Where to publish stories online for free

Where to publish stories online for free

Today's post is in reply to a question about where to publish stories online that was posted to the Writers and Authors Facebook page.

When it comes to publishing your stories online you have a few options:
  1. Find someone else to publish it for you e.g. an ezine editor. There are huge amounts of ezines and website that publish short stories and many pay professional rates too. A simple search on google will give you a selection of places that are open to submissions.
  2. Self publish. You publish your work and make it available online.
Let's take a closer look at the second option.

In this case, the answer that automatically comes to mind is to create a blog. You keep all the rights to all work published on your site and get to present it just the way you want to. You can personalise the look of your site so it's the perfect match for your stories or design it so it expresses your personality.

If you want to create a professional showcase for your writing you might want to consider getting a domain name and setting up a website with professional hosting.

Following on from this, if you're interested in publishing your stories with the goal of gaining feedback from readers etc... then you might want to check out these sites:

  • Booksie.com This site offers the chance to post your stories online for free. You retain the full rights to your work and can get feedback from readers. You can find out more about how it works here.
  • StoryWrite.com  Again, completely free to use. You maintain ownership and copyright to your poetry, stories, or other original works of art you upload to their sites, including the right to publish it elsewhere. They also have contests and writing groups on site.
  • StoryStar.com A family friendly site where you can post your stories to be read and rated. Each month they select a story from each category to give extra recognition to and the stories with the most votes/readers also get highlighted. As with the others this site is completely free to use.
If you want to make some money from your stories consider publishing them as ebooks. Again you have various options. A popular way to go about it is by using a site like lulu.com or Amazon's kindle program to self publish your work and make it available to the public for purchase.

Have you published you stories online for free? Which route did you take and why?

Read More

Use Famous Authors’ Tips to Develop Your Characters

Kurt Vonnegut once said that “every character should want something.” If your character has no desires, no motivations, your readers won’t either—they won’t be motivated to finish your book or to recommend it to others. A healthy human character is driven by desires. This is what makes a life, gives it purpose. Sometimes those desires come in the form of challenges. That’s what drives the main character, Vin, in my middle-grade adventure story Vin and the Dorky Duet. Vin is faced with a challenge that he meets, albeit reluctantly, by devising what he thinks is a brilliant game plan. Of course, his plan goes awry, but when did life flow continuously smoothly?

That’s where Vonnegut’s next tip comes in: “Be a sadist.” Give your characters the opportunity to strut their stuff by making ghastly things happen to them. Now, a magnetic compost heap may not seem so awful to you, but Vin doesn’t agree because he was catapulted headfirst into one. The only good thing about that experience was that his mouth was shut.

Ray Bradbury once said, “First find out what your hero wants, then just follow him!” I’m not at all sure how to do that, especially if my character is an Olympic runner and I run as if I’m tied to a sloth in a three-legged race at a community picnic. What helps me is to ask what-if questions: What if he did that, or that, or that? What if she said that to him, what would he say then? The answers, of course, depend on how you’ve visualized your character. So characterization has to be developed early on because it will affect the direction the plot takes.

Now we have a chicken and egg situation. Which comes first: a fully developed character and then the plot, or the plot and then characterization? It’s a moot point, really, because they are as inseparable as a cell phone from the ear of a teenage girl. Stephen King puts the emphasis on developing characters in situations, letting the story unfold rather than outlining a plot from the beginning. He advises allowing the characters to take control of what they do, what they reveal about themselves, and when they reveal it. When I started to write Vin and the Dorky Duet, I had in mind only the general idea of the path my main character was setting out on. He surprised me with the twists and turns his actions took and he surprised himself as well as me when circumstances changed his attitude and expectations.

Guest post by Maggie Lyons, a writer and editor who was born in Wales and crossed the pond to Virginia. With no regard for the well-being of her family and neighbors, she trained as a classical pianist. Then came a career of putting rear ends on seats—that is, orchestral management, marked by reams of marketing and fundraising writing and program note scribbling for audiences, many of whose first priority was to find their names in the donors’ lists. Editing for academic publishers also brought plenty of satisfaction—she admits she has a fondness for nerds—but nothing like the magic she discovered in writing fiction and nonfiction for children. Several of her articles, poetry, and a chapter book miraculously appeared in Stories for Children Magazineand knowonder! magazine. She hopes her stories encourage reluctant young readers to turn a page or two.

Her middle-grade adventure story Vin and the Dorky Duet is available as an e-book at MuseItUp Publishing’s bookstore (MuseItYoung section), on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008AK7ALE, and as a paperback at Halo Publishing International at http://halopublishing.com/bookstore/Maggie-LyonsDewi and the Seeds of Doom, a middle-grade adventure story, will be released as an e-book by MuseItUp Publishing in October. Halo Publishing International will release the paperback.

Read More

Reality check: The differences between college and real world writing

Writing in college is almost too fun. You attend classes every week where you compare stories and notes with peers who are on your level and genuinely interested in your work. You have professors who’ve devoted their life to the craft and teaching its intricacies to eager students. An entire class could be devoted on your writing alone, with many people giving you positive and influential feedback on what it takes to beef up your technique. No idea is too far-fetched, no writing style too outrageous to share with the class.

In other words, college offers young writers a rare creative oasis.

But all good things must come to an end. The college experience only lasts so long. Unless you peruse graduate school, you’ll have to enter “the real world” and try to make a crack at writing all on your own. The transition from writing in college to doing so in the real world could not be more stark and drastic. The group mentality that you cultivated among your peers as you worked together goes out the window right after graduation; suddenly you’re expected to market your meager writing experience to land a job so that you can follow your dream.

Needless to say, surviving as a writer in the real world is easier said than done. I think the phrase “starving artist” works best here, as many recently graduated writers (myself included) will find that it’s quite difficult to find a job that allows you to cultivate your skills. It’s far more likely that a writer in this economy will work a job that has little to do with their vocation just so they have enough funds to support themselves when they do find the time to write. Those mythical writing classes will seem like ages ago when you’re working a desk job, trying to figure out how you got from there to here.

But those writing classes, those experiences with your teachers and your peers, are exactly the things that you must bear in mind as you continue to hone your craft and follow your dream. The hardships of writing after college can seem overwhelming and unfair, but that golden age of writing workshops and candid advice should serve as your motivation to do great work, even in the face of adversity. Your writing classes were meant to train you as a better writer; they weren’t meant to coddle you in the fantasyland of academia.

The best thing that you can do is take your experiences in college and use them as a reference guide as you continue to work on your own material. The “real world” experiences that you’re going through right now will only strengthen your skills as a writer, giving you a deeper perspective on the hardships of life and what it takes to truly succeed.

The real world is often referred to as such because it’s the real thing: there are no grades here, nor are there many guiding voices telling you what to do. That might seem intimidating to a new writer, but the truth is that the real world offers endless opportunities, especially when it comes to juicy writing material. All you need to do is keep writing.

Guest post by Katheryn Rivas, a regular contributor to Online University. Like the name suggests, the online universities blog focuses on higher education and trends. She welcomes your comments at katherynrivas87@gmail.com.
Read More

Interview with Terri Bruce

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
Did I decide this?! To be perfectly honest, I can’t say that I did decide or have decided. I’ve always written—it’s something I enjoy. Eventually, however, I got to a point where I wanted to expand my reach and wanted to get my work into the hands of people who would enjoy it. Anyone who is a prolific hobbyist/crafter knows that most of us reach a point where we get sick of doing something just for our own enjoyment. I crochet, and I love it, but I can only use so many afghans and sweaters and such. And besides, it’s not as much fun when you keep it all to yourself; it’s more fun when you share your hobby—it’s your love and a part of you, and it expands when it’s shared, it brings joy to others. With the crocheting, eventually I started giving items away, and then entering them into county fairs, and now I’m at a point where friends and family ask me to make them something that they can give to someone else as a gift. My writing has followed pretty much the same track. First I wrote for myself, then I posted free stories on the internet, and now I’m at the point where I’d like to expand and reach a little further, share my love and hopefully bring some joy to others.

What genre do you write and why?
I don’t think of myself as a genre writer or a genre reader, in the least—which is not to knock genre fiction. I just mean that I don’t date exclusively J My stories tend to be cross-genre and a bit hard to categorize, which is one of the reasons it took me so long to get Hereafter published.

Technically, Hereafter is categorized as contemporary fantasy, but it has elements of romance, women’s fiction, contemporary fiction, and fantasy. My first novel was future noir/science fiction. I’m working on two other novels that fall within the speculative fiction umbrella (one sci fi, one fantasy), but I also have an idea for an historical fiction based on the Bread and Roses Strike that is demanding to be written and a very serious literary fiction story that has been banging around in my head for years. Now, how many of those stories will actually get written (and published) is anyone’s guess.

Through all of my writing I explore a few key themes—the fantastical and miraculous all around us, man’s relationship with the universe (and a supreme deity if one exists), and the struggle with issues of identity and self—and I hope that regardless of the genre framework I use for any given story, those themes will come through and will satisfy fans.

Tell us about your latest book.
Hereafter is a contemporary fantasy about a woman stuck on earth as a ghost, searching for a way to cross over to the afterlife. Here’s the official blurb:
“Thirty-six-year-old Irene Dunphy didn't plan on dying any time soon, but that’s exactly what happens when she makes the mistake of getting behind the wheel after a night bar-hopping with friends. She finds herself stranded on earth as a ghost, where the food has no taste, the alcohol doesn’t get you drunk, and the sex...well, let’s just say “don’t bother.” To make matters worse, the only person who can see her—courtesy of a book he found in his school library—is a fourteen-year-old boy genius obsessed with the afterlife.

This sounds suspiciously like hell to Irene, so she prepares to strike out for the Great Beyond. The only problem is that, while this side has exorcism, ghost repellents, and soul devouring demons, the other side has three-headed hell hounds, final judgment, and eternal torment. If only there was a third option…”

Hereafter was SO much fun to write! The two main characters have this great squabbling rapport—like a brother and sister; the dialog pretty much wrote itself and I never knew what was going to come out of the characters’ mouths. However, there are also touching moments that pushed me to be a better writer than I ever had been before in order to do those scenes justice. Best of all, I did a LOT of research on afterlife mythology for this book, which is one of my favourite topics, and so I learned a lot while writing Hereafter as well. My head is now crammed full of the most useless array of mythology and obscure traditions ever! I should have a t-shirt for parties that says something like, “Ask me about the afterlife!”

What marketing methods are you using to promote your book?
At the moment, I’m not focused on marketing so much as on making personal connections with readers. I’m trying to go to one convention or in-person event per month (I’ll be at the Boston Book Festival in October and World Fantasy Con in November), getting to know book bloggers, and connecting with book groups and libraries. I know many authors pooh-pooh this approach as overly time consuming and inefficient (“one-at-a-timin’” as Pappy O’Daniel says in “Oh Brother Where Art Thou,” rather than “mass communicatin’”), but I love it. I’m actually a very high introvert and generally find it hard to strike up conversations with strangers; but when it comes to talking about books, I find it so easy. So even if the person I’m talking to isn’t interested in my book, I just love having the opportunity to meet people and to connect over something we have in common. Becoming a published author has opened up the door for me to have an excuse to strike up a conversation with strangers and I’m definitely taking full advantage of it! I’m met so many wonderful and incredible people because of Hereafter.

What formats is the book available in?
I think it’s available in every format known to man. J It’s available from all major print and ebook retailers.

Terri Bruce
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I work full time, as a grant writer for a non-profit, and fiction writing is a second full time job on top of that, so there isn’t a lot of free time right now for doing other things. When there is, I love horseback riding, hiking, quilting, and gardening. Now ask me the last time I did any of those things! However, if Hereafter does well, my husband has agreed to let me buy a horse, so hopefully there will be more horseback riding in my future. J

Who are your favourite authors?
This is a toughie because I tend to like particular books, rather than particular authors; that is to say, I don’t always read or like everything a particular author writes. However, I own a lot of books by Alexander Dumas, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Jan Karon, Lisa See, and Terry Pratchett. My favourite books, however, include: The Once and Future King by T.H. White, Catch-22 by Joseph Heller, His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman, Contact by Carl Sagan, The Chronicles of Prydain by Llody Alexander, and The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell.

What advice do you have for other writers?
Oh, I’m terrible at giving advice! There’s so much good advice out there already that I doubt I can add anything of substance to it. So I guess my advice is to go read the advice that is out there, find a group of writers to hang out with (whether in-person or online), and learn as much as you can about both the craft and business of writing.

What's your favourite quote about writing/for writers?
“Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” - E. L. Doctorow

This quote really illustrates the way I approach writing. I know the beginning and the end when I start a story, but that’s it. I usually have no idea how I’m going to get from Point A to Point B, and there are times when I’m writing that I begin to feel like Point A will never connect to Point B, because I can’t see the entire road. However, it always works out in the end. Over the years I’ve learned to sort of let go and just trust that I only need to see a few feet ahead and yet it will all come right in the end.

What's the best thing about being a writer?
When someone says that they like your book! No better feeling in the world! And getting to meet all kinds of fabulous people—that has been a huge unexpected benefit.

Where can people find out more about you and your writing?

Anything else you'd like to add?
It’s clichéd but true—don’t give up on your dreams. In 2001 I started writing a novel that I felt might be good enough to be published; in 2005, while still writing that novel, I took the first step toward publication—I joined a writing group. It took another 5 years before I finished that novel, which never did get published. I then started another novel, which became HereafterHereafter took two years to write and then another eight months of querying before it was picked up for publication. All told, we’re talking about eleven years from the time I started thinking seriously about seeking publication to the time when it finally happened. Things don’t always happen the way we expect them to happen or on the timeline we hope for, but if you keep working at it, it will happen!
Read More

Plot lines of prize-winning novels

This infographic takes a look at the plot lines of prize-winning novels for this years the Man Booker Prize 

click on the graphic for a larger version

Death is a clear favourite with love in second place. Betrayal, corruption and war are also popular. Looks like the 'feel-good' element isn't very important ;)

Does your novel have prize-winning potential? How many of these themes feature in your book?
Read More

How to write a successful cover letter for a manuscript submission

This post is in reply to a question posted to the Writers and Authors Facebook Page

"How to write a successful cover letter for manuscript submission to publishing companies" is the million dollar question all writers want the answer to. 

It's important to include a cover letter when contacting either an agent or a publishing company. Lack of one would definitely be viewed badly. Would you launch into a conversation with an editor in person without introducing yourself first? Probably not if you don't want to come across as rude. The same applies to the written approach.

N.B. For digital submissions the cover letter is either written in the body of the email or sent as an attachment (as specified in the guidelines).

Let's take a look at what should be included in the cover letter:

  • Your name and address. This is a business letter and should be presented as such. It's also a good idea to include your email address too.
  • The title of your book
  • The genre of your book/ type of book it is
As a basic rule, keep it simple. The letter should be mostly about your book not yourself. This is especially the case for fiction. For non-fiction you can be a bit more 'me' as your experience and qualifications play an important role.

Always research well and make sure your sending your letter to an agent or publisher that deals with your genre. If not you're just wasting your time and theirs.

Most importantly, follow submission guidelines. If guidelines are supplied there's a reason for it and not following them will most likely result in an instant rejection.

Now let's look at what you shouldn't do:
  • Never address your letter "To whom it may concern". Do your research and know who you are sending it to.
  • Avoid opening with a rhetorical question that might get you an instant "no".
  • Don't fake it. Be honest. There's no point in saying you're best buddies with 'VIP' if you're not. Also don't state that you've been published numerous times without giving details. If you self published say so. Don't try to pretend to be something you're not.
  • Not taking the time to proofread and edit. This is your first step towards the door. Make sure you put your best foot forward.
Do you have any tips for writing winning cover letters? Can you share a sample of a cover letter that resulted in success?
Read More

Google+ for writers

Google+ launched in June 2011 and became the fastest growing social network in history when it reached 25 million users in less than 30 days. It's continuing to grow at a rate of about 600,000 users a day and is estimated to reach over 400 million users by the end of 2012. 

Whilst you're probably thinking "great ANOTHER social network, isn't Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc... enough?" Google+ has some great features that make it ideal for writers.


Google+ doesn't have friend lists like the other social networks but instead allows you to create and be added to circles. You can add people to more than one circle and have as many as you like. This means to can easily sort people into different circles e.g. bloggers, book reviewers, freelance writers, authors, publishers etc...

When you post or share something you can then decide which circles will be able to see it (or make it public- which can be viewed by everyone on Google+ where they're in your circles or not). This means you can create specific content for each audience and really target your interactions.

You can also follow circles that other people have created which makes following topics and industry leaders easy.


Easily the most powerful feature on Google+, hangouts are LIVE video chats. This simple video conferencing feature means you can start an event with just a few clicks and invite people to join you.

The potential of hangouts is huge especially as you can sync your event to upload directly to your YouTube account meaning you can broadcast in real-time both on google+ and YouTube and share on other sites. You can even embed the video of your hangout onto your website or blog.

You can create a hangout to connect with your readers, for video author interviews, for a face-to-face with your editor or for a chat with your critic group. The options are endless. 


Unlike it's competitors, Google+ doesn't seem to have a limit when it comes to update length which means you can add a simple one sentence update or a full length article including images. This means you have much more flexibility over your updates which combined with the ability to target circles makes it a very powerful and useful feature.

Google+ is also strongly linked to Google search results and having an account offers several benefits including being able to add Author tags to your blog.

If you haven't already, it's definitely worth checking out. Feel free to add me to your circles ;)
Read More

Do your books whisper secrets?

I've been volunteering at my town's public library this summer. It's been a great experience and it's given me a lot of insight into the workings of one of my favorite places (basically it involves moving books around to different locations for different reasons). One of the most interesting things is seeing what books people are checking out and requesting.

You can learn a lot about people from their books. Whether they have children. What their interests are. For example, one person requested three or four books on United States war history. Another, books on dealing with divorce. Another, a collection of picture books. I wouldn't recognize these people on the street. All I know is their books and the first few letters of their last name. Still, this little window into their world through the medium of books feels powerful.

I also shelve books when they come back in. Sometimes I recognize them. I'll see a book I placed on hold for someone a couple days ago, and I know the person didn't like it. Either that, or they loved it so much they read it all in a day or two. I can't know for sure, but I can imagine.

Some books are checked out again and again. Romances are particularly popular. Others are never checked out. When a book hasn't been borrowed in several years, the library collects them, and sells them in a book sale. People don't care about nuclear reactors.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that books are powerful, and when one works closely with them, they whisper secrets about the workings of society and the lives of those who read them.

You could learn a lot about me from the books I read. Animal Farm, Ender's Game, Harry Potter, Watership Down, the Hunger Games, Anthem, The Andromeda Strain, The Cosmic Landscape, A Brief History of Time, An Introduction to Visual Basic Programming, the Inheritance Cycle, Brave New World, Into the Wild.

Do you see some themes? Physics, Dystopian Futures, Fantasy. Sure, there are some outliers. But I'm a person. I'm complicated. Still, the books I read provide an insight into my mind. What about you? Do your books whisper secrets?

Guest post by Jake Bringewatt. Jake is a sixteen year old writer from North Carolina. His work includes primarily fantasy and science fiction aimed at young adults. Visit his blog at http://jakebringewatt.blogspot.com/
Read More

Traditional VS Self Publishing

This infographic by  Businesswebpagecreation.com takes a look at the difference in self e-book publishing as opposed to print publishing. 

Print on demand is obviously more cost effective and results in higher earnings for authors. The growth of the kindle market is huge and a clear sign of the shift in electronic publishing. 

It's interesting to see that the estimated average cost of an e-book for 2013 is $7. Does your own e-book pricing match these figures?

Read More

Interview with Candice Lemon-Scott

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I always loved to write and in Grade 3 I won a school prize for my book ‘The Haunted House.’ I didn’t think of becoming a writer though until I was in my early 20s when I penned a children’s story. It was terrible, but I loved doing it, so I enrolled in the Diploma in Professional Writing and Editing course and ended up doing a dual award and gaining a Bachelor of Communication as well.
What genre do you write and why?
I primarily write for children but I also have an adult novel coming out later this year that was commended in the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards. I write articles from time to time as well. My kids’ books are usually about something that children can relate to such as bullying and self-confidence, but I inject that with lots of action, humour and sometimes a little magic. I love writing for children because it takes me back to that time of life where anything is possible.
Tell us about your latest book.
‘Hubert and the Magic Glasses’ is for kids aged seven and up. It’s about a boy who loves soccer but is absolutely hopeless at it. Part of his inability is due to poor eyesight and when he reluctantly gets a pair of glasses he discovers they have magical powers that transform him into a super soccer star. The magic gets out of hand so Hubert has to learn to control the magical glasses and find that belief in himself. It’s out through New Frontier Publishing’s Little Rockets series.
What marketing methods are you using to promote your book? 
I have a Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn page. I also like to speak at schools, libraries and festivals when I can because not only does it promote the book but I get to hear from kids and see what their thoughts and reactions are. I love the chance to connect with the people reading my books.
What formats is the book available in?
It’ll be available in hard copy and will be sold through most book retailers, including online bookstores, and directly through the website:http://www.littlerockets.com.au/books/hubert-and-the-magic-glasses/.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I love to read – surprise, surprise! Most of my spare time is spent with my family and we do lots of fun stuff together. Living on the Gold Coast, I get to indulge in my passion for water sports – skiing, body boarding, kayaking, swimming. I have a love of movies, dance, theatre and travel too and I’m learning Tae Kwon Do. I’ve been skydiving and I’d love to learn to fly a plane. I’ll have a go at just about anything, really. And if I can’t do it myself in real life, my characters can!
Who are your favourite authors?
As a child I loved to read anything by Enid Blyton and C.S Lewis. Some of my favourite children’s authors now are J.K Rowling, Morris Gleitzman, Douglas MacLeod, Emily Rodda, Jeannette Rowe, and Mem Fox. I also love Toni Morrison, Tim Winton, John Irving, Colleen McCullough, Anne Tyler, Melina Marchetta and Margaret Atwood.
What advice do you have for other writers?
Write firstly because you love to and because you have a passion for the story you want to tell. Before you send anything off for publication make sure it’s the best it can be - learn to edit your own work and get feedback from other writers where you can.
What's your favourite quote about writing/for writers?
‘It’s better to write about things you feel than about things you know about’ by L.P. Hartley.
Candice Lemon-Scott
What's the best thing about being a writer?
The chance for other people to see the world I’ve created in my imagination and to spend my working life doing something I love.
Where can people find out more about you and your writing?
Through my website: www.candicelemonscott.com and I’m on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Anything else you'd like to add?
My first book for kids is called ‘Stinky Ferret & the JJs’ and is published in the Aussie Chomps series. I also run an editing service to help writers with everything from developing their manuscripts to proofreading.
Read More

Maintaining the Long View

As authors, it sometimes feels like we are bombarded daily with information on how to be successful, some of it more useful better than others. Sometimes this information is on the craft side of the equation—how to be a better writer—and sometimes it is on the sales and marketing side—how to sell more books.

And when it comes to selling books, whether traditionally published, Indie published or self-published, the question for every author remains the same: How do I separate my title from the white noise generated by thousands of authors shouting into the void, all with the goal of creating some buzz for their work?

The answer? I wish I knew. If you’re reading this post in anticipation of learning the secret, you might as well stop reading right here, because I don’t have it.

But here’s what I do know: Forever is a long time, so whatever you do, if you’re serious about your work as an author, prepare to settle in for the long haul. Joe Konrath has said it a lot on his popular blog, A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing: Ebooks are forever. What sells sluggishly this week or this month or this year, may suddenly take off next week or next month or next year. Or maybe even five or ten years down the line.

A lot has been made of the slimy hucksters who have taken advantage of the ebook revolution to throw poorly-written, poorly-edited trash into the electronic marketplace with the goal of making a quick buck, in the centuries-old tradition of hucksters who have invaded every industry at one time or another.

Here’s the thing, though. Forever is a long time. Ebooks don’t go away, unless the publishers of those books remove them from circulation, so the more time goes by, the more titles will compete for the attention of the reading public, which will have the luxury of becoming more and more discriminating as the number of potential reads piles up.

What this means is that if it is difficult now to get the attention of readers, it is only going to become more so as time goes by. The hucksters will quickly come to the conclusion their time would be better spent elsewhere—instant weight loss is always a reliable seller to a gullible public—and the world of publishing will once again become the domain, mostly, of storytellers and people with a message.

But if the growth of the Internet and electronic media has taught us anything, it’s that our words and actions are now preserved for posterity in a way that was never possible in the past. What you as an author do in the name of promotion or marketing today will remain accessible to the public for the foreseeable future. If you’re serious about building and maintaining relevance over the long-term, it is more important now than ever before to act as a professional.

A poorly-written or poorly edited book, a public meltdown over a bad review, the bullying of readers or other authors, are all things which could come back to haunt an author months, years or even decades down the line.

It seems to me the point is clear if you are serious about your work as a writer. Promote your book, sure, but you’re better off concentrating most of your efforts on what will be most important over the long haul: writing. It’s been said that the best way to promote your book is to write another book, a better book, and I believe that has never been more true than it is now.

So think about the long haul. Get writing.

Guest post by Allan Leverone. Allan Leverone is the author of the Amazon bestselling suspense thriller, THE LONELY MILE, as well as a previous thriller, FINAL VECTOR, and a brand-new supernatural suspense novel titled PASKAGANKEE. He is the author of the horror novellas, DARKNESS FALLS and HEARTLESS for Delirium Books, and is a four-time Derringer Award Finalist for excellence in short mystery fiction as well as a 2011 Puschart Prize nominee. Allan lives in New Hampshire with his wife of nearly thirty years, his family and a cat who has used up eight lives.
Connect with Allan:

Read More

The importance of pacing

Pacing is a frequently overlooked aspect of writing. The speed at which your story moves can determine a lot of things, including its success and appeal. Your audience can drastically change depending on your pacing.

Now, a great example of this is a visual format is the Disney Pixar movie Up. This cartoon is widely debated as either the most boring or the most exceptional of the Pixar cartoons. Why does it cause such deliberation? Because of its pacing. It is a very slow paced movie, and even has many scenes without dialogue of any sort. This is a huge difference when compared to the typical flash and bang of most modern cartoons and movies, but this choice was made deliberately by Pixar. Why? Because they wanted to focus more on plot than action.

In your writing, you need to be aware of your pacing. Action scenes should be faster paced; dramatic, tense scenes slower paced. Pacing is determined by a lot of factors: your word use, your sentence structure, your sentence length, your paragraph length, and even your punctuation. If you do not know what the pace is, try reading it out loud. Do you speed up or slow down when reading? Do you feel tense and anxious or relaxed and contemplative?

Pacing can determine how well you story is received by your audience and even what type of audience you appeal to. A slower paced book will appeal to an older crowd, while a fast paced one will appeal to a younger one (in general). The opposite is true of children’s books. Younger children need slow books, while older ones enjoy stories with lots of action and adventure.

The best thing for writers to do is learn to vary the pace of their writing with the action happening in the plot of their story. If you can master the art of pacing then you can create suspense, engender emotion, and even surprise your readers.

Pacing is not just for writers of fiction either. Poets use punctuation and formatting to set the pace of their poems, and even rhyme and meter can affect how the poem is read and what impact it has on the reader. Non-fiction writers need to keep their work fast paced to avoid dullness, or slower paced to emphasize important elements.

Regardless of what you write, pace is an important element to keep in mind. Pace determines how your readers will absorb your writing, and with that how much appeal your writing has.

Guest post by Debra Johnson, blogger and editor of nanny payrollShe welcomes your comments at her email:  jdebra84 @ gmail.com
Read More

Do foreign writers stand a chance of being published by famous American publishing companies?

This post is in reply to a question asked on the Writers and Authors Facebook page

The most correct answer is: it depends. 

If you create a manuscript that is a master piece with obvious sales potential your origin shouldn't factor too much in the decision of whether or not to offer you a publishing deal. You will of course have to get your foot in the door and get your manuscript read by the right people in order for this to happen but if you find a good agent* to represent your work you shouldn't be at a disadvantage over native writers submitting their work. 

*Yes you will need to be represented by a literary agent. All of the 'Big' American publishing houses only accept manuscripts via established agencies and don't consider individual submissions direct from the authors.

When people refer to the 'Big Six' they are commenting on the biggest publishing houses:
  1. Hachette Book Group
  2. Harper Collins
  3. Macmillan
  4. Penguin group
  5. Random House
  6. Simon & Schuster

Let's take a look at the for and against to better understand if your manuscript could get a yes or no:


Harper Collins is one of the world's largest publishing houses. Originating in the United Kingdom it now has it's headquarters in New York City in the US. Harper Collins has publishing groups in various countries including the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and India. It also publishes several different imprints. With such an expansive collection of countries being part of the company and being represented either under the Harper Collins title or by one of it's imprints it's clear that they are more than open to taking on foreign writers. This is just an example to highlight the fact that some 'Big' publishing houses are international and that they don't limit themselves to just American authors.


Obvious problems arrive when the writer is not Mother-Tongue English as in most cases taking on a manuscript would mean intensive editing, costing the company more time and money than they would predict having to invest on the work of a native. This is just one example of why American publishers often steer clear of foreign writers. More points are covered in this article from Publishing Perspectives about why it's so hard for foreign writers to get publishing deals with American Publishers  http://publishingperspectives.com/2010/01/the-translation-gap-why-more-foreign-writers-arent-published-in-america/

There have been numerous Filipino writers that have made it into the history books. Carlos Bulosan for example was even commissioned by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to write the essay 'Freedom from want' and his book 'America is in the Heart' had a huge impact on Filipino-American literature. To give you a more recent example, Philippine author Ninotchka Rosca won the American Book Award in 1993 for her novel 'Twice Blessed'. 

As you can see it's not a question with a cut and dry answer. The chance is there but you'll find you're likely to have the odds against you. 

Are you a foreign writer published with one of the big American Publishers? 
Do you think foreign writers stand a chance of being published by a famous American Publisher? What are your thoughts?
Read More

How to write e-books that sell

This infographic by Hector Cuevas gives some great tips from 14 successful e-book authors that you might want to take into consideration when working on your first or next e-book. 

What's your top tip? Share in the comments section.
Read More

A Reader or a writer, which would you rather be?

Reading is much easier than writing.  Let’s face it, you just sit there passively and enjoy the fruit of someone else’s work.  You engage your mind and your feelings but you’re not forced to express a whiff of a feeling or grapple with a complex thought.  Your mind can wander.  You can slip into someone else’s world for a while and enjoy the flow of emotions and memories and fantasies it provokes… and then tune out.  You can be in Paris or Maine or Baltimore, on a cruise ship to the Caribbean, at a stockbroker’s lavish NYC apartment, or sitting in a summer cottage on Martha’s Vineyard, about to jump naked into a hot tub with a stranger.  

If you’re reading Virginia Woolf or James Joyce, you can get lost in the rhythm of the prose, even if you can’t be sure exactly what the story is about.  You can “ooh” and “ah” at the mastery of Steinbeck’s language, the cleverness of Franzen’s plots, and the calm clarity of Cather’s descriptions.  If what you’re reading is good, though, you’re probably going to want to write a response of some sort:  a story like it, a poem like it, even a paragraph in imitation of the style.  And then you start on your own poem or story or novel, and the work begins.  YOU’RE creating the world, sister and brother, so you have to get your fingers moving and dig deep.

Writing a novel is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.  It takes incredible discipline, persistence, and mental energy.  It’s like unraveling several balls of yarn that have gotten all tangled together.  There’s the emotional tangle, the motives tangle, the plot tangle, the setting tangle… and somehow you have to weave them into something people can wear.  You have to knit the “lover’s knot” pattern to keep track of what and whom the characters love, the “seashell” pattern to keep track of where they’ve been, and the “diamond” pattern to keep track of their histories, who their parents were, what they wanted and what they feared.  Then you have to make sure it’s all sewn together with accurate spelling, clear punctuation and passable grammar.  

And the novel never goes in the direction you believed it would when you started.  You start out thinking you’re going to write about a woman who wants a baby, and you end up writing about a man who’s running for president.  You have to keep the plot fresh and interesting while providing show-stopping descriptions and scintillating dialogue.  You need to be poetic without writing poetry; and above all, you have to show and not tell.  

And then once you have your first draft, you have to review it; edit it; rewrite it; have someone else edit it; read it again; proofread it; and pray your printer doesn’t run out of ink before you get it printed out for your spouse’s final read-through.  

And then comes the hardest part of all:  trying to get someone else to read it and publish it.  You try that route until you have a scrapbook of rejections, and then you give up and decide to publish it yourself.  You have to get it formatted for e-book readers you’ve never heard of or seen.  And then there’s the marketing… how do you get it read by people who don’t know you?  You wait.  Will we sell more than ten copies a week?  Will anyone out there read it?  Will anyone care?

My niece calls what Douglas and I do “a hobby.”  Yeah.  A hobby and an obsession.  We must be crazy to write novels.  Obviously, we have to do it, or we wouldn’t bother.  We’d just sit down with a glass of wine, read a good book, and relax. 

Guest post by 
Elyse Douglas

Buy Now @ Amazon 
Genre - Contemporary Romance
Rating - PG
More details about the authors & the book

Connect with Elyse Douglas on Twitter & Facebook
Read More