7 Things You Need to Self-Publish, and 7 You Don’t

Self-publishing is a difficult thing to get right; treating it like traditional publishing adds unnecessary and costly steps to the process. You’re putting yourself out there in the world — a risky proposition already — don’t make it harder than it needs to be. When I put my first bestseller — a roleplaying game book — on the market, I began with a Kickstarter to raise funds. RPG books require a lot of art, so I needed the upfront funds to get the project going. Unfortunately, I didn’t

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Your Dreams Won’t Last Forever

What do you want to do when you grow up? That was the question that sparked the passions of a younger you, and probably lead to where you are now. But as dreams, needs, and markets change, the chances are higher that you won’t be chasing the same dream ten years from now. With 21% of millennials saying they’ve switched jobs in the last year, we should consider changing the question from “what do you want to do when you

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How to Write Great Back Cover Copy

You have one paragraph to sell your book. It’s by far the most crucial paragraph, and it’s not even part of your story. Imagine a potential reader, walking through the bookstore, browsing for something good to read. They pick up your book because you got the cover right, but after reading the description on the back cover, they place it back on the shelf and continue browsing. Potential reader lost. No other paragraph is as important as your back cover

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How to Write a Finished First Draft

Writing is fun, editing…not so much. Going back and looking at those words you forced out while trying to get through your first draft can make you feel terrible at your craft. I can’t think of a more demotivating, soul-crushing activity for a writer to experience. What if you could write a clean and finished first draft? No need to go back and spend weeks or months editing. One and done. It’s not only possible; it’s essential if you self-publish

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We Think in 500 Word Intervals

A good story, whether it be a work of fiction or an informative article, should move the reader through each section of text as naturally as possible. This isn’t something you look for, and if it’s done right, it isn’t something that is noticed, but it’s essential to writing that doesn’t put readers to sleep. There are many pacing tools to encourage readers to read further, from choppy sentences to cliffhangers, but one important tool is writing to the attention

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Use This Tool to Double Your Daily Word Count

Writing is hard. Let’s not mince words about it. But you have the skills. You know what you’re doing. So why the difficulty? What’s getting in your way? If you’re anything like…I don’t know, every writer I’ve ever met, you are getting in your way because of your fear of writing poorly or having your work criticized. Especially if you’re a fiction writer, you worry that you’ll be judged forever based on the first book you ever publish. If you

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Don’t Slow Your Writing Momentum By Blogging

You’ve heard it before. “You need to communicate with your readers.” “Carve out your spot on the internet.” “Fans need to know where to find you.” “The best time to start blogging was ten years ago; the second-best time is now.” They’re all right, of course — except that last one…sometimes. Author websites can be an essential part of your online presence. And if you’re going to peddle fiction for a living, readers do need to be able to find you, but

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The Most Critical Element of a Novel–Your Story is Not It

You’ve spent weeks getting your characters to pop on the page just the way you want them to. Your structure is sound. It’s a damned good novel! But when you release it to digital storefronts, you end up with disappointing sales. Nothing feels worse than pouring your soul into your work only to have it fall flat. And the thing is, it would have entertained a lot of people, if only they had gotten the opportunity to read it. I

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Your Headline Needs to Tell a Story, and So Do Your Book Titles

You’ve read thousands of articles on the importance of getting your headlines just right. Book titles are just as important — a catchy title could be the difference between a bestseller and a flop. Some of my best articles have the worst headlines and went nowhere, and a mediocre book I wrote in 2013 is a Platinum Bestseller, likely because the title is intriguing. If you’re looking to publish a book or write articles online, you need to master the art of

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The Effect of School Closures on My Writing Routine

When the talking heads on the news began arguing about whether or not schools should reopen, I was firmly in the camp that they shouldn’t. I live with a member of a vulnerable population, and I don’t want one of my children to bring COVID-19 home from school. I didn’t expect the many changes it would have on my career and home life. My routine The most significant change has been expediting my exit from a full-time job. I used

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