Stages of Writing a Book: Post #2 (Research)

In this video, Janet Syas Nitsick and I discuss research when you’re writing your book.  Some people like to  research before they start writing their book, and others like to start the book and research as they go along.  You need to do the best method that works for you.

Possible avenues of research is looking things up on the Internet, going to the library, reading books, going in person to a place, and talking to someone who knows the topic well.  Sometimes if you visit a place, you can take pictures or take a tour.

One thing to watch is how much research you’re doing.  You want to do some, of course, but you don’t want to do so much of it that you forget to write the book. :)

Categories: General Writing | Tags: | 3 Comments

Stages of Writing a Book: Post #1 (Coming Up With Ideas)

(This series of posts turned out to be longer than five videos.  It turned into seven.)

In this video, Janet Syas Nitsick and I discuss coming up with ideas for writing your next book.  Janet shares a couple of real life events that have inspired some things in her stories, such as a man dressing up as Santa Claus and getting stuck in the chimney or a man’s devotion to his wife. Sometimes something someone says or does can lead to something you can use in your book.  But what you do is make your own spin (or twist) off of it, so then it becomes your own idea in your story.  Make it fresh and unique. Other sources of ideas can be movies and other books.  Think of how things could have gone differently.  How would things have played out if the hero/heroine had made a different decision at some point?  Would the outcome have been different?   Usually, it would have.  The fun part is deciding how, and this could launch you into a fresh new idea for a book. Sources of information can come from many things.  You can even take people you know in real life and embellish them/change them so that they become unique characters.  Maybe you take a certain physical trait they have (such as hair color) or maybe you pick out a personality trait (such as their enthusiasm for life) and make that the launching pad for the character.  Often you will start out with a character patterned off someone you know, but then as the story progresses, the character will take on a life of their own and become different. The key to getting ideas is to watch people, listen to what is going on around you, ask a lot of “what if” questions, and be open to exploring new possibilities.

Categories: General Writing, storytelling | Tags: , | 2 Comments

KDP’s New Age Range Features

I got an interesting email this morning over breakfast. Apparently KDP Amazon has added a new feature or two which is supposed to help market your e-books. You can now select an age-range and (if you’re marketing your books to schools) a grade-range for your works. The former goes from 0 to 18+, the latter from “Board books” and “Picture books” to “Teen and young adult chapter books”. The people who wrote the email recommend you generally space your minimum and maximum ages or grades within 3 to 4 years.

I have to say, it sounded intriguing and decided to try it. Neither the email nor the new options on KDP (listed where you can put and change your e-book’s general information) list how exactly these ranges help get your books to your customers, but I think Amazon probably knows the ages of its customers, and can target books to their customers based on age and past buying experiences. In any case, I thought I’d give it a try and see if anything happens.

The one thing I can see wrong with this new feature is that they don’t go higher than 18+ or “Teen and young adult chapter books”. It would be convenient to have options that go higher, seeing as 18+ is a pretty wide range and I’m sure plenty of people would like to put a range on their books that’s closer to college-level or higher.

Then again, this is the early stages of these options and there’s room for improvements. Maybe in a few months they’ll adjust the ranges to allow for more diverse ranges.

In the meantime, I’m looking forward to seeing how author’s book sales are affected by this. Will you be doing these age ranges? Do you see any problems with these new options? And do you think they’ll affect sales that much? Let me know, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Categories: Amazon store, Book Promotion, Business Plan, Digital & ePublishing, Marketing & Promoting, Writing as a Business | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

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