Reading, wRiting, and Roaming with Author Valerie Biel

August 2, 2022

Happy August. I hope your summer has been productive and pleasant.

How many of you turned to Pinterest for recipes or decorating ideas during the Independence Day holiday? The platform has become the go-to for sources of inspiration, connection, and search results. The site is different than other social platforms. It works as a search engine and focuses less on “likes” and more on specific outcomes for users.

In June, I began writing about social media for authors. For the next two months, I’ll offer tips about using... Continue Reading

July 25, 2022

Just Do It Yourself: A History of Self-Publishing,

Authors Are Protesting Amazon’s eBook Return Policy,

No More Mobi?


Just Do It Yourself: A History of Self-Publishing

From Charles Dickens through the Kindle era, this is a fascinating article about the history of self-publishing from Alan Scherstuhl for Publishers Weekly. (Who knew that there was self-publishing had been around so long?)  

Authors are protesting Amazon’s ebook policy that allows users to read and return.

Here’s the nitty gritty about... Continue Reading

July 18, 2022

Welcome to the July 2022 Author Series where published author Donna Rewolinski shares the advice she'd go back and tell her pre-published self. (And it’s something that nearly every author I talk to agrees with!)

Donna is the author of Novice Mystery series, which includes Novice Mystery -Ireland, Novice Mystery – Mexico, and Novice Mystery – France (to be released later this year) all from Ten|16 Press. She is a practicing social worker with a master’s degree in social work and is married to a veteran police detective. She belongs to the Red Oak Writer’s Critique Roundtable, Sisters of Crime, Blackbird Writers, and the Wisconsin Writer’s Association. She says this about her writing, “Some of the life I write about I’ve lived. Some I’d like to live. Maybe... Continue Reading

June 29, 2022

The Hybrid Publishing Debate Continues

U.S. Book Show 2022 Top Digital Marketing Takeaways

How to Market Your Book Without Social Media


The Hybrid Publishing Debate Continues:

In “The Hybrid Publisher Debate: Do You Have the Right Mindset?” on Jane Friedman’s blog Debbie Weiss discusses the expectations of the author side of the publisher-author partnership and recommends that an “author do a deep self-analysis about what they are willing, and want, to do in support of their work.” Which, frankly, is good advice no matter what type of publishing path you pursue as traditionally published authors are often not given very much... Continue Reading

June 20, 2022

Welcome back to author Anne Louise Bannon as she shares her publishing and writing world wisdom with us. Anne previously visited this space in her post Switching Things Up. I met Anne through our membership in the Blackbird Writers, a fabulous and supportive group of mystery, suspense, and thriller authors. She has published many wonderful books, which are featured along with her sage advice!

Today, Valerie Biel has asked me to answer two questions, both of which are totally legitimate. 

The questions are:

1. If I could go back and talk to my... Continue Reading

June 14, 2022

Welcome to summer, writers!

As warm weather begins, writing manuscripts gets difficult. There are so many distractions! From vacations to lazy beach days, novel writing gets delayed—or stopped. But have you heard of the “100 days” trend? Or the “1,000 words a day” commitment? These hashtags are trending on social media, and writers are using them to stay focused.

Last month, I began talking about social media for writers. This month, I’ll offer tips to use social media to your benefit, to let it motivate you to reach writing goals.... Continue Reading

June 10, 2022

My husband and I recently returned from a long-awaited and twice postponed trip to Ireland. This was either our 9th or 10th trip there. (Neither of us had the desire to do a deep search to win the battle over the number.) We do agree that we’ve spent time or at least driven through all 26 counties in the Republic of Ireland and the six in Northern Ireland. This trip itinerary was designed to fill in places we hadn’t been (or at least hadn’t spent enough time in) that also lined up with book research I needed to do. We had a lot of fun seeing new sites, meeting new people, and largely unplugging from technology. 

You know it’s a small world when at baggage claim you realize you’re standing next to a family who lives within a mile or so of your home back in Wisconsin. We had... Continue Reading

May 24, 2022

Writers, Stop Using Social Media (Like That)

Disaster Proofing Your Author Business

Predatory Publishing Practices

Tricky Contract Clauses


Writers, Stop Using Social Media (Like That) – Allison Williams

Williams writes (for Jane Friedman’s blog) an astute article about how social media is not platform . . . so when publishing industry pro advice is telling you to ‘build a platform,’ don’t automatically assume that obtaining tons of followers on social media is the answer to driving book sales. It is not . . . this has been proven again and again. But it can be a tool to ‘amplify your message.’ But first you must figure out what your message really is. Read this article. Bookmark this article. Follow this... Continue Reading

May 16, 2022

Welcome to May, writers!

I hope by the time this blog post is published, Wisconsin weather has turned from winter to spring and welcomed warmer temperatures, flowers, and blue (not gray!) skies. I offered tips about acquiring a literary agent for the March and April blog posts. For May, I begin a series about social media for authors.

Social media can be overwhelming. There are many platforms and much to learn. Book promotion is a distracting but necessary part of becoming a published author. This month, I’... Continue Reading

May 10, 2022

It’s been a long time since I wrote a post highlighting my most recent favorite books. This list goes back to the beginning of the year, and out of the 40+ books I’ve read so far this year I'm sharing my Top Nine. These include middle grade mystery, young adult suspense, cozy mysteries, biblical fiction, coming-of-age historical fiction, and contemporary suspense/thriller. 

Verity by Colleen Hoover

Verity by Colleen Hoover is crazy great (I'm still thinking about this book!) It is a bit of a departure from her typical genre and is suspense through and through. I couldn’t agree more with another reviewer who says, "Rebecca meets Gone Girl in this shocking, unpredictable thriller with a twist that will leave you reeling." In part, I love this book because it’s about... Continue Reading