Showing posts with label novels. Show all posts
Showing posts with label novels. Show all posts

How To Increase Your Reading of Books

By W. Terry Whalin

There is an old saying in the writing community: Writers are readers. As I child in the summers, I hung out in my local library and read stacks of biographies. That early experience shaped my continuing love of reading biographies. 

While I love to read, as an acquisitions editor, I have a lot of material coming my direction. I often say that being an acquisitions editor is like trying to drink water from a fire hose. The volume of information coming my direction is staggering.

As a part of being an editor, I'm always looking to see if the writer is reading the type of material that they are pitching to me. For example, if you are a novelist and writing romance (the largest genre), I'm probably going to ask if you read romances. And if you don't that tells me something about your knowledge (or lack of knowledge) about the genre that you want to publish.

In recent months, I've greatly increased the amount of books that I'm reading through audio books. In particular, I'm using Overdrive on my smartphone. Overdrive is a free app that I downloaded on my phone and it is tied to your local library. You can check out the audio book from your library for 21 days then download the entire book on your phone. Now that I have the complete book on my phone, I can use it anywhere. I listen to the book while I walk on the treadmill. Because of Bluetooth, I listen to the same book in my car—even when I drive a short distance. Recently I've been traveling and I've listened to these audio books in the airport or on the airplane. Almost always I have my phone and have access to the audio book. 

You can have different library cards on Overdrive. Each library has purchased different books so you can access a different selection. Currently I have three library cards and recently drove into Denver to get a Denver Public Library Card because they have a larger selection of books on Overdrive. Like any library, Overdrive has a wide variety of books—fiction and nonfiction.

I listen to a great deal of nonfiction—business books, biography, memoir and how-to books. You can see many of these books just checking this location on Goodreads. After I listen to the audio book, I will write a short review and post it on Goodreads and Amazon. This regular practice doesn't take much time but increases the number of reviews I write because of the increased number of books I've been consuming. 

Are you using audio books to increase the number of books that you “read?” Tell me about your experiences in the comments below.


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W. Terry Whalin is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. He has written more than 60 books for traditional publishers and his work has appeared in more than 50 print publications. As a frustrated acquisitions editor, Terry wrote Book Proposals That Sell, 21 Secrets to Speed Your Success, which has over 130 Five Star Amazon reviews. Get the book exclusively at this link. He has over 180,000 twitter followers and blogs about The Writing Life.

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Use your Setting to Market your Novel

Leverage your Setting:

People have an insatiable lust for new experiences, as shown by the popularity of TV, movies, and novels.  This lust also propels another passion:  travel.  When your novel takes its readers to another place—a virtual vacation—you can easily marry the two passions.  In marketing your novel, take advantage of the huge travel industry. 

Travel websites are very popular, and can be a good way to connect meaningfully with readers who crave adventure.  If the settings of your novels are real, and especially if they're important to the flavor or plot, publishing related travel articles can hook readers who are interested in exploring more on the subject.

You may think you're not a travel writer, but you are a writer.  If you've done on-the-ground research by traveling to the places your book takes place, or if you set it in your home state or city, then you have enough expertise to write a travel article.

How to Begin:

1)  Think of the type of article that would complement your book.  You want to make magazine readers buy your novel in order to see more of the scene you've painted. 

For example, if your characters go rafting through the Grand Canyon, and you've done this yourself, you could write a meaty how-to article on planning such a trip.  If your novel is a coming of age story set in a small town in the Midwest, you could write a narrative about small-town life where you grew up, humorous or not, depending on the tone of your novel.  If your book is a wilderness survival story, you could write a philosophical reflection on the grandeur of the Alaskan Bush in comparison to our own smallness.  If your main character meets her love interest in a dance club in New York, you could write a roundup on the best dance clubs in the city, including addresses and costs and best times to go. 

2)  Research  possible e-zines to submit to.  See the lists below or Google travel magazines.  Read their guidelines carefully and pay attention to word count.  Many e-zines are looking for specific ranges, usually somewhere between 300-1500 words.  Online, shorter is often better, so the 500-800 range is quite popular.  Check out the type of stories each magazines publishes.  Make sure they include author bios, so fans can follow your work.

Start small.  Breaking into professional travel writing is difficult, and most likely isn't your goal.  However, many online travel magazines are very open to amateur freelancers, and still have good readership.  Most don't pay contributors.  The benefit lies in exposure and free marketing.  It's also something to add to your credentials in query letters and the like.  Some sites do pay small sums, usually between $10-50 per piece.

3)  Write your article.  Revise.  Polish.

4)  In your short bio, include a teaser about your novel, and how it relates to your article, so it doesn't feel like gratuitous advertising.  Be sure to include proper links so people can easily buy your work.

5)  Submit until you get published.

6)  Advertise its publication on your blog, website, social media, etc.

7)  Repeat.

Some travel magazines that currently pay contributors (a small sum) and are open to freelancers:

Literary Traveler (articles about journeys inspired by authors or literature)
2 Camels (all about festivals and events)

A few of the many travel magazines that don't pay but still give you exposure:

Real Family Travel Magazine (articles on vacations for families with kids)
US Passport Service (only international destinations)
Regional magazines and newspapers

Melinda Brasher is the author of Far-Knowing, a YA fantasy novel, and Leaving Home, a collection of short stories, travel essays, and flash fiction.  Her travel writing appears in The Expeditioner, Travel Belles, Go Nomad, International Living, and more.  Visit her blog for all the latest:

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