Productivity for Your Writing Biz

Productivity for Your Writing Biz

When we all begin writing books—with stars in our eyes, dreams in our hearts, and resting bitch face in case anyone interrupts our writing time—we usually focus on just the writing part of the business. If you already have a business and you want to write a book as part of the business, then you know that there is so much more to do than just write and loath your editor. But for those without the business to start, you have some building to do, and with building comes a seemingly endless onslaught of tasks that will make you wish you were five or six people instead of just one. There is a lot more to do after you publish that book!

What sort of tasks? Finding author events, checking your stock, purchasing new stock, purchasing anything you may need for author events (signage, table cloths, etc.), attending the author events, tallying book sales, tracking what author events were profitable, finding events in your field, doing the same stuff for all those events . . . and that doesn’t even count the marketing aspect, programs and speaking engagements you may want to do, and who knows what else.

Click here for more information about cloning yourself.

Just kidding. It’s all you, dude. And anyone you decide to hire for your team.

But let’s just say that, for now, it’s just you. How in the world can you handle all this? Continue reading

Interview with Graphic Designer Karen Captline: Designing Book Covers

Interview with Graphic Designer Karen Captline Designing Book Covers

Writers typically know what to do for the inside of the book, but when we self-publish, what to do for the outside of the book can sometimes be a mystery . . . no matter the genre. So I asked Pittsburgh-area graphic designer Karen Captline some of the big questions authors may have about designing a book cover and working with a designer.

To convey to readers what the book is about, Karen said that any designer will follow the basic rules of graphic design. The field focuses on “conveying a message by using the correct fonts, words, and colors in a compelling way. Designers have a goal of creating a lot of curiosity about the book.” They want readers to want to buy this book and read it, so the visual appeal has to be there. Continue reading

How to Effectively Spend Your Non-Writing Time


How to Effectively Spend Your Non-Writing TimeEspecially if you are a new writer, wrapping your head around doing anything other than writing your book can be a little strange. There are things that you need to do to market and sell you book, though. Plus, if you want to keep writing your book (or subsequent books!), it’s always helpful to generate new ideas!

So here are some suggestions for both sides of the coin: marketing what you have and continuing writing. Remember that every minute you spend on something other than writing should be worth your time! Continue reading

How to Hold a Book-Related Event

How to Hold a Book-Related Event

Sometimes when you write a book, you find yourself standing there—holding your beloved masterpiece in your hands—saying “Now what?”

If you want to reach an audience, to inspire or educate, then you can hold an event where you discuss your book. I just held a book-writing workshop this weekend (not related to my books), so here are some of the things I did to plan and get ready for the event. Continue reading

One Simple Trick for Writing a Stellar Book Synopsis

One Simple Trick for Writing a Stellar Book Synopsis

You know what’s fun? Once you have a beautiful polished manuscript, you get to write an enticing 2–3 paragraph synopsis of the book that doesn’t give away too much plot but makes people want to buy your book. (This is for the back cover.)

And suddenly, reorganizing your pantry is really exciting and important right now . . .

Basically, you have three options once you put down the can of green beans: you can pay someone to write it for you, you can cry in a corner, or you can tie yourself to your desk chair and write it yourself.

Option three tends to be the least painful physically, emotionally, and economically, so let’s look at my favorite trick for writing a great back cover blurb. Continue reading

How to Write Stellar Award Applications

How to Write Stellar Award Applications

Many writers submit their novels to award contests to gain credibility for their writing, so it’s important to write a quality application that can catch the committee’s eye.

In my corporate job, I wrote TONS of award applications for our researchers, and many of them won! So here are some of my favorite tips that can tip the scale in your favor when you’re hoping to be lauded. Continue reading

Should You Use a Pen Name as an Author?

Should You Use a Pen Name as a Writer?Long, long ago, right after I finished my master’s work, I couldn’t find a job, so I worked at the Waldenbooks at the mall. Most of the people I worked with had done the same thing: finished an English degree, couldn’t find a job, worked in a bookstore.

At that point, I had written one book and started on another, and I was shopping it to various agents. One of the guys at the store said that he was a published author already. We started talking about it, but he seemed reluctant. Weird, right? Continue reading

Interview with Jess Branas, Author of Zero to Ninety

Interview with Jess Branas, Author of Zero to Ninety

My friend Jess Branas is a dating coach who recently released her second book, Zero to Ninety, which focuses on the first ninety days of a dating relationship. Jess’s book outlines ways to stay authentic when embarking on a new relationship, something that I’m sure many of us didn’t think about when we were dating. She examines dating from a psychological perspective. If teenagers can do it, then does it really need to be thoroughly studied? Do we need books about this? Absolutely! I dated for 15 years (minus the years I was married the first time), and I’m certain that I wasn’t focusing on myself and what’s best for me the whole way through. Books like this help people cut through the trial and error by listening to an experienced dater share her secrets. Continue reading

Interview with Kristie Knights, Author of Unsung Heroes: Deconstructing Suicide through Stories of Triumph


Interview with Kristie Knights

As a member of the Global Sisterhood, I have been privileged this year to meet so many inspiring women who are changing the world for the better. One of these women is Kristie Knights, the vice president of the Sisterhood, who is a psychotherapist in the Pittsburgh area, as well as a new author with her first book to be released on December 14.

Her writing journey is based on her passion, so I wanted to share it with you, especially the coaches, experts, and those with inspiring stories who want to write a book. The impetus for her book—and the resulting non-profit—was unusual. It began with a Facebook post. Continue reading

Keeping the Peace on Social Media

Keeping the Peace on Social Media

We all know that the comment section of an online article is frequently the most interesting part of the post, especially if the article is about a potentially inflammatory topic. We have also all likely seen posts on Facebook followed by countless incendiary comments, where people bicker back and forth in a fruitless attempt to convert the other person to their side. And if you are on Facebook reading the comments of others long enough or have suffered from enough difficult days that you just need to remark on it, most of us have caved to posting something we aren’t so proud of on our own pages. I’ve done it. Don’t be embarrassed. It happens.

However, I think it’s prudent to discuss why we have to be cautious on our professional pages about letting that sort of thing happen. Continue reading