Check This Out- Writer Unboxed

If you’re looking for a new writing blog, well, this is often a good place to find them. I am a huge blog junkie. Anything that can teach me to be a better writer, I will read it.

This week, Writer Unboxed is my new favorite. It’s simple, but full of such inspirational work. Just this past week, there was a great piece of effective multitasking. I think, if you read my post on Tuesday about all my projects, you will understand why I might have had just a small, really passing, interest in that.

Here’s the one that I really want you to read, though. It’s called Great Expectations, by M.J Rose. I saved it to read when I need to feel better about this whole writing thing. I’m going to keep it short today, because I want you to go read it, right now.

Check out Writer Unboxed, then stop back here and tell me what you think.

Check This Out- Preditors and Editors

Really, the only excuse I’ve got for never mentioning Predators and Editors before is that I must have assumed you already knew about it. Predators and Editors is a must read before you submit to any agent or editor.

The way the website works is this. Let’s say that you’re looking into agents A and B. Both seem really good, the websites are pro level, but you can’t see a whole lot of publishing credits. Maybe the agent is new. Maybe they prefer to keep their client list exclusive. Or maybe they are a big old scam artist.

How is an innocent writer to tell?

Well, first we’ll look at agent A. We check their name in P&E, and find a $ sign. This is good, it means this agent has a recent sale with a reputable publishing company. Oh, look, it also tells us that this agent is part of the AAR, a well respected literary agent group. Well, this agent checks out. Great.

What about agent B? Here next to their name, in big red letters, are the words, “Charges reading fees. Do not recommend.” Well, that really says all there is to say. No reputable agent asks a reading fee, ever.

Consider Predators and Editors our Better Business Bureau. It’s not a flashy sight, and it’s not meant to be somewhere you can just lose yourself in for hours. But it’s got your back in this world of thieves and liars. So check it out every time you’re considering an agent. Remember, an agent has to accept you but first, you have to accept them. Be sure of who you’re working with.

Have you ever been burned by a bad agent? Tell us about it in the comments section below.

Check this out- Blots and Plots

How’s that for a super cute name for a writing blog?  I found Blots and Plots on Pintrest, (blogger tip, use Pintrest, guys!)  It’s run by a girl named Jenny Bravo, which is enough to make me howl.  (Johnny Bravo.  Does anyone else remember that cartoon?  Ohhhh, Man.)

She’s a self published author, who’s book is coming out next month.  She’s someone who has gone the mile, forged the path, and is ready to show you how.  Also, her website is boss.  I love her graphics, they make me jealous.

Of course, it’s her writing that really got my attention.  It has to be the writing.  Her most recent post was called 10 Things Finishing A Novel Taught Me About Writing.  I devoured it.  It really made me think about the books that I’ve finished, am finishing, will finish.  I equally love the pieces she does about self promotion.  It’s something even traditionally published writers will have to deal with to some degree, so it’s important to know.

More than informational, Blots and Plots is fun to read.  She’s currently posting chapters of her prequel novel.  This is something important to notice.  She wrote a book, set to promoting it, and started right away on another one.

All in all, Blots and Plots is everything I want to be in a writing blog.  It’s great looking, fun to read, and the articles inspire me to be a better writer.  Check it out.

Check This Out- Self Publishing Review

Understand that the irony of kicking off a month devoted to submissions with a shout out to a blog devoted to forgoing the whole notion is not lost on me.  But I am a woman who firmly believes in duality.  I plan on seeking an agent for Woven, it is true.  But I have other plans, plans that involve e-books.  I intend to self publish those.  So when it comes to the great debate between self publishing and traditional publishing, you’ll see that I’ve got a foot in both camps, and I like it that way.

The Self Publishing Review found its way onto my Feedly feed very recently, as part of my effort to work harder at the business side of this creative business.  It’s got all the sort of articles that you’d expect for a site like this, advice about formatting, different self publishing companies to consider, and a fine selection of editors that you can hire to check your work before you self publish.   (Do this)

Basically, if you want to self publish, you want to do two things first; read this blog in July when I’ll be devoting a whole month to it (spoiler!), and check out Self Publishing Review.

What do you think of Self Publishing?  Did you check out Self Publishing Review?  What was your favorite post?

Check This Out- By Regina

This week’s check this out is for anyone who considers their writing a business.  Which is to say, my target audience.  By Regina is all about the business side of running a blog, creating a product (your writing) and getting that product to the right people.  It’s all about branding, and thinking like a business person.

Remember, you have to think of your writing in two parts.  First it’s your baby, you’re obsession, your work of art.  Then, it’s a product that you want to share with the world.  That’s a jolt, I’m not going to lie.  When I got paid for Favorite, I was a little in shock.  I’d created something right out of my own head, poured it onto paper, typed it into a computer, and sold it.

Regina calls our brand of business people creativeprenuers.  Pretty sure she made that word up, and it is awesome.  I highly advise reading the blog post 12 ways creativeprenuers are like small children.  It caused me to laugh so hard on the bus all the creepy people scooted away.  Bonus!

When I’m not feeling very energetic or creative, I read Regina’s blog.  She’s just so full of energy that reading her is like taking a b12.  I usually read her blog with a notepad next to me, and by the time I’m done, it’s covered in stuff like “must do this right now!” and “Why aren’t I already doing this?”

You, as my own dear readers, are going to benefit from this, by the way, since the big push of her blog is building a better blog.    Here are just a few things I’ve learned from ByRegina.

  • Utilize bullet points, because they’re fun to read. (Like this one)
  • Work on the images on your blog.  Hence the lovely new pictures for my columns.
  • Love your brand.  You’ll see more of this over the next few months.

There are a lot of other cool ideas I’ve gotten from the site, but to share them would ruin two or three big surprises I’ve got for you all later in the year.  (Hint: I’m planning something big for August to celebrate the first year anniversary of Paper Beats World.  Very hush hush, you know.)

This week, pour a cup of coffee, grab your writing notebook, and check out ByRegina.

Check This Out- Gotham

Once upon a time, when this blog was new, that I made a promise that I have yet to deliver on. Now, I made a lot of promises, back then. I promised that I would help you learn about writing, and I hope I’ve done that. I promised I’d show you one viable way to make money every week, and I do that. I promised that I’d make you laugh, and I guess you’ll have to just tell me if I’ve done that or not.

But I promised you that I would review geek related things, and in that promise I have failed you. I have not reviewed one single thing. My fault, I’ve been falling behind on watching tv and reading books.

This week, though, we’re going to take a look at my current favorite show, Gotham. If you didn’t catch the first season, catch up!

If you don’t know what Gotham is, consider it Batman’s prequel. It’s the story of Jim Gordon, starting the day the Waynes were killed.

I started watching Gotham thinking that I was going to have fun playing ‘guess what bad guy this is’. And there’s a lot of that. So far we’ve seen Joker, Cat woman, Riddler, Falcone, Poison Ivy, and Scarecrow. We also got a quick shot of the Graysons. That was fun. Oh, and of course, Penguin.

If that was all there was to Gotham, though, I’d get bored really quick, and I sure wouldn’t waste your time with it. It’s more than that, though. So very much more.

The story, which is all that really matters, is amazing.

The main plot so far has been about young detective Gordon, the one good cop in a very corrupt department. He’s all about doing what’s right, which is a rather dangerous decision. He’s being threatened by Falcone for making his life harder, he’s got a drunk sot of a partner, (Bulluk, who is easily my favorite character.) He’s got a girlfriend who’s flying off the rails, getting into drugs, and running off with an old flame before inviting a very young Selina and Ivy to come stay with her.

That’s just the main plot. We’ve also got Falcone fighting to keep the gangs under control while Fish Mooney tries to steal it. Until she gets tossed into a pit full of poor people who are having bits of themselves harvested to be sold.

We’ve also got Alfred’s seedy past coming back to haunt him while he struggles to look after a rather shell shocked Bruce Wayne.

The second half of season one starts April 13. Take an hour off and check it out.

Did you see any of the first part of season one? What did you think?

This is one of the great things I learned from the Writing Excuses podcast. They get all the credit for this one.  Publisher’s Lunch is a news feed that updates several times a day with all sorts of different publishing related news articles. That might not sound like a lot, but let me tell you some of the great things I’ve learned after a month of having it on Feedly.

Harper Lee is publishing a new book!

Several agents and editors I’ve queries in the past have moved companies or got new jobs. So, A, I’ll need to remember where they are now so I don’t send them the same material again under a different company name. And B, I know those jobs may likely be filled with new people, seeking new talent.

I know how popular book chains are doing on the market.

This is all business hat stuff. Let me tell you, my business hat is my hat least worn. It’s way back there behind writer hat, mommy hat, editor hat, wife hat and Marathon Warehouse 13 hat. That’s the problem that Publisher’s Lunch helps fix, though. I need to wear my business hat a little more. I need to understand that world, know those people, and sound like a grown up lady when I talk to them. Never forget that when you’re a writer, that subtitle is small business owner. The sweet old guy who owns the coffee shop on Main Street reads the Wall Street Times, and he does it for a reason. Consider Publisher’s Lunch your Wall Street Journal.

Check This Out- Writing Excuses

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was taking more time to listen to podcasts about writing, as an effort to get in the know about the business. This is an ever changing field, and there’s a lot of info to take in. I don’t have a lot of time to devote to learning, sadly, so I’ve got to take the opportunities I’ve got.

One big chunk of my time every work day is walking to my day job. It’s fifteen to twenty minutes depending on the weather. This is the perfect amount of time to listen to a podcast. So, I’ve been listening to Writing Excuses, with Brandon Sanderson, Howard Taylor, Mary Robinette Kowal and Dan Wells. Their tag line is, “Fifteen minutes long, because you’re in a hurry, and we’re not that smart.” Except that they really are.

You get a wide range of topics with Writing Excuses, given the fact that it’s hosted by a fantasy writer, a webcomic writer, and a horror writer. I’m still on the first season and so far they’ve talked about submissions, heroes and protagonists, horror, fantasy, comedy and all sorts of other things. My favorite episode so far was the one titled, ‘This sucks, and I’m a horrible writer.’ Really, that is a must listen.

By a large margin, Writing Excuses has been the number one reason I break out laughing on the way to work, encouraging people to stare at me strangely. I find myself wanting to break in and say, “No, wait, what about this?” or, “I don’t think that’s the right interpretation of that character on Firefly. Serenity sucked ass, no matter how much I love Joss Whedon, the writing was terrible for the movie.” Basically, I’d love to get a chance to talk to these guys. Though, to be honest, I don’t know what I’d say. Probably just get stage fright.

So this week, check out Writing Excuses. And don’t forget to join us tomorrow on our Facebook page for the weekly discussion.

Check This Out- Warrior writers

This week, I found a new charity that I’m pretty excited about. It’s called Warrior Writers.

Warrior writers is all about encouraging and inspiring creative pursuits of American soldiers when they come home. They publish and promote works of all sorts of artists including musicians, visual artists and of course, writers.

On their site, you can read some of the work being put out. I love this. It’s a view into a soldiers heart for those of us who don’t walk that path. It’s also a place for other soldiers to find work that they will likely connect with.

If you want to help, there are a lot of ways to get involved. You can sponsor a vet by sending gifts. Or, you can buy one of the books, which I always encourage.

Check out Warrior Writers. Help out these fellow writers, who just happened to have also fought for our country.

Also, I’m sure you’ve noticed that the site looks a bit different.  This is for two reasons; I thrive on change and I wanted to celebrate the fact that this is post number 101!  I want to thank you all so very much for reading so far.  I’ve been creating some new custom made graphics in Canva, so I hope you all like the new look of the site.

Thanks again for reading so far.

Check This Out- All Indie Writers

Alright, so I spent a minute and a half on this site, and signed up for the newsletter.  Then I realized that if I was going to explore the site and get a post written on the site, I’d better set a timer or I was going to get lost in the archives.

All Indie Writers is all about being a self publishing, freelance or independent writer.  Since that’s something I’m hoping to move closer and closer towards (the ten year goal is to be a full time writer with no day job.) this site is my new favorite thing.

The first post that really grabbed my attention was A Simple To Do List Tweak.  I won’t ruin it for you, but it did give me a new idea about how I write blogs for this site.

There’s also a podcast!  This has been my new favorite way to learn things, because I can listen to them on my 20 minute walk to and from the day job, or while I’m cleaning, or knitting, or doing anything that would prevent me from holding a book, or looking at a screen.  (If Brandon Sanderson ever reads this, I’ve listened to your podcast in the bath tub.  Sorry.)

It really is a one stop website with job postings, advice columns, a blog, and forums for deep discussion about the craft and the job.

Definitely check out All Indie Writers today.  I know I’ll be taking some time to explore it in depth.

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