Analyzing Videos – An Amazing Way To Improve Your Writing

Improve Your Writing

By Analyzing existing success stories!

an·a·lyze
/ˈanlˌīz/

Verb

  1. Examine methodically and in detail the constitution or structure of (something, esp. information), typically for purposes of explanation…
  2. Discover or reveal (something) through such examination.
Synonyms: analyse – decompose – construe – dissect – anatomize

There are many tricks, and techniques, that writers use to improve their craft. Today, I would like to talk about one that perhaps you hadn’t thought of – YouTube.

YouTube is one of the world’s most comprehensive websites, for entertainment, ideas, and in this example, an education. You can use their video uploads to find book trailers, book reviews, book readings, movies, movie trailers, movie reviews, comedy sketches, television shows, scenes from television or movies, music videos, poetry readings, etc.

Do you see a common theme here?

They all involve writing!

This is how I like to use YouTube. I research successful examples of writing and analyze them. This is easy to do because you can filter your search results by rating, views, genre, title, industry, and keywords. When you find a video whose ratings, and views, are high, you can bet the farm that there are nuggets of golden information for you to mine from that writing.

Let’s give it a try!

I searched: television, situation comedy, less than 4 minutes run-time. The list came up, and I zoomed through it until I found something that looked interesting.

Here is what I chose –

This particular television show is one of the most successful situation comedies on TV today. Now, you might be saying to yourself, “I could just watch the television show. Why do I need YouTube?” And you’re right, if you’re interested in writing comedy, you should watch the entire television show series. These writers are doing everything right – much can be learned about writing comedy by studying their methods.

The reason I’m advocating the use of YouTube is because it covers many genres and styles of writing. Plus, it saves time. Let’s say you set aside twenty minutes a week to do your YouTube research, in that short period, you could locate videos, watch them, and make notes on writing techniques, and you’d still have time for lunch before you get back to that work in progress! If you find a video that is particularly interesting, you can bookmark it,: and then you return to it over and over. You can also stop the action as you make your notes, or, replay it instantly.

Let’s breakdown this scene

And see what we can learn from it.

(I’m going to illustrate by using notations from my research)
  1. Opening scene – life as usual. Three very different women sit in a car talking. One is mousey. One is bold. One is eccentric. (varying personalities) They have skipped out of work to go to Disneyland.
  2. Comedy elements – The absurd situation of adult women skipping work to go to Disneyland for a princess make-over. The eccentric woman’s over-the-top efforts to escape from work. The bold woman’s lack of concern over deserting her job. Conflict – they argue over who gets to be Cinderella. Funny – the mousey woman turns belligerent over her desire to be Cinderella. Funny – mousey woman pulls a ‘junior high trick’ by threatening to pull her car (toy) from the plan.
  3. Descriptive elements – Eccentric woman – Big Mouth, overtly expressive – happy, facial tics that look like the cat that ate the mouse, slumped shoulders, leaning forward in excitement. Bold woman – Set jaw, distant eyes, lips closed, sarcastic expressions, back straight, little head movement. Mousey woman – Eyes set, business-like expression, some smiles (as a character she fits between the other two – creating a well-rounded character group), at the end of the scene the mousey woman snaps and turns mean (again well-rounded characterization, nobody is all nice or all bad).
  4. Dialog highlights -“Throwing up like a fire hose .” – Excellent metaphor / strong visual impression. “And now I’m going to Disneyland!” – Excellent comedic play off an old phrase that many people would recognize. “I work at The CheeseCake Factory. I said, Bye.” – Funny because of its lack of caring. (Give your characters things they care about and things they don’t care about.) “You’re kidding right? We’re not going to just get drunk and go on rides.” Funny because it creates a mild conflict between the characters expectations of the day. (Give your characters different expectations about the same situation.) “We can’t all be Cinderella.” An unexpected twist – all the characters instantly come to the realization that they want the same thing – conflict. “Well it’s simple. This was my idea. I’m driving. I’m Cinderella. You bitches got a problem with that, we can stop the car right now.” Character change – The mousey woman goes completely out of her normal element in making this statement. (Comedy comes from unexpected change.) Make your characters do something unexpected.
Scene Two – Disneyland
  1. The women are now at Disneyland.
  2. Comedy elements – The women are now dressed as Disney characters, colorful flowing dresses, unusual hair, overt make-up. (Remember to include visual descriptions that will allow your reader to see your characters.) A woman pushing a stroller passes. (Funny because it highlights the absurdity of their situation. Disneyland is geared toward families, not adult women wearing fantasy costumes.  (Think of small clues to add to your story, that are outside the main story-line, yet support your idea.)
  3. Descriptive elements – The eccentric woman and the mousey woman are having fun. The bold woman sits off to the side,by herself, eating popcorn. – conflict (This is a good use of subtle conflict simply by their placement within the scene.)
  4. Dialog Highlights – “I’m Doctor Fowler, and I’m a neuroscientist.” (The professional title does not fit the situation. It creates comedy.) “From an early age, we girls are taught to care about the way we look, rather than, the power of our minds.” (What makes this funny, and quite powerful, is her actions do not match her words.) “Unless you want to be Cinderella.” (This is great because it returns to an earlier funny moment. It supports it and builds on it. Don’t let your characters experience an important situation in a story and then never bring it back up. That would make it unrealistic and lessen the importance of the original event.)
Scene Three – The Aftermath
  1. Overview – Scene three completes a story arc. The comedy comes from the disparate reactions of the men.
  2. Comedy elements – Each husband / boyfriend of the three women returns home from work to find their significant other dressed as a Disney character. (The comedy is derived from their reactions.)
  3. Descriptive elements – When the mousey woman tells her husband that there is a surprise waiting for him. He reacts by hoping that she is dressed as Cinderella. This is a twist and a reveal. We now know that this is a fantasy of their’s, and the mousey woman had an (ulterior motive) the entire time. (Give your characters hidden motives for their actions – reveal those motives late in the story.) As the husband crosses the room to her – this is a superb example of body motion as a comedic element. He galloped across the room, his belly undulating like jello. The Bold woman’s scene creates comedy from her boyfriend’s unexpected response. The mousy woman’s situation creates comedy by her boyfriend’s lack of response. It’s three disparate views, of the same set-up that bring laughs.
  4. Dialog – “Please be Cinderella. Please be Cinderella.” (Unexpected reaction. Desperation.) “What are you doing?” (Unexpected reaction. Exasperation.) “I heard you the first time.” (Expected reaction. Lack of empathy)

Here is what we learned from a simple breakdown of this YouTube video!

  • Even a scene, or a situation, should have a complete story arc.
  • Comedy is derived by unexpected situations or expectations.
  • Each character should have a distinct set of personality traits, but these traits can, and should morph with an unusual situation.
  • Give your characters distinct physical attributes, and they don’t always need to be pretty or handsome.
  • Create metaphors that are extremely visual but fit the scene.
  • Give your characters things that they care about and things that they don’t care about.
  • If there are multiple characters in a scene give them different expectations over the same set of circumstances.
  • Include elements (such as the family passing by in Disneyland) outside the main scene to add realism.
  • Let your characters act differently than what their dialog indicates.
  • Use character placement within a scene to create tension.
  • Don’t let an important event happen in your story and then let it disappear. Return to it later.
  • Have different characters react differently to the same set of circumstances

Not a bad education for twenty minutes of effort!

I am very opinionated about the craft of writing, and life in general. But… I am well-tempered with an enthusiasm for debate. Please leave comments, even the ugly ones, I dare you.

You can follow me at

Facebook     Twitter     LinkedIn     Pinterest     Amazon

I’m also an avid reader. If you desire success in your writing career, you should be too.

I’m currently reading, “Unexplained Mysteries of World War II”, by William B. Breuer

All my best on a beautiful day in South Carolina.

They Said, I Said, You Say

Writing Tips By Famous Authors

I would like to try to make this blog a more interactive experience for those of you who read my articles. My goal is to establish a relationship with you. If I could parlay some of my knowledge to you and learn from your experiences as well; that’s the perfect scenario!

Authors and Readers Interacting

In an effort to try to garner that kind of interaction, I thought that I would create this post (even title it) with the hope of inducing my readers to leave a comment.

The Game

The Game

The Game

Here is what I am going to do. I’m going to list several of my favorite quotes, by famous authors, on the craft of writing. These quotes come from world-renowned authors. We can pretty much assure ourselves that they know what they’re talking about.

But, as with everything else in this world. We all have an opinion. What works for one individual, may not work for another. So, I’ll state their quote, give my opinion on the subject discussed in that quote, and finally, I’m hoping to hear back from you, (my readers), on what your thoughts are.

I would also like to hear some of your favorite quotes and how they influenced you.

Here we go!
Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
― Oscar Wilde

This quote, by Oscar Wilde, really resonates with me. As a writer who reads a lot of work by emerging authors, I see way too much repetition, by that I mean, writers who write in a style , theme, or on a subject that is already in widespread publication. By publication, I mean books, stories, movies, and television. A good example of this in recent years would be the vampire theme. While, I do believe that imitation in art is a good training tool. I also believe that work produced this way should be retained for your own benefit, don’t attempt to publish it. Submit only work that reflects the uniqueness of you. Does that mean you can’t write a vampire story? No, it means don’t write one that reads like the many others that are already published. And just to clarify- If you change your vampire, so that he is half vampire, and half werewolf, and he works as a plumber, but your plot line is exactly like Twilight; that’s not enough.

famous author quotes

Photograph courtesy of biography.com

“Don’t tell me the moon is shining, show me the glint of light on broken glass.”
― Anton Chekhov

This one means a lot to me for several reasons. One, I am guilty of this myself. Two, I also see it in many of the stories I read seeking publication. Have you ever heard the phrase, show don’t tell? That’s what Mr. Chekhov is talking about. Authors have a hard time understanding this concept and an even harder time incorporating it into their stories. The difference between showing and telling is engaging the readers senses: sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste. One trick that I use- is to read back through my manuscript and if I come to a section that reads like this- He did that. She did that. He did that. They did this, etc. I know that I’m telling and not showing. It is important to remember that a bit of telling is necessary. It is completely acceptable to “tell” in your exposition. But that should be a small part of your story, If not, your readers will be asleep long before they get to your dramatic conclusion.

Erica Jong

Erica Jong

“You are always naked when you start writing; you are always as if you had never written anything before; you are always a beginner. Shakespeare wrote without knowing he would become Shakespeare
― Erica Jong

This is really an interesting quote. I think that we all believe that as we pump out story after story, we are no longer beginners. What I take from this, is adopting the philosophy of continued learning. If we believe that we’ve achieved the goal, then our work will become stagnant. I also think it speaks to the idea of writing because you love to write, not because you’re seeking fame and fortune.

A really good example of this mindset is Vincent van Gogh. I saw this van Gogh painting at the High Museum in Atlanta, Georgia a few years back.

Vincent van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh

I can tell you (without a doubt) that if you haven’t personally stood in front of a van Gogh painting you cannot fully appreciate the mastery of his work. This painting literally blew my socks off. I couldn’t take my eyes from it. The subtlety of color and stroke was simply amazing.

But back to my point

Vincent van Gogh never achieved fame during his lifetime. He produced the work that he did- just because he wanted to.

James J Kilpatrick

James J Kilpatrick

“Five common traits of good writers: (1) They have something to say. (2) They read widely and have done so since childhood. (3) They possess what Isaac Asimov calls a “capacity for clear thought,” able to go from point to point in an orderly sequence, an A to Z approach. (4) They’re geniuses at putting their emotions into words. (5) They possess an insatiable curiosity, constantly asking Why and How.”
― James J. Kilpatrick

I totally agree with Kilpatrick’s quote with one small exception. I think some of the best stories are told out of sequence. It does, however, take an expert level of writing skill to pull that off effectively. If some of Kilpatrick’s points don’t come naturally to you- you can train yourself with a lot of hard work.

Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

― Maya Angelou

This quote really speaks to me. I have contemplated this fact-of-life for a several years, especially as it relates to the area of social media. People will forget you (and very quickly). That is just plain fact. But if your writing alters them emotionally, you will forever remain somewhere in their mind (I’m convinced that this is THE KEY to success). I recently wrote a short story titled, The Power of Fine Furniture. It was published online and it is now available in an online anthology. This story started out from a word prompt. It’s a horror story. But, it is told in a very subtle manner. I keep the reader guessing until the last possible moment and the setting is incongruous with a horror story. This was the first story that I’ve ever had published where I received hate mail from some readers. These readers weren’t telling me that it was a lousy story, or poorly written, in fact they were saying quite the opposite. It was the subject and the tone of the piece that bothered them so deeply. I had one woman ask me, “How in the world could I write about fine furniture that way!” I also received a lot of kudos on the story, but, it was the hate mail that intrigued me. For reasons, that I still can’t quite completely quantify, this story really touched an emotional nerve in a lot of people. It’s the stirring of an emotional response that is the true power of writing.

Find that power in your own writing and you are well on your way to success here at NovelNook.com.

I am very opinionated about the craft of writing, and life in general. But… I am well-tempered with an enthusiasm for debate. Please leave comments, even the ugly ones, I dare you.

You can follow me at

Facebook     Twitter     LinkedIn     Pinterest     Amazon

I’m also an avid reader. If you desire success in your writing career, you should be too.

I’m currently reading, 3024AD, by DES Richard and edited by Corissa Poley

All my best on a beautiful day in South Carolina.

Bellakentuky

The Three Fingered Hand

Creating Memorable Characters

Today, I’m going to talk a bit about characterization. This particular post has brewed in my mind for about a week. Characterization is one aspect on the craft of writing that I love! So, let’s dive in.

This article sprouted from a childhood memory.

Last week, my wife told me about a childhood memory, and I found it very interesting. The more I thought about her story,  the more it became crystal to me  that it had value to aspiring authors.

The story went like this.

When my wife was entering the 7th grade, she had to change schools. As the new kid in a crowd of old friends, she did what we would all do, she evaluated everyone and struggled to find her place within her peer group. One classmate stood out in particular. This girl was smart, funny, outgoing, friendly, slender, athletic. And, she had beautiful silky blonde hair, creamy white skin, and vivid green eyes. (true story)

She was the most popular girl in the class.

Now, in order for you to understand some of the irony in this story. You need to know a couple of facts.

First of all,

My wife is Argentine.

Argentina was primarily populated by immigrants from Spain and Italy. But, there were also a few Germans, English, and French immigrants along the way. And of course, there was the aboriginal population.

(Interesting fact- an Argentine invented the ballpoint pen!)

In northeastern Argentina, where my wife is from, 80% of the population has amber skin, black hair, and brown eyes. This meant… that the blonde haired green-eyed beauty really stood out in a crowd.

What began for my wife as the casual, and calculating, observations of a girl; quickly turned into a jealous obsession. This girl; (this “character”) had it all. My wife’s feelings of inferiority festered for two years.

Jump ahead to the fall of the 9th grade year

My wife’s entire class was in the lunchroom. She sat with her best friend staring at the green-eyed girl across the room. The gregarious beauty had a crowd gathered around her as she told a story. The children were laughing hysterically. Suddenly, the girl began waving her arms around in the air, and my wife’s jaw nearly hit the ground.

She turned to her friend, and exclaimed, “She’s only got three fingers on her right hand! When did that happen?” (of course she said that in Spanish.)

Her friend hushed her angrily, told my wife that she was weird, and pronounced that the girl had always been like that. How could she not have noticed?

It was in that moment that my wife came to a realization. In the two years that she’d known this girl, she’d been so obsessed with what she saw as unreasonably perfect attributes, she’d never noticed that the girl had a deformed hand. (and to her classmate’s credit, the little girl never let it hold her back) Realizing this fact somehow made my wife feel better, better about herself, and better about the other girl. Because…

as perfect as this girl was, she wasn’t completely perfect., and that’s good characterization.

  A Pivotal Point – Give Them Something Memorable

When you’re creating your characters they should be well-rounded. They should have positive attributes and negative attributes. No antagonist should be completely malevolent and no protagonist should be completely pure. This includes personality, physical appearance, and emotional stability.

Consider my wife’s story. The blonde classmate (the character) became deeply embedded in my wife’s memory because of her deformed hand. A memory that brought  strong emotional feelings along with it; so strong, that she was recounting the story to me two decades later. If this girl had been physically perfect; she would be nothing more than a vague memory. The Barbie Doll from grade school.

The Hit Man

Take a moment, sit back in your chair, and close your eyes.

I want you to imagine a story in which a hit man and his partner are conducting a hit, and they must collect an object for their boss. In the process things go terribly wrong, and they encounter dangerous situations around every corner. What would your hit man do? What would he look like? What kind of personality would he have? What would he like about his life? What would he hate?

I’ll give you a moment

Dum Dum Dum Dum… Dum Dum Dum… dum… da dum… dum… dum dum dum

clock

Clock’s Ticking

Now, I would like you to consider this man.

Jules Winnfield is a character from the movie, Pulp Fiction. The movie is a critically acclaimed American crime drama written, and directed, by Quentin Tarantino. It was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and it won the Academy Award for Best Screenplay. I personally believe that Tarantino is one of the best, and most unique, writers in his industry when it comes to characterization.

If you’re not familiar with Pulp Fiction, or the character of Jules Winnfield, you can see a clip here.

PULP FICTION

(warning- this clip does contain violence and foul language)

So, what did you come up with for your hit man?

Well, let me tell you a little bit about Jules.

He’s as hardcore, and violent, as they come (just as you might imagine a hit man to be). But, he’s also a man who quotes the Bible. He’s well-spoken and at times soft spoken, he dresses well, he’s concerned about the needs of his friends, he’s extremely loyal to his boss, he cares about what he eats, and he would like to travel to Europe. Even when facing the possibility of death, Jules grants his potential killers a second chance. He decides to let them go, unharmed, despite the fact they are attempting to rob him as he eats his breakfast. Jules has a heart: (although, he does ask for his wallet back before he sends the criminals packing. He claims the wallet has sentimental value.) A memorable statement from a cold-blooded killer, don’t you think?

Jules is a well rounded character!

I’ll hope that you’ll ponder these ideas as you proceed down your path to publication. We at NovelNook.com want to see well rounded characters with interesting plots in your submissions. We want our readers to be excited when they read your book, and I’m sure you do to!

I am very opinionated about the craft of writing, and life in general. But… I am well-tempered with an enthusiasm for debate. Please leave comments, even the ugly ones, I dare you.

You can follow me at

Facebook     Twitter     LinkedIn     Pinterest     Amazon

I’m also an avid reader. If you desire success in your writing career, you should be too.

I’m currently reading, 3024AD, by DES Richard and edited by Corissa Poley

All my best on a beautiful day in South Carolina.

Bellakentuky

Why You Must Strike a Red Line through Your Own Story

Her raven black hair flowed like a majestic waterfall over the soft slopes of her shoulders and onto the flawless porcelain skin of her back.

(I can’t tell you how many times I have read some derivative of this line.)

Publishing

Publishing

In my introductory post, I told you that I was a slush reader for everydayfiction.com. As I continue on into my blogging career here at NovelNook, I would like to expound on that a little bit. There are several reasons for this. One, many of you may not know what a slush reader is, or what they do. Two, many of the opinions, and information, that I will be passing along to you come from my slush reading experience. Three, you can benefit from knowing what goes on behind the scenes in the publishing industry.

What is a Slush Reader?

(I’m glad you asked!)

A slush reader is the first line of contact after you submit a story for publication. Now, I’m not completely sure if every publishing house does it the way Every Day Fiction does it. But I am sure that they have some similar workflow in place.

Here’s what happens when you submit a story; It goes into a pile of unread, (and unsolicited), material referred to as the slush.

(Cool article on the origin of the term “Slush Pile”. Click here.)

The slush reader is the first line of defense for an editor’s time. Editors are very busy people, and they just don’t have the time to thoroughly read every submission that goes into the pile. So, the slush reader pulls a story from the pile, reads the story, gives it a rating, a quick review; and then passes it on to an editorial assistant. The editorial assistant then reads the story, and based on their professional opinion, and the opinions of the slush readers (stories are generally read by more than one in order to counteract personal bias), the editorial assistant will write up their own review and  either reject the story right there, or, pass it along to an editor for further consideration. Once the story makes it to an editor, it’s considered close to publishable. That editor can opt  to publish the story, pass it to another editor for a second opinion, ask for a revision, or, reject the story. There are several levels of editors leading all the way up to the managing editor. Some stories go through many levels before a decision is made.

The Editorial Workflow
editorial publishing process

Illustration by Clarisa Ponce de Leon

From my experience in the publishing industry, these are the primary reasons that a story is rejected; poor or non-existent editing, cliche subject matter, an incomplete story arc, an overabundance of descriptive adjectives, an inconsistent narrator point-of-view, too much exposition, implausible situations, and unrealistic dialog. There are more- but I’ll stop there.

What does all this have to do with NovelNook? This is self-publishing.

I’m glad you asked that question, as well! While our guidelines state that your book will be read for explicit or non-publishable content, it will not be edited or reviewed in general. This is an important point for you. While no one likes to receive a rejection notice; it does have value. It tells you that someone (or a team of someone’s) didn’t feel that your story was technically or creatively up to publishable standards. In other words, it’s not going to ring well with the public. And that means the potential for poor reviews and lousy sales.

That’s a Good point! I want sales.
Show me the Money

Illustration by Clarisa Ponce de Leon

Of course you do! We all do. So, you must take it upon yourself to be your own slush reader, editorial assistant, and editor. You must find people (not your family and your friends) that will give you an HONEST opinion of your story. You must be a ruthless editor, or find (hire) someone who can do the job for you. And finally, you must have an open mind to what these people have to say. And you must do this BEFORE you publish. Don’t be in a rush to get it out there.

Follow this blog, and we will give you ongoing tips on how to make your book, (your story), even more successful as you continue down your path of publication.

I hope you’ll consider what I’ve had to say, because everyone here at NovelNook.com wants you to be SUCCESSFUL!

I am very opinionated about the craft of writing, and life in general. But… I am well-tempered with an enthusiasm for debate. Please leave comments, even the ugly ones, I dare you.

You can follow me at

Facebook     Twitter     LinkedIn     Pinterest     Amazon

I’m also an avid reader. If you desire success in your writing career, you should be too.

I’m currently reading, Dracula, by Bram Stoker.

All my best on a beautiful day in South Carolina.

Bellakentuky

The Rise of Self-Publishers

Self-Publishing Explodes

According to BookConsumer, a market researcher for consumer book buying behavior.  Recent trends reveal some startling new information regarding self-publishing.  Information that was mere rumor to some, and impossible to others.

Check out the following excerpt from Bowker:

Self-Publishing Sees Triple-Digit Growth in Just Five Years, Says Bowker®

New Providence, NJ – October 24, 2012 – The number of self-published books produced annually in the U.S. has nearly tripled, growing 287 percent since 2006, and now tallies more than 235,000 print and “e” titles, according to a new analysis of data from Bowker® Books In Print and Bowker® Identifier Services. The research explores the dramatic U.S. growth of an area once relegated to the fringes of publishing. It finds that while production increases are occurring in both print and e-book formats, the latter is driving the greatest percentage gains. It also shows that while self-publishing may seem like a cottage industry, it is dominated by large firms that offer publishing services to individual authors.

“Self-publishing is now supported by a sophisticated and highly accessible support structure,” said Beat Barblan, Director of Identifier Services for Bowker, an affiliate of information powerhouse ProQuest. “It’s provided everyone who has a story to tell with a method for sharing it and leveled the playing field to an unprecedented degree. This is no longer just vanity presses at work – self-publishing is out of the dark corners and making its way into the mainstream. Notable success stories include a number of self-published authors landing their titles onto the prestigious New York Times bestseller list for ebook fiction.”

Bowker’s research into self-publishing was prompted by an earlier study that showed 2011’s 148,424 self-published print books represented about 43 percent of that year’s total traditional print output and contributed to the first significant expansion in print production since 2007. While print accounts for 63 percent of self-published books, e-books are gaining fast. E-book production in 2011 was 87,201, up 129 percent over 2010. Print grew 33 percent in the same period. While self-publishing is a DIY undertaking, Bowker’s analysis shows its infrastructure is made up of a handful of large firms. In 2011, CreateSpace dominated the print segment, supporting the creation of 58,412 titles (39 percent of self-published print books). Smashwords topped the e-book producers with 40,608 titles (nearly 47 percent of total self-published e-books). The combined divisions of Author Solutions (part of Penguin Group) produced a total of 47,094 titles and Lulu Enterprises checks in with 38,005 titles. The Bowker analysis shows that beyond these four players, no company has more than 10 percent of market share.

Small presses, a category that is defined as publishers who have produced 10 or fewer books, accounted for 34,107 self-published titles — 21,256 print and 12,851 e-books — in 2011. Print book production by small presses increased more than 74 percent between 2006 and 2011 — hearty growth that’s dwarfed by CreateSpace’s 1702 percent increase during the same period. While marketing their works remains the next great hurdle for self-published authors, Bowker research points to major influencers within their control. Bowker surveys of book consumer habits show that authors can effectively reach more readers with online excerpts, retailer recommendations and customer reviews.

Bowker is the official ISBN Agency for the United States and its territories. The Books In Print® database derives a valuable portion of its information from these ISBN assignments, providing the nation’s most comprehensive view of book production. The Self-Publishing Report and other Bowker® Market Research studies that illuminate the business of books are available at http://www.bookconsumer.com/

Novelnook’s Role

Being the only 100% free self-publishing avenue, we are opening this publishing opportunity to everyone.

Our services will have dramatic effects on who can publish online, who can write a book, and who can be heard.  Anyone.  That’s our goal.  If you are motivated to write and edit your eBook, we’ll publish it for free.  Oh and you get to keep all of your profits – another industry first.  A pretty sweet deal in light of recent trends in the eBook world.

Where to Start?

What does this mean for self-publishing authors out there? Get involved! At Novelnook, we recommend getting started immediately on the following to increase your online presence:

1. Create your own blog.  There are free services that are easy to use which you can setup in minutes. (WordPress & Blogger)
2. Make a Facebook Page. Get your friends and colleagues to support your writing.
3. Grab a Twitter account and get tweeting.  This will connect you with all kinds of publishers, fans, and other writers & authors.
4. Develop your own website.  If you have the time or technical skill, starting a website can be a huge boost for your eBook.  Your visibility on search engines, advertisements, etc. can bump up your sales and increase your following.  You can also (essentially what Novelnook provides) sell your eBook yourself for 100% of the profit.  Google, WordPress, Wix, and Joomla all offer do-it-yourself packages for developing sites.
5. Sign up for as many publishing services as you can. Some require startup fees (BookBaby), some payout royalties (Smashwords), but only one is completely free (Novelnook).  All are viable options. Hint: Most major eBook retailers give authors 65% of their profit.  Smashwords gives back a bit more at 85%.  Meanwhile Novelnook lets authors keep 100% of their profit.
6. Market your own work through Google Adwords, Facebook ads, and more. Don’t invest in marketing companies unless you have already tried marketing yourself, you may be surprised.  Plus these are cheap, pay as you go, services.
7. Contact radio shows, book events, and join book clubs.  NaNoWrImO is a great community of writers and authors who share ideas and feedback.  Meetups is also a great way to get involved in book gatherings.
8. Stay Motivated! Keep the do-it-yourself attitude and you will be surprised how effective the internet can be in revealing your works to the world.  Not only will you be saving money, but you will have the satisfaction of doing it yourself.  Will you be the next famous Self-Publisher?
9. Ride the wave, the online eBook method of publishing is ripe for the picking.  Our society has many roots based on trends, and this is one on the rise.  In an article by MediaBistro – eBooks have surpassed hard covers in sales in early 2012.

The Time is Right to Self-Publish Online

Self-publishing, online in particular, is well on its way to dominating the book publishing industry.  If you’ve ever wondered when the time would be right to begin your book, it has arrived.  With eBook sales in a sudden exponential eruption. this is it.

Novelnook Upgrades Itself

New Features have arrived, and more to come!

 

We have recently implemented a few of the features we have foreshadowed in previous posts.  Here’s a list of what to expect on Novelnook:

1) Frontpage – Our blog, featured authors, featured eBooks, a new login module, FAQ module, and the newest users, are all live for your viewing on our home page.  We are working to develop a component that will allow us to display our wordpress blog directly on our site – more to come on this.

2) “Bookworms” – We have added a feature that allows authors to be “followed” – simply click “become a bookworm” on their profile page and you will instantly be notified of any updates or additions the author makes via your inbox!

3) Publishing – The “publish” function is now more obvious in the authors dashboard.  There is a large blue button that is always showing – simply click this to bring up the eBook upload form.

4) Logo – To keep things fresh, we will be updating our logo with the seasons, holidays, and special occasions.

5) Author Custom URLs – We’ve done some thorough research and discovered that we have the most simplified version of custom URLs out of all eBook publishing websites.  Here’s an example: https://novelnook.com/C.M.Skiera

6) Point System – The point system is online.  You are now able to earn points in the appropriate amounts and we have updated all current member’s point totals.  Please see the how-to-guide / points tab for more information.  We will be moving the points article to its own menu item soon to make it more user friendly to access.  Features are still being developed (for you to unlock via your points).

7) Number of Purchases – Each eBook now has a number of purchases tracker for all to see.

8) Bugs with Author Application – We have fixed all known bugs with the author application and registration process.  We will handle all errors and issues as soon as we receive them, so please continue providing us with feedback.

9) Popularity – To give our readers an update on our rise in popularity, we have over 1,000 followers and around 100 published eBooks from over 70 active authors since our BETA launch on October 2nd.  We’ve reached 500 unique visits in just one week since activating google analytics and we have yet to begin our marketing campaign in full force.  These numbers are purely based on word of mouth from our users!  We thank you for supporting us and look forward to growing our user base through aggressive marketing in the future.

We have been hard at work – improving our site to meet authors needs.  Expect many more updates this month as we continually add and modify our services in preparation for our official launch in November.

Have a suggestion? Shoot us an e-mail and we’ll respond immediately… info@novelnook.com

– Colton Joseph (CEO & Founder)

Where to Publish Online

In 10 Minutes…

That’s right, we’ve timed ourselves, authors, newbies, veterans, you name it.  It takes roughly 10 minutes to sign up, submit an author application, and start uploading eBooks.  Mind you, the more eBooks you upload, the longer it takes for us to approve them – but you get the idea.

At Novelnook, we provide a platform for authors and writers to publish their eBooks free of charge.  There are dozens of “self-publishing” websites available to the public, but none like ours.  We have gone to great lengths to build on those before us to establish a better service.   Many of you are wondering, how are we better than our competitors?  Here are a few reasons:

1) Custom Author URL’s (http://novelnook.com/authorname) – We’ve done a little research on this one and have yet to see a simplified URL system like our own.  Everyone likes short URL’s right?  Well ours is the shortest of any self-publishing company, that we could find.

2) Free to Publish – Yep, we’re free.  There are a handful of websites that offer free services, but all charge startup costs or take their cut of the sales.  Novelnook lets you keep 100% of all profits – no startup costs.

3) Rating System – Our rating system is designed to weed out the “fake” reviews and comments.  Prior to being given access to rate and comment on an eBook – we require users to purchase the specific eBook they wish to review. At Novelnook, you can be sure your reviews and ratings mean something.

4) Points! – Who doesn’t like getting rewarded for your time?  We give out points daily through our “grab bag” and have various ways to earn points through interaction.  What do points do?  They unlock a variety of features used to help authors promote and market their eBooks.  What if you just want to read?  Don’t worry, you earn points too.

5) Formats – Although this feature isn’t live yet, we will soon (by the end of the month) offer eBooks in ePUB, MOBI, and PDF formats!  All eBooks will be available for download in each format.

6) Profiles – There are websites that have profiles, yes.  But we like ours better for a few reasons. With our system authors will be able to add social networking links, advertise to their blogs or websites, link to their own profile, track visitor traffic, monitor purchases, add a biography, view their points, message other users, browse various features that are unlocked with points, and more!

7) By Authors, For Authors – We are always open to suggestions for features and recommendations from our authors.  We are here for you.  We have already implemented a variety of ideas from our beta test users and plan on continuing to adapt to our authors needs.  Our goal is to be approachable to both authors and readers.

8) Rankings – Not only do we rank authors by points, but we involve the readers.  Most websites view readers as customers.  We believe a community approach is more important and will help establish a better environment for feedback and growth.

9) Open Minded – Although we can’t include all genres and eBooks out there – we are definitely open to all types of writing including song lyrics, poetry, and serialized novels.

We should probably stop there… don’t want to give away ALL of our secrets.  Our official launch, which will have all of the features described above and more, is scheduled for mid-November.  In preparation for our release we are extremely interested in hosting all authors and writers that wish to publish online.

Sign up @ http://www.novelnook.com – It’s a no-brainer, we’re free and it takes just 10 minutes.

– Colton Joseph (CEO & Founder)