Reading, wRiting, and Roaming with Author Valerie Biel

January 13, 2020

Amazon Publishing and Kindle Direct Publishing are NOT the same thing.

From the consumer perspective, everyone knows about Amazon and its vast array of products available to you with a few simple clicks. In addition to e-commerce, Amazon also focuses on cloud computing, digital streaming, and artificial intelligence.

In the publishing world, Amazon is both a traditional publisher and the parent company of Kindle Direct Publishing—the most prolific of all independent publishing platforms. This alone causes much confusion, which I will sort out for you here. But let’s start at the beginning . . .

Amazon – A History

Jeff Bezos founded Amazon in Bellevue, Washington in July 1994 as an online marketplace for books. In 1998, they began selling music and videos... Continue Reading

January 5, 2020

In the past few weeks, I’ve viewed a plethora of 2019 year-in-review and/or hit-the-ground-running newsletters/blog posts for 2020. To be honest, while I champion the work of fellow writers and appreciate all the positive messages, I skimmed over many of them.


December had me feeling a bit tired and unfocused. Truly, I didn’t feel like I accomplished much in 2019. And that made me feel BAD!

Typically, I am a positive person, but I realize I am a bit hard on myself when it comes to my to-do list and what I THINK I should have accomplished this past year. In an effort to buoy my spirits and prove to myself that I actually DID STUFF in 2019. I started going through my calendar. I highly recommend this to everyone. Not only will you see that you accomplished more... Continue Reading

December 18, 2019


The 10 Major Publishing Trends of 2019

Small Bookstores Are Booming After Nearly Being Wiped Out


The 10 Major Publishing Trends of 2019

Emily Harstone narrows down the publishing trends of 2019 for the Authors Publish newsletter.  Three of the trends are quite interesting to read more about:

“The euphoria of self-publishing has worn off”

“Agents are increasingly unlikely to take on first books” and

“Ebook Publishing, in general, seems to have stabilized.”

This is a good read that may help guide some of your 2020 decision making as an author. 

Small Bookstores Are... Continue Reading

December 10, 2019

I love reading and often share my favorite books with you, sometimes along with an interview with the author. This is my best of the best list! Some of these were released in 2019 but many of them are slightly older books that I finally had the chance to enjoy. If you’re looking for a treat for yourself or a good bookish gift, this list has something for everyone.


The Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena and illustrated by Christian Robinson

CJ rides the bus with his grandma on a lovely bus trip down Market Street from Sunday church to the soup kitchen where they volunteer. The details of the neighborhood, the people on the bus and the street, and the questions CJ asks along the... Continue Reading

December 2, 2019

Books to carry you through the holidays!

Buy the Little Ones a Dolly by Rose Bingham

Wisconsin author Rose Bingham pens this heart wrenching memoir of her life after her mother abandons their family in 1952. Rose is the 15-year-old big sister to six younger siblings. The youngest is only three. As you can imagine, much of the child-rearing duties and housework fall to her. We follow Rose and her family through their struggles and into adulthood.

What is so striking about this story is that it is true! This well-written account of her life is more engaging, intriguing, and heart-tugging than any fictional novel for the simple reason that Bingham persevered... Continue Reading

November 25, 2019


Self-Publishing Report Analysis 2019

30 Book Awards You Should Know About


Bowker Self-Publishing Report Analysis – 5 Surprising Findings for 2019

Bowker (the company that sells ISBNs) has analyzed publishing statistics from 2013-18 in their latest report. Key points include; Amazon publishes 92% of independently published books (no surprise); self-publishing activity overall decreased by 25% in 2018 over 2017 stats; and, more importantly, previously reported numbers from Bowker underwent significant corrections, so it pays to read through this report to see how previous statistics were amended. Read the analysis with a link to the full report... Continue Reading

November 18, 2019

How Limiting Screen Time, Keeping a Calendar, and Visits to the Local Hardware Store Will Keep Me on Track

During the holiday season, my writing time gets impacted by the rush of parties, travel, and celebrations. I’m sure it’s that way for most all writers, so I’m offering ideas to stay on track. Two of my suggestions are practical. One is a bit off the wall. But I’m a writer. Outside-the-box thinking is normal, right?

Put down the phone

Social media is not just a distraction, it’s a time warp. Precious minutes tick by while we check applications such as Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter. There are monitors and timers to help with limiting the time spent browsing, but an old-... Continue Reading

November 12, 2019

This fall I’ve been extremely fortunate to achieve some quality writing time in ways that were unusually helpful: a week-long writing residency and a weekend writing retreat. Both have given me a clarity on my current work in progress and energized me to finish this story more quickly than I ever could have imagined when I started it in September.

Write On, Door County Residency

Do you ever go somewhere and then wonder if maybe you shouldn’t review it because you don’t want everyone to learn about your favorite beach or restaurant? Yes? That’s what Write On, Door County feels like for me. However, I would be doing a mean disservice to my writer... Continue Reading

November 5, 2019

When I began writing fiction professionally, I had no idea the number of things I would need to learn on the way to publication and beyond. I will never forget the many people who provided kind mentorship in those early months. Now, ten years later, it’s incredibly fun to do the same for other writers through my company Lost Lake Press.

But let’s back up to the very beginning of this journey. It was 2009, and I made a decision to radically change my professional world. My sister had been diagnosed with a terminal cancer—the same cancer that took my oldest sister a few years prior. I was devastated and with the reminder (yet again) that our time here is finite, I... Continue Reading

October 29, 2019


How the CASE Act Benefits Authors

New York Times Shifts Its Bestsellers’ Lists


How the CASE Act Benefits Authors

The Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement (CASE) Act has been making its way through Congress and will (if passed) allow for an alternative to pursuing copyright infringement in Federal Court by creating a small copyright infringement tribunal within the U.S. Copyright Office. The Publishers Weekly article about CASE by Authors Guild director Mary Rasenberger is... Continue Reading