Banned Books Week Challenges Us to View a New Perspective

banned book burning book fire-1075162_640 (002)Banned Books Week is Sept. 23-29 this year. Sponsored by the American Library Association, the week is designed to highlight the importance of access to information. While the week is called “banned books,” very few books are actually banned nowadays. They’re more often asked to be removed from libraries, with many libraries refusing the requests.

Banned Books week got its origins in the school settings, when librarians noticed a surge in calls to remove books from libraries. The ALA now compiles a list of books that are most often challenged to being included in libraries. When you look at the most recent list (2017), challenged books included Continue reading “Banned Books Week Challenges Us to View a New Perspective”

From Bigfoot Erotica to Racist Rantings: When Author Life Affects the Rest of Your Life

Just recently, a big story that ran in national publications (People, Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone) saw Virginia congressional candidate Denver Riggleman accused of authoring Bigfoot erotica. (He was outed by his opponent, aptly named CockBurn). While the details aren’t super important, the story brings to the forefront what can happen when your author life slams into your real life. While the two generally happily coexist, sometimes they bleed into each other in bad ways. Since we’re living in an age of social media, it’s a good time to examine the ways in which your writing life can impact the rest of your life.

It Can Get You Fired Continue reading “From Bigfoot Erotica to Racist Rantings: When Author Life Affects the Rest of Your Life”

A Survey of Your Newsletter Readers Provides Info, a Sense of Community

google formsAuthor newsletters have been a topic of conversation here before. These newsletters let you communicate with readers, telling them about upcoming books, sales or appearances, and a variety of other fun topics you choose. However, your newsletter doesn’t have to be a one-way street. You can use it to ask readers questions that help you learn more about them, help them feel useful, and help you hone your author business.

So, what types of things should you ask your readers and how? There are generally two categories of questions to ask your readers: ones that help you get to know them better and opinion questions that help make readers feel more part of the process (and also help your author business). Continue reading “A Survey of Your Newsletter Readers Provides Info, a Sense of Community”

So, You Want to Write a Series?

Series_option1_laptop-3242862__340 (002)You’re an author and you’ve decided you want to write a series. Well, this is the post for you.

A series can be great for authors because it can draw in readers and keep them. If they like your first book and its characters, they’re likely to forge ahead and buy more books in the series. This is why there are so many series out there. Today, I’m going to talk mainly serial series. So, to get started, let’s get definitions out of the way. A serial series is one that has an overarching story arc throughout the series. Think Harry Potter or the Hunger Games. The books are meant to be read in order, and build on one another. A non-serial series will use the same world or the same character, but can be entered through any book in the series. Think of Sue Grafton’s alphabet mystery series or Lee Child’s Jack Reacher novels. These are more like the “continuing adventures of” types of series, and each book can stand alone. While it’s nice to know the backstory of the character, you don’t have to know it to really enjoy any book in the series. Continue reading “So, You Want to Write a Series?”