Friday, July 10, 2015

My General Writing and Publishing Advice and Tips

Here’s a compilation of some of my advice:

1. Think Outside the Box: I know it's a cliche, but when I heard that phrase today, I don't think I would have become a self-publisher or independent film producer without it. I remember agonizing about how I would ever get to publish a book. So I sat down one night and just searched the Internet, looking for ways to get published. I found other DIY ways such as online publishers. In filmmaking, I researched what was needed to make a film--cameras, actors, etc, and did it myself. In short, I thought outside the box. What was needed? How do I get it done? it's like building or cooking something--what are the materials or ingredients you need? Can you improvise? What can you use?  Start thinking beyond the ordinary, beyond the unconventional. Imagine. Create. Don't limit your mind. So go ahead--start thinking. Get out of the box, don't get stuck in it. :-) Think outside the box---even if you're actually, um, in the box, as in the case with horror. :)

2. Allow Your Mind Wander. Don't Try to Think Too Hard or Force the Ideas: I get my best ideas when I'm in the shower, doing laundry, or washing dishes or doing simple chores.

3. Frugal Self-Publishing and Marketing: A Simplified List
How I accomplished publishing my novels:
1. Go online and check out self-publishing sites such as and
2. Write your own bio and book descriptions. Check out other author bios and book descriptions online and get some ideas.
3. Design your own book cover, or find an affordable artist, such as art students, or talented friends.
4. Marketing: Use social networking sites. Create online “flyers” with book or project images and web site URL
5. Create a web page for your work.
6. Create a blog for your book.
7. Determine what your niche market is and what your book genre is. Research web sites that you can submit your book to for review.
8. Go online and research press release formats. Learn to write your own. It's basically who, what, why, when, where, and how. Submit your press release to web sites.
9. Learn to create your own online flyers to market the book. Use email to promote your work.
10. Contact libraries or bookstores to set up book signings. Market the event on social networking sites. Be persistent, and learn to toot your own horn. You are your own best publisher and publicist!

4. Staying Focused
Someone asked me recently how I stay focused on one story idea, especially if you have a lot of ideas for a lot of stories. How do you sort them all out? First, I have my "jigsaw puzzle" method that I often talk about. You take folders and notepads. You label each folder with the title of the idea for your story. Example:
a. Mafia Crime Story, 19--s
(Title, if any)
b. Romance Novel (17th Century Love Triangle)
(Title, if any)
c. ScifFi Novel, 1950s (Time Traveler)
(Title, if any)
And so on. Then pick an idea that interests you the most for that day, week, or month. Make a timeline for working on that project. For instance, you plan to work on the SciFi novel for 6 months, and the romance novel for a year because it may require more historical research.
a. Romance Novel (17th Century Love Triangle)
(Title, if any)
b. ScifFi Novel, 1950s (Time Traveler)
(Title, if any)
And so on. Then pick an idea that interests you the most for that day, week, or month. Make a timeline for working on that project. For instance, you plan to work on the SciFi novel for 6 months, and the romance novel for a year because it may require more historical research. Then, get out your notepads. You may have several separate notepads or notebooks for each idea, each corresponding to the folder. Schedule a time each day to jot down notes for each story: outlines, thoughts, plans etc. Don't worry about putting them together. You can lay the notepads or notebooks all out on a desk so that if you happen to be, say, washing the dishes, and you have a thought about one of those projects, you can go over to the desk and quickly jot it down. (after you dry your hands, of course!) This method made me feel more organized and focused when I wrote three books in the same year, all completely different from each other. Think of it this way: if you happen to cook, you file away recipes by dish: Chicken dishes, dessert, and pasta. Each recipe has a title and ingredients. Simply think of your folders as the filing system for those ingredients. You will put them all together later. In terms of priority, say you have a scifi or crime novel, and a romance novel, and you don't know which one to start with first. Think of whether the Halloween season is approaching. If it's February, you may want to start work on the crime or the scifi novel so you have something to announce for Halloween. if the novel is, say, an anniversary gift for your loving spouse, then that's the one you can start on. it depends on how strong your interest is on each subject and maybe the purpose and timing of it. Schedule our writing like you would a job or a chore. You can schedule anywhere from 5 minutes to 1 hour a day. it's up to you, but treat it like an important, but fun and fulfilling, task.

5. Keep it Simple: I often find myself overwhelmed because I have too many ideas and too many projects I want to accomplish. What helps me is simplifying, and narrowing down what each idea really is about. How would I describe the idea to someone in less than a minute? And if I were to write the story down on paper, how would I describe it? Would I tell the story the way someone would clearly understand it? Simplify. Summarize. Simplifying a project helps me make better decisions, especially financial ones. Sure I want a big flashy web site, and I'll write down all sorts of ideas and goals, but then I'll narrow it down to what I can afford both in time and financially. I can link videos. I can make my own graphics. I can design the site in a way that it's simple to update. If I'm short on time, I'll break my films up into "mini-films". Or mini-stories. Again, an example of simplifying. My stories and films are now more to the point.  I also run myself as a business, in addition to the creative work. It seems complicated, but it's actually a simple concept. I make time for my projects and treat them as i would a job. That way, I know that "work" time is for projects and I can break it up into simple schedules and time management. Can I consolidate errands? Can I schedule the more urgent things sooner and schedule other tasks later in the week, or month? That way, I get stuff done little by little, and I feel more accomplished.

6. Keep a Work Journal: I keep a work journal whenever I do projects. It's basically a daily record of what I am doing towards a goal. What have you done today? What have you done this week? It helps keep me on track. For instance, I would write down that I worked on a blog idea for 10 minutes, or I purchased some miniDV tapes for an upcoming film shoot, or that I worked on a short story for half an hour. It also helps me see how much time I've devoting to a project, and helps me keep track of what's working and what's not. if I'm not spending time on something, I may not be as interested in it as I thought. If I'm constantly planning for something, then I am able to record my progress in the journal towards the goal.

Copyright Lia Scott Price

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