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10 Changes In Book Publishing

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Guest Blog by Rayne Hall


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How times changed… Self-publishing today is a completely different world. The publishing business suddenly transformed itself from bookstores / distribution model to an environment in which books were bought by consumers online – either as physical books or increasingly: e-books. And this has altered the entire modus operandi of the industry:
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1. In the past, most authors worked for editors. Today, most editors work for authors.
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2. Most books went from author to agent to publisher to distributor to bookseller to reader. Now, more and more go from author to distributor to reader, cutting out most middlemen.
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3. To be commercially viable, books had to sell enough copies to finance a big publishing apparatus. Now, many need to pay only one person: the author.
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4. Agents and editors acted as gatekeepers, ensuring that poorly written books did not get published. Now, it’s the authors’ responsibility to ensure their books are as good as they can make them.
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5. When books were printed, word counts were critical. Nowadays with e-books, lengths are flexible; only quality counts.
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6. Once a book was published, it was too late to correct errors, change the cover or tweak the blurb; any improvements had to wait until the print-run had sold out. With e-books, anything can be changed any time.

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7. Many publishers prevented communication between readers and authors. Today, direct reader-author communication is encouraged because it sells books.
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8. Mixing genres used to make a book impossible to sell. Today, genre cross-overs sell just fine.
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9. Writers used to spend much time courting agents. Now they spend much time courting readers.
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10. “Previously published” used to lessen the value of a story. Nowadays, it’s a quality mark.

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About Rayne Hall
A trained publishing manager, Rayne Hall has worked in the publishing industry for over three decades, mostly in editorial roles in Germany, Switzerland, Mongolia, Nepal, PR China and Great Britain. She has had over 40 books published under several pen names, in several genres (mostly fantasy, horror and non-fiction), under several pen names, in several languages, by several publishers.
For a list of currently published fiction under the Rayne Hall pen name, go to http://www.amazon.com/Rayne-Hall/e/B006BSJ5BK
She teaches online workshops for intermediate, advanced and professional level writers who are serious about improving their writing craft skills. For an up-to-date schedule of upcoming workshops see https://sites.google.com/site/writingworkshopswithraynehall/
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If you enjoyed this blog post, please feel free to check out all previous posts of this blog (there are almost 570 of them : ) if you haven’t already. Why not sign up to receive them regularly by email? Just click on “Follow” in the upper line on each page – and then on “LIKE” next to it. There is also the “SHARE” button underneath each article where you can submit the article to Pinterest, Google+, Twitter, Tumblr and StumpleUpon.

Follow on Twitter: @111publishing

And don’t forget to spread the word on other social networking sites of your choice for other writers who might also enjoy this blog and find it useful. Thanks, Doris

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Posted by on November 10, 2012 in Publishing, Self-Publishing

 

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AMAZON Deletes Readers Reviews

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Bestseller author Rayne Hall originally shared this post on Google+

Petition: “Amazon: Stop Arbitrarily Deleting Reviews!”

“I’m glad someone has taken the initiative and started a petition. Amazon deletes masses of customer reviews, without giving a reason. Presumably, this is to stop the mushrooming of fake reviews (the kind where you pay someone $5 and they leave a gushing 5* review without ever reading the book).
Unfortunately, many thoughtful, sincere reviews get deleted in the process, while the fake reviews from sock-puppet accounts continue to flourish. I have lost many thoughtful reviews from genuine readers.

Some readers have emailed me, deeply unhappy about the deletion of their reviews, not understanding what’s going on. Any requests to Amazon for explanations have yielded nothing but bot-generated unsympathetic uninformative brush-offs. Several readers emailed me to say they will no longer leave reviews at Amazon, because their time and effort has been wasted when Amazon deleted their previous reviews. I can understand their position.

This petition demands that Amazon provides clear criteria for what makes a review deletable, and when deleting a review, gives a reason why. I think this is a sensible, modest request.”
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The Petition organized by Author Derek Blass, Denver, CO Amazon: Stop Arbitrarily Removing Customer Reviews From Indie Author Books

He explains: “Amazon is currently removing customer reviews from books published by indie authors without any notice, and without any explanation. This petition demands that Amazon explain for every author that loses a review (good or bad) why that review was removed, and set forth clear guidelines as to what will and will not be removed in the future.”

“Hi all, I just sent the first email to Amazon, informing them regarding this petition, the success we have had in a short period of time with respect to this petition, and asking that they initiate contact to address the demands made in this petition. I wanted to paste the content of the email in this news update, but posts are restricted to 900 characters. Thus, I have posted the entire email on my blog which can be found at derekblass.wordpress.com
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My own advice: Best thing would be to copy your reviews as soon as posted (just in case) and then paste them in the author page as statements with date and name of the reviewer.

P.S.  Just read an article, the Guardian wrote now too:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/nov/05/amazon-removes-book-reviews

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If you enjoyed this blog post, please feel free to check out all previous posts of this blog (there are almost 590 of them : ) if you haven’t already. Why not sign up to receive them regularly by email? Just click on “Follow” in the upper line on each page – and then on “LIKE” next to it. There is also the “SHARE” button underneath each article where you can submit the article to Pinterest, Google+, Twitter, Tumblr and StumpleUpon.

Follow on Twitter: @111publishing

And don’t forget to spread the word on other social networking sites of your choice for other writers who might also enjoy this blog and find it useful. Thanks, Doris

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Writing About Love Spells


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Guest post by Rayne Hall
Love spells make great fiction, full of secrets, conflict, drama and passion. Your character can cast her own love spell, or she can seek professional help from a magician (from a witch, a ritual wizard, or other type of mage).

RITUALS
The most common ingredients used in the ritual are roses (often red or pink), something from each of the two people (usually a lock of hair, and in modern times, a photograph), red candles, a fruit (for example, an apple), a crystal (rose quartz is a favourite), herbs (such as dittany or balm ogilead), spices (especially cinnamon), and red wine, and a ribbon (red or pink).

However, the ingredients vary between different types of magic. For example, an Enochian may use different ingredients from a Wiccan. Also individual magicians have their own preferences. The actual ritual also differs. Typically, the magician may cut the fruit in halves, insert the locks of hair, and tie the fruit back together with the pink ribbon. Or she may brew a love potion which involves red wine simmering in a cauldron with rose petals, herbs and cinnamon.

If both people are present, the magician may link their hands and tie them with a ribbon or scarf.  If only one person is present, the spell won’t be complete until the second person has become involved, for example, by drinking the love potion.

CLIENTS
Most clients are besotted with someone who doesn’t requite their feelings. They are convinced that this person is the one for them, that they’re meant to be together, that they will not be fulfilled and happy until that person is theirs. They also believe that the love spell is in the best interest of that person, and that the relationship will be a happy one if only the person would return their love. They are desperate, can’t bear the pain of their unrequited passion any longer, and are willing to pay almost any price for a love spell.

Other clients are lonely and looking for love. They want a spell to help them find a mate. These include teenagers whose self-esteem is low because they don’t have a boyfriend, single women whose biological clock is ticking, and men who can’t get a date. On rare occasions, a couple may seek a magician’s help to save their crumbling marriage.  In historical fiction, parents and politician may resort to love spells to bring about an advantageous match, or to bring affection to an arranged marriage.

CONFLICTS
Most modern magicians consider it unethical to interfere with a person’s free will. Although they will happily help the couple who wish to strengthen their bond, and the lonely heart in search of a mate, they will refuse to force a specific person’s feelings.

However, not all magicians have the same qualms, and in earlier period, many made good money from love potions. Even today, many magicians advertise on the internet, promising to deliver one’s heart’s desire.

Some magicians compromise by creating spells which work only if there is already some affection between the couple. For example, the desired person must drink wine from the same cup as the client, immediately after he has drunk from it – something she wouldn’t do if she hated him. An ancient Egyptian love spell required the man to anoint his member with a potion before having intercourse with the woman of his desire – and for that to work, she already had to fancy him quite bit.

Other magicians try to dissuade the client from focussing on a specific person. Instead, they recommend a general love spell, one which will help the client find a suitable mate.

For the strictly ethical magician, requests for love spells can lead to terrible dilemmas. Here are some ideas you may want to play with:

* What if the client is suffering terrible pain from unrequited love, and the magician wants to ease his suffering? What if the desperate client is her own sister, her best friend, her son? What if turning down the request for a love spell causes a rift between them?

* What if if the client won’t take no for an answer? What if the client is the king, the chief inquisitor, or other powerful person? What if the client threatens to punish the magician for her refusal?

* What if the client is rich and willing to pay a lot for a love spell? What if the magician desperately needs money to save her lover or to feed her starving child?

* What if a ruthless magician agrees to waive his principles and grant the heroine the love spell she craves … but only if she pays a terrible price for it?

* What if the magician herself suffers from unrequited love? What if her ethics forbid her to manipulate someone’s will, but she is convinced that it is for that person’s own good? What if her need overrides her conscience?

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CONSEQUENCES
Love spells interfering with someone’s free will can lead to disaster. Here are some plot ideas:

* What if the love spell works at first, but wears off after the wedding? What if the person finds out that their spouse had trapped them with a love spell?

* What if the two people love each other, but their relationship is desperately unhappy – and they can’t out of it? What if they blame the magician for their misery?

* What if the client loses interest and wants to end the relationship – but the other person is still obsessively in love and won’t let them go? What if that person stalks the client for the rest of his life?

* What if the client regrets his action, and wants to undo the love spell – and it can’t be reversed?

* What if a pedophile uses love potions to seduce minors? What if a serial killer applies magic to lure victims to their doom?

* What if a fortune hunter tries to trick an heiress into drinking the love potion? What if she’s been alerted to his intentions, and has to be constantly vigilant to thwart him?

* What if the family hires a bodyguard or detective to protect their heiress daughter from love spell assaults?

* What if the victim’s family find out that the girl has been the victim of a love spell, and try to save her? What if they make great sacrifices to enable the spell to be undone – but she doesn’t want to be saved?

* What if the heroine discovers that her best friend’s intended is a ruthless man who forced her feelings with a love potion – and the friend refuses to believe it? What if the victim of the love spell is a man whom the heroine has secretly loved all her life, and now another woman has ensnared him with magic?

The fiction potential of love spells is endless. I hope this article has inspired your creativity. If you have questions, please leave a comment.

About Rayne Hall
Rayne Hall has published more than thirty books under different pen names with different publishers in different genres, mostly fantasy, horror and non-fiction. Recent books include Storm Dancer (dark epic fantasy novel), Six Historical Tales Vol 1, Six Scary Tales Vol 1, 2 and 3 (mild horror stories), Six Historical Tales (short stories), Six Quirky Tales (humorous fantasy stories), Writing Fight Scenes and Writing Scary Scenes (instructions for authors).

She holds a college degree in publishing management and a masters degree in creative writing. Currently, she edits the Ten Tales series of multi-author short story anthologies: Bites: Ten Tales of Vampires, Haunted: Ten Tales of Ghosts, Scared: Ten Tales of Horror, Cutlass: Ten Tales of Pirates, Beltane: Ten Tales of Witchcraft and more.
http://www.amazon.com/Rayne-Hall/e/B006BSJ5BK/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1
Her short online classes for writers intense with plenty of personal feedback. Writing Fight Scenes, Writing Scary Scenes, Writing about Magic and Magicians, The Word Loss Diet and more. https://sites.google.com/site/writingworkshopswithraynehall/

 
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Posted by on September 22, 2012 in Marketing

 

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30 Books by Bestseller Author Rayne Hall

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… and what you can learn from her.


Rayne Hall is the author of thirty books in different genres (mostly horror, fantasy and non-fiction) and under different pen names, published by twelve publishers in several countries and languages (mostly English, German, Polish and Chinese).  Her short stories have been published in many magazines, e-zines and anthologies.

Rayne holds a college degree in publishing management as well as a Masters degree in creative writing.  Over three decades, she has worked in the publishing industry as a trainee, investigative journalist, feature writer, magazine editor, production editor, page designer, concept editor for non-fiction book series, anthology editor, editorial consultant and more.
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Currently, she tries to regain the rights to her out-of-print books so she can update them and publish them as e-books.  After living in Germany, China, Mongolia and Nepal, she has settled in south east England where she lives in a dilapidated seaside town of former Regency and Victorian grandeur.

Outside publishing, she has worked as a museum guide, apple picker, tarot reader, adult education teacher, trade fair hostess, translator and bellydancer.  Many of these experiences have provided fodder for fiction: several of Rayne’s stories feature bellydancers. Many of Rayne Hall’s stories explore the individuals’ responsibility for their choices, and the dark side of the human psyche. Her horror tales are psychological, creepy and suspenseful rather than gory.

She edits a series of themed multi-author short story anthologies (Haunted: Ten Tales of Ghosts, Bites: Ten Tales of Vampires, Cutlass: Ten Tales of Pirates, Scared: Ten Tales of Horror etc). For a list of books currently published under the Rayne Hall pen name, go to Amazon:

She judges writing contests (mostly for short stories, horror or fantasy fiction), coaches authors and teaches online classes for writers among others:

  • ‘Writing Fight Scenes’

  • ‘Writing Scary Scenes’

  • ‘Writing about Magic’

  • ‘Edit your Writing’ 

These classes are for intermediate to advanced-level writers and professional authors – definitely not for beginners or the faint-of heart.  Get an up-to-date list of scheduled classes.

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WRITING FIGHT SCENES – the e-Book.

Learn step-by-step how to create fictional fights which leave the reader breathless with excitement.
The book gives you a six-part structure to use as blueprint for your scene. It reveals tricks how to combine fighting with dialogue, which senses to use when and how, how to create a sense of realism, and how to stir the reader’s emotions. You’ll decide how much violence your scene needs, what’s the best location, how your heroine can get out of trouble with self-defence and how to adapt your writing style to the fast pace of the action.

There are sections on female fighters, male fighters, animals and weres, psychological obstacles, battles, duels, brawls, riots and final showdowns. For the requirements of your genre, there is even advice on how to build erotic tension in a fight scene, how magicians fight, how pirates capture ships and much more. You will learn about different types of weapons, how to use them in fiction, and how to avoid embarrassing blunders. Note: The book uses British spellings.

Writing Fight Scenes is vailable from Amazon (US site)Amazon (UK site)Barnes&NobleSmashwordsiTunes,  Kobo and other online booksellers.

Rayne is active on Twitter where she posts #writetip tweets. If your profile says that you read or write, she will follow you back.
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Do You Write Historic Novels?

Writing Fight Scenes by Rayne HallHistory wasn’t short of wars and battles. Unless you can find detailed testimonials of eye-witnesses in archives, you need to employ some techniques to describe realistic battle scenes. Thanks to guest blogger Rayne Hall we get some very interesting tips here:

WRITING BATTLE SCENES
by Rayne Hall

Here are some techniques for creating powerful, exciting, realistic battle scenes. The biggest challenge in writing a battle scene is the point of view. To make the experience exciting and moving, it is best to stick to the perspective of a single fighter. However, the individual soldier can’t see what goes on a few feet from him, let alone what’s happening at the other end of the battlefield or how the sun dyes the horizon bloody red.
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Here’s a possible solution: Show the terrain before the fight begins, and have the general give a pep talk explaining the overall strategy. Once the fighting is over, show the battlefield and have your point of view character talk with his comrades about the implications.

Do you want to involve the reader’s emotions? Stack the odds against your heroes. The readers’ natural sympathies lie with the smaller army. The greater you can make the numerical difference, the better. The evil overlord’s army is bigger than the hero’s, and it is much better equipped, too.

Have you heard of the battle of Thermopylae (480 BC), when three hundred Spartans defended Greece against thousands of invading Persians? The Spartans knew they were going to die, and fought anyway, to gain time for their homeland to prepare further defences. Since then, thousands of battles have been fought – and forgotten. Thermopylae is remembered. The story has been retold in many novels, non-
fiction books, and films. The incredible bravery against overwhelming odds still rouses audiences’ emotions. When writing your own battle scenes, use Thermopylae as your inspiration.

Battles don’t just happen: they are usually planned. At least one side seeks the battle and is prepared. The generals plan a battle strategy in advance, and make sure that their officers know it. In the heat of the battle, it’s often impossible to change strategy or give orders. Sometimes, soldiers are still fighting when the battle has already been decided, because they don’t know that their king is dead or the enemy general has surrendered.

Often, the location decides the outcome of the battle. Generals choose the location carefully – and so should you, the author!  If the battle takes place on a slope, the army uphill has a huge advantage, because it’s easier to fight downhill than uphill, and because missiles fly further. Each general tries to make the battle happen in terrain which favours his own army, and where the enemy can’t fully deploy his. For example, chariots are fearsome on the plain, but useless in the mountains. Foot archers can fight on any terrain, especially in the mountains. The general who has many chariots will try to force a battle on the plain, while the general who has archers will try to lure them into mountainous terrain. If one general has a small army and his enemy has a large one, he’ll try to lure them into a gorge or other restricted space where they can’t move.

Armies are organised in units either by level of skill and experience (elite, veterans, novices, untrained peasants…) or by weapons and equipment (cavalry, infantry, archers, spearmen, chariots…) or both.

Before the battle, the general probably addresses the troops, firing their fighting spirit and courage. This pep talk may include de-personalizing the enemy, because soldiers are more willing to kill monsters than to kill fellow human beings. It’s easy to kill a man whom you consider a menace to your children, and difficult to kill him if you think of him as a fellow human who loves his children as much as you love yours.

Noble thoughts and ideals have no room during battle. The thinker of noble thoughts and carrier of high ideals during battle won’t survive. If you want to show your hero’s nobility, do it when the fighting is over: perhaps he gives the fallen enemies a decent burial, or ensures that his captives get medical treatment and food.

Consider using interesting or extreme weather to make your battle scene unusual. Imagine pristine snow which gets trampled, becomes slippery, and stains red with blood. Or a strong wind which blows arrows off course. Or blistering heat and glaring sun. Or week-long rain turning the field into knee-deep mud, making it difficult for foot soldiers, let alone horses or chariots. Or fog blocking the view of the enemy.

At the beginning of the battle, both armies shoot missiles to take out as many of the enemy as possible before they get close. In a historical novel, clouds of arrows may darken the sky before the battle begins. When the fighting is under way, describe only what the point of view character can see: this is probably only what is immediately before him, such as the enemy weapon stabbing at him.

To create excitement, mention sounds: the clanking of swords, the hissing of arrows, the pinging of bullets.
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Once the fighting is over, the survivors count their dead, bandage their wounds and repair their weapons. In this section, you can inject realism… Soon after the battle, there’ll be carrion birds (e.g. crows, vultures) feeding on the corpses. There’ll be humans (probably the victorious soldiers) gathering up re-usable weapons (because weapons are valuable) and looting the corpses. The battlefield is covered in
blood, gore, and amputated limbs. The stench is awful, because in death, the bladder and bowels have opened. Plus, there’s the smell from injuries, not just blood (which starts to stink only after a while) but the content of stomachs and intestines from belly wounds. The stench gets worse after a few hours, especially if the weather is hot. After some hours, the corpses will be crawling with flies, and before long, there’ll be maggots.

If you’re aiming for great realism, you may want to spend several paragraphs describing the gruesome aftermath. If you want to create more light-hearted entertainment, it’s best to keep the aftermath section short and to skip the gory details.

For tips on writing all kinds of fight scenes – from duels to riots, from self-defence to pirate attack – you may find my book “Writing Fight Scenes” useful. It’s available as an e-book. http://www.amazon.com/Writing-Fight-Scenes-ebook/dp/B005MJFVS0/ref=pd_sim_kstore_2

If you have questions about writing battle scenes, feel free to ask. I’ll be around for the next week and will respond: rain_dancer_uk – a t – yahoo.com

 

 

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