Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Not too Long. Not too Short.

Novellas are bigger than a short story, but shorter than a novel.
The length is between 17,500 and 40,000 words. Ideas to keep in mind when writing one...

You may not have enough room to invest in subplots. Make sure the plot is full and, the subplots dove-tail on it if they are included. They can be used to feed conflict into the main plot or as a way to bring your main characters together.

Scenes contain the main conflict and character development--there's no room for lengthy descriptions.

Novels can span a lifetime or centuries. They have hundreds of pages to fill. Novella's have a little more or less than a hundred pages so they typically have a compressed timeline. They answer the question: What's critical right now?

There isn't a lot of time for your readers to jump onto your character's side. Consider writing in first-person or using deep POV if in third-person.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Writing The End

After spending weeks and months and sometimes even years on a book, is there any feeling in the world more exhilarating than writing "The End" and then throwing up your hands in the time-honored cheer of victory that is recognized the world over? For an author, it's like chocolate and Christmas all in one.

In fact, I love writing the end so much that I often race toward it a whole lot faster than I should. I see the conclusion coming, I wrap everything up in a neat bow, I do the dance of the awesome . . . and then I realize that I did it again. I rushed the ending, and it's not going to be satisfying to the reader.

When you invite the reader into your world, you are creating an experience for them. You're asking them to invest emotionally in the story you're telling. You encourage them to fall in love with your characters. By the time they've been through every peak and valley and adventure with those characters, they very much want to know who succeeds and who fails, and they want that sigh of satisfaction at the end. Rushing the ending is like handing them a bowl of Jell-O when they've been anticipating chocolate cake all during the meal.

(Yeah, I'm using a lot of food metaphors ... chocolate metaphors ... but I'm on a diet and I've already lost two pounds since yesterday, so we'll just deal.)

As you reach the ending, check to make sure that you've answered all the story questions. Slow down the declaration of love or the discovery of the treasure or the solving of the crime just a little bit and let the reader savor the moment. Don't drag them out forever - that's annoying too - but give your reader enough to sink their teeth into. This is their payoff for having given you so much of their time.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have an ending to write. Of course, I can't really write an ending until the book is finished ... so if you'll excuse me, I have a book to write.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

SmartUrls? What?

You've heard of link shorteners like bitly.com, right? If you're using bitly, it's time to move onto bigger and better things with smarturl.it.

Once you finish this article you are going to want to give me a kiss! Guaranteed.

Never heard a link shortener? It's time to learn. It will take you from circling and circling success like these hawks to finding it.
Instead of giving someone this link to get to your books:


You would give them this:

The second one looks so much better-cleaner, and less scary to someone wanting to get your book or go to your website. It keeps the masses calm, like this picture. And it works great for sites like Instagram and Twitter where you are restricted to using only a few characters.

SmartUrl not only helps you shorten your links, but it will also revolutionize your marketing efforts.

Here is their motto:
Smarter, Not Shorter, URLs
smartURL is designed to help simplify the process of marketing online. Our goal is not just to make shorter URLs, but to create a platform that enables smarter marketing.

And it's true.
I'll highlight three features today- there might be a bonus at the end.

You can monitor your clicks and control your campaigns with ease.

Geo Aware links:  
SmartURLs can be set to drive traffic based on the click’s country of origin. Let's say your book is available on Amazon.com as well as every online store in the world available to you through Amazon like France, Germany, Australia, etc. You don't want to direct someone in France to your U.S. store. You want them to go to the store in the language they speak. Depending on where someone is when they click on your smartUrl (one link for all the various stores), it will take them to the right store. Seriously cool.

It also can direct traffic based on what type of device users click your links from. If someone clicks on your link on an android device, they will be directed to one online store and iPhone to another. 

You can redirect traffic in real time: Let's say I have a book coming out soon and I want to track interest or I'm releasing books every six weeks. With the latter, I can put a link in the back of a book that comes out before I release the next one. Maybe I send them to my books page on my blog until the book is released- or a page that gets them more excited for the release with an actual release date.

Once I'm ready to release that book, I simply go back into my smarturl account, find the link, click on it and put the new destination link in the place of the old one and click save. Everyone who clicks on the link after that will be taken to the new destination of the second link. I can change it a hundred times if I want and the link that people see never changes-only the destination does.

Here's a second example: I can first set up the link to take people to an information page on my blog (where I can collect their email to let them know when the book launches) until the book actually releases and then change it to the buy site as soon as it is actually released.

#4 Bonus! A kiss for you...
Smarturl keeps track of all of the above and creates awesome graphics and diagrams for you to use to track how your links are working.