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Writers, what’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever done to court the muse?

Writers, what’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever done to court the muse?

Eccentric habits of writersIn a recent article from mental_floss we get to learn all about the incredible eccentricities of 20 great writers. Here’s just a few examples:

* John Cheever stripped down to his undies before writing in the basement of his apartment building.

* Virginia Woolf wrote standing up.

* James Joyce wrote on cardboard with colored crayons.

* Schiller wrote with rotten apples stashed in his desk drawer because the smell “motivated him.”

* Balzac sometimes drank 50 cups of coffee a day.

Sometimes you need to shake the rafters to wake the muse. Other times you just need to do a few jumping jacks in front of the window while naked.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever done in order to get the inspiration flowing? Did it become a writing habit?

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A priest, a rabbi, and an Oxford comma walk into a bar…

A priest, a rabbi, and an Oxford comma walk into a bar…

Oxfor Comma

I’m a supporter of the much-maligned Oxford comma. I’ve made no secret of this in the past. With the survey shown above, I rest my case.

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Literary agents: who they are, what they do, and how to find them

Literary agents: who they are, what they do, and how to find them

Publishing Deal and Literary Agents

9 articles all about literary agents and you

Think about this: nearly half a million books are being self-published every year. Now think about the fact that there’re only a handful of major publishers left. Do some quick math and you’ll see why those publishers, when scouting for new titles to release, don’t really want to work directly with authors. They’d be swamped (even more than they are already).

So if you want a big publisher to put out your next book, you’d be wise to try to find a literary agent first.

But what is a literary agent? What do they do? How do you find them — and most importantly, how do you impress them with your manuscript? If you’re asking these questions, check out the articles below:

1. What do literary agents do?

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The future is bright for self published authors

The future is bright for self published authors

upublishu eventA couple of Saturdays ago in the concrete basement of the Jacob Javits Convention Center, I witnessed the future for our BookBaby authors. And it looks mighty bright.

This vision came to me while sitting behind BookBaby’s table during the annual uPublishU event, a  how-to conference for writers, both striving and thriving. It’s held in conjunction with the gigantic Book Expo America in New York City. Upstairs the usual book people strolled through acres of BEA exhibits on the main convention floor during the last day of the show. Meanwhile I was downstairs in the basement bunker with 800+ writers and exhibitors enjoying lectures and discussions by a who’s who of self publishing. I even moderated a panel featuring indie author superstar Hugh Howey that explored both traditional and self publishing paths.

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Sell your book on Ciando, Germany’s leading eBook retail store

Sell your book on Ciando, Germany’s leading eBook retail store

Sell your book on CiandoBookBaby is happy to announce that we’ve partnered with the popular German bookstore Ciando.

Ciando was one of the first retailers in the digital book marketplace and they’ve grown to become the leading eBook store in Germany. The Ciando catalog is also distributed to a vast network of bookstores and libraries, helping those institutions bridge the physical/digital gap, and getting your books in front of even more readers.

As a BookBaby author, your books will automatically be distributed to Ciando (as long as you’ve indicated in your account that you’d like us to add your eBooks to any new stores we partner with).

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Strangers talking to people like they talk to writers

Strangers talking to people like they talk to writers

Being condescending to writersOh, the slings and arrows of unwitting condescension we writers sometimes suffer. It makes you wonder, what IF strangers talked to people in other professions the way they talk to writers?

A recent post from Electric Lit had me laughing such sad, sad laughs.

Here’s some example quotes from this weird hypothetical fantasy world:

“Huh. A chef. Do people still eat food?”

“An accountant? Wow, I haven’t even looked at a number since high school.”

“Ah, a middle school teacher? Have I met any of the students you’ve ever taught?”

For more, check out the full article on Electric Lit.

But tell me, what’s the most unintentionally rude question or statement you’ve ever heard as a writer?

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Some say UK eBook market to surpass print sales by 2018; others say “nonsense!”

Some say UK eBook market to surpass print sales by 2018; others say “nonsense!”

Increase eBook SalesAnother month, another prediction. This time, PricewaterhouseCoopers is claiming in its “Global Entertainment & Media Outlook 2014-2018” that eBook sales in the UK will overtake hardback and paperback editions by 2018, and that printed book sales will decline by more than a third.

But, according to Nate Hoffelder of The Digital Reader, the chance of this prediction coming true is “not too damn likely.”

Why? Well, PwC has made a couple similar predictions about American eBook sales over the last few years, neither of which appear to be correct, especially considering the flattening performance of the US eBook market lately.

But that slowdown in eBook sales isn’t necessarily a doom-and-gloom picture for indie authors. The resilience of print books (which is evident in the infographic “The top reasons for choosing a printed book over an eBook“) is a great thing; it means you have continuing opportunities to offer fans multiple options that suit their reading preferences: eReaders, smartphones/tablets, web, paperback, hardcover, and special editions. And when you’re meeting  the needs of ALL your readers, you’re also set up to capture the most sales.

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4 reasons you should prioritize your author website over social media

4 reasons you should prioritize your author website over social media

Why your author website is more important than social mediaNowadays, “web presence” is a big part of telling your story as a writer. In fact, the majority of your readers will probably discover you and your writing online first.

When publishing industry folks talk about “building a platform,” they’re often thinking about an author’s online presence, email list, social media following, blog activity, and web-based book sales. But as you establish your own web presence, it’s important to remember that your author website is more important than any single social media platform.

Here are four reasons why you should prioritize your author website over any social media account:

1. You need design control

Social media = generic profiles plastered with ads and other distractions. With your own site, you create a design that suits your vibe and functions the way you need it to. Plus, the layout won’t change unexpectedly overnight. (I’m looking at YOU Facebook!)

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The #1 problem with your book promotion

The #1 problem with your book promotion

The problem with your book promotionLast week at BookExpo America I got to talk with many authors and publishers about the challenges they face when sending their books into the world: professional design, creating a great book cover, book printing that is both affordable and top-quality, eBook conversion and distribution, reliable accounting and payments, etc.

Fortunately, companies like BookBaby are making it easy for authors to meet these challenges (and with BookBaby, all in one place). But book PROMOTION… that’s still (and probably always will be) the 10,000-lbs. dragon that each author or publisher must slay in their own unique way. Again, BookBaby can help, arming you with a suite of powerful tools known as BookPromo, but it’s still up to you to put those tools to good use.

And as you start to think about how you’re going to promote your next book, keep this in mind: the #1 promotion mistake that self-published authors make is to…

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What to expect when you attend a literary conference, trade show, or book fair

What to expect when you attend a literary conference, trade show, or book fair

Why Authors Should Attend One Writers Conference Per YearThis might sound a little hyperbolic, but it’s true: your whole writing career could be changed by attending just one literary conference, book fair, or publishing industry trade show. 

Whether you sign with an agent after a speed-dating session, or have the chance to put your manuscript in the hands of your favorite indie publisher, or you participate in a great workshop that helps you finish your next book, these kinds of events are all about connecting people to make magic happen.

With BookExpo America happening this week, I thought it’d be a good time to gather together some of our favorite trade-show tips for authors.

How to get the most out of attending a writers conference or publishing industry event

1. How to Prepare for a Literary Festival: A Writer’s Checklist

2. Pitching Your Book to an Agent at a Writer’s Conference

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