Writers' Forum - May 2024

How to Pitch your Book to Libraries

Getting your Book into Bookstores

US Book Fair Compared to Fyre Festival After Chaotic Scenes

Kids’ Declining Reading – What to do about it.

How a Book Really Becomes a Movie

How to Pitch Your Book to Libraries So They See You as an Easy Win to Please Patrons

Kelly McClymer writes this informative article for the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association with a simple 'how to pitch your book' checklist. The main takeaway – libraries are looking for books their patrons will love. If you can show libraries why your book is a good fit for patrons, you have a winning pitch.

Getting your book into bookstores: Powerful advice from an indie store manager

Sandra Beckwith  features this interview with indie bookstore manager, Nicole Brinkley. Great advice here as well – not all that different than the pitch advice in the previous article, BUT key points here are setting the discount at the proper rate of 46 – 50%, making the book returnable, and having the proper price point that is similar to traditionally published books. Read it here:


US Book Fair Compared to Fyre Festival After Chaotic Scenes

This story was covered by nearly every major news outlet, but in the Yahoo News article David Millward details the poorly organized “Readers Take Denver” event, featuring Rebecca Yarros and many other well-known authors, that left many fans unable to get their book signed after having paid $300-$375 a ticket for the event. The Fyre Festival comparison references the fraudulent music festival in the Bahamas in 2017.  Read the full account here.


Not Lost in a Book: Why the “Decline by 9” in kids pleasure reading is getting more pronounced, year after year.

As an author of middle grade and young adult novels, I was saddened by the stats in the Slate article by Dan Kois. “Sales of middle-grade books were down 10% in the first three quarters of 2023, after falling 16% in 2022.” The reasons for this vary, but some of it is attributed to screen time and another interesting discussion focuses on reading curriculum changes that use more excerpts rather than “encouraging students to dive into a whole book.” Read more here.  

Not long after I read the article above, I came across “15 Re-readable middle grade novels that adults will love, too.” This is simply a delightful list of books I remember reading—many of which I own. I encourage you to pick out at least one of these books and re-discover the joy of books written for this age group. Better yet, if you’re lucky enough to have young people in your life, pick out a book and read it together this summer. 

How a Book Really Becomes a Movie

This seems like a complex and mysterious process – a book being made into a movie. And, in many ways it is. Jeanne Veillette Bowerman walks us through the “complicated paths by which a book really finds its way to the screen.” This article is offered by the Writer Beware website in answer to the many scam solicitations out there that are impersonating real production companies.


I’ll continue to have this section in the Forum as issues / articles pop up.

Why Amazon is Overrun with Plagiarism and AI Garbage

Jonathan Bailey writes for PlagiarismToday, giving us a thorough discussion (current and historical) of what Amazon does/doesn’t do to prevent the scam books from popping up and competing with the ‘real’ books by authors being targeted. It’s incredibly frustrating but we need to be informed. Read it here:


In a related article, you might want to read this article from Vox: Amazon is filled with garbage ebooks. Here’s how they get made.  https://www.vox.com/culture/24128560/amazon-trash-ebooks-mikkelsen-twins-ai-publishing-academy-scam

Voice actors, tricked by LOVO into creating AI replicas, file suit.

David Newhoff for The Illusion of More website details the class action lawsuit filed last week against AI developer LOVO, Inc. This is a story we’ve seen before with different defendants and complainants with an extra layer of subterfuge. Again—maddening.  

How to Bypass the AI search results that are clogging up your Google searches.

Have you noticed the AI garbage at the top of your google searches. (You will now—sorry!!) There’s a way to get your google to bypass AI generated results . . . instructions provided by Tedium.co. Good luck! 

Avoid, Persevere, Endure, Fight: 4 Goals for Unforgettable Opening Scenes

Love this article from Ayesha Ali on Jane Friedman’s blog .  . . are you struggling with your opening scene(s)? This ought to help you define your protagonist’s story goal—essential advice.

Book Tropes – two articles that help you define and use these to your advantage:

From Kindlepreneur: A Complete List of Book Tropes: Everything You Need to Know -- This article defines what a trope is, the most common ones across fiction, as well as whether you should be using these or not in your writing along with how to position different tropes to fit within Amazon categories.

From BookBub Partners: Tropes Readers Love in Speculative Fiction. As a speculative fiction writer, this was great fun to read and helped me define better which tropes belong with which categories from Horror to Fantasy.

5 Reasons You Should Consider Writing Your Memoir in Present Tense

Gina DeMillo offers this advice via Jane Friedman’s blog .  .  . and this is super interesting. I had just gotten this question in a webinar—whether you CAN write your memoir in present tense. I was a little stumped because I didn’t think I’d ever read a present-tense memoir. But this article is super, giving really good reasons for how to make this work for a memoir. I rather like the idea. It does something I’m always telling memoir writers they need to do—which is write your memoir using fiction writing plotting methods to make your personal story  an interesting page turner.


And if you’re writing memoir or plan to, this article from Rhiannon Richardson at the Good Story Company may be helpful: 3 Writing Practices to Make You a Better Memoir Writer

Define Negative Space in a Story

Deborah Ann Lucas presents this super interesting article which applies the artistic concept of negative space to writing. Neat way to think about this. I like how she suggests we do this with varying sentence and paragraph length, changing up the formatting, using gaps of time, and, ultimately, trusting your reader to fill in what you don’t explicitly tell them. Brilliant!

How to Lessen Distractions and Become an Organized Writer

As we head into summer months, I feel like we all struggle with the pull of other activities – particularly if you have the shift of school-age children being off of school. Hope these two articles help you out!

How to Become an Organized Author by Lorna Bailer for Kindlepreneur.com

Help! I’m Distracted from Writing by Amy Wilson for the Good Story Company

Keywords – keywords – keywords

Yes, they matter. Yes, you need to wrangle this for your own books. Here’s the latest info—updated for recent Amazon changes.

7 Kindle Keywords: Use All 50 Characters or Not (updated for 2024)

And a video on this same topic from Dave Chesson

Please note: I help authors with this if you’re struggling. Reach out to me if you want assistance.

Query Letter Writing Tips

After my recent agent search, I have gotten a few questions on how to write the best query letter. (FYI: I’ll be covering this in a session at this fall’s Wisconsin Writers’ Association Conference, co-presenting with Silvia Acevedo.) I find this guide from Reedsy to be a great guide. Check it out:


15 Book Promotion Ideas to Boost Your Sales and Reach

I’m always looking for nice succinct lists of tips for book promotion and this one for the BookBaby blog is quite good . . . it includes some pre-launch and post-launch tasks. Good list to begin with.  https://blog.bookbaby.com/how-to-promote-your-book/book-promotion/book-promotion-ideas

Also check out my Book Launch Basics blog series here with two articles out and six more to come, Part 1: Your Online Author Image and Part 2: Manuscript Readiness

3 Book Marketing Misconceptions and What to Do Instead

And, if the previous article made you start hyperventilating on all the things you’re supposed to do, this helpful advice from Angie Isaacs is a palette cleanser. LOL  I like the balanced approach here – you can’t (and shouldn’t) always be marketing (people hate that), and you can’t be everywhere and do everything (You’ll hate that)—this article provides real, actionable and easy-to-accomplish alternatives!

Best Book Promo Sites

If you’re a fan of promo stacking (or if you’ve never tried it before), you’ll want to check out this article from David Gaughran that explains promo stacking AND gives you his updated list of best sites to use. Essential reading!

Direct Selling

Don’t miss this podcast episode from Mark Dawson’s Self-Publishing Formula on selling your books directly to readers. Great info if you’re hoping to go this route.

50 Stellar Examples of Author Facebook Cover Photo Desings

It’s been a while since I’ve seen any Facebook-specific advice for authors, even though that’s a platform a lot of us continue to use to reach our readers. AJ Yee’s collection of cool FB cover photos from well-known authors gives some nice examples we might emulate.


BookBub Ads Strategies for Any New Release Goal

Do you have a new release this year? Check out this advice on how you can use BookBub ads to support that launch. What’s nice is that the article is segmented by your goal – whether that’s to ‘drive exposure,’ ‘increase engagement,’ or ‘achieve a positive ROI’ from your ads.


Always a big topic – author newsletters and email subscriber systems are an important part of an author’s promotion platform. Here’s the latest . . .

The Double-Edged Sword of List Building Promotions

Brenda E. Smith details the pros and cons of using a special promotion to gain new subscribers. These are the kinds of promos where free books are bundled together to gain new subscribers and the quality of these new subscribers can be suspect in that many just want the freebie but don’t really intend to be part of your audience long term. Good info to know in advance!

The State of Author Newsletters: Data from 500+ Authors

This is a really interesting survey of authors and how they use their newsletters—73% of those answering are self-published, and the majority are writing romance or Rom-Com followed by Fantasy, SciFi, or Horror. The average number of times they email out to their subscriber was once per month and the vast majority include updates about new books or cover reveals and recommendations of other authors’ books, followed by personal stories/updated and sneak peeks of new books. Worth a read to see all the info here:

How to Announce Your Book with an Email Blast

Sandra Beckwith at BuildBookBuzz helps you create this essential announcement email with eight easy-to-follow steps. Bookmark this!!


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