How To Write A Novel With The Snowflake Method With Randy Ingermanson

If you write fiction, or you want to, sorting out your writing process for a book is a core task.

snowflakeAre you a pantser? Are you a plotter? Or perhaps, you might be a Snowflaker …

Today I talk to Randy Ingermanson about his book, How to write a novel using the snowflake method, and how it can help those people who fall through the gaps. Plus, how to write 500 words a day as a habit, dealing with panic disorder and how our flaws contribute to our writing.

You can watch the video below or here on YouTube. You can also listen to the audio below or here on SoundCloud.

Randy Ingermanson is a physicist and award-winning geek suspense novelist, known as the Snowflake guy, America’s mad professor of fiction writing. His site, AdvancedFictionWriting.com is packed with loads of information and inspiration on organizing, creating and marketing your work.

We discuss:

  • How Randy established his brand when he wanted to talk about the process of writing, as well as the aspects of his novels. He brings the scientific approach and step by step process to writing a novel.
  • How the Snowflake method works – from something simple and small, to growing it out bit by bit to something complicated and beautiful. The book is told as a parable, which ‘shows’ the method through a woman at a writing conference who wants to learn how to write and is frustrated when she can’t use the pantsing or plotting approach.

The importance of only using writing methods that work for you as an individual.

  • Tips on writing the one line that sums up your book.
  • The scene list and what a scene actually is. [This really changed my writing life when I understood the concept of scene.] Scene vs chapter. How to write a perfect scene. A chapter is a fundamental unit of reader decision.

“Most fiction writers have a major bottleneck in their process. That bottleneck is that they don’t produce enough first-draft copy.”

  • On writing 500 words a day as a matter of habit.
  • [25 mins] Randy talks about his panic disorder which affected his public speaking opportunities. We talk about our flaws and how we deal with them in a really honest way.

You can find Randy at AdvancedFictionWriting.com where he has a brilliant free ezine, as well as loads more information on writing fiction. You can find his book, How to write a novel using the snowflake method on Amazon here.

Have you tried the Snowflake Method? Do you have any questions for Randy around writing fiction? Please join the conversation and leave a comment below.

Editing And The Writing Craft. Tips From An Editor

This is a continuation of the editing Q&A with my fiction editor, Jen Blood, based on questions submitted to me in a recent survey.

editingYou can read the first half of the interview here. It covers the different types of editing, how to find the right editor, price range and dealing with feedback. Here’s the second part.

How does the drafting, editing and rewriting cycle work?

In general, my advice to writers is to breeze through the first draft as quickly as possible. There may be times you’ll need to go back to rework sticky plot points or address other major structural issues, but the goal of the first draft should be to get the bones of your novel down on paper.

From there, there are several editing, revising, and rewriting cycles you’ll go through, ideally including beta readers, an editor, and a final proofreader in the process. Your ultimate goal is always forward movement—even if that forward movement can sometimes feel painfully slow. Every revised draft should feel a little bit better than the last, until eventually you have a complete, polished novel.

For a more complete analysis on the subject, read From Conception to Publication, my blog post breaking the writing, editing, and revision process down into ten unique stages.

How do I do structural revisions for fiction quickly and well?

I can write a certain number of new words per day–no problem! But I spend a lot of revision time staring out the window, wondering whether I’ve chosen the absolute best plot options.

First off, don’t just dismiss that time you’re staring out the window during the revision process—many times, that’s actually your subconscious mulling over what happens next. Of course, other times it’s just you staring out the window, so you do have to draw a line somewhere. When coaching writers through the revision process, I tell them to ask these questions about their novel.

(1)   What is the novel about? What is the plot, or central conflict?

First drafts tend to run incredibly long or incredibly short, but there’s rarely a middle ground. By clarifying in your own mind what you’re trying to say, you’ll be better able to edit your novel into a cohesive, saleable whole.

(2)   What are the secondary and tertiary plots?

Often, the secondary plot has to do with a romantic interest, but it may be another mystery, a subplot relating to the characters, etc. In one to two sentences, write down what the secondary plot is. In longer works of fiction, particularly sci-fi, there may tertiary plots, as well. Write down each plotline as succinctly as possible.

(3)   Where does the story begin?

This is key. Look at your central plot, and ask yourself when forward movement related to that plot actually begins. There’s a tendency to pack a lot of exposition into first drafts. Now is the time to start chipping away at that in order to determine how much is actually necessary, how it might be distributed more evenly, and how to convey that information in the least obtrusive manner possible.

(4)   How does each scene move the story forward?

Sit down and make a list of every scene in your book. What happens in each one? How does it relate to the book’s central, secondary, or tertiary plotlines? How long does each scene go on? Every scene in your novel, regardless of the genre, should be active and should move your story forward.

When you find yourself stumped during the self-editing phase, I’m a big believer in beta readers. If you have between one to three trusted betas, give them the manuscript with a brief rundown of your areas of concern. When they’ve completed the beta read, ask pointed questions about the issues bothering you. You can find more information on how to effectively utilize beta readers in this blog post.

The members of my critique group are trying to write our own books and/or short stories while learning the craft at the same time.

But every time we study something new, we feel that our previous works are wrong… so every week is like starting again.

What would you recommend to new authors about learning and writing at the same time?

As writers, we’re constantly learning new things about the craft. Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been scribbling for years, ideally you will always be growing as a writer. The downside to that is that you will invariably find things to improve in the work you’ve done. The key is to not let that stop you. Keep learning. Keep growing. Keep writing. Finish what you start, and move on to the next project—it will inevitably be better than the last.

If you’re working with a group, set some guidelines: You’re allowed to revise a story two or three times, for example, before you send it out to an editor or submit it for publication somewhere. Once you’ve gotten some outside feedback, you can regroup and look at it again. The same goes for novels—don’t get caught up revising the same twenty to twenty-five pages your group has critiqued over and over again, ultimately neglecting the rest of the novel. Take the notes your group gives you, and move onto the next chunk of the book. Strive for greatness, but forget perfection. Finish your story. Let other people read it. Take their feedback, integrate the lessons you’ve learned, and revise accordingly. Then, move on.

How do I make sure my manuscript is ready for a professional editor? What are some tips for self-editing?

Excellent question. A good editor costs money, and the rougher your manuscript is, the more money they cost. It pays to submit a novel that’s been self-edited to the best of your ability. First off, I recommend picking up a copy of Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, by Renni Browne and Dave King. It’s an excellent resource for writers at every level, and if you’re hoping to make a living one day at this whole writing business, it’s indispensable.

In terms of concrete advice I can give here and now, there are a few things you can do.

The three most common issues I see as an editor are:

(1) Structural issues like plot holes, wandering timelines, and lagging pacing,

(2) Excessive exposition or lengthy chunks of narrative (telling versus showing)

(3) Awkward, clunky writing.

So, how do you ensure that you’re not sending a manuscript filled with all of the above to your editor?

Structural issues can be tough to spot when you’re sitting in the middle of your manuscript, and you’ve been stuck there for months. Follow the steps outlined in question two of this post to help guide yourself through the editing process. Additionally, it’s a great idea to call on trusted beta readers who will provide a read-through and call attention to anything you missed along the way.

For exposition and lengthy chunks of narrative, one of the most helpful tricks I use is to simply eyeball a manuscript. Are there whole pages filled with long paragraphs, broken up by very little dialogue? That’s the first clue that a story is heavy on the telling and light on the showing. Think in terms of a movie. How would each chapter play out on screen? Do you need a narrator to lay the whole thing out with lots of unwieldy internal monologues, or do you have dynamic scenes with strong dialogue and a particular goal for each of your characters in every chapter?

Awkward writing is less easily defined, and only comes with experience. Again, rely on your beta readers, but at the end of the day, your editor should be someone you trust who can help you hone your skills and ensure that the novel you put out is the best it can possibly be. Remember: Your novel doesn’t have to be perfect before you send it to the editor. That’s what you’re paying them for!

How do I know when to stop editing and move into the publishing phase?

This, to me, is the number one reason to have a professional editor on your side. Trust me, your editor will tell you when it’s time to stop editing and just publish already. If you can’t afford someone for a full edit of your book, many editors—myself included—offer partial edits of the first twenty, thirty, or fifty pages at significantly less than it would cost to edit the full novel. Even a partial edit from a qualified professional should give you an idea whether or not you need to continue rewrites or you can realistically start planning for publication.

Here at The Creative Penn, Joanna has taken a stand against the term “self-publishing,” arguing that there are actually many, many people involved in the independent author’s journey. This is especially true at this phase of the writing game. In my opinion, there is no way you can judge on your own whether or not your book is ready to publish.

If you don’t have an editor, turn to beta readers, preferably three or four of them. Ask them: If they were buying this book on Amazon, how would they rate it? Did it keep their attention throughout? Were the characters interesting to them? Did the plot make sense? Was the quality of the writing equal to that of a well-reviewed published novel?

Thanks to Joanna for asking me to answer these excellent questions on the art (and business) of editing! For any author, editing is an integral part of the writing process. Whether you’re new to the craft or an old hand, the key to a successful edit is seeking help when it’s needed. Ask for feedback. Recruit beta readers. Join a writing group. Hire an editor. We writers are a mighty tribe these days—there’s no reason to walk the path alone!

 Do you have any questions or comments on editing? Please leave them below and join the conversation!

Jen BloodBio: Jen Blood is the bestselling author of the Erin Solomon Mysteries, and owner of Adian Editing, where she offers comprehensive content and copy editing services of plot-driven fiction, as well as writing coaching and classes on writing and self-editing. She has worked as a freelance editor for Random House, Aspatore Books, Hyperink Press, Maine Authors Publishing, and individually for a long list of independent and traditionally published authors. Jen is currently accepting new clients, with a few spaces available through the end of summer and into the fall. Visit http://adianediting.com/ to learn more about her services, or contact her at jen@adianediting.com to schedule a $25 sample edit of your first chapter.

Contact Info:

Twitter: @jenblood
Facebook: http://facebook.com/jenblood1
Website: http://adianediting.com/
http://jenblood.com/

Top image: Flickr Creative Commons editing a paper from Nic McPhee

Love Thrillers? Double Launch Special. Delirium And Thrill Ride Box-Set

It’s a double-launch day today and you can share in the fun by getting 9 full-length thrillers for under US$2!

ThrillRide Delirium3I’m launching my latest supernatural suspense thriller, Delirium, today, and you can also get the first in the series, Desecration, in Thrill Ride, a box-set of 8 thrillers from bestselling and award-winning authors. Read on for the details or to buy now!

[Delirium will be returning to standard price of $4.99 on 5 August so buy now to take advantage of this launch special.]

deliriumDelirium, London Psychic Book 2

“Those who the Gods wish to destroy, they first make mad.”

LONDON. When a prominent psychiatrist is found murdered in the old hospital of Bedlam, Detective Sergeant Jamie Brooke finds herself investigating the history of madness to fathom the motive. Blake Daniel, a reluctant psychic, helps her to research the case, only to discover that his own family are entwined with the shadowy forces that seek to control the minds of the mad.

As the body count rises, and those she loves are threatened, Jamie discovers that the tendrils of conspiracy wind themselves into the very heart of the British government. Can she stop the killer before madness takes its ultimate revenge?

A thriller with an edge of the supernatural, Delirium is a story of love for family, revenge for injustice and the question of whether we all sit on the spectrum of madness somewhere.

Sample or Buy Now on Kindle, Kobo or Nook – coming soon on iBooks and in print and audio formats

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Thrill Ride. 8 Pulse-Pounding Novels Including Desecration, London Psychic Book 1

Murder, conspiracy, corruption, kidnapping, demons, fugitives and a world poised on Armageddon…

Thrill RideGrab a seat and hold on tight! Because this 8-book thrill ride by some of the most popular names writing thrillers today doesn’t let up till the very last page.

600 reviews with a solid 4.4 star average across the 8 individual full-length novels. A nearly $30 value, available in this very special bundle for a limited time only. For sale in US and Canada only (due to various author rights issues)

INTRODUCTION – Steve Berry
SIDETRACKED – Brandilyn Collins
THE BLADE – Lynn Sholes and Joe Moore
THE ROSWELL CONSPIRACY – Boyd Morrison
BLIND JUSTICE – James Scott Bell
DESECRATION – J.F. Penn
THE KILLING RAIN – P.J. Parrish
DOUBLE VISION – Randy Ingermanson
THE CALL – Kat Covelle

SIDETRACKED – Brandilyn Collins

When Delanie Miller’s close friend, Clara, is murdered and a simple-minded man is falsely accused, Delanie must risk exposing her dark past and the lies of her current life–no doubt alienating everyone now precious to her–to clear him.

THE BLADE – Lynn Sholes and Joe Moore

While investigating the theft of a 4000-year-old biblical artifact, a federal agent runs up against an international fugitive threatening to destroy Las Vegas with a nuclear device unless the casinos pay a multi-million-dollar ransom.

THE ROSWELL CONSPIRACY (Tyler Locke 3) – Boyd Morrison

Combat engineer Tyler Locke races to unmask a decades-old conspiracy before Russian spy Colchev can find a mysterious object from the 1947 Roswell crash. With it, Colchev intends to unleash an electromagnetic pulse weapon of unprecedented power.

BLIND JUSTICE – James Scott Bell

Attorney Jake Denney has hit rock bottom, both personally and professionally. In a last-ditch effort to save his fading career he takes on a seemingly hopeless murder case–one that thrusts him square into the fight of his life.

DESECRATION (London Psychic – Book 1) – J.F. Penn

Detective Sergeant Jamie Brooke and clairvoyant Blake Daniel delve into London’s macabre world of grave robbery, body modification, and the genetic engineering of monsters to stop a murderer from claiming another victim.

THE KILLING RAIN (Louis Kincaid – Book 6) – P.J. Parrish

On the eve of a brutal storm, a boy is kidnapped–triggering a killing spree by two ruthless men using the boy as a pawn. Now Detective Louis Kincaid must find his twisted adversaries before they commit the ultimate horror.

DOUBLE VISION (A Quantum Suspense Novel) – Randy Ingermanson

An attractive but strait-laced genius with Asperger’s syndrome, Dillon Richard is on the verge of cracking the “unbreakable code” of bankers and terrorists. Who’ll get him first? The mafia? The NSA? Or one of his two beautiful co-workers?

THE CALL (Mythological Sam Chronicles – Book 1) – Kat Covelle

After a near-death experience, down-on-his-luck mythology geek and self-proclaimed loser Sam Wilson is pulled into a dangerous quest: Silence a demonic sound lethal only to angels so that exiled angels can return to earth–or mankind will die.

Sample or Buy Now in Print or Ebook formats

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Happy reading!

Writing Fiction. Improve Your Dialogue With James Scott Bell. Podcast Episode 190

When I started writing fiction, I found dialogue to be one of the hardest things to write. It’s rarely used outside of a fiction context, and I spent a lot of time learning all about it. I still do! Today I’m thrilled to be discussing how to improve dialogue with James Scott Bell.

This podcast is sponsored by Kobo Writing Life, which helps authors self-publish and reach readers in global markets kobo writing lifethrough the Kobo eco-system. You can also subscribe to the Kobo Writing Life podcast for interviews with successful indie authors.

James Scott BellJames Scott Bell is the best-selling and award-winning author of thriller novels, zombie legals, historical romance, and lots and lots of books on the craft of writing. He’s a professional speaker, teaching novel-writing and other skills for writers, and his latest book is “How to Write Dazzling Dialogue.”

You can watch the interview on YouTube here, listen above or on the podcast feed on iTunes or Stitcher, or read the transcription below. We discuss:

  • Why is dazzling dialoguedialogue so important anyway? Can’t we just write lots of paragraphs with no one talking to each other?
  • Overuse of names and differentiating voices
  • How to learn about dialogue by listening and other techniques
  • Beware of stereotypes in characters
  • Weaving action into dialogue
  • Bad language and guidelines for swear words
  • Subtext
  • Humor in dialogue
  • Punctuation
  • On James’ fiction – he writes across multiple genres

You can find James and his books at JamesScottBell.com and on twitter @jamesscottbell.

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Writing Thrillers. 50 Lessons Learned From Thrillerfest 2014

My head is still exploding with everything I learned and everyone I met at Thrillerfest this year!

ITWBelow is a mega-post full of lessons learned about writing, marketing, mindset, self-publishing and the FBI, but I wanted to start with an intro to ITW.

Why I love ITW and Thrillerfest

I have now been to Thrillerfest twice (you can read my notes from 2012 here), and I can definitely say that it is the only conference where I really feel at home – and ITW is truly the tribe I belong to.

I can sit in the bar talking about ways to murder people and weapons of choice and not feel weird. I can learn from some of the biggest names in the business, whose hours of writing experience number in the many thousands.

The education program is absolutely the best in the thriller business. I can fangirl like a geek with big name authors who are actually just a load of bookish geeks too. I can have a drink with people I have only previously worshipped from afar. I also feel absolutely accepted as an indie, with no judgement around my business choices. Five days of conferencing and not a single negative comment or sideways look about being an indie author. So I love ITW and I absolutely loved Thrillerfest!

face off thrillerIf you want to find out more about the ITW, check the details here. It’s an international organisation and I am trying to encourage any thriller writer to join as a Member, or an Associate if you’re getting started. If you like reading thrillers, you can also subscribe to the free magazine, The Big Thrill. You can also get the awesome FaceOff thriller compilation, with short stories that pitch famous characters off against each other here.

MasterCraftFest

David Morrell JFPenn

J.F.Penn with David Morrell, Rambo’s Daddy :)

This year there was an extra day with some big name authors, where we spent 10 hours going through manuscripts and learning detailed craft information. I was in David Morrell’s class, and even after reading his great book, The Successful Novelist, and interviewing him a few weeks ago, I learned an incredible amount. Here’s some highlights:

  • What are the underlying themes of your life? The secret to being a writer is to understand your own personality. Be a first rate version of yourself and not a second rate version of another writer. Self analysis will help you work through your schedule. “The hardest thing is to know what to write based on who you are. Work on yourself and the writing will get better. Example being Ludlum’s Bourne based on his amnesia from alcohol. The underlying truth in a story is what resonates emotionally.
  • Writers are born with greater awareness than others. Not everyone daydreams, but you need to grab yours and let your subconscious reveal your stories. “Maybe we’re mutants.”Other people aren’t like us. [I loved this as sometimes I really do feel like a mutant and people just think I’m crazy doing this writing job!]
J.F.Penn with Ian Rankin, Chelsea Cain, Lee Child, Lisa Gardner

J.F.Penn with Ian Rankin, Chelsea Cain, Lee Child, Lisa Gardner

  • Keep your day job until you have 3 years worth of income saved that will keep you in the standard of living that you are used to. It takes time to get to the point of mastery in your craft.
  • Write a genre book that doesn’t feel like a genre book. Do you want ‘stained glass’writing where the point is to look at the language? Or ‘windex’writing where the reader sees clearly through to the story and the language vanishes in the experience.
  • A flashback on the first page is easily the number 1 mistake David sees. Forward motion in your book is critical. You better have a damn good reason for a flashback. Too many flashbacks stop forward motion. Look for ‘had’and versions of to check for multiple jumps backward in your text. How else can you write it so you are moving forward in the story?
  • Use multiple senses, not just sight. Judicially added detail gives the work depth. When you move characters from one location to another, note the changes in the physical space as well as their inner sense.
  • The purpose of a simile or a metaphor is to help people understand what they couldn’t do otherwise. In these days of Google and multimedia, there are not many things we don’t understand. Check all your ‘like’and ‘as a’clauses.
  • Check for clichés and remove them. [The Cliche Finder is a handy tool for this!] If you let imperfections start to stray into your manuscript, they will only proliferate.
  • TV and movies have ruined dialogue for writers as they need to use names more often, as they don’t have dialogue tags. But we do in books – so stop using repeated names within dialogue. Are you writing dialogue for the characters, or to fill the reader in on what you can’t explain another way?
  • Don’t do introspection whilst driving. Don’t have people sitting around thinking.
  • Create a checklist of things to watch out for in your second draft. What are your writer’s tics?
  • Even when it’s good, it isn’t good. Perfection isn’t possible in this business. Learn and move onto the next book.

Day at the FBI

FBIDay

We all got cool name badges at the FBI :)

These comments are my own based on an interpretation of the day and my handwritten notes. They don’t in any way represent the FBI and I may well have got some things wrong. Please check the FBI website for further detail.

  • The FBI want to help authors who write about them in order to ensure accuracy in books, films and TV. The public is the best partner for solving crime, so there needs to be trust and respect. Popular culture shapes perception, and that can turn into reality in people’s heads. You can contact the Investigative Publicity and Public Affairs Unit if you want to apply for project assistance which is reviewed on a case by case basis.
  • The FBI uses active brand management through a press office, social media and online tools. “If we don’t tell our story, someone will tell it for us. I found this particularly fascinating as so many authors resist branding and telling their personal story, but it’s critical to take control of it yourself. People will always judge you based on what you put out into the public eye – taking control of your branding is the best way to manage it.
  • FBI agents have had jobs previously, with the oldest recruitment age being 37. Analysts and other roles may be recruited straight from college. The agent’s previous jobs and background go into the decisions around where they will work. So, if you’re writing such a character, their previous life will be important in their FBI work. One Italian-American retired agent talked about going undercover in Las Vegas, with his looks, accent and cultural background being critical to the role.
  • We were given a breakdown of all the different departments and an (unclassified) glimpse into what they do there. You can find out more here. The counterterrorism talk was one of the most popular, as would be expected in a room full of thriller writers. The rise of ISIS in Iraq and Syria was discussed, as well as the ‘dark net’and gamified content that is so immersive it has changed the radicalization model.
  • Listening to agents talk was fascinating in terms of the words and phrases they use. The sheer number of acronyms was mind-boggling, but having come from the mega-corporate world, I understand how that happens! These types of details in dialogue can bring your writing alive. Here’s some I wrote down: ‘deadly force policy,’‘threat driven organisation,’‘capabilities of the adversary,’‘advanced persistent threat,’‘there are categories within top secret,’‘OCONUS’- areas of responsibility outside the US, ‘Guardian squad’- first response to threats and judging what response they need. ‘patriots or sovereign citizens’- Americans who think they aren’t subject to government.

If you’re interested in learning more about the FBI, hopefully the day will be repeated at Thrillerfest 2015 so keep an eye on the website around November. They also have a Citizen Academy you can apply for.

Face off Peter James

UK mega-crime writer Peter James

More writing advice

  • Your characters don’t have to be likeable, but they can’t be all bad. The trick is to have them love something e.g. Buffalo Bill in Silence of the Lambs has a poodle. Or, make them express emotion e.g. Frankenstein’s monster says he didn’t ask to be created. From Peter James.
  • There are no rules around how to get the book written. Lee Child won’t plot at all, doesn’t know the end and just writes until he’s done. “I don’t want to type out a story I already know the ending to.”Jeffrey Deaver writes a 350 page outline. Everyone else is somewhere on the spectrum.
  • “You don’t commit to writing one book. You commit to being a writer.John Lescroart. Most authors write at least 5 books before anyone wants to read more of their work. Even when you’ve ‘found your voice,’some people won’t get it.
  • “A novel must be novel, or there’s no point in publishing it. Mark Tavani, Editor. An editor is looking for something they can sell. The concept may have similar elements to other books but it must be fresh. Get the little details correct– in an age of Google Maps, there’s no excuse. Anything that jars the reader will end their experience of the book. The editor is thinking about whether this is the beginning: of a series, of a business relationship, of a new career for this author. “Start as close to the end as possible. Stop flashing back – keep moving forward. Readers react to lag time negatively, so a book a year is recommended.
  • “The fact is: authors die. Peter James on why there’s always room for more authors! This made lots of us feel better. When faced with huge mega-famous names in the room, it can feel as if you’ll never make it – but many of them have been writing for 30+ years. I’ve been writing fiction for 4 years now and I’m 39. I have time!
Killer swag from Karen Dionne

Killer swag from Karen Dionne

  • On film. “Don’t fall in love with your investment. Tony Eldridge, film director. The film is unlikely to match the book, even if it gets made (which is highly unlikely). “A producer’s favourite author is one who has just died. Ben Mezrich (presumably so they don’t have to deal with the author’s opinion on the screenplay!)
  • “If you sell something in publishing, it usually comes out. If you sell something in film, it almost never comes out.”Ben Mezrich.

Marketing tips

  • Chelsea Cain talked about doing book events, instead of signings. She teams up with Chuck Palahniuk and they do ‘Bedtime stories for grown ups’evenings at alternative venues like an abandoned library. People dress up and they encourage pictures, social media and sharing. Chelsea also said that, for her, Facebook sells books, and Twitter gets people to events.
  • Lisa Gardner talked about the importance of the book cover. Her ‘overnight success’came after 15 years of writing when an iconic cover of a burning wedding dress helped her book take off.

Self-publishing

With all the kerfuffle around self-publishing at the moment, and the fact that Scott Turow was a ThrillerMaster this year, I was concerned that there would be grandstanding around the Amazon/Hachette discussions. But actually I didn’t hear anything at all – it was all business as usual. I heard no negativity

Rebecca Cantrell J.F.Penn

J.F.Penn with award-winner Rebecca Cantrell

around being indie, and in fact, lots of people asked me about it, or told me about their own indie experiences, and plenty of the panelists talked about being hybrid authors.

  • David Morrell talked about the “pre-2009 reality and the post- 2009 reality”of publishing and how different things are now; how there are many ways into publishing. Peter James mentioned self-publishing as a way into the industry and the many choices available now to authors.
  • Lee Goldberg led a panel on self-publishing and hybrid models, explaining how the mid-list authors dumped by traditional publishers are finding a new and vibrant living as indies. A passionate Jon Land said: “Big publishers created the current environment by cutting advances – so an author used to living on a certain amount has to make up that income somehow. If you don’t take charge of your career as an author, you’ll be stuck in a past model where revenue will decline. Hybrid publishing creates new revenue streams.”We don’t know what will happen in the next 5 years. Trying to be a better business person is part of being an author.
  • Rebecca Cantrell won the Best eBook Original Award for her book, The World Beneath, which is indie published. She also has books with New York publishers, including the brilliant Sanguines series with James Rollins.

So I had a brilliant conference! But there’s one more thing I need to share – and hopefully I will listen to my own advice at the next event.

Know thyself, introvert author!

Introverts get their energy from being alone, and being with people for too long is draining and exhausting. I’m an introvert – I’m not shy, but I am INFJ Myers Briggs and it shows! I made a mistake in that I scheduled Mon – Sat pretty much back to back sessions, meetings, events and oh yes, some drinking too. I couldn’t cope with it all in the end and had to duck out for renewal and time alone in silence, as well as skipping the gala dinner to head home early as I essentially collapsed near the end of the conference. Note to self and other introvert authors – schedule down time at conferences!

Do you have any comments or questions about ITW or Thrillerfest? Please leave them below and join the conversation … and perhaps I’ll see you there next year!