Recommended Reading on Cutting Excess Words

Whether you’re already published, about to begin the submission process with your first novel, or are still grinding out the words, you should be interested in word count.

Namely, in keeping unnecessary words to a minimum.

But how to do that?

Some time ago, Rachelle Gardner published an excellent post on that subject. In that post, she shares eight basic steps for trimming word count and tightening up your writing. Her list includes reducing back story and unnecessary adverbs (“ly” words).

What are the others? I don’t want to steal Rachelle’s thunder so will instead direct you to the full article, How to Cut Thousands of Words Without Shedding a Tear. The article is part three of a 3-part series on Strategies for Writers, so take a minute or two and give the other two articles a read, too.

Rachelle is an agent, editor, and literary coach, so she knows what she’s talking about. By the way, her blog is also well worth reading and subscribing to whether you plan on publishing independently, traditionally, or somewhere in between.

Targeting Genre

2015-11-18 target bulls eye darts arrowsI’ll say it upfront, I don’t know much about genre targeting. I also have a funny feeling I’m doing pretty poorly at it. (Although I had another author suggest that what I’d done was create my own sub-genre, “family suspense.”) I guess time will tell whether the reading public are interested in my family drama/suspense style of writing–cuz I’m also stubborn-minded enough to pursue this idea. Everything’s worth a shot once, right?

However, I really ought to learn a thing or two more about proper genre targeting. And I’ve found a great way to do that!

2016-03-30 Targeting Genre

What Is Genre Targeting?

2016-03-30 weather vane, arrow, target, direction, sky, windAs I understand it, targeting a genre means you learn your chosen niche well enough that you understand reader expectations for that genre, then you write to satisfy those expectations. That doesn’t mean writing to fill a cookie cutter; just that there are certain rules–from cover art to plot line–that should be followed to cue your reader in to what kind of story this is. For instance, it wouldn’t be romance if the primary plot weren’t about two people falling in love.

Where Can You Learn More About Genre Targeting?

2016-03-30 target bulls eyeI’ve just admitted, I don’t know much about the topic. But fortunately, I know someone who does, and her course looks pretty darn interesting! C. S. Lakin of the popular Live, Write, Thrive blog is the instructor on a new course all about how to sell better through targeting your chosen genre. Here are seven new skills you’ll learn in her course:

  • identify top-selling genres
  • pick a genre to write in that you’ll love
  • deconstruct best sellers in your target genre
  • structure your novel to fit perfectly into your target genre
  • pick a perfect title and cover design for success
  • prepare your online product pages to jump to the top of best-seller lists
  • price your book for your target market

As mentioned by one of her testimonials, she even goes into the very important topic of how to land your book in the right categories at Amazon!

If that looks as interesting to you as it does to me, I’d recommend you go check it out.

Targeting Genre for Big Sales

P.S., that’s an affiliate link, so Carrie and I will get part of the proceeds if you use it. But I know you love us. (Grins.)

So tell us, do you use genre targeting for better book sales? How does it work for you? Or are you going to give C. S. Lakin’s course a try?

How to Create Ebook Files with Scrivener – And Why You Should!

2016-01-20 books ebooks ereader ipad kindle reading readerI’ve been quickly falling in love with Scrivener, a word processing software specifically for long-form projects like novels. But I originally bought it because I heard it could be used to create your own ebook files – meaning I didn’t have to depend solely on the conversion processes at retail sites like Amazon and Smashwords. If I had my own, private ebook files, I could do a number of things with them, such as send copies to book reviewers, use free copies as incentives to email list subscribers, maybe even sell books directly on my website.

2016-03-23 How to Create Ebook Files with Scrivener

So I bought Scrivener …

Then I basically let it sit and rot on my laptop. Truth be told, I couldn’t find the energy to learn yet another piece of technology. It seems like that’s all I’ve been doing since I became an indie author!

A couple of months ago, I finally sat down with a small project – a short story I wanted to give away on my author website – and looked up a tutorial on how to create ebook files with Scrivener.

I could not believe how easy it was. Here’s the tutorial:

So, why should you generate your own .mobi and .epub files?

Build Your Mailing List

2016-03-23 mail boxes, letters, mailing listLet’s say you want to give readers a free book in exchange for their subscription to your newsletter. (Building your email list is THE number one thing you should be doing to secure long-lived sales, by the way.) For the longest time, I was sending my subscribers over to Smashwords with one of their handy-dandy coupon codes.

There were a few problems with that, though. For starters, people have to create a profile with Smashwords before they can download their book. Extra steps involving a third party? Bleh! I consistently noticed a difference between the number of subscribers I was picking up and the number of people actually downloading my freebie.

Another problem lay in the terminology. A really good Facebook ad or popup will say, “Just tell me where to send your free book.” And then it’ll have a field for you to fill in your email address. They then get an auto-responder … which does not contain the ebook. It sends them to Smashwords with a coupon code. Well, la-de-da. You could have given them the link up-front and they wouldn’t have had to give you their email address!

It’s just smoother all around to be able to include the book itself as an attachment in an email. They give you their email address. You give them the book. Boom. Done.

Send Copies to Book Reviewers

2015-04-01 KindleHave you ever been offered a book in exchange for an honest review and been given a PDF? Great. Now you’ve got to read it on your computer – which just isn’t as cozy as curling up with your Kindle! You can always sideload or email the PDF to your ereader, but the formatting on a PDF is fixed – meaning the text won’t reflow and you can’t change the font size. The PDF page will be squished on your ereader, forcing you to squint. (Trust me, I’ve done this!)

Wouldn’t it be so much simpler to send .mobi and .epub files so your reviewer can comfortably enjoy your book on any reading device? Who knows, maybe a more comfortable reading experience will even result in a better review!

Sell Books Directly on Your Website

2016-03-23 coffee mug book ereader kindle tablet ebook pen paper journalI’m getting a little purist here, but I will not consider myself to be a truly “independent” author until I’m not entirely dependent on ebook retail platforms like Amazon to sell my books. It is possible to sell your books directly from your website. So in the case of an Amazon apocalypse, you’ll still be set to go! But you need to be able to format your own ebooks in order to sell them. Again, Scrivener comes to the rescue with how easy it is to create your own .mobi and .epub files!

All of these are the reasons why I decided to buy Scrivener and learn the trick. Like I said, it was infinitely easier than I anticipated – by far one of the simplest tech hacks I’ve picked up in years!

What would you do with your own ebook files?

1 Podcast EVERY Writer Should Hear

1 Podcast Every Writer Should Hear

How to Become a More Efficient and Productive Blogger

As the name implies, 7 Productivity Tips For Bloggers is written for and to bloggers. It’s part of a podcast series by ProBlogger’s Darren Rowse that began with 31 Days to Build a Better Blog and continues with regular releases designed to help bloggers blog better, more productively, and, yes, more profitably.

This episode is key for anyone who has a busy schedule and wants to get things done. Don’t disregard this podcast because it’s directed at bloggers. The principles apply just as well to writers as to bloggers.

If you want to get 2016 off to a great start, this podcast is a great first action.