June 15, 2021

“Books for Writers,” An Editorial by Lorraine Martindale

“Books for Writers,” An Editorial by Lorraine Martindale

Books for Writers Though writing is solitary art, it’s also communal, and we all have favorite authors that teach and inspire us. Here’s a list of books I read often to gain deeper understanding how to write and edit my work. The Writing Life by Annie Dillard What is this writing life? Annie Dillard asks. “You climb a long ladder until you can see over the roof, or over the clouds. You are writing a book. You watch your shod feet step on each round rung, one at a time; you do not hurry and do not rest. Your feet feel the steep ladder’s balance; the long muscles in your thighs check its sway. You climb steadily, doing your job in the dark.” Like her celebrated work, Dillard illuminates the writing life with intelligence, humility,…

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May 30, 2021

May Edition of “The Break from HOKAIC”

May Edition of “The Break from HOKAIC”

Jason’s Notes From the Lab …So, I started Instagram.  Long-time readers of my work know that I recommend choosing two social media platforms and owning them (as opposed to spreading yourself thin across all the platforms available). For the longest time, for me that was Facebook and Google+. But then Google+ stopped operating. Which left me looking for a second home. I kept trying Twitter and LinkedIn, but honestly kept sucking at both of them. I have not yet figured them out. But I seem to be getting some solid traction with Instagram. For better or worse, here’s five things I’ve learned so far.  Use Video. My videos are performing 2 to 3 times as well as my images alone. Whether that’s a posted video, something on my story, a Reel, or IGTV. In June I’m…

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April 25, 2021

April Edition of “The Break from HOKAIC”

April Edition of “The Break from HOKAIC”

Jason’s Notes From the Lab… This month I tried something new. I’d heard about other writers doing it, and tried one as a sort of rough draft to some success. I’m sharing the details and results here with you, so if you want to give it a shot you know how.  Who is this for: authors with self-published books and a mailing list. What is this: a giveaway sweepstakes to gather new emails for your list The Details: Here’s what I did. I found a bunch of other authors with mailing lists who write in genres related to mine. We all kicked in $25 for prize money and advertising. Our genre was safety, specifically family safety, and we gathered a library of 13 safety books, plus some supplies and even a AAA membership for the prize bundle.  For…

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March 30, 2021

March Edition of “The Break from HOKAIC”

March Edition of “The Break from HOKAIC”

Happy end of March! This month has been really, really busy. I’ve been up to a lot of things, some of which will show up lately in pretty cool ways. For now, with y’all, I wanted to share the five most important things I learned (or was reminded of) this month. Do some little marketing task every day. If you’re self-published, there’s lots of options. If you’re going traditional, build inroads with editors and agents.  Perfectionism might be our greatest enemy.  Sprizzy and Social Growth Engine are two services that help promote videos. SGE seems to work much better, even if they feel much sketchier to the user.  It’s amazing how far people are willing to go to help you if you just ask them for help.  Our second greatest enemy is probably working on…

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October 28, 2020

October Edition of “The Break From HOKAIC”

October Edition of “The Break From HOKAIC”

Editor’s Note: We’d like to welcome back our new monthly feature bywriter, writing coach, and longtime FC barista, Jason Brick. Here’s his October edition of writing news from around the web. Greetings all! As many of you know, I run a weekly newsletter of useful, fun, or amusing pieces of writing industry news called The Break From HOKAIC. As writers and lovers of writing yourselves, The Fictional Café thought you’d enjoy some highlights for your information and entertainment: ASU posted a list of the common traits among the best writers 7 Hacks to help you start writing A cute article about writing for kids while you’re raising some How to organize an effective writing group How to write better dialogue The latest salvo in an ongoing discussion about trans rights and author responsibility A great video on…

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