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Guest Posts

Writing Against Time – Avoid Anachronisms

By: Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban | Posted on April 19, 2019

No matter what type of story you’re writing, getting the details correct is a key component to creating an immersive reader experience. If you’re making up your own world or society, you also get to make up the details – but when your settings are based on real events and different time periods, you have to be much more careful.  Those aren’t rules and norms you can easily break – and author Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban is here to explain why and what happens when you do. As a writer of historical fiction, I am aware of the importance of adding well researched details to bring a past period to life. If the story takes place in the present, readers will have their personal experiences to draw from when imagining the characters’ daily lives, but when it is set in past times, it’s the writer’s responsibility to recreate in their minds a world… Read More >

A Writers Life – Mistakes I’ve Made Along the Way

By: M.G. Crisci | Posted on April 5, 2019

After over 30 years in advertising, M.G. Crisci got a late start to his writing career, but has already published a dozen books in the last decade. Along the way, he’s managed to distill his vast pool of knowledge, pulled from both his successes and failures, into a set of life lessons that can help both young and experienced authors figure out who they are and where they’re going. There’s a bit of advice on a wide variety of writing related topics here, which means almost everyone will find something useful from reading his words. My story is the same as so many authors, and yet quite different, since I didn’t complete my first book until the age of 61.  It’s ten years later, and I think I’ve learned a thing or two along the way that might be worth a read. KNOW WHO YOU ARE When you are about to… Read More >

Using Amazon Ads to Sell Your Novel

By: Liam Clay | Posted on March 22, 2019

These days, advertising is an integral part of any book launch and not something any self-published author can ignore. We’ve covered the topic of advertising in the past, but one of the things we didn’t go into in details was Amazon’s advertising platform (formerly called AMS).  Luckily, Liam Clay recently spent time learning their system and testing it out, and in today’s guest post he shares what he’s learned. Are you an indie author with a recently completed debut novel? Then chances are good that you either have, or are about to, place your book on Amazon. The question then becomes, what next? Because if you think that strangers are going to start buying your book en masse without any further action from you, I urge you to think again.  I say this because two months ago, I was in exactly the same position. Watching tumbleweeds roll through the ghost… Read More >

Three Things My Developmental Editor Fixed

By: C.J. Persson | Posted on March 8, 2019

One of the many jobs (aside from actually writing your book) that a self-publishing author has to worry about is hiring their own editor.  Even the most seasoned pros hire editors, as there will always be things you miss after staring at your own book for weeks on end – but what type of editing do you need?  Today, author C.J. Persson takes us through the three main ways a developmental editor helped improved his debut novel, and how to watch out for those same issues in your own work. In January 2018 I had burned out and I quit my job. I had a manuscript rattling around in my proverbial desk drawer and figured this was the perfect time to self-publish it. There was one problem though, my novel didn’t sing. I needed a developmental editor. This is not to be confused with a line- or copy-editor. They help polish… Read More >

Combined Knowledge: You and Your Subject Matter Expert

By: Robin Reardon | Posted on February 22, 2019

We’ve published articles in the past about the importance of writing what you know vs writing to market, or about using personal experiences to fuel your stories – but what about when you want to step outside of your comfort zone? In that case, you need to do your research. Author Robin Reardon has a lot of experience with this, and today she’s giving us her advice on when you can research something on your own, or when (and how) it’s better to find and contact a subject matter expert.  There’s a maxim fiction authors hear all the time: Write what you know. That’s fine, as far as it goes. But does it go far enough? Not for me. But sometimes I need help. Because while much of fiction writing is making up stories, many novels are grounded in real world settings, touch on historical events, or include characters with a… Read More >

Make Newsletters A Part of Your Marketing Plan

By: Jane Ryder | Posted on December 7, 2018

Newsletters are one of the best ways for authors to reach their audience, and should be part of any overall marketing or promotional strategy.  Yet many authors are hesitant to get started with one, for a variety of reasons – all of which Jane Ryder has heard before. Jane’s been helping authors succeed for many years, and today she’s giving us all some tips on not only how to get started with your newsletter, but how to make it as painless as possible! A lot of authors I work with fight the idea of sending out a regular newsletter even more than they fight the idea of regularly engaging on social media (which is saying something). I understand you would rather be devoting your writing time to, you know, writing, but if you want to sell the books you write, you have to spend some of your coveted writing time… Read More >

Tax Tips: When Should An Independent Publisher Use A 1099?

By: John Endris | Posted on November 2, 2018

With tax season approaching, authors in the USA have to start worrying about the IRS and various forms they need to fill out – especially if they aren’t making enough money to warrant hiring an accountant to handle it all for them.  One of the forms that independent publishers have to think about most is the 1099, and when it should or shouldn’t be used.  That’s why we’ve asked John Endris, a guy who wrote the book on this sort of stuff, to give us all a quick primer. Most independent publishers cannot afford to hire editors, cover artists, and assistants as a full or even part time employee. Therefore, they usually maintain a network of independent contractors (IC) to do these jobs for them. Like them, those workers are also small businesses, who have the same ability to make a profit or sustain a loss. Since they are also… Read More >

Making Magic Work In Your Novels

By: Gail Z. Martin | Posted on October 19, 2018

A convincing magic system can make or break a fantasy novel, and is often the best remembered aspect of the book or series.  Growing up, I read a lot of Fantasy – from Piers Anthony’s Xanth and David Eddings’ Belgariad, to Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series or Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time – I remember these books most fondly because of the rich and diverse magic systems that their worlds were built on.  But coming up with those sorts of systems and worlds from scratch is a daunting task that requires a lot of thought and planning, and that’s why we turned to Gail Martin for an article on the subject. Gail is a prolific novelist who is very experienced at coming up with complex and varied magic systems, having done so for many of her own books and series. Here are her tips on how to make magic work… Read More >

Let Experiences and Emotions Fuel Your Writing

By: Stephen Bentley | Posted on October 5, 2018

As I mentioned in a previous article, the idea of writing what you know isn’t meant to be taken strictly literally and as today’s guest author Stephen Bentley puts it, the saying might be better expressed as “write what you feel”. Your experiences and emotions can be a great source of fuel for your imagination, and are the root of many great fiction novels. Learning to harness these experiences and draw from them is essential to authentic writing that draws the reader in to make them feel like they’re part of your story or world. ‘Write what you know’ is an old adage. Possibly older than me. I am now seventy-one years old. I started writing books three years ago. I guess another appropriate adage is ‘you are never too old to learn or to start.’ I have written an Amazon UK bestseller about my undercover cop days. I started… Read More >

How Short Story Writing Can Improve Your Novels

By: Kate Larkindale | Posted on September 21, 2018

When you’re new to something, a common bit of advice is to start small and work your way up to bigger and better things. This applies to writers just as well as anyone else, and is the reason short story writing often comes before novels for many authors. Kate Larkindale understands first hand why this is good advice, and she’s here giving us all the reasons why writing short stories can make you a better novelist – whether you’re just beginning your career or already well established. I wrote my first novel when I was still a teenager.  Barely a teenager.  I’d never written anything except stories for school before, and had no idea what I was doing.  And the finished novel was a complete mess.  So were the next two I attempted, and the fourth. It wasn’t until I took a step away from pouring myself into novel after… Read More >