Five Links 3/3/2020 Traci Kenworth

Image by Enrique Meseguer from Pixabay

Five Links 1/18/2020

Traci Kenworth


1. “I’ve always loved the energy of a New Year. It’s alive with intentions and goals and the buzz of a fresh start. This New Year feels even more special because it’s the start of a new decade too. With that in mind, do you know where you want to be in ten years? What do you think 2030 will see you doing? 

I spent years dreaming of writing full-time but it wasn’t until I developed a money mindset that the dream of quitting my day job became a reality. This post outlines some of the tips and tricks I used to set myself up, which I hope will help you move into the next decade able to make your dreams a reality too.

Tip 1: Know What You Need”

2. “I wasn’t going to write this post. In fact, I just told a friend that I didn’t see a point in writing this post for 2020, but she knows me well enough to know that if she asks the question, my mind will turn it over and over and over, and I might come up with an answer.

Or at least, a blog post.

She asked if I was going write blogs on the American election year, specifically as it relates the writing and publishing business. I wrote several posts on the effect of a U.S. election on sales back in 2016 (start with this one) and she hoped I would do more in 2020.

I hadn’t planned to. As I’ve looked ahead to 2020, my focus has been on my businesses as one thing, and the election as something else. Since I live in a state that will vote third in the presidential primaries/caucuses, I’m already immersed in the election season—from the waves of ads on television to polling phone calls to requests that I use my copious spare time to volunteer.

Our focus on politics here in Nevada started in April of last year, when the first candidates showed up (including the president and his people), and it really hasn’t slowed down.” I agree. Keep your focus on your writing, even if there comes a book slump this year with all the distractions.

3. of you know that Angela and I are super excited about One Stop for Writers and how it simplifies the writing process for authors. So when we get notes from writers going on about One Stop’s tools…well. Icing on the cake. Rodney Buxton recently reached out to let us know how much he appreciated the Scene Maps tool and the ability to export his One Stop tools to Scrivener. He was so excited, he asked if he could write a post about it. So of course we said yes…

For my first novel, I took the pantster approach. It worked, I finished the book, but it took forever. I wrote scenes I didn’t need; I wrote myself down dead-end paths. I quickly realized this wasn’t the way for me.

For my second novel, I wrote an outline of scenes with one sentence to describe the basic action. This worked much better, but there were still scenes I needed to add, a lot of thinking I had to do about why the characters were doing things, and what would move the story in the right direction. Fast forward to my discovery of One Stop for Writers’ Scene Maps.” I use One Stop for Writer’s tools for all my writing. You should check into them!

4. “Readability is a critical part of editing that doesn’t get a lot of attention.  Whether we’re imparting instructional analysis or immersing readers in elaborate fantasy worlds, knowing our audience’s preferred reading level is key.

What is readability?

Readability formulas are calculations which are written to assess the reading level necessary for the reader to understand your writing easily.
Readability refers to how easy and enjoyable your writing is for the reader.

Good readability can make a reader quit in paragraph 1 or race through the whole story, so consider readability to make your work sparkle for readers.

Writers Rock When They Meet Reader Expectations”


Research & Fun Bits:

1. “Free graphic design tools have had a huge impact on my business. One big change in the last few years has been recognizing the importance of branding… and doing something about it too, I guess. Because I was always somewhat aware of the role branding plays in marketing but really fell down in the execution.

Which is a nice way of saying my branding was awful.

That’s no slight on the designers who turned out excellent work for me. My book covers were great, for example, I just didn’t have a coherent vision across my titles which was then parlayed across websites and Twitter headers and email graphics for brand cohesion – or knew why that was so important.

These days my site looks more professional, and the branding lines up with that of my books, social channels, and newsletter. And I’m quite proud of it as I handle all of it myself. Well, almost – I still outsource book covers. But I do the rest, and the funniest part about that is that I’m not remotely artistic in that sense; I couldn’t match colors if you paid me and can’t draw a straight line with a ruler.”

2. “Jeanne Veillette Bowerman, Senior Editor at Writer’s Digest, has a presentation called Pitch Perfect that lays out terrific suggestions on how to prepare for a live pitch. I was asked to join her in presenting Pitch Perfect at the Writer’s Digest Annual Conference last year because the Pitch Slam is where I met my own agent (the amazing Stacy Testa of Writers House). So I’ve “been there, done that”! Here, I’ll summarize some of the highlights of our presentation.

Several writing conferences across the country offer the opportunity to pitch your book idea to agents and sometimes an editor or two. It often has a cute name; at the WD Annual Conference it’s called the Pitch Slam; the San Francisco Writers Conference calls it Speed Dating. Generally, you’re offered a short amount of time (for example, 3 minutes) to pique the interest of a literary agent, and then you move on to the next agent.”

3. “Written Word Media (WMD) recently published a must-read article with the top publishing industry trends for the new year, written by Clayton Noblit. I am sharing here a summary that includes their main points.

1. Audiobooks will continue to gain popularity, and more indie authors will invest

A 2019 survey revealed that half of all Americans over the age of 12 have listened to an audiobook in the past year. Additionally, audiobook listeners trended younger. Fifty-five percent of listeners were below the age of 45. The survey stats showed an increase from 2018, and the expectation is that audio will continue to grow.”

4. “Yesterday, I had some frustrating issues with WordPress over logins, comments, and verification codes.

That generated five posts on this blog, as I expressed my frustrations, warned other bloggers, and finally told everyone it was resolved.

Late last night as I logged off my PC, I checked the stats on my blog for that day. Despite not having posted the episode of my fiction serial, and only posting about my blogging woes, I was amazed to see that it was my biggest day EVER for views on this blog, after more than seven years.

Well over 600 views in twelve hours, beating the previous busiest day by almost seventy views.”


Some Things More Serious:

1. “Are you and your books stuck on the school bus like bubble gum under a seat, riding around in circles? If the royalties you earn barely cover a daily cup of coffee, I have a solution that can help. I’m here to tell you how to un-stick yourself by getting into the schools as part of your marketing campaign to sell books.

What many people don’t know is that writers who are able to earn a living do so by giving presentations related to the topic of their book, or to the craft of writing. I am a children’s writer. School visits are something I have added to my marketing strategy. They’ve yielded a nice chunk of change.” This sounds like a lucrative market, but I admit I’d be a bit afraid because of my anxiety in crowds. It’s not that I wouldn’t love to be able to get up there and talk but my stomach would be in such knots I’m not sure I could. I suppose we all share the fear of public speaking unless we do so regularly for our jobs.


3. “So, you say you have a dream, Mr. Martin Luther King Jr. of prospective fiction (or nonfiction) writer. Well, so do I, and so do millions of others around the world. That is to write a book, but not just any damn book: a book that will be good enough to publish.” I want quality as well but be careful you’re not out to write “the great American novel,” because that way ends to failure. You can’t please everyone.



Teaser Fiction & Poetry:






Book Reviews, Cover Reveals, & Author Interviews:

1. “I am over at I Read What You Write blog with a guest post: Characterization: Katharine de Montacute, one of the ghostly characters from Through the Nethergate, and there is a lovely review of the book included. Thank you to I Read What You Write for hosting me and to Great Escapes Book Tours for organising this tour. You can find the details here:

2. “Please welcome Chad Harp to my blog. Good morning Chad. Have a seat and a cup of coffee and we will get started. 

Introduce Yourself:

My name is Chad Harp. I’m an Author from Philadelphia and I’ve been writing books for over 30 years.

Has writing always been part of your life and when did you “know” that it was time to start writing your first book?

I realized that writing was my gift when I was in college. In my sophomore year, I took a course that required me to write a publishable historical perspective – and I succeeded. The article I wrote about Margaret Corbin appeared in The Washington Post on Memorial Day 1991 (when I was still a senior in college). That success led me to write several more historical pieces, which ultimately appeared in newspapers and magazines across the country.”

3. “So many stories, all tied together with strings of unsaid familiarity. ‘One for Sorrow, Two for Joy’ is a collection of eight beautiful tales penned by Goan writer, Tino de Sa. Tapping into his Goan ancestry, each of the tales carried the common link of a nursery rhyme with the namesake of the title of the book. Themes of sorrow and joy, girls and boys, silver and gold, secrets, food, drink, wishes, kisses and messages – are what make up the stories. 

I have read a few culturally inspired collection of short stories, and this book is definitely one of the best. Each of the stories, though similar in presence, culture and story-telling, are so varied in the emotions and the endings it offered. The rhyme ran along with each tale, and they gave the much-needed connection by binding them together. The stories had a lesson, however subtle. I truly loved the ambience and the narrative tone. The blurb, coupled with the book cover, is sure to draw in readers.”

4. “There are a fair number of posts on the internet about how to rustle up book reviews.

  • We can add a plea to our author’s pages.
  • We can give away copies of our books (with a disclaimer stating that a review is optional, of course).
  • We can research top reviewers of books like ours, make lists, send emails, try not to be annoying.
  • We can pay to add our books to lists where potential reviewers can download copies.
  • We can hire marketing professionals.
  • We can badger, beg, remind, reward, and ask nicely.

I browse the web once in a while, looking for the miracle formula.

You guessed it – I never find it.

However, I did find a Goodread’s Review Group and have participated several times in Reading Rounds. Their process is “Amazon Approved” because the reviews aren’t reciprocal.  I actually like this no-fuss process. The reviews are honest, timely, and just about guaranteed.”

5. “Starting at the top left is my main character, Asher Solomon.  What can I say about Ash?  He’s suffered some hard losses in his seventeen years – more than anyone his age should ever have to experience.  He’ll sacrifice himself to protect those he cares about and hostages taken by The Colony, but makes it very clear to his team that preserving lives while accomplishing their mission is a priority.

Rescuing hostages and fighting Colony soldiers requires an Insurgent to be in top physical shape.  Quick reflexes and hand-to-hand combat training could be the difference between life and death.  Ash and his team train rigorously several times per week.

The bottom right picture will remain a mystery.  Is it Subject A36?  Another mystery character?  You’ll have to read the book to learn the answer!

Meet Brynn, Asher’s girlfriend and a member of his Insurgent team.  She’s also the sister of Asher’s best friend, Noah (who you’ll meet next week).  Brynn doesn’t do casual relationships, and very few people are granted access to her inner circle.  Earning her trust doesn’t come easily.  Once you’re in, it’s for life, and she loves fiercely and unconditionally.  Asher has a strong need to save everyone, but Brynn keeps him focused on who he can realistically help.

The last image is of the abandoned warehouse that serves as the Insurgent.”

8 thoughts on “Five Links 3/3/2020 Traci Kenworth

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