So you want to become an author…

So you want to become an author…

That’s great!  Stop thinking about all the details behind becoming an author and just write.  Start where you are at and make a decision to make it happen.  Stop with the excuses because they haven’t been fulfilling you anyways.  Dedicate 15 or more minutes each day to writing, this is your time (preferably the same time each day so you form a habit).  You have the time, just eliminate some of your wasted time and turn it towards something you will get much more joy and fulfillment from.  Turn off the TV, drop the newspaper and spend a little less time on social media and get it done!

Only you can make your dreams come true but you are not going to do it with excuses.  Decide, persist and just make it happen!

Kit McCann, Author of the MOVING 4WARD series!


What about the book?


What about the book?


As we’ve moved into the digital age, the book has become iconic for many avid readers, a symbol of some past to which they cling as they decry the loss of print on paper to the new media.  This is understandable.  With every shift in cultural paradigms has come resistance from those who have become comfortable in the old ways.  This is no different than clinging to the horse and buggy with the advent of the automobile or insisting the Earth is flat while coercing those who have proved otherwise to renege.

There’s no need to mourn the loss of books printed on paper.  They’ll remain with us and continue to be made, though their role in human communication may become increasingly less important.  There will always be books and readers who prefer the tactile and even at times sensual experience of reading them.

While it may carry a certain sentimental value for many, this artifact we call a book is not what’s most important.  Far more important is the content, the stories and the knowledge found within the book.  In human history, the printed book is a relatively recent arrival, having existed for only about 600 years of humanity’s thousands of years existence.*  The content we now find in books has always been with us, communicated from person to person and culture to culture through various media, beginning with gestures, touch, and speech.

In recent decades, information has begun to inhabit and be communicated through an escalating variety of new post-book media, a mix which includes oral sharing reminiscent of older cultures without ever diminishing the advances in communication made since prehistory.  More and more, the collective conscious and the universal intelligence are being facilitated.  This doesn’t mean that books in print will disappear but that their primacy as our medium of communication will continue to decline as new media is developed and carries humanity into the future.

The artifact is not important.  If books go the way of papyrus and clay tablets, the stories will still be with us along with the knowledge they contain and the wisdom that comes with it.  Like books, the new media will enhance and support the memory we all share.  The method of transmission and sharing is not important so long as the content continues to grow and be shared.

Bob MacKenzie, Author of Another Eternity


What comes after the writing is done


What comes after the writing is done

So you’ve written your manuscript, slaved over every detail and edited it until you feel it’s perfect. Now what? Well, you’ve got a few options at this point. You can bury it in a box and never let the world see it or you can try and get it published. Odds are, if you’ve come this far you’ll want to see your work in print and you’ll want other people to read it, so what are you waiting for? Let’s get started!
Ok, now your options are to self-publish or to try the traditional route. Keep in mind, neither route is easy, but that’s not why we write, is it?
Self-publishing has its own winding path, but I’m going to talk to you today about the traditional route. A lot of people who have tried to get their works published traditionally through a publishing house will tell you that it’s a process that involves a lot of perseverance, hard work and luck.
There are ways to make the luck part seem a little more manageable, however.
Some people see submitting to publishing houses a little like buying a lottery ticket and hoping for the best. More lottery tickets, (or in this case, submitting to more and more publishing houses) and you’ll increase your chances at winning, right? Well, with publishing that’s not exactly the case.
It’s just as important to locate publishing houses that publish the type of book that you have written. If you write fantasy books, say, and you try to submit to a non-fiction, or biographical publishing house, your chances of that publishing house giving your manuscript the time of day is well… pretty much zero.
Publishers are looking to fill their catalog with certain kinds of books, because they are known in their market for publishing those certain kinds of books and that’s the audience they exist to reach. So they not only don’t want to read your fantasy book if they publish biographies, they can’t afford to publish something they don’t feel is going to sell to the audience they have established.
So, you’ve found a publishing house that fits your book’s genre and general audience (it’s important to know what that is, by the way…) and you’ve read their submission guidelines. It’s best to follow their instructions as best you can in order to be considered, so you’ve made up the synopsis they asked for and prepared the first three chapters for review. Great! Only now you have to write a query letter. You’ve got a stock query letter that you’ve prepared or a template that you’ve found online and filled in, but you really want this publisher to notice you above all the others, right? So, take my advice and personally tailor your query letter to the publishing house you are submitting to. It might just be enough to catch their attention and it will at least show the person receiving your submission that you did your research and have endeavored to send them material that they are looking to receive.
It might not get you published any faster, and you will most likely still have to wade through dozens of rejections to find the publishing house that is precisely what your manuscript needs to make it in the market, but if you follow this advice, at least you will be looking in the right places and you might save yourself and your future publisher a ton of hassle.
(ps. The same tips apply to finding yourself a literary agent if you decide to go that route.)
Happy hunting.

Justine Alley Dowsett, Author of Crimson Winter and Publisher at Mirror World Publishing





     The fuel you need to succeed in life, no matter what you are doing or the goal you are trying to reach, is the state or level of your “enthusiasm” that you maintain.  This will keep you excited about what you are doing and will spark thoughts and ideas flowing into your brain, igniting the human potential hidden inside of you.  You can do anything you want to if you use the fuel of enthusiasm to take you there.  Enthusiasm is the yeast that makes your thoughts, hopes and dreams rise up.   Enthusiasm is the spark in your eye, the spring in each step you take furthering you along the journey, each beat of your heart igniting the irresistible surge of your will and energy that executes your creative process.  Enthusiasm is at the bottom of all progress!  If you are not getting as much from life as you want to, then examine the state/level of your enthusiasm.  Perhaps you are running on empty and you don’t even know it.  If you are tired, no energy, and feel empty, you need to rest and refuel your enthusiasm.  Take a break and come back refreshed and refueled with a full tank of enthusiasm to begin again.  Success does not mean to rush or catapult yourself through your journey as fast as you can.  Relax and enjoy the journey in this way and you will have less struggles and frustrations to block you and hold you back.  Remember the most important key that you need to succeed is the fuel of enthusiasm and to check the level of the fuel often.  Happy fueling.

Lynn Fitzsimmons, Author of Step Out For Success


A few important questions to ask yourself before publishing a book


A few important questions to ask yourself before publishing a book

“Do your home work before publishing a book”
“Check out the market before publishing, do you have a market”
“How do you plan to sell your book and the retail price”
“Make sure it is your material only…remember copyright laws”
“Photographs and writings not yours get permission in writing”
“Find a good publisher…everything in writing is important”
“The additional costs like transportation, who delivers”
“Ask questions and do your research”
“Ask other authors about the pitfalls in publishing, the good and the bad”
“Bury your ego and ask questions about publishing a book”
“Don’t get caught with your pants down it is your money being spent”


Spike Bell, Author of Memoirs of a Border City – Windsor and Essex County
M.Photog. CPP MPA
Diamond Jubilee Medal 2013


Can You just Imagine?


Can You just Imagine?
Have you read your book at least one hundred times? Do you envision every scene and incident in your mind so real it plays in your head like a movie or TV show?
Silly question to any author, right?  We all play our story line over and over. But if you really think your book is movie, play, or TV worthy. I recommend you finding a good source and committing to a Hollywood Coverage document.
This professional document is written by a Hollywood screenwriter and your book will be read, and proofed to be given a grade for other adaptations. The book is given a Logline, which is the one sentence that encapsulates your entire story theme.  You will get a Rating on the Concept, Story, and Characters.  A Brief Summary comes next which is a paragraph to put it into perspective, along with a Synopsis which can be three to seven pages of your entire story boiled down to details and events. Finishing the document with Comments and Suggestions on your Concept, Story and Characters.
The recommendation for Adaptation is important and then the best medium for Adaptation is chosen for your work. The entire process takes months and this document gives you the “no” or “go” to present your work to Hollywood.
Once I received my Hollywood Coverage back on my book with an “A-” rating, I was off to Hollywood to represent my book. So if you have the courage and a few extra dollars to chance your story as a movie, play or TV show then rev up and jump I with both feet. Why stop now, writing is your expression and your audience may be waiting at the theater!
Enjoy the Journey, it’s the beginning of new frontiers!
Mischelle Endsley, Author of  “Heaven Sent” A Legacy of Love from Human, to Angel, to Canine


What are Literary Magazines Looking for? Why, Anagnorisis, of course!


What are Literary Magazines Looking for? Why, Anagnorisis, of course!
In order for a short story to be effective, there has to be believable motivations and dialogue, a plot with difficulties, complications, climax and a resolution, a well-chosen point of view, forward momentum, and effective characterization. But what is characterization? Characterization means developing a character in a reader’s mind, and this is how the reader identifies with the character.  It is done through dialogue, through description of the character by others (a good example is ‘Waiting for Godot’ by Samuel Beckett), and through character thoughts and actions. Stock or stereotypical characters should be avoided, and the character should develop in some way during the course of the story. This change is fundamental to most short stories. The main character realizes something about himself of herself that they didn’t know before (“anagnorisis” is the term!)  At the end of the story, this realization must be accompanied by some real-life action in order to solidify the change in the reader’s mind.
Christopher Canniff, Author of Abundance of the Infinite


Don’t Stop When You’re Finished… a Chapter that is


Don’t Stop When You’re Finished… a Chapter that is

I know that there is often a great feeling of satisfaction when a chapter has been completed. I finally got that scene nailed – what a relief!

But is it?

Now you are potentially faced with something worse – starting again! Now you have to deal with ‘where do I go next’? Even if you have a great outline (I’ll talk about that another time), I personally find starting a new chapter much more difficult than ending one in progress.

So my recommendation is wrap up that chapter neatly in a bow, at least until the read-through, and dive into the next one. I find that if I can get a few paragraphs started, or the beginning of some intriguing dialogue initiated, it is much easier to jump back in again when time once again avails itself. And since I’m not a full-time author, time doesn’t always play nice and let me get back at it the next day. Or the next week. By leaving the chapter started, it gives my brain something to chew on in a constructive fashion, such as how I want to write the next bit, not what will the next bit be.

By leaving the chapter just started, it gives me motivation to come back and get that one finished. And the next chapter started. And so on.

Do what works for you …


Dale Moore, Author of Ubiquitous Medical


Your First Book

Your First Book

To me, there is no better feeling than being able to sit down and write, or so I thought, until I held my very first published book in my hands, hot off the press. Now that was a feeling of accomplishment! Imagine working on a piece of material near and dear to your heart for months and months, wondering if you’ll ever get your message out to the rest of the world. After a lot of hard work and perseverance, suddenly it happened for me. I found myself standing in the foyer of the printer’s office, holding my first published book of nine. I was so overwhelmed, I was shaking. You too, can have this incredible experience. Everyone has a story to tell, whether it’s true, fiction, self-help, or children’s books. If you don’t know how to start, jot down point form notes of what it is you would like to write about. Before you know it, those point form notes will turn into paragraphs, and those paragraphs will turn into chapters of YOUR first book. Don’t be afraid to write exactly what you are thinking, you can always edit later. Just write! There is no right or wrong when you write from your heart. Get started today, and maybe we’ll see you at the next Windsor Essex Author’s Book Expo!

Cynthia Peters, author of the ‘Life With Darius’ children’s series, and memoir ‘2am Smoke’, owner of Hanna Books Inc.