Trouble with pesky villains? I want to help.
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Welcome to Sacha Black's Newsletter

Villains are like the chunky kid on sports day. You HAVE to include them even though you don't really want them on your team. As a result, a ton of writers neglect their villains. The result is flat, unconvincing and totally lame characters.

I want to stop that. Which is why I am writing a non-fiction writing craft book all about villains. But I need your help in order to make sure the book is as helpful AND useful as it can be.
So I'm adding a question of the month to these newsletters because I genuinely want to hear from and discuss the writing life with you.

Here's, August's question:

What do you find the most difficult part of creating a villain?

Drop me a line, I'd love to have a virtual coffee (or wine) with you and discuss your villainous ways. Hit reply, or email

Thank you to those that replied with feedback in the last newsletter. I am busy pondering your suggestions and hopefully you will see changes soon.

This month we have loads in store, including:

  • An exclusive, never seen before, sneak peak at my first chapter of Keepers 
  • 3 writing competitions for September
  • Sick of self-doubt plaguing your writing progress? Take Joan Dempsey's Free Video Course and change your mindset, forever. 
  • In publishing news :
  1. 5 mistakes to avoid when trying to secure book reviews 
  2. Forbes author rich list
  3. EASILY find competitors in your genre
  4. Universal book links. No more linking to dozens of bookshops
  5. Book Review Catcher - Never miss another review of your book
  6. Agent opportunities

If you like this newsletter, or find it useful, why not share it with someone who would appreciate it? Share buttons can be found just below this section. Also, don't forget to add me to your contacts list so I don't end up in your spam folder.

Book Updates - Exclusive Sneak Peek Just For You

I finished July with my book Keepers at 47K words re-written. I threw all my efforts into completing rewrites and to my surprise and extreme excitement, I have finished structural rewrites a week early.

In celebration, I thought I would give you an exclusive sneak peek at my first chapter (it hasn't been to an editor yet, should you find a grammar error!). You can find the sneak peak here. The password to view the file is keepers

Drop me a line and let me know what you think of it, I would love to hear from you.
Competition Time

As always I like to share some competitions that are closing in the next month. So roll up your sleeves and pick up your pen. No excuses.

So September closers:

Manchester Fiction Prize - Entry fee £17.50, up to 2500 words. Prizes: £10,000, closes 23rd September. 
up to 2500 words.
Fright Cards Competition - Entry fee £1, between 200 and 300 words. Prizes: £15 and publication, closes 17th September. 
Off The Beaten Track Entry fee free, no more than 750 words.  Prizes: £100, closes 30th September

Monthly Round Up

Need a bit of writing inspiration? Try this month's Writespiration challenges:

Underwater Ballroom
Condense Your Novel Into 3 Sentences 

For some strange and unusual wonderings that never fail to inspire stories, check these posts out:

Orion's Belt & The Universal Language

I've also been potty training my son this month. Check out our rather interesting exploits here!


Stacks of publishing news this month:

Gisela Haussmann is an Amazon Top Reviewer. She's also an author of the book: Naked Truth About Getting Book Reviews. 

She wrote a guest post on C.S Laiken's site explaining why so many authors fail to get the attention of top book reviewers - one of the biggest errors includes 'tailoring' a template. Top reviewers can see it a mile off. Check out the rest of the post here.
Forbes have released their rich list once again, and surprise surprise, James Patterson has topped the list with a whopping $95m. Go on, have a nosy, you know you want to.
One of the things that's always useful to know, is who your competitors are. But if you write in an obscure genre, that's not always easy to establish. Angela Ackerman, author of my fave craft book, the Emotion Thesaurus shared this nifty visual software, which, once you plug in the name of your book (or a book you like if you want to read similar stuff) brings up an awesome visual of related books. It uses Amazon's database so you can easily buy these books too.
Check it out here.
Draft2Digital provide a range of tools but their newest is REALLY fricking cool. Dontcha just hate having to link to all the bookstores?
Well, no more people. Have a look at the article which has all the links. You can now use just one link to send people to the bookstore of their choice (set by default) and straight to your books without having to faff with a million bookstore links.
Check out the post here.
We all know how important reviews are as 'social proof' for potential readers. Do you get annoyed when you miss reviews because Amazon and iTunes only show some of them? Digital Book Review talks through Ratings Catcher, a new piece of software that will enable you to never miss another review.
Chuck Sambuchino sends out a fantastic email with a stack of open agent opportunities in his newsletter. You can see his latest one here, which has open opportunities for horror, women's fiction, adult non-fiction and steampunk novelists.
This month the tool of the month is Joan Dempsey's FREE Video Course on How to Determine If Your Writing Is Any Good.

Are you sick of self-confidence issues? Does self-doubt plague your writing to the point of procrastination, or outright quitting?

I've taken Joan's FREE video course and can personally vouch for its mindset changing awesomeness. I've come to terms with the fact that I will have bad days, but I also know that, that's okay, and as long as I don't give up, I will keep growing as a writer and get better. 

Check out her course here
Writespiration of the Month: SIX word story
No time to write? No excuses. You can write a story in six words!

I am a complete night owl, so this word suits me down to the ground!
Nyctophilia - love of darkness or night. Finding relaxation or comfort in darkness.
Wonder of the Month: 42 Weird Festivals
As a fantasy writer, I love world building. Here's 42 completely bizarre festivals from around the world to inspire your world building.
"There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing and be nothing." Aristotle 
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