Posts Tagged ‘writer’

Lessons I learnt from Terry Brooks

I believe I mentioned in the last post that Terry Brooks is my writing hero. Lately, I have been reading his Sometimes the Magic Works, a book on the writing and publishing process. He is a prolific writer, and his Sword of Shannara is one of my favorite fantasy epics. Usually fantasy lovers compare each epic story to Lord of the Rings, but for me, The Sword of Shannara is the benchmark against which I judge my own books.

The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings were my introduction to the world of fantasy but it was The Sword of Shannara that made me wish I could write epic fantasy stories.

Here are some lessons I have learnt from his writing career.

1)      Write from the heart, regardless of whether the genre is popular at the moment. Don’t deny yourself the pleasure of writing a story simply because you think, and people say, there is no market for it. Writing should always be done with passion and commitment, regardless of the marketing aspects.

2)      Within your genre, don’t hesitate to experiment with different sub-genres. He wrote high fantasy, dark fantasy and also urban fantasy.

3)      Do write in other genres. Terry Brooks has done two movie adaptations; one of them was Star Wars, a science fiction story.

4)      Don’t take your writing career for granted. Be on the lookout for opportunities that will give you greater exposure and new readers. Even if you are successful writer, you will always have the potential to become more successful.

5)      Don’t be afraid to share your knowledge with new writers. Although it’s an imposition on your writing time, it will help you clarify your own thought process and it’s important to give back to the writing community.

If you have not read his Sometimes the Magic works, you should. It’s a great resource for writers, new and old.

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Sometimes the Magic Works – by Terry Brooks

Sometimes the Magic Works – by Terry Brooks

I have a cardinal rule, and that’s to write my blog posts on Wednesday and Friday. But here I am…one day late. This will have to be a Thursday post. And I blame this delay on Terry Brooks. Yes, Terry Brooks, the famous and successful fantasy writer, my writing hero…who wrote Sometimes the Magic Works, a non-fiction book on writing and publishing.

Let me tell you, I debated whether to buy the book on not for a week. The e-book price was 11.99 dollars. I mean, that’s not a small amount for a 282 page book. Finally, I gave in to the temptation and bought it. The book is amazing, and well worth the price. People rave about Stephen King’s On Writing but I tell you…Sometimes the Magic Works is a better book to read if you want to learn about the writing and publishing process.

Forget all the writing and publishing blogs (but not mine, please) and get this book. Although fantasy writers might relate to it a bit, the book’s written for a new writer of any genre. Terry has given practical advice on a lot of aspects of writing such as having a good beginning and end, outlines, show versus tell, and so much more. You may be thinking, what’s new about that? Well, the way he has explained it all is so simple and easy to understand that it’s worth your time to read it if you are serious about writing as a career.

There is a lot more practical information about the business of publishing, such as, the job of the first time writer is to write the second book and how book signings are meant for making connections with the readers and not for selling books. So many of his own mistakes have been analyzed for public consumption.

I have always believed that it’s not possible to learn everything by making your own mistakes. In order to save time, we must be ready to learn from other people’s mistakes. It’s a rare writer who will lay bare his own disappointments for others to learn from – and Thank you Terry for that!

I could go on and on about Terry Brooks and Sometimes the Magic Works but it’s time to let you think about whether you want to buy it yourself. I still have fifty more pages to finish and am going to find a nice quiet corner in the house to do so.

Happy Reading!

Sabine A. Reed’s is the fantasy author of The Black Orb, which can be bought here.

How to choose a digital publisher? – Part 2

In my last post, I discussed some tips that would help a writer decide which digital publisher to choose for manuscript submission. Today, I want to discuss some other points that a writer should consider before signing with a digital publisher.

1)      A digital publisher will take digital publishing rights only, and not print. That is, unless, they promise to take your book out in print also. If they are only taking the option to take the book out in print depending on sales, it should be clear as to how many months you can wait before you submit the print version elsewhere.

2)      They should specify for how long they are taking the rights. Not for your lifetime, certainly. Five years, or two years since the date of publication is preferable and then you can all re-negotiate the contract.

3)      They should send you few free digital copies of the book. They will also create many formats of the book for sale.

4)      They should send you ARCs so you can get reviews.

5)      The publisher should design the book cover at no cost to you and get ISBN also.

6)      The publisher gets first right to look at any sequel to your work that they have, but not to any other work.

It is a writer’s duty to ensure that they are happy with the book contract before signing it. It’s always best to read the contract from start to finish and once again. If you don’t have a lawyer, get a friend to read it for you to get his/her feedback. Do you homework before selling your manuscript so you don’t have any regrets later on.

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List of Digital Publishers

Work of a self-published author as compared to an author with a publishing house

The things your digital publisher would do for you


How to choose a digital publisher? – Part 1

If you are one of those writers like me who don’t want to delve in the deep sea of self-publishing, here are a few tips to help you choose the right digital publisher. First of all, here is a List of Digital Publishers for you to begin with. Before submitting your projects, do some basic research on the publisher:

1)      How long have they been around? My publisher Uncial Press recently celebrated their fifth anniversary, and that’s quite a number of years in the fickle world of digital publishing.

2)      How many titles do they publish in a month? Ideally, they should have a schedule for publishing because that shows they are organized. Whether they publish one title a month or twenty, it should be a reliable and steady number. Publishers who take out twenty books in one year and only two in the next have something not quite right going on.

3)      What kind of marketing do they offer to their writers? Click on some of their titles, note down the author’s name and see the kind of web presence each author has. Digital publishers should at the very least insist on their authors having some kind of a website. Also, they should list the names of authors with a short bio, and a link to the author’s website, on their own site.

4)      What is their reputation? You can easily find this out by googling the publisher and reading up about them.

5)      How much time and effort is the publisher investing in their own brand name? If you are a new writer, your publisher is the one who is going to pull the initial sales and for this, they need to have a loyal customer base and a multi-pronged policy of gaining new followers. At the very least, they should have a twitter account, facebook and preferably a publisher blog also.

6)      Where do they upload their titles? Ideally, you would want your publisher to put the book up on Amazon, Barnes and Noble Nook, as well online retailers such as fictionwise, diesel, etc. Check the ratings of their Amazon titles to see how well their authors are doing? Usually authors with more than one published book do better than authors with only one book up.

7)      Check to see how many of their authors have published more than one book with them. This is a true test of the publisher because authors will only submit more than one book to them if they are happy with the sales of the first title and the general behavior of the publisher.

8)      You can even write to some of their authors and ask them if they would recommend the publisher. This is a dicey question. Some authors may not honestly speak against their publisher even if they are not happy with their title’s performance—but there is no harm in trying.

On Friday, I am going to do another post on Choosing a Digital Publisher so don’t forget to drop in again. Also, an interview of Aria, my protagonist from The Black Orb, a fantasy novella, is up at Paradox- The Angels are Here (a blogs of author Patti Roberts, author of Paradox) and it’s truly an interesting question-answer session because Aria is a lively fiery character who came alive for me as I penned her. You can read the first chapter of The Black Orb for free here.




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