27 June, 2013

Do you need an editor?

By |2023-06-09T11:28:07-07:00June 27, 2013|Publishing, Resources, Writing|Comments Off on Do you need an editor?

The biggest trap that most self-published authors fall into is believing there book is good enough if they write it once, have a few friends check it over and send it out.

The truth is that writers do not see their own mistakes.

It’s like looking in a mirror and thinking that the one-dimensional reflection is how we really look to other people.

Besides seeing ourselves in only one dimension we unconsciously put on a good face before that bit of glass. A pleasant expression. A smile. Do we see the frown, snarl, or grimace we make when someone cuts in front of us?

As a writer, you know what you want to say. That knowledge can get in the way of sharing what we want to say completely.

Remember the old kid’s game of Pass the Secret? You tell the person next to you a sentence about something. She repeats it to the next […]

24 June, 2013

How to create a basic plot for your novel

By |2023-06-09T11:28:10-07:00June 24, 2013|Resources, Writing|Comments Off on How to create a basic plot for your novel

Writing a plot for your story is like planning a road trip.

You start at point A and you map out how to get to point B.

A plot is not the story. It is the highway that must be traveled to get to the end. The story is how the character goes down that highway to get to the destination.

When writing your plot you must first decide what the ending is going to be. Then you work backwards, charting each point to reach the end. Every step should build to the final climax but have conflict that must be worked through to move the story along.

To make your plot more interesting than “got in car, drove to store, got bread,” you build in points of conflict that must be overcome. In a novel, there is usually one major plot line of conflict and a series of subplots.

The main conflicts basically fall […]

17 May, 2013

How to do book research using Google online forms to gather information

By |2023-06-09T11:29:22-07:00May 17, 2013|Marketing, Resources, Writing|Comments Off on How to do book research using Google online forms to gather information

“Content is king.” The statement has been used so much it’s become cliché. Nevertheless, it is still true and creating valuable content means you provide information not available anywhere else.

One way to do this is to do your own research. Collect data online by asking a group of people to provide responses to a question or a series of questions. The information that you collect is uniquely yours so it can be a big selling point for making your book stand out authoritatively.

Let’s say you’re a historical fiction writer and you want to find out what people’s responses are to visiting a particular historical site. You could create a form with a question and then share it with those people who have visited the site by asking on Twitter or Facebook. A better way would be to connect with the historical site and ask for permission to survey their visitors. […]

1 May, 2013

How to build a Pinterest research board for your book

By |2023-06-09T11:29:40-07:00May 1, 2013|Marketing, Resources, Social Media, Writing|Comments Off on How to build a Pinterest research board for your book

Whether your book is fiction or nonfiction, you can use Pinterest to create a better book by creating research boards.

What is a “research board”?

Basically, it is a board or series of boards that have images that link to anything related to your book. Take a look at these amazing research boards created by Alexa Chipman who writes young adult fantasy and science fiction.

You can create a board that takes place in the area your book focuses on: a state, city, park, or building.

Create separate boards for different categories of your book, such as: book cover ideas, characters, food, clothes, time period, places, spaces, weather, history, events, and anything else that will get you into the creative mood for writing your book.

For instance, let’s say you’re writing a mystery story that takes place in Corvallis, Oregon. Create a new board called “Corvallis, Oregon.” Now you can pin images, […]

16 April, 2013

A quick tip to mentally reprogram your brain to write better in ten minutes

By |2023-06-09T11:29:47-07:00April 16, 2013|Resources, Writing|Comments Off on A quick tip to mentally reprogram your brain to write better in ten minutes

Chapter One:

It was a dark and stormy night…

Stuck in a rut? Can’t figure out how to get started with a bang for your opening chapter?

Try this copy-and-paste method:

Find an opening paragraph of a book that you like.

Copy it.

Then copy it again. One more time.

Now, close your work and write your own opening paragraph. It will have the flow and essence of what you just copied but be in your own words.

This is not plagiarism. The only copying you did was as a writing mental exercise.

For instance, let’s say you copied the opening sentence “It was a dark and stormy night.”

Naturally, you don’t want to use the same words, so you change.

In fact, you change quite a bit:

“It was another dark night with the wind blowing as if it determined to beat the hell out of someone.”

It’s quite different now, actually. It’s definitely a take of the “dark and stormy […]

19 March, 2013

Break through writer’s block with Steven Pressfield’s book, The War of Art

By |2023-06-09T11:30:01-07:00March 19, 2013|Resources, Writing|Comments Off on Break through writer’s block with Steven Pressfield’s book, The War of Art


No one quite cuts to the bone about writer’s block better than Steven Pressfield in his book, The War of Art. Published over ten years ago it still remains a popular, no-nonsense book for getting writers to write.

It’s not about whether you are good enough writer to call yourself a writer. If you write you are a writer. The more you write the better you will write.

It’s not about how good a writer you should be or want to be. It’s simply: Are you writing now?

While dreams of sitting at home and writing a bestselling book is a common American dream, the reality of it is much more painful.

It’s not about “Are we having fun yet?” so much as are we “Still sticking to it.”

Jodi Picoult, the bestselling author of 16 books (and counting) puts in a solid eight-hour day from 7:30 in the […]

23 January, 2013

7 myths about being an author

By |2023-06-09T11:33:23-07:00January 23, 2013|Marketing, Publishing, Resources, Writing|Comments Off on 7 myths about being an author

Ever dream about becoming an author? Today it’s easier than ever. And I will be first in line to encourage you to pursue your dream. But making your dream come true means one also takes into account the cost, the reality, and the practicality of how to make that dream actually happen.

The following seven “dream-busting” myths are not meant to discourage you but rather to toughen you up for the exhilarating but often difficult journey almost every author encounters.

1. Publishing a book will make you an instant celebrity. The truth is, it may make you a celebrity in your circle of family and friends but there’s a lot of book competition. In 2011, three million books were published in the United States and the count has been doubling, tripling, rising steadily every year.

2. Becoming a published author will make you rich. The average book sells 500 copies. That’s an average. […]

4 December, 2012

Free photo images for your author website

By |2023-06-09T11:35:04-07:00December 4, 2012|Marketing, Resources, Social Media, Writing|Comments Off on Free photo images for your author website

Are you wondering whether it’s worth the trouble to add photo images to your author blog posts? You don’t have to wonder any more. The results are in. A recent study by Skyword revealed that a relevant photograph or infographic added to a published article increased total views by 94%.

Have you noticed how shared photos on Facebook receive a lot more comments and likes than just a text status update?

With that kind of information in your back pocket it’s a total no-brainer that adding images is a “must do” task for any blog post you write.

Here’s a list of free great photo resources.

10 Free Photo Image Sites

Morguefile.com: “The morgue file contains free high resolution digital stock photographs and reference images for either corporate or public use.” Plus, you “are allowed to copy, distribute, transmit the work and to adapt the work. Attribution is not […]

26 November, 2012

Author news release headlines that get noticed

By |2023-06-09T11:35:45-07:00November 26, 2012|Marketing, Resources, Writing|Comments Off on Author news release headlines that get noticed

The purpose of this article is to help writers create news release headlines for their books. This is part three of the series ‘Sell more books with news releases.’

A news release to a media outlet is not a sales letter to promote your book. It’s a one-page presentation to get an interview or share something newsworthy. Your headline should deliver the message that you have something of value that the editor will want.

Your mission is not to sell books at this point but to help the editor, reporter, or blogger with a story, message, helpful tip or information that their followers will be interested in.

Editors will often get a hundred or more news releases a day. They barely have time to scan the headlines. If a headline is interesting enough they will move on to the first sentence and, if that is intriguing enough, take in the whole paragraph.

A […]

19 November, 2012

3 mental and 4 health reasons that cause writer’s block

By |2023-06-09T11:35:55-07:00November 19, 2012|Resources, Writing|Comments Off on 3 mental and 4 health reasons that cause writer’s block

Every writer suffers from blocks now and then. When no matter how hard you try to get your brain to function, come up with a creative idea, or solve a problem, nothing seems to work. In fact it seems that the harder you try the tougher the resistance.

Here are a few reasons that our brains may go into this catatonic state:

The inner critic has moved into the driver’s seat. This happens when we start thinking negatively about our writing. Remembering old criticisms from parents, teachers, or colleagues seem to take on a power greater than we can overcome.

Having too high an expectation can be just as deadly. In this case, we become our worst enemy by setting up goals that are impossible to reach. I found this quote recently by the American poet William Stafford who stated “There is no such thing as writer’s block for writers […]


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