Reading, wRiting, and Roaming with Author Valerie Biel

July 30, 2019


Why publishers are mad about Audible’s new feature.

“Rules of Writing” from 42 famous authors.


Publishers Are Pissed About Amazon’s Upcoming Audible Captions Feature

As you can see, The Verge doesn’t mince any words in assessing the current issue with Audible adding a caption feature to their audio books. The transcription of each book will allow listeners to read along with the narrator. Audible claims this is an educational feature, but publishers are saying this infringes on the rights of authors and publishers and will impact sales as audiobook buyers will get the text with their Audible purchase. (I probably wouldn't have noticed this conflict, but I’m paying particular attention to anything... Continue Reading

July 23, 2019

Last month, I wrote about how listening and observing combine to improve dialogue-writing skills. Every writer is an analyst. We evaluate situations, people, and events, then use them to inspire our work. Dialogue is a special component of writing, however. Learning to write unique, realistic, plot-enhancing conversation is difficult. This month, I have compiled several links, plus offered insight about why those links are helpful.

As I researched the concept of dialogue writing, I found many sites that offered great tips about composing strong dialogue. The... Continue Reading

July 9, 2019

Whether you are quietly whispering to yourself, “I am a writer,” or shouting it as loudly as you can, creating a book-length work IS an intimidating process. How do you even begin to do this?

I began writing my first story very quietly. I didn’t tell many people I was attempting to write a book. Who knew if I could finish? Maybe it would be awful when I was done. I couldn’t stand the thought of people asking me how it was going if it wasn’t going well or if I decided to abandon the project completely. Beyond knowing that I wanted to write, I knew nothing about writing. I had to educate myself as I went. (I had to learn things like manuscripts require double spacing, 12-point font, and one-inch margins.) 

I would have loved to have some straightforward guidance on how... Continue Reading

July 2, 2019

Advertising Your Books – Part One taught you how to get started with BookBub ads. I’ve continued my ad testing on that platform and have updated that article with more notes on my results HERE. The article below details how to advertise on Facebook. This is also an updated article as of June 2021. In contrast to BookBub where you can only target fans of certain authors or literary genres, on Facebook you have much more intricate targeting capabilities based on Facebook users' demographics. (Here's the upside to all of that information that we typically hate Facebook is... Continue Reading

June 25, 2019


Barnes & Noble is Purchased . . . what does this mean for authors?


Barnes & Noble is SOLD: Goliath has Fallen & What This Means for Writers

Kristen Lamb is an author, blogger, international speaker and (self-described) unrepentant troublemaker. Her analysis of the publishing world that led up to the recent purchase of Barnes & Noble is an insightful take on what’s good, bad, and ugly in publishing. She clearly knows the industry and points the failings (and victories). This article is a MUST READ for all authors. The good... Continue Reading

June 18, 2019

Last summer, I wrote a post about dialogue writing. I’m a conversationalist, a dialogue fan. I think it’s the best way to advance a story plus reveal a character’s nature without telling. Penning conversations takes special skill, however. A writer must get inside someone else’s mind to express what he or she would say. There are many blog posts that offer ideas about how to write strong dialogue. Tips about include being concise, creative, and use it to advance a story. Additional ideas are... Continue Reading

June 10, 2019

What a treat to talk with Greg Renz about his book Beneath the Flames. Last week I included my review of his debut novel as part of my bi-monthly wrap of great books. If you missed that, please take a moment to see why I LOVE this book below before we jump into the interview with Greg. 

Beneath the Flames begins with one of the best first chapters I have ever read, pitching us directly into the kind of action and raw emotion rarely found in a debut novel. Our heart aches for the main character Mitch as guilt drives him to seek distraction, purpose, and redemption by joining the Milwaukee Fire Department. His life on the farm and as a small-town volunteer fire fighter hasn’t... Continue Reading

June 3, 2019

In the last two months I’ve read a wide variety of books from picture book to romance and everything in between. Some of these books are not recent releases but were mentioned during sessions at recent conferences. I’m currently reading my way through this list along with my normal ‘just for fun’ reading and will bring you those that I highly recommend. 


Where Did the Sun Go? by Karen Franco

Franco writes a sweet story that teaches all ages how weather can affect someone on the autism spectrum. Smart details make this book an asset for classroom learning, inclusion, and acceptance. I particularly appreciate the endnotes about... Continue Reading

May 28, 2019


Big Changes at MailChimp

How 5 Great Writers Got Started on Their First Books


What You Need to Know about MailChimp’s Recent Changes

I have been a big fan of MailChimp. I use it and I often recommend it to other authors who are looking for an email subscription/newsletter management system. I dread the idea of moving to another system, because it takes time to set up all of the emails, templates, and automations that make my life simpler every time I want to send a newsletter to my subscribers. HOWEVER, the recent changes at MailChimp are important to note, particularly if you have a growing subscription list. MailChimp remains free to use if you have 2000 or less audience members. The change that’s most... Continue Reading

May 21, 2019

How S.M.A.R.T. goals support a writer’s plan

Summer is here! (Well, given the gray skies and chilly air, perhaps that claim is a stretch.) But busy summer days are around the corner. That means picnics, parties, and family vacations. How does a writer stay on track?

Just as it’s difficult to stay on an exercise schedule during the warm months, it’s difficult to maintain a writing schedule. I spoke with an exercise instructor about how he stays on track. He establishes S.M.A.R.T. goals for himself and his clients to achieve success. His expert advice easily translates to a writer’s life. Whether goals are related to exercise or writing books, they should be specific, measurable, attainable,... Continue Reading