5 On: Julie Smith

Author, publisher, and book marketer Julie Smith shares what she loves to write—and read—in a mystery, how her writing obsession evolved into marketing, the mistake many authors make with their book covers, and more.

asking questions

You Can’t Get to “Once Upon a Time” Without “What If?”

Danielle Lazarin: “At every stage of my work, questions are my most essential writing tools. I use them to move through to the other side of murky. It’s only by stepping into that unknown and uncomfortable space repeatedly during my process that I can become more deliberate in the story I’m telling.”

business partner

The Risks and Rewards of Bringing Your Spouse or Partner Into Your Business

There are real risks to working together on a business with your spouse or partner, especially if you are both still learning how to do it well and manage your household through the uncertainty of the start-up existence. Adopting formal agreements on how to interact with one another can help avoid stress and anxiety.

how to get book reviews

The Essential First Step for New Authors: Book Reviews, Not Sales

New authors have no symbolic capital. They are not (yet) known for producing quality books that seduce readers. Is it possible for self-publishing authors to create symbolic capital? Absolutely yes, and many have. In today’s increasing online world of book shopping, it is book reviews that build symbolic capital.

should you typset your own book

Can You (Should You) Typeset Your Own Book?

If people judge books by their covers, then typesetting is the difference between a brief or a lasting impression. The cover may grab a reader’s eye, but what the reader sees when they crack open the book is what will hold their attention.

affordable ways to master book marketing on a budget

4 Affordable Ways to Master Book Marketing

Keeping up with the latest book marketing trends and learning new tactics can be expensive. Couple this with the growing cost of self-publishing, and it’s important that we be economically shrewd in our endeavors. Here’s how.

ebook giveaway strategy

How to Rock a Free Day Promotion for Your eBook

If you are an indie author on Amazon, in Amazon’s Kindle Select Program, you can use five free days to promote your ebook in exchange for three months of exclusivity. Many traditional publishers are increasingly doing free promos as well, and the competition is growing with thousands of free ebooks available every day. So how do you stand out?

indie authors and the value of free

Is Writing Being Devalued by Giveaways and Cheap Ebooks?

There’s growing unrest surrounding the proliferation of free and cheap books, particularly ebooks. The reasons for sharp discounts and giveaways are legion (and some reasons are better than others), but regardless of the reason, I see greater shaming of those who are seen to “devalue” literature in our culture.

writers and parents

What Obligations Do Writers Have to Their Parents?

There’s a very famous piece of advice from Anne Lamott that occasionally makes the rounds on social media. She says: “You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.” This advice, especially when shared out of context, makes me cringe.

Amazon optimization

Optimizing Your Books for Amazon Keyword Search

The more your book is optimized for search at Amazon, the more often it’s going to come up in searches, and—consequently—the more you’ll sell. Part of making your book more discoverable is understanding how to set your categories and keywords on Amazon, which is accessible to any indie author.

the mature self of memoir

The Secret of Great Memoir: The Mature Self

Memoirists have to write their story, the events of their life, from a future perspective. From NOW. Now brings with it maturity, wisdom, insight, and grace. The mature self speaks from a place of distance but not detachment.

how to self publish in france

How to Self-Publish in France

More books are translated in France than in any other country: 1 out of every 6 books has been translated from a foreign language, many from English.

distraction as asset

How Distraction Can Be an Asset

Over a last year, a consistent theme has emerged in my discussions with writers around the country: They feel distracted. What is to be done?

4 key ways to launch a scene

4 Key Ways to Launch a Scene

Each scene in your book requires a beginning, middle, and end. Here are four paths to launching your scene—plus the questions you should ask about each one.

Using Dysfunctional Behavior to Reveal Characters’ Emotional Wounds

Giving characters painful backstory makes them feel credible to readers. But when it comes to describing what happened, many writers jump headfirst into an info dump, hoping a summary will create a shortcut to empathy and “catch readers up.” Unfortunately, this can have the opposite effect.

emerging as a writer

What It Means to Be a Writer—and to Emerge as a Writer

There’s a term thrown around in the world of writing that I’ve never fully understood: emerging writer. To emerge as a writer, or anything else for that matter, you must emerge from one thing into an entirely different something else.

Lisa Tener

5 On: Lisa Tener

Lisa Tener shares important lessons learned when writing her first book, the ups and downs of co-writing, the most important platform writers should have, and more.