I had an inquiry from an author the other day about two things: first he wanted to contact someone about editing his new novel and he was also looking to find a group of like-minded writers who would get together and critique each others work. Isn't it funny how things just "pop up" when we are thinking about them?
I had been thinking about the solitary life of a writer who spends countless hours with nothing but her thoughts and a keyboard when someone reached out to me with a lovely note. I had recently published My Secret Mother and a reader sent me a copy of a review she had posted which opened up a whole new world to me.
I have loved everything about books since the first moment I smelled them in my first visit to the public library and I find that I have spent most of my life gravitating to people and circumstances where books are a central theme. I love nothing more than hearing about a new book or author from someone who has read them and sharing my latest find with them.
The review of my own book had been posted on an online site called "Goodreads." Naturally, I clicked on the link to read this five star rating and then started looking around. Truth be told, I had heard about Goodreads before and I am sure I made a note of the address in a notebook somewhere but had not taken the time to search it out. All I can say is, "Wow!" This a book lovers dream come true (shhh, I was thinking about another phrase with the word "dream" in it for you erotica writers out there, but don't tell anyone). Most writers are, in the first place, readers. I know there are lots of book clubs around but maybe you don't belong to one. How about a book club with 5,000,000 members who are passionate about reading and sharing?
Anyway, needless to say, I joined, invited a few friends to join me and now I am inviting you to take a look - here's my profile page, set up your own, ask me to be a friend - I will - and then start looking for more contacts, book recommendations and ratings. I have found some great reads and some new authors (some of whom are now friends) and am having a fabulous time connecting with people just like you - book lovers.
To bring this all together, we all need feedback from people who are objective and knowledgeable whether we are budding authors or just interested readers. I was able to connect the young man from the first paragraph with a great local editor who also meets with a group of other writers. But, what a wonderful time to be alive for authors and readers when we can connect with people from around the world to discover new books, new writers and new opportunities to literally (pun intended) expand our horizons.


WRITING YOUR OWN BOOK - what's holding you back?

What holds us back from completing our books? I suppose I might ask, "What holds you back from starting your book?" but that's for another day. Yes, I can feel your sense of relief...
Earlier this week, I had a message from Smashwords that My Secret Mother had been accepted into their premium catalog thus making it available in many more formats and places including the Apple store, the Sony store and Barnes and Noble, etc. This was great and gratifying news but there was another piece of news that I knew was coming but had hoped that somehow the book fairy would not notice or would magically fix it. The One Hour Author had not been accepted because it did not have an interactive Table of Contents. Now, if I'm telling the truth, I knew that would happen but hoped for something different.
I had glanced at the technical details of creating a Table of Contents in which the reader could switch from one chapter to any other with ease and move back and forth from text to TOC easily. This is one of the biggest selling features of a digital book or an e-reader but I anticipated a wrestling match with the technology.
This is not a new place for me as I have a love/hate relationship with the tech world and I live in dread of having to learn something new and make mistakes and redo it and on and on - it really tries my patience, something in short supply at the best of times.
Remember the ketchup commercial and the song "Anticipation" by Carly Simon. I feel a bit like the ketchup as I slowly make my way to the opening between me and technology. Anyway, the anticipation is far worse than the actual work itself. I set aside some time to get it started, followed the instructions that are detailed in the Smashwords publishing manual (it's free at their website) and started the dreaded process of formatting the book properly. It took about an hour, which includes the mistakes I made along the way.
Now, why didn't I just do that in the first place, you ask? I don't know - maybe I just anticipate this monumental struggle and want to avoid it. That doesn't work because eventually I have to deal with it anyway and the funny thing is, it's usually a much easier solution that I thought it would be.
My question to you is, where in your book writing process are you "anticipating" problems and avoiding solving them as you hope the book fairy will save you, too?
Go ahead and take a stab at it today - it may be easier than you "anticipated."
Please forward my blog to friends who might benefit - see you soon.



A few months ago I was having lunch with a friend and he was telling me about his struggles with writing a new book. Their business is based on personal coaching and a workshop series for people who are going through transitions in their lives. He knew that writing this book was important for his  own business and also for the people who would read it and wanted to make sure that he created great value for them. But, he just couldn't get a handle on a format and an outline. His message wasn't clear and he struggled with one of my most often asked questions, "What's your book about?"
I asked him another question, "What are the five most commonly asked questions by your workshop attendees and coaching clients?" It took him no more than two minutes to list the five questions and bingo, he had his book outline! Sometimes it is that simple but often, as writers, we are just too close to our subject to see what to write and how to organize it.
The same may be true for you. If you are writing a book to enhance your business or your brand and expand your borders, it may be as easy as putting yourself in your customers shoes and asking the five most common questions about your subject. Whether you are a chiropractor, business analyst, life coach, swimming instructor, interior designer or chief candlestick maker, I would hazard a guess that you answer several questions constantly and this will be the start of your book. Organize it around what you already know and what the people you help always ask.



OK, I'm finally convinced! Like you, I have read about the importance of your book's cover, but unlike most of you, I dug in my feet and insisted on doing my own. I'm no designer and I am always struggling to tame the technical issues of my life. I downloaded which is a good program for creating your own covers but assumes you have some sort of artistic sense. I created a cover for both THE ONE HOUR AUTHOR and MY SECRET MOTHER but once I got past my own ego, realized that they were not great. Smashwords, a terrific publishing and distribution platform for indie authors, has an enhanced "premium distribution" service that makes your books available in the Apple and Sony stores, Barnes and Noble, etc. To access this very important sales network requires, among other things, a professional looking cover. Contrary to my previous insistence, a book really is judged by its cover.

I finally gave in and hired a great designer, through the recommendation on the Smashwords site (they offer many choices) and she quickly created just what I wanted. A small investment of time and money for a big improvement in buyer appeal. What do you think? If you want her contact info, send me an email or post a comment, with your own contact email information and I will be glad to pass along her name.



It is the morning of 9/11, 2011 and I have been watching the coverage of the moving ceremonies in New York, Washington and Shanksville, Pa. It would be inappropriate to use this anniversary for any kind of self-promotion but it does bring home the fact that in every life, or death, there is a story. Almost 3,000 people lost their hopes, dreams and futures in that single act of terrorism but their life lives on in the memories of their families and friends. Every life, even yours and mine, is worth preserving and it is up to you and I to do that very thing.
Let's not forget those people who follow us who will be interested in our dreams and may be inspired by our stories. Please, tell your story, tell the story of your ancestors, friends, teachers and people who influenced the events of your life.
Let us not forget.