Today’s Writing Tip

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Make it easier for potential readers to find your book by making sure its BISAC code is correct. There are several which include numerous sub-categories as well. They’re not always easy to search since they’re often not in any discernible order.

BISAC stands for “Book Industry Standards and Communications” which are subject headings developed by the Book Industry Study Group (BISG).  To quote from Wikipedia, “BISG has been involved with technological advances such as bar codes and electronic business communications formats. It developed BISAC (Book Industry Subject and Category) Subject Headings, which are a mainstay in the industry and required for participation in many databases.”

These categories have numbers followed by tiers of description that look something like this:

FIC027130 Fiction / Romance / Science Fiction

FIC028000 Fiction: Science Fiction – General

CGN004190 Comics & Graphic Novels: Manga – Science Fiction

If you’ve listed your story with a distributor or sales site, you’ve most likely been asked for its BISAC. The question is whether or not you selected the correct one? With hundreds to choose from, it’s possible you didn’t bother to scrutinize the listing carefully enough to find the best fit for your work. I have found, much to my frustration, that when they’re listed as a pull-down menu, such as on sites like Google Play, ironically they don’t appear to be in any order! Thus, the temptation is to pick the first one that sounds even remotely like you story. It doesn’t really matter, does it?  Wrong!

Considering that there are millions of books out there, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out there needs to be a way to classify and organize them. Librarians have been doing this for years through Library of Congress designations and/or the Dewey Decimal System for non-fiction. However, if the BISAC Subject Headings are “making inroads into library classification” as suggested by Wikipedia, then it’s important that you recognize what they are and why they’re important.

Still wondering why should you care? Here’s why: Because if you’re an author, the proper classification of your story can make the difference of whether or not your readers find it.

There are hundreds of categories for fiction alone. You can find a complete listing of codes on the BISG website. Note that this organization has been around since the 1970s and is located in the heart of the traditional publishing industry in New York City. This is an organization you should take seriously.

Being an Indie author means having to learn how to navigate the particulars of the publishing industry, often with less than even a crash course. BISAC subject headings are one aspect of it that’s a mystery to most Indies, yet could have a direct bearing on your sales. For example, if a book store or library wants to purchase a specific genre based on patron requests, if your books fits like the proverbial glove, won’t you want them to find it?

I rest my case.

Today’s Writing Tip

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Point of view is all about staying inside the mind of a specific character. This means that all descriptions, vocabulary, speech, and level of understanding should be within the scope of what that person knows.

For example, if your protagonist or other POV character is a teenager or child, they are going to see the world through that filter. Thus their comprehension and word choice should be appropriate for someone of that age. The came principle goes for an adult who is deemed highly intelligent. They will see the world according to their assumed education and experience and use more sophisticated speech patterns.

Today’s Writing Tip

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Remember that the basic conflicts in fiction as well as life are man vs. man; man vs. nature; and man vs. self. The more of each that you bring into your plot, the more vehicles you have for building plot as well as suspense.

Your protagonist has to work for what he wants and the harder the struggle, the stronger your reader’s engagement will be. In most plots, there will be an overlap of at least two. Be sure to recognize them for what they are.

Today’s Writing Tip

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It’s a good idea to maintain a timeline for your story to keep track of how much time has elapsed. Depending on the setting, you may get into a new season that will introduce different imagery, adding to your story’s depth.

Obvious, you don’t have to have a day by day accounting unless it’s essential to the plot, but you don’t want to have inconsistencies, either. Using the seasons to show the passage of time is often effective. Most readers can relate, so it’s another way to draw them into the story. Pay attention to the seasons where you live and the best ways to describe the feeling they evoke. Metaphorical meaning can be added this way as well, for both seasons and weather.

What differences are there in saying It was a dark and stormy night in January versus It was a dark and stormy night in July?

Today’s Writing Tip

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If your plot gets stuck, research often helps to get it moving again. Details add credibility to your story and can also provide new plot angles. It never hurts if your reader learns something along the way, whether it’s about the setting or the protagonist’s job.

For example, if you’re writing a mystery, knowledge of police procedure is important, particularly forensics. Getting it wrong will throw readers who know better out of the story and your credibility is lost. The same goes for any other profession. This is where writing what you know works best, unless you’re willing to learn about others through talking to someone or research.

Flooding claims one life, destroys 2900 bridge in Kingsland, forces evacuations – DailyTrib.com – Your Hill Country online news authority

EDITOR DANIEL CLIFTON Unprecedented is how some are describing the torrential flooding that has killed one person, destroyed the RR 2900 bridge in Kingsland, and forced the evacuation of hundreds of people across the Highland Lakes. But the area might not be out of the clear yet. According to the Lower Colorado River Authority’s hydromet …

Source: Flooding claims one life, destroys 2900 bridge in Kingsland, forces evacuations – DailyTrib.com – Your Hill Country online news authority

Today’s Writing Tip

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Once a story gets rolling, writer’s block is rare. If you get stuck, perhaps you took a wrong turn somewhere with either the character or plot. Forcing a character to do something s/he resists can be a good sign that the character has come alive. In this case, you can often turn him or her loose to see what s/he wants to do. New plot twists can come out that will surprise even you! If you don’t know what’s going to happen next, you can bet your readers probably won’t, either!

If your plot hits a wall, taking a break to do some research will often open things up again.

Today’s Writing Tip

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It’s essential to understand the concept of point of view (POV), which is the character through whom the story is being told. This can be one of the most difficult concepts for new writers to grasp.

The basic categories are single, multiple, and omniscient. Single is used for a first person narrative, but not always. It can also be used for a third person story that only goes into the protagonist’s head. Multiple will get into more than one person’s POV, but in separate sections or chapters. Omniscient gets into everyone’s throughout the story. This can be confusing and is also least effective in connecting your reader with your characters.

Today’s Writing Tip

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Want to write memorable fiction? Then CAP it! Influencing three areas of the brain will do just that. C=Cognitive (facts) A=Affective (emotions) P=Perception (senses) In this case, 3 strikes and you’re remembered!

Facts, even if they’re about the setting, add depth and imagery to your story. If there’s a particular profession involved, learning about what it entails is also beneficial and adds credibility to your character as well as potential plot twists.

For a story to “stick” with your reader, emotional involvement is essential! Which stories can you name that brought you to tears, either due to compassion, sadness, or even laughter? How many can you name that didn’t?

Employing the five senses is also recommended. We live in a world where all of them are used and define our environment. The sense of smell is particularly powerful, whether it’s the aroma of food cooking, autumn leaves, or vehicle exhaust in a crowded city.

This also applies when you’re giving a talk. In fact, I got this idea from a Toastmasters magazine that addressed how to make your speeches memorable.

Star Trails Tetralogy October 99c Book Sale!

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To celebrate being chosen as the RRBC Spotlight Author this month, which thrills me no end, all books in the Star Trails Tetralogy are on sale throughout October for only 99c, including those that are usually free. (Hahaha, just kidding! They’re still free.) This deal includes “The Terra Debacle: Prisoners at Area 51”. If you’re unfamiliar with my series, you can find out more about each story on its website, StarTrailsSaga.com.

Yeah, yeah, I know a “tetralogy” by definition is four books and it’s currently seven. That’s what happens when your characters take over and keep making demands. There’s at least one more coming, but I’m taking a bit of a break and writing a contemporary murder mystery that will (probably) come out first.

And speaking of RRBC (Rave Reviews Book Club), if you’re an author looking to network with other authors and get some of the best support you’ve ever imagined, be sure to check it out here.

bthsreallydoneit copyBeyond the Hidden Sky

FREE on most sales channels (Except Amazon where it’s 99c)

(This story is currently in production as an audio book! Look for it sometime around the first of next year.)

ADOEDarrival2 copy A Dark of Endless Days

 

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A Psilent Place Below

 

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Refractions of Frozen Time

 

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Also available as an Audio book narrated by T. W. Ashworth! Try Audible and get two books free!

 

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Star Trails Tetralogy eBook Box Set

Get Volumes 1- 4 in one convenient file for only $2.99!

 

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00005] The Sapphiran Agenda

This is a short backstory to how Thyron joined the Star Trails gang in Beyond the Hidden Sky. FREE on most sales channels!Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00005]

Also available as an Audio Book narrated by T. W. Ashworth! Join Audible and get two books free! If you’d like a special code to get this one free, email me at marcha@kallioperisingpress.com. Reviews are always appreciated.

 

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The Star Trails Compendium

FREE! This is the Star Trails Tetralogy companion volume. It includes a glossary of terms, background information on Cyraria, and a special section for parents and educators who want to make use of the series’ science content as a teaching tool. If you’re a science teacher in the USA and interested in using the series in this manner, feel free to contact me for a free print copy! The Compendium is also available online at the series website.