no one said becoming a published author is easy!
(Did you miss me? After the craziness of the Distress Signals month-long blogging bonanza, I decided to give you all a month off from me. Well, a month and a bit. Also, since I last blogged WordPress have hidden the ‘justify paragraph’ button from me and it is driving. Me. CUCKOO. I can’t even look at this left-aligned. Oh my God. Deep breaths. Wait! Keyboard shortcuts! YES. Okay. It’s all okay. Everything’s going to be okay. Breathe… Okay. Anyway.)
As of February 1, this little blog is a staggering SEVEN years old. One of the first posts I published on here was a tongue-in-cheek How To Write A Novel in 37 Easy Steps. So, seven years and a bit on, and to break my post-blogging-bonanza fast, I’ve decided to update that – or rather, continue it.
How To Get Published in Just 50 Easy Steps!
- Decide, aged 8, that you…
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How to manage the many marketing and promotion tasks associated with self-publishing books without ever feeling overwhelmed, by US indie author Glenn Ashton
Love stories offer most powerful tool for creating character arc and taking reader on journey
What a thrill to attend Michael Hauge’s story writing workshop at the recent RWA conference. Apparently, we were the biggest audience he’s ever had for a presentation on writing – and we loved it!
For those of you who don’t know much about Michael – he’s a screen-writer and writing/screen coach who works in Hollywood and has consulted on many of the major HW films in the past decades.
Michael covered a lot in our all-day session. Starting with some clips from some movies he used to illustrate his messages. So what were some of his messages?
Some of those that resonated with me were:
You need to create an emotional experience for your reader or watcher
You need to transport the reader/watcher into the world you’ve created
Your goal as a writer is to elicit emotion in the reader
So how do we do that?
Michael went into a lot of detail about main characters, their outer motivations and their inner journey. I will cover more about that in my next few blog posts as there’s a lot to take in. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with another of my favourite quotes from the workshop
Stories are a participatory experience. People read novels not because it is interesting to see what happens, but as an emotional journey to experience for themselves.
Look out world – here I come!
Ain’t Love Grand was the best conference I’ve ever been to.
“Why?” I hear you ask.
I’ve been to conferences before – quite a few of them – I’ve even presented at some. History, Heritage, Architecture, Sustainability, Management – even Fossils. And there have been many with outstanding speakers, good networking, lots to learn and lots to think about. But for me, the recent RWAus conference was far more than just enlightening. It was transformational.
I felt I changed on so many levels. Of course I learnt plenty of new info about writing and publishing. I also met lots of great people – and I think that’s where the transformation really set in. Because I’ve been a ‘closet novelist’ for years – have sat at home writing away, crafting stories, finishing books, self-publishing a few of them, building networks online and learning about the writing craft and the fraught world of publishing and marketing books, finding readers, etc, etc…. And have felt overwhelmed and alone, at times. Started to lose momentum and wonder whether I could continue existing as a writer in a parallel world that wasn’t really a reality… And then – BAM! – I meet dozens of other writers who are just like me, and suddenly it all becomes real.
So, some of the key things I learnt from attending the conference: –
- I am not alone. (That’s very reassuring.)
- Other writers are generous and inspiring – I already knew that, mostly, but now I really believe it
- Anything is possible, and you won’t know if you don’t try
- Writing is hard work and you need to treat it like a job. Take yourself seriously and give yourself permission to write.
- Don’t be ashamed of writing love stories – Love makes the world go round.
- And so much more that I’m going to need a few more blog posts to express it.
So now I am officially ‘OUT’ as a romance writer. I will tell any of my colleagues at work who are interested, and any of my friends and family. I will set myself writing goals and work towards them with gusto. I have made myself an electronic Calendar dedicated to all the work I need to do as ‘Emily Arden’. I am making this real, and I will succeed.
Stay tuned for some more posts on what I learnt from the conference, and may you achieve your dreams, or at least, always feel empowered to chase them.
Dan Holloway considers a different aspect of openness for indie authors: that of relinquishing copyright and sharing work under Creative Commons licences