Welcome to 2021. It’s hard to think of anything that could be relentlessly worse than 2020, but here’s hoping it has plenty of good points.
Starting with my Insecure Writers Support Group post, in which we share our successes and failures as writers, our insecurities, in fact. Anyone can join in, just sign up at the IWSG Sign-up page, write a blog post on the first Wednesday of the month, and go back to that sign up page to link with everyone else–or a goodly sample. Our host is Alex J Cavanaugh, and his co-hosts for the month are: Erika Beebe, PJ Colando, Tonja Drecker, Sadira Stone, and Cathrina Constantine!
I’ll get to the question of the month below, but first some thoughts I’ve been storing up through the latter part of last year.
New and old ideas for 2021
First off, I read this lovely post in September, about how your author website is both your greatest strength and your greatest weakness. There are several great tips in it, particularly about outdated styles. I have already set about some decluttering, as you may have noticed.
Now my target is to remove old and outdated posts. There really is no point in having special offers for 2016 still on the blog. This may also mean some of the images cluttering up my database can go. Many older flash fictions will go too. They’ll be in the Collections and available as ebooks online. Some are just excruciatingly bad! I don’t need examples of early work on my blog unless they are good. I have left excerpts from the Princelings and Viridian series, and related posts like backstory, though.
Thanks to another regular blogger, I’m going to spend some time working on my keywords. Derek Haines gives great tips for authors, for all aspects of publishing. I don’t understand how these 50 character keywords work, though. Whenever I try to enter keywords, KDP limits to 50 characters overall. I’ll find out and let you know.
While I’m doing keywords, I’ll also smarten up my Amazon Buy pages, as suggested in the #IWSG newsletter.
I’m moving this blog onto the Block editor, which may mean nothing to you, but it is the mobile-friendly development brought in by WordPress last spring. I started doing the Princelings website in it some time ago, and I think it works for most things I want. I just need to work out how to do ‘special symbols’ like copyright signs and em-dashes. A reusable block for the copyright line (which I use at least once a week) would be great, but not sure whether em-dashes will appear if I double-hyphen. Let’s see– Hmm, no. Or is that an en-dash?
Deadlines for new output
I’m scheduling my new releases for the year. I seem to get these out if I set a deadline, or an advance release date far enough ahead for me to get my act together. I might even tell you what they are next month, but it includes the Dylan & Co Collection, Menagerie Miscellany (working title), and another collection of flash fiction (Treasure Trove, perhaps).
And then there’s Zanzibar’s Rings. It worries me that I always add that third Viridian Series book as an afterthought. It needs to move to priority in my brain–it’s been far too long since the second in the series.
So that’s what I’m doing in 2021. What about you?
Question of the month
Being a writer, when you’re reading someone else’s work, what stops you from finishing a book/throws you out of the story/frustrates you the most about other people’s books?
Not finishing a book: losing the plot or the characters, or just Really Bad writing
Throws you out of the story: typos, bad grammar, especially impossibilities (I’ll always remember the princess who sat drinking coffee, smoothing her hair while she pointed at someone–something that needed three hands, anyway)
Frustrates me the most: typos or bad formatting–or too much information, as with Old Kurt that I ended up skimming last month.