Trends in Publishing

If you follow the publishing industry at all you will have noticed a number of trends. Everybody and their dog are talking about the trends in self-publishing via eBooks. I’m not going to talk about these: they are well covered.

trends in publishing

What has motivated me this morning is a discussion I’ve been having with a managing editor at one of the magazines I write for. A couple of days ago she opened a discussion with me about a special project article. Special projects are stand-alone publications. They often bear the name of the parent magazine, but are published as a magazine sized book. We have been discussing this proposal via e-mail since. One of the questions I asked was the expected word count. Continue reading “Trends in Publishing”

Constructive Criticism: What it is and how to use it

Editing, constructive criticism, writing, publishingWith the possible exception of a multi-best-seller author, all writers should seek constructive criticism of their work. The bigger the work, the more important this is. This may be proofreading for typos, or it may be seeking help with plotting and character development; that depends on your experience and skill. Here are some pointers for finding and dealing with constructive criticism. Continue reading “Constructive Criticism: What it is and how to use it”

Publication Services – Who is For Real?

Imposter_masks-internet publication servicesI have received a fair number of inquiries from aspiring authors about e-mails they have received from “publishers”. I have received one or two of these myself. The messages vary, but in essence they portray the sender as a publisher, generally they use impressive names that include the word “press” to give the impression that they will print the book.  Most are, at best, publication services.

Some offer to convert the author’s book manuscript into an eBook for a minimal fee – often about $50.00. Others offer to oversee the entire publication and printing process and request fees of several thousand dollars. Are any of them on the level? Do any of them offer genuine value? Continue reading “Publication Services – Who is For Real?”

Writing for Profit or Pleasure: Where (and how) to Publish


Writing for Profit or Pleasure: Where to Sell Your Work - book imageWhy publish?

You have a desire to write; to make your thoughts and inspirations known to others. Perhaps you are knowledgeable and wish to share your expertise with others, passing what you know to another generation.  Maybe you are creative and enjoy entertaining others with stories of fiction.  Or perhaps you are insightful and like telling factual tales about places, people and events; helping others to understand.

Whatever your particular bend is, to share your work with others means acquiring a means of publication.  These days, publication comes in many forms, but some forms are better suited to different tastes, depending on your expectations.  Particularly the expectation of payment for your efforts. Continue reading “Writing for Profit or Pleasure: Where (and how) to Publish”

Breaking Into a Publishing House: Ground-work

publishing house contractGetting a book published by a traditional or mainstream publishing house is the gold medal of the writer Olympics. In an age where anyone can self-publish their work, regardless of the quality of that work, having your book accepted and printed by a “brand name” book publisher is the most authoritative stamp of approval that says “I am a talented author”. How do you get there?

Approaching a Publishing House

On a very rare occasion a major publishing house will invite new authors to submit manuscripts in a particular genre for their consideration but, generally speaking, the usual way to gain admittance to the hallowed halls of the big time publishing houses is through a literary agent.

A literary agent is to the writer what a talent agent is to the singer, dancer, or actor. Many times an agent will also act as your editor, helping to improve your work before it goes to a publisher. An agent is the “Inside Man” (or woman) who has the connections within the publishing industry to get a manuscript read, knows what each publishing house is looking for and which publisher would be best for your current book.

Developing a writer-agent relationship will be the most important step in building your business as an author. Select your agent carefully.

But First…

Before you go shopping for an agent there are some things you ought to do that will ease the task and help good agents take you seriously. Continue reading “Breaking Into a Publishing House: Ground-work”

Kindle Your Blog

kindle your blog coverKindle eBook $Free to Prime Members
PDF Download $FREE

Kindle Your Blog is a tutorial for publishing your blog on Amazon’s Kindle. It describes in detail what information and graphics you need to have at hand, and how to produce them, before you begin the submission process. Then it takes you step by step through the process in a clear, straight forward manner.

Why Kindle Your Blog?

Blogging is a burgeoning phenomenon, more and more people and companies are getting into blogging as a means of self-publication. Many simply want to make money, others have information or thoughts to share, others are promoting their books or products. Whatever the reason, blogs are micro-publications seeking an audience. Continue reading “Kindle Your Blog”

Changing Microsoft Word Default Format

Published Feb 17th, 2011 on

Writing for Profit or Pleasure: Where to Sell Your Work - book imageIf you use Microsoft Word to do your writing, will probably have noticed some annoying habits this program has as far as formatting your work into paragraphs. If you use the default template, to indent the first line of a paragraph you must hit the space bar several times. To get a blank line between paragraphs you must hit Enter twice. And when you copy and paste this text into blogging control panels or publishing processors, you end up with way too much white space.

Did you know that you can configure Word to automatically format paragraphs to eliminate these problems?

In Microsoft Word 2003 and XP, click Edit on your tool bar and select Select All from the menu. This highlights all of the text in your document. In Word 2007 look to the right end of your tool bar and find the Editing section. Click Select then Select All. Continue reading “Changing Microsoft Word Default Format”

Famous Author Trivia

famous author
Earnest Hemingway

Want to have a little fun with literature? Here are 6 bits of trivia about authors, see if you can guess who each famous author is. (Answers at the end, but don’t peek)

1) What name is this author better known by?

This author was born in 1904 in Springfield MA. He graduated from Dartmouth College and went to Oxford University in England to get a PhD in Literature. In 1954 his publisher read an article in Life magazine detailing reading troubles children were having in the US. He asked this author to write a book that would engage young children and encourage them to read. In 1960, this author was challenged to write an entire book using only 50 words. He successfully accomplished both of these tasks. This author was born Theodore Geisel. By what name is he better known? Continue reading “Famous Author Trivia”

Using Word to Compress Images

Originally published Feb. 24th, 2011 by ComputerSight

Writing for Profit or Pleasure: Where to Sell Your Work - book imageIf you are writing a manuscript for a lengthy book that will be submitted for publication as an eBook, the file size of your finished manuscript will be a concern for you. All eBook publishing services have file size limitations; if your manuscript is all text and shorter than War and Peace, you will be OK. However, if your book contains more than a few pictures or illustrations, the file size will grow rapidly and may become too large to be accepted.  The answer is to compress images used in your text.

One answer to this problem is to review your text and ask yourself if all those pictures are absolutely necessary. If you are doing a step-by-step guide that uses screen shots to clarify your explanations, are all of the screen shots required? Eliminating a few may get you under the limit.

But, before you start hacking out parts of your carefully prepared manuscript in order to meet size limitations, try compressing the photos. You can use a photo editing program to compress (or optimize) the photos to a resolution suitable for on-line viewing and insert the new versions, but there is a quicker, easier way built right into Microsoft Word that you may not be aware of. Continue reading “Using Word to Compress Images”

Marketing a Book – Where to Start

Originally published 03/27/2011 by WritingHood.

Below is an excerpt from my book “Writing for Profit or Pleasure: Where to Publish Your Work”. It is just a few paragraphs about marketing a book from Chapter 11, which is about publishing through a traditional book publisher. I’m posting this in response to a discussion I had earlier today with Jillian Peery who is finishing up a novel and asked, “what now?”

Before you go shopping for an agent there are some things you ought to do that will ease the task and help good agents take you seriously.

You need to have a completed and polished manuscript. Did you catch the “polished” part? If need be, hire an editor to go over your manuscript with you to be certain it is the best work you can do. You do not want an agent to read your manuscript and think, “This writer has potential; but needs a lot of work”. If you’re writing fiction, be sure your first 30 pages are especially compelling; an agent will need to know that you can set up a story to make it exciting to the reader.

Few agents are in the business as philanthropists; they’re trying to earn a living and will weigh the amount of effort they will have to put into an author against what they will make from their commissions. If you’re going to stick a foot in their door, make sure it’s your best looking foot. Continue reading “Marketing a Book – Where to Start”