Category Archives: How to Publish…

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Stop Spinning Your Wheels & Track Your Work #amwriting

If you’re an author like me, you write a lot even when you’re not on your current WIP. Whether you’re looking for an agent, new reviewers, or anything else that you could make a list of, if you’re not making a spreadsheet to keep track of whom you’ve contacted, there’s every likelihood you’ll be contacting the same people over and over.

Stop doing that. Just stop it.

Seriously, you may have ready my post on why I moved to Google Drive and if you haven’t yet because you’re afraid the gummymint is watching you, well, 1) they’re probably watching you anyway, and 2) you’re more than likely not up to anything they’re interested in.

So come on already. Start a Gmail account and let’s get this thing going.

The reason I say use Google Drive and not just a flash drive with an Excel file on it is flash drives get lost. Okay, so I do still have a flash drive, but it’s so much more convenient to have Drive (and the Docs and Sheets apps on my iPhone).

The reason you want to put everyone you contact on a spreadsheet is twofold. You want to keep track of not only the people you contact, but what, if anything, they wrote back to you, said about you, or wrote about you. You can create fields to keep track of all that information. The other reason is if they do say something good about you, you want to be sure to utilize those people in the future. That’s assuming we’re talking about reviewers, of course. But if you have a spreadsheet tracking potential agents, you can use it to keep track of when you emailed them, when they responded, and whether or not it was positive. Just because they rejected a manuscript doesn’t mean they always will. Maybe you needed a little more seasoning or the right idea to hit them in just the right way and if it was a soft no, you can try them again versus resubmitting to the agent who responded with a form letter by mail six months after you contacted them.

With the release of Anything but Zombies from Atria Books right around the corner, I figure it’s time I found myself an agent, so I put together a spreadsheet to keep track of the people I’ve contacted so far. I’ll share it with you. It’s not the information that’s so important, about ten minutes worth of researching and you could have the same names plus some. It’s my format I think you’ll find useful. Just click this link and it’s yours. Sorry, if you don’t have a Google account, you’ll have to create one in order to access it. Again, they’ve already been watching you, so don’t worry too much.

All I ask is for a little feedback. Let me know how it’s working out for you! Copy it, download it and personalize it to do whatever you want it to do. I also have a spreadsheet to keep track of my review requests and I add to and prune that list regularly to keep it up to date and weed out the negative reviews and dead accounts. I’ve spent a lot of time creating that list and that one you will have to create on your own.

And if it’s not too much trouble, why not consider downloading a book? My YA book, Vamp-Hire was published back in February and Anything but Zombies is due out in a couple weeks.

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Big Break for a Creative Writer #craigslist #scam #alert #rzp

I found another ‘opportunity’ on Craig’s List for writers that should definitely be avoided. At first blush, this might seem like an opportunity, but the more you read it, the worse it looks. Please read for yourself and I will comment after.

Let us give you your big writing break. We are looking for writers and stories to be featured on our website…the #1 site for authors. You will have the opportunity to be read by thousands of readers, agents and agencies, and even publishers. Our site gives writers on all levels the attention we feel they deserve. We will promote you and your story with everything that we have, and will help you show the world what a great writers you are. There is no monetary compensation, only promotion of your work. Sorry! Many of our writers have been published by publishing houses.

If you feel your short story, novel, collection of poems, graphic novel(Yep!), etc. is a great piece of work that hasn’t been given the proper audience, then please submit it in your reply. Serious replies only! We won’t answer any questions that don’t include a submission, and no we don’t steal stories! If you have a story of any type, please don’t hesitate to submit it. All submissions will receive replies.

First off, who are these guys? Any legitimate company or website should be trying to draw you in by their reputation. But the big warning flag is the usual; when guys tell you how they will do you this HUGE favor but offer absolutely no monetary compensation, your antenna should go up. But there’s more here that should be making you suspicious.

‘You will have the opportunity to be read by thousands of readers, agents and agencies, and even publishers’. Even if you didn’t pick apart the semantical use of the word ‘opportunity’, they make no effort to clue you in on exactly how they have the ability to reach these three groups (I count agents and agencies as the same thing). They’re even so bold as to say they won’t answer any question that doesn’t include a submission, but how else would someone who has no idea who these people are and how they will do what they claim? For all any of us know, this is some 13 year old in his parents’ basement. Even if this were a real opportunity, writing that is very poor customer service and does nothing to instill confidence to your potential submitters that you will respond to them when they have questions. And noting that they don’t steal stories doesn’t wipe away doubt, if anything, it calls to mind something that some people may not have thought of. That’s like someone pulling a gun on you and saying, “I’m not gonna rape you.”

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How Worthless do You Think I am? #scam #rzp

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I just saw this on Craig’s List and if you saw it, you’d be a fool to do this.
No matter whether it would take you ten minutes or ten hours to write five pages, $5 is selling yourself way short for this short script.

Again, even if this person is on the up-and-up and will actually pay the proposed $5, isn’t your content worth more than that? To get me to even approach $1 a page you’d have to contract me for many more pages than that (and even still, writing original content for such a low amount is ludicrous).

And here’s the kicker. See that thing about a ‘NDA’ being required? That stands for ‘Non-disclosure agreement’ which means he pays you five bones for original content which he can in turn present as if he wrote it himself, publish it, sell it to someone else, or use it to any number of potentially profitable opportunities.

All for the low-low price he got for the sweat off your back.


 Short Script

compensation: $5 paid via paypal within 24 hours or less of receipt
5 page script for $5Script must be 5 pages and based on provided promptNDA required and all copyrights will be transferred to me

  • do NOT contact me with unsolicited services or offers

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Looking for someone with knowledge of writing an autobiography. Also involved in hardcore punk band SBLC. Wanna write a tell all book of all the craziness,mishaps….and how the hell am I still alive. I think it would be a inspirational book. From a crazy punk rock underground band SBLC and the infamous (brightmoor punks) to getting run over, stabbed , shot…drug in cars…to meeting my wife..growing up..being a a wonderful like. Damn I really need help writing this….Please help out…looking for passionate people. Not just some stiff that needs money. I can’t pay much…if any. ..but you will be paid back dearly once its published. Anyone left in this world with passion for writing?….thank you!


Now I can certainly appreciate a hard luck story, but my same argument applies: don’t underwrite someone else’s dreams. This poster would pawn you off as ‘some stiff that needs money’ but why else would you let him leverage your valuable time, else you were going to get paid for it? I don’t know, maybe you do have a thing for homeless, drug-addicted punk rockers, but the majority of anyone interested and qualified to do this work want to get actual money rather than a promise of dear payments once the book is published.

I suppose this person who can’t pay much must have a killer marketing plan and copies will be flying off the shelves, right? Or is the material so crucial that millions will have no choice but to purchase? Don’t help out. People like this need to know our services as writers have actual, quantifiable value and we devalue ourselves by assisting. I don’t mean to come off as angry–really, I’m not–but by one writer lowering his value, we all have our prices cut.

I’m sure this person means well, but I mean well when I walk into a McDonald’s with a hungry belly and no money. I can’t get that #10 combo no matter how interesting my story is.

Read about more scams to be avoided here.

Pick up a copy of How to Publish on Amazon Kindle, Smashwords, & Nook the Easy Way! Only $0.99.

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Write Better #Book Descriptions

I just found what I think will be a good aid in writing book descriptions. I’m going to use this to go over all mine. I tend to write a story I love, but struggle to find something interesting to say about it. Oh, and I found this on Apparently, using this in combination with Words That Sell helps to capture the prospective reader in that crucial initial 30 seconds that decides buying or not buying.

And be sure to pick up a copy of How to Publish on Amazon Kindle, Smashwords, & Nook the Easy Way!.


Fiction or Creative Nonfiction:

  • the central conflict.
  • who the main characters are
  • what are their goals
  • why they’re not having a good time of it. (Good time = bad novel),
  • what’s at stake.
  • where it’s set
  • why they probably can’t solve the problem (raise a doubt)

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How to improve your #socialmedia efforts in 10 minutes | Articles | Main

Each of these four actions requires about 10 minutes of your time and could lead to major returns. Do them today.

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Writers Needed for Short Ebook Writing (anywhere) #scam

I stumbled over another one of these scams on Craig’s List. Here’s another example of someone trying to make money off you without you really getting paid. I’m not saying you can’t find a legit publisher on Craig’s List, but one that wants to pay you $100, at most isn’t one of them. Now I’m not necessarily against getting paid as a ghost writer (which is what this comes off as), but if you’re going to take a flat-fee as payment for up to 40 pages of writing, $100 is nothing but a rip-off. If they really meant business, they would cut writers in for a percentage (10% is fair for new or unproven authors, 25% at least for authors who are established).

And I’ve made no changes whatsoever to the posting as it appeared on CL’s site. Why don’t they put the name of the company in here? Is there a reason this is kept secret? Again, not that that locks this in as a scam, but it certainly is indicative along with the fact there are no terms put forth outside of the meager stipend they offer.

We are looking for writers that can write structured, well organized content in an ebook format. We are looking for different subjects. 

Some sample categories:
– Weight Loss
– Stress
– Health
– Psychology
– FictionWe need books in all categories, so please email us with your areas of expertise. You will be provided with reference material to use as inspiration which you can then rewrite in an original way.The ebooks should be about 30-40 pages long. Pay is $50-$100 per book depending on the subject. If your work is satisfactory there is more work available immediately.Please email me with:
– the subjects you would be qualified to write
– Sample(s) of your work
– Your estimated delivery of such an ebook

***MUST INCLUDE SAMPLES OF YOUR WORK.. Otherwise your message will be ignored

  • Location: anywhere
  • do NOT contact me with unsolicited services or offers
  • Compensation: yes
Instead of losing money on your manuscript, why not make the most of it? If you don’t know how to publish your own story, pick up a copy of How to Publish on Amazon Kindle, Smashwords, & Nook the Easy Way! Only $2.99!

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Scheduling Your #Writing

It’s important that you get your family involved in your writing process. If you’re like me, then you have to actually work for a living. Also, if you’re like me, you have a family. Both require a considerable amount of attention and thus, take away from the time you have to write on a daily basis. If you’ve read my previous post on setting writing goals, that’s only half the picture. I’ve fallen way short of meeting mine simply because when I’ve been able to write has been sporadic at best.

Again, get your family involved. Work, you really can’t do anything about unless you can set your own hours. But it would be to your benefit to create a schedule, discuss it with your family, make your adjustments, and then implement.

I’ve enclosed my Writing Schedule. The green are my blocks for writing, but that doesn’t necessarily mean those are the only times I can write. I still use my smartphone when I walk the dog to write using Google Drive. And I tend to stay up later than my wife at times and I might steal a moment or two then.

Liked this post? Why not check out a book or two? A couple of them are free.


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Working my way up!

I’m slowly, but surely making my way toward my daily word count. Having a spreadsheet where I can keep track of exactly how much I’m writing is making me a lot more accountable and forces me to reevaluate what I’m doing from day to day. I’m not quite where I want to be, but I have a better idea of what I need to do.


Need a good horror read? Download Where the Monsters Are, available on Kindle.

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#Call for Manuscripts (Another Shark in the Water)

It’s been a while since I found one of these guys who promise to take your manuscript and publish it in eBook form.


X Publishing is requesting proposals for books to be published on iPad, Kindle, and Nook. eBook technology is changing the publishing world. iPad, Amazon Kindle, Barnes and Noble Nook, and Sony Reader created profitable mass markets for eBooks. We at X Publishing are here to help you take advantage of that.

We invite you to submit a query letter or manuscript for consideration.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I retain the rights to my book?
Yes. You retain all print rights, which means that when your eBook gets discovered by a big publishing company, you’ll receive 100% of those royalties.

How much will you edit my manuscript?
Not too much. If your manuscript needs major edits, it probably will be rejected. We will edit for clarity and concision. You will have the opportunity to approve or reject all edits.

Do I have to pay anything?
No. If your manuscript is selected, you will pay nothing to have your book published.

How much do you sell your eBooks for?
We prefer to sell eBooks at low prices with the goal of stimulating more sales volume, profits, and royalties. We default to charging $2.99 per eBook, but are open to your preferences on pricing, especially if you have already built a target audience with which you are familiar.

How much will I earn in royalties?
The fortunate few chosen to write for traditional publishers receive around $2 in royalties for each $20 hardcover book sold, according to the Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency, an agent that represents writers. Your royalties will be 230% higher than that. You’ll receive $1 for each $2.99 eBook sold.

I’m not sure if my manuscript is good enough. Should I submit?
If you’re on the fence, we suggest submitting. X Publishing can often say yes to manuscripts that traditional publishers will reject because our costs are lower.

I took out the name because I don’t want to give these guys any more press than this. Let’s break this down piece by piece. Notice at the very beginning how they are only publishing your manuscript as an eBook? That should be a warning flag right there. ePublishing is something that is super easy that anyone can do. I even wrote a book about it that retails for $2.99. Now that’s not just a plug (well, it is a plug, but I’ll come back to it in a moment).

You might be saying at this point, ‘hey, so what it’s only electronic where they publish, they’re not charging me anything’. This is very true if you mean there’s no upfront cost. But what they are charging you on the back end. Their price-point is $2.99. Now on Amazon (just about everyone follows closely what Amazon pays) the publisher will earn $2.05 per unit sold. They are pocketing 51% of that and paying you a buck. Now you may be thinking, hey, that’s actually a pretty good deal, if my book were published by a traditional publisher, I’d be making way less than that (which is true and is pointed out by these guys). But what a real publisher is giving you outweighs anything these guys have said they’d do for you.

Notice nothing is said about the creation of a cover, extensive editing services, advertising of your book, book tours, etc. All these things are what the big boys do to promote your book so it can sell. So what you are giving up in royalty percentage, you are more than gaining in units sold (ideally). But these guys are getting you on the cheap. They make no mention of promoting you, which means you are left to promote yourself. They make no mention of creating a cover for you, which means you either are going to create your own cover, pay them to create your cover, or pay someone else to create your cover. Now, there are some places you can have a cover made without spending a lot of dough (again, you can read about that in my $2.99 book) or you can wait until you’ve signed the bottom line with these guys to see which option you are left with.

Next! You do retain the rights to your work. Of course you do. You just are signing away your right to publish it yourself for a term of service. Something between 3 to 5 years. And by them saying they’ll be your publisher until an actual publisher comes along to buy the rights, that big publisher is buying the rights from them, not you. You’ve already handed over the rights to publish (you can never surrender ownership of your story–it’s a semantics trick).

The reason they don’t want to edit your manuscript is because they are looking for people to hand over their work so they can publish right now. They herd you in the right direction to get  cover created and they can have your book on e-shelves in a few days time with little to no financial investment on their part.

Again, self-publishing an eBook is very simple and super-easy. I take you through the whole process in my book, and instead of paying them $1.05 per book, you can buy mine for a one-time charge of $2.99. But you can always buy anyone’s book on self-publishing in the digital age and come out way cheaper than anything these guys can do for you.

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