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#question for #Authors how do you judge the success of your books? Number of downloads? Reviews? Fuzzy feelings? #amwriting #writing #books
Simon Ericson's profile photoEduardo Suastegui's profile photo
When readers tell me how my story touched them. 
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I read a lot about dealing with writers block but what about the guy driving a fence  post between my shoulder blades?
Renee Bennett's profile photoEmma Grace's profile photo
Sit on your couch for a little bit and write. Lay on the floor, lean against the wall with your legs straight out. I do this when my shoulder blades hurt (I slouch).
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So, I'm looking for some gripping books to read. Adventure, fantasy, and drama, young adult preferred. Please make sure they're not inappropriate, no adult content. For lack of a better term... hit me. :)
Lisa Lawler's profile photoEmma Grace's profile photo
Thank you so much everyone! I really appreciate it. :)
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Hello, again. Wondered what had been missing from my life! 
Kris L's profile photoJanice williams's profile photo
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Cyndi S. Jameson

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I bought me a tablet because my children took over my Nook. I'm discovering all the new things I can do on it (yay for new toys!). The day I bought it I was looking for accessories to purchase and I saw this product call Livescribe. I didn't pay much attention to it at the time.

Now that I've been playing with my new tablet for a few days, I've started delving deeper into some of the apps, like Evernote. While watching a tutorial on Evernote today, he brought up a pen that allows you to physically write in a notebook, but it turns it into digital text as well. Mmm...and it was Livescribe. When the universe shows me the same thing twice in the span of a few days I take notice. What is this thing?! How can a writer make use of it? Because in my mind, I'm thinking how stinking cool would it be to hand write my work (which I love doing, but hate typing it out later) and have it already typed out for me? I can benefit from having the slow process of handwriting, but a shortcut to typing.

Hence, this article. Now I'm thinking, maybe I can't write whole novels with this pen, darn. But it still could be a benefit, maybe. So the author of this article from Forbes lists the top three tools she can't live without when writing.

I already have Scrivener which she mentions, and I adore that software. She talks about a variety of pens like Livescribe and another product called Sigil. So what say you WDG?

Have you used a product like Livescribe? What are the benefits you've gotten from using it or if you haven't used a product like this, what do you think would be the pros and cons? And, what are your top three tech tools you can't live without when it comes to writing?
Every author has their favourite writing tools, and in this post Suw Charman-Anderson looks at three that she couldn't live without.
Eoghann Irving's profile photograce jolliffe's profile photo
I have a desktop but prefer the comfort of the laptop for creative writing.
I am helped by Evernote which I think is great, Scrivener - also great and more recently I have been getting helped by Power Pomorodo (as you can see in my above post.
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For my column in the Guardian this week I compare two very successful books - one genre, one literary - and find that they have much more in common than sometimes assumed. Game of Thrones is the most commercially successful story this decade. Wolf Hall is a multiple prize winner. Is there that much different between genre and litfic?
George RR Martin and Hilary Mantel’s stories come from different genres to address the same questions
Gwyn Huff's profile photograce jolliffe's profile photo
I second that-Grace Jolliffe. I am an oddity in that I haven't played Game of Thrones. No particular reason worth discussing. I like the comment you made regarding "turning literary fiction". And also how you describe the "meat" of those stories that through the ages readers never get enough of (your last paragraph). I appreciate the insights and finding the commonalities. I hope I understand your comment correctly. A great story, despite or it's of no consequence how the story is "told'-game, television movie, book, theatrical movie: we (viewers and readers) gravitate toward stories that reflect the power of the super wealthy when it is perceived they hold more than "their' share of power. Regardless, interesting post and response. Thanks!
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Lots of people have been attacking Clean Reader recently using various levels of profanity. What I haven't seen is much mention of the fact what they are doing is against the Berne Convention.

The Convention grants a moral right to the author of a work not to have it altered. Unlike copyright, this does not have to be a substantial enough change to make the product a new work.

Of course, you would still need to prove the app had been used on one of your books to have a case. And be in a country that is a full signatory.

You could also let the stores that stock the app know that it infringes international law. It might make a difference.
Dave Higgins's profile photoEduardo Suastegui's profile photoKit Power's profile photo
Hot dog. Free editing service! 
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One of the big problems for writing as a practice is that "success" is defined in terms of money and status. Imagine if this was true of other practices. If the only value in running was was measured by medals and sponsorship deals. If the only value in meditation was whether it made you more productive and hence richer. There are millions of writers in the world, if you only approach writing as an ambition, it's a desolate thing. And even if you achieve that New York Times bestseller list status, I doubt it will satisfy in any real way. Stories are an expression of our deepest imagination. That's worth far more than a six-figure advance. We need to change the discussion around writing, however hard that is to do.
If you go to a good art school (and yes you STEM readers out there, such places do exist) they teach you to think of your art as a practice. And yourself as a practitioner. There's a purpose to thi...
Steve Turnbull's profile photoLisa Lawler's profile photo
+Steve Turnbull Um, was this a response to my comment?
My point was that there are Professional Writers and there are Writer-Authors (terms I've borrowed from a post by Jami Gold which is here:, neither is better or worse than the other, they have different priorities, and all that really matters in the end is whether their books satisfy their readers. An Artist-Author is very probably not going to be as prolific as the Professional Writer. Therefore, they are probably not going to earn as much as the Professional Writer. But judging their worth solely in terms of money is limiting. How can one put a monetary value on how much difference a book might make in a reader's life?
But, perhaps the conclusion to all this is that maybe each writer should decide what success looks like to them. And if they achieve that, then good on them. :)
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I'd love to hear your thoughts on the results from my survey. Kindle beat print, and digital destroyed print! Does this mesh with what you're seeing?
Just posted the results from my informal poll on readers' preferences. Unsurprisingly, Kindle dominated the digital readers, but Kindle ALSO beat out print! All combined, digital far surpassed print with my respondents.

Another interesting factoid: three of the respondents said they read on Kindle, Nook, and Print. That surprised me, if only because it means they read on three mutually exclusive devices (ignoring pirating and ripping to different formats, which I don't want to get into here).

A couple of caveats: 

Obviously, this was not a scientific or statistically significant survey. Only 25 people responded, and only from my limited sphere of influence. However, the data is still interesting. Take a look!
Three weeks ago, I launched a survey of reader preferences. Twenty-five people responded to the survey, selecting all of the formats or devices that they like to read on. Here are the results! Twenty-five respondents selected their favorite format(s) or device(s) for reading fiction. I was a bit surprised to see Kindle beat out print given that respondents had the option of choosing both, but there you go, the digital revolution d...
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Michael Kmiotek's profile photoMac Vogt's profile photoRebecca A. Emrich's profile photo
Somewhat comforting then to be determined to self-publish.
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What's the secret of the most successful and long-running publishing houses? Long article, but some pretty good information herein for writers. Definitely worth the skim read.
For the average person, romance novels bring to mind one word: Harlequin.
A.H. Pellett's profile photoJohn Ward's profile photo
I like to think about writing posts the same way I do about fishing. You gotta put enough bait on the hook to tempt people otherwise they'll keep on swimming.

If I think of any other cheesy metaphors, I'll let you know.
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Brandy Moss

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Has anyone here who uses Google Drive had issues with it not syncing between devices? I added some stuff while at work, but it doesn't show up on my laptop, tablet or phone. And they all say they're synced. It's really putting a cramp in what I can get done this weekend because I can't get to anything I saved. I even tried going in through the web and it's not there either.
Mike Corey's profile photoSimon Cantan's profile photo
I get that all the time. My work PC and home PC sync just fine, but my laptop doesn't sync sometimes. The only way I can solve it is to quit Google Drive and reopen it. When I do that, it syncs properly.
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How I Got My Focus Back
Recently, I have had a lot of health problems and it has taken some time for me to physically recover. However, what has really bothered me most has been how much my work has been affected. I found myself unable to complete the tasks I used to find easy, working more slowly and my concentration and focus plummeted to new lows. 
Worse, I found it really hard to stop my mind flitting around and thinking about all the things I haven’t done instead of focusing on what I could do. 
I confided this in a good friend who told me about the Pomorodo Technique. I had never heard of this before and I usually shy away from too many ‘techniques,’ but this was a really simple solution and it worked for me. The technique is nice and easy. 
You just designate your task and set a timer for 25 minutes, then take a complete break for five minutes.
This technique has really helped me recover my focus. I think the breaks help to clear the mind and writing in 25 minute bursts has helped me stay in tune with the task at hand.
 There isn’t a whole lot more to this technique really but you might be interested in my own personal story and how exactly it helped me, so I wrote some more on this right here. 
The Pomorodo Technique. How using this technique helped an overwhelmed creative writer to regain focus and concentration. Click here to learn how it works.
Mike Spinak's profile photograce jolliffe's profile photoJannik Lindquist's profile photo
Thank you very much +Mike Spinak that is very kind of you and much appreciated.

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Brandy Moss

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I've come to the conclusion that rewriting/editing is more fun for me than the writing of the first draft. I stress myself out so much once I start writing a story with, "when am I gonna finish it?" & guilt over doing things other than writing because "I really need to finish it". But during the 2nd draft process there's this calm feeling of accomplishment. The hardest part is over and now it's just perfecting what I worked so long to get out of my head.
Robert Earle Stanton's profile photoCharlie Steel's profile photoCraig Johnson's profile photo
I’ve said this before, I hate editing.  Writing the story is the fun process but only 10% of the work.  Then comes reading and rewrites.  This is followed with reading the manuscript out loud, word by word, line by line, changing repeated words, improving style, grammar, and punctuation as you go along.  About the third oral reading in the editing process---with a professional editor---the process is about done.  Actual verbal combat occurs and this process takes weeks, months, and sometimes years.

Oh, how I hate editing.  (Then comes the professional computer layout---digital and print---and after that, the final proof read of the galley or published manuscript).

Finding an error once published and in print is beyond something one can endure.
Writing and publishing a book the fast way is easy, doing it professionally and correctly is incredibly arduous.
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The (self-published) book Strangers Have the Best Candy has won the Diagram Prize for oddest book title of the year.

It doesn't seem to me to be an especially odd title. I love it, and it suggests a quirky, humorous book full of stories stranger than fiction. As a title, it seems to be a fantastic indicator of the style of content. That's not the same as being an odd title, though.

(Strangers Have The Best Ocelots, maybe. Or Ocelots Have The Best Candy. Other cats are available.)

It's got me thinking again about the importance of the title. It's something I've struggled with for my own books, and I'm not sure I've nailed it.

What techniques do you use for choosing the title? Have you ever changed a title and seen sales rise (or fall)? Are titles more important than covers?
A self-published travelogue called Strangers Have the Best Candy wins the Diagram Prize for oddest book title of the year.
Anthony Camber's profile photograce jolliffe's profile photoRebecca A. Emrich's profile photo
I like that title. It reverses the idea of not taking candy from strangers and by doing that makes us stop and think. 
I have recently changed the title of my children's story Free As A Ladybird to The Runaway Granny
The story has been lingering unloved in the backrooms of Amazon for so long it's depressing.
Yet when it was broadcast on RTE radio here in Ireland it was so popular I got loads of letters about it and the station broadcast it twice.
So I changed the title because I felt the original title was maybe too obtuse. I am hoping the Runaway Granny not only gives more of and idea what the story is about - guess!  But I think it is more catchy.
I have only just done this so I yet to learn if it affects the sales but will keep you posted.
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I know a lot of us in this community make use of Google Drive for drafting novels. +John Ward​ even posted a tip on how to make Drive act a little more like Scrivener not long ago. Today I set up a method to take my draft out of Google Drive and make it into a beautiful MS Word manuscript in about 10 seconds. I figured the community might be interested, so I'm resharing it here. Shout out in the comments if I need to clarify anything (or if you know of a better way).
I've been using Google Drive lately, and it's a pretty adequate tool for drafting a novel. Unfortunately, it's completely useless for laying out a manuscript. But by following a few best practices and setting up a 'manuscript template' in MS Word, you can go from ugly draft to beautiful manuscript in about 10 seconds.

How to use Google Drive

Here are three best practices that will make your life much easier when going from draft to finished manuscript:


Save each chapter as a separate document. Name the documents something that will be in order when sorted alphabetically by name. I like to start each filename with "Chapter ##".

Keeping your chapters separate will prevent you from getting bogged down in a single giant document. It makes navigating to a particular chapter much faster. And it makes it (arguably) easier to reorder your chapters later, if you need to.


Use the "Heading 1" style for chapter titles.


Use the "Heading 2" style for scene breaks.

Whenever you stick a scene break in your chapter (I use a single asterisk, but use whatever you prefer), style it with "Heading 2."

Optionally, use as many other styles as you need so that each distinct type of formatted text in your novel is assigned a consistent style type.

Set up a Word manuscript template

Create a new document in Microsoft Word, and, on separate lines, type "Normal," "Heading 1," "Heading 2," (and so on, as necessary).

Highlight the entire line with the text "Normal." This will be your novel body style. Set the font type and size as preferred, then open the paragraph settings. You'll probably want to set a first line indent. Make any other spacing tweaks you like.

When you're done, find the "Normal" style up on the menu ribbon, right click on it and choose "Update to match selection."

Now, select the line containing "Heading 1," and style it however you like your chapter headings. In the paragraph settings, choose "outline level 1." You can set the before paragraph spacing to push the heading a ways down the page, if you like. On the line and page breaks tab of the paragraph settings, select "Page Break Before." This will automatically start each new chapter at the top of a page.

When you're done, find the "Heading 1" style up on the menu ribbon, right click on it and choose "Update to match selection."

Next, select the line containing "Heading 2." Set it up as you prefer, but choose "outline level 2" in the paragraph settings. Update the "Heading 2" style to match the selection, as you did with the others.

Continue this process for any other styles that need defining.

Optionally, set the page size, margins, headers, footers, and what have you. Save your document and close it.

Export your Google Docs into your Word manuscript template

In Google Drive, highlight all of your chapter files, right-click, and choose "Download." Drive will download a zip file containing each chapter file in MS Word format. Extract the files someplace convenient.

Make a copy of your MS Word manuscript template file. Open it. Highlight all of the text (Ctrl-A) and delete it. That will leave you with an empty document.

Go to the "Insert" Tab of the ribbon toolbar. Choose "Insert object," and select "Text from file..." from the drop down. This will open a file selection window. Select all of your chapter files. (This is why it was important that they be in order when sorted alphabetically.) Hit OK and voila, instant beautiful manuscript.

As an added bonus, because you defined Heading 1 and Heading 2 as having "outline levels," you can open the navigation pane, and you'll see all of your chapter headings and nested scene breaks.
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Daniel Price's profile photoSarah Kay Moll's profile photo
Huh, that's a really clever solution. Thanks for posting!
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How many beta readers do people like to use? Of course, the more opinions you get, the better, but if they all contradict...sometimes more is too many. What's your magic number?
Gina Drayer's profile photoAngeline Trevena's profile photo
Oh that's a very interesting perspective +Samantha Dunaway Bryant. Plus, I wouldn't have the awkward situation of turning someone down for beta reading this time round.
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I've had one of those writer realizations: for me writer's block = story boredom. I use boredom in a general sense to include a lack of interest and enthusiasm in what I'm writing. It turns into so much MEH, and if it becomes that for me, I don't think it will fare much better for my readers.

Do you experience similar "boredom" in the stories you write, either during the first draft, or on subsequent edits? How do you get through it? What things do you do to go from MEH to YAY?
Carly Compass's profile photoCruz Elena Manzanarez's profile photoKatie La' Clair's profile photoEssayCyber Services's profile photo
+Damien Walter I smiled when I read your comment. I have a road map--but then I have that confused GPS lady "re-calculating". This is my attempt at humor-grin. Hope it makes you smile and not frown. My brain is "jello". It sounds humorous now. I hope it does when you read it. chuckle peace!  
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Hello. I am relatively new here, and I just love talking to other aspiring writers! I've recently gone through difficult times in terms of my English teacher, and the question I have relates to that. 
My English teacher wrote three sentences on the white-board today. They read: "The girl is pretty. She looks sad. Her dress is green." My teacher then proceeded to ask us whether or not those adjectives were descriptive.
Do you think those adjectives are descriptive or not?
Rhonda Ford's profile photoRodrigo M's profile photo
"Do you think those adjectives are descriptive...?"

ALL adjectives are descriptive. That's what an adjective is: a word that describes (or modifies) a noun.

Girl (noun)/ pretty (description or atrractiveness)
She (noun)/ sad (description of an assumed emotional state)
Dress (noun)/ green (description of the perceived color)
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Best free web hosts for website (preferable with custom URL) and GO! :) Thanks in advance!
Eduardo Suastegui's profile photoBrittany Constable's profile photo
I use PureNyx, run by our very own +Jaime Cooper.  I paid to register the URL through NameCheap, but my site itself is free, and I've been very happy with it.
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I have often heard writers say their stories sometimes go off in a direction they did not anticipate.  I have noticed that my story is driving toward a paranormal element.  Any advice about how you would handle this?
Janice williams's profile photoDavid Wake's profile photo
Structure is everything (see other rants elsewhere on this), so if your characters start to go off in another direction, you must, absolutely must, change your outline to agree with what's happening.
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