Category: Guest Blog

Guest Post: Chrystele Myriam

Guest Post: Chrystele Myriam

Hi, it’s E! This week I have a guest post by the lovely Chrystele. We are doing a blog exchange, so you can find my post over on her blog:

Hi! Hello everyone! My name is Chrystele, and I am so happy to be here with you guys for this blog swap! I wanted to thank E. for choosing me to do this! I think it’s great to be able to read about people’s side of experiences or stories, so this idea of a blog swap or collaboration is very interesting.

I’m French, but I write in English. As weird as it may sound, words come easier in English than in French, but trust me, in the beginning it was not the case! I wrote an article about why I write in English and not in French, but this time I wanted to dive in more about how I manage to keep my work (whether it’s my blogs or my books) as structured as good as I can. I’m a perfectionist, so I really look at details (sometimes too much, to be fair with you). But as I look back on my work, what I thought was perfection is far from it. It lacked a lot of things. For instance, my stories only had dialogue and not enough narrative. There was no explanation, no way to know who was speaking, and of course a lot of typos.

It took time, of course. Like everything that you are learning, you need time to master it. Writing is an art, and art is something that you get better at the more you do it. It’s something that you put your heart and soul in it, but sometimes you let your head get in the way and think that you are not enough. Most of the time, you just need either help or more practice, or both.

Writing is an art, and art is something that you get better at the more you do it.

Chrystele Miriam

What really helped me with my writing was reading. I used to only read in French, so my vocabulary in English wasn’t wide enough for me to write something that wasn’t full of repetition and errors. So, I started to read in English, and now (long story short) I am losing my French, and I have to force myself to read in French… Ah, irony, my sweet friend.

What I would suggest would be to have a beta reader. Having someone with fresh eyes and different ideas and reading experience than you can help you see mistakes that you didn’t in the first place. No matter how many times you read your work, there is one typo that will just get through the cracks…I can’t tell you how many traditionally books I have read that had typos! Writing takes time. It’s something you need to be patient with. I’m not much of a patient person. When I finish a project that I am proud of, I just want to share it with the whole world! That was my main mistake with my debut works: I posted it as I wrote it. I am doing it today again, for one of my short stories on Wattpad, but this time it’s on purpose. It’s a way for me to have fun. Maybe one day I’ll really work on this story and publish it, but for now it’s not in the projects.

If it’s something you want to publish and promote and talk about, it has to be something clean, clear, and proper. And by that, I mean it has to make sense. Not just to you, but to your audience. Avoid typos as much as possible. As I said, there is always going to be one that goes through, but the lesser, the better. Target your audience. If you want a general audience, I suggest to not over complicate it. If you have a specific audience, you can go into more technical terms and such. You have to consider who you’re going to write for. Otherwise, your work will indeed be out there, but it won’t be seen.

Re-reading your work is the key. I cannot tell you how many times I have read one of my works in progress to the point where I could no longer stand it…That is why I took a break from writing it. Which takes me to another point: do not be afraid to stop for a while. Sometimes when you’ve been at it for too long and too much, you might lose interest or you will block or you just might feel like you don’t want to write the story anymore. There is not a right amount of time for how long it takes to write a book (or any piece for that matter). It is totally okay to stop for a while, and you might even have a great result by coming back to it after. You will be able to see some typos or some details missing or not making sense. You might even have an idea for something that you would just crash on.

Do not be afraid to have many versions of one book. The work in progress I talked about earlier has had five different versions. The first draft will never be perfect. It’s where you discover your world, your characters. It’s where you dump your ideas. I use the first draft as a way to put every idea that I have for the story in, build the universe, the main events and such. I do not focus on the details on the first draft. I use the second draft to work on the timeline now that the main events are worked out. I have to make them make sense, avoid any plot holes, or events having different dates. I work on the details in between — the body of the story. I write a bit more about the characters. My second draft is really where I dive into the story. The third draft is where I care about the typos. I change some things such as chapters or how and when characters are introduced. Most of the time the third draft for me is the final one, but it can be more.

The bottom point of all this is: writing takes time, and it’s not easy. Asking for help is not making you a lousy writer. Imposter syndrome is hard and cruel, but trust me when I say that we’ve all been there. A second opinion or even a third won’t hurt you. It might do you good. All I can tell you is: No matter how easy it is to get lost in this process and terrifying side of being a writer, never forget why you write and why you love to.


Marketing Tricks You Can Steal From Internet Marketers – Mercedes Tabano II

Illustration of Facebook mobile interface
Illustration of Facebook mobile interface (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mercedes Tabano is a freelance writer, content creation specialist, ghostwriter, and author. She has written for magazines, businesses, blogs,  SEO companies and more. She has several books on Amazon in both print and Kindle versions. Her blog, helps authors achieve profits in their publishing.

Are you familiar with the world of Internet marketers? An internet marketer is a person who makes most or all of their income marketing items online. Sometimes, they are marketing their own products, other people’s products, and some are even hired to market other people’s businesses. Whatever they’re marketing, they are masters at it. They know every trick in the marketing book. Fortunately, you can borrow some pages from their metaphorical book to promote your actual book.

Make A Facebook Fan Page Or Even Two…

Internet marketers, (often called Imers) speak often on creating community. With over 1.5 billion people, Facebook is currently their favorite stomping ground. They set up a Facebook page for every new product. They also set fan up a page for themselves. This helps build community and brands them as an expert. There are actually many kinds of pages you can make on Facebook to help you with your branding.  An Imer would use all of them, and you should, too.


A Fanpage is the most common type of page. This is where the creator uploads various images, announcements and other content. You can have a Fanpage for your book or book series. Give people tantalizing tidbits from the book along with a place to express themselves. Upload relevant images and quotes. Soon you will have a happy, thriving community.

Public Figure Page

This is actually a special kind of Fanpage. Though you still have to create 90% of the content yourself, this Fanpage brands you as the author. Just as people like Amanda Hocking and Steven King are public figures, you can be one, too. No need to wait until you’re famous; a Public Figure Fanpage can help you brand yourself now. It’s also a great place to announce your new book.

Another way to use a public figure page is for your characters. While it’s true Facebook only lets you have one personal profile, you can have as many public figure pages as you want. Set up one for each of the main characters in your book, or maybe a minor one who saw it all. Speak in the voice of your character on these pages, even before your book comes out. Then, people will be eager to read your book because they feel like they already know the characters.

Group Page

A group is for user generated content. This kind of page actually works best if your book is a how-to book. Here, people get together, talk about what’s in your book and also offer their opinions for dealing with a problem. Groups not only foster a sense of community, they are also great places to build raving fans.  Additionally,  you can use a group to gather information about the type of how-to book they would like to see next.

Build Your List

Imers have a saying that the gold is in the list. When they say this, they are referring to a list of people that they can email an offer to. When people on this list take advantage of this offer, the Imer makes money.  Everyone who does anything online needs a list. Here’s how to get and utilize one.

Set Up An Autoresponder

An Autoresponder service is a service that collects names and sends out emails on your behalf. They do this through the use of a webform. A webform is the box you see online that asks you for a name and email address in exchange for sending you something of value for free. Better autoresponders have newsletter templates you can use to keep in touch with your people. They also offer social media integration for popular sites like Twitter or Facebook. Once you have your webform, put it everywhere you can think of.

It All Starts With The Giveaway

Before you set up your webform, but after you choose your autoresponder, you need a giveaway. The giveaway is what people view as more valuable than their email address. Ideally, you should have several giveaways, one for each book. Because the autoresponder keeps track of who came in on which page, you will know exactly which book brought them to you.

The most common giveaways revolve around the book itself. If your book is a how-to book, offer them something like worksheets or a list of additional tips. If your book is a fiction book, write a short story about those same characters. Or, if that’s not possible, write the short story about some other characters who were present in the book but who were not the stars. For example, a brief retelling of a section of the book from the best friends’ or family members’ point of view always works well. No book should ever go to press without the giveaway firmly in place. To attract people to it, simply say something like:

“Want another story on the continuing adventures of (name) go to (webpage) to get a mini-story.”

Using Your List

Imers email their list daily, sometimes twice. However, that’s often too much for the average non-IM market. You don’t want to email your list so infrequently that they forget about you. Usually every 2-3 days is the right amount to email them. When you email them, you don’t want to make it all about you. Instead offer them useful or amusing tidbits. Share favorite, relevant websites or facts. Give them micro stories (of 300 words or less) in their emails.

In this way you are training them to open your emails. They know if they open them, they’ll get something good. When you entertain and enlighten them, they won’t’ mind occasionally being sold to. In fact, they’ll even look forward to hearing about your latest book, tour or other endeavor.

Reuse Your Content

Imers are masters at reusing content. For example, it’s common in the IM world to turn raw information into books, blogs, videos, audios, transcripts, infographics and more. However, outside the Im world reusing almost the same content is practically unheard of. Here’s how it can work for you.

 Blog To Book

It’s time to get pad for all those articles you wrote just to build traffic and your fan base. Gather the best of them into a book. This book can then be sold as the best of your blog. While you might want to rewrite them a little so they remain relevant out of context this is a very easy way to create a product quickly. Additionally, pairing your content with images makes it even better.  This book can then be sold in the outlet of your choice.

Make Use Of Your Quotes

Have you or your characters ever said anything memorable? Do you have any kind of catchphrase that caught on or an inside joke with your readers? If so, consider putting the phrase on items through the power of a print-on-demand company (POD). A POD company creates merchandise for you, but only after an order is placed. While you do have to split the money with them, you don’t owe a penny until something sells. Popular merchandise includes bags, apparel, mobile device covers and more. Again, when you pair these with the right images, and alert your list to their existence, they will usually sell like crazy.

Dominate Google For Your Book

Already have a book on Amazon? That’s great. But there are so many more places you could sell it. Imers talk continually about dominating the market. If someone types in the name of your book into Google, you want places to buy it to completely cover the first page. To accomplish that, sell it on other sites like Barnes and Nobel, CreateSpace, Smash Words, the IBook store, Lulu and more. You can even sell a DVD  or printed physical version on sties such as EBay, Etsy and more.

Turn Your Book Into An Audio Book

Turning the written word into the spoken word is something that Imers have been doing almost since the beginning. Thanks to the internet, it’s now easier than ever to accomplish this. Free programs like Audacity will record as you read the book in your own voice. Another option available to you is to hire a voice actor. There are many sites online where you can find voice talent rather inexpensively. Depending on how ambitious you are, you might even want to use multiples voices and sound effects. you can then sell this recording on sites like Audible, Amazon again, eBay, the IPod store and more. As a bonus, this might even help you dominate the second page of Google for your book, too.

Imers have many tricks to help them succeed and make money. Though their tricks are not complicated, very few writers utilize them.  Taking advantage of these tricks is what separates a successful author from an unsuccessful one in todays’ modern age.

Guest Blog: Should a Debut Novel “Play it Safe” By Gus Sanchez

Gus Sanchez is the author of the blog anthology “Out Where the Buses Don’t Run.” He is currently at work on his first novel. A native New Yorker, he now lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife and daughter. You can find him online at

Some time ago, I was at a local writer’s critique group I attend every second Saturday of each month. For a writer’s group, it’s a pretty large one; on any given Saturday, when the group meets, we can expect up to thirty people to meet at one of the local branches of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library.

I felt one of the pieces being critiqued that Saturday needed a lot of work. I had the chance to read the submitted piece a few days before the writer’s group met. I found reading this one writer’s story somewhat frustrating. Too many run-on sentences, odd and sudden shifts in POV, and his story seemed to threaten to get away from him. Like a lot of young adult writers, his story is part of a multi-part story; his submitted short selection was the prologue and opening chapter to the first novel. A lively discussion was taking place after he’d read a few paragraphs of his story. The group agreed his story needed work, and we were here to help him.

My suggestion to him, one which I voiced loudly, was to make the story more ambitious. I felt he was restraining himself a bit too much. His story was a cross-genre attempt at both historical fiction and conspiracy thriller, in which the illegitimate daughter of the last Tsar of Russia…something…something…something. Regardless, I urged him to pursue this. Be ambitious, I told him, get it all out on paper. Allow your imagination to roam as free as possible, and don’t get in its way.

One participant argued otherwise. There’s an adage in the publishing world, she said, that both agents and publishers will repeat with writers: your first and second novels should play it safe. Save the really ambitious stuff for the third novel. Agents find it easier to sell novels that play it safe. A few participants in the group nodded their heads, although it was hard to say if they agreed, or were just nodding for the sheer hell of it all.

I let her commentary pass, without a comment of my own. After all, I’m not a published writer, so I have no frame of reference to retort with. There are rules every writer must abide by. The classic “show, don’t tell,” is probably the one cardinal rule no writer dare violate. The greatest lesson any writer should know is what the rules to writing actually are. Know the rules, and you’ll play the game correctly. Rules apply to just about anything, really. Understanding how the rules apply makes you more disciplined in what you do. It’s what makes a soccer player a better goal scorer by understanding the offside rule, if you’ll pardon the sports analogy. If that striker thinks he can simply ignore the most important offensive rule of the goal, then he’ll make for a terrible striker. Excellent strikers understand how and when the offside rule works. Excellent writers know the rules of writing. They know how and when the rules work.

With that being said, there’s something to be said about breaking the rules. The greatest art has often been created when the artist thumbs their nose at the rules, and creates a new set of rules. Actually, let’s take that one step down a bit. Good art, even if it’s not great, should make every attempt to break the rules. And this rule that your debut novel should be something you should play safe, as a writer, is one rule I think needs to be broken more frequently.

I’d be hard-pressed to tell you exactly how many debut novels I’ve read, but I find that while so many are well-written and possessing of a literary voice that’s clearly going places, often times that debut just seems unmemorable. Not to say it’s a bad book. Far from it. But I get a feeling sometimes that after I’ve read a debut novel, I’ll likely not think much about it ever again. Which leads me recently to wonder if someone, an agent, an editor, another writer, suggested to this writer that they play it safe with their debut novel? The better the chances to get their novel published, right? So be it, I suppose.

Then I finished reading Ready Player One by Ernest Cline recently, and was reminded again of what a debut novel should read like: an opening, forceful statement of intent from a new novelist, one that brims with so much promise, and whose debut novel is filled with the idea that “playing it safe” is a fool’s errand. Clearly, Ernest Cline skipped class the day that lesson was taught, and thank the gods for that, because had Ernest Cline played it safe, Ready Player One would simply be another run-of-the-mill sci-fi tale. By not playing it safe, Ernest Cline has weaved a hilarious, heart-racing, smile-inducing pop-culture thrill ride, a love letter to nerd culture and 80s-era nostalgia, and a game inside a story that’s hard to put down. If you’ve read this novel, then you know what I’m talking about. In other words, this is one hell of a debut novel because it goes for something far greater than the sum of its parts. It dares to be far more ambitious than it should be, and it works. Ready Player One isn’t perfect by any means. It relies way too much on backstory, which for the sake of this novel is a necessary evil, and relying on backstory can threaten to grind a novel down to a halt. Thankfully, this doesn’t happen in Ready Player One.

I thought of some of my favorite debut novels: Fight Club, by Chuck PalahniukWhite Teeth, by Zadie SmithThe Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon, and Catch-22, by Joseph Heller. What if Chuck Palahniuk’s agent told him to play it safe, and lose the whole plot twist about Tyler Durden and the narrator being the same person? Certainly Palahniuk’s ruminations on commercialism, masculinity, and materialism wouldn’t have had the same heft and anarchic glee to them. What if Joseph Heller’s publisher told him, “Forget it, you need to make Yossarian less crazy and more likeable?” It’s possible these conversations took place. Clearly, if they did, these authors dug their heels.

I admit the comment the group member made about playing it safe later irked me to no end. I found it to be extremely discouraging advice, even if it was given under the best of intentions. I’m careful not to give advice that’s too lofty or unattainable; I got the sense that the writer of this Tsarist Russia YA conspiracy novel definitely had lofty ambitions in mind, but needed help shaping his vision. So why tell him to tone his ambition down? I don’t want to see him needlessly give up on something he’s been passionate about, something he’s clearly done a ton of research on, just because it’s not “marketable.” Let him decide that for himself.

Mind you, I’m not dumping on agents or editors or other writers for dispensing this advice. Sometimes an author not playing it safe is an author being self-indulgent, and a good agent needs to call bullshit sometimes. But sometimes this advice can be misguided. I’m not saying the rule of “playing it safe” is wrong, but it’s a rule worth breaking when writing your first novel.

Guest Blog: Small Pleasures: Why I’m Not Going Crazy Editing Boring Stuff by Joshua Grant

Joshua Grant is a technical editor who primarily works on nonfiction. You can find his blog at

His email is Check out his blog for great tips and tricks and stories about his own writing and editing journey!

At a recent family get-together, I tried to explain to my sister what I do:

“I edit. Mostly technical and sciencey stuff. Reports and things. Sometimes presentations.”

“Wow, that sounds boring,” she says. And it is—sort of. It’s not fun like editing fiction, much less writing fiction. But it’s also not devoid of its own pleasures.

You might get the sense from Ms. Harvey’s posts that editing is all about jetting around the world and editing out people’s extra dragons (okay, maybe not just that, but something like it). But it’s not all excitement (and fiction). A lot of us work with stuff that isn’t fiction, or even creative non-fiction. For certain reasons, my young editing career has detoured down this road, to technical documents, academic papers, financial proposals, whatever. I hope you’re not bored already.

Sure, fiction is fun, full of (hopefully) engaging characters and (ideally) compelling situations rendered in (possibly) interesting prose—all things that “boring writing” lacks. It could drive one a little crazy, but there’s a trick. I have to appreciate the beauty in clean, clear, simple prose. Prose that de-complicates complicated processes or communicates its ideas as quickly as possible. Prose that works.

Editing fiction/poetry/creative non-fic has been a dream of mine, but because the paying market for these things is thin (pro-writers are connected to specialized editors, and many newer authors balk at the notion of… well… paying), I’ve found an okay place to rest and work for now, a place to expand from.

It helps that I’m maybe pathologically obsessed with language and style. I’ve managed to find the same pleasure in editing out a comma splice in a piece of technical writing as I would in a story. Clean, strongly parallel prose feels good in any genre.

It helps that I’m curious about how the world works, and come to every fresh project with the mindset, okay, today I’m going to learn about mine engineering. Or financial consultancy. Or first aid training. Or whatever. I come to most projects with a fresh mind, and get to learn as I go, while correcting style and grammar. It’s kind of like being in a gelato shop where I get to test all the flavours, and then proofread their menu. A dream. I also get to learn about how certain professions teach their workers to write—I’ve edited engineering reports where 9 sentences out of 10 are in the passive voice. Yulp! What does that say about how engineers look at the world? Maybe nothing. What’s that say about how they write? Perhaps there is some truth in stereotypes. I feel needed.

It also helps that, with boring writing, the writer and editor tend to share a very specific and concrete goal: to produce a document that communicates certain information to a certain audience in the easiest possible way. This is, believe me, a much, much simpler and less frustrating goal than “expressing oneself” or “advancing the plot to the final battle scene.” If I query a particularly opaque term, saying “Is this common industry terminology? Revise to ___ if not,” I know I’m not putting the kind of hooks into the author that I might be if it were a creative work. No tears will be shed over my brusque queries. Not this time.

Guest Blog: Writers and Editors, Friends and Foes by Kimberly Klemm

Thank you and welcome to Kimberly Klemm ( )!


I have worked in the Technical Writing industry for eight plus years as both a contributing writer and a Senior editor.  The relationship between writers and editors can be likened unto a romance, a terminal illness, and a business partnership.  Writers and editors can be both friends and foes, and usually everyone is happy if a satisfying product is produced.  From my own experience there are a few tips for both writers and editors that can assist the process of producing written works and that may help keep the metaphorical daggers off of the table.


When working with editors:

  •   Always send your best version of a “clean” copy.
  •  Draft, draft, and revise BEFORE the editor sees your work.
  •  DO NOT take edits personally.
  •  Refuse edits you do not agree with, sometimes you will be correct.
  •  Negotiate your refusals; DO NOT dictate.
  •  Show appreciation for those who increase the value of your work.


When working with writers:

  • Remember you are working with a writer and not just copy on the pages.
  •  ADMIT to occasionally making a mistake.
  • STAND YOUR GROUND; you are an authority.
  • Never re-write work that belongs to another writer (unless asked and agreed to).
  •  Edit more than once.

These are just some of the tips that, put into practice, can ease the strain between creating and crafting.  Wearing both the writer’s hat and the editor’s eraser, I have come to respect both roles as necessary together for truly top-notch writing.