Kevin Tumlinson: 30-Day Author

I picked up Kevin Tumlinson’s 30-Day Author when he spoke to a local RWA chapter meeting. His talk was entertaining, and this slim book sums up a good deal of it. I’m not giving anything away when I tell you that the core message of the book is “put your butt in the chair and write, and turn off your internal editor.” There’s nothing new to see here, folks, but I find I always pull a nugget or two out of any craft book I read.

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There’s more motivation than technical advice in the book. Tumlinson is a big believer in affirmations (I’m not), blogging (I enjoy writing mine, not so sure how much of a platform I’m building), and daily journaling (yep, I started that in March, 1995, and I’m currently on spiral notebook number 57).

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The book is aimed mostly at indie authors (and will-be authors, his term rather than would-be) and includes advice on mailing lists as the most essential marketing tool (although I still don’t really know how to build one), on editing (somewhat skewed by his apparent lumping together of editing, copy editing, and proofreading), and on out sourcing things like formatting and cover design.

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Happily, Tumlinson is not really trying to tell us all that we should be writing (and even publishing) books in less than a month (although he has clearly done that himself; he has quite a few novels available on Amazon, with a lot of good reviews). After all, as he says, “If you’re a fiction author, it helps tremendously if you use story beats and outlines to figure out your plot beforehand. The better you know your story, the faster you can put words on the page.”

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