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Guest Blogs

A blog by Tara Sparling

Tara Sparling writes fiction and satire. Her blog www.tarasparlingwrites.com looks at book humour, bestselling book trends, the realities of traditional and self-publishing, writing follies, book marketing, author success stories and spectacular failures. She also pokes a lot of fun at character and genre stereotypes. She can be found lurking @TaraSparling on Twitter.

You can follow Tara online, on Twitter and on Facebook.

HELP! Someone Else Wrote My Book

Posted by Tara Sparling on 25 June 2019.

Have you ever been half way through your major writing project, only to suddenly suspect.... it's all been done before? Here's some handy advice with the benefit of hindsight (and some surprising news on top Amazon genres involving fish).

Is the Bestseller A Thing of the Past?

Posted by Tara Sparling on 14 February 2019.

It seems that bestsellers don't sell as best as they used to. Blockbusters don't bust, and potboilers aren't boiling as much as they did before the digital age. But what does this mean for the author who isn't famous?

Who Are You NOT Writing For This Year?

Posted by Tara Sparling on 17 January 2019.

Are you finding it hard to identify your audience? Having trouble picturing your readers while you're writing that opus maximus? Well, you've come to the right place. No - I can't tell you who to write for. Sorry. But I can do something much more useful. I can tell you who you're definitely NOT writing for...

The Writers’ Christmas Party

Posted by Tara Sparling on 23 November 2018.

Writing may be a solitary occupation, but that's no reason for writers not to have a Christmas party, which is good, because in Ireland they actually have one. But is it the same as the office Christmas party - and as full of stories?

So, You Want To Be A Full-Time Writer… Or Do You?

Posted by Tara Sparling on 11 October 2018.

As the wise Irish depressive said, the grass is always greener on the other fella's grave. Many in non-creative day jobs would love to write all day. Many writing all day would love the pay cheque from a non-creative day job. A balance between the two might be what's required - but can we ever be happy with our lot?

5 Good Reasons Why Writers Rarely Achieve Success In Their 20s

Posted by Tara Sparling on 26 August 2018.

We might wonder why so few writers become successful while still in their 20s. But the question might well be - is this perhaps for the best? Or what would we be reading otherwise?

5 Old Dead Rules of Publishing Your Book

Posted by Tara Sparling on 12 July 2018.

Just 10 years ago, publishing was a whole different ballgame. And that's not the only metaphor I butcher in this thinly disguised listicle. So what's changed? And should we be sad, or glad about it?

Is EVERYONE Writing A Damn Book These Days?!

Posted by Tara Sparling on 17 May 2018.

Writers have never been so connected. With the internet, we can now talk to fellow authors, all over the world. But what does that mean for our self-confidence, when it feels like everyone in the whole world is also writing a book - possibly even the SAME book?

HELP! Your Book is Drowning – And It’s Your 1st Chapter’s Fault

Posted by Tara Sparling on 17 April 2018.

Let’s make one thing clear: first chapters SUCK. Even the first chapters of the best novels in the world suck – at some point in the process. Most first chapters cause their writers to collapse in a puddle of headachey sweat, eyes rolled back, tongues lolling, unable to form any sentences at all. They are that difficult. And in publishing, they are what set out the titans amongst the tiddlers. The Real First Chapter First chapters...

Read the full article >>

You Think 5-Star Reviews Are So Great? Think Again

Posted by Tara Sparling on 17 February 2018.

I hate 5-star book reviews, and I'm about to tell you why. While I'm at it, I'm also going to try and persuade you to hate them too. Wish me luck.