Reading time…..

Do you think as a writer you sometimes need a break and just read?

Last week we had trouble with the internet so I could not go on for about a week. Incidentally I also took part in a reading challenge by the goodreads group My big fat booky Challenge-athon which meant I was to read 24 hours in 7 days.

Dear me I enjoyed that. I just sat there constantly reading and got through an awful lot of books. And I remembered how I used to do that in the olden days…….

…. yes the olden days when I was a teenager and life was half as difficult but felt double as :-). On top of that I have bought J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” and “Lord of the Rings” which I first read in those days and it just made me reminiscing.

I never had that feeling again just to dive into books and lose myself and let my phantasy run wild and get away from it all. When I got into my twenties I started to have trouble to find books I really wanted to read. But goodreads and my reading group in Norwich has really brought that back.

And I cherish this feeling. Can’t get enough of it. There are so many brilliant writers out there and so many brilliant genres as well.

And what has that brought to my writing? I have no idea to be honest 🙂 ……. maybe you have any?



Good advice

Again I have chosen an article by “The Snowflake Guy” Randy Ingermanson himself. I think he can teach you an awful lot about writing and marketing probably as important as the writing. Today I put his blurb on the bottom so please go on and enjoy:

Marketing: Why Did You Buy THAT Book?

Amazon shipment

Amazon shipment (Photo credit: enno)

A big part of marketing is learning to think like your

More than a hundred million books have been published
since Gutenberg did that neat trick with movable type.

Out of all those choices, why would any reader choose
yours? What would be her motivation? What would be the
actual process she follows from the initial state where
she knows nothing about you to the final state where
she pays for something you wrote?

That is a scary question, and if you let it, this
question will paralyze you into never writing another

So let’s turn the question around and make it unscary.
Take five minutes and think about the last book you
bought. Why did you buy it? Why THAT book out of a
hundred million others?

This is a fun game that can teach you a lot. I’ll play

The last time I bought a book was yesterday. A bunch of
friends and I were talking online about standing desks.
Some of these friends already have one. I’ve recently
ordered one. A standing desk is supposed to be good for
your long-term health. People who do a lot of sitting
tend to end up dead sooner than those who don’t.

One of the friends in the group asked, “Did you guys

I’d never heard of this book. She explained that it’s a
hilarious book by a guy who decided to spend one year
trying to do all those things they say we’re supposed
to do to get healthy. He wanted to become the
healthiest person on the planet. This is the same guy
who wrote a humorous book called THE YEAR OF LIVING
BIBLICALLY, which I’d heard rave reviews about.

It sounded like an interesting book, so I popped onto
Amazon, read the product description, and clicked the
Buy button. It all took about two minutes. The main
driver was a product recommendation from a friend. I’m
reading the book today. It’s good so far.

What do we learn from the above? If anything, it’s the
power of word of mouth. The author of this book did
nothing — nothing active anyway — to earn my sale.
One of his fans did most of the work. Amazon did the
rest. The author gets the money, no matter how the sale

OK, that was actually informative, so I’ll play again.
I have another book on my stack that I’ll probably read
next. It’s titled CITY OF BONES, by Michael Connelly,
one of the best writers of police procedurals out

I got an email recently, either from Amazon or from
BookBub, saying that CITY OF BONES was on sale at a
special price. I don’t remember the price, but it was
lower than normal. I had read several of Connelly’s
books and found him to be a terrific writer. Police
procedural is not my absolute favorite category, but I
read it some.

I figured I might as well get it now at a good price,
so I clicked through and bought it.

That’s the end of the story, but it’s worth asking
about the beginning. I knew Connelly would be worth
reading because I had already read several of his
books. But how did that happen originally?

Well, I had first noticed his novel THE LINCOLN LAWYER
on the top of the best-seller lists a couple of years
ago. Then a friend of mine who writes thrillers
mentioned that Connelly is one of the very best writers
in his category. So I bought a few of his books and
found them to be outstanding.

What do we learn from this? My purchase was a result of
a combination of several things:
* Name recognition — I had seen the author on a
best-seller list.
* Word of mouth — my friend mentioned Connelly was
* Experience — I read a book by him and found that he
really is excellent.
* Branding — Connelly writes in a clearly defined
niche, so I know that today’s book is going to be
similar to what he’s done in the past.
* A sales trigger — I received an e-mail with
notification of a special price for a limited time.

We learned something new with that one, so I’ll play
one more time. Just last week I finished reading THE
INDIGO SPELL by Richelle Mead. It’s a young-adult
vampire suspense novel. What led me to buy it? Here’s
what happened.

Last summer I was Skyping with a friend who mentioned
that she’d been reading Richelle Mead’s VAMPIRE ACADEMY
series. She said it was her daughter’s favorite series,
and her daughter reads a ton of YA fiction. My friend
said it was fabulous, so I opened a web browser, went
to Amazon, and did a search for the title.

I found it pretty quickly, read the product
description, and then clicked on the Look Inside
feature. I read the first chapter and found it
extremely engaging. I’m not a huge fan of vampire
fiction, but I had read the TWILIGHT series, and
vampires can be fun.  VAMPIRE ACADEMY looked like a
terrific read, so I clicked the Buy button.

I read the book quickly, loved it, and raced through
the other books in the series. Then I started the next
series, featuring one of the minor characters who now
becomes a major character. That series is incomplete,
and after the first two books, I ran out. But I got an
e-mail in December from Amazon mentioning that the next
book, THE INDIGO SPELL, was due to release in February
and if I preordered it, I’d get it the day it released.

So I clicked the link and preordered the book. A couple
of months later, exactly at midnight, the book
magically appeared on my iPad. And I started reading it
the next day.

Again, there is something to learn from this chain of
events. Here’s how I bought that book:
* Word of mouth alerted me to the existence of the
author and gave me a title.
* A search on Amazon brought the title up.
* The sample chapter and product description made the
initial sale.
* Great writing got me to read the sequel.
* Strong branding throughout the series assured me that
each book would be “the same but different.”
* Good characters pulled me from one series to the next.
* An e-mail from Amazon got me to pull the trigger on
the sale two months before the book was actually
* Automatic delivery put it at the top of my To Be Read
list on the day the book was released.

OK, I’ve played the game three times and I’m starting
to see the common threads. Word of mouth. Sample
chapters. Great writing. Clear branding. E-mail
notification. Easy electronic distribution.

Those are the things that get a sale from me.

Now what about you? Play the game several times,
writing out how and why you bought the last few books
you’ve bought. Then analyze the results.

What are the common elements that trigger a sale to

Not all readers are like you, but some of them are. You
might want to get some of your friends to play the
game. Choose friends similar to your target audience.
Look for common elements.

Now here’s the point of this game.

What can you learn from this game about how you should
be marketing to your target audience? Where should you
be putting your marketing effort — your time, your
energy, and your money?

This article is reprinted by permission of the author.

Award-winning novelist Randy Ingermanson, “the
Snowflake Guy,” publishes the free monthly Advanced
Fiction Writing E-zine, with more than 32,000 readers.
If you want to learn the craft and marketing of
fiction, AND make your writing more valuable to
editors, AND have FUN doing it, visit

Download your free Special Report on Tiger Marketing
and get a free 5-Day Course in How To Publish a Novel.





Randy Ingermanson on “naked dialogue” ~ brilliant

Flocon D'été .... Summer Snow Flake

Flocon D’Ă©té …. Summer Snow Flake (Photo credit: gmayster01 on & off …)

This brilliant article is from the “Advanced Fiction Writing E-Zine” of Randy Ingermanson and guess what? He allows to post them so of course I follow his advice and post the blurb as well 🙂

This article is reprinted by permission of the author.

Award-winning novelist Randy Ingermanson, “the
Snowflake Guy,” publishes the free monthly Advanced
Fiction Writing E-zine, with more than 32,000 readers.
If you want to learn the craft and marketing of
fiction, AND make your writing more valuable to
editors, AND have FUN doing it, visit

Download your free Special Report on Tiger Marketing
and get a free 5-Day Course in How To Publish a Novel.


Craft: Naked Dialogue

“What’s naked dialogue?”

“It’s dialogue without any action, description,
interior monologue, or interior emotion.”

“Can you do that?”

“In short stretches.”

“Why would you do that? It sounds stupid.”

“If the main conflict is in the dialogue, then adding
anything else takes the edge off the conflict.”

“I don’t believe that could work. Give me three
examples where you’d use it.”

“Courtroom scenes. Interrogations. Um … can’t think of
a third example.”

“Maybe a Socratic dialogue?”

“Oh, right.”

“So you can actually make this work without even one tag
to tell me who’s talking?”

“If it works, it works.”

“What if it doesn’t work?”

“Then add in the minimum amount of other stuff
necessary to make it work.”

“I suppose you’d call that bikini dialogue then?”

“You’re stretching the metaphor too far.”

“And you somehow imagine this kind of dialogue works?”

“I know it.”

“Could you do a whole scene that way?”

Orson Scott Card did several scenes that way in

“How did the reader know who was talking?”

“Readers are smart.”

“Don’t be ridiculous. Don’t readers have to see at
least one tag so they know the names of the speakers?”

“Not unless they need to know the names.”

“But you’d have to limit it to two people, right? You
couldn’t possibly do this with three people, could you?”

“Hey guys! Whatcha talking about so violent-like over
in the corner? Gretchen, are you practicing your
interrogation skills on poor Grendel?”

“Get lost, Goober. I’m just trying to get the bare

“Whoa, whoa, whoa! I get the message. I’m not wanted,
so I’m outta here. Give her heck, Grendel.”

“So what was your question again? Something about three

“Never mind, I figured it out.”

“Any more questions?”

“Well, naked dialogue sounds difficult. Is it worth it?”

“You have to decide that after it’s all written. You
can always throw the scene away if you don’t like it.”

“Have you ever tried it? In your own scene?”

“Just once.”


“Just now.”

“Oh, man, are you going meta on me? Mixing planes of
existential reality again? You are so weird!”

“Admit it, Gretchen, you love me.”

“That’s it. We’re finished and I’m leaving.”

“It ain’t over till I say it’s over.”

“You can’t keep me here against my–”

“It’s over.”




no matter what…

On Tuesday I had a little Twitter conversation with @ElectricMidnite who was quite frustrated that his writing had not found a lot of readers yet.

And don’t we all know that feeling so well?

I do! When I started blogging no one was interested at all. Well, a few lovely friends have always had a look but it is not the same like having over 20 followers. Yes “over 20” was my first goal ;-). Still can’t believe that phoenixrisesagain has over 100 now. That makes me really happy.

What changed my “success”? Well, for one I read up on SEO which means search engine optimization. Well, still not good at it but I followed a few steps and it seemed to help. I also read up on “how to get more readers for your blog”. The main ideas are: add links to other blogs or pages to your entries, comment on other blogs, and give the readers the possibility to “spread the word” with buttons to post them on social networking. That and my “Thank you project” seemed to have done the trick. It is a question of good organisation though.

Of course we would love to spent all our time sitting on the beach writing our stories and poems but alas earning money with our writing is a business and therefore we have to tackle it like a business. Me myself and I have decided to stay an amateur writer being happy with my blogs and self-publish what I want to publish with Blurb. And taking part in competitions just for the fun of it really.

But I suppose you have to decide at one point how far you want to go with your writing and where you want to go with it. And then teach yourself or do courses. It is not easy to earn a living with writing because there is so much competition and the market is changing dramatically in the internet age.

But the internet is also our best “companion” in getting where we want to be as it offers us the information we need mostly for free. I have always followed my intuition and it usually lead me to where I needed to be at that stage. There are many more or less expensive courses out there nowadays and if you play around with keywords on google or the other search engines you will find what you need. Just get out and do it and do not forget to write. Write, write and write that is the only thing to get you going and get you better.

It has also helped me enormously to register that most famous writers had to do a lot of “day jobs” until they were able to get a living out of their writing. And I suppose most writers today do both. That took away an awful lot of pressure and I started to concentrate on what counted. The writing itself.

I collected some links to give you some ideas of how writers made ends meet and to motivate you not to give up:

Huffington Post

The Millions


The Guardian


@ElectricMidnite’s texts on Insanitysuperman’s Blog are quite raw and genuine. That is what makes them interesting. So please pay him a visit and raise his spirits with some feedback! Thank guys!