Weekly Writer’s Round-Up: Week of June 11, 2012

Conference Tips
Matt Usey with some unusual but helpful writers’ conference tips, via twitter.

On Writing
Writer Jenny Hanson on writing every day and how it’s empowered her, on her blog.

More Inconclusive Data From the Indie vs. Trad Stand-Off
Another Indie author whose self-published book went viral inks a deal with a traditional publisher. (via Jonathan Munson on twitter.)

D.D. Scott would like you to know that just because WordPress and Word document have ‘word’ in them, don’t assume they’re compatible when it comes to e-publishing formats. (via The Writer’s Guide to E-Publishing blog.)

Social Media
On unplugging from the Matrix of social media for a break, via Kendall Grey on twitter.

Gini Dietrich at Spinsucks.com: 5 ways to measure social media efforts.

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Weekly Writer’s Round-Up: Week of June 3rd, 2012

E-Book cover awards from Joel Friedlander of The Book Designer.

Why you should have a blogging plan, by Dino Dogan of Triberr.

Blogging by Roni Loren.

Excellent take by Tom Scocca on how Microsoft Word documents are dying a slow, metadata death. On Slate, via The Passive Voice blog.

The Five Stages of “Getting” Twitter, by Shea Bennett, via twitter. (I can’t say this didn’t happen to me.)

Posted in Blogging, Commentary, E-Publishing, Marketing, New Media, Publishing, Self-Promotion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

How To Do Pikes Peak Writers Conference 2012

I’ve written previously about how to survive the RMFWs Colorado Gold conference. But I’ve never been to Pikes Peak. The conference is in a few days. Here’s my plan for world domination making the most of the experience.

Join Pikes Peak. Their membership is free. Then go to the Yahoo group and ask to join the email loop. Emails will magically appear in your inbox with a lot of great information for members.

Go to their website. The home page has updates and announcements about faculty changes, additions, and this piece for new attendees:


Write Brain Session on “Everything You Need to Know about PPWC 2012” — fun and informative for all PPWC attendees, essential for newcomers. Tuesday, April 17 in the Aspen Leaf room at the Colorado Springs Marriott 6:30-8:30 pm. FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. No RSVP required.

I am unable to attend but it sounds tasty.

Peruse their blog, Writing From the Peak. Check out the Blog Archive on the left for posts about conference prep.

Look over the workshop schedule before the conference. I’ve been running between sessions before, pen in mouth, trying to find the right room for the workshop I just realized was starting just now. Use the pen (after you wipe it off) and mark the workshops and events you’re interested in. Get to know the layout of the hotel.

Follow @PPWC2012 on twitter and pay attention to the hashtag stream, #ppwc2012. (If you’re a writer and you aren’t on twitter, consider signing up. Twitter is the best social network out there for up-to-the-minute information about a current event. Trust me, I resisted at first. But time has taught me–almost everything shows up first on twitter.)

This time, I’m going to try not to pull a Bridget Jones and throw my dirty clothes in a bag at the last minute. I’m going to groom and launder and pluck and shave and plan and make a list and pack my fricking camera for once.

Research the agents and editors who will be attending. Follow them on twitter or sign up for a blog. Avoid the moment at an agent panel where you learn the agent you have a pitch appointment with hates werewolf/succubus storylines more than anything. (Not that that’s ever happened to me. I never had a werewolf/succubus phase, I swear.)

If you’re like me, you’ll start to lose your voice by the second night of conference. Here are some tips on how to minimize the risk. Or, you could just shut up. Doesn’t work for me, but it might for you.

Have fun. Have coffee. Have success.

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Tips for Being a Good Guest Blogger

In the whirlwind of promoting your own book, a lot of details can get lost.

I’ve noticed that writers who are guest blogging or being interviewed on blogs sometimes miss opportunities to promote themselves and their books.

Talk to your host and make sure you understand what they want.  But it’s good manners and smart business to cover some basics:

  • Provide a short bio introducing yourself. Make this in the 3rd person like you might do for a bio on your website. This saves the host from having to do it and you’ll have it at the ready for other uses.

Author Terry Wright’s website bio is a good example.

  • Include links to anything you want to promote. (Extra tip: Sign up for a link-shortening service like bitly.com. This makes for tidier links and can actually help you track the traffic on your links.) Don’t make your blog host or your readers chase down your twitter, facebook, author pages, website etc. On the other hand, if you’re seriously jacked into the Matrix and have 47 different places where you can be found online, don’t include them all. Your blog post will look like the cityscape from Blade Runner.

  • Do include a photo. No photo isn’t so great and your host might just uncover something on Google images, like that mugshot you’d hoped would never surface, that you really don’t want.
  • If pictures or images are part of the package, make sure you provide usable sizes and attachments.
  • Submit clean copy.
  • Check back for a few days after the post has gone live and answer questions. And promote the heck out of the post on your own social media.



Author Pat Stoltey gives very thorough advice in a guest post on Writer’s Digest Guide to Literary Agents blog.

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Weekly Writer’s Round-Up: Week of 3/25/12

Red Pen of Doom’s Guy Bergstrom on Media Strategy and name recognition.

Amanda Hocking

Self-publishing phenom Amanda Hocking: “A lot of authors tend to over market or they don’t take criticisms very well.” Via GalleyCat.

Children’s and YA hardcover sales up 69%, says the Association of American Publishers.

How to write that “Gotcha” book blurb, from Sharla Rae on Writers in the Storm.

Race in Fiction
On the “white default” in fiction and the racist reaction to the casting of Hunger Games’ Rue, in the New Yorker. (Via writer Kirsten Imani Kasai on Facebook.)

Amandla Stenberg

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Fan Fiction: What Is It, and Why?

With the success of the barely-disguised Twilight fanfic Fifty Shades of Grey, fan fiction talk is all over the webwaves. Here’s a primer if you’re all ‘huh’?



Fan fiction can happen when fans of a story take over if they feel the writer isn’t doing it right.

Sometimes, it’s when fans are so enamored of a fictional world they want to live there all the time and hang out with their favorite characters. See Harry Potter fanfic. Google it and you’ll have 20 million hits to choose from.

One of the charms for fanfic fans is that they can deepen, if you’ll pardon the pun, unresolved or unrealized sexual tension between characters.

  • What if Edward and Bella had hot, “on-stage” sex instead of the close-the-door-at-just-the-wrong-moment primness of Stephenie Meyer’s original?
  • What if Scully and Mulder were doing it like rabbits off-camera all that time they were playing it cool while we were watching?
  • What if Clark Kent was secretly donning tights for Lex Luthor?

Wait, what? But aren’t they both straight guys?

Welcome to the wide world of slash fiction, where everything you assumed about the Kinsey scale rating of your favorite fictional characters is up for grabs.

Slash is rumored to have started with Kirk and Spock on Classic Star Trek and can probably be traced to William Shatner’s fetching guyliner. He pretty much made out with the camera and anything else in view. Fans took note and decided the chemistry between him and Leonard Nimoy was buried longing to go where no man had gone before. Kirk/Spock was born, Kirk-slash-Spock, geddit? A thriving subculture was born.

You would think it would be gay guys who are into slash. It’s actually mostly women and in my unscientific study, mostly straight women. (Why this is requires a separate post; tune in next week.) But it’s interesting to note that in TV fanfic especially, most of the participants are female, while TV writers are upwards of 80% male. Might be one of the appeals of writing your own adventures for your favorite TV characters.

Most fanfic writers are all about the love and will write astonishing amounts of content without expecting any remuneration. Some canny souls have figured out how to parlay online popularity into offline financial success, but these writers are few. Rumor has it the YA paranormal writer Sarah Rees Brennan gained fans writing Harry Potter fanfic and this helped her get a sweet book contract for her first original novel, The Demon’s Lexicon. But she had to leave JK Rowling’s world behind and create her own to do it.



What’s different about E L James’ success is that it’s above-board and legal. Change the names and some of the details of a crazy-popular book series and you can publish anything. Reveal that it’s thinly-veiled Edward/Bella fanfic and watch it sell like the real thing.

At a recent writer’s conference, a Samhain editor pointed out that male/male romance, read by women, was an up-and-coming trend and she referenced the vast, untapped numbers of slash fiction fans as a reason why.

So should struggling novelists start churning out barely-disguised Hunger Games fanfic? Gale/Peeta slash, anyone? How about Katniss/Haymitch? My answer: probably not and for the same reason non-romance writers shouldn’t try to dash off a quick romance novel for money. Fan fiction readers, like romance readers, are, well, fanatic about their chosen genres. They’ll be able to tell if you’re faking it, and you will have spent a lot of time in a world and with a brand of fiction that you don’t even enjoy.

A great quote:
“Fanfiction is what literature might look like if it were reinvented from scratch after a nuclear apocalypse by a band of brilliant pop-culture junkies trapped in a sealed bunker. They don’t do it for money. That’s not what it’s about. The writers write it and put it up online just for the satisfaction. They’re fans, but they’re not silent, couchbound consumers of media. The culture talks to them, and they talk back to the culture in its own language.”
—Lev Grossman, TIME, July 18, 2011

Jason Boog muses on the trend and the implications for publishing on NPR: Fifty Shades Of Grey: Publishing’s Sexiest Trend.

Fanfiction.net, one of the more popular sites.

Excerpts from Henry Jenkins’ excellent book on ‘participatory culture,’ Textual Poachers.

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Weekly Writer’s Round-Up: Week of 3/11/12

Scott Turow, author and president of The Author’s Guild. “Yesterday’s report that the Justice Department may be near filing an antitrust lawsuit against five large trade book publishers and Apple is grim news for everyone who cherishes a rich literary culture.” (via Salman Rushdie on twitter.)


John Scalzi, of the Whatever blog, weighs in: The Collusion Case Against Publishers.

Mike Shatzkin, as is often the case, provides a clear-eyed analysis of the collusion case: If The Government Makes Agency Go Away.

The Book Designer Joel Friedlander answers ISBN questions for self-publishers.

GalleyCat asks: Will Fifty Shades of Grey Inspire More Fan Fiction Writers to Publish?

Stay tuned as I explore the wide world of fan fiction, slash fiction and BDSM in the coming weeks on my blog.

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