How to successfully design a cover

Designing a cover is an exciting process, but it can also be a stressful one. In this blog post, I will walk you through all the points you need to consider. First, decide what your budget is. If your budget is on the low side, you might want to check out sites like Fivver. However, you must be aware that these sites tend to focus on quantity over quality and that many of the freelancers will try to pump out as many covers as quickly as possible, thus severely limiting individual attention… Read More

Things to consider when hiring an editor for your novel

No matter how many grammar books you read and how often you reread your manuscript, you will want to hire a professional editor for your manuscript before self-publishing it. For those on a tight budget, I suggest checking out the website Upwork. It has thousands of freelancers and you can search by skills, rates, test scores, and regions. Upwork is very user friendly, and it takes less than half an hour to set up your profile and post your project. Upwork will ask you how much you are willing to spend, and… Read More

How to fix wrist pain

Those of us that type a lot will most likely encounter wrist pain or strain at one point or another. When writing a detailed outline for one of my books, I found myself typing over 7k for several days. I was proud of the amount of work I had completed but the progress came at a price. My right wrist and finger joints began to ache. Below I’m going to share what has helped me to recover from the pain. First of all, let me say that I was typing away at… Read More

Tallahassee Writers Conference (TWC)

Last Saturday I was fortunate enough to attend the Tallahassee Writers Conference (TWC). In this post I will highlight my main takeaways and whom I think the conference is best suited for. TWC started at 8:30am and ended at 8pm on Saturday the 22nd of April. Lunch and dinner included a keynote, where authors shared their inspirational success stories. The presented workshops were equally divided between writing advice and marketing advice. Perhaps most useful for beginning writers were the introductory workshops on the YA and Mystery genre, as well as a workshop on how… Read More

Writing a better novel: Keeping track of your secondary characters

Most writers do a good job keeping track of the protagonist, the love interest and the villain. Secondary characters—not so much. As a novel unfolds, it is not uncommon to find that secondary characters disappear to only reappear when it is convenient for the writer. These sporadic appearances not only feel unnatural and forced, they can potentially destroy the plausibility of the story. It might be tempting to save time and energy on developing the plot lines of secondary characters, particularly if you have an impending deadline. However, secondary characters can make… Read More

Word count—why the length of your novel matters

In today’s post I’m going to argue in favor of a shorter word count for both chapters and overall novel length. First of all, I would encourage writers to familiarize themselves with the average word count for novels in their genre. If you’re thinking about submitting your novel to a particular publisher, you might even be able to find specific guidelines for that particular publisher online (e.g. Harlequin’s website is very explicit on what the word count should be depending on the genre of your novel). At this point, you might argue… Read More

How to write a successful novel—Choosing time and place

Ever started out with an idea of telling a story that spans several years, perhaps even decades? Or a story that is set all over the world? As brilliant as you think your idea is, books without time and/or place boundaries are problematic. They either confuse readers due to their many time and scenery jumps or bore readers with mundane travel experiences and day-to-day activities. While there are exceptions to every rule, most successful novels operate in one place and have a tight time frame. To the new writer this might appear… Read More

How to tear your manuscript apart and rewrite it without going crazy

A sense of relief fills writers after they finished polishing their first draft and hand it over to beta readers. Both excited and fearful of feedback, most writers hope that the reader will make minor yet genius suggestions that are easy for us to fix and will make our manuscript that much better. But what do you do if that is not the case. What if the feedback is pertinent to a deeper issue? Perhaps your main character’s goals are not clear or meaningful enough? Or your first five chapters have nothing… Read More

Can books with teaser endings ever be satisfactory?

Many readers have a love-hate relationship with books that end on a teaser aka where a question is posed that will only be answered in the next installment or a hint at a future quest is given. Why are some teasers well received while others are despised? Readers dislike: Incomplete stories Loose end plot lines Unnatural teaser ending, created for the sole purpose of making the reader buy the next book in the series   However when done correctly a teaser can actually enhance the whole novel. The final scene or sentence… Read More

Online critique groups

Last week I discussed the benefits and risks of joining a local in-person critique group. Today’s post will examine the advantages and disadvantage of online critique communities. To illustrate how an online critique groups works, I will use Scribophile, one of the bigger online critiquing platforms. Many of Scribophile’s operating principles apply to other critique groups as well. First of all, how does Scribophile work? It is point-based, where you earn ‘Karma’ points for your critique of other people’s work and you spend points to upload a piece of your own work… Read More