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Friday, April 26, 2013

Newbie Writers: Take Two

Mediocre at Best’ is the title of one of aspiring poet Damien Boath’s poems but the work this tweet man and other half of produces on their weekly podcast is anything other than mediocre.  Below is his take on such things as sizzling genres, his fave interviewee and why the site is definitely worth checking out. 


Tanya Yvonne:  What’s different about
Damien Boath: The beauty about Newbie Writers is that it is portable. It has gone from a website that housed static articles on how to write and become published in magazines, to a popular blog and podcast. The podcast has really become the core of Newbie Writers and can be listened to on Itunes, Stitcher Radio, or via a pop out player on the site. That way you can fire up the latest podcast and keep browsing. You can hear us while you drive to work. Our aim is to provide constant content to motivate, to inform and to also keep it casual for people who are interested in writing. After all, talking about writing shouldn’t be boring! You don’t have to be a writer to listen to Newbie Writers. I am the newbie. I am not a published author and so I take on the roll of the audience. I am the ultimate Newbie and so I try to ask questions that I think us fellow newbies would ask. You shouldn’t need to invest the time in Newbie Writers, we are here to compliment the time YOU invest in your current writing project.

TY: I want names.  Favorite interviewee(s)?
DB: That’s a tough one because we have had so many guests it’s even hard to remember them all.  I would say Genese Davis (author of Holder’s Dominion) was a fantastic interview because I am a fellow gamer and the conversation was a really easy one. Dionne Lister (author of Shadows of the Realm) was another great guest and has been on a couple of times to fill in. Set the record for the first F-bomb on our show!

TY: Most recent read? 
DB:  Elfstones of Shannara by Terry Brooks. I am a fan of fantasy and tend to roll through the series of books I have every so often.

TY: Genre category that is trending up/down?  
DB: Well that’s a matter of personal taste. Genres such as romance and erotica are always ‘hot’ or popular. For me personally I am not a fan whatsoever. When it comes to genres that don’t seem to be prevalent of late I feel it’s horror. I seem to be seeing a lot of fantasy (thanks to Game of Thrones and The Hobbit revival) and less horror novels/books in bookstores etc. Vampire Romance (aka Twilight genre) is slowly dying thankfully. At the end of the day though, one should write what they are passionate about, a book will do well regardless of genre if the author not only writes well (that’s a given) but if they throw their weight, passion and every waking moment behind it. Sometimes one book can turn an icy genre into one that’s on fire.

TY: A yay or a nay for self-publishing?  
DB: I would say yay to self-publishing for a first time author. From what I gather, self publishing allows you to experience the world of taking a typed piece of work and converting it into a product. You have the choice to just pump it out in an e-book without a second thought whilst sipping on a cup of coffee, or you can spend the time formatting it into a short print on demand run.
Con: Everyone self publishes, and everyone thinks they will become rich off it. It is unlikely that will happen.  A con for both traditional publishing and self publishing: Your work (novel, novella, book, poetry anthology) becomes a product. One needs to see it from a business point of view. Sure you’ve done the hard yards and typed for countless nights on end to nurture your baby, but we hear time and time again from new authors that the work truly begins once the book is out. If you are not prepared to work hard on promotion and throw your passion behind the book, then it will fade into the 99 cent bin on Amazon and never get read.  

Happy reading, writing or whatever:-)

Friday, April 19, 2013

You Oughta Know

Catharine Bramkamp whose motto is, “From newbie to known” is one-half of  The site which houses her nationally known podcast, Newbie Writers Podcast.  After the lackluster performance of her debut title, The Boy and the Lion Catharine licked her wounds and found a new creative outlet in Newbie Writers.  Since then she has reached an international audience through her podcast, penned several other books which include: Death Revokes the Offer, Woman on the Verge of Wyoming and Don’t Write Like You Talk.  She also helms the site, Your Book Starts Here.  So whether you’re new to writing or perhaps looking to be enlightened keep reading because you oughta know.       

Tanya Yvonne: why should writers invest the time?
Catharine Bramkamp:  Writers learn all they can about their business and their world.  So we listen to podcasts and classes in the car, we read in our genre, we read out of our genre, we collect writing books, we belong to book clubs, we take classes, and we join writing organizations.  So for a newbie writer, a good introduction to this world would be to listen to Newbie Writers Podcast and sign up for the Newbie Writers Guide blog feed, both the blog and the podcast focuses on making it easier to be a writer today.

TY:  Favorite interviewee?  

CB:  Our favorite interviews are with writers and publishers who are willing to engage in a conversation and are comfortable with going off their script to just talk.

TY:  What do you mean by, “going off their script?”
CB:  We want to deliver real people and real information to our listeners and so we are not interested in interviewees who insist on controlling the interview by sticking to a written script and pre-written questions.  We like spontaneity and yes, a little craziness! 

TY:  Which genre is boiling hot and which one is on ice?
CB:  One of the challenges in writing is to resist the latest trend.  Once you’ve reviewed a dozen vampire books, then another dozen business books promising four-hour workweeks, you think, that’s what I should write because it’s hot.  It’s not hot, by the time these books hit the books shelves or the top 100 on Amazon, the subject is over: cold and dead. Our job as creatives is to think of the NEXT hot item, and it’s not fifty shades of anything.  The best thing a writer can do is write what you love, write what you want to bring into the world, write what you want to make sure everyone knows.  And bring that originality to the table.  Certainly follow trends, but don’t try to follow them too closely, you want to be different and new.

TY:  Title of the last book you read? 
CB:  Walt Whitman, A Cultural Biography

TY:  Self-publishing, can I have a pro and a con?

CB:  Pro:  Self-publishing gets your book out quickly for a low cost.  Ebooks should always be self-published, it’s easy and the books will actually earn some money.  Self-publishers earn more money per book.  Amazon and Create Space, along with Smashwords makes the distribution of your books and ebooks fairly trouble free.

Con:  Self-published titles are not easily distributed into bookstores and it is lonely.  A hybrid, boutique or traditional publisher can help find good editors, book coaches and cover artists.  More traditionally minded publishers will feature your book in catalogues and place the book in bookstores.  Self-published books are not promoted by anyone but the writer. Which is the biggest challenge of self-publishing: All the promotion is up to the author -  and if there is one thing authors hate to do, is promotion, followed closely by sales, taxes and death.  Not necessarily in that order.

             Well, now you know.  Happy reading, writing or whatever:!)