Daily Archives: April 25, 2011

Some sound advice to bloggers and writers alike from Novel Publicity

One of Novel Publicity’s advice pages ( entitled ’10 tips for creating a blog sidebar informs without overwhelming the reader’, as it would suggest, is aimed at bloggers but really applies to any writer (with or without a blog) and their writing.

1. ‘Only include content that is relevant to your blog’ = does every sentence/paragraph move the story on? Provide character development etc.? If not, take it out.

2. ‘Put the most important content at the top’ = don’t info dump at the beginning but provide a hook and filter in information as the reader goes on.

3. ‘Don’t clutter your blog by including redundant content’ = don’t waffle, especially in poetry, short stories and flash fiction.

4. ‘Use a simple drop-down category menu rather than an archive’ (is both overkill?) = don’t use flowery language (‘purple prose’).

5. ‘Make sure the widgets fit in the designated sidebar space’ = if you have a word limit, stick to it or you’ll get disqualified.

6. ‘Make sure to include links to subscribe to or follow your blog’ = most writers write for an audience (well, for themselves mostly but then to an audience). It’s no good leaving it in a drawer, unless it’s a first draft and you’re leaving it to marinate.

7. ‘Include a visible link to your RSS feed’ = if you write something good hopefully people will want to read more of your stuff.

8. ‘Include buttons to follow you on Twitter and like you on Facebook’ = if you write something good, tell people about it.

9. ‘Include a copyright’ = your writing is precious, don’t let any Tom, Dick or (Prince) Harry claim it’s theirs or forward it to all and sundry (Prince William/Princess Kate-to-be when they’re not sunning themselves on their honeymoon).

10. ‘If you include a blog roll, keep it minimal’ = less is most definitely more. Writing, whether it’s prose or poetry = a tidy house; everything in it’s place, and a joy to behold.


Posted by on April 25, 2011 in blog, tips, Twitter, writing


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If you’re having trouble with your characters / Cristin Terrill’s Five Top Tips

Thanks to (again courtesy of Twitter) for a link to; a great article entitled ‘Why you should steal your character’s shoes’ which contains a link to the equally brilliant providing six tips for using backstory to create compelling characters: 1. Create what the story demands. 2. What is the character’s wound? 3. What do you love or hate in a character? 4. Conduct an interview. 5. Write her eulogy / cv. 6. Get quirky (with a summing up at the bottom). If you’re having any trouble with your characters (and don’t they just love to cause you grief) then these two pages should go some way to helping. If not, slap their wrists and tell them to grow up!

Another of HiveWord’s links is to, as the address would suggest Cristin Terrill’s Top Five First Draft Tips: 1. Have a daily word count. 2. Leave the house. 3. Embrace your suck. (couldn’t have put it better myself) 4. Don’t read what you’ve written. 5. Take breaks. All sound advice to me.


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What is the average book deal structure for a first time fiction writer?

I’m currently compiling a writing guide (more about that another time) and whilst researching for time periods within fiction, I stumbled across which asked the above question. Intrigued as to what the answer would be, I was a little disappointed (although not surprised) at the following ‘top rated’ answer:

‘It actually depends on the size of the publisher and what publishing firm that your working with. The smaller a lot more neighborhood firms will pay you the finest they can but it does not really evaluate to the quantity that you can make with massive publishers like Zondervan, Harvest Property, Multnomah, Random Home, Waterbrook. Also, there is usually the factor of how excellent the perform actually is, which unfortunately remains in the eye of the reader.’ So the answer really is ‘pretty much anything’.

I was however a little more cheered on by a link below, asking ‘What is the average yearly income for a book writer?’ (which links to Having heard a figure of around £7,000 (c. $10,000) p.a., I was hoping that it would come out with something a little more optimistic but was greeted with a not very useful ‘depends how a lot of u sell’. So I was left to wonder whether the website being called ‘’ should reconsider a name change to ‘’.


Posted by on April 25, 2011 in recommendations, Twitter


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The Internet Writing Workshop

Twitter provided yet another gem: The Internet Writing Workshop says they are ‘one of the web’s oldest and most respected writing critique groups’ and it’s certainly comprehensive with the home page explaining what they’re about and how to become involved.

Their blog is which it proudly reports in their header as one of the Writers’ Digest’s Top 101 Websites for Writers 2009 and is equally packed with information as well as links to other writing-related blogs and ‘sites of interest’ including the infamous ‘Preditors & Editors’ ( The IWW blog also has a quote of the day and I particularly like the latest; “The beautiful feeling after writing a poem is on the whole better even than after sex, and that’s saying a lot.” – Anne Sexton


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Latest podcast – Review of my time spent at Oundle Literature Festival (day 1)

Special episode 16 is now available; the first day I spent at last month’s literature festival at Oundle, Northamptonshire, England. At just under 10 minutes, the episode features Young Sherlock Holmes author Andy Lane ( who gave a talk on his writing at the lunch time session then the evening featured ‘Philosophy Bites’ author Nigel Warburton (

Days 2-5 will be recorded at future special episodes along with my interview with western / crime writer and fellow Litopian Jack Martin ( and You may be also be interested in special episode 12 which featured my interviews with Oundle Committee Members Paula Prince and (Chairman) Nick Turnbull.

Links to the podcasts can be found on my website ( and the ‘Where to find me’ menu of this blog.


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