Not Safe For Words
By Crystal L. Kirkham
All views expressed in this podcast are entirely my own, devised with the knowledge and research available to me at the time of recording. They do not represent the opinions of any other entity with which I have been, am now, or will be affiliated. However, I am human and subject to error. Gentle correction is always appreciated.
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Not Safe For WordsFeb 02, 2023
All the Adoring Fans
Here we go with the continuation of our interrupted season 2! If you listened to the last episode, you now know WHO your readers are, but where are they? How do you find them? If you're lucky, you may already have fans of your work. If you're not lucky, you need to figure out where they are and convince them to read your work. Definitely not the easiest task!
A Return From Burnout
Season two didn't end, it just disappeared. This little bonus episode is here to let you know what happened, why it happened, and where we're going from here.
Man, I missed this.
Target Acquired: Identifying Your Readers
If you want to be able to find your audience, you need to know who that ideal reader is—and it ain't yo' mama... or maybe it is.
Seriously though, this is where some of the shit I've talked about last season really comes into play. You need to know who your reader is so you market your book to them.
Selling Doesn't Make You a Sell-out
You have achieved the goal. Your novel is signed, you are going to make money, but there are changes that need to be made to your story. This is the inevitability of traditional publishing. This doesn't make you a sell-out.
Unpaid Anthologies: A Scam or a Foot in the Door?
"It's good exposure!" There is a phrase that every artist has heard at least once in seriousness. When it comes to writing, there are a lot of unpaid anthologies. Some are legitimately a foot in the door and others aren't. You need to know the difference and understand both sides of this coin.
Free is Great, But Is It Right?
Free stories on a blog or website can be awesome. Everyone likes something for free and you're putting your work out there, but are you doing yourself and your stories a disservice?
Meet Me Outside: Calling People Out
You see that post that makes you wonder if someone is intentionally being an ass or if you might be misreading things—what do you do?
This can be a hard line to toe and the wrong response might do your career as a writer a lot of damage.
When the Mask Comes Off
What to do and how to deal with those in the writing community that turn out to be bigots, predators, or otherwise loathsome people.
And what do you do if this person is someone you used to admire?
Dealing with Bitter Bastards
You made a sale! You signed a contract! Things are going well! Most people are really damned happy for you—keyword is most. There will be some bitter bastards always trying to drag you down.
Don't let them.
Did I Ask For Your Opinion?
Unsolicited advice is one of those things that will always happen. People have opinions and far too many of them like to wave those opinions around for others to see.
Don't be that person.
Professionalism Part Deux
So, you got a bad review, a critique that hurt, sales are slagging or another rejection came back. It happens, but being publicly negative doesn't help your case.
Rejection: It's Not You, It's Me
Every author trying to go the route of traditional publishing will face rejection. It's crushing, but it isn't the end of your writing career unless you let it be.
I Object! Where's the Objectivity?
It's all subjective, even when someone tries to be critical and objective about things.
This is an art, not a science. Dealing with shit is easier when you remember that fact.
Dealing with Bad Reviews
***Sorry about the technical issues on this episode guys. My computer was fighting and freezing the entire recording!**
There is no doubt that some people really do not know how to leave a review without being unreasonable or mean. As an author, it's going to happen and you need to be able to handle it.
The Art of Leaving Reviews
Leaving a review, especially for a book that wasn't that great, isn't easy to do. Some reviewers don't seem to care about balance, but the art of a good review—even of a bad book—is balance.
Critique Group Chaos
Critique groups have their place, but there are some horror stories out there. Cliquey, bad advice, and other writing group drama will happen. So, is it worth your time?
Give It and Get It: Construcive Criticism
Giving and receiving constructive criticism is a careful balancing act—one that a lot of people struggle with. So, let's talk about the tightrope walk we take both when receiving and giving criticism.
New Year, New Rants
Welcome to a whole new year of Not Safe For Words! We're going to give a bit deeper into dealing with others as a writer—including the ones you'd like to see fall off the face of the planet. From readers to reviewers to other authors. We'll cover as much as we can in the next twenty-two episodes.
Hindsight is 2021
Looking back on the first year of Not Safe For Words. I'm glad to have shared this journey with you. Here are a few of the lessons we learned, a few more words of advice, and a challenge (homework if you will) as we move forward toward a new year.
I hope you join me for season two starting January 19, 2022.
It's Not A Marathon or a Race: It's Trek
How often has someone said, "It's a marathon, not a race" when talking about the long haul to becoming a published author? If you haven't heard that before, consider yourself lucky. There's only one problem with this phrase: it's not a marathon.
In a marathon, the first one across the line wins. Publishing isn't a competition though. It's a journey—a trek through the wilderness—and we are all in it together.
Writer's Block or Burnout: Know the Difference
Writer's block. It's a phrase that is thrown around a lot, but did you know that there is something called writer's burnout too? Let's talk about what these two things are, how to tell the difference, and what you can do for getting through both.
Getting It Done: That Far Away Finish Line
How often do you hear others complaining about not being able to finish? Have you complained about this too? We've all been there, but getting it finished is one of the first steps to getting it published.
Okay, but how the hell do we do that if inspiration or motivation might be lacking? Or if we are staring down the barrel of writer's block or burnout?
Fast Drafting: Permission to Suck
With all the advice to be found—my own included—you need to decide what works for you and what doesn't. Fast drafting is a tool that not everyone knows or understands. Including the one thing that makes fast drafting work better for some than others.
NaNoWriMo: It's Not For Everyone
National Novel Writing Month. It's not for everyone and it may not be what you think it is.
I've been doing this since 2008 and here are a few truths about NaNoWriMo to help you decide if you want to take part.
Plotting It All Out
Outlining. There are a million different ways to do this. Some people hate planning it all out, but there are times when it is necessary.
Writing By the Seat of Your Pants
Pantsing is a term used to describe a style of writing where there is no outline, no real plan. You discover the story as you go, but can this work for you?
Try It, Don't Buy It
Experimentation can help you grow as a writer. Trying your hand at new genres and styles can teach you things and enrich your writing.
Long Story Short
Microfiction, flash fiction, drabbles, short stories, novelettes, novellas and novels.
Some of these are overlapping terms, but they are all different things and you need to know the difference.
KISS Your Manuscript Formatting
Formatting a manuscript isn't rocket science. Best advice you can follow is the KISS principle. Keep it simple.
A Thousand Paths
The journey to becoming a published author isn't going to be quick and easy. It's also going to look different for everyone.
Comparison Titles: A Necessary Evil
Be original, but tell us what books your story will remind us of. I know it seems confusing, but here's why agents and publishers ask for them, how to find them, and what it might mean for your book.
You've got to know your genres to get your book into the right hands—whether reader, agent, or publisher. If you don't nail this part, there is a good chance things aren't going to go so smoothly.
And with so many genres and sub-genres to keep track of, sometimes this is a monumental task.
The Query Conundrum
You've got your manuscript, you bled for your synopsis... now you must query the publishers and/or agent if you're aiming for more traditional publishing.
This all means, you're also likely to get a lot of rejections.
Resources mentioned: https://www.manuscriptwishlist.com/ and https://querytracker.net/
Synopsis? Oh, no!
The dreaded synopsis is something that nearly every author out there moans and groans about. I can't promise you'll ever like writing them, but here's some advice on how to get the right.
Pitching it on Twitter
Twitter pitch events can be an exciting whirlwind. Here's what they are, how they work, and how to not waste your time if you decide to participate.
Is it Ready?
You've been working on that manuscript forever—or it seems that way—but how do you know it's ready to be submitted to a publisher? Well, that is the hard question and, hopefully, I can help you find some answers.
Alpha, Beta, CP, ARC: Your Early Readers
Who are these people? How do you find them? And why you should use them?
Book recommendation: Early Readers Catch the Worms by Carol Beth Anderson
On a totally unrelated note, happy 42nd Anniversary to my parents. I love you and thank you for believing in me. xoxoxo
You're probably not going to be an international best-selling author—and you need to be okay with that.
Publishing Process in a Nutshell
From the final draft to the bookstore shelves, it's time we lay out what to expect from the publishing process. There's a whole lot of hurry up and wait going on.
Pen Name Problems
There are good reasons to use a pen name. There are even good reasons to write under an assumed gender.
There are also a few things you should never do—and I don't say never lightly.
Pay to Play
When you're submitting work for genre publishers, you should never be asked to pay for anything to do with submitting—no matter how innocently it is stated.
People talk about building your "author brand", but what the hell does that even mean? What is an author brand?
There's only one way to grow and build a community... and it doesn't start with keeping people out.
Your Intro to Bonus Episodes
One of the things about this podcast is that you are going to find the occasional bonus episode peppered among the regularly scheduled programming.
These short little episodes will answer your questions or respond to current issues in the writing community.
If you want me to do a hot-take bonus episode about anything, let me know! Ideally, drop me a line on Twitter. I am @canuckclick
Putting the Pro in Professional
Being an author, or even an aspiring author, means having to be professional, but it seems a few people out there missed the memo.
Here are a few quick tips on why it's important and how to do it.
Not Safe For Words - Your NSFW Writers Podcast
Welcome to Not Safe For Words.
In this first season, we are taking a more general approach to understand publishing, the writing community, and how not to be an asshole author.
But today, we're talking about me and how this podcast came to be.
Hey! Buy My Book!
Being an author is hard. Being a professional author or aspiring author on social media can be so much harder. Especially when you don't know all the rules.
Dear Twitter Friend
This is just a tiny example of what sort of things you can expect to hear about in this podcast along with actual advice on what it takes to be an author.
Why should you even listen to me?
Here's a rundown of what you can expect from me, why you should even listen to me and this podcast. Not to mention, why you should damn well listen.
Expect the Unexpected - Bonus
Happy solstice friends. I wasn't planning to record this—it just happened. Consider it your Christmas bonus.