NaNoWriMo Brings Writers a Sense of Community

In 2013, over 602,000 writers embarked on a challenge to write a novel of 50,000 words in a single month. Every year participants celebrate National Novel Writing Month with NaNoWriMo by stocking up on their favorite beverage, laying out their inspirational charms, and pecking out novels on their computers. A community has grown up around the site and the event, supporting writers of all genres and experience levels.

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Resources and Collected Links

There are many, MANY sites out there devoted to helping writers on the road to creating their content. There are just as many sites that have compilations of these resources. In case this is your first stop on the road to internet research about writing, allow us to point to a few for you. (This post may be updated as sites come and go, or resources grow.)

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Pricing Your eBook

One of the biggest questions for self-publishing authors, is what to charge for your ebooks. Many sources will tell you that there’s a “magic number” or a formula or something that will answer this question for you, but in reality it’s not that simple. Different audiences, genres, regions, and marketing approaches all lend themselves to different pricing habits.

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How To Publish on Amazon

The process of publishing your ebook can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. This handy how-to guide will help you work through it easily, and show you what to expect. Link to Simply Written to read more

Making a Writing Plan

Most writers suffer from a creative breakdown at some point or another, and many would-be authors are derailed entirely by these problems. Life intrudes on writing time, or distractions make the project drag out, sapping the energy and drive of the writer. Without a plan, writing starts to take a backseat to things that are more urgent, or easier to accomplish. The writer’s mind begins to seek out time-sinks, making excuses as to why they aren’t writing.

The key to preventing this from happening to your writing is having a plan. Not every writer’s plan will be the same, just as not every writer feeds on words in the same way, but every successful writer will have a plan. In a very broad sense, this plan will have four key parts: ideas, focus, goals, and a schedule.

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The Semicolon, aka. the Supercomma

There is a form of punctuation called the semicolon. (It’s the one that looks like a comma with a period stacked on top of it.) In my time as a copyeditor I’ve slashed out more semicolons than I care to count, usually due to overuse or misuse. I prefer to think of the semicolon as a supercomma. It helps me to remember the proper usage of the beast.

So what is it?

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Publishing Your eBook

Simply Written was created with authors in mind. It’s a tool. It’s a creation aid that provides the author with clean, beautiful files that can be published as ebooks.

The publishing process, on the other hand, is complicated.

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DRM in eBooks

The subject of DRM (Digital Rights Management) is a hugely controversial one. Supporters are avid that it protects the writer (and the publisher or retailer) from people stealing their content. Those against DRM say that it merely inconveniences users, and provides publishers a way to punish usage they disagree with.

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The Rise of Self-Publishing

In 2011, Bowker (the agency responsible for assigning ISBN codes to all the books in the US) reported that approximately 43% of the books printed for the year were listed as being self-published. They also noted a rise in the listing of ebooks that are self-published, but because not all outlets require an ISBN (and Bowker only counts the ISBNs) the number was likely much higher than they recorded. It’s estimated that in 2008, ebooks accounted for 1% of all published books, but by 2014 that ratio rose to nearly 35%.

Why the sudden increase in self-publishing? In past years an author would write their masterpiece, then search out an agent; or cold contact a publishing house, praying to get someone to notice their work and want to buy it from them. A very small percentage of authors ever made it past the submission stage. Rejection letters would pile up over the years while waiting on a publisher to take notice.

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All About ISBNs

Most likely, if you’re a writer you’re already familiar with what an ISBN actually is. It stands for International Standard Book Number, and is the way books are commercially set apart from each other. The book number is unique for every book, and for every version of a book, like a literary fingerprint. It allows a book to be identified both in catalogs and bookstores, be they physical or digital.

Most people know that a book needs an ISBN, but what they may not understand is that each format of the book needs a separate number. A hardback is different from a paperback, which is different from an epub, which is different from a mobi. An ISBN will reveal exactly what you’re getting, as opposed to other versions available.

If you have a publishing company, they will most likely take care of the process of assigning ISBNs to your work, but a self-published author needs to do that themselves. It’s not a difficult process, but it is an important one.

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