10 Writing Prompts to get Your Creative Juices Flowing

10 Writing Prompts to Get Your Creative Juices Flowing

If you’ve hit a snag in your writing and can’t seem to come up with any new ideas, don’t worry — it happens to all of us. There comes a time when we all need a little help to get our creative juices flowing again. Whether you need to rejuvenate your work in progress or want to start a new writing project from scratch, we’ve got a writing prompt for you.

Rejuvenate your work in progress: Here are a few ideas for breathing new life into your current manuscript. Even if you end up writing something that has no place in your actual story, you might still discover something interesting.

1.  Write your character’s obituary.
Looking ahead to a character’s death might help you fill in some holes about his life that you can turn into interesting plot points or meaningful back story. What were his biggest accomplishments? How did he die? Who is he survived by?

2.   Change locations.
Take your characters out of their natural setting, and see what happens. A heated argument between newlyweds might unfold quite differently depending on whether it takes places in their home, a crowded bus or a company Christmas party. How can you use a setting to influence behavior, build tension and change the stakes? Continue reading

Twitter Marketing Secrets: Decoding Hashtags

Twitter Marketing Secrets: Decoding Hashtags

For writers just entering the world of Twitter, hashtags can seem like a bit of a mystery. But the concept is actually pretty simple, and there are plenty of ways to use hashtags to your advantage.

What is a hashtag?

A hashtag is simply a keyword or phrase (with no spaces) that is prefixed with the hashtag symbol #. Examples: #ebooks, #ilovebooks

When you include a hashtag in a tweet, the hashtagged word will appear as a link that connects that tweet to others using the same hashtag. Thus, hashtags work to help categorize your messages and make them easier for people to find.

For example, if you write a tweet about how you just surprised yourself with a new plot twist in your novel, you might add the hashtag #amwriting. This will further show readers what your tweet is about and will help your message become part of a larger conversation among people who are tweeting about their writing process.

What’s the point? Continue reading

Building a Platform: Lessons from author Marisa Treviño

Building a Platform

As the author of the new e-book A Simple Start to Blogging with Social Media and publisher of Latina Lista — one of the premier news sites with a focus on Latino culture and viewpoints — Marisa Treviño possesses a great deal of knowledge on how to write and distribute content for a wide base of readers.  

Last week, we talked with Marisa about how she started a blog from scratch and developed it into a full-blown news site that has a large, dedicated readership. Today, we find out more about how she uses social media and an understanding of her audience to continually expand her reach and grow her platform:

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Start Blogging: Lessons from author Marisa Treviño

In 2004, Marisa Treviño was working as an editor for a monthly trade magazine and was routinely published across the nation as a freelance opinion editorialist. Even though she was living off her writing, Marisa wasn’t completely satisfied. She was churning out columns more quickly than they could be published by outside media outlets, and she grew frustrated by her lack of control over the publishing processes for her writings.

The cure for Marisa’s frustration? To start a blog

She had heard about blogs; and the more she learned about them, the more she knew this was the answer. Finally, she would be able to control how often she published and could write whatever she wanted. So, she started writing daily blog posts about issues she cared about; and now, that little blog has evolved into a full-blown news site with an ever-growing readership.

Today, Marisa Treviño is a blogging expert. She recently published an e-book with Booktango — A Simple Start to Blogging with Social Media — to share her knowledge and experience with others. We talked with Marisa to learn more about her story and the advice she has to offer fellow writers: Continue reading

WINDFALL CONTEST: Publish Your Way to 10K

There are plenty of reasons an author might be tempted to publish an e-book with Booktango: there’s the freedom to publish when and how you want to, access to the biggest online retailers, and the highest author royalties in the industry. And if that wasn’t enough … for the rest of September, we at Booktango are making e-book publishing downright irresistible.

A Windfall of Prizes this September

Booktango is giving one lucky author over $10,000-worth of marketing services to help them promote their e-book:

Total prizes – worth $10,454

All you have to do to be considered is publish an e-book with Booktango by the end of September and send us a Tweet about it. It’s really that easy.

How to Enter the Windfall Contest

  1. Submit a manuscript for publication anytime from Sept. 10-30, 2012.
  2. Let the Twittersphere know about your upcoming e-book.
  3. That’s it! Just be patient and wait for us to announce the winner in October.

Why not go for it?

Simply by entering our Windfall Contest, you’ll end up with a published e-book you can be proud of. And if you win … well, then you’ll have all the tools you need to launch an effective online marketing plan to help your e-book reach its full bookselling potential.

Check out the contest terms and conditions, and enter the contest today.

 

Writing Quotes: A Quest for Information

If there’s one thing I know about writers, it’s this: writers spend a lot of time talking and thinking about writing. They read books, articles and blog posts about writing. They talk about it in workshops, at conferences, in online communities and over coffee with friends and mentors. Much of the conversation is a re-hashing of the same basic set of issues, ideas and writing fundamentals. I think this constant dialogue among writers is some type of personal quest — a search for an idea, phrased just so, that will spark a breakthrough in their own writing process. It’s all about finding the right advice at the right time. It’s a search for a phrase that jives with your writing style and opens your eyes to the type of storyteller you really want to be.

To help you on your own writerly quest, we’ve put together some of our favorite quotes on writing. We hope you discover something useful and inspiring in these little nuggets of wisdom from great writers:

On getting started:

“You don’t need to wait for inspiration to write. It’s easier to be inspired while writing than while not writing.”

– Josip Novakovich in Fiction Writer’s Workshop Continue reading

Announcing New E-book Publishing Packages: Socializer & Eye Catcher

Since starting this blog back in April, we’ve discussed a wide variety of issues on the topic of e-book publishing. But we keep coming back to two key aspects that seem intrinsically important to publishing in the digital space: online marketing and e-book design.

As we’ve come to fully realize the importance of these topics, we’ve developed innovative enhancements to our online cover design platform, and we’ve added some unique e-book marketing services to help our authors create better-looking e-books and share them more efficiently with the world. Now, we’ve taken things a step further and created two new publishing packages that are designed to help authors meet their e-book publishing goals in these areas.

Introducing the Socializer package

Social media offers one of the most exciting opportunities for online book marketers; but it can also be one of the most daunting. There’s a lot to know and learn about the Continue reading

Websites for Authors: Do You Need One?

Websites for Authors

Even in today’s undeniably techno-centric world, many writers resist the idea that they need to have an author website. After all, they have an Amazon page, a Facebook page and a few book reviews floating around on blogs. Isn’t that enough?

We don’t think so.

Imagine for a moment that you’ve overheard something about a great new Thai restaurant in town. You love Thai food. Your interest is piqued. So, you Google the place. Now, imagine there’s no website to be found. Maybe you track down a few Yelp reviews and a Twitter page that tweets daily specials … but you can’t find their hours, their full menu or their prices. Even though you — as a lover of Thai food — were genuinely interested in their business, you give up on the restaurant for now because you couldn’t easily access the information you wanted.

You don’t want that happening to potential readers who can’t find the information they want about you and your book online. Continue reading

Book Templates Are Dead

Say no to meatgrinders!

When it comes to indie publishing in general, and e-book publishing specifically, there have been many methods, platforms and tools that force you to either give up control over the entire process or to figure everything out by yourself.

With some companies, you blindly send your manuscript through some sort of automated meat grinder process, and you’re left simply hoping that everything will turn out okay on the other end.

At Booktango, we don’t believe there’s a one-size-fits-all mold for churning out e-books. We’re not an e-book factory. To us, e-books are a work of art. They’re not to be abandoned to automated conversions, forced into set book templates or processed through anything even slightly resembling a meatgrinder. Your manuscript deserves some human attention — a little TLC — as it makes its big transition into the e-book world.

Continue reading

Social Media Marketing Tips for Indie Authors

If there’s one thing indie authors should understand about using social media to market their work, it’s this: social media marketing is not about immediate book sales. Imagine an author who posts constantly on Facebook about where you can purchase her book or who assaults followers with a steady stream of Tweets telling them to BUY NOW. No one wants to follow that author. No one will follow that author for long. That’s just not a sustainable marketing strategy.

Don’t be that author.

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