Bonus Content


Website Bonus Content Brings in the Readers!

This is something I bring up with authors a lot. You MUST have a website or blog, and you must keep it active, post new material. So what can you be putting out that will bring fans back to your site frequently? This article by Liz Edelstein at The Verbs suggests your bonus content can be:

  • Deleted scenes
  • Behind-the-scenes scoop
  • Series FAQ, relationship trees, and/or character interviews
  • Short stories or bridge stories
  • Teaser preview material

Oh, and not mentioned in the article, but don’t forget to have an e-newsletter to let your fans know about the new material on your site. Studies have shown over and over that the best way to reach people is by direct email.

Turn Your Website Up To 11 (with Bonus Content)

Turn Your Website Up to 11 (With Bonus Content)

I Don’t Sell!

So, I’ve been laid off, the company is closing for financial reasons. I’m actively job hunting, using, and Which means I’ve posted my resume (several versions) on those sites, for potential employers to find.

I’ve been inundated with emails, phone calls and text messages — by people who want me to sell insurance or financial plans. They all sound very scammy. I’m sure some are from non-US call centers–the callers have heavily accented English and I’ve gotten multiple calls that sound like they are from the same person and place but offering different “opportunities”. Oh, and the keyword is “human resources” — they all start by saying the job they want to discuss with me is in human resources.

Can I mention that absolutely nothing on my resume reflects any sales or marketing experience or skill? And I hate sales jobs, I think it is terrible to call people and try to entice them to buy insurance or any financial or investment plan. When people want such, they will contact companies. For the company to cold-call people is just an effort to sell them things they don’t need, to steal their money.

In discussing this with others, I hear the same story about their job searches. Apparently these companies just comb newly posted resumes on the job sites for anyone who looks like they’ve got any office or professional experience. Ugh, ick.

I need a job that earns me money. A commission-based income at a job for which I have no skill isn’t going to earn me anything because I won’t be able to sell anything.

So now I immediately reply, “I am interested only in full-time jobs with salary and benefits, nothing commission-based or in sales.” That gets the person to go away real quick.

Now if only I’d hear back from one of the REAL jobs I applied for…



This is something I talked to authors about a lot when they would suggest or submit a co-written book. That can be great for your inspiration and productivity and fresh voice, but it also entails a LOT of potential problems.

Do your writing techniques mesh? Can you handle blunt critiquing from your partner and others? What if you have major disagreements about the story or anything else? Who’s doing which tasks, not just in writing but all the related stuff–social media, marketing, contacting reviewers, and on and on? And who’s paying for that, or for an editor or cover artist? For that matter, how are you splitting the income? If one of you does more work than the other or takes on expenses, does that person get paid first out of income or get a bigger percentage?

And what about some catastrophic illness (or even death) that may prevent your co-author from completing her or his part of the project? What about the future–who inherits the rights eventually?

So before you and your best friend jump into that joint book, read this article and discuss all the points with each other. Or I guarantee you most likely will not be best friends by the time the book is done–if it ever is.

Co-Authors: Before You Tie the Knot

“The best way to improve the odds of a successful writing partnership is to take the time to put the collaboration agreement in writing up front.”


Quality in Self-Pubbing


Are Self-Published Books Inferior to Professionally Published Books?

The article author lists three areas to evaluate: editing, cover design, and interior design and layout. The conclusion is that “For the most part, self-published books do not even come close to what a major publisher puts out.”

I will use the example of the self-pubbed “Class 5” trilogy by Michelle Diener. Absolutely incredible story line and characters! I love the “stories”, but I hate the “books”.

~ I am not focused on covers, so I’d say these are fine but not fantastic.

~ Text formatting: I bought the print versions, and they are a mess. Did the author not check every page of the layout before they went to print?

~ Then we get to what I as a reader notice most, the editing/proofing. That’s what affects my reading pleasure; errors pull me out of the story and reduce my concentration. These things are a godawful disaster! I found quite literally hundreds and hundreds of errors—typos, misspellings, wrong punctuation, wrong words, missing words. In all three books, so she did not learn from experience. I can barely reread these books because the text is so painful.

When I recommend the wonderful stories to others, I always have to include the caveat that they are a quality disaster and make the author seem incompetent and illiterate. Pay for an experienced and professional and expensive proofreader, Michelle!! Since her bio says she previously worked in publishing (without defining what type of work) I find it amazing that she damaged such great stories by putting out such unprofessional and poor quality books.

My opinion: One cannot consider all “self-published” books to be one homogenous group. It should be broken into:

1. Books previously published by a good publisher; rights have reverted to author, who then repubs the book. That book went through professional editing for original publication, so is already of good quality.

2. Newly written self-pubbed book by author with extensive positive prior experience at a major publisher. This author has developed their writing skills, has learned the value of experienced editing and professional cover art.

3. Books from self-pubbers who view writing as a profession needing training and mentoring and brutal critiquing and self-evaluation. These authors belong to professional writing organizations, they take classes, they participate in critiquing, they pay big bucks for very good editing, proofreading, formatting, and cover art. They invest in their “job”.

4. Books from an author who has only ever self-pubbed, does not have experience in the publishing industry, may or may not be a dedicated member of a writing organization. This author is far less likely to take classes, use crit partners, and really work to develop writing skills. Doesn’t want to waste money on editing or cover art; either skips editing completely or goes with the cheapest. These are the books that are very likely of poor quality. And there are a LOT of them–the biggest group within self-pubbing.

So, yes, I agree with the article that many if not most self-pubbed books are indeed inferior. But don’t tar them all with the same brush, when there are also a lot of excellent quality books that fall under the self-pubbed umbrella.