EWF15 – A Discussion About Interviewing

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Feature image from THEWRAP

I had never really thought much about what makes a good interview; never mind what makes a good interviewer.  I thought interview skills were for journalists and police officers.  I was wrong.  Being able to interview a stranger is a wonderful skill that most writers and bloggers don’t know they need.

As a writer, interviews are a wonderful way to flesh out characters, delve into unknown areas and accurately portray various professions.  Interviewing skills help when writing profiles and long-form articles for publications.  Many novelists even recommend conducting interviews with your own characters as a means of getting deeper into their minds.

As a blogger, interviewing skills are also wonderful.  Interviews are a refreshing way to cover the content you might not be proficient in writing about yourself.  Interviews with other bloggers, who are also experts in your niche make wonderful articles and give your readers a break from your ‘voice’. Continue reading

Understanding the Industry, Why you should write a series

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It is so important for writers to know and understand the market that they are in or about to enter.  It is common sense and good business strategy to know your competition, your situation and the climate of the industry.  So lets pull it apart a little and have a look at the cycle of sales and some dependable trends.

Why do people buy books

Why do people keep buying books?  Despite the many times you’ve heard that the publishing business is dead, it just doesn’t seem to lay down and die.

People don’t need to buy new books, they can get books for free or very cheaply second hand.  Instead of buying an book people can borrow them from libraries, download them from torrent sites, or they can steal them from a friend.  Secondhand book stores a full of 50 cent bargains market stalls always have great books.  In a question posted on Quora about why people continue to buy books, the responses were interesting but certainly not surprising.

Firstly, people keep buying books because they love them.  They buy books to have them and to hold them.  They buy books to write in them, take notes and underline passages.  People buy books to keep as souvenirs, to remember events and holidays, and as gifts for loved ones.  People buy books because they love to collect them, lend them to friends and fill their houses with them.

One response even went so far as to say, ‘I buy books that I want to own.  There are books that I find so interesting and beautiful that I want them to be a part of my life.’

But people are not just buying books for themselves.  A huge percentage of publishers and book sellers revenue comes from the Book Gift Market.  The Book Gift Market makes a lot more sense when you start to look at when people buy books.  

When do people buy books

In an article by Anthony Wessel titled, The Cycle of Book Sales he breaks down a few of the trends in book selling.  It is interesting to see that for most of the year (approximately 46 weeks) booksellers sell the same amount of books.  That means that week to week, and year after year, the same number of books are being sold.

When trying to sell your own book, you are not trying to persuade a buyer to purchase your book, but rather, you are trying to influence them to buy your book instead of another book.

The remaining 6 weeks of the year is the holiday season covering the lead up to christmas and into the new year (also thanks giving in the USA).  During these six weeks, book sales increase.

‘What we can see from this is that marketing and promotion of a book does not increase the over all number of books sold that week, but only influences the buyers choice.’

Christmas period is the time that accounts for the gift market.  The gift market is an area of sales that Ebooks and online readers just can not compete with.  People do not give each other file downloads for christmas, they give real life printed books.

they give beautiful books, with inscriptions on the inside cover, they give inspirational books and cook books and coffee table books, and people have continued to do this through the online book selling storm and the rise of self publishing.

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After looking at the top selling books for 2014, one thing is clear.  Series’ Sells!  More than half of the top selling books from 2014 where from a series.

12 of the Top 20 books sold online from Amazon and 11 of the Top 20 books sold in stores from the bookseller Barnes & Noble where from an established series of books.  Four of the books made up the complete Divergent Series by Veronica Roth.

What is it about a series that compels people to keep going, to read the last book anyway when they didn’t really like the last one.  to keep going.

Thinking of a series reminds me of the Bronze Horseman series.  So many of my friends read the third book when none of us even like the second.  Why?  something enticing about the completed set, about knowing what happens, finishing, finalising everything.

 

6 Books Every Emerging Writer Must Read

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The Emerging Writer, Writers, Writer

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1. Bird by Bird

by Anne LaMott.

This book is a really inspiring and practical book for writers.

Readers will be reminded of the energizing books of writer Natalie Goldberg and will be seduced by Lamott’s witty take on the reality of a writer’s life, which has little to do with literary parties and a lot to do with jealousy, writer’s block and going for broke with each paragraph.

Reading this book, I realised how much further I could push my writing and my characters.  It was this book that helps me to understand how shallow I was writing and how much my writing could improve if I was brave enough to be honest and write something that mattered.

Marvelously wise and best of all, great reading.

 

The Emerging Writer, Writing.

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2. The Little Red Writing Book

by Mark Tredinnick. 

(Released as Writing Well in America)

I should probably credit this book as the catalyst for my conversion from the Visual Arts to the Literary Arts.  I love the style and strength of this book, which includes a whole chapter on writing with grace.

The Little Red Writing Book is a guide to expressive creative writing and effective professional prose. The author, a poet, writer, editor and teacher, explains the techniques required for stylish and readable writing. Everyone who wants to improve their writing can benefit from this book, which describes how to: • identify topics that inspire you to write • get into the habit of writing regularly • develop ideas • construct effective arguments • choose words for maximum effect • use grammar correctly • structure sentences and paragraphs appropriately • write with integrity The book is enriched by examples from great modern writers, and includes a variety of exercises and suggestions for writing activities.

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3. On Writing, A memoir of the Craft. 

by Stephen King.

Every writing blog on earth recommends writers to read this book…and you will find we are no different.  One of the most famous writing works for writers.  Need we say more?

Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time, this superb volume is a revealing and practical view of the writer’s craft, comprising the basic tools of the trade every writer must have.

King’s advice is grounded in his vivid memories from childhood through his emergence as a writer, from his struggling early career to his widely reported near-fatal accident in 1999 — and how the inextricable link between writing and living spurred his recovery. Brilliantly structured, friendly and inspiring, “On Writing” will empower and entertain everyone who reads it — fans, writers, and anyone who loves a great story well told

 

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4. The Icarus Deception

by Seth Godin.

‘Make Something Happen’ They are the words on Seth Godin’s homepage.

Everyone knows that Icarus’s father made him wings and told him not to fly too close to the sun; he ignored the warning and plunged to his doom. The lesson: Play it safe. Listen to the experts.  But we tend to forget that Icarus was also warned not to fly too low, because seawater would ruin the lift in his wings. Flying too low is even more dangerous than flying too high, because it feels deceptively safe.

In his book ‘The Icarus Deception’ Godin talks of the obligation we have towards ourselves and the world, to make art.  Godin discussed the issues we face when we fly too low, under achieve and ignore our potential.  This book speaks of Art and Society and the World and Life…. great read if you need to be pulled back on track.  But it is not just a book about what you are doing wrong, it also give practical and real advice on how to make sure you don’t fly too low.

A great read…actually now that I think about it, you should probably read ‘Tribes’ as well.

Emerging Writers, Manuscrapped

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5. Story

by Robert McKee. 

I put off reading this book for a long time because I believed it was just for screen writers.  It is not.  This book is for every Story Teller!

Story is a complex and thorough break down of ‘Story Craft’ with a focus on excellence and quality.  McKee demands excellence from every word you write.  He wants you to be good, better, and the best.  I found it great to be driven to such high standards.

Robert McKee’s screenwriting workshops have earned him an international reputation for inspiring novices, refining works in progress and putting major screenwriting careers back on track. Quincy Jones, Diane Keaton, Gloria Steinem, Julia Roberts, John Cleese and David Bowie are just a few of his celebrity alumni. Writers, producers, development executives and agents all flock to his lecture series, praising it as a mesmerizing and intense learning experience.

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6. The War of Art

by Steven Pressfield.

If you find yourself asking yourself (and your friends), “Am I really a writer? Am I really an artist?” Chances are you are. The counterfeit innovator is wildly self-confident. The real one is scared to death.”

Are you paralysed with fear? That’s a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember one rule of thumb: the more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.

A succinct, engaging, and practical guide for succeeding in any creative sphere, The War of Art is nothing less than Sun-Tzu for the soul. hat keeps so many of us from doing what we long to do? Why is there a naysayer within? How can we avoid the roadblocks of any creative endeavor—be it starting up a dream business venture, writing a novel, or painting a masterpiece? Bestselling novelist Steven Pressfield identif ies the enemy that every one of us must face, outlines a battle plan to conquer this internal foe, then pinpoints just how to achieve the greatest success.

Happy Reading Emerging Writers!

 

 

 

Amazon’s most popular book of 2013

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Have heard of it?

It might surprise you to learn that the most popular book of 2013 was a self help non-fiction.

I was shocked this afternoon to discover that I had never heard of the most popular Amazon book for 2013.  Strength Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath.

This book has been downloaded more times than any other book this year!

I found it when I started doing a little Christmas Shopping today. I usually look through all the top sellers lists, such as CD, Dvd’s and Books, to get a few ideas for the family.

Emerging writers diary, Strength Finder

Strength Finder 2.0 is a follow up to a very popular book that came out in 2001 – Loaded with hundreds of strategies for applying your strengths to building a great life, this book and accompanying website ‘will change the way you look at yourself–and the world around you–forever.’

I am pretty keen to read it now!

I wonder – If I missed the most popular book of 2013, what else have I over looked this year?  When I consider the volume of books, novels and Ebooks printed and released every year – I am over whelmed.  How will I ever read all that material?  What will I miss out on, because there is just not enough time?

Strength Finder 2.0 cover, Amazon bestseller 2013

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The Little Green Grammar Book; Mark Tredinnick

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This is a writer’s grammar book.  It’s a grammar book by a writer for writers.  I don’t want to put anyone off, but I am neither a grammarian nor linguist; I’m just a writer who’s thought a fair bit about grammar – and taught a fair bit of it too.  This book describes most of the grammar that’s taught me how to write.  I’ve written it down in case it helps you, too.’ Tredinnick.

The Little Green Grammar Book is a non Fiction book about grammar.  It is more than just a reference book. It’s a study on grammar as a craft and why it matters.  Beginning with the ‘natural history of the sentence,’ this book breaks down the elements of a sentence, in a clear and contemporary way.

How Did This Book Come to Me?
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I purchased this book after receiving some negative feedback about my grammar.

I ordered this book at a book store.  I waited for it to be back loaded onto a truck traveling down the south coast from Sydney.  I checked in with the book store lady every few days, despite her promise to call me as soon as it came in.  I wanted this book very urgently as I had suddenly and scarily became aware of how terrible my grammar was.  I had become immobilized in my writing.  I was frozen and I could not have written another word until I had The Little Green Grammar Book in my handbag.

I had known about the book for a while, having read the Little Red Writing book many times, but it wasn’t until I found out just how bad I was, that I decided to finally buy it.

Why Will I Finish It?

‘The comma as pause has been oversold and under –explained.  We need a smarter notion.’  Tredinnick.

It is not really a book that demands that it be read cover to cover.  But I will.

I would like to read this novel slowly, so that I can pause and reflect at the end of each chapter.  I would like to learn, as I read.  It is very clear and easy to read.  It is light hearted, honest and somehow personal, while still being about and for grammar – interesting.

The little green grammar book, mark tredinnick, the emerging writer, grammar, writing first novelMore.

Published in 2008 by University of New South Whales Press, this book is part of a series on writing – The Little Red Writing Book, The Little Green Grammar Book and The Little Black Book of Business Writing.  There is a fourth title that can be found by Mark Tredinnick on writing, ‘Writing well: The Essential Guide,’ which is the US and UK title of The Little Red Writing Book.

I know it will take a while before I can see the improvements from learning proper grammar.  I know I have a long way to go.  I know that I will need to practice this every day.  I know that I will need to re write a lot of everything I have just written.  And I know that when I read over this article in only a few months, I will want to re write it all, correcting all the mistakes I don’t even know I am making

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IMG_0493Meghan Brewster is a Blogger, Freelance writer and general spinner of Fiction. She is the founder and editor of The Emerging Writers Diary, as well as Itp & Me, a website dedicated to managing the rare platelet disorder, ITP. To learn more about Meghan Brewster follow this link. By making purchases through links on this website you are helping to support a young emerging writer. Thank you.

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Coming Across Giant Holes in your Story

27 June 2013 – I have been ruthless with my work at the moment.  I am doing a lot of research and really being ruthless about the layout and outline of the plot and location.  I want to be clear about the details and consistent with the trajectory.  I dont want the word count to get any bigger until the plan is air tight.

Huge holes are opening up in front of me, as I pull it apart and build it again

The Emerging Writer, Writing, Writers

From Another Angle

This frame I am building is going to have to support more than 100 percent of its current weight.  I have to make sure it is strong so I can write it faster – and have it ready in time to give it to The Reader.

I was not too sure if having a due date to give to The Reader was going to have a negative effect on my work but it has turned out to be a blessing.  I think I was being far too precious for too long.

As I work faster and with a slight distance to the work, it is easier to see the flaws.  Huge holes are opening up in front of me, as I pull it apart and build it again.

I am also starting to really understand that this book will be one of many.  I have stopped holding it so close to me – I am feeling a professional distance brought on my the coming of my dute date – more of a get it DONE notion.  Not that I am not deeply attached and affected by the story.  I just feel like it is more of a teenager than a toddler now.  It has come away from my metaphorical breast.

Heading to Sydney this weekend for a whale watching trip.  Should be fantastic to get so close to them.  Just worried I wont get too much work done on the trip up and back.

Joining Your Local Library

The Emerging Writer

details… unknown yet.

17 June 2013 – Today I went and found the local Library in Merimbula – Which had moved since I lived here last.  I wanted to check out the local history books and collection, particularly everything they have on the whaling families.

There were a few great books but I have had to order in a few more from another library.  I also found a book all about Merimbula.  Imagine my surprise to discover my photograph from the 200 year celebrations of the school or something, I forget the details.  But check it out, I must be in year 3 or something.

Its nice to know I am already part of the towns history.

Going to My First Book Launch

The Emerging writer

Driving home

23 May 2013 –  I did not realise it at the time, but now that I am  tucked up safely in bed it has dawned on me that I just went to my very first book launch – Without even realising.

Tonight I was in Wollongong for the launch of a collection of poetry published by collaboration between the Wagga Wagga prison and the south Coast Writers Centre.

I got two things out of this evening.

One, I don’s want to comit a crime and go to prison so that I will have more time to work on my poetry.

Two, I have been incredible timid with my depiction of a storm in my novel.  As I drove back to Sydney from Wollongong in some of the worst weather I have ever seen I realised just how cowardly I had been a few nights ago when writing about a storm.  A storm, in all its fury, could rip your whole world apart – I had forgotten that.

My First Event at the Sydney Writers Festival

The Emerging writer, writing

Reading on the bus, No.

21 May 2013 – (4.45pm)  The Sydney Writers Festival has started, and I feel apart of it.  I’m on the bus now heading to a talk at the Macleay Museum at Sydney University.  Thanks goodness my friend Kate is driving up from Wollongong and called me to remind me to get out of the fucking door.  It starts at 5.

I am trying to work on the bus heading down King Street but actually I just feel motion sick and perhaps might vomit.  I remember there was a time when I could read a novel in the car while my mum drove to Canberra.  That magical power is now gone.  I can barely look at the texts on my phone.  I look around at others on the bus in envy.

the Emerging Writer

Macleay Museum’s Butterflies

(6.07 pm ) So that was sort of aimed at journalists and editors.  There was not too much content in their for either of us, and we left feeling a bit flat.  The museum was great though and we were seated next to these amazing butterflies.  They were unlike anything I had ever seen.

Also in their collection was a whale calf skeleton.  It was refreshing to get a sense of their size and majesty.  Humbling.

Inspired by old photographs

The emerging writer, writing, ideas

Kiah inlet c1900

15 February 2013 – I am reading so much about whaling at the moment.  The histories – the tools, the terminologies – it is so interesting.  Everything about it is so mythological and banal.  So barbaric and so simple, yet there is so much magic and ritual around the whole rite of it.

I am reading about the different opinions people had of whalers; from blood thirsty animals that worked in a abattoir, to magical heroic gods that risked their lives to light the world.

I have become fascinated with the spiked shoes the flensers used to wear to walk on the body of the whales.

I also am going to try and get my hands on a copy of Moby Dick, by Herman Melville.