The Ins and Outs of Publishing, A Directory of Advice. #Writing #Author #Advice

Okay, so it looks like I’m still getting a lot of publishing questions. These are recurrent questions I get on a regular basis, and while I want to try to respond to everyone who reaches out to me, I don’t want my blog becoming redundant. So I think I’m going to repost this on a weekly basis from now on to help people navigate the publishing world. I don’t really see another way around it. I wish there was some way you could pin a post at the top of your blog!

So if you have questions regarding publishing, PLEASE check below to see if any of this helps you before reaching out. I’m always happy to help, but I may have already answered your question.

Publishing is a tough road to navigate. Please check out the links below. These are previous posts I’ve made about the ins and outs of publishing. They should be of assistance in your journey:

Am I Ready To Publish? This is a must read BEFORE even considering starting the process. I can’t tell you how many authors burned bridges by not being ready.

Editing… There is a Cost That Must be Paid… or is There? You can skip this one if you’ve already had your writing edited (by someone other than you!). However, I’d still recommend reading.

Getting Published… the basics… In this post, we explore traditional publishing vs. self-publishing. Here you’ll get the pros on cons of each and the steps you need to go through in order to be successful in either.

Finally…

Copyrighting my Writing. Am I Protected? This isn’t required reading… however, if you’re concerned about plagiarism, or in the future may need to file a copyright claim, I recommend giving it a read.

Feeling overwhelmed yet? I’d be surprised if you didn’t. The only sage advice I can offer you other than the documents above is simple…

  1. Do not give up. A million “No’s” suddenly become irrelevant if you get that one “yes”.
  2. People will tell you that everyone and their mother wants to publish a book. You’re up against insurmountable odds and a flooded market. This is false. You’re not up against everyone and their mother. Permit me the luxury and I’ll prove this mathematically: First of all, take the entire group of people who want to get published. Now take that number and reduce it by roughly 60%. You just eliminated all the people who want to get something published, but don’t have the time, ability, drive, or inspiration to write. Next, eliminate another 20%. You’ve now taken down all the people who can put pen to paper but can’t afford the time/money to put the work into advertising and getting published. Eliminate another 10% who can’t take criticism and thus aren’t going to be able to get their writing properly edited. Now eliminate another 5% either don’t have the patience for or get discouraged by receiving a series of “No’s” from publishers.
    Now take that last 5% and eliminate all of them, except you. Why? Because they’re irrelevant. You have your writing and they have there’s. Whether or not you get published and how successful you are isn’t about other people’s writing. Yes, in the end, it’s you against one person, you. Whether or not I’ll ever get to buy your book off the shelf depends on you; how much time, effort, and funds you’re willing to put into your writing. So make it good!

Let’s open it up to the floor. Readers, do you have any publishing advice for our friend here? Let her know in the comments!



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

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Quotable Notables and If We Should Read Them #Advice #Writing #Literature #Fiction #Nonfiction

Hello!

I have a question, not specifically aimed towards your writing but about
writing in general.

As a reader of e-books, I use highlighting on my Kindle and share some standout quotes on Goodreads. I found myself curious: do you, as an author, look at what passages readers highlight?

And, the dabbling writer in me wonders: Would you recommend authors to look at it or not, and why? If yes, is there something an author can learn from it?

Regards,

Tomas.

P.S.: I hope the third Drakin book will be as fun as the first two!


Hi Tomas,

It really depends on the writer. I personal look at them whenever someone posts them. I like to see what quotes people are going to attribute to my writing and thus, me.

Would I recommend authors look at it? That really depends. Ironically, an author who writes like I do, I probably wouldn’t. I like to do it, but will it affect my writing? Maybe? Probably not. See when I write, I tend not to take recommendations from anyone other than my editors. The reason is that, as much as I love my readers, I don’t write for them. I write for myself. Again, don’t get me wrong, I love my readers and if you don’t like my writing for whatever reason, I’m interested to hear why, but my motivations for writing were never to become famous or earn money. I write my stories because they’re books I’d want to read. I’m always bothered by books that take a turn into a weird direction or blatantly attempts to ‘subvert expectations’ or something like that. There is also a trend to bloat stories with a TON of unnecessary detail that brings the narrative to a screeching halt.

So, simply put, I write for myself and it just happens that other people seem to like it. Now, because I love feedback, I read the quotes that get pulled, but I wouldn’t necessarily encourage other authors with my mindset to do the same. However, other authors that are more about including fan engagement into their writing should absolutely read them. Figure out what quotes the fans like and write to those. In those cases, it’s so important because something about those lines made the reader take the time to pull those quotes as something that moved them.

Anyway, I hope this answers your question! It’s always great to hear from a fan of my writing! Let’s turn it over to the readers. What do you all think? Is there value, as an author, in reading quotes that readers place in Goodreads? Let Tomas and others know in the comments!

Thanks,
Jim H.


 


Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

How to Write Villains #Advice #Writing #Literature #Fiction #Nonfiction

Hi Jim,

I’m having trouble with one of the characters I’m working with in my story. If I could ask, what’s your approach to writing villians? Do you have a method for creating a backstory for why they are a “bad” character, or does it just kind of appear to you?

Thanks,
B


Hi B,

Yes and yes. The answer is that it really depends on the story and the bad guy in it. Sometimes I have no idea that the bad guy is going to be a ‘bad guy’ until much later in the story.

I actually wrote a character a while back that I was actually going to use as a heroic foil. Basically, he had a very basic sense of right and wrong, and was getting mixed up in the wrong situations that were eventually going to cost him everything. However, as the story went along, more and more, he evolved and took center stage as the villain. At this point, I had to adapt my plans for him as I couldn’t just kill him off and let the hero fix what he had done. No, the character had unintentionally become the villain, because that’s the direction the story took. The original villain still maintained her place on the dark path, but she became more of a puppet master than anything else and her role was drastically reduced.

Other times, I start a story off with the villain. My primary villain in Damnation was always the key character. I had her all planned out, brilliant, but rebellious, honorable, yet vicious. She was someone you didn’t want to mess with and though she viewed the loss of life as a terrible waste, she would not hesitate to kill you if you got in the way of her target. In her case, the story revolved around her instead of her evolving to match the story as we saw in the previous example.

There is also the case of the straight villain. This person requires little to no backstory. They’ll set the forest on fire simply to watch it burn. There is no reasoning behind it, no tragedy in the past to explain his behavior, he’s simply a sociopath. We saw this quite often with Disney villains. They’re referred to as ‘one-dimensional villains’.

Anyway, these are the types of villains I’ve been known to work with. I hope this helps, but I’ll also open it up to my reader base… Let’s keep the conversation going and see if anyone else has good villain examples.


 


Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

The Ins and Outs of Publishing, A Directory of Advice. #Writing #Author #Advice

Okay, so it looks like I’m still getting a lot of publishing questions. These are recurrent questions I get on a regular basis, and while I want to try to respond to everyone who reaches out to me, I don’t want my blog becoming redundant. So I think I’m going to repost this on a weekly basis from now on to help people navigate the publishing world. I don’t really see another way around it. I wish there was some way you could pin a post at the top of your blog!

So if you have questions regarding publishing, PLEASE check below to see if any of this helps you before reaching out. I’m always happy to help, but I may have already answered your question.

Publishing is a tough road to navigate. Please check out the links below. These are previous posts I’ve made about the ins and outs of publishing. They should be of assistance in your journey:

Am I Ready To Publish? This is a must read BEFORE even considering starting the process. I can’t tell you how many authors burned bridges by not being ready.

Editing… There is a Cost That Must be Paid… or is There? You can skip this one if you’ve already had your writing edited (by someone other than you!). However, I’d still recommend reading.

Getting Published… the basics… In this post, we explore traditional publishing vs. self-publishing. Here you’ll get the pros on cons of each and the steps you need to go through in order to be successful in either.

Finally…

Copyrighting my Writing. Am I Protected? This isn’t required reading… however, if you’re concerned about plagiarism, or in the future may need to file a copyright claim, I recommend giving it a read.

Feeling overwhelmed yet? I’d be surprised if you didn’t. The only sage advice I can offer you other than the documents above is simple…

  1. Do not give up. A million “No’s” suddenly become irrelevant if you get that one “yes”.
  2. People will tell you that everyone and their mother wants to publish a book. You’re up against insurmountable odds and a flooded market. This is false. You’re not up against everyone and their mother. Permit me the luxury and I’ll prove this mathematically: First of all, take the entire group of people who want to get published. Now take that number and reduce it by roughly 60%. You just eliminated all the people who want to get something published, but don’t have the time, ability, drive, or inspiration to write. Next, eliminate another 20%. You’ve now taken down all the people who can put pen to paper but can’t afford the time/money to put the work into advertising and getting published. Eliminate another 10% who can’t take criticism and thus aren’t going to be able to get their writing properly edited. Now eliminate another 5% either don’t have the patience for or get discouraged by receiving a series of “No’s” from publishers.
    Now take that last 5% and eliminate all of them, except you. Why? Because they’re irrelevant. You have your writing and they have there’s. Whether or not you get published and how successful you are isn’t about other people’s writing. Yes, in the end, it’s you against one person, you. Whether or not I’ll ever get to buy your book off the shelf depends on you; how much time, effort, and funds you’re willing to put into your writing. So make it good!

Let’s open it up to the floor. Readers, do you have any publishing advice for our friend here? Let her know in the comments!



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Advice for Writers, Advice for Life #Advice #Writing #Literature #Fiction #Nonfiction

Hi Jim,

I’m just starting out as a writer. I was hoping that you could give me some advice. I have an idea, and I’m starting to put it on paper. I’ve gone through a lot of your other advice columns, but I was wondering if you could give me just some general advice for being a writer.

Thanks,
Alana


Hi Alana,

I’d be happy to! Welcome to the world of writing! Hopefully, you find it as fulfilling as many of us have. So a piece of advice…

Well, I’ve already told people not to get discouraged, I’ve told people how to handle criticism, I’ve certainly gone over the ins and outs of writing, but as a general overall rule… I suppose I haven’t given out that piece of advice yet.

All right, if there is one general piece of advice I could give you in becoming a writer, it’s a very simple set of three words;

Don’t Be Toxic. 

So what do I mean by that? Well, to be honest, there are two types of people in this world whom I have little to no time or tolerance for. I don’t give them the time of day, nor do I care about their opinions. Who are these people, you ask? Let’s go through them.

  1. The perpetual victim.
    I can’t stand this person. No matter how much they’ve screwed things up for themselves, there’s always someone else to blame. They’ve completely deluded themselves into thinking that they’re always a victim and no one is ever going to change their mind. If they’re not blaming a friend, coworker, etc., they’re blaming another group of people (clique/race/gender/religion/etc.) for their failures. If you’re not doing well in life, 99.99% of the time, IT’S YOUR OWN FAULT! Everyone has choices, everyone must find their own way and yes, there are times when the world will be stacked against you. However, that does not afford you the luxury of blaming everyone else for your failings. If you fall, it is because you let it happen. No matter how bad things are, there is always a way out if you’re willing to make the hard decisions.
  2.  Superiority Complexes.
    I don’t have time or tolerance for people who think they’re better than others. That their opinion is the moral/ethical right, so they’re above criticism, or that their work is so superior to whatever else they’ve seen, that they don’t have to suffer criticism, be it positive or negative. There’s certainly nothing wrong with having a high opinion of yourself, in fact, I encourage it, but there’s a point where your opinion of yourself is so high that you somehow think you’re above everyone else.

Both of these types of people do not respond well to having their worldview challenged, they often respond angrily, if not violently, or in a derogatory manner, so I really don’t even bother. These people are best left in their own bubbles. (Don’t worry, said bubbles will eventually burst, guaranteed.)

What does that have to do with writing? If you think that such things do not spill over into your writing or dealing with readers/critics, you are making a serious error. It does, and people tend to pick up on it. Writing will come off as whiny or smug, and god forbid someone comes to that person with a piece of constructive criticism.

So that’s really the best piece of general advice I can give a person, though that is mostly due to it being my personal preference. Let’s open it up to my reader base and see if they have any feedback/advice they can offer. Everyone, leave a comment down below and let’s keep the conversation going!



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

An Orphans of Haven Question!?

Hi Jim,

I just finished reading the Drakin: Orphans of Haven, I’m just curious why you didn’t have Raiya and Jagger play a bigger role? Did you not like those characters as much? They went from being your center stage to being off to the side. You probably could have written them out and it wouldn’t have made a whole ton of difference. I don’t mean to criticize, because I actually liked the story. I’m just a little disappointed that it wasn’t more of a direct sequel.

Thanks,
Eric


Hi Eric,

No problem, thank you for the question. The quick answer really is that direct sequels aren’t really my schtick. I don’t like the idea of a story after ‘happily ever after’. I’ve always struggled to write a series where it continuously follows the same characters without feeling like I’m rehashing things. Instead, I much prefer writing stories where I can build a whole world around various casts of characters with different plots and personalities. It gives me more freedom to explore new aspects and flesh everything out for the overall story in the series.

As for why Raiya and Jagger only made a brief appearance, it’s because they weren’t essential to the story. I bring back characters as a sort of treat so the audience can see how they’re doing, perhaps point the new cast in the right direction, and then move on with whatever they’re doing.

I am glad you liked the stories though. Hopefully, you’ll stick around for the next one!

THANK YOU!

 



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Retconning after the fact…

Hi Jim,

I published a book recently and get a lot of questions about some of my characters. Honestly, I like to write posts regarding some of this information, but I’m worried because some of their questions are things I don’t want to answer because I wanted to leave it to the imagination.

Example: I didn’t definitively say that my two main characters ended up together. My audience keeps sending me emails asking.

Thanks,
Christy


Hi Christy,

How much/little you reveal is completely up to you. If you want to leave something open to interpretation, you can always respond simply…
“Well, what do you think, based on what I’ve written? It doesn’t matter what I think, because I didn’t answer the question. Whether they do or not is entirely up to you.”

It really doesn’t need to be any more than that.

I would caution you on doing too much retconning. Clearing up a few talking points is one thing, but there is such a thing as going too far.
A good example… is J.K. Rowling. By now, it should be fairly obvious that I do not hold this woman nor her work in very high regard. I find the Harry Potter series to be a mockery of everything fantasy-based and her writing style to be extremely weak.
That aside, she is ruining her franchise for everyone now by going back and retconning things, some of which didn’t need a retcon (AKA a question no one asked). What’s worse, she is clearly trying to pander to a specific political ideology which is a hard stop in my book. Having a political opinion is fine… but saying that a character who was apolitical would have voted against Brexit, talking about how wizard went the bathroom before toilets or having Hermione portrayed by a person of color in a stage performance, and then flat out lying to your fans about whether or not you ever specified the characters skin tone (she did), is quickly turning even her most ardent supporters against her. It’s really not the way to go about doing things.

So the things I would say to you in terms of retconning, I would keep to a few points:

-Go minimalist.
-Don’t feel obligated to answer questions if you wanted to leave something open to interpretation.
-DO NOT retcon things that do not require clarification. If fans didn’t ask, they don’t want to know.
-Remain Apolotical: If your characters weren’t political or didn’t display certain traits within the story, don’t add them after the fact. This one is just opinion on my part, but the insertion of politics in areas where it really doesn’t belong has always been a pet peeve of mine.

Anyway, I hope this helps. Please feel free to follow up with me if you need any more guidance. Readers- what do you think? How much retconning should someone do? Is it even needed?



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim