Tag Archives: publishing

What’s a Galley Copy and Why Can’t I Eat There?


So you have written a book and you have sent it in and a publisher somewhere has said, “Sure I’ll take a chance on you”. You sent your entire manuscript and after what seems like an enormously long time you get this package in the mail. Inside the package is a mockup of your book. The copy is flimsy and there is no cover but the book is all there in all its glory. You get excited and show everyone, maybe even let a few people read one of the copies. After reading one your friends come to you and ask if you realize how many mistakes are in that copy….your heart falls. You are thinking that your book is going to be crap when it hits the stores and it will be…if you don’t use that galley copy as it was meant.

First let me explain the concept of a “galley copy”. Galleys are your book in book form. The point of a galley copy is so that the writer (you) can go over it and make any corrections. Now let me be clear here…you can make corrections to spelling, punctuation, that sort of thing but not to the story itself. The galley copy is not to rewrite your story; it is only so that you can correct obvious typesetting issues. If you read the galley copy and decide that the story really is that bad, you can’t do anything about that but hope that it gets shelved in the back of the book store. The galley copy is just that “a galley”.

Now many writers receive the galley copies and know what they are but never open them. This would be a huge mistake on the part of the writer. This is your chance to make sure that your novel is presentable, make sure it’s shoes are tied and the buttons are all buttoned up right. This is your chance to give it one last look-see before it is published for the world to see.

With my very first novel I didn’t look at the galley copy because, well, frankly, I had no idea what it was. I am still paying for that today, 20 years later, when someone comes across that first edition and I hear reviews that state, “it is a great story but it needs some editing”. Trust me; you want to spend some quality time with those galley copies or one day you will look back, as I do, and wish you had.

© The Writer’s Advice, 2014. 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 January 23, 2023 in Editing, Writing, Writing Tools


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A Book is A Book is A Book


I have a Kindle. I also have an extensive library of good old fashioned paper books. I also own a Galaxy 10.1 that has the Kindle software on it and I have occasionally, while waiting in the car for my spouse to finish shopping, read on my smartphone. I like to read but more importantly, I don’t care what format a book is in….it’s still a book.

These days there is a war raging between those who embrace technology and those who think that we are killing off the original book formats, hardback and paper back. Those who embrace technology will say things like;

·         I can now read wherever I want.

  • ·         I can take my entire library with me at all times.
  • ·         I can easily order a book and wham, there it is. No waiting for delivery.
  • ·         I’m saving trees by reading on tech.

Those who fight for the original book format say things like;

  • ·         The tech will eventually cost you your eyesight.
  • ·         We are losing the “art” of reading.
  • ·         You aren’t a “real” reader if you use tech.
  • ·         The death of books (in the paper format) means the death of the book altogether.

There are other things they say too but the bottom line is that this is a subject that has clearly divided readers and writers and it shouldn’t have. Here are my thoughts….a book is a book no matter what format it is in. I kind of side with Margaret Atwood on this one and say, hey however folks want to read, yeah…they are reading. What does it matter of someone orders my book in paperback or in a digital format? They are still buying my book, right?

I remember when I was young hearing the same argument between hard covers and paper backs. Book snobs thought you should only own hard covers while the rest of us understood the value of both buying paper back (cheaper) and the fact that the size of the book made it easier to take with. Now…some 30 years later, that argument is back only now it is digital vs paper book and you know what? It’s the same argument but with two different formats and the bottom line is still the same…at least readers are reading.

© 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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No Seriously, I’m being Honest

ExplicitlyHonestReviewsBanner_zps44fd87a4These days honesty is a rare thing. We have media telling us stories with slants, we have politicians telling us crap like we are all gullible and we have writers who say they are writing a true story but in essence are still just fiction writers. So how important is it to be honest as a writer? In my opinion, honesty is everything…keep in mind I said honesty…which is not necessarily the truth. Here, let me explain…

To be honest as a writer means to be honest in your writing. Even a fiction writer has to be honest in their work even though their story is totally made up. You see, your work has to be honest in that, it is the best you have to offer and it is as real as you can get. Even fiction stories have to have an element of honesty. If you don’t personally believe in your story, your readers will pick up on it. Case in point…James Frey.

James Frey could have totally gotten away with writing a fiction work and telling everyone it was the truth. It wasn’t his story that got him caught, it was the fact that, in the end, he didn’t believe it either and it showed through. Now I am not advocating that you write a “true story” and then pass it off as such but I am saying that every story has to have an element of truth to it and you, as its creator, have to believe it. An “honest” writer pours their heart into their writing, fiction or not, so that the reader believes. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was not a “true” story but by the time they are finished reading it, most readers believe that it is possible that there is a magical place called Narnia; that was the point after all.

Putting honesty into your work is easy and it is essential to any great story. If you want your readers to enjoy your writing you have to convince them that anything is possible. Remember that your audience is primed for the truth because they get so little of it in the real world these days.

© 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 December 2, 2022 in Writing, Writing Tools


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2023-04-15 writing cartoon-Pardon My Planet

I don’t always want to write. There are some days when I get up and the last thing I want to do is sit down at my desk let alone actually hit the keyboard. The ideas seem to run away from me and the desire to tell a story is right up there with flaying my skin. So do you know what I do on those days when I’d rather be a plumber? I write anyway…..

There are a lot of supposed rules for writers but by far the most important not-to-be-ignored one is to write every day. Writing is like a muscle, if you don’t exercise it after a time it gets fat and lazy and doesn’t want to work at all; I know I’ve been there many times over the years. The discipline of writing is what makes the difference between being that guy who writes as a hobby and being that guy who gets published.

I went through a period in my early 30’s where I decided to try on a few other occupations because writing was just no fun anymore. I had lost sight of why I wrote in the first place so I stepped away. I worked some other jobs, got into human resource management thinking that it was “people” I was missing and after a year of realizing that I prefer the people in my head I came back to the desk. Coming back after a year was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. I hadn’t realized that not writing every day was shoving my skills to the dark recesses of my brain where I would have to send out a search party in order to get them back. I literally had to force myself to write something every day in order to coax my muse out.

If you step away from your writing I guarantee that you too will find it difficult to return. Here are a few things I have heard from other writers in terms of finding your way back by writing every day. When the story doesn’t come easy you can:

Write in a journal – Journaling can help a writer get back on the horse. You are writing what is instead of having to create but you are still writing.

Try short stories – You don’t have to jump into a novel because that can be daunting. Start with a short story, like 1500 words; who knows your short story could lead to a novel.

Create characters – Start by just creating characters. There are lots of great examples of character building forms out on the web, download one and create people for future stories. Who knows, one of those characters might find a starring role in a new book.

Rewrite – Sometimes when I am blocked I will rewrite work I have done before. I pull an old story out of the drawer; rewrite some of it until the story catches up with me.

These are just some of the many ways you can jump back into bed with your writing. Don’t beat yourself up too badly for stepping away, it happens, but if you have stepped away know that there is a road back albeit sometimes long. Just remember that writing is something that has to be cared for. Your muse may not leave for good but he/she will make it hard to coax them out if you ignore her/him long enough so write….every….single….day.

© 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 October 18, 2022 in Writing, Writing Tools


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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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You Are Getting Older, Deal with it

act your ageThings change with age…that is a fact of life. We all age and as we age, we change. Recently, I have become more aware of this than normal and I have especially become more aware of it in terms of my writing. Age….has changed that too.

When I was younger I wrote with reckless abandon. I didn’t worry about leaping into a safety net; I didn’t need no stinkin net. I was a writer….and a fearless one at that. I didn’t worry about failing or even if anyone was actually going to read my stuff…I simply assumed that they would. But now I am older…and, dare I say, wiser. I have now made all of the mistakes 20 + years of writing allows and I am at least hoping that I have some of it right.

Aging as a writer should make you and your writing more mature and that is a good thing. As we get older and presumably wiser, we need to embrace the experiences of life while trying not to lose a little of that dare devil from our youth. I have become a better writer as I have aged because experience has colored my outlook on things. While I may have looked at issues such as death and life one way when I was young, my life experience has helped me to develop a different outlook as I have gotten older and that is good for me as a writer.

Have you ever been at the mall people watching when a woman who is, let’s say a little further in years, walks by dressed in the clothes of a teenager? Your first thought is wow and your second is one of pity. “Isn’t it a shame that she hasn’t grown up” might be your thought…readers will say the same of your writing if you are not careful. So age gracefully fellow writers and wear the words of an experienced writer…readers will notice if you don’t act your age.

© 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 September 30, 2022 in Healthy Writers, Writing


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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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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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