she’ll turn to me and ask, “Who ARE you?”

What are you currently reading?

The Forgotten Killer, by Doug Preston and John Douglas. It’s a non-fiction forensic examination of the evidence behind the Amanda Knox murder trials. Doug has been relentless in his fight for Amanda’s exoneration, and the proceeds from book sales go to her defense fund.

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How to create perfect posts on social platforms



Is there such a thing as the perfect post? With so many social media channels to choose from, and so much content being shared, how do you help your content stand out from the masses? A tough question. The answer is different depending on which social platform you are using.

There are two things they all seem to have in common though:

1) Images. No matter which site you are using, visual elements are important.

2) Keywords. Whether you're writing a blog post or a tweet including keywords, either in the text or as a hashtag, will help get your content in front of the right people.

This infographic from the people at My Clever Agency gives some great pointers to help you create perfect posts for your social platforms:


How To Create Perfect Posts for Blog, YouTube, Tumblr, Vine, Google+, Facebook & Twitter: Version 4 [Infographic]
How To Create Perfect Posts for Blog, YouTube, Tumblr, Vine, Google+, Facebook & Twitter: Version 4 [Infographic] is an infographic that was produced by mycleveragency

Do you agree with the info above? What's working for you? Leave a comment to share your experience. You're welcome to post a link to an example of a post that has worked well for you too.

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10 Places to Submit Your Countdown Deals for Free



Got an Amazon Countdown Deal coming up for your book? If you want to get good results it's not enough to just set up the promotion. You need to let people know you're doing the promotion too.


Here's a list of sites where you can submit your countdown deal info for free:





http://www.indiesunlimited.com/submissions/ (Thrifty Thursdays are for 99¢ e-books and free e-book promotions, and are run every Thursday at 5 a.m. Pacific time).


http://pretty-hot.com/submit-your-book/

http://freediscountedbooks.com/

Know of other great sites where you can submit countdown deals for free? post the links in the comments section.

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The Iron Triangle of Interesting Characters


Are your characters interesting? What makes a character interesting? This infographic gives one take on how to make characters interesting and might give you some ideas for when you're developing your characters:


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On Rejection

That letter in your mailbox looks promising- your first acceptance!- only after you open it, you read the old familiar lines, "We regret to inform you that your work does not meet our needs at the present time." What are your needs, you want to yell back. When is the right time? The generic "no, thanks" rejection letter is just that; generic. Stuff that manuscript in another envelope- after doing some research on appropriate markets- or hit 'send' again. If that manuscript keeps getting generic rejections, maybe it's time to rewrite, revise, or at the very least, get the objective opinion of someone preferably not related to you as to how you can improve what you've got.

If the rejection is accompanied by anything handwritten, something suggesting, "Please try us again," then you do that. Send them something you haven't sent them before. Anything handwritten or personalized is a wink, a nod, something that should be interpreted as the reader having seen something they liked, if not in your piece, at least in your style. If the reply offers constructive criticism, that parlays at least into a stand-up double. Heed what they suggest. Like cream, your work has risen to the almost-top. Sometimes even a handwritten note isn't what you want to see, as was the case when I got a reply from a top editor at a literary magazine years ago who asked me to send more work and included postage, only to reply to my follow-up with a succinct, "Not good." Ouch. I sent the same "not good" story to another magazine and received a reply that said, "Unfortunately we have ceased publication, but your story was really good." No matter what the reply, you keep trying.

Agents and editors change houses often, sometimes it seems as if they're walking through revolving doors, so it pays to keep track of who is where and capitalize on any positive feedback before the person who connected with your work moves on and you're starting from scratch with someone who dashes off those "We regret to inform you" letters. Get the names straight- and spelled right, send off carefully proofread prose formatted as requested in the guidelines,  and keep trying. Publication rarely happens to the  writer who becomes discouraged and gives up after a handful of “We regret to inform you”s and keeps his manuscripts in a desk drawer or zip drive.

Keep trying.

Susan Israel lives in Connecticut with her beloved dog, but New York City lives in her heart and mind. A graduate of Yale College, her fiction has been published in Other Voices, Hawaii Review and Vignette and she has written for magazines, websites and newspapers, including Glamour, Girls Life, Ladies Home Journal and The Washington Post. She's currently at work on the second book in the Delilah Price series, Student Bodies. 



Follow the rest of the tour here

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Must attend free online event for people in the writing industry

As some of you already know, as well as running Writers and Authors, I also organise an annual online event called Promo Day. This years event takes place at www.PromoDay.info on Saturday 31st May and, as always, is completely free to attend and open to everyone.

Promo Day is a great opportunity to learn from experts in the industry, make new connections, and promote your books and services. This years event boasts 16 free presentations. This alone is huge! Normally you'd have to pay big bucks just for one webinar like this. I'm offering you 16 of them totally free! 


During the event there will also be publishers doing live pitch sessions. No need to send out query letters and wait weeks, or even months, for a reply. You get to pitch them right there at Promo Day. Each publisher will be posting an introduction about themselves and what they are looking for in the morning. You can then reserve a time slot with them for your pitch session from the times they post.

As if all that isn't enough, Promo Day also offers loads of opportunities to promote and network, both in the event forums and via social media channels. There will be live interviews, panel discussions, and "pimp my book" sessions throughout the day via Google+ hangouts, Twitter-chats, and Facebook wall chats. There will also be pin it sessions for Pinterest, and other activities to get you putting proven marketing strategies into action. In fact, one of the best things about Promo Day is that it teaches you what to do AND gets you doing it. So often people read articles or watch presentations, sometimes even taking notes, and then do nothing. All their good intentions get put aside and forgotten. At Promo Day you get to put them into action straight away.

The event is attended by authors, freelance writers, publishers, bloggers, radio hosts, PR companies, book cover designers, illustrators, editors, and more... making it the perfect place to build your network and make new connections.

This years event is sponsored by PDMI Publishing, Book Goodies, and Sandy Lender Ink, Inc.


Register at www.PromoDay.info by clicking the "Register Now" tab in the navigation bar. It's completely free and will only take a minute.

If you can't be at your computer on Saturday 31st May you can still take part. The forums are mobile friendly so you can log in using your smartphone or tablet.

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Conquering the Writer's Block

One of the greatest literary pains is the infamous writer’s block. It’s a genuinely suffocating experience. Time freezes. Your mind dissolves into an unforgiving void. That stark, blank page stares back at you with blinding intensity. All the while, the cursor on your monitor pulsates, resembling a ticking time bomb more than an outlet for your muse. 

When writer’s block hits, you must hit back even harder. For the last few years, I’ve had a Post-It hanging from the corner of my monitor which reads:

“RACHEL’S REMEDIES FOR WRITER’S BLOCK”

So, here are several tricks I use to work through those terrible creative droughts. (Naturally, I have expanded each bullet point on my 4x4 Post-It.)

An important step to conquering writer’s block is revamping your creativity. These first few points focus on stimulating inspiration:

1) READ.
Pull out a novel or inspiring piece of writing. Allow the author’s words to wash over your senses—become completely absorbed. Start an “inspirations journal;” while reading, jot down passages you find especially enlightening. Reading not only encourages new ideas, but exercises your creative and technical muscles.

“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut.” – Stephen King

2) LISTEN TO MUSIC.
Playing evocative background music is an excellent technique to get those creative juices flowing. Choose pieces which complement the mood you’re trying to accomplish. For example, if you’re writing a horror scene, listen to something spooky. If you’re writing an action scene, however, op for something more fast-paced—something that will get your blood pumping and adrenaline charged.

Design several playlists, and categorize each one by mood/tone. I have personally found that instrumentals work best for this, since lyrics can be intrusive and distracting. You can find good material on YouTube (for example, you might search “spooky ambiance” or “sad violin music”). Movie soundtracks also work very well. Here are a few of my go to soundtracks: Fluke, Game of Thrones (seasons 1-3), and DragonHeart, and music from the Final Fantasy videogame series. 

3) IMMERSE YOURSELF IN YOUR CREATIVE VENTURE.
Are you writing an epic medieval piece? Then surround yourself with material from that era. Print out images and hang them on your walls in the form of an inspiring collage. Research actual persons from the period in-depth. Watch films set during medieval times. Listen to popular music of the era. Check out reenactments. Whatever your topic is, immerse yourself completely.

3) DAYDREAM. THEN “METHOD WRITE.”
Lie in bed, close your eyes, and envision yourself as one of your characters. Place yourself in his shoes. Think like he would think. Reflect on his memories as if they were your own—and relate them to your personal experiences. Then attempt to write as if you were that character. This strategy emulates “method acting,” where actors fully immerse themes in their character’s psyche.  

These next few points concentrate on practical exercises and techniques:

4) HAND WRITE.
There’s something special about writing with a pen and paper. Not only is the act itself often liberating, but you’re less likely to get trapped in “editing-mode.” If you’re struggling with a particular scene or project, try writing by hand and in a new location (for example, if you usually work at your desk, try writing outdoors or while lounging on a comfy sofa chair).

5) WRITE RUTHLESSLY FOR 15 MINUTES.
This exercise works best in conjunction with points 4 and 5. Pull out a sheet of paper, select a topic (or scene), set your timer, and write non-stop for 15 minutes. Don’t edit. Don’t cross out sentences. Don’t lift your pen. Concentrate solely on your thoughts and feelings. Allow them to fearlessly pour from your fingertips for 15 minutes straight.

6) DISCOVER NEW TOOLS.
Tons of writing tools are available—and many are designed to help you organize your thoughts, plan projects, and reach that daily word count. (Just be careful not to get sucked into gimmicky software.) Here are a couple of my personal favorites:

Scrivener – A topnotch word processor that allows you to intricately plot your projects, organize research, and much more. I can’t recommend this one enough.

Evernote – Organize your research by storing everything (and I mean everything) in one location. It syncs your notes to the server, allowing you access from anywhere and on any device. As a historical fiction writer, I can’t imagine living without Evernote.

yWriter – Very similar to Scrivener, though much more simplistic. Best of all? It’s totally free.

7) KEEP WRITING.
Set a daily word count and stick to it. What seems like uninspired dreck today can (and will) be transformed tomorrow. Just keep writing and always remember:

“The enemy is not the badly written page; it is the empty page. The great advantage of a badly written page is that it can be rewritten. It can be improved. A blank page is zero. In fact, it’s worse than zero, because it represents territory you’re afraid, unwilling, or too lazy to explore.” - Timothy Hallinan

Rachel L. Demeter lives in the beautiful hills of Anaheim, California with Teddy, her goofy lowland sheepdog, and high school sweetheart of ten years. She enjoys writing dark, edgy romances that challenge the reader’s emotions and examine the redeeming power of love.
Imagining stories and characters has been Rachel’s passion for longer than she can remember. Before learning how to read or write, she would dictate stories while her mom would jot them down for her. She has a special affinity for the tortured hero and unconventional romances. Whether sculpting the protagonist or antagonist, she always ensures that every character is given a soul.
Her dream is to move readers and leave an emotional impact through her words. THE FROST OF SPRINGTIME, her edgy historical romance novel set in revolutionary France, is available now!

Amazon Page for THE FROST OF SPRINGTIME – Prime Members read the Kindle Edition for FREE



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How to Write Informative Content With a Creative Twist

Do you write non-fiction? Whether you're writing a book or an article, this infographic from Ezine Articles has some pointers that might help inspire you:


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My Writing Process

I suppose I discovered the writing world by accident – or perhaps it discovered me.

I’d just returned home from Operation Desert Storm, and was working as a prison investigator in Massachusetts. Needless to say, there was great negativity in my life at that time. I decided to return to college to finish my degree in Criminal Justice. During one of the classes, the professor talked about police work but nothing else. I finally raised my hand and asked, “The criminal justice system is vast. What about the courts, probation, parole – corrections?” He smiled and told me to see him after class. I thought I’d finally done it! In his office, he explained, “There’s no written material out there on corrections or prisons, except from the slanted perspective of inmates.” He smiled again and dropped the bomb. “If you’re so smart,” he said, “why don’t you write it?”

Nine months later, I dropped the first draft of 6-5; A Different Shade of Blue on his desk. From then on, I was hooked. I was a writer.

I’d written a lot at my job (report writing), but it all started with my college professor’s challenge. Perhaps because of my age and experience, I understood right away that writing is a craft that takes time to evolve; to mature, so I spent the next several years PRACTICING my chosen craft. Under the pen name, Steven Herberts, I wrote in every venue of print I could get my name in: newspaper, magazine, etc. I also penned two collections of poetry, and wrote drafts for two more books. After five solid years of writing, I finally believed that I’d found my voice; MY STYLE – and was ready to contact an agent.

The greatest challenge for me has been time. First and foremost, I am a dad and my children come first. After that, there are other responsibilities that need my attention. Yet, my passion to write has constantly gnawed at my soul. To overcome the obstacle of time, I made writing a priority over watching TV and sometimes even sleeping. Once my family is taken care of and the world closes its eyes, I’m up for a few more hours each day – chasing my dreams on paper.

It has taken thousands of words, hundreds of pages, before I finally identified with a particular genre. I decided that my voice was a more sensitive one: a male perspective to a female audience.

Now that I have nearly two decades of writing and getting published under my belt, I enjoy trying to help new writers break in. My advice is always the same:
  • Be true to yourself, always.
  • Write constantly.
  • Keep the faith!!!
  • And NEVER, EVER, EVER quit. Most people in this industry would agree that more than talent or skill or even luck, perseverance is the one trait that will always get the job done.
  • Knock on every door you can, and keep knocking. I promise that eventually someone will open and the warmth you feel on your face will more than validate every hour spent alone in the darkness.
Steven Manchester is the author of the #1 bestsellers, Twelve Months and The Rockin` Chair. He is also the author of the critically-acclaimed, award-winning novel, Goodnight, Brian, as well as A Christmas Wish (Kindle exclusive), Pressed Pennies (due out May 2014) and Gooseberry Island (due out January 2015). His work has appeared on NBC`s Today Show, CBS`s The Early Show, CNN`s American Morning and BET`s Nightly News. Three of Steven`s short stories were selected "101 Best" for Chicken Soup for the Soul series. When not spending time with his beautiful wife, Paula, or their four children, this Massachusetts author is promoting his works or writing. 


 

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