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Top 10 Writing/Publishing Posts of 2017

Since this is the beginning of the year, I thought I would recap some of my better posts from 2017. I already did my Top 10 Parenting Posts and my husband’s Top 10 Recipes. Today, I will look at posts on publishing, marketing or writing from 2017.


Pen Names: when you might want to consider one

Image result for Pen name

You want the character name to be memorable. Even more so, you want your name to be memorable. You want readers to be able to recommend your books to others.

I host authors every Friday, and I have seen some pretty hard to pronounce names and ones that I imagine are impossible to remember or spell correctly. How do you expect readers to recommend you? How are readers going to be able to search for your books on Amazon when they can’t figure out how to spell – much less pronounce – your name?

This is where a pseudonym or pen name comes into play. A pen name allows authors to select a catchy, memorable name. It allows them to switch genders or even nationalities, which depending upon the circumstances could mean more book sales. (Click here to read more.)

Getting book reviews

Last week, I wrote about whether book reviews were an important marketing strategy. As it turns out, a good, well-written book review can benefit your sales. When choosing between a book with numerous reviews and one with only a few or no reviews, many readers will pick the more “popular” choice.

So how do you go about getting those reviews? (Click here to find out.)

Tips for a well-written book description

Your book is done. You have your eye-catching cover and a great title. But your job is not over. It is time to write what is probably the most important words – the book description. (Find out what does and doesn’t go in a book description by clicking here.)

Choosing Categories and Keywords when publishing with Amazon

When you publish your book on Amazon (through Kindle Direct Publishing), you are allowed to pick two categories and seven keywords. Here are some tips to make those choices work for you and help increase the number of books you sell. (Click here to find out how to increase your exposure on Amazon.)


Outlining your Novel


One of my very first posts was about whether as an author you outline your novel before you write or do you just sent down and write. Basically are you a plotter (outliner) or a pantser (someone who flies by the seat of their pants).

I have never been one to plot out my whole novel in advance. I tend to have an idea what the novel is about and maybe some ideas for some scenes. As I begin to write, I generally plot out what will happen in the next scenes. Since this is a very loose outline, I am free to let the characters drive the story.

Now there are many benefits to have an outline of your novel before you begin. It helps to create a well-developed plot and there is less rewriting involved. If you write just whatever comes to mind, you will most likely have a lot of editing and pruning during subsequent drafts than if you had it planned out in advance. (Click here for outlining methods.)

He said, she said: 4 Tips on Using Dialogue Tags

For readers to know who is speaking, you need dialogue tags such as he said and she replied. And while they are necessary, you don’t need them every time someone speaks. (Check out the tips here.)

9 Questions to Consider When Choosing your Novel’s Setting


Last week, I gave a recap of some of my posts about writing various scenes in your novel. But before you can write a scene, you need to know where your story is set.

The setting is the location where the events of a scene take place. This could be Las Angeles, a farm in Iowa, the White House, on a space ship, on another world or any of a thousand different places. (To read more, click here.)

Using internal dialogue

One of the biggest advantages of writing a novel versus writing a movie or TV show script is that authors can use internal dialogue as a tool to tell the story.

Internal dialogue is what your character is thinking. It is not the same thing as narration, which is when the person telling the story (the narrator) talks directly to the reader. (Read more by clicking here.)

How many drafts does it take to complete a novel?

You have finally finished your first draft of your story. Now comes the real work. The cutting, the editing, the rewriting, the expanding to make your first work closer into a publishable novel.

So how many drafts does that take? (Find out here.)

Editing your novel with the help of a revision outline

Last week I wrote about the different drafts your story will go through on the way to becoming a novel. During those drafts, you need to strengthen the characters and plot as well as reduce wordiness or strengthen your writing.

To do this, I find it helps to have something to keep me on track and remind me of all the areas that I need to focus on. (To view my revision outline, click here.)

In August, I started a series on writing a novel. Many of the above topics will be (or already were) addressed. There are currently 21 posts in that series. Here is the last post. At the end of it is a list of all the other topics. 

Keeping things realistic in your novel

You are watching an action movie, and during the fight scene, the two sides shoot and shoot and shoot some more. And while you are engrossed in the action, somewhere in the back of your mind you are wondering “Shouldn’t they run out of bullets or at least need to reload?” (To read more or to see the other 20 topics in my writing series, click here. Next week, post number 22 in the series will be posted.)

One Pair of Leopard-Skin Briefs