How Do You Pick A Title For Your Book?

How Do You Pick A Title For Your Book?

As an avid reader I have seen my share of book titles. As a published author and publishing coach let me share my thoughts and observations with you.

  • A book title is your first introduction to a reader about yourself and your book. I have no doubt that your title will be the first important book marketing decision of your publishing and marketing career.
  • A book title should capture the essence of your book in a snippet (one short line). Your reader will judge your book first by its title.
  • It doesn’t matter if you choose your title before or after you write your manuscript, as long as it the right title.

Do Your Research and Know The Facts:

  • Is your book title unique?
  • Does it grab the reader’s attention?
  • Is it memorable at first glance?
  • Is it easy to repeat and share with all audiences with no issues?
  • Will your book title fit well into the genre that you desire?
  • A book title should always be followed by your professional byline.
  • Keep in mind that long titles are very hard to promote online within social media and blogs not to mention extremely hard for search engines to index properly.
  • Important Fact: titles are repeated so often because a title can’t be copyrighted.

Practical Functions of Your Title:

  • First and foremost to sell your book.
  • Give you authority on a particular subject.
  • Identify your book on an Amazon/B&N or independent publisher’s listing.
  • Titles will brand your book series. Think carefully and lay out your series titles in proper order. Keep in mind you might need to alphabetical them at some point.
  • Your title will be listed in your author bio
  •  Your title will be an integral part of all your marketing and promotional materials (business cards, tee shirts, bookmarks, etc.) whether online or in local press materials.
  • Your title and perhaps sub-title will be the primary part of your book cover and book video trailer in addition to any graphics and descriptions.

Additional Information:

  • Did you know that you only have seconds to capture your reader and sell them with your title?
  • Did you know that your professional book cover (front and back) will speak volumes to your reader?
  • It is best to keep your bio and book description on the back cover short, information and attention grabbing.
  • Did you know that the younger generation will view a professional book trailer/video before purchasing?
  • Did you know that you need to offer your book in both print (soft cover) and Kindle/eBook in order to get a good balance of sales from all age groups?
  • Do your research and price your print and ebook so it will sell. Do you want to sell one book at a ridiculous high price or hundreds at a responsible price? Readers are looking for the lowest possible prices in this market and you need to entice them with a great price.
  • Keep in mind that some genres sell well and others not as well. Research, go on author forums and find out what other authors are saying about book sales in their particular genre.
  • Be patient, don’t expect to become a millionaire overnight. Success in this industry is earned by hard work promoting you book in as many local and online avenues as possible.
  • Get as many honest reviews as you can without compromising your standards.
  • Did you know that traditional publishers (a dying breed) are demanding the same kind of promotional work out of their authors as you will have to put in as a self-published author?
  • Pitfall: Why would you give your book away for free? Authors who do this hurt themselves and all other self-published authors. If you give your book away for free, this will hurt your future sales of any new books as readers will expect free. You have worked hard to write your book, now price it properly and enjoy your success with sales.
  • Never apologize for being a self-published author. Self-published authors are taking the industry by storm and deserve respect for their hard work and determination.
  • Remember that you and your book are unique and your sales will reflect your quality, perseverance and attitude.

Article Written by Theodocia McLean: Owner of Cold Coffee Properties
Friday, June 30, 2017

Choosing Your Book’s Title: Some Tips by Author Lesley Lodge

Choosing Your Book’s Title: Some Tips by Author Lesley Lodge

Choosing your book’s title can seriously help or hinder your sales when you come to the marketing and publicity for your finished book. Even when you think you have found a pithy, attention-grabbing title that promises a really good read in your chosen genre and style, it still pays to do a bit of thinking and research before making your final decision. I found out the hard way that there are some pitfalls to avoid.

Here are three:

1) Try to include your key word(s) in the title rather than only in the sub-title. My first book is a non-fiction one about horses in film and on TV. My title: “Lights! Camera! Gallop! The Story of the Horse in Film.” Yes, search engines will pick up “horse” and “film” even though they are in the sub-title. But the mighty Amazon machine which sends those helpful alerts along the lines of “you might also like” clearly uses the title. So sometimes it picks a whole set of lighting products….

2) Avoid any word that is spelled differently in American English from how it is in UK English (or vice versa. I was going to write “spelt differently” – but that’s a UK English option – it must be “spelled” in American English. You see what I mean? My third book’s title is “Horse and Pony Colours” and its subtitle is “Which would you choose?” You notice I’d learnt from mistake number 1 above: my keywords are in the title not the sub-title. And I’d followed a suggestion I’d read that non-fiction titles should show the reader what it is that the book offers them. But “colour” is of course spelled “color” in American English. The search engines do still find the book from either side of the Atlantic – but they flag up “Did you mean Horse and Pony Colors?” So now there could be a tiny suggestion at the back of the reader’s mind: can’t this author even spell?

3) Be sure to research your proposed title before settling on it. How many already published books have the same or a similar title? You don’t have to avoid duplicating an existing title if there’s only one other book with the same title or a very similar one. But you might want to avoid the duplication. I edited some stories recently: “Night Mission: 7 WWII era stories” by Clive Lodge. The “Night Mission” bit came from one of the strongest stories in the collection. I nearly called it “The Tunnel” after one of the other stories and I’d chosen some great cover pictures of mysterious tunnels. But then the title and cover hinted at science fiction rather than the Second World War adventures that the stories were actually about. “Night Mission” – with a Spitfire in the evening cloud on the cover – fitted much better. A quick search only threw up one other “Night Mission” – and since that one was about “one night stands” and sported an obviously sexy cover I doubted there would be too much confusion.

So, take choosing your title seriously – avoid my mistakes – and good luck!

Featured Book: Horse and Pony Colours: Which Would You Choose?

Have you ever wondered what a blue roan is? Or a Perlino?

There are more than fifty horse and pony colours and colour combinations!
Illustrated paperback.

This book – with colour photos – will tell you about all the horse and pony colours and their combinations.

It has some stunning colour photos and explanations of the different colour terms.

There’s a bit of science too, around why horses inherit different colours. And some useful websites for more horse colours and film clips.

So, what colour would you choose for your perfect horse (real or imaginary)?

Amazon Purchase Link

Article Written and Submitted by Author Lesley Lodge
Amazon Author’s Page
Professional Website

Successful Book Signing by Cheryl Carpinello

Marketing books is not for the timid and that includes book signings. Just because you have a table filled with freshly signed books ready to sell doesn’t mean that people are going to flock to it and ask to buy your book. Usually it is just the opposite.

A reserved person around strangers, I have had to learn how to be a seller. It wasn’t easy, but I stepped out of my comfort zone and now successfully sell books at local author signings put on by libraries, at craft fairs, and at bookstores.

I’ve put together some tips for you that I have found to be successful.

Have all materials ready before you go.

  • ‘Signed by the Author’ stickers on your cover
  • Books all signed
  • Bookmarks placed inside the front covers
  • Pens and Business cards
  • Poster of your cover
  • Change if you are collecting the money as you would be doing at a craft fair.
  • Table/chair if you supply

Make an attractive table that invites people for a closer look.

  • Use a tablecloth (I use a plastic one.)
  • Have an easel or bookstand to display your book/poster
  • Arrange items so that the table does not look cluttered.
  • If possible, have a statue, picture, or something else else unique to your book’s topic (I have a 3-foot tall metal knight that sits on one end of my table.)
  • Do Not sit down in the chair.
  • Always stand and be ready to greet potential buyers (I stand either to the side or slightly in front of the table.)

Engage people as they walk by.

  • Always have a smile for everyone
  • Ask a question (Have you thought about a autographed book for as a unique gift for that special person? How much to you know about Arthurian Legend?)

Hand them a book so they can read the blurb on the back cover

  • Give a 2 or 3 sentence summary of the book
  • Tell them you would be happy to personalize the book if they purchase it now

Have some small thing you can hand out to all.

  • Bookmark, candy, recipe

Have some item connected with your book to give them when they purchase it.

  • Recipe, word search, crossword, sheet of historical facts

Smile and thank them even if they don’t buy your book.

  • Potential customers may be standing by to see how you interact with others

Remember to stretch yourself and act like you love being there! Have fun!!

Author Bio: In addition to be a writer, Cheryl is a retired high school English teacher. Still passionate about working with kids, she conducts writing workshops for kids in the elementary and middle schools. The kids outline their own medieval stories complete with knights, dragons, magicians, and usually princesses.

Cheryl loves to travel to college football games, to Las Vegas, to visit family, and to see new places. She and her husband recently spent two weeks visiting Egypt where they traveled by local train from one end of Egypt to the other.

Featured Book: Sons Of The Sphinx by Cheryl Carpinello

Travel to ancient Egypt through the eyes of a tenth grader named Rosa as she uses her special gifts in an attempt to bring honor to King Tutankhamen’s family. Rosa is an ordinary teen who struggles to fit in with her peers, however she must also come to term with the gift that her grandmother bestowed on her.

As it turns out, Rosa’s gift allows her to not only to hear and speak to dead people, but actually travel back to ancient Egypt. Without warning King Tut appears to Rosa in her bedroom asking for help finding the spirit of his long, lost, love Hesena.

Rosa has to fight unimaginable fears in order to travel back 3,000 years, deal with a hostile environment, and an evil Pharaoh, not to mention tomb robbers in order to connect with the spirit of Hesena all with the hopes of righting the wrongs of this ancient past.

Young Rosa has a heart of gold and the courage of a champion along with a sweet innocent inner self that inspires a touch of romantic feeling for her spirit guide. I quote a passage from the book to show the author’s unique writing style and ability to connect with young people:

“Tut, you were rich beyond anything I can imagine. It’s so unreal.” I walk around behind the shrine. “You were one of the richest pharaohs in Egypt.”

He looks at me and frowns. I see something in his eyes, briefly, that mirrors the disappointment in my dad’s eyes the day the cops brought me home. I ditched school after one of those talking ghost episodes. They picked me up at the shopping mall an hour before school was out. An hour! I have all the luck. I cough as my throat tickles in an irritating way.

“Roosa.” He sweeps his arm through the air. All this is here, with me, now, dead.”

‘Sons Of The Sphinx’ is a fast paced, historically accurate time travel adventure that will enlighten and engage the hearts and minds of readers from pre-teen to adult. Author Cheryl Carpinello has not only researched ancient Egypt, but travelled there herself. This book details the Eighteenth Dynasty (1550-1295 BC) and includes a map of Ancient Egypt. There is a glossary of Egyptian Gods, People, Places and Terms which is most beneficial.

Theodocia McLean endorses ‘Sons Of The Sphinx’ by Cheryl Carpinello for the historical accuracies, adventurous journey to ancient Egypt with teen tenacity and paranormal contributions. I purchased and reviewed this book from a Kindle. The review was completed on April 28, 2015.

Amazon Print Purchase Link
Kindle Purchase Link
Amazon Author’s Page
Cheryl Carpinello (author/speaker) Website
Cheryl’s Blog
Cold Coffee Press
Cold Coffee Café

So You’re Writing Your First Novel by Author Thomas M. Malafarina

So You’re Writing Your First Novel by Author Thomas M. Malafarina

In June of 2010 a month before my 55th birthday, I signed my first book publishing deal with a Pennsylvania publisher Sunbury Press and began a learning experience that was like nothing I had ever expected. In fact, at the time of this writing, March 2017, seven years and eleven books later (with six more books in the works) I’m still discovering new things. I’ve also managed to learn quite a bit about the writing process and the publishing business in general. I’ve been fortunate enough to have had most of my 100 plus short stories published in a variety of anthologies, allowing me to share the pages with authors I consider the best in the business. This is in spite of the fact that writing is still only a part-time obsession for me. Below are some writing and publishing tips that I personally follow when I’m writing and which I hope will help the novice writer in getting his or her first work published.

Start with a very basic idea – on occasion do an outline. You want to write your first book? It helps, but isn’t necessarily a requirement to have the start of an idea of what you want to write about, even if it is just a title, a sentence, the crux of an idea, anything. Whatever you have will do. Then just start writing. It can be the most elementary of ideas with no set course of action or direction. The key is to get the words down on paper and give your creative juices a chance to start flowing. I rarely take the time to do an outline or a plan for what I want to write and on those occasions when I do; I usually end up abandoning it early on.

For example, my first horror novel, “What Waits Beneath”, published through Sunbury Press had been written with no outline or plan. It started out in my mind as nothing more than a gruesome scene with someone being attacked by a demon-like creature in a dark coal mine. I saw a hideous demon sucking out the victim’s soul and then subsequently disemboweling him and feasting on his innards. There was no story, just this single scene. I wanted to get this idea on paper so I started writing the scene and then once motivated, I started building on that concept. At that point I had no title, no direction, virtually no idea of whether or not the book would be a short story, a novel or if it would simply not materialize into anything at all. In fact, “What Waits Beneath” started its life as my feeble attempt at writing a screenplay then evolved into a novel.

My second novel started with a few simple lines, which I wrote, not having the slightest idea where the story was heading. Here is all I had written, which ended up being the first paragraph of the book: The tarnished brass customer entry-warning bell dangling above the weathered front door of the establishment clanged with a tinny clank. A large man in a glistening rain-soaked black trench coat and driving cap plodded inside, dripping what seemed like gallons of water in his wake. Ancient floorboards worn from decades of foot traffic groaned beneath his sodden leather shoes as the musty aroma of a time, long since forgotten wafted up into his sinuses.

From that simple paragraph eventually evolved my novel, “Burner” which still happens to be one of my favorite works to date. (Ok, I’ll admit it. They’re all my favorites for one reason or another.) Burner is very demonic, disturbing and often gory but it has a great story that sucks you in and leads you right to the twist at the end.

Write a rough draft of a couple of chapters with the limited ideas you may have available. This is critical! Get your ideas, no matter how minimal, down on paper. This is a form of brainstorming. Don’t worry about spelling, grammar, half sentences, fragmented thoughts or anything. Just get your idea down on paper. Every journey starts with a first step. This is yours. Don’t think about it, just take that first step.

And don’t concern yourself about whether what you’re writing is the first or last chapter or if it is only a fragment of some other chapter, whatever; JUST DO IT! Commit the idea to paper as quickly as possible. You’ll likely be shocked at how the idea begins to take shape and becomes something much, much bigger and better than you originally thought it would be. You need to open the gates of your imagination in order to allow the ideas to flow.

Don’t think in terms of “I’m writing my first novel”, or “I wonder if anyone will like this”, or any other such negative ideas which I consider a detriment to the creative process. Instead, just embrace the story itself and enjoy the moment. Relish the writing process and bask in the joy of your story as it unfolds before your eyes.

Rewrite the chapter(s) adding more detail and specifics. Now that you have some of your basic ideas down on paper and you don’t have to worry about forgetting them any longer, it’s time to slow down a bit. The initial brainstorming frenzy is temporarily over. (You will repeat that process multiple times as the story evolves.) But now this is the place where everything must go into slow motion. This is where you read and re-read every paragraph and start to expound on the initial concepts, fixing spelling and grammatical errors along the way.

This is where you add details which help to set the mood and explain about the subjects of which you are writing. This is where you should sit back, close your eyes and try to imagine a scene based on what you’ve just written. This is where you start to write with the eyes of the reader in mind; someone who is seeing your work for the very first time.

For example: If you wrote the simple sentence, “John saw a wagon.”

Now you need to try to imagine what the actual scene would look like. With the minimal statement above you’ll soon realize you have nothing but questions.

What kind of wagon was it? What color? How many wheels? Are any of the wheels worn or broken? Is the paint brand new or is it faded and chipped? Is there lettering on the wagon? What does the lettering say? Is the lettering even still legible? Does the reader care? Do the wheels all turn correctly or to they wobble? Is there anything inside of the wagon? And many, many, many more such questions will follow.

REMEMBER: Words are the paint a writer must use to create his scenes. When you’re finished with your scene the reader should be able to see exactly what you’re seeing in your creative mind.

As a writer, your goal is to find the right words to paint that picture for the reader. If you can’t anticipate and provide answers the questions, then the reader will have to do so, and may not do so in the same way you had intended. If the reader misinterprets an earlier scene it could cause confusion later on in the story. And the ready will not blame himself for this mix-up but will blame the author and rightfully so.

By the same token, you don’t want to get crazy with descriptions unless it is important to the story. For example, if the wagon is an extraneous item not at all critical to either the story or to the mood of the scene you are trying to create then a limited amount of detail will be required. If, however it its description is critical to setting up a passage for what is to follow, then make sure to spell that out in detail. Use your words to paint the scene.

Go over the chapters for grammatical, spelling and punctuation errors. This is the painful part; at least it is for me. You’ve just given your all to create what you consider the greatest words ever put to paper and now you have to pull it apart and do all of the horrible grammatical nonsense we were supposed to learn about while sleeping through during English class in high school.

Nonetheless, you have to do it. So just do it to the best of your ability. And after you go over it once, do it a second, third and possibly fourth or fifth time. Also, this is a good opportunity to begin tightening up your writing and eliminating sloppy sentences. Before I became a published author, I was told by an author friend of mine that as an unknown writer, if I wanted anyone to look at me seriously, my first book had to be around fifty thousand words or so. I struggled and worked hard to make my first book fall into that range. Tight writing made this possible. He said Stephen King can sell his books by the pound and no one blinks an eye but an unknown entity doesn’t have that luxury.

Set the completed chapters aside for later review and continue writing more of the story. This doesn’t mean the chapters are finished, it simply means eventually we will come back and attack the earlier chapters of the book at a later time. For the moment, you’re probably punch-drunk from reading them so many times anyway, and you need to take a break from them. So now would be a good time to forget about what you have written and continue write more To do this…..

Repeat the above steps for all remaining chapters until story is well under way or perhaps even completed. What? Am I nuts asking you to do this? Not nuts, just serious. You want to be a serious writer? Then get serious already. For each new section you write you should go through the same (often painful) process. This will make the steps which follow that much easier. Let’s assume you have finally completed your book and it of course, is a masterpiece. You feel it’s ready to send to a variety of publishing houses and they will immediately be tripping all over themselves begging you to allow them the honor of publishing your work while simultaneously throwing tons of money at you. Yeah… right!

Now go back to chapter 1 and start proofreading, editing and correcting all over again. Now that you’ve had some time to forget about what you wrote some 40 or 50 thousand words ago, you should go back and read it anew as if you had never seen it before. Also if possible, get an anal-retentive grammar fixated friend to read it as well. Two sets of eyes are better than one and three are better than two. Do this for each of the chapters you have written until you finally feel the book is near completion.

When book is finally, finally “completed”. Set it aside again for a month then come back and do it all over again. No way! You got to think I can’t possibly be serious! You’ve just spent months of your life working on this book and it is the most amazing thing ever written. And I have the audacity to suggest you should walk away from it for a month, then come back and start reading it all over again?

Oh yes. That is exactly what I am suggesting. In fact, during that month I encourage you to begin writing something completely new and possibly quite different. Immerse yourself in that new work and do everything you can to forget about your masterpiece. Then after the month is over go back again and start at the beginning doing your best to think of it yet again as the first time you ever saw the book.

For the record, by the time I am finished with a book I don’t care if I ever read it again. Readers ask me questions about various characters in the book and most of the time I can’t even recall the characters’ names. When my book is done, for me it’s done. This is also a helpful tool for proofreading. Because each time I look at it I find something else (less each time, thankfully) which might be potentially embarrassing if not fixed before publishing. And even through all of this, some things still slip through the cracks.

Shop for a publisher and be prepared for rejection. Believe it or not, no one is out there just waiting for you to complete your masterpiece. In fact, they don’t even know you’re alive, and for that matter they don’t really care. You’re an unknown commodity, which means you are a high risk. And when you do get them to take a look at what you’ve written, they may not agree it’s the masterpiece you feel it is at all. In fact, they might even think it’s not worth the paper it is printed on.

What is wrong with them? Don’t they get it? Don’t they see this is the greatest literary work every written?

If you forget everything else I’ve said in this document, remember this: Writing is not for the faint-hearted or the thin-skinned.

When you get a publisher to accept your work prepare for more hours of editing, rewriting, and proofreading. At last, you’ve found a publisher who recognizes your genius, or at least is willing to give you a shot. You’ve signed a contract with a publisher and now you’re finally being recognized as the literary master you always knew you were meant to be.

But guess what? His editors have noticed some flaws in your writing you seem to have missed. And guess what else? You now have to go back through the entire book again and take out all of those annoying grammatical nuances you thought represented your “unique” writing style. News flash: it wasn’t unique, it was wrong.

When a Galley Proof is finally available for your book; read it all over again and to scrutinize it for even more errors and inconsistencies.

At last. The publisher is satisfied with your initial modifications and has sent the book to have a few hard-copy proofs made up. Soon you will hold a proof of your first novel in your hands. It will be like the birth of your first child, perhaps not as messy, but none the less a lot of work. You now hold your masterpiece of literary excellence in your own two hands.

Guess what? When you finally have the proof in your hands, you get to start over again and proof read it from start to finish. And you should do so not only with the eye of a stranger, but with the eye of a critic.

Once completed, prepare to do whatever it takes to help sell your books. Now your book is finally finished and is available, on the web and hopefully all over the world. Now you can relax because you know the royalties will start rolling in, as thousands and thousands of copies are instantly sold worldwide. Maybe you will plan a long awaited vacation, put down money on a new car, a bigger home, maybe a yacht. Guess again.

To your shock you discover there are tens of thousands of writers just like you all trying to sell their books at the same time and each of their books is just as much a masterpiece as yours is. And now with the marked flooded with thousands of self-published works, both in hard copy and e-books, many of which would never get published otherwise, the chance of getting noticed is even further diminished.

Within a few weeks you realize the money isn’t going to come rolling in and you have to do anything and everything imaginable to make people aware of your books and hopefully sell a few copies.

For example, you’ll have to get your name out there; do book signings, book shows, interviews, answer similar questions over and over again and again. You participate in forums such as this one and perhaps you might even choose to bore people to tears with your take on writing books, as I’ve just done.

Write another book. Now that it’s all finished and you are a published author, the best thing you can do is to go back to step one and do it all over again.

Remember you are only as good as your next success and you’re as bad as your last failure.

Even if you’re of that rare breed fortunate enough to have a mega seller the first, second or maybe third timeout, (for the record, after eleven books, I’m still waiting for my mega seller, I’m still a part-time writer with a day job and I’m still a great unknown in the world of horror fiction), you’ll still have to do it again. If you’re serious about being a successful writer you have to prove yourself again and again, building a good solid track record.

So if you haven’t run from the room screaming by now, I suspect you may have what it takes to be a real writer, and call yourself an author. Best of luck my friends.

Here is the details from just one of my many books.

Burner by Thomas Malafarina

Charles Wilson has left home in rural Pennsylvania for the most important sales call of his career when he realizes on the way to the airport that he has forgotten his cell phone; his lifeline to the business world with over a thousand contacts stored in its memory banks, Wilson’s cell phone has radically transformed him as a businessman and has changed the way that he conducts business since before such a device had entered his rather simple life and now he can’t live without it.

In fact, “nowadays if he was without his cell phone for even as little as an hour, Wilson felt completely cut off from the rest of the world, a world that provided him with a substantial income.” Charles decides that since he has most of his contacts stored upon his laptop the best thing to do would be to have his wife overnight the phone to his hotel and in the interim he would look to purchase a “burn phone” – street vernacular for a pre-paid cellular phone.

Unfortunately, luck does not seem to be on Wilson’s side as all of the kiosks are closed at the airport and when he arrives at his hotel it is too late to make such a purchase. Charles is frustrated and berates himself for his foolishness when he is directed down a dark street (an alley, really) that runs along the side of the hotel by a strange man sitting in the lobby – perhaps the fates will favor him after all and he will find what he is looking for?

And so begins Charles Wilson’s hellish journey, and thus begins “Burner”, a novel of Lovecraftian horror and cosmic menace by Thomas M. Malafarina.

Amazon Purchase Link
Amazon Author’s Page

Article Written and Submitted by Author Thomas M. Malafarina
Tuesday, June 27, 2017

What To Do To Become A Writer by Author Thomas M. Malafarina

What To Do To Become A Writer by Author Thomas M. Malafarina

One of the questions I’m asked most often by people contemplating becoming authors, is “What should I do to get into writing?” The first thing I ask them is to clarify exactly what they mean by “get into writing.” I ask this question to determine if they want to know what they have to do to get their thoughts down on the paper, or what they need to do to get published or perhaps what they must do in order to be able to earn a decent living as a writer. These are three separate questions all requiring individual, specific answers.

For the purpose of this article, I’ll assume someone wants to know what he has to do to get his thoughts down on paper; the actual act of writing. I can’t really tell anyone how best to become a published author other than to keep trying and take the advice and criticism you receive in your growing mountain-sized collection of rejection slips. (I save my rejection slips – some are very entertaining).

In addition, if someone wants to know how to make money writing, he probably should be asking someone else. The sad truth is at this time in my writing career, I’ve earned very little money through my writing endeavors, certainly not enough to pay my bills. Hopefully someday this will change but for now, nope. I work full-time as a Senior Manufacturing Engineer for a major corporation. That is why I have a house, two cars and why I’m not starving to death. I often joke that if I had to rely on my income from writing, I couldn’t afford to rent the basement of an outhouse for a week. I realize that statement might sound cynical or bitter but I certainly don’t want to project that sentiment. It’s simply a fact. Does that frustrate me and make me want to quit writing? Never in a million years

That being said, writing horror fiction does provide me with something that my bill paying normal day job doesn’t; and that’s an outlet for my wild and often uncontrollable imagination. I write because I absolutely love to write. It’s the same reason I create artwork, draw cartoons, write music and play in a blues band. I have to get these creative ideas out or I might go crazy. (Some might argue I may have already arrived at that particular destination.)

What I want to discuss is what I’ve learned about the writing process itself. Your main goal in writing should be to get your creative juices flowing and get your ideas out and on paper. And if done properly the often-arduous task of writing can be a much less painful experience. The old adage, which is often criticized as being trite and cliché, but one I still find true to form is “Writers Write”. If you want to be a writer than don’t spend days, weeks, months and years thinking and over-thinking, planning and over-planning. In the immortal words of Nike, just do it!

Here is how I approach the writing of either a novel or a short story. Think of your upcoming work initially in terms of a movie trailer. When you watch a trailer you learn a little bit about the gist of the movie; the title, the general subject matter and a few enticing scenes to wet your appetite. You learn just enough to tease you and give you an idea of whether or not you want to pay good money to see the film. You don’t learn every detail of every scene of the movie and especially not the ending. You know when you arrive in the theater to see the film you won’t have any idea what might happen next, as you wind your way along the story line.

When I sit down to write a short story or a book the same thing is true for me. Most times, I have a general idea of what the title might be and what the basic premise of the story will be. On rare occasions, I may do a minimal outline of the first few chapters to get me started. By the way, nine times out of ten, if I do happen to create an outline I usually end up abandoning it early on in every work. Most of the time when I’m in the middle of a story, I have absolutely no idea how it will end. For me, writing a book is as wonderful an experience as going to a movie or reading someone else’s book for the first time. I’m as excited with anticipation as the person who someday will be reading my book. That’s what makes it so much fun.

I’m quite certain some people may consider this a strange way to write, but it works for me. It allows me to relax; to open my mind to any possibility, and then just cut loose and let the thoughts flow freely. Sometimes when I write I not only don’t have an outline, but I may not even have an idea or a plan. Sometimes I just start writing something; anything and see what evolves. If I write something that doesn’t work, I simply file it for use somewhere else, some time in the future. This freedom is what makes the rest of the writing process, the stuff I hate, bearable.

This brings us to the next phase in the writing process. This is where I tell you to make sure you really want to write something before you dive into this literary swimming pool. Anyone can write a book, and with today’s technology, anyone can self-publish a book, but that doesn’t guarantee what you have written is any good. Remember, just because your mother or your wife or girlfriend tells you your work is “amazing” or “brilliant” doesn’t mean it really is. You may not want to read the next section if you already think you’re God’s gift to literature.

Believe me, if you want to write a good top quality piece of work as opposed to a piece of something else, you’d better be prepared to work your butt off, writing and rewriting, editing and re-editing, proofing and re-proofing. By the time one of my books is finished, I probably have rewritten it more times, than I care to mention. When my book is ready to hit the shelves I’m usually sick to death of the thing. I consider this one of the necessary evils of good writing. Writing the book and getting the story down on paper is the fun part. The next phase is where the real work occurs and this is the place, where the real writers are separated from the wannabees.

An author friend of mine once told me to use the following rule of thumb when writing. After you think a book is all ready to go to a publisher, you should set it aside for a month and write something else, doing all you can to forget the original work. Then a month later you can come back and re-read the work like it was a new book and do so aloud so I can hear how it sounds and how it flows, and then re-edit it as necessary at least once again.

I’ve taken his advice on all of my books and do so in order to eliminate any holes in any of my stories. When writing a novel, I tend to work on a chapter at a time and often when I am a few chapters in, I will go back, start at the beginning, and look for flaws, typos or holes, while working on the newer chapters. I absolutely hate holes in stories. And even with all of this work and rework, I’m always astonished at how much I miss when my stories get into the hands of the editors.

By the way, even after multiple re-writes you usually have to usually go through it at least once again when the galley proof is printed. This is the really frustrating part. You’re holding the finished product in your hand like a new-born baby and you have to pick it to pieces. Imagine holding your own child and criticizing every little detail about him or her. Her eyes are too small, his nose is shaped funny, her ears stick out and so forth. But that is what you have to do. The buck stops with you. You are the one who gets the final look at the work after all the editors are finished with it.

And speaking of editors, if you see yourself as the type of author who is above taking the advice of your editors I’d suggest you forget about serious writing and practice saying “Do you want fries with that?” I say God bless editors. They make us humble writers look good. Most editors love working with me because I don’t see them as an adversary or necessary evil but as a partner in producing the best work, I possibly can. I’m not an English major, an intellectual or a scholar; I’m just a regular guy with a over-active and dark imagination who loves writing horror. So, you can see why I feel editors are such an important asset to me; I rely on their knowledge of the language to fix my many screw-ups. I also rely on them to be another set of eyes to find any flaws in my story line before it goes out to the public.

What I am trying to say is if you want to write and be a good writer, you really, really have to want to write. It’s a lot of work, a lot of time, a major commitment and often provides little or no monetary reward. You have to have a thick skin and be able to take criticism, not to mention rejection. Reviewers can often be brutal.

So here is some important advice which you probably won’t want to hear since you may believe you were born to write and any other job would obviously stand in the way of the world benefiting from your outstanding talent. The first thing you should do to be a successful writer is to make sure you have a good job to pay your bills. This job might be related to writing, it might not; that isn’t the point. The point is for you to earn a living and pay your bills. If you do this then you can afford pursue your writing passion as a sideline. If it fails, you won’t starve and if it succeeds well, that more money in the bank. Some people have criticized me in the past for saying this, but so be it. No one likes to see their dreams stomped on by reality.

If you’re a creative person with a need to get your ideas out and on paper, you’ll find the time to write somehow, not because you want to but because you have to. And you’ll have to learn to be willing to work to constantly improve your writing and to do whatever it takes to not only produce good quality work, but to promote yourself to the public in any way possible as well. You’ll likely have to work harder at your writing sideline than your full-time gig, but if it’s what you truly want then you will do it willingly.

If this doesn’t describe you, then perhaps you should consider doing something other than writing. Because in my personal experience; writing is more often then not a labor of love, with little or no financial payback.

So now in answer to the question “What should I do to become a writer?” Although this may seem ridiculously simple, the answer is, write. Write something down, anything. And start thinking of yourself as a writer and referring to yourself as a writer. And even if you don’t like what you have written save it somewhere, it might come in handy someday. Stop thinking about being a writer. Stop planning what you may someday write. Stop worrying about whether it will be good or bad. Just write already!

Here is the details from just one of my many books.

13 Deadly Endings by Thomas Malafarina

Not all stories have a “happy ending”. Sometimes the forces of evil are just too strong to allow the characters, whether protagonist or antagonist, to survive unscathed. Sometimes it is because of revenge or sinister forces or simply bad Karma.

Welcome to “Thirteen Nasty Endings”, a collection of short horror stories by Thomas M Malafarina. In this disturbing world of terror and foreboding, virtually every story has the potential to end badly for someone. There will be no “happily ever afters” in this collection!

This is definitely not a “feel good” compilation. Thirteen Deadly Endings guarantees that someone, whether deserving or not, will get it in the end.

Thomas has put together an incredibly upsetting anthology of some of his most gory, horrifying, disturbing and bizarre tales for your reading pleasure.

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Article Written and Submitted by Author Thomas M. Malafarina
Tuesday, June 27, 2017

How I Got My Book Published by Author David Dickerman

How I Got My Book Published by Author David Dickerman

I believe the pathway to getting my story published was somewhat unique as I originally had no intention of getting it published.  After working several years in the entertainment industry, I returned to school to acquire MS. Ed degrees in both Childhood Education and Literacy.  For my final thesis project, one option that had become popular among students was an independent study based around children’s books.  The concept was to identify a gap in children’s literature, fill it with your own story, and support that stance with research and a literature comparison to other books about the topic.  In addition to always wanting to write a book but lacking the discipline, I felt that the experience of my parents’ divorce had not been adequately conveyed in children’s literature.  After the acrimony, I was exposed to many people and experiences to which I would otherwise not have been.  This ultimately made my life richer and I felt it could provide a sense of realistic hope to children and families.  Most of the stories I saw focused only on the sadness.

So I drafted the story titled Mom, Dad, and Everyone Else as a tool for bibliotherapy and worked with my thesis advisor.  We discussed concepts like the amount of white space on a page, word choice, and narrative structure.  I had a vision in my head (don’t ask me where it came from, but I guess inspiration can rarely be traced back to its source) of the images being photographs of clay floating heads created with classroom materials in order to create a stronger connection to the text.  My advisor’s feedback included comments such as “use more distinguished features as the lack of it can be scary to children,” and “elaborate more about what he does when he is sad instead of saying it – show don’t tell.”  After several drafts and readings to children, I submitted and defended my thesis prior to graduation.  It was well received.

Some time went by and I worked at a couple schools.  One day I just decided to see what the process was of getting published.  I did some online research and found that children’s publishing companies were VERY specific in their needs.  While most did not take unsolicited manuscripts, they were also only wanted certain things.  For example, one publishing company only looked for young adult chapter books with a certain number of words that dealt with family issues and would only accept hard copies of just the text from an agent.  That was literally all they published.  Since this was not my primary career, I did not have time to find an agent.  I decided to submit my story to a small publishing company called Crafty Canuck that specialized in picture books from new authors with a message.  They actually accept inquiries for advice, but when I submitted stated that they saw the value of my story and the need for it, so they wanted to publish it themselves.

Since the publishing company was small, I received a lot of attention but communication was slow.  They drafted the contract and we negotiated both hard copy and e-book royalties.  We made some revisions and discussed preliminary marketing strategies.  They offered, and I accepted, to bring in an outside artist to polish the backgrounds, and I redid the clay characters.  After a long time perfecting the book, they sent me a prototype.  I made some suggestions and they happily accommodated.  In June 2014 the e-book was released and the hard copy is now available for print on demand.  Sales have been decent for such a specific book but support has been phenomenal.  Currently we are working on getting it into the hands of families, therapists, and others who it can help most.

Today, I continue my writing daily as an Assessment Specialist and content provider to many blogs and websites.  Much of this work has been a direct result of this publishing process.

Article Written and Submitted by Author David Dickerman

Book: Mom, Dad and Everyone Else

Unfortunately today, divorce is an all too common reality. Mom, Dad, & Everyone Else attempts to reframe the idea of divorce for a child in a more positive way. This positive side centers around the child’s world expanding via exposure to new people who love and support him or her while also bringing in new experiences that otherwise may remain elusive. When divorce happens and a child is involved, we hope that Mom, Dad, & Everyone Else might play some small role in helping a child find hope and their voice.

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Congratulations, You Have Decided To Write A Book

Congratulations, You Have Decided To Write A Book

Writing your first book will send you on a roller coaster of emotions. Maybe you have dreamed for years of retiring from your job, creating time and the perfect space to write your novel. The words might pour out of your mind faster than you can type or you might face dry spells where the words won’t come. Writing your book will become a labor of love, intense work, laughter and tears, but seeing your book in print will be one of the most thrilling experiences of your lifetime.

Family and friends might ask you the very same question that you find yourself asking as you stare at the blank white page in front of you. Why am I writing this book? Is my first intention to become famous and get rich or do I have a story, an idea or some information that I want to share with others?

In my experience, my first book was fiction because I had a story in my head that wouldn’t leave me alone. A story that I needed to tell if for no other reason than getting it out of my head and the satisfaction of reading it in print. From there I branched out into a memoir in hopes of sharing a part of my life journey. My workbooks were written out of a need to share important information with others. I created a format that allows my reader to write their own contribution in the workbook and make it their own.

I think the best authors have written out of the sheer pleasure of writing the novel, biography, short story, poetry etc. Passion for the characters, story or information that you want to convey will be the spring board that will keep you writing.

The satisfaction of selling my books is surprisingly not about money at all. I have discovered that selling a book is a humbling experience. If just one person takes time out their busy life to purchase and read one of my books or contribute to one of my workbooks that they hold in their hands and write in, how much more truly lasting satisfaction could I possibly obtain?

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Article Written by Theodocia McLean: Owner of Cold Coffee Press Promotional Properties
Tuesday, June 27, 2017