A novel plot outline for your story (FREE fiction writing template!)

A few years ago I made the Plot Dot – my simple 8 step outline for writing novels, with the major dramatic twists most stories need to hit. I always wanted a more in-depth plotting outline and cheatsheet, but there’s so many conflicting story structures out there… this week however, I managed to put together a 24 step chapter outline …

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Why writing a book is like baking a cake

  Let’s say you make cake, but you don’t want to conform to a type of cake. You create an epic masterpiece, but it’s not quite chocolate, or carrot, or red velvet… it’s a mashup of everything, with layers and structure and everything is new and different. It’s ART. But now that it’s done, how do you market it – …

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Can you really write a GOOD book in a month?

Almost always, if an author isn’t selling, it’s because their page isn’t converting. You need 3 things to succeed, a great blurb, cover, and enough reviews to offset skepticism. I can help you fix those things; I can also help craft your pitch or hook – which is critical for your amazon page. I can also do keyword and category …

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Book marketing on Instagram for authors (swag, ARCs, book boxes and more)

Author Jessica Pierce does some amazing Instagram promotion and wrote this awesome post about it. I often get asked questions such as, “Jess, what the heck is this Instagram stuff and how can I use it to sell my YA book?” or “Plz halp me because I don’t get Bookstagram.” Have no fear! I’m not the end-all-be-all expert, but I …

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Facebook changes rules for book promotion – [ACCOUNT SUSPENDED] :0

I’m reposting this news to give it a signal boost – concern was raised by author Katie M. John who shared this image:   This is alarming, since so many of us use Facebook as part of our book marketing and promotion strategy. Katie wrote a great summary so I’m posting it here: Okay, I’ve seen the beginnings of a wildfire and …

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Find the work you were meant to do (dream jobs with Pam Slim)

Recently I’ve been going through an identity crisis. I know what I want to do, and what I’m good at, and what I enjoy. But increasingly I’m becoming less relevant to my audience (“Great Derek, you want to write books and travel full-time. But how can you help ME?”) On the one hand, I’m finally able to focus on my …

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What’s your story? (Your story is not your product)

I’ve been thinking about story this year. Partly, because I’ve been struggling with selling digital products in a way that’s authentic to my brand. But also, because – as a fiction writer – I SHOULD be good at this stuff. According to Story Telling Made Easy, “every time someone pays you, they’re making an emotional decision.” I always resisted telling …

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Art has Value, Real Artists Don’t Starve, and other Shocking Truths

I heard someone say recently, “there are too many marketers and not enough artists.” As someone deep inside the publishing industry, however, I find the opposite to be true. Recently I went to a writing conference – there were over 500 writers. All of them wanted to be artists: they made the work and now were trying to sell it. …

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Best books on writing and creative entrepreneurship

I started this blog in 2011 and did nothing for a year except read all the books on creativity. It was research for a manifesto, but the more I read, the more fascinated I became with the subject. After another 5 years of freelancing, building digital products and working as a creative professional (my income comes from things I make …

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Perennial Seller: a media manipulator talks book marketing

This morning I did an interview on writing fiction and we discussed, among other things, whether writing faster books leads to inferior quality and whether writing to market creates inferior art. These are real conversations, and though I would answer “no” to both, I’m often challenged by thousands of passionate creators who very firmly believe “YES.” The conversation prompted me …

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How to get your book on Oprah – A LONG SHOT COME TRUE

This is a guest post by author Miantae Metcalf McConnell – I was so impressed she got her book featured in Oprah magazine, and I asked her to share what that process looked like.   Every month O, The Oprah Magazine publishes a list of books that they recommend to their readers, a “Top Ten List” situated in the magazine’s Reading …

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How to write a book introduction or preface (masterful persuasion techniques from Think and Grow Rich)

Recently I’ve been learning about story. Specifically, using story architecture like a Trojan Horse: getting people to pay attention and disarm resistance, so that you can give them enough information to start liking (sympathy) and trusting (credibility) you. Because if they don’t like and trust you, they won’t keep reading – but unless you start with story, they won’t pay attention enough …

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How To Organize a Barnes & Noble Book Signing for your Self-Published Book

Note from Derek: I usually tell authors not to bother with in-person stuff like book signings because it’s too much work, and to focus on online stuff instead… but book signings can be FUN – and doing a signing in Barnes & Noble (or any “real” bookstore) feels more significant, like a milestone or bucket list item. So when I saw …

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