Posted by Barbara Meyers
If your answer is “At the Ninc World Conference, of course!” or “I’m still thinking about it,” here’s a partial lineup of some people who will be there, along with (as of February 14) well over 200 of your fellow NINC members:
Porter Anderson , BA, MA, MFA: You may remember Porter from our 2014 conference, and his brilliant handling of our First Word Day. We are delighted to be a Porter Anderson Media Partner.
Richard Nash : Richard Nash’s presence at Novelists Inc.’s conference is important because he’s not only a major observer and commentator, but also compassionate, funny, and the kind of guy you realize immediately is smart because he’s been there. To learn more about Richard’s work, check out Publishing’s Future: When Editors Eat Robots , and download his loudly praised extended essay in e-book form (it’s free!): What Is The Business Of Literature?
Orna Ross , Founder, Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi): One of the things ALLi has that we’ll be accessing during First Word is its Going Global initiative, developing its network for worldwide local presence across markets. The emphasis today is on the needs and issues of all authors, not just self-publishers. “Independence” means knowing what you’re doing whether on or off-contract, and ALLi is evolving into a service organization for the full author corps. Orna will also be giving a workshop on creativity during the main conference (and will read us some Yeats in her lovely Irish lilt, if asked).
Scott M. Beatty and James Bryant, Trajectory : Trajectory is a Boston-based start-up being watched very closely for what appears to be a new form of discoverability and book recommendations based not on sales but on deep and highly sophisticated digital analysis of the texts of books, themselves—the actual content. During First Word they’ll focus on what they’re learning in working closely with Amazon China and the massive Chinese retailer JD.com . Trajectory is in touch with distributors and others in a huge range of nations and the team has deep connections inside many markets. During the main conference, they’ll demonstrate how Trajectory works and how we access its potential for discoverability.
Jane Friedman: The former publisher of Writer’s Digest is easily one of the most highly regarded, closely followed, and influential specialists on the author’s experience during publishing’s digital transition. She’s something of a legend in social media, being one of the first thought leaders in the publishing community to be verified by Twitter, and as @JaneFriedman she has a jaw-dropping 203,000 followers. Jane Friedman.com is rated by authors as one of the most consistently top-rated people in publishing who not only have a regular blog presence (https://janefriedman.com/blog/ ) but also an archive of instructional and informative material for authors that’s deeper and more comprehensive than you’ll find anywhere else. Jane tells us she has variously been called “a pusher, a dream crusher, a hopeless idealist (or just plain naive, depending), a bad influence, an adventurer, a fierce independent, and the one who knows how to turn this thing around.”
Lori Bennett, Digital Liaision: Speaking on Metadata. Lori joined Nelson Literary Agency to head its digital wing, NLA Digital, a “supported self-publishing” service. Using NLA Digital, authors have published over 200 titles across multiple online retail venues such as All Romance, Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Google Play, Ingram, and Kobo. NLA Digital also publishes to major library markets, including 3M Cloud Library, BiblioBoard, and OverDrive. In addition, NLA Digital assists authors to develop and launch print on demand works for both CreateSpace and Ingram/Lightning Source. But as the guy says on the TV ads before doubling the offer if you buy now—“We’re not done yet!”
Don’t forget that our own fellow NINC member Courtney Milan is joining us to talk about The Analytical Writer’s Guide to Numbers: How to get numbers and use them. There are very few people who (a) understand analytics better than Courtney, and (b) have the teaching experience to actually be able to break this sort of thing down and communicate difficult concepts in an understandable way (good luck on that, Courtney, if I’m in the audience!).
We also have Seattle’s King County librarians Alene Moroni and Brenna Shanks on board to talk about Backlist, Front-list and Everything In Between: How libraries buy, lend and promote e-books. Most major libraries face the challenge of building versatile collections for patrons and figuring out how to distribute, circulate, and maintain that collection in a fair and relevant way. Discover how libraries are grappling with issues like format diversity, pricing models, circulation platforms, and the ongoing promotion, shape and scope of their collections.
Judith Curr, Atria Books, President and Publisher: As publisher and founder of Atria Books, Judith has ultimate responsibility for all the editorial, publishing, and marketing activities of the Atria imprint. In just ten years, she has overseen Atria’s growth into a consistently successful and forward-thinking division within legendary publishing powerhouse Simon & Schuster, Inc. We’re hoping she’ll reprise her workshop session at Digital Book World 2015 for us: The Author’s Choice: How Authors Decide Between Traditional and Self-Publishing, outlining the decision authors face between working with a publisher and self-publishing.
Elizabeth Spann Craig: Elizabeth is a rare catch for a conference. She’s a highly instructive case study of her own transition from traditionally published author to hybrid author, publishing both with print houses and original electronic work. Her blog is one of the most instructive in the business (https://elizabethspanncraig.com/blog/ ), while the resources she provides for other writers are terrific, including the Writer’s Knowledge Base (https://writerskb.com ) and weekly Twitterific (https://elizabethspanncraig.com/category/twitterific /). Elizabeth has agreed to a workshop outlining her experiences with Wattpad and will also present a workshop on the new cozy mystery, how to reach younger readers, and much more.
Katie Donelan of BookBub will be back, much to our delight, and Amazon is on board with CreateSpace, KDP/Amazon and ACX, along with KOBO and so many others. Lots of wonderful details and surprises I can’t write about now, including three more speakers who have agreed to join us—so you’ll probably learn those first via Ninclink and the website.
I can tell everyone that the First Word setup is going to be amazing—I giggle whenever I think about how terrific it’s going to be (and look). We’ll have an Author Support gallery with some great displays and demonstrations going on, with more to come.
Need I go on? Oh, I’d love to—but that’s all I can say for now. Except—have you registered yet? Remember, although we’ve increased our space at the TradeWinds, we still have a limit. Don’t be left out—register today at www.ninc.com
Kasey Michaels, Conference chair
**Please note that since this article was published in the March edition of NINK, more speakers and panelists have been added to the conference. A more complete list of speakers is available at Ninc World Speakers and Industry Guests.
Posted by Patricia Rosemoor
Filed as: Conferences, Digital Rights, Industry Guests, Industry News, Marketing/Promotion, New Technology, NINC News, Social Networking, The Writing Life, Virtual Assistant
In the frantic pace of today’s publishing world—particularly indie fiction—writers are expected to put out frequent work to satisfy the cravings of their fans. If you’re driving yourself crazy trying to publish three to five novels a year, you can probably write one—sandwiched between a couple of novellas.
The form is generally considered to be about eighteen to twenty-five thousand words in length, although some people say it’s anything up to forty thousand words. But in my mind, writing a long novella defeats the purpose of the format. Instead, think of a story you can write short. (More on that later.)
You can use the novellas as stand-alone stories to add books to a series. Or you can put them into a collection—either several of your own works or in a “boxed set” with other authors.
I’ve done all three—bulking up my Decorah Security series with several novellas, putting out a Decorah Security Collection with one novel and several novellas, and joining with other authors in four different boxed sets, where we each contribute material that showcases our individual talents.
I also have an Off-World series—science-fiction romances from mankind’s far-flung future—which are all novellas and short stories.
Some writers fear the novella format because they are used to the luxury of “writing long.” The novella gives you a chance to see what you can do in fewer words.
What elements should a good novella have? The same elements as a good novel. Characters who grab the reader, a plot that keeps her turning the pages, and enough background detail to draw her into your world.
You've got to focus very tightly on the main story—on the hero and heroine. Usually, each scene is shorter than it would be in a novel. And you might skip some episodes that you'd put into a novel. I wrote one novelette (an even shorter format—under eighteen thousand words), "Conquest," for an anthology called IN OUR DREAMS, where I had only three scenes. When the H/h first make love. When he leaves her because he thinks she’s betrayed him. And when he came crawling back on his knees. I thought of the structure like a three-act play. The time frame was about six months—with just those three scenes telling the whole story.
For a novella, you MUST think of a story that can be told quickly. The whole process begins with your outline/proposal, where you evaluate if you've set up a story that works within the short word count.
My tongue-in-cheek advice for plotting a novella—write about a man and a woman locked in a room together, reacting to each other. Or, keep the extraneous material to a minimum. In my own case, I think writing category romance helped prepare me for novella writing, because in a category, you have to stay tight and focused.
You can train yourself to “think small” and use these shorter pieces to add to your published work. It’s a good way to maintain a steady output and still keep from going crazy trying to write four or five full-length novels a year.
Do you like reading novellas? How about writing them?
Posted by Ruth Glick
Filed as: The Writing Life, Writing Tips, Rebecca York, novella, writing advice
You know, when I read articles about Feng Shui and other high-minded schools of thought that tell me I would be so much more productive and spiritually unencumbered if I’d clean off my desk, I want to agree. Really I do. My house, in general, is picked up but my kitchen counter and the desk in my office are a perpetual mess! I tell myself that “when I finish this book, I’ll clean up my desk”— and I do. Sort of.
But then I begin another book, and by the time I’ve been cranking out pages for a few hours the clutter has already crept back.
I really don’t understand this. I’m neatly dressed (in public, anyway), color-coordinated, and I’m generally considered well organized to the point that I’ve never missed a book deadline and I’ve never, ever had an overdue library book. But when it comes to my work space, where I spend the largest portion of my days, I can’t seem to remain neat and tidy. And my kitchen counter? A disaster area. Everything lands there and gets shuffled around for weeks, until we have company and I clear it off to avoid acute embarrassment.
Needless to say, I really love the Einstein quote, above, and the idea that a messy desk is a sign of genius. When I look at photos of desks that belonged to Mark Twain, Steve Jobs, and other guys who have rocked the world, I’m proud to have something in common with them! My husband just shakes his head. He’s an auditor. His desk is pristine. Just sayin’.
As I look at this photo of my desk, which I just snapped, I think I deserve an award for being a very colorful creative genius, don’t you? Color sparks my imagination. It also keeps me awake. So, left to right, what are you looking at that I can’t seem to work without?
My Mac and keyboard, of course—and sticky notes reminding me of deadlines for renewing my website domains, sending blog posts, etc. Peppermint Chapstick and a tube of hand lotion, because writing can dehydrate you—and beside my printer there’s my glass of iced tea, too. The yellow sheet with the green and orange cross-outs? My weekly schedule of page quotas for the book I just finished—and on the other side of the printer tray is my list of book deadlines running from now through January of 2017. How would I possibly remember all that stuff if I didn’t have it taped to my desk as a constant reminder of when my work is due?
There’s also a hen-scratched list of potential titles for the books in my upcoming new Simple Gifts series, because I’ll be noodling with those until I decide which ones are exactly right. Under that is a newsletter from a writer friend. The yellow steno pad is where I scribbled the quotes I might use for this blog post. The calculator just helped me do a long line of subtractions from my checkbook—which balances to the penny, thank you. Beneath that is a page of research notes about the eye-popping Amish emergency fund each church district keeps in a secret place (not a regular bank)…fodder for the villain of that Simple Gifts series.
Those folders and spiral notebooks hold the notes for two of my ongoing Amish series—character name lists, synopses, story calendars, town maps, and other info I check pretty frequently. At the bottom of that heap lies the draft copy of the book I just finished for my new Harlequin Love Inspired series, printed on pink draft paper. It’s time to put that away because I’ll be starting a new draft soon—except if my editor wants to call and ask some questions about certain pages/chapters, I prefer to leaf through the paper copy instead of scrolling through the doc on my computer.
The mouse pad you see is a Mary Engelbreit design of a girl holding a clipboard, declaring “I’m In Charge Here.” That would be me to a T—and it’s colorful, too. I have Mary Engelbreit prints on all of my office walls and, hmmm…Mary’s designs are very detailed and multi-layered to the point of looking almost cluttered. Mary and I surely must be kindred spirits.
I see the connection now between my messy desk and my disaster-area kitchen countertop, too: I love to cook and concoct new recipes, so the kitchen is my secondary area of creative endeavor. (Or, OK, maybe I’m just too interested in doing other things and don’t get around to cleaning it . . . because the recipes and cookbooks are on the opposite side of the room, neatly lining the wall. Go figure.)
So now you’ve seen my desk, the place where I’ve created more than 11 complete books plus the proposals for 5 more, just since I moved to Minnesota three years ago. That’s a lot of pages I’ve written and dozens of characters I’ve created! Entire worlds might crumble if I put away my notebooks or threw out those odd slips of paper I’ve scribbled ideas on.
Just to be on the safe side, I think I won’t be cleaning up my desk any time soon. Why mess with success . . . even if it’s a mess?
Posted by Charlotte Hubbard
Filed as: Miscellaneous, books, creativity, the writer's life, writing tips
Tell us a little about yourself and your company Corn Creative.
I’m originally from Northern Virginia, but because of my dad’s work with the CIA, we lived several years in London and Canberra where he worked as a liaison with the embassies there. I’m certain those experiences instilled my passion for travel and exploring other cultures. I earned a B.S. in Journalism and shortly thereafter began working for an ad agency in Washington, D.C. When my second son was born, I wanted more freedom to determine my own schedule, so I began my own design studio with a focus on associations.
Fifteen years ago, my family moved to Houston, and we have come to call this home. My three sons are now young men with my youngest starting his junior year in high school.
As a teenager, you wanted to be a photojournalist. How did you segue into your current profession?
I studied journalism at WVU, one of ten accredited schools in the country at the time. I studied both photography and graphic design within that department. My dream was to be a photojournalist for the program CARE, traveling throughout Africa. I even took Swahili in preparation. However, life took over. I fell in love, married and began a family. With these changes, I needed to choose the career that would keep me close to home. I was fortunate to have the skills and interest in graphic design and am grateful I have been able to remain in a creative field.