Robert Newton Peck’s “Fiction is Folks”

Robert Peck’s Fiction is Folks was a difficult book for me to get through on my first read and an entertaining book on my second read. I’ll read it at least one more time before I’m satisfied I’ve sucked all the marrow from its pages (that odd phrasing is one of his suggestions. Such odd phrasings wake the reader up. You may not like that one, that’s fine, and learn the technique. Practice it. The technique useful even if my example is not).

My initial challenge was the reason I was entertained on my second read: Peck is homesy and folksy. He is direct, clear, honest. He’s a native Vermonter and it shows in both his prose and his examples.

An important point about his examples: most of them passed over me on my first read because this entire book is an example. He explains something and read his explanation again. It’s an example of what he’s explaining. Now look at the example he uses for his explanation. Yes, it’s an example and it contains a thread to the next example.

Also (and like most Writers’ Digest books I’ve read) he covers a broad range of topics well beyond character (the main item in this book). A partial list includes:

  • Blurbs
  • Plot
  • Character
  • Covers
  • Story
  • Marketing
  • Structure
  • Language
  • Exercises
  • and this doesn’t touch on the general stuff you need to know to get your work published

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Blog Tours, Part 2

I researched “blog tours” for the past six months, polling some 1,500 authors (self, indie, small house through major house (note: not Big5) publishers) and received responses from 793. The majority of responding authors are USA based (368), second high being Canada based (297), and a conglomerate minority (128) making up the Europe, Australia, South America, the Middle East, and a few African nations. No responses came from any Asian countries.

The question set was:

  1. What is/was your expectation for a blog tour?
  2. Your success/failure with blog tours.
  3. Best blog tours you’ve experienced (listed 1, 2, 3, and no more than 5, please. It would be grand. if you could provide a brief explanation for your ranking)
  4. What gets you the most response/feedback/attention: video, podcast, text?
  5. Would you pay/what did you pay for your blog tour (and was it worth it)?
  6. Anything else you’d care to share.

I followed these up with further email exchanges and, in some cases, Zoom chats.

Read Blog Tours, Part 1


Greetings! I’m your friendly, neighborhood Threshold Guardian. This is a protected post and requires either General Membership (free) or a Subscription (various levels). Members and Subscribers can LogIn. Non members can join. All posts are free to all members save certain posts in the My Work category. Enjoy!

Blog Tours, Part 1

I researched “blog tours” for the past six months, polling some 1,500 authors (self, indie, small house through major house (note: not Big5) publishers) and received responses from 793. The majority of responding authors are USA based (368), second high being Canada based (297), and a conglomerate minority (128) making up the Europe, Australia, South America, the Middle East, and a few African nations. No responses came from any Asian countries.

The question set was:

  1. What is/was your expectation for a blog tour?
  2. Your success/failure with blog tours.
  3. Best blog tours you’ve experienced (listed 1, 2, 3, and no more than 5, please. It would be grand. if you could provide a brief explanation for your ranking)
  4. What gets you the most response/feedback/attention: video, podcast, text?
  5. Would you pay/what did you pay for your blog tour (and was it worth it)?
  6. Anything else you’d care to share.

I followed these up with further email exchanges and, in some cases, Zoom chats.

Note that this survey occurred during 2020, “The Year of COVID.” Personal appearances, conferences (cons), book signings, and public interaction in general stopped. This caused people who had not considered blog tours to rethink their marketing strategy as blog tours became one of the few ways an author could socially safely publicize their book.

Any author intentionally selecting and contributing post (as opposed to advert) content to ten or more blogs within a specified period of time for the purpose of self-promotion is on a blog tour.

 
What is a Blog Tour?
One thing that turned up was confusion re what a blog tour is, exactly. Is it being interviewed on a blog? In writing? Video? A podcast? Is guest posting part of blog touring?

There was no clear definition and I’ll offer one based on commonalities arising in the responses: Any author intentionally selecting and contributing post content to one or more blogs (not their own) per week for two months or longer for the purpose of self-promotion (they are not paid for their content) is on a blog tour.

It doesn’t matter if the contribution is video, audio, text, images, Q&A, interview, excerpts, et cetera, so long as it’s part of the main post (rather than a comment or pingback) and for the purpose of self-promotion, it’s part of a blog tour.

Be advised: a book review is not a blog tour. A blog tour is when you and your work are the show and has more marketing power than only your work on show. People pay more attention to people interacting than they do when someone writes about a book.

Big TakeAways


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Greg Hickey’s Doing a GiveAway! (and you’re all invited)

Win the 18 speculative fiction ebooks shown below

  • Explore a variety of subgenres, including science fiction, fantasy, dystopian, post-apocalyptic, alternative history, paranormal and magical realism
  • 5 winners will be randomly selected
  • Click on each book cover or title to read more (listed under the raffle)

Our Dried Voices by Greg Hickey

Hundreds of years in the future, the last humans live in a utopian colony with every need satisfied automatically. But when the machines that regulate the colony begin to break down, one colonist must save what remains of humanity.

Once Bitten, Twice Die by Antony J. Stanton

A cure for dementia fails, leaving patients crazed, infectious and enraged, and the carnage quickly decimates society. On London’s outskirts some survivors must battle the infected, but their troubles have only just begun…

Sentience by Courtney P. Hunter

Sentience follows twenty-four individuals as they travel through a contained natural preserve to participate in a Turing Test conducted by a tech corporation willing to do anything for monetary gain.

Terra Obscura: A Knock in the Dark by Geoff and Michelle Genge


People are dying in the dark and New York’s highest office wants the truth buried. Only Charles Fort, an ambitious and ridiculed paranormal investigator is willing to get to the bottom of it.

Subject A36 by Teri Polen

He was genetically enhanced to be the perfect assassin. To kill for The Colony. He just doesn’t know it yet.

The Augmented Man by Joseph Carrabis

“…a blistering tour de force…Joseph Carrabis has created a military and scientific warrior that could mind read and wipe out Rambo, Robocop and Steve Austin ‘The Bionic Man’ at once, in an instant.”

The Curse of Sotkari Ta by Maria A. Perez

Mina is snatched from her family and forced to serve the ruthless Lostai on a distant science station. The DNA of an evolved race known as Sotkari Ta lies dormant in her genes.

The Night Alphabet by David M. Donachie

Have you ever had a dream so wonderful it followed you into the waking world? Do you lie awake, listening to the creaks and groans of a settling building, and believe that something strange and terrible is happening?

Undertones by L.S. Popovich

In a dystopian city run by animals, a university jazz band takes on the mob for the sake of social protest, only to bite off more than they can chew.

Aceldama by John Hazen

When a young woman battles logic, time and even the religious establishment to save her husband from the clutches of a curse that goes back two millennia, she risks not only condemning her own soul but also plunging the world into the apocalypse.

I, Carlos by Casey Dorman

I, Carlos is thriller in which a revolutionary computer chip, containing the personality of Carlos the Jackal, the world’s most notorious assassin, is implanted into the protagonist’s brain.

Eye of the Storm by R.K. King

In a future ravaged by a planet-wide super storm, tribes of nomads eke out a miserable existence barely surviving as they uncover scraps of the old world and move as the storm moves.

Guardians of the Gates, Part 1: The New Breed by Jeff Schanz

When a madman wields a supernatural force that can wipe humanity off the globe, an ancient, dying society called The Saints are the only ones who understand the unfathomable threat.

Centricity by Nathaniel Henderson

When an intelligence operation to retrieve a DNA-altering bioweapon goes horribly wrong, it sparks a scandal that could bring down an agency, and a city along with it.

Moon Crusher by Susan Kite

Fourteen-year-old Diego only knows the rolling hills of his father’s ranch in 1829 California. Then he is captured by reptilian aliens and taken aboard their spaceship.

I Pitched Nine Agents in Two Days – Six said Yes! Here’s What I Learned (Pitch Evolution)

I recently had a fascinating week; Nine agents (including the ones who weren’t interested in my work) shared industry insights and offered suggestions for improving my pitch.

The is the third and last installment in the I Pitched Nine Agents in Two Days – Six said Yes! Here’s What I Learned series and deals with how the agents themselves helped me shape my pitch. The first installment dealt with Do’s and Don’t’s the agents shared with me during the day. The second installment details conversations I had with some of them and their thoughts on the industry and agenting.

Note the following deals with a fiction pitch.

Enjoy!


Greetings! I’m your friendly, neighborhood Threshold Guardian. This is a protected post and requires either General Membership (free) or a Subscription (various levels). Members and Subscribers can LogIn. Non members can join. All posts are free to all members save certain posts in the My Work category. Enjoy!