About Suzan St Maur – best-selling author, author coach, publishing and marketing consultant

Do you have a great idea for a book, but don’t know how to go about writing and producing it?
Does writing a book seem a lovely idea, but such a large project is a bit scary – especially if it’s your first one?

Or … do you want to start a bit smaller with one or more booklets – and/or eBooks – to establish yourself and your credibility with a lesser commitment (and reduced cost?)

Get your book written and published - without the scams

That wonderful feeling when your new book is actually published and out there…me with my latest. (And over-bleached hair – apologies.) Photo by Kate Everall  https://www.kateeverallphotography.com/

Do you wonder if there’s an audience for your book idea, and how to tailor it to appeal?
Have you explored the idea of using a book publishing service but been scared off by publishing scammers? (And there are many…)

The help you need to write your book and get it out there

The bad news, is that writing a book today just adds to the millions of books out there all fighting for attention on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, other online outlets, plus the few large bricks-and-mortar outlets that still manage to keep their heads above water.

The good news, is that there are now several more ways to publish a book and none of them carry the old-fashioned stigma of “vanity publishing.

In fact, self-publishing (or co-operative publishing) often is by far the most attractive way for authors to make some money from their book sales, depending of course on the book, its captive and extended audiences, and the author’s opportunities to promote it.

I’ve been working on an entirely new model of service to help new and not-so-new authors get their books written and published in ways that work – not by smoke-and-mirrors fancy “publishing services,” but by real professionals who have real skills and who have real expectations about payment, rather than trying to sting new writers. (But see below.)

Fine and dandy for nonfiction. What about fiction?

At long last, getting fiction published has climbed up over the barbed-wire barriers of snotty-nosed literary agents who only had their percentages and reputations with major publishers at heart. Very few literary agents are willing to take a flying chance on a book that doesn’t fit into the mainstream because, well, they have mortgages and bills to pay. They seldom are risk-takers.

Yet often it’s the risky fiction books that get somewhere. One of life’s little ironies.

Anyway now you can publish fiction yourself and with the right promotion techniques (not expensive) a self-published novel can sell well within its genre, and if so may well be picked up by a major traditional publisher to take forward. Remember, “50 Shades Of Grey” originally was self- published. And look where that led its author.

A whole book is a lot. What about eBooks and short books/booklets?

No problem. These are shorter, more concise, and offer both you and your readers/customers/prospects the chance to gain from your knowledge without reading through a full-length book.

Obviously they don’t require as much writing as full-length books, too.

However, as someone once said (attributed and paraphrased variously to Mark Twain, Abraham Lincoln, W. Somerset Maugham, even me Heaven forbid…) “it’s a lot harder to write a short piece than it is to write a long one.”

Ergo, writing shorter is harder. It needs some help to make sure it compresses your messages into sharper prose without losing momentum or meaning.

Given my marketing writing background I can bring your editorial information down to whatever fits: even short, bite-sized messages that demonstrate your expertise effectively: perfect for short eBooks and booklets that underpin your credibility in your field.

So what are the catches?

There aren’t many, as long as you know about the scammers out there.

And there are loads. Why?

It probably boils down to the way we authors regard our books almost like they were our children. Especially our “first-born.”

Because many of us look upon writing and publishing a book as a major feat in our business or personal lives, the whole process opens up our vulnerability to scammers who understand how much this all means to a victim, and they work tirelessly to drain you of as much money as possible.

They start off by inveigling you in at a relatively low entry-point, but then wind you up into more and more services without which your book can’t possibly succeed.

Needless to say they don’t sit down with you and work out the whats, whos, wheres, whys and hows of your book concept to start with, which of course can dictate a simple and cost-effective strategy not only for getting the book written, but also for its promotion either into the traditional trade publishing arena, the self-publishing route, or the various hybrid routes available today.

OK. Why you and your colleagues?

As many of you know I’m a prolific author with more than 30 published books out there, some of which have been organic #1 best sellers on Amazon. FYI, that means those books got to their #1 slots on their own merits – not via the hype scams so many disreputable publishers use today.

Most of my titles have been nonfiction/business (plus several joke books!) but I’m now launching into fiction, and humorous poetry with my first volume, “Mischieverse,” out now. I’m also nudging into writing short horror stories and hope soon to have published my first novel, an adult humorous fiction title.

You might like these categories here on HTWB:
Writing Books (57 articles)
Writing Fiction Without The Fuss (45 articles)
Music and Poetry (157 articles)

Having worked across all types of book publishing I’m able to offer experienced advice on options to new authors. What’s more, given my background as a marketing writer and content strategist, the help I offer new authors includes a high level of book marketing expertise – such a critical part of a book’s success today.

What if I don’t want to self-publish?

No problem at all. The majority of my books were and are being published by conventional trade publishers, as you’ll see if you scroll down a bit, so I know the culture well.

If you want your book to go this route, I will organise research to find the most appropriate publisher for your type of book, and then figure out their submission guidelines. Many nonfiction publishers (and some of the smaller fiction publishers) accept online submissions which makes the process easier and a little faster, although the traditional publishers still do not exactly travel at the speed of light.

I have won several contracts with my submission documents (it helps having my background as a marketing writer!) so with luck I can do the same for you.

Can we be sure you’re not a scammer?

Yes. Why else do you think I don’t include my home address in England here on this site? I don’t want my house burned down by the scammers I loathe – and write about. LOL!

Basically because I have written extensively about them here on HTWB and, particularly as many of them have approached me as an author and tried to con me into their evil schemes, I have no hesitation in exposing them. They have tried (but failed) to rip me off, but have successfully ripped off several author friends of mine.

This may be an era of “dog eat dog,” but we authors need to maintain the integrity we work so hard to preserve.

(And to get talking about your book, drop me a note on suze@suzanstmaur.com. No promises of fame and fortune, but an honest opinion, some candid advice, and who knows – maybe another best-seller one day.)

And the back story …

Suzan St Maur

“Moi” – nice pic, huh. Great job done by my talented photographer god-daughter,
Kathryn Hardman

Canadian born Suzan St Maur (a.k.a. “Suze”) was transported to the UK when a child and despite resultant cultural challenges managed to leave British secondary school with three decent “A” levels and no talent for anything other than writing, so her career options were fairly clear cut.

After serving a full journalism apprenticeship on a provincial newspaper, she attended and graduated from the then-famous Watford Art School advertising writing course and worked in London ad agencies as a copywriter for a few years, before deciding she was far too bolshie to be an employee and so became a freelancer.

Suzan St Maur

Note the “Canada Rocks” shirt – funny little person on it is an Inukshuk, an Inuit signpost made out of, er, rocks.

While comfortably paying her mortgage and bills her work took off into the areas of business theatre and corporate video, in which disciplines she became the Grandma Moses of corporate script and speechwriting for many years.

Suze also developed useful skills as a conference and video producer, largely in emergencies caused by the actual practitioners’ bunking off through illness, drunkenness, excessive use of recreational substances, etc. It’s amazing how fast you can learn to do a job if the person who should be doing it is in la-la-land …

These days Suze enjoys consulting, writing, editing for and coaching clients in addition to running her other business interests, writing her own books, blogs and articles, plus giving blogging workshops, radio interviews, etc., on how to make your writing and book publishing more successful. 

“It was this work which inspired me to create
HowToWriteBetter.net, so I could share my experience
and skills – plus those of some talented colleagues – with an even wider audience.”

Suzan St Maur

Suze with her friend Merrylegs
(pony is on the left…)

Suze’s published books include:

Photos of Suze numbers 1 and 2 by Kathryn Hardman Photography, and with pony (“Merrylegs”) and Pony Lover’s Joke Book, by Aaron Wood Photography.

Personal stuff

As mentioned above, Suze has lived in the UK since she was a child. Her parents settled near Milton Keynes, Bucks and although Suze lived and worked in London for some years she returned to the Milton Keynes area in 1990.

Suze’s London days were “work hard, play hard” and Fulham, where she lived, will never be quite the same again. While there, for two years she had her own chat and music show on Charing Cross Hospital Radio and enjoyed that thoroughly. She also got involved in politics and helped with communications for one of the major parties at Westminster, as well as standing as a candidate in a London borough council election.


Suze’s son Tom, making Mom proud as always

Her son Tom was born in 1992 and after a “gap year” working for a major bank, attended The Leicester Business School/De Montfort University (UK) reading business management, economics and econometrics – from which he graduated in 2014 with First Class Honours. He is now working as a Business Development Manager for DHL Express and is really enjoying the experience of being in sales, which is pleasing as it’s such good training for anyone in business.

Until Tom went to Uni he was a drummer in various heavy metal rock bands, most of which would rehearse at the family home … noisy but good fun.

Apart from work, Suze is a keen horsewoman and helps at horse shows – specifically, dressage competitions – on weekends. Unable to ride for some years due to health problems (see below) she is now planning a horsey comeback – it’s just a matter of finding a horse that’s quiet enough, strong enough and stupid enough to carry her.

In 2003 Suze developed cancer of the bladder which was treated “conservatively” (i.e. with chemotherapy and immunotherapy and only minor surgery) until 2010 when her bladder, along with various other bits and pieces, was removed.

Not long after nursing her mother, who had terminal cancer, at home for 7 months while still running the business and parenting son Tom on her own, Suze developed a cancer of the breast – unrelated to the bladder cancer. She had a mastectomy in 2005 and underwent chemotherapy which resulted in a number of funny stories about wigs, prostheses and much more which Suze wrote about extensively in her eBook, How To Smile Through Cancer from which a percentage of sales goes to Macmillan Cancer Support, her favourite UK cancer charity.

These days Suze is Chair of the Milton Keynes Cancer Patient Partnership which consists of volunteers like her, as users of cancer services, working with the healthcare professionals and National Health Service (NHS) managers to improve the services delivered locally, regionally and nationally. Suze works on written communications, as well as peer review, environmental audits, training, and other projects. Allied to this Suze lectures on cancer survivorship to nursing and other medical university students.

In addition to this, Suze’s other interests include participating as a local business leader in Career Work Out sessions for Milton Keynes secondary (high) school students with the amazing Worktree charity … and regular guest lecturing for Careers-Action, a job club for managers and executives which has the highest rate of re-employment of any similar job club in England.

Suzan St Maur

Suze with Ozzy and LaWoof

Apart from her son and her family in Canada and Belgium (her mother was a francophone Belgian, hence Suze speaks French fluently) Suze’s great love is animals – particularly horses (see above), dogs and cats.  She has had various rescued dogs and cats over the years and as many of her friends know, she’s a soft touch for a “hard luck” story. However she did turn down one recent rehoming request – for a rabbit. With three dogs and two hard-hunting cats, its life expectancy would have been very short…

Thanks for reading!