Vanity publishing is dead. Crappy publishing isn’t.

30 years ago, there were only two ways to get your book published: one, by a trade publisher like Random House or Penguin and two, by a vanity publisher. Books in those days could only be produced in printed form and could only be sold in bookshops or, in the case of a vanity published book, by the author direct.

vanity publishing versus professional self publishing

It’s not hard to tell the difference between a professionally produced book, and a crappy one

Many people today believe that anything other than traditional trade publishing is vanity publishing.

But it’s not. Truthfully.

The internet and digital technology have turned the entire book publishing world upside down and opened up a number of new options not only in how to produce a book, but also in how and where to sell it. [Read more…]

How to write a simple nonfiction book plan

Does the thought of writing a nonfiction book scare you witless? It needn’t! With the right planning you can simplify the process so it becomes a series of manageable, do-able stages or layers if you like … rather than one mammoth and seemingly insurmountable project. (And this can even work for fiction, too.)

simple way to plan a book

Planning each chapter and section of your book is a little like pegging laundry out on a clothesline…

The beauty of devising and producing a plan of your own is that it’s tailored absolutely to your own needs. Another of its beauties is that you build it up slowly, step by step – this process always reminds me of hanging laundry out on a line: you keeping pegging clothes out in clusters until you have everything hung out neatly! (Well, I do, anyway, although these days I cheat and use a tumble dryer.)

So here’s how you start: [Read more…]

How not to write book reviews on Amazon

Much gnashing of teeth has been heard recently from the bottom-feeders of the book publishing world, about the rather sensitive topic of Amazon reviews.

how not to write book reviews

If you go to the trouble of setting up the review of a book you’ve read (whether on Amazon or elsewhere) your job is to give an honest opinion of it…

There have been several years of laughable scams – too many to document here but voici a few examples to refresh your memory:

Book publishing – scams are alive and well and living in the USA, part 1

Book publishing – scams are alive and well and living in the USA, part 2

Book publishing scams – three stinky examples

Although it took a while, Amazon finally lost its sense of humour a while ago, tightened up the regulations, and stopped allowing obviously fake reviews. No longer will people be able to get reviews from willing workers in countries where English is hardly spoken at all, members of their own family (using the same last name), one person with 18 Amazon accounts in fake names, etc. etc.

But still the scammers wriggle their way around the rules

[Read more…]

A complete novel writing course here on HTWB – for nothing

I was scrolling through the series of 30 novel writing tutorials we published here on HTWB a while ago and thought how difficult it was to find them in order, so I have listed them all here for you to use. It will make it a lot easier for you to go through the course in the correct order. As always, there’s no charge.

writing fiction on HTWB
It’s an excellent course written by novelist and publisher Lucy McCarragher, who re-edited and eventually turned it into a book [Read more…]

Why print newspapers are not good for alternative facts

Every year when I come “home” to Canada and stay with my uncle and aunt in Toronto, one of my greatest treats is to read a real newspaper.

Alternative facts are harder to write in paper newspapers

Does the ethos of old-fashioned print newspapers make it harder for “alternative facts” to be believed?

Not the digitally erstatz version of The Times or the The Daily Mail or The Washington Post or any other online me-too news resource that doesn’t fool anyone into thinking it shares similarities with the real thing… [Read more…]

U.S. English vs. British English – What’s the Difference, Anyway?

“Two countries divided by a common language” … so said, allegedly, the great George Bernard Shaw. But is it true? San Francisco based freelance writer Laura Buckler shares her take on this evergreen debate, this time from an American’s point of view (rather than mine!) Here’s Laura…

US vs British English

The Brits are not the only ones to blame for changing the English language.

I spent a month in London. They mocked my English. In fact, a few people said I wasn’t speaking English at all. They said I spoke “American.”

Hey: I’m not angry. It was actually funny to see them laughing at my accent just as we laugh at Brits over here. [Read more…]

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