Tag Archives: novels

A List of YA Fantasy Writers on Twitter

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Twitter is an awesome place for finding like-minded individuals to learn from, converse with or network with. Here is a listing of YA Fantasy Authors who Twitter. If you’d like to be added, let me know. Enjoy.

tamoor | @tamoor Astrologer, Metaphysician, EFT, Writer, Author, Award Winning Author, Young Adult Fantasy, Dragons, Fairies, Visionary Fiction, Juvenile Fiction, YA Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, Books, Book Reviews, Editor, FREE Ebook, Publish, Publishing, Independent Publishing.  http://www.talesoftamoor.com Location: Umpqua Valley, Oregon

The Enchanted Inkpot | @EnchantedInkpot We are a community for writers and readers of middle grade and young adult fantasy.

Robert Jeschonek | @TheFictioneer Writer of urban fantasy, scifi, mystery, comics, Star Trek, Doctor Who, and more. Watch for upcoming Clarion young adult novel My Favorite Band Does Not Exist. Location: Johnstown, Pennsylvania

Carmen Bowles | @Cabowles2486 I’m writer who is a future bestseller from H-town. Genres: Young adult Romance, some sci-fi, and fantasy. I’m going for my degree in English.  Location: Houston, Texas

Marissa Miranda | @marissamiranda Current college student aiming to become a published young adult fantasy writer  Location: Florida, USA

Trulie Peterson | @TruliePeterson Writer of Young Adult fantasy and science fiction, among other things. Location: Florida

rrsmythe | @rrsmythe Young Adult Historical Fantasy Writer, therapist, taxi driver etc  Location: In the woods

Fiona Tankard | @writerinitaly British ghostwriter, writer and seo writer who has lived in Italy since 1994.  http://www.spiderywriting.com Location: Tuscany, Italy

Katherine Stillwater | @KStillwater Writer. Editing my first novel (Seventh Veil). Genre: young adult, urban fantasy, and paranormal-romance. Also, seeking an agent.  Location: West Hollywood, CA

Cheryl Rainfield / @cherylrainfield  Writer of Fantasy and Realistic YA. http://cheryl@cherylrainfield.com

Rebecca Ryals Russell / @vigorio Writer of MG and YA Dark Fantasy. http://yellowhatwriterrrussell.com Location: Wellborn, North Central Florida

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How to Figure Out What a Reader Wants in a Story or Book

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What writer wouldn’t love sitting inside a reader’s head as they read a book, whether it is the writer’s or another’s? I would relish knowing what thoughts occur to a reader as they progress through the novel. Are the characters intriguing or boring? Are there too many characters or too few? Is the setting over described or too vague? Should the plot be pimped to make it more interesting or is it already all over the place? Where does the reader fit into the writing of a novel?

Unfortunately, we can’t sit inside a reader’s brain. But we can ask readers what they like and don’t when they read. And we can tell via sales whether a book lives up to a reader’s expectations. But while being written, is there some way a writer can try to zero-in on ways a reader reads?

After giving this some thought and investigation, I came up with the following list:

  1. According to reader desires, a good novel contains these elements, in this order:

Story-must be interesting

Characters-must have dimension

Theme-must be current

Atmosphere/setting-must seem genuine to story and genre

  1. Characters are the reason readers read. If the characters are boring or flat a reader will put the book down and pick up another with interesting, intriguing characters.

The main character must want something specific. Strong desire of a goal defines a strong character.

The main character must do something within the story. If all of the plot situations ‘happen’ to the character a reader gets bored. Sometimes the character must instigate the situation.

  1. Humor helps any story and readers love it. You don’t have to create a comedy, just insert some humor, especially where it’s not expected.
  1. Lastly, style is not nearly as important to a reader as it might be to a writer. The days of ‘purple prose’ are gone. Today’s readers want quickly flowing story with little narration and less description. Don’t eliminate either completely, just be judicious.

Finding the Title of your Short Story, Novella or Novel

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Finding the title of your short story, novella or novel can be frustrating and difficult. It took me several months of trying to finally arrive at the title Seraphym Wars. There are certain guidelines that help and bloggers have suggestions all the time. So I’m going to throw in my two-cent’s worth.

  1. Look at titles from your genre in the bookstore and online (Amazon.com or BarnesandNoble.com). Jot down your favorites.
  1. Keep it short and simple – one to three words works best. You may use a subtitle, but it’s not a requirement.
  1. Create a list of as many titles as you can think of that relate to your story’s theme, genre, characters, plot, setting (especially if you world-built). Use a thesaurus.
  1. Survey family and friends to choose their favorite three titles from your list. Narrow the list and resurvey until you have about five to choose from.
  1. Make sure it relates to the genre of your story.
  1. Use the title in conversation. Create a title page. How does it look and sound? If you don’t like it, change it. (I went through about four titles)
  1. Create a mock-up book jacket. Place the title on the spine and front. How does it look? Try this with the other four until you find one that displays well.
  1. Try using this link but don’t rely completely on it; use your own judgment. http://www.lulu.com/titlescorer/index.php (mine got a ‘22.9% chance of being a bestselling title!’ Which was the highest ANY of my suggestions got.)

What are some of the best titles you’ve come up with for stories?

What are some you came up with but didn’t use because they didn’t fit at the time?

Designing a Good Author’s Website Can Be Tricky

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For those of you who are unaware, Goodreads is a growing community of Readers and Writers. There are forums for every possible topic within Groups of every type. One of the awesome groups I’m a member of is called Book Trailers ™ & Author Web Sites. It provides tons of info and friends. http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/9066.Book_Trailers_tm_Author_Web_Sites

One of the interesting forum threads is Post your Book Video and get it rated while you rate others. http://ratemybookvideo.wordpress.com/. This is a great place to see what types of trailers other authors are making as well as posting your own for comments or suggestions.

Another awesome forum is the Goodreads thread about What Makes a Great Author Web Site. http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/62018-what-makes-a-great-author-web-site There are a lot of discussions and suggestions but these two lists stood out as explicit and very helpful.

Kristin Blizzard said:

Personally, I believe there are many aspects to creating a sound website. Hopefully, writers at some point did create their marketing plan. I bring this to attention because of the information that it should contain. Before you sent query letters to agents or publishers, you should have started to collect what would become your selling points.

As you should have been asked by everyone, why is this book amazing? Is there something about the author that gives a different or special angle? What genre does you work fit into and exactly who is your targeted audience? The answers to the questions should lay out what kind of a website you should be aiming toward.

Dee brought a great point with determining what do you want to offer your readers. Do you want to offer them a link to purchase?

Bottom line, this is what I believe you really must tell them:

1. Your name silly. Be clear about it (you would think i would not have to say that huh lol)

2. Title (s)

3. ISBN!!!

4. Information about the titles

5. Depending on background, people might know about you

6. Optional link to purchase

7. Contact information – give them an email (most websites will include at least 1 free email I would never use your personal)

8. Color is good, not too much, you do not want to take away from your books.

9. If you have a good review, use it!

10. If you are appearing at signings, event, radio, tv, or even a scout meeting (kidding) let people know.

Paul Mitton had this to say:

1/ Easy to read (and by that I mean not dark backgrounds and white text – sorry, I know that describes many author websites, but it does present challenges to the visually impaired).

2/ Easy to navigate – identical links at top and bottom of the page, or at the side – not both.

3/ Each page should stick to the consistent theme (background, colour, style)

4/ Quick to load – don’t forget that many people still don’t have access to Broadband/DSL/cable

5/ Which means no big images on the pages. Use thumbnails and click to see a larger image

6/ No page should require horizontal scrolling; few pages should require vertical scrolling, so keep the text concise.

7/ Every page should be tested in a variety of browsers and at a variety of resolutions. If your website looks fine in Internet Explorer 6 and 7, Firefox 2 and 3, later versions of Opera and Safari, then you have covered 99 percent of the browsing audience. It should also be tested at resolutions of 800×600, 1024×768 and 1200×1024.

8/ Use CSS and JavaScript includes for ease of maintenance and to address the resolution issues.

9/ Validate every page using the W3C tools such as Bobby and Lint

10/ When using JavaScript includes, always include a no-script option. Why? Because most search engine spiders can’t follow page links that are held somewhere off the static page. The more other pages your page is linked to, even other pages on your site, the higher it features in search engine rankings. Use a text-only browser like Lynx to make sure that you can see lots of links on each page.

11/ Don’t embed music or sound on your pages. By all means put a clickable link to listen to something, but the last thing you want is for a potential buyer to wake the baby at 2 in the morning because they’ve surfed to your site and suddenly Celine Dion is blasting out loud enough to wake the dead!

12/ Never use scrolling or blinking text.

13/ Don’t have a Flash intro page with that hugely irritating ‘click here to enter the site…’ link. Why? Why not just enter the site straight away?

Now the marketing bits:

1/ I think that if you intend to have many books published, have one author site , not individual ones for each book. You are the brand!

2/ Yes, by all means have a blog. If you want people to post comments, you need to have some sort of membership and file locking system, which probably means you would need to be able to run and configure PHP or Perl Scripts and have a My SQL database system running on your web-server.

3/ Include a preview of your work(s) (but yes, check the contract with your publisher first.

4/ MOST IMPORTANT Include a link so people can purchase your book via Amazon, B & N etc. That is why you have the site in the first place, isn’t it?

5/ Do have book preview videos available on your site, also on You-tube, MySpace, Facebook, Bebo (depending on your target audience).

6/ Email – yes, fred@fredsworld.com is much more professional than fred991@hotmail.com – so own your own domain and have email re-directs to your private email address.

7/ Optimize your pages for search engines – use Google webmaster tools and create XML indexing pages.

Hopefully these lists will help anyone thinking about or in the beginning stages of setting up a new Author website.

Writers’ Contests Galore

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I recently became interested in submitting stories and my MS to various writing contests. I have located contests for short stories, poetry and novels. Prizes vary widely from possible publication to money.

I haven’t won anything yet because the contests I entered are still open, but I’ll keep trying. It’s fun to write a wide variety and since practice makes better, this is great painless practice.

I’ve listed information about several contests which are open at the moment on a separate page of this blog. Check it out and submit your stuff.

You might just win!