How To Get Difficult Books Into The Media

Kobo Writing Life

difficult books

In an increasingly commercial and competitive media-sphere, getting media coverage for ‘difficult books’—books not written by established authors and not published by well-known publishers—might strike independent authors as mission impossible. However, many creative ways can be found to reach your desired audience.

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Call for Works in Translation

New e-zine looking for some poetry and fiction!

Contemporary Japanese Literature

Koyamori Translation Banner

I have some fantastic news! The editors of the manga/anime/cinema/fiction review and commentary blog Gagging on Sexism are launching a web magazine devoted to translation and cultural engagement.

Here is their call for submissions:

Abalone Ink is a new online literary magazine interested in promoting conversation between cultures through writing and visual art, and exploring how interactions between cultures enrich our perspectives. We are looking for translated fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. We will also accept original English-language submissions if the work demonstrates a connection to culture. For poetry submissions, please submit 5-10 poems at a time. If the submission includes poems in the original language as well as the translations, sending 10-20 poems at a time is acceptable. For fiction and nonfiction, send no more than 5,000 words in total. All works must be previously unpublished. The deadline is April 8, 2015. Send inquiries and submissions to:


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Review & giveaway 11: Comic Japan

Here’s a book giveaway for all you interested in Japan!

Tokyo Five

Here is another review and giveaway from Tuttle Books!

(There is still time to enter in the drawing for a free copy of Japanese Design: Art, Aesthetics & Culture.)

The next book that I’m am reviewing is titled “Comic Japan: Best of Zero Gravity Cartoons from The Japan Times-The Lighter Side of Tokyo Life” by Roger Dahl.

Roger Dahl’s Comic Japan: Best of Zero Gravity Cartoons from The Japan Times-The Lighter Side of Tokyo Life

I will put the details of the free drawing for this book at the end of this post.

Mr. Dahl is an American cartoonist who taught English and draws a comic strip for the English-language newspaper “The Japan Times” titled “Zero Gravity“.

This book is a collection of some of his best strips from the Zero Gravity comic.

If you are, have been or are…

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46 Top Websites to Promote Your Book for FREE

What every self-published writer needs!

Savvy Writers & e-Books online

Book Store Stand out Against Thousands of Books

Added June 23, 2013:

Dear Reader:  This list of websites, which we compiled in March 2012, grew in the meantime to almost 100.  Please visit our two new blog posts with even more possibilities to announce your work for free:

All three blog posts are officially copyright registered.  To link to our blog posts, and let your own readers know about these websites, please use the RE-BLOGGING link on top of this page.  Thanks!  Please learn about re-blogging here:


Original Article from March 11, 2012:

1. Goodreads
Use your free membership to promote yourself and your books. Reviews are essential and reviews on Goodreads site help your book to really stand out to millions of visitors.

2. Wattpad
Wattpad has experienced explosive growth since its inception and has become the world’s most popular destination to publish and…

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11 Tips for Promoting your Book

Great for self-publishers out there!

Kobo Writing Life

An essential to-do-list for independent authors

from whitefox


There’s more to self publishing than just writing the book. Promotion is almost as important as putting pen to paper, but many authors don’t know where to start. Luckily there are a few relatively simple tricks you can employ to give your book a better shot at commercial success.


If you try to flog your book too cheap, readers will assume that it isn’t very good. Set the price too high and they won’t be willing to take a punt on you, an unknown author. According to Kobo’s Mark Lefebvre (here) , $0.99 for an ebook is so low that readers can’t resist, $2.99 tends to perform even better, but $1.99 is an awkward middle ground; it is cheap enough to suggest a lack of professionalism, but not cheap enough to convince readers to…

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Learn Bad Writing from Gotham


Learn Bad Writing from Gotham

It’s easy to find inspiration in great books, movies, and TV shows, but sometimes, the best inspiration comes from horrible books and scripts. As Stephen King wrote, “[…] quite often the bad books have more to teach you than the good ones” (On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft). The revived Batman series, Gotham, flies into King’s quote with no hope of escape, making it a perfect study for aspiring writers.

The writing is the most important aspect of the entire Batman franchise because it was considered a neo-noir–Raymond Chandler or Dashiell Hammett casing today’s block in black spandex. Neo-noir has many tricky elements–dark scenes, cynical yet straightforward lines, femme fatales, gritty plots, and bold character development–and when one of those elements don’t match the rest of it, the entire work dies as swiftly as Martha and Thomas Wayne.

My biggest problem with Gotham‘s script is the abstract, uncharacteristic lines that pass through the actors’ lips. For example, when Detective James Gordon meets the Wayne butler, Alfred, to talk about little Bruce’s mental problems, they have an unconvincing conversation that’s supposed to show Alfred’s exasperation with Bruce’s behavior.

GORDON: You make the rules, don’t you? You’re his guardian.

ALFRED: I raised his father. Gave me very firm…orders was his and his missus to die. Now I will raise the boy the way his father taught me to raise him.

GORDON: Which is how?

ALFRED: Trust him…to choose his own…course. He is, after all, a Wayne.

GORDON: Sounds like a recipe for disaster. What do you want me to do?

BRUCE: He wants you to talk some sense into me.

From these eleven sentences, there isn’t much that moves the audience, and the choice of words are cliché (“Sounds like a recipe for disaster.”) and unbelievable (“Trust him…to choose his own…course.”). Anyone can trade “course” for “destiny”.

ALFRED: Trust him…to choose his own…destiny. He is, after all, a Wayne.

Nope, it’s still too abstract. As a writer in the Neo-Noir genre and a fan of the Batman franchise, I’d like to edit the script to suit Detective Gordon and Alfred.

GORDON: You make the rules, don’t you? You’re his guardian.

ALFRED: His father gave me firm orders to raise the boy the same way his father wanted him raised…if he was here.

GORDON: Which is how?

ALFRED: Allow Master Bruce to make his own…decisions. He is, after all, a Wayne.

GORDON: Then why am I here?

BRUCE: He wants you to talk some sense into me.

This script has more feeling because the lines are straightforward and realistic. In real conversations, people don’t usually speak in a passive voice. Also, the new dialogue captures Detective Gordon and Alfred’s personalities. Gordon was a U.S. soldier, hardened to take lives and hone survival skills, before he faced corruption within two police departments. This person would cut to the point, as commanding officers only want the bottom line without much lip service. Alfred, a former intelligence agent experienced in domestic support, is an English version of Gordon, only he has more tact and sarcasm in his personality.

A good example of punchy lines suited for their characters is the 1966 Batman series.

JOKER: Where’s Bruce Wayne?

ALFRED: Mr. Wayne is not at home, Sir.

JOKER: Too bad! I’ll get my revenge later. Right now, I’ll settle for cash. Where’s the safe?

ALFRED: My duties do not include aiding and abetting thievery.

In the face of danger, Alfred stands his ground with just one line and the audience immediately understands his character. There are no winding lines that lack emotion or imagery. The above lines are reduced to basic English grammar: subject, verb, and object or complement. That’s my kind of Point A to Point B.

Gotham missed the characters’ personalities and active neo-noir lines, making it a piece of worthless writing, but just as Stephen King advices for writers, “[…] bad [writings] have more to teach you than the good ones.”