Friday, November 4, 2011

Chatting with Krista D.Ball about Writing and Blogging

Today, my guest is author Krista D. Ball.  Krista writes fiction and non-fiction.  Today, she's talking about her self-published book: No More Blank Screen: Blogging Ideas for Fiction Authors.

AUTHOR: Krista D. Ball
BOOK TITLE: No More Blank Screen: Blogging Ideas for Fiction Authors


Tell me a little about your book and give a short synopsis.
 No More Blank Screen contains over 200 items to help fiction authors find topics to blog about. The blog ideas and questions-to-ponder attempt to cover the full experience spectrum that is encountered along the path to publication and well beyond. Along with the blog ideas, the basics of blog creation is covered, plus special notes on guest blogging and avoiding the dreaded "pretentious" label.

What gave you the idea for this particular book?
I maintain three different blogs and have been doing lots of guest posts, plus have had several guests myself. I am frequently asked what can fiction authors blog about. I noticed there wasn’t anything out there geared towards fiction authors, so the book came from that.

Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time?
I’m a full-time writer, though I do have a part-time contract job (where I do writing about 50% of the time). I write fiction, non-fiction, magazine articles, tech manuals…

I have full writing days (Tuesdays and Fridays) and then I do a bit here and there as needed. Sometimes, I’ll have a big push to meet deadlines and will write several days straight, 10+ hour days. I try to take days off in between, however, to balance things out.

When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
 I think I was twelve. Got a typewriter. Starting typing. Ended up with a novel!

What do you hope readers will take from your writing?
 For my fiction, I want people to feel entertained. For my non-fiction, I want it to answer the questions people may have and present things in an entertaining manner. After all, learning shouldn’t be boring!

What types of writing do you prefer, and why? 
 I prefer dark, or at least darker, fantasy and science fiction. I love the space operas and military science fictions. I love out of the ordinary epic fantasy.

What is the toughest part about being a writer and how do you get past it?
Writing is like any job. There are plenty of days at work where you just don’t want to do anything except look at LOLZ cats. Same thing with writing J So, like the day job, I just gotta suck it up and get to it.

What about your book makes it special?
 There is plenty of information out there, telling authors they need to blog and how to set one up. Beyond that, there isn’t a lot to actually help them keep their blog going. That’s where mine helps.

Where can people learn more about you and your work?
 My website – It’s currently going through plastic surgery, so please be patient!

What are your views on self-publishing versus traditional publishing?
 Well, No More Blank Screen is self-published, so I guess I’m ok with it! Seriously though, I have contracts with two different traditional print publishers and an epublisher (that also does some print). I also do a little self-publishing. I don’t believe either is the second coming of publishing.

I evaluate every project I do and determine what will be the best course of action for both that work and my overall career.

Do you have an agent and do you feel an agent is necessary for non-fiction?
In 2011, I’ve signed several contracts for novel-length books and didn’t have an agent for any of them. I have sold one non-fiction book (What Kings Ate and Wizards Drank: A Fantasy Writer's Guide to Food and Beverages) based on a proposal alone (though, to be fair, I do have enough of a background to present myself as an expert…or at least knowledgeable!).

Again, the entire agent debate comes down to what you want to do with your career. It works for some. For others, it doesn’t. People should always look at all sides before making decisions.

Any tips for new writers hoping to write non-fiction?
 Know what you are talking about and be able to back it up.

Sample from No More Blank Screen:

The ideas are divided into sections. Here are six blog ideas related to “research” as it pertains to a fiction author.

Share some of your research ups and downs with your audience.

1. What are you researching right now?
2. If you need to research your story, when do you do it? Do you research first, and then write? Do you write until you need to confirm a fact? Or, do you just write the entire story and figure it all out at the end?
3. What do you consider the fun parts of researching for a story?
4. What are the challenging or tedious parts of researching for a story?
5. Do you agree with the saying, "Write what you know"? Or, do you just dive in and research it later?

Bonus idea: Have you avoided a project because the research intimidated you?
Talk about your apprehension. Perhaps your blog readers may have tips on how to get going. You might even discover one of your readers is an expert on the subject.


  1. Everyone always says you have to have to go out there and blog. But how to do that without coming across as blatant self-promotion has always been troubling. Just the few points Krista gave at the end made the column worth reading. Thanks for the good information. Now I have to go out andcheck out the book.

    Helen Henderson
    Stories that take you to the stars, the Old West, or worlds of imagination

    Steer a course to adventure and magic with Windmaster. Ellspeth, captain of the Sea Falcon, is determined to make her own destiny, but it isn't easy when she has to decide between the sea, magic...or love. Available in ebook and paperback at Champagne Books and Ebook also available from AllRomance/Omnilit and other online bookstores.

    Find ten tales of strength, love and adventure in the pages of Dreamspell Goddess from L&L Dreamspell. Available Now in Ebook at AllRomance/OmniLit, at Amazon for the Kindle. Coming soon to print.

  2. Often we all need someone to help us see what we can do to promote our work. Krista and some friends helped me with that this week. Writers need friends who are writers. It helps.

    Oh, yeah, it's good idea not to come across with blatant self-promotion. It's amazing how many authors engage in it and think they're being subtle.

  3. This book sounds marvellous. It's on my shortlist. Thanks, ladies.

  4. Hi Krista!
    Nice to meet another hardworking midlister who dabbles in Kindle publishing. One idea for fiction bloggers is to blog a lot about the subject of their book. Not the actual book, but the subject since that will attract people interested in the subject. Since my novel is set in Civil War Missouri, I write a lot about he conflict in that state.
    David Meyer has written a conspiracy thriller, and over at his blog he's doing a series on all the conspiracy theories that contributed to his plot. Fun reading!