You’ve no doubt seen URLs that are practically as long as a Harry Potter novel. A long link can look sloppy, especially if it’s breaking over two lines on an email or in your newsletter, but it eats up characters on platforms like Twitter when you want a short message — real estate better spent enticing readers to check out your cat videos or, you know, your books and stuff. A short link can also hide your affiliate code so you’re not immediately broadcasting that fact to potential readers or customers. Short links do have their disadvantages, however. Some websites refuse to publish short links because a few shady types have used them as a cover for spam. Short links are not necessarily permanent, either, despite the claims of the provider. If the utility’s site goes extinct, there go your pretty little URLs.
But hundreds of link shortening utilities are available now. How do you know which URL shortener is best for you? Here’s a run-down of some of the major ones that could be handy for the indie community. Continue reading
You have a new title out, or you’ve been asked to do a book signing or an interview, maybe participate in a panel discussion — a brilliant opportunity for some publicity. And then someone asks you for a media kit. Gulp. You don’t even know what that is, let alone how to put one together. The good thing is that you probably have all the ingredients for a media kit sitting around on your computer, your website, or floating around on the interwebs. Let’s hunt them down. A quick note first: What I’m walking you through here is only one possible version of a media kit, which is sometimes called a press kit. Your actual mileage may vary.
Mine is divided into two main sections: Information about me, and information about my books.
For information about you, you’ll need… Continue reading
First, as an editor, it makes me a little squirmy to write blog posts about “how” to write. Beyond basic grammar and clarity, the rules of writing, especially in fiction, are a kind of flexible armature and differ according to the author, the genre, and the situation. However, I’ve been seeing something in fiction lately that makes me want to slam my head against the keyboard: telling readers in quite unsubtle terms that the plot is about to take a shocking turn. The device is commonly called telegraphing. Continue reading
I don’t know about other novel writers, but something happens to my brain between drafts. It’s tired, but it’s too revved up to stop. The state reminds me of my brief long-distance running career. After a major race, lying around “resting” was anything but restful. My body preferred short jogs for a few days, to recover and refresh for the next goal. So when I was going a little stir-crazy waiting to begin the second draft of one of my novels, a friend suggested I try writing a few short stories to keep myself out of trouble. I’ve always found the form intimidating—novel writing gives me the luxury to delve deep into characters and story, and many of my attempts earned me the same response from critique groups: “That sounds like the beginning of a novel.” Sigh. Also, when the subject comes up among writers, you always hear examples of such-and-such author who is better at one length than another. Continue reading