Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Self-Publishing — Is It Right for You?

"Are you going to self-publish?" "Did you know you can put your book on Amazon and sell it?" "Why are you wasting time trying to get an agent if you can just do it yourself?"

If you're pursuing traditional publication and you aren't a runaway success story, you've probably had well-meaning friends and relatives ask you about self-publishing (I know I have!). It can sometimes be tough to explain your reasoning when it's taking years to make forward progress.

One very good reason? Self-publishing the right way, to give yourself the best chance of success, is expensive. Author Susanne Dunlap published a blog post this week that breaks down the costs, including cover design, editing, and social media marketing.

Distribution can be an issue, too. If you've always dreamed of seeing your work in the checkout line at Target or at the Scholastic Book Fair, you'll have a much better shot if you publish traditionally.

Of course, the decision between self and traditional publishing is largely dependent on your goals. Do you want to make a career out of writing, or are you happy if it's something you do on the side around your day job? Do you enjoy and/or are you good at marketing yourself? (It's important to note, though, that traditional publishers expect their authors to carry a good chunk of the marketing load themselves these days too.)

Here are some good resources for researching the pros and cons of self-publishing:

Writer's Digest — The Pros and Cons of Self Publishing (& Traditional Publishing)


Business Know-How — Advantages and Disadvantages of Self-Publishing

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Marketing Magic

Whether you love Disney or hate Disney, you have to admit, Disney has the magic recipe for success.  Why?  Marketing!  So what can we writers take from Disney's success?  Here just a few of the secrets to success.

Use Social Media
Keep messages short
Connect with the audience so that they can truly have a wonderful experience
Pay attention to details
Have a theme

So here's to Disney.

 Not so sure it is the happiest place on earth (what with the long lines, not so yummy food, and sometimes irritable staff), but it certainly is magical (the cleanliness, the artwork, and the attention to detail).

And here's to you.

May all your marketing dreams come true!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Writer's Resource: #MSWL

Yesterday was a #MSWL day on Twitter! Whether you're a seasoned Twitter-user or terrified to even poke your head in, this is an incredibly useful tool for writers who are seeking agents. Here's a quick primer.

#MSWL stands for Manuscript Wishlist. Agent Jessica Sinsheimer conceived this several years ago as a way to connect agents who wanted to see specific things in their inboxes with writers who could provide them.

When an event is scheduled, agents (and sometimes editors, but mostly agents) tweet things they're interested in seeing—say, YA sci-fi with aliens or adult romantic suspense—and because they include the hashtag, it's all collected into an easily searchable list. Writers can get as specific as they want with their searches. Use or your favorite third-party Twitter app, like TweetDeck or HootSuite and type "#MSWL" and your keywords into the search.

A few cautions:
-This event has been running since 2013, so be sure to check the dates on any matches you find before you submit your work. Agents usually aren't looking for the same things they were a few years ago.

-Anyone can post on the #MSWL hashtag, so you should always do your research before you send a query and make sure they're someone you'd want to work with.

-Don't ever tweet a pitch for your book using the #MSWL hashtag. It's reserved for agents and other industry professionals, so it's a major faux pas to blunder in as a writer looking for representation. If you need to ask a question to clarify someone's MSWL tweet, that's fine—just do a direct reply and don't use the hashtag, and that way it won't show up in searches.

If you think this #MSWL thing is pretty cool, check out the website! is a huge repository of agent information and should be a writer gearing up to query's first stop.

Monday, September 4, 2017


As of our last posting on Wednesday, August 23rd, we haven't had much time to sit and think.  See, on Friday, August 25th, Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas coast and with it, our lives turned upside down. First of, let us say that we (along with our loved ones) are just fine, but we were among the lucky few.  We are not even going to touch on those feelings because this is not the time nor place, and we are still at a loss of words.

 One thing keeps haunting us though and that is our last post.  In that post, we advised against writing about storms in the first ten pages of your manuscript.  Now we are not so sure.  Since the hurricane, social media has exploded with the most beautiful writing we have ever seen and it all centers around this horrific storm.

Thus we recant our previous statement and say just write - even if it is about storms - just write.  And remember to get out there and live.  Above all . . . keep it real.  The world really is an amazing and beautiful place!