Author Inspiration and This Week’s Writing Links

Staci Troilo

Ciao,amici! Happy Friday! This week sure flew by. I hope you have a restful weekend planned. I’m still playing catch-up, and I have some personal business to attend to, so that’s not in the cards for me. I’ll just have to live (or relax) vicariously through you.

This week’s quote comes courtesy of John Steinbeck.

Ideas are like rabbits.
You get a couple and learn how to handle them,
and pretty soon you have a dozen.

That’s how my writing went this week. I always have an outline. It’s a fairly basic one, but I can’t start a long work without one. I always seem to make additions and changes as I go, but this week my outline sprouted detour routes in all kinds of directions. Before, that would have made me nervous. This time, though, I loved it. Every new idea fostered another, then another, and even after careful…

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Converting from MS Word to Mobi Using Kindle Create

Story Empire

Hello SErs! Harmony here. Do you struggle to convert your manuscript into a Kindle file? Are you spending lots of money on conversion? Then read on.

As some of you will know already, Kindle have brought out new free software to help its KDP authors convert their manuscripts into mobi files for Kindle. Today, I thought I’d take a quick run through of what it does and doesn’t do.

[Note: I have the Mac version, so screenshots may look a little different if you have a PC version]

Here’s a quick 4 minute video showing how to use the basics …

You can import your Word file and make it look pretty with ease. You can add chapter title and first line fonts, styles, etc. You can also import a PDF and work from that to preserve text and image placement, etc. For novels, I would recommend working from your…

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Authors, Do You Know Jack?




Is this a problem for indie authors?

I’ve seen this term used with regard to authors in a variety of contexts over the past couple of months. There are two common cases:

  1. The self-published author who does all the writing, editing, formatting, cover design, and marketing independently.
  2. When the books involve a variety of subjects, categories, genres, writing styles, etc.

But Master of None

The common implication is that the jack-of-all-trades knows something about many subjects, but is the master of none.

I would like to challenge this assumption:

  • Every year I encounter several students who not only ace one of my classes, but tend to earn top scores in all their classes. I interact with many people who have expertise on several subjects. I’m not just talking about double and triple majors, or necessarily students. Do you have any know-it-all acquaintances who you would rely on for information…

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Make Your Copyright Page Pop



The copyright is the most boring page in the book. Readers tend to skim through them. Self-published authors tend to spend more time on other obvious design concerns, like the cover.

A short, sweet, and plain copyright page will suffice.

I’ve written dozens of books (mostly math workbooks, but a few science books and even books about self-publishing), and today I felt a bit bored with the typical copyright page.

So I gave it a little thought and tried something different. In the picture above, I put my copyright ‘paragraphs’ into 3D blocks of assorted sizes and then stacked them together. It’s different, anyway.

I’m using blocks for headers, too, so these blocks will fit in with the rest of the design. The algebra and word problems were the easy part of this book, so I put some time into the design. It’s not as plain…

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Fantasy Sub-Genres

Nicholas C. Rossis

Fantasy magic book | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books Image: Pixabay

When I finished my first book in the Pearseus universe, I was faced with an unexpected problem: everyone kept saying that identifying your genre was important. But my book crossed many genres. It was, essentially, a fantasy tale taking place in the future, with technology and a tiny bit of crystal magic. So, how the heck do you find a genre to shoehorn this kind of book into?

After several unsuccessful attempts to do so, I now describe it as science fiction fantasy (aka science fantasy) but wish I had come across this handy guide from Thoughts on Fantasy before I spent so many hours researching fantasy subgenres!

From Tolkienesque High Fantasy to Paranormal Romance, this is the ultimate guide for all things fantasy. Just click on a link below for a brief description of that subgenre, examples of books written in it, and typical elements that characterize…

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Do you want to be a faster writer?

Jean's Writing

And get your manuscript done in one draft? Not 10?

Me! Me! I do! I’m so excited to discover writing the way I do is not wrong. Just different. And that’s okay. Now I’m free to be me. And hopefully write faster.

One of my new all-time favorite bloggers is August Birch. I’ve written about him and his tips before.  But if like me you’d love to get your manuscript written in one draft, in one go then keep reading because August has a few great tips he learned from author Dean Wesley Smith.

  • Planning is fine but don’t let it bog you down. (often the best part of a trip is the side roads.) 
  • Outlines are not necessary to be a good successful writer. Yay for the pansters!
  • Keep an open mind about writing techniques. (No one size fits all.)
  • Write with the next book in mind and…

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December, 2018 Kindle Unlimited Royalty for Pages Read



2018 closed out at $0.00487 per page with December’s Kindle Unlimited per page rate (KENP read).

This returns it to the values it had for September ($0.00488) and October ($0.00484).

Although it is a drop from November ($0.0052), the Kindle Unlimited per-page rate seldom clears half a penny per page. Based on its behavior for the past few years, the November amount is more of a sweet bonus than an expectation.

The per-page rate is still in the $0.0048’s, and has been at least at that level for 4 consecutive months, which is a relative high.

The KDP Select Global Fund for December, 2018 was $23.7 million. (It was $23.6 million for November and $23.5 million for October.)

Write Happy, Be Happy

Chris McMullen

Author of the Improve Your Math Fluency series of math workbooks and self-publishing guides

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The Ingredients of a Best Selling Book

A Writer's Path

by Doug Lewars

Best seller lists are tricky. They can be manipulated and sometimes are. Nevertheless, they do serve a purpose. For one thing, I suppose, they inform people of what other people are reading, thereby generating a sort of herd effect that might drive up sales, but more importantly from a writer’s perspective, they provide a touch stone as to what readers are interested in.

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How Therapy Dogs Help Struggling Readers

Nicholas C. Rossis

Reading dog | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books Photo: Pixabay

When I shared here my guest post for Mom’s Favorite Reads, Reading Tricks for Kids of Any Age, I was once again impressed by the interest you showed in the subject. One particularly interesting comment was by Missimontana, who shared a link to the Colorado Virtual Library website and to a post by Amy Hitchner called, Spotlight on Sharing: Therapy Dogs Help Struggling Readers.

I confess it had never occurred to me that reading to dogs could help children improve their literacy skills but, in hindsight, it makes perfect sense. And it turns out that many public libraries offer “read to a dog” services to help children feel more relaxed while they improve their reading skills.

As one of the programs explains:

This program gives our young readers, at any reading level, a chance to read out loud in a stress-free environment to some very attentive listeners. Therapy…

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It’s Release Day! End of Day by Mae Clair #SupernaturalSuspense #Mystery #Thriller

Check out the latest release from wonderful author, Mae Clair.

From the Pen of Mae Clair

Today is the book birthday for End of Day, book 2 of my Hode’s Hill trilogy.  If you enjoyed book 1, Cusp of Night, you’ll find this one in the same vein. Once again, I’m visiting the small Pennsylvania town of Hode’s Hill, but with a plot whose tentacles reach back to the town’s founding. As in Cusp of Night, I’ve spun two mysteries—one in the the past (taking place in the year 1799) and one in the present. You get two separate mysteries that tie together at the end.

Book cover for End of Day, mystery/suspense novel by Mae Clair shows old dilapidated church with bell tower and a cemetery in the background overgrown with weedsThe past is never truly buried…  

Generations of Jillian Cley’s family have been tasked with a strange duty—tending the burial plot of Gabriel Vane, whose body was the first to be interred in the Hode’s Hill cemetery. Jillian faithfully continues the long-standing tradition—until one October night, Vane’s body is stolen from its resting place. Is…

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