Great Stuff for Writers, June 3, 2013

Heroes and protagonists, money matters, freelance editors, and Google+: you’ll find all that and more in today’s Great Stuff. Let’s get started, shall we?

CRAFT

Do “hero” or “heroine” mean the same thing as “protagonist?” In Why Your Protagonist Might Not Always Be Your Hero, Katie Weiland (@KMWeiland) explains the distinction and how you can identify who the protagonist really is. (Note that this character is not necessarily an anti-hero, either.) Katie suggests that you ask three questions to identify your protagonist:

  • Who is most important to your plot?
  • Who has the most dramatic character arc?
  • Who has the most at stake?

Katie also continues her Most Common Writing Mistakes series with A Surefire Sign You’re Over-Explaining. This is something I see in the new writers in my writers’ group all the time, and I absolutely agree with her that the source of the problem is lack of trust—in their own ability to get the point across and that the reader will get what they’re trying to convey. Less really is more in most cases.

Robert Lee Brewer (@robertleebrewer) calls them 30 June Writer Assignments but they’re not really assignments. Some are prompts, some are technique reminders, some are reminders that may help you keep your sanity. You can also follow them at #writerassignments.

BUSINESS

Joe Konrath published a Guest Post by Robert Swartwood (@RobertSwartwood)—let’s be clear right up front, a really, really long guest post—on his (Swartwood’s) recent self-publishing success. Now, you could take this as a lot of self-congratulation, but if you dig deeper, you’ll learn a lot about how Swartwood used the Bookbub e-book publicity service and what I’ll call “tactical pricing” (99¢ for a limited time) to sell over 5,000 copies of one book over the space of just a few days. Okay, Swartwood’s already got a following and multiple books published. The point is this: learn the business, learn how to make good use of the resources that are available to self-published authors, make some well-considered decisions and, as you may know, luck favors the prepared.

In a happy coincidence, Gabriela Pereira (@DIYMFA) has a similar post, Why Writers Need to Think About Money, in which she posts some survey data from Digital Book World on the priorities and expectations of traditionally, hybrid, and self-published authors. It may be revealing (Gabriela thinks so) that self-pubbed authors put a much lower priority (4th of 6 choices) on making money than the other two categories do (2nd place for both). Can this hurt a self-pubbed writer’s business/career? She thinks so. Check out the post for the full discussion.

I try not to beat up on traditional publishers the way some bloggers do, but when the injury is self-inflicted…. Dean Wesley Smith (@deanwesleysmith) writes in Traditional Publishing And Their March to the Future about a post by Kevin J. Anderson (@TheKJA) about his (Anderson’s) fight with his publisher to remove from his contract requirements to submit two typewritten copies of the manuscript (one a carbon copy) plus an electronic file on a floppy disk. It took his agent eight weeks to get these requirements taken out, Anderson says. Really? I can only hope someone’s leg is being pulled. If not… sheesh.

On a happier note, Jane Friedman posts an excerpt from Stacy Ennis’s (@stacyennis) book The Editor’s Eye on her blog. The subject is 5 Ways to Find the Right Freelance Book Editor, a topic every long-fiction writer faces, whether they want a traditional publishing contract or intend to go indie. The keys include looking in the right places, interviewing the editor and some of their past clients, and judging a candidate’s experience and energy level. It’s a long post but contains a lot of good information.

SOCIAL MEDIA

OK, I admit it, I’ve been avoiding Google+. But maybe now it’s time to rethink that. Marcy Kennedy (@MarcyKennedy) guest posts on Jane Friedman’s blog with 6 Reasons Google+ Beats Facebook for Author Platform Building. I’ve seen some of Marcy’s reasons before and some torque my jaws in a way—if you want to be part of Google Authorship, you have to have a G+ account (yes, it’s a business, I get that, but still…), but the key point is that G+ seems to be better at building communities of interest than Facebook. Check out the post and make your own decision.

 

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