5 Easy Steps to Formatting your Manuscript

By Samantha Stroh Bailey Anyone reading this post who knows me is probably rolling on the floor right now, holding their sides because they’re laughing so hard. I am a recovering technophobe and still freeze when I have to download something. Right click? Left click? Double click? So, when I had to format my manuscript for my debut novel, Finding Lucas, to upload it to Kobo, I was petrified. Enter my ex Starbucks barista and my husband. I didn’t even know what formatting meant when I started this journey. But, now I realize that it’s not nearly as hard as it sounds and it’s something even a former Luddite like me can learn in 5 easy steps. So, you have your manuscript open and your hands are shaking because you’re preparing it for publication. And isn’t it incredible that soon, with … [Read more...]

Critique groups and writing buddies: a quick guide

Unless you’re collaborating with others, the act of writing is, by its nature, a rather solitary activity. But the actual process of writing a story is only the first of many steps. The next step – revision – needs others. Whether it’s a professional editor, a beta reader, a friend whose opinion you value, or an anonymous stranger on the other side of the internet, finding and using a writing buddy who can tell you when you’re on track and when you need to put in a little more work is a necessary part of getting your manuscript ready to be seen by the general public. The local critique group Founding a local writer’s critique group is both challenging and rewarding. It can be difficult to find other local writers who are dedicated enough to their craft to continue with an organized group … [Read more...]

6 expert tips on designing a great book cover

scarlett rutgers

By Scarlett Rugers Yes people do judge books by their covers, and when your cover is the size of a postage stamp, as is the case in search results for eBooks, you need a clear message for maximum impact. Coming up with the right high-voltage look can be tricky, but don’t be deterred. Here are some quick pointers to help with the process, specifically for authors with little to no design experience, and want to give it a shot: Have a clear idea of what message you want to convey. You can only make a first impression once.  Instead of three or four story lines, two characters, eighteen scenes and one plot twist clamoring for attention, pick one strong theme for the cover. What is the one constant in your story, from start to finish? What is the value, the lesson, the message you are … [Read more...]

Racy Writing – Dos and Don’ts with Kelly Favor

So you’ve decided to try your hand at writing erotica—why not? It’s a very popular genre right now, and selling like hotcakes. Bestselling novelist Kelly Favor, author of the wildly popular For His Pleasure series, took the time to share some thoughts, answer some questions, and provide a few Dos and Don’ts for the beginning writer. Dos Start fast, and stay in the “now.” Open with a scene that grabs readers’ attention and establishes the main character, and also establishes the “sexiness” of the story. That doesn’t mean you need to start with a sex scene, but it means that you want to foreshadow or in some way indicate that there is some racy content to come. However, it’s important to also establish character at the same time—make certain you’ve instantly made the reader feel that … [Read more...]

Enter now! The Jeffrey Archer Short Story Challenge closes tonight!

If you’re in the process of writing a novel, write us a 100-word story and you could win a place in an upcoming UK Curtis Brown Creative online novel-writing course! Submit by midnight Eastern Standard Time on February 15th (tonight!) to qualify. Submit here! See the full Terms & Conditions for details. Check out this post for great questions & answers. Less than 12 hours left! Get writing! … [Read more...]

My Writing Life – Patricia McLinn

patricia mclinn

Patricia McLinn is the author of the award-winning and bestselling Wyoming Wildflowers series, on top of non-fiction, women’s fiction, western historical romance, contemporary fiction, and mysteries (the latter as P. A. McLinn).   When did you first discover a love of writing? Is there a particular book that made you want to become a writer? Writing stemmed from a love or reading, and reading started very young out of self-defense. I’m a good chunk younger than my siblings, who kept secrets from me by spelling them. I had no choice but to learn the alphabet, spelling, and reading to keep up. Once I started reading, my older sister would sneak me into areas of the Helen M. Plum Memorial Library in Lombard, Ill., that were considered beyond my kiddie ability to select books, … [Read more...]

Writing memoir


Everyone has a life, and maybe everyone has a compelling life story. Here’s how to turn memories into memoir:    Writing Life Stories, Bill Roorbach. From drawing a map of a remembered neighborhood to signing a form releasing yourself to take risks in your work, Roorbach offers innovative techniques that will trigger ideas for all writers.    How to Write your Life Story, Ralph Fletcher. Although written for young people, this little book is packed with great instructions on everything needed to start writing.     Writing the Memoir: From Truth to Art, Judith Barrington. A practical guide to the craft, the personal challenges, and ethical dilemmas of writing your true stories.     Inventing the Truth: The Art and Craft of Memoir, William Zinsser. Zinsser … [Read more...]


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