Sunday, January 29, 2017

How to Market your Book

There seems to be almost as many blog articles about how to market a book, as there are about how to write the book.

In my opinion, marketing is just as much a personal choice as writing. In the same way as some authors are plotters, others are pantsers and some a mixture, so too different marketing schemes are suited better to some authors than others. It’s up to each writer to devise a plan that works for them, their lifestyle, their skills, and their book.

Tim Grahl has written a very, very extensive Book Marketing Plan. ( He begins with an 18-point checklist, items like a website, podcasting, social media, paid advertising, bonus content and so on, and then moves onto a detailed discussion of each item.

With such a comprehensive guide, each author should be able to pick out the elements that suit them and will work for them, and devise their own plan.

Helen Woodall

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Head-hopping AKA POV shifts

Head-hopping is when the Point of View from which the story is being told, changes inside a scene. In a very long scene, one such change may be permitted, but it’s better to stay with the same viewpoint for the entire scene if possible.

Headbanging POV shifts are when the author changes POV back and forth and the reader starts to feel like she’s at a tennis match watching the ball go down the court and back up again. This is not good.

Before writing a scene the author needs to decide what part of the story she is telling here, and who knows what she has to describe. If one character leaves the scene part-way through, they cannot know what happens after they leave, so using them for POV won’t work.

A few authors naturally write in Third Person Omniscient POV. That is, they are like a narrator, who sees everything that happens in the world of the story. But unless you’re J.R.R. Tolkien or Jane Austen, it’s much better to stick with convention. One scene, one viewpoint.

However, this doesn’t mean one viewpoint per book. It’s important that all the main characters tell part of their story from their own POV so the reader gets to know them intimately, how they think and react, instead of only seeing them through someone else’s eyes. Especially so in ménage stories, if all the parties are to be equal. It’s hard to believe in a happy ever after if one of the main characters never gets to tell the story from their own POV.

Helen Woodall

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Pay attention to your choreography

We’ve all watched movies where the six hundred bad guys line up neatly and each fights the good guy one at a time, allowing himself to be defeated. Unfortunately some fight scenes in novels are written a bit like that too. There are three or four bad guys but we read about the good guy, punching/hitting/shooting Bad Guy #1, then Bad Guy #2 and so on.

Real fighting is not like that. The bad guys want to win so they get paid, and they’ll all attack at once, whenever the good guy is off guard, has his back turned, or is busy fighting already.

Choreography is important in romantic scenes too. Sometimes the hero has his hand around the heroine’s waist, gently lifts her chin up to kiss her mouth, and simultaneously undoes her hair from its ponytail. Unless he’s an octopus shapeshifter, he’ll find doing all that at once tricky.

It’s even harder with a ménage scene. Count the number of arms, legs, hands, mouths. Then check to see whether the bodies really can be positioned like that. I know of a popular erotic romance author who has broken the arms and legs off several Barbie dolls while choreographing her love scenes. In love and in war, it’s important to get the choreography right.

Helen Woodall

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Gotta love another front page major Oopsie!!

What is wrong with this picture?

2017 has begun with a splash for the Washington Post Express, but not for the reasons they had hoped for.

Can you see the error? The editors and bosses at the Post didn't, but thousands of Twitter users did.

On Thursday 5 January, the Washington Post Express decided to devote its entire front cover to a story about a women’s rights march taking place the day after Donald Trump’s inauguration as US president. The text is fine. There aren't any spelling mistakes, grammatical errors or typos. But...

Can you see it yet?

The illustration is of women joining together to make a picture. Of the symbol for a male. On a story about women's rights. Once the feedback on the error starting coming in the people at the Express were quick to apologize and say they'd meant to use the female symbol, and they posted the correct image on their Facebook page.

But I'm pretty sure someone who used to work for the company is looking for a new job right about now.

Helen Woodall

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Mark Coker's 2017 Book Industry Predictions

Each year Mark Coker of Smashwords puts together a very carefully thought out blog on the happenings of the previous year in the book world, and his predictions for the new year. He goes to a lot of trouble and thought in preparing this blog, and it is always well worth reading. His predictions are better than average in accuracy, too.

He's entitled this year's blog, "2017 Book Industry Predictions: Intrigue and Angst amid Boundless Opportunity".

I suggest you take a look at it.

Highlights of his predictions include that Indie authors will continue to capture greater ebook market share in 2017, that ebooks will face greater commoditization pressures in 2017, that Kindle Unlimited will continue to harm single copy ebook sales in 2017, and that industry consolidation will hit self-publishing. But as I said before, the entire blog is well worth taking a look at.

Helen Woodall