What’s in a Name? A Rose is a Rose …

Phone Book photo by Melissa Bowersock phonebk2I’ve just started writing a new book. I’ve had the main idea swimming around in my brain for a month or two, but just in the past couple weeks have I put together some research that is vital to the story, plus some ideas of who the main characters are and what the arc of their story will be. So far I’ve got a couple thousand words down, and within that short period of time, I’ve changed several characters names two or three times.

I love this phase of writing. I love naming my characters. At this point, I will happily, almost giddily, watch the news, a golf tournament, any sports channel with a crawler just so I can peruse the names that flow by. I could very literally sit down and read a phone book for a couple hours and be happy as a clam. For a woman who’s never been pregnant, I have an obscene number of baby name books.

Mahan, Riggs, Spieth, Charleston, Wertzel, Howland, Grogan. I love playing with the names. I test out several for each character, some monosyllabic, some polysyllabic. Why does the number of syllables matter? Let’s play a game. What sounds better? Continue reading “What’s in a Name? A Rose is a Rose …”

Are Traditional Publishers Avoiding the “R” Word?

redhead reading
What about the readers?

A few weeks ago I travelled back in a time warp. I attended a writers festival and discovered there are still some rickety, old fences being propped up by the pomposity of the old gatekeepers.

The writers festival in question is truly a magnificent event. It’s held at a library and the organizers are exceptionally generous in giving time to self-published writers alongside agents and publishers from the traditional world. This was the second year they’ve invited me to speak and a few months previous the same group even hosted me one evening to give a reading. The organizers offer a balanced blend of information for writers. These are progressive people who understand the current state of books and publishing. I sat on an early morning panel and there were five of us. Four were self-published authors and the fifth was a well-known local traditionally published writer who was a nice addition to the group. For sixty minutes we talked about connecting with our readers, working at our craft and producing professional product. We answered questions from the one hundred and fifteen audience members and tried to pass along the information that has been so freely given to us. Continue reading “Are Traditional Publishers Avoiding the “R” Word?”

Why Book Reviews Matter

will work for reviewsRecently, someone I know received one of my books as a gift (thanks, Mom!), loved it, and was kind enough to leave it a five-star review on Amazon. YAY! So, I emailed her to thank her. I told her that I appreciated her taking the time to do it, and that reviews were very important. I received an email back asking why.

That really got me thinking. One reason authors may find it such a struggle to get reviews is because readers may not realize how important they actually are. Continue reading “Why Book Reviews Matter”

BEA 2014 Roundup

Only a small portion of BookCon attendees lined up to catch a glimpse of YA author John Green.
Only a small portion of BookCon attendees lined up to catch a glimpse of YA author John Green.

Holy aching feet, I’m tired. And that was from just one day of walking BEA (Book Expo of America), one of the biggest publishing dog-and-pony shows in the world. Here are some of the highlights, from an indie perspective:

BEA is clearly pinched for cash…or New York is getting too expensive. From the drastic reduction in swag (I could have made a killing selling lanyards for badges) it was pretty clear that participants were tightening their belts. This was the first year that BEA attached BookCon to the program. (Basically ComicCon with books.) Eight million readers paid thirty bucks to hear some of the biggest names in traditional publishing (and some celebrity authors) discuss their work, and maybe get a glimpse or an autograph. And Cary Elwes. Continue reading “BEA 2014 Roundup”