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I’ve long been a follower of C.S. Lakin’s excellent writing blog: livewritethrive.com, which includes tips, ideas and training pertaining to writing and the writing life.

This is where I heard about The 12 Key Pillars of Novel Construction. As a plotter, I love techniques that add framework to my writing process.

12 Key Pillars does just that. It helps the writer pre-think the most important facets/aspects of a novel before launching into the actual writing. The four main pillars—the four corners that hold it up—are as follows:

  1. concept with a kicker
  2. conflict with high stakes
  3. protagonist with a goal
  4. theme with a heart

Add to that keys 5 through 12, a downloadable worksheet for each chapter, and some time, and we have an exceptional resource for planning a novel. Lakin offers lots of examples of books and movies that use the concepts she outlines. She also uses analogies: just as we need a solid base on which to construct a house, so a novel requires structure and strength to ensure quality. As a visual learner, I found these word pictures very helpful.

Once we know the basics, have thought them through and dug deep to answer the questions C.S. Lakin sets out, we are free to write the first draft with a lot more purpose and direction than we may have had previous to reading this book.

I have read and studied this book, and filled out the worksheets, and I personally recommend it to anyone who is seeking excellence in novel structure.

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“Starting your book is only the first five miles of a twenty-six-mile marathon that’s one-third of a triathlon (authoring, publishing, and entrepreneuring).”

― Guy Kawasaki, APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur

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Hello fellow writers and publishers,

Since the completion of my first indie publication, my focus has been on marketing. Oh joy! I’ve spent a good amount of time studying the topic through online courses and video presentations.

One of my favorite sites is LiveWriteThrive, an excellent writing blog by C.S. Lakin. Take a look at her current and past blogs for whatever fictional element you are studying.

I’ve also become aware of some good writing and publishing courses through Shelley Hitz of Author Audience Academy.

A few of my main conclusions from these various lessons are:

  • Selection of genre categories plays a huge part in book accessibility and sales
  • It’s important to identify niche genres that sell well but don’t have tough competition, as well as larger categories (requires a balance here)
  • It’s important to narrow our focus to target a specific audience rather than casting too wide a net
  • It’s important to understand how to analyze books in our niche genre with regard to cover design, keywords, and description, so we can categorize our books alongside best sellers in that genre
  • It’s important to keep praying as we do our best to follow trends and suggestions
  • Amazon marketing can be elusive, and sometimes downright ridiculous. For example, the first edition of my book, Other Side of the River, is currently listed at $1009.67 (for the paperback). Wish I could share in the royalties for that sale!

I am seated precariously on the wagon of building my email subscriber list. I have questions as to how assertive I want to be in collecting subscribers, because I react negatively to pushy emails. So that’s something I’m still working on.

I came across a suggestion to do one thing every day for three years (yes, it said years) with regard to marketing my book. Yesterday (May 16) I emailed reviewers of my first edition and asked them if they would be so kind as to transfer their reviews to the site of the current edition. Sometimes Amazon does this automatically, sometimes not.

Here’s one more thing required from the indie author: legal deposit of every form of your work. In Canada, where I live, I was directed to Library and Archives Canada—Legal Deposit. Since my print book is POD (print on demand), I was only required to send in one copy of my book. Make sure you check this out according to the law of the country in which you reside.

I found out that for the print version, I was able to send a gift copy to the address in Ottawa (gifting seems to be available for print books on amazon.ca but not for digital format). That meant purchasing the book and paying for shipping, but it was fairly easy to accomplish this online. In the process, I spent a few minutes on the phone with a lovely French woman. She was so much fun to talk with, which is highly unusual in the arena of governmental beaurocracy, that I just had to call her a second time!

For the digital format, all I had to do was send a .pdf copy of the book after registering with the digital records division.

Meanwhile, I think the best thing I can do as an indie author is to get back to work on the sequel.writer-1129708_960_720

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