Indie Publishing in the Time of COVID – From the Writers in the Storm Blog

by Justine Bylo

When New Jersey went into lockdown on March 21st, I foolishly thought that I would get infinite amounts of writing done. During the day, I am the author acquisitions manager at IngramSpark and by night I like to write humorous personal non-fiction and romance novels. In my mind, I thought that the pandemic would give me a small reprieve from business as usual that included a very busy travel schedule.

I didn’t expect that business as usual would take on a whole new meaning.

As the publishing world began to screech to a halt with independent bookstores closing, publishers furloughing staff, Amazon focusing on essential items, and other printing plants closing, all of a sudden Ingram and IngramSpark felt the burden, more than ever, to uphold our commitment to the publishing industry to keep it all humming. Needless to say, the writing really hasn’t happened.

The Publishing Lessons of Covid

I am privileged to work with self-published authors all day. I have always been awestruck by their ingenuity and resilience. In the past six weeks those qualities have quadrupled, because the indie publishing world is uniquely suited to adapt to abrupt changes.

Read the rest of this post HERE.

How to Become a Better Writer in Quarantine – From the Writers in the Storm Blog

by Tiffany Yates Martin

It sounds like a writer’s dream: hours of time at home, no expectations to go anywhere or do anything outside your house. You can really dedicate the time to better your writing, right? But what if you don’t feel like writing? Many writers have experienced a short-circuiting of their creative energy during this quarantine, with everyone stuck at home.

Maybe your creative space and time have been crowded out. Maybe worry, uncertainty, and even fear make it hard to concentrate on your craft. Perhaps the very sensitivity that makes artists artists might be working against your ability to create your art in such unsettled times.

But even if all you’re able to manage right now is curling up on the sofa with a book or the remote control, taking in other people’s stories can actually be a wonderful opportunity to learn to objectively assess your own and hone your skills.

So don’t worry if you just can’t find your creative spark at the moment. Trust me, it’s there—like a pilot light that never goes out—and you can feed it no matter where you are mentally at the moment.

Read the rest of this post HERE.

Starting Hard Conversations: Writer Edition – From the Writers in the Storm Blog

by Tasha Seegmiller

One of the things that’s surprised me the most as I’ve advanced in this writing journey is how many people change agents, editors, publishing houses. It’s not something that is discussed widely on the internet, but it happens. A LOT.

Why do these changes happen?

Part of the problem is that writers forget they are allowed to have questions, and they will have questions – questions about something related to publishing, something that their agent or editor might know, but for reasons including mental health issues, insecurity about writing, or a desire to not be that client, they have each paused and let the stress fester a little.

It can be a very scary thing to send an email to someone who you respect, but with whom you have some feelings of frustration, whether it be something that you don’t understand as well as you should, feedback that wasn’t provided when you thought it would be, or writerly imposter syndrome in general.

For these kinds of situations (and so many others in my life) I reach into the vault of brilliance provided by Brené Brown – this time from her book Rising Strong.  In it, she states repeatedly about the importance of acknowledging the story we are telling ourselves. Please note that this isn’t the story that is true or the story that is rational – it is the story we are telling ourselves.

For example, I endure depression. I don’t like to say I suffer from it, though sometimes I do. So, the voices that tend to visit me circulate around being enough of whatever the flavor is of the day. I talk to myself as I’m getting ready for the day, greeting those thoughts when I am able to recognize as depression thoughts by their name (our theme song for this meeting is “The Sound of Silence.” The Disturbed version is best for me).

If I am able to tell when I’m in a depression cyclone and when I am having valid concerns, it helps. Then, I choose key moments to share this reality with the professionals I work with.

Read the rest of this post HERE.

An Author’s Actionable Guide to Story Ideas From the Writers in the Storm Blog

by Alicia Ellis

Have you ever had that spark of an idea that made you itch to sit down and create? Where does that come from, and can you get it on demand? This post is an actionable guide for obtaining your spark and fanning it into an amazing and useable story idea.

For me, ideas stem from curiosity. When I see something interesting, I ask, “What if?”

You must create opportunities to ask that question. Don’t wait for them to hit you in the shower.

Read the rest of this post HERE.

9 Ways to Originalize Your Story Idea – From the Writers in the Storm Blog

by Becca Puglisi

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about differentiation—how we can make our stories stand out from all the others. Thanks to COVID-19, consumers are being more careful with their money, which means they’re very likely buying fewer books. With the estimated 1,000,000+ books being published each year, ours need something to set them apart, something that will jump off the shelf and grab a potential buyer’s attention.

How do we elevate our ideas?

I took a good look at some books that grabbed me straight off and continue to stand out in my mind as incredibly memorable. Here are some methods those authors used to originalize their story ideas and turn them into something truly groundbreaking and never-before-seen.

Read the rest of this post HERE.

Writing in the Time of Coronavirus from the Writers in the Storm Blog

I don’t know about you, but everything is taking me twice as long these days. Sometimes more than twice as long. When you throw a pandemic into the mix, once-simple things seem to take forever. This is the reality of writing and working in the time of coronavirus.

The Downs and the Ups

Everyday tasks like running to the store have been elevated to the level of a campaign – there’s planning and strategy, timing and cleanup. There’s store debriefing, for crying out loud.

Me, last week, after a two hour shopping trip to Target:

“They’re still out of Jif and apple sauce, so I got SunButter and apples.”

“Everything on the right side of the table is sterilized, but I’m letting it rest for a few hours.”

“Don’t touch anything on the left until tomorrow.”

“Still no Softsoap or wipes. But I found toilet paper!!!”

Read the rest of this post HERE.

P-O-What? From the Writers in the Storm Blog

by Lori Freeland

Pitch out Visuals? Pass oVariety? Personalization oVillains? People oValue? Just what is POV, and why do you care?

Understanding POV

Point of View (POV) refers to the character telling the story in a particular scene or chapter of your book. And only one character should tell the story at a time.

Why? Having a clear picture of what’s happening keeps us from being confused—not only in a novel but in real life too.

Imagine that you and a few friends witness a car accident. The responding police officer asks what happened, and everyone describes the incident at once. There are a few reasons he’ll likely listen less than thirty seconds before he stops the chatter.

Read the rest of this post HERE.