24 Black Friday Deals for Writers
As we head into Black Friday and Cyber Monday for 2019, there are some great deals for writers. I think there will be something on this list that will help you become a better, more successful writer.
Of course, Fictionary is offering an amazing deal on Fictionary StoryTeller, along with deals on other writing & editing software, writing courses, & publishing tools from our friends in the writing community.
Note: A few of the links above are affiliate links, which means I’ll get a small commission at no extra cost to you. Others are just deals that we thought were awesome!
Creative Editing Software
50% Off Fictionary StoryTeller
Fictionary StoryTeller makes editing easier by applying universal storytelling structures to every scene. Evaluate and revise your manuscript against 38 Fictionary Story Elements to tell a powerful story readers will naturally connect with.
StoryTeller automatically creates powerful visuals by analyzing your manuscript from start to finish. Insights such as the Story Arc provide a 30,000-foot view of your manuscript and quickly highlight structural areas that need improvement.
Grammar guru, style editor and writing mentor in one package
This is the only time of year that ProWritingAid offers a wide, public discount on ProWritingAid Premium. Click here to get 50% off a lifetime license! Don’t miss your chance.
We all know that there is a lot more to good writing than just correct grammar. ProWritingAid created their software based on the same ideas you would learn in a university writing course.
40% off Novlr
Online Novel Writing Software
50% Off The Novel Factory
Online Novel Writing Software
Use coupon code BLACKFRIDAY to get 50% off until Monday December 2nd. The Novel Factory helps writers become more productive and achieve their writing goals
The Novel Factory Online is the ultimate online novel writing software for writers.
It includes tons of useful novel writing tools, including:
- How to write a novel step by step guide
- Novel writing templates
- Character profile development questions
- Character bio templates
- and so much more
The Novel Factory software can help you achieve your dream of writing a novel – it teaches you the craft of writing, while you complete your manuscript.
40% Off All Software
from Mariner Software
Use coupon code BLACK2019 to get 40% off all software packages until December 2nd.
Unlock your creative voice – explore our line of software with creative writers in mind. Persona helps you get inside your characters’ heads, and Contour helps you take control of your story.
Save 50% on a 1 or 2 Year License
from MasterWriter Software
Click here to get 50%
MasterWriter gives you Word Families, Phrases, Synonyms, Pop Culture, Rhymes, Definitions, a searchable Bible and Figures of Speech (Metaphors, Similes, Onomatopoeia, Idioms, Oxymorons, Allusions and Intensifiers).
While a computer program cannot compete with the mind and imagination of a writer, the mind cannot compete with the word choices MasterWriter will give you in an instant. When the two work together, great things happen…
50% Off Any One Stop for Writers Plan
1 month, 6 months, or 1 year
To take advantage of this 50% off discount, simply sign up, add the BLACKFRIDAY code in the coupon box on the subscription page, and then choose your plan.
Ready to write your best novel yet? One Stop for Writers is a creativity portal that puts powerful storytelling tools and game-changing resources into your hands. Build characters deeper than you thought possible, stories that capture the imagination, and worlds that your readers won’t want to leave. From our hyper-intelligent Character Builder that guides you in creating fascinating characters that come with their own accurate character arc blueprint, to the largest description database for writers found anywhere online, One Stop for Writers isn’t like anything else you’ve seen. This ideal writing partner is there at every step as you plan, write, and revise, helping you create masterful fiction.
25% Off Outlining Your Novel Workbook
from Helping Writers Become Authors – KM Weiland
Use coupon code OUTLINE to get 25% this brainstorming tool for writers. It is designed to guide you in discovering the brilliant possibilities in your ideas, so you can identify those best suited to creating a solid story that will entertain and move your readers.
The Outlining Your Novel Workbook software provides an easy fill-in-the-blanks format that will guide you through every step of the process. Creating your own outline is as simple as starting on the first screen, using the prompts and lessons to work through your story in the most intuitive way, and clicking through the tabs at the top to access important sections.
50% Off the Well-Storied Writing Workbooks
from Kristen Keiffer
Use discount code BLACKFRIDAY to get 50% off The Pre-Write Project, Crafting Incredible Characters, World-Building Warrior, and The Novel Planner.
Stop settling for so-so stories. Get the step-by-step guidance you need to craft truly spectacular novels with Well-Storied’s writing workbooks. All Well-Storied workbooks come in PDF format and can be printed or filled digitally (with the exception of The Novel Planner, which is specifically designed for print).
25% Off all Journals
90 Day Author Success Journal
from Self Publishing School
Featured in the INC 5000 list as one of the 5,000 fastest growing private companies in America, Self Publishing School is an online education company that teaches people how to write, market, & publish their first book in as little as 90 days. Join over 4,527 students who have followed their methodology to go from idea to publication *without *having to deal with traditional publishers.
50% Off Online Video Course
Emotional Mastery for Fiction Writers
from Live Write Thrive
Use discount coupon BLACKFRIDAY to get 50% off at check out on this in-depth course aimed to teach fiction writers how to become emotional masters in showing and evoking emotion.
To be an effective writer, you must master the emotional challenge of our stories. It won’t do to hope we will move our readers in some way. It won’t do to hope we get across our characters’ emotions. By examining more than 40 passages from best-selling novels, with over six hours of instruction, you will learn techniques to masterfully reveal character emotion and spark emotional response in readers. Enrollment in this online course includes lifetime access and a 30-day money-back guarantee. Join the thousand+ students who master the craft of fiction writing in Writing for Life Workshops online courses!
50% off the Conquer Writer’s Block course
Use discount code BLACKFRIDAY11 at checkout to get 50% off this course for non-fiction writers who want to become more prolific.
Conquer Writer’s Block is ideal if you want to start writing a story or book, but you don’t know where to start, have lots of great ideas inside of you and just want to let them flow, have set and missed writing deadlines and want to finally do something about it, and want to discover how New York Times best-selling authors write and approach their creative projects. Avoid putting pressure on yourself to write 500 or 1,000 words a day and instead to set a target that works!
50% Off the Journal for Change course
from Your Writing Coach
Use coupon code CHANGENOW to get 50% off this class that will help you start a journal for writing success.
The act and activity of journaling is what helps writers unfold and unpack the aspects of their lives that were or were not working. It is the writing itself that is transformational.
50% off Grow Your Author Platform course & the bundle
50% off the course or the bundle with the coupon code BLACKFRIDAY19
The Building Your Author Platform bundle is for the author who is struggling to effectively market their book and grow their audience and fan base. There is nothing worse than working hard to create a well-written, edited, fantastic book only to have it completely flop when you launch it. This self-paced bundle of courses will help authors:
- identify their target audience
- learn how to position themselves to grow the audience
- grow the email list and social media platforms
- receive expert guidance on tools and ways to market a book
NaNoWriMo Courseware Bundle for $109 (reg. $1800)
from Dave Farland
David Farland has trained more than a dozen #1 New York Times Bestsellers. Now it’s your turn: Get David Farland’s popular courses: The Story Puzzle, Writing Mastery 1, Writing Mastery 2, Promising Starts, and Magnificent Middles, along with seminars like Publishing in 2020, and books like Million Dollar Outlines and Writing Wonder . The bundle gives you 1 year of access for only $109.
40% off A Grammar Refresher Online Course
from Grammar Lion
Good grammar doesn’t make good writing, but good writing demands good grammar. Elevate your writing and editing skills. More than 43K students have learned from course creator/instructor Ellen Feld. In this online classroom, when you ask grammar questions, you get grammar answers!
FREE Premium Add-ons for Life and 10%
discount on the Plus Plan
Use coupon code BLACKFRIDAY2019 for Free Premium Add-ons for Life along with a 10% Lifetime discount on the Plus Plan to create unlimited images.
Book Brush is a platform that provides an easy way for authors to create professional looking ads and images for social media featuring their book covers.
$100 Off 100+ Printed Books
Use code 100OFFBOOK at checkout when you order over 100 books.
Why print your book with BookBaby? Our formula for great custom book printing is very simple: BookBaby is a book printing company staffed by professionals utilizing the world’s best book printing and binding equipment. While every individual book project is different, the results are always the same: eye-popping colors, crisp and even ink coverage, quality paper stocks, sturdy, tight book binding, all carefully packaged and delivered to your door. With over 50,000 projects successfully delivered last year, we know what authors require and expect from their book printer.
Free Title Setup for Print or Ebook
Use Promo Code NANO2020 for free title upload on a print book, ebook, or both!
IngramSpark® is an award-winning independent publishing platform that offers the same fully integrated print and digital products and global distribution services enjoyed by big-time publishers. Once you finish and format your book, IngramSpark makes it possible to share it with the world. It’s your content. We help you do more with it.
50% Off Pitching 101
for Freelance Writers
Get 50% off top freelance writing business coach Carol Tice’s proven methods for finding, contacting, and getting hired by better clients!
Freelance writing business coach Carol Tice shows you exactly how how to quickly find lists of good prospects, locate a contact email, and write a winning pitch — and get hired! . Includes pitch templates!
40% off Earn More Monday as a Freelance Writer
from The Write Life
Use discount code BLACKFRIDAY at checkout to get these 9 strategies for increasing your income.
This guide will help you ditch your entry-level writing jobs and land higher-paying clients. The 49-page ebook also includes a sample pitch email.
50% off 30 Days to Freelance
from Freelance University
Click here to get 50% off “30 Days to Freelance Freedom” – a 10-step success system to launching and growing a profitable freelance business from anywhere.
This 30-day video-based program will guide you step-by-step through the process of setting-up, managing and growing your freelance writing business. It includes 10 practical modules taught by a 16-year freelancer veteran. It also features over 50 easy-to-follow videos along with relevant guides and checklists to help you put into action all you are learning. The program is designed for the new and experienced freelancer who is looking to uplevel their success in 2020!
$100 Off Courses
from Transcribe Anywhere
Transcribe Anywhere trains aspiring transcriptionists to work from home with their high-quality, affordable transcription training.
Multimedia, self-paced course. Video tutorials, worksheets, printable PDF cheatsheets, tons of practice with multiple levels of difficulty to really prepare you for the job, tips, tricks, and step-by-step how-to from a 30+ year transcription veteran instructor, lifetime support, lifetime updates to course material .
30% Off Essay Writing
How to Find the Story in You – and Sell It
from Amy Paturel
Use promo code ESSAY at checkout to learn how to come up with salable essay ideas, craft compelling essays, and get your most personal stories published.
This 6-week, self-guided course will take you through every step, from essay idea to salable piece. You’ll learn how to grab readers (and editors), journal your way to essay ideas, identify the critical elements of a salable essay, critique your own essays and incorporate feedback from others, pitch and submit essays. A parting gift: A spreadsheet loaded with more than 130 relevant markets, including editor contacts.
Why not check out Fictionary’s StoryTeller free 14-day trial and tell powerful stories? Get your Black Friday deal by starting your free trial and then entering coupon code BLACKFRIDAY19. No credit card required unless you love StoryTeller as much as we do and decide ro subscribe.
Like to learn more about StoryTeller, check out our blog StoryTeller: Creative Editing Software for Fiction Writers.
Alliance of Independent Authors
I’m now an author member of the Alliance of Independent Authors. Already, I’ve met other writers, their private Facebook group is a great place to ask and answer questions, and their members only blogs and podcasts are a wealth of information.
As many of you know, I’m the CEO of Fictionary, so I love to share information about my company. I’m proud to announce Fictionary is now a vetted, trusted Partner Member and affiliate of Alliance for Independent Authors (ALLi).
Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi), is the global non-profit association for writers who self-publish. Part of ALLi’s remit is to take self-publishing education and advice out to the wider indie author and publishing community.
There are lots of other great benefits too — you can find more on the Alliance’s website: HERE If you do join using the link, ALLi will refund me 30% of your first year’s fees. And as a member, you’ll then be able to recommend the alliance to your friends — and get the same benefit.
We’re proud to be a partner member because this means Fictionary has been vetted by ALLi’s Watchdog Desk team and adheres to ALLi’s Code of Standards.
The Watchdog Desk is headed up by indie author John Doppler and supported by ALLi Directors Orna Ross and Philip Lynch, and News Editor Dan Holloway.
The Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi), a great writers’ organization and I thought you might like to join too. Love to see you in an ALLi member forum soon!
StoryTeller is creative editing software for fiction writers. Transform your story, not just your words. Successful stories depend on your ability to edit, improve, and revise your work. Only when you master story editing, can you master storytelling.
Why not check out Fictionary’s StoryTeller free 14-day trial and tell powerful stories?
If you’d like to listen to an in-depth discussion on story editing, check out Story Edit Like A Pro.
Two Powerful Editing Tools for The Smarter Novel Writer
Today, I’m wearing my Fictionary CEO hat and sharing an awesome offer we’ve put together with ProWritingAId.
Fictionary and ProWritingAid — Two powerful editing tools that work beautifully together for just $99 (a $260 value).
- Fictionary makes story editing a breeze.
- ProWritingAid ensures your writing is clear and polished.
Until May 29th, get annual subscriptions to both Fictionary ($200) and ProWritingAid Premium ($60) for just $99.
The ProWritingAid Team Loves Fictionary!
Read their great app review here..
What if I’m already a ProWritingAid Premium user and just want to buy Fictionary?
We’ve got you covered. Click here to get 1-year of just Fictionary for $89 (reg. $200) with coupon code PWA89.
What if I’m already a Fictionary subscriber and just want to buy ProWritingAid?
We’ve still got you covered. Click here to get 1-year of just ProWritingAid for $30 (reg. $60)
ProWritingAid: Grammar Guru & Style Editor
In case this is your first introduction, ProWritingAid is an online grammar guru and style editor.
Exceptional writing depends on much more than just correct grammar. You need an editing tool that also highlights style issues and compares your writing to the best writers in your genre. ProWritingAid does this.
Read our review and see how ProWritingAid Premium works within Fictionary. You can perform a story edit and polish your words all in one place.
ProWritingAid Premium: All of ProWritingAid’s editing power; no limitations.
If you already know and love the ProWritingAid editing tool, we thought we would take a moment to remind you about the extra perks you get when you go premium:
1) No word count
If you don’t write that often, you will probably get along just fine with their free version and its 500-word limit. If, however, you want to analyze full chapters, articles, reports or essays and get a wider overview of your work, then ProWritingAid Premium is for you.
The team at ProWritingAid has done a great job integrating their premium version with other tools. Besides working online, you can also use ProWritingAid on your desktop, as a browser extension, as a WordPress plugin, in Google docs AND in Fictionary. So yes, we’re pretty excited about that — both as authors and as Fictionary.
3) Full Word Explorer functionality
Their Word Explorer has fast become one of their most popular and most-used features. Premium users get a more in-depth exploration of their vocabulary, sparking creativity and more dynamic word choice.
Still unsure? Take a free trial of any of ProWritingAid’s integrations here.
Fictionary: The Story Editing Tool for Fiction
Developed by Kristina Stanley (me), best-selling author and editor, Fictionaryhelps writers tell better stories with online software that simplifies and automates story editing.
Story editing is an in-depth manuscript evaluation that improves the structure, characters, plot, and settings of your story. A must-do step when you’re revising your manuscript.
How it works
Fictionary analyzes your entire manuscript and creates powerful visuals such as the Story Arc and your Cast of Characters. 11 additional reports help you visualize your story like never before.
Fictionary then guides writers through a scene-by-scene evaluation of their manuscript against 38 story elements and provides insightful rewrite tips for improving your story exactly when you need it.
Fictionary works seamlessly with the ProWritingAid Chrome extension. That’s right, you can use Fictionary and ProWritingAid at the same time! Learn more at Two Powerful Editing Tools.
Story editing is complex and time consuming. Fictionary makes it easier and faster to turn your first draft into a story readers love.
Do you need to test out Fictionary first before buying the bundle? Start your 14-day free trial, but remember the offer with ProWritingAid is only good until May 29th, 2019.
Be your own editor, tell better stories.
20 Ways to Populate Your Blog to Engage Readers by Donna Galanti
20 Ways to Populate Your Blog to Engage Readers + a Special Promo to Launch Your Author Platform
by Donna Galanti – founder YourAwesomeAuthorLife
If you share your publishing journey and writer’s life now to connect with readers, they can become your built-in audience later once your book comes out – and faithfully follow you as you publish more books.
Blogging is an ideal way to connect with these potential readers. It can boost your website in search engines as you continue to post more content within it, encourages sharing of your content across social media platforms, and invites readers to engage with you in your own forum.
Here is the number one key I have found to engaging your readers through blogging: blog about what you are passionate about.
Check out 20 ways to engage readers:
- Conduct interviews with characters in your book.
- Do joint giveaways with other authors.
- Share favorite current books you’ve read and feature them.
- Write about your thoughts on topics in your book.
- Share your book research process.
- Share your publishing journey.
- Do an interview with similar authors to you.
- Share fun book trailers in your genre.
- Create a soundtrack for your book and share it.
- Clean out your bookshelves with books in your genre and do a book giveaway post.
- Write about a current event topic that you are passionate about or inspires debate (but decide how controversial you want to go).
- Feature the settings in your book. Are they real places? Use photos, too.
- Write a How-To post that explains how to do something related to being an author.
- Interview other authors in your genre or invite them to write a guest post on a topic of interest.
- Do an opinion post about a topic that is trending.
- Promote the peers who have influenced you most in your writing.
- Review things in the story-telling arena like books, movies, theater and especially ones that are timely in the media.
- Create a round-up of favorite authors, blogs, movies, or books that might interest your readers. Or it could be a roundup of your most popular posts since you began your blog.
- Take a survey of your audience on a topic of debate that may be an issue in your book.
- Give advice on how to do something your readers will be interested in.
GO THE EXTRA MILE WITH BLOGGING:
If you’re a debut author, search online for “debut author” and the “year your book comes out”. You could find a debut author group to join that cross-promotes each other as debuts and helps you gain new followers. Often, these groups have a co-op blog where all the debut members can share content. Here’s a recent example. You can also search Goodreads for books in your genre/audience with your same book release year and reach out to these authors to connect and form your own debut promotion group.
Another way to go the extra mile, is blogging with more “evergreen” topics. These are topics that remain relevant over time and inspire readers to continue to share your posts with this timeless content.
Your homework! Time to get out the pens (or laptops):
- List authors you know or want to connect to and invite them as a guest on your blog in an interview or guest post and feature their recent release.
- Look through your bookshelf and list like-new books that you can use as a giveaway. Make sure they are in the genre and audience you write for.
- List topics, themes, and issues in your book that you can write about.
- List authors you know that you could reach out to do a joint giveaway with to cross promote each other and build best-fit followers. One way is to join a blog hop to expand your followers. Here’s another joint giveaway example I did that had 12,770 entries and gained me several hundred followers across my subscriber list and social media platforms.
- What are some recent favorite reads, movies, or T.V. shows you’ve experienced? List them here to share your reviews.
- What are some current news items connected to your book that you could talk about? List them.
- What research did you conduct for your book? Talk about how you did it (travel, interviews, etc.)
- List any real settings in your book you can talk about and share your personal experience of them in person along with photos.
- What do you feel comfortable sharing about your writing and publishing journey? List these topics here.
Now, it’s time to start blogging and sharing your writer’s journey with your readers!
Want to know more about how to connect with a reader audience?
Donna released her new online course this week, Launch Your Author Brand & Platform, a 10-Step Author Marketing System to Build Brand, Connect with Readers, and Sell Books. In this step-by-step marketing system, you will learn exactly how to plan, create, and launch your successful author brand and platform – even before your first book comes out.
There are no prerequisites to this course! This course is designed for debut authors, new authors looking to boost their platform, or any writer seeking publication. Normally $129.99 USD, Donna is offering readers here a special course launch discount of only $19.99 USD! Get the full course details and special price here.
What’s included in Launch Your Author Brand & Platform:
✓ 10 Step-By-Step Lessons
✓ 15+ Awesome Bonuses (video and downloadable PDFs)
✓ 7 “Bigger Than a Bonus” Meet the Experts (insider secrets to success from the Masters – other authors!) training on goodies like do’s and don’ts for new authors, agent advice, book club visits, public speaking and more
✓ Each lesson includes Rookie Mistakes to Avoid, Myth Busters, and How to Go the Extra Mile!
The $19.99 USD price is limited to the first 250 students to enroll. Expires May 28, 2019. Enroll now.
Donna Galanti is the author of the middle grade adventure Joshua and The Lightning Road, which the Midwest Book Review called, “A heart-pounding thrill ride full of unexpected twists and turns from start to finish”. She’s also the author of the follow up, Joshua and the Arrow Realm, is a contributing editor for International Thriller Writers the Big Thrill magazine, and a writing contest judge at nycmidnight.com.
She regularly presents as a guest author at schools and teaches at writing conferences on marketing and craft. When she’s not writing you can find her on Twitter or Facebook where she loves to share all things about her outdoor adventures and children’s books. Donna has lived from England as a child, to Hawaii as a U.S. Navy photographer, and has had a long career in corporate marketing. Visit her at donnagalanti.comor yourawesomeauthorlife.com.
The Author’s Guide to Selling Books To Non-Bookstores
Woo Hoo! I’m thrilled to announce Fictionary Press has published the second edition of The Author’s Guide to Selling Books to Non-Bookstores.
Today, it’s available on Kobo. Soon it will be on all platforms.
If you’ve got printed books you’d like to see to non-bookstore, fiction or non-fiction, this guide will help you 🙂
Imagine walking into a grocery store, gift shop or other non-bookstore and seeing YOUR book for sale. This wonderful experience is within your grasp—if you’re bold enough to pursue it.
Selling to traditional bookstores and making a profit can be extremely difficult, but there is an alternative. In this step-by-step guide, best-selling author Kristina Stanley will show YOU how to move beyond the bookstores and sell to other retail outlets. Every step is detailed, from formulating a plan to collecting money.
Stanley speaks from experience. She’s sold more books through non-bookstore retail outlets than through traditional bookstores, and YOU can too. Read on, and turn your dream into reality. Success is within your reach.
If you read on Kobo you can buy it now.
Margaritas, Mayhem & Murder
It’s an exciting month to find new books to read. This December, my fabulous publisher, Imajin Books is having a sale.
I thought it would be fun to share the books with you, so you can buy yourself a present or give the gift of reading to friends or family. I’ve read everyone of these books, and they rock.
Who doesn’t want to read about Margaritas, Mayhem & Murder? That’s sound fun, right? Ok, maybe not the mayhem and murder…
To keep with the fun theme, I’ve asked the authors to tell me something fun about themselves. You’ll find that below.
First up is author, Mary Cunningham.
Margaritas, Mayhem & Murder – Andi Anna Jones Mystery # 1
Andi’s step-mother is a real piece of work! But is Ruby a murderer?
Andi Anna Jones, so-so travel agent/amateur sleuth, puts aside her resentment of her father’s widow and books a 60th birthday cruise to Cancun for Ruby and three friends. Never does Andi imagine the cruise will lead to the murder of a has-been lounge singer—or that Ruby will be the main suspect.
Flirting with more than danger after arriving in Mexico, Andi connects with the charming local sheriff, Manual Rodriquez. After an embarrassing night involving the sheriff, too many margaritas, and a Mariachi band, a chance to check out an eyewitness to the murder leads her to Las Vegas.
In Vegas, a mysterious meeting in the Bodies Exhibition, a body preserving in the prep-room, and an evasive owner of a dance studio, give Andi clues to help Ruby. But when Andi is mercilessly drugged and locked in a storage room, she realizes dear old step-mom isn’t the only one in jeopardy.
A confession from the author:
Andi Anna Jones, mediocre travel agent, with an inferiority complex about her job, her looks, and her single status, discovers her “inner sleuth” in Margaritas, Mayhem & Murder.
Keeping with some excellent advice I got years ago, to “write what you know’, her character and job are loosely based on a horrifying stint I had in North Miami Beach as a travel agent. I was truly awful and would duck down behind my computer whenever a customer came in the door.
Fortunately, I worked with a fabulous agent named Ellen who recognized my fear and would usually jump in to help when I got stuck. In honor of Ellen, Andi’s sidekick and true manager of Graves Travel Agency is Ellie. She saves Andi’s butt in the same way Ellen saved mine. The only thing Andi finds irritating about her assistant is that she always calls her, Jonesy.
I hoped writing the book will help exorcise the experience from my memory by giving Andi a positive course for her curiosity and love of a good mystery.
Purchase Margaritas, Mayhem & Murder:
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Mary_Cunningham_Margaritas_Mayhem_Murder?id=0jU8DwAAQBAJ
Find Mary on Social Media:
Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/marycunninghambooks/
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B002BLNEK4
Imajin Books: http://www.imajinbooks.com
Who Will Read Your First Draft And How Do You Help Them #AuthorToolboxBlogHop
When I finished the first draft of my first novel, Descent, I was exhilarated and terrified. Exhilarated because I’d accomplished my dream of writing a novel, and terrified because I now had to share it with someone.
My lucky husband got to be my first beta reader. He understood how important my story was to me. He’d be kind yet helpful. So I took a deep breath and hit the print button.
I couldn’t be in the same room with him as he read. That was just too stressful.
Once he finished, he gave me one of the most useful pieces of advice that I still use today. It came in the form of a question.
“Do you know you start every scene in a doorway?”
I hadn’t noticed that. His question made me do a full rewrite of every scene, looking at the opening. This is when I discovered the term in medias res — start in the middle of the action.
Now, before I share my story with anyone, I check the beginning of each scene and choose the opening carefully. I try to open with a hook for each scene.
As the years have gone by, I’ve had many beta readers and received a lot of valuable advice, comments, and questions. I couldn’t write the way I do without these precious people.
What’s a Beta Reader?
A beta reader is a person who reads your manuscript before it’s published and provides you with feedback on your story. The feedback is usually on characters, plot, and settings. (Although you may get comments on copyediting and proofreading, too.)
A helpful beta reader gives you honest feedback, positive or negative, that you use to improve your story.
An ineffective beta reader says, “That’s a nice story. I liked it.” While that feels good, it doesn’t help you write a better story.
Tips for Getting Useful Feedback
Convincing friends to give you honest feedback is difficult. People who care about you usually don’t want to hurt your feelings and may be worried about beta reading.
Questions like “What if I don’t like the story?” or “How will I tell you if I find something I don’t like?” may swirl around their heads while they’re thinking of a way to say no.
Make sure your readers understand you won’t be hurt or offended by negative feedback. Feedback on what’s not working is the only way for you to tell a better story.
To make it easy for your beta readers to know what you want, provide a list of specific questions or instructions. This will help your reader know what you want from them.
I ask beta readers to do or answer the following:
- Mark anywhere you skim. This is an easy way to know that the writing is boring.
- Did you get confused on who a character was? Maybe you need more clues or dialogue tags.
- Did you lose track of who was speaking? I like to write with minimal dialogue tags, so this is critical.
- Note anytime you suspect a character of being the villain or know the ending. This helps to determine if you’ve done enough to too much foreshadowing.
- Mark each passage where you stopped reading. Get your beta readers to mark this each time, even it was to have dinner, go to work, etc. If all your beta readers put the book down at the same passage, there may be a problem with the story.
- Did you notice any story inconsistencies? To help your beta reader, give them an example of what you mean. I read a story where a dog was left at home in one scene, and in the next scene, the dog was still with the owner. The author had forgotten where the dog was.
- Avoid asking for copy editing or proofreading from beta readers. It’s ok if your readers notice errors and point them out, but what you want at this stage is input on your story, not on the grammar or typos.
Make Your Beta Reader Feel Special
Once you’ve put a lot of time into finding helpful beta readers, you want to keep them for your next book.
The first time a beta reader gives you negative feedback, thank them. If you make the suggested change, let them know. A beta reader will put a lot of effort into reading your story and seeing that their comments resulted in changes can be very satisfying.
When you ask someone to beta read, make it easy for the author by asking what format he/she would like to receive the manuscript in. I offer a PDF file first, but some prefer a printed copy and others mobi. Some like to receive manuscripts in .docx format as it’s easy to convert and read on a Kindle. I try to send the manuscript in the format the beta reader prefers. I believe it’s a sign of respect for the person.
In the acknowledgment section of your published book, thank your beta readers. Mine all love to see their names in the book.
Make your beta reader feel really special and send them a signed copy of your book once it’s published.
Let us know if you have any suggestions for working with beta readers. We’d love to hear from you!
Perform a Story Edit Before Sharing with Beta Readers
Fictionary is online software that simplifies story editing. Fictionary will help you evaluate your story on a scene-by-scene basis. You’ll be able to focus on problem areas in your manuscript and improve it quickly. Then your beta readers will be impressed!
Why not check out Fictionary’s free 14-day trial and tell better stories? We don’t ask for a credit card until you’re ready to pay, so there’s no risk.
Thanks for reading!
Selling Books To Non-Bookstores #Sale
The Author’s Guide To Selling Books To Non-Bookstores is on sale. You can get it for 50% off through Smashwords.
Published by Imajin Books
Imagine walking into a grocery store, gift shop or other non-bookstore and seeing YOUR book for sale. This wonderful experience is within your grasp—if you’re bold enough to pursue it.
Selling to traditional bookstores and making a profit can be extremely difficult, but there is an alternative. In this step-by-step guide, I’ll show YOU how to move beyond the bookstores and sell to other retail outlets. Every step is detailed, from formulating a plan to collecting money.
I sold more books through non-bookstore retail outlets than through traditional bookstores, and YOU can too.
This was my favorite moment with the Author’s Guide…
11 Steps to Find and Connect with Other Authors in Your Genre #AuthorToolboxBlogHop
Thank you, Raimey Gallant for organizing the #AuthorToolboxBlogHop.
This is a monthly blog hop on the theme of resources/learning for authors: posts related to the craft of writing, editing, querying, marketing, publishing, blogging tips for authors, reviews of author-related products, anything that an author would find helpful.
To continue hopping through other great blogs in the monthly #AuthorToolboxBlogHop or to join, just hop on over to Ramey Gallant!
This week, I’ve chosen to do something a little special for everyone.
Even before you publish your first book, building an online network will help you when the exciting moment of releasing your novel to the world arrives.
Today, Donna Galanti, an expert in building a network for authors, is here to share her advice and she has a very generous offer for you (you can find it at the bottom of post).
11 Steps to Find and Connect with Other Authors in Your Genre
-by Donna Galanti
I’ve befriended many bestselling authors, online and in person, who want to help new writers. They’ve advised me, allowed me to guest post on their blogs, and have written blurbs for my work. They pay it forward. Someday you will too.
Remember, this is all about community and you are an author (or will be!) and you need to surround yourself with your author community. You are a member of the party now. And every party needs people to make it successful! 😊
Act respectful, professional, and positive in your reaching out to other authors and they will reciprocate. These people can be your biggest influencers when it comes to industry advice and connections with agents, editors, and publishers.
First — how to FIND Comparable Authors
1. Start with authors you are familiar with in your genre and connect online and in-person.
2. Conduct research to find other successful authors in your genre. Create a list from this and research these authors to connect with online.
3. Are you a debut author? Connect with other debut authors. Search online for “debut authors” and the year your book releases, plus “your genre,” to locate comparable debuts. On Goodreads, search in Lists for debut books by year and genre to match yours.
4. Go to the Amazon page of a similar author in your genre. Click on their books and scroll down the page to see books readers also bought like theirs. Hop on over to those book pages and check out those authors to see if a good fit for you to connect with as well.
Second — How to CONNECT with Comparable Authors
5. Add new author connections to a special private Twitter list called “Comparable Authors” and connect with them there on a regular basis and give them a shout out.
6. Engage on their Facebook author pages with useful, positive comments. Share their posts to your audience.
7. Comment on their blog posts with a useful remark or refer to something that you connected with in their post. This is a helpful tactic to draw the author and their followers into a conversation there, and they may connect back to your website and follow you online.
8. Connect via a conference, book event, or convention. In connecting with authors online, check out their events page to see what events they may be attending in person. Are any local to you or ones you have an interest in also attending? Be sure to connect in person at the event. Share why you love their books or follow their blog. Ask them a question that shows you’re interested in their work or ask for their best bit of advice for new authors on how to build a reader audience. Email them or post on social media after the event, letting them know you enjoyed meeting them and thank them for their time.
9. Ask the authors you engage with to guest blog on your blog. Authors love to be interviewed and provide guest posts, if they have time. It’s exposure for them and you — and content for your website!
10. Ask if YOU can guest blog on their blog and pitch an article idea that fits their audience (most folks love content for their blog!). I’ve had authors on group blogs ask me to fill in their monthly date spot if they are too busy, like The Kill Zone and Jungle Red Writers.
11. Join a group of debut authors. Start your own group if none! A book marketing collective is a strong way to help boost other authors and your own books. There is power in numbers. Banding with similar authors is a wonderful way to reach potential new readers while building a writer community as a resource
Be Sure to Avoid This Rookie Mistake:
Spamming an author’s Facebook wall and tagging them with your book or other promotion.
Go the Extra Mile:
Reach out to co-author blogs in your genre and ask if they are accepting new members as well as guest posts.
Banding with similar authors is a wonderful way to reach potential new readers while building a writer community as a resource.
Have you banded with other authors to build your influencer network? What worked for you? What are you willing to try that you haven’t done yet?
Donna Galanti is the author of the bestselling paranormal suspense Element Trilogy and the children’s fantasy adventure Joshua and The Lightning Roadseries. She is represented by Bill Contardi of Brandt & Hochman Literary Agents, Inc. Donna is a contributing editor for International Thriller Writers the Big Thrill magazine and regularly presents as a guest author at schools. She’s lived from England as a child, to Hawaii as a U.S. Navy photographer. Donna has long been a leader in the Mid-Atlantic writing scene as a workshop presenter. She’s taught on writing craft and marketing at writing conferences, retreats, regional writing organizations, and colleges and is also a writing contest judge at nycmidnight.com. Donna also loves teaching writers about building author brand and platform through her free training series at yourawesomeauthorlife.com. Visit her author website at donnagalanti.com
Special Promotion For Writers!:
Donna is offering a special deal just for Fictionary readers. Get 50% off Donna’s online course, Create Your Awesome Community for Debut Authors. Are you a debut novelist or a writer seeking publication? Then this course is perfect for you.
Create Your Awesome Community for Debut Authors (CYAC) is Donna’s proven complete step-by-step system designed to take you by the hand (as in step 1, step 2, step 3) to create community by connecting and collaborating with readers and writers for author platform and brand success. Reach more readers and sell more books! No ambiguity or confusion. Literally, step-by-step nothing is left out.
Create Your Awesome Community for Debut Authors includes instant access to:
- Kick Butt Step-By-Step Modules
- 15 Awesome Bonuses
- 7 “Bigger Than a Bonus” Meet the Experts (insider secrets to success from the Masters!)
- Lifetime access and login 24/7 (it is all digital + downloadable so you can log in to access the content and download the course and take it with you on the go)
For all the course details, including a peek in-depth into each module and bonus, and to take advantage of this 50% off special deal visit:https://www.createyourawesomecommunity.com/special
Why not check out Fictionary’s free 14-day trial and turn your draft into a story readers love?