Thursday, October 18, 2012

Favorite Literary & Writing Quote #23

The unread story is not a story; it is little black marks on wood pulp. The reader, reading it, makes it live: a live thing, a story.

—Ursula K. Le Guin

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Favorite Literary & Writing Quote #22

A scrupulous writer, in every sentence that he writes, will ask himself at least four questions, thus: 1. What am I trying to say? 2. What words will express it? 3. What image or idiom will make it clearer? 4. Is this image fresh enough to have an effect?
 —George Orwell

Monday, July 30, 2012

Moving Launch of New Book on the Air India Tragedy

On July 21, 2012, I was honored to be one of the speakers at the memorable book launch of Fighting Hatred with Love: Voices of the Air India Victims' Families, by Helping You Get Published author Gurpreet Singh (Chetana Parkashan, publisher).

At the launch, which took place at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, family members and others close to the tragedy spoke out against the fundamentalism and extremism that led to the 1985 terrorist bombing that killed 331 innocent people. The roster of speakers included: Ujjal Dosanjh, former federal Health Minister and a vocal critic of extremism; Kerry-Lynne D. Findlay, MP and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice; Dave Hayer, MLA; D. K. Sharma, the acting Counsel General of India, Vancouver; Major Singh Sidhu, vice president of the Khalsa Deewan Society, Vancouver, on behalf of the victims’ families; Jinny Sims, MP; and Charlie Smith, editor of the Georgia Straight, who gave the keynote address.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Stampeding Sales for Helping You Get Published Author

Helping You Get Published author Rob Lennard is the award-winning creator of three time-travel books for children. The first, written for the 2005 Alberta centennial, has been expanded to become his latest book, with new chapters that take time-travelling teen twins back to 1912 and the first Calgary Stampede.

The new book, The Amazing Alberta Time Travel Adventures of Wild Roping Roxy and Family Day Ray was launched in May and is garnering praise and selling well in bookstores and at this year's centennial Calgary Stampede.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Email Writing Syndrome...Are You at Risk?

Watch the video to find out if you are vulnerable to this contagious syndrome...

All about Genre

Most new book authors know whether they are writing nonfiction or fiction. But within these two broad categories are many genres. Nonfiction, for example, includes such genres as biography, how-to, memoir, self-help, and travel--to name just a few. Fiction includes fantasy, horror, mystery, romance, thriller, and sci-fi. To complicate things further, each of these genres has numerous subgenres.

Sometimes, therefore, authors have trouble identifying their particular genre. If you are working on a book and are not sure where it fits, check out this introductory guide to book genres...

Friday, June 15, 2012

Writing Conference Registration Open

Registration recently opened for the next Surrey International Writers' Conference. If you live in, or plan to visit, the area of Vancouver, BC, Canada, then now is the time to sign up for the conference, which will take place October 19-21, 2012, in Surrey, BC, Canada. Early registration is crucial if you want to be assured of getting your choice of face-to-face meetings with agents and/or acquiring editors. For details, go to:

All around North America, summer and autumn are the seasons when most writers' conferences are held. Their offerings vary, but the best of them provide workshops for writers, editing and writing cafes, networking opportunities, and one-on-one pitch meetings with publishing industry professionals. To find out about times and locations, go to: Shaw Guide to Writers Conferences & Workshops

Friday, April 20, 2012

Just updated my author page at Amazon. Stay tuned for further updates...

All book authors, FYI: Amazon's Author Central is exceptionally user friendly. If you are a book author and have not joined Author Central, I recommend that you do so. You can add videos and photos, and update your book cover image(s).

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Self-Publishing & Vanity Repackaged

Self-publishing is the name of the game these days, and there are many options. The best-known services are the print-on-demand (POD) publishers, to which you, the author, pay a fee that will typically include basic production, the ISBN number, and placement on some online bookselling sites, such as Amazon and the publisher's own bookstore. This is a start but, in many cases, you will have to pay extra, either to the service or to a third party, for the additional marketing and distribution necessary to generate significant sales.

For an excellent introduction to the various kind of self-publishing alternatives, check out the information on the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) website:

I also offer a briefer overview in my updated information article "Self-Publishing—New Options for Writers."

I always advise my clients to adopt a buyer-beware approach to all kinds of self-publishing services. But, above all, avoid the old-fashioned vanity presses that have repackaged themselves as POD services. In the old days, such outfits would charge a huge fee—often in the range of  $15,000 to $20,000—to produce several hundred copies of books that would typically end up gathering dust in the author's basement. This was bad enough, but now some of these outfits are offering POD services that include a "complimentary" set of 25 or so books—for the same outlandish cost that once got you 10 or more times the number of books.

Typically, these vanity publishers offer little or nothing in the way of marketing and distribution. While this may also be true of the newer POD services, the crucial difference to note is that many of the latter services are only charging a fraction of what the vanity publishers insist is a fair fee. Why pay $15,000 when you can get comparable services for $1500?

For more cautionary information about vanity publishers, see this SFWA article:

Monday, March 26, 2012

New Online Archive

I have recently started an online archive of selected news items from  Helping You Get quarterly updates. Items selected may have ongoing interest for clients and visitors to the website. Check out the new archive...

Included items date back to the spring 2010 launch of the re-designed version of Helping You Get Published. Earlier items, from 1999-2009, are available to clients on request.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Is Email Killing Your Chances of Getting Published?

Email Writing Syndrome (EWS) is the latest debilitating side-effect of the email overload in our home and working lives. A delusional condition of varying severity, EWS causes susceptible writers to confuse the style of email messages with actual writing...

Anyone who writes anything for any kind of serious purpose should read this article: "Email Writing Syndrome: Are You at Risk?"

Monday, January 9, 2012

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Writing Green in 2012...

Writing Words...: Green Book-Writing Tips: Watch this how-to video and learn how to go from first draft to finished book with a minimum of paper, mess, and environmental impact. To read more articles on writing for publication, go to:

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Last Year's Best Books

Wishing one and all the very best of the season and a happy, productive New Year.

FYI, if you want to catch up on your reading, here is the link to the Amazon editors' best book picks for 2011. Click here...

Here's to more great books in 2012!