Category Archives: Publishing

Editing Your Book

Maxpixel – CC0 license

Every manuscript needs to be edited, and not just by the author. Sure, self-editing is an important step in manuscript preparation, but it’s not the final step if you want to be proud of your published work.

We authors simply can’t catch all of our own mistakes. We tend to read what we think is there, rather than what is actually there, which makes us terrible proofreaders. Plus, truth to be told, we may not have a perfect grasp of grammar and usage.

That’s where a second set of eyes can be invaluable. A friend, associate or, ideally, professional editor can catch mistakes we’d never see, and elevate the level of the final result.

If you’re being traditionally published, your contract comes with an editor. But if you’re self-publishing, editing is just as important, because now Amazon allows readers to report errors in self-published books, and takes that into account in the rankings that govern your sales.

There are many levels of editing, and the cost can be anything from free to a thousand dollars or more. As with anything, you tend to get what you pay for. This excellent article describes the different types of editing, and provides many resources for finding an editor who matches your needs and budget:




New Book: Writing Young Adult Fiction

After two years of editing(!) Dani’s and my new book, Writing Young Adult Fiction, is about to be published. As one of our fans, I’d like to extend this special pre-publication offer to you: get the Kindle book for just $2.99, or get it for free when you purchase the paperback.

My favorite part of the book is our spirited back and forth discussion of our favorite YA novels, where we explore everything that makes them great, from plot to covers. And of course, that makes it a great source of inspiration for your own Young Adult novel.

Order the paperback here and get the Kindle book for free.

Or order the Kindle book by itself for just $2.99.

After this pre-publication special the price will go up, so take advantage of this insider tip now. Of all our books, this is my favorite!

Oh, and if you take advantage of this, could you leave a review on amazon? That’s how books get sold.



Audiobooks are another great way to sell your work

Audiobook recording setup — sometimes purring can be a problem…

Every month I receive a statement showing my latest audiobook sales, and it always amazes me. When I first decided to turn several of my books into audiobooks, I did it as much for fun as in hopes of making big sales. But month after month and year after year the income keeps coming. Now I’m so glad I did it.
Sure, one of my businesses involves audio/video products, so it wasn’t that hard for me to make an audiobook. But it’s actually not hard for anyone, with a little knowledge, to do it.

And unlike the ebook market, the audiobook market isn’t overcrowded, so they tend to sell themselves. My friend Derek Doepker has an audiobook that regularly sells over a hundred copies each month without ANY marketing on his part.

I’m doing a free webinar training with Derek on how you can turn your work into an audiobook, and create a new source of income. For those who’ve attended my webinars in the past, you’ll know that they are a rich source of information, not just a big commercial, so if you’re interested in creating an audiobook I urge you to attend.

Join us February 21st, 2018 at 11AM PST (2PM EST) by registering here:

We’ll cover:

  • How audiobooks are generating hundreds or even thousands of extra dollars in royalties for some self-published authors, all on auto-pilot.
  • How you can produce audiobooks on any budget, and distribute them from anywhere in the world (even outside the US and UK).
  • The critical facts to consider when deciding whether to outsource or produce your own audiobooks; these could save you thousands of dollars.
  • Where to find professional audiobook narrators if you don’t wish to narrate yourself.
  • The exact microphone, software, and equipment you need to produce top-quality audiobooks on a shoestring budget.

If you can attend live, Derek and I will answer all your questions. If you can’t make it live, register anyway, as there will be a replay later for those who register.

Register here:

See you there!



What Genres Do Literary Agents Want?

Since agents work on commission, they are looking for books they can sell and make money from. Those don’t necessarily match what books are the best sellers. Some very popular categories don’t sell for high contract prices, meaning less commission to the agent. Agents are looking for the high dollar contracts. If you want to appeal to an agent, these are their most common requests:

1 Young Adult
2 Fantasy
3 Literary Fiction
4 Children’s
5 Science Fiction
6 Thrillers/Suspense
7 Middle Grade
8 Romance
9 Historical
10 Women’s Fiction


Proofreading tips

Proofreading tips to help professional writers, students, or anyone that writes as part of their work day. Error free writing and typing is possible!

The skill of proofreading is necessary whether you are a student, a professional writer, or someone who creates lots of office memos. No matter the context in which you are writing, there are systematic procedures that you can follow to ensure you produce the best work possible.

There are three types of proofreading: Comparison, content, and format. A comparison proofread may not be applicable to every project you do. It applies to projects in which you have an original document you are copying from. This ‘original document’ could be your own handwritten notes, they could be a typed document that needs to be re-typed because a file was lost, or they could be a document with changes scrawled by hand all across the pages. A comparison proofing requires a word for word, character for character comparison of the new document and the old document. The purpose of this reading is to make sure that the exact same words and punctuation are in both documents. A comparison proofread is the first type of proofing that will take place.

For a content proofread, you may put aside the original document and focus on the new document. At this stage, you will be looking for correct sentence structure, logic, spelling, punctuation, and factuality. You will also be looking for consistency. If your memo says, “(s) he would be in violation of company policy” and then later states ” he/she would need to report the incident to the appropriate supervisor”, there is a consistency error. A change should be noted to use either “he/she” or “(s) he” consistently. The purpose of the content read is to make sure the document is correct and reads well.

Finally, a format proofread is performed. A format proofing is just what it sounds like. You are looking for a correct format and consistent format in the document. There are certain formatting conventions that are followed when typing, for example, a business letter. There may also be specific formatting rules when typing a memo for a company. An easy way to start a format proofread is to ‘scan the edges’ of the document and look for anything that sticks out and doesn’t look right. Then look at the overall page: Does it look balanced? For example, is the text consistently justified or consistently left aligned? Now scan the document and pay attention to the spaces instead of the words. Take out any extra spaces you find within the text. Finally, this is the time when you will check page numbers and footnotes, if applicable.

Give yourself ample time to go through each of these three types/stages of proofreading for the cleanest most professional resulting document. The following tips will help you do a more accurate proofing at any stage:

1. Always proof from a hard copy. Do not try to proof a document from your computer screen; you will miss many errors this way.

2. When marking the document, try using proofreader marks. If you are unsure of the proofreader mark for a particular correction, write out the change you want to make. Be clear and specific about your corrections, do not simply circle the errors.

3. When possible, do not proofread your own work. You know what you mean to say, so you are more likely to skim over errors. If you are able, get more than one person to proofread your work. Everyone has different strengths and they will find different errors.

4. Break down your tasks. When you are doing a content proofing, the number of things you need to look out for may overwhelm you. It is best to break it down into quicker, more specific proofreads rather than one big proofread. For example, do one proofing for spelling and punctuation, next proof the document for grammatical errors, then do a third content proofing for factuality and consistency.

5. When you are doing a comparison proofread, use a straight edge (such as a ruler or piece of paper) as a guide. If you carefully move the straight edge from line to line on the original document, you are less likely to miss omitted text in the new document.

6. During a proofing for spelling, try reading the document backwards. When each individual word is looked at, outside the context of a sentence, you are less likely to miss spelling errors.

7. After corrections have been made, don’t forget to proof the revised document. First check to see that all the corrections were made, then read over the document one more time to make sure you didn’t miss something the first time around!



A New Publisher Who Promotes Your Book

When JK Rowling first wrote Harry Potter, she couldn’t land a publishing deal. That’s right, the greatest money making book of our time was passed over repeatedly.

However, it was finally accepted…not because an editor actually read it, but because one of them gave the first chapter to his eight-year-old daughter and said, “Here, you read it.”

Not only did she read it, she begged for chapter two. She was hooked!

And so, a billion dollar industry was created.

This got me thinking about modern publishing, which is very much web-driven.

It doesn’t really matter much anymore what traditional publishers think about your book because brick and mortar stores are going away.

Today, it matters what readers think about your book. It’s what moves books to the top of the Amazon best-sellers list.

There’s a relatively new publishing company called Inkitt that I think is taking the right approach.

Inkitt creates a free copy of authors’ books that people can read using their app. If readers like the book, then Inkitt offers the author a publishing contract.

Authors then receive 25% of the book’s sales, which is a very generous contract.

But why would authors use Inkitt when they could just self-publish and keep all the proceeds? The reason is that Inkitt agrees to spend money promoting their authors’ books, and driving them to the top of Amazon’s rankings. Individual authors are usually not able to accomplish that.

This seems like a really good approach for new authors, especially if you are unsure about the details of formatting and self-publishing your book.

To get your book in front of Inkitt’s readers, all you need to do is upload the text to Inkitt’s site. If readers like it, you’ll be offered a publishing contract.

They accept all genres of fiction (but not fan-fiction). You can even submit already published books.

There are a few requirements:

  1. Your book must be 20,000 words or more.
  2. It can’t be a collection of stories or poems.

And…that’s it.

So, if you have a book that didn’t do well, or sales have started to dip, submit it to Inkitt and they’ll get it to their readers. You can even tell them to limit the number of free copies they allow their readers to read, just in case you’re worried.

If it works out, then you’ll have the option to sign a contract with them and let their professional marketing team get to work. There is no cost for this service — their revenues come from book sales.

Inkitt already has quite a number of successful authors. You can see some testimonials on their site.

Click here to visit their site and upload your books:


NaNoWriMo: Creating a Novel in 30 Days

November is National Novel Writing Month, when authors can sign up at and receive encouragement as they work to create a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. Hundreds of my students have successfully used NaNoWriMo to complete their first draft, so it’s a valuable tool.

It sounds like a lot of work, but you may be surprised how easy it is to create a novel in a month — if you approach that goal with the right strategy.

Here are my tips for how to succeed at NaNoWriMo:

  1. Don’t just start typing. If you do, you will get lost, hit a dead end, and give up. You must start with a plan, prepared even before NaNoWriMo begins.
  2. Start with a scene list. If you have a list of 50 to 100 scenes planned to get you from start to finish, then it’s easy to start writing each day, because you know exactly what you need to work on.
  3. Your scenes need to flow, so create them within a three-act structure. The easiest way is to use the nine checkpoints I teach in all my writing classes.
  4. To create a checkpoint structure you need to know your characters, especially your protagonist, so start by designing that character. Most importantly, you need to understand the flaw your protagonist must overcome to achieve the goal that drives your novel.
  5. Steps 2-4 may sound familiar. If you work through them in the opposite order — from character through checkpoint structure to scene list — you are following the path I teach in all my classes. With that done, success is just some dedicated effort away.
  6. So how much dedicated effort is that? If your scene list is ready to go at the start of NaNoWriMo, then you can focus on writing. 50,000 words is about 1700 words per day for a month. But you should write more than that, because Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or having relatives to entertain are all likely to get in the way as the month draws to a close. Plan on 2000-2500 words per day.
  7. How much writing time is that? Even if you can type very fast, you probably can’t “write” faster than about 20 words per minute. The great thing is that even if you can’t type very well, you can still probably write about 20 words per minute! That means you need to dedicate 90 minutes to two hours per day to writing during November. If that sounds like a lot, think about how much time you spend watching television. The easiest way to succeed at NaNoWriMo is simple: don’t watch any television in November!

If you follow these guidelines you’ll have a finished first draft by November 30.

Then what should you do?

Put it aside and enjoy the holidays. Then, on January first, create your own NaNoEdMo — that’s National Novel Editing Month! Polish it into a second draft and you’ll be ready for publication in February.

I’ve listed some course links with great discounts below, specifically for NaNoWriMo. The first three will get you ready for NaNoWriMo, and the last one will get you published in February.

Preparing for NaNoWriMo:

Novel Writing Workshop at 90% off (just $19)

Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy at 84% off (just $49)

Young Adult Fiction Writing Workshop at 90% off (just $19)

Publishing Your Finished Novel:

Publish Your Book Now! at 60% off (just $19)

Sign up today and you’ll have a completed novel on November 30th!


Publishers Who Accept Unsolicited Manuscripts


I’ll try to keep this list updated. Please let me know of any good or bad experiences with these by dropping me a note at [email protected]

Books for Adult Readers

Baen Books

Baen Books is a science fiction and fantasy publisher. It accepts unsolicited manuscripts for all books and prefers electronic submissions through its manuscript-submission form. Baen is very accepting of new authors and has a large e-publishing department.

Beacon Publishing Group

Beacon Publishing Group accept all genres of Fiction and Nonfiction.

D. X. Varos, Ltd.

We publish genre-fiction in the categories of science fiction, fantasy, mystery, and historical fiction. We also accept young adult submissions if they fit into these categories.

DAW Books

DAW Books is the science fiction and fantasy imprint of Penguin Books. It accepts unsolicited manuscripts and prefers them in paper form. It will respond in about three months and will not consider simultaneous submissions.

Chicago Review Press Fiction, Nonfiction, Memoirs

Dream Big Publishing 

Dream Big Publishing is looking for fiction works. Full length novels – 20,000  words and up, 120,000 + words, if applicable for the work, may be split into separate novels.  Short stories are acceptable. No non-fiction.

– Romance
– Historical
– Dystopian
– Erotica
– Paranormal
– Zombie
– Fantasy

Harlequin Romance


Inkitt creates a free copy of authors’ books that people can read using their app. If readers like the book, then Inkitt offers the author a publishing contract. Authors then receive 25% of the book’s sales.

Joffe Books

  • Thrillers, Mysteries, Detective, Romance, Horror, Suspense, and Literary Fiction are favorite genres
  • Great books which say something interesting about the world as you see it
  • We prefer full-length novels

Kellan Publishing

Kellan does not charge authors, and provides limited cover design, editing and marketing advice services.

Kensington Publishing Corporation

Zebra:  Kensington’s flagship imprint publishes nationally bestselling women’s fiction, romantic suspense and bestselling historical, paranormal and contemporary romances.

Brava:  Publishes popular contemporary romances.

Pinnacle:  Publishes bestselling thrillers, westerns, horror and true crime titles.  Among Pinnacle’s western bestselling authors is William W. Johnstone, the country’s most popular western writer.

Citadel is Kensington’s non-fiction imprint.  Citadel publishes acclaimed memoirs and books about popular culture, past and present.

Aphrodisia:  Launched in January 2006, Aphrodisia publishes an extremely diverse and popular line of erotic romances, ranging from historical, to paranormal, contemporary, ménage, bdsm, and more.  Quality writing, a fascinating variety of sexual relationships, and a willingness to push the boundaries of explicit content far beyond those of traditional romance is what Aphrodisia offers the adventuresome reader.

Dafina:  Launched in the fall of 2000, Dafina is the leading publisher of commercial fiction written by and about people of African descent.  The word Dafina, which is Swahili for an unexpected gift or treasure, reflects the imprint’s mission:  to share the gift of storytelling.  Dafina Books has established itself as a publishing home for dynamic stories for adults in genres as diverse as women’s fiction, street lit, romance, and inspirational fiction.  In 2006 Dafina expanded its program to include books for teens.  Dafina Books publishes over eighty books a year in hardcover, trade paperback, mass market and eBook.

KTeen Kensington:  Launched in the spring of 2011, Kensington Kteen focuses on publishing a wide variety of exciting, commercial teen fiction with positive messages, cutting-edge stores and all the drama, humor, and fantasy teens love.

KTeen Dafina: Under the imprint Dafina Kteen we publish romance, mystery, paranormal, and street lit for teen readers.

  Launched in the summer of 2012, eKensington is a digital imprint that publishes in many genres, including:  women’s fiction, romance, urban fantasy, thrillers and mystery among others. eKensington offers a new platform for Kensington’s established authors and a fresh way to launch authors and introduce readers to burgeoning new talents in all their favorite genres.

Rebel Base Books: 
Not for dudes only!  But guys really seem to dig these manly books, which gleefully push the limits of taste, humor, and snarkiness.

Lyle Stuart Books: 
Learn how to win at poker, blackjack, and more with advice from the pros, including Gus Hansen, John Vorhaus, and Lou Krieger.

Holloway House: Holloway House publishes legendary street lit fiction that has set the standard for the genre.
They feature material that is both edgy and provocative in any era.

Lyrical Press: Founded in 2007 by Renee Rocco, Lyrical Press offers readers a rich catalog of titles ranging from tender contemporary romances and edgy erotic paranormals to suspenseful thrillers and shocking science fiction. Authors can expect a personalized publishing experience from Lyrical Press, where the relationship between the author and publisher is understood to be symbiotic. When the authors succeed, the house succeeds.

Koehler Books

Imprints: Battle Flag, Beach Murder Mysteries, Cafe con Leche (Coffee with Milk), High Tide. They offer a booklet about all aspects of publishing, including self-publishing and offering paid services:

NCM Publishing

NCM Publishing publishes all genres of fiction, non-fiction, self-help and young adult fiction.

Regal Crest Non-Fiction

Topics of interest to both alternative (GLBTQ) readers as well as mainstream readers including, but not limited to humor, popular culture, current events and politics, psychology, erotica, education, health, sports, travel, pets, biography and memoir, social issues, and history. We are also interested in anthologies and How-To books (such as writing instruction), and depending upon the approach, we may also be interested in topics in the fields of business, sociology, and religion.

Science Fiction and Fantasy Publications

Sky Horse Publishing Non-Fiction

Poets and Writers Small Presses Database for Poets and Writers 

Search for small publishers who publish poetry or collections of poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction (memoir), etc. You can filter the genres and it will show you your choices.

Books for Adults and Children

Arthur A. Levine Books

August Books

Adult books about storytelling and collections of folktales.

Children’s books – Original folktales

Chronicle Books

Chronicle Books were not recommended by Preditors and Editors. I think it wise to research the internet for complaints and decide  for yourself before placing judgment.

Free Spirit Publishing (Children, Teens, Parents, Educators, Counselors)

Free Spirit Publishing publishes high-quality nonfiction books and learning materials for children, teens, parents, educators, counselors, and others who live and work with young people.

MuseItUp Publishing

Romance – everything from: romantic comedy, contemporary romance, fantasy romance, historical romance, paranormal romance, romantic suspense, western romance, sweet romance, sci-fi romance, time travel romance

Paranormal – Fantasy –  we love vampires, ghosts, witches, werewolves and shape shifters…and dragons

Mystery – Suspense -Thriller – captivate us with the pacing of your novel. Hint: we love cozy mysteries

Young Adult – we’re big fans of the Potter & Twilight series but seeking a unique voice for this target group

MuseItYoung – this division is for our tween crossover chapter books for 10 – 14 year olds – NO PICTURE BOOKS

Horror & Dark Fiction – scare the living daylights out of us with your settings, dialogue, and characters – not with blood and gore and missing human parts. Use the power of your writer’s voice to draw images that will leave readers sitting at the edge of their seats.

Science Fiction – do you have a fantasy/romance/paranormal/etc. set in another planet? Fleshed out your otherly world? Then give us a shout.


For children’s picture books, send full manuscript.

For all others, send either full manuscript OR table of contents plus three sample chapters.

Peachtree does not accept query letters where no manuscript is included.

Peachtree currently publishes the following categories:

Children’s fiction and nonfiction picture books, chapter books, middle readers, young adult books

Education, parenting, self-help, and health books of interest to the general trade

PublishingHau[5] (pronounced “publishing house”)

Publishing startup focused on publishing non-fiction Kindle books and providing web-searchable versions to Google to make their content more findable by readers.

Sky Azure Publishing (Teen, Young Adult, Adult)

A small independent publisher based in Cornwall in the United Kingdom. We are a traditional royalty-paying publisher, accepting electronic submissions now from authors, irrespective of previous publication history or genre. They are not accepting non-fiction (Feb.2016).

Sterling Publishing

Woodbine House

Mostly publishes books for parents of special needs, but said they would look at submissions for children’s books, too.

Book for Children

Albert Whitman & Company

Picture book manuscripts for ages 2-8.

Novels and chapter books for ages 8-12.

Young adult novels.

Nonfiction for ages 3-12 and YA.

Art samples showing pictures of children.



Charlesbridge offers free activities and downloadable items.

Curious Fox

Curious Fox does not publish picture books

Dawn Publications

Dawn publishes “nature awareness” titles for adults and children. Our picture books are intended to encourage an appreciation for nature and a respectful participation in it. We are seeking to inspire children as well as educate them. An inspired child is a motivated.

Dial Books For Young Readers 

Flashlight Press

Flashlight accepts only picture books.

Guardian Angel Publishing 

Kane Miller EDC Publishing

Just Us Books and Marimba Books (Multi-Cultural Children’s books)

Click on Contacts and scroll down for submission guidelines.

Lee & Low Books (Children of Color)

Lee & Low Books publishes books for children and young adults with a multicultural theme. All manuscripts must be aimed at children of color, with an authentic voice. They accept submissions from new authors through regular mail. They accept no email submissions.

Little Pickle Press Middle Grade and Young Adult

Mighty Media

Onstage Publishing chapter books, middle grade novels and young adult novels

Saguaro Books, LLC (Middle and Young Adult)

Saguaro Books, LLC is a publisher of middle grade and young adult fiction by first-time authors. They also accept unsolicited manuscripts.

Sky Pony Press

Tall Tails Publishing House

Small independent children’s press, Krystal Russell, Phone: 918-770-9923,


Literary Agents Representing Young Adult Fiction

Are you writing a Young Adult novel? Have you finished a Young Adult novel, and are now looking for an agent to secure a book deal and get that manuscript on to shelves?’s AgentInbox has agents that specialize in Young Adult/Juvenile fiction. Go here to see the full list of the agents on AgentInbox.

Here are a few of the YA agents and their perspective on the genre.

Susanna Einstein, LJK Literary Management: Susanna has worked in publishing since 1995 and is one of the founding agents at LJK. In an interview with Guide to Literary Agents, Susanna explained her attraction to YA books:“The opportunity to be involved in that process where kids and teens discover their own favorite books is one that I couldn’t pass up. And there’s a joy and creativity in the children’s/YA market that is less present, or at least less visible, in the adult market.  I also think, perhaps naïvely, that there’s a sense of purpose, of good work being done, in finding and selling books that young people will want to read, and that’s important to me.”

Check out Susanna’s WEbook profile.


Mollie Glick, Foundry Literary + Media: Mollie began her publishing career as a literary scout, advising foreign publishers regarding the acquisition of rights to American books. She then worked as an editor at Random House before becoming an agent. When asked what qualities she looks for in a first-time YA author, Mollie said:

“I really enjoy learning something new with every project I take on. And really, what I’m looking for in anything I take on is the same. I’m looking for a book with a unique voice. I’m looking for a great plot and great characters that convey a bigger idea. And I’m looking for a book I can’t put down.” 

You can see Mollie’s WEbook profile here, or check out one of her best known clients’ book, Promise of the Wolves.


 Tamar Rydzinski, Laura Dail Literary Agency: Tamar worked at Sanford J. Greenburger Associates prior to joining the Laura Dail Literary Agency. She is also one of the honorable PageToFame Judges. In a guest blog post at Magical Musings, Tamar talked a bit about her experience representing YA:

“When I started [as an agent], I had never read anything but very literary young adult novels. Now I can’t get enough of them, and I am not talking about the literary stuff. I never would have thought that I would be representing fantasy as it wasn’t a genre I had grown up reading. And that’s the beautiful thing about publishing and books in general. There is just so much learning, exploring and discovery available.”

To learn more about Tamar, check out the PageToFame Judges video.