The Secret to Writing Good Characters

Originally posted on Carly Watters, Literary Agent:

Ben Wiseman Illustration NYTCharacters make or break a novel, especially for agents. When agents get 100s of manuscripts submitted per month, what is it that draws us to some books and not others? Characters.

What agents look for in a main character:

  • Degree of likability
  • Interesting
  • Honest
  • Have a strong and unique voice
  • They feel like they had a real life before the book started and after the pages are done
  • No coincidences
  • Motivation for what they do
  • That we meet them at an interesting point in their lives
  • Most importantly: They must have a secret. What are they hiding?

All strong and interesting characters carry a secret with them. A secret that is slowly revealed to the reader. A secret that some find controversial always helps. A secret that the character has to explain and is the reason why they do what they do and why they are the way they are. And

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How do you build a fanbase for your next novel?

Originally posted on Dream, Play, Write!:

If you’ve committed to finishing and self-publishing your book within the next year, you’re going to want a bunch of people to buy it when it comes out, right?

When you build a list of e-mail addresses and send out regular mailings, you keep your fans in the loop, and generate excitement over your upcoming release.

It’s nice to see your name on a book, but just publishing your book on Amazon doesn’t mean anyone will buy it. Even runaway bestsellers have powerful marketing forces behind them.

So start building a relationship with your fans right now.

If you start now, you could have hundreds?even thousands?of names on your mailing list by the time you publish. And how great would it be to send an e-mail out to a thousand people telling them about your brand new book?

New to blogging? Want to take your blog to the next…

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Book Review: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Originally posted on FOX ON AN ISLAND:

iknowwhythecagedbirdsingsRead for: July/August Group Selection for FABClub

Rating: 4/5

So, I am totally guilty of ignoring some of the world’s leading authors until they die a very public death, prompting rediscovery and mass consumption of their body of work posthumously. I am so guilty of this! And I’m very sorry. Maya Angelou passed away a few months ago and immediately all of my book clubs were reading this book. I’m sad that it took her dying for me to finally read this classic, but I am thankful that I did.

What can I say about I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings? It’s been described as autobiographical fiction because it is a memoir of Maya’s youth in Stamps, Arkansas, but it utilizes many techniques common in the fiction genre. It is also incredibly lyrical and poetic. The title is a line from an incredible poem by Paul Laurence Dunbar, an…

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How to Get Reviews Before Your Books’ Launch

Originally posted on Savvy Writers & e-Books online:


Did you ever wonder why brand new books had already reviews?  New author-publishers can learn a lot in book stores:  Check out how professionally published books look like: Many of these trade books have either on their back cover (paperback) or on their binding flap (hard cover) several snippets of the book reviews, as well as endorsements from bestselling writers or other professionals, that were already written before the book was printed.

Pre – Editions
The more work you do to promote your book before the publication date the more people will already know about it, and that means more sales!
Pre-editions include advance(d) reader copies (ARCs), galleys, salesman’s editions, proofs and sometimes manuscripts. Nowadays often digital versions. Some bibliophiles even collect these pre-editions.  AbeBooks , which belongs to Amazon, is a dealer for these rare first prints and on their website you can get an idea how…

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NO STRUGGLE, NO PROGRESS by Howard Fuller (with Lisa Frazier Page)

Originally posted on Only Good Books:

NO STRUGGLE NO PROGRESSSome people in this world always seem to be where the action is. They run toward the flames of a burning building instead of running away; they jump in the ocean when someone appears to be drowning; they look for the most challenging problems to solve. They don’t follow. They lead. As anyone who has ever met Howard Fuller knows, he is a leader. And if you’ve ever heard him speak, you know he is wise, passionate, and determined—possessed with what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. called “the fierce urgency of now”—determined to ensure that every child receives an effective education, especially the poorest, who for far too long have not. As Howard said (quoting William Daggett) when resigning from his position as the Superintendent of the Milwaukee Public Schools, “We must love our children’s hopes, dreams, and prayers more than we love the institutional heritage of the school system.”

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Book Spotlight: Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt

Originally posted on C. K. Brooke's Blog:

The compelling, Pulitzer Prize-winning memoir of Frank McCourt’s childhood, Angela’s Ashes is the story of the McCourt family in the 1940s. Their story starts in New York City, where Frank spent his earliest years, but soon the family returned to their native Ireland. The poorest family in their village, Frank’s father was an alcoholic who squandered their money on drink, until he eventually abandoned his wife and children. Angela, Frank’s penniless mother, was left alone with her many children to live in outrageous conditions of abject poverty.

The narrative is unlike any I’ve read. McCourt writes conversationally in a comical, rambling voice of run-on sentences alive with irony and humor. He captures adult interactions while still retaining the child’s unworldly perspective, in this way telling two stories at once. An unforgettable, haunting and original memoir.

tisteacherI’ve also read most of McCourt’s other memoirs,‘Tis and Teacher Man.

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