Book Your Research

[found on dailyfinance.com; by J.T. Ellison]

“If you’re planning to embark on a career as a writer, there’s something you need to know: When it comes to research, you’ll be paying your own way. Authors are faced with many economic challenges, but one of the hardest is that they often have to use their own cash to get the wheels spinning.

  • Go to the library: This is an obvious solution, but one that we sometimes overlook, especially since we can go online and find the answers we need. But a good library, and librarian, can help you find little details you would have missed otherwise. I like to read old newspapers to get a sense of what’s happening in my character’s past, and microfiche is the best way to do that. Plus, libraries often have experts in for talks.
  • Meet your fellow writers: Almost every professional writer’s association has an online listserve full of scribes who are experts in their own fields. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve reached out to a doctor, a lawyer, a weapons expert or former police officer through these groups. And almost all the organizations accept associate members. International Thriller Writers, Romance Writers of America, Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime are all excellent groups that even have “writer’s universities,” in which they offer classes on writing and various research methods. Best of all, you get to rub elbows with your favorite writers!
  • Go online. . .but be careful: You can find out anything online, but be sure you double- and triple-source your information. Just because it’s on Wikipedia doesn’t mean it’s accurate. When I started doing research on Scotland, the first thing I did was add Scotland’s major newspapers to my RSS feeds. It allowed me a snapshot of the country, and the political undercurrents soon made their way into my story. You can become an expert pretty quickly by putting in the effort.
  • Go back to school: Through a writer’s organization or your own diligence, you can find tons of online classes that are relatively inexpensive and will give you a fuller understanding of your topic. From writing to guns to romance, anything and everything is offered.
  • Talk to the experts: Regardless of what you’re writing about, there’s nothing better than finding someone who’s lived it. Weapons experts, cops, FBI agents, SWAT team members, doctors and lawyers all have one thing in common: They want you to get it right. Just don’t forget to say thank you in the acknowledgments.
  • Reach out to readers: Blogs are a great way to get information, with the caveat that you need to double-source, just like with Wikipedia and Google. Most blogs are subjective, so you can’t use them as gospel. While you’re getting to know private experts, don’t forget to talk to people at your local bookstore. Most folks who work in bookstores do so because they love to read. Which means they’ll be a font of information for you to mine. Check your local independent bookstores as well as the chains to find people who are fascinated by your topic and can point you to the best books to use for research.
  • Explore local resources: There are innumerable ways to do research in person in your city. Big and small towns have access to the FBI Citizens’ Academy, your local Citizens’ Police Academy and multitudes of other offerings. Don’t forget to attend author signings as well — your favorite author might have a tip or two for you to find the perfect research tool.
  • Meet some strangers. . .and some old friends: Even though many groups have moved online, there are still plenty who meet and mingle in person. The members tell stories. Lots of stories. They have professional speakers. They have archives. And they want to share this information with you. For that matter, don’t discount the ones around you when you’re looking to do research. I always check with my parents when I have a question. Send up a flare within your intimate circle, and see who knows what. This is especially good for places, because if you’re anything like me, your friends and family live or have traveled all over the world.”

To read more tips from DailyFinance, click here.

[found on http://www.dailyfinance.com/2011/01/17/eight-ways-to-do-book-research-without-breaking-the-bank]
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Want Your eBook to Sell? Read On.

[found on inboundpro.net; by ]

“14 Invaluable Tips For Writing Ebooks That Sell

1. Lisa from Niche Website Success says:

“Take the time to survey your core audience to ensure your book meets their needs.  We often assume we know what people want, but you never really know unless you ask.

Prior to writing my eBook, I used my email list to survey my subscribers.  The feedback was invaluable and inspired much of the content in the book. Not to mention, it’s a great way to win over your readers.  They ask.  You deliver.”

2. Steve from Steve Aitchison says:

“Ask your audience what type of ebook they would like before writing one word of your ebook.  I have made the mistake of writing an ebook, thinking, this is a great idea my readers will love this, only to find that they didn’t love it.  The ONLY way to find out what type of ebook your readers will like is to ask them.  You can do this in a blog post, an email to your subscribers, or use social media  better yet ask them using all three.

Another thing is, make your ebook look fantastic.  Presentation is everything and you want to give a professional looking ebook with a great cover.  A lot of ebook creators write their book in a word document and turn it into a pdf without much thought for presentation.  In this day and age of information overload, you need a great cover to catch the readers eye, a great title to capture their imagination, and a great presentation on the inside.  It’s well worth spending a few hundred dollars to get a professional to design your ebook once you’ve written it.

One last thing, get someone to proof read your ebook.  Again, I’ve made this mistake of not getting an ebook proof read only to find I get lots of emails pointing out errors in my book.  If you don’t get it proof read it shows you’re not willing to invest that little extra to make it look and read great, and this will come across to the reader.””

To see more excellent advice from InBoundPro.net, click HERE

[found on http://www.inboundpro.net/how-to-write-ebooks-that-sell]

Don’t Worry About Other Writers Stealing Your Ideas

[found on avajae.blogspot.com]
“As most of you who follow me on Twitter probably know, I participated in #pitmad last Friday. For those of you who don’t know, #pitmad is Twitter pitch fest, where writers pitched their completed manuscripts to agents and editors in 133 characters (to make room for the hashtag).
It was a fun event, and a great opportunity for writers. If you haven’t participated in a pitch event before, I highly recommend you check it out the next time one comes around.

I noticed, however, that there were a few negative Nancies out there who would pop into the #pitmad stream ever so often and make a snarky remark to the effect of “I’m not sharing my idea so that another writer can steal it and make millions.”I’m not looking down on these people—in fact, I understand where their fear comes from. When I first started writing, I too shared a fear of having my ideas (or other writings) stolen online. For the longest time I didn’t participate in any sort of competitions or online critiques because my skittishness got the best of me.But then I started getting more involved in the interwebs, and wrote a lot more, and the ridiculousness of this fear became very apparent to me.The thing is, sharing your pitch is probably the safest, least-risk inducing way of getting your work noticed. Why? The answer is simple: your idea is just an idea.

I’m not trying to demean your work, but an idea isn’t copyrightable (and if you don’t believe me, the government says so). Truth be told, original ideas don’t exist, and even if your idea somehow defied that rule, it still wouldn’t matter if someone stole it.

Why? Because as anyone who has tried to write a novel before knows, an idea is just an idea. It’s the seed of a novel, but it’s just that. Even if someone stole your completely original, totally brilliant idea, they’d still have to write a book to match up to that brilliance. And hell, maybe they would. Maybe they’d write it better than you did. But their book wouldn’t plagiarize your idea any more than Richelle Mead plagiarized Stephanie Meyers, or Meyers plagiarized Anne Rice, or Rice plagiarized Bram Stoker.

You see, they all wrote books based on a somewhat similar concept, but they wrote their own novels. They each wrote something different, because they each had a different take on a similar idea.

Anyone who has taken a writing class ever knows this very well: if you give a room full of students the same idea to write about, they will all write something different. Will there be similarities? Sure. But does that mean they somehow stole from each other? Does that mean their work shouldn’t be considered their work, or that it shouldn’t be considered original? Of course not.

The thing is, even if someone liked your pitch so much that they decided they wanted to write a book just like it, it wouldn’t matter. You’re already ahead of the game: you have a completed manuscript ready for pitching and they’re just scraping together ideas for a rough draft. And whatever they come up with based off of those 140 characters, I promise you, will be verydifferent from whatever you wrote. And, there’s still the whole matter of getting it published, which, as you already know, isn’t so easy. So.

If you have to worry about something, worry about having your writing stolen if you post online. Worry about someone copying your blog posts and republishing them under their own name. Worry about people pirating your work and selling it for a profit.

But as for someone stealing your ideas? Don’t waste your energy.”

[found on http://avajae.blogspot.com/2013/01/dont-worry-about-other-writers-stealing.html]