HarperCollins To Help Authors to Sell Books From Their Websites

One of the biggest benefits of self publishing is that authors can sell books directly to readers, via Amazon and the other ebook retailers. With the current kerfuffle between Hachette and Amazon, publishers are looking for ways to make more profit from books. HarperCollins is now selling books directly to readers.

More fascinating news from HarperCollins:

According to Publishers Lunch, this is just the first phase of a larger project to work with HarperCollins authors to sell books and ebooks directly to readers around the world:

Within the next couple of weeks Harper “will reach out to authors to make a concrete proposition” on how they “will be able to use the technology to sell directly from their own websites” with some simple code.

This is amazing news, and it’s about time.

Authors: make it easy for your readers to buy your books

Authors aren’t good at selling their books — big surprise. I have many favorite authors, and I’m constantly amazed that when I go to an author’s website, it’s sometimes impossible to buy the book by clicking through to Amazon, or wherever.

Yes, you can read the first chapter of an author’s new book, but authors don’t link to their books on the book retailers, so you need to copy the book’s title, and hunt for it.

It’s understandable that authors don’t know how to link to their books, but their Web developer does know. You’d think that they’d either teach the authors how to do it, or would do it for them.

I hope HarperCollins does make it easier for authors to sell from their websites. They’ll make more sales, and everyone will be happier. :-)

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.

Ebook Publishing: Draft2Digital Now Does Scribd


Big news in ebook publishing. If you’re a self publisher, you can now distribute to Scribd via Draft2Digital. Wonderful, but I do wish they’d add Google Play Books as well. :-)

If you’re worried about pirating on Scribd, a KBoards member reports:

I am on Scribd via Smashwords, and the digital fingerprint thing works too if anyone is wondering. I had uploaded samples of my early books onto Scribd myself, and once my Smashwords versions went live, I got an email saying my content had been taken down because Scribd recognise the Smashwords version as the legit one.

Draft2Digital is an amazing service. On the freelance blog, we’re talking about publishing nonfiction this week, and if your ebooks aren’t on Scribd, you can now get them there simply and easily.

Consider formats,  as well as distribution

The more retailers — the wider your distribution — the more ebooks you’ll sell, all things being equal. You should also consider formats.

In my latest program for writers, I share the FORMATS secret with you:

* Discover the big secret of ebook publishing few writers use. Here it is – FORMATS;

* Add value to every ebook you write, and sell it for $4.99 and at many other price points too… Grow your ebooks and sell them for $47 and more;

* Write an ebook in the morning, and sell a version in the afternoon.

Too many nonfiction self publishers leave money on the table because they never consider publishing in different formats. Consider that you have a potential audience of millions around the globe. The more formats you offer, the more you will sell. Everything depends on your topics, of course.

When you write and sell nonfiction, the possibilities for publishing in various formats offer immense potential. So consider formats, as well as distribution.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Characters in Fiction: Love Me, Love My Flaw

Characters in Fiction: Love Me, Love My Flaw

How many people do you know who are perfect? No one’s perfect. We all have flaws – many of them. So characters in fiction need flaws too. Creating a flaw which works can be a real challenge, especially if you’re new to writing fiction.

While all characters are based on aspects of their creator, if you’re a new writer you’ll create characters who are Mary Sues or Marty Stus: idealized people, representations of yourself, and your counterpart of the opposite sex.

To avoid this, focus on a character’s flaw.

Tip: in your first draft, just write. A flaw may emerge naturally from the character – he’s hot-tempered, speaks without thinking, and is dismissive of others’ emotions. She’s too self-centered: she sees everyone in terms of herself.

If your flaw doesn’t emerge naturally, create one in in your second draft.

The Younger Your Character Is, the Easier It Is to Create a Flaw Which Works.

Rita Henuber writes:

I feel the younger the character, the more they have to learn and the more flaw possibilities. Consider the cattle baron’s only child, a daughter, comes home from her first semester of college and announces she is now vegetarian and the family are murderers. What’s her flaw? She’s immature and wants to fit in with her college boy friend’s group who are anti everything.

The older a character, the harder it is to make him/ her sympathetic despite a flaw, because that flaw is part of the character. Few people change in any fundamental way once they’re in their 30s and beyond. Their character is set: that’s just the way they are.

Your readers can empathize with a man who’s hot-tempered in his 20s, and gets in trouble because of that. Once he’s in his 30s, that flaw probably won’t work, unless he’s well aware of it, and is actively trying to change.

Characters in Fiction

Consider my favorite character, Scarlett O’Hara. Scarlett has many flaws; she should be a deeply unsympathetic character. When Gone With the Wind begins, Scarlett is just 16. She’s engaging, and readers forgive her flaws. By the end of the book, readers forgive Scarlett again – why? One reason. Scarlett never, ever gives up. She’s the ultimate in strong characters, and readers love strong characters.

Scarlett has a lot in common with Thackeray’s Becky Sharpe – both are strong, deeply flawed characters.

Character Flaws in Genres: Be Wary of Creating Stereotypes.

I read a lot of romance fiction, especially Regency romances. In Regency romances, the rake is a staple. He’s young, he’s wild. Readers forgive him this flaw because he had a horrible childhood, and never knew love. The heroine teaches him to love, and he’s suddenly reformed, because of his love for the heroine.

In mystery fiction, you have the flawed detective. He’s a sensitive soul, who drinks because he’s seen too much of the dark side of life. If you make your character an alcoholic, he stops drinking for a reason. Something means more to him than alcohol. Make sure that he stops drinking by around chapter three, after you’ve set up your plot.

What are common character flaws in the genre in which you’re writing? Read. You’ll soon spot them. Be aware that if you choose a character flaw which is common in your genre, your character may become a stereotype. Brainstorm, and find ways to avoid that.

Choose Your Favorite Flaw.

Here’s a list of character flaws on TV Tropes, and a list of good flaws, and bad flaws.

Try to make your main characters and their flaws complementary. Consider the characters of David Huxley and Susan Vance in the old movie, Bringing up Baby. David’s a calm scientist, Susan is energetic and confident. They’re pretty much opposites – he’s struggling for money, she’s wealthy, and so on.

Play a series of “what if” games, if you can’t decide on a flaw, or if one doesn’t emerge naturally.

Character Flaws Are Fun to Write.

Character flaws can make your short story or novel. I enjoy creating cynical, snarky characters, and characters with a short fuse. Think about your favorite story characters, and their flaws.

Your characters’ flaws make them memorable too.

Consider Tom Ripley. Lovely man, shame he’s a murderer. Or Walter Mitty, who lives in fantasy. Or David Brent, of The Office fame. David’s totally oblivious to his effect on others.

In summary, characters in fiction need flaws. Flaws are fun to create, and they can make your characters truly memorable.

Make the Switch to Fiction With our Complete Fiction Writing Package

Storytellers' Bonanza - Write Novels And Short Stories FAST

Two of my most popular fiction writing programs have now been combined into one package. (They’re still available separately.)

If you haven’t tried your hand at fiction, you’ll love this. New writers have been asking me for a special deal on the two programs, because they want a complete grounding in fiction.

So here you go: Storytellers’ Bonanza – Write Novels And Short Stories FAST – Complete Fiction Writing Package.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Short Story Shortcuts: Scene Therapy

Short Story Shortcuts: Scene Therapy

Short stories are fun to write, because they’re short. However, they can also be challenging for the same reason. You’re writing to a genre, and your readers have clear expectations for that genre. You can’t shortchange them, you must give them what they want.

This means that you need to be super-clear on a genre’s demands. I love old-style Westerns, so Louis L’Amour is a favorite author of mine. You always know exactly what to expect from him, and he always exceeds your expectations.

It’s been said that L’Amour recycled the same four or five plots, but so what? If you can do what he did – decipher what readers of a genre want, you’ll satisfy your readers.

“How Do You Feel About That?”

Let’s say that you’ve written a short story, and met your genre’s demands. It’s time to revise. I tend to do several revisions, because I write first drafts quickly. For my final revision, I do “scene therapy.” I gauge characters’ ebbs and flows of emotion throughout each scene.

Why focus on emotion? Because your reader lives your story with your characters. Martha Alderson put it well:

A character and her emotional state should be constantly changing. If you write a scene where this is missing, chances are the scene will fall flat and turn your story stagnant.

Start with your first scene. Do you know how the Point of View (POV) character feels immediately? What about the other characters in the scene? In a short story, with just a few scenes, you can’t develop your characters, but you can give them a range of emotions.

As the scene progresses, your character’s emotions will change, according to the action in the scene. (“Action” may simply be dialogue.) Keep asking your character: “how do you feel about that?”

This morning I worked on a scene in which the POV character’s emotions changed from sadness to anger. In earlier drafts, the character was sad, and although the anger was there, it was implied. I made the anger visible, in what the character thought and did, and it immediately lifted the scene.

Try scene therapy for yourself. Don’t try to do it in your first draft; wait until you’re hitting your final revision. Then, dig into your characters’ emotions. It’s huge fun, and it will make your short stories more satisfying for readers.

When You Know You’ll Be Sorting Out Emotions Later, You Can Write Faster

Doing scene therapy with your characters once you’ve got story, setting, characters, and plot all worked out enables you to write faster. You can simply allow your characters to act, and react in early drafts. Later, you’ll reveal their thoughts, and will refine their actions. It saves time, and you’ll write faster. Try it.

Make the Switch to Fiction With our Complete Fiction Writing Package

Storytellers' Bonanza - Write Novels And Short Stories FAST

Two of my most popular fiction writing programs have now been combined into one package. (They’re still available separately.)

If you haven’t tried your hand at fiction, you’ll love this. New writers have been asking me for a special deal on the two programs, because they want a complete grounding in fiction.

So here you go: Storytellers’ Bonanza – Write Novels And Short Stories FAST – Complete Fiction Writing Package.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Giggle: Traditional Publishing Companies and Their Authors

giggle: traditional publishing companies

You may be wondering HOW traditional publishing companies retain authors. It’s easy. They’ve trained them well. Read, and laugh. Or weep.

Oh dear. Amazon hates authors, and only traditional publishing companies have their authors’ wellbeing at heart. (Snicker.)

You may not believe it, but this author certainly does: From How Amazon Means Less Books For You:

In other words, Amazon’s behavior right now is impacting my ability to sell more books to Orbit, since when preorder numbers take this kind of hit it’s harder for Devi to fight for me in acquisition meetings.

That’s the entire problem with authors who’ll stick with traditional companies through thick and thin (mostly thin and thinner), right there: “my ability to sell more books to Orbit”. 

What about readers? Self publishing authors concern themselves with readers. Traditionally published authors worry about publishers.

From the comments on the article:

You know what’s an even better indicator of how well a certain book will sell? Posting it on Amazon for sale and seeing what happens.

Of course PG’s observation regarding the “greedy” and “predatory” nature of Amazon’s author royalties is spot on. I will take 70% and the lack of a contracts dept that takes 6 months to decide whether I’m worthy of being published every day of the week, and twice on Sunday.

It’s worth reading all the comments on this article… In the meantime, if you’re a self publishing author, go back to writing great books for your READERS.


, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Revising Fiction: Motivation Is Everything

Revising Fiction: Motivation Is Everything

Revising fiction can be complicated. You change something here, and you need to follow those changes right through the novel. Revising short stories is a lot less complicated. If you remember motivation, your stories will not only be more satisfying for readers, they’ll also be a lot more fun to write.

What’s Your Motivation?

Short stories are short, by definition. They’re also easy to unbalance. Here’s an example. You’re writing a mystery. In your first scene, you introduce your sleuth, and he investigates the dead body. Magic: your mystery is on track. The following scenes will include misdirection, red herrings, and clues.

Somewhere in there, you need to do a little characterization. You give your sleuth a toddler. As kids will, the kid takes over. Before you know it, the first draft of well-planned story isn’t a mystery. It’s a story about a single father who just happens to be a detective.

You decide the kid has to go. She’s a nuisance. Not so fast. Yes, eliminate the scene in which the kid appears, but keep the kid. She’s motivation. Instead of giving her most of a scene, have daddy-sleuth thinking about the kid: her chubby fists, her curls… Your sleuth is determined to catch the murderer, because he doesn’t want the murderer running around free in the same world as his daughter.

Motivation Makes Revision Much Easier.

In real life, you want something just because you want it. In fiction, you’re motivated to want something because_______ (fill in the blank.)

When I’m helping students with revision, everything becomes simpler once they fix on a motivation for each of their characters. A character comes alive. He or she starts to make sense. You can rapidly weed out paragraphs and entire scenes, because they’re no longer necessary.

If you’ve overloaded your novel or short story with “telling” – narrative – rather than scenes, you can eliminate much of it, because you don’t need it. Once you’ve motivated your characters, you don’t need a lot of telling. Scenes are easy to write.

Try it. When you’re revising fiction, ask yourself what your character’s primary motivation is. Your revision will go much more swiftly.

Write Commercial Fiction

If you’re struggling with your writing, trading your hours for dollars, maybe it’s time you considered something different: write commercial fiction. Once written, your ebooks will sell for years…

Write Commercial Fiction

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Editing Your Book: Cleverest Tactic EVER

Editing Your Book: Cleverest Tactic EVER

Editing your book can take forever, or at least, it can seem like forever. What if you had not just one editor, but many? You’d get the pesky editing out of the way faster.

J. Travis Washburn writes his books in Google Docs, and shares his books with readers who help him to edit. (You’ll have to read the entire article to discover his process.) In his article, How to Hire the Best Book Editor for Free: Crowdsource Editing, he says:

I like to think of editing in a three-level structure:

Alpha Readers make comments on global issues like concepts, plots, themes, characters, and settings. They comment about the story.

Beta Readers comment on the mid-level stuff. But they’re basically the best of both worlds, commenting on both the big issues and small.

Gamma Readers are the ones who notice punctuation and spelling errors, the small stuff. A misplaced comma never slips by them.

The process sounds wonderful, except for Google Docs. I’m assuming that J. Travis Washburn writes in another app and then posts to Google Docs? I can’t imagine writing anything directly in Google Docs. I’ve tried. It doesn’t work for me.

Of course, there are alternatives to Google Docs. Quip for one; I use Quip with clients. You can import files from Dropbox, Google Drive and Evernote to collaborate with others. So you could import a chapter at a time. So if you’re as freaked by Google Docs as I am, you could use Quip, or similar.

“Crowdsourcing” your editing is a clever tactic. With many eyes on your book before it’s published, you could be sure not only that your book works for readers, but also that nary a typo sneaked through.

Not sure how to get alpha readers ? Use your blog (another good reason for creating a blog). In Blogging Books and Your Writing: Do It YOUR Way, we discussed several different types of blogs you could create. Alternatively, try social media websites, like Twitter and Facebook, or my favorite, Google+.


Write Commercial Fiction

If you’re struggling with your writing, trading your hours for dollars, maybe it’s time you considered something different: write commercial fiction. Once written, your ebooks will sell for years…

Write Commercial Fiction

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Self Publishing Your Book: It’s FREE

Self-Publishing Your Book: It’s FREE

Wondering how much self publishing your book will cost? It’s free. Last week I was chatting with a group of new authors who’d been told that it would cost them several thousand dollars to self publish a book.

My jaw dropped. I wondered how anyone could believe that. Then I realized that there’s so much misinformation around about self publishing “costs” that yes indeed, some new writers DO believe that. Some of the self publishing misinformation is meant to mislead, because someone’s making money from newbie authors, the rest of it’s just nonsense.

So again: self publishing to Amazon and all the other ebook retailers is free, free, free.

Amazon’s your biggest market, so upload your material there first. Later, you can upload to Draft2Digital, which will get you onto iBooks, iTunes, Barnes & Noble, et al. Draft2Digital has more retailers coming; I’m looking forward to the day they add Google Play.

Self-Publishing Is FREE, Gratis…

Again, it’s free. Whenever you want to self publish an ebook, just create an MS Word or iWork Pages document of the final draft of your nonfiction book, or of your novel, or short story. Then upload the Word or Pages doc to Amazon. Amazon converts the file into its MOBI format for you. You can create and upload your own image for the cover, or if you can’t be bothered creating your own graphic, use Amazon’s Kindle Cover Creator – also free.

If you want to do a print version of your book, use Amazon’s Createspace. That’s essentially free too.

If You Wish, You Can Spend Money on Editing and Cover Images.

I ghostwrite fiction and nonfiction for clients, and sub-contract the editing. I’m a reasonable editor, but my time’s better spent on writing. I also sub-contact cover images.

However you don’t need to do that. Get a couple of beta readers, and swap proofreading with a friend. It’s easy enough to correct errors after your ebook’s selling on Amazon. Just upload the corrected file.

The next time someone tells you that self publishing costs anything, scoff at them, with my blessing. Or better yet, simply ignore them and get on with self publishing your books. You don’t need to listen to nonsense. :-)

Write Commercial Fiction

If you’re struggling with your writing, trading your hours for dollars, maybe it’s time you considered something different: write commercial fiction. Once written, your ebooks will sell for years…

Write Commercial Fiction

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Writing a Book: Editors Are Wonderful, But…

Writing a Book: Editors Are Wonderful, But…
Shock, horror… You’ve heard from your editor.

You’re writing a book. You’ve completed a draft, and emailed it to your editor. It comes back, with lots of suggestions and corrections.

What do you do? A student asked this question because she was very upset.

Let’s address the upset first. It’s your book, you’re very close to it, and having someone make (what seem like) disparaging comments is upsetting. It’s normal to feel as if you’ve been kicked in the head. Every author gets stressed during editing. However, your stress is unhelpful. Your book needs editing, because you wrote it. There’s no way you can read it as a reader would. Editing makes your book better.

You’ll recover your equilibrium. Go for a walk, or the gym – go anywhere, and get some exercise. Wait for your initial reaction to pass…

All better? OK. :-)

Now let’s look at the kind of editing your book got.

Writing a Book: Editors Are Wonderful, But…

What Kind of Edit Did You Get?

There are several different kinds of editing, including: developmental, copyediting (line editing), and proofing.

Developmental editing (also termed substantive editing) is basically a revision. It’s pulling your book apart, and putting it back together so that it’s better. (Or at least, everyone hopes it’s better. I’ve noticed that when indie publishers get a “real” publisher, their books get worse. Readers notice the change in voice, and don’t like it. )

Your developmental editor looks at the book, gets an overall feel for the book and how it might fit into the marketplace, and gives you suggestions for revision. She might offer suggestions for character development, or ask you to eliminate a subplot because you don’t need it, and so on. Developmental editing can be wholesale slaughter. Believe it or not, this is good for you. When you survive this, you’ll be a better writer.

Line editing is what it sounds like. The editor goes through your book, line by line, and offers ideas and suggestions, and asks questions.

A proofread isn’t strictly an edit. However, it can be. If you’ve hired an editor, it depends on what you’ve asked for. Usually the proofread is the final edit before the book goes to print, in traditional publishing, or before you convert your book into MOBI and upload it to Amazon if you’re self-publishing.

Editing and You: YOUR Name Is on the Book.

You need an editor. Every author does. Therefore, read all editorial suggestions carefully, and don’t dismiss them out of hand. When it comes down to it however, remember whose name is on the book. It’s your name. Not your editor’s.

An aside. There seems to be a fashion in traditional publishing, which started in the 1990s, and in some indie books too, for editors to get a credit in the front matter: Editing by… That’s cheer-worthy. YES! Share the blame. (I’m joking. Sort of. :-))

What if You Can’t Afford an Editor?

There’s no shame in that. Nor do you necessarily need or want an editor. Look, currently I’m writing some SHORT erotic short stories under a pen name. They’re around 5,000 words each ebook. Do I want an editor for them? Hell no. I can do it myself – revise, line edit and proof. These are shorts, written for a specific audience. If readers start quibbling about editing when they’re reading erotica, the ebooks have bigger problems than a few typos.

In indie publication, professional editing is nice, but you can do a lot of editing yourself. Or you can trade editing with another writer.

If You Must Say “No” to an Editorial Suggestion…

When you hire an editor, or find yourself edited by an editor at a publishing house, do your best to comply to editorial comments. But don’t be too ready to change anything in your book on an editor’s say-so: it’s your name on the book, so stand up for yourself. :-)

Over the years, I’ve said “no” to editors’ demands and suggestions. The key when you reject something, is to be totally professional. Explain as much as you need to, but don’t over-explain. As we’ve said, your name is on the book.

Keep in mind that editors can be wrong. Developmental editing is subjective. And line editors (copyeditors) can be ignorant fools, to put it mildly. A copyeditor can correct things which don’t need correcting, and introduce errors. You’ll hear many authors swear about and at copyeditors.

Writing a book is an accomplishment. Surviving your edits builds your character. It’s an editor’s job to make your book better, and most editors are wonderful, so enjoy your edits. :-)


Buy this on Selz

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Fiction Writing Tools: Two to Love (Mac)

Fiction Writing Tools: Two to Love (Mac)

I’ve been asked about fiction writing tools, so I’ll make this quick, and tell you what I use. Keep in mind that I’m a full time writer, and have been for years. I need tools which help me to get organized, and stay organized. If you’re a brand new writer, start off with Scrivener. You can do almost everything in Scrivener; you can get other tools as you need them.

Not a Mac person? If you need Windows alternatives, you could consider WikidPad as an alternative to VoodooPad, and Microsoft OneNote as an alternative to Curio.

1. VoodooPad: Magic for Organization and Creativity.

VoodooPad is a wiki, like Wikipedia in a sense, but instead of living on the Web, it’s an app on your Mac. Only you get to use it. You can create as many VoodooPad documents as you like, and each VoodooPad document is made up of pages. Initially, I worried about file size for VoodooPad docs, but some of my documents are several gigs in size. They’re still as speedy as they ever were.

Like a wiki, you create links in a document, leading to other pages. Type two words together like “MustDo” and VoodooPad makes the combo word a link. Click on the link, and VoodooPad creates a MustDo page for you. In that page, you can create other links leading to other pages. Although it sounds complicated, talking about it takes more time than doing it.

Don’t worry about organization. You have a “home” page, which is your index. However, most of my index pages in VoodPad documents only contain a few references to links. You can locate other material via the Search function, the Pages drawer, and via Collections.

I love VoodooPad for fiction. I create a new VoodooPad document for each series and serial part-work I create, to act as the “Bible” for that line of books. I dump everything in the document: notes about plot, character, settings, a daily writing journal (for weeping and wailing and counting words)…

Previously, I kept all this material in the Research section of the book’s, or series’, Scrivener document, but I prefer VoodooPad for all extraneous material.

2. Curio: Helps You to Think.

Although you can keep images and PDFs in both Scrivener and VoodooPad, I prefer Curio as a visual organizer. I use it to store book cover images, Amazon descriptions and keywords, and brainstorms. A couple of series I’m ghostwriting are historical, so I keep images of character dress, houses of the time, and reference notes to books that I want to borrow from the library or buy.

If you’re an Evernote user, Curio integrates beautifully with it. I make notes and draw in my paper journals, and on cards. I photograph them into Evernote with my phone. Then I drag the images into Curio. Sounds convoluted, but it works.

As we’ve said, if you’re just starting on your writing journey, start with Scrivener. (You can thank me later.) Once your needs extend beyond that, because you’re working on several book projects at a time, explore other tools.

VoodooPad and Curio are two tools I love. I’d be lost without them.

Short Story Factory: Write With Me

Writing Short Stories For Fun and Profit: 30 Days Program
Want to develop a residual income stream? Devote 30 days to writing short stories, in just an hour a day. Not only do you get help with choosing what genres to write in, you get writing help, as well as professional editing.

I’m accepting new students; check out the offering. It’s the fastest way ever to get in on the fiction bonanza on Amazon.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Kindle Direct Publishing: No, You Don’t Need an ISBN

Kindle Direct Publishing: No, You Don't Need an ISBN

This question arises constantly: Do I need an ISBN for Amazon?

No, not for Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). From Amazon:

1-23 Do I need an ISBN to publish on Kindle Direct Publishing? 
An ISBN (International Standard Book Number) is not required to publish content with Kindle Direct Publishing. Once your content is published on the KDP web site, Amazon.com will assign it a 10-digit ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number), which is unique to the eBook, and is an identification number for the Kindle Book on Amazon.com. If you already have an ISBN for your eBook, you’ll be able to enter it during the publishing process. Do *not* use an ISBN for the print book edition.

Print: free ISBN with Amazon’s Createspace

You only need ISBNs for print publication. And if you choose Amazon’s Createspace for print, you get a ISBN free. Here’s Amazon on ISBNs. You can choose to buy a Custom ISBN for $10, or a Universal ISBN for $99, but unless you know WHY you want that, don’t bother.

For most authors, Amazon’s free ISBNs are all you need…

, and on Twitter: @angee.


You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Publishing Serials: a New Way

“With its own music, audio, and photography, The Underwriting runs like a TV series. Each Wednesday, it releases a new “episode” on its website and will be free to read for 24 hours. After the “air,” the episode will only become available by subscription, which costs readers $1.50.”


This woman is writing a VC-backed novel — & looking for new revenue for book publishers

If you’re thinking of writing serials, and you’re writing alone, without a team, the above strategy is not for you.  Consider however, that there are many, many ways you can offer your writing to readers.


Ebook Sales and Advertising: BookBub Raises Money


BookBub offers a great advertising service for indie authors to increase their ebook sales, and there’s great news — they’ve raised $3.8 million in funding.

From the WSJ:

“It used to be about getting on the shelves in bookstores, and they would take care of promotions, pricing and other challenges for authors, in a sense,” said Mr. Paley. “But e-books have created a ‘discoverability’ problem for readers, and stores are no longer as powerful in driving sales,” he said.

That’s certainly true. Authors report that BookBub ads are successful, so we need BookBub to stick around.

Also from the WSJ article:

The CEO plans to use the funding to develop new “e-book discovery” products for people who love to read. The company also plans to “localize” the BookBub newsletter and site for different, international markets, starting with English-language speaking countries.

What does this mean for you?

It means that you’ve got somewhere to advertise your ebooks (as long as they have proven sales) to millions of subscribers. Anecdotally, authors report upticks in sales from their ads on BookBub. You’re restricted to two promotions a year, as far as I know. That’s OK — you need to be writing more, anyway.

More generally, the investment means that a company with a mailing list of 3 million people who want free and inexpensive self-published ebooks is an attractive bet to investors. That’s the BIG news.

Now that BookBub has achieved this investment, we’ll see other companies starting up in the same space, and this is a good thing. Ebooks are healthy.

There’s been some concern that BookBub might abandon indies, and focus on promoting traditionally published books. I don’t see this happening at all. Big publishers have their own resources, and mailing lists.

Whatever happens, this is a good omen for indie authors and ebook sales.

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, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.

The Best Way to Write a Novel: Your Way

The Best Way to Write a Novel: Your Way

Want to write a novel? I’ve been helping our Hot, Hotter, Hottest: Write Bestselling Kindle Romances students with their short stories and novels; assuring them that their way is the “right” way.

Do what works for you. As long as you’re writing, it’s going great. Every novel you write is different, and you’re different with each novel. Everything you write teaches you something. When you’re just starting out, you see one way to write something. As you gain experience, you see more ways to write.

I enjoyed Max Barry’s Fifteen Ways to Write a Novel, in which he says:

If there were a single method of writing great books, we’d all be doing it.

There’s no single, best way. Do what you intuitively feel is right for you. If you’re stuck on your novel, write a short story.

I ghostwrite fiction for clients, as well as writing my own fiction, and usually have one book I’m drafting, while I revise a couple of others — four others, at the moment.

My current way of writing a novel

I spend a couple of hours each day writing rough draft material, either at the beginning of the day, or in the late evening. My sole aim is to get words on paper. I use the super-easy outlining method.

My first drafts are always a discovery process. Everything goes right into the draft: character journals, notes to myself, ideas about character arcs.

I try to write straight through from the beginning to the end of the book. However, if the plot shifts in a major way, I’ll delete scenes and chapters, and write new scenes and chapters.

For example, one novel I’m revising, working title, Wilderness, started out as a paranormal, with time-travel elements. I was a quarter into the first draft, when I decided to eliminate all the paranormal material, and turn it into the first book in a contemporary series.

That was a major switch, but it worked out well. I deleted some scenes, wrote several new scenes, reworked the beginning, and carried on with the draft.

(A tip of the hat to Scrivener, which makes it easy for you to switch things around, as many times as you like.)

If you want to try something new — do it

It’s your book. If something feels right to you, do it. You can make any changes you like. Just keep writing. Your way is always the best way. The only thing that matters is that you keep writing.

Want help? Hot, Hotter, Hottest: Write Bestselling Kindle Romances gives you six months of genre writing classes. 

Hot, Hotter, Hottest: Write Bestselling Kindle Romances


, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.