Enhance Your Brand with A+ Content

                                                © Linda Wilson 

                            Photo from Linda's latest book: Waddles the Duck: Hey, Wait for Me!                                                                                                      


Once the basics for marketing your books are done, such as creating a website, exploring ways for people to discover you and your books, etc., that’s when the fun begins! 100 covers, https://100covers.com/, a company I’ve been associated with for years now, has announced a new service they are providing: creating A+ content for authors.

Tricky Quirks of the Trade

It was days before my first book, Secret in the Stars: An Abi Wunder Mystery, illustrated by Tiffany Tutti, would be published. Stars had been edited and the illustrations completed. However, the company I had worked with, known as a vanity press because I paid them for their services, turned out to be a scam. Needless to say, the company is now out of business. Word to the wise: Thanks to excellent advice in 10 Publishing Myths: Insights Every Author Needs to Succeed, by W. Terry Whalin: When considering a publishing company, Google: Publisher name + complaints. That’s how I found out what this vanity press company was up to. A private Facebook page had been set up so authors could tell their stories and help each other out. 

I was one of the lucky ones. I was able to retrieve the files for the text and interior and cover illustrations before the company went out of business. Not all the authors who used this press were so lucky. Some of them were unable to retrieve their files and therefore unable to publish the books this company had promised.

Discovery of a Multi-Faceted Company

After flailing around for a few days, I went to work. An author friend recommended I try a company called Formatted Books, https://formattedbooks.com/. Maybe they could help me. The rest is history.

Formatted Books took over my project. A sister company, 100 Covers, helped create the cover. And in 2020 a professionally-put-together Stars was published, a book I am very proud of.

Another sister company, 1000 Storybooks, https://1000storybooks.com/, edited and illustrated my picture book, Tall Boots, another book I’m very proud of.

Check these companies out. They offer extremely reasonable prices for their services. Secretly, I think they understand that self-published authors must pay for all their services. They offer reasonable rates to help us out.

100 Covers’ New Service: A+ Content

This post sounds like an ad for these companies. In a way, I’m doing just that. It’s because I could do all the services that they offer myself. I know many authors who do. But if you’re pressed for time like I am and have the funds, the services that these related companies offer are invaluable.

What is A+ Content? It is the “extra touch” you can add to your Amazon author page. A+ content can consist of your book cover, illustrations from your book, enticing text, and photos of children reading your books. A good example is the A+ content for You are an Amazing Girl, by Nadia Ross. Scroll down the page for one of the best displays of A+ content I found while researching what I wanted to do.


For do-it-yourselfers, you can find information on how to create A+ content here: https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/help/external/G202134820. 

I wish you the best of luck with your writing projects and all you do to inspire readers to learn about your books. If you have created A+ content for your books, please submit a comment and tell us about what you've experienced.

·        Linda Wilson lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She is a classical pianist and loves to go to the gym. But what Linda loves most is to make up stories and connect with her readers. Visit Linda at https://www.lindawilsonauthor.com. Sign up for Linda’s quarterly giveaways. Choose your prize! 

Find Linda’s books at https://www.amazon.com/author/lindawilsonchildrensauthor.

A Trick to Help You Start Writing or Finish Writing

Sometimes it's difficult to write.

We can get stalled with our work-in-progress or we might be between projects and can't seem to get interested in a new project.

When this happens, try this.
Make some lists.

Yep, lists.
Lists are a great way to generate new ideas and create enthusiasm to start writing again.
Here are some topics to make lists about:
 1. Things You Enjoy Doing
 2. Things You are Grateful For
 3. The Most Important People in Your Life
 4. Things You Would Like to See That Would Make the World Better
 5. Your Favorite Foods
 6. Things You Would Like to Learn How to Do
 7. Places You Would Like to Go
 8. Shining Moments in Your Life
 9. Things You Are Good At
10. Things You Like Best about Yourself
11. Things You Most Admire in Others
12. Changes You Could Make for a Better Life
As you can tell, you can make a list about most anything.
So, if you find yourself stalled with your writing this week, get out your journal and make some lists.

Now, you can also create a list to help you finish your writing.

I call this my "final editing checklist."

In this list, I write down all the things I know I need to look for once I've finished an article, story, essay, or even a blog post.

For example, I make a list of words and phrases that I tend to overuse, and I use other words in place of the overused ones.

I also check to see that I have not overused participle phrases to start a sentence.

Participle phrases tend to include words ending in -ing and can make the writing more passive when they start a sentence.

Here's an example of a sentence beginning with a participle phrase: Climbing over the fence in search of Dustin, she called his name.

I might also make a note that dialogue is punctuated correctly in the finished piece, and that I have used simple, strong verbs instead of compound verbs, which tend to slow down the action.

The great thing about a final editing checklist is that you can make your own, based on the types of things you need to "fix" in your final draft.

Once these fixes have been made, your manuscript should be finished.

As you can see, lists can be very helpful, whether you're wanting to start writing or you're wanting to finish writing the piece you've been working on.

For more writing tips, be sure to visit writebythesea.com and get your free subscription to The Morning Nudge. Once you're a subscriber, you'll also have access to a Private Resource Library for Writers.

Suzanne Lieurance is the author of over 40 published books, a freelance writer, and a writing coach.

Every Writer Must Build An Audience

By Terry Whalin (@terrywhalin)  

At every writer’s conference or group of writers, there is buzz around the word “platform.” Editors and literary agents are searching for authors with a platform or a personal connection to their readers. What’s that about? Many authors believe their task is to write an excellent book and get it to the right publisher. Don’t publishers sell books to bookstores? The questions are good ones and in this article, I want to give you some answers from my decades of writing books for publishers, yet also sitting on the inside of several publishing houses as an acquisitions editor. Admittedly publishing is a complex business and I’ve been studying the various nuisances of it for years (and still learning more every day).

Writing a Good Book Is Foundational

While I’ve looked at thousands of submissions in my years in publishing, I also have interviewed other acquisitions editors. During one interview, I asked, “How do you know when you find a good submission?”

He said, “Terry, I read the first sentence and if it is a good sentence, I read the next one. If it is a good paragraph, I read the next one. If it is a good page, I read the next one.” You want to start your manuscript with a bang and draw the editor immediately into your writing. Don’t bury your best material over in a later chapter because the editor may not read that far. Good writing in your submission is essential.

Every Writer Needs a Proposal 

Whether you write fiction or nonfiction, you need to put the writing energy into creating a proposal. I understand they take lots of work to create. Two of my proposals got six-figure advances from publishers (and I have lengthy stories about what happened with those books—for another time). Your proposal shows you understand the market and your target reader. It includes your game plan about how you are going to reach your audience and sell books. The proposal is an important document for you to write even if you self-publish. I have a free book proposal checklist at: https://terrylinks.com/bookcheck 

The Editor’s Search

I often tell authors that making books is easy but selling books is hard. Over 4,500 new books are published every day (including the self-published books). Yes that is a lot of books and why every author needs to have a plan and ability to reach readers. As editors, we are searching for these types of writers.

Publishers produce beautiful books and sell them into bookstores (online and brick and mortar). Authors drive readers to those bookstores and sell the books out into the hands of readers. Publishers certainly have an investment in the books they publish but authors need to be even more invested in reaching readers. It’s what many people call building a platform (audience).

Action Is Key

It’s easy to get overwhelmed with this process and confused about what action to take. Here’s the key (no matter what you are writing): do something and do it consistently day after day. Here are some basic facts about this process: 

*   Everyone starts small and builds
*   Your personal email list is more important than your social media audience
*  You should focus on what you can control (email list) instead of rented media in places like Twitter or Facebook (which you don’t own or control)
*  It takes hard work for every writer but you need to do this work
*   There are many different ways to build your audience. Pick one or two and see what works best for your writing.
*   If the process were simple everyone would succeed (sell many books),
*   Persistence and consistency are important for every writer.

Every editor and agent is actively looking for the right author who is building their connections to readers and has learned how to sell books. I’ve been in some of the top literary agencies and publishers in the nation. From their questions, I know they are actively looking for these authors—no matter what how they respond to your pitches. Be encouraged and keep growing in your craft (ability to write) and your knowledge about your readers and the market. It doesn’t happen overnight but can happen if you continue to work at it.


WhyDo Writers Need to Build An Audience? Isn’t that what publishers do? Get thedetails here. #writingtip #pubtip (ClickToTweet)


W. Terry Whalin, a writer and acquisitions editor lives in Colorado. A former magazine editor and former literary agent, Terry is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. He has written more than 60 nonfiction books including Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams and Billy Graham. Get Terry’s newest book, 10 Publishing Myths for only $10, free shipping and bonuses worth over $200. To help writers catch the attention of editors and agents, Terry wrote his bestselling Book Proposals That $ell, 21 Secrets To Speed Your Success. Check out his free Ebook, Platform Building Ideas for Every Author. His website is located at: www.terrywhalin.com. Connect with Terry on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

The Frugal Editor & Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips || Combined Book Review














The Frugal Editor & Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips Combined Book Review of Carolyn Howard-Johnson's landmark Editing Books.    Reviews by Deborah Lyn Stanley

Book Review || The Frugal Editor, Do-it-yourself editing secrets for authors: From your query letter to final manuscript to the marketing of your new bestseller by Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Today I am sharing my favorite self-editing book. Carolyn Howard-Johnson is a friend and co-contributor to Writer’s On The Move (WOTM).  She is a consistent source of encouragement for the writer’s journey!

Carolyn’s delivery style is down to earth, illuminating, & frugal in its time saving, headache preventing approach. My favorite aspect of her book includes the basics required for an effective writer’s practice, and the seven thorough Appendices:

*Appendix One, “Editing At A Glance”,
*Followed by Recommended Reading & Resources,
*A Generous Agents List,
*Sample Cover and Sample Query Letters, and
*Formatting for Kindle Made Easy.

The Goal of the book is to equip aspiring and accomplished authors with the best self-editing skills and tips for successful publishing.

I highly recommend this book. It’s refreshing, informative and empowers our writers' journey.

Thank you Carolyn Howard-Johnson!


Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips for Writers, The Ultimate Frugal Reference Guide for Avoiding Word Trippers and Crafting Gatekeeper-Perfect Copy by Carolyn Howard-Johnson  *second edition

My favorite self-editing book just got better, with its second edition addendum book of Great Little Last-Minute Tips. I enjoy Carolyn’s down-to-earth and humorous writing style. It enlightens, is a kick and prevents headaches too.

This little book is powerful with pointers from the depth of her knowledge, writing and editing expertise. This is NOT a boring grammar/editing book. Carolyn’s Word Trippers are full of surprises and fun to make us better writers, better communicators, and better at doing the job we set out to do.

I highly recommend this book, too!
Thanks again Carolyn Howard-Johnson!

Thank you, Carolyn Howard-Johnson for providing me a review book copy of “Great Little Last-Minute Editing tips for Writers”.  I was not required to write a positive review, I receive no compensation, and it was my choice to write this review. All comments and opinions are solely my own.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson has been promoting her own books and helping clients promote theirs for more than a decade. Her marketing plan for the second book in the HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers, The Frugal Editor, won the Next Generation Millennium Award for Marketing. The just-released third edition of The Frugal Book Promoter, published by Modern History Press, is New, Expanded, and Updated. Her poetry, fiction and nonfiction books have been honored by the likes of Writer’s Digest, USA Book News Award, the Irwin award, Dan Poynter’s Global Ebook Awards and more. Learn more about Carolyn and her books of fiction and poetry. Each of them helped her learn more about maximizing marketing efforts for different writers, different titles. Learn more at www.howtodoitfrugally.com


Deborah Lyn Stanley is an author of Creative Non-Fiction. She writes articles, essays and stories. She is passionate about caring for the mentally impaired through creative arts.
Visit her My Writer’s Life website at: https://deborahlynwriter.com/   
Visit her caregiver’s website: https://deborahlyncaregiver.com/

Mom & Me: A Story of Dementia and the Power of God’s Love is available:
& https://books2read.com/b/valuestories

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Featured Productivity Tool: Write Your Win List

Want a sure-fire to stay motivated ... and productive? Start tracking your wins.  

As writers, we constantly have multiple projects at various stages of development. Things take a long time to go from idea to published work. It's easy to lose steam ... and lose faith. 

Stop waiting to write "The End" before noting an accomplishment. Track all of your wins. And start celebrating ALL of your accomplishments. 

How and Where to Track Wins

One easy way to track your wins is via your electronic calendar. Whenever you have a writing appointment, include the time - and the activity - in your calendar. Then, at the end of the month, if you don't feel like you've done enough, you can easily prove yourself wrong. All your progress at a glance. 

You can also track progress by creating a Win List. You can do this in an actual notebook, on a Google or Word doc - whatever makes the most sense for you. Then, at the end of every day, put the date at the top and write out one to three wins. At the end of the week, review your list and celebrate your wins. You can also do this whenever you need a pick me up!

Win Starters

Are you having trouble claiming wins? Here is a fill-in-the-blank list to get you started. Hint: Anything and everything can be considered a win. It just needs to be meaningful to you.
  • I journaled ## days/week 
  • I wrote/created/published /launched/released [this] 
  • I queried X agents/magazines/publishers
  • I did [this nice thing] that helped [this person/community] 
  • I did not complain about my neighbors
  • I learned [this] 
  • I read [that] 
  • I reconnected with [this person] 
  • I worked out ## days most weeks 
  • I cooked/baked/gardened 
  • I filled someone's expired parking meter
  • I pursued information on [something] that has always interested me 
  • I tried eating/drinking/watching something new
  • I survived 

Final Thoughts 

Motivation and productivity go hand in hand. The more productive you are, the more motivated you are to keep going. Keep an eye on your goals, and celebrate every step along the way. Remember, you can do it!

* * * 
For more inspiration and motivation, follow @TheDEBMethod on Twitter and Linkedin! 

* * *

What's your biggest win this week? This month? Please share in the comments, so we can help celebrate you. 

* * *

Debra Eckerling is the award-winning author of Your Goal Guide: A Roadmap for Setting, Planning and Achieving Your Goals and founder of the D*E*B METHOD, which is her system for goal-setting simplified. A writer, editor, and project catalyst, Deb works with entrepreneurs, executives, and creatives to set goals and manage their projects through one-on-one coaching, workshops, and online support. She is also the author of Write On Blogging and Purple Pencil Adventures; founder of Write On Online; Vice President of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Women's National Book Association; host of the #GoalChat Twitter Chat, #GoalChatLive on Facebook and LinkedIn, and The DEB Show podcast. She speaks on the subjects of writing, networking, goal-setting, and social media.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson Shares Sell Sheet Secrets


By Carolyn Howard-Johnson,
multi award-winning author
of the HowToDoItFrugally Series
of books for writer

[Excerpted and abbreviated from a chapter on preparing review copies in my How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically, third in the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally Series for writers.]
Over the years as I worked with clients, I realized that too many authors don’t know about sell sheet and many more undervalue the opportunities they afford. Sell sheets are generally thought of as fliers that get inserted into their free review copies, otherwise known as ARCs. They are printed with a very short pitch (otherwise known as a logline), the book’s metadata, a bio of the author that relates well to the theme or topic of the book, and maybe even a few blurbs (endorsements) the publisher or author has already collected. They act as a one-page website at-the-ready for reviewers.
When reviewers prefer e-books, few publishers or authors are savvy enough to send a sell sheet as an attachment with it or, better, rework the e-copy into the very front of the e-book itself. A few of the big publishers do that with a special ARC edition of their paperbacks, too.
Are you still wondering why they are so important? A great sell sheet helps the reviewer write the review easily and quickly. But more importantly, it can serve as a kind of guide for them by highlighting the points the publisher (traditional or self-publisher) feels most important. The reviewer is not obligated to follow these subtle suggestions, but they usually incorporate at least a portion of it in their reviews. It also helps the reviewer avoid making mistakes within the review itself.
Sell sheets can also be inserted into books used for other marketing purposes. Books sent to bookstore buyers, TV directors, schedulers, feature editors, librarians and more. When appropriate, publishers might add a subtle suggestion that reviews and blurbs are always appreciated or add a Post-it note to that effect. These marketing wonders may be called “sell sheets,” but they are beyond selling. They are useful, professional, and even courteous because they make it easier for recipients to do their work.
Ideally sell sheets should be printed in color on glossy paper, 8 ½ x 11, and may be printed on both sides.  Here is what they should include.
•    A book cover image.
•    A headshot of the author.
•    Include book and author awards. You're trying to convince people of the quality of the book and expertise of the author.
•    Know your audience and let the sell sheet reader know who that is. No book is for "everyone."
•    Include the BISAC subject heading in your metadata. You'll find them at bisg.org/standards/bisac_subject/index.html. These are the headings that bookstores and librarians use so you might as well do what you can to make their jobs easier when you are selling them on featuring your workshop or having a signing for you, too.
•    Your metadata includes:
        -Your ISBN, both 10 and 13.
        -The book's binding type (perfect, wire, comb, sewn)/
        -How the book might be purchased. (paperback, hardback, jacket, e-book).
        -The book’s dimensions.
        -The book’s page count.
        -When pertinent, include name of the illustrator, their awards, and short bio.
        -Don’t forget the retail price for both US, Canada, and others that may be pertinent.
    Let people know what the book includes:
            *Bibilography (My publisher is an avid fan of bibliographies for his nonfiction books because that are a mark of professional publishing.)
•    Include review quotes and endorsements, most important and credible first.
•    Include a short author biography. Keep it focused on the author's pertinent platform rather than how many children she has, unless the book is about raising children.
•    Include complete distributor information. That, by the way, is not Ingram, though that info should be there, too. If you don't have a distributor, do your research fast and try to get one that offers a sales force as well as distribution.
•    Include the publisher and how to order directly from them.
•    Mention the author’s speaking ability and the subjects they are qualified to speak on.
You can see that one side sheet will probably not accommodate all the required information. Use both sides. E-mail me at hojonews@aol.com and I will send you a copy of a two-sided professionally produced sell sheet.
Hint: You can use sell sheets as fliers at fairs, when you speak and more. When you send out ARCs, you might choose to include the most basic info on a label applied to the inside of the front cover. That way, if the sell sheet gets separated from the book, the recipient is sure to have all the information she or he needs.
Don't forget to include a way you can be reached by e-mail. You DO want to be reached, don't you?


Carolyn Howard-Johnson brings her experience as a publicist, journalist, marketer, and retailer to the advice she gives in her HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers and the many classes she taught for nearly a decade as instructor for UCLA Extension’s world-renown Writers’ Program. The books in her HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers have won
multiple awards. That series includes The Frugal Book Promoter  (third edition) and The Frugal Editor (second edition). They garnered awards from USA Book News, Readers’ Views Literary Award, the marketing award from Next Generation Indie Books and others including the coveted Irwin award. How To Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically is the newest book in her HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers.
Howard-Johnson is the recipient of the California Legislature’s Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment Award, and her community’s Character and Ethics award for her work promoting tolerance with her writing. She was also named to Pasadena Weekly’s list of “Fourteen San Gabriel Valley women who make life happen” and was given her community’s Diamond Award for Achievement in the Arts.
The author loves to travel. She has visited ninety-one countries before her passion was so rudely interrupted by Covid. She studied writing at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom; Herzen University in St. Petersburg, Russia; and Charles University, Prague. She admits to carrying a pen and journal wherever she goes. Her website is www.howtodoitfrugally.com.

Plot Twists and Your Story


 By Karen Cioffi, Children's Ghostwriter

Plot twists are an established tool to writing intriguing stories, whether for books, movies, TV, or other. These helpful tools create a more engaging story for the reader.

According to Wikipedia, "A plot twist is a literary technique that introduces a radical change in the direction or expected outcome of the plot in a work of fiction. When it happens near the end of a story, it is known as a twist or surprise ending."

Plot twists stop predictability and can be used in any genre of fiction.

So, what does that mean?

Imagine your reader, midway through the book, saying to herself, “Oh, yeah, she’s the villain. She did it.”

This is predictability.

Sometimes this is a good thing. Some readers like to know what’s going on. They want the obvious.

But, lots of readers like being surprised.

Remember Thelma and Louise?

People were shocked with the ending. 

The main characters spent most of the movie desperately running from the police. When faced with the overwhelming and at times unjust criminal system, they chose freedom … in death.

It was different and completely unexpected.

Then there’s the classics of Edgar Allan Poe.

In “The Telltale Heart,” the protagonist kills an old man for an insignificant reason. He cuts up the body and hides the pieces under the floorboards in his house.

After a short while, he begins to hear a heartbeat … the heartbeat of the old man he just murdered, or so he thinks.

With the police there, being called by a neighbor who heard the old man scream while being murdered, the protagonist panics and confesses to the murder.

Poe did have a knack with the macabre.

Then there are the subtle writers like Kate Chopin.

In her short story “The Story of an Hour,” a young woman, Louise, feels oppressed in her marriage, possibly to the point of having heart trouble.

Louise learns that the train her husband was on had crashed and there were no survivors. Locking herself in her room, she began to feel elated … free.

After a while, her sister, thinking she's greifstricken, coaxes Louise out of her room and they walk downstairs. Just then the front door opens and it’s her husband. He didn’t take the train.

Louise drops dead.

Everyone thinks it’s from happiness at seeing her husband alive. The reader knows the truth.

Plot twists can vary and there are a number of them. The three most common, at least in my opinion, are:

1. The Red Herring

With this one, the clues to solving a crime all point to one particular character. The twist is he’s innocent of the crime.

The reader thinks that he’s got it figured out, then BAM.

2. Chekhov’s Gun

Chekhov is quoted as saying, “One must not put a loaded rifle on the stage if no one is thinking of firing it.”

Elaborating on this, S. Shchukin quotes Chekhov as saying, “If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on a wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off. If it’s not going to be fired, it shouldn’t be hanging there.”

While the quote deals with a gun, it can be anything. The point here is to use details deliberately and effectively; they can lead to great plot twists.

3. Shift Suspicion

This plot twist has the reader thinking they may know who committed the crime, but then clues point to another character. Now, the reader isn’t so sure of who the villain is.

What to Look Out For

One thing to keep an eye out for when writing plot twists is to be sure the reader won’t see them coming. Well, at least the majority of readers.

To help do this, quickly think of possible twists your story can take.

If you can quickly think of them, chances are the reader will think of them too. Solution: Don’t use them.

At Writer’s Edit, it advises, “To combat predictability in your plot, try thinking about the complete opposite of every twist or turn you've noted down.” (1)

Along with this, it’s important that your twists are believable. Don’t randomly throw plots twists into your story to try to keep your readers on their toes. The reader won’t like it.

In a Writer’s Digest article by Rachel Scheller, it says, “Readers want their emotional investment to pay off. The twist should never occur in a way that makes them feel tricked, deceived, or insulted. Great twists always deepen, never cheapen, readers’ investment in the story.” (2)


(1) https://writersedit.com/fiction-writing/10-simple-tips-writing-clever-plot-twists/
(2) http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/there-are-no-rules/4-ways-to-write-a-killer-plot-twist

This article was first published at: https://karencioffiwritingforchildren.com/2018/10/14/writing-plot-twists-into-your-story/


Karen Cioffi is an award-winning children’s author and children’s ghostwriter, rewriter, and coach with clients worldwide. She is also the founder and editor-in-chief of Writers on the Move, and an author online platform instructor with WOW! Women on Writing.

Karen’s children’s books include Walking Through Walls and The Case of the Stranded Bear. She also has a DIY book, How to Write Children’s Fiction Books. You can check them out at: https://karencioffiwritingforchildren.com/karens-books/

If you need help with your children’s story, visit: https://karencioffiwritingforchildren.com


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Considering Both the Downsides and Upsides of Writing Reviews

Dear Writers on the Move Readers,   I am busily rewriting my  How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically  for a second edition fro...