Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Letter-Writing Is an Endangered Species

I write books, blog posts, Facebook and Twitter posts, and a lot more, but my wife, Jean, is a better writer, because she preserves the dying art of longhand letter writing on an almost-daily basis. Remember how many families were held together only by the exchange of long letters during World War II? The sight of a loved one's handwriting is precious. I still have and cherish the very few letters and postcards that remain from correspondence with my mother and father. Email can never generate those emotions.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Relate Your Story to the World

There was a time when mystery writers could restrict their stories to the confines of a country house or a small British village, without getting involved in the world at large. Now, events and media reporting of them, inundate us with global concerns. The modern mystery writer should involve external events if he/she wants to create a novel with significance. Of course, one also has to avoid getting too specific about current events in order to avoid the novel's appearing dated after a relatively short time. I find that the key to this balancing act is to concentrate on the effects of historical events on the characters and settings in your stories.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The typical author, especially the novice, feels that he/she has written THE book that will clarify the outlooks of all the readers who will, obviously, flock to read it. The book in question, may indeed have many virtues, but most authors overlook one detail. Potential readers are at least as busy as you are, and they won't drop everything to read your book unless you give them an extremely convincing reason to do so. I have discovered as I have continued to write one to two books per year, that I devote most of my reading time to my own books, during the writing and revision process. The major exception that changes my priorities comes when another writer whom I know personally, asks me to read his or her book or manuscript. The moral of this little observation is that it pays for writers to get to know each other, either via social media or, preferably, through face-to-face events. Remember that when you convince a supporting fellow writer to read your book, you are potentially influencing his or her many followers too.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Good Copyright Summary and Practical Recommendations for Authors
The original title of this piece is: "Copyright Protection: The Best 35 Dollars You'll Ever Spend."

Learn the simple procedures for working with the Electronic Copyright Office (ECO). They're a lot simpler and the process is a lot shorter than it was until a few years ago. The registration process may seem superfluous to some writers, but it gives you greatly improved legal standing in case of conflict or theft of your creation.