Saturday, 24 October 2015

5 Reasons Why E-Readers Are Important For Your Writing

1. You Don't Need a Publisher

Gone forever are the days when aspiring writers' sole route into the publishing world was via agents and traditional publishing houses. The advent of the e-reader has changed all that. Now - either as a means to gain entry into the traditional publishing market or as an end in itself - the writer has the domains of Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple and Google etc with which to ply their trade. This allows the writer to gain access to their market, thus allowing them to gain a consistent readership. And isn't that what we all want - to be read?

2. It Can Help You Get Published

By building up your readership and hopefully fan base there is also the prospect of getting your book picked up by a major (or even minor) publisher. E.L James' 50 Shades of Grey is one such example and Amanda Hocking's Trylle trilogy is another. Ultimately, traditional publishers are interested in whether or not there's a readership for your book so if you can demonstrate that there is then you have a good chance of getting picked up by one in the future.

3. It Helps You To Improve As A Writer

Essentially, publishing via an e-reader is an online version of a traditional writers group. It allows you to come into contact with other like-minded individuals who will then give you either positive or negative feedback. Ultimately, this allows you - again much like a writers group - to see your work in a more objective light, thus allowing you to constantly update and improve your work.

4. It Builds Your Confidence

But what if it's rubbish? What if I'm deluded? Such self-doubt is very common for writers especially when the rejection slips start pouring in and hopes of a six figure publishing contract start to fade. But if you publish your book via an e-reader you gain access to people who will view your work positively. Every time I get a good review for my books on Amazon my confidence rises and I start to believe that maybe - just maybe - my story has potential and that I have a future in this industry.

5. It Helps You Pace Your Novel

E-readers are all about tapping, swiping and scrolling. The reader wants the story to bounce along accordingly, especially if they are reading it on public transport, so you must make sure that your novel is constantly flowing. To facilitate this you need to cut out all unnecessary description and backstory.This is anything that impedes the narrative and will cause the reader to get bored and STOP READING. Don't dawdle. Be concise. If you have any overlong paragraphs then chop them down and make some smaller ones. It will increase the pace of your novel and make it not only more readable but also more RECOMMENDABLE. Remember the reader is KING.

Final Word.

If you have any thoughts and opinions on the contents of this blog then please do not hesitate to post a comment.

If you would also like to take a look at my novel Jack Strong and the Red Giant, about a bullied 12 year old boy's adventures in space then check out the link below.*Version*=1&*entries*=0

Jack Strong Chapter One School's Out

One of my love poems

Great Things Poem

Saturday, 17 October 2015


4 Things You Should Remember When Writing Paragraphs

1. Correct Your Grammar

It goes without saying that your grammar should always be correct. This - as any writer will know - is not always easy, especially when you're writing at a million miles per hour - so you should always be prepared to go back, check and re-read your work. If anything seems even a little off then re-phrase it so that it reads better. It's annoying and laborious but it's something you have to do if you want even a modicum of success. A few grammar errors too many and the reader may switch off and start reading something else instead.

2. Remember the reader

The reader is of paramount importance when it comes to writing your paragraphs. The story, plot and character development etc ultimately all serve to maintain their interest and the details that you include are there solely to satisfy their expectations. The trick is to put yourself into the mind of your reader and introduce elements that YOU KNOW they'll find interesting. A good example of this is Harry Potter. What kid wouldn't be spellbound by a book with wizards and dragons and magical games like quidditch? So if you're writing a book about space for example, make sure to include plot twists and details that will send your readership crazy.

3. Cut The Fat

I hate long, winding paragraphs that go on forever. As a writer and reader I prefer paragraphs that that do just enough to advance the plot, character and dialogue and then move on. If you find that your paragraph is starting to look bulky on your page then have a look at it again and see what you can snip away. It maybe that that moon you're describing has one adjective too many or that you've repeated yourself in some way. It might be a cliche but less really is more when it comes to writing. Certainly your readership will think so.

4. It's Kindle Time

This is the kindle generation. As of 2013 43.7 million kindles have been sold by Amazon, meaning that more and more - especially younger people - are reading their favourite books via their kindle instead of in books. Reading is all about speed now. It's about tapping away at the screen so that the novel moves ever onward towards its (hopefully exciting) conclusion. Any paragraph that's too long and too cumbersome gets in the way of that - so as well as snipping away it's also a good idea to break your paragraphs up. Where you see one paragraph, there might in fact be three or even four. As well as moving the narrative along, this also builds suspense as the reader bounces from one cliffhanger after another.

An Example

Look at the paragraph below from Jack Strong in Dreamland and compare it with the one that follows. The deleted words have been highlighted.

The old man plunged through the snow drift, his thin, gangly legs twirling bucketfuls of snow behind him, as the wind whipped, whined and cackled. Taking good care not to drop the bundle of fur in his arms, he stumbled and tripped through the darkness, his stomach a roaring and angry fire. Hearing a loud, grunting sound behind him, he turned around and peered into the black night, soft flakes of snow and ice raking his face. Then he saw it – a huge black shadow rumbling and tumbling through the snow like an avalanche.

And now...

The old man plunged through the snow drift, his gangly legs twirling bucketfuls of snow behind him, as the wind whined and cackled. 
Taking care not to drop the bundle of fur in his arms, he stumbled through the darkness, his stomach a roaring and angry fire. 
Hearing a loud, grunting sound behind him, he turned around and peered into the night, flakes of snow and ice raking his face. 
Then he saw it – 
A huge black shadow rumbling through the snow like an avalanche.

All superfluous words have been removed and the paragraph has been broken up to increase the tension, particularly in the second to last sentence where the reader is invited to dwell upon what 'ít' might be.

Final Word.

If you want to discuss any of the points raised in this blog post then please don't hesitate - I love a good discussion!

You can also find on Amazon my novels Jack Strong and the Red Giant and Jack Strong and the Prisoner of Haa'drath, about a bullied, 12 year old boy's adventures on a strange spaceship. You can find the links below:

Saturday, 10 October 2015

How Often Should You Write?

Keep A Regular Schedule

First of all, I think it's important for you to write AT LEAST once or twice a week. This is necessary not only to keep your writing skills sharp, but also for you to remember where exactly you are with your story and what your main characters are like. If you have too many weeks where you write nothing then there is the all-too-real danger that either you will never finish your book or else you will complete it only to realise that large chunks are not good enough and need significant revision.

Do I Need To Write Every Day?

Ultimately this depends on how much time you have and what your schedule is like. Personally speaking, I don't write every day, but I do write 4 or 5 times a week, typically producing 1000-2500 words a sitting, which equates to approximately one chapter a day. This ensures that not only do I keep in a writing frame of mind, but that I also push it towards completion. Ultimately, you need to ask yourself am I writing enough? Can I write more? If the answer is yes then you need to write more - it's as simple as that.

Make Sure You Finish Your Book

The object of writing is not merely to write every day or a few times a week. No, the aim is to produce quality work on a regular basis. Don't write for writing's sake or bounce off an extra hundred words just to make your word limit for the day. You might find it helpful to set yourself daily or even monthly targets - I do. Indeed, I frequently aim to finish the composition and editing of a book inside 9-12 months. Overall this strategy has helped me write 4 novels and one full collection of poetry in a little over three years. Not bad eh?

Don't forget to Make Time to Read

Writing isn't the only way to improve your author skill set - reading plays a big part too. Stephen King recommends that you read for 3-4 hours a day. Most people - myself included - would find that very challenging, so I recommend at least 1-2 hours of quality reading. This way you get to see not only what is currently getting published but also what language is used and what characters are in vogue etc, thus making you a better, more knowledgeable writer.

Don't Forget To Make Time To Promote

It's important for every author to promote their work, especially if it's been published by the mainstream or independent press. Try to find time to share your book with your friends on Facebook, on Twitter, and on Reddit etc. It's also a good idea - like I'm doing now - to write a blog and in so doing inform the reader about your book and any promotions that you might have. This way you will sell more books, get more reviews, and see your confidence levels shoot up in the process, thus helping you to write more in both the short and long term.

Final Word

This weekend I'm running a giveaway for my Jack Strong series of books about a 12 year old boy who finds himself on an alien spaceship millions of light years from Earth. Both books - the links are below - are free all weekend!

Jack Strong and the Red Giant:*Version*=1&*entries*=0

Jack Strong and the Prisoner of Haa'drath:*Version*=1&*entries*=0

How Often Should You Write?

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

3 Reasons Why Writing When Sick Is Not A Good Idea

1. You need to get healthier

First of all, think of your health. Whilst it's true that you're not exactly leaping over assault courses when you're writing it still saps your energy and stresses you out. First and foremost you need to get better and return to work. Ultimately, the healthier you are the fresher your mind and the better your writing will be when you finally put pen to paper (or should that be finger to keyboard?) again.

2. You Write Best When You're Fresh

When you're fresh you can write for hours, and churn out hundreds, if not thousands of words in a day. When you're sick you can't. When you're sick you cough, splutter, stare at the page, forget where you were, and start again etc etc. It's a waste of time. Has anyone ever looked at what they wrote when they were sick? I have. It was pretty bad, mostly drivel. I had to bin it all. I am at my most productive - just like most of the human race - when both my head and body are fresh and raring to go (like today!).

3. Do Some Reading

As well as catching up on some much needed rest I also advise writers to catch-up on some quality reading. Finding time to read can be one of the biggest challenges any author faces. On top of our writing schedules, work and family commitments and social lives (yes, these are important too!) finding a slot for the latest J.K Rowling or Harlan Coben can often be difficult. So when you're tucked up in bed or else sprawled on your sofa open that book you've been meaning to read and INDULGE because it might just be the best chance you get.

Final Word.

If you have any comments on the subject of this blog please do not hesitate to engage - writers thrive on it!

Also, if you would like to have a look at my book: Jack Strong and the Red Giant about a 12 year old boy's adventures in space you can find the link here:*Version*=1&*entries*=0