Site of Interest: Ask a Literary Agent

This weeks site of interest is

Please feel free to ask Mr. Lukeman your questions about publishing (or about the craft of writing) by posting them in the "comments" section of the blog. He cannot answer every question, but will pick questions to respond to once every few days or so. Please be advised that he is providing this service simply to give back to the writing community and that he is not accepting new clients, so please don't use this blog to query him.

About Noah

Noah Lukeman is President of Lukeman Literary Management Ltd, which he founded in 1996. His clients include winners of the Pulitzer Prize, American Book Award, Pushcart Prize, finalists for the National Book Award, multiple New York Times bestsellers, major celebrities, and faculty of universities ranging from Harvard to Stanford. Mr. Lukeman is also author of several books on the craft of writing, including The First Five Pages (Simon & Schuster), The Plot Thickens (St. Martins Press) and A Dash of Style: (W.W. Norton). He has also authored two e-books: How to Write a Great Query Letter, which he gives away for free as a way of giving back to the writing community, and How to Land (and Keep) a Literary Agent. He has made available over 100 pages of free advice for authors from all his books, which you can read on his site. Mr. Lukeman has been a guest speaker on the subjects of writing and publishing at numerous forums, including The Juilliard School, the Wallace Stegner writing program at Stanford University and the Writers Digest Panel at Book Expo America. He earned his B.A. with High Honors in English and Creative Writing from Brandeis University, cum laude.

A must visit site to learn more about the writing industry!
Read More

Interview with Stephanie Campbell

Your first book was published when you were 17 years old. What advice do you have for other young writers? 
Don’t you ever, ever give up! Every little step gets you closer to your goal. If you love something, then you won’t ever stop doing it. I’ve had enough rejection letters to paper my walls, but I kept on going because writing was the one thing that got me excited and made me happy. At first, people laughed at me, but remember that success always comes when you keep pushing.
Secondly, build your network. I know it’s silly, but I met my first traditional publisher at blog. Don’t be afraid to stick your nose out there, either. Ask people for help. Yeah, some people may burn you, but some people won’t. Stick through the "No!" to get to the "Yes!"

How do you feel you've grown as a writer since you started out?
I have grown so, SO much. I look at my writing during my first book and cringe. I now know grammar books like the back of my hand, and I talk to my editors after my edits to see what I need to improve on. I’ve actually learned a lot simply by saying, "Hey, I’ve noticed that I’ve had problems with…How do I get better?" 
My editors have actually become my best friends because of this.

Tell us a bit about your latest book.

Poachers is about a boy who sees things that other people can’t. They’re shadowy, dark, scary things that hang over him and frighten him to no end. One day, his mother gets sick. He wants desperately to save her, and one of these shadows disguised as a human promises him that she will. She gives him a shriveled fruit that kills his mother. He becomes overcome with guilt and rage and becomes a "poacher." He must learn to forgive himself, and he must learn to forgive the creatures of the shadow world. 

How are you promoting the book?
I am blogging and blogging and blogging. It is a writer’s most important resource. I write articles, send out papers, and do whatever I can to get the word out. One of the great things about having books in hard copy is that I’m able to do book signings and visit schools. I have a school presentation planned in November to talk about dreams and my book. I’m terrified but excited. 

Who is your publisher and why did you choose them?
Old Line Publishing is my publisher. I did the traditional publisher because, regardless of what is said, I’ve done it both ways and feel that my traditional publishers respect what I have to say. (And I’m grateful to that.) They don’t ignore their authors. Plus, either way you’re going to have to get sales for your book. A big mistake that writers make is assuming that once the book is published they’re done. Selling the book takes just as much work, or even more so, than writing it. 

What other projects are you working on?
Right now I am very excited about my book in progress, E is for Eternity. It is a fantastic science fiction book about a machine that can tell the future and eventually destroys the world. I actually found that manuscript, all three hundred and fifty pages of it, stored in some strange place in my processor. I pulled it out and realized that it was possibly the best thing that I’ve ever written. Only I could lose a book that big.

What do you like doing when you're not busy writing?
Not much, honestly. Right now I’m still getting my feet underneath me, so I write during the day and moonlight at another job. I also am in the process of starting a publishing company and am testing the waters on myself. I run daily to keep my body from growing because of my ice cream addiction, but to me free time is a foreign word. I drive my friends nuts. They finish sentences for me. 
"Can you come over? It’s Friday," they say.
"No. I can’t. I’m--"
I’m hoping that all of these exhausting, late days will pay off. 

Where can people find out more about you and your writing?
Oh, that’s easy! I love to blog. For example, many people don’t realize that I’ve just published a poetry book of mine, Where All Rivers Meet. I announce things like that via my blog.
I also write about…well…writing at:

Anything else you'd like to add?
Thanks for reading this! Also, thank you to my marvelous host! I really appreciate you allowing me to be here today. 

Read More

Cyber Monday for writers

Today is Cyber Monday.

Cyber Monday is the internet version of Black Friday and one of the busiest days of the year for shopping online.

Just about anyone and everyone has a special  offer deal to share with their customers.

So how can writers benefit from this popular event? 

1. Offer a discount on their books. Set up a discount code to be used when purchasing your books and spread the word through your website and social media platforms. This 'one day only' offer is a great way to make extra sales whilst at the same time thanking your loyal followers.

2. Do the same as above for your services. Offer a discount off your usual article fee or 'get an hour free' off longer assignments with an hourly rate.

By taking part is Cyber Monday you might just land yourself some new clients and increase your book sales.

If you're taking part in Cyber Monday leave your discount code and link in the comments section.
Read More

Editing and Publishing


It seems to be a constant procedure. How many times can one go through a novel and still find errors? I say many. Just when you think you have it perfect, it's not. Look again. But I agree with many others, trying to edit your own work is endless. Seems you never can win.
Okay, just imagine you have all these eyes. You keep them in a case. You open it in the evening and you take out a fresh set. Plop them in your head. (You put the old tired set in the case which has "refreshing abilities")

Now you get to the editing. Hey you just found errors that never seemed to pop up before. So you get about five chapters done and you close off for the night. Next day you plop in another fresh set of eyes. You skim over those five chapters edited yesterday. Hey a couple more errors pop up. What is it with fresh eyes? Anyway so much for dreaming. Alas we only have one set of eyes so better to not edit when one is tired or has been at the editing for too long. Put it away and go back to it another day when your eyes are again "fresh".


Things have really changed in the publishing world over the last decade or so. The world is a morphing creature and we are along for the ride. I love the aspect of e publication. And I didn't always. I was a die-hard print book believer. I vowed I would never take the e book route. Look at me now? I've got four novels and a number of short stories in e books, and I love it.
I love having a place for my work. Thanks Mark. I love having a reason to write once again. After writing for many years one feels like it is a useless procedure if one cannot publish what one writes. Everything has changed now and sure there's crap out there, also mediocre stuff and great stuff, everyone gets their chance to have their say.

Here are a few things I think work well:

Don't be in a hurry to publish your first work. Make sure it's quality before you press the publish button. (I was in a hurry and just recently went through my first two published novels and found errors that mortified me)

Take the time to check your novels after publishing. If you are not happy with the formatting or the editing, fix it and upload a new version. (Both Amazon and Smashwords give you that option)

Look at your novels in an e book form. Go through it and I guarantee you if there are any errors they will pop out at you. (It is hard to detect errors on your manuscript) For publishing kdp Amazon, I change my word document to HTML (webpage filtered) then upload on the Mobipocket Creator. The Creator changes my HTML into a PRC which I am able to view on the Kindle Previewer or on my Kindle for PC.

If in doubt check with the  Kindle Boards or Smashwords Forum.  Both are excellent and have many friendly people there who are always willing to help out. (Thanks to all who have helped me over my hurdles)

Don't be afraid to venture into the e-publishing word. (I love print books, love to hold them, smell them when they are new,etc) but this is the age of e publishing, the time when everyone who wants it gets to have a turn at showing their work. Keep e publishing fresh and keep it top grade by sending off your best work, just like you would to a print publisher or an agent. No one wants to see your drafts, let alone pay money for them.

Bring on the future... and the future is e-publishing. Happy Writing Everyone! Stay positive now.


Copyright 2011 by Carol Marlene Smith

Carol Marlene Smith is an author and artist living in Nova Scotia, Canada. She has four published novels and a number of short stories. She loves to write about the positive power of writing!

Read More

Video: 4 Rules Beginning Children's Book Writers Should Never Break

From - the essential children's writing resource. From picture books to young adult novels, there are certain rules newer children's book authors should never break.

Read More

Words We Commonly Misuse and Confuse

Words We Commonly Misuse and Confuse

We type…. a lot.  Due to that, even the mostadvanced ofwriters mix up words that look similar to each other.  Or perhaps some of us simply confuse the meanings of two similar words.  It never hurts to be reminded, so here is a list words we commonly mix up along with their meanings:

·         Affect & Effect
Affect- (v) to produce a change in something.
The weather change affected my asthma.

Effect-(n) something that is caused; (v) to cause something to happen.
Your sudden asthma attack is an effect of the weather change.
Weather changes are known to effectallergies.
Affect is always used as a verb.  Effect is most commonly used as noun are rarely as a verb.

·         Accept & Except
Accept-(v) to consent to receive or do something.
      The prestigious universityaccepted into its English program.

Except-(v) to exclude; (prep.) not included.
      Everyone except your best friend went to the movie.

·         Complement & Compliment
Complement- (v) to add to so as to enhance or improve; (n) a thing that completes or
brings something to perfection.
      The pillows complement the room.
      You bought the pillows as a complement to the room.

Compliment-(v) to praise or express approval; (n) an admiring remark.
      You compliment your date’s appearance.
      You give your date a compliment.

·         Conscience & Conscious
Conscience-(n) an inner feeling or voice viewed as acting as a guide to the rightness or wrongness of one's behavior.
      Your conscience tells you not to steal.

Conscious-(v) to be aware of and responding to one's surroundings; (v) to have knowledge of something.
      You are conscious that stealing is wrong.

·         Criteria & Criterion
Criteria-(n) a set of standards by which something may be judged or decided.
      The criteria to be accepted are a high GPA and SAT score, and extracurricular activities.

Criterion- (n) a single standard by which something may be judged or decided.
      You did not meet the GPA criterion.

Multiple criterions make up something’s criteria.

·         Discreet & Discrete
Discreet- (v) to be careful or sneaky so as to not to attract attention.
      He was discreet when he sneaked out of his house.

Discrete- (adj.) individually separate and distinct.
      There are several discrete sections to the office.

·         E.g. & I.e.
E.g.- is an abbreviation for the Latin term, “exempli gratia,” which means, “for example.”
      You should take safety precautions when skiing, e.g. wear a helmet.

I.e.- is an abbreviation for the Latin term, “id est,” which means, “that is,” or “that is to say.”
      I am going to eat my favorite food, i.e. spaghetti.

·         Elicit & Illicit
Elicit- (v) Evoke or draw out a reply or reaction.
      She poked him to elicithis attention.

Illicit- (adj.) Forbidden by law, rules, or custom.
      His use of illicit drugs resulted in his arrest.

·         Loose & Lose
Loose- (v) to unfasten or release.
      If yourshoes are too loose, then you will trip.

Lose- (v) to be deprived of, or cease to have or retain.
      If your best player is injured, then you will lose the game.

·         Principal & Principle
Principal- (n) the person with the highest authority or most important position in an organization.
      When I was in grade school, I spent a lot of time in the principal’s office.

Principle-A truth, rule, or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behavior or for a chain of reasoning.
      America operates under the principles of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

·         Who’s & Whose
Who’s- the contraction for “who is” or “who has.”
      Who’s coming to the game?
      Who’s taken a cookie?

Whose- (adj.) belonging to or associated with a person.
      Whose hat is on the table?

Shannon Paley is a guest post and article writer bringing to us her thoughts on common English errors. 
Shannon also writes about nursing home abuse for

Read More

Site of Interest: Book Trib

This weeks site of interest is


If it’s about books, it’s on BookTrib.
BookTrib is a full service portal dedicated to bringing all the news, blog, sites, and information about books, writers, and readers under one link. One place to stay up-to-date about the world of books and everything related to them. If it’s about books, it’s on BookTrib. The first and only book-o-sphere. Read, watch, listen, and click for updates from all over the web, find out about new releases, and contribute your own commentary. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If it’s getting blogged about or reported on it’s all here.
Contact Us if you’re a publisher or author interested in promotion opportunities.
Read More

Book Bootcamp for Novelists

I got this email in the post today (I'm signed up for the newsletter). Although I've not taken this course myself, I thought some of you might be interested in it.

If you'd like to write a novel, but you've been putting it off because you don't think you have enough time to do it, here's something to think about.

Most published authors have no more free time than you do. In fact, many of them have full-time jobs, young families to care for, and lots of other responsibilities - just like you do.

So what makes published authors able to write their novels while you keep putting off writing yours?

Well, published authors understand that they must write their books in whatever time is available.

In other words, they don't put off writing for later - once they've retired from their jobs, their children are grown, or when they have fewer other responsibilities.

They simply set aside regular time to write, then they do whatever it takes to get their novels written.

You can do the same. But you'll probably need help. After all, if you were going to do this by yourself you would probably have done it by now.

But don't worry. You can get the help you need when you register for my Book Bootcamp for Novelists that starts soon.

In my Book Bootcamp, you'll learn "tricks of the trade" to start and finish writing your novel - in whatever time you have available.

Download the syllabus and registration information here now.

Note: Registration for Book Bootcamp ends in just a few days. So don't miss your chance to get the help you need to FINALLY write the novel you've been dreaming of writing for so long.

Suzanne Lieurance
The Working Writer's Coach

Contact Information
Read More

How the World uses social networks

Read More

Video: How to Establish Romantic Tension in a Romance Novel

In order to establish romantic tension in a romance novel, the writer must first understand the conflicts inherent in romantic tension through research. Establish romantic tension in a novel with tips from a produced playwright in this free video on writing skills.

Read More

The Amazon Launch for Your Book: What You Can Learn from My Mistakes

The Amazon Launch for Your Book: What You Can Learn from My Mistakes

By Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning Frugal Book Promoter:
How to get nearly free publicity on your own or partnering with your publisher
(updated and expanded to 416 pages!)
As the author of The Frugal Book Promoter ( and other award-winning books in the HowToDoItFrugally series of books, I probably shouldn’t have made any mistakes with the online launch of the second edition. And I probably wouldn’t have if I had been taking my own advice.
In the first edition of The Frugal Book Promoter I warned people that it’s never too early to begin promoting a book. That was years ago! Sometimes we need a boot in the pants to remember what we already know.  I shouldn’t have waited so long to begin making lists and checking them twice!
And since that first edition was published I had built a great platform that I thought would be sufficient. And that brings me to my biggest mistake. Hubris. We authors who have been around awhile are often sure that we can rely on what we have done and who we already know. My contact list included Denise Cassino, an online launch specialist (, and I knew I could rely on her. I have a huge contact list I had been collecting assiduously. What more did I need?
Well, The Frugal Book Promoter also warns authors to categorize their lists. Which I did. But I didn’t have a specific category for the kinds of writers and people who run writers’ services I could ask for bonuses. Bonuses are those things that we offer people when they buy our book on a certain day to try to raise our sales rank. I pulled together a great bunch of bonuses, but after the fact I kept remembering folks I could have asked so it wasn’t nearly as long as it could have been and these bonus partners help an author get the word out (online) about your book.
Further, I took a vacation just before the launch so I hadn’t given myself much thinking time. Again hubris. I reiterate in my book that getting publicity and doing promotion is a partnership. The people an author or publisher hires to help them can’t do it on their own. They need both ideas and cooperation from the author.
Hubris. I had launches before. One for my novel at the Autry Museum of Western History. One for my book of creative nonfiction at my home. Several at bookstores for chapbooks of poetry. But they were realtime launches. This online launch was different. Launches designed to raise ratings at online bookstores are done online and needed lots of techy expertise. At least I knew that I needed Denise!
Services for online launches are like a bowl of minestrone. They come in different sizes, at different prices. The different ingredients are designed to do different things for the health of your book. The more you know about them before you start, the easier it will be to make choices based on the time you have, the money you have and the needs of your particular book.
I knew that when you hire any publicist, you aren’t just buying services. You’re buying their network, their contacts. Their Rolodex is at least as important as their expertise. I didn’t know how much I could do to support Denise because the word “online” mislead me. It seemed so…well, automated. I was right but I was also wrong. No matter what your expert’s level of expertise, the author is still always a vital ingredient. They bring the personal stuff to the launch buffet.
I also had a grasp of how to promote on online bookstores but I still needed Denise to lead me through lots of little things I didn’t know. Luckily, time wasn’t so short she couldn’t do that. Stuff like getting one’s Kindle edition and paperback edition connected. Things like getting your book into a suitable Amazon category with as little competition as possible. Thinks like running a “like” and “tag” campaign before you even begin the launch. If you don’t know about those things, you need some help, too. Yes you do.
I thought this campaign would be lots less work than a book tour. Let me tell you, after two days focusing on online sales, I was exhausted. On the night of my launch I fell into bed at 8 pm. I know people who have stayed up all night checking ratings. I am inspired by their stamina but not about to emulate it!
So, was my campaign a success? That’s the other thing I learned. Online launch campaigns are just like marketing in general, though they can be measured more accurately. When you hit #1 in Amazon’s sales ratings you’ve made it. But is that really your only goal? I don’t think it is. My book hit a very low (and fantastic!)  rating of 1,422 (the lower the better) in overall books but never made it to #1 in its category. #4 was the best we could do for a book in the competitive category of marketing. Here’s what the campaign did:
1.      It gave me new opportunities to connect. Even a mistake we made with the bonuses gave me a chance to reconnect with people who had already ordered The Frugal Book Promoter.
2.      The new names of opt-in writers I collected were worth their weight in marketing gold.
3.      The new partners who contributed to the bonuses the campaign offered—well, that was more than worth the effort.
4.      Oh, yeah! At least for some time, my book beat Stephen King’s On Writing, a moment even noncompetitive me shall cherish! Mmmm. And a couple Writer’s Digest market books!
Online book launches are like anything else in marketing. They’re about branding. They’re about exposure. They’re about networking. They’re about sharing. Most of all they’re about learning more and having some fun. Marketing in all its aspects is a vital part of publishing. An online book launch is a way to learn to love it.

Carolyn’s online campaign propelled her book to number four in one of its categories and to the top 100 books on Amazon for a time. When she fell into bed at the end of the launch day, that was enough. She writes a free Sharing with Writers newsletter and blogs for the benefit of authors , and Learn more about her consulting services and books for writers at

Read More

Site of Interest: Book Square

This weeks site of interest is

About Booksquare

Our credo says it all
The whole truth and nothing but the truth, unless making it up is easier or funnier.
The primary voice of Booksquare is Kassia Krozser. She is a kind-hearted, gentle soul with a wealth of patience for the foibles of humani–wait, that’s not true at all. Kassia has never had an opinion she didn’t wish to express, nor has she ever been shy about telling the emperor that his clothes are, well, transparent. This is her way of expressing love, and she lavishes all of her adoration on the publishing industry because, like a child who needs firm, corrective guidance, publishers and writers need Booksquare.
Suffice to say that she’s never wrong. And when she is, her mother shows up in the comments section to show who’s really the smart one in the family.
Kassia grasped the implications of the reading thing when she realized, at the age of five, that her mother’s scribbles on a sheet of paper (later revealed to be “cursive”) held meaning — in this particular case, they were justification for Kassia’s absence from school the previous day; future scribbles would prove equally enlightening. She grasped the implications of writing the moment her tiny fingers wrapped around their first pencil. She grasped the implications of the Internet back when things like UseNet were considered cutting edge. She has yet to grasp the implications of failing to come to a full stop when encountering octagonal, red signs.

BS Around The Web

In addition to ensuring that you get your regular dose of BS, Kassia is a founding partner of Medialoper, where she applies her natural love and skepticism to the ever-changing world of entertainment media. The daughter of a librarian, she finds dissecting and discussing books is like breathing — her insightful reviews appear at Paperback Reader. She’s a member of the LitBlog Co-op and a columnist for Romancing the Blog. She’s also published in a variety of other venues, and has, shockingly, received awards and accolades for her work. But she rarely mentions this as it seems like bragging.


A massive machine like Booksquare cannot possibly run through the efforts of one person alone. Though many prefer to remain behind the scenes or in the world of comments alone, some choose to step into the limelight that is this site. Without Jill MonroeSusan Gable, and David Thayer (also known as The Other Square), our readers would be subjected to one voice, one opinion, one variety of snark. We thank them for saving you from monotony. And, of course, whenever possible, we coerce innocent authors or bystanders into writing guest posts. Anything for a few extra hours in bed. Beauty sleep trumps work every time.

About the Design

Be honest — you’re madly in love with the great illustrations that grace this site. You wish they were yours. Ha! They are ours, all ours. The header illustration and soon-to-be-named Logo Lady were created by the brilliant Molly Crabapple. Words alone cannot express our admiration for her work; we chose another, more traditional, route. We especially love the fact that Molly somehow figured out that wine is a primary element in our creative process. It’s like she peeked in the windows of BS Headquarters.
The design and technical stuff (and, trust us, there’s a whole bunch of that) was done by WordPress expert Kirk Biglione. He has long been the one to save us from our wilder, more inadvisable urges. When he’s not translating our tai chi-esque hand motions into web design (“white woman waves hands like blogs”), he’s part of the fantastic Medialoper team. In his spare time, he’s engaged in a variety of Top Secret activities. We don’t ask and he doesn’t tell.
Read More