Reading, wRiting, and Roaming with Author Valerie Biel

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

May 2, 2022

Welcome to the May 2022 Author Series where published author Laurie Buchanan shares the advice she'd go back and tell her pre-published self--which is a great help to other writers. But this is also a great day for mystery / suspense readers because the second book in Laurie's Sean McPherson series, Iconoclast, releases today. These are fast-paced thrillers set in the Pacific Northwest, featuring a trifecta of malice and the pursuit and cost of justice. You'll want to read to the bottom of the post for my review and book purchasing information!

There are a lot of things I wish I’d known before writing my first book:

For starters, I like writing nonfiction, but I love writing fiction. Had I known that from the get-go, my first book may well have been entirely... Continue Reading

April 25, 2022

How to Use Amazon Ads as a Traditionally Published Author

There’s No Need to Change Amazon’s Kindle eBook Return Policy

19 Memoirs Every Aspiring Memoir Author Should Read

From Publishers’ Weekly: Books Stranded on Ships & Maryland’s Library eBook Law is Dead


How to Use Amazon Ads as a Traditionally Published Author

Last month Amazon made their advertising console available to authors via Amazon Author Central. Previously, you needed a KDP account or a vendor or seller account with Amazon in order to advertise, so most traditionally published authors couldn’t utilize this advertising platform. But now you can access this console through the Books/Marketing tab on your Author Central main page. The... Continue Reading

April 18, 2022

Hello writers!

This month, I continue the conversation about acquiring a literary agent. If traditional publishing is the preferred route, an agent usually is part of the mix.

In March, I talked about writing a logline, a hook, and attending conferences as a method to the madness of querying agents. For April, I want to drill down to one topic: Listening.

Listening is a vital part of surviving in a new environment. Picture yourself on a tennis court learning the game. Or on a soccer field practicing kicks. Or in an art studio working on brush strokes. When you were learning a new skill, did you... Continue Reading

April 11, 2022

Welcome to the April 2022 Author Series where a published author Tracey Phillips answers the questions:

What do you wish you had known before you published your first book? And, what would you go back and tell your pre-published self?  

These are great questions, Valerie. Thanks so much for bringing me on board. These days, the publishing market has more opportunities than ever. The chance for others to see your work and to have your books in bookstores next to the likes of Gillian Flynn, Robert Dugoni or Hank Phillippi Ryan are better than ever.

If you do the work.

When I first started writing, I—like many new authors—felt I’d written the next New York Times Bestseller. What I didn’t know was, this industry is subjective, and... Continue Reading