Editing Nightmares

Bobbi 2016by Barbara Florio Graham

I don’t review many books, but recently a friend  approached me. He needed a review for his local newspaper in advance of several book signings.

A retired civil servant who worked in planning and administration, he was so eager to get his first novel published that he ignored my warnings about pay-to-publish companies and took the book to a company that promises a quick turnaround.

He thought paying $5/book for 250 copies of a 225-page trade paperback a good value, as he could sell the book for $15-20.

Most SPAWN members would’ve asked key questions before proceeding. We would have insisted on having our own ISBN, that the book contain contact info for the author (not the so-called “publisher”), and on examining the credentials of the editor. Continue reading

The Adult Coloring Book Craze

by Sandra Murphy

1-reallycolor-before1Publishers Weekly reported sales in 2015 of 1.75 million copies of the ten best-selling adult coloring books, through November. Coloring books allow users to be creative without judging if the cat looks like a cat or an animal you’d see in a nightmare. When offices are beige and business dress consists of brown, black, gray, and maroon, coloring books add much-needed spice into our daily lives. Continue reading

The Real Costs of Self-Publishing

Linda head shotby Linda Formichelli

Self-publishing consists of whipping out a manuscript and sticking it up on Amazon, right? After all, self-publishing is all about doing it yourself! Who needs to hire cover designers, editors, proofreaders, and marketers?

Sure, you could churn out a quick draft, toss it onto Amazon, and cross your fingers. But smart readers can detect a lazy book from a mile off. Continue reading

Your Pen or Mine

2-pens-writingby Barbara Hunter and Catina Williams

When we tell other authors we are collaborating on a book series, the response is astonishment. Suddenly, no one is interested in what we are writing (harrumph). People only want to know how and why we do it. Collaborative writing has achieved the status of urban myth. No one has tried it, but everyone has a story to tell of foolhardy souls who dared. Lawsuits and bloodshed ensued. When asked to write this piece, we had to analyze how and why our collaboration works. Continue reading

Commit: How to Blast Through Problems and Meet Your Goals through Massive Action

commit ebook coverby Linda Formichelli

Commit is taking massive action to solve a problem or reach a goal. It’s pretty much the opposite of the baby-steps approach. When you Commit, you do whatever it takes to make happen what you want to happen. You can use one giant, crazy, unbelievably powerful tactic, but it’s even more effective to combine several tactics at the same time.

Commit is also about gathering so many resources and so much support that you can’t go wrong. Commit is about concentrating and harnessing that initial motivation to such a degree that it propels you right past any roadblocks you may run into later. Continue reading

Should You Use a Pseudonym?

Starting Your Career as a Freelance Writer Jan 25, 2011 by Moira Anderson Allenby Moira Allen

As a writer, you naturally want to make a name for yourself. But what if that name isn’t the one you were born with? Writing under pseudonyms or pen names is a fine and honored tradition; many of the greatest names in literature were invented, and many of today’s best-selling authors use pseudonyms as well. Should you?

The answer may depend on why you wish to do so. As with any writing decision, there are good reasons and bad reasons to use a pen name. Let’s start with some of the bad reasons. Continue reading

How to Gain Control Over Your Freelancing Life

Linda Formichelliby Linda Formichelli

When we sense our life is out of our control, we tend to feel anxious, worried, and depressed, and our motivation suffers. We feel as if life is happening to us, and that we’re just reacting to what life throws at us. On the other hand, when we feel in control of our time and our career, we feel confident, motivated, and happy. Continue reading