Tag Archives: writing

10 Helpful Publishing Options to Expose Your Work to the World

Often the writing, daunting as it may seem sometimes, is the easy part about writing. Even editing can be easier than deciding how to publish. There are so many options today and each has benefits and limitations. It???s important to understand each option and what it offers at what cost before choosing a publishing route. After all, getting your work out into the world for others to read and enjoy is the goal, right? Let???s look at ten different ways to get your work into the world.

Traditional Publishing with one of the Big 5 Publishers

Benefits: The first, and in some people???s minds biggest, benefit is the perception of legitimacy and having ???made it??? in the writing world. Also, because the big five publishers have in-house editing, cover design, etc., these become things authors no longer have to figure out on their own. Finally, because the publisher handles so much, authors may think they can focus more on writing more than other aspects of being an author.

Limitations: The biggest limitation is authors generally cannot approach a big five publisher without an agent. So, it adds a layer to the process that authors need to focus on???finding an agent. Between this and the number of authors trying to land that contract with a big five publisher, the next limitation is this can be a very difficult way to get your work published. Finally, authors may experience a lack of control with this method. The publishers get control over release dates, cover art, marketing, and the like.

Is this the right way for you? If so, here is some advice from Nancy Miller on helping you??find an agent.

Small Press Publishing

????????????????Benefits: One of the bigger benefits of a small press route for publication is authors don???t need agents, they can submit on their own. This saves a significant amount of work for many authors, which leads to the next benefit. Authors tend to find it easier to get their work published by going to a small press. Because many small presses are founded and run by authors, there is often a sympathetic editor reading work and generally wanting to help other authors as much as possible. Another benefit is that small presses will have editors and graphic designers to do the editing, layouts, covers, etc. While authors will still need to help with some of this, authors find they get more input on these aspects of seeing their work in print. Finally, there is still that recognition of having ???made it??? in the publishing world.????????????????

Limitations: While small presses have some of the same ability to take some of the ???non-writing??? aspects of publishing on, authors will still have to help with this. Even the big five publishers are asking more of authors than they used to do. Marketing is one of the big aspects of publishing authors need to help with, particularly with small presses. Another limitation for some authors is the control factor. Because authors are selling their work to the press, the press gets at least some control over covers, editing, and marketing strategies, which can be problematic for some authors. Finally, even though it can be easier, it still can be a challenge to get in with a small press as there are many authors who work toward publication using this route.

????????????????If you think this route is for you, here???s some helpful information on??editing??from J.K. Allen and??formatting??your work in preparation to submit to a small press.

Independent Publishing

????????????????Benefits: Many see the biggest benefit of this route to publication being it gets an author???s work out there with no waiting. As soon as an author has everything ready, he or she can publish it. Another benefit to this route is the author gets complete control over the project. Covers, editing, marketing, publication schedules, etc. are all in the author???s hands to make the project exactly what the author envisions.

????????????????Limitations: First, that control factor can also be a limitation for authors. Authors need to make all those decisions and do much of that work or??hire someone. This can lead to feeling like more time is spent on these other things rather than the writing. Also, it means authors need to know quite a bit more than how to write a story. The other major drawback of this way to seeing work in print is many people don???t consider indie publishing a ???legitimate??? way of being published. The reasons for this go well beyond this article. Suffice it to say, there is a reputation out there that indie published books are not as high quality as books published by a press.

????????????????Do you think this route is for you? Here is a helpful article from Heidi Angell on??marketing your work.


????????????????Benefits: One of the biggest benefits of a blog is that it gets an author???s work out there immediately with no worries about covers, layout, and the like. The feeling of progress and immediate feedback in the form of comments can be motivating for authors. Another benefit is this method can be entirely cost free, which can be an important factor for new authors. There are even options for monetizing a blog to bring in some income this way. Finally, this can be a good way to build readers. Having a solid fan base can be helpful when submitting to a press or agent.

????????????????Limitations: There are upwards of 152 million blogs out there right now. Many are dead, but that???s still a huge number, which means a lot of competition. So, getting those readers and that attention to a specific blog can be challenging. Another concern is making sure the blog looks good. For some authors, this can be scary and/or daunting, and an amateurish looking blog can turn readers off rather than attracting them. Finally, it can be limited in ways to present work. For example, novels published on a blog have to either be done as serial posts or tend to be too big to be posted on a blog.

????????????????Feeling like this is where you want to start???Here???s a helpful article??from Julia Allen.

Magazines and Literary Journals

????????????????Benefits: Many of the benefits here are similar to publishing with a big five publisher or a small press. The press helps with editing, formatting, etc. Also, there is an automatic readership established through the subscriptions to the magazine or journal. Journals and magazines may be easier to get something accepted in for some, and there???s no agent needed.

????????????????Limitations: With magazines and literary journals, there are usually themes to the issues. ??This means authors need to write specific to a journal??and??an issue. The best way to get a rejection letter from a lit journal or magazine is to not follow the themes they???re looking for. Another limitation is length. Authors who like to write more will likely struggle with this avenue as space is at a premium in journals and magazines. Finally, this is an avenue that tends to have quite a bit of competition, so while some find it may be easier to break into, for others it can be challenging.

????????????????Formatting is a must with these submissions, so if you haven???t read it yet and want to try this route, here???s the link for the article on??formatting??again.


????????????????Benefits: This is the most rapidly growing area for publication out there. So, getting in on this wave can be a huge plus in some authors??? minds. More and more people are turning to audiobooks for their literary needs, which will give an author a greater chance at catching readers??? attentions. Another benefit for this avenue is that it changes the traditional writing process. Things like formatting are not as critical anymore, though it does not mean an author can skip the editing steps. Those are still vital to a successful writing project.

????????????????Limitations: One of the biggest limitations to this avenue is finding an appropriate narrator. The narrator will be the piece in this puzzle that will make or break a writer???s project, so finding the right one may end up challenging and potentially expensive. Another limitation is that not everyone likes audiobooks, just like not everyone likes ebooks. Doing an audiobook format only will limit how many potential readers an author can attract. Plus, the distribution potential is still limited compared to ebooks and hard copies, though growing, in this area.

????????????????If you???re considering going down the audiobook road,??here???s some helpful advice??from Joanne Penn of the Creative Penn.


????????????????Benefits: Writing competitions are numerous, thus reasonably easy to find one that fits just about any author???s work. This makes writing competitions a direction most any author can take. Often there are prizes involved, not just for first place but for other levels as well. This can be a good incentive and help authors fund other ways of gaining exposure. Another nice benefit is this approach does not need things like covers and marketing. Authors can focus on writing and editing before submitting. Also, this approach allows authors to be completely independent. Again, the freedom of scheduling, editing, where and when to submit, etc. is in the sole control of the author.

????????????????Limitations: Competitions, by definition, tend to have lots of competition. This means, again, there can be challenges to having work out for the public to read. Also, the editing is still something that needs to be done. Authors are on their own for this step when submitting to competitions. Finally, many competitions have an entry fee???this is where the prizes come from. Now, not all competitions do, so read the fine print to keep from being surprised.

????????????????Competitions sound like a good possibility? Here???s a link to Reedsy???s list of??some writing competitions??to check out.

Vanity Publishing

????????????????Benefits: Yes, there are benefits to vanity publishing??if??authors go into it knowing what to expect from this direction. Foremost, it is a guaranteed way to get published. This is can provide a sense of success needed to keep an author writing. Also, there are often people at the vanity press that will help with things like covers and formatting. For authors that struggle with these pieces of publishing, this can be helpful.

????????????????Limitations: The biggest limitation to vanity publishing is the cost. Authors pay all of that up front. No contract means each service used through the vanity press will be an additional fee. Another concern for some is the quality of product received for the money. This will vary from press to press and should be considered. Check whether editing is an option with the press or not and how much it would cost to have this option. If not, don???t skip this step and it will be another cost associated with publication. Finally, there is still the marketing and such to do for the project. Vanity Presses may offer ways to help with this, but again there is likely a cost associated with it.

????????????????Want to try your hand at vanity publishing???Here???s some more information.

Publishing Websites

????????????????Benefits: What I???m talking about here are sites like Wattpad.com, Inkitt.com, figment.com, kindleworlds, amazon.com, and other similar sites. They can be a great option. Like blogs, gaining readers and feedback is instantaneous. A site like Patreon.com even allows for readers to ???pay??? in support of authors. The flexibility of these sites allows for fast publication and varying lengths, which can be appealing. Kindle Worlds is a good example of an immediate option for authors who write fan fiction and want to be recognized for this genre, which can be hard in more mainstream options.

????????????????Limitations: Perhaps the biggest limitation is that many presses, both small and big five, consider publication on these sites to be published. This means they cannot buy first rights to a piece. Not all presses will publish reprints, which is what it would be after being published on one of these sites for many presses. The other issue that seems to be bigger going this way compared to others is one of plagiarism. Now, each of these sites handles things differently so the risk of plagiarism varies from site to site. It is something to keep in mind going this route.

????????????????Think this might be the way to go? Here???s some helpful information for??Wattpad,??Inkitt, and??KindleWorlds. If you???re considering a different site, be sure to Google information first.


????????????????Benefits: Some authors go this way because it allows them to write in multiple genres without worrying about readers???how they may react, will they cross over to another genre for that author, etc. This can help authors hone their skills before publishing under their own name. Another benefit for some authors is that the person hiring the author can help lineup editors, publishers, cover artists, etc. This can let the ghostwriter focus on the content they are writing instead.

????????????????Limitations: The big limitation many see with this avenue is that the ghostwriter???s name is nowhere on the work. The work is the ghostwriter???s, but the public has no notion of this. Therefore, the recognition of being an author is limited to non-existent with this avenue. Also, while the ghostwriter can focus on the writing, he or she still needs to conform to the expectations of the author who hired him or her. Creativity and flexibility in the project may be limited, depending on the willingness of the author to allow the ghostwriter some control over the project.

????????????????Think this is an option for you? Here???s help from The Write Life on how to break into the??ghostwriting world.

????????????????There you have it???ten ways in which to get your work out there. Each has benefits, and each has limitations. I am sure I???ve missed benefits and limitations to each of these methods, and there are always exceptions to the general rule. Just make sure you go into whatever option you choose with the information necessary to make a good decision. What is a great fit for one author may be a terrible fit for another, so weigh them out and decide what is the best fit for you.

About Stacy

Stacy Overby is a child-chasing, teenager-wrangling, author and poet who hangs out in Minnesota with her family when she???s not writing. She and her social media links can be found at??www.thisisnothhitchhikersguide.wordpress.com??and her work for sale can be found at??www.thisisnothhitchhikersguide.wordpress.com/category/published-works

Harness the Power of Brevity: 5 Tips Writers Need to Say More with Less

Filling Tall Orders with Short Stuff

There???s plenty of writing an author has to do outside of the blood, sweat, and tears that goes into their fiction. In many ways, the shortest things you will write are also going to be the most important ones. If the guidelines of a query say you need a synopsis in 100 words, you???d better be able to get the main ideas across succinctly, or you’re sunk. This is closer to writing advertising copy than it is to writing War and Peace, which means it???s tough for your average fiction aficionado. But there are things you can do at the sentence level that can help save you precious words.

Here???s my tips in an easy list, but read on to find out more.

  1. Ditch rhetorical questions
  2. Keep your sentence structure simple
  3. Passive voice is a waste of words
  4. Make every word pull its weight
  5. Give the short stuff the editing attention it deserves



Will he be able to beat the clock and save the world?

How many times have you seen a sentence like this in a blurb or advertisement? 10? 100?

What about this one:

What if everything you thought you knew was a lie?


Rhetorical questions are exactly that, a tool for rhetoric. They were developed as part of the proper procedure for giving speeches to an audience that was listening to an orator. Furthermore, the orator had a specific purpose ??? persuasion. When you are dealing with the written word, especially narrative fiction, this practice is a total waste of time. If a story idea is boiled down to something generic enough to be put into a rhetorical question, it has already been robbed of all of its flavor. And worse, you???ve wasted words in the process!

So, ditch the questions and stick to statements.

Simplest, Simpler, Simple

Generally speaking, people begin many sentences with dependent clauses and resort to meandering vagueness in order to avoid giving too much away detail. This isn???t always the case, but when it is the case, all of those commas can really slow down the pacing. After a while, the pauses become exhausting, and the average reader will get tired of meandering along with you on these long, continuous, unbearable sentences.

See what I did there? That is a terrible paragraph. I took three long sentences to express an almost effortless idea: Simple sentences are shorter than complex ones. Plus, they pack more of a punch. The easiest superfluous clauses to avoid are the ones that express time (at the time, one day, etc.), place (In a faraway land, in the swamplands of the southern kingdom, etc.), and frequency (in general, every century, etc.).

You might think you are being economical by jamming a ton of information into one sentence. But that still results in more words in the end. This isn???t to say that you can???t have ???ifs, ands, or buts??? in your sentences, but if you are going to use them, make sure you are paying attention to the frequency. Even in a brief piece of writing, such as a synopsis, a reader is going to want variety. If the structure of a sentence, such as this one and the two before it, all share similar structures, it gets boring to read. As you can see, you are yawning already, and if you aren’t yawning already, you would be by the end of a page of this kind of comma-ridden sentence structure.


Sentence, Activate!

Passive sentences tend to be longer than active ones. It could be because of how often compound verb forms like ???had been??? and lots of “was blank-ING” happening in the past. But passive voice is more than just verb forms. For instance:

huntingHe had been hunted all his life by the shadow soldiers. (passive, 11 words)

By putting ???he??? at the beginning of the sentence rather than the active noun (shadow soldiers) in the forefront, the sentence gained ???had been,??? but also ???by the??? before they are mentioned.

Here???s an alternative:

The shadow soldiers hunted him all his life. (active, 8)

They hunted him his whole life. (active, 6 words, works if you???d mentioned the subject before)

In the two active examples, the verb ???to hunt??? became the main verb rather than ???to be.??? The subject also changed to refer to the soldiers. If you wanted to keep the hero as the subject, think about verbs that aren???t an extension of ???to be.??? Nearly any other option will be more active than ???was??? or ???had been.???

Here’s an alternative:

He spent his life hunted by the shadow soldiers. (active, 9 words)

He struggled against them all his life. (active, 7 words)

I may have only shaved off a couple of words here and there, but over the course of a few paragraphs, that adds up to a lot! Changing all your passive to active will definitely buy you ???white space??? to fill with those crucial words you need to sell your work, or get your idea across.

Just another reason to stick to active voice, even if you are writing a blurb or query letter.


Choose ALL your Words Wisely

All a sentence needs to be sentence is a subject and a verb, and usually in that order. Obviously, interesting sentences have a little bit more than that, but this is the jumping-off point for all of English.

You might spend days agonizing over a character???s name, but every word has a job to do. Some words are just more loaded than others. ???Woman??? tells you very little about the subject, but ???Mother??? automatically starts a series of connections sizzling in our brains. The word ???mother??? is a loaded word, meaning it carries not just its primary meaning (a female human who has given birth), but a whole cascade of associations. The reader will make assumptions about the relative age of the person (because children can???t have their own children), and extrapolate some experiences that could be held in common. These sorts of loaded words can help you be brief, but can also send your reader down the wrong path if the context sends the associations spiraling in the wrong direction.

Another great example would be ???apprentice.??? The reader will automatically know they are dealing with a young-ish individual who is trying to learn a trade of some sort. One could reasonably guess any apprenticeship is taking place in the past, or is in some arcane discipline like blacksmithing. If your character is some sort of apprentice and doesn???t fit this idea, then you should avoid using that word in your blurb even if you use it in the text. In the short introductory writing, your goal is communicating the most information in the fewest words, so don???t choose words unless they fit the associations the reader will automatically generate.

More than likely, you can also get by without most adjectives. If a crime has been committed, you probably don???t need to specify it was ???heinous.??? Some place called The Cave of Secrets doesn???t need to be referred to as ???mysterious.??? If you do want to convey mood or detail while still being brief, try to do it through your nouns and verbs. They have to be there to be a sentence, so make them do extra work.

A ???vixen??? is not only a woman, but a sexy one with an air of confidence and mischief. A character could be ???yelled at??? by her boss, but if her boss ???berated??? her instead, you save an extra word. Any time you can replace a noun or verb with a synonym that conveys more detail than the original, you are making those words pull their weight without weighing you down.

There are also lots of phrases and idioms that can drag you down and weaken the points you want to convey. No one in literature should ever ???feel a bit angry??? or be ???a bit of a gambler.??? If they are only a teeny amount anything, then it isn???t worth mentioning. If the anger or gambling problem is a big part of the plot or character, don???t pull any punches. Make the person ???enraged??? or ???besotted with Lady Luck,??? but for the love of ink, stop using little words that diminish your prose and slow you down. (Not to mention the passion of your character!


Give it the Attention It Deserves (AKA Revise!)

There aren???t a lot of writers who will argue with the suggestion that they run their through multiple drafts, maybe even an editor, before they let anyone see it. The ???other writing??? is no different! Even if it only takes a few minutes to jot down a few sentences, that doesn???t mean that you shouldn???t take an hour revising it. In many ways, brief forms require even more revision because every word counts even more. Even a letter or two can change how many lines are in your paragraph, which has a visual impact on your reader. (Long paragraphs = skimming!) So, let???s see if we can slim down even more.

Synonyms are your friend

We???ll keep going with our original sentence idea from above, but one of the active alternatives:

The shadow soldiers hunted him all his life.

Not a bad sentence. Not a great one, but not bad. Can you spot a place to cut a word or two? If you chose ???all his life,??? give yourself a point. ???All his life??? is three words and deals with the passage of time. ???From birth??? is only two, and also ties in to the idea of his life. On the other hand, ???always??? is only one word.

It could go something like this:

The shadow soldiers had always hunted him.

He had always been hunted.

Looking better, and it preserves the idea of time from the original sentence. Woot! But here???s where I am going to stop you from celebrating. We may have revised that sentence to a shorter version, but is all of the information actually necessary? In this case, I???d have to decide if it matters how long the hunting was taking place, or does it only matter in the present. If duration doesn???t matter to the meat of the story, and it rarely does, don???t worry about mentioning it at all. The catalyst that sets the hero on his path or the great treasure she???s searching for is much more word-worthy than words about frequency and duration.

Building it Back Up

???The shadow soldiers hunt him??? is only 5 words, and you can fill in the rest of the space you gained from the original passive sentence with more interesting words. Once you get something tight, it???s time to add some of the panache back in. Revising isn???t just about subtraction, it is also about choosing the right moments to take an extra word or two for the sake of mood or to hook your reader.

The shadow soldiers hunt him???

???without mercy, without end.

???from the backs of dinosaurs.

???on land and sea.

???until he pays for his crimes.

???until the Staff of Oo???blech is restored.

You get the idea! The more you take out at the front, the more you can put back in at the end.


How about you? Do you have any tips or tricks for keeping it brief? Tell us about it!

How to Choose Your Genre to Find Your Audience

Deciding how to choose your genre as an author is a very important factor in your road to success. You have to be sure that there is a market for it and that you will be able to deliver. There is no right or wrong choice in general, but rather a right or wrong choice for you as an individual. This is why it is important to know what you love to write about before you can go any further. If you are stuck at this point, I have some tips that might help you get to a conclusion.

Know your audience

Take a minute and imagine what your potential readers look like, who they are and what they are looking for. Put yourself in their shoes and spend a day in their lives if you can. You don???t have to physically do so, but let your imagination take you there. Are your readers??? professionals looking for intellectual information or are they teenagers trying to find a story they can relate to? If you know your audience, you will be able to cater for their needs.

Popular genres

You cannot make a decision on what genre to choose if you do not know what your options are. Are you a hopeless romantic or does crime novels interest you the most? Make sure that you are comfortable with your choice before you commit. Do not let the fear of the unknown hold you back from the direction you want to follow. You can always do some rephrasing online if you are a little unfamiliar with some writing styles. Look at the bestselling list and see what genres appear most. These are probably what the readers love. Try and fit into the top bracket of genres on the best sellers list, unless you are sure of what you want to write about.


After you have done all your research, it is time to commit to the choice you???ve made. If you pick the correct genre and you absolutely love it, you will be able to stay with it for long-term. Do not let other authors??? writing sway you to and fro. Read as many book within the chosen genre and take note of important points. Being an author is more than just putting pen to paper. It is a business and you need to be willing to put the hard work in and lay your foundation. When you write your first book in a specific genre, you should be able to see it through and stay within the set choice. This is how you become a successful author, because people need to know what they can expect from your work.

Remembering you

When you are no longer alive, what would you want people to remember you by? When you come to this conclusion, you have found your genre. Do you want to fill people???s minds with hope of finding true love, or do you want to take them to a world of mystery where nothing is real? What is your main purpose as a writer and what is your end goal? These questions are important if you want to make an impact in today???s world. You surely don???t want to be a forgotten author, but rather remembered for exactly who you were. If you have the ability to think that far, you will surely become a successful author, because you know who you are and who you want to be remembered as.


At some point, you are going to have to start writing and it is not a quick job. We are so lucky to live in these times as we have so many tools available to us. You can find a rephrase tool online and a grammar checker. Being a writer has never been such a perfect choice. Start writing and commit to see the entire process through. There are going to come times when you are probably going to want to give up, but you have to take it till the last word. How many authors have started books and never finished it? That is not going to be you. Now rephrase sentences online with your tools, check your grammar and spelling, and send that novel in for review.


You have it in you to become a bestselling author. It does take a lot of patience at times, but you are not going to let time come between you and your dream. Believe in your abilities and do not let a negative response make you quit. Some of the most popular authors had to go through a lot of rejections before they reached success. Be persistent and see this journey through. Do not ever tell yourself that you are not good enough, because you are.

The Art of the Blurb

Have you ever been told to send a potential agent/publisher/pa a blurb of your story?

The first time I heard this, my fingernail scratched my temple. “Huh? Say what? A blurb?”

I never heard of this before, so off to google I went.

Here’s what I learned:

  • most blurbs start with “When.”
  • Blurbs are generally one sentence long, approximately 100 words.
  • Blurbs should give away your story without really giving away the details.
  • A tight written blurb will get more attention than a loose and overly descriptive one.
  • You should blurb for everything you write. Practice makes perfect.
  • Back cove blurbs are more defined than a basic blurb.
  • Blurbs should hook your reader every time.

And, as an exercise to perfect the blurb writing, I share mine with you today.

Soul Reapers Book Cover BThe 13: Tales of Illusory

13 chilling bedtime stories. 13 different ways to die. Down, down in the depths the fell, bodies in the dark of a liquid hell. Can you survive all 13?

1,000 Ways to Die???

Brennan makes a pact with a devil of a priest to die 1,000 times in exchange for his wife and newborn daughter???s lives. As he suffers through death after death, he comes face to face with the wiles of the devil and devises a few tricks of his own, but will it be too much for him?

Rolling in the Deep CoverRolling in the Deep???

When nightmares of being pulled into the ocean send Celia home from college, she discovers that an ancient evil plans to obliterate her kind, and she must choose between the world she knows and the world from which she came.

Fairy Tale???

When a miracle worker arrives??from a faraway land to end the curse placed on a beautiful princess, even the king questions whether the price is worthy of the task.

Most Unlikely Hero???

When Tribba’s human champion Edgar leaves to help his brother conquer an evil tearing through his kingdom, she must finish what she started on her own and a journey of self-discovery, true friendship, and confidence emerges for them both.Will both Tribba and Edgar defeat the evil that tears their land apart?


Blair Weathers wants her own art gallery but someone with a secret??wants to stop her. Will her search for independence from her rich, overbearing father bring her success or leave her heartbroken, penniless, and abandoned?

The Unlikely Heroes Book 1: The Coterie of Prophecy???

Once upon a legend, druids separated five relics from their precious gemstones and scattered them among five races. One halfling boy must find and combine them all to stop the evil that is rising from the dead with the help of a very unlikely group of heros.

In Time???Til Death official book cover

When the one magnet that controls time and time travel is stolen, Viola must do whatever it takes to retrieve it, even if it means sacrificing true love. She faces obstacles ranging from a powerful gangster priest to an increasingly agitated father time as she races to gather magnets that will restore order and protect the steam powered time hopping train.

In conclusion, here’s the blurb that caught the eye of my publisher, Bannerwing Books, and made Til Death Do Us Part a reality:

When Ian buys Elizabeth a Tiffany engagement ring, he unwittingly sets off a series of events as the ring goes full circle to be reunited with its intended.


Share your blurbs below.


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