The Best of Novelty Revisions – 10-Year Anniversary Edition

Check out this great post from the Novelty Revisions Blog with The Best of Novelty Revisions – 10-Year Anniversary Edition

Novelty Revisions

I’m still having a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that I’ve been publishing words on the same blog for over a decade. Starting out, I knew blogging would take commitment and constant motivation. But I just wasn’t sure if I had it in me until I decided to keep going.

Over the years, I’ve published some pretty terrible things. I’m not (totally) ashamed of them. But I’ve also published some pretty awesome stuff — well, you guys seem to think so, anyway.

These are the most-loved, most-viewed posts on this blog of all time, from January 11, 2009 to now. If you missed any of them along the way, make sure to give them a read. According to your fellow readers, they’re worth it!

10. What Does It Mean to Be an “Accomplished” Writer?

“Is there some kind of chart that states when you’ll officially have “made…

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No Wasted Ink Writers Links

The Time is Now – Become a Published Author


Yes, It’s time for my soapbox. You may be going through the classic struggle trying to decide whether to self-publish or wait for traditional publishing possibilities.

There are many pros and cons to each and I’ve gone through many of those in previous posts. For me, the obvious choice was self-publishing. When I triangulated my age with my available time and my tolerance for rejection, it was the smart option for me.

It’s up to you do decide which path you want to take, but I want to let you know that there has never been a better time to be an independently published author. There are so many tools and favorable platforms that, when you choose the indie author path, it is a fairly straightforward route to navigate.

Is it easy? Not at all. You will expend the same amount of energy (if not more) than you would have creating and sending query letters and manuscripts when you begin promoting your work and building your author platform.

Fortunately, there are tools and tricks to help you every step of the way. I’ll briefly describe some of the ways that I navigated self publishing using short cuts along the way.

thumbs up

Validation – If you’re seeking the kind of validation that you get from a literary agent or a publishing company, that’s fine. Remember, it’s usually one person’s opinion of your work. You may receive a rejection that says, “It’s just not what we’re looking for.” What exactly does that mean? We don’t think we can sell it. We don’t like your work. You’re a terrible writer. The rejections can be brutal and cold.

If you take the indie route, you can find online peer review groups. I used Scribophile quite a bit when I started writing my first novel. The cool thing about this site is that you can post your work in progress and get it critiqued by other authors. It is a quid pro quo situation in that you have to critique the work of others to get enough ‘points’ to post your own work. I found it to be good practice and there were some really great stories on the site and lots of constructive criticism to be had.

Proofreading red pencil

Editing – Edit, to some, is literally a four-letter-word in indie publishing. I’ve had authors proudly tell me that they edit their own work. Even if you are a scholar with an advanced English degree, I would argue that you’re still going to miss things. I started my career as a computer programmer and I know how easy it is to make simple mistakes in an environment where a missed punctuation mark can cause an entire program to crash. Make an investment in an editor.

You may think this is cost prohibitive, but there are options. I was very lucky. I have a dear friend that is an excellent editor. She took my work on as a favor and I was able to pay her later as sales increased.

If you’re not lucky enough to know an editor that will work under these conditions, you can find freelance editors on sites such as and find editors that will work with you based on the number of words you put in front of them. I’ve done this kind of work myself and it can be a good way to work. The money you pay is put in escrow and is not released until you’re happy with the work.

Book Covers – Again, this is another area where you can spend a lot or a little. Amazon has a tool for creating covers that is free. You can also use the freelance sites that I mentioned earlier. I have had great luck with them and was able to continually go back to the same graphic design artist for my covers. The most I’ve spent on a cover was $50.

Trailers – Once again, the freelance sites can help you here. I’ve had a trailer done for each book. There are many schools of thought on the necessity of trailers. I’ve found that they work well in ads that allow them. I also have set up a Youtube channel with my trailers. Again, the cost was relatively low depending on how much you rely on the freelancer for images, copy, and music. My most expensive trailer was about $75.


Promotion – For an independent author, this is the most painful part of the process in my opinion. I am introverted in person. I’m much more confident and outspoken online. When I have to attend an event and actually interact with other people, it is daunting. I also hate saying good things about myself. The idea of telling others what a great author I am makes me physically ill. There are ways to outsource this process. You can find a P.R. person. I did this at the beginning and found I was not getting a return on my investment. What I did, however, was to learn what this person was doing leading up to a book release and to secure interviews and issue press releases. They were things I could do on my own using my connections.


Building an Author Platform – I had no idea what an author platform was when I started down the indie publishing path. I quickly learned, however, that it is a presence. This presence includes the need for a web site, a Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. It also meant that I needed to establish a blog and a blog identity. This last piece is one that I was hit-or-miss with in the first year. Since January of this year, however, I have taken it very seriously and I believe that having a blog is the foundation of an Author platform. It’s a place to tell people who you are, what you know, and, most importantly for authors, what you write.

I’ve tried to do a number of things with my blog. I like to educate, entertain, interact, share my writing and pay it forward. The last item is extremely important among authors. I try to share news that other authors view as important around their new releases and successes. I also like to share important items from other authors. I also use my blogging platform as a way to tell people about the many talented authors that are part of this community.

Since I’ve been putting effort into my blog, I have seen the number of followers grow significantly and the number of views per visitor. That means that people who visit my blog are looking around at different things. That’s a cool feeling.

One thing that I’ve tried to do is make sure that my blog is identified with me, the author. An author’s name is his or her brand. You can give your blog a catchy name like Author McAuthorface, but people may remember that and not your actual name when looking for your books.

Go Your Own Way Break Split Up Broken Chain Links

Independent vs. Self-Published Author

This post has devolved into a rant about independent publishing in some regard. I make the differentiation between independent and self-publishing for a reason. I don’t do everything myself. I don’t print the books or run the website that sells my books. I simply take all of the tools that traditional publisher would bundle and I use them in a cafeteria style configuration.

Does this make me any less of an author than someone that goes the traditional route? I don’t think so. As long as their are authors like Hugh Howey, Andy Weir and Mark Dawson out there as role models, I’m going to stay on this path. I am validated by my readers, not by a gatekeeper.

Please chime in with your thoughts.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – Who is referring others to your blog? Guests, music and laughter

Check out this weekly roundup of the Smorgasbord Blog Magazine from this post on Sally Cronin’s blog.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to the weekly round up of posts you might have missed.

This week I got back into the swing of things and began the 2019 book promotions and the first of the Sunday Interviews. It was a terrific break but very happy being back to normal.

As always a huge thank you to my regular contributors and guests as well as the support on social media. Whilst managing the various platforms is time consuming and sometimes distracting, it was interesting to see, when I looked at the year’s analytic data, where the most referrals were generated from.

At the top end of the list and accounting for approximately 50% of the referrals out of 221,000 views:

  1. WordPress Reader.
  2. Facebook
  3. Twitter
  5. Other search engines.

The other 50% were referrals from individual bloggers.

This confirms a few things to me:

  1. That WordPress Reader is a very powerful promotional tool for…

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Are you bored? One writing rule you really need

Check out this post from the Nail Your Novel blog that asks: Are you bored? One writing rule you really need

Nail Your Novel

‘Try to leave out the bits the reader will skip,’ said Elmore Leonard.

Sure, Mr L, but how do we identify them?

I thought about this recently when I read a manuscript that was heavy on technical detail. When I delivered my verdict – that many of these passages lost my interest – the author said:

‘I know what you mean – when I read other books on the subject, my eyes often glaze over at the technical passages.’

How interesting that he said that.

When editing our own work, one of the keenest senses we have is our gut instinct. Is it holding our attention? Or does it seem muddled, unconfident, lacking clarity? If we’re even just a tad dissatisfied, this means the passage needs more work.

Certainly, this requires a lot of stamina. Draft upon draft. I wrote a post about it here, when I was editing

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Voyage of the Lanternfish – A Visit by Craig Boyack

Check out this post promoting C.S. Boyack’s new book, Voyage of the Lanternfish, as featured in this post from John Howell’s blog.

Fiction Favorites

Voyage of the Lanternfish

Normally today would be a Top Ten Things Not to Do post. Because of the launch of his new book, I decided to invite Craig Boyack to the post to tell you all about it. I have read a number of Craig’s books and loved them all. I have not read Voyage of the Lanternfish but have a belief that it will be terrific based on the others. The top Ten will return next week. The post is all yours Craig.

Thanks for inviting me over, John. I’m here to talk about my new book, Voyage of the Lanternfish. This one is a pirate fantasy and includes magic and monsters.

Lanternfish had one of those magical things happen as I was drafting it. An unexpected theme revealed itself, but not intentionally. Drafting a story is my favorite part because sometimes, things you didn’t plot out influence the story in a…

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