Writer’s Forums

One of the things “They” tell authors to do in order to promote oneself is to interact on various writer’s forums. But who are “They”, why would they know, and what does it mean?

“They” first of all, refers to a vast variety of writing advice things. Smashwords, Writer’s Digest, etc…. Anything that tells you how to build up your platform as a writer suggests forums as a good way to do so. This is a way to interact with other writers, get the word out about what you know, and swap knowledge. There are a couple of writer’s forums I’ve been looking at and I’m going to compare them and their usefulness here.

The first is, of course, LinkedIn, as I’ve talked about before. This of course, isn’t strictly a writing forum, but it can be used as such. There are groups on LinkedIn for every type of industry, and the creative writing industry is no different, with dozens and dozens of groups to choose from. I’ve talked before about the usefulness of these groups, but I’ll do it again.

You can find a group for just about everything you might need or want to talk about, and in the writing industry alone this covers everything from the very craft of writing to the marketing to how to deal with the various people and companies you might come in contact with. You can discuss things, get advice from experts, and even give advice yourself when you know the answer to a question. Just like any good forum, you help people and they help you! Sometimes you find opportunities to promote your work, some times you make opportunities, but the important thing about this and any other forum are the things you’re learning from other people that will HELP you be a better writer/promoter/self-publisher, etc.

The SECOND forum is AQ Connect, a forum with special dedication to query letters and agents who are accepting unsolicited queries. There’s tons of great information on this and other technical information that a writer might need NOT pertaining to the actual craft of writing. It’s really a one-stop shop for answers on anything from which e-publishing company to work with to which agents have switched to which company and what they’re looking for. You can also get advice on your query letter before you send it off, to avoid making any… beginner’s mistakes.

LinkedIn and AQ Connect offer varied and valuable information and authorly fellowship that anyone can benefit from in this crazy quest. I hope you find them useful as I have, and if you’ve got any more forums you think people could benefit from, I’d love to hear about them!




Writing A Personal Bio

No matter what path of writing you will take, you will have to write about yourself, whether it’s the bio paragraph about your life as a writer for your query letter or what I’m working on right now: An “About the Author” section to put at the end of an e-book for all your lovely readers.

It can be surprisingly hard to talk about yourself and your accomplishments. I’m going to use this opportunity to test out a few paragraphs and prove how different they can be, and that there are literally no rules when it comes to “About the Author” (because there are rules for query letters, sadly).

Bio 1: Charlotte Blackwood aka Mistress of Dark Emotion is a fearsome new voice in the published writing world.  When she is not writing so epically that it breaks her readers’ heartstrings, she likes re-reading Harry Potter, going over Hunger Games strategies, drafting marriage proposals to David Thewlis and Alan Rickman, and generally being awesome whilst eating fudge. This is her first novella. (NOTE: This is actually written by Natalie Cannon, my friend and lovely editor. It’s in our attempts to come up with my actual bio).

Bio 2: Charlotte Blackwood is a college student, a life-long reader of tragedy, and one of the crazy people who laughs at the end of Oedipus Rex. In her spare time she re-reads Anna Karenina, enjoys a variety of crime shows, and thinks about what she would do if she found a dead body in a variety of situations. This is her first novella.

Bio 3: Charlotte Blackwood is a life-long Tolkien aficionado, a Wheel of Time junkie, and a girl who wishes she had the hand-eye coordination for archery. When she’s not writing, she is catching up on the world of all things film related, looking up medieval naming practices, and saving her pennies for a comic book subscription. This is her first novella.

A few words of wisdom: if you care about ANYONE in the world reading something in your bio, don’t put it there, because anyone in the world could read it. Literally. Also, if you write a bio that sets you up as the ultimate fantasy author but your book is a modern murder mystery, you need to rethink your bio. Make them want to read your book, and remind them about why you’re qualified to write it. It’s okay to be silly, but if you’re a completely serious writer you might not want to include comedy. I have a hard time taking myself too seriously, so I’m probably going to use some sort of meshing of the first two bios, and although I like the third one and everything written in all three are totally true, it doesn’t suit my novella, which is a modern thriller.

Just relax, think about what you would tell a pen-pal in a first letter, or thing’s you’d say to someone you’ve just met over lunch. Describe yourself, describe what you do and even why, but it doesn’t have to be long, it doesn’t have to be scary, and when you read it aloud to friends and family they should say, “Yup, that’s you!”



Query Letters

Tips for writing a query letter:

1. Make your friends read your novel.

2. Make your friends right a ‘back of the book’ summary of your novel.

3. Write your own ‘back of the book’ summary of your novel.

4. Write your query letter using a composite of the best parts of all of the ‘back of the book’ summaries and a little blurb about your own literary accomplishments (you can find examples online for reference).

5. Make your friends read it, review it, tear it apart.

6. Start over.

7. When they finally have nothing to tear apart, you have a usable query letter. Congratulations.

I’ve just finished my first draft of my query letter and am about to send it off to my friends to tear apart. I’ll probably have to make it longer. I’ll probably have to change it six times. But that’s okay, because it’s better to know what’s wrong with it now than to not know and send it off to twenty or so agents who would have otherwise loved your story. Don’t make those mistakes. QUERY LETTERS MATTER.

That is all. Have a lovely day. If any of you have your own query letter writing experiences, please, feel free to share them! It would be very helpful to those of us in the processes now!