Monday, February 2, 2015

2015 Conference

Mark your calendars! Our Indie Author Hub Writing and Publishing Conference will be held on June 19-20.


2015 Indie Author Hub

Writing & Publishing Conference

Sponsored by Indie Author Hub, Inc.
June 19-20, 2015
Marriott Hotel - Downtown Provo
101 W. 100 N.
Provo, Utah 84601


IAH MEMBERS - Click Here for Member Registration

STUDENTS - Click Here for Student Discount Registration

PRESENTERS / GUESTS - Click Here for Presenter Registration

(click here to contact committee for password information)



IMPORTANT NOTE: Clicking on the ADD TO CART buttons will open a new browser window.
Click on CONTINUE SHOPPING to return and make more selections for the conference,
or leave the Shopping Cart window open and return to the registration window to continue.


The Basic Conference Package includes:
- Attendance at Friday Keynote Address
- Attendance at Saturday Keynote Address
- Attendance at Author Panel
- Attendance at 12 Class Sessions of your choice
- Attendance at Author Book Signing
- Free "Ask an Expert" sessions
- Admitance to the Bookstore
- Free eSyllabus (emailed to you 1 week prior)
- Boxed lunches on Friday and Saturday
- Plated dinner on Friday evening
- Free Wifi in all conference rooms and lobby
Other conference options follow
Conference seating is limited.

Option 1: 2-Day Conference

Be sure to enter the Attendee's full name and email address so your registration can be correctly recorded and eSyllabus delivered.
Includes boxed lunch both days.
Includes Friday dinner.
Conference seating is limited.
$159.00 after March 15th

Attendee Name

Email Address

Option 2: Friday Only

Includes boxed lunch Friday.
Includes Friday dinner.
Be sure to enter the Attendee's full name and email address so your registration can be correctly recorded and eSyllabus delivered.
Conference seating is limited.
$95.00 after March 15th

Attendee Name

Email Address

Option 3: Saturday Only

Be sure to enter the Attendee's full name and email address so your registration can be correctly recorded and eSyllabus delivered.
Included boxed lunch Saturday.
Conference seating is limited.
$79.00 after March 15th

Attendee Name

Email Address


The Marriott Hotel Food Services will provide us with a boxed lunch on Friday and Saturday, as well as a plated dinner on Friday Evening.
The Box Lunch (both days) includes:
Your choice - Turkey & Swiss, Ham & Swiss, or Roast Beef & Cheddar (Veggie or Gluten Free also available)
Served on a kaiser roll
Sandwich comes with cheese and condiments (tomato, lettuce, mayo, and mustard)
Lunch also includes: pasta salad, chips, whole fruit, cookie, bottled water, and assorted soft drinks
The Friday dinner includes:
Your choice:
- Grilled Chicken Breast served with Creole Sauce
- Tender Beef Medallions with Forest Mushroom Bordelaise
- Grilled Pork Chop with Maple Cranberry Glaze
Dinner comes with a house salad, herb roasted potatoes, chef's choice of fresh vegetables, freshly baked roll and butter, dessert, and Marriott beverage service.
(Veggie and Glutten Free also available.)
Attendees are invited to bring guests for the Friday Dinner. (see optional Guest Dinner below)


The Box Lunch includes:
Your choice - Turkey & Swiss, Ham & Swiss, or Roast Beef & Cheddar (Veggie or Gluten Free also available)
Served on a kaiser roll
Sandwich comes with cheese and condiments (tomato, lettuce, mayo, and mustard)
Lunch also includes: pasta salad, chips, whole fruit, cookie, bottled water, and assorted soft drinks

Lunch Options
* Default will be Turkey & Swiss, if not specified.


The dinner includes:
Your choice:
- Grilled Chicken Breast served with Creole Sauce
- Tender Beef Medallions with Forest Mushroom Bordelaise
- Grilled Pork Chop with Maple Cranberry Glaze
Dinner comes with a house salad, herb roasted potatoes, chef's choice of fresh vegetables, freshly baked roll and butter, dessert, and Marriott beverage service.
(Veggie and Glutten Free also available.)

Dinner Options
* Default will be Creole Chicken, if not specified.



Attendess are invited to bring guests to dinner on Friday evening. (Please complete one dinner registration for each guest.)
The dinner includes:
Your choice:
- Grilled Chicken Breast served with Creole Sauce
- Tender Beef Medallions with Forest Mushroom Bordelaise
- Grilled Pork Chop with Maple Cranberry Glaze
Dinner comes with a house salad, herb roasted potatoes, chef's choice of fresh vegetables, freshly baked roll and butter, dessert, and Marriott beverage service.
(Veggie and Glutten Free also available.)

Dinner Options
* Default will be Creole Chicken, if not specified.


The Box Lunch includes:
Your choice - Turkey & Swiss, Ham & Swiss, or Roast Beef & Cheddar (Veggie or Gluten Free also available)
Served on a kaiser roll
Sandwich comes with cheese and condiments (tomato, lettuce, mayo, and mustard)
Lunch also includes: pasta salad, chips, whole fruit, cookie, bottled water, and assorted soft drinks

Lunch Options
* Default will be Turkey, Hoagie Bun, and Potato Salad, if not specified.

Printed Syllabus (optional)

In addition to the free eSyllabus, a Printed Syllabus (in 3-ring binder) can be purchased and will be waiting for you at the registration table upon your arrival.


Book Cover Contest (optional)

Attendees at the Conference have the opportunity to enter the Book Cover Contest.
Click here for the Awards website for additional submission guidelines and/or to submit multiple entries. (The Book Cover Contest is also open to non-attendees.)


Book Title


Meal with the Members (optional)

Here's your chance to rub shoulders and dine with your favorite authors. Come join us for a casual get-together on THURSDAY EVENING (June 18th) at 7:00 pm at a downtown location near the Marriott (we'll email you with the details) and meet many of the members of Indie Author Hub, as well as invited conference presenters and other attendees.
RSVP at the right so we can reserve you a seat.

HOTEL (optional)

Rooms have been blocked out and discounted for conference attendees at the Provo Marriott. Rooms are available in either King or Double Queen.
Each room includes:
Free WiFi, iron and ironing board, optional roll-away bed or crib, pillow options, alarm clock, writing desk, oversized chair with ottoman, cable TV, hair dryer, bathroom amenities.
Connecting rooms are available upon request.
Access to Fitness Center and pool

Use the link at the right to make your Discounted Reservation.


to make your hotel reservation.
(This will open a new browser window for the Provo Marriott.)

Friday, June 27, 2014

2014 June Conference Pics

Fun times were had by all at the IndieAuthorHub annual conference!

Set Up

Getting Started


Singing Keynote with Amy Harmon

Door Prizes

Break Out Sessions 

Joint Book Signing

Our Fearless Leaders

Monday, January 20, 2014

2014 Publishing Conference Class Details

We are excited to have so many professionals offering their time at our publishing conference. Check out the details of each breakout class. We are going to have a great time!

Please note that classes with an asterisk require that you bring, read, watch, or download something before the conference in order to make best use of the class. We are serious about our hands-on experience! For class times, please see the form below.

Book Creation

*Become an HTML Pro ASAP: Ebook Creation Through Word, HTML, and Calibre (hands-on class) by Stephanie Fowers
Students learn to convert a sample manuscript in Microsoft Word to epub and mobi by using HTML editing and Calibre. In order to attend this class, please email stephaniefowers (at) gmail (dot) com by June 1st with the subject HTML IAH Publishing Conference to receive class materials. You must bring a laptop with Microsoft Word (a version that can save to html), and download the following free software: Calibre, Kindle previewer, Adobe epub previewer, notepad ++ and 7-Zip.

Panel: What’s in a Cover? –  Rachael Anderson, Jacqueline Fowers, Amber Argyle, Abel Keogh, Rachel Ann Nunes
Important insights and into designing and creating covers. Will also include information on crowd sourcing covers and custom photo shoots.

*Undercover: Learn the Basics of book Cover Design by Jacqueline Fowers
A book cover is the first thing to catch your customer’s eye. In order to attract attention and be dangerous to the competition, learn cover design basics by marketing, research, typography, visual collateral, layout/hierarchy, printer specs.  In order to attend this class, your book genre, two line description, and the URL of a stock photo you want to use (from,,,, or similar site) to jacquefowers (at) yahoo (dot) com BY MAY 15th with the subject Undercover IAH Publishing Conference.

*It’s Not Karate! It’s Jutoh! Hands-on eBook Creation Using Jutoh by TJ and Rachel Ann Nunes
Class members will create a new file and learn special configurations, creating a template to use for future ebooks. Create multiple ebooks (mobi and retailer-specific epubs: iTunes, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Google Books, Smashwords, etc.) in a SINGLE FILE, including links for different retailers. Deal with spacing and formatting issues easily. Laptops in class required. BEFORE the conference attendees must download the free trial version of Jutoh and watch this video. Attendees will also receive a detailed tutorial written by leading Jutoh experts at You will also need the Kindle previewer and the Adobe epub previewer to view your finished files.

Paperback Typesetting for the Frugally Minded by Rachael Anderson
Can't afford to pay a small fortune for InDesign? No problem. Join this step-by-step, hands on class that will teach you how to make a plain-Jane Word document look like a professionally published book. Must have Word 1997 or later.

The Pacing and Production of Children’s Print Books by Fay Klingler (2 block class)
Not just your meat and potatoes, Fay is serving the full course from appetizer to dessert in this fast paced look at how to produce a professional, illustrated print book for children using a combination of Word, Photoshop, and InDesign.


A Royal's Guide to Managing the Kingdom: Creating and Leveraging Intellectual Properties by Rebecca Shelley
A vital course for writers to understand the monetary value of the works they produce and how to protect and use these assets to their greatest advantage. That's business speak for understanding copyright. If you understand it, you make money. If you don't, other people will make money off of you. You can be a ruler or a slave. Your choice if you understand. You risk selling yourself into slavery if you don't. This is important information every writer should know.

The 5 Best Ways to Market Your Books by Abel Keogh
Marketing is more than a post on social media. It's knowing how to find your audience and the best way to engage them. Learn the 5 best (and underutilized ways) to spread the word about your books that actually build an audience.

How to Hit a Bestseller List by Heather Moore
Learn the importance of a creating professional multi-book products and how to hit Top 100 categories by categorizing, using pricing strategies, and e-book marketing channels.

My Book is Ready for the WORLD . . . How Do I Get it There? by Cindy Hogan
A  class on ebook and print placement-the pros and cons to Amazon versus everything else.

Panel: A Plethora of Marketing Ideas. What Work and What Doesn’t – Andrea Pearson, Heather Moore, Cindy Hogan, Rachael Anderson
Learn what authors have done that brings success and more sales and avoid expensive promotions that go nowhere. Learning the difference now will save you time and money.

Business, Taxes, and Deductions—Oh, My! by Gwen Haggen
To deduct or not to deduct, that is the question.  Learn from the savvy accountant, Gwen Haggen, all about the ins and outs of smart accounting and how to go about starting your own company.  Illustrations provided by the IRSJ.

Write a Cover Copy in 10 Easy(ish) Steps by Amber Argyle
Come out of the class with the knowledge and skills to write a cover copy that will sell books!



I’m Sorry . . . Who Are You Again? Character Matters by Julie Wright
Your characters matter. They matter to the people populating your novel. They matter to the plot. They matter to your reader. They should matter to you. From physical descriptions to bad habits and deep motivations. Find out who your character really is. The success of your novel depends on it.

Edit ’Til Your Eyes Bleed: Playing with the Big (5) Boys by Lu Ann Staheli
Indie publishing, as well as traditional publishing, rely upon the editing process to not only bring readers to the book, but to entice them to return for more. Award-winning author/educator, LuAnn Staheli introduces class members to the editing stages necessary to present the best product possible to their future audience.

Take Me Away! Six Steps to Unforgettable Romance by Rachel Ann Nunes (aka Teyla Branton)
We've all read romantic scenes that stay in our minds forever. Learn how to create those moments for your own readers.

Plotting 101: Getting Your Characters Off the Couch by Tristi Pinkston
The first element in a novel is great characters, but now you need something great for those characters to do. What happens to them, how do they respond to it, and what curve balls are thrown in their way? Is it all realistic, or will your readers roll their eyes ... or worse, fall asleep from boredom? Learn how to create a plot that will keep your readers flipping pages, dying for more.

He Said, She Said: Dialogue Do’s and Don’ts by Tanya Parker Mills
A powerpoint presentation and discussion of the purposes of dialogue in fiction, as well as examples of strong and weak dialogue, highlighting the kinds of things writers should avoid. Volunteers will be asked to write and share a piece of dialogue (no more than half a page) from a prompt.

Viewpoint: Why It's Important and How to Not Mess It Up by Daniel Coleman
The rules of POV are as flexible as every other writing rule.  Be a professional by understanding them before you break them.

Panel: Avoid the Big Fs! Find and Fix Your Fatal Writing Flaws - Tristi Pinkston, Stephanie Fowers, Julie Wright, Rebecca Shelley, Rachel Ann Nunes
Learn how to spot both recurring flaws and the ones that ones plaguing your current manuscript. Don't let the fatal flaws kill your book before it gets a chance to fly.


Click on the schedule below to see a larger image:


2014 Indie Hub Publishing Conference Presenters

Keynote Speaker Amy Harmon

Amy Harmon knew at an early age that writing was something she wanted to do, and she divided her time between writing songs and stories as she grew. Having grown up in the middle of wheat fields without a television, with only her books and her siblings to entertain her, she developed a strong sense of what made a good story. Amy Harmon has been a motivational speaker, a grade school teacher, a junior high teacher, a home school mom, and a member of the Grammy Award winning Saints Unified Voices Choir, directed by Gladys Knight. She released a Christian Blues CD in 2007 called "What I Know," available on Amazon and wherever digital music is sold. Her first two books, "Running Barefoot" and "Slow Dance in Purgatory" are rich with humor, heart, and fast paced story telling. She is currently working on the sequel in her Purgatory series. For more information visit her website.

Conference Committee:

Co-Chairs: Brent Rowley & Rachel Ann Nunes
Andrea Pearson
Stephanie Fowers
Rachael Anderson 
Maria Hoagland
Christine Kersey
Jewel Adams
Fay Klingler

Presenters (in alphabetical order by last name):

Rachael Anderson is the bestselling author of The Reluctant Bachelorette and Working it Out. She's the mother of four and is pretty good at breaking up fights, or at least sending guilty parties to their rooms. She can't sing, doesn't dance, and despises tragedies. But she recently figured out how yeast works and can now make homemade bread, which she is really good at eating. You can read more about her and her books online at

Amber Argyle is the #1 bestselling author of the Witch Song and Fairy Queens series. In her novels, good always triumphs over evil. Though sometimes just barely.

Daniel Coleman splits his time between the fantastic world of writing and the very real-life world of
firefighting.  He is a recipient of the League of Utah Writer's Diamond Award and has been self-publishing since 2011.  His novels set in Lewis Carroll's Wonderland are published under the name D J Coleman.

Jacqueline Fowers lives in downtown Salt Lake. For the last 7 years, she has worked as a professional Graphic Designer and Video Marketer and presently attends the University of Utah for her Film and Media Arts degree. Jacqueline is involved in the ever-growing Utah community of independent artists. And is proud to finally being paid to do what she loves most!

Stephanie Fowers is the author of the Twisted Tales series, Prank Wars, and more romantic comedies. Always a free spirit, she was drawn to the world of Indie publishing because of the creative, financial, and artistic freedom it provides. Though Indie Publishing is hard work, it’s worth it. Presently, she lives in Salt Lake, living the life of a not-so starving artist.

Gwen Haggen has been a tax preparer for over 20 years, in which she has spent the last 5 years as an Enrolled Agent and Staff Accountant with Klingler and Associates located in Sandy, Utah.  Gwen has been married to her husband Mike for 29 wonderful years; they have three children and a granddaughter.  She loves reading, cooking, camping, golf and hiking, but most of all she has a burning desire to travel the world to learn about people, different cultures and countries.

Cindy Hogan is the award winning and bestselling author of the Watched trilogy. She loves writing about unpredictable teenagers and loves spending time with her teen daughters. If she's not reading or writing, you'll find her planning her next party with her most amazing husband. Most of all, she loves to laugh.

Abel Keogh has spent over a decade in marketing doing everything from copywriting and campaign creation to social media and marketing automation. He’s the author of four self-published and two traditionally published books and much prefers the freedom, money, and control that comes with going indie. His advice to aspiring authors is to do a professional job on your book then write another book and another and another.

Fay Klingler began her publishing career as a professional illustrator for “Cricket” magazine, the “Ensign,” and “Highlights for Children” magazine, winning two best illustrator awards for Science Corner of the Year. As a teacher and lead commercial art instructor, Fay developed and wrote a two-year school curriculum program. This curriculum included materials to teach half-day classes to students removed from high schools for weapons or other offenses (an alternative high school). This five-level course included materials for a wide age range of students and included math concepts, document layout and design, résumé writing, lettering, and fine art. Through Fay’s instruction, her students received the school’s first state art awards. As a technical writer/editor and project leader for a world communications company, Fay wrote or contributed to many railroad, oil refinery, and bank operating or safety manuals. She wrote software or online documentation manuals, consulting scripts, and school textbooks, and was awarded for her exceptional performance as a project leader. As a creative, best-selling author, Fay has written three self-published books and seven traditionally published books. She is a member of the League of Utah Writers and a recipient of their Silver Quill Award.

Tanya Parker Mills won the 2010 Writer’s Digest International Self-Published Book Award for Mainstream/Literary Fiction for her debut novel, The Reckoning (also a 2009 Indie Book Award Winner and a 2008 Whitney Finalist), and was a 2012 Whitney Finalist for her second novel, A Night on Moon Hill. Besides writing fiction, poetry, and song lyrics, she is a member of Pacific Northwest Writers Association, LDStorymakers, and American Night Writers Association. A graduate of BYU in Communications, she currently lives in St. George, Utah with her husband and two children.

Heather B. Moore is the 2-time Best of State, 2-time Whitney Award & 2-time Golden Quill Award winning author of ten historical novels (good things come in two's...). Her historical fiction is published under H.B. Moore, and she has 17 titles traditionally published. She also writes inspirational non-fiction, women's fiction, romance, and novellas under Heather B. Moore. Heather runs the freelance editing company, Precision Editing Group, and she also owns Mirror Press, the publisher of the Amazon bestselling Timeless Romance Anthology series. Through Mirror Press, Heather has indie published 13 titles.

Rachel Ann Nunes, who also writes under the pen name Teyla Branton, grew up avidly reading science fiction and fantasy and watching Star Trek reruns with her large family. They lived on a little farm where she loved to visit the solitary cow and collect (and juggle) the eggs, usually making it back to the house with most of them intact. On that same farm she once owned thirty-three gerbils and eighteen cats, not a good mix, as it turns out. She always had her nose in a book and daydreamed about someday creating her own worlds. She is now married, mostly grown up, and has seven kids, including a two-year-old, so life at her house can be very interesting (and loud), but writing keeps her sane. She’s been known to wear pajamas all day when working on a deadline, and is often distracted enough to burn dinner. (Okay, pretty much 90% of the time.) She loves writing fiction and traveling, and she hopes to write and travel a lot more. She also loves shooting guns, martial arts, and belly dancing. She has published fifty books, including, Ariana, the Autumn Rain series, and Unbounded (Teyla Branton). Visit or to join her emailing lists.

TJ Nunes has worked as a computer software engineer for 24 years. Along with his wife, Rachel Ann Nunes, he owns and operates, where he helps self-published authors reach their publishing dreams. He is also a partner at

Andrea Pearson, author of the Kilenya series, the Katon University series, and Kilenya Romances, lives with her husband and daughter in a small valley framed with hills. She is the executive director for Indie Author Hub and the creator of the writing application, Writer’s Progress Bar. Andrea graduated from Brigham Young University with a BS in Communications Disorders and is an editor for the website Andrea spends as much time with her husband and daughter as possible. Favorite activities include painting, hiking, biking, watching movies, collecting and listening to music, and discussing books and authors. You can learn more about Andrea from her website and blog.

Tristi Pinkston is the author of 20+ books both self-published and traditional. As a freelance editor, she enjoys mentoring new writers on their journey, and she is a popular presenter at writers conferences up and down the Wasatch Front. She sits on the board of directors for iWriteNetwork and is the president of Trifecta Books. When she's not doing something book related, she's homeschooling her kids or taking long naps. You can learn more about her by visiting her website at or her blog at

Rebecca Shelley (Rebecca Lyn Shelley) is the author of over 30 published books including the bestselling Smartboys Club series as well as the popular Red Dragon Codex and Brass Dragon Codex. She recently launched an exciting new dragon series, premiering with Dragonbound: Blue Dragon. Her Aos Si trilogy will thrill fans of YA Paranormal Romance. To learn more or contact her visit

Lu Ann Brobst Staheli has been a freelance and contract editor for eighteen years, as well as an English and Creative Writing teacher. An avid reader and hybrid author, she understands the publishing world from both sides. Lu Ann got her start as a celebrity paparazzi-stalker-chick, which led to her award-winning career as a ghostwriter for celebrity memoirs. Staheli won Best of State Literary Arts Non-Fiction for When Hearts Conjoin and Psychic Madman, penned scripts for Alan Osmond’s Stadium of Fire, and wrote international newsletters for The Osmond Brothers, Osmonds: Second Generation, and Marie Osmond, Ink. Staheli’s novels, The Explorers: Tides Across the Sea and the Small Town U. S. A. series (Leona & Me, Helen Marie; A Note Worth Taking; Just Like Elizabeth Taylor) won awards from the League of Utah Writers and the Utah Arts Council. Her latest non-fiction, Men of Destiny: Abraham Lincoln and the Prophet Joseph Smith, is a Spring 2014 release from Walnut Springs Press. Writing under the pen name Marie Ellsworth, Lu Ann is releasing a set of romance novellas as part of the Always a Bridesmaid series this year.

Julie Wright started her first book when she was fifteen. She’s written over a dozen books since then, including the Hazzardous Universe series and the Newport Ladies Book Club series. She is a Whitney Awards winner in the romance category for the novel Cross My Heart. She is represented by agent Sara Crowe with Harvey Klinger Inc. in New York. She enjoys speaking to writing groups, youth groups, and schools. She loves reading, eating, writing, hiking, and playing on the beach with her kids and husband. Julie’s favorite thing to do is watch her husband make dinner. She hates mayonnaise. Learn more at You can also visit Hap and Tara at or check out the Newport Ladies Book Club.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

IndieRevAwards Book Cover Contest!

As of January 20, 2014, we're now accepting entries for our Indie Revolution Book Cover Contest!

More information can be found over on our IndieRevAwards blog, but we'd like to take a moment to introduce our judges here. Each of them is a talented professional and is looking forward to judging the contest. Please check out their fantastic portfolios and websites!

Damon Za

Damon Za leads a specialist cover design team, with well over a thousand book covers to their credit. He originally started the cover design company,, on his own in 2011 and quickly developed a strong reputation in the publishing industry. Soon, demand far outstripped supply, and he pulled together an amazing team of cover designers that continually surprise him with their creativity and dedication to their craft. He and his team have designed covers for many New York Times and USA Today best-selling authors, as well as major publishing houses. Damon has been interviewed for the April 2014 edition of the Romance Writers Report, the official monthly trade magazine published by Romance Writers of America.


Fiona Jayde

Fiona is a space pilot, a ninth degree black belt in three styles of martial arts, a computer hacker, a mountain climber, a jazz singer, a weight lifter, a superspy with a talent for languages, and an evil genius. All in her own head.

In life, she is tinkers with images to create cover art for amazing books, possesses a brown belt in Tae Kwon Do and blue belt in Aikido, used to be a hot shot web developer, scared to death of snakes, loves jazz piano, and can bench-press 20 pounds — with effort. She learned English reading Nora Roberts and watching Growing Pains, and when pried away from her computer, enjoys movies where things frequently blow up.

Website and Portfolio

Cheryl Ramirez

Cheryl studied art at Texas State University and earned a Bachelor of Art degree. She designs book covers, illustrates children's books, writes, and paints. Most of Cheryl's professional writing has been in journalism and other non-fiction. She can only clean house if Disco music is playing; she blames her mother.


Covers by Ramona

For the past 18 years I’ve been teaching high school business in Northern Wisconsin. When I’m not working on school things, I love designing romance book covers. My favorites... being creative, photography, Little House on the Prairie, reading, nature, camping, antiques, animals, interesting people, exploring new places, music, daisies, movies, challenges, chocolate...

Blog and Portfolio

Dane Low

Dane Low is the co-Founder of, a one-stop service provider for the independent author. Ebook Launch specializes in ebook cover design and ebook formatting.

Website and Portfolio

Monday, November 25, 2013

Before You Send Out to Readers by Tristi Pinkston

So you've gotten your manuscript ready to go out to readers. You're excited because you know how close you are to being ready for submission . . . you'll get this feedback, you'll make the suggested changes, and you're finished, right? Well, pretty close. But don't think this step is going to be a piece of cake. That's a mistake a lot of writers make -- they hurry and get the manuscript out to readers before it's really ready. 

Here are some tips to help you get that manuscript as ready for readers as you possibly can -- keeping in mind that if you take out the glaring problems now, your readers will have an easier time spotting the more complex problems.

1. Go through and do a search for "was." Most of the time, when the word "was" is used, you can change it to more of an active voice. Instead of saying, "She was sitting on the porch," say "She sat on the porch." This brings your reader into closer contact with the story, and it eliminates the repetitive use of "was." However, don't forget that "was" also helps us understand when something happened. "He stood when she came in" has a different meaning than "He was standing when she came in." So don't get rid of "was" entirely - just when you can without messing up your meaning.

2. Go through and do a search for "that." Most of the time, "that" is used when it's not needed. "She thought that he'd be there to pick her up at three." Take it out and see what you've got ... "She thought he'd be there to pick her up at three." It's the same thing, but "that" gets repetitive and makes your sentences wordy. But again, the same caution goes here - don't take them all out because sometimes you do need them.

3. Go through and make sure all your punctuation is still there. I've noticed when I edit for people that as they take out words they've been told to take out, sometimes the punctuation gets taken along with it, erased accidentally by the cursor being in the wrong place. 

4. Go through and take out fully 3/4 of your adverbs. Keep only the ones that are absolutely needed -- most are indicated by the context, anyway, and aren't necessary. For instance, "She whispered quietly" - a whisper is already quiet, so you don't need to say "quietly."

There you have it -- four steps to help make your manuscript ready for readers. These aren't the only things to watch out for -- there are many -- but these are the most common mistakes and the most common detractors from the story. With these things out of the way, your readers will be able to concentrate on the things that remain and help you polish the story until it shines.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Shameless Self-Promotion by Tristi Pinkston

We've all heard the term "shameless self-promotion."  I've used it myself quite a bit.  Today I want to get on my soap box a little bit.  You don't mind, right? 

Self-promotion is absolutely crucial to every form of business.  It doesn't matter if you're a car salesman, or if you work in a clothing store, or if you are a makeup girl, or if you are a construction worker.  In each of those jobs, you are selling yourself - your skills, your experience, your know-how.  You are presenting yourself in such a way that your employer and your customer can feel confident in you and the job you are going to do.  Filling out resumes, going for interviews, meeting with prospective clients - these are nothing more than selling yourself and your abilities.

When you write a book and enter the big, bad world of marketing, you're doing exactly the same thing you've done every time you've entered the work force.  You're informing people of a skill or ability you possess. 

Let me ask you a question.  Say you're in the middle of a job interview, and you are asked, "So, I hear you're good at typing."  Would you answer, "Oh, I don't know about that.  That other applicant you just had in here is a lot faster."  Or would you say, "Yes, I'm pretty fast." It's a pretty simple choice to make, isn't it?

So why do we downplay our writing?  Why do we feel that we need to apologize when it comes to talking about our books?  We say "shameless self-promotion" as though perhaps, at some point, we might have felt the need to feel ashamed, but we're going to shake that off for a second.  There is no need to ever be ashamed of the product you have produced as long as you know you did your very best on it.  If you turned out something you know wasn't up to your potential, then you can make a decision to do better next time.  But "shame" is not something that should ever be associated with something you created that came from your gut. If you really, really are ashamed to admit that you did it, then ... why did you do it? 

Now that we've talked about the "shame," let's talk about the "self-promotion."  Go back to the analogy of the shoe salesman.  A woman walks into his shop and says, "Hi, I need a pair of shoes."  He pauses.  Should he say something?  What if he shows her a pair and she says she doesn't want them?  He would be crushed.  Humiliated.  Rejected. 

Um ... no, he's going start showing her shoes, right?  Of course.  That's his job.  And it's your job as a new author to talk about your books.  He has shoes to sell, you have books to sell.  If someone doesn't buy your book, it doesn't have to be a devastating thing - it just means that those shoes didn't fit.  Someone else with feet of a different size will soon come into your life, or your shoe store, and you'll be able to make that sale. 

So, let's encapsulate my little lecture.

1.  Stop being ashamed to talk about your books!
2.  Stop feeling as though you have to apologize!
3.  Get some confidence - talk about your book in an upbeat, positive way.  Let other people know it exists. 
4. Never downplay your accomplishments.  Don't say, "Well, it's just a little story about ..." No!  Smile and say, "It's a great story about ..."

Self-promotion is hard.  It's hard to get up the courage, it's hard to know what to say, it's hard to find that balance between talking about yourself and coming on too strong, and it's also hard to know when you shouldn't bring up your books (and yes, there are times when you don't want to promote, generally in times of social politics, but that would be a blog for another day).  You can learn how to master all of these skills, but you've got to practice them, and regularly.  Hiding behind pillars and potted plants will not make you a master of self-promotion - you've got to get out there and do it, and you'll find your own stride and what works for you.