All posts by Wendy Van Camp

Writer. Artisan Jeweler.

No Wasted Ink Writers Links

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Happy Monday to you!  It is time for another batch of writing links from No Wasted Ink.  This week I have an interesting mix of topics from women in science fiction, to Scrivener tips, and packing lists for the upcoming summer conferences.  I hope you find them as fun as I did.

Fighting Erasure: Women SF Writers of the 1970s

Save Every Word with Scrivener’s Snapshots Feature

The Poison Apple

Traditional publishers’ ebook sales drop as indie authors and Amazon take off

How I Ended up Analog in a Digital World

The importance of revisiting notebooks

Stationery Packing List for a Writer’s Conference

A Cool Night Typing: A Weird Selectric Ball and Typers to Bring to the Type-In

AN INTRODUCTORY GUIDE TO READING FANTASY

10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451

Better Blogging Topics For Authors

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Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

Traditional wisdom states that if you are an author, you should have a blog to attract readers to your work. The experts tell you to write about your characters, plots, world-building, how your novel is coming along and don’t forget to toss in a little about your cat. Now, I can already hear you moan:

“Where is the traffic?”
“Writing a blog is hard!”
“Isn’t blogging a dead end?”
“Nobody cares about my book before I publish it.”

And you would be right on all accounts.

Blogging about a novel when no one knows who you are is a wasted activity. If you are not publishing your story as a serial, few will care about plotlines or characters. The only people that might be interested are your fellow writers. They may visit, but will they buy and read your book? Probably not.

Who you want to attract are the readers of your genre. They are your target audience, not other writers, family, and friends. The key to a successful writer’s blog is to write about content that is related to your genre and keep the personal angst off your platform. Be entertaining, but offer your readers content that relates to their interests. Then make sure to make it easy for them to purchase your book. You don’t need to blog every day. Once a week or even once a month is enough to get started. I have settled on blogging three times a week; but if I miss a day now and then, I don’t sweat it.

I am a science fiction and fantasy author. My writer’s blog is a mixture of posts. I write interviews with up and coming science fiction/fantasy authors and reviews of classic science fiction novels. My flash fiction and illustrated scifaiku poetry offer examples of my personal writing. On Monday I do a link-list of articles about the craft of writing. These articles are geared toward my genre or items that simply interest me personally, such as fountain pens and handwriting.

My first year blogging, I was excited if I had four or five visitors stop in on a given day. Slowly, the traffic to my blog has increased. Five years later, No Wasted Ink has around two thousand subscribers directly via WordPress. When I publish a story as a guest poster or in a magazine, the other place always reports plenty of traffic from my blog to their website. Likewise, when I published my first book, I announced it on my blog via a post, and this was enough to drive a decent number of online sales. The authors I interview on the blog report an increase in sales and traffic on their own sites.

Here are a few blogging ideas on related topics based on genre:

Science Fiction
Readers of science fiction love science and new technology. You could develop blog posts about scientific developments and how they relate to people. You could write reviews about classic science fiction books or films.

Mystery
Readers of mystery love the process of finding clues. Write posts about forensic techniques, true crime stories ripped from the newspaper, interesting ways for the police to capture and detain criminals.

Romance
You could do travel posts about romantic villas. Talk about the latest episodes of The Bachelor! Maybe you could follow the 10 eligible men in the world or the latest beauty queens.

Historical
Research the places of the era you write about. Talk about the customs and clothing of the time period. Find interesting stories locked away in crumbling (online) newspapers from the Victorian era. Write museum tours of the era you focus on.

Blogs do work. Don’t give up on the idea too soon. They are an important part of your author platform.

No Wasted Ink Writers Links

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Welcome to No Wasted Ink’s Writers Links.  Each Monday I offer up a grab bag of ten article links on the art and craft of writing.  Basically, works that catch my fancy during my usual surfing of the net.  I hope you find them as interesting as I do.

Outlining Your Future Book in 30 Minutes

5 Ways to Structure (and Plot) Your Novel

Writing in the Public Eye, These Women Brought the 20th Century Into Focus

Why I Don’t Write About the Women in My Family

The Billion-Dollar Romance Fiction Industry Has A Diversity Problem

A New Generation of African-American-Owned Bookstores

‘There is no such thing as past or future’: physicist Carlo Rovelli on changing how we think about time

Is Cryptomnesia Real?

The Reflected Glory of Victorian Art

Machines Are Getting Better at Literary Analysis

Author Interview: Tim Callahan

Author Tim Callahan is a writer of Space Opera and Superhero fiction with a bit of Science Fiction horror mixed in.  He is a member of the Dragon’s Rocketship Facebook Group.  

Author Tim CallahanHello, My name is Tim Callahan. I work in the IT department of Philadelphia Law firm. I’ve lived, and worked, in Philly most of my life and it’s a place I love. I’m married with two dogs, A pitbull-terrier named Jeffery (Named after a robot in a commercial I liked at the time we got him) and Cocker Spalie/ Black Lab mix named Kenseth. (Named after a race car driver.) Besides writing I enjoy reading, Football, Baseball, and vacationing with my wife.

When and why did you begin writing?

Started writing when I was a kid, probably around 11 or so. I always had way more imagination than smarts and would constantly act out in school, thinking that I saw a ghost or that aliens were going to come and take me away. I also loved to read. Mostly comic books but I eventually moved on to novels. There wasn’t a day where I didn’t have a book in my hand or I wasn’t tucked into a corner of the house reading something. It was during the idle times that the voices, who I later discovered were characters, would just tell me stories about themselves and what they were doing. Eventually, I realized the only way to shut them up was to write down what they were telling me. Didn’t take me long to realize how the act of writing not only shut them up, but it was also a lot of fun.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

When I finished my first book, at the age of 13 (It wasn’t a very good or long book.) Even though I didn’t know it at the time, it showed that I could start and finish a story I had written. That’s probably the hardest part for beginning writers, finishing, and it’s something I knew I could do at an early age.

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

It’ll be the fifth book in my Evolutionite Chronicles books. Set in the city of Haven, which has the largest population of Evo’s, those born with special powers, it’s going to be about a powerful man with god-like powers returning after everything thought he was dead. A small group of Evo’s get together to try and stop him from destroying the world.

What inspired you to write this book?

My love of comic books and comic book stories. I can’t draw so writing is the best way to get those stories out there.

Do you have a specific writing style?

A lot of writers influenced my style but I really try to emulate the greats like Arthur C Clark, Robert Heinlein along with some of my new favorites, like Tim Pratt, Jim Butcher, and John Scalizi.

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

Don’t jump to judgment until you have all the information.

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

All my books contain something I’ve experienced, either a feeling, a person, a conversation, or an actual event. In fact, this book will have a scene where a teacher punishes a child for flushing a grapefruit down a toilet in school. (I’m the kid being yelled at because I did that in first grade and flooded the bathroom)

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Probably nothing they haven’t heard before. Write every day. Write what you’d love to read. Don’t worry about what people think. Don’t even worry about what you think while writing. Trust your instinct. Sometimes your writing brain is ahead of your thinking brain and understands the story better than you do.

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

Keep doing what you love. It might not be writing, it might be drawing, it might be computers, it might be working on cars. I’m lucky in that I get to work on computers all day, something I’ve loved as much as writing, and I get to write when I’m at home. Long as you do what you love and you’ll always find happiness, even in dark times.

Dagger and Shadow Ninja HQ- resizeTimothy P. Callahan
Philadelphia, PA

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No Wasted Ink Writers Links

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Welcome to No Wasted Ink Writers Links on Monday. Each week I gather up articles that I find interesting as I surf the internet. Some are recently published and others go back a little way but are ones that I find relevant for writers. I hope you enjoy this week’s list.

When Should You Drop Your Story?

Writing Realistic Spiders

Diagnosing a REAL Writer: Do You Have Terminological Inexactitude Syndrome?

The Destructive Power of The Lie Your Character Believes

Easy Ways to Sell Signed Copies of Your Novel Online

Want to earn more as a book author? A male name will help

8 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE SEQUELS FOR THE DISCERNING JANE AUSTEN FAN

How to read poetry like a professor

Do the Doing: An Actor Writes

Poetry Rx: You Will Love Again the Stranger Who Was Your Self