Tag Archives: writer

Are you a slow writer? 15 tips for learning how to write faster

2017-09-11

There is nothing wrong with you if you are a slow writer, but if you intend to make money or earn a living as a writer, learning to write a bit faster can be an important asset. The essence of learning to write is practice. It takes time to learn the craft, and with time, you will become faster.

Nonetheless, it is possible to speed up the process of learning how to write faster. Custom Writing has created an infographic that lists 15 ways to learn faster writing. Here are the 15 tips. View the infographic after the list for additional advice on each item.

Silence you inner editor.
Structure is everything.
Defeat distractions.
Track your words-per-hour.
Format at the end.
Write what you know.
Keep all notes in one book.
Use 30-minute timer.
Do a 5-minute workout.
Build connections between your tasks.
Get comfortable while writing.
Think about your reward.
Choose the most productive time of day.
Play typing games.
Practice.

Here is the infographic 15 ways to write faster (by Custom Writing).
Infographic 15 Ways to Write Faster by Custom Writing

Do you have to change your entire life to become a writer?

2017-08-17

Becoming a writer tends to be a gradual process. Usually, it takes time to learn the craft, decide what kind of writing is the most attractive, find a way to publish the works, and see if writing can be the one and only work to make a living. Because it is a gradual process, the method of working, the tools, and the working environment are typically discovered along the way.
Woman leaning on pile of books
An excellent article by Ayodeji Awosika suggests that aspiring writers must give up 7 things in order to become published and successful.

He makes valid points on what it generally requires from an aspiring writer to develop into a published writer. Here are the 7 points Awosika makes.

You have to give up your:
1. Entitlement. Especially, in the beginning, you are not entitled to anything. You have to fight for everything.
2. Romanticism. There are plenty of romantic stories of authors and how they have achieved their success, but they are never the full story.
3. Fear of marketing. No matter which publishing path you choose, you will have to market yourself and your work.
4. Time. Becoming a writer can take years.
5. Need for approval. In the beginning, genuine approval is difficult to get.
6. Laziness. Writing means a lot of work.
7. Excuses. If you want to become a writer, there are no excuses for doing something else.

If I had to list only 3 things that are required to developing into a writer, they would be the following:

Time. You have to allocate plenty of time for writing. It means you must give up something else, like watching television, playing video games, hanging out at cafés, shopping, or anything else that doesn’t add value to writing.
Perseverance. Writing is a long-term decision. Learning the craft, getting a work published, achieving sales never happens overnight. It is really amazing how disciplined most writers are when it comes to their work.
Continuous learning. No one can say that he or she completely masters the craft and business of writing. It is not only the techniques of writing that require continuous learning, but also work methods, processes, marketing, business, and tools.

So, many things in an aspiring writer’s lifestyle should change in order to make room for everything that writing requires.

Ebook news digest: peer support for writers, how traveling professionals avoid loneliness, free ebooks

2017-04-13

News on ebooks, writing, photography, copyright on April 13, 2017

bricks-and-mortar, book shop in Gothenburg

5 Reasons Fellow Writers Are Essential to Your Writing Life
Writer’s Digest

Peer support, sharing experiences and information can help every writer at some point of a writing life. Writers are not always extroverts who are happy to chat with anyone, but finding colleagues is definitely worth the effort.

Travel Photography Tips
National Geographic

A long article worth reading that doesn’t explain the techniques of travel photography, but, for instance, the importance of research. So, read a travel guidebook for your destination first.

3 Benefits Ebooks Activate For Your Business
Atomic reach

The author arguments that ebooks work particularly well for companies that operate in business-to-business markets.

Six Digital Nomads Share Tips For Tackling Loneliness On The Road
Forbes

I would add the most important tip: Learn as many languages as you can. Usually, however, it is too late because you are already in Bucharest or Lisbon and realize no one speaks English. At least, then you should learn the basic local greetings and shopping terminology.

Read 700 Free eBooks Made Available by the University of California Press
Open Culture

Free ebooks are mostly one way or the other related to North America, but they are adding new titles all the time.

Copyright expansion plans would kill EU startups
Julia Reda

Important copyright laws are being prepared in the EU. Consequences are far reaching and potentially restrictive if you are not a big publisher arguments EU MEP Julia Reda.

Do You Trust the NYT Bestseller List?
Lindberg Books

It is strange that every organization that collects and publishes bestseller lists show different ranking. The writer may want to have a look at Author Earnings reports as well.

Julian Assange: WikiLeaks has the same mission as The Post and the Times
The Washington Post

Ebook news digest: free ebooks, remote work resources, literary hoaxes, book publishers happy in London

2017-03-15

Ebook news digest on March 15, 2017

bookcrossing street library in Spain

Why Writers Lie (and Plagiarize and Fabricate and Stretch the Truth and…)
(Vanity Fair)

“While “fake news” may be a current term of art, the literary hoax is a tale as old as the printed word.” True, but since there are online tools for identifying plagiarism, we haven’t discover it that often (even though it is easier than ever before).

Free eBooks for Web Designers & Developers
(Bradley Nice)

If you want to learn HTML5, Javascript, PHP, WordPress, CSS, or other modern Web technologies, these ebooks are a good start.

17+ Remote Work Blogs and Resources to Follow in 2017
(Transformity)

A good list of resources for everyone planning or already doing remote work.

Shortlist for the Sony World Photography Contest
(World Photography Organisation)

Amazing images in the shortlist that all could win the award.

New media arrives at LBF with ‘huge sums’
(The Bookseller)

London Book Fair 2017 has started, and many book publishers are more than happy that new media companies, like Netflix and Amazon are investing in new shows and movies. Book publishers are reporting from London that an exponential growth in airtime of new shows has been excellent news for the sales of rights of their books.

Travel guidebook covers Europe’s last large wilderness: Lapland in Scandinavia
(Lapland: Finland, Norway, Sweden)

Nordkapp, fells, fjords, the Northern Lights, hiking, road travel, fishing, and many other attractions and activities featured in the book.

February 2017 Big, Bad, Wide & International Report
(Author Earnings)

Author Earnings reports ebook sales numbers that differ from sales statistics big publishers announce. The key difference is that Author Earnings includes independent publishers and self-publishers into the sales figures. The new February 2017 report estimates that 42 percent of all book sales is already ebooks in the U.S.

Author Earnings: February 2017 ebook/book sales reportSource: Author Earnings.

This is why book publishers want details about potential authors’ blog and social media footprint

2016-12-17

If you already have had an opportunity to talk to a book publisher or an agent about your terrific book concept, you may have been asked about your blog and social media presence. For you, they don’t necessarily have anything to do with your aspirations as a writer. Maybe you don’t even have a blog and your social media is mostly about watching cat videos on Facebook. Here is the thing: when a publisher is estimating the size of the market for your book concept, the audience you are able to reach yourself can be a significant factor.
man thinking what to write on aptop
Let’s take an example. You have been living and working in Berlin, the capital of Germany, for a year. You have learned so much about the culture, country and people that you are planning to write a cultural guide to other foreigners who intend to move to Germany. If you have a travel blog where you discuss about the country, the city, the language and the way Germans behave, you probably have an audience. Your blog or other social media contribution is also a quick way for publishers and agents to browse how and what topics you write about. If, on the other hand, you have only updated your Facebook page that your family and friends read during the year, it really doesn’t count as an audience.

Without going into details of blogging, tweeting, instagramming or whatever will be the next big thing in social media, the key thing is: how many people you can reach on your own?

Many experts in the publishing business call this the Author Platform. For an extensive explanation on the Author Platform (also known as the Writer’s or Marketing Platform) and how to build one for yourself, read this article at Writer’s Digest.

The Platform concept is particularly useful for nonfiction writers. Publishers and naturally readers expect that the writer knows what he or she is talking about. The writer must be an authority of the topic of the book. This doesn’t mean that he or she should be a world-renowned expert, but should have the credibility so that the audience can trust the information in the book. Experienced, professional writers can write just about anything, but they have plenty of techniques and contacts for verifying the information they write.

If we use the cultural guide to Germany as an example, living and working for a year in Berlin gives enough experiences to write a book, but probably means that the guidebook won’t dive very deep into the local culture. If the aspiring author writes the manuscript in Berlin, it may take another year, and the authority only grows.

So, these two key things are the reasons why publishers and agents are interested in writers’ footprint (both in the real world and on the Internet):

1. Audience
2. Authority

When we discuss about writing and book publishing, we easily neglect an important factor that impacts both the publishing decision and the whole book project. Especially nonfiction books are not only about text, but also about photos, schemas, tables, drawings, and today also (thanks to ebooks) about animations and videos. If you can shoot decent photos or videos, draw pictures or put together smart data tables, it is a big advantage for you.
photographer taking a photo in flower field
If you have a plan for a nonfiction book, and are looking for an ebook publisher, read this as well.

Ebook news digest: tips for aspiring writers, Instagram book deal, ebook subscription success

2016-07-24

Ebook news digest July 24, 2016

ereader, woman reading on bench, wolf g, flickr

Photo by Wolf G. https://www.flickr.com/photos/39559585@N00/


8 things I wish I’d known before writing my first novel (Marie Claire)

Author Kate Mosse shares a few tips for aspiring writers, and although her tips focus on novels, they are relevant for non-fiction writers as well. Once a writer has dived deep into the writing process, we would like to highlight two key tips that Kate Mosse shares: Success Is In The Editing Not The Writing and You Don’t Have To Write Chapters in order. In other words, the ugly truth in writing is that editing takes more time than the actual writing, and once you have a solid plan for your manuscript, you can write it any order you like. A tip from us: write the first chapter, introduction and opening paragraph last.

An Instagrammer with almost 2 million followers reveals how to take the perfect travel photo (Business Insider)

Solid advice for travel photography. More travel photography at Instagram.

Seeking to Make Content ‘More Alive,’ E-Book Publishing Tool Takes Off (the algemeiner)

Creating an ebook that features nice, beautifully laid out images, perhaps video clips and even interactivity requires more work than writing a book with a few photos or graphs. That’s why an application that lets the author or the publisher easily and quickly produce a multimedia book is a valuable tool. Ourboox is an online tool that is trying to do just that. It is the first step into right direction, but at the moment it is primarily suitable for home users who want to share their memories with others. That said, Ourboox has potential. Commercial multimedia ebooks still require the use of a professional tool, like the Apple iBooks Author. View samples of travel guidebooks that feature multimedia here.

Edinburg author used Instagram as vehicle to showcase writing (The Monitor)

Victoria Lopez knew very well that Instagram was for photographs and videos, but she used the online service to share snippets of her book manuscript that she was writing. After getting a good number of followers, she was contacted by a book publisher who asked if she was interested in a book deal. She was, but she also realized that it was the opportunity of a lifetime: she contacted other publishers to get the best deal. Our take: An inspiring story, but it is truly exceptional to get a book publishing deal via Instagram.

Who said Indians won’t pay for E-books (Economic Times)

In general, the large population of India maybe reluctant to purchase products online, but there are exceptions. The Economic Times reports of an ebook subscription service Matrubharti that has managed to establish new business on digital products. “As a consumer, I do have resistance to buy readable content online. However, if I’m given a subscription, like in a library, it makes the decision easier.”

Behind a book manuscript: How a travel writer experienced Helsinki

2016-05-21

The first impression: love or hate

In every relationship, the first impression is extremely important. The same applies to travel destinations that you are visiting for the first time. You can fall in love with a place at first sight, or it can take multiple re-visits before the poor first impression changes (if it ever does).

Now that I have written a travel guidebook on Helsinki and it is published, it is time to look back and evaluate my relationship with the city. I have lived and worked in Helsinki, the capital of Finland, for quite some time but what was my first impression about the city? Did I really like it, did it make me curious, was I unimpressed or even unmoved?

I believe it was late summer — August or September — when I arrived. The first images I can still recall were that it was green everywhere, lots of light, very clean, plenty of space and no fuss — everything just worked. Nothing was spectacular, massive, totally weird, or anything like that, but rather human-size and practical.

Local people kept their distance, and didn’t chit-chat (later, I found out that it is the norm). But if I approached someone, the response was overwhelming.

Helsinki made me curious. I didn’t quite know what it was and why it attracted me, but I wanted to know its secret. There had to be something behind those faces and facades that an average tourist didn’t see.

View video:

Helsinki, city streets

Reality check: How was Helsinki really like?

After you have spent a few days in a new destination, you realize that there are actually ordinary people who go about their daily lives in the city. Life in the destination is not all about seeing the sights, having meals in tourist restaurants and constantly carrying a camera that’s ready to shoot whatever comes in front of the lens.

Of course, a few days isn’t enough to learn how people live in a place, but a sharp-eyed traveler gets hints and impressions of the local culture. At this stage, things get interesting. If I am exploring a destination because I intend to write about it, after a week or so, I have visited and photographed the obligatory sights. Then, I can look around for things that I find different, interesting and outside the inner circle of must-see places. In Helsinki, it meant discovering places like Kaivopuisto, Itäkeskus, old Eira, touring the shores of the city on a bicycle, and getting to know the bohemian district of Kallio.

I must have taken more than thousand photos in Helsinki in winter and in summer time. Some of the images made it to the book, most didn’t. Let me show you a few pictures of Helsinki where I believe I managed to capture something about the true faces of the city.
cafe at Esplanade park in HelsinkiA cafe at Esplanade Park in the city center.

Erottaja, Helsinki, jugend housesHouses lining the Erottaja street.

helsinki, view from hotel torniA view of Helsinki from Torni. The city’s landmark white Cathedral rises above other buildings.

The bottom line: What does Helsinki mean to me?

After spending so much time in Helsinki, exploring its streets, discovering rarely visited places, studying its essence, asking stupid questions when chatting locals, photographing and writing about the city, how do I feel about it now after my Helsinki travel guidebook has been published? Would I want to live in the city? Do I feel that I want to visit the city next year and two years after that?

It is a universal up-and-down experience how a foreigner accommodates to a new country and culture. Many culture shock -books have been written about the phenomenon. Having lived long enough in Finland, I believe I have survived from my shock, and I can sit back and take a long, hard look at the city, its people and culture.

The things I most appreciate in Helsinki (and in Finland) are safety, how everything just works, rationality of the people, ample green space, human-size architecture, modern art, and large wilderness areas. For me, the ideal moment to travel to Finland is when I want to breathe freely, be sure that I can be alone of I want to be alone without anyone bothering me, not worry about officers or taxi drivers cheating me, and forget about the poverty and distress in many other parts of the world. If it is summer, I will sit down at Esplanade or Kaivopuisto Park with my ice cream and blend into the crowd. I will be quiet and think the same things as Finns do: when we head to the cottage next weekend, what will we grill after sauna?

Helsinki is one of the easiest city to travel to and explore. It is a pleasure to stop by even for a short layover. Staying in the city for a long period exposes people to the long and dark winter, but summer rewards those who survive the winter. (Locals actually enjoy winter by traveling somewhere where it is colder than in Helsinki and snow is abundant).

I actually think that Helsinki (and Finland) is a bit of a hidden gem. The world has started to take notice of the country and its capital after news of its school system, maternal packages, Angry Birds, Nightwish and talented race drivers have spread in social media. Scandinavian kitchen and literature are also trending, at least, in Europe.

At times, Helsinki may be cool, but it won’t leave you cold if you give it a few days.

This story was written by Kim Anton who has authored and photographed two travel guidebooks for Klaava Media.

Esplanade park ,Helsinki in summer
My favourite season in Helsinki? Well, everyone falls in love with Finland’s summer (as I did), but winter has its own, very special atmosphere and fun outdoor activities. The picture above and the one below show the same place in summer and in winter in the center of Helsinki.
snow storm at Esplanade park in Helsinki

Five tips to get started with that book you always wanted to write

2016-05-19

Everyone who has ever written a book, or even tried to write one, knows how much hard work it is. Sure, writing requires creativity, talent, and ability to play with words and grammar, but perhaps perseverance is the most important element in a writer’s toolbox.
 thinking and watching laptop computer screen
Especially, writers who are planning or writing their first book may regard the task too big to handle. That’s right, it is a huge task. That’s why it is important to prepare for it well by learning what kind of working method is the best for each personality, making sure that all the writing and research tools are in place, and learning to focus on the work even though distractions are constantly tempting online.

Bec Evans and Chris Smith have developed methods that help aspiring writers to establish habits that promote writing. They regard writing a book such a demanding work that individuals who are seriously pursuing it, should develop habits that support it. They have listed five tips that help you to build the motivation to write :

1. Scale down your goal.

A book (it doesn’t matter if it is a non-fiction or fiction book) must be planned before you can begin writing. This way, you know you goal and you have divided the big task into small pieces. It is easier to start working on a chapter that is about the same length as a long article than to start working on a 300-page book.

2. Slowly crank up the time.

In the beginning, it maybe difficult to sit down and type for eight hours or even two hours a day. Once you get started and words begin to flow, time goes quickly. Start small, and slowly extend the time spent by a keyboard.

3. Stretch yourself.

In the beginning of the project, goals should be achievable, but you should enhance your goals as the work progresses. From personal experience, I can add that even though I have never set an explicit goal, like one or two pages a day for myself, there are days when it feels that nothing was achieved after eight hours of hard work. Then, the next day, I realize that I have suddenly completed 10 pages. The things is that those days that felt like nothing was achieved were groundwork for those 10 pages that magically were completed in one day.

4. Track, monitor and adjust.

Tracking and monitoring helps you learn how you really work. Adjust your ways in order develop habits that support your writing.

5. Use other people.

Most writers don’t like to talk about the book they are working on. I completely understand this: plans may change, another project may take priority over the current one, or even the intended content of the book may change. Yet, Evans and Smith suggest that it is important tell other people about your goal and update them on your progress. Peer-pressure and accountability can do wonders for writers.

My tip is to use Table of Contents as the key planning tool for a nonfiction book. For a fiction book, many writers have character cards and maps that show how the story flows.
Smiling woman holding books

Free personality analysis for writers shows if they are missing key characteristics from their narrative

2015-08-04

It shouldn’t be surprising how much your writing tells about your personality. Yet, it is pretty exciting to discover what an artificial intelligence software can tell about yourself. Simply submit a blog post, a page or two from your book or other writing to a computer program and wait for an answer. IBM Watson provides a free online service where you can run a personality test for yourself or for your favorite author.
writers, cartoon characters
The IBM Watson Personality Insights must have 100 words at minimum in order to analyze someone’s personality. The computer algorithm makes a better job if it has more text to work with.

In order to try out how Watson works, we submitted book extracts to the service that included about thousand words each. Then, we asked Watson to review blog posts about 250 words in length from the same author. The results were slightly different between book extracts and blog posts.

It could be that the writing in a book has gone through several phases and several edits (and perhaps editors), whereas a blog post typically is drafted pretty quickly and published without help from other people.

Nonetheless, Watson gave clues which characteristics are strong in a text and which are missing.

You don’t have to enter text from Harry Potter into the IBM Watson to analyze J.K. Rowling’s personality, because Quartz already did it. In addition to Rowling, Watson assessed other popular authors, like Hemingway, E.L. James, Thomas Piketty, Harper Lee and Arthur Conan Doyle.

IBM describes its computer algorithm as follows: “The IBM Watson Personality Insights service uses linguistic analytics to extract a spectrum of cognitive and social characteristics from the text data that a person generates through blogs, tweets, forum posts, and more.”

The Personality Analysis service doesn’t request any personal information, Twitter-name or blog address. The algorithm only examines the text you submit to the online form.

In Addition to Writing Well, It Doesn’t Hurt to Master These Skills

2015-02-10

It is true that published authors have other skills besides their ability to write well. The important thing is that getting published is not black magic – if you approach it like a business or a large project at work where you really want to succeed, you see the big picture and pay attention to multiple elements that come into play.

A published book or a whole writing career, however, is built on writing skills. Some authors learn the craft at work as they write instructions, product descriptions, web pages, or anything that requires planning for an audience and creating a structure for the piece. Other writers begin by taking writing lessons – if you do, it is highly recommended to take a course that includes multiple genres, such as non-fiction, theater, fiction, travel and articles for magazines.

Woman using watching laptop computer screen

With this in mind, let me summarize Lifehacker’s excellent article on starting a writing career. Here are the skills Lifehacker considers to be important for a writer to succeed.

Social Skills
– Network with other writers and professionals in the business.
– Use social media as your networking platform and to build follow-up.
– Ask around for writing opportunities and what book publishers are looking for.

Resourcefulness
– Use the experience and skills you already have to find your own place in the world of writing. For instance, if you like the great outdoors and photography, have you ever considered travel writing?
– Adapt to the changing world and new requirements. For instance, today it is becoming common that publishers expect writers to take their own photographs and video clips for an article and for a book manuscript.

Marketing Skills
– Brand yourself. Branding is often a misunderstood concept, but in this context it is important to be professional and consistent within the chosen brand.
– Learn about search engine optimization (SEO).
– Market your articles and posts to web publications (both paying and non-paying guest posts).

Thick Skin
– Show your work, you never know who’ll see it.
– Welcome criticism – both good and bad.

Persistence
– Typically, it takes time to learn the craft of writing, but it also takes time to break through.