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Kari Nichols on Outlining & General Sense of Direction @TheKariNichols #WriteTip #AmWriting #Fantasy

How to Write by the Seat of Your Pants: Outline or No?

I’m an outline person. I like to start each book by writing a very general outline of events. That way, I know where I’m starting, what direction I’m heading in, and where I plan on ending. Now, that’s not to say that the outline is set in stone. I often change large pieces of the outline because I realize that a character makes more sense within the realm of his or her experiences if I head in a completely different direction than I had planned out. But that’s the great part of an outline.

It’s not a concrete pathway for the story. It simply provides a general sense of direction to get from the beginning of the journey to the finish line. I know there are people who refuse to write outlines for their stories because they feel it limits the depths of their imagination while they’re writing. But the important thing to remember if you use an outline is this: there are a hundred different paths you can take and decisions you can make in life to get from point A to point B.

Why would writing a story be any different? The outline helps me to have direction … but that’s it. If you use an outline, don’t be afraid to stray if you come up with a crazy twist or a fun side story that can connect if you change the original plan. The goal is to the write the best version of the story possible. For me, beginning with an outline helps me attain that goal.


“We stand united, Family of Immortals. Plagued by life. Cursed by the hand of God …”

Rogue was born into an immortal family whose wealth is marked by a trail of blood. But when he meets the unnervingly familiar assistant of his next target, an unexpected rush of emotions begins to unravel his carefully laid plans.

Lissie lives a mundane life filled with work … and little else. She hasn’t taken a risk since she moved to New York City after college—seven years ago. But when the mysterious Matthew McCloud walks through the door of her office, she finds herself diving head-first into a whirlwind romance she never saw coming.

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Urban Fantasy, Contemporary Romance, Historical Romance
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
Connect with Kari Nichols on Facebook & Twitter

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Roland Hughes Shares His Thoughts on the Publishing Industry #AmWriting #AmReading #SelfPub

This has been a popular interview question for the past few decades.  It is one of those goto questions interviewers use to pad the time/space.  In theory it allows a writer to spout off about what is wrong with the industry, but a traditionally published author who isn’t looking to be out in the cold any time soon can rarely afford such a venting.  While it may be filler on for the interview, it has been a question which has created heated debate within the ever shrinking walls of traditional publishers.  One needs a frame of reference to understand any answer though.
Long before my great grandfather was even a gleam in the eye traditional publishers used to invest in a new author.  An author was nurtured and promoted.  The publisher built a franchise around the author.  These people were few and they were cherished.  A publisher endeavored to produce a product high enough in quality for it to still sell many years/decades after the author was no longer.  Basically they wanted that product to still be in demand up until the day the last copyright extension ran out.
Our current industry has basically Walmartized publishing.  Gone are the days of mega advances and mass marketing campaigns.  Your own personal press agent isn’t going to happen unless you either outsell Stephen King or hire them yourself.  There was a great article in the Writer magazine talking about public relations people.  One traditionally published author found out the publicist assigned to their work promoted 40 different titles each week.  Given a standard work week of 40 hours you can guess just how much publicity each title got.  That advance?  Well, if you get one don’t expect to quit your day job and write full time.  In fact, you will need your day job to help fund your own marketing efforts so bank that vacation time if your company will let you cash it out instead of forcing you to take it.
Now we are at a tipping point.  The pervasiveness of businesses allowing writers to upload work and make it available in numerous electronic markets has pulled writers with resources out of the slush piles publishers receive daily.  It has also changed the stigma.  When I first started writing computer books it was considered a mortal sin to self-publish.  The industry rule is that no publisher would touch you if they found you put out even one title without using a dignified publishing house.  Not any more.  There are various tracking services tracking actual reported sales numbers, not free downloads but the ones which actually sold and the retail price range.  Now we have numerous stories of publishing houses pursuing indie authors who sell above X units over a given time frame.  Some jump, but more and more do not.  In fact, a growing number of authors who “made it” working for a traditional house are jumping ship to self-publish and get a larger share of the money.
This tipping point is quite fragile.  A butterfly flapping its wings on a continent far away will determine which way the industry goes and that determination isn’t far off.  The pervasiveness of the downloadable book services is also the problem with them.  I have yet to find one which has any requirement a work have had professional editing, let alone multiple rounds of professional editing.  I am seeing a growing number of people who purchased reading devices post rants about how they are not going to download anything (free or otherwise) which doesn’t come from a known publishing house because they are sick and tired of wasting their time on titles rampant with spelling/grammar/plot line/insert-error-type-here errors.
So.  If one or more of these pervasive services wakes up and smells the iced tea brewing (coffee is nasty!) they will wipe the slush from their servers and institute professional editing requirements.  Paying for professional editing will remove most of the free and 99 cent titles from their stores.  One simply cannot spend thousands of dollars on professional editing and give the work away.  Once a vendor takes their cut of the 99 cent fee an author has to have a run away hit to break even.  Simple economics ensure there won’t be much on the virtual shelves which suffers from poor editing.
Then we will see if people come to the realization an industry cannot survive giving it all away for free.  If they do, traditional publishing houses will cease to exist or will be down to just a handful who now specialize in taking wildly successful electronic titles to print markets.
What is more likely is that people will be too addicted to “free” stuff to pay a fair price.  They will continue to suck down low quality free stuff until they overdose on it and leave the reading world forever.  When that happens we will see a dramatic shrinking in the size of the eBook market.  The physical print market will then either stabilize or begin growing in size because that will be the last place people can toss a stone and hit a quality product.

“John Smith: Last Known Survivor of the Microsoft Wars” is one big interview. It is a transcript of a dialogue between “John Smith” (who, as the title of the book implies is the last known survivor of the Microsoft wars) and the interviewer for a prominent news organization.
Buy Now @ Amazon & B&N
Genre – Dystopian Fiction
Rating – PG
More details about the author

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Storytelling Redefined with HJ Lawson @hjlawson1 #AmWriting #AmReading #YA

Storytelling Redefined

I listened to a Joanne Penn podcast on www.thecretivepenn.com about Wattpad, a new social platform for readers. Wattpad has 24 million users, the majority are readers, with only 10% authors. Average session length is 30 mins, and 85% read via mobile devices.

It is a very popular site for teenagers, fan fiction is hugely popular, search One Direction on the site and you will see hundreds of stories. It has been described as the YouTube of writing because of the way it enables authors to share their work with the world. Wattpad also has a global growth. US, Canada and UK are the largest, the Philippines stands apart. Wattpad is the #1 app and it is driving the physical bookselling bestseller lists.

Authors can upload either the completed or working version of their books for readers to read. It is not possible to upload a book as one single file; it has to be done on a chapter-by-chapter basis. Then your followers get notified the moment a new chapter is shared. The notification appears on the phone, tablet or computer. Then the best part; followers make comments and vote for your work.

I interviewed Bruce Elgin, on my website www.theindiejourney.com about his experience on Wattpad. Bruce’s novel Schism has been read over 117,922 time, has 4521 votes, 1732 comments and was selected for the Wattpad feature story.

I asked Bruce - Have you found Wattpad a useful platform for your work? Bruce replied: I love Wattpad.  I am a total dork for Wattpad.  How else can a writer get fans from every corner of the world?  When I started on Wattpad I was brainstorming ways to get the word out about Schism.  I had some casual fans from Voodootown, but didn’t know who most of them were.  But, on July 18, Schism will be a featured story on Wattpad and hundreds of thousands of people (who already love to read!) from every corner of the world are going to check it out.  And for everyone that votes for even one chapter, I will know who that person is and can thank them personally.  Add to that the ability to talk with readers as they read and we’re looking at a brand new paradigm of reading.

I asked him if he have you seen an increase in your book sales, from launching it on Wattpad, if yes by what percentages? Bruce: Yes!  It’s small so far, maybe a 30% increase, but with Schism being featured, I think the bump will get much bigger.

I have posted chapters of my first novel War Kids on Wattpad, and found that the readers are very supportive and they have given me useful comments. It is great to have a direct connection with the readers.


Hayley Lawson is the author of War Kids. She has written a young adult contemporary novel set in Syria; a story about the Syrian Civil war though the eyes of children.

She was born in Lancaster, England. Growing up in a single parent household with five other siblings; was hard, and also character building.

As a young child she found a passion for drawing, and continued this into adulthood, graduating from the University of Central Lancashire, England with a BA(Hons) in fashion design.

At aged twenty seven, Hayley and her husband packed up their belongings for a lifelong dream to move to California. Her America dream was complete with the birth of her daughter. Her love for traveling, continued after the birth of her daughter traveling around America with the family, and the best travelled dog.
A new job positioned opened up New York, and the family decide to relocate to Long Island, NY, which is where she currently resides.

On August 21 she was moved by the images of the Syrian conflict, and embarked on an unlikely journey of writing her first novel.


All profits from the book will be going to the save the children charity.

When fourteen-year-old Jada wakes up in a hospital, the last thing she thinks is that her life has completely changed forever. But when the very real civil war forces her to flee from every open space, she must use the firearm skills her father taught her to reunite with him and protect herself. Armed with a single gun and a key to an unknown locker, Jada crosses Syria on a journey with a group of children called the Fearless Freedom Fighters. With the leader, Zak, they mount a plan to rescue their fathers while they try to cope with the merciless murders of their families. As Jada and Zak lead the group together, love blossoms, but with soldiers hot on their tail, they need to stay vigilant in the face of war.

Reviews from Wattpad

Very interesting story, very powerful. I can really feel the emotion...Peter

This book really touches my heart because there is so much truth is in this book. The detail is so brilliantly displayed, its beautifuly written. There are pretty intense chapters, its good... scrap that its excellent. Loe the work ...although I am upset. I know this is a fictional story, but I just can't help but feel extremely bad for all the lost lives especially the innocent and young ones...Saddy

A REMARKABLE BOOK, DEMANDS TO BE READ Goodreads review from Joe Eliseon

Buy Now @ Amazon | Smashwords | CreateSpace
Genre - Young Adult 
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
Connect with H J Lawson on GoodReads & Facebook & Twitter 
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