Writers’ Craft 13: Marketing and Promotion

A tricky subject There’s a reason I’ve left the subject of marketing and promotion to one of the last articles on the subject of writers’ craft: it’s a tricky and often highly individual decision, dependent on personal preference, budget, and influence. I don’t think there’s any one perfect strategy. Sure, there are alleged experts who are going to sell you their version of the holy grail of marketing. But I’ve been at this for 40…

Writers’ Craft 12: Agent, publisher or indie?

How to bring your work to market In the past 20 years the reasonable choices available to a writer have expanded considerably, and the delicacy around some of those choices has diminished. Was a time if you wished to publish your work, you were left with some very stark avenues. You could choose to publish through an established publishing house, and used to be you didn’t require an agent to be read by any of…

Writers’ Craft 11: Beta Readers or Not

Informed opinion There seems to be an accepted protocol that once you’ve finished your novel, you then put together a group of willing, knowledgeable readers — beta readers — to do what is essentially a market test. The reasoning behind this method seems sound: you want to be sure, after all your revisions and polishing, that you’ve crafted this story well, that readers will get what you’ve tried to convey. Retaining beta readers is a form…

Writers’ Craft 10: Revision

So, you’ve written a thing You’ve just keyed in the final word, placed punctuation, and the sense of accomplishment that settles over you is profound. You’re done. Or are you? At this point it’s all too easy to think there isn’t another thing that needs doing to that piece of writing. You’ve been careful throughout, not only with the mechanics of good writing — punctuation, spelling, grammar — but with plot, literary devices, character development,…

Writers’ Craft 9: Research

A good writer is an informed writer I remember interviewing biographer and historian Marian Fowler for The Canadian Author and Bookman, back when the Canadian Authors Association published that wonderful writers’ periodical. She was particular about her research, always digging for accuracy and primary sources, and because of that her work rang with truth, a fact which sometimes garnered her a bit of trouble as was evidenced when she wrote her history on Blenheim. Seems…