Tag Archives: publisher

Beginning Writers 101 - 6 Things to be Aware of When Starting Out


Writing is hard. I know that many of you out there deal with others making less of what you do but let’s be honest…they are wrong…writing is hard. While I would love to tell all of you aspiring writers out there that it gets easier…it doesn’t. People will always make light of what you do and you will never get the credit you think you deserve and, in the end, you will stand mostly alone behind your work. It is the nature of the beast. No one can make it better and only time will tell if you have the tenacity to see it through.

The thing about writers is that we are writers hard or not. Even though it is one of the most thankless jobs running we will do it anyways despite the ups and downs because we can’t help ourselves. So since I can’t stop you young writers from jumping in I have come up with a few pearls of experience that may help a little. Veteran writers will nod their heads to each one of these because we all learn them somewhere down the line…and if you haven’t learned them yet, you will eventually.

1. Talent is nice but not necessarily necessary – Let’s be honest here, talent is great but there are more than a few writers out there who had a spark that they nurtured into a career.  In the end, to be a good writer requires hard work and dedication as well as that spark. Pure talent would be nice but the Universe doesn’t work that way. Persistence paves the way.

2. Write everyday – This is a biggie…you have to make the time to read and write every day no matter what. The sad thing is that it is incredibly easy to blow off writing time for life in general. We spend our lives with folks telling us that what we do isn’t all that important and so it’s easy to put it off….fight that. To hone the craft requires an everyday commitment.

3. Be honest with yourself – If there was a number 2 on the actual biggie list this would be it. As a writer you must be honest about your writing. It is a complete waste of time to work on stuff that isn’t working and to waste time on things that are all wrong. Commit to the work every day but be honest about where that work is headed. If it sucks, start again.

4. Everyone needs a neighborhood – It takes a village of sorts to write a book. Networking is important both during the process and afterwards. Build your reputation and make those connections with writers, publishers, editors, anyone who can help you spread the word. Sometimes the difference between being published and not is a simple handshake at a book signing.

5. You need a mentor – No one, and I mean no one, does it alone. We all need someone to aspire to, a mentor who will see our work through experienced eyes and help when things are going stupid. A good mentor will lend you their experience, expertise and support.

6. Read – I can’t stress this enough. Not reading as a writer is like being a chef who doesn’t eat…it’s pointless, how else will you know what “good” looks like? Read to study, read to compare, and most of all, read to be inspired!

These are just a few of the things I wish I had known in the beginning; it would have saved me time. Honestly there will always be some things that you have to learn by tripping over them but if those of us who have been around for a while can help you newbies, we should…it’s only right.

© The Writer’s Advice, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.


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Promoting Your E-book Might Cost Your Less Than You Think


Recently I came across several websites and blog sites that were touting the joys of free promotion. It never actually occurred to me personally that there were other sites besides Facebook and Twitter through which to do this without having to give up an arm, leg or that bothersome first born. I personally am grateful for all the help I can get promoting my work. Assuming that you too would enjoy having this information I ran down 5 such sites that I feel comfortable recommending.

  • Author Marketing Club: Tired of looking up links to find the best places to submit your books? Here they are all together in one spot. Writers can just click on the logos to load each site’s form, fill in your details, and you are on your way to promoting your work.
  • Free Kindle Books & Tips: No better words can be uttered to a writer than “for free”. On this site just fill out the form and you are good to go. Books have to be free in the Amazon Kindle Store and must have an average user rating of at least 4 out of 5 stars for consideration though. It’s a great tool for writers wanting to try a book out on its own before charging.
  • GalleyCat Facebook Page: Writers can post their book in the “New Books” section. This is an easy way to share your book with readers. Remember that whenever you offer your book through a third party site, read the small print.
  • Often times self-promotion is the name of the game for authors. This site offers writers a place where they can post an article about their title. It is a platform to shout out to readers about what you think is most interesting about your book. Who better to market your book than you?
  • Meet Our Authors Forum: Amazon offers e-book authors a lot of opportunities and one is their “Meet Our Authors Forum”. I think this is cool because how often do you as a reader get the chance to ask authors questions? This is a place designed to allow writers to talk about their work.

These are just a few of the places I discovered, there are tons more. I know that many of you hate the concept of self-promotion (I do too) but it is a necessary evil so we might as well take advantage of all that we can.

© The Writer’s Advice, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.


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Have Book – Will Make Mistakes…What to Avoid


We writers are not perfect. What?! Not Perfect…please…you may be saying, but it’s true…perfection is not a trait we carry as writers. We make some whoppers sometimes and as beginning writers we makes some pretty lame ones too. There are some basic mistakes that I can help you avoid though. They may sound like lame mistakes at first but put some thought into them because many, many writers make them all the time.

Mistake #1: Telling folks you’re writing a book -

This is a doozy. Almost every writer wants to brag, it’s in our nature. The problem with bragging however is that you then have to follow that up with action and therein lies the rub. If you are walking around talking about writing a book, you aren’t actually writing the book. Stop telling folks you are writing and instead write!

Mistake #2: You have your manuscript done and it’s the bomb –

Manuscripts are like newborn babies. When your kid first comes out it’s all “awwww, how adorable” but then you take it home and that first night the little bag of bones keeps you up all night crying because it was much more comfortable inside that womb. Your manuscript is the bomb when you first print it out because it is technically, done but alas, the work is just beginning. There’s editing, cutting and polishing…and trust me, just like that baby was more comfortable inside the womb, your novel was better inside your head too.

Mistake #3: Asking everyone you meet for their opinion -

Unless you live on a street with professional editors or come from a family of experts in your genre, stop asking everyone for their opinion. Opinions come a dime a dozen and if you insist on sharing your work with every Tom, Dick and Eduardo along the way your book will never be finished. Seek out constructive opinions but only from those who understand the work….your mom, she doesn’t understand the work. (Unless she is Anne Rice, then ask away)

Mistake #4: You don’t research your publishing options -

Major New York publishing house or self-publishing service or POD solution, decisions, decisions….the publishing options these days come in many flavors and require research. There are costs involved in some, requirements that the large publishing house demand and even self-publishing has its quirks. Today more than ever a writer has to do the research on which option is best for them. Make an educated decision on where to send that book…trust me…it’s worth the time.

Mistake #5: No after-the-book-is-done plan-

Advertising, promotion, ads, actually selling the book….haven’t given any thought to any of this? Shame on you! There is really no point in writing a book, if you have no intention of helping it get its wings. Long gone are the days when the publishing house took care of all that book promotion. Now authors have to set up book signings, do the advertising, and beat the pavement for readers…it’s all on us. If you have no plan as to how you are going to promote your work there will be a lot of sad afternoons looking at the sell stats and then hitting the couch to watch Castle reruns while you cry into your afternoon smoothie. Have a plan on how to get that little guy into the hands of willing readers.

These are just a few mistakes that writers make on a regular basis and, trust me, there are many, many more. There has to be some common sense inserted into the process and you have to think both like a writer and a reader if you are to be successful at all.

© The Writer’s Advice, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.


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Writers and Self Abuse-Setting Healthy Boundaries


We are going to tackle a serious subject for a second…self-abuse. This is one of those subjects that don’t get all that much attention because, well, frankly, first off, no one really wants to admit that it is a problem and second, many writers don’t know how to stop it.

What are we referring to when we say “self-abuse”? The answer is many fold…let’s take a look at some of the ways we hurt ourselves…

  • Self-talk - Some writers delve into negative self-talk. You know what I mean, telling yourself you are a hack, degrading your work and generally putting your writing, and yourself, down. I have had this problem myself. I tend to let other people get to me, convincing me that what I do is not worth the effort and then I start telling myself that. As a writer you have to stay positive when taking to yourself.
  • Allowing others to belittle what you do – When my writing is making money, I am the hero of the household….but have some down time when economics shoots one over the bow and suddenly I am “just a writer”. We have one of very few jobs where what we make ends up defining who we are at times. Don’t let people make you feel bad just because the money isn’t rolling in.
  • Running with Rejection – This is a biggie for me. I hate rejection in any form but I especially had it in the form of a written response. So many editors and publishers forget that they are speaking to human beings when they send those stupid form letters out. In my mind I took the time to send you my work, the least you could do is write me back a small encouraging note.
  • Allowing others to take up your writing time – Again, this is a big one for me. With four kids, three grand kids, a multitude of extras in the form of the kids’ ex’s and current partners, there always seems to be a crisis to deal with. A few weeks ago I sent out a blanket text to all of them that I was off limits between 9-4 every day and within minutes three of them called anyways. Set your boundaries…it’s important, and then, enforce them.

There are many, many ways to sabotage your own work and many of us do so every day. This self-abuse is not helpful in creating good work. You have to control your environment, all of the outside influences and, of course, yourself in order to accomplish anything at all. So set those boundaries people and then enforce them…trust me, your readers will thank you later.

© The Writer’s Advice, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.


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Stupidity Drives Me Crazy - Especially When it Comes From a Writer


As a writer there are a lot of goofy things that drive me kind of nuts. I hate it, for instance, when people ask me if my writing is a hobby. I also hate it when I tell people that I am a writer and they ask me when I’m going to get a “real” job. Let’s face it…most people do not understand what it is that we do. But what happens when another writer doesn’t seem to get the process? For me, it makes my head explode.

Here are few things that I have either heard or read that actual writers have said over the years….

-I want to tell my story, please write it for me and I’ll just take a cut of the royalties: Seriously, this was a Craigslist ad. It amazes me that, #1- so many people think that their story is sell able, and #2 – that they actually think that another writer will do all the work so THEY can have a cut. Really?

-I wrote my novel and the only editing it needs to commas: Wow. I am the first person to admit that I am comma challenged, however, if you have written a book and you are arrogant enough to believe that the only editing it needs is comma placement…well…good luck with that.

-I am going to demand that the publisher give me a larger cut: ROFL…okay…It amazes me that so many writers, especially first time writers truly believe that they are in a position to demand anything at all. Folks, if you have actually gotten the attention of a publisher, be grateful…thousands of others haven’t gotten that and are at a corner bar somewhere drinking and explaining to the other patrons that they are being slighted by the universe. Demand nothing…instead kiss that publisher’s behind.

-I’m not doing any marketing, that’s the publisher’s job: Ummmmmm…okay….so you don’t actually want to sell books? Today’s publishing world has changed…long gone are the days when the publishing house was willing to dump a zillion dollars into a PR campaign. If you want to sell book you have to get out there and stump. So unless you live in Maine and your mailbox reads, “S. King” get off your ass.

These are just a few of the things I hear stupid writers say and, trust me, the list goes on. I’d like to invite you all to share some of the goofy crap you have heard your fellow writers say. Comment below and share with us…I know that you ALL have stories to tell.

© The Writer’s Advice, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.


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Nobody Scares Me Like I Scare Me

scaredFear is a staple for most writers. Because we live such a self-sustained existence we don’t get the encouragement, pats on the back or supportive talks that other people get when it comes to their careers. In my family I have no one to really talk to about what I do. Most of them don’t understand what I do and the rest of them find it really boring. So most of the time I am left to my own devices, and more often than not, my own imagination, which can be very, very bad….

I’m not talking scary, nightmare on the street over scary, or someone’s coming to get me scary…no, I’m talking about my own personal powers of self-prophesy. You see, when I write a book I go through a process that, when I think about it when I am not in it seems, well, kind of stupid, BUT in the midst of it, it is as real as my grandmother’s inability to make pancakes. (they were really bad) You know what I am talking about…you write a book, you edit that book, it’s all ready to send out into the world…but before you can hit the send button or lick that last stamp it hits you…OMG what if it sucks!?

I get the what-if-it-sucks really bad. I imagine the editor throwing the book out after reading one page. I imagine the publisher and his friends laughing at my book over drinks. I imagine getting a letter back from the intake person asking me to never write another word. I scare myself right into hesitating sending the book out. Fear grips me and I stop where I sit and ponder getting a job as a pizza delivery guy. (How hard can it be, right?) I literally talk myself out of being a writer for a short time. And you know what…I do it every time I finish a book. Over the years I have gone through the what-if-I-sucks hundreds if not thousands of times…I can be quite pathetic….

So what does one do when a case of the what-if-I-sucks hits? I have developed a bit of a routine to help me through and I thought I would share it with all of you in case it might help. You might develop a routine of your own but feel free to use mine as a guide…

  • See if for what it is…fear – You have to realize that every writer gets cold feet (or in my case frozen body) and that they all get over it. It is natural to question yourself, just don’t let it paralyze you.
  • Move on – You have to move on from your current project once it is done. Shoving it out into the world is the best thing for it and for you. It’s what you are supposed to do…so shove away.
  • Talk yourself through it – Remember those pats on the back that you aren’t getting from others? Give those to yourself and don’t feel bad about it. As a writer you have to be your own cheering section and that’s okay.
  • Develop a support crew – It took me a long time to admit that I needed other writers in my life. I wish I had done it 20 years ago; it would have helped me though a lot. With the internet handy, it is easy to develop a team to cheer you on. Find other writers and connect.

These are just a few ideas for those of you who have issues with the what-if-I-sucks….there is hope. Remember, you are not alone…all writers go through this even if they lie and say they don’t. Fear of failure is human nature but just like the guy who crawls back into the cannon at the circus, you have to crawl back in there too. It is, after all, the only way to ensure that the crowds keep coming back to read the next book, and the next, and the next….

© The Writer’s Advice, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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Posted by on April 15, 2023 in Publishing, Writing


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Cut it Out! Word Counts and How to Keep Them from Running Amuck

finished-essay-word-count-spotonThe dreaded word count…it haunts you. When you are writing a novel you do your best to hit that right number for the publisher, when you’re writing magazine articles you can often find yourself looking at a 300 word article that was supposed to be 1200. Let’s face it…we writers are notoriously long winded when it comes to our writing.

Magazines and book publishers reject manuscripts all the time because the word count is too high. If you are anything like me, when a publisher comes back and bellows those dreaded words…”cut it”…I break out in hives. Cut it where, I always find myself asking…I don’t want to cut out anything good. (and let’s face it folks…it’s all good) So what is a writer to do when they are faced with putting some of their verbiage in front of the firing squad? Here are a few suggestions….

  • Give your character an action instead of describing it -  too many writers will kill you with description for example – “You are mean,” Bob said his words wrath with pain. Let’s face it, Bob doesn’t like you much but do you have to give him so many words? How about, “You’re mean,” Bob whined. You saved 6 words there.
  • Use your “ings” - Using the ‘ings’ eliminates the need for conjunctions. (I know all you School House Rock fans are sniveling)
  • Dump the adverbs –If you don’t an editor or publisher will admonish you, trust me.
  • The amazing word “that” needs to go – Why is it amazing? Because once you are done with a manuscript if you go back over it and highlight every instance of “that” you will be completely in awe of just how many time you have used it. We all use the word “that” like most teens use the word “like”…send it packing.
  • Remove adjectives like a butcher cutting red, smelly beef from a cow that stood in his field like a the house that Job built - Okay, I’ll stop, but you get the idea. Many writers will beat you in the face with adjectives…don’t be one of those writers.

These are just a few ways to cut your word count down and not mess with your actual story. There are other ways too but these are the basics. Accept that we are long winded and just understand that, in the end, you will more than likely have to cut. I would like to suggest that you do leave the cutting for the editing process however. I find that if I try to cut as I go, I never get the actual story written.

So tame those word counts people…..


© The Writer’s Advice, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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Posted by on March 9, 2023 in Editing, Writing


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There Are No Rules - Get Over It!

Rule bookWho ever said that rules were made to be broken was probably about to get grounded by their mom when they said it in a fleeting defense for some moment of idiocy. However, they were not far off, especially when it comes to writing.

I have been writing most of my adult life in some form or another. Because I have always had a pen in one hand as I carried on there has also always been some publisher or editor standing just over my shoulder espousing “rules”. It’s been quite annoying at times. When I was younger, I would listen, nod my head obediently and then change my behavior to fit the “rule”. Well, I’m pushing the 50 mark now and you know what I have learned after all these years? Rules be damned…(most of the time)

The “rules” tend to change with the venue in our line of work. I recently had a magazine publisher who thought that the “AP” in AP style meant “ass protection” (I kid you not) so he wanted his writers to be sure of their facts and ensure that his ass was protected. You just have no idea how hard I laughed about that one on the drive home from our first editorial meeting. Just a few days ago I had a blogging client tell me that they wanted me to always, always spell out the time in columns. Yes, as in one o’clock…all I could do was shake my head.

The “rules” of writing have literally left the building in terms of any kind of consistent “style”. Lost is the art of “AP style”. (for those of you still scratching their heads, AP stands for Associated Press and no, I have no idea who made them the style nazi’s…most of us just rolled with it through the years) Also lost is the art of proper formatting. With all of the new printing options, e-book, traditional, digital…formatting is a whole other evolving aspect of the publishing world. (It’s often hard to keep up) Let’s face it, we, as writers, are now in a profession where there are no real rules, only moments of clarity provided by often bi-polar editors and publishers who change their eating hands for fun.

So what is a writer to do in a world where the road signs change so often that the only thing you know for sure is that you are lost most of the time? The answer is simple, always read the guidelines. Every publisher has them; that set of rules whose reason for existing is known only to the guy who actually owns the publication. And once you have read those guidelines, follow them, no matter how stupid they are. I know, I know…it’s hard but it has to be done if you want to work for those publishers. Sadly there are more of them than there are the ones who follow the “rules”.  I have had to swallow a lot of really stupid styles over the years but I have also made a lot of money off those same publications.

I do realize that the writer in some of you seasoned writers wants to stand up on a desk top and demand that the publisher/editor adhere to the AP style or at least something close but don’t do it…you are wasting your breath. Get your head out of the rules fellow writers…cause there are none…there are just crazy editors/publishers who believe that they are “right” and no amount of arguing will change their minds…BUT…if you shut up and write, there is money to be made and your revenge will be in knowing that, in the end, the publisher is the one who ends up looking stupid. You just need to move on to the next assignment.



© The Writer’s Advice, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.


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I Submit For Your Approval…Please Handle my Self Worth with Care

manuscript-submissionI am in the middle of the submission process for one of my novels and you know what….I hate the submission process. I always feel dirty after having done so. After the letter introducing myself and then my work, the synopsis that I never feel is quite an accurate portrayal of my story and then the “sampling” of my novel. It all feels so very please-leave-the-money-on-the-nightstandish…

As a writer I enjoy the writing. That is, after all what I got into this for, but I don’t like all the selling of ones work and self. There was a time (and I will be dating myself here – not in the, hey can I take you to dinner way, but in the, OMG you are old way…) when a writer could submit their work and they didn’t have to feel so needy about it. Those times are long gone now.

Let’s be honest, the competition is fierce. There are a gazillion writers out there now and even though some of them should be drawn and quartered for ever having picked up a pen…they still manage to get published. I feel like the killer who can’t get caught in a line up where the victim is holding my actual photo…it sucks. I feel looked over and sometimes I feel like the invisible guy who wants to date the pretty girl but can’t because…well…I’m invisible.

These days submitting to a publisher is less like part of the art and more like part of standing in front of the firing squad hoping like hell that the lead solider screams “wait…we want to publish rather than shoot. But, it is a necessary part of the process if you want someone other than your mom to read your book. Yes you will feel kind of dirty afterward but if you wake up in the morning and there is money on the nightstand at least you’ll have a little confirmation that you were sort of good.

Try and remember that you can’t take the submission process so personally…they aren’t rejecting you personally, just your work and that’s okay because maybe they aren’t the right publishing house for your work either. Move on…it’s okay but for Pete’s sake actually move on…submit again, and again and again, if need be until that money is on the nightstand….


© The Writer’s Advice, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.


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What?! Come on Now… Really????

“He took out the 12 gauge shotgun and loaded sixteen 9 mm rounds into it. He raised the gun and leveled it off, ready to pull the trigger…”

What?! Did you say shotgun? 9 mm? Really? I’m not a fan of guns and even I know that’s wrong… I actually read that recently in a book….a published book…and not a self-published book but an actual traditionally published book. Needless to say I ended up tossing that one into my pile of crap-that-should-have-never-been-printed in-the-first-place books. I was irritated with the author (who shall remain nameless) for not having understood his/her subject but I was also irritated with the publisher for having let this get through.

I don’t know about you guys but I am seeing more and more of this is the publishing world. I thought that maybe I was coming across it more because I am reading more these days however; I am beginning to believe that this is not the case. I have another, more disturbing, theory…I think that publishers are getting lazy. Yep, I think that because of all the changes within the publishing world, people self-publishing and all, that editors and publishers are going through a period of not really caring. I have a friend who is a professional editor and she tells me that she too is seeing a laziness that wasn’t always there in terms of editors and publishers. She thinks that it is because many of them see the changes and are thinking that there will not be a place for them pretty soon so they are mentally giving up. It’s a shame really…because they are wrong.

While self-publishing is now an actual “thing”, there will always be a place for traditional publishing. Let’s face it, there are some readers out there who still don’t trust a “self-published” book and so they are still looking to Penguin, Simon and Shuster and all those other big name publishers to entertain them. There will also always be a market for editors because, hey, let’s face it, most of us write, we don’t edit. In the meantime, while the publishing world is trying to find its footing, it is now more important than ever to edit your own work as best you can. Just like you can’t send your kid off to school with no pants, you also can’t send your work out there without the best polish you can muster.

The author (and I use that term loosely) whom I quoted at the beginning of this piece didn’t edit and didn’t do his/her research. I won’t bore you with all of the other mistakes I discovered while trying to stomach a bit more of this particular book but I will say that this person was a fine example for the need to self-edit even though a “big name” publisher is publishing your work. Let’s face it; there is an uncharted landscape out there that is making folks in the publishing world nervous and because of that, they may not be paying the close attention to the work they put out there as much as they used to. Since they aren’t paying attention, it is more important than ever that YOU pay attention.

So no matter how you are getting published, remember, once that book is out there with a crap-load of mistakes it’s very hard to pull back. You might be able to correct things on a second run but that first batch will always be out there and trust me…the day you publish your big successful book…someone, somewhere…will pull out that non-factual, bad spelling riddled first book and use it to smack you, the now successful writer, in the head. I know…it happened to me.


© The Writer’s Advice, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited


Posted by on January 4, 2023 in Edting, Writing


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