No Wasted Ink Writer’s Links

writers-linksThis week has a fine selection of articles to browse from writing with pens, journaling, and a comical take on what it is like to be in a writing critique group. Go and pour yourself a cup of coffee and enjoy.

Writing with Color: Description Guide

If Jane Austen Got Feedback From Some Guy In A Writing Workshop

Setting Up Amazon Author pages

Writing crime fiction – 7 elements of gripping suspense

Researching your novel: The ultimate guide



How to Love Writing Again

What I Wish I Had Known When I Started Journaling

Applying the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator to Fictional Characters

Primer for Building Your Author Platform

author platformAs a writer, it is hard to know where to start when building your author platform. What to include, what numbers to shoot for in traffic, when to start working on it, and how it all connects can be bewildering. Before I started to build my own platform, I went to several lectures by successful authors and asked what they were doing to promote themselves and their books and what sort of numbers they had when they started to have successful sales.

It Starts With Your Blog

First, the time to start working on your author platform is now. Do not wait until you have a finished novel ready to upload onto Amazon. These venues will make your book available to sell, but they will do little to market your novel except to list it in their catalogs. Allow yourself at least a full year before your first work is complete to start getting your platform onto the internet.

The base of your platform is your blog. It is the first item in your platform that you should finish. Consider it your home base on the internet, the one place that you wish to funnel all the other aspects of your marketing to. Your website should contain the following elements: a biography with a photo of yourself, a list of clips that you’ve published or links to where your work can be purchased and finally, articles, story samples and other posts of interest. Whenever possible, give a hotlink to your published work so that potential readers can get an idea of your style of writing.

Through the blog, the readers get to know you as a writer and person, creating a better connection between you. On my blog, I write articles about the craft of writing, book reviews of science fiction, fantasy and classic novels that have inspired me as a writer and do short essays about subjects I enjoy commentating upon. Since I’m a science fiction, fantasy and historical fiction writer, I interview other authors in these genre. By coming to read about an author with similar work to mine, it gets my blog in their mind, and it tends to interest the readers to stick around for other posts. Hopefully, that interest will extend toward purchasing one of my stories on Amazon.

This is the base. This is the one basic thing that every writer should have. Not a static author page. Not a simple online portfolio, but a WordPress blog where you can interact with your readership and showcase your work. I recommend WordPress over other blog platforms because it is free to use and free to host when you first start. The only option you should pay for is your domain name and attach it to your blog. Later on, when you are more established, you can move your WordPress blog to a hosted account and acquire more bells and whistles for you platform, but when you are in the first year, your traffic will be low enough that it will not warrant the expenditure.

Reach Out and Touch Your Readers

Once your blog is in place, you need to reach out and market it. To do so, you need the following: A Facebook page devoted to you as a writer, a twitter account, and a google+ account. All of these accounts should be focused on you as a writer. You are building your name as your brand, attempting to make it recognizable, not selling a single book or story.

First open up your Facebook page. Mine is called No Wasted Ink on Facebook, the same as my website. WordPress can be set to automatically post a link to any blog post I create to this page, so promoting my blog on Facebook is no additional work on my part. However, do not use your Facebook page as a place for your links alone, you need to make it interesting for your potential book customers to learn more about you as an author. I like to make small posts about what I am doing as a writer on mine. I write about the writing gatherings I attend, seminars that I go to or simply quotes from famous people that I like. I keep the subject focused on writing. I recommend using a Facebook page to make your reader contacts over having them as Facebook friends. You are limited to 5000 friends on your personal Facebook account, but you can have unlimited numbers of followers on a page.

Second, open up a twitter account that you will devote to your writing career. It should not be an account to make personal comments on. Keep all interactions on this account about writing, either answering tweets from followers or passing on tweets about writing that you find interesting. If you write in a specific genre, tweets related to that genre are also appropriate. Link your Facebook page so that all your Facebook posts are tweeted to your twitter account. It is also possible to set your WordPress blog to tweet each of your posts directly to twitter. Set up a chain so that both services are tweeted automatically.

Third, join Google+. This network is growing larger every day and the more people that are in your circles the better. WordPress will automatically post a link to your blog posts there and I recommend you take advantage of this feature. Just as you did on your Facebook page, leave comments about writing, related genre commentary and other posts related to your writing.

What Numbers Should I Have Before My First Novel Goes On Sale?

You should have the following base numbers in each area before you consider putting your first book on sale:

Facebook Page: 500 followers
Twitter: 10,000 followers
Wordpress: 500 followers
Google+: 500 followers

As you see, building your author platform takes a great deal of work. Writing and maintaining your blog is a part-time job. You will be marketing your work almost every day. Try to not let it overwhelm you. I check my blog, Facebook, google+ and twitter twice a day. Once in the morning and once in the evening.

Is all the work worth it?

I feel that putting your name as an author out is important, even if you do not have a book to offer yet. The readers will see your writing samples on your blog and get to know you. When your first book comes out, you might not be swamped with readers wanting to buy your book, but I suspect you will have far more than had you done nothing.

When I launched my first ebook The Curate’s Brother: A Jane Austen Variation of Persuasion, I did not have a marketing plan in place for my first ebook. I published a blog post announcing its launch and asked a few of my writing friends if they would be kind enough to interview me on their blogs. I also asked if I could join in a live reading series in my area and was accepted. I was astonished by the number of sales I had in the first three months after my book launch. It was not a blockbuster, but it was far more of a return than if I had published the story in an anthology or magazine. I credit these sales to my budding author platform and consistent blogging.

These steps are only the beginning in creating your author platform. However, before you publish your first ebook, this is enough to get started and to become comfortable with promoting yourself as a writer. Once you publish, there are more things that you can do to get the word out about your writing, but as they say, that is story for another time.

Author Interview: M. P. McVey

M.P. McVey is an up and coming fantasy and science fiction author. Please welcome him to No Wasted Ink.

Author MP McVeyMy name is Michael McVey. I write fantasy and sci-fi books and stories under the name M.P. McVey. I live in Columbus, Ohio with my ever-patient girlfriend Laura, and our two cats; a one-eyed cat with a deviated septum named Stanley and an ornery kitten we call Gandalf, the mostly grey.

When and why did you begin writing?

I wrote a couple of short stories during my early years in elementary school. Of course, they were part of school work, but I remember loving the creativity that it involved—writing stories in made up places with strange twists and even stranger characters. It was very empowering for a young kid. Then in the eighth grade I had a teacher named Mr. Evans that told me that I had a ‘way with words’ and encouraged me to write more, which I did.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Some people get pretty creative with how they refer to themselves, whether it be writer, author, novelist, scribe, poet, or playwright. My friend Joe and I (Joe did the wonderful artwork for my cover) often joke about being wordsmiths, because of how diligent we are with our word placement. But as far as being considered a “professional writer”? I’m not sure if I’m there yet, but I’ve considered myself a storyteller for many years.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

Plod On, Sleepless Giant is a contemporary fantasy that was released this past February 2015 by Mount Air Publishing. It takes place in my hometown of Columbus, Ohio, but tells a story that delves deep into our world. At the center of Earth lives Temelephas, an ancient elephant chained to his wooden wheel. He was created to remember nothing and to feel nothing … only to walk and turn our globe. But over time he changes and begins to remember things and experiences emotions that he is entirely unfamiliar with. And as it happens, he momentarily stops his walk and the earth ceases in its turning and chaos ensues on the surface above. From that point on we see how the humans in the story—and the powers that be—choose to carry on, and how they set out to fix the wrongs that had been done.

What inspired you to write this book?

The funny thing about ideas is how they sometimes just appear out of nowhere. The idea for Plod On, Sleepless Giant actually came to me in a dream. I was moving through dark caverns, the light of flickering flames bouncing off of the curving walls. There was a loud, thundering noise and the ground shook, but I kept moving toward the noise. I found myself in a large cave, and the noise was terrible. There in the middle of the cave was an ancient elephant chained to a large, wooden wheel. I remember the elephant—whom I would later name Temelephas—very clearly, in my dream he was so ancient and slow, and appeared to be chiseled out of granite. It was at that moment that I knew he was the reason for the turning of our world. When I woke I was very anxious and I quickly wrote the idea down on a scrap piece of paper; just the idea of an ancient elephant and his wheel. It would take me a few months to even conceive of the story that would build around him.

Do you have a specific writing style?

Yeah, I’d say I have my own style. It really is the fingerprint of the writer, the only trace of evidence we leave at the crime scene. I think my style is more about a rhythm to the words than anything else. I like to write flowery prose at times, but I also like to write something pretty straight forward from time to time, like a punch to the face. But the rhythm of the words, that’s where my stamp lies.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

The title came last, I had simply been referring to it as Temelephas throughout the whole writing process. I think the title was more of a plea that I felt would be heard by my ancient elephant … a plea from the world for him to press forward, as we all must at some times—no matter how terrible things may seem. Temelephas doesn’t sleep, you see … in fact, he’s pretty interested in the idea of it—especially the part about dreaming.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

I try not to be too preachy when it comes to things like that, but I suppose that we can’t really help it. All writers are telling you something, whether they know it or not, but I never set out to tell anything more than a story. I really enjoy it when readers tell me the messages they take away from the book … little pieces of wisdom that they carried away from the page. I can’t help but feel pride in that … that words I wrote somehow sparked an idea in another person’s head, and maybe it will be passed on from one person to another. A string of ideas that may trace back to one little section from a book I wrote. So they ask, “Did you mean this?” or “I love how you said that”, and I smile at them. Maybe it meant that and perhaps this … I’m glad that people read my words so carefully.

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your life?

Everything we write is somewhat based on something in our lives, right? I have characters in my book that are directly based on people I know, some are even named after them. The little blonde girl named Addison on page 114 is actually based on my niece of the same name. I remember the page so specifically, because she loves it when I read that little part to her. But all of the main characters are completely fictional, though they may be fragments of myself. I think the views and attitudes of each character, however, they may vary, come from me a bit. I seem to have left a little of me inside each of them.

What authors have influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?

This is a great question. I think W.P. Kinsella has influenced my life the most. He is a very talented author that has had many struggles through his life; he has had to hold many jobs as he came up as a writer, never finding success easily. I like to see people become successful that had to work hard for what they have. It reminds me that the road that lays before me as a writer is a hard and long road, but that the destination is worth the hardships.

If you had to choose, is there a writer you would consider a mentor? Why?

I would have to say Kinsella for that as well. I wrote to him once, having heard of his accident(he had been hit by a car and the injuries he sustained had affected his ability to write), I wanted to wish him well. I told him about my own writing and asked him what advice he might pass along. It took him nearly three months to respond, but he did. It was a very friendly email and he spoke to me about his accident a bit and the frustrations he felt over his inability to focus on his writing. He told me to read and read and read, which is the best advice for any would be writer.

Who designed the cover for your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

My best friend Joe Reisinger did the artwork for the cover. He’s also a talented writer, when he finds the time. I knew I wanted him to do the cover when I first started writing the book. He has such a great imagination, and he and I pretty much saw the cover the same way in our minds.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Just as Mr. Kinsella said … read, read, and read some more. Anyone can come up with an idea for a story, it’s in how you tell the story that makes it a good one. We only learn the skill of storytelling from hearing and reading stories. So read until you feel your eyes may fall out of your skulls, and read to your little ones if you have them.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Most importantly, thank you for reading my book. I know the world is a busy place and free time is a commodity that we have very little of, so thank you for spending even a bit of it with me.

Book Cover Plod On Sleepless GiantM.P. McVey
Columbus, Ohio


Plod On, Sleepless Giant

Cover Artist:Joe Reisinger (he has no links, sadly … but he can be contacted through me)


No Wasted Ink Writer’s Links

writers-linksWelcome back to another Monday of No Wasted Ink writer’s links. This week I have many great articles on general writing tips for you, along with a couple of paper notebook and fountain pen articles. Go and pour yourself a cup of coffee and tea and sit back to relax. There is plenty of good reading to find here.

On Changing Book Titles And Covers: My Own Experience And How You Can Do It Too

Four Ways to Prepare for a Book Launch—Even if You Aren’t Published Yet



A Primer on Fountain Pens

The Importance of Keeping A Notebook

10 rules for making it as a writer, by Dennis Lehane

Word Count Woe: What Should You Do With Your Very Long Manuscript?

Seven Secret Weapons That Will Make You a Better Novelist

Sense vs. Sensibility

Author Interviews * Book Reviews * Essays * Writer's Links * Scifaiku

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