Episode 171 – “Don’t Write Like We Talk!”

By Damien Newbie Writers Podcast Comments Off on Episode 171 – “Don’t Write Like We Talk!”

The Newbie Writers’ Podcast


Don’t Write Like We Talk

Image from: http://www.123rf.com/photo_20356191_retro-microphone-on-the-air.html

Stuff we’ve learned over the last three rough draft years.

Mary Radu –Live Smart after 50

It is good to collaborate with a group on a book project – this can lift up the all the other authors. Make sure you include an author who already has a following and some clout.

From Nina Amir author of How to Blog your Book and The Author Training Manual

Many people think it’s easy to become an author. It’s true that today almost any writer can change his or her status from aspiring to published author. More ways exit to self-publish a book than ever before. And it’s still possible, albeit harder, to become an author by traditionally publishing a book. But few people produce bestsellers.

Two hundred million Americans want to transform themselves into published authors by self-publishing or traditionally publishing a book. Yet, the small percent of the U.S. population—just two percent—who actually do publish a book must compete with the 620 million books published in 2013. Once in a store, readers have to find that book. Amazon stocks more than 12 million books. And self-published books never make it into a store.

With that type of competition, and promotion left to authors, it’s no wonder the average print book today only sells about 250 copies per year. Ebooks only sell about 560 copies per year. The only way for a writer to succeed—to produce a book that sells an above-average amount of copies or becomes a bestseller—today is to create a marketable book.

Powers Molinar – Spartanica

Use your own name for God’s sake.

Oh, and read to your child – like Powers many authors wrote books based on the stories that their own children demanded night after night.

Rachel Nabors – Don’t do what you love.

We were intrigued by our guest, Rachel Nabor’s blog post, Don’t do what you Love.

Here is some of that post, originally shared on Medium:

I don’t like advice like “Do what you love and the money will follow.” Not because it isn’t true, but because it’s a monkey’s paw: it’s true under the right circumstances with the right people, and for everyone else, it’s just bad advice.

I used to make comics for a living (these comics, right here), and I gave out similar advice and professed similar goals: If I just tried hard enough, I’d make it doing what I love, making comics for a living. If anyone was less successful then I was, well, they must not have been trying hard enough.

To an extent it worked! I won awards, had hordes of fan girls, a weekly syndicated web comic I got paid for (very well by comic industry standards, too). I thought I was doing great doing what I love.

And then it all ended.

She recommends getting a job in a related field that pays the bills, THEN spend time doing what you love.

I agree, but only because I coach writers with full time jobs with a side of passion.

Don’t design your own book covers.

On working with your partner – Betsy Talbot author of Married with Luggage

Betsy and Warren Talbot not only travel together, they work together and managed to stay together at the end of the work day.

We asked how this is possible.

Betsy gave us a couple ideas:

Stay curious

Play to your individual strengths

Love food and wine (shared passions)

Ellen Sussman – Author of A Wedding in Province

On book tours – they are not all they are cracked up to be. Low attendance and a lot of work – don’t fall for the glamour. She recommends blog tours as being as effective, and you don’t need to get dressed.

Betsy Fasbinder – Fire and Water

Her advice to me was: talk like you write – I need to pause at all those commas.

Some insider Tips from the very generous Brenda Knight, with Cleis Press and Viva Edition

Your book must sell. You need to prove you are an influencer and your book will sell well – the sales people in the publishing house have all the power.

Before you publish, do your best to start writing for one line magazines, blog, get a column on your specialty. Get people to share your work. Quantity matters and followers (in the thousands) matter.

Yes, you can offer up a self published book to a more traditional publisher. If that self published book sold in the thousands, they will take a look.

Comp title, which means an easy way to help a publisher figure out where your book is coming from is to compare it to like books. But don’t overreach, your book is probably not the next War and Peace and I hope it’s not the next Fifty Shades of Grey.

Laurie King – author of the travel Memoir- Lost, Kidnapped, Eaten Alive

The market for Travel writing has changed and Laurie attributes that change to the internet, like pretty much everything else. Her advice to Newbie Writers is to create the articles about your travels, post them, gather a body of work, and then start pitching those articles to magazines or web sites. Money? This is not a way to make a living, not anymore.

We are sorry to bring you this news.

Word of the week


with Anu Garg

After a recent appearance of the word duoliteral in A.Word.A.Day, reader Maurice Herson wrote:

Please, please, let’s have a week of duoliteral words, pretty please. I’m sure you can find better ones, but let me start off with id, ex, bi (is this a word now?), do (followed by re, mi, fa, etc. — no maybe not that one), do (as in do, does, did), go … If you’ve got a Scrabble buff there, they’ll know lots.

Theoretically, there are 676 (26×26) possibilities for duoliteral words in the English language. Of these, only about 100 are real words. And, of those hundred, maybe five are interesting. Well, that’s all we need for a week, so this week we’ll present five words, each with only two letters.

Another reader has suggested featuring one-letter words, but I’ll give that a pass.





1. A mouth or an orifice. [plural ora]
2. A bone. [plural ossa]


For 1: From Latin os (mouth). Earliest documented use: 1859.
For 2: From Latin os (bone). Earliest documented use: 1400.

Tortured Sentences:

78. [From “Personal Finance” in the Toronto Globe & Mail]

If both of you do not consent to an automatic split, the spouse who belongs to the pension plan will retain the whole pension. You are then limited to trading off other assets like spouses in British Columbia, Alberta and Newfoundland.


What is the best advice you’ve ever had? Do you even remember it? Who delivered it? How was it delivered? If you were to give your younger self some advice, what would it be?


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