Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Writing { and reading and publishing } ~


Today’s re-blog author does talk about submission and rejection; but, the bulk of the essay works for self-publishing authors just as well :-)

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

By Melissa Ballard

Beginning in mid-2015, I broke a nearly-three-year run of rejections with a steadysequence of acceptances. When a writer friend helped me create a web page, I joked that I’d never again get an essay published. That was eight months ago, not that I’m counting. I have one “active” essay on Submittable, but at least six more in my files that are almost finished. Allison K. Williams’ “The Value of Getting Sh*t Done”–and common sense– tell me that one essay in my queue is not the way to change the situation. So, why can’t I finish?

I’m retired from a job in academic support at Oberlin College, where I worked with many students who had writer’s block. What advice would I have given them?

Step away from your draft

Do some free writing

Make a list or a word cloud or a sketch

Just do…

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Starting up a New Conversation . . .

So, last Wednesday, the progressing conversation on this blog fizzled… Book Promotion

Since the idea of using Mondays and Wednesdays for conversations with my readers is a very recent shift in focus here, I don’t expect it to be instantly self-sustaining—it may never be self-sustaining; but, I’m fairly good at having conversations with myself :-)

Way back in January of 2011, I began this blog in anticipation of launching my first novel, which happened in May of that year.

The book started out costing money—I tried most of the methods of book promotion I found that made any sense to me—I eventually decided to make it perma-free…

I should mention, for those who haven’t been regulars here, that I’m a strong supporter of self-publishing…

It was only recently that I found an approach to book promotion that I felt captured everything I could get behind—7 years after I wished I’d found it… (but, I’ll still be offering my writing for free…)

Changing one of the aims of this blog, from reporting on what other blogs had to say to having conversations with my readers, was firmly decided after I discovered that book promotion approach—Be the Gateway: A Practical Guide to Sharing Your Creative Work and Engaging an Audience.

So, my attempt to re-ignite the Conversation here is to bring up and shoot down a few ideas about book promotion:

Spend Money

Do you buy your friends? Is the only way to make friends to buy ads and hope a future friend reads it? Even if you don’t think of future readers as friends, should you buy your readers? If you’re not like me, you may actually want your readers to buy your book…

Spread the Word on Social Media

I fought against social media early on, experimented a bit along the way, and now use two channels to share others’ posts and one to share my own ideas. I first saw authors using social media as a bunch of drunk folks standing on the bar’s tables shouting at each other… Now, I know they’re still out there; but, I’ve found there are a growing group of writers who share interesting ideas that lead folks to their blogs where they share more interesting ideas and where they have information on their books… There are some who do the right thing on social media; but, then, when you get to their blog, they’re up on their own table shouting at you about their books…

Put a Bunch of Books in Your Car and Travel to Hell and Back Bothering Folks at Bookstores

This actually still happens… A variation is sending a copy of the book to a bunch of book stores then calling them all up and letting them know how lucky they are ’cause they will soon have a copy of your book…

Make Friends, through Social Media and/or a Blog, Then Share Your Ideas with Them, the Things That Make You Write, Your Truths; And, Let Them Spread the Word about You…

Not gonna shoot that one down…

Do you have some book promotion ideas or methods that I haven’t mentioned?

Do you totally hate the necessity of book promotion?

Are you afraid of it?

Does it seem like Promotion is Anti-Creative?

Want to help me with this Conversation? Care to Comment?
If you don’t see a way to comment (or, “reply”) after this post, try up there at the top right…
Visit The Story Bazaar
Best Source for “Book Promotion” Ideas
~ My Bio
Google Author Page
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

You Don’t Always Have to Write What You Know by E. D. Baker

Definite Thumbs-up for today’s re-blog :-)

Nerdy Book Club

When I was growing up, I’d often hear that an author had to write what he knew.  That’s good advice as far as it goes.  A detective could write a great mystery. A cowboy could write a series of westerns.  A doctor could write about the drama taking place in a hospital.  But what about all those things no one knows about first hand?  What about fantasy where fairy queens rule and dragons patrol the skies?  Has anyone actually met a fairy or a fire-breathing dragon so they could describe what they’d seen?

When I wrote The Frog Princess, I discovered how much I didn’t know about ordinary things.  What happens when a frog catches a fly?  I had to look it up.  What kinds of plants grow in swamps?  Research it.  I could handle that just fine.  But when I wrote Dragon’s Breath and wanted to read about…

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Making Room for Both the Reflective and the Narrative Essay

Lots of recommendations in today’s re-blog…

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

zz lynette bentonBy Lynette Benton

I often get excited about a call for submissions, especially if I have an essay in my files waiting, I feel, for just that opportunity—until I notice that only narrative personal essays will be accepted. It seems an increasing number of the personal essays published lately are narrative in form; some publications actually specify personal narratives, rather than simply personal essays.

What are we talking about when we describe a personal essay as narrative? It’s a first person essay that’s also a true story. Like a fictional story, a narrative personal essay can “recount a string of events,” as essayist and editor Joseph Epstein writes in his Forward to The Best American Essays2014. As in a fictional story, a narrative personal essay includes an inciting incident (or catalyst), conflict, obstacles placed in the path of the main character (or, in the case of a…

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Friday Story Bazaar ~ Tale Eighty-One


Alexander M Zoltai


She woke to her home collapsing around her…

After calling out for help—seemed like forever—she escaped from the heavy chunks of concrete with the aid of a Civil Defense volunteer

More volunteers searched and found her family—all dead…

She spent an endless time roaming and grieving, oblivious to the constant creation of carnage around her—unaware of the accumulating wounds, not life-threatening but draining…

Eventually, after many days and nights, and groups of men she ran from, she happened upon a U.N. convoy…

She got some food and was raped…

Much time passed in complete blankness tinged with fear…

Suddenly, she heard a plane overhead…

She watched as it circled, then released its bomb…

She saw it impact a distance away and was attacked with concrete fragments, slivers of rock, and dirt…

She sat down on what had been the wall of a home and noticed her body…

Six deep cuts—much blood…

She remained sitting—awareness of her situation becoming lucid; yet, she gave up trying to escape…

Then, with physical existence trickling away, she reckoned it was her twelfth birthday…

In the evening, still lucid, she died…


Read More Story Bazaar Tales

If you don’t see a way to comment (or, “reply”) after this post, try up there at the top right…
Best Source for “Book Promotion” Ideas
~ My Bio
Google Author Page
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com