How Do You Keep Moving Forward?

Failure is a part of life.

Whether it's the new cupcake recipe that totally flops, the spicy chicken recipe that tastes like cardboard, or, that the first draft in our best-selling novel ends up being total crap.

If we allow ourselves to grow from the failures, they can produce the sweetness of delicious success.

Image supplied by author
So remember: KEEP MOVING FORWARD!!! If you do, your life will be full of failure, sure, but more importantly, it'll be filled with success.

When you fail, how do you keep moving forward?

Guest post by RaShelle Workman

Buy Now @ Amazon 
Genre - Romantic Thriller
Rating - PG13 (Language, sensuality)
More details about the author & the book

Connect with RaShelle Workman on Twitter & Facebook 

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The copyright page

The copyright page is a must for any book and usually contains the following information, although not all of these are necessary:
  • Copyright notice
  • Edition information
  • Publication information
  • Printing history
  • Cataloguing data
  • Legal notices
  • ISBN and/or other identification number
  • Year published
  • Credits for design, production, editing and illustration.
Why it's important:

The copyright page is where your book is represented to retailers, libraries, bibliographers, quantity sales buyers etc... 

The most important element:

Not surprisingly the most important element on the page is the copyright notice itself. In fact this is the only element that MUST be included. This is usually presented as © or the word copyright followed by the year the work was produced and the name of the author. e.g. © 2012, Jo Linsdell

Example copyright page:

This is the copyright page for my children's picture book 'Out and About at the Zoo'

I decided to include my book dedication to my sons and acknowledgements of those that helped in it's creation. The title of the book and copyright message stating that the book was both written and illustrated by myself in 2012. I also included a text that protects my rights and the date of publication. My website address is also included so that I can be referenced and contacted easily.

Where does the copyright page go?

Always on the left hand page. In most books it's positioned across from the title page or on the back of the title page. 

The copyright page should either be a half page or full page (depending on the number of citations you need to include).

What information did you include on your copyright page?

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The Biggest Thing That Holds Writers Back

If you've been writing for long, chances are you've experienced some form of writer's block. I know I've been dogged by it often. It can manifest itself in different ways for different people, and we all assign our own causes to explain it:

"I haven't found quite the right idea yet."

You could spend an awful lot of time waiting for the perfect inspiration. Namely, forever. Don't wait. Start with "just barely good enough" and go from there. The real writing is in the rewriting anyway.

"I have too many other things going on right now."

As if that's ever really going to change? Life rarely gets less complicated over time. And when there's something you want to avoid, other commitments expand to fill as much space in your life as possible.

"I'm just not in the right frame of mind lately."

Here's the trick: it's not a question of being in the mood to write, it's a matter of being in the groove. And that only comes from doing it.

I would argue that these are all excuses, rationalizations rather than true causes of your block. Writing is, at bottom, just writing: you set pen to paper, or hit one key after another, or even dictate to a secretary if you're so lucky. No one forgets how to do those things, physically, right? So what's the hang-up The real root cause is this: you're afraid that what comes out when you write won't be good enough.

There's only one answer here: forgiveness. Turns out that's always the answer in life… but that's a whole other story. Here we're talking about self-forgiveness. 

Sounds easy, but it's surprisingly hard.

Whether you openly verbalize it in your mind or just feel it on a gut level, you're questioning your own value, your own voice. You'd never treat another person as meanly as you treat yourself. Think about that. If another writer who was a friend of yours came to you, saying they simply couldn't face another blank page, what would you tell them?

"Just trust yourself. I believe in you."

Try telling that to yourself. You may be surprised what a little self-forgiveness can do.

Guest post by freelance writer and full time blogger Barbara Jolie. Barbara enjoys sharing her knowledge on accredited online college classes and online education with her blogging community. You can reach her at

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Social reading

The internet is home to a growing number of social reading sites where readers can comment on books they've read, suggest books to others and share information about their favourite authors. Groups, book exchanges, chances to win free books... these sites are heaven for book lovers.

These sites all have the common features you'd expect of a social networking platform from friends lists to groups to comments.

Some of the most well known platforms include:


Launched in January 2007, Goodreads is home to over 9,200,000 members who have added more than 330,000,000 books to their shelves. 


Started in 2006, LibraryThing is a community of over 1,500,000 books lovers.


Launched in 2006, Shelfari was acquired by in August 2008. Activity on the site can have a direct effect on the books product page on Amazon.

On-line forums are also popular. To find one all you need to do is a simple search on Google.

These platforms were created for avid readers and as such make them the ideal place for authors to be able to gain reader feedback and connect with their fans.

What social reading sites are you part of? How are you using them?
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Interview with Ron Yarosh

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
Actually, I really didn't make a conscious decision to become a writer. I just started writing. I found myself scratching away in a dimly lit, three wall room, on a shovel with charcoal from the fireplace. Wait. No. That was Abe Lincoln.

I started with notebook paper and a stubby pencil. I was too poor to afford the spit to wet the graphite tip. My parents couldn't afford to buy me a typewriter. But they did show me a picture of one in a Sears catalogue we kept in the outhouse. We were decades away from computers, Ipads, money, and indoor plumbing.

True story...My first recollection of a writing assignment was in the first grade. I wrote a story about a detective. The teacher decided to read it out loud in class. I was pleased until she pointed out I misspelled detective. I wrote it as defective. The class thought that was funny. So my first venture into writing was defective and embarrassing. 

Another true story...My writing urge really took off after I boasted to a high school friend I could write a story about anything. He challenged me to write one based on the premise, "How a peanut butter sandwich helped to win the Revolutionary War." My story amazed him. I wish I had kept it.

Later, I volunteered to work on our high school year book. I studied a few previous copies and decided things had to change. Instead of the old stuffy, rigid approach I took the plunge and wrote the Class Prophecy in the style of Mad Magazine. School officials didn't realize what I did until the book was published. I didn't get into any trouble over it. In fact I was invited to be the toastmaster for our Senior Class Night dinner. It was my first and only stand-up comedy event. It went quite well.

Later, I realised I had the ability to spontaneously make people laugh without tickling them. I also had a knack for creating stories for my children and other kids in the family. I went with that strength and studied different writing forms from a variety of sources.

What genre do you write and why?
I'm an eclectic writer. I write for children and adults. I write humor as well as horror, mystery, essays, and sci-fi. I prefer humor. That's why I created my blog, "Humorous Interludes". My Amazon ebook is a sci-fi thriller for teenagers. The sequel will follow along the same lines. I chose sci-fi for the "Alien Assistant" books because it fits the characters I had been thinking about for some time. These days I actually write more humor than anything else. I write humor for the adult market rather than for kids.
I will soon publish several single panel cartoon ebooks, along with a riddle ebook, and an ebook of limericks for the adult market. I also have a collection of short stories about ogres for the youngsters coming out soon. Being eclectic may be detrimental to my writing career, but I have to write what I have to write. That's why my muse left me.

Tell us about your latest book.
Here is the description I wrote for AmazonThirteen year old Monica Mildrew's life is changed forever when her parents reveal their family's secret. Suddenly Monica is involved in a dangerous and exciting adventure. She has to find and help a space alien named Mason. In order to avoid the destruction of Earth, Mason must get back to his mother ship. Things get worse when the Mason is captured and taken away just hours before his scheduled launch. Monica must find Mason and get him to the launch site in time. See what happens when the military tries to stop the launch seconds before takeoff. Follow Monica in a tension filled roller coaster ride as she uses her wits to accomplish her first assignment as an Alien Assistant.

What marketing methods are you using to promote your book? 
I posted announcements on both my blogs, "Humorous Interludes" and "Kids books and stories". I also made Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter posts. Then I bought one of those signs you see people twirl on street corners for buying gold and selling furniture. I didn't make a single sale. It was only later that I found out the sign had been printed in Yiddish. In addition, I have made my book known on Goodreads. I will work to get it on other sites as well. Of course, I told family and friends about it. Hopefully, this interview will help sales. It's all about getting the word out. I'm new to social marketing. I have a lot to learn about it.

What formats is the book available in?
At the moment Alien Assistant is only available as an ebook at Amazon. I will release it in the other electronic formats in the near future. I can always tap into print on demand if there is a call for a hard copy edition.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I like to relax by painting in watercolors, oils, and acrylics. I enjoy watching classic movies, especially old science fiction films. I grew up with those movies during Saturday matinees in Pennsylvania. I also watch a lot of Mystery Science Theatre Three Thousand (MST3K) which riffs old "B thru Z" movies. I'm also a video editor, and producer. In addition to that, we visit nearby Walt Disney World quite often. Even when I'm involved in those activities, I always find myself thinking about writing. I have a busy mind which doesn't like to be idle.

Who are your favourite authors?
That's a tough question. To name just a few, I like Ray Bradbury, Woody Allen, the "Monty Python" gang, the MST3K gang, Rod Serling, Dave Barry, Steve Martin, Bruce Coville, Roald Dahl, Andrew Clements, Theodor Seuss Geisel, Lemony Snicket, and Louis Sachar. The list is also eclectic.

What advice do you have for other writers?
Don't do what I did. Be persistent. Be strong. Don't quit. Don't let anyone or anything keep you from your goal. In this age of independent publishing there is no reason to stop writing. It's open to anyone.  However, at the same time, your writing must be equal to or better than your competitor's work.

I wrote something in almost every genre over the years. I wrote books, essays, stories and jokes. I guess I was trying to find my niche. I never did find it. Maybe that's because I never had one to begin with. Rejection was my greatest obstacle to writing. I didn't know why I was being rejected. I took it too personal. I would stop writing, vowing never to write again, only to answer it's call it at a later date. I'd take a new course, and/or read a new book on writing. Then it would begin anew again.

I also recommend learning how to write. Not necessarily with something like a book called, "Writing for Imbeciles" (my apologies if there is such a book). There a many courses on writing both on line and in the classroom. Do your research first. Just because someone writes one book doesn't make them an expert. I see this all the time on blogs and other social sites. Someone with a large following writes a book. It sells because of the great following. That person begins to think they are a wonderful writer, when reality they are mediocre at best. I know, I've read their work. Then they decide to teach writing by selling a book or course. That's real Chutzpah.

Also, don't write in a vacuum, or any cleaning device. Get whatever you write critiqued. Your cute story about a bunny rabbit  making it big on Wall Street may impress your two year old niece, but it could be far from professional. If you are going to write for children, you need to learn the intricacies and demands of that market.

Writing for children isn't just watered down adult writing. I took a year long course from the leading children's writing institute, (the one with entrance exam). They seemed to be impressed with my work. They keep inviting me to take advanced courses. Even after that, I had "Alien Assistant" edited by, Kristi Holl, a professional editor of children's books, and former instructor at the Institute of Children's Literature. What I thought was a masterpiece of writing sure needed a lot of work.

One more thing. Writers have said, "Write what you like to read." After many years of trying to prove them wrong, I've found that advice to be right. I am writing more humor now, and I am delving into cartooning as an extension of my art work. I find writing humor to be the easiest and most rewarding endeavour. I've discovered, if you don't like what you are doing, your writing days will be miserable. I have more fun writing for Humorous Interludes, creating cartoons, and writing limericks than almost anything else I do.

What's your favourite quote about writing/for writers?
"Eighty percent of success is showing up."-Woody Allen
Change, "showing up" to writing something. Many people think about writing something, but never sit down to do it. For years my cousin, Sasha thought about writing the great American Novel, but he spent all his time discussing politics with a veal cutlet.

What's the best thing about being a writer?
The best thing is having fun writing. I had a ball writing the script for a five minute video, for a contest sponsored by Video Maker Magazine. The video won Second Prize. "The Road Kill Grill" has had thousands of views on YouTube.

It's also fun reading the comments people make after they have seen my cartoons, limericks, stories, etc. on "Humorous Interludes", or the comments I have made on various blog postings.

And there is this...The other day we were flying to Colorado. We sat next to a nine year old girl who was flying alone. After a few hours of chit chat, with my wife and me, I mentioned I had written a novel for teens. She wanted to read it. I had a copy on my Ipad. After reading a few pages of "Alien Assistant" she said, "This is awesome." It made my year. It was so rewarding watching her become engrossed in the story. Later she kept repeating, "Wow. I met an author." After the flight, she told the Flight Attended all about her experience, repeating her amazement. She said she couldn't wait to tell her mother and her friends. It doesn't get much better than that.

Where can people find out more about you and your writing?
Go to the blogs called, "Humorous Interludes" and "Kids books and stories". The latter blog site is still being developed. I also have profile information on Facebook, SWBI, Linkedin. A local garden gnome also has a dossier on me.

I have a goal to publish at least five more ebooks this year in multiple formats. Most of them will be in the humor genre. They will be edited prior to release.

Anything else you'd like to add?
The wonders of the digital age have made it possible for millions of people around the world to express themselves in blogs, books, videos, posts, comments, tweets, tattoos, and other means of mass communication. It has opened a whole new world to writers, readers, and of course spammers. The playing field has been levelled (with lots of heavy equipment) so that all can participate in the wonders of the new media experience which is changing all the time.

However, not all writers will be successful at it. I believe eighty percent of the market will consist of mediocre writing in some form or another. It's always been that way. That's okay because it makes the twenty percent of great writing stand out from the crowd. I will do whatever it takes to be in the twenty percent group.
Thank you for this opportunity.
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The value of reviews

The publishing industry has hit the skids now that Kirkus will review anything that shows up with a $500 check.

Kirkus gave my less-than-best-selling novel, ON THE LIP, a favorable review, but I wonder if they would have liked it twice as much for $1,000. Perhaps the review writer – as best I can tell, a barista at the Starbucks on Union Square - might have seen two fistfuls of sticky pennies in the tip jar instead of one.

"SURPRISINGLY GOOD!"  That's the backhanded compliment you would expect from a non-employee reviewer who lacks authority to say whether a novel is good or just better than what Kirkus’ paying customers typically inflict on these migrant workers of the literary world.  Such faint praise turned out badly for a missionary who pronounced his host's sacred tribal dish "surprisingly good" after the chieftain insisted he take a big, juicy bite of what translated to "braised testicle of musk ox."  Unlike the missionary, the barista who reviewed ON THE LIP did not end up being anyone's main course, mostly because Kirkus doesn't name names.

Kirkus gets what it pays for from its "permalancers."  Even an out-of-work Dewey LaBoef associate could follow their formula.

Rule No. 1: Mention three major plot points.  That’s easy because the reviewer is only expected to get two of them right.  In ON THE LIP, after a lead character reluctantly trades his comfortable West Coast life of surf’n’sex’n’suds’n’sex’n’smokes’n’sex for brutal days in an East Coast Internet startup, he tries to kill himself.  The permalancer got the timing backward, and a correction required a five-week hassle.  The "review fee" (it would be rude to call it a “bribe”) apparently doesn't include having a real editor read the review, read the book OR make sure the reviewer actually read it.  The mistake was obvious to anyone who got to page four, but I admit it is hard to hold a book open with one hand and whip up a grande peppermint mocha frappuccino with the other.

Rule No. 2: Find kinky sex.  It's for the author's own good, and (s)he will thank you later.  Nothing sells nowadays better than hard-core bondage porn that appears to have been written by a precocious, but seriously disturbed, third-grader.  If there's nothing THAT kinky in the story, just call it "imagery," so it needs only to be in your head instead of in the book.

Kirkus' review of ON THE LIP speaks admiringly of an "undercurrent of homoerotic imagery."  Anybody who manipulates his fraternity brother into 20 years in the penitentiary would have to imagine how this might completely re-orient the Lothario’s sex life – from top to bottom, you might say – but is that “erotic”?  Hemingway benefited when readers saw what they wanted to see between his lines, so perhaps I should take this as a sign my Nobel is in the works.

Rule No. 3 is my favorite.  Find SOMEthing nice to say so the wannabe author won't ask for his money back.  With only a little elliptical juxtaposition of the review posted at, Kirkus said ON THE LIP "exposes a scandalous world of sex and secrets … with lively descriptions that carry personality and a reliable touch of humor."  The novel also is plotted "well enough that readers will eagerly anticipate each new chapter."  It seems "eager anticipation" qualifies for "well enough," but not for "well." 

These turds in the punchbowl drove me, in the middle of a sunny Manhattan afternoon, into a dive Irish bar on Lexington.  As I puzzled over the barista’s words, the guy on the next barstool noticed the Kirkus header and took pity.  In one of those "only in New York" moments, he turned out to be, like me, a lawyer, journalist and author of a business-oriented novel.  His book sold tens of thousands of copies, but one amateur reviewer described his work of staggering genius as "not entirely awful."

This experience offers three lessons for wannabe fiction writers.  First, bone-headed reviews come with the territory – they’re free, like the air wafting off a garbage truck.  Second, there are some things no self-respecting man should ever have to pay for, especially if he is in the Secret Service or an aspiring author.  The third is crucial.  George Garrett, my creative writing professor at Princeton, told me years ago.  "KEEP WRITING." 

How's that for a "brief slip into sentimentality near the end"?  Oh, by the way, barista, make mine a tall, skinny latte - and hold the homoerotic undercurrent this time, wouldja please?

Guest post by Jerry Cox, author of On the Lip

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Q&A with Sheila Allee, Writers’ League of Texas Interim Executive Director

Q: What is the Writers’ League of Texas Agents and Editors Conference?
A: The conference offers writers – whether they are published or just starting out – the chance to meet with agents and editors who are looking for great books and new voices.

Q: Who should attend the conference?
A: Writers and aspiring writers, published and unpublished. This conference is not just for people who are already writing a book. If you’ve ever thought about writing a book and are interested in learning about the publishing industry, this is a good place to gather information.

Q: What are the benefits to attending?
A: We will have 13 agents, four editors, three experts in book publishing and film production, seven marketing/publicity professionals, and over a dozen distinguished authors on our faculty. You will have opportunities to hear them share their tips about writing and the industry, as well as chat with them informally. You will also have the opportunity to network with other writers and form alliances that will help you in your future writing endeavors.

Q: Who will be speaking at this year’s conference?
A: Our keynote speaker is Alan Rinzler, an editor who has worked with Hunter S. Thompson, Toni Morrison, Clive Cussler, Tom Robbins and Robert Ludlum, among others. His speech will be about “Why This is the Best Time Ever to be an Author.”

Q: Who are some of the agents and editors represented at this year’s conference?
A: We have 13 agents who specialize in a wide variety of markets. Some of the agencies represented are Full Circle Literary, Andrea Brown Literary Agency, Pippin Properties, Folio Literary Management, Wendy Sherman Associates, Dystel and Goderich Literary Management, and Serendipity Literary.

Q: What types of panels will be featured?
A: We have a range of panels for people at any stage of a writing career.  Some sessions are craft workshops and are designed to help develop voice, write a memoir, or bring out the writer in you. Other sessions educate attendees on the business end of writing, with panels on how to impress an agent, how to market your projects, and the different avenues of self-publishing.

Q: As a writer, what should I prepare or bring to this year’s conference?
A: If you have a book project and would like to talk with an agent about it, have your “elevator” pitch ready. It’s not necessary to bring your manuscript. If an agent wants to see it, he/she will ask.

Q: How long has this conference been going on?
A: The first conference was held in 1994 and it has been hosted annually since then.

Q: Do writers ever receive book deals while at this conference?
A: Writers very often sign with agents because of the conference and those agents secure book deals. A number of success stories from previous conferences are posted on our website. 

Q: How should attendees prepare for their agent one-on-one meeting?

A: If you have a book to pitch to an agent, be sure to have your “pitch” ready when you have your agent consultation. A two to three-minute speech about your project’s basic plot, its genre/market, and what makes it unique is all that is necessary. This is an opportunity to get feedback from an industry professional, so they should also come prepared with any burning questions about publishing or how to make their manuscript more salable. For a separate fee, we are offering a pre-conference workshop on how to perfect your pitch. It is scheduled the afternoon of Friday, June 22.

Q: What advice do you have for writers attending this year’s conference?
A: Come ready to learn about the ever-changing world of publishing and to network with other writers. Even if you don’t have a book that you are working on, you may have one in mind and the knowledge you gain and the connections you make at the conference will be very helpful when you sit down to write.

Q: What’s the difference between the agents conference general ticket and the agents conference YA A to Z ticket?
A: The conference offers two workshop tracks – the general track and the Young Adult track. Attendees who sign up for the general track will be able to attend workshops and panels on a broad range of topics relating to writing, publishing and marketing many book genres. The YA track is for writers who are writing young adult fiction. Registrants can also purchase a combined ticket and attend any of the sessions.

Q: What are the event dates?
A: June 22-24

Q: What is the cost to attend the conference?
A: If you are a member of the Writers’ League, the cost is $399. For nonmembers, the fee is $459. If you want to attend the Young Adult track only, the fee is $299 for members and $359 for nonmembers. Attendees wanting to attend both the general and Young Adult tracks will be charged $434, with nonmembers paying $494.

We will accept walk-ins, but the registration fee will be higher. A full listing of costs is located on our website

Q: Where is this year’s conference?
A: Austin’s Hyatt Regency Hotel

Guest post by Sara Pence, Assistant Digital Publicist, Shelton Interactive.

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Tips on guest blogging

Guest blogging can be a great way to build your on-line reputation and drive traffic to your sites. It's a win-win situation for both the guest blogger and the host. 

You write content for their site, which you will of course be promoting and sharing the link to everywhere you can, and they allow you to include a byline and/or link back to your site. You get exposure to a new audience and they get new readers to their site.

Here's a few tips on how to be a good guest blogger:
  1. Research the blog and submit a post that is well suited to the site and it's readers. For example in my current virtual tour for my children's picture book Out and About at the Zoo I have written posts like 'Being a writing mum' for the site of a fellow mum writer, 'Tips for children's writers' for the site that offers tips to writers and 'The challenges and rewards of writing for children' for a site for avid young readers. Each post is directed towards it's individual audience.
  2. Supply them with content their site is missing. Whilst you need to make sure your post is in keeping with the topic niche of the hosts site, you also want to try and give them something new. Use your own unique experience and skills to fill the needs of the host and their readers.
  3. Make the job of the host as easy as possible. If they have guidelines, follow them to the letter. Supply them with appropriate images to use with the post and any other additional information they might want to use.
  4. Be reliable. If you promise to send your content by a certain date, send it by that date. Don't leave your host and their readers hanging. Not only is this unprofessional, it will also damage your reputation.
  5. Promote your post. Don't just write the guest post and leave it to the host to promote it. It's part of the deal as a guest blogger that you help bring readers to the site. Share the link to your post everywhere you can to drive as much traffic as possible. 
  6. Reply to comments. Part of the reason for guest blogging is to connect with new readers. If someone takes the time to leave a comment on your post, make sure you reply to them. Even if it's just to thank them for their input.
  7. Give thanks. Thank the host publicly by leaving a comment on the post. Thank them again by email and/or via their social media pages. If they have accounts with applications like branchout write them a testimonial to thank them. And then thank them again! 
Bottom-line: Be the sort of guest you'd like to have visit your own site.

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Jailbirds and Choices

“I love the writing, but I don’t know how to sell this.”

They were some of the most crushing words I’d ever heard. As a writer, I knew rejection was part of the game. When the rejections contained valid feedback, I knew I needed to hone my skills. When the feedback shifted, and I was being told point blank to make my stories more formulaic if I wanted a career, I knew it was time to rethink whether or not I fit into the standard “write a book, get an agent, find a publisher” model.

Jailbird was the book that brought me to that conversation, and it was the book I wasn’t willing to walk away from. Recently, I had the incredible experience of seeing it sit in the #2 spot of Amazon’s free list. What lay between that initial moment of rejection and the thrill of success was a young publishing company with an innovative model.

I was picked up by Booktrope, a small publisher out of Seattle with an idea they call Team Publishing. The concept pulls from the best of indie publishing and traditional models, creating a hybrid that is adaptable enough to thrive in the current publishing landscape.

Their mantra is “Freedom of the Book,” and their intent is to keep overhead low enough to allow them to take chances on books they believe in, even if the book doesn’t match the formula for a guaranteed bestseller.

Each book is produced by a team consisting of an author, a book manager, an editor, a graphic designer and a proofreader. This team chooses if they want to work together and is paid a percentage of royalties, so everyone has a vested interest in the book’s success.

This approach allows the team more control than is typical in the industry, but provides structure and support not available when an author self- publishes. Personally, I love it, and I’m thankful for Booktrope and for freedom of the book.

Guest post by Heather Huffman, author of Throwaway, Ties that Bind, Jailbird, Suddenly a Spy, Ring of Fire, Tumbleweed and Devil in Disguise. You can find out more about her writing and charitable work on
Other Links:
Facebook: Heather Huffman
Twitter: @Heathers_mark
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