Articles tagged "advice for authors"

How to Find a Writing Group

Join a writer's group to share your workWriters can work anywhere with a horizontal surface on which to rest our laptops or pads of paper. But, the process of turning what we imagine into text is a singularly solitary effort. We know what we want and mean to write. We clearly see it in our mind’s eye. Yet our mind is a tricky place. It tends to fill in the blanks we left on the page resulting in under developed characters and unresolved plot lines.

Joining a writing group is one way to fill in those blanks.  Not only can a group make your writing more of a collegial experience, but a group of like-minded writers can also help you meet your writing goals, work out the kinks in your plot lines, and point out any inconsistencies in your work.

So where do you find these mythical people? Here are a place to look:

1. Local writing centers and communities

The first place to start is the internet. A quick search using your city name and “Writing Group” will get you started. If you get too many results, include the genre in which you write to narrow down the list. Once you find a promising group, send a message to the group leader or attend a public meeting / class to determine if the group is a good fit for you.

2. Conferences and Retreats

While you are at it, search for any local writing conferences or retreats to attend. Sharing your contact information with other writers at these local gatherings is the best way to make contact with authors who can recommend or introduce you to an existing group.

3. Bulletin boards

Despite living in the digital age, that old school means of finding like-minded people can still be effective. If you are interested in starting a writing group post a notice at your local public library, coffee house, or arts center. You can even post a notice on your city’s Craigslist > Community > Groups section.

4. Writing associations

Professional associations such as Romance Writers of America and Mystery Writers of America have chapters throughout the country. Check their sites for directories to find members in your local area.

Lulu Joining a writing group

5. People you already know

We all have one good book inside of us – or so we would like to think. So, why not build a writing group from your friends and acquaintances. Most of us don’t live among authors and poets, but that’s not the point. The key is establishing a routine for a regular exchange of work. A word of caution may be needed here. Remember, criticism – even constructive criticism hurts. So choose carefully from those friends who will welcome your suggestions – and vice verse.

6. Online critique groups

Multiple online services are available and are often set up as an exchange: you must critique others’ work to have your own critiqued. Though they are often free, you may need to pay for full access or pay for an unlimited number of critiques. Some groups to to check out: Critique Circle, Review Fuse, Scribophile and Ladies Who Critique. One thing to keep in mind is that the readers in each group may or may not be your target audience and may not be a fan of the genre in which you work.

Meetups are a great place to share your writing

7. Meetup.com

This online service connects local people with similar interests ranging from Spanish literature to Scrabble. If there isn’t a writing group in your city, for a small fee you can start your own – or hold virtual meetings and exchange work via email.

8. Social media

Social media is now the most common way to connect with like-minded individuals and to find potential writing group members. Try these to get started: LinkedIn Groups for Writers, Facebook Groups for Writers, Goodreads Writing Groups and Twitter Lists for Writers.

Another options to just put out a call on your own social networks that you’re starting a writing group. You might be surprised who responds!

As you can see, finding a writing group takes time but it is well worth it to have the support, feedback and encouragement a group provides.

Are you part of a writing group, or do you have tips of your own on finding people to share your work with? Let us know in the comments!

Helix Review Author Round Up

Screen Shot 2013-11-22 at 10.13.03 AMBack in early August, we began featuring authors that have used the Helix Review to gain insight into their writing style and how to better market their books, so we could share what they learned with you. The Helix Review analyzes your book’s content and writing style and compares it to the most successful literary works of all-time, giving authors a valuable insight into their manuscript.

From my own perspective this has been a learning experience. Not only did authors share with us what they had learned from Helix, they also shared how they were implementing these insights into their work.

We’ve spoken to over 20 authors and I want to share some of the most valuable feedback my team and I heard:

1. Helix is instrumental in defining a direction and audience for your book.

  • “By comparing my book to another text that I have a great deal of respect for, and receiving a favorable review, I can proceed with confidence as I work on my next book.” – Read the interview with John Locke, author of Stuff I’ve Written So Far

2. Understand how your book fits in your genre and compares to similar books.

  • “I gained a sense of confidence in seeing that my writing is comparable to other works and measured favorably when compared to other books in the field. – Read the interview with B.D. Salerno, author of Forensics by the Stars: Astrology Investigates

3. Using Helix to narrow down your target publishers based on genre and style.

  • “The information provided in the 21 page report helped me target specific publishers, it has provided me with 10 other best selling books that I can compare and use when discussing books that are rated as similar in writing style.” – Read the interview with Gregory L. Truman, author of Hitting the Wall

Authors continue to inform and educate us on how they are finding the review valuable and how they are using it to identify new audiences for their book. If you are an author that has used the Helix Review for your book, we’d still love to hear from you. You can submit your feedback here.

For the complete list of Helix Review interviews, click here.

 

Good News / Bad News from BRAGMedallion.com

The good news: According to publishing industry surveys, 8 out of 10 adults feel they have a book in them. In the past, few were able to realize this dream. However, the emergence of self-publishing companies such as Lulu and print-on-demand technology has made it possible for anyone to publish a book.

The bad news is that with so many new titles it can be hard for readers to find the true gems. Furthermore, as the understanding of what it means to self-publish evolves, we still sometimes see authors go the self-publishing route with the misunderstanding that their book does not need editing and so books go into print with grammatical and spelling errors. That’s where we come in. At B.R.A.G. MedallionTM, we hold indie authors to a higher standard: The decision to honor a self-published book must be unanimous among the group of our readers who review it.

Thus, our advice to budding indie authors is twofold. First, read before you write. The best guideline for writing a good book is to read the work of others―both to learn what is good and to avoid what is bad. Second, after you write your book, have it professionally edited. This constitutes line editing, preferably, or proofreading at a minimum. Nothing turns off a reader more quickly than a poorly written book. To help Lulu authors find high-quality self-published books, they should visit www.bragmedallion.com. It is an online community that welcomes all those who seek to learn how to become better writers, and those looking to gain recognition for their work. There, they will find a list of books by talented indie authors, as well as relevant advice and commentary from the world of self-publishing.