Categories
Writing and Publishing

Contest Conundrum

contest conundrum

I have paid to enter some contests. It’s okay when you win, but it’s a double hit when you don’t.

Contest Fees

I’ve paid from $1 to $20 to enter contests, and each time they gave a compelling reason why I needed to compensate them to consider my work. And each time I’ve felt duped afterward.

Going forward, the only reason I would pay to enter a contest was if I was going to receive feedback on my submission. So far, I’ve never seen this offered in the contests I’ve considered.

Beware Bogus Contests

Also, be aware there are some bogus contests, whose only purpose is to make money for the contest owner through the submission fees they charge. Research contests carefully and steer clear if you have concerns.

Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s new book: The Successful Author: Discover the Art of Writing and Business of Publishing. Get your copy today.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.

Categories
Writing and Publishing

Receiving Feedback

receiving feedback

One thing that has most helped me improve as a writer is receiving feedback from others. It is critical.

This feedback has mostly come from critique groups but also from beta readers and paid professionals. This last category is costly but invaluable.

Regardless of the source, the key is figuring out which feedback to apply, which to adapt, and which to dismiss. Don’t blindly follow every recommendation. Each piece of feedback is nothing more than one person’s opinion, and that opinion may not be right for your vision of your work.

Our mission as writers is to figure out the difference between good and not so good feedback and handle it appropriately.

Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s new book: The Successful Author: Discover the Art of Writing and Business of Publishing. Get your copy today.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.

Categories
Writing and Publishing

Must Writers Blog?

writers blog

As someone who’s written 2,500 blog posts and counting, you may be surprised that I don’t think a writer must blog. Here are two considerations, followed by a blogging option:

Fiction Writers

It’s hard for fiction writers to build a following with a blog. Unless you want to blog and have ideas for posts that align with your author brand, then don’t do it.

Your agent or publisher may have different ideas, but don’t worry about that unless the issue comes up.

Nonfiction Writers

It’s much easier for nonfiction authors to blog. Just blog about the same things you write about in your books. Build an audience around your content, and they will likely be interested in your books too. Given that, don’t blog if you:

  • Don’t have the time
  • Lack of incentive
  • Fear it will drain you
  • Aren’t ready to commit to it
  • Don’t have enough ideas of what to blog about

Blogging Alternatives

As an alternative to starting your own blog, you can look to guest post on other people’s blogs.

Blogging isn’t right for everyone. If it’s not right for you, invest your time and creativity elsewhere.

Some publishers and agents insist that your blog, but if you know it’s not the right fit for you, don’t let them force you into doing something you don’t want to do.

Just walk away, and look for a publisher or agent that doesn’t take such a hardline approach.

Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s new book: The Successful Author: Discover the Art of Writing and Business of Publishing. Get your copy today.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.

Categories
Writing and Publishing

When You Need an Agent

when you need an agent

If you plan to publish your book with a traditional publisher, you’ll need an agent. Most publishers only work with agents.

Even if you find a publisher who will work with you directly, you should still use an agent.

Why is that?

Because an agent will negotiate a better contract for you than you could possibly do on your own. Even if you are a lawyer or know one, an agent is still in a better position to get you the best possible deal.

Of course, if you plan to indie-publish, there is no need for an agent.

Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s new book: The Successful Author: Discover the Art of Writing and Business of Publishing. Get your copy today.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.

Categories
Writing and Publishing

Critique Group Characteristics

critique group characteristics

Some critique groups can be good, some are okay, and some are not good at all. Here’s what to look for in a critique group that I think is important.

Critique Group Characteristics

  • The members actively write.
  • The members read.
  • The members balance criticism with praise; too much of either is bad.
  • The members curtail feedback on pieces in genres they aren’t familiar with.
  • The members challenge each other to improve.
  • The members provide encouragement
  • The members are committed to helping other members.

Critique Group Leader

Also, look at the leader. Is the leader effective in maintaining focus and structure? If not, the group can easily veer off topic and waste time.

Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s new book: The Successful Author: Discover the Art of Writing and Business of Publishing. Get your copy today.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.