Affiliate Marketing for Book Lovers: Friend or Foe?

I’m a book junkie. I admit it: I’m drawn to buy books of all types, shapes, and sizes, and have my excuses lined up for why I should buy each one.


I should buy…

  • …books at conferences, because I’m supporting the speakers, and because I can get signed copies.
  • …books for ongoing research, because the library makes me return them too quickly.
  • …books that are written beautifully, because I will return to them again and again.
  • …books that aren’t written beautifully but are nonetheless successful, because I will analyze what makes them work.
  • …zombie books, because I need to follow the latest trends in literature.
  • …new releases, because I need to keep abreast of current publications–and those are hard to check out of the library.
  • …nonfiction picture books, because I write nonfiction and need to study other authors’ techniques.
  • …bestsellers, because I need to figure out what makes them work.
  • …writing books, because they help me grow as a writer.
  • …self-help books, because they help me grow as a person.
  • …marketing books, because I should be doing more marketing.
  • …books on crochet, because they have the best crochet patterns and inspiration.
  • …other nonfiction books, because I’m interested in the topics and might write about them someday.

The arrival of the Kindle and Amazon’s "Click-to-Buy" program has been a problem for my bank account.

But the other day, I read something very, very interesting and extraordinarily tempting to a book junkie such as myself: Can you make money blogging without selling your soul?

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Ten Last-Minute Gifts for Your Favorite Writer

Last week, writing friend Jill Kemerer posted a blog titled The Gift I Want but Hate to Admit, and I gotta say, it resonates with me. A day with no obligations and magically-appearing food (and disappearing dishes) sounds heavenly.

With all the hustle and bustle and shopping and gift-giving that comes with this season, it’s easy to feel the pressure to spend, spend, SPEND! And yet sometimes the best gifts—especially for those with a yearning to create—don’t cost a penny. I know, I know: most of you guys reading my blog are writers. The list below is probably full of things you want to receive, not gifts you want to give.

But you know, maybe your loved ones would thank you for a few gift ideas that wouldn’t break the bank this holiday season, especially if those ideas might make you ridiculously happy….


Ten Last-Minute Gifts for Your Favorite Writer

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Finding Time for Writing…at the Wild Writers

This week I’m blogging about Finding Time for Writing: the Power of Small Assignments over at the Wild Writers—because heaven knows there’s not time for much else this week! Small assignments are the ONLY way I’m keeping my head in the writing game, so I don’t completely lose momentum by the New Year.

Here’s a teaser:

As I write this, I’m sitting in my living room before an undecorated Christmas tree, with my kiddo whistling Christmas carols as he puts together the Lego train that will circle the tree—and I’m coughing counterpoint to the music, sick with a nasty case of bronchitis that’s knocked me out for the past few days. The house is a mess, the presents aren’t wrapped, and there definitelyisn’t time to write.


Not exactly. That used to be my view of situations such as these…but since a dose of writing time is my best antidote for stress and overwhelm, I’ve got a few  tricks up my sleeves for sneaking in a bit of writing even when my world gets topsy-turvey.  Inspired by Heather Sellers’ Page After Page, here are some “small assignments”—writing tasks that take me anywhere from 5-55 minutes—that help me get my daily writing dose even during the craziest times of year. Hope they help you, too!

Click on over for 26 ideas on how to insert a little bit of writing pick-me-up time into even the craziest schedule.

:) Cheryl

cheryl snow

Faith in the Writing Process

GollyGforceOne of the reasons (the fun one!) that I didn’t make my NaNoWriMo goal this year is—I had the unexpected opportunity to work on another project, this one a nonfiction book for young readers. In the past two weeks, I’ve gone through a series of writing ups and downs that are starting to feel strangely familiar:

  1. Exhilaration. This is the best book idea ever! It will work this way, and this way, and this way, and is such an amazing idea, I’m going to explode! And it will be so EASY! I’ll have this thing knocked out in a week, two weeks tops.
  2. Optimism. This might be harder than I thought, but I can do it. This is when I start diving into the research: I order a hundred reference books through interlibrary loan, make a trip up to my local university library to access journal articles, buy a half dozen more books from Amazon, and check out every picture book I can find from my publisher of choice. And then…
  3. Despair. Once I’ve done the research, I start trying to find the form of the book. I piece together one story outline after another and realize, without a shadow of doubt, that my Great Idea will simply not work. Ever.
  4. Obsession. This is the point when I know the book won’t work. There isn’t enough research available, I can’t find the right photos, and the story form that sounded so great in theory is stupid once I actually try to implement it—but I can’t stop worrying at the idea. It keeps me up at night and wakes me early in the morning. I muse over angles while running or cooking. Conversations with my exceptionally patient spouse turn invariably to analysis of other nonfiction books and discussion of different ways to tackle my topic.
  5. Depression. Why am I still working on this? I don’t even know any more, but every day I do a little more. I take more notes, look at more photos, and write new outlines, none of which quite work. I know they won’t work, I know there’s no hope, but I don’t have anything else I’m working on right now so I keep plugging along. Just in case.
  6. Eureka! In the middle of writing yet another outline, something clicks! I find a different lens through which to tell the story , a different twist that might…just might…actually work. And I start writing a new outline. It rolls off my pen, and for the first time I see the hint of the book I want to write.
  7. Confidence. why was I worried? This is what my writing process always looks like–the darkest. moment comes just before the dawn, and even when I think I know enough to know that a project is irretrievably flawed, I’m often wrong. I buckle down with renewed confidence and vision and get to work. Because after all, I’ve got a book to write.

It astonishes me that every time, for virtually every project, I go through a phase where I’m absolutely convinced that I’ve found the best story idea ever—and through a phase in which I’m equally convinced that the book won’t actually work. And I’m not even bipolar :).

It’s hard to keep going when I hit that low point, but it helps to know that I *always* go through it, if you know what I mean. It helps me to keep plugging along, waiting for that Eureka! moment. Because somehow, it always arrives.

What about you? Do you go through, or struggle with, different emotions during your writing process? How do you get past the low points? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!