Thursday, December 31, 2015


Dialogue. The conversations between characters in a story. Without effective and true to life dialogue, a story or book is likely to fall flat. Dialogue needs to fulfill a specific purpose—it should not be random exchanges between the characters. It should provide important background information, advance the plot, or develop the characterization. A character's dialogue can also tell you a lot about where he/she is from, level of education, core beliefs, political leanings, etc.

Well-written dialogue will also distinguish one character from another. Each should have a particular speech pattern, use the same slang or cliches repeatedly, as well as any other speech characteristics that distinguish him from any other character. With very well-written dialogue, you should be able to tell who is speaking without any identification. Many beginning writers will include too much description and background information through narration, rather than letting the information flow from the dialogue. Another common problem is trying to find substitutes for “he said” or “she said.” In most cases it is best to stick with those, rather than saying “he moaned,” or “she giggled.” It is almost impossible to moan or giggle a sentence. And, in cases where it is obvious who is speaking, you don't need to identify the speaker at all. Some beginning writers also decide dialogue in a novel should be the same as regular conversation—including all the oohs, aahs, sidetracks, and repetition. The problem is if you recorded (or wrote down conversation as you hear it), you would usually find it incredibly boring and difficult to read. Good dialogue picks out a lot of the nuances of real conversation, but condenses it to its essence.

A lot of readers will judge how interesting a book is going to be by picking it up, opening it at random, and seeing how much dialogue there is. If they see long stretch of narration, they may put the book down and select another one. Part of writing dialogue includes adding the subtext that indicates what the speaker is thinking. For help in learning how to add this subtext, go to:

Wednesday, December 30, 2015


 Book and periodical publishers, open to freelance submissions, located in Canada. If you live in the U.S., but are interested in submitting to Canadian markets, there are things you need to know. First, many Canadian markets are not open to submissions from U.S. citizens. Their feeling is that most Americans write with the U.S. culture so deeply ingrained in their writing, it does not translate to the Canadian market. Also, when submitting to Canadian markets, you will typically submit by email. If sending by mail, you cannot put U.S. Postage on the SASE. The same is true for Canadians wanting to sell to U.S. Markets, although they may not have the same problem with the cultural differences. For information on ordering a copy of the Canadian Writer's Market, go to:

Thursday, December 24, 2015


Back-cover copy. The text appearing on the back of the book jacket for a hardback book, or on the back cover of a paperback book. It might include a teaser summary of the book; a few endorsements; and/or an author bio. This content is usually prepared by an editor at the publishing house using the information provided by the author, but in smaller houses, the author may be asked to write it. Usually the author will be given an opportunity to see and approve it before it goes to press. Since reading this often determines whether or not the potential reader buys or decides to read the book, it's important the information is correct and the comments on the book compelling enough to capture the reader's interest. If the publisher has someone else do the back cover copy, and you think you can do better, let them know, and write up your own version. Some authors will include the back-cover copy as part of their book proposal. For tips on writing persuasive back-cover copy, and some samples for various fiction genres, go to: For general tips on this topic, go to:

Tuesday, December 22, 2015


Q. I wrote an article on assignment for a magazine. They have already published the piece, so am I now open to selling reprint rights to different magazines?

A. I am assuming that you signed some kind of contract with the first publisher at the time you accepted the assignment. If that is true, then that contract will likely tell you what rights they purchased, plus spelling out any restrictions they might have on reprints. If you sold all rights, the article now belongs to them, and you are not free to do anything with it without their permission. If you think there are additional markets that might be interested in reprinting it, you can contact the original publisher and ask them if they will release the rights to you so you can sell it as a reprint. If they grant you that right, it may be with the stipulation that the reprint publishers carry it with the original publisher's credit line (which they will supply for you). If you sold them only first or one-time rights, you can go ahead and sell reprint rights (unless the contract you signed says otherwise).


Anthology. A collection of stories in a book, written by one author or several authors. Often if the stories are by a single author, that author is already well-known. If the stories are collected from a number of different authors, they may be on a specific theme or a specific genre. Some anthologies are a collection of stories already in public domain. In that case, you would not have to seek permission to include them, but would still need to give the original authors credit (listing their names in the bylines for their stories). If the anthology was your idea and you contact prospective publishers, you would be considered the editor of the project. Once you find an interested publisher, it will be your job to work out the terms, such as royalties, how much (if any) the contributors will receive, terms regarding contributors receiving free books or purchasing books for resale, who pays permission fees, etc.

As the editor, you will need to make decisions such as how many stories you will accept, will you accept reprints or must they be original, what kind of compensation will the contributors receive, length of submissions, theme or topics to be covered, format for the book, and any other decisions specific to your particular project. If you are including material quoted from copyrighted sources, you will be responsible to seek permissions and pay any necessary fees (unless the publisher has agreed to pay them). You will also need to compile the list of permissions for an acknowledgments page at the front of the book. Those who give these permissions generally ask that the acknowledgment be written in a specific way or format. Be sure you list each permission as they have indicated. For tips on creating an effective anthology, go to:

Tuesday, December 15, 2015


THE FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES by Gary Chapman (Northfield/Moody) is #2 in Relationships and #13 in Advice, How-To & Misc.
  • THE POWER OF I AM by Joel Osteen (FaithWords) is #3 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith; and #8 in Advice, How-To & Misc.
  • THE FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES OF CHILDREN by Gary D. Chapman and Ross Campbell (Northfield) is #3 in Family and #8 in Relationships.
  • LOVE DOES by Bob Goff (Thomas Nelson) is #6 in Relationships.
  • FOR THE LOVE by Jen Hatmaker (Nelson Books) is #6 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.
  • WALK TO BEAUTIFUL by Jimmy Wayne with Ken Abraham. (Thomas Nelson) is #7 in Family.
  • IMAGINE HEAVEN by John Burke (Baker Books) is #7 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.


    Scroll down
    Last Thursday, Book Business hosted the webinar, “Top Trends in Children’s Literature: Personalized and Interactive Books for the Holidays,” which highlighted how interactivity and personalization are reshaping the children’s book segment. Kristen McLean, director of new business development at Nielsen Book; Maia Haag, president of I See Me!; and Barb Pellow, group director at InfoTrends shared their insights on the most profound trends impacting children and young adult titles. Their data revealed that the juvenile book market is one of the fastest changing segments in the industry today as well as one of the most lucrative.
    The webinar is free to view and will be on demand for approximately 90 days. Watch it here.
    Following are some key takeaways from the discussion:
    1. Print is alive and well in the children’s book space. McLean said that despite the expectation that ebooks would become the prevalent format among young readers, children still love print. “I believe in today’s environment, print and digital will be around together for a really long time,” said McLean. In fact, juvenile nonfiction and juvenile fiction are the only segments in the book industry in which both print and ebook sales have grown. Although most book segments have seen little or no growth over the past few years in terms of sales, the juvenile segment experienced double-digit growth between 2012 and 2014. “Children’s books are holding up the U.S. book market right now,” said McLean
    2. Board books are the fastest growing print product among juvenile titles. Board books — the durable, cardboard-page titles given to children between the ages of 0-3 — have experienced 20% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) since 2013. “I think that is a really significant indicator of parents’ willingness to invest in their children in those early childhood years,” said McLean.
    3. Media tie-ins play a significant role in juvenile book growth. In 2013 only five juvenile titles cracked the top 20 of the bestsellers list, said McLean. In 2014, the majority of titles in that list (16 out of 20) were juvenile titles and all of them had movie or game tie-ins, said McLean. These titles included the popular Divergent series, The Fault in Our Stars, Minecraft books, and Frozen spin-off titles. “What’s going on here is that we’re really seeing the weight of things like games, TV, movies, consumer packaged goods, and licensed brands like Frozen really pushing book sales in a way we’ve never seen before,” said McLean.
    4. Personalization is the trend to watch in 2016. Haag is one of the founders of personalized children’s book publisher I See Me! The 15-year old company tapped into the personalization trend early and has seen remarkable growth in recent years. Purchased by Chronicle Books in May, I See Me! is on track to become a $20-25 million company. One of the reasons personalization is so profitable is that it targets a new audience that is not in the bookstore, explained Haag. Buyers of personalized books are comparing the purchase to other personalized items, like personalized clothing or toys. This also means that these consumers are willing to pay more for a title. I See Me! sells its titles for over $30, said Haag. Additionally, the on demand model mitigates risk by eliminating the need to inventory books. Haag anticipates more book publishers will invest in this model in the near future.
    5. Interactivity needs to be additive to the story. McLean advised publishers who are considering adding greater interactivity to their ebooks or book apps to view the winners of the Bologna Children’s Book Fair’s Ragazzi Awards. “These are some of the most innovative titles in the digital space,” said McLean, adding that they should be the guide for publishers looking to enhance their titles. “Kids don’t just want bells and whistles that don’t integrate into the story. Interactivity has to be in service of the story or the world of that story
    Ellen Harvey is the associate/digital editor of Book Business and Publishing Executive. 

    Sunday, December 13, 2015


     A target age group that typically refers to young readers, ages 12 or 14, up to 18—but readers older than that also read and enjoy books targeted to young readers. The specific age group varies, depending on who you ask. The books, mostly novels, can be described as works of realistic fiction that involve ideas and life transitions that young adults are concerned about, are involved in, or can relate to in some way. The main character is always a teenager or young adult. Any adults remain in the background of the story. The book itself is a book teens would choose to read on their own—not simply because it was assigned in class. Typically it is written in first person, and there are a limited number of characters in the book. Length is 125-250 pages. For more on what is often an illusive definition of YA literature, go to:


             As we head toward the end of the year, it’s time to evaluate what you have accomplished with your writing this year. It’s easy to spend all our time talking about writing, or getting ready to write, and let the year slip by without actually accomplishing much. I would challenge you to take inventory of your year’s accomplishments right away, as you still have time to finish a writing project or two, and get some of those manuscripts out—or back out—into the mail or e-mail before the year runs out.

    Saturday, December 12, 2015


    “Prowling about the rooms, sitting down, getting up, stirring the fire, looking out the window, teasing my hair, sitting down to write, writing nothing, writing something and tearing it up…”
    —Charles Dickens


    When preparing a manuscript for a periodical, they will want you to indicate in the upper, right-hand corner the number of words in the manuscript. If it is a book manuscript the word count can be indicated on the title page, as well as within a proposal. Computers will give you an accurate word count. When giving the word count for a periodical, you can round it off to the nearest 25 for an article more than 800 words long. If shorter than that, give the exact word count. Periodicals prefer the exact word count for short pieces they are likely to use as fillers, since they will select a filler knowing that a certain number of words will fill so many inches of space. When listing the word count for a book, round it off to the nearest 100.

    Every periodical will tell you in their guidelines the word count they prefer. Typically it is given in a range, such as 800-1,500 words. When determining the appropriate length for the piece you are offering. If it is a feature article or an article of prime importance to the readers, then offer it at the longer length. If it's more of a supplementary piece, offer it at the shorter length. Book publishers will also indicate length preferences, usually longer for fiction than for nonfiction. Again, check their guidelines.

    Some writers set a goal for a certain word count per day to keep them moving ahead on their current project. A daily goal of any number of words will help you meet your ultimate word count goal for the project. Here are some tips to help you stick to the appropriate word count:

    Wednesday, December 9, 2015


    Christian Standard Media LLC Will Continue to Produce and Market Christian Ministry Resources Such as Magazines, VBS, and Missions Kits
    Contact: Teresa Callahan, 513-728-6852

    CINCINNATI, Ohio, Dec. 9, 2015 /Christian Newswire/ -- Standard Publishing Group LLC, following the recent sale of its Standard Lesson Commentary® series, Sunday school curriculum, and several other church resources to David C. Cook, is pleased to announce its corporate name change to Christian Standard Media LLC.

    The company's highly esteemed Christian Standard® monthly magazine and The Lookout® weekly magazine, as well as the popular Vacation Bible School program and other ministry resources such as the Kids Serving Kids™ missions kits and the Storyweaver Series by Beth Guckenberger, will now be the focus of Christian Standard Media LLC.

    "We're so excited to be continuing our long-standing Bible-centered mission through Christian Standard Media," said Peter M. Esposito, CEO of the former Standard Publishing Group and newly launched Christian Standard Media LLC.

    According to Esposito, Christian Standard Media will reenergize an ongoing and robust focus on its flagship brands such as Christian Standard magazine, founded in 1866 to uphold the ideals of New Testament Christianity, and The Lookout magazine, the popular Christian weekly resource.

    The newly introduced Christian Standard Media will also continue to market and support its award-winning VBS programs, which includes the launch of Deep Sea Discovery VBS for 2016. This program features partnerships with kid-favorite worship artist, Yancy, for original VBS music written and produced exclusively for Deep Sea Discovery, as well as with Beth Guckenberger of Back2Back Ministries, who contributes real-life missions stories for the program's hallmark "Service with a Lasting Purpose" VBS component.

    Christian Standard Media LLC is committed to continuing the nearly 150-year tradition as a Christian mission-driven leader in true-to-the Bible resources that educate, encourage, and enrich adults, youth, and children. From the founding of a journal devoted to New Testament Christianity in 1866 to the first publication of Vacation Bible School (VBS) materials with a five-week, all day program in 1923 to its contemporary publication of its award-winning 2015 VBS - Christian Standard Media will continue the legacy of serving church communities worldwide.

    The mission, "to provide true-to-the Bible resources that inspire, educate, and motivate people to a growing relationship with Jesus Christ," has guided the company's rich history and now infuses Christian Standard Media's drive to remain a trustworthy Christian ministry partner in a rapidly changing world. The company is based in Cincinnati, Ohio. For more information, visit,,, or call 800.543.1353.

    Monday, December 7, 2015


    • THE FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES by Gary Chapman (Northfield/Moody) is #2 in Relationships and #10 in Advice, How-To & Misc.
    • THE POWER OF I AM by Joel Osteen (FaithWords) is #3 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith; and #6 in Advice, How-To & Misc.
    • THE FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES OF CHILDREN by Gary D. Chapman and Ross Campbell (Northfield) is #3 in Family and #8 in Relationships.
    • LOVE DOES by Bob Goff (Thomas Nelson) is #6 in Relationships.
    • FOR THE LOVE by Jen Hatmaker (Nelson Books) is #6 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.
    • WALK TO BEAUTIFUL by Jimmy Wayne with Ken Abraham. (Thomas Nelson) is #7 in Family.
    • IMAGINE HEAVEN by John Burke (Baker Books) is #7 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.


     AUSTIN, TEXAS November 23, 2015 – AUTHORS, Inc., creator of, the premier online platform for queries, manuscript submissions and acquisitions discovery empowering writers, agents, and publishers, announced its Young Adult Fiction Competition, YA! 2015. The competition will award three prizes that include cash, full manuscript editing services, professional book coaching, and annual subscription to AUTHORS Discovery service. The competition opens November 23rd and ends December 31st, 2015.

    “The YA! 2015 competition lets new voices in this energized genre be heard, and be discovered,” said Monica Landers, CEO of AUTHORS. “We couldn’t be more excited about launching this contest for aspiring YA authors, helping them on their way to success in traditional publishing, as well as all the new media options appealing to today’s young readers.”

    Eligible writers can submit their manuscripts through the end of the year using the AUTHORS’ platform which enables them to quickly add all the pertinent details concerning themselves and their work, resulting in a consistent rich-media output that will be available for the judges’ review. Submission details can be found at There is no limit to the number of entries that will be accepted, but writers are encouraged to get their work in early to ensure making the deadline during the busy holiday season.

    The distinguished panel will include four YA experts: John B. Bryans, Editor-in-Chief and Publisher at Plexus Publishing, Danielle Chiotti of Upstart Crow Literary, Jackie Lindert of New Leaf Literary, and Christen Thompson, Acquisitions Editor and Bookseller.

    Prizes will also include exclusive professional services from competition partners BookLogix, a provider of traditional and non-traditional publishing services, and Carolyn Cohagan, published author and book coach.

    Winners will be announced at the end of February. For the complete Official Rules of the YA! 2015 Competition, please visit:


    David C Cook is pleased to announce the acquisition of Standard Publishing’s Bible lesson commentary series, Sunday school curriculum and other church resources.
    Standard Publishing traces its roots back to The Christian Standard, a periodical that was first published in 1866. In the decades since then, Standard has created magazines, devotionals, commentaries, small-group guides and Sunday school curriculum for all ages.


    This is one of the most important and most misunderstood aspects of fiction. It can also be one of the most controversial. As an author, you must decide from whose viewpoint the story will be told. Some will insist that the story be told from the viewpoint of a single character, while others contend that there can be more than one viewpoint character in a book. The mistake many beginning writers make is in “head-hopping”—jumping from one character's viewpoint to another whenever it is most convenient. The general rule is that you never change viewpoints within a scene. The switch must come at the end of a scene or end of a chapter.

    It is possible to use an omniscient viewpoint where the reader is able to know what every character is thinking or feeling, and is written in third person only. If the reader is only allowed to know what the characters do and say—not what they feel—it is called the Reportorial viewpoint.

    Many books are written from the viewpoint of only one character, and in that case the reader is privy to everything they need to know about that character. Although often written in first person, it can also be done in third person.

    In some cases, the author will have different chapters written from the viewpoint of any number of different characters in the story. However, some will contend that doing so keeps the reader from identifying most closely with the intended protagonist. The author must decide which approach is going to be the most effective for the story they want to write. Some will even try writing the story from a number of different viewpoints in order to decide which will be most effective in each case. All that being said, the reality is that many very successful authors do change viewpoint in the middle of a scene, but it's not recommended that you do so until you are a very successful author. For help on picking the right viewpoint character, go to:

    Sunday, December 6, 2015


    “Cheat your landlord if you can and must, but do not try to shortchange the Muse. It cannot be done. You can’t fake quality any more than you can fake a good meal.”—William S. Burroughs


    Writing the biography of a well-known person or celebrity without their permission or their cooperation. If the subject is deceased, the book would be written without the help or cooperation of the family or heirs. Writers are free to write such biographies, and publishers will publish them—it is a more difficult process without that help. The problem with writing such books in most cases is the timing. The reading public is interested in any potential subject for a limited amount of time. For that reason, the author must write the book in a very short period of time, and the publisher must get it out and in the bookstores in record time as well. Although it is legal to write an unauthorized biography, it remains legal only as long as make sure that nothing in the work can be construed as defamatory, an invasion of privacy, copyright infringement or any other breach of legalities. For more on the unauthorized biography, go to:

    Saturday, December 5, 2015


    Appearing on television as a talk-show guest can be stressful, but being well prepared and knowing the right preparations to make will help you relax and enjoy the experience. (1) Don't wear green (may be a green screen behind you). (2) Don't wear open-toed shoes. (3) Don't wear a busy print or stripes. (4) Wear something compatible with the set's color scheme. (5) Wear a two-piece outfit so you have a place to clip the power source for the microphone. (6) Wear something comfortable that you feel good in. (7) Don't wear an outfit for the first time. (8) Don't wear sparkly jewelry, other types OK. (9) If wearing glasses, the non-glare type is best. (10) If no make-up help is provided at the studio, wear more than usual to better define your features. (11) Keep hand gestures away from your face. (12) Arrive early. (13) Avoid eating spicy food before the interview. (14) Visit restroom before interview. (15) Speak clearly; don't mumble. (16) Know your topic and read your own book before the interview. (16) Be yourself, connect with the host, and don't worry about the home audience. (17) Be sure you know how long the segment is and if there will be commercial breaks. (18) If possible, view the show ahead of time to get a feel for how well the host has prepared and if he/she tends to be confrontational with the guests. (19) Leave your cell phone in the car. (20) Don't forget to mention your Website and any freebies or specials you are offering. For a few additional tips on preparing, go to:

    Friday, December 4, 2015


    Most magazines, as well as some book publishers, are open to material related to the holidays or seasons. Some magazines have full issues devoted to specific holidays, while others may only have one or two pieces per issue that are holiday-related. Most writers tend to offer material for major holiday, such as Christmas, Easter, and Mother's Day. However, editors indicate that they typically have a lot of material available for those major holidays, but are wide open for material geared to the lesser holidays. There are some periodicals that ignore all the holidays, so be sure to do your homework and submit only to those who indicate they are open to such material. Keep in mind that holiday or seasonal material must be submitted months ahead of time. The majority of publications are working 6-12 months ahead and are always anxious to get appropriate holiday submissions in time to be sure their needs are covered for that issue. Don't make the mistake of submitting a Christmas piece in October or November and indicating you're sending it for the December issue. 

    If doing a holiday-related book, it should focus on one of the major holidays, or cover a variety of holidays. Often checking at a local bookstore will help you determine which publishers are open to holiday or seasonal books. Since books typically take 18-24 months to produce, your holiday book won't be out for a couple of Christmases to come. The Christian Writers' Market Guide includes a list of which publishers are interested in holiday or seasonal material.

    For help on writing holiday material for children, go to: For a partial list of publications open to freelance holiday submissions, go to:

    Tuesday, December 1, 2015


    A system for keeping track of income and expenses. Writing is a business that demands the same kind of record keeping needed for any type of business. It is recommended that you set up a record system as soon as you start submitting what you write. Such a record needs to keep track of both your income and your writing-related expenditures. A simple Quicken program is easy to use and will do all the calculating by category for you. The writing-related expenditures tax deductible are such things as: postage, office supplies, UPS or messenger service to deliver manuscripts, editing services, how-to books on writing or reference books on you writing topic, computer software or programs, and almost any expenditures directly related to your writing.

    If you call your writing a hobby, you can deduct your writing-related expenses, but only up to the amount you earned from your writing. On the other hand, if you call your writing a business, you can deduct all your expenses—even in excess of your income. However, even if called a business, some expenditures can only be deducted up to the amount you make. For example, if you buy a computer that costs $3,000, but you only make $2000 that year, you cannot deduct the full price of the computer. The potential problem with calling your writing a business too soon is that the IRS expects you to make a profit three out of five years if it's a business. However, even if you don't meet that benchmark, you can still call it a business if you can convince them you have worked hard to sell—it just hasn't happened yet. Showing them a professionally maintained record-keeping system (with receipts) will help to convince them you are taking this business seriously. For detailed information on record keeping and what's deductible, go to: