Monday, November 21, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving

It's Thanksgiving week, which, in the wild world of law school means I'm studying all week.

Just wanted to wish you well before I fall into my inevitable carb coma.

Have a terrific Turkey Day with friends and family~

And if you are running a Turkey Trot - good luck and stay warm!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

TBT: Shopping This Weekend? Buy a Book (any book)

It's that time of year - the time where we go crazy for deals. If you're going shopping (either at a brick and mortar or online) don't forget to support your favorite authors.



In today’s brave new world of publishing it can be easy to pit indie pub against trad pub in a real, Katniss-vs-The Capital sort of way (can you tell I just saw Mockingjay Pt1? LOL). And although that can be fun, I’m not sure it's entirely accurate.

I think it can be easy to believe Authors, especially those with fancy, trad published books at your local book store (be it big or small) as just another cog in the wheel of big business. After all, they got an advance(maybe), they get royalties (possibly), they have a big 5 house backing them and doing their marketing and publicity….right?

No. Not right. Not all the time, anyway. Not even most of the time.

Authors are a small business of one. Yes, even those who contract with a big 5 publishing house to make their book. Still a business of one.

If the Author chooses to hire an agent (that’s right, I said the author chooses to hire the agent) then great, business of two. It’s the Author’s revenue that supports the Agent (and don’t get me wrong, Agents, from what I can tell, are worth every penny). If the Author chooses to hire an editor in addition to the agent, now you have a business of three. It goes on and on from there.

The author is the creator of the product. Everyone else is contracted by the author to represent, polish, fabricate, sell, or market that product the author created. And more often than not the Author is spending their own money on some or all of these services (marketing, editing, publicity, travel, you name it, they spend on it).

Authors are CEO’s of their own business (and sometimes more than that – sometimes they are CEO, COO, VP of Marketing and Distribution, etc. etc.) The publishers, whether indie or trad, are vendors hired by the Author to produce the book. That’s how I like to think of it anyway.

Somewhere along the way we stopped seeing authors as entrepreneurs and shifted into seeing them as something…else.

Well, not all of us. Chuck Wendig has been calling himself an author/entrepreneur for a good long while. *tips hat to Mr. Wendig* If I had a beard I would scratch it in your honor, good sir.

I say all of this as a reminder that this weekend, after the turkey has been devoured by you and your family, and you’ve pulled yourself out of bed at an unholy hour to go shopping , we shouldn’t forget to support an Author.

Shopping Friday?

Buy a book. Any book.

Shopping Saturday?

Indie pub’d? Great. Buy it.

Trad pub’d from a local bookstore? Still great.

Shopping Monday?

eBook? Awesome. Buy it.

Online bookstore? Still great.

Because with each and every purchase some of that money is flowing back to the author. The small business at the heart of it all.

Can't afford to buy a book? Consider supporting an author another way.

This weekend, get out there and support an Author.

Want more about Author as entrepreneur? Check out these posts:

Supporting Small Business

Self Publishing Truism Bingo by Chuck Wendig

Check The Box: Do You Want To Be Your Own Publisher, Yes Or No? - by Chuck Wendig

Thursday, October 20, 2016

TBT: What Really Makes A Character Strong?

National Novel Writing Month is right around the corner and as you're prepping for the annual write-a-thon you may want to consider character. As in, what makes a strong character. Because it's the strong characters that really stick with us.

Below are some thoughts on strong characters and what it takes to write one.



I’ve seen some posts recently about what it takes to craft a strong character. Specifically, strong female characters. Probably the best stated post about this subject comes from Chuck Wendig over at Terrible Minds. (Go ahead and read his post, then come back here).

What I love about Chuck’s strong character theory is that the key is agency. Strong characters have to have it. Don't know what agency is? Check out his post Just What The Humping Heck Is Character Agency Anyway.

I agree that agency is vitally important in the characters we build. Stories are flat without characters who can enact change in their world. We mortals can relate to characters in stories who have doubt or fear but we look up to characters who choose to act in spite of that fear and doubt. It’s the action that makes a hero.

For me, what makes a character ‘strong’ is their decision to act. It’s what the character faces and chooses to overcome that makes them strong. At least for me.

Some of my favorite ‘strong’ characters in TV:

· Mindy from The Mindy Project – Sure it’s a comedy but Mindy chooses to move forward and chase the things that are important to her (even the silly things). Her choice to follow her dreams is what makes her strong.

· Felicity from Arrow – I’m always drawn to ‘normal’ people in ‘super hero’ shows/movies because their ‘normalness’ makes their choice to act more powerful. Felicity is that powerful normalness. The quiet hero.

· Tara from Sons of Anarchy – She faces horrible circumstances and what she does with those circumstances makes her strong. She's not strong all the time, which I think makes her more interesting. Example, Season 1 Tara would never have said 'I don't need a boy to handle my shit.' She has growth throughout the story which makes her one strong cookie.

· Daryl, Maggie, Glen, and many more from the Walking Dead – I love this show (even though I haven't kept up on the last season). There are so many different strengths to see in this show it's impossible to pick just one fave (but if you made me pick I'd choose Daryl, of course).

Some of my favorite ‘strong’ characters in recent reads:

· Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins – a Romance!! Yes, characters in romance novels can be strong. Lola is strong. She chooses to follow her heart – even when that choice means pain.

· Maggie from the International School series by Chanel Cleeton – Maggie travels oversees for school and chooses to have the time of her life. Her choices lead her into some challenging and steamy situations.

· Ava from the After the Rain by Renee Carlino – Ava is haunted by personal tragedies but she chooses to grow and live. It's her choice to bravely love herself again that makes her a strong character.

· Anna from the Sweet trilogy by Wendy Higgins – She faces enormous pressure (internal and external) from both sides (evil and good) and what she chooses to do in the face of that pressure is what makes her strong.

Those characters stand out as 'strong' for me. What do you think?
How would you define a ‘strong’ character? Share your favorite strong characters from books/tv/film here.
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