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Friday, August 31, 2012

Amazon Webinar Replay Now Available

Thank you to everyone who attended the Amazon writing and publishing webinar on Wednesday. I hope you found it as interesting and inspiring as I did.

Tanner (the host) earns 90% of his residual income from Amazon publishing, and he shared some great tips, advice and information in his broadcast.

A replay of the webinar can now be viewed here. In it you'll learn...
  • how you can assemble four books in the time it currently takes you to write one
  • whether it's good to use pen names
  • how to get others to put together a book for you just for the notoriety
  • the average royalty payout of a physical CreateSpace book
  • how to find an endless supply of book topics (and the one niche that makes publishers more money than any other)
  • the three steps to survey and estimate the worth of a potential niche
  • How Google's free keyword tool can help you estimate customer potential
  • how to turn one purchase into three or four
  • how to enhance and expand your books and topics
  • how to create a sell-able sixty page book with only five hundred words
  • How to turn your books into larger (more expensive) digital products
...and much more!

Personally I found the webinar a real eye-opener, and it's given me several ideas I want to pursue in the coming months.

Ideally it's always best to attend webinars live, so that you can ask questions and generally get involved. But viewing the replay is the next best thing!

Of course, Tanner made a pitch at the end for his Amazon Publishing Formula. But I insisted he give a generous discount for my readers. So don't be surprised when you see what amazing value he is offering!

But definitely, catch the replay and get the free content. If you're looking for ideas to expand your earnings from publishing on Amazon, I guarantee it WILL inspire you!

Screen capture image taken from webinar.

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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Join Me on this Writing and Publishing Webinar

If you're interested in making money publishing for the Kindle (or any other self-publishing platform), I'd like to invite you to a free webinar arranged specially for my blog and newsletter readers by self-publishing gurus Tanner Larsson and Tim Castleman.

They say that if you would like to make FOUR TIMES more revenue by making four books in the time it takes to write one, this is the webinar for you.

Among other things, it will cover:

* how to write 3 or 4 books in the time it usually takes to write one
* a sneaky method to ensure you never run out of book topics
* an easy-to-follow, systematic process breakdown (do this, then do that, never get lost)
* how to create a simple 60+ page report with less that 500 words of content that sells like hotcakes!
* how to make your customers buy all of your books, even if they never read any of them
* and loads more!

Please click here for more information and to register now.

There are only limited places on the webinar, and it's first come, first served. So sign up now and reserve your spot. The workshop will be this Wednesday, 29 August at 3:00 pm New York Time (EDT), 8 pm UK time (BST) and will run for approximately one hour.

I'll be sitting in on the webinar myself, and look forward to learning some new tricks.

I do hope to "see" you there!

Photo Credit: Writing by Pedrosimoes7 on Flickr. Reproduced under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic Licence.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Of Smoking Guns and Red Herrings: The Art of Misdirection in Crime Fiction

I'm pleased to bring you a guest post today by London-based (though Malaysian-born) author J.C. Martin, submitted as part of her blog tour to launch her Olympics-themed thriller Oracle.

In this post, she talks about a key technique for crime and mystery writers, and how they can use misdirection to create a more satisfying experience for their readers.

* * *

One of my favourite elements of crime fiction is the opportunity for readers to solve the case alongside investigators. All evidence and information known to the sleuth is available to readers, allowing for an almost interactive participation in solving the mystery. This puzzle-solving aspect is what makes crime fiction my all-time favourite genre to read and write in.

Having said that, deciding just how much to reveal is a fine balancing act: crime writers have to tease readers with tantalising clues strategically placed throughout the book. Too little evidence will leave readers clueless, so to speak, disengaging them from the story. Too much evidence, and readers may solve the mystery long before the detectives, a frustrating situation whereby the book's investigators will appear bungling and incompetent--if a reader can spot the killer by chapter three, why can't the so-called professional?

To achieve the right balance of mystery, a crime novel can utilise the following tools:

1. A list of suspects

From speaking to other crime writers, the general consensus appears to be: no more than 6 suspects (or it'll be hard to keep track), no fewer than 3 (or it becomes too easy). Each suspect should have a possible motive, behave in a shady, suspicious manner, or have an unaccountable alibi during the time of the crime.

By placing varying emphases on these people, writers can lead readers into believing suspect X is the killer, only to be surprised when the real criminal is suspect Z all along.

2. (Not so) tell-tale clues

Does the killer leave a signature? What could it mean? Can it be linked to one of the suspects? Clues are a great way to involve readers in the mystery-solving process, and a big revelation at the end involving a not-so-obvious clue readers might miss is so satisfying to write--and to read!

3. Red herrings

In real life investigations, not all evidence points to the killer. In a similar way, your mystery can contain red herrings to confuse and mislead readers. The main suspect could have a rock-solid alibi that he kept secret, or the presence of his DNA on the victim's body may not have been from the act of murder, but from an illicit extramarital tryst.

These factors can all add to the air of mystery in a crime novel, and will make the big reveal, the revelatory twist in the tale, way more satisfying. However, be mindful that employing the following sneaky tactics is considered cheating:
  • revealing the killer to be someone who has never appeared earlier on in the book
  • revealing the killer as the investigating hero, whose point of view you have been reading in all along (unless there had been frequent references to said hero's unstable psyche--multiple personality disorder, maybe?)
  • revealing the killer as an evil twin/clone/zombie/vampire/time-traveller/other paranormal being, if the book has made no mention of such creatures before
  • withholding essential clues from the reader that the protagonist handily knows about
What other ways can a skilled writer ramp up the mystery in a good crime novel? I'd love to hear your suggestions!

Byline: J.C. Martin (pictured, right) describes herself as a butt-kicking bookworm: when she isn’t reading or writing, she teaches martial arts and self-defence to adults and children. Her short stories have won various prizes and have been published in several anthologies. Oracle is her first novel and can be purchased at Amazon UK, Amazon US, and Barnes and Noble.

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Thank you to J.C. Martin for an interesting article. You can find out more about J.C. via her website, blog, Twitter or Facebook. Just don't make her angry ;-)

In answer to J.C.'s question, personally I'm a big fan of foreshadowing, where the author plants some detail which seems of no relevance at the time, but later turns out to be crucial in unravelling the case.

As I've had occasion to remark on this blog before, if you can envisage your reader clapping a hand to her head and saying, "Of course! I should have seen that coming all along!" you can probably congratulate yourself on a job well done.

If you have any comments or questions for J.C. Martin (or me), please do post them below.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Pinterest: Ten Tips for Authors

Recently I've been experimenting with Pinterest as a means of promoting myself and my books and courses, and also as a money-making method in its own right.

For anyone who may not know, Pinterest is a pinboard-style social networking/publishing service. Users create boards where they pin things they like from around the web, with everything represented by images.

Pinterest has become hugely popular in a short space of time, and according to a recent report from Shareaholic now drives more online traffic than Twitter, StumbleUpon, YouTube, LinkedIn, or Bing.

Pinterest users also spend on average 405 minutes per month on the site - the same as Facebook, and vastly more than any other social network. You can see more interesting stats and demographics on this web page.

With this high level of user engagement - and the site's particular popularity among females - Pinterest is clearly a site no author can afford to ignore.

If you'd like to see what I've been doing so far, you can visit my own Pinterest profile here, and my Writing Information and Resources Board here. A section of this board is also shown in the screen capture at the top of this post.

Based on my experiences to date, here are my top ten tips for writers on making the most of Pinterest...

1. You no longer need to be invited by an existing member to join Pinterest - just click on the "request invitation" link at the top of the Pinterest homepage. You won't receive one instantly, but my own arrived within 48 hours.

2. You can (and should) create multiple boards devoted to different things that interest you. To avoid your page looking incomplete, I recommend creating at least five different boards with at least five pins on each. This will ensure that when someone visits your profile, it looks busy and active. Any less than this will leave 'empty' boards and pins showing.

3. You will probably want to have one board devoted to your books. That's fine, but be sure to have other boards as well devoted to books and authors you like and totally different topics that interest you. You want to avoid giving the impression that your Pinterest profile is being used solely for self-promotion.

4. For Pinterest to work, any page you pin MUST have an image on it (where there are multiple images, you can choose which one is shown). With books, a good place to pin from can be the sales page on Amazon or some other online bookstore. You can, of course, pin your book's cover image from here.

5. It's also possible to use affiliate links on Pinterest - if you're an Amazon associate, for example, you can use your affiliate link and potentially earn commission as well as royalties on every sale of your book. Don't overdo this, though - Pinterest have become sensitive about this since one user boasted about how much he was earning stuffing his boards with Amazon affiliate links. The occasional such link should be OK, though.

6. Write descriptions of your pins as well. Many Pinterest users omit to do this, but well-written descriptions can attract more visitors and may also bring you search-engine traffic. Make a point of including any keywords or phrases in your description you would particularly like to attract visitors for.

7. Add hashtags to your descriptions, e.g. #fantasy. Hashtags are used for searches on Pinterest – so in this example someone searching the site using the term "fantasy" would see your pin in their search results. Avoid using obscure words as hashtags, as few people will search for them. Commonplace, frequently used terms are the way to go here.

8. Add the Pinterest bookmarklet to your browser’s bookmarks bar. This is a huge time-saver, because it will allow you to quickly pin things you find around the web without going to the Pinterest website first. To get it, visit the Pinterest "Goodies" page and drag the "Pin It" button to your browser toolbar. Now, when you're browsing the web and see something you want to pin, click the bookmarklet and you'll be prompted to create a new pin.

9. If you're pinning an image from a website using the Pinterest bookmarklet, you can highlight some of the text on that page before you hit "Pin It" and the text will automatically show up in the description box. This can be a great time-saver, though I still recommend editing it and adding hashtags (see item 7) as well.

10. You can also tag other Pinterest users by using the @ symbol followed by their Pinterest user name. You have to be following at least one of their boards for this to work. Doing this will draw that user's attention to the pin, and also make their profile name in the pin description link to their Pinterest profile. In this way you can start to build a community of fellow Pinterest users who help promote one another's pins, boards and profiles.

Speaking of which, if you are a member I'd be delighted if you were to follow me on Pinterest, and I will of course return the favour.

If you have any comments or questions about this post - or any tips of your own about Pinterest to share - please do leave them below.

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Friday, August 10, 2012

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Writers Forum

A few months ago I was commissioned by The Author (journal of the UK Society of Authors) to write an article about the history of my forum at myWritersCircle (which I run in association with my sponsors and publishers, The WCCL Network).

The article was duly published last month, and I now have their permission to reproduce it here for the benefit of non-SoA members.

Incidentally, in the magazine the title was changed to "Hosting a Writers' Forum". I still prefer my original title, though!

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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Writers Forum

by Nick Daws

I'm not a household name, but due to the fact that I've written several books and courses for writers, I have a small reputation as a writing guru. This has some advantages for me, of course, but it also has its downside.

Back in the mid-noughties I was receiving a stream of email queries from aspiring writers, which was threatening to turn into a flood.  Often these folk were seeking feedback on their work or asking questions about manuscript presentation and so on. It occurred to me that if I started an online forum, I might be able to refer some correspondents there. They could then get feedback and answers from fellow writers, rather than me having to provide all this myself.

At the same time, my (electronic) publishers The WCCL Network were planning new online initiatives to help promote their range of courses and products, including a writers forum. So when they asked if I would be interested in managing, I accepted with barely a moment's hesitation.

Flash forward to 2012: myWritersCircle now has over 39,000 members world-wide, who between them have racked up nearly three-quarters of a million posts. So was it really that easy to become - arguably - the world's most popular writers forum? Well, not exactly...

When I started myWritersCircle, I had never run an online forum before, and had no real idea what I was getting into. In the early days the place could get lonely. It was depressing to log in and see the message 'Current Users: 1' and realise this was me. Forums are all about connecting people, and they don't work unless you can achieve a critical mass. The web is full of forums that failed for just this reason, and for a while it was touch-and-go whether myWritersCircle would join them. Gradually the numbers increased, though. I was lucky to have a devoted core of early adopters who spread word about the forum enthusiastically, almost evangelistically. In time a snowball effect developed, which was aided considerably when the American Writer's Digest magazine named myWritersCircle as one of their 100 best websites for writers.

But popularity brings its own problems. In particular, the forum started attracting undesirables, spammers being among the earliest. Suddenly the boards became festooned with messages promoting everything from non-prescription painkillers to Ugg boots. The job of managing the forum, which at one time had involved little more than engaging in civilised conversations with fellow writers, became more akin to fire-fighting. More than once I sat at my computer zapping these 'invaders' one by one as they appeared, only for even more to rain down. Even assisted by my wonderful team of volunteer moderators (to whom I'm deeply indebted, by the way), it became apparent that this was a battle we couldn't win on our own.

Some forums have perished at this point (cause of death: choking on spam). What saved myWritersCircle was that we were sponsored by an electronic publishing house, whose technical expertise we could call on. They upgraded the forum software and installed the latest anti-spam plug-ins, which made it much easier to block spam posts and ban known spammers. Even this wasn't a complete solution. The moderators and I have to remain vigilant, but it has made the problem manageable. And members help by reporting spam posts as they appear, so we can quickly delete them and block the perpetrators.

Spammers are annoying en masse, but individually they are easy to deal with. What has caused far more heartache over the years is a much smaller group of people who, intentionally or otherwise, cause conflict, chaos and ill-feeling.

At one extreme are the trolls, whose main pleasure in life comes from baiting other people. They are at least relatively easy to spot and ban.

What is harder is dealing with people who think a forum gives them a platform to say anything they like, however hurtful it may be to others. Sometimes these are moderately successful writers, who take it upon themselves to 'help' newbies by advising them that their work is valueless, they will never make it as writers, and they would do better to take up knitting instead. In some cases they may be right, but such comments are unkind and reflect badly on myWritersCircle as a whole.

This is really where running a forum gets ticklish. On the one hand, you want to allow freedom of speech. On the other, though, there have to be limits. Constructive criticism is to be encouraged, destructive is not, but sometimes there can be a thin line between them. Deciding whether (and how) to intervene in such cases can consume vast amounts of time and cause considerable angst. In addition, there are always a few members who will take the side of the writer concerned and accuse the forum management of being dictatorial. There are no easy answers - at least, I don't know any - but we occasionally have to remind our more forthright members that myWritersCircle is a privately-owned website and not some sort of democratic republic. 'Membership of the forum is a privilege, not a right' is a mantra I have had cause to repeat on more than one occasion.

Another annoyance is people who join in pursuit of odd challenges. For example, at one time we had a rash of new members whose task was apparently to include the word 'goblin' in every post they made until they got banned. We also get people who join in the guise of fictional characters (Norris Cole from Coronation Street was one recent visitor) and see how long it takes for anyone to notice. At times all you can really do is sigh and reflect on the odd things some people will do for entertainment.

Finally, we have to deal with people who appear to have mental health issues. In a way, this is the most difficult scenario of all. What do you do, for example, when someone joins and posts a series of long, rambling and unpleasant confessions, and then declines to engage in any discussion about them? There have been times when we wondered if social services should be informed, but this is difficult when (a) you have no way of knowing whether their stories are true or fantasy, and (b) you can't even be sure which continent they are on. Mostly we try to 'manage' these people and hope that in time they get bored and move on. Tempting though it may be to go further, we don't have the time or resources to start acting as the world's social workers.

If all this sounds negative, I should balance it by saying that the vast majority of members are perfectly pleasant, normal people (at least, as 'normal' as any writer gets). Despite being from a wide variety of countries and cultures - many where English is not a first language - we rub along quite happily most of the time. Some of our more experienced members are generous to a fault in the amount of time they devote to helping new writers, answering their questions and providing feedback on their work. The forum has also given birth to numerous collaborations (including full-length books and screenplays), friendships which led to trans-Atlantic flights to meet up, and even the occasional romance!

My own experience with myWritersCircle, too, has been overwhelmingly positive. Through the forum I've met several authors I now consider among my close friends. I've learnt a surprising amount about writing and publishing from members, and also heard about markets, opportunities and resources I would never otherwise have been aware of. If occasionally running the forum has caused me a few more grey hairs, overall it has still been a good trade-off. And if I could go back to 2005 and start the forum all over again, would I? Of course, in an instant!

First published in The Author, Summer 2012 issue. 

* * *

I do hope you enjoyed reading my article. And if you haven't yet joined myWritersCircle, I hope you will consider giving us a try. We offer the warmest of welcomes to new members!

If you have any comments or questions about the forum, of course, please feel free to post them below.

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Monday, August 06, 2012

Interview with Phil Jourdan, author of Praise of Motherhood

Today I'm pleased to bring you an interview with UK author Phil Jourdan, author of the unusual memoir Praise of Motherhood.

Phil talks about why he wrote his book, whom it was written for, and how it straddles the border between nonfiction and fiction.

The interview is published as part of Phil's blog tour - organized by Novel Publicity - to launch Praise of Motherhood. As you will see toward the end of the article, for all this week it's available for just 99c in e-book form, and there are also hundreds of dollars' worth of prizes to be won.

* * *

Please enjoy this interview with Phil Jourdan, author of the touching memoir, Praise of Motherhood. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including $500 in Amazon gift cards and 5 autographed copies of the book.    

1. Who was your mother?

Hey, perhaps the obvious thing is that she was the single greatest person in my life--a woman who set everything aside to help me when I went through a few rocky years, a lover of animals and nature, a professor of mathematics and computer science who worked because she needed something to do… She was that lady who'd bring clothes out to the homeless people in the streets when it was cold. She spoke Portuguese, French, English, and Russian fluently. She took people into her life and made them stronger, happier. She drove very carefully. She was one person among many to die from something as trivial and terrible as an aneurysm; just one out of all the people who died on November 11th, 2009, for no reason, and without saying goodbye to any of us. And, now, she's the subject of my book.

2. Who are you?

I'm a bearded, forever-anxious guy in his mid-twenties living in the UK. I'm working on a PhD in Literature and Religion. I have a band, I run a press, I write articles for various publications, and I pace around a lot when I talk about things that interest me.

3. Why did you write Praise of Motherhood?

Because I couldn't bear the idea that my mother's death might be just another sad event in the lives of a few people. I wanted my mother to be remembered somehow--not just by those who knew her, but by those who could end up wishing they had known her. It's not easy losing a parent, and I wanted to write my way out of some dark places. To focus on the good things. To remember with gratitude the way she did everything she could to make her children feel okay.  

4. Were you a mama's boy?

Of course, I was. She was worth the teasing from my young classmates. I loved her even when I was furiously angry with her.

5. When were you furiously angry?

From the age of 14 to 16, I was so psychologically unstable that I had to leave school for a while to stay in a private clinic and "recover"--which means they pumped me full of medication and made me sleep for a few weeks. This happened twice. My mother's support was crucial back then, because I was a mess. I hallucinated, I was paranoid, and I wanted to die. Of course, like any screwed up kid, I took it out on my mom. I'd get so angry that I couldn't breathe. Everything seemed to hurt me--physically and emotionally. Because I trusted my mother so much, I took her for granted, too. I knew she wouldn't abandon me if I broke down or lashed out. She was a saint about my outbursts.  

6. Is that what Praise of Motherhood is about? In part. What you'll find in Praise of Motherhood is a series of short chapters on various ways I related to my mother. Let me be clear that it's not a book about mothers in general. It's a memoir about my relationship with my mother, before and after her death. It deals with my weird adolescence, then it moves on to questions about her private life that I'll never be able to answer, and then it turns toward fiction. I imagine a world in which mother didn't die on that day. I try to reconstruct conversations I had with her and my father. Then I end the book because I could go on forever and I think it's best to be brief.

7. What was it like to show the book to your family?

It was less terrible than I'd anticipated. My great fear was that someone might object to the way I'd written it. It's not "conventional"--there's a scene in which I imagine my mother breaking into pieces and my sister and I have to tape her back together before she accuses me of having killed her. That scene worried me: what if my sister hated it? I'm happy to say it all went well. My sister found that chapter moving, and my grandparents each expressed their support. My father, who hadn't been married to my mother for over a decade, was equally moved and helped me through the various drafts.  

8. Is everything you write in Praise of Motherhood true?

If you read it, you'll see that some of it is obviously fiction. I don't think the right distinction here is between fiction and nonfiction; it's between truthfulness and untruthfulness. The book is certainly truthful: if I make things up, as in the chapter where I imagine what my mother's "secret life" as an occasional spy might have been like, it's to show what I think about when I wonder about her as a private person. I paint myself pretty much as I was back then: irritable, self-involved, afraid. I paint my mother just as she was: patient, terrified of losing her child, and often helpless but willing to do anything. The events that I depict in the more "conventional" chapters are true. The dialogue is obviously not going to represent exactly what was said, but the spirit of the past is contained within it.  

9. Who is this book for?

It's for people who have lost someone they loved and want to know how someone else handled their pain. It's for parents who need a reminder that their children can and will end up appreciating all the sacrifices, all the patience, all the secret suffering. And it's for anyone who is interested in teenage depression, psychosis and anxiety, and wants to read a memoir about how those conditions affect family relationships.  

10. What's next?

A novel that begins with a mother's funeral… and then goes in a totally new direction. I started it just as I was wrapping up Praise of Motherhood, and I was ready to let go of those memories for a while, but the image of my mother's coffin going into the earth has stayed with me so vividly that I had to begin a work of fiction with it. But beyond that, it's an entirely different thing.

As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the Praise of Motherhood eBook edition is just 99 cents this week. What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes. The prizes include $500 in Amazon gift cards and 5 autographed copies of the book. All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment--easy to enter; easy to win!  

To win the prizes:
  1. Purchase your copy of Praise of Motherhood for just 99 cents
  2. Enter the Rafflecopter contest on Novel Publicity
  3. Visit today’s featured social media event
About the book: Praise of Motherhood is a son's tribute to the woman who not only gave him life, but helped him live: through various psychotic breakdowns, tumultuous teenage years, and years of feeling out of place in the world. Get it on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.  

About the author: Phil Jourdan fronts the lit-rock band Paris and the Hiltons, runs the fiction press Perfect Edge Books, and occasionally works on a PhD.  

Visit Phil on his blog, music site, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.

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Thank you to Phil Jourdan for an interesting interview, and to Novel Publicity for supplying the copy and illustrations (including the picture of the author, below).

Incidentally, if you're a blogger yourself, you might want to consider signing up as a host with Novel Publicity, to get the chance to host other tours on your blog and be eligible for free books and prizes.

As ever, if you have any comments or questions, please do leave them below.

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Friday, August 03, 2012

Guest Post: The Pros and Cons of Deadlines

Today I'm pleased to bring you a guest post from Canadian novelist Scott Bartlett.

It's published as part of Scott's blog tour to launch his humorous novel Royal Flush.

Scott believes in the motivational power of deadlines for writing projects, but cautions against relying on them. Check out his thoughts below...

* * *

It took me 18 days to write the first draft of my humour novel Royal Flush. It took years to edit.

My writing projects' timeframes have been heavily influenced by deadlines set by others--mostly competition deadlines. The highly antisocial two-and-a-half weeks I spent writing Royal Flush preceded the deadline for the Fresh Fish Award, an annual contest for which only people from or living in Newfoundland, Canada are eligible. (Incidentally, that's where I'm from/live.)

Deadlines are useful, in that they can spur you toward finally writing that story you've been dreaming of. But I think they can be dangerous, too. I worry that I've become too dependent on them.

You've probably already heard the relevant Douglas Adams quote, but I'll give it here anyway: "I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by."

That's what happens when I try to set my own, personal deadlines--they whoosh by. But when I put my mind to it, I usually make contest deadlines. They're far less flexible (try: not at all) and if I want to enter a competition badly enough, I simply have to complete the project in time. I've written two of my three books this way.

The writing process for Royal Flush is illustrative of the importance deadlines have acquired for my writing life. I based it on some short stories I wrote in high school and my first year of university. These weren't written for a deadline, and as you might guess, I completed them piecemeal, with unforgivably large time gaps between writing sessions.

But when the Fresh Fish deadline rolled around (18 days before it, in fact), inspiration struck. I made the decision to convert the stories into a novel, and I set about the task feverishly, writing 10-15 pages a day and eschewing all social ties.

I finished. It didn't win the contest (though it did win the H. R. (Bill) Percy Prize the next year)--but that's beside the point. While writing the novel took only 18 days, editing it took several years. That's partly because of how tremendously important I consider editing: I went through 10 drafts. But it's also, I think, because I had no deadline for which to complete the editing.

So the moral of this story, if I were to assign it one, would be to take advantage of deadlines' power to catalyze writing projects, but take care not to rely on them. I'm a firm believer that writing should be done for its own sake, because you love doing it, because you live and breathe it--because you're a writer.

These past couple years I've been working hard on weaning myself off my dependence on deadlines, and I'm a better writer for it. I still occasionally use them to give myself a creative nudge. But I tread carefully around them.

Byline: Scott Bartlett (pictured, right) has been writing fiction since he was fifteen. His recently released novel, Royal Flush, is a recipient of the H. R. (Bill) Percy Prize. Click here to buy the ebook ($3.99) or to order the print book ($12.99).

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Many thanks to Scott for a thought-provoking article (and good luck with the Royal Flush tour!).

So what's your take on this? Do deadlines motivate you, or do you despise them? If you have any comments on this subject, or questions for Scott (or me), please do leave them below.

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