Friday, December 17, 2010

What not to market

If you choose to self publish your book, before you send it out, proof the book as a reader reads your book.

As a professional book reviewer, I hate seeing books that have formatting errors, typos, the wrong word choice, and more.

If the only reason you are publishing is to see your name on a book and stroke your ego, than forget about errors and look like an amateur, that’s up to you. If you take writing and your book seriously, than you need to make sure that what you make available for readers is as error fee as possible.

How to make you best book the best book possible:

• Have an error free manuscript
• Before you print the book en masse, get a copy to proof
• Have a second person read the book
• If you notice any errors, have the printer fix them
• If the book is reprinted, check it again for any errors
• Repeat steps to ensure that you book is as error free as possible

If you follow these steps, your readers will enjoy your book more than if you don’t. Most authors want to have readers for subsequent books; you won’t if you turn them off by errors and wrong word choice.

Mark Twain said about articles, which is also true for book authors, "The time to begin writing an article is when you have finished it to your satisfaction. By that time you begin to clearly and logically perceive what it is that you really want to say." Just substitute book for article.

The idea of a story is for the reading pleasure of the person who spends money on your book.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Do you have a marketing plan?

Once you’ve written your book, how do you plan on marketing it? Today’s publishers will be asking about your following, various platforms that you use for promotion and sales. This is part of the process that will be part of your advance from publishers. The better your marketing plan the more money, it’s that simple.
An author must wear several hats in today’s publishing environment. The author is marketer, PR person, promoter, and book seller. It is up to the author to do all of this today. The publishing houses won’t. In fact, they may not work with you at all if you don’t have some platform in place.

You will also have to begin establishing a following before your book is completed. The time to begin promotion and marketing is before you begin writing your book. There are social media sites where you can begin, but consider creating a website for the book and promote the website everywhere you can. Network with people; establish relationships, and market, market, market without being pushy of salesy.
Welcome to the publishing world. Bet you didn’t know that you need to be a salesperson as well as an author, did you?

You must also ask yourself if you want to go the route of a publishing house of self-publish. This is the author’s decision. There are numerous places to self-publish or POD to get your book on the market.

Amazon has be playing hardball with printing houses as far as having a buy button for your book if the particular house doesn’t want to follow Amazon’s rules; Amazon also has their own publishing brand.

One of the problems with self-publishing is how much the author is willing to spend for an editing package. Also, some of the publishing houses for self-publishing create books that are sub-par in design, illustration, formatting, and printing. The books are easily recognizable as self-published and that will make them hard to sell in bookstores.

Whoever you chose to publish your book, make sure you have a marketing plan and followers to entice the publishing house if you choose to traditional route to publication, and if you choose to self-publish be wary of who owns the ISBN when publishing via this route. The person that owns the ISBN technically owns the printing and how/when the book is published.

Good luck with your book.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

What Writers Should be Doing Today

You can't worry over what may or may not happen, the important thing to do right now is write and market. Even though you may be unpublished or published with few sales you have to share your work with readers. It is very important to write articles, blogs, or anything that will allow readers to read your work. Building an audience via social media specifically and the worldwide web in general is the best and least expensive way to market your writing.

If you are worried about piracy, as I've told many that attend my presentations, the bigger concern should be obscurity. You do not need to copyright everything and you certainly do not need to concern yourself with someone stealing something you have written. Like myself, I'm the author of this piece and have stated that "all written material is Copyright 2010 Jerry D. Simmons." If you add the universal copyright symbol "©" with your name and year you should be protected, as far as this protection allows. No one is completely protected from piracy even with a certified copyright from the US government.

Once the gates of acquisition again swing wide open, publishers will be searching for more quality content than ever before. However, the key will be how much content and how well written and edited. As the industry reinvents itself the single most important thing for writers is to create content. Work with a professional editor to refine, revise and rewrite your work making it the best it can possibly be. Then market yourself and your writing to as many web sites as possible. Place yourself in a position when the call finally comes that you are ready and have a lot of material to be published.

We will see a transformation and those that prepare will benefit the most.

By Jerry D. Simmons
Your Source for Information About Book Publishing

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Edit before submission

As a professional reviewer I find that many books crossing my desk are in need of editing for simple errors such as word choice, verb tense, verb subject agreement, spelling, and punctuation.

When writing a story, the author is too close to the piece to notice errors in the manuscript. A second pair of eyes is always good to check for any possible error such as writing about something in a time period when the item mentioned hadn’t been invented yet. Facts need to be precise.

When the author receives their copy of a book, they should look at the formatting closely. Review copies I have received have had many formatting error is spacing, possible typos, and more. Any formatting errors should be brought to the attention of the printing house and corrected.

Errors in books by new authors reflect on the author and not the printer. With more authors opting for self publishing this becomes more of a problem. Nothing yells amateur and self published as do errors because the author didn’t have someone edit the manuscript or check the book for any errors before the book goes on sale.
We all know that you only get one chance to make a first impression. What do you want that impression to say; accomplished or amateur? It is up to the author to create a quality manuscript and a quality book for the reader to experience.

Ultimately, the book is the author’s responsibility. Many publishing houses no longer have editors, proofreaders, and people double checking as in years past.

In today’s book publishing industry the author is also responsible for marketing their book. Do you want to market something to be proud of or just something with your name on it?

Be sure that all of your writing is the best you can make it and edit it before it is submitted for publication. Your readers will appreciate the added effort.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

How to create a good Manuscript

To some this may seem easy. Think again. Writing a proper manuscript takes work, dedication, and some perspiration.

There are submission guidelines to follow, and proper formatting to consider. Anyone can put down words on paper; but do they tell a story? Is there a plot, setting, believable characters, and do the words make the reader want to read it?
These are only a few things to think about as you write your story. Some other things to think about are the basics like grammar, spelling, punctuation, verb subject agreement, tense, point-of-view, and more.

When writing your story, do not rely on the spell-check and grammar checker that comes in your word processing program. They are not good or precise enough to aid you in your writing to the degree necessary to create a quality manuscript.
The spell checker only tells you if spelled a word correctly, but not if it is the right word. As Mark Twain put it, “The difference between the almost right word & the right word is really a large matter–it’s the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.

Creative writing is much different from business writing or writing a letter to someone. In Creative writing requires to break a rule at times, but you must know the rules before you can break them. If you are unsure of the rules, learn them before you break one.

As Nathaniel Hawthorne said, “Easy reading is damn hard writing.” He got it right. There is much more to writing than just putting down some words. Using another quote to illustrate a point, “They say a picture is worth a thousand words. But let me tell you, a story is worth a million pictures.” — Randall Ingermanson. This is what every story needs to do. You must take the reader on a journey and your words are the magic carpet upon which the reader sits while taking the journey the writer has prepared for them.

If a writer is not emotionally into the story, the reader won’t be either. As a writer “You’ve got to love libraries. You’ve got to love books. You’ve got to love poetry. You’ve got to love everything about literature. Then, you can pick the one thing you love most and write about it.” — Ray Bradbury

Create a good manuscript that tells a story someone wants to read.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Must Have Book on Every Writer’s Desk

The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Froward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success by Carolyn Howard-Johnson

The Frugal Editor is a book that belongs on the desk of anyone that is either an author, or an aspiring author. This book contains a wealth of information about what it takes to have your manuscript pass the mark toward publication.

This book gives writers needed information on how to create queries, cover letters, book proposals, and manuscripts that are not sloppy which will get you into the round file. Reading this book will assist you in why you need an editor or at least two other sets of eyes for you writing.

Read the complete review visit

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Something for Authors to Think About

I have been working on book reviews and manuscript acquisitions as of late, and have noticed something in both.

When an author submits a manuscript for publication, the question is, has the manuscript been edited by a professional editor, of at least read by a person other than the author? A second pair of eyes is necessary when writing. It is too easy for the author to miss small items like typos and more because they are too close to the copy.

As an acquisitions editor it is hard to read and review a manuscript that contains glaring errors in basic grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Writing is a business and authors need to treat their writing as something special, which writing is; make these same errors in your query letter, and your manuscript might earn a rejection letter if you are lucky enough to receive a response.

In today’s publishing environment, authors should not trust the publisher would edit the manuscript for them, especially when using self-publishing houses. With the way publishers are running the houses, it is up to the author to wear multiple hats. Authors of today need to be editor, marketer, and promoter. Many agents and publishers will expect a marketing plan along with the manuscript, it is the author’s job to sell the book and find places to market the book and set up displays in bookstores and other places. A website for the book and a following is also necessary for promotion.

As an acquisitions editor, authors, please do your work to the best of your ability and edit your manuscript before submitting it to any publisher.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Bolster Your Ego

Let's give the ego what it wants--something to be proud of and crow about. This way we can knock the "I'm not good enough" thought block on its ass. Grab your journal, find a comfy spot, put some music on and light a candle. Divide your life into decades. Now put down on paper:

1. Every accomplishment you've ever achieved. Did your painting in first grade art get selected to hang in the principle's office? Write it down. Did you get elected class president in eighth grade? Write it down. And so on, through the decades.

2. Write down everything you're good at--writing, knitting, gardening, hiking, taking care of kids, airplane mechanics, social media--anything. Really think about this and write it all down, no matter how small.

3. Find a way to bookmark this page, either turning the corner down so you can access it again, or copying all these accomplishments to the computer, where you can either print them out or have ready reference to them.

4. Every time your energy flags and you start to tell yourself you aren't good enough, refer back to this list immediately. Revel in how fantastic and cool you are. And now go back to your writing.

Writer, mentor, and coach Charlotte Rains Dixon is passionate about helping writers, coaches, entrepreneurs, and creative professionals succeed, achieve, and profit in their careers and lives through writing. Visit her for more tips and techniques on writing--and living--at

Seven Thought Blocks That Hold You Back--And How to Smash Through Them

By Charlotte Rains Dixon

Thoughts are things. Or more to the point, thoughts create things--like finished books and articles and web copy. One thing I love about writing is that it's so intangible. A thought occurs to you, you write it down, and then add another sentence and another, and sooner or later you have a finished piece of work. You make something from nothing, literally manifesting a product from your thoughts.

And so, it stands to reason that for we writers, the way we think is vitally important. Allowing ourselves to wallow in negativity can be suicide for writing success. So, herewith, seven common thought blocks and ways to get around them.

1. I'm Not Good Enough. Have you ever heard that little message as you are writing away? I know I have. A sneaky variation is, its not good enough, it being whatever you are working on, of course. Don't give into this insidious thought, that which has stopped more masterpieces from being written than any other. You'll never know how good it can be until you finish it--and rewrite it several times. Make a deal with yourself that you'll get the project into as good a shape as you are capable of, and quit the judging until then.

2. It's Already Been Done. Well, of course it has. There's nothing new under the sun, truly and all. But there's only one you. And you+old, tired idea=wonderful fresh new novel. Or memoir. Or article. When you put your personal spin on something, it will be shiny and new. Trust me.

3. I Don't Have Time Anyway. None of us do. Yet novels and self-help books get written every day. Blog posts get written, copy for websites gets get the idea. Get up earlier, use your lunch hour, do whatever it takes--and quit using time as an excuse.

4. I Don't Know How to Do It. That's what makes it fun! The wonderful thing about writing is that it takes a lifetime to master, and there's always going to be something you don't know how to do or some aspect of your work to improve. Just think--never will you fight boredom again. Plunge in and see what happens, or buy a book on the subject. You should be reading voraciously anyway.

5. I'll Just Take a Quick Look at my Email. Don't do it! I'm the worst email slut on the planet, and still it is the bane of my existence. If I'm working on a project and I hit a snag, I think, I'll just hop on over to my inboxes and see what's going on. And fifteen minutes later, I'm still composing a message. Email is a time killer (and remember, a few minutes ago you were whining about not having any). Shut your inboxes down and give yourself regular interludes in which to check them.

6. Oh, Why Bother? This lament is actually a lack of commitment in disguise. Why bother implies that it is simply too much effort. Yet, anything worthwhile takes effort, consistent, diligent effort. And c'mon we're talking about writing here--it is fun effort. So of course you should bother, because legions of people are waiting to read your work. They simply don't know it yet.

7. It is Just Too Hard. Anything worth doing is challenging. Fess up--if writing were easy, you wouldn't be so interested in it, would you? If writing were easy, the bookshelves wouldn't be full of how-to books on the topic. If writing were easy, every single fool on the planet would write. Wait, I forgot--many of them do. So you be the smart one who knows writing is hard and embraces it precisely for that reason.

You can see that many of these thought blocks require a bit of tough love to get yourself through. You can be sweet and gentle to yourself until the cows come home, but sometimes that just doesn't work. So don't hesitate to get a little rougher when there's a need. It is all in the service of your writing, and you can apologize to your poor little bruised ego when you hit the bestseller lists.

Writer, mentor, and coach Charlotte Rains Dixon is passionate about helping writers, coaches, entrepreneurs, and creative professionals succeed, achieve, and profit in their careers and lives through writing. Visit her for more tips and techniques on writing--and living--at

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Seven Axioms of Writing

• Consistency
Make sure that you have used the same term spelled the same way throughout the story, blog post, or copy. This is especially true if you have created a language in a Sci-Fi story, or are using specific jargon in copy, or in blog posting. Nothing will turn your reader off faster than simple mistakes in consistency that yell amateur.
• Grammar
Know when to capitalize, making sure that you use correct sentence structure to make your meaning clear, not ambiguous causing the reader to wonder what the author meant, also not being wordy. If you can say something in fewer words, do it.
• Punctuation
Know how, and when to use commas, semicolons, or quotation marks. Writers should know whether the punctuation mark goes inside, or outside the quotation marks. If you are an author, and not sure, have a good reference book in your writer’s library, and verify it.
• Tense
If you are writing in third person past tense, are you consistent in tense? If a sentence in past tense, are all of your verbs in past tense also? Something this simple can make a reader put down a story, and never pick it up again. Readers may also tell their friends that the story was lousy, or hard to read.
• Spelling
Do not trust the Spellchecker or Grammatik in word processing programs. Using Spellchecker only tells you that you spelled a word correctly, not if it is the right word. As Mark Twain said, “The difference between the almost right word & the right word is really a large matter–it’s the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” Have a dictionary handy to look up any word you need to, do not make the editor do the work for you. They may not a second time.
• Verb subject agreement
The basic rule is to use singular verb with singular subject, and plural verb with plural subject. This may sound easy, but always verify to make sure you are correct.
• Verification and facts
If you use names, places, double-check for accuracy. If you use a town as one author did in a town this author lived in for over fifty years, while doing a review, the reviewer noticed that he called a street and avenue, and had the wrong address for a business in another town. There may be a reader that is familiar with where you are describing. Television programs are notorious for this.

Depending on what type of edit you ask an editor for, or edit yourself, always strive to make the editing process easier by doing the best writing you are capable of as an author. Follow proper manuscript formatting, always read, and follow submission guidelines for specific publications. Make sure that a publication accepts what you have written, and in what format. Some accept mail, some electronic, and others Word, or a combination.

Are these axioms for book authors only? No, these axioms apply to all writers from book authors to copywriters, and anyone in between. Can you imagine how an author would look in the eyes of readers if they have a website with bad grammar, punctuation, spelling, and tense error?

If you do not wish to imply the perception of an amateur, always do your best writing and check for any errors before you post or submit your writing. As Mark Twain put it, “The time to begin writing an article is when you have finished it to your satisfaction. By that time you begin to clearly and logically perceive what it is that you really want to say.” Think about it, and write your best.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

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