Write a Novel in 2014

Write a Novel in 2014

by Alison Lyke I’m going to finish my next novel in 2014. That’s not as much a resolution as a necessity. For one, I promised the good folks at Spectacle PMG at least one more book. I also have this need to write fiction, and to do justice to my characters by seeing their stories through to the end. I won’t presume to tell you how a novel is written, except for word by word, but I will give you some of the techniques that have helped me to reach writing goals and complete my books. Daily Diligence Those of you who “wake up extra early to get writing done,” are maniacs. I can’t even begin to understand you. For everyone else, it may be difficult to fit writing in between work, chores, children, and binge watching Ancient Aliens. I overcome this by making a goal to write a certain amount of words every day, no matter what. Out of optimism, I set this goal at two to three times the amount of words that I know I’ll actually have time to write. Sometimes, I have strings of weeks or months where I can write almost everyday. I often fall off the wagon though and have to rely on other techniques. Carrying Stories My stories are written, either in full or in part, in my mind before they reach the page. I carry them around in my head, nurturing character personalities, filling in plot holes, and adding interesting bits from everyday life. That way, when I do have time to sit down and write, I don’t have to stare at the page and wonder what the hell I’m going to come up with. Fits of Inspiration Something breaks—the fountain of stories in my mind overflows. I have a dream that belongs to my novel. However it happens, inspiration takes over and I have to write and write. I can write chapters in hours. If it was always this easy and I always had time enough to see these fits through, I could finish each book in about two weeks. Inspiration attacks are usually followed by exhaustion and crankiness. Late Night Drinking A few glasses of wine with some friends or a night out at a bar may be followed with writing under the influence. This is great for areas of stories that are weird, otherwise awkward to write, or fantastic. Be prepared to heavily edit any work done using this technique. Deadline Panic I used to have company-imposed deadlines, but I have more freedom in the latest incarnation of my writing life. This means that I have to set my own targets. It’s harder to finish a story on my...

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Work-Life (and Writing) Balance

Work-Life (and Writing) Balance

by Yen Ooi Let’s face it. The majority of writers today hold ‘day jobs’ of some sort that brings in money to help them survive. In a recent article in The Guardian (UK)  http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/jan/17/writers-earn-less-than-600-a-year?], we read that writers earn less than £600 a year. That’s atrocious. So, how do writers juggle (paid) work, life, and writing? Firstly, it’s important to realize that writing is work, too, even if it doesn’t pay yet. The great thing is that writing is a passion as well, so it probably doesn’t feel tedious, like other work. Where there is flexibility, judge how you can devote time to both your day job and your writing. Consider how much time you feel is healthy for you to spend working. Forty hours a week? Sixty? Eighty? A hundred? Whatever you decide, test it out and then review it every few months—thinking up a number is very different from working it. Writers are human, and we all need entertainment, rest, and physical activities. Once you’ve decided on a feasible schedule, you just need a little bit of organization and discipline to maintain these hours for your work (including your writing). There is a small exception here. Writing has many phases, and writers tend to think a lot about their writing before they sit down and write. I call this the ‘brewing’ time. Brewing time doesn’t need to be allocated in the hours you set aside. This can happen everywhere, at anytime. So, theoretically, if you decide to work 40 hours a week, and you hold a full-time job that takes up 32 hours a week, you still have 8 hours of physical writing time. This adds up to a full-day’s work, which is plenty. If you hold jobs that are more sporadic in hours, then try and plan a week ahead. Fill in your (paid) work hours, then go in and work out a schedule for writing. Try and keep them to comfortable units of time that are achievable—for example, I like two hour slots. And, if you’re juggling a few writing projects at a time, make sure that you allocate specific projects to your schedule, not just ‘writing.’ Though writing is a passion for most writers, and may not pay yet, we need to treat the process and ourselves with respect. A healthy writer writes best, and maintaining physical and emotional health means balance in your career, your social life, and your creative outlets. And, consider this: if you don’t make time for your social life, then where are you going to get your writing ideas from? Yen Ooi is an author and regular contributor to the Spectacle newsletter. Learn more about her and her work...

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Why SPMG?

Why SPMG?

by Joy Anne Shearer   Looking for a publisher? Spectacle could be the answer. The following are advantages to working with this dynamic and personalized publishing group. At SPMG, the author and their work come first. One of the biggest indicators of this is that no agent is necessary. You can request assistance in putting together your query and you will be apprised of every move along the way. From access to staff by phone or email any time you might have a question, to workshops for your piece when it needs a few improvements to be the best it can be, Spectacle will walk you through the publishing process. We’re writers too, so not only do we understand where you’re coming from, we’ll help you take advantage of each step so that your work will be given the attention it deserves. SPMG is experienced in and prepared to assist you with what’s new, including eBooks and audio books. The number of readers on digital devices increases all the time—readers who the people at SPMG want to help you reach. Traditional book printing is also available. Before your book ever hits the stands, our Public Relations and Marketing Department will work with you to develop your brand and get your name out there. All in all, at SPMG we truly support what writers are doing and want to promote your art. You can find more information at http://spectaclepmg.com. Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...

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The Advantages of Traditional Publishing

by Joy A. Shearer When considering whether to self-publish or to use a publishing company, think of time, money, and credibility. A self-published author must provide all three, while when using a company, the efforts are shared by a team which spends their time to polish the work, invests their money to get the work off the ground, and delivers the credibility necessary for a product to hit the shelves.   A self-publishing author cannot simply be an author publishing their own work. They must be an editor and attempt to look over their own work with an objective eye. They must be trained in layout and act as graphic designer to ensure their book looks its best. After the book is printed, they must find bookstores willing to carry a self-published book. They must market the book widely and publicize themselves. The self-publishing author must fill several roles at once, while an author publishing with a company has a team of editors, designers, printers, marketers, and publicists who all have the goal of getting the author’s work out and appreciated. An author published by a company can afford to simply focus on their writing.   In addition to playing all the parts, an author without a publishing team behind them financially has several hurdles ahead.  If they decide to hire an editor, they must pay from their own pocket. Also there are the costs of production and marketing. Additionally, self-publishing authors must spend time and energy on printing their books, taking orders, shipping, and any returns.  An author working with a publisher can allow the company to invest in these activities.   Another hurdle to overcome as a self-publisher is the reputation of self-publishing.  Right or wrong, self-published work will be deemed of less quality than that which has been approved and polished by a publishing team. There is more credibility lent to an author publishing through a company—their work has been vetted, edited, and approved, and is therefore attractive to stores who need quality-verified work to sell. A self-published author will struggle to find stores to accept their work while an author with a publishing team has marketers who will use their established networks and know-how to get a book to readers.   If you’re an author considering whether to self-publish or submit your work to publishing companies until you find a good fit, trust that the wait is worth it. Self-published authors don’t have the luxury of being an author focused on writing. Instead they must sink their own time and money into the publishing process, then try and market and publicize their work when the vast majority of sellers will reject their work solely based upon the fact that it’s self-published. ...

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Why can’t I just publish it myself?

Of course! But at Spectacle, our philosophy is that writers should write. When you self-publish you’ll become your own agent, your own PR specialist, your own marketing team and sometimes even your own graphic designer. We figure you’d rather be writing. At Spectacle, we take all our submissions very seriously. There’s no such thing as a “slush pile” here. No matter what your skill level, we evaluate your manuscript and get back to with a personal note. If we think your piece is really good, we’ll work with you to get it into shape. You want your best work to be out there, to be read and experienced as you meant it to be. A free round of editing is worth it, right? I’ve published books on my own. I know the temptation. Just spell check it and submit it to Amazon/B&N/Whoever. Well, that’s the idea but it never seemed to work like that. The formatting for eBooks is actually a little complicated. This goes back to professionalism – we all want to look like we know what we’re doing. After publishing the books, I posted on Facebook, my blog, a few other places and I saw some sales. Then, with nothing new to say, they became buried in the lists of other self-published eBooks. Don’t get me wrong eBooks are the future. But the traditional publishing industry has given up on editing and personal feedback. Editors don’t edit – they select what is salable. At Spectacle, we actually edit. Trust me, editing is a good thing. Even the best of us tends to get to close to out work, to not see the holes in the plot or the pacing issues. Sometimes a beautifully poignant scene, written as if the muse Calliope herself had channeled through the author takes place in a sensory void – destroying the dream. The author knows the place, but the audience doesn’t. That’s where a good editor comes in. Many authors find that they simply don’t have the time or expertise to effectively market their work. We provide each of our novel authors with a comprehensive marketing package, compiled by professional Internet marketers. Take advantage of that! Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...

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