Learning about creating systems for your book-writing business is one of the most important things you can do for time-management. And, if you’re like me, you know that time-management is a huge issue because all the administrivia can feel truly overwhelming at time. How do you manage social media, create effective marketing materials, cover art, ads, and everything else that comes with being a writer…all the while keeping your creativity flowing and making sure you still make writing itself your number one priority? USA Today bestselling author Tonya Kappes has it figured out. She has elevated her career to a true business, which operates under the umbrella of Tonya Kappes Books.  Watch my YouTube Craft Chat with her. I guarantee you will come away inspired to create some systems for yourself! In case you missed it, check out Part One with Tonya. There are a variety of other Craft Chats for you to enjoy, as well. Why you should research …

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Writing excellent back cover copy doesn’t happen by accident. Using a formula of sorts can help you. There are five parts to really excellent back cover copy (plus one extra for cozy mysteries). Back cover copy is an incredibly important marketing tool for your book. It includes a hook to grab the reader’s attention. It then hits the core elements of the plot in the most enticing manner possible. This copy is the second thing a potential reader will use to judge whether or not the book is for them (first is the cover). Just like a teaser from a television show or a movie trailer, the back cover copy in a book gives the potential audience enough about the story to pique their interest. It is what draws them in and gets them to commit to reading the first page (which is the third step in a reader’s decision-making process). Here are the five steps for writing really excellent …

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Creating compelling characters is, in great part, contingent on how those characters engage with the plot. Do things happen TO them? Or do things happen BECAUSE of them? A character to whom things happen is not nearly as interesting as a character who makes things happen. Keep reading for three tips to writing compelling characters who are active participants in their stories. Character Study Let’s look at a character study, first: Ivy Culpepper is the amateur sleuth from my Bread Shop mysteries in Kneaded to Death. Scenario One Ivy’s mother has just died. She returns home to be with her father and brother. She starts taking a bread making class for no particular reason. One of the classmates dies. The bread shop owner, Olaya, is a suspect. Although Ivy likes Olaya, she doesn’t want to get involved and chooses not to. A few clues happen to appear in her path. The police find the clues, too, and the case is …

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Usually, writers fall into one of two camps: Outliners (Plotters) or Pantsers. Is it possible to be both? Yes! (n this Craft Chat, Daryl Wood Gerber and I talk about just that. Take a look to learn more about how to be a plotter and a pantser. Want another Craft Chat? Try Lessons Learned in the Writers Room with Ellen Byron. By the way: Follow the WriterSpark page on Facebook and the Memoir Challenge group! Join the WriterSpark Academy newsletter! And share with your writing besties. Know a writer, aspiring or other, who might like this content? Share this site with with them!

When it comes to plotting, most writers will usually say they are predominantly either Outliners (Plotters) or Pantsers. Whichever camp you fall into, these 5 steps will help you create a roadmap for your story. Outliners (Plotters) vs. Pantsers The truth is, most writers fall somewhere in between outlining and pantsing. We may lean heavily one way or another, but outliners have some Aha! moments during the writing process, coming up with things they hadn’t planned; conversely, pantsers usually start with a roadmap of some sort. That equates to at least a bit of a plan. That plan might be sketchy and brief, but usually it includes some basic character and plot information. When I think of outlining in the traditional sense, my brain freezes. Coming up with plot points before I’ve written is a sure way to send me to the pantry for some chocolate therapy. On the other hand, if I sit down to write and I know …

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Writing Historical Mysteries Writing historical mystery books is no easy feat. It takes time, research, a desire to learn about the era about which you want to write. And if you want to write a real showstopper, you have to immerse yourself.  These are only some of the reasons I sat down with Heather Redmond, author of  the Dickens of a Crime series with Kensington. Heather’s Tips She’s got some great tips, so if you have a hankering to write an historical mystery–and even if you don’t, check it out below. https://youtu.be/WVZ-S5sXosE By the way: Follow the WriterSpark page on Facebook and the Memoir Challenge group! Join the WriterSpark Academy newsletter! And share with your writing besties. Know a writer, aspiring or other, who might like this content? Share this site with with them!

We read to escape, and when we read, we put ourselves into the roles of the characters we’re reading about. In a sense, we become them. This is why it is so important for hero characters to be relatable in some way. It’s hard to connect with characters who are not likable. In short, we can’t realistically insert ourselves into the stories and become those characters in our imaginations. Let’s look at the idea of Larger than Life characters. By definition, these people are perceived as bigger, better, more powerful, more magnetic, having more gravitas, and generally being loved, admired, feared, respected to a greater degree than the normal person. When you create your characters, particularly a ‘hero’ character, don’t set out with the intention of creating a Larger than Life character. By doing that, you’re creating a caricature of what you perceive to a Larger than Life character to be. You may end up creating a Superhero or Supervillain. …

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