Category Archives: Books


In 1989, soon after the release of her novel The Queen of the Damned, author Anne Rice released another supernatural page turner about another immortal (but not vampiric) hero from ancient Egypt called The Mummy, or Ramses the Damned. Much more of a period high adventure than her vampire novels, The Mummy was a success and instantly found fans. The tag at the end of the novel promised more adventures of Ramses to come, but for various reasons, those adventures never came.

Now 28 years later, the sequel has finally arrived in the form of Ramses the Damned: The Passion of Cleopatra. This novel is special for another reason besides being a sequel long in the making: it’s Anne Rice’s first writing collaboration with another author, and the author just happens to be her son, novelist Christopher Rice.

“Fans had been asking me for a sequel to The Mummy for years,” Anne said, “And I got this idea that I thought it would be wonderful if Chris and I could collaborate. As it turns out, he did most of the writing on the book and most of the heavy lifting in terms of the plotting. We had a meeting and made a road map of the plot, and he produced the first draft and the final draft. And then I went over it and added a number of things, particularly with the older characters from the first book. His focus was very much on the newer characters that he created for the sequel. Except for Cleopatra…he wrote a lot about her. He really came to understand that character, and it worked out really well.”

On collaborating with his mom, Christopher Rice told us, “I wrote a draft, I submitted it to her, and she did a really intensive read. Then we sat down together and pulled it apart, talked about what was working and what wasn’t, and she sent me off with marching orders to write the next draft. And a lot of those marching orders were to emphasize the mysterious nature of immortals and not have them flinch or react in the same way an ordinary human character would.”

Of all of Anne Rice’s worlds–vampires, witches, ghosts and werewolves—they chose a sequel to The Mummy as their first mother/son collaboration because of the fans. According to Christopher, “The reason it’s The Mummy is that everyone wanted a sequel to that book, and there wasn’t one. I was present, for year after year at my mother’s book signings, and saw people come up and ask, ‘When is the next Mummy book?’ And her attitude was, ‘I don’t have the time to do it on my own.’”

Much like Anne Rice’s second vampire novel, The Vampire Lestat, expanded upon the backstory of the vampires, it seems this second Ramses novel will expand upon the mythology introduced in the first book in a big way. “We do explore the origin of the Elixir of Life and where it came from, and the backstory of how Ramses got a hold of it” said Anne, “We love exploring the mythological background. Christopher was responsible for writing a lot of that.”

The elder Rice has made a name for herself over the past 40 years writing about various kinds of immortal beings, but the kind of immortality Ramses has is more of a “no strings attached” kind of immortality. Anne explained, “It’s very different. The vampires are very much a metaphor for the outsider and the outcast, and for people who walk in darkness, and that’s not true for Ramses. The vulnerability for Ramses is that he can be captured, and somebody could force him to tell them the formula for the Elixir of Life and make other immortals. And also, he can’t biologically have a child. He has to decide when to give this Elixir to someone, and it’s not something that can be done lightly. To me, it’s just a different way of writing about immortality.”



Although it may feel like writing and publishing a book wouldn’t really impact your business, the reality is that there are three reasons why every massage therapist should at least consider taking this route.

1. A book is an effective marketing tool.

Elaine Fogel Schneider, Ph.D. (known simply as “Dr. Elaine”), is executive director of TouchTime International LLC and the author of Massaging Your Baby – The Joy of TouchTime – Effective Techniques for A Healthier, Happier, More Relaxed Child & Parent. For her, writing a book has been an effective marketing tool.

“As a therapist working with infants and their parents, having a book has brought writers, television producers, radio show hosts and agencies to my door asking me to be interviewed, or to provide face to face trainings or webinar presentations around the globe,” she said.

Fogel Schneider says she has traveled “from California to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, as a trainer of TouchTime.”

In fact, her book has been translated into Chinese and Malay, increasing her presence in those areas, as well as in the U.S., and opening up more opportunities for her to share what she knows about the benefits of massage to infants.

2. It establishes you as an expert

Kamillya Hunter is the owner and founder of Spa Analytics Consulting Group, a company she created when she was a massage therapist before letting her license lapse after her family moved to Germany. Her company supports the massage industry through consulting services, website design and content.

In August 2017, Hunter released her book,Success of a Failed Therapist and says that not only has it been well-received by other massage therapists, it has also helped establish her as an expert in the field.

“Whether it’s written to your massage client or simply [about] a particular service or topic you know well, when people see your ideas and thoughts in print, you attract a higher quality client base,” says Hunter. “You become an industry leader and it adds to your status of expert.”

3. It Gives You Another Revenue Stream

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual wage for massage therapists is $44,480 with a mean hourly wage of $21.39. Whether you make this amount, a little more, or a little less, if you want to raise your annual revenue even more, writing and selling a book is one way to achieve that goal.

Hunter says that writing and publishing Success of a Failed Therapist has, for her, created passive revenue opportunities outside of the treatment room.

In other words, her book makes her money even when she isn’t actively selling it. “If well distributed, [a book] can provide you with a decent stream of revenue that can be just what you need during the down times of off peak seasons,” she says.

How to Start Writing A Book

The idea of writing and publishing a book can seem as daunting as standing at the bottom of a mountain and wondering how you’re going to get to the top—but there are steps you can take to start making your very book a reality.

The first step is to come up with what it is you want to write about. Maybe massage has been a life-saver for you personally and you want to share your story in the hopes that it will inspire someone else to find the same relief.

Or perhaps, like Fogel Schneider, there’s a particular demographic that you massage, such as athletes, women or the elderly, and you would like to serve them even more by providing them important information about the benefits of massage.

Once you’ve decided on the basic premise or topic of your book, the next step is to come up a basic outline. What topics do you want to make sure you cover? In what order should they be presented so that they make logical sense to the reader?

Not only does having an outline help you better organize your book and give you an idea of what needs to go in it, but it can also help you stay on task when writing—which is what you’re going to do next.

While some people enjoy the writing process, others find the idea of putting thoughts in black and white a task they’d do anything avoid. If you fall into the second category, here are some tips that can help:

  • Set aside writing time on your calendar regularly so you’re always moving forward with your book. This could be by designating 30 or 60 minutes each morning or night, or by putting aside a block of time on weekends where you just sit down and write.
  • Write to simply get your thoughts down. Don’t worry yet about how good your ideas are, how your stories sound or whether you’ve used the right words. These issues can and will be addressed later, during the editing process.
  • If you truly detest writing, consider hiring a ghostwriter, which is someone who can take your thoughts and ideas and put them into book form. Alternatively, you could also dictate your book to audio and have it transcribed.

Whether you write the book yourself or have someone else write it for you, at this point in the process, you’ll have a rough draft.

With that, you can start tweaking it so it has all of the information you want it to have and provides it in the style and tone that you want it to. This is accomplished through editing and it’s something you can do yourself or hire out.

Ideally, you should have at least one other person preview your book as two sets of eyes looking over your book increases the odds that you’ll find any potential grammar, spelling, or content-related errors before it goes to print.

With your book in publish-ready form, you can take one of two routes. You can either self-publish using one of the many business found easily through a Google search, or you can seek publishing through a traditional publisher. Both have their pros and cons, so it’s all about finding the best option for you.

Having a book can give you another marketing tool, can help establish you as an expert, and can provide another stream of income.

So if you could use any one of these three benefits in your massage therapy business, then maybe it’s time that you sit down and write your own.

Who knows? You may just like what you read.


Rise of Automation : Technology and Robots Will Replace Humans Now Available on Amazon and Itunes

You probably have an idea how robots will affect human workers negatively. Chief players in the tech world like Bill Gates and Elon Musk have provided their solutions; universal basic income or robot tax. But amidst the serious warnings and the utter sci-fi utopias, the human pain that will follow future job loss seems to be forgotten.

15 years or so from now, the US economy will lose 38% of its jobs to automation. This rate is alarming. And yet, many people maintain that automation should not and cannot slow down.

However, what if the progress is decelerated a little? Just enough to match the slow fashion and slow food trends maybe? At the very least, people should rethink the ownership of autonomous trucks. Robotization would not be that bad if truck drivers owned the automatic trucks instead of having a corporation own them all. In the meantime; robotization is a real threat and poses a danger to crucial human infrastructure.

Table of Contents


Elon Musk and Universal Basic Income
Silicon Valley and the Automated Future
Job Automation
Bill Gates and a Threat to Jobs
Artificial Intelligence and Automation
Auto Industry Jobs That Will Be Lost To Automation
The Rise of Automation and Coding
Cyber Security
Consumer Automation
Automation in the Healthcare Industry
Al Is the Future of Cybersecurity
The Future of Automation
Colleges: Jobs of the Future
Automation and Perception
Manage Automation and Jobs
Automation and the Future Economy

Rise of Automation – Technology and Robots Will Replace Humans

6 Things About Self-Publishing You Will Be Tempted To Overlook, But Shouldn’t

The self-publishing industry is perhaps one of the most successful industries today that has lifted itself up with it’s own might. It is clearly burgeoning because of the clear advantages it offers. Of course, that doesn’t mean self-publishing is everyone’s darling as this article proves. That said, self-publishing has managed to surprise us, by its rapid evolution into a self-sustained industry on its own.


Here are a few interesting things about the self-publishing industry


1. It is already massive and still growing

The self-publishing industry is growing faster than ever. Since the entry barrier to self-publishing is lower, the industry is swelling at 21% growth rate of registered ISBNs from 2014-2015( apparently, the most recent data available.) The growth is expected to grow even further with self-publishing options are integrating largely into Amazon, leading to a multi-billion dollar industry for its book production services alone.


2. It gives back more to the creator of the work

With publishers constantly upgrading their offerings, the payback rate to the writers and creators has gone up steadily. Case in point is that the last self-publishing platform, Amazon, is offering a 70% royalty to the writer on books prices $2.99 or higher as against only 35% a few years ago.


3. It puts more responsibility back on you

Self-publishing allows the writer a complete hold over the entire process of making the book. This also means, it puts a lot more responsibility into the hands of the writer. Self-published success is typically met by someone who has been writing, blogging helping people for years- building a committed audience. Books become just another way to give more to their readers. Also, self-publishing does not end with writing the book. A book is like a baby that just won’t compromise on its needs.


It requires editing of professional quality, a book cover that speaks for the book. Taking the book to the readers becomes your job as well. Of course, with the growth of the self-publishing industry, it’s no surprise that professional help for book services such as Legaia Books are available as well.


4. It has produced some of the world’s favorite authors

It’s true. Self-publishing has made rockstars out of some writers who may have gone into oblivion if not for this great opportunity. Hal Elrod’s ‘The Morning Miracle’ is a wonderful self-publishing success story. More recently, Lisa Genova, a neurologist by profession, struck gold with her book, “Still Alice” that tells the fictional story of an early-onset Alzheimer’s patient.


Says Jyotsna Ramachandran, founder of Happy Self-Publishing, “Self-publishing has given every individual the power to publish their story, message or knowledge, without having to seek a stamp of approval from a publishing house. This is a game changer.”


5. It’s not a ‘last resort’ thing anymore

For many indie authors, self-publishing has become the first choice today, simply because of the ease and the returns it gives. There are also some others who would pick self-publishing over traditional publishing, even when they have the luxury of choice. James Altucher, a 11-times bestselling author whose last book is a self-published bestseller despite having published books by traditional publishing houses before.


6. It still requires good quality writing

Bestsellers are made out of the value the books give to your readers. Personal stories that wrench our hearts out make bestsellers. Words written down that that everyone thinks, but does not say out loud make bestsellers. Self-publishing does not give you permission to be tardy in your work.


Finally, it helps to remember that you are writing your book for the reader- and when you have them as your top priority at all times, you totally deserve the sale.


Hollywood and book publishers are turning to this online platform for their next ’50 Shades of Grey’

Anna Todd was living in Fort Hood, Texas working odd jobs including a stint at a bakery, waitressing at Waffle House, working as a salesperson at Ulta and babysitting for friends. She also had an online life on storytelling platform Wattpad as user imaginator1D, the author of the One Direction fan fiction “After.”

The 300-chapter story — which imagines the members of popular band One Direction as college students — soon became Wattpad’s most popular story. To date, the chapters have been read almost 1.5 billion times — yes billion. Its success has led to seven-figure deals, including a publishing contract with Simon & Schuster and Paramount acquiring the movie rights, said Todd.

Todd is convinced that her success would not have been possible without Wattpad.


“There’s so many gatekeepers [in publishing],” Todd said. “It’s just one random person that gets to choose all the books we read.”

“Wattpad just feels like more of a community,” she said.

Wattpad, which has raised about $67 million, is has become a source for budding fiction writers to post their stories — and for publishers, producers and brands to find source material. The platform allows people to upload their own stories chapter by chapter, and users can comment as the tales progress. Its mostly female readers have quickly become a hub for fan fiction and romance stories.

To find what stories may find a second life in film, TV or books, Wattpad looks at the number of reads, likes and user comments to figure out what’s popular with readers. Writers retains story rights but Wattpad takes a split of the revenue if it facilitates a deal.

The company has helped facilitate more than 100 book deals internationally of stories which first appeared on its platform, including through HarperCollins and Macmillan. Paperback books based on Wattpad stories have more than 15 million copies in circulation and have been published in over 30 languages. It’s also helped license dozens as TV shows, digital series or films, including 76 stories that were turned into TV episodes for the “Wattpad Presents” series in the Philippines. Another story called “No Capes” will soon be a digital series on Mashable, while “FANtasies” was a 10-episode series where social media influencers starred in the Wattpad stories inspired by then. It also has a development deal with Universal Cable Productions to turn stories into TV shows.

The company also makes money off sponsored deals and web ads. A project with Coca-Cola brought back characters from its top 10 most popular stories and had them “write” a letter to Santa as a bonus side story. Meanwhile, it also worked with SyFy’s “The Magicians” for a short story contest to write material inspired by the show.

“One of the major factors that makes Wattpad Studios interesting to both Hollywood and the entertainment industry around the world is we have an audience… We know who is reading this today, how many people read it in the last 6 months and last 12 months. We can actually see that people liked this character more than that character, half the people think he’s awful,” said Aron Levitz, head of Wattpad Studios.

Valorie Darling

Todd began posting “After” in 2013 at a rate of a 3,000 to 8,000 word-chapter each day.

“I had no idea how long books were supposed to be,” Todd said. “When I was writing all this I didn’t realize it was a lot.”

Funnily enough while Todd likes One Direction’s music, she admits she isn’t a typical fangirl. The only adult fans she knows are her cousin and her husband who “kind of liked their music a little bit,” she noted. Todd first got involved in One Direction fan fiction after reading “Imagines” on Instagram, or short paragraph stories about the singers. One of her favorite “Imagines” authors said she was going to complete the story on Wattpad, which prompted Todd to check the platform out.

Soon after Todd began trying her own story. She liked imagining One Direction band members as bad boy college students living in a dorm.

Todd began getting messages from literary agents, which she thought was a prank. It wasn’t until Wattpad wrote to her directly telling her about the numerous agency requests about her story – and that it was so popular it was messing up their internal metrics – she decided to meet with them. Soon she signed a movie deal, and then after a whirlwind trip to New York City she decided to go with Simon & Schuster.

Currently, Todd is working on promoting “After” and writing a to-be-published book series, which will also have a version posted on Wattpad. She talks to “After’s” movie producer Jennifer Gibgot at least once a week. And Todd did get a chance to meet One Direction at an awards show they were both attending. She declined.

“My publisher asked, ‘Do you want me to introduce you?’ I was like don’t you dare! I just like the idea of them. I never needed to meet them. If they offered, I wouldn’t be like no I wouldn’t meet you. But especially writing fan fiction, I don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable.”


After Three Decades, Anne Rice’s Mummy Sequel Is Finally Here

Good things come to those who wait and if you’re a fan of Anne Rice’s beloved book, The Mummythe nearly 30-year wait for the sequel is over.

In Ramses The Damned: The Passion of Cleopatra, authors Anne Rice and Christopher Rice (Anne’s son and the author of 12 books) take readers on a fantastical throwback frolic through Edwardian England (circa 1914) after Ramses the Great, the former pharaoh of Egypt is awakened.

Here is an exclusive, chilling excerpt to sample from the book.


From the iconic and bestselling author of The Mummy and The Vampire Chronicles, a mesmerizing, glamorous new tale of ancient feuds and modern passions.

Ramses the Great, former pharaoh of Egypt, is reawakened by the elixir of life in Edwardian England. Now immortal with his bride-to-be, he is swept up in a fierce and deadly battle of wills and psyches against the once-great Queen Cleopatra. Ramses has reawakened Cleopatra with the same perilous elixir whose unworldly force brings the dead back to life.

But as these ancient rulers defy one another in their quest to understand the powers of the strange elixir, they are haunted by a mysterious presence even older and more powerful than they, a figure drawn forth from the mists of history who possesses spectacular magical potions and tonics eight millennia old. This is a figure who ruled over an ancient kingdom stretching from the once-fertile earth of the Sahara to the far corners of the world, a queen with a supreme knowledge of the deepest origins of the elixir of life. She may be the only one who can make known to Ramses and Cleopatra the key to their immortality—and the secrets of the miraculous, unknowable, endless expanse of the universe.



Pronoun, an ebook service for writers, shuts down

Pronoun, a self-publishing service for authors, is shutting down after promising free ebook distribution for authors. The company, which raised millions in funding and ended up being sold to Macmillan announced the shutdown in an email to authors and on its website.

Two years ago Pronoun set out to create a one-of-a-kind publishing tool that truly put authors first. We believed that the power of data could be harnessed for smarter book publishing, leveling the playing field for indie authors.

We are proud of the product we built, but even more so, we’re grateful for the community of authors that made it grow. Your feedback shaped Pronoun’s development, and together we changed the way authors connect with readers.

Unfortunately, Pronoun’s story ends here.

While many challenges in indie publishing remain unsolved, Macmillan is unable to continue Pronoun’s operation in its current form. Every option was considered before making the very difficult decision to end the business.

As of today, it is no longer possible to create a new account or publish a new book. Pronoun will be winding down its distribution, with an anticipated end date of January 15, 2018. Authors will still be able to log into their accounts and manage distributed books until that time.

For the next two months, our goal is to support your publishing needs through the holiday season and enable you to transition your books to other services. For more detail on how this will affect your books and payments, please refer to our FAQ.

The decision follows a long and arguably crazy mission to distribute and sell ebooks for free. The company started out as Vook, a service for creating complex and illustration-rich ebooks and slowly pivoted to its free model. Interestingly, the primary and best Pronoun feature for authors was its “free automated conversion tool that made absolutely beautiful ebooks.”


“They were nicer-looking than most ebooks made by people,” wrote Nate Hoffelder in The Digital Reader.

As the Internet moves away from the user-generated content model it will be interesting to see what other “free” content startups hit the skids.


Pronoun, an ebook service for writers, shuts down

How to get reviews on Amazon once you’ve launched your book

Writing a book is hard work. As is marketing that book before and after launch. But when you distribute your book through Amazon, getting reviews may be the single most important thing to determine your book’s future success. There’s no secret formula, and no one way to garner the most reviews, but with a little research, a lot of patience, and a ton of outreach, those coveted reviews are but an email away.

Ask your existing readers or fan base

Whether you maintain a strong social media following, belong to many writing groups, or already have built-in readers from a previous book launch, your existing fans are your bread and butter. Since they already have an appreciation for you and your work, you are one step closer to converting them from fans to reviewers.

Now since they are already invested in you to a degree, they are also the best people to ask for a genuine review, the ones who buy your book on Amazon and review it. How do you get them to do this? Compose a strong email to them appealing to their passion for and knowledge of your genre, as well as their previous interest in your work. For some, that will be enough to pique their interest. For others, you may want to offer to supply them with the book for free. This way you are getting genuine reviews since the books were purchased through the site, but you haven’t required them to buy your book to do so.

Contact Amazon’s top reviewers

The top reviewers for Amazon have earned their status for a reason; they review everything from books to electronics, and other consumers rank their reviews as useful. While you might assume these reviewers are out of your reach—after all, they likely receive hundreds of requests a day—they are still worth contacting. Even if only a few end up reviewing your book, their reviews could make all the difference.

  • To get started, decide how many reviews you are hoping to get. If you have your eye set on 25, you’ll want to reach out to at least 100 reviewers.
  • Take a look through the list of Amazon’s top reviewers, and create a spreadsheet where you can start logging info about your potential reviewers. You are looking for reviewers who have already reviewed books in your genre, and once you’ve found them, any additional information you can grab about them, including email addresses, and any personal interests.
  • Now, the art of the pitch. Spend time crafting a pitch letter that succinctly tells a brief summary of your book, why you’d like the specific reviewer to read it, and how you’d like to offer them a free copy. Include references to similar books they’ve already reviewed so they realize you have done your homework and it is not a blind request. If this seems too time consuming, create a boilerplate review request with highlighted fields for personalization, such as their name, and recent books they’ve reviewed. This way, you can update the highlighted fields to quickly personalize your pitch request for each reviewer.
  • Follow-up is key. Every time you reach out to a reviewer, add the date to your excel spreadsheet so you can keep track of when you sent your letter, who says yes, who says no, and who never replies. Follow up two weeks after your initial request with a friendly and simple message asking if they have had a chance to read through your request and that you look forward to hearing back.
  • 5. Close the deal. For those reviewers who do respond, make sure you are providing them with what they need (additional biographical info on you, previous works, whatever) and that you are timely in your communications back to them.

Get in touch with the book blogger community

Book bloggers have the uncanny ability to passionately and tirelessly spread the word about their views—and reviews. Unfortunately, many review books on their personal websites and blogs, and not all are posting those reviews (or variations thereof) on Amazon. But don’t let that stop you.

  • Start by looking for bloggers who review titles in your genre. You can start with Google. If you’re writing a thriller, type thriller + book blogger into the search field and see what comes up.
  • Next, go through the book blogger directories for WordPress and Blogmetrics.
  • Just like with the Amazon top reviewers, you are looking to create a short list of reviewers who favor your genre, and who will welcome relevant pitches.
  • Once you’ve got your list, go back to the boilerplate form letter you were using for the Amazon top reviewers. Tweak it a little, making sure to reference things spotted on the blogger’s pages, and adding any commonalities. Email them (if contact info is available on their site) or use the contact form on their site if available.
  • As above, be professional in your follow-up activities.

While soliciting reviews can seem to take a lot of time and effort, their value cannot be underestimated. Reviews immediately add credibility to your book, communicating to potential customers that it is a worthy read. They also improve your book’s ranking when consumers are searching on Amazon, which is the primary reason to stay committed to getting reviews. If you’re able to move your title into earlier search pages, you’ll be discovered by readers who wouldn’t otherwise find you. And that, hopefully, will translate into more book sales.


Publishers experiment with audiobook-only productions

A growing number of publishers are skipping books entirely and going straight to audio — at least some of the time.

Anthony Goff, senior vice president of content development and audio publisher at Hachette Audio, makes the trend sound a bit like looting the mansion for hidden treasure. “We’re asking our best-selling authors, and all of our authors, about old stories, short stories that were never published, plotlines that changed,” he says. “Things they might find in their desk drawer that they could record in audio.”

Hachette and others are hoping to gain sound advantage from the flourishing market for audiobooks by either skipping the printed word entirely, or saving the print and e-book release until the audio version has run its course.

And no wonder. Audiobook publishers saw the third consecutive year of sales growth nearing 20 percent, with revenue of more than $2.1 billion in 2016, according to recent Audiobook Publishers Association-commissioned surveys by Edison Research and Management Practice. Sales of print books, which remain a far larger market than audiobooks, rose for the third consecutive year as well, Nielsen BookScan reported, but that was by 3.3 percent in 2016.

Audiobook listeners are a hot demographic, with almost half — 48 percent — younger than 35. Edison Research reported listeners completed an average of 15 books in 2016, marking them as avid “readers.” Plus, there’s room for growth in the audiobook segment; 24 percent of Americans listened to an audiobook in the past year.

Publishers acknowledge that podcasts have opened up the horizons of what’s possible.

“We’re wondering if books drawn from podcasts might be the new hot thing,” said Jamie Leifer, associate publisher of PublicAffairs, part of Hachette. She notes the remarkable advance sales for “The Storm Before the Storm: The Beginning of the End of the Roman Republic” by Mike Duncan, host of “The History of Rome” podcast for 10 years, and, since 2013, the podcast, “Revolutions.”

“We weren’t sure if Mike’s avid fans would convert to readers,” Leifer said in an email. “But I’m thrilled to say that they have.” Two months before the book’s Oct. 24 release date, PublicAffairs had “racked up the kinds of pre-orders in hardcover, e-book and downloadable audio that Hachette usually sees for anticipated franchise fiction releases, not serious history titles.”

The crossover between podcasts and audiobooks is a natural, data from Edison Research suggests: Survey respondents who listened to both had consumed twice as many audiobooks as nonpodcast fans.

“Consumers are moving in that direction, and we want to be ahead of those consumers,” said Ana Maria Allessi, vice president and publisher of HarperAudio. “I think their appetite is expanding for very creative and extremely well-produced podcasts. Three years ago, I couldn’t have fathomed doing an audio original and getting away with it. Today, that’s just storytelling. Readers accept that.”

And it’s a great marketing tool, several publishers noted. They hope that audiobooks may push listeners to discover other titles in their catalogs.

Toward that end, Harper sponsored a radio drama-writing contest with New York University Tisch School of the Arts last year. The winner, “Rebuttal” by Jyotsna Hariharan, became an audio-only production.

Macmillan Audio made inroads into the podcast market a decade ago when it created the Quick and Dirty Tips podcast network, beginning with Mignon Fogarty’s “Grammar Girl” podcast. Fogarty’s first book, “Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing,” was an audiobook before it appeared in print. Now there are 14 separate QDT podcasts and several books by QDT podcasters.

But Mary Beth Roche, president and publisher of Macmillan Audio, said the first season of “Serial,” the spinoff from “This American Life,” was transformative. “Serial” relayed producer Sarah Koenig’s week-by-week examination of the murder conviction of Adnan Syed, who had been sentenced in the murder of his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee. After the broadcast, a judge vacated Syed’s conviction and ordered a new trial.

“It gave podcasting a kind of mass appeal,” Roche said. “It took us from some people saying, ‘What is a podcast? How does that work?’ To pretty much most people you meet, if they hadn’t listened to it, they had an idea how to.”

There’s a throwback quality to all this because several of the straight-to-audio podcasts under development are dramatizations. “It’s everything old is new again, like the old-style radio dramas,” said Michele Cobb, executive director of the Audio Publishers Association. But unlike some of the first audiobook dramatizations, today’s sound less like a 1940s flashback, with greater sophistication in storyline, sound effects, musical score and performance.

Macmillan moved into straight-to-audio dramatization in August when it launched the 14-part sci-fi podcast “Steal the Stars,” a full-cast drama that’s part love story, part alien encounter. “Steal the Stars” by Mac Rogers is produced by Tor Labs, part of Macmillan’s sci-fi/horror/fantasy imprint, Tor Books. On Tuesday, a week after the free podcast ended, it was published as a book by Nat Cassidy, based on Rogers’ podcast.

Later this fall, Macmillan will launch a true crime podcast, “Case Closed,” beginning with a book published by St. Martin’s three years ago, “Crazy For You” by Michael Fleeman. The book covered the 2010 slaying of Atlanta businessman Rusty Sneiderman, and the podcast will include new developments in the case.

Best-selling authors and genre titles — sci-fi, fantasy, romance, crime — are leading the charge into straight-to-audio for most publishers. But even these may have more in common with podcasts than audiobooks.

Christopher Lynch, president and publisher of Simon & Schuster Audio, says that while he expects to see more straight-to-audio, he doesn’t expect book-length offerings.

“I’m thinking of things that are one, two, three hours long,” Lynch said. “If it’s in straight-to-audio, it will be an author people recognize. We’ve seen that in the past. People pay for that.” For instance, three years ago Simon & Schuster published an hour-and-20-minute audio production of Stephen King’s “Drunken Fireworks.”

Self-help could be another strong candidate for audio-only projects, he said. “Tony Robbins was selling audio and video programs for years.”

“For us, the biggest question (is) how do we talk to our writers and their agents about doing this without taking them away from their day jobs,” Lynch said.


Rakuten to bring eBooks, digital content to libraries in Hamamatsu

Rakuten Inc has signed a comprehensive agreement with Hamamatsu City, Shizuoka Prefecture, to cooperate in enhancing the reading environment and promoting globalization through multilingual education utilizing information technology.

Based on the agreement, residents of Hamamatsu City will be able to use Rakuten OverDrive, the Rakuten Group’s service providing eBooks and digital content to libraries and educational institutions, at the public libraries in the city (23 libraries and one branch library). With OverDrive, residents will be able to borrow eBooks and other content from the libraries*1 on their own tablets, smartphones or PCs, at any time and place.

By offering OverDrive’s vast library of more than 1.6 million multi-language works, Rakuten and Hamamatsu City said they hope to support and strengthen the foreign language education of the city’s residents. In addition, Rakuten Communications Corp. will provide a wi-fi environment and tablets*2 to an number of libraries in the city to give residents the opportunity to try out the OverDrive service.

Hamamatsu is an industrial city with a population of 800,000, and its more than 20,000 foreign residents give the city a very international feel. With a vision to become a city where people of different cultures can co-exist, Hamamatsu is implementing measures to promote multicultural understanding and study ways to provide support to foreign residents.


We’re told to be grateful we even have readers’: pirated ebooks threaten the future of book series

The bestselling American fantasy novelist Maggie Stiefvater is leading a chorus of writers warning readers that if they download pirated ebooks, then authors will not be able to continue writing because they will be unable to make a living.

Stiefvater, author of the Shiver and Raven Cycle series, raised the issue after she was contacted on Twitter by a reader who told her: “I never bought ur books I read them online pirated.” On her website, Stiefvater later explained that, when ebook sales for the third book in the Raven Cycle – Blue Lily, Lily Blue – “dropped precipitously”, her publisher decided to cut the print run of the next book in the series to less than half of its predecessors.

“This is also where people usually step in and say, but that’s not piracy’s fault. You just said series naturally declined, and you just were a victim of bad marketing or bad covers or readers just actually don’t like you that much,” wrote Stiefvater, who had seen fans sharing pdfs online and was “intent on proving that piracy had affected the Raven Cycle”. So she and her brother created a pdf of The Raven King, which consisted of just the first four chapters, repeated, and a message explaining how piracy affected books.

Maggie Stiefvater Book Signing At Books & BooksCORAL GABLES, FL - JUNE 08: Author Maggie Stiefvater signs copies of her book “The Raven King” and greets fans at Books and Books on June 8, 2016 in Coral Gables, Florida. (Photo by Johnny Louis/Getty Images)

“The effects were instant. The forums and sites exploded with bewildered activity. Fans asked if anyone had managed to find a link to a legit pdf. Dozens of posts appeared saying that since they hadn’t been able to find a pdf, they’d been forced to hit up Amazon and buy the book. And we sold out of the first printing in two days.”

Stiefvater revealed that she is now writing three more books set in the Raven Cycle world, but that the new trilogy “nearly didn’t exist because of piracy”. “And already I can see in the tags how Tumblr users are talking about how they intend to pirate book one of the new trilogy for any number of reasons, because I am terrible or because they would ‘rather die than pay for a book’,” she wrote. “As an author, I can’t stop that. But pirating book one means that publishing cancels book two. This ain’t 2004 anymore. A pirated copy isn’t ‘good advertising’ or ‘great word of mouth’ or ‘not really a lost sale’.”

According to the Intellectual Property Office’s latest study of online copyright infringement, 17% of ebooks read online are pirated – around 4m books.

Ebook piracy is “a very significant issue and of great concern” to publishers, said Stephen Lotinga of the Publishers Association, which works to take down and block pirated ebooks links and sites. “As an industry we’ve not had the situation that the music and film industries have gone through,” Lotinga said. “But that obviously is 4m ebooks that authors and publishers aren’t getting paid for, and should be getting paid for, and it’s a particular worry for publishers at a time when ebook sales are slightly in decline.”

Last week, a poll on piracy from Hank Green, the brother of the bestselling novelist John Green, was responded to by more than 35,000 people. Just over a quarter (26%) said they had pirated books in the past, while 5% said they currently pirate books.

Samantha Shannon, author of the Bone Season series, said that attempting to stay on top of pirated editions of her books was “a Sisyphean task”. “I think all authors experience it to some degree, unfortunately. It’s a reality of modern publishing,” she said. “I don’t often look for pirated copies of my books, as I find it too dispiriting, but I do batch-send links to my publisher now and again in the hope that they can remove some of them.”

Shannon wrote on Twitter that “the thing that’s really exhausting about piracy is that authors are often not allowed to be upset by theft of their work. If we ask people not to do it, no matter how courteously, we’re told we should have more compassion or be grateful we even have readers. Outside the creative industry, people broadly dislike theft. Within the creative industry, it becomes a grey area where people aren’t sure.”

“Authors who ask you not to pirate are not attacking people who are too poor to afford books, or people who genuinely can’t access libraries,” wrote Shannon – but Lotinga at the Publishers Association said that those people were not often the perpetrators. Ebook pirates “tend to be from better-off socio-economic groups, and to be aged between 31 and 50-something. “It’s not the people who can’t afford books,” he said. “It’s not teenagers in their rooms.”

Novelist Laura Lam wrote on Twitter: “I’m personally not bothered by the small percentage of readers who pirate because they have no access to books any other way. But of readers, I think that’s a small percentage. I’m more heartbroken by those who can easily afford books but pirate anyway. Any sales lost via those readers will have a very real impact on my career.”

Source: Launches Dedicated Chinese Content Offering launches dedicated Chinese content offering at (Graphic: Business Wire)


NEWARK, N.J.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Audible, Inc., the world largest seller and producer of downloadable audiobooks and other spoken-word entertainment, today announced the launch of Audible in Chinese, a tailored listening destination where US and other international Chinese-speaking audiences can discover Chinese audiobooks and audio dramas on

The Audible in Chinese catalogue at launch comprises over 300 audiobooks and audio dramas in Mandarin and will grow to include many more over the coming months. A dedicated landing page ( houses a curated content library featuring best-selling contemporary mysteries and thrillers, romances, classics, children’s titles, Chinese translations of popular English content, Chinese language learning materials and other categories, as well as helpful text and video guides for Chinese-speaking customers. Among the titles available today are 鬼吹灯 – 鬼吹燈 (Candle in the Tomb), 步步惊心 – 步步驚心 (Scarlet Heart), and 西游记 – 西遊記 (Journey to the West). 童谣经典选 – 童謠經典選 (Classic Nursery Rhymes) is also available as a special free download.

“ currently offers content in 38 languages, and I am excited to extend our catalogue to include Chinese in such a dedicated way,” said Audible Chief Content Officer Andy Gaies. “For the first time, Chinese-speaking customers can now explore and enjoy a diverse library of authentic content. Through these incredibly produced titles, Audible can now offer the tens of millions of Chinese speakers outside of China compelling listening experiences.”

Audible in Chinese is available to customers, and new customers can download any one of the Chinese titles included for free with a 30-day trial of the service. For more about Audible in Chinese, please visit


Audible, Inc., an, Inc. subsidiary (NASDAQ:AMZN), is the leading provider of premium digital spoken audio content, offering customers a new way to enhance and enrich their lives every day. Audible was created to unleash the emotive music in language and the habituating power and utility of verbal expression. Audible content includes more than 375,000 audio programs from leading audiobook publishers, broadcasters, entertainers, magazine and newspaper publishers, and business information providers. Audible is also the provider of spoken-word audio products for Apple’s iTunes Store.


Google reportedly wants to take on Amazon’s audiobook business

Amazon has long dominated the audiobook market online with Audible, which sells retail titles and also offers subscriptions to its service. Now, it looks like Google might be getting in on the game with the impending introduction of audiobooks in the Play Store.

Android Police noted in a teardown of the code of an upcoming version of the Google Play store app that there’s a new category called ‘audiobooks’. However, it remains to be seen whether Google will sell them in the Play store, or whether it will eventually build out a separate app to list and play these titles, as the code presently doesn’t include new screens for audiobook listings.


If it chooses to do so, Google will certainly have its work cut out for it battling Audible. The company, which Amazon acquired in 2008, has a massive library of more than 375,000 audiobooks and original spoken-word programs in its catalog, along with a robust app to play back these titles across Android and iOS devices, and Kindle ebook readers.

Audible recently added a new feature to let romance novel fans skip right to the sexy bits; it also expanded to include content in Chinese, and is slated to launch in India in the next few months. Meanwhile, Google Play is yet to roll out global support for Podcasts in its Play Music app (it’s only available on Android in the US and Canada at present), so it’s not nearly ready to support audiobooks in its current suite of services.

It’ll be interesting to see if the company can take on Amazon when it enters the audiobook arena, and if it spurs the growth of the spoken-word content market – podcasts have already seen steady growth in the past year, and audiobooks could follow suit.



Audible’s new romance audiobooks service uses machine learning to jump to the sex scenes

Let’s admit it: you probably aren’t reading that romance novel for the plot. Or its literary value. Audible knows this, and is today launching a new collection of romance-themed audiobooks that come with a handy feature that lets you skip right to the action. Called “Take Me To The Good Part,” the feature will fast-forward you to the steamy sections of the audiobook, says Audible.

The feature was built in response to romance reader and listener feedback, the company notes. And Audible has doubled down on these customers’ desire to do away with the pretense that they’re actually interested in reading by debuting “Take Me To The Good Part” in over 100 Audible Romance package titles. The company plans to bring the technology to more selections over time, it says.

The feature is part of a new package of books under the Audible Romance brand, which is being sold as an add-on to an Audible membership for $6.95 per month, or as a standalone service for $14.95 per month. The package includes access to thousands of romance audiobooks, including best sellers and Audible Originals. There’s no limit on how many you can “read” monthly, either, as with Audible’s main subscription.

Participating authors include Nora Roberts, Sylvia Day, Debbie Macomber, Robyn Carr, and others.

There’s technology under the hood that’s powering Audible’s ability to find the “good parts.” Audible is using machine learning to identify key words and phrases, as well as groups of words, in order to determine where things get hot and heavy. The company has even gone so far as to identify 10 type of so-called “good parts,” such as “flirty banter,” “first meeting,” “first kiss,” and one it dubs “hot, hot, hot” – aka the sex scenes.


But just like how porn often drives technological innovations that later become mainstream – like adoption of the VCR back in the day, for example – we can only hope that this machine learning technology is later rolled out to all digital books, audio and otherwise, to classify scenes that are also “good parts,” but for non-romantic reasons.

Along with the Romance package and its flagship feature, Audible has also rolled out a way to classify books by level of steaminess. (You know, so you can find those with more “good parts.”) Its illustrated “steaminess meter” ranks books on a scale that goes from sweet to simmering to sizzling to hot damn and o-o-omg. Yes, really. 

And you can delve into your particular fetishes micro-genres more easily too, as the new Audible Romance service can identify 32 of these romance sub-genres and 122 story and character tropes that will let you find those that are a direct match with your interests.

The program is live now and includes a free trial.


Audible’s new romance audiobooks service uses machine learning to jump to the sex scenes

Amazon’s basic Kindle to get Audible support so you can give your eyes a break

Do you seem to spend most of your life staring at a screen? You probably grab your smartphone within seconds of waking up in the morning, glare at your tablet while getting breakfast, and perhaps resume your smartphone interaction on the way to work. There you could be looking at a computer display for the rest of the day, before coming home to spend a good part of the evening looking at your TV, laptop, tablet, and smartphone again. If you have an ebook reader, there’s another display right there you could be looking at through the day.

So here’s the thing. If you have Amazon’s basic ebook reader and you fancy giving your eyes at least a little bit of a rest, then soon you’ll be able to pass some of that sensory action to your auditory canals thanks to Audible.

A recently updated listing on Amazon reveals that the company’s basic Kindle ebook reader will support Audible “in the coming months” via an over-the-air update, according to The Digital Reader.


Audible offers a library of more than 375,000 audiobooks (some of them for dogs!), magazines, newspapers, and radio shows, all of which can be streamed wirelessly via Bluetooth to wireless headphones and speakers.

Earlier versions of Amazon’s basic ebook reader supported Audible, but the company removed the capability as its range of readers grew.

Amazon’s new Kindle Oasis, its priciest ebook reader at $250, supports the service, while buyers of the basic Kindle, which starts at $80, will soon be able to enjoy the same benefit.

Bad news for owners of the Voyage and Paperwhite readers, however, as the feature isn’t coming to these midrange Kindle models. At least, not yet. Considering Amazon has owned Audible since 2008, it seems surprising that some of its ebook readers don’t yet support the service.

Just to be clear, you’ll need Bluetooth headphones or a speaker to use Audible on your Kindle, as the device has no speaker or headphone jack.

Amazon recently celebrated 10 years of the Kindle with discounts on most of its current readers, as well as offers on ebooks. While the offers on the devices have finished, you can still find discounts of up to 80 percent on many Kindle books as part of its monthly deals.


Vampyre New Moon – Eternal Coming Soon……

Book 1 is out now on amazon. Book 2 will carry on from the ending of book one. Val must continue to be the honorable person she is. Can she save everyone?



Prolific romantic fiction writer exposed as a plagiarist

A prolific, self-published romantic fiction novelist has been exposed as a plagiarist after a reader spotted that she had switched the gender in a tale of romantic suspense to turn it into a gay love story.

Becky McGraw, a New York Times bestselling writer, was alerted by one of her readers about the similarities between her own novel My Kind of Trouble, in which Cassie Bellamy falls for bad boy Luke Matthews when she returns to her hometown of Bowie, Texas, and Laura Harner’s Coming Home Texas, in which Brandon Masters falls for bad boy Joe Martinez when he returns to his hometown of Goldview, Texas.

“She emailed to ask if I’d started writing gay romance under a pen name,” said McGraw, whose editor subsequently reviewed both books, and highlighted the similarities. These have also been extensively detailed online by novelist Jenny Trout; Trout has provided screenshots and extracts from both books, and writes that “Harner’s clever trick here was to pick a book that was not M/M [male/male], but M/F contemporary romance. As far as readers go, there isn’t a lot of overlap between the two genres.”


McGraw writes: “Since she’d gotten the call from Imelda, the closest thing to a mother that Cassie had known since her own mother died when she was ten, Cassie had been in that mode. Once she decided she needed to come back, the memories she thought she buried ten years ago would not leave her alone. Thoughts of Luke Matthews would not leave her alone.”

Image result for Prolific romantic fiction writer exposed as a plagiarist

Harner, whose Amazon profile says she has written more than 50 novels and sold almost half a million books, writes: “Since he’d gotten the call from Isabella – the closest thing to a mother that he’d known since his own mom died when he was nine – Brandon seemed to be stuck on a never ending sentimental highway. Once he decided he needed to come back, the memories he thought he buried long ago wouldn’t leave him alone. Thoughts of Joe Martinez won’t leave me alone.”

“Her book was almost a word-for-word, scene-for-scene duplication of my book, except the characters’ names had been changed, and short M/M love scenes had been inserted,” said McGraw. “The only scene she didn’t include was the epilogue, which couldn’t be altered to an M/M scene. It involved the heroine in labour and the hero having sympathetic labour pains.”

McGraw is intending to take legal action against Harner, who has pulled the book from retailers since McGraw first posted about the situation on Facebook, along with her Deuce Coop series, which was revealed to be similar to Opal Carew’s Riding Steele novel, again a straight romance turned into a gay one. The similarities were laid out in a second blog post by Trout, who wrote that “it’s almost impressive how much Harner was still able to plagiarise from Carew here, given the fact that the characters are of mostly different physical and clothing descriptions”.

Responding to the Guardian in a statement, Harner said she realised she had “made mistakes”. “I own them, and I will deal with the consequences. In transforming two M/F romance stories into an M/M genre, it appears that I may have crossed the line and violated my own code of ethics,” she wrote.

“For those who know me best, you know that responsibility for my actions begins and ends with me. I will also add there are some personal and professional issues I’ve had to deal with in the last year that have stretched me in ways that haven’t always been good for me. I write about certain concerns related to military service for a reason; however, I am not offering that as an excuse. I just think whenever someone acts so out of character, it’s helpful to ask why.”

Harner added that she was “working to address concerns raised by two authors who have accused me of plagiarism”, saying that she would provide a more complete statement later this week. “Until then, please do not judge me too harshly.”

McGraw, however, urged other romantic fiction novelists to check Harner’s backlist to see if they recognise their work. “Considering that Laura Harner, AKA LE Harner, has ‘written’ in seven or eight genres in five years, started series in those genres, and published 75 books so far in that span of time, I’d say everyone in every genre needs to be concerned, both indie and traditionally published authors,” she said.

Trout added that there was “definitely shock” about the situation, but that she was “surprised that there isn’t more shock from authors”. She pointed to “this unwritten law in the world of romance, young adult, and new adult authors and readers. I call it Be Nice, in which every author is expected to be supportive and enthusiastic of every other author, regardless of bad behaviour. And a lot of authors exploit Be Nice to do really awful things to each other, because they know they’re not going to be called out.”

The only way, Trout said, that plagiarism will be taken more seriously “is if readers are willing to call it out when they see it, without making excuses for it or saying, ‘it’s OK, because I like this plagiarised version more’, which does happen, and if authors are willing to stand up for other authors.

“When someone takes something from you, you sort of look around to see if anyone else notices it, if they’re going to be on your side if you say something. And most of the time, the answer you get is that no one wants to be involved. So authors stay silent and hope it goes away, or they’re advised by their publishers or agents to just ignore it and Be Nice. Until there isn’t incentive for people to plagiarize, until there are actual consequences to their actions, then it’s never really going to stop.”


15 DIY Book Promotion Tools You Need to Know

No matter what kind of book you’ve written (or plan to write) there are many ways to reach your audience. Each of the DIY tools listed here are low or no-cost, and each of them works in its own way. One or more may be perfect for you.

Fifteen ideas might seem overwhelming, but remember that you only need to do one thing at a time. As one clicks and then another, you’ll soon be reaching your audience.

The bottom line is to practice selling your books one by one. Author and publisher Michael Wiese has been writing and marketing books successfully for over three decades. He tells all his forty-plus authors “Sell one book at a time.”

Instead of trying to sell your book to faceless thousands, find one person who needs and wants your book. Offer your book to that person. Repeat.

Slower than you want, but faster than you think, you may become a best-selling author.

  • Start Early

The most powerful and essential steps you can take toward promoting your book begin long before the actual writing of the book. Three years before the book is published–if you can–start building a network of supporters and reviewers. Keep track of everyone you meet as you research and write the book. Pay special attention to, and make notes about, those who demonstrate a genuine enthusiasm for you and your project.

As the project evolves, keep in touch with these people. You might send them an occasional email, or keep in touch via a social networking site like LinkedIn or FaceBook.

For significant milestones–the signing of your book contract, the completion of the manuscript, the arrival of the galley proofs, and the arrival of the finished books–you might bring key people together for a house party. At the house party, you could read short excerpts from your book and answer questions about the project.

  • Contribute to Web Forums

Every field has at least one or two forums that people interested in your subject know and read. Find and join these forums.

Contribute to them freely. Give advice and reach out. Offer to help others. Put a link to your blog or website in your signature line. When you have a book contract and/or a book title, add the title to your signature line.

  • Start a Blog

Early in the process of researching and thinking about your book, start a blog. Add 120-130 words each day of helpful, inspirational information on issues in your field, which are related to the subjects in your book. Aim to create a genuinely useful body of knowledge over the following 12 months.

  • Write a Remarkable Book

Set out to write a remarkable book. If your book is not remarkable, keep working on it until it is. Give the manuscript to ten friends and ask for honest feedback. Find a brilliant editor (you can find such an editor at EFA) and pay him or her to edit your manuscript. Revise. Repeat.

Don’t stop until your reviewers start saying things like: “I loved it! This book is amazing!”

A remarkable book will generate word-of-mouth publicity. One person will read it, and recommend it to his or her friends. They will recommend it to their friends. This is the best publicity you can get.

  • Cultivate a Positive Attitude about Book Promotion

Think of book promotion as storytelling. The story you are telling is why you wrote your book, how it can help others, and how the world will benefit from your book.

If you can develop a positive attitude about book promotion, people will pick up on it, and tune in immediately. Some writers resent the chore of marketing. Their attitude seems to be, “I’m a writer. Marketing is the publisher’s job. Promoting my own book shouldn’t be my responsibility.”

Unfortunately–unless you are Stephen King or Malcolm Gladwell–the publisher probably won’t have the budget to market your book. If you don’t promote your book, no one else will.

  • Create a Media Kit

Your media kit should include:

* Professionally printed business cards with the book cover on one side and your contact information on the other side. Do not try to print them on your home printer. This is a time to invest in your product and yourself, not save money.

* A head shot by a professional photographer or a talented amateur. It should be well lit, with a neutral background. Your eyes should sparkle.

* A 100 – 150 word biography. The main purpose of the biography is to tell a reader why you are uniquely qualified to have written this particular book.

* A ‘one-sheet’ for the book: a single piece of paper with a glossy print of the book cover on one side and a one-page description of the book on the other side. Be sure to include a few short blurbs and recommendations from colleagues and friends in the description.

  • Create a Book Pitch

Consider writing at least three sales pitches for your book: 10 seconds, 30 seconds, and 60 seconds. When someone asks what the book is about, give them the 10 second pitch. If the person responds with interest, have a longer pitch ready!

Practice your pitches on friends until they tell you the pitches work.

  • Build a Website

As publication day approaches, build a full website. The website should include:

* A book blog, in which you write updates, corrections, errata and respond to reader comments and suggestions. This book blog may become the basis for the second edition of your book.

* Sample chapters from your book

* A link to the Amazon page for your book, so people can buy the book online

* Your media kit (see step 5)

* Book reviews and blurbs.

* Your schedule of appearances, including bookstores, speaking engagements and conferences

* Contact information.

  • Get Book Reviews from Individuals

Six months (nine if possible) before the book is due to appear in book stores, start asking people for reviews and blurbs. Send reviewers a printed galley proof of your book. If you don’t yet have printed galley proofs, send a PDF containing the first two chapters, a table of contents and your bio.

Don’t be afraid to approach the ‘biggest names’ in your field. (This is important.) Ask for both reviews and blurbs. Busy people may only have time to write a few sentences.

A word about PDFs: check with your publisher about their policies on review copies. Many publishers will NOT allow you to send out a PDF copy of the entire book. They are afraid the book will be stolen.

  • Write Articles

Every field has eZines, websites and magazines that advocate or deal with the subject of your book. Find them. Once you know where they are, look through them and figure out which ones talk to the audience for your book. Contact those sites or publications and pitch articles that will be of interest to their readers.

Schedule articles to appear around the time your book will appear in bookstores and on Amazon. For example, if your book is going to appear in bookstores and on Amazon in mid-June, schedule your articles to appear in July, August, and September.

Remember to pitch articles early, because many magazines and eZines have a 3-6 month lead time. Mention your book title somewhere in the article. In online articles, link the book title to its Amazon page so readers can click over and buy the book.

  • Get Book Reviews from eZines and Magazines

Ask websites, eZines and magazines in your field to review your book. Some websites or eZines may offer to trade, to review your book if you write an article for them. For example, earlier this year I contacted Writers Store and offered to write an article about what I learned while promoting my most recent books: Producing With Passion and Digital Video Secrets. This article is the result of that contact.

  • Get 20 Amazon Reviews

Amazon reviews are amazingly effective. Everyone from book buyers to publishers reads them.

Your goal is to get at least 20 reviews. Contact everyone you know and ask each of them if they would give your book an honest review. Let them know it can be brief. If they agree, send them either a galley proof, a promotional copy of the book, or a PDF containing a table of contents, two sample chapters, and your bio.

Amazon’s Top Customer Reviewers are another source of high-value reviews. Find the reviewers who deal with books in your area. Write to them. Tell them you have written a book they might be interested in, and that you’d appreciate a review. If they respond, send them a galley proof or a promotional copy of your book.

  • Get Mentioned in email Blasts

Look for organizations in your field that send large-volume emails. Try to get your book reviewed in their email or newsletter. When the number of people receiving the emails is 100,000 or more it’s sometimes referred to as an email blast.

  • Speak at Conferences

As a published author, you have the qualifications necessary to speak at conferences. Contact conference organizers at least 6 months in advance. At first you may have to register and pay a fee to speak. Later, when you become better known, conferences may seek you out, and may even pay you to speak.

You should be prepared to give a 45 minute presentation. A useful way to structure a 45 minute presentation is to speak for 30 minutes, and take questions from the floor for the last 15 minutes. Plan to take a few minutes after your speech to circulate with the audience. Have a table in the back of the room where you or someone on your team sells books.

  • Make and Post Online Videos

Make a few 5 minute videos (or a series of videos) of yourself talking about key issues in your field. Put the book title and URL on the bottom of the video screen and in the credits.

Post your videos on several of the many video sharing sites including sites like, jumpcut, ourmedia, Vimeo, Social and YouTube. Embed the video clips on your website.

Plan on following your promotion plan–perhaps an hour a day–for at least a year. Resolve to do something every day on promotion. Remember – follow-up and persistence are the keys to success.


Vampyre: New Moon Now Available on Amazon and iTunes

Apart from the realm of humans and far from the light of day, a complex structure hides from many eyes. Here Val, a vampyre that follows the path of the Vigilante draws blood in search of justice and a path that she can call her own. She is joined by her lover Henrik, a vampyre from another path and together they are drawn into a world of intrigue that threatens to tear the world they know apart.

Soon the pair finds themselves part of a conflict older than them both, forced to seek allies in people that seem should be mortal enemies. In a world with so many different monstrous individuals it seems that only unity and the strength of overcoming differences can prevail.

A hidden organization has shown itself, one that seems to have been pulling the strings for longer than anyone truly knows. This order seeks a war to keep the factions separate in order to find an evil power that threatens to destroy everything.

Can Val and her uneasy companions find the answers they seek in time to prevent a war and the end of everything, in both the darkness and the light?

How to get started as an Audible narrator through ACX

Losing my full-time job of 12 years in August 2013 gave me the push I needed to accomplish a life-long dream: break into the world of voice acting.

The voice-over world was once the exclusive realm of artists in major markets such as Los Angeles and New York City. But today the field is open to thousands of part-time and full-time, home-based voice-over professionals.

There are many avenues through which a self-employed voice-over artist can find work. Two of the main sites dedicated to uniting voice actors and potential employers are and Both sites require a premium subscription to reap real benefits and receive customized audition notices. The beginning voice actor will need to spend considerable time creating a profile, as well as recording and posting demos. See my Voice123 profile for an idea of what a finished profile should look like.

As lucrative as these sources can be, competition is tough. A beginning voice actor will receive many rejections before landing that first voice gig. Persistence pays off.

However, I found earlier success auditioning for Audible, the top online seller of audio books. Their interface between voice actors and book rights-holders is called ACX.

By picking the right books, submitting high-quality auditions, and preparing for the time and effort it will take to complete an audio book project, even inexperienced voice actors can find themselves with a production contract.

This can be a long and complicated process. But that shouldn’t scare you away from giving it a try.

Here are the three main things you must accomplish to become an Audible narrator through ACX.

1. Set up your digital audio workstation

If you already have a moderately good computer – laptop or desktop – you’re about halfway there. The other main components to an adequate workstation are a condenser microphone, a preamp/interface, reference monitors (a fancy term for speakers), studio monitors (a fancy term for headphones), and audio recording and editing software.

But to achieve a high-quality sound you also must prepare a silent recording room or space. There are probably hundreds of ways to do this, from building a blanket fort to spending thousands of dollars on a high-end isolation booth.

My first recording space was a customized closet. I tacked carpet remnants onto the walls and added Auralex acoustic foam where needed.

When we moved to a smaller home last year, I had a custom-designed recording booth built into the corner of a spare bedroom. My increased level of experience warranted the extra expense. The result is a superior-sounding space that will give my clients a much better product.

The point isn’t how much you spend, but whether or not you can achieve the totally “dead” mic sound necessary for audio book recording. Search YouTube for a wealth of DIY recording booth and workstation videos from amateurs and professionals all over the world.

My equipment of choice:

  • Apple MacBook Pro with 8 gigabytes of RAM and a solid-state hard drive. These hard drives are more expensive, but much quieter and faster. They are also standard equipment on the latest MacBook Pro models.
  • Audio Technica AT-4050 microphone
  • Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 preamplifier
  • I record using GarageBand software (available only for Mac) and edit using Adobe Audition.
  • Mackie CR3 reference monitors
  • Audio Technica ATH-M30x studio monitors

There are hundreds more options, ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars. Take the time to find the setup that’s right for your budget and skill levels. Recording and processing a single audio track doesn’t require a lot of computer power. Don’t be fooled into thinking you need the latest, greatest machine for the job.

However, the reason I chose the MBP over the standard MacBook or the MacBook Air was available hard drive size. The extra processing power helps, too.

I caution against using cheap plug-and-play USB microphones, such as the popular Blue Yeti. Many of these models do sound quite good. But for a few hundred dollars more you can get a much higher-quality condenser microphone that will achieve a superior sound. This is why you’ll also need a small preamp unit, which is a power interface between the mic and your computer. Focusrite makes excellent products, but there are good competitors, too.

About speakers and headphones: Do not use or purchase standard, consumer-level products. This is because your typical household audio gear is designed to make music sound good, not to provide an accurate representation of spoken-word audio.

Studio and reference monitors, on the other hand, are designed to provide a “flat” frequency response. There’s no bass boosting or high-end attenuation you’ll find in products such as Beats headphones. Your audio equipment needs to give you the closest possible representation of what your voice sounds like. It will take some time to train your ears to appreciate the difference. But trust me … this is a critical detail you should not ignore.

Currently at $79.99 on Amazon, the Mackie reference monitors I use are hard to beat. You can opt for larger versions at a higher cost, but I have found this model to be more than adequate. It’s important that you mount or position your monitors to point directly at your ears. You can find stands or mounting equipment to achieve this goal.

Your studio monitors should be comfortable enough to withstand hours of recording time. Any of the ATH models will be an excellent choice, depending on your budget. Ensure that whatever you purchase is an over-the-ear model, not on-ear. This will help isolate your voice as you record and block out any external noises.

Once you have everything set up, it’s time to test your recording environment. I strongly recommend you submit some sample recordings to a qualified audio professional before your first audition. Get the opinions of a knowledgable person about whether or not you have truly achieved the right sound. It may be worth the expense to pay for a personal sound consultation before you begin auditioning.

2. Establish a profile on AXC

ACX is the online interface between audio book narrators and book rights-holders. There is no cost to join ACX, but you’ll have to do the work to establish a proper profile. See mine for an example.

Next, scan the list of available book titles seeking narrators. There are usually a couple of thousand titles on any given day. Begin by selecting male or female from the gender filter. That way you can at least immediately narrow down the books according to what rights-holders want.

After that, it’s up to you to find the right book for an audition.

At least in my experience, it is extremely rare that a rights holder will contact you out of the blue to offer a recording deal. The two or three times this has happened to me I have turned the projects down because the books did not match my personal requirements or preferences.

It’s much more likely you’ll have to do the work of searching through available titles and sending in auditions. Here are a few tips that may save you some time in this process. Ask yourself …

  • Do I have the free time necessary for this project? Each “finished hour” of an audio book will probably take you four to five hours to produce. Will you be able to complete it by the contract deadline? Some rights-holders are lenient about deadlines. But don’t assume.
  • Would I read this book myself? If a book isn’t something that interests me purely as a reader, I won’t audition for it. Your enthusiasm for the material will reveal itself in your recording. Plus, if you get the contract, you’ll have the added benefit of reading the book for free.
  • Can I accept a royalty contract, or will I only work for a payment per finished hour? Most of the contracts available on ACX are royalty-only. You have to decide if you think the book will sell well enough to be worth your time and effort. Of course, you can help out by promoting the audio book through your social network.
  • If this is a fiction title, do I have the skill to voice multiple characters? Fiction authors will want this from you. Do you have a theatrical background, or are you more of a straight reader? If you’re unsure, pick nonfiction titles until you get a few under your belt. If you really do want to pursue fiction titles, I can’t suggest strongly enough that you take some acting classes. I have personally performed in about 20 stage productions, both comedies and dramas. They have been invaluable experiences in learning the skills of vocal characterization.
  • Is this project truly something I can put my name on? Once your book is finished, your name and profile will be associated with it through Audible, iTunes, and Amazon. If there is any hesitation about whether or not this title is right for you, don’t do it.

3. Complete your first ACX project

Being awarded that first contract with Audible is both thrilling and frightening. You’ll inwardly doubt whether or not you can really get it done. Pressing on and doing your best despite your fears will be a great accomplishment and will prepare you for future projects.

Here are some tips that will get you to the finish line more quickly and with less stress.

Be communicative. Keep a dialogue going with your rights-holder. You can do this through the ACX message interface or via your own email or phone. Ask as many questions about the book as necessary. If you have problems, let them know right away.

During production of an 18-hour book I came down with an illness that wrecked my voice for three weeks. I thought it would ruin my reputation. But being honest with the rights holder helped us both come to an agreement to extend the deadline. They’re going to want the best product possible from you. That will mean being patient if you get sick.

Be consistent. Nothing is worse than having one chapter sound different from another, or forgetting how you voiced a character from one scene to the next. Write up character descriptions if you have to. Keep listening back to previous chapters. It hurts to have to do it, but re-record when necessary rather than settling for mediocrity.

Be caring. Your voice is your instrument and your livelihood. Be realistic about how much it and your ears can handle. You only have so many good hours a day of recording and editing before fatigue sets in. Don’t push it. You will discover your limits by trial and error. My personal limits: three hours of recording and five hours of editing per day, period.

Be your own calling card. Every audio book you complete can become an advertisement for your next gig. It isn’t just a product you help sell. Its a digital resume that helps sell you!

So, be ruthless about quality. Allow for more time than you think you will need. Learn as much as you can about audio editing. Keep pushing yourself for better performances. Do not settle for a meager product or hope they won’t notice the mistake.

And one more critical point … Back up your work every night. I don’t need to tell you how devastating it would be to lose your recordings forever before you’re able to submit them for approval.

Beyond these three basic items, your journey toward becoming an Audible narrator will differ depending on your skill level, determination, and sometimes just plain luck.

Don’t give up. And keep seeking advice from the voice-over communities online and through other web-based channels. There is more free help and information out there than you could ever use.


Catching up with Anne Rice ahead of her fan club’s annual Halloween ball

When Sue Quiroz met horror author Anne Rice at a book signing in 1988, Quiroz got more than an autograph in her copy of “Queen of the Damned.” 

“I remember vividly what happened that day,” said Rice from her home in Palm Desert, California. “Sue came up to me and asked if she could start a fan club for me, and I said, ‘Not for me. But Lestat would love to have a fan club.’ ”

Quiroz became chief of the fictional vampire’s official fan club, and Rice got a lifelong friend and sometime personal assistant who heads up the annual Anne Rice Lestat Vampire Ball, now celebrating its 29th year in New Orleans.  


The exact name of the ball can change to reflect Rice’s most recent work: This year it’s the Atlantis Ball, Oct. 27 at the Republic. The name is a nod to 2016’s “Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis,” the latest in the 12-volume “Vampire Chronicles.”

The road to Rice’s megawatt writing career began with the 1976 novel “Interview with the Vampire,” which grew from a short story she wrote on a whim.  “When it became so successful, I realized that the vampire was a perfect metaphor for the outsider, something many people can relate to,” Rice said.

“The Vampire Lestat” emerged in 1985, launching the wildly successful “Vampire Chronicles” franchise.  Paramount Pictures has just optioned “The Vampire Chronicles” for an upcoming television series.

These days, Rice lives in California and collaborates with son Christopher Rice, a well-known author of 12 books in his own right. The pair are working on a sequel to “The Mummy,” the novel that ended with a cliffhanger when it was published in 1989.

“Fans had been clamoring for a sequel, but the vampire world so took off that there wasn’t the space or time to continue on with ‘The Mummy,’ ” Chris Rice said. “Collaborations can be tricky, and every author is different, style-wise, but I was noticing more and more that famous authors were collaborating in the mystery and romance world.

“Author James Patterson is the most obvious. He has numerous collaborators. He couldn’t crank out novels at the pace readers are hungering for them without collaborators. But a collaboration with my mom meant entering a world that had already been built and involved keeping a certain tone that longtime fans related to.”

Added Anne Rice: “Our first step was to hammer out a plot with sketch pads and felt tips. It’s never more than a tentative roadmap, but from this, Chris wrote the first draft of what would eventually become ‘Ramses the Damned: The Passion of Cleopatra.’ ”


“The core of how we did it was passing it back and forth,” Chris Rice said. “I don’t think either of us could have endured sitting side by side in a room writing together. So we went back and forth, making modifications along the way. …

“There was one place where Mom was certainly right. I thought Cleopatra should be a villainess, saying we had to have a monster in the story, but Mom thought she was much too complex a character to put her in a box like that … and she was right. If left to my own devices, I could progress a whole story through action and violence, but that is not entirely what smacks of an Anne Rice novel.”

Added Anne Rice: “There’s been an incredible appreciation of my work, as evidenced by the wonderful fans, like those who come out for the Halloween balls in New Orleans. One year, we had around 8,000 people in the ballroom. People came from all over the world dressed as characters from my books. When I attended in 2014, I was just so impressed.”

The mother-and-son duo are on a publicity tour for the new book, so she won’t be at the ball this year. Quiroz is expecting about 1,200 people at this year’s event at the Republic.

For fans of both the costume balls and the novels, there’s not much longer to wait. This year’s Atlantis Ball (tickets at takes place Oct. 27, and the new Rice collaboration, “Ramses the Damned,” hits bookshelves Nov. 21.


Amazon offers $30 off Kindle devices to celebrate tenth birthday

It’s been 10 years since Amazon announced the first Kindle e-reader. The device sees its tenth birthday next month, and Amazon is offering a discount to celebrate. Amazon is knocking $30 off the price of Kindle devices, for a limited time. 

The offer is applicable on the Amazon Kindle, the Kindle Paperwhite and the Kindle Voyage. The Kindle will be priced at $49.99 now, while the Kindle Paperwhite and Kindle Voyage will be sold at $89.99 and $169.99, respectively. The devices were earlier sold at $79.99, $119.99 and $199.99, respectively.

Unfortunately, none of the versions of the Kindle Oasis made the cut for this deal. Amazon’s flagship Kindle continues to sell for $249.99 and it scheduled to start selling from October 31. The company is also giving you discounts on Kindle ebooks. You can get 80% off “top-selling books”, while there’s a free $5 credit on Kindle ebooks, for select customers. You can get that deal through this link.

The Kindle deals are available right away, starting from October 23. They will be available till October 25, although the Kindle actually turns ten on November 19.


Game of Thrones Actor, Audiobook Narrator Roy Dotrice Dead at 94

Roy Dotrice, who played Game of Thrones‘ pyromancer Hallyne, has died, reports. He was 94.

Appearing in two Season 2 episodes, Dotrice portrayed one of the men charged with creating King’s Landing’s stores of wildfire. He helped inform audiences about what Mad King Aerys did with the substance, and Hallyne also was involved in Tyrion’s plan to use wildfire at the Battle of Blackwater.

Dotrice also was the voice behind all of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire audiobooks. Performing that duty for the first novel, A Game of Thrones, earned him a Guinness World Record for the most characters (223!) voiced by a single actor in an audiobook.


The British actor also appeared in several other TV series, including Beauty and the BeastAngel (in which he kinda played Wesley’s father), Just Shoot MeTouched by an Angel and Picket Fences.


<I>Game of Thrones</I> Actor, Audiobook Narrator Roy Dotrice Dead at 94

How to Edit a Book: Your Ultimate 21-Part Checklist

Yes, a professional editor can determine all this with a quick read of the first two to three pages.

If you find yourself saying, “But they didn’t even get to the good stuff,” then you need to put the good stuff earlier in your manuscript.

So today, I want to zero in on tight writing and self-editing.

Author Francine Prose says:

For any writer, the ability to look at a sentence and see what’s superfluous, what can be altered, revised, expanded, or especially cut, is essential. It’s satisfying to see that sentence shrink, snap into place, and ultimately emerge in a more polished form: clear, economical, sharp.

If you’re ready to learn how to edit a book, here’s what you need to do:

The Ultimate Checklist for Editing a Book

1. Develop a thick skin.

Or at least to pretend to. It’s not easy. But we writers need to listen to our editors—even if that means listening to ourselves!

2. Avoid throat-clearing.

This is a literary term for a story or chapter that finally begins after a page or two of scene setting and background. Get on with it.

3. Choose the normal word over the obtuse.

When you’re tempted to show off your vocabulary or a fancy turn of phrase, think reader-first and keep your content king. Don’t intrude. Get out of the way of your message.

4. Omit needless words.

A rule that follows its own advice. This should be the hallmark of every writer.

5. Avoid subtle redundancies.

“She nodded her head in agreement.” Those last four words could be deleted. What else would she nod but her head? And when she nods, we need not be told she’s in agreement.

“He clapped his hands.” What else would he clap?

“She shrugged her shoulders.” What else?

“He blinked his eyes.” Same question.

“They heard the sound of a train whistle.” The sound of could be deleted.

6. Avoid the words up and down…

…unless they’re really needed. He rigged [up] the device. She sat [down] on the couch.

7. Usually delete the word that.

Use it only for clarity.

8. Give the reader credit.

Once you’ve established something, you don’t need to repeat it.

Example: “They walked through the open door and sat down across from each other in chairs.”

If they walked in and sat, we can assume the door was open, the direction was down, and—unless told otherwise—there were chairs. So you can write: “They walked in and sat across from each other.”

And avoid quotation marks around words used in another context, as if the reader wouldn’t “get it” otherwise. (Notice how subtly insulting that is.)

9. Avoid telling what’s not happening.

“He didn’t respond.”

“She didn’t say anything.”

“The crowded room never got quiet.”

If you don’t say these things happened, we’ll assume they didn’t.

10. Avoid being an adjectival maniac.

Good writing is a thing of strong nouns and verbs, not adjectives. Use them sparingly.

Novelist and editor Sol Stein says one plus one equals one-half (1+1=1/2), meaning the power of your words is diminished by not picking just the better one. “He proved a scrappy, active fighter,” is more powerful if you settle on the stronger of those two adjectives. Less is more. Which would you choose?

11. Avoid hedging verbs…

…like smiled slightlyalmost laughed, frowned a bit, etc.

12. Avoid the term literally—when you mean figuratively.

“I literally died when I heard that.” R.I.P.

“My eyes literally fell out of my head.” There’s a story I’d like to read.

“I was literally climbing the walls.” You have a future in horror films.

13. Avoid too much stage direction.

You don’t need to tell every action of every character in each scene, what they’re doing with each hand, etc.

14. Maintain a single Point of View (POV) for every scene.

Failing to do so is one of the most common errors beginning writers make. Amateurs often defend themselves against this criticism by citing classics by famous authors who violated this. Times change. Readers’ tastes change. This is the rule for today, and it’s true of what sells.

15. Avoid clichés.

And not just words and phrases. There are also clichéd situations, like starting your story with the main character waking to an alarm clock; having a character describe herself while looking in a full-length mirror; having future love interests literally bump into each other upon first meeting, etc.

16. Resist the urge to explain (RUE).

Marian was mad. She pounded the table. “George, you’re going to drive me crazy,” she said, angrily.

“You can do it!” George encouraged said.

17. Show, don’t tell.

If Marian pounds the table and chooses those words, we don’t need to be told she’s mad. If George says she can do it, we know he was encouraging.

18. Avoid mannerisms of attribution.

People say things; they don’t wheeze, gasp, sigh, laugh, grunt, snort, reply, retort, exclaim, or declare them.

John dropped onto the couch. “I’m beat.”

Not: John was exhausted. He dropped onto the couch and exclaimed tiredly, “I’m beat.”

“I hate you,” Jill said, narrowing her eyes.

Not: “I hate you,” Jill blurted ferociously.

Sometimes people whisper or shout or mumble, but let your choice of words imply whether they are grumbling, etc. If it’s important that they sigh or laugh, separate the action from the dialogue:

Jim sighed. “I just can’t take any more,” he said. [Usually you can even drop the attribution he said if you have described his action first. We know who’s speaking.]

19. Specifics add the ring of truth.

Yes, even to fiction.

20. Avoid similar character names.

In fact, avoid even the same first initials.

21. Avoid mannerisms of punctuation, typestyles, and sizes.

“He…was…DEAD! doesn’t make a character any more dramatically expired than “He was dead.”


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Google Results Now Include Your Local Library’s Ebooks

Google just made free legal ebooks much easier to find. Search for a book, and in the info bar on the right, under the buying options, Google lists local public libraries that have the ebook. (On mobile, tap the “Get Book” tab.) If you’re a library member, you can borrow it right away, right on your device. It feels like magic. Here, try it with Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend.

This function has been a long time coming. People have been searching for free ebooks for years, enough that Google usually autosuggests “PDF” after any search for a book title. (Search for a TV show and it adds “streaming free.”) That’s probably one reason Google recently added this legal option.


Here are some differences: The library bought its ebook legally, so you’re supporting the author. That alone is a great reason to go legal. Now that stealing books is so easy, the publishing industry relies on readers to do the right thing.

That means putting up with some limitations, of course. You can only borrow the book for a couple of weeks at a time (though many systems let you renew).

And depending on your library’s collection, you might be able to load it on your Kindle or in iBooks, or you might need to use a proprietary app. These apps vary wildly in quality; Libby is sometimes even better than the Kindle app, while NYC’s SimplyE is awkward and buggy. Even within the same library system, different books might require different apps.


Neil Gaiman on Ebooks

Neil Gaiman is the award-winning and bestselling author of American GodsAnansi BoysThe Graveyard Book, and the comic series Sandman. He blogs at



Paper books are really, really useful things. They are wonderful things. I’m still convinced that the paperback book is something that will probably live forever. Because it’s cheap, it’s cheerful, you can drop it in the bath, you can put it in your pocket. It’s driven by sunlight. You can find your place in it in seconds. But there are places where Kindles win.

There are two huge things about the Kindle that are incredibly good and useful. Thing one is that normally technological innovation bumps up against age: there comes a point somewhere in the 40s where people cannot be bothered to keep up. And by the time you get to your 60s, normally you definitely can’t be bothered. It’s not like 60 year olds were going out and buying iPods. On the other hand, all you have to do is be past the age of reading glasses and discover, as you start lamenting the tiny size that paperbacks books are printed in these days and realizing that you’re probably going to have to grit your teeth fairly soon and go and look for those large-print paperbacks, that’s the point where you discover that you can have any book in the world on your Kindle and you can just change the typeface to suit yourself. And that suddenly means that you’re getting one for your grandmother. Advanced tech changes everything.

The thing that actually I’m loving about the current incarnation of Kindle is that you can be reading something using Kindle software on physical platforms other than the actual Kindle. This may not seem that important, but I just proudly finished reading The Count of Monte Cristo, this 1,000-page book, that I bought several copies of over the years. And it’s huge, and it’s heavy, and I would get a chapter into it or whatever and always mean to keep reading it but never quite get around to it because it wouldn’t be wherever I was. The joy of this was, wherever I was, and whatever I had with me electronically, I had The Count of Monte Cristo, and it knew what page I was on. Which means that if I have ten minutes and I have my phone with me, or I’m on a plane: just grab that ten minutes.

I watched the Kindle win on things that were simply too big to go into your jeans pocket. But given the choice between that and a thin paperback that’s jeans-pocket sized, paperback still wins for me.


The Martian: how the audiobook hit rocketed to film glory

In 2011, after a long search for an agent, Andy Weir gave up on big publishing. He had a small and dedicated following as a longtime writer and webcomics artist. So he just posted a book he’d been writing, called The Martian, to his personal website. His readers wanted to be able to read it on their e-readers, so then he added it to Amazon.

The next thing he knew, the thing was climbing the charts. And now, his book is the basis of an Oscar-nominated film with Matt Damon. Weir, in short, is living the dream of many self-published authors.

He acknowledges that his path was unusual, of course. “Everything went backwards from the normal way books get made,” Weir told the Guardian. “I didn’t think anyone would be interested in giving me a print deal. Obviously I misjudged that. Heh.”

In fact, one of the strangest items in the Martian origin story is who first approached Weir for a proper deal. It wasn’t print publishers or film producers. It was a small Canadian audiobook company called Podium Publishing. Run by a pair of friends, James Tonn and Greg Lawrence, the company produces what it calls “award-winning quality” audiobooks “for indie-minded” authors.

Tonn and Lawrence had once hoped to run a music label together, but the advent of Napster and iTunes quashed that dream. They were both attracted to artists who wanted to work outside of the mainstream channels to success – and they wanted to run something that served that community.

When, as an audio engineer, Lawrence began working in audiobooks, the fit seemed natural. “Audiobooks were an auxiliary business,” Lawrence told the Guardian.


“They were tacked on to the end of a publishing deal. Publishers would really only do an audiobook if [the print book] was so big that they were looking for ways to make money.” Lawrence and Tonn thought they could change that, by working with the sort of writer who was interested in publishing their audiobook independently.

Image result for The Martian

Lawrence was the one who actually found Weir’s book, on Amazon. He is a big science fiction fan and says he was attracted to the story, of course, but also simply felt that the way the book was written helped its audiobook prospects. The book is structured such that the narrator, Mark Watney, is recording logs of his time on Mars. “That’s a dream for audio,” Lawrence said on the phone.

The company initially bought both print and audio rights, although they promised Weir they’d return the print rights if he got a deal with a big publisher. (They kept that promise.) They enlisted RC Bray, a popular audiobook narrator, to record it. It was the first fiction project they chose. The product became a top-seller on Audible, and promptly began winning industry awards, including a 2015 Audie. While no one releases audiobook sales figures, some measure of the audiobook’s popularity might be gauged by the fact that it now enjoys over 100,000 reviews on Amazon. “A great book,” reads one. “Out of hundreds of books in my library this is one of the best.”

Part of The Martian’s success as an audiobook is undoubtedly timing. Originally conceived as a narrow industry serving the blind, the audiobook business has exploded in the past few years. In 2015, the Audio Producers Association reported that more than 25,000 audiobooks were published in 2014, compared with about 6,700 in 2010. Podium itself plans to double its production of audiobooks – it has done about 200 so far – within the next year.

Some of the increased interest is undoubtedly about the ease of buying and listening to audiobooks in the age of easily accessible digital audio. But, like podcast producers, audiobook producers also trace some of the success of their products to the way they can be listened to while engaged in some other activity – like cleaning the house, or knitting, or driving home from work. “It’s not so much what you’re doing, but that you’re trying to work reading into your life, whatever you’re doing,” Tonn said.

It remains to be seen whether “independent” audiobooks can follow The Martian’s path. Self-publishing has been a dubious challenge to traditional publishers, at best. And although the Amazon book sales rankings often see self-published books cracking the bestseller lists, audiobooks from the self-published don’t usually seem to crack the Audible Top 10.

But Lawrence sees a real future for such writers. Podium doesn’t contract with large publishers to produce audiobooks; it will remain strictly indie for now. They say they work best with authors like Weir. “He had to have his hopes and his dreams dashed against the rocks,” Lawrence said. “He spent a lot of time trying to get an agent, and he just couldn’t do that. That experience made him think differently about writing, and about getting his work out to people.”

As for Weir, when asked if he was surprised by the way things turned out, he said he was. “Yes I was. But it worked out really well. The audiobook proceeds have been far more than I ever anticipated.”


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10 Steps to Ebook Success

1. Stop complaining about print publishers
You may think your writing is amazing and deserves to be published by one of the majors, and that they are all a bunch of numbskulls for overlooking your genius, treating you badly, not promoting your work properly or generally doing a terrible job. Well, get over it. The fact that you think they have failed you presents an amazing opportunity to forge an alternative path into an amazing future. So stop wasting your energy badmouthing them, hating them, etc, and instead channel that force into something good. Yourself.

2. Have talent
This sounds obvious, but the volume of badly conceived, badly written, badly designed, typo-ridden ebooks by unknown authors is incredible. Anyone with ambitions within ebooks should have at least one hard-nosed, smart book person in their life who loves them enough to read their material and be brutally honest about whether it is a work of genius or whether you need to consider a job at the post office. If you don’t have any such individual in your life, paying a freelance editor to do it for you is money well spent. Anyone who self-publishes without showing his or her work to a single living soul will probably fail.

3. Be multi-skilled
The days of the writer who only knows how to write books are totally, totally over. Any budding author who wants to publish digitally needs to know how to do a range of tasks, particularly in areas such as design and marketing. Basically, all the tasks that a publisher once did for you, you now have to do yourself. The alternative is to pay for someone to do them, but who has that money when they’re just starting out? Better to force yourself to learn through necessity; then you become more powerful and less dependent, which can only be good.

4. Have more than one ebook already written
Amanda Hocking, Stephen Leather, John Locke and many of the first wave of self-published eBook millionaires all had a number of titles ready to go at the same time. More ebooks means more chances to sell, and more chances for a reader who likes one of your titles to seek out the rest, thereby multiplying your revenues. “Having five books available at the same time is probably the best thing I did,” said Locke in The Mail On Sunday. In fellow ebook novelist Joe Konrath’s case, in January of this year he posted on his blog that he’d banked a cool $100,000 in Amazon sales for that month alone — but this was from a total of FIFTEEN ebooks. Writing three or more ebooks before you even think about publishing is a mammoth task, which requires ninja-like patience, perseverance and planning. Most self-publishers are too eager to get their stuff out there, and so they publish too fast and without any strategy. Better to carefully plan your sequence of titles, and to take the time to write well.

5. Get the genre right
Of course, write what you love, first and foremost — but if you have your eye on money, the most popular ebook categories are thriller, mystery and romance novels. An episodic series, with heroes or heroines that readers can follow through successive releases, is a good strategy. John Locke created the character of Donovan Creed in his series of seven best-selling crime novels. Aside from this the other categories showing rapid growth are educational and self-help eBooks.

6. Write shorter books, more often
The average novel is approximately 80,000 words long, but ebooks lend themselves to shorter formats, some even the length of extended essays. (Amazon call them Kindle Singles). The cold fact is, ebooks by definition are cheap, and however many words you write, you will only be able to charge a small amount for it online. There is little point in writing a door-stopping 200,000-word opus, if you can only charge $2.99 for it. Rather than spending a year or more producing one full-length title, it may be better to spend that time writing a sequence of three or four shorter eBooks of, say, 20,000 words each. In marketing terms, publishing four times in a year is better than publishing just once.

7. Price doesn’t matter — quality matters
Some disagree with me on this. Many sell their ebooks for as little as 99 cents or less, which means they shift in bulk. But most people who can afford 99 cents can easily afford more than that before they start to get twitchy. I have bought terrible ebooks for five and ten dollars apiece and ended up disappointed — not at the price, but at the low quality of what I bought. In tests people tend to equate poor quality with cheap prices, so a low priced ebook may not always be the best thing.

8. Social media marketing is the only way to promote.
I have read posts by many of the first wave of ebook money-makers, and they all say the same thing — that conventional PR and advertising didn’t sell their ebooks. (Most first timers can’t afford the latter anyway). It wasn’t until they started blogging and doing the other forms of social media that things really took off. Lady GaGa presents an amazing example from the world of music. With 50 million Facebook fans and 20 million Twitter followers, she owns her own database of customers, and so selling becomes that much easier; crucially, she no longer relies on conventional PR. Of course, writers can’t compete with GaGa’s numbers, but the principal plan of action is the same.

9. Create your own selling platform
Amazon, iTunes and the like provide a good platform for independent e-publishers, but let’s be clear — as long as they provide the sole outlet for your ebooks, all the promo work you do drives traffic to their websites, not yours. More importantly, they then own whatever database of customers you create from your sweat. As far as possible today’s writers need to own their own customer bases (see no. 8). For the ebook author, this means building your own blog or website and connecting with an independent digital fulfilment house, who will distribute your downloads on your behalf, and give you your database, all for around 10-15 percent, rather than 30-70 percent. This route is difficult to set up, but worth it in the end. It won’t replace Amazon or Apple, but it will at least give you some skin in the game.

10. Have no social life
Make no mistake, self-publishing is seriously time-consuming. On one of Joe Konrath’s recent blogs he talked about the fact that promoting his books takes even more of his time than actually writing them. “If you want to have extraordinary sales, it means devoting an extraordinary amount of time to it,” he says. “That means sacrificing other aspects of your life, like leisure, sleep and family.”

It’s a sobering thought. But, after reading this, if you still want to take the plunge and self-publish digitally, be prepared for the long haul, for hard work, but also the joys of being autonomous. Go for it, and good luck.


E.L. James has a new ‘Fifty Shades’: ‘Darker’ from Christian’s point of view

Author E.L. James is once again going back to the well that made her famous. The “Fifty Shades of Grey” author will publish another retelling of a novel from her bondage-themed erotica trilogy, this one called “Darker: Fifty Shades Darker as Told by Christian.”

The novel will be released on Nov. 28 by Vintage Books, according to a news release from the publisher.

This is the second time that James has rewritten a novel from the immensely popular “Fifty Shades” trilogy, which tells the story of the relationship between young Anastasia Steele and kinky Seattle businessman Christian Grey.

In 2015, James published “Grey: Fifty Shades of Grey as Told by Christian,” a retelling of the first novel in the trilogy told from Christian’s point of view. The book was savaged by critics, but still sold more than a million copies within days of its release.

In the news release, James praised her publisher and said writing the new novel was a “journey of discovery.”

“The inside of Christian Grey’s head is a fascinating place to be,” she said. “In ‘Grey’ we got the first glimpse of what makes Christian tick, but in ‘Darker’ we go deeper, into his most painful memories and the encounters that made him the damaged, demanding man Ana falls in love with.”

The “Fifty Shades” trilogy, which began with the 2011 novel “Fifty Shades of Grey,” has been a publishing phenomenon. The books have sold more than 150 million copies and have spawned two film adaptations, with a third one slated for release next year.

“Darker” will be published in the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom in November, with a Spanish-language version following the next month, and will be released worldwide “soon after,” according to the news release.


Amazon’s new Kindle Oasis is waterproof and has a bigger screen

We had some minor heart palpitations the other week when Amazon skipped the Kindle during a deluge of product announcements. But have no fear, the company insists that it’s still committed to its hardware roots — after all (and I was honestly a bit surprised at this revelation), this past Prime Day was apparently the best selling day for Kindles in the U.S. and the world. The Kindle oversight was due to the fact that the “event was focused on Alexa.”

The company is celebrating the line’s upcoming 10th anniversary (November 19) a month or so early with an update to the the high-end Kindle Oasis. The new Kindle is the first to get waterproofing, rating at IP8 for trips to the beach and bath tub reading (a feature Kobo has offered for a couple of generations now). It also brings Audible playback directly to the device courtesy of Bluetooth audio.

The upgrade comes roughly a year-and-a-half after the first Oasis marked the company’s recommitment to the line. As the most premium Kindle reader, the device is targeted at a relatively narrow band of consumers — those who want an essentially single-function device with a premium build. And are willing to pay for it. The new Oasis starts at $249 and goes up from there.

That price gets you the company’s highest resolution screen (300 PPI), this time in a seven-inch form factor. That’s a full inch larger than the default e-reader screen size the company seemingly settled on generations ago. Sure, it’s flirted with larger screens, most notably with the massive Kindle DX, but six inches has always been the sweet spot for both Amazon and much of the competition.

Of course, the perks of a larger screen are pretty clear right off the bat. You get 30 percent more text on the page at a time, which means fewer page turns. It also has a marked advantage when attempting to read image-heavy works, like comics, on the thing (though comics on an e-reader is still a big no-go, as far as I’m concerned). The downside is equally apparent: a larger footprint.

Though Amazon assures me that, thanks to the relative thinness of the device, it’s managed to keep it small enough to slip into the pockets on a pair of pants. That’s always been the sort of benchmark for these products — of course, your individual results will vary, based on whether or not you live in Williamsburg.

The larger surface area also means the battery has more space to spread out — though the company has once again decided to go with that unsightly battery bump on the back. Concentrating the battery in one spot means the weight isn’t very evenly distributed, though it’s positioned so most of the heft rests in the hand, with the battery lip providing a spot where the reader can rest their hands.


The screen is also the brightest Amazon’s offered up. There are 12 LEDs on-board versus 10 in the last version, offering up a more uniform front lighting. The glass is also the strongest the company has offered up — it’s a proprietary equivalent to Gorilla Glass, according to Amazon. All small but nice touches one would expect from the company’s most premium reader.

The physical page turn buttons are back, too — honestly, that’s the thing that probably excited me the most about the original Oasis. Again, it’s a small thing, but I really missed that feature once Barnes & Noble stopped producing the Nook. The device also features an on-board accelerometer, so it automatically switches orientation based on how it’s being held — that’s good news for left-handed readers. It also means you can read with a horizontal orientation, though that’s probably of limited appeal.


Amazon introduces a waterproof Kindle Oasis with a seven-inch screen and Audible playback

Kasani’s Cafe’: Simple Recipes for Healthy Living Free Download on Amazon

Cookbooks have been around for well a long time now, dating back to time immemorial. The earliest cookbooks started from lists of recipes, currently known as haute cuisine, and were for recording author’s favorite dishes. Others were for the training of professional cooks for noble families, which made them short of content as peasant food, bread and vegetable dishes that were considered too simple for a recipe. 

When it comes to Mediterranean foods, just know you are getting yourself into one of the healthiest diets in the world. A 2015 release of the U.S. Dietary Guidelines proposed this diet, besides its recommendation by several researchers too, with Ancel Keys, Ph. D being the first one to promote this diet after Second World War. According to a study by Keys and his colleagues, people in areas such as the Mediterranean where this eating style was popular had higher cardiovascular health than those in the US. Twenty awesome recipes are included in this book. Surrounding the Caribbean and Mediterranean Diet.

Table of Contents 

Things You Probably Didn’t Know about Cookbooks
The Mediterranean Example; Grains, Veggies and Fish Diet
Mediterranean Chicken Stew with Cinnamon Couscous
Grilled Shrimp served with Garlic-Cilantro Sauce
Easy Seafood Paella Recipe
Jamaican Fried Snapper Recipe
Jamaican Steamed Fish Recipe
Baguette Recipe
Classic Potato Salad Recipe
Mexican Rice Recipe
Spaghetti Pasta Carbonara Recipe
Greek Potatoes Recipe
Simple Baked Chicken Drumstick Recipe
Chicken Cacciatore Recipe
Table Of Contents Continued:

Balsamic Glazed Chicken Recipe
Cajun Jambalaya Recipe
Lemon Cream Pasta with Chicken Recipe
Sea Bass Cuban Style Recipe
Skinny Turkey-Vegetable Soup Recipe
Vegetable Lasagna Recipe
Cilantro Lime Shrimp Recipe
Greek Sorghum Bowl with Artichokes and Olives

Indie Authors: Publishing Contracts

I love being an indie author and have written, and self-published nine books in the M/M romance genre.  Thousands of Indie authors are becoming successful on their own terms, without publishers and agents, and keeping control of their books at every level, and the lion’s share of the profits. 


All authors want to increase readership, and one way of expanding the readership is by exploring all of the different strands of income you can get from your book.  I decided that getting books translated into other languages was my best way forward.  There are several options for this:


– You could pay up front for a translator who will translate the manuscript.  The good thing about this is that the author will have an agreement with the translator and retains all rights, but the downside is that they will have to sell their book in an unfamiliar market, dealing with a foreign language and this can be a struggle for some.


– You could also try a royalty share translation via a site like Babelcube. These can be good if you have a bestselling book that is assured a readership because the translator knows they will get paid quickly.  But for most indie books, selling is hard enough in English, let alone in another language, which means translators can be waiting for years (maybe never) to see any payment for all of their hard work and no one can live like that.


– Or you could do what I did and search for foreign publishers in my genre that will translate and publish your work without cost to the author.


Now, even as indie authors we have to deal with contracts – Amazon, CreateSpace, D2D, Smashwords, etc. all have contracts that we have to sign so our books can be published digitally and in print.  These sites deliver our books straight to market, and it’s up to us to push them.  When dealing with translations in territories we are not experienced with, one of the attractions of finding a publisher is that they will, hopefully, have an understanding of the market in their territory.  They will hopefully have a vibrant social media platform, great website, push our books at book fairs, and sell via their own website and Amazon.  This kind of deal can open your book up to a whole new readership and make you a nice extra stream of income.


In the past six months, I have done two such deals for my M/M Romance thriller series Shatterproof Bond with French and German publishers.  The contracts and negotiations were concise and straightforward, and the terms – good to generous.  But my third foray into translations has ended with me walking away from a deal for my three books to be translated into Italian.


I am not a lawyer, and what I share here is what I have experienced and discovered through trawling legal websites and getting legal advice.  So, please get your own legal advice if you are unsure about an upcoming contract and DO NOT SIGN until you know what you are signing.



When you find a publisher who fits your niche, check them out before submitting your manuscript.  Do a Google search with the business name and ‘complaints’, ‘scam’, and other keywords like ‘Beware of’, and ‘bad’ — you choose.  If anything comes up that makes you concerned then you know to avoid that publisher.  Also check that they are not listed on Victoria Strauss’ site Writer Beware


When dealing with foreign publishers, I always get the site translated and check out their FAQ section.  Again, this can tell you a great deal about how they treat authors, and sometimes they list details about contract terms there too.  The design of the publisher website is also important.  If the website is well designed and the books are displayed attractively, most authors could imagine their own title on such sites. However, if the site is in disarray and the in-house books cover design is shoddy, this would be a red flag for me.  If a publishing house can’t deal with a basic website, how can they create great looking books?



It’s easy to see why so many authors break out into a cold sweat when they open their email and see a publishing contract.  First of all, after being an indie author, it’s hard to shake off the fact that most people see authors who publish via publishing houses as somehow more legitimate.  We know this is bullshit, yet still, it’s flattering for the author’s ego that any publisher would be interested in their book.  Joy can turn to confusion very quickly. Contracts are scary documents filled with words that read like gobbledegook.  Some of the less scrupulous publishers rely on authors being dazed by complex contracts.  Legal language is baffling at the best of times, and I get it that some authors blank out, sign, and be damned.  Hopefully, authors who have agents will get solid legal advice about the contents of a contract, but for self-published authors, when dealing with the first foreign rights contract, you need to be proactive and educate yourself.


I know you must be thinking that this is obvious.  But honestly, I have spoken to lots of authors about this and it’s common for an author to not actually read the contract until something goes wrong and the relationship with the publisher is breaking down.  No matter which language you wish for your books to be translated into, your contract must be in the language you speak, for me this is English.  You may not understand what you read, and even the thought of sitting down to read the contract may terrify you, but if you don’t have an agent, it’s in your best interest to know what you will be giving and what you will be getting from a deal.  So,


– Print out the contract,

– Get a highlighter pen and a ruler,

– Read the contract, line by line,

– Highlight any terms you don’t understand.

– Write notes about any clauses that give you a kick in the gut.

– Pay attention to that gut feeling. 


No matter what kudos you think you’ll get from saying ‘My book is available in Greek, Swahili, Indian and Russian”  If you have signed away worldwide rights for the term of the copyright life (+70 years), the publisher will be dining out on your book, whereas you may find yourself on the breadline or in litigation fighting to get rights back.  Saying you didn’t know what you were signing is NEVER a good enough excuse.  This is a business, and as an indie author you’re a professional, so live it!  If you can afford a lawyer, get one to look over the contract and advice.  Unfortunately, most indie authors cannot afford legal representation, another thing some unscrupulous publishers take for granted, and this is why you need to be proactive and find information that explains what it is that you’re signing away.


How To Get On Every Best Seller List

In this case, velocity of sales is defined as “amount of book sales within a specific period.”

Selling 5,000 books in a year is a pretty solid performance, but it’s not going to get you on any of the big bestseller lists. Concentrate those sales in a WEEK, though, and now you’re looking at possibly hitting many of those lists.

That is the key concept you must understand for bestsellers lists: it’s not how many books you sell, it’s how many you sell in a given time. The time frame changes depending on this list, but the faster your velocity of sales—meaning, the more sales you pack into the shorter period of time—the better.

This is why setting a release date and concentrating your marketing around it is so important to hitting a best seller list. Setting a release date creates a manageable, self-contained window to concentrate your marketing efforts on, and use them as a mechanism to create this velocity of sales.

Reporting Sales Is Key

Like I explained in this piece, not all book sales “count” for all lists, because there is no list that actually measures all book sales from all outlets. In the purest sense, there is no such thing as a “real” bestseller list.

Each list has their own method of counting sales, and each list only counts a fraction of places that sell books. Amazon only counts books sold on Amazon. The New York Timesonly counts the physical bookstores that it tracks (and a few online sellers, but weigh them differently).

I’ll describe the counting methods of each list below, but the point is that you must know the way that lists counts sales, and then focus on creating velocity of sales in those ways only.

The Prerequisites For A Bestseller Campaign

In order to have a chance at getting on the major bestseller lists, you should do all of these things:

1. Get a traditional publishing deal: With the exception of a few fiction genres like romance and horror, The New York Times still won’t recognize any book that doesn’t come from one of the big New York publishing houses as being fit for their list.

This is why most of the self-published or hybrid published books that have sold hundreds of thousands of copies over the past decade have never appeared on this list—they refuse to recognize them.

Example: James Altucher’s book, Choose Yourself. I helped him publish that through my publishing company (which turned into Book In A Box). It’s sold over 500k copies in the past 3 years. It even appeared on the Wall Street Journal Bestseller list—but no appearances on The New York Times Bestseller list, even though it has outsold 99% of the books that have appeared on that list since his came out.

Why? Because it’s not through a major New York publishing houses, so they won’t count it.

The Wall Street Journal and USA Today do recognize some self-pubbed titles, but it varies. There is no consistency with them.

2. Have a plan to get you 5k+ pre-orders: This cannot be a hope or a wish. If you don’t have at least 5k pre-ordered books—through sales channels that The New York Timessees as valid and counts in their list—you probably won’t hit the list.

That means ordered or bought at a store that reports its sales to the appropriate authority. You can’t just order 5k copies from your publisher. Most lists won’t count that.

How do you get 5k pre-orders? There are two basic ways to do this:

  1. You ALREADY have an audience who is willing to pre-order your book, or
  2. You spend a LOT of money to buy your way onto the list. This is basically “cheating,” and it usually costs more than 200k (I describe it below).

If you don’t have an audience or email list who are used to buying from you, but think you’ll “go on some podcasts and throw out some tweets” and get that level of pre-orders, you’re delusional. That does not work. Only a systematic plan that is very well-executed will work.

It is HARD to sell 5000 books in a year. To sell 5000 in a week is ridiculously difficult, as evidenced that only a very small percentage of all books published each year do it.

In fact, barring some extreme stroke of luck, the only way I’ve ever seen first-time (or lesser known) authors hit any significant bestseller list is by first creating a large platform with an installed audience that is waiting for the book, then selling the book into that audience.

Simply put: Creating an audience of buyers for your book prior to your release is the best way to get the velocity of sales needed to hit a bestseller list.

NOTE: If your goal is the New York Times Best Seller List, you probably need 10k pre-orders.

The Rules Of The Bestseller Lists Matter

Even though the odds are against you, it’s not impossible to do it. But if you want to have a shot at making a list, you MUST understand how bestseller lists work, so you don’t accidentally do something that interferes with the possibility of hitting the list.

For example, when Marc Ecko’s book, Unlabel, came out in 2013, it sold over 15,000 copies the first week. This was more than enough to hit The New York Times bestseller list, but the publisher had improperly listed Ecko’s book as an “art” book instead of a “business” book, and this decision alone kept the book off all the bestseller lists (well, that in combination with the fact The New York Times curates its list and decided to keep it off).

Know the rules to bestseller lists, because breaking them can keep your book off the list, even if it deserves to be there.

The New York Times Bestseller List

This is considered the most important bestseller list, and the only one that people tend to talk about by name. If you make this list, you put “New York Times Bestseller” on the top of books. Every other list generally gets a “National Bestseller” headline.  

Methodology: The weekly bestsellers are calculated from Monday to Monday. Here is how they describe their methodology on their own site:

Rankings reflect sales reported by vendors offering a wide range of general interest titles. The sales venues for print books include independent book retailers; national, regional and local chains; online and multimedia entertainment retailers; supermarkets, university, gift and discount department stores; and newsstands. E-book rankings reflect sales from leading online vendors of e-books in a variety of popular e-reader formats.

Ebook sales are presently included for all adult categories (fiction, non-fiction and advice) except for graphic novels, and all children’s categories with the exception of picture books. Titles are included regardless of whether they are published in both print and electronic formats or just one format. E-books available exclusively from a single vendor will be tracked at a future date.

Let me explain this. The Times list is a survey list, NOT a tabulation of total sales. This means that they poll a curated selection of booksellers to estimate sales. They literally decide which bookstores and retail outlets are “important” and then only count those sales, ignoring all other sales. They also heavily weight independent bookstore sales.

This is because they think that the type of people who shop at indie bookstores are more “serious” readers and thus their reading decisions deserve more attention. I’m serious, they have said this in public.

They also focus on individual sales, and try to not include bulk sales in their calculations. They do this to prevent people from buying their way onto the list (which we discuss below). If you sell 1000 copies to a company as part of a speaking engagement deal, this is a great way to move copies and make money, but it’s not very effective for hitting the list, because they won’t count it.

And notice how they say that they won’t count ebook sales from only one source? This is a direct shot at Amazon. They don’t like Amazon, and they don’t think ebooks are “real” books, and don’t want to see their ebook list dominated by Amazon’s Kindle list.

Make no mistake about it: this is all just as elitist and snobbish as it sounds.

They only recently started including ebooks in their lists, and they still heavily discount ebooks that have no print edition. Yes they track them, but they “count” their sales as less.

The reality is that even though the New York Times list is seen as the most prestigious, in many ways it’s the least connected to actual book selling reality.

Tips & Tricks:

  • For the most part, they do not count self-published books. You must be through a traditional publishing company to even have a shot at this list.
  • The category and window of your release all significantly impact the number of copies required to hit the NYT bestseller list, but 5,000 copies during any one-week period is the MINIMUM. I would recommend 10,000 most of the time, to be sure.
  • Have your publisher pick a down time in publishing; the less big books you have to compete with, the better.

The Wall Street Journal Bestseller List

This list is not as prestigious as the New York Times list, but for business books at least, carries almost as much social capital. And most of the weirdness and elitism from the NYT list doesn’t apply to the WSJ list.


How they describe their methodology, from their site:

Nielsen BookScan gathers point-of-sale book data from more than 16,000 locations across the U.S., representing about 85% of the nation’s book sales. Print-book data providers include all major booksellers (now inclusive of Walmart) and Web retailers, and food stores. E-book data providers include all major e-book retailers (Apple excepted). Free e-books and those sold for less than 99 cents are excluded. The fiction and nonfiction lists in all formats include both adult and juvenile titles; the business list includes only adult titles. The combined lists track sales by title across all print and e-book formats; audio books are excluded.

This is about as fair and reasonable as you can get, very much the opposite of the New York Times list.

Tips & Tricks:

  • It usually takes about 3000-5000 sales to hit the WSJ bestseller list.
  • You can absolutely get books that aren’t from traditional publishers on this list. I did it with James Altucher’s Choose Yourself, Josh Turner’s Connect, and many others.
  • There’s not much trick here. Just get the sales and you can get on this list. The important thing is making sure ALL of the sales come from different people and are during the opening week. Bulk sales are not counted.

The USA Today Bestseller List

This list used to be pulled straight from Nielsen Bookscan, but they recently changed, and started making it a curated list, more akin to the NYT than the WSJ. Rather than separate out the categories of books, the USA Today puts them all in one category.


From their website:

Each week, USA TODAY collects sales data from booksellers representing a variety of outlets: bookstore chains, independent bookstores, mass merchandisers and online retailers. Using that data, we determine the week’s 150 top-selling titles. The first 50 are published in the print version of USA TODAY each Thursday. The top 150 are published online. The rankings reflect sales from the previous Monday through Sunday.

USA TODAY’s Best Selling Books list is a ranking of titles selling well each week at a broad range of retail outlets. It reflects combined sales of titles in print and electronic format, if available. For example, if Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice sells copies in hardcover, paperback and e-book during a particular week, sales from each format are combined to determine its rank. The description of a title and the publisher name refers to the version selling the most copies in a particular week – hardcover (H), paperback (P) and e-book (E).

Tips & Tricks:

  • This list is not really looked at as a prestigious list. If you hit it, that’s great, but I have rarely seen a book on this best seller list that isn’t either on the one of the NYT or WSJ lists.
  • What makes this list so strange, is that you’ll see all kinds of things that don’t show up on the other lists; sudoku books, cookbooks, maps, things like that, though they have started to pull these out, and focus more on “real” books. Thus the curation.

The Amazon Bestseller List

Personally, I don’t think Amazon has a bestseller list. What they do is rank the sales of their books. Even on the page that they call their “best seller” page, it says “Our most popular products based on sales. Updated Hourly.”

So it’s not really a bestseller list, it’s just the top 100 sellers from their site.

Why does this matter?

Well, it is an essential question if you want to call your book a bestseller. The rules for calling yourself a bestseller from any of the above outlets are clear.

What are the rules for calling your book an Amazon bestseller? It’s an open question, and a lot of people abuse it.  

To show how ridiculous this “bestseller list” status is, one of the most brilliant marketers I know, Brent Underwood, took a picture of his foot, published it as a book, and hit #1 with it. He detailed everything here, called out the whole group of people who sell this, and it’s a great read. It pulls back the curtain on this nonsense status symbol.

Methodology: Pure sales, just on their platform. Updated hourly. They do seem to have an algorithm that ranks the books in a trailing sales fashion. For example, if you sell 10 books in one hour, and then none the next, you don’t just fall off their list that hour. You go down some spots, and keep falling, unless you start selling more books.

No one knows what Amazon’s algorithm is, and anyone who says they know for sure is probably lying (unless they work for Amazon). What most people are seeing is that the past 8 hours of sales are weighted evenly, thus making it a trailing algorithm.

Tips & Tricks:

  • If you want to rank on Amazon, focus all your marketing efforts on one day—your release date, for instance.
  • On an average launch day, it should take ~500 sales to make the Amazon Top 100.
  • It usually takes about 2000 sales in a day to hit the Amazon Top 10.
  • To get to #1 in a subcategory, it takes very few sales. Usually 10, depending on the category.
  • Don’t try to cheat this! Amazon is in a better situation than anyone (by tracking IP addresses and credit cards) to know if you are gaming the system. You won’t get on their list without legitimate sales, so focus your energy there instead of gaming the process. Buying 1000 books yourself won’t work. Amazon ABSOLUTELY watches this and will punish you.

The Cheat Code: Buying Your Way Onto The List

Services exist that will guarantee—for a large fee—that you get on the list. They are very expensive, and for the most part, if you read the fine print, their results are not actually guaranteed (despite what they claim in their ads).

I have never used one directly, but I know the three major companies well, because we’ve had clients who used them, and the results have been mixed. Sometimes they work well, other times, not.

I would estimate that a LARGE number of books that hit the bestseller list are bought. 50-100 per year, on average for the last decade at least.

And like I said before, buying a place on the list is a pure ego play. If spending $200,000 (yes, that’s what it costs, at least) to see your name on the NY Times Bestseller List is worth it to you, then go for it. Just be upfront with yourself about what you are doing and why.



How to self-edit your book (writing tips for indie authors)

No self-published author should publish their work without paying a professional to edit it first. But what if you don’t have the money to pay for an editor? Or what if you want to keep your costs down by doing as much editing on your own as you can?

Before you spend money on an editor, work your way through this 25-point checklist. Because the better you can make your novel on your own, the better your editor can help you make it together. Think of it like football: Get the ball as far down the field as you can, then pass the ball to your editor. Together you can go for goal.



Does the world need this book? If so, why?

Every year, millions of books get published. Most get ignored. Ask yourself: Why does the world need your book?

This is not an argument to self-censor. Rather to think about what you’re publishing and why. Talking to hear the sound of your own voice may be amusing, but does little to attract an audience. Talking, writing, speaking—it’s all about the audience, not about you.

Sharpening your focus at this stage will make self-editing much easier. Because if you don’t know what you have to say or why you’re saying it, then how can you sharpen your prose to achieve those goals?



How’s Your Hook?

Readers have short attention spans these days, and an ocean of ebooks to choose from. You need a strong hook in your opening pages to persuade readers to cross your palm with silver.

Pretend that you’re a reader, and ask yourself: Why should I care? Why should I invest my money—not to mention my time, which is even more valuable—in reading your novel? I could be watching Game of Thrones. Are you telling me your novel is more entertaining? Make me care!

And hooking the reader doesn’t end after the first five pages. There is no point at which you can relax and rest on your laurels (either within the pages of a book or during a literary career). Every word sells the next. Every sentence sells the next. Every paragraph sells the next. Every chapter sells the next. Every book sells the next.

Because as a reader? I owe you exactly squat. Zilch. Make me care. Make your writing so irresistible that I can’t help but want to read on.

That’s how you write a book. That’s how you build a career.



Who’s Your Hero?

Reading a novel means donning an avatar’s skin. When we enter the pages of your book, we become, in our imaginations, at least, your hero. And we’re not going to be very comfortable if your hero is a jerk.

Your hero needs to be someone we can relate to, who we can understand. We don’t necessarily have to like him, but we have to care. This doesn’t mean your hero should be a goodie two-shoes, because that’s equally irritating. Instead, write flawed heroes and complex villains. Hannibal Lector may be a cannibal, but boy can he keep me turning the pages!



What Does Your Hero Want?

A novel is just this: Who is your hero? What does he want? What’s stopping him from getting it?

Character is just another word for what the hero wants. Give us a sympathetic hero with a goal we can relate to, and the strength of will to pursue that goal at all costs, and you’ve got the makings of a great story.



Who’s Your Villain?

You needn’t go all Hollywood here, but your hero needs obstacles. If your hero wants a ham sandwich, and all he has to do is go to the fridge and make one, that’s not a very exciting story, now is it?

Note that by “villain” we mean the opposing force working to prevent the hero from achieving his goal. The villain and hero are sometimes the same character—for instance, a story of an alcoholic or drug addict fighting to get the monkey off his back. Or it could be nature—sailors fighting to stay afloat during a hurricane.

If you go with a human villain, be sure to give the character a touch of goodness. Evil is not cartoonish, but rather a misguided attempt to do good. Melodrama went out of fashion when the last vaudeville hall closed its doors.



Structure, Structure, Structure

The human brain digests story in a certain form, and stories that do not satisfy that form will drive your audience away.

To wit: Stories have a beginning, a middle, and an end; thesis, antithesis, synthesis; boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl; Act One, Act Two, Act Three.

There are many books on structure out there, and varying theories about the precise form story structure should take. But you must have the basics down, or your novel will not be successful.

For further reading on structure, you may like to read Three Uses of the Knifeby David Mamet and Save the Cat! by Blake Snyder. These are just my personal favorites, there are hundreds more out there.



Yes. No. But wait!

Good stories must have suspense. When we go to a ball game, we don’t want to watch our team trounce the opposing side, run up the score, and then go home. How boring would that be?

We want to see our hero struggle, to succeed, to fail, the end goal always in doubt. We want to watch the ball game come down to a nail-biting, edge-of-our-seat, who-is-going-to-win, oh-my-God-can-he-do-it thriller.

Not that your book has to be a thriller. It could be a story about cats. But if the cats were sympathetic, wanted something we could relate to, and faced sufficiently interesting opposing forces, then the yes-no-but wait! formula works just as well.



Chapter Breaks

Knowing where to begin and end your chapters is an art. Every chapter should begin with a hook. Every chapter should end with a cliffhanger.

Some of you at this point are probably thinking, “But I’m not writing a thriller! This doesn’t apply to me!”

Um, actually, yes it does. If you want people to read your work, you have to make them want to read your work. Readers owe you nothing.

Do I need to repeat that? Readers owe you nothing. Your job as an author is to make them care. My job as an editor is to help you make them care.

End of story.



Whose Head Are We In?

A common mistake some authors make, especially those that come to fiction from the theater or film, is omitting internal monologue. The strength of the novel is that we spend the book inside people’s heads. We don’t just watch the action. We are inside of the action.

Fiction is a window into someone else’s soul. A good author gives the reader an intimate personal experience not possible in any other medium. This experience can be deep or shallow, depending on the needs of the genre. But it must be there. A dry account of some events that happened may make a fine biography or history, but the goal of fiction is to connect with your readers at a subconscious level.




Have you ever seen prose that looks like this?

“Oh my goodness, what a giant turtle!” exclaimed Martha.  I do so love turtles,she thought. They remind me of my dead grandmother.

Jake harrumphed. Can we go home soon? I’m sick of the beach. And none of the girls are wearing bikinis.

Do you see the problem here? We’re jumping from Martha’s head into Jake’s head from one paragraph to the next. This jars us out of the story. If your story requires you to use multiple POVs (Points of View), then the easiest thing to do is to separate POVs into separate chapters. A more advanced technique is to separate POVs using section breaks:

[… several pages of Martha POV …]

“Oh my goodness, what a giant turtle!” exclaimed Martha.  I do so love turtles,she thought. They remind me of my dead grandmother.

Jake harrumphed. Can we go home soon? I’m sick of the beach. And none of the girls are wearing bikinis.

[… several pages of Jake POV …]




Authors with experience in theater or film tend to write better dialogue. Why? Because acting and writing dialogue are one and the same craft.

What do I mean by that?

Well, why do characters speak? They speak because they want something from someone else. Remember our definition of a story: Who is our hero and what does he want? And what’s stopping him from getting it?

The conflict in a scene could be a sword fight. Or it could be two people fencing with words. Think of writing dialogue as though it were a fight sequence: parry, thrust, advance, retreat, attack. This will give strength and verve to your dialogue, and make your characters pop off the page.

If dialogue is a struggle for you, consider taking an acting class or two. This will dramatically improve your dialogue-writing skills.


BBC is Launching Interactive Audiobooks for the Amazon Alexa

Audiobooks is a multi-billion dollar industry and many publishers are generating significant revenue from the format. One of the most untapped markets for audio content is the Amazon Alexa and the BBC is hoping to remedy this issue.

The BBC has teamed up with Rosina Sound to produce The Inspection Chamber. It’s an interactive audio drama, that harkens back to the glory days of the Choose Your Own Adventure paperbacks.  The story is a comedy sci-fi audio drama taking inspiration from everything from videogames to existing audio stories. Authors from Franz Kafka to Douglas Adams were cited as inspirations.

“We’ve seen a lot of examples of interactive audio stories which operate like a Choose Your Own Adventure book – short chunks followed by a choice: would you like to go down the stairs or through the door? We don’t think this works particularly well for entertainment – it takes you out of the moment and forces you to step back and consider your choice at a level of remove from the story and in the context of all the other choices you’ve made. In this pilot, you’re actively playing a part in the story, using your own voice – we wanted to make it feel like you’re having a genuine, direct interaction with the other characters in the piece”, said the BBC.

The first episode of the series will be released on BBC Taster by the end of the year for the Amazon Alexa and Google Home. If it is successful, it will likely be ported onto the Apple HomePod.


Top 7 Ways Authors Are Using Instagram

Words are for us as writers what computers are to office workers. They are the lifeline to pretty much every facet of our work. Not only do we use them to communicate our art form, but we obsess, play, hate, love and need them in order to do what we do. Sometimes we need a rest from all the word playing—and hating.

Where can we find that rest without cutting ourselves off even further from social exchange, but also without having to use even more words? It can be done—with Instagram. Not only can you use Instagram, but as an author, you should be using Instagram. For more than one or two reasons.

There are a lot of authors who use Instagram in ways that may be entertaining. It’s entertaining in the same way the crazy lady in the grocery store is who pulls out every gallon of milk from the dairy cooler in order to get the one that has the furthest date of expiration. Yeah, it’s weird and maybe a little funny, but mostly kind of pathetic.

There are plenty of famous authors who evoke that kind of reaction on Instagram. Don’t be one of those authors. Instead, consider some of the following rational ways to use Instagram to help further your author name and influence.

  1. To Follow Bloggers Who Review Books
    This reason really shouldn’t have to be explained. I mean, duh – if you follow enough book-bloggers, you increase the chance that one or more of them will review your book, which is read by said blogger’s audience. Whether that audience is 100 or 100,000 – isn’t it worth it to reach that amount of potential buyers of your book for free?


  1. For Self-Promotion and Marketing
    Instagram can be used for promoting your name or your newest book. You can host a contest with a free copy of your book as the prize. You can ask for photo submissions that revolve around the theme of your book or you can just use photos to connect to your fans and readers. As BuzzFeed’s article on book covers altered to include James Franco shows us, humor can be a great marketing strategy.

Inspire Yourself and Your Fans

Visual imagery can be the source of inspiration on a daily basis. All you need to do is catalogue it and you have your own visual diary for defeating the worst case of writer’s block. Not only can these photos inspire you, but they may equally inspire your readers and fans, who will in turn, recommend their network to follow you as well. Many writers use inspirational tweets and Facebook posts to reach their readers. Your followers will respond well to inspirational messages that reaffirm their beliefs.

Collaborate with Your Fans
This could be a marketing project or it could be research for a new novel. Projects can range from social research to just-for-fun, to things like #100HappyDays, which seems to be a combination of both. 100HappyDays is inspirational, fun, challenging and engaging. Hosting a project like this could provide you with tons of material for your next book, or it could simply attract a ton of followers — aka, readers.

  1. What better place to advertise your stunning new book cover than Instagram? Book covers are certainly one of the most powerful tools you have in your arsenal for attracting a new reader. I don’t know about you, but if I come across an author I’ve never heard of, but they write in a genre I like to read and they have a fantastically interesting book cover – I am much more likely to purchase that book. By the way, this is also another reason to never cut any corners on your cover art.


  1. Give Fans/Readers an Inside Look at Your Life
    You don’t have to reveal all the skeletons in your closet, but a few pictures of your most recent vacation, your adorable pets, a weekend trip to the harbor and a ride on a boat will get you noticed — people love this kind of stuff. The more you draw in your readers and fans by showing that you’re just like them, the more they will be inclined to follow you and interact with your more professional work.
  1. Follow Other Authors
    Especially if you are a new author, following more experienced authors certainly can’t hurt. Even the most experienced author is not exempt from gaining insight from other authors. Networking with other authors as a new or previously unpublished author can be eye-opening and present you with opportunities you may not have otherwise come across.

Instagram is one of the best social apps you can use as an author, because not only does it give us a rest from all those words, but it can be used in so many ways—personally or professionally. You just have start thinking less in words and more in pictures.


6 of the Most Prolific Authors

Every day we get up, drink a gallon of coffee, and head to the computer to see if today is the day we’ll actually accomplish something. Spoiler alert, the answer is usually “not as much as we hoped, unless you count number of cat photos Liked.” Between Facebook notifications, tweets, and tantalizing daily deal emails (not to mention actual coworkers), there’s no shortage of distractions to—oh, hang on. Gotta update my status.

Right. So, for most of us, getting things done is easier said than…done, but there are always those outliers who seem immune to this very real phenomenon. Take, for example, the six authors below, who managed to churn out hundreds or even thousands of published works during their careers. True, some of them had the advantage of being alive before the internet existed, but their collective output is still enough to make the checked-off items on your to-do list look positively insignificant.

Charles Hamilton
The London-born writer put pen to paper at a very early age and never set it down. Historians estimate he wrote a total of around 100 million words, most as short stories for magazines. If you divide that word count by the length of an average novel, old Charlie published the equivalent of about 1,200 books. That earns him the gold crown as the most prolific writer in history.

It’s often difficult to attribute work directly to Hamilton since he used over 20 different pen names throughout his career. Does Cecil Herbert ring a bell? T Harcourt Lewelyn? E.S. Turner? How about Frank Richards? That last one was Hamilton’s most-used nom de plume, and it’s also the one associated with his most famous creation, Billy Bunter. “Famous” if you were a boy between 1908 and 1940, anyway.

Barbara Cartland
If you’ve ever read a romance novel, chances are you’ve heard of Barbara Cartland. The author produced just over 720 novels in her career, many of which were nuzzled into into her specialty niche: Victorian-era romance. She holds the Guinness World Record for most novels written in a single year: a healthy 23, or two per month. Kinda makes NaNoWriMo participants seem, I don’t know, lazy. Cartland’s publishing credits didn’t end after her death in 2000. Several manuscripts were released posthumously as the Barbara Cartland Pink Collection. Go ahead, try to stop her from writing.

Isaac Asimov
One of the “Big Three” hard science fiction writers of his era, Asimov is credited with over 500 published works covering almost the entire Dewey Decimal System. He’s best known for sci-fi classics like I, Robot and the Foundation series, but he also wrote history books, screenplays, mystery short stories, and “explainer” columns in magazines to introduce complex scientific concepts to the masses. Basically, you name it, Asimov probably wrote it.

Corín Tellado
María del Socorro Tellado López, who wrote under the name Corin Tellado, published over 4,000 works in her lifetime. Like Barbara Cartland, Tellado worked in the romance genre, only her stories weren’t as steamy. She lived in Spain and needed to keep erotic content out of her tales to avoid censorship, resulting in a stories of characters in modern-day settings who could only hint at the passion that boiled in their loins. Despite the relatively tame content, Tellado sold over 400 million books, so she was certainly doing something right.

Stephen King
While he may not have numbers as high as the others on this list, you can’t ignore the writing force that is Stephen King. Since his 1973 debut novel, Carrie, King has released over 60 full-length works of fiction and almost 200 short stories. He’s created screenplays and written both comics and nonfiction. Just about every idea that comes out of his brain is eventually adapted into a movie. All he needs to do is live long enough, and he’ll have a comfortable spot with the other insanely prolific writers of the world.

R. L. Stine
Most of us know R. L. Stine as the author of Goosebumps and Fear Street, the long-running horror series aimed at tweens and teens. They’ve been going strong since the early ’90s and make up the bulk of Stine’s 400-million career sales figure. At one point, he was writing new installments at the rate of one every two weeks. One book. Two weeks. 


Dune (novel)

Dune is a 1965 epic science fiction novel by American author Frank Herbert, originally published as two separate serials in Analog magazine. It tied with Roger Zelazny’s This Immortal for the Hugo Award in 1966, and it won the inaugural Nebula Award for Best Novel. It is the first installment of the Dune saga, and in 2003 was cited as the world’s best-selling science fiction novel.

Set in the distant future amidst a feudal interstellar society in which noble houses, in control of individual planets, owe allegiance to the Padishah Emperor, Dune tells the story of young Paul Atreides, whose noble family accepts the stewardship of the desert planet Arrakis. As this planet is the only source of the “spice” melange, the most important and valuable substance in the universe, control of Arrakis is a coveted—and dangerous—undertaking. The story explores the multi-layered interactions of politics, religion, ecology, technology, and human emotion, as the forces of the empire confront each other in a struggle for the control of Arrakis and its “spice”.

Herbert wrote five sequels: Dune MessiahChildren of DuneGod Emperor of DuneHeretics of Dune, and Chapterhouse: Dune. The first novel also inspired a 1984 film adaptation by David Lynch, the 2000 Sci-Fi Channelminiseries Frank Herbert’s Dune and its 2003 sequel Frank Herbert’s Children of Dune (which combines the events of Dune Messiah and Children of Dune), computer games, several board games, songs, and a series of followups, including prequels and sequels, that were co-written by Kevin J. Anderson and the author’s son, Brian Herbert, starting in 1999.

Since 2009, the names of planets from the Dune novels have been adopted for the real-life nomenclature of plains and other features on Saturn’s moon Titan.



How to Write a Different Vampire Novel

Okay, so if you haven’t heard of the Twilight franchise by now, you’ve either been dwelling under a rock or sleeping in a coffin. Vampire novels, movies, and tie-ins have exploded. Some say the vampire trend is dead (or undead, if you’ll forgive the pun).

But vampires have fascinated numerous cultures for thousands of years—long before Dracula saw the light of day (groan). And there are some folks, like myself, who will read/watch/drool over anything vampish.

But how can you make your vampire novel different from all the others on the shelves? Read on to see what I did to make my vampire romance, House of Cards, stand out.

Make your vampires more than just vampires

When I set out to write this book, I knew I wanted my vampires to be more than just strong, beautiful, bloodsucking immortals. I wanted to give them histories. Personalities. They were human beings before they were supernatural creatures. Naturally, part of that humanity would carry over and create motivations for their present-day behavior.

I think a lot of paranormal books focus more on the “para” than the “normal.” But take away the supernatural abilities, and what should you have left? The complex character interaction that fuels any compelling novel.

So that’s what I really strove for in House of Cards. My male lead, Lucas, is a vampire. But he’s also much more than that. He’s an artist. He was part of a close family. He is a caring, frustrated, sensitive soul. It’s these characteristics that draw the female, human lead (Sherry) to him. They are also what helps save her life—not his “vampire” abilities. Ultimately, they’re why she falls in love with him.

Make the story about more than just vampires

Boy meets girl. Boy loves girl. Girl loves boy. Boy or girl turns out to be a vampire. We’ve all seen this before. Some vampire novels are just regular love stories with blood-guzzling thrown in.

But I think the best books are ones with deeper, layered meaning. Interview With the Vampire wasn’t just about an eighteenth-century plantation owner who gets vamped. It’s about love, hopelessness, and humanity’s place in the universe, among other things.

While never explicitly addressed, reading about these issues lets us walk away from the book with the notion we’ve really felt or thought on a deeper level. Weave them in, and the novel feels weighty, substantive. Leave them out, and the story seems trite.

In House of Cards, Sherry and Lucas both suffer significant losses before they even meet. Both are prevented from living their lives to the fullest by an unnerving villain known as “The Master.” In Sherry’s case, even surviving is not guaranteed.

So I tried to address how we cope with death, futility, and expressing our true selves in the world. Odds are, readers have dealt with some—or all—of these issues themselves.

Reverse stereotypes and give readers the unexpected

I don’t mean to criticize the many excellent vampire novels out there. But I see a lot of them falling into the same pattern: 300 pages of boy-rescues-girl. Now, there’s nothing wrong with an old-fashioned love story. But it seems that no matter how strong, how skilled, or how powerful the girl, it’s always up to the boy (usually a vampire) to save her in the end.

Personally, I’d like to see a little more of the kick-ass heroine in these vampire books. This was partly my idea when I developed Sherry’s character. Timid and terrified at first (as she should be—she’s trapped by serial killers), she gains power and strength as the novel progresses.


The Return of Novellas and Novelettes

‘Why did he only write a novella?’ was a comment on an otherwise favourable review we had a couple of years ago. A fair question and one we took as a back-handed compliment. We’ve been debating novellas and short novels recently, when as indie writers and avid readers, we note trends in the publishing world.

In the last few years we’ve noticed that novellas are becoming increasingly popular among indie authors. It’s interesting to think about why fashions change in publishing. A cynic might say novellas are quicker to get on sale – that’s true and an important factor – but far from the only reason.

Demand is driven partly by readers and most authors try to write books that will sell in the current market. Unfortunately, demand is also manipulated by the big publishers. For instance, in the 1960s and 70s, historical fiction was very popular. Later, it almost disappeared from the shelves with publishers not wanting to take that genre. It’s hard to believe there were some years when readers went off historical novels when you look at their resurgence today, led by authors such as Hilary Mantel and Philippa Gregory.

Novellas and short novels are an old literary form which is making a welcome come-back for various reasons. It’s worth taking a closer look at what is generally meant by the terms. There are no hard and fast rules. From the writing guides I’ve read, leading indie author commentators mostly suggest that 20,000 words is the starting point for a novella.

I’ve no quarrel with this, though we feel that a 30-35,000 word-count is right for us. In the two novellas we’ve published, that space was a natural length to produce a well-rounded story, neither padded nor truncated. We felt it was a length to give good value to our readers, which is important to us.

A short novel is hard to define, though it’s currently suggested that 80,000 words is the minimum length for a novel. I guess a short novel is what used in Britain to be called a ‘novelette,’ anything upwards of around 40,000 words. This is an atmospheric old word that is reappearing in indie author’s book descriptions and we’re pleased to see it back. ‘Novelette’ conjures up nostalgic thoughts of garish covers and  exciting yarns like Leslie Charteris’s Simon Templar – The Saint – and hard-boiled Chandler and Hammett. Fast-moving adventure stories used to lend themselves to shorter fiction – perhaps until modern publisher-pressure.

Some authors do use the terms novella and novelette for as little as 25-30 pages.  This seems an unwise strategy. Though their work looks longer on the sales page, I’ve noticed angry reviews where readers’ expectations are misled. To pre-empt complaints of being short-changed by a short story, it’s worth making the length eye-catchingly clear in the blurb.

So, why write a novella? The main reason surely is because a writer wants to explore an idea that doesn’t lend itself to an average-length novel but is beyond the limitations of a short story. A story has its own natural length and far better to offer that to your readership than pad a plot in order to charge a higher price.

It’s natural to perceive larger goods as being better value but some of our most iconic fiction has a surprisingly short word count. Think of Doyle’s A Study in Scarlet (135 pages) and The Sign of Four (154), John Buchan’s The Thirty-nine Steps (138) and The Power-House (108)Geoffrey Household’s Rogue Male (180) or Stephenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, only 65 pages.

This doesn’t apply only to detective novels and thrillers. One of my favourite novels, J. L. Carr’s A Month in the Country has  85 memorable pages. Ghost stories too, often work better at medium-length. Incidentally, few speak of these superb stories as novellas or even short novels. We’re simply glad we have them – and many writers intersperse shorter works between longer novels.

In the world of classic crime fiction, the majority of Agatha Christie’s novels are around 190-220 pages. Several written during or shortly after the Second World War are 160, perhaps due to paper shortage. Their quality is certainly no less, they include the much-loved The Body in the Library. Simenon’s Maigret novels are known for their slim volumes. Both writers had a high output.

A quick look along the shelf at many  crime novelists writing from about the 60s will show that their early novels were shorter. You can see this in the canon of Ruth Rendell. Fellow Rendell fans will know that she decided to incorporate themes of social ills in her later Wexford novels, doubling the length of her early titles. I loved them all and it’s a joy to know you’re getting a thick novel from a favourite writer. Yet I’ve come to think that Rendell’s early  mysteries are stronger. The plot of a murder and its detection has a natural progression which is often better for not being expanded. Another of my all-time favourite detective novelists is Emma Page. Her titles are often 180-200 pages .

Don’t get me wrong – I love to curl up with a fat novel. Two of my favourite writers are Trollope and Wilkie Collins, who average 500-700 pages. Trouble is, I rarely get time to re-read them these days and I’m not alone in that. I’ve also seen  – again in the last few years – that many new crime novels look satisfyingly thick until you open them to find an unusually large font and wide line spacing. Do the big publishers think readers won’t notice? I imagine this trend is to justify the staggeringly high price of new hardbacks – and possibly to recoup going on a table display in Waterstones’?

Readers’ expectations seem to be changing in  ways, especially relevant to indie authors who deal mainly in ebooks. We’re living in an over-worked, stressed, time-poor society. Reading – thankfully for our mental health – is as popular as ever. Maybe even more so with people who weren’t drawn to books, finding they enjoy reading on devices. Many people now want a medium-length read they can enjoy on their phone while commuting. Others want to relax with a novella over an evening or two. Sadly, fewer have the time to commit to a lengthy novel.

Another factor in the rise of novellas/novelettes is satisfying the readers who expect frequent titles. Again, this phenomenon only applies to indie authors. Traditionally, readers have expected to wait for a yearly treat from favourite authors, or even a couple or more years. Especially if they’re longing to follow a series and the author has more than one on the go or fancies writing a stand-alone.

These days in our frantic-paced culture, the received wisdom is that readers expect more than a single ebook a year from authors they like. Industry trends strongly suggest that ebook readers’ expectations have gone haywire. We’re told that standalones won’t sell well and we need to get a series on sale fast or our name will be forgotten by readers who enjoyed our first title. And we all know, some readers expect our carefully-crafted months of work to be handed over for 99p! Publishing shorts does go some way towards retaining readers’ interest.

We will always love writing novels but have really enjoyed working on two novellas so far – one for each of our main detective characters. It feels refreshing and fun between the long-haul – maybe like running a half-marathon. Many indie authors are interspersing their fiction with novellas and short stories. It can be a great way of trying out an idea for a spin-off series or exploring a secondary character in greater depth. This is something we’re considering with our historical adventures and Victorian thrillers.

And we’re not alone. In traditionally published crime fiction, famous names such as Alison Joseph and Lesley Cookman have started novella series between their novels. I’m looking forward to Lesley Cookman’s second novella in her The Alexandrians Serieswhich is out on 31st Jan (now on pre-order). She’s had the inspired idea of taking the Nethergate seaside theatre featured in her wonderful Libby Sarjeant series and using that as an Edwardian setting.

Between all these factors, I think we’ve only seen the start of authors producing novellas and short novels. Thanks to technology, writers now have a freedom to write as they choose. An opportunity unseen since the nineteenth century when small presses abounded and individuals sold topical chap-books in the street. It’s exciting to think that indie authors are leading the way.

What do you think? Don’t be shy – we’d love to hear thoughts from other authors.


Vampyre New Moon Novel Available for Pre-Order

“I am surprised you picked the path of the vigilante when you were turned.” Henrik replied. “You were such a violent person, use to hurting anyone who got in your way.”

Val laughed as she watched Henrik bite into the man and continued to drain him. “There’s a difference in the people in these streets that turn to violence. Some do so to just get what they want and some do it just to survive. I was hurt by the former and was turned into the latter. Now that I have the strength to hurt those like the ones that hurt me…I find myself compelled to do so. Besides, we have to eat…why not feed upon those who walk over others?”

Henrik finished with the mugger, tossing him over the side into a dumpster after he was done. He wiped his mouth and walked over to Val. “I am glad you have chosen this path. There are others who have chosen the other path that became lost to them. We might have the minds of men, but there are many of us that become like beasts, others like monsters.”

Kindle Forum Users Encouraged to switch to Goodreads and Spark

Amazon is shutting down their Kindle support forums on October 13th and they are encouraging all of their users to switch to GoodReads and Amazon Spark. The company also announced they are going to be rolling out an expanding help experience next week.

In a statement on the Kindle Forums Amazon said the following “Amazon would like to thank the members of this community for contributing to the discussion forums. As we grow and evolve, we encourage you to explore Goodreads Groups for books and Spark for other ways to engage with your interests. If you have a help question about your device, starting the morning of October 9th , Pacific Standard Time, we will be introducing an improved help forum experience, with expanded discussion categories.”

Amazon Spark is an Instagram-style shoppable feed that appears inside the Amazon app for customers in the United States. Obviously, there’s a profit motive behind Spark. Amazon is trying to keep engagement about products within its own ecosystem rather than on other social media channels. The belief is that the closer people are to the conversion point, the more likely it is that they’ll convert.

“We created Spark to allow customers to discover – and shop – stories and ideas from a community that likes what they like,” said an Amazon spokeswoman. When customers first visit Spark, they select at least five interests they’d like to follow and we’ll create a feed of relevant content contributed by others. Customers shop their feed by tapping on product links or photos with the shopping bag icon.”

I doubt the Kindle loyalists will switch to Spark, which is only available for iOS and you have to be a Prime member to even use it. GoodReads seems like a viable alternative, but book discussions tend to be very hit or miss. Likely, many people will switch to the Kindle Boards or MobileRead or participate in discussions on Kindle related issues on Good e-Reader.


The Indie Author’s Guide to Hybrid Publishing

Authors no longer have to choose between traditional publishing and self-publishing. A third option has emerged and is gaining ground: hybrid publishing, which fuses aspects of traditional publishing with self-publishing, often for an up-front fee. At least that’s one definition; as any author exploring the territory of hybrid publishing will find, it’s complicated.

“Hybrid publishing is an often-confusing term,” says Mark Lefebvre, director of self-publishing and author relations at Kobo. “You could be talking about a type of assisted self-publishing, where a company that has in-house expertise gives authors the ability to pay for those services and will publish virtually any manuscript that crosses their threshold; or referring to a model where the author might invest up front but there is editorial evaluation and input, and publishing projects are chosen based on their merit as a sellable product.”

Further creating confusion is the fact that a “hybrid author” has nothing to do with a hybrid publisher. The former is, as Mark Coker, founder and CEO of Smashwords, points out, “an author who publishes books both with conventional publishers and who also self-publishes.”

Also complicating matters is the fact that publishers once called vanity presses—those that offer supported self-publishing services and will publish whatever manuscripts come their way once the authors’ checks clear—could technically be called hybrid, because they leverage traditional publishing aspects along with the pay-to-play method of self-publishing. Author Solutions has a number of supported self-publishing imprints, including AuthorHouse, iUniverse, Trafford Publishing, Wordclay, and Xlibris, all of which fit the definition of hybrid. The company also has partner imprints in alliance with traditional publishing houses.

Though it may be fair to call all of the above hybrids, they skew more toward self-publishing because almost any author can publish with them. The hybrid publishers that stand out more clearly are those that screen submissions and have a strong sense of branding.

The Major Players

“What defines a hybrid publisher is not being made clear, and I am not sure that it can be, [but] when I look at what defines a hybrid publisher, [I see] a level of curation,” publishing industry consultant Jane Friedman says. “Not everyone who walks through the door can get published.”

Amy Edelman, president and founder of IndieReader, says the “better” hybrid publishers are the ones that “vet the books before agreeing to take them on.” She Writes Press, Evolved Publishing, EverAfter, and Inkshares follow this model, though they all operate very differently from one another. SWP, which publishes books for, by, and about women, charges a fee of $4,900 per title for a bundle of services that includes distribution, e-book file preparation and upload, proofreading, and custom design, among other services. Authors retain 60% of the net profits on print books and close to 80% of the net profits on e-books.

“Our authors pay, but they have creative control and keep more of the financial reward by getting most of their royalties,” says Crystal Patriarche, CEO of SWP and its parent company, SparkPoint Studio, adding that authors also go on national press tours twice per year and have access to webinars and other educational tools. They are strongly encouraged to hire publicists, either on their own or through BookSparks, SWP’s sister public relations company under the SparkPoint umbrella.

With Evolved, which publishes mostly fiction and some nonfiction, authors are not required to pay an up-front fee, though they can pay for services such as editing or cover art, enabling them to maximize their retailer royalty rates, which are up to 81%. “We pride ourselves on offering the highest royalty rates in the business, but authors must recognize that this comes with trade-offs,” says Dave Lane, managing publisher and editor. “We offer print books, but we utilize the print-on-demand services of Lightning Source. As a division of Ingram, they’re able to make our books available everywhere in the world, and their quality levels are good, [but] those print books do not go into broad distribution in the way they would with a traditional publisher.”

EverAfter, which publishes romance titles exclusively, works with authors in a variety of ways, including bringing successfully self-published e-book authors to the print market. “Last July we launched a program where we put authors’ books into traditional print distribution with active sales representation for select titles,” says Mary Cummings, v-p and director of business development at Diversion Books, EverAfter’s parent company. “No matter how successful a romance author is in the digital space, print is a different animal, so we also work with these authors on strategy, marketing, and publicity in order to optimize their sales in print formats. We approach these distribution relationships with the perspective of a traditional publisher, so we aim to add as much as we can to the conversation along the way. We also offer à la carte services, from design to publicity, to authors that want them.”

Inkshares, which focuses primarily on SF and fantasy titles, runs on crowdfunding. Authors, who pay no fees, are tasked with generating a following in the Inkshares community and can have their books published by Inkshares once they have scored at least 250 preorders.

“Once a book hits its goal, we work like a traditional publisher,” says Jeremy Thomas, CEO and cofounder of Inkshares. “We have a deal with Ingram distribution services that can get books into bookstores.”

Crash Course in Publishing

For many authors, the value of working with hybrid publishers rather than self-publishing is clear. There’s support, community, and the sense that the publisher believes in the work. But would any author choose a hybrid over a traditional publisher? It happens.

“[SWP] has authors who have several books out by a traditional publisher who want something new but don’t want to be on their own [as self-publishers],” Patriarche says. One distinct benefit that authors see, particularly with SWP, is a transparent process through which they can learn about book publishing.

SWP author Kristen Harnisch calls it a “crash course in publishing.” “Because I’m fronting the money and making most of the decisions, I’ve learned about editing, proofreading, printing, cover design, marketing, and distribution and now share these insights with authors at writers’ conferences,” she says. “Hybrid publishing has also given me more time to make my debut novel a success—a year or more—which is not the standard in traditional publishing.”

Jill G. Hall, who chose to publish her first novel with SWP, went the hybrid route in part because she felt that, at the age of 60, her “chances of getting picked up by a [traditional publisher] were slim.” Moreover, Hall didn’t want to lose control of her work.

“I have strong organizational skills, am a go-getter, and like being in charge,” Hall says. “I love to learn new things and found it an exciting challenge to learn the ins and outs of book marketing.”

A Tough Sell to Bookstores

Hybrid publishing does have its drawbacks and is assuredly not for everybody. Jordan Rosenfeld, who has published several books on her own, as well as with traditional presses and the hybrid publisher Booktrope, which closes May 31, enjoyed having a collaborative team backing her project, but says she is now “on the fence” about hybrids.

“I think that the best use of a hybrid publisher is for authors who want to write a series and can churn out a lot of books,” Rosenfeld says, “I think for one-off books, you’re better off trying to get a traditional publisher with some marketing budget.”

Authors who are keen on getting books into the hands of readers should by all means consider hybrid publishers, but authors who want to get their books into bricks-and-mortar stores should be aware of the model’s inherent challenges. A hybrid publisher that has access to bookstore distribution is promising, but the truth of the matter is that getting an indie book on shelves is “difficult and expensive,” IndieReader’s Edelman says.

Hall says the only thing that she didn’t like about hybrid publishing was the lack of interest from bookstores. “Many people and bookstores had never heard of SWP or the hybrid model before,” Hall says. “Since my novel wasn’t traditionally published, they looked down their noses at my book because they felt it wouldn’t be very high quality, [but] readers have given me great feedback, and that’s what matters most to me.”


Ten rules for writing fiction (part two)

1 Are you serious about this? Then get an accountant.

2 Read Becoming a Writer, by Dorothea Brande. Then do what it says, including the tasks you think are impossible. You will particularly hate the advice to write first thing in the morning, but if you can manage it, it might well be the best thing you ever do for yourself. This book is about becoming a writer from the inside out. Many later advice manuals derive from it. You don’t ­really need any others, though if you want to boost your confidence, “how to” books seldom do any harm. You can kick-start a whole book with some little writing exercise.

3 Write a book you’d like to read. If you wouldn’t read it, why would anybody else? Don’t write for a perceived audience or market. It may well have vanished by the time your book’s ready.

4 If you have a good story idea, don’t assume it must form a prose narrative. It may work better as a play, a screenplay or a poem. Be flexible.

5 Be aware that anything that appears before “Chapter One” may be skipped. Don’t put your vital clue there.

6 First paragraphs can often be struck out. Are you performing a haka, or just shuffling your feet?

7 Concentrate your narrative energy on the point of change. This is especially important for historical fiction. When your character is new to a place, or things alter around them, that’s the point to step back and fill in the details of their world. People don’t notice their everyday surroundings and daily routine, so when writers describe them it can sound as if they’re trying too hard to instruct the reader.


8 Description must work for its place. It can’t be simply ornamental. It ­usually works best if it has a human element; it is more effective if it comes from an implied viewpoint, rather than from the eye of God. If description is coloured by the viewpoint of the character who is doing the noticing, it becomes, in effect, part of character definition and part of the action.

9 If you get stuck, get away from your desk. Take a walk, take a bath, go to sleep, make a pie, draw, listen to ­music, meditate, exercise; whatever you do, don’t just stick there scowling at the problem. But don’t make telephone calls or go to a party; if you do, other people’s words will pour in where your lost words should be. Open a gap for them, create a space. Be patient.

10 Be ready for anything. Each new story has different demands and may throw up reasons to break these and all other rules. Except number one: you can’t give your soul to literature if you’re thinking about income tax.

Michael Moorcock

My first rule was given to me by TH White, author of The Sword in the Stone and other Arthurian fantasies and was: Read. Read everything you can lay hands on. I always advise people who want to write a fantasy or science fiction or romance to stop reading everything in those genres and start reading everything else from Bunyan to Byatt.

2 Find an author you admire (mine was Conrad) and copy their plots and characters in order to tell your own story, just as people learn to draw and paint by copying the masters.

3 Introduce your main characters and themes in the first third of your novel.

4 If you are writing a plot-driven genre novel make sure all your major themes/plot elements are introduced in the first third, which you can call the introduction.


5 Develop your themes and characters in your second third, the development.

6 Resolve your themes, mysteries and so on in the final third, the resolution.

7 For a good melodrama study the famous “Lester Dent master plot formula” which you can find online. It was written to show how to write a short story for the pulps, but can be adapted successfully for most stories of any length or genre.

8 If possible have something going on while you have your characters delivering exposition or philosophising. This helps retain dramatic tension.

9 Carrot and stick – have protagonists pursued (by an obsession or a villain) and pursuing (idea, object, person, mystery).

10 Ignore all proferred rules and create your own, suitable for what you want to say.

Michael Morpurgo

1 The prerequisite for me is to keep my well of ideas full. This means living as full and varied a life as possible, to have my antennae out all the time.

2 Ted Hughes gave me this advice and it works wonders: record moments, fleeting impressions, overheard dialogue, your own sadnesses and bewilderments and joys.

3 A notion for a story is for me a confluence of real events, historical perhaps, or from my own memory to create an exciting fusion.

It is the gestation time which counts.

5 Once the skeleton of the story is ready I begin talking about it, mostly to Clare, my wife, sounding her out.

6 By the time I sit down and face the blank page I am raring to go. I tell it as if I’m talking to my best friend or one of my grandchildren.

7 Once a chapter is scribbled down rough – I write very small so I don’t have to turn the page and face the next empty one – Clare puts it on the word processor, prints it out, sometimes with her own comments added.

8 When I’m deep inside a story, ­living it as I write, I honestly don’t know what will happen. I try not to dictate it, not to play God.

9 Once the book is finished in its first draft, I read it out loud to myself. How it sounds is hugely important.

10 With all editing, no matter how sensitive – and I’ve been very lucky here – I react sulkily at first, but then I settle down and get on with it, and a year later I have my book in my hand.

Andrew Motion


1 Decide when in the day (or night) it best suits you to write, and organise your life accordingly.

2 Think with your senses as well as your brain.

3 Honour the miraculousness of the ordinary.

4 Lock different characters/elements in a room and tell them to get on.

5 Remember there is no such thing as nonsense.

6 Bear in mind Wilde’s dictum that “only mediocrities develop” – and ­challenge it.

7 Let your work stand before deciding whether or not to serve.

8 Think big and stay particular.

9 Write for tomorrow, not for today.

10 Work hard.

Joyce Carol Oates

Don’t try to anticipate an “ideal reader” – there may be one, but he/she is reading someone else.

2 Don’t try to anticipate an “ideal reader” – except for yourself perhaps, sometime in the future.

3 Be your own editor/critic. Sympathetic but merciless!

4 Unless you are writing something very avant-garde – all gnarled, snarled and “obscure” – be alert for possibilities of paragraphing.

5 Unless you are writing something very post-modernist – self-conscious, self-reflexive and “provocative” – be alert for possibilities of using plain familiar words in place of polysyllabic “big” words.

6 Keep in mind Oscar Wilde: “A little sincerity is a dangerous thing, and a great deal of it is absolutely fatal.”

7 Keep a light, hopeful heart. But ­expect the worst.

Annie Proulx

1 Proceed slowly and take care.

2 To ensure that you proceed slowly, write by hand.

3 Write slowly and by hand only about subjects that interest you.

4 Develop craftsmanship through years of wide reading.

5 Rewrite and edit until you achieve the most felicitous phrase/sentence/paragraph/page/story/chapter.


Vampyre New Moon Coming Soon

Available on amazon, kobo, iTunes, Barnes & Noble October 31, I will post more info on this novella in the next week or two.  More of my books can be found on the same sights. 


Publishers rejected me, but I went on to earn six-figures selling 1,000 books a day

Millions dream of quitting the grind and replacing their income through a rewarding, creative endeavor.

And what could be simpler – and more glamorous – than writing a bestselling novel?

After years of not knowing how the next month’s bill would be paid, thriller writer Mark Edwards is among a new and growing elite of high-earning authors who broke away from traditional publishing routes and self-published online.

His seventh solo book, The Lucky Ones, realized this week, comes five years after he walked out the last in a succession of dead-end jobs that included manning customer complaints line for a rail company.

The average British author earns just £12,500 a year, according to the Society of Editors, while Mr Edwards now takes home a comfortable five-figure income.

And the advent of ebooks played a major part in his success.

“When I started writing at 23 and trying to get published, no-one had heard of Amazon”, says Mr Edwards, now 46.

“I wrote four or five novels over the next five years and spent all that time trying to get an agent. The internet barely existed. You had to buy the Writers’ and Artists’ Handbook and write to every agent with a synopsis and the first three chapters with a stamped address envelope.


“You be constantly getting these brown envelopes coming back, thudding onto your doorstep with rejection slips.”

Then, as today, writers need agents to put their work in front of the publishers who hold the keys to bookshops. He eventually got an agent in the late Nineties but it was the first of many false dawns. By 2001 he still didn’t have a book deal, had been “dumped” by the agent and was back to square one.

But his luck looked to have turned when the BBC bought the “option” on Killing Cupid, a new novel he’d co-written with Louise Voss, a long-time collaborator. This meant the broadcaster had the rights to turn the book into a television drama.

“They paid us a small amount, about £2,000, but it was the first money I’d ever earned from writing”, he says.

“But the BBC option never came to anything, as happens to 99pc of these things.”

All this time Mr Edwards was juggling writing in his spare time with a full-time job. First at the Child Support Agency – a now defunct Government body that dealt with child maintenance – and then at Connex, the predecessor to the South Eastern rail franchise.


“I was working on customer services, it was dreadful”, he remembers.

“I was on the phone all day being shouted at by commuters and answering complaint letters which always contained the phrase ‘beyond the wit of man’”.

“But the thing was these were the kind of jobs where you didn’t take it home with you. When I finished for the day I didn’t think about it. I was able to completely separate work and writing time. It also drove me on, I thought there must be something better than this.”

Eventually he got a job he actually liked, at a publisher in London, which presented another problem. More happy at work, he was quickly promoted and spent gradually less and less time writing.

“By 2007 I’d pretty much given up on being an author. I had a career and started having children and I didn’t have the mental energy any more. My day job and family took over my life. I thought ‘well I’ve given it my best shot, it didn’t work out’ but I could go away with some pride at having tried.”

How ebooks changed the game

Then, in 2010, Amazon launched its successful ebook reader, the Kindle, in Britain. Hundreds of thousands of new book were suddenly available far cheaper than traditional paper and hardback copies. Over a million out-of-copyright titles could also be purchased, often for pennies.


The launch fuelled a boom in self-publishing. For the first time there was a route for aspiring writers to circumvent agents and publishers and release their work at minimal cost.

Kindle Direct Publishing, the best known, gives authors two royalty options. Ebooks priced for a minimum of 99p, and less than 3 megabytes in size, earn a 35pc royalty. Or you earn 70pc royalties but the minimum price is higher, at £1.99. (See box for details).

“I read about how American authors were self-publishing and have quite a bit of success. Louise and I decided to publish Killing Cupid, the book the BBC never did anything with.

“I bought a cheap stock image and got my sister-in-law, who’s a graphic designer, to make the cover and I formatted the books myself.

“We priced it at 99p, which meant we got about 30p a copy. On day one we sold two – one to my mother-in-law and one to my boss. I spent all my spare time trying to get people interested, I was using social media and blogger, and completely neglecting my family.”

Eventually the book got into the Top 100 on the Kindle charts. At the same time the pair published another book, Catch your Death, which took off, quickly selling 1,000 copies a day. In a few months, the books were number one and two in the best-sellers’ list.


They were the first self-publishing British authors to get to the top spot on Amazon. Self-publishing was big news in 2011 and TV appearances followed. This led to a four-book deal with HarperCollins, one of the world’s largest publishers, and an advance of roughly £50,000 each.

It was then that Mr Edwards decided to take the plunge. He quit his job for good and moved out of London, to the West Midlands where property was cheaper, to focus on writing. But again the dream was derailed.

‘The bookshops were full of erotic novels’

“The summer of 2012 was probably the worst possible time to bring a book out. Bookshops were full of erotic novels trying to replicate the success of Fifty Shades of Grey and the London OIympics were on.

“The books came out and disappeared without a trace.”

By the time the third book, All Fall Down, was ready to be released the deal had turned sour.  HarperCollins told them no shops would stock the fourth book; Edwards doesn’t think they’ll ever sell enough copies to pay back the advance.

His big break in tatters, Edwards was having sleepless nights.

“I had a mortgage, two children and one more on the way and had maxed out my credit card and overdraft limit. We really were one unexpected bill from disaster.”


In one last throw of the dice he updated a book he’d started a decade a go but never finished. He calculated he needed to sell 20,000 copies of The Magpies at £1.99 to clear his debts.

“I remember lying in bed on Good Friday clicking ‘refresh’ and realising that it wasn’t working, I wasn’t going to get anywhere near the number of sales I needed”, he says.

“But suddenly things turned around. A couple of hours later I hit refresh and I could see sales coming in really fast. The book started going up the rankings. I dropped the price to 99p and it kept climbing until it was number one. It was such an incredible relief.”

At its peak, the book sold 3,000 copies a day for two months. Amazon’s own publishing company approached him and signed him to its crime and thriller brand Thomas & Mercer. Since then he’s had six solo books published and sold over two million books.

Now earning over £100,000 a year, Edwards has bought a bigger house and begun to save into a pension for the first time. He gets monthly royalties from the first four books published by Amazon but says it’s difficult to know how much he’ll be earning beyond the next year or so.


He worries that the public’s appetite for the thriller genre may be waning.

“I never feel like I can rest on my laurels. I’ve seen it go wrong before so I’m determined to keep working, hopefully for ever.”

Mark Edwards’ latest book – The Lucky Ones – is published this week. A psychological thriller set in Shropshire, it follows a detective on the case of a serial killer whose victims die smiling. 


Why Nonfiction Audiobooks Are The Perfect Choice For First-Time Listeners

Before I started listening to audiobooks, I will admit, I was a bit skeptical of the idea. A hardcore bibliophile, I have always felt a certain attachment to physical books, but once I tried listening to my first nonfiction audiobook, I was obsessed. If you have never tried this kind of “reading,” nonfiction audiobooks just may be the genre that gets you hooked.

Audiobook listening is a unique way to experience a book that is not only convenient for the reader on the go, but enriching to anyone who wants to be told a story the good old-fashioned way: out loud. Whether you’re listening to a novel narrated by your favorite actor or a memoir read by the writer herself, audiobooks give you a new way to connect with your subject matter and the story itself.


Like traditional reading, audiobooks are amazing across genres, but when it comes to the best audiobook listening, there are even more benefits when the genre is nonfiction. Nonfiction is a broad genre, and under it’s bookish umbrella you can find everything from memoirs and biographies to historical and scientific writing.  So whether you’re trying to learn about a new topic, understand another language, or get through a difficult read on an intimidating subject, audiobooks are there to help you understand and enjoy.

A lot of people avoid nonfiction books in favor of fiction for fear that nonfiction is dull, boring, or hard. As a huge nonfiction reader, I can tell you firsthand that the genre has plenty of excitement, emotion, and interesting action to keep any reader interested. But, if you are still worried that a nonfiction book on World War II will be too tedious to get through, audiobooks may just be your new best friend.

With an audiobook, narrators help enhance the story in new and exciting ways that simply reading words on a page can’t do. By using interesting tones and audible emphasis, or incorporating addition audio clips and other voices and even other actors, audiobook narrators have the power to to turn even the most mundane chapters into engaging story hours just like that.


How to Become an Amazon Best Selling Author

Research other titles in your book’s genre among books that are on the Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store list. To find a Kindle book’s sales rank on Amazon – scroll down and look for “Product Information.” If the book is in the “top 100” it will be given a sales rank for its categories. If it’s not in the top 100 no sales rank will appear in “Product Information.”

Notice whether the top books in your book category all contain the same “keyword” or phrase. Use the Amazon “type ahead” feature (the search bar on their site) and type in your key word or phrase and you’ll notice how it “types ahead” suggesting book titles for you. “Type ahead” phrases result from many people searching for a particular title. Incorporate that phrase or keyword into your title and your book will be found more easily on Amazon.

2. Have your book professionally edited.

Books full of typos, awkward sentences and grammatical errors are returned for a refund more often. Amazon rarely questions a return so do whatever you can to avoid that. The money you spend on professional editing is well worth it.

3. Pay to have your book formatted properly.

Amazon Kindle books look best with “Mobi” formatting. While you can upload a book to Kindle in a Word document it may not lay out properly, so do not skimp on paying to have your book formatted.

4. Create an attractive cover.

People do judge a book by its cover. When you go on Amazon the first thing to attract your attention is the cover. To create a good cover, spend some time browsing books in the same genre as your book. Pick the top 10 or 15 selling books and study their covers. Look at the typography, the layout and the color choices and take notes. You’ll come away with some excellent ideas for your own book.

5. Choose the right category for your book.

Categorizing books lets readers search for the topics they are interested in. Amazon leaves it to you to categorize your book when you upload it to your Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) account.

To help readers find your book ask yourself this question, “If I were looking for my book, what categories would I look under?” Then list all the categories you think your book might fit into.

Next, research the top ten to 20 books selling on Amazon which are like yours. Check out how they categorized their books under “Product Information” and categorize yours similarly. Amazon allows you to choose two category paths. Make sure you take advantage of this and fill in both.

Drill down on the categories so that your book will stand out among its competition. For example, if you write a self-help book – don’t end the category path at “self-help.” What else is your book about? Add another related category sub-path beyond “self-help” to your book and then another until you’ve covered every possible sub-genre to your book might be searched for under.

6. Pick the right keywords.

When you upload your book to KDP you are given up to seven keywords or phrases to use for your book. Do your homework by researching keywords and phrases that people might search under to find your book. And do make sure to use all seven!

Use the type ahead feature on Amazon to see if any of the keywords or phrases you have in mind come up. Use the ones that come up on Amazon as they directly relate to on-site searches for books.

Check out popular keyword searches on Google AdWords too but, use these only if necessary after you’ve exhausted all the keywords and phrases you found on Amazon first. Amazon is its own search engine so when you identify a keyword or phrase on Amazon it is showing up because it is a popular search – so use it. (You can also go back and change keywords. This allows you to experiment with what works best for finding your book.)

7. Write a good description.

Amazon gives you up to 3000 words to write a description. Use as many words as necessary to write a compelling description for your book. This is your book’s “sales page” so put on your copywriting hat when you write it.

8. Price it right.

People will not buy an overpriced digital book unless you are a famous author. If your book is less than 100 pages don’t price yourself out of a sale by listing it at the top price range ($9.99) for getting a 70 percent royalty on Amazon.

After playing around with the pricing on my books I found that, “less is more” in terms of book sales.

9. To give your book away or to not give your book away – that is the question.

Amazon has a program called Kindle Select. You enroll your book for 90 days at a time. You cannot be selling this book on any other websites including your own during the time your book is enrolled.

Enrolling your book in KDP Select allows “borrowing” of your book for free by Amazon Prime members. It also gives you the option of choosing 5 days out of the 90 days your book is enrolled to give your book away for free.

I enrolled my second book in KDP and gave away 464 free copies over two days. The book also rose to #1 in Free books in the Kindle store but, as soon as it wasn’t free it quickly sank right off the best-selling list. Before I gave it away for free the book was selling just fine and consistently ranking between #10 -20. It took nearly two weeks for it to rise back up again and to re-appear on the best-selling list.

My theory is that I saturated my market too quickly. I’m not likely to give my book away for free again. You may feel differently though and you should experiment with this. Some people love it and rave about it. If you are using your book to develop leads for your business and not to create passive income then definitely go for it. “Free” does sell.

10. Get reviews.

Give your book out to people and ask them to read it and please put a review on Amazon. Amazon reviews do help sell your books. Never ever pay for reviews. All reviews must be genuine and come from the heart of your reader.

11. Promote your book!

Display your book prominently on your blog. Write posts related to your book’s topic where you can showcase the book. Link to your book on Amazon and put that link in your posts. Start a fan page on Facebook and promote your book there. If your book is selling – thank buyers by tweeting on Twitter and a posting on Facebook. If your book hits the best-selling list – announce it on Facebook and Tweet about it. You’ve got to create your own buzz.

Organize a virtual book tour where your blogging friends can interview you about the book or review the book. Write guest posts related to your book’s topic and mention the book in your post.

Always keep your eyes open for ways to get publicity for your book. Offer to giveaway the PDF of the book to a reader who leaves the best comment about why they want to read the book and has shared the book on social media.

These are the strategies I use and they are working – and with a little effort and planning they can work for your book too. Here’s to seeing your book on the Amazon Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store List!


Apple updates iBooks Author with wide color gamut support

Images can now make use of the wide color gamut found on recent Macs, iPhones, and iPads, Apple said in iTunes release notes. The company has also made it possible to import images and videos from Photos via the Media Browser or drag-and-drop.

The software also includes unspecified “performance and stability improvements.” iBooks Author is a free download, and runs on Macs with OS X 10.11 or better.

The release coincides with the launch of macOS High Sierra, though it doesn’t explicitly take advantage of new technology. High Sierra mainly adds support for standards like HEVC video, HEIF images, Metal 2 graphics rendering, and the Apple File System that originally debuted on iOS. It also includes improvements to apps like Safari and Photos, which might have warranted the iBooks Author changes.


Audible for Fire TV Now Available

Amazon has just released an official Audible Audiobook app for the Fire TV and Fire TV Stick. This will allow users to access their existing digital catalog and make purchases. There are free samples for every title available and they can be listened directly within the app.

Audible for Fire TV includes 180,000+ best sellers, new releases sci-fi, romances, mysteries, classics, and more. New users can get a free 30 day trial, where they can access to one free title. Existing subscribers can import their entire audiobook collection within the Fire TV app or browse the store and use a credit to get an title they want.

Ever since the Fire TV first got released, users have been begging for an official Audible app. It is now available as a free download. Sometime in the next few weeks Amazon will be releasing two new Fire TV models.


Showtime acquires rights to Bill Clinton-James Patterson novel ‘The President Is Missing’

The premium cable network announced Friday that is has acquired the rights to adapt “The President Is Missing,” the upcoming novel by former President Clinton and James Patterson.

The thriller, which is be published in June 2018, tells the story of a sitting U.S. president’s disappearance.

According to the Associated Press, Showtime won a bidding war to develop the thriller for television. The network’s affiliation with CBS and its boss, Les Moonves, helped seal the deal. Moonves knows Clinton, and Patterson has worked on the broadcaster’s “Zoo” and “Instinct” series.

Clinton will provide unique insights and “the level of detail that only someone who has held the office can know,” Showtime said. The fictional work brings to life the “pressures and realities of the most important position in the world.”

“I’m really enjoying writing this book and working with Jim,” Clinton said in a statement. “And I can’t wait to see Showtime bring the characters to life.”

Showtime President and CEO David Nevins said developing the adaptation “is a coup of the highest order.”

“The pairing of President Clinton with fiction’s most gripping storyteller promises a kinetic experience, one that the book world has salivated over for months and that now will dovetail perfectly into a politically relevant, character-based action series for our network,” he said.

Patterson, who has sold more than 380 million books worldwide during his decades-long career, said Clinton’s involvement in the novel provides “rich storytelling opportunities for this series.”

The 42nd president has authored several nonfiction books, but “The President Is Missing” is his first novel and marks the first time an American president has ever coauthored a thriller. The book is to be published jointly by Alfred A. Knopf and Little, Brown and Co.


Adidas Wilson – Author and Motivator

George R.R. Martin is “co-creating” Bryan Cogman’s Game of Thrones prequel

Earlier this week, news broke longtime Game of Thrones staff writer Bryan Cogman would be developing his own Game of Thrones prequel series. That’s in addition to the other four writers already working on prequel shows, bringing the total number currently in development up to five.

Of all the writers involved in these projects, Cogman has the most Thrones experience, and the most face-time with Song of Ice and Fire creator George R.R. Martin. Martin weighed in on the news on his Not a Blog.

Bryan Cogman should need no introduction for any GAME OF THRONES fan. He’s been part of the show since the beginning… since before the beginning, actually, since he was first hired as assistant to David Benioff and D.B Weiss way before the series got on the air, before even the pilot had been filmed. From those humble beginnings, he advanced to staff writer, to story editor, to co-producer and producer and supervising producer.

Martin went on to praise Cogman’s work (Cogman wrote episodes such as “Kissed by Fire,” The Laws of Gods and Men,” and “Stormborn”) on the show, noting that Cogman has become the “‘Keeper of the Lore,’ the guy who knew the canon better than anyone (except me, though sometimes I am not even sure of that).” High praise from the man who created the novels on which the series is based.


As for what Cogman’s project will cover, Martin was characteristically short on the details, though he did tease that “Bryan’s series will be an adaptation, and one that will thrill most fans of the books, I think, set during a very exciting period of Westerosi history.” Is there a boring part of Westerosi history?

Martin is involved in all of the prequel projects, which include shows developed by Jane Goldman, Brian Helgeland, Max Borenstein and Carly Wray. However, he admitted that he’ll be working with “some more closely than others.” But by the sound of it, Cogman will be enjoying his full cooperation. “I’ll be working with him every step of the way; we’re going to be co-creating the show.”

Martin did caution that not all five of the prequel projects will make it to air. “[B]ut we could possibly see two or even three make it to the pilot stage, with one series emerging on air in 2019 or 2020.” And that’s his best guess — he stresses that no one knows for sure.


Adult Coloring Book for Stress Relief: Gardens, Mandalas, Flowers, Butterflies, Animals and Owls

77 Mixed patterns to color. This adult coloring book has over 77 animal patterns and provides hours of stress relief through creative expression. It features small and big creatures from forests, oceans, birds, elephants, mandalas, owls. Designs range in complexity and detail from beginner to expert-level. Adidas Wilson public Facebook page.

33 Strategies of Kama Sutra: Make Her Scream – Last Longer, Come Harder, And Be The Best She’s Ever Had

Among the most vulnerable things that can wear out with time is intimacy. Most couples go through difficult times and commitments that take a toll on their intimacy. In most cases, when affection wears among lovers, one person is usually affected than the other. If any of the partners does not take the initiative to restore intimacy into the relationship, chances are your relationship will end up breaking as one or both of you seek intimacy from outside.

It is believed that the human body is a small atomic factory where chemical elements needed in the body are continually manufactured using low quantities of energy. Besides, there is also the production of energy sufficient for extraordinary phenomena. These include higher states of consciousness, paranormal abilities, sublimation of particular energies and higher intelligence. Others are elevated levels of happiness and euphoria, to mention just a few.

If you can move into lovemaking totally the ego disappears, because at the highest peak, at the highest climax of lovemaking, you are pure energy.


Amazon’s Kindle Fire 10 Tablet Gets A Major Upgrade, And A Price Cut

Amazon has been trying to get its tablets in front of everyone it can, for a simple reason: The tablets are there to sell you stuff. And now Amazon is sweetening the deal with an enormous upgrade, and a price cut to go with it.

The Fire 10 is getting a complete overhaul on October 11th, with a quad-core processor, a battery that now lasts 10 hours, doubled storage with 32GB now standard, and a 1080p display. It also will come with “hands-free” Alexa functionality, and can serve as an add-on screen for your Echo, tracking timers and the like. Most notable, though, is all this is a lot cheaper; the previous Fire 10 was $230, and this one will start at $150. Yes, the price dropped by nearly a third. That more or less makes this the best tablet in that price range.

That said, there are trade-offs. The $150 model comes with “special offers” (that is, there are ads) that you can remove with a one-time $15 fee. It also features Amazon’s version of Android, which locks you out from Google’s app ecosystem in favor of Amazon’s, so if you were buying your music via Google Play or iTunes, you’ll be out of luck, unless you want to install a tedious workaround. That said, if you’re heavily invested in Amazon, or just want a large screen for your Amazon media, the Kindle Fire 10 just became a lot more viable.

(via The Verge)

Differences Between a Short Story, Novelette, Novella, & a Novel

The Difference Between Stories, Novelettes, Novellas, and Novels

When I first started writing professionally, there were a lot of basic questions in my mind, one of which was, What are the major differences between a short story, novelette, novella, and a novel?

Novellas and novelettes might not be very common, but we often see short stories and novels. Knowing the differences, however, is still important. Although they are all works of fiction, each type has its own purpose. In this article, I will try to put light on some of the major differences between flash fiction, short story, novelette, novella, and a novel. 

Beginners will find this very helpful in their writing journey. Apart from some of the basic differences in terms of word count, you will also learn a few technical points that differentiate these works of fiction.

Flash Fiction: 53 – 1,000 words

Short Stories: 3,500 – 7,500

Novellettes: 7,500 – 17,000

Novellas: 17,000 – 40,000

Novels: 40,000 + words

What Is Flash Fiction?

53 – 1,000 Words

Flash fiction (also known as short, short stories, micro fiction, or postcard fiction) are stories that take pride in their extreme brevity: some works of flash fiction have only 53 words, while others have 1,000. These works used to be referred to as “short short stories” until around the turn of the century (the year 2000), when the term “flash fiction” became the norm.

What Is a Short Story?

3,500 – 7,500 Words

The most important difference between a short story, novelette, novella, and a novel is the word count. An average short story usually has at least 3,500 words and no more than 7,500. Traditionally, short stories were meant to be read in a single sitting. They are usually published individually in magazines and then collected and published in anthologies.

A short story is one of the most common forms of writing. It is often used to describe a single event, a single episode, or a tale of one particular character. A short story does not usually involve major twists and conflicts, and involvement of various sub-plots and multiple characters is not common. A short story is basically fictional prose, written in a narrative style. However, the narrative style may either be first person or third, or whichever the author chooses.

What Is a Novelette?

7,500 – 17,000 Words

A novelette is also a narrative fictional prose. Back in the day, the term “novelette” referred to a story that was romantic or sentimental in character. To be honest, in modern times, the term is rarely used, and novelettes are rarely published singly.

A novelette is longer than a short story, but shorter than a novella. The word count is usually between 7,500 words to 17,500 words.

What Is a Novella?

17,000 – 40,000 Words

Novellas were first introduced in the early Renaissance (1300s), but their genre did not become firmly established until the late 18th and early 19th century. A novella is longer than a novelette and is sometimes called a long short story or a short novel. Although in the past, novellas were commonly written and published, and some to great acclaim (A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess and The Metamorphosis by Kafka, for example), these days it is considered to be an awkward length and it may be more difficult to get a novella published.

It can involve multiple sub-plots, twists, and characters. Its length constraints mean you’ll find fewer conflicts in a novella than you will in a novel, but there will also be more nuance and complication than you’ll find in a short story. Novellas are more often focused on one character’s personal and emotional development rather than with large-scale issues. In the past, the novella was often written with a satirical, moral, or educational purpose in mind. Therefore, it usually depicts the tale or story of a single character, but as I mentioned, it can involve multiple characters. Unlike novels, novellas are usually not divided into chapters, and like short stories, they are often meant to be read in one sitting.

What Is a Novel?

40,000+ Words

The novel is one of the more common works of fiction that we encounter. A novel often involves multiple major characters, sub-plots, conflicts, points of view, and twists. Due to its considerable length, a novel is meant to be read over a period of days. The plot moves forward through many characters, actions, thoughts, time periods, and situations. The reader often feels that the story deviates and is affected by the involvement of different sub-stories and sub-plots, by the passage of time, or by the involvement of new important characters– this is considered the real beauty of a novel.

The word count of a novel is really debatable. This is because different genres have different requirements. However, a novel is usually no shorter than 40,000 words. For modern publication, editors often consider a novel one which is spread over 80,000 – 120,000 words. Romance novels, however, can be shorter than that. On the other hand, a fantasy, horror, and science fiction usually see works of greater lengths. The word count for fantasy novels often touch the 240,000 mark. Some famous books, like the Lord of the Rings series, are famous for containing so many words. The Harry Potter series has 1,084,170 words; Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenixitself has 257,045 words.


Self Publishing : The Secret Guide To Writing And Marketing A Best Seller

Publishing your own eBook has never been a walk in the park, but it has been easier by the availability of services, platforms and tools. With so many options for self-publishers to choose from, authors should be sure to position themselves in such a way to reach a maximum audience.

Book Includes:
1. How to Self-Publish
2. Guest blogging to Promote Your Book
3. A Guide to Amazon Book Reviews
4. How Indie Authors Can Create Super fans
5. How to Market Your Book
6. Tips to Creating Best Selling Book Ideas
7. Email List
8. Book Landing Page
9. Write a Nonfiction EBook
10. How Long Should Your EBook Be?
11. Finding a Niche as a Self-Publisher
12. Marketing Video for your Book
13. Mistakes Self-Publishers make on Book Covers
14. Why Self-Published Books Don’t Sell
15. Hybrid Publishing
16. A Complete Guide to Ghostwriting
17. Evernote an Essential Tool for Writers
18. Book Publishers and Subscriptions
19. Find Readers That Love Your Work
20. Kobo Writing Life
21. Choosing the Best eBook Publishing Platform
22. Pronoun for Self-Publishing
23. Self-Publishing on Amazon
24. How Should You Price Your EBook
25. Word Count for Your Self-Published Novel
26. Before You Self-Publish a Chapbook, Poetry Book, or Collection of Poems
27. Getting Book Bloggers to Review Your Book
28. Book Trailers
29. Ins And Outs of Copyright
30. Facing Critics
31. The Art of Kindle Keywords
32. It’s Time to Get a Literary Agent
33. How to Start a Book Publishing Company
34. Write a Compelling Author Bio
35. Give Your Book a Title That Sells
36. Apple’s iBook store
37. Conclusion

Amazon targets abuse of Kindle e-book platform to increase reviews, royalties is cracking down on people who manipulate its e-book self-publishing platform, a move that follows the e-commerce giant’s effort to better police its product reviews.

The Seattle company this week filed five complaints with a private arbitration service, seeking orders barring specific users of its Kindle e-book platform from trying to manipulate the system for financial gains.


Among Amazon’s contentions: Users posted fake reviews and offered for sale duplicate copies of books to boost a publisher’s rating, and some people sold “click farming” services to authors in a bid to artificially inflate readership totals and royalty payouts.


Amazon has created vast marketplaces for goods, primarily through its eponymous online store that hosts its own sales as well as listings from other companies. The company counts on its related reviews and product rankings to boost the legitimacy of its site in the eyes of consumers.

Worried about the corrosive impact of fake product reviews, Amazon since 2015 has been cracking down on reviews it believes are illegitimate.

Critics have for years have also complained that Kindle’s self-publishing apparatus was being abused.

In a statement, an Amazon spokesman said a “small minority” of Kindle self-publishers “engage in fraud to gain an unfair competitive advantage.”


Amazon allows anyone to self publish e-books through its Kindle Direct Publishing platform.

Authors can select a specific price to set their book for sale, or opt into programs that let users who pay a monthly fee read an unlimited selection of books, or, in the case of the Amazon Prime membership program, read books from a selection in a digital lending library.

Self-published authors who participate in the free reading programs are paid from a royalty fund that Amazon gathers monthly, with payouts varying based on the number of readers each book earns.


Kobo adds audiobooks along with an Audible-like subscription

Kobo is finally getting into the audiobooks biz. The Canadian company has added audiobooks to its offerings and already has an extensive catalogue sell, including bestsellers like the Harry Potter series. Even better, it has launched $10-per-month Audible-like subscription service, which sounds like a good deal if you regularly purchase audiobooks.


The service gives you credits you can use to get any title from, even if its list price costs more than what you paid. You get a free 30-day trial period, so you can check out how it works before committing. But if you know you can go through a single audiobook real fast, you can also just straight up buy a three-pack credit for $30 and keep up to 24 credits in your subscription account.


You can find any audiobook and ebook you buy in one place within Kobo’s iOS and Android apps. Once you’ve chosen what to listen to, the apps’ built-in player will give you the power to choose your preferred narration speed. You can also see how much time you have left and program it to switch off after a certain amount of time if you tend to listen to your books in bed.


Kobo CEO Michael Tamblyn says the company decided to get into audiobooks, since “We have more books than time, always. Audiobooks let [the company’s] readers fit the books they love into more parts of their day.” In case you can’t find what you’re looking for in Kobo’s current catalogue, don’t worry: the e-book maker promises to add more titles every week. But if browsing through what’s available gets a bit overwhelming, you can always check out the personalized recommendations based on your previous e-book purchases. In addition to the US, Kobo’s audiobooks subscription offering is now also available in Canada ($13/mo), the UK (£6.99/mo), Australia ($13/mo) and New Zealand ($14/mo).


Barnes and Noble Nook Press is Purging Erotica Titles

Barnes and Noble Nook Press is a self-publishing solution for indie authors. The bookseller has changed their policy agreement and has begun to suspend accounts and purge all erotica titles from their system. 50,000 titles have been removed in the last 24 hours,  some of them are written by best selling romance authors.


The Nook Press Policy Agreement was recently amended to make hardcore erotica titles a violation. On August 21st 2017 the following email was sent out to a few hundred authors “Your NOOK Press account has been placed on hold and all of your NOOK Books are currently unavailable for sale from the NOOK Bookstore because there is a business concern with your account. Please email us using this form for information on why your account has been placed on hold and to discuss any necessary next steps to reactivate your account.”

On August 26th another email was sent out to not only the authors who received the first one, but many who published romance books. “We have determined that many of your titles available for sale are in violation of our Content Policy. Accordingly, the offending titles have been removed from sale and your account is being terminated. We will pay out any and all outstanding royalties during the next payment period. If you attempt to publish similar content under a different account, we will terminate that account as well and withhold royalties from those sales.”

A number of authors who’ve received the notices have taken to social media to vent their frustrations. In a blog post about the situation author Georgette St. Clair said she would have acted to conform to the content policy, had she known it was needed. She writes: “I have never gotten a single warning or complaint from B&N about any of these titles; if I had, I would have taken it down immediately.”

Selena Kitt, another author who complained publicly about the situation, said B&N acted “without warning” in canceling her account, and the accounts of other authors. She added that B&N’s claims that she and others had violated Nook’s content guidelines rung hollow as those guidelines were “non-existent until August 16 or so. We’ve had the same content published on their site for years.”

The new terms  are very subjective and one erotica tiltle can have your entire account suspended or terminated.  This is wide scale.


Australia Blocks Dozens of Pirate eBook Websites

Authorities in Australia have ordered internet service providers to block over 50 different piracy websites. These companies have 15 days to comply and it will be a blow to people who are downloading digital comics, ebooks, magazines and newspapers for free.

Graham Burke, Village Roadshow’s co-CEO and the head honcho of anti-piracy group Creative Content Australia (previously known as the IP Awareness Foundation), said: “This is a historic moment for Australia to have what is effectively 95% of the criminal trade blocked. The thieves who run pirate sites contribute nothing to Australia — they employ no one and pay no taxes here. Of the enormous profits they earn, not one cent goes back to the original creators of the content.”tent.”

According to TorrentFreak “Village Roadshow says it will carry through on threats to track down Australia-based Internet pirates this year and force them to pay a ‘fine’ or face court. Interestingly, anyone who is sick or in dire financial straights will only have to promise to be good in future”

Earlier in the year a new study was published that looked into the type of people who pirated books the most. The study suggests that people aged between 30 and 44 years old with a household income of between $60k and $99k are most likely to grab a book without paying for it. Overall, the majority of illegal downloaders are relatively well-educated, with more than 70% having either graduated from college or in possession of a post graduate degree. It looks like this is the demographic that is being targeted in Australia. People with enough money to pay the small fine if they get caught.



One of the best things about Amazon‘s iconic ebook reader is its ever-growing library. At last count, the Kindle Store boasted more than 6 million books, magazines, and newspapers. But you needn’t keep them all to yourself — Amazon makes it easy to share books on a Kindle with friends, family, and your closest acquaintances. It’s like the digital equivalent of lending out a hardcover, minus the coffee stains and musty binding. If there’s a con to Kindle’s book-sharing tools, however, it’s that they can be a little tricky to get the hang of. To help clear up some of the confusion, we’ve put together a guide outlining how to share books on a Kindle with other people.

If you’ve got a family of avid readers, good news: Amazon makes it pretty easy to share books with every member of your family. Family Library lets up to two adults and four children share all or some of their Kindle books, apps, and audiobooks with one another. Members can read the same book at the same time without interrupting one another’s progress, too, regardless of whether they’re using a Kindle Paperwhite, Kindle Oasis, or an outdated Kindle Fire. Plus, they can borrow books for as long as they’d like.

Sharing titles can be a bit of a process, though. Before you can begin sharing Kindle books with family, you need to grant other family members access to your Family Library. Here’s how to do it:

  • Head to the Manage Your Content and Devices section of your Amazon account.
  • Under the Settings tab, in the Households and Family Library section, click the Invite an Adult/Invite a Child button.
  • Have the other adult/child enter their Amazon email and password (if they have one), or create a new account.
  • Click Yes to allow both your account and the other adult’s/child’s account to share payment methods.
  • Choose which books you’d like to share with the other adult/child, and have the other adult/child choose which books they’d like to share with you.
  • Click Finish.

Now that you’ve added adults and kids to your Family Library and shared your previous purchases, you’re ready to begin lending new Kindle books. Here’s how:

  • Head to the Manage Your Content and Devices section of your Amazon account.
  • Select the Show Family Library link from the Your Content tab.
  • Select the book(s) you’d like to share with a family member, and then click Add to Library.
  • Choose a family member, and then click OK.


Once you’ve received a book from another family member, it’s pretty easy to get it on the device of your choice. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Head to the Manage Your Content and Devices section of your Amazon account.
  • Choose the books you’d like to send to your device or app, and click Deliver.
  • Select where the books should be sent from the pop-up menu, and then click Deliver once more.


Alexa Can Now Read Audiobooks to Your Pets So They Feel Less Lonely

On April Fools’ Day this year, Amazon spoofed itself with an introduction to PetLexa, an animal-friendly version of its Alexa voice assistant. Now, it’s actually releasing something real—audiobooks for animals.

Today, Audible announced a new brand of books with Cesar Millan, a longtime dog behaviorist and Emmy-nominated host of the TV series Dog Whisperer With Cesar Millan. The series, Audible for Dogs, aims to help make dogs “calmer and happier,” with titles such as “A Dog’s Purpose,” “Soldier Dogs” and “The Art of Racing in the Rain.”

According to Audible, the series was inspired by a 2015 academic study, which found dogs that listen to audiobooks were more likely to have lower stress when left alone than those that listened to music. When Audible teamed up with Milan’s Dog Psychology Center to study 100 dogs over four weeks, playing Audible content through Echo devices for the dogs, 76 percent of dog owners reported their pets were calmer and more relaxed after listening to the audiobooks. (Dogs reportedly responded better to books read by narrators that were the same gender as their primary owner.)

“Dogs are social animals, so they need to engage with someone, and the purpose of Audible for Dogs is to make dogs feel there is someone with them,” Millan said in a statement. “The person performing the audiobook is actually keeping your dog calm and taking the dog to a resting state, acting as an extension of you.”

It could be yet another good use for the millions of Amazon Alexa-powered Echo devices now in households around the U.S, as marketers and media companies continue developing ways to incorporate voice-activated content.

However, while dogs might appreciate the AI-powered entertainment, the series might be more comforting for humans that feel the emotional weight of leaving their four-legged friends all alone. In a new testimonial video released today by Audible, Millan talks with a woman about how the books have helped her dog, Buddy, when she’s away.


Mastering Apps: A Beginner’s Guide To Start Making Money With Apps

Communication technologies are constantly advancing to keep up with the times. Messaging apps are huge right now. Completely overtaking social media by becoming the primary way we communicate online.

When most entrepreneurs are starting out, they like to read articles on “how to make a killing with your first app,” “building the multi-billion dollar app” and most books related to this topic. They are glued to this side of the story and blinded to the other. To have your own success story you have to find out why other apps fail. The painful truth is there are more failed apps than successful ones.

Daenerys’ Dragon Will Meet an Icy Fate, According to This Tragic Fan Theory

White Walkers are a great threat to Westeros for many reasons, but one of the Night King’s scariest abilities is the power to reanimate the dead — any dead. It’s this ability that’s birthed one awful new fan theory, and unfortunately, it’s plausible.

According to YouTuber The Book of White Walkers, one of Daenerys’ dragons will die and be brought back to life by the Night King before Season 7’s end. As the theory goes, the episodes will culminate in an epic battle wherein Daenerys, Jon Snow, and others go up against the Walkers. During this battle, one of the Khaleesi’s dragons will be murdered — possibly by the Night King’s ice spear — collapsing to its death, only to be revived by said king and becoming an “Ice Dragon.” Some proponents of this theory believe Viserion will be this dragon, and that he’ll go on to shatter The Wall.

Interestingly, The Book of White Walkers has already been correct in that Thrones‘ beloved giants would be reanimated by the King. They also allege that Stannis Baratheon, who viewers assumed was dead after a brutal run-in with Brienne of Tarth in Season 6, will make a comeback… in one form or another.

In the ’80s, A Song of Ice and Fire author George R.R. Martin set the precedent for the Ice Dragon when he published a children’s book about them, aptly entitled The Ice Dragon. The book tells the story of a child who partners with an Ice Dragon to battle several Fire Dragons. Together, the two win the fight, the Ice Dragon ultimately melting away. Martin has since claimed the two universes are not the same, but it’s hard not to draw some sort of comparison when the same mythological creature is in both fictional works.

Daenerys' Dragon Will Meet an Icy Fate, According to This Tragic Fan Theory

While The Book of White Walkers takes the Ice Dragon theory in a dark direction, there are contradictory theories claiming the creatures will actually assist Jon Snow in defeating the Walkers.

Dragons are arguably the most beloved creatures in the GoT universe, so if one goes bad, there’s sure to be a coup amongst fans. Guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Game of Thrones returns to HBO August 13, 2017.


Amazon and Cesar Millan launch audiobooks for dogs

I am going to get through this without any literary dog puns. 

No, you’re not even going to bait me into suggesting that the new audiobooks for dogs series — launched on Monday by Amazon subsidiary and famed Dog Whisperer Cesar Millan — would never allow “The Great Catsby” onto its list. Nor, indeed, “The Cat of Monte Cristo.”

Instead, I’ll simple tell you that Millan believes classic works read by soothing voices will create calm for your dog while he or she is home alone. 


He insists that research proves that 76 percent of dogs who listened to great literature while their owner was absent felt calmer and behaved in a more relaxed manner.

I cannot confirm that the other 24 percent were forced to listen to “The Diversity Myth” by David O. Sacks and Peter Thiel and Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg’s “How Google Works.”

Among the titles going to the dogs in the Audible series are “The Art of Racing in the Rain” by Garth Stein, “Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood” by Trevor Noah and, of course, Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice.”

Audible insists that dogs prefer to listen to voices of the same gender and type as their “primary” owner, which might cause one or two tiffs in a loving two-person household. 

No, darling. I’m Roughshod’s primary owner. You’re just a subsidiary. Surely you see that Roughshod loves me more than you, don’t you?

The company also says that the preferred method of dissemination is an in-home listening device. Oh, this isn’t some sneaky way of selling an Amazon Echo, is it? I asked Audible whether the Echo is the best way to listen to these books. 

“Yes. Or any smart speaker,” replied a spokeswoman diplomatically.

How, though, were the books chosen? 

“We looked for consistent and soothing narrations resulting in calm, happy dogs. And we looked for titles that we knew dog owners would enjoy as well,” Audible’s chief content officer Andy Gaies told me.

An alternative, of course, is just to record yourself reading any book you like — “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” for example. Or “Lewis and Clark: A Prairie Dog for the President.”

Or would that be too much effort? After all, you might be away for 10 or 12 hours a day if you work in tech, so to have to record hours of text when you get home or at weekends might be laborious. 

Better, perhaps, if you just teach your dog to code. I hear that’s a relaxing pursuit too.


Tech Culture: From film and television to social media and games, here’s your place for the lighter side of tech.


Popularity of audiobooks rising

Audiobooks have increasingly emerged as an entertaining, easily accessible and portable option for all ages to enjoy books. Last year, the Audio Publishers Association (APA) reported more than 67 million Americans listen to audiobooks each year.

“It’s another banner year for audiobooks,” said Anthony Goff, vice president and research committee chair for the APA, and senior vice president, publisher at Hachette Audio. According to Tom Webster, vice president of strategy for Edison Research, “The audiobook market continues to grow, with more people than ever before indicating that they have listened to the medium in the past year. That growth, combined with the growth of the podcast market and the strong relationship between the two, are all part of a renaissance for spoken-word programming.”


Libraries remain major access channels and important drivers of audiobook discovery, with over a quarter of its visitors reporting borrowing from a library/library website was very important for discovering new audiobooks. The Free Library of Philadelphia is one of the most widely used educational and cultural institutions in the region and reports having over 6 million annual visitors. A patron with a valid library card can download audiobooks from OverDrive to their PC, Mac or mobile device in person at a Free Library location and online with a library card. When the audiobook is due, the patron must renew it or find it automatically “returned” in a virtual sense: The file still sits on the patron’s computer, but encryption makes it unplayable beyond the borrowing period. “The patron doesn’t have to do anything after the lending period,” said Steve Potash, chief executive of OverDrive audiobook service. “The file expires. It checks itself back into the collection. There’s no parts to lose. It’s never damaged. It can never be late.”

According to the Free Library, “cardholders can check out and download digital titles at home and on-the-go by visiting the eFreeLibrary page of the Free Library’s website. From there, they can browse and check out the growing collection of bestsellers, new releases and classic titles. Once downloaded, digital titles can be enjoyed on a computer or transported to a supported mobile device. Many audio titles can also be burned to a CD. With digital downloads, customers do not need to worry about overdue materials or late fees — at the end of the lending period, digital titles automatically expire and are returned to the digital collection.”


While the digital age may have changed how people consume books, one bestselling book has stood the test of time. Dale Carnegie’s perennial 1936 classic, “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” retains its perch as one of the most in-demand self-help books as a top-10 audiobook.



Marvel legend Stan Lee is creating an original story for Audible

Comic book fans (and comic book movie fans) are very familiar with Stan Lee, who has a cameo in pretty much every Marvel movie. Now, the legendary Marvel writer is creating yet another shared universe. Varietyexclusively reports that Stan Lee will produce a brand new book for Audible described as “Mr. Robot set in John Hughes world.”



Given that the agreement is with an audiobook company, the project will be (you guessed it) an audiobook. Stan Lee is signed on to narrate the introduction to the project. Lee, along with Ryan Silbert and Luke Liebermen, promise that this will be the beginning of an entirely new shared universe. Presumably, if this project does well, we’ll see more of it in the future.



It’s unclear whether the long-form work will later release in print form. However, seeing as Audible is owned by Amazon, which has its own publishing arm, it’s certainly a possibility.



Mastering Drones: A Beginner’s Guide To Start Making Money With Drones

The information below is the reason I wrote this book, drones will be commercialized in the future surrounding the year 2025 according to research I’ve seen. Now is the time as an entrepreneur for making money with drones. 

Commercial drones and their services are expected to become a multibillion-dollar industry in the next decade, according to a new report from market intelligence firm Tractica. The report says that in 2017, drone revenue should amount to $792 million — mostly from hardware sales. By 2025, Tractica predicts the market will rise to $12.6 billion, with two-thirds of the revenue coming from drone-based services rather than hardware. “A number of major industries are seeing strong value propositions in utilizing drones for commercial use,” says Tractica research analyst Manoj Sahi. He named media, real estate and disaster relief as just a few of the industries that could use drone-enabled services. The report says that advances in technology, economies of scale, cloud-based applications and the drive to disrupt the market will contribute to commercial drone success in the coming years.

Via GeekWire


Mastering Drones by Adidas Wilson on Amazon and ITunes

Wesley Snipes fights evil with his pen in exciting ‘Talon of God’

Got a cloaked warrior fighting evil at night and carrying one seriously epic sword? Naturally, you need Wesley Snipes involved.

Talon of God (Harper Voyager, 368 pp., *** out of four stars) isn’t a Blade movie and Snipes isn’t playing an action-film character. Instead, the actor makes his debut as a novelist with a pretty entertaining supernatural adventure about the war between angels and demons — literal and metaphorical — on the streets of Chicago.

Co-written with fellow first-timer Ray Norman, Talon centers on young ER doctor Lauryn Jefferson, recently out of med school, who’s become estranged from her strict Baptist preacher dad and rapper younger brother.

After getting off a long shift at the hospital one night, she encounters something surreal: one of her patients, a homeless man, turns into an otherworldly monster. Then the situation doubles down on the weird when a tall stranger on a motorcycle walks into her life and saves the day with old-school weaponry and holy water.

Together with her vice cop ex-boyfriend Will, Lauryn and the stoic protector named Talon unearth a plot to use a sulfur-laced drug additive laced to infect the populace of the Windy City and ready them for a mass demon possession.

Talon reveals himself to be part of an ancient sect of warriors and sees something special in Lauryn — not to mention that the substance affecting everyone else doesn’t work on her — and her initial skepticism turns to respect as the scale of the threat becomes apparent.

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Themes of faith abound through the narrative. While not a big talker in general, Talon speaks mostly in Bible verses and lines from the Gospels, and other parts of the Good Book inspire chapter titles. But Snipes is never holier-than-thou, instead weaving Christianity into the plot naturally and making it fascinating rather than sanctimonious. (The author puts a little spin on it, too, naming the book’s devilish big bad Christopher St. Luke.)


The religious bent also works well with the aspects of science and procedural storytelling. The green slime that becomes the chemical agent potentially spelling apocalyptic doom for the city fuels some of the more action-packed scenes, and turning drug addiction into a hellish outbreak is extremely effective.

With Lauryn, the novel introduces a female character who’s grounded in terms of her family and way of life but also a cool heroine with whom you’ll want to spend more time.

Snipes has been in Hollywood long enough to know he should lay track for a sequel. Lauryn acts as a counter to some of Talon’s more over-the-top elements.

Old-school fans of Passenger 57 and Demolition Man will appreciate that Snipes has just as much punch with a keyboard as with his fists, and the realm of urban fantasy has an impressive new disciple.


The Authorpreneur: 3 Paths to a Lifetime of Success

The truth is that most authors will not sell more than 500 books. Typically, their book stops selling after their family and friends have already bought it. The reality is that many authors do not have a following, which will halt the sales of their book.

An engaged following is crucial to the success of an author’s book. Although, if your book does not sell 5,000 copies, it does not mean that you should surrender as a failure.

This is why the author needs to become entrepreneurial if they want long-term success. Once the author starts thinking like an entrepreneur, he/she eventually becomes an authorpreneur.

What is an authorpreneur? It is an entrepreneur that offers products and services that are based on their book(s).

Wall Street Journal bestselling author can teach others authors about how their book can make the list too.


Alternatively, a health author can sell their health coaching service as a supplement to the book.

I consider myself an authorpreneur. In my book, Reaching the Finish Line, I offer flexible career paths to ease the transition to becoming a full-time entrepreneur.

As a result of the book, I offer personal consultations and a monthly coaching program for those who wish to go beyond the content of the book. Regardless of your book, you can create products and services that supplement your book.

There are three paths that you should consider to become a successful authorpreneur. There is a path for everybody. The sensible way is to choose the path that falls within your capacity.

1. Traditional publisher.

Many people desire a traditional publisher because of their international distribution in physical bookstores.

It can be even more important if your intent is to target an American or German audience.

Ninety-two percent of American university students and 95 percent of German students prefer print books over ebooks, as discovered in a recent international study.

This study is quite encouraging if your plan is to get your book in all the big box stores, airports, and major bookstores. Although, it is worth noting that traditional publishers will not do a lot of marketing for your book. However, their network of connections can open up an abundant amount of opportunities for you. With those connections, you can partner with some cool organizations like Habitat for Humanity, Amtrak and JetBlue.

It is these partnerships that can help you sell more books and attract potential clients.

2. Independent publisher.

More people are learning that they can make more money with their books elsewhere. Some aspiring and struggling authors do not care about the fame, but rather on making a sustainable living as an author.


Independent publishers offer an advantage — better terms. They do not offer the typical terms that you will get from a traditional publisher (10 percent royalty for print books and 25 percent royalty for ebooks and audiobooks).

Independent publishers also offer the convenience of allowing you to keep the rights to your book. Often, with a traditional publisher, you commit to an agreement for a duration of five to seven years.

The only potential disadvantage that may dissuade authors is the book advance. Some independent publishers offer a small book advance, usually between $2,000 to $5,000. However, some others will not offer any book advance, especially if they are a small press or new publisher.

As an indie author, you will make more money from your books, but you will not have the privilege of leveraging a major publisher’s connections. While your indie publisher may have a network of connections, it is likely that it will not be enough for you to be dependent on them.

Bookstore In LaGuardia Airport

You should also consider partnering with local businesses and nonprofit organizations. It can be harder to form alliances with the national ones if they do not know your brand. However, local businesses and nonprofits are significantly easier because they are more likely to work with local residents. After all, you and they share a common objective, which is making a difference in your community.

These types of partnerships can open up opportunities to sell more books and attract potential clients.

3. Self-publisher.

Self-publishing is without a doubt the easiest way to publish a book. Before there was the book platforms (like Amazon, Kobo, Nook and iBooks) and aggregators (like Smashwords, Draft2Digital and Pronoun), the majority of people were limited to publishing with Author House, Xlibris or iUniverse.


These publishers are commonly known as print on demand publishers. Fifteen years ago, publishing with one of these companies was not such a bad idea. Now, today’s technology has made it easier to publish, and distribute your book through various eBook platforms.

If you truly want to be the publisher, you will need to use your own international standard book number (or ISBN). You can register the name of your publishing company with this number.

Alternatively, you can use an ISBN from the company that will be helping you publish your book. However, that company will become the default publisher (i.e. CreateSpace, Ingram Spark, Smashwords or Draft2Digital).

The distinct advantage as a self-published author is that you will make the most money in comparison to other authors. You can make a net royalty of up to $6 per ebook and $7.50 per paperback book.

Conversely, the main disadvantage is that there will be no publisher to pay you a book advance. Why? Well, you would be the publisher, hence the name, self-published.

Besides the higher profits, you will also endure the other advantages and disadvantages of indie authorpreneurs.  

The final word.

The truth is that few authors are making over $100,000 a year from just writing books. If you want to make an annual six or seven figure salary, you have to create products and services that are based on your books.

Do you want to be an authorpreneur? Well, first you need to write a book. When will you start writing your book?


33 Strategies of Kama Sutra by Adidas Wilson

Amazon Best Sellers Number 4

I just hit Amazon best sellers list in a certain category and I couldn’t be more happier with the hard work and determination I post everyday. I want to succeed as bad as I want to breathe. I always say, Universe do you hear me ! My name is Adidas Wilson, and this is my life. To produce quality content, to master my craft. To keep grinding because tomorrow is not promised. #Motivation