May 2020 Writers' Forum

What Writers Have to Learn from The 10X Rule

3 Amazon Secrets Every Author Needs to Know

More encouragement for writerly projects during a pandemic.

May 2020 Writers' Forum -- All the publishing news and writing craft help in one place.



What Writers Have to Learn from the 10X Rule

Carmen Amato writes a helpful analysis of the book “The 10X Rule” by Grand Cardone on Jane Friedman’s blog. The premise of this book is to make your goals 10 times bigger than what you think you can achieve. Audacious? Perhaps. But there are some extremely solid points to back up this assertion. My favorite part is that there is no shortage of success: “Success is not a zero sum game, there can be many winners.” Worth the read at:

3 Amazon Secrets Every Author Needs to Know

While I’m not sure HOW secret these three items are, the headline enticed me to read the article. Rob Eagar on the Build Book Buzz website connects the dots on how to use Amazon wisely to push your author career (and sales). Pay close attention to the perma-free book design section! I think a lot of authors miss this step. (And yes, you may notice I do not have a perma-free book—but I’ve been meaning to get to that.)

How to Keep Moving Forward When Stuck at Home

While some areas of the country are gradually (or not so gradually) reopening, many of us will still be home more than usual. There’s much helpful information directed our way to make the most of this time. (So if your days alternate between attempted productivity and cocooning in a haze of Netflix binging, maybe these two articles can help you get a few things checked off the list.) The Book Baby Blog article from Andre Calihanna, “12 Things You can Do to Build Your Writing Career While Suck at Home,” varies from simple to complex but probably include a few back-burner projects you’ve been meaning to do. Book Trailer time anyone?

Anne R. Allen’s “10 Ways to Feel Like a Real Writer When You Can’t Write Thanks to Coronavirus,” directly addresses the paralytic nature of this time by giving us housekeeping items that should probably be done on a regular basis anyway and will give us that much-needed sense of accomplishment.

Publishing Industry News/Resources

Just Publishing Advice website

Does everybody else already know about this great website? is a wonderful hub of information. The sites’ tag line is Practical Advice for Writes, Authors, and Bloggers. You’re going to want to bookmark this site!!

Sharing my Seven Secret Weapons that Make my Writing Life Easier

My Seven Secret Weapons

Last week I shared an article listing my favorite “Tools to Make Your Writing Life Easier.” These are seven tools (some free/some paid) that make my writing and book promotion life easier on a daily basis. 

Other resources you might like:

Secret Method to Choosing the Best Amazon Categories from Kindlepreneur

Book Category Hunter: Free Tool to Find Categories

Awesome Time-Saving Tools for Authors from Self-Publishing Review (5 tools that help you manage and save time from editing help to marketing.)

Kindelpreneur Book Description Generator -- Have you ever looked at other author’s book descriptions and wondered how they customized the font, size, or general appearance of their description? Help is here . . . and it’s free.

Amazon Ads Course (also from Kindlepreneur) -- Totally free course that walks you through the details of creating your first Amazon ads.


Crafting Your Characters

C.S. Lakin writes “The 3 Ms of Character Setup” on Jane Freidman’s blog with a smart focus on our characters’ mindset, motivation, and mood. It includes great examples and a link to her online video course entitled Your Cast of Characters, which “teaches writers how to populate their novels with the perfect cast.”

Also from Jane Friedman’s blog, Tiffany Yates Martin offers the advice “Who Makes it Happen? Giving Your Characters Agency.” She lists the common traps we might fall into when we create characters that aren’t driving the story the way they ought to. Excellent tips to keep your reader turning the page.

Clichés Are More than Words: Avoid Cliché Images, Scenes, and Characters

We typically focus on clichés with our actual words, but this eye-opening article points out how often we do this with images, scenes, and characters. I’m sooo guilty of this. I was seriously cringing when I read the one about starting scenes with a character waking up . . yikes, guilty, guilty, guilty. Time for some editing, perhaps? Click through to this Good Story Company article HERE.

Avoid Limbo with Narrative Tension

Mary Kole of defines the concept of narrative tension (getting a reader invested in the story) and advises (wisely) how to avoid leaving your characters in limbo by establishing a sense of past and future for them (along with their current story.)  Good food for thought!! 


It’s All in a Font: How Font Choice Affects the MindHow Font Choice Affects Emotion -- Writing and Publishing Advice

If you’re at all like me, you can go down the font-choice rabbit hole for way too long when creating graphics or content. I’m kind of a font geek, so this article on font choice really appealed to me as it discusses why and how these decisions matter. Read the Book Designer article by Rafal Reyzer HERE.

The Problem with Enhanced Ebooks

If you’re wondering about the term enhanced ebooks, this is a great time to learn what that means while gaining insight into the problems these enhancements can cause in terms of deliverability and sell-ability. Do any of you have enhanced features on your ebooks?

The Ultimate Guide to Hardback and Premium Books

The Alliance of Independent Authors provides a superb summary of hardback book production from IngramSpark. If you’d love to see your books in hard cover, take a moment to read about the details on production, pricing, and more HERE

POST-PUBLICATIONDon't miss an issue -- subscribe today for publishing news and writing craft help.

Build Your Writer Platform and Fanbase: A Fiction Author Case Study

Kimberley Grabas honestly details the results for one of her clients focused on building her fanbase. I love this article for two reasons, it peels back any mystery surrounding this topic and it gives every author an action plan to follow. See if you can use these fanbase-building steps.  

Reviews, Reviews, Reviews

The bane of every author’s existence . . . how to get more reviews.

Sean Platt’s article has a lot of good information, including a process for dealing with bad reviews and 5-step process for getting more reviews . . . number 1 is ASK! (How many times have we not asked for a review because we didn’t want to BOTHER someone?)

Stephanie Chandler of the Nonfiction Authors Association details “Where to Send Review Copies of Your Book – To Get More Book Reviews, Clients, Media Attention, and Other Opportunities.” There’s some excellent advice on finding the right audiences and connecting them with a copy of your book for reviewing and for other key opportunities like speaking engagements—which can be a lucrative part of your writing career.

How to Promote Your Series

This Written Word Media article by Ricci Wolman delves into the math behind series’ success, how to promote a series (it’s different than stand-alone books), and how to make sure you have an Amazon Series Page. I have rarely seen this level of detail available in a blog article. In particular, the math involved in calculating the read-through earnings for the books in your series beyond the first one is invaluable. Read more . . . And if you don't already have one, here’s how to create your Amazon Series Page.

6 Ideas for Promoting Your Book While Watching TV

Given that I’ve been doing a ton of tv watching lately, I felt like Sandra Beckwith wrote this article just for me! I am often doing other things while watching TV—a crossword, social media scrolling, magazine/catalog perusing . . . so why not get some promo activities done at the same time? You’ll appreciate these 6 book promo ideas that make your TV watching just a little more productive than usual. 

Social Media Tips for Authors


3 Social Media Mistakes Authors Must Stop Making Now

Uh-oh . . . Now what are we doing wrong? I quickly read the article and was glad to see that I am NOT doing any of these – I am not promoting my book on other people’s Facebook timelines. I am not tweeting constant buy, buy, buy my book messages. And I’m not adding people to my email list without their permission. There’s a lot of great info here on proper social media etiquette, so read the whole article from Sandra Beckwith here.

4 Facebook Features that Give You More Control

Sandra Beckwith details how to use privacy, share, and editing functions properly on Facebook:

Social Media Tips You Need to Know

This is the best advice from Frances Caballo at Social Media Just for Writers. In this article, you’ll get tips on: 

♦ Twitter Bios . . . including how to use emoji’s properly with super samples of people doing it right!

♦ Getting Rid of Fraud Twitter Followers

♦ Keeping Your Twitter Account Safe

♦ How to Check Facebook Analytics (so you know when to post)

♦ The Best Use of Instagram Hashtags (which ones perform the best)

Read her advice here:

Happy Writing (editing, marketing, and more!) - Valerie  

Add new comment

To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.
Your email will not be displayed to the public.

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.