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Humanus Publishing, Inc.

Peggy Richardson: a Geek with a difference.

Humanus Publishing, Inc.

Specializing in formatting your book for Amazon's Kindle format.

Are you struggling trying to convert your previously-printed book to Amazon's Kindle format? Do you find yourself overwhelmed by confusing technology, or a failed attempt to upload your eBook yourself?

With a 20-year background in IT, Peggy loves the techy aspects of eBooks and marketing, and offers Kindle eBook formatting and coaching services.

Let's work together! eMail me at

The Gallery System: Art and Books in Revolution

March 24th, 2014 . by Peggy

This is a short speech I wrote several years ago, while living on Gabriola Island, in the San Juan islands near Nanaimo, BC. Watching art and books in revolution, and surrounded by indie artists, I saw a parallel between my own work as an indie author and their work as independent artists, each selling from their own studios on a small rock in the middle of the ocean. The impression of those vibrant artists has not waned in the years since, and I found this essay while clearing out a file cabinet last weekend. I hope you see a similar revolution happening around you.

ID-100214827As a young fine arts student studying to be a painter and sketch artist, I was coached by well-meaning teachers and professors who wanted all of their students to achieve commercial success. There’s nothing more rewarding for an art teacher than to witness their student actually pay a mortgage with the revenue from their creative efforts. But now, as an adult with a generous amount of business experience behind me, I can now see where Artists, and Authors, are being ripped off.

I often compare the current traditional bookselling system, where a big publisher buys work from a writer and distributes it through large chain stores, to the way art sales are managed by galleries. What I call “The Gallery System” is how a gallery finds marketable painters, sculptors, and other visual artists that fit the commercial definition of good art (whatever that means), and put their paintings on display in the well-lit large front window of a gallery. Passers-by feel confirmed in buying work they don’t have any deep feelings about, because of the artificial validation that buying from a large gallery gives them. We are robbing the next generation of the ability to think critically about art and literature.

Here’s the really naughty part: when the painting sells, the artist only takes a small portion of the profit. I know many wonderful artists that have altered their work to make it more palatable to this market, thereby not only sacrificing their own artistic integrity, but also denying a hungry art-buying public the opportunity to discover and experience something new.

Galleries (read: bookstores) plunge the work of the artist directly into an extremely competitive market, often without the benefit of additional insight for the consumer. Try attending a gallery exhibit opening sometime, and notice the similarities between that and a book signing. But now, living in an “art-friendly” community, I’m extremely pleased to see that the art (and book) buyer recognizes the cachet of visiting the studio of a working artist – and buying direct.

This revolution is well underway in the arts community. And more than the way money changes hands is being affected: a wider variety of mediums are gaining mainstream recognition, and artists are spreading their creative wings. A previously-unidentified audience for non-traditional work is clearly out there doing some serious shopping. The line between art and craft is more blurry than ever. And the art of the people, folk art, is no longer segregated into a movement.

It is very clear that self-publishing, and the selling of books directly from the author to the consumer, is the manifestation of this same spirit in the publishing world. Authors now have access to the same tools that large publishing houses do. They are thinking of their books as tools for marketing their businesses and other products. Fine printing gives credibility to their statements. And they are receiving equal critical recognition to any other author.

What about balancing business needs with artistic integrity? This is achieved more easily now than ever, because the author retains all the control. Their work is no longer subject to commercial critics that stifle creativity early in the process. The way this works is because of and old axiom, which I see proven again and again: art cannot exist in a vacuum. We must write so that others can read. Otherwise, our writing is a purely selfish act. Outside of writing for self-exploration, which makes us better writers regardless, we must write for an audience. By considering our audience, which is the second rule of quality writing*, we automatically satisfy the needs of an increasingly clever book buyer. The integrity of our writing is inherent, and intelligent readers will buy all they can get their hands on.

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You’re Going to Need to Hire an Editor

March 10th, 2014 . by Peggy

 (This is an excerpt from my book “Your Book Title Here“, available on the Kindle platform at, $2.99 USD.)

The editor is the one bit of outsourcing that I must recommend no matter how good a writer you are. With editors, you are paying for something that cannot be achieved any other way: objectivity.

Editors come from many paths. Some of them are language specialists, but many come from other, far more interesting sources. Some of them are industry experts, and some of them are teachers or business people. In my experience, the degrees on the wall matter very little to the quality of the service and work you will get. Instead, focus on their communication style. Do they seem to understand what you’re trying to achieve? When they read your work, do they make intelligent criticisms, and explain the reasons for them clearly? If so, great. You’ve got the foundation for a wonderful working relationship. Don’t just look for someone that agrees with you on everything. Not only is that not objective, but it means that they’re not telling you the whole truth of what they observe in the work.

Criticism is a big part of the editing process, and I’m here to tell you right now, get over any personal feelings you might have about the process. You have bigger stuff to care about, like creating a high-quality product. You need to focus on the big picture, not your personal feelings. Think early on in the process about your budget to hire an editor, and it will be easier to make happen.

Ouch! Peggy is really mean! Yes, I am. I’ve been on both sides of the editing fence. And now, I truthfully enjoy being the writer receiving help from the editor, because I can really see the improvement it makes in my final product: I’m actually becoming a better writer because of good editing. The thrill of working with someone who also believes in your book is so satisfying. You’ll know they believe in making it successful if they offer plenty of constructive criticism. This will happen for you too. I’m not saying it will be easy, but you will be better, and the praise you’ll receive as a quality writer will hopefully make up for any hurt feelings.

What does an editor cost? OK, prepare to be angry at me again: I can’t tell you that. The fact of it is, it fluctuates wildly. As I said, editors come from different backgrounds, and they all charge differently. Some charge by the word, and some by the hour. Some will only do certain types of editing, and the charges for different types of editing are also different. Some types of editors, like style and content editors, will only offer big-picture advice, rather than picking through your manuscript line-by-line.

At the very least, a copy-editing pass should be done before you finalize your work. This means just checking for things like spelling and punctuation mistakes, along with things like proper sentence structure and grammar. An abundance of copy errors will ruin the credibility of the entire work. However, I find that someone who can point out things like “You drag on a bit here,” or, “I would leave out that entire paragraph,” or, “You need to explain this further,” are extremely helpful, and that stuff is what really makes me improve. Simple copy-editing is also often better performed by a different editor than the one who does any style editing on your work. A fresh pair of eyes will catch stuff you wouldn’t believe.

Despite all editing you may have done, don’t freak out when the inevitable happens: your manuscript will still have errors. And I don’t just mean one, as there will probably be a bunch. Of course, you will only see them after the book has been sent to a major newspaper for review, or when your mentor is reading it. Relax. All authors cringe at this thought. It happens. Move on.

To read more from this book, please see

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5 Tips for Using Images To Market Your eBook

January 27th, 2014 . by Peggy

Using images to market your eBookIf you think pictures speak louder than words, you’re right. Here are some tips for using images – beyond a snapshot of your book cover – to market your eBook.

Tip 1: Don’t release anything on your blog or social media without including an image.

Just like real people, Google loves pretty pictures. Including an image in any type of post will always increase the relevance of that post to Google and other search engines. Also, it’s harder for people to ignore a compelling image than to ignore words. Images tell the story faster – what do you want people to understand in a heartbeat? Take a picture of it. Tweet pictures, not words. Post pictures on Facebook pages, not words. Add an image to each and every blog post – at least one! Just try using images to market your eBook for a week, and measure your traffic to your blog before and after.

Tip 2: Take pics of yourself in interesting situations.

This was a tough one for me, because I hate the way I look in photographs. My nose looks its true size, I can suddenly witness how bad my posture is, and so on. But putting yourself in context of situations relevant to the readers of your book is important for things like building trust with your audience. Plus, it gets you recognized in a sexy, rockstar-author kind of way. I have been recognized at everything from a real-estate open house, to shopping at Wally World, of course book conventions, and even when I renewed my driver’s license. At first, it will make you cringe, but after a while, you’ll relax about it and understand that people don’t expect you to be perfect: they just want to talk to you about your book, or in my case, their book.

Using images to market your eBookTip 3: Make the photos yourself instead of buying them.

While there are plenty of places to get cheap images for using in this way, I strongly recommend taking them yourself. First of all, it’s cheaper. (We are all writers, so let’s face it, we’re not spendy types.) But equally important, it’s faster! I can snap a fast photo with my phone, and it’s online within seconds. I prefer pictures of people, but I will also snap a quick shot of things like really great cars, attractive window displays, a lovely sunset, beautiful gardens, book covers I like, and so on. It doesn’t need to be directly related to you or your book, but it does need to be interesting. Always offer a comment to the photo, such as, “I like this because the designer has placed such-and-such next to so-and-so…” or the reverse, as in, what’s bad about it. Invite controversial opinions, but always be polite.

If you think you can’t find enough things that are interesting, you’re not looking hard enough, or you have an even worse social life than I do. Try harder. Use Hootsuite (free, by the way) to include photos in tweets, Facebook posts, and so on. It uploads the photos for you and makes it super-easy.

Tip 4: Four Legs Good.

Have you ever heard this expression in the world of TV, radio, or journalism? People love dogs and cats, and other furry, scaly, or feathered friends. (At least, I’ve *heard* people like cats – I don’t, but I promise not to hold it against you if you do.) Animal photos will always get more attention. This is very evident on the web: look at the plethora of adorable pet photos out there. I’ve even taken a few myself.

Tip 5: Include photos of words, such as interesting quotes.

Easy to make these yourself! Use automated websites for this such as, or There are TONS more of things like this, but you can also do it yourself in something like Photoshop if you have it. The reason this is important is because it adds visual interest to the text we’re trying to enhance here. People will look at a picture of words more than they will look at actual words. ‘Tis true.

Obviously, using your book’s cover image is important in marketing your book and your brand as a whole. All I’m saying is, “Don’t stop there.” There’s so much more to say with pictures.

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Are You Making These 4 Kindle eBook Writing Mistakes?

January 11th, 2014 . by Peggy

Are You Making These 4 Kindle eBook Writing Mistakes?I’ve had some excellent questions lately from new and experienced authors. Here are the most common 4 Kindle eBook writing mistakes, and I’ve seen these over and over again for many years, by authors in all genres, from all backgrounds, previously-published, and first-timers. We should all go a little easier on ourselves.

1) Writing “other stuff” while you work on that novel.

I think all but one person who has contacted me so far in 2014 has said something to the tune of, “I’m writing a series of short stories while I work on something bigger…” or, “I’m writing some non-fiction how-to books while I prepare my novel.”

I’ve made this mistake myself, and I’m warning you not to. In almost every situation I’ve witnessed for clients and myself, this strategy shoots itself in the foot. The “main thing” never gets written, because you exhaust yourself on the little stuff, which doesn’t make you any money. Maybe you’ve been told that there’s more money in non-fiction – NOT TRUE, absolutely not true!

Here is what is totally true: what makes money in the Kindle business is repeating a successful recipe over and over again. Imagine it this way: people come to a pie restaurant to eat pie. Do not offer them roast beef. Make more pies of similar, but slightly varying flavors. Make a LOT of pie. Make it regularly – on a predictable schedule if you can. Don’t fuss too much if one crust is a little darker than it should be, or if one tasted OK, but it’s not the best you’ve ever made. Just get that pie baked. Don’t practice for making pie by baking cookies, or lemon poppyseed loaf, or muffins. Just start with baking pie – the first one might not be the best, but you will get better. You will learn what ingredients to use, how to shop for them, what to layout on the counter, what appliances you need to use… etc. (Is she still talking about writing eBooks? Yes.)

eBooks make money when written in series. Give the people what they want, and stop d***ing around. (Pardon the expression.) You are only delaying the day you cross the “profit line”.

2) Spending too much time building plot, planning, editing, etc.

“It’s still in editing,” and “I need to go back and re-write some sections,” are things I hear every day.

While I would never suggest you don’t edit your work, it’s sooooo easy to over-think this and over-edit. What does your audience want? If you’re writing fiction, it’s probably escapism. If you’re writing non-fiction, it’s probably to solve a problem. Does the manuscript accomplish that? Today? Right now? The way it reads at the moment? Yes? Great – hit publish now. You can always release a new version later, by updating the orginal file and re-uploading it. Stop torturing yourself. You’re going to make me cry.

3) Worrying about graphics and design just to write a Kindle eBook.

OK, so obviously, with a Kindle eBook, you don’t need to worry about this. Kindle is a text-based format. There is no graphic design required to put a book on Kindle. In fact, the more your manuscript resembles raw, plain text, the better it will look on a wider variety of devices.

Releasing both print and Kindle editions at the same time means that some planning must go into planning look and feel, but even when you do want to include images and some special fonts, this should not stop you from doing the real work, which is writing.  If you want to include some images to match your print edition later, just re-upload another source file.

Bear in mind that the more you try to control the look and feel of something that is inherently a text-based format, the less control you will ultimately have. That same file may look great on an iPad, but it will look verrrrry different on a Kindle Paperwhite, or an Android phone, or on a Kindle Fire, or on an iPhone. Don’t think in terms of page layout – start thinking in terms of a stream of clean, uninterrupted text, with occasional .jpg’s inserted for interest, and an attractive cover design, which is essentially just a pretty picture.

4) Using other services, like Smash*****, and the like.

There was a time when I endorsed the use of Smash*****, but no longer, as I’ve now seen waaaay too many clients have problems with them. In my opinion, they over-promised and under-delivered. You’re not alone, as this might be the most common of all Kindle eBook writing mistakes.

Instead, get comfy with your Amazon Kindle KDP dashboard, which you can view anytime, on a wide variety of devices, at This is where you can upload your eBooks, (or at least, approve and publish them after I’ve done the formatting and programming for you), run sales reports, get marketing tips, be part of the community of other KDP authors, learn ways to put your books on sale and do extra promotions online, etc., etc… Short story: you don’t need anything else besides that KDP link above to make your eBook a success. Just stick with the basics and you’ll have it all under your control, with no middle-men.

Feeling better?

I thought so. Remember, all these mistakes are common, but you don’t need to be so tough on yourself, and your beautiful Kindle book.

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New Year, New Writing Schedule

December 31st, 2013 . by Peggy

Is 2014 the year you write your eBook?Is 2014 the year you really want to get that book written?

Whether it’s a breakout novel, a business book to help your company or build your profile, or just a creative explosion, 2014 can really be your year. I’m totally revising my newsletters into a once-a-month inspiration email that will give you all sorts of reasons to keep writing. It’s a like writing class that you don’t pay for!

Each month will include:

  • Downloadable writing calendars and writing schedule mini-poster for your wall
  • Punctuation mark of the month, including usage tips and examples
  • Monthly themes and writing prompts
  • Writer’s Wrecipes – my personal collection of brain-and-heart-feeding soul food
  • Writing contests and events worth knowing about
  • Recent Kindle stats and top sellers
  • Client Spotlights including cool real-world secrets to share with you
  • Tech tips to solve marketing and publishing problems we all experience
  • Monthly specials on products and templates to make your writing easier, cheaper, and more enjoyable

Be sure you’re signed up! Click here to sign up if you haven’t already:

I’m on a mission of my own in 2014

… to finally get that historical novel of mine written and out there! I’ve spent over a decade working on various non-fiction projects and a few novels that are frankly, not that hot. :) Although I’m a trained technical writer and researcher, I’ve never studied how to create fiction. But this book is special – I’ve had it in my bottom drawer and in that dusty corner of a hard drive for years. I’m sick of fantasizing about it – I want to experience the writing of it! I’ll share my own writing trials and successes as we move through the year. I’ll tell you frankly what works for me, and what doesn’t.

I’m also giving myself permission to fail on this project, which is a very uncomfortable step for me. I’m not happy when I make mistakes, but I recognize that as a serious character flaw, and I want to work on it. If you have tips for me, I welcome them!

Let’s spend 2014 working together, inspiring each other, and getting books DONE!

Again, be sure you’re signed up for the monthly newsletter list by clicking here:

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Paulo Coelho on Writing and Procrastination

November 25th, 2013 . by Peggy

You’re not the only one with a problem to do with writing and procrastination. Just start, says Paulo Coelho.

This short video not only shares the author’s feelings about the problem all writers face, but contains a really cool book trailer from Germany about his latest work, Aleph.

In case you’re not familiar with Coelho, he is the Brazilian author of The Alchemist, the story of the shepherd who travels to Egypt to pursue his “Personal Legend”. It is from this book that comes the now very popular concept of the universe working in mysterious ways to help you achieve your greatest desire. Coelho is known for writing regularly, now authoring over 30 books, although he had a rocky start. Yes, this man knows about procrastination – he had at least one failed career and had been living as a counter-culture type (Can we say hippie?) for some time before settling down to do what he had always known he should do – become one of the world’s best-known novelists.

I found it particularly interesting that Paulo acknowledges the distractions of social media. Perhaps this comes from his uphill fight to market his books to the international success he now experiences. He’s no wimp – he knows that you not only need to write, but to think about the business of writing. He has used video contests on Facebook to help market his books, tweets regularly, and has an active volunteer life around social change issues. He’s also known for his approach to open-source content, and yes, he writes up to three blog posts a week. (Sound familiar? I’m not the only one who keeps saying this!)

This is the 4th video is a series. The others can be viewed on Coelho’s blog,

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How-to Quickie: Make a Memorable Affiliate Link

November 22nd, 2013 . by Peggy

Are you using this free and easy method to create memorable affiliate links for your books?Memorable affiliate link setups are easy, and here’s a quick video to show you how to create a link you can simply mention to anyone.

Great if you’re now regularly making affiliate links from items on Amazon – especially linking to your own books and eBooks! It’s always important for authors to show off their books on Amazon in a memorable affiliate link you can just say to everyone you meet, put on your business card, or in a QR code. It’s really simple using this fast trick.

Learn more about how to create the account and memorable affiliate links in the first place…

at Affiliate links are not unique to Amazon, of course, and affiliate systems tend to spit out a lot of loooooong messy code that nobody can really work with. Here’s a safe way to control those links permanently with an attractive and memorable affiliate link.

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Short eBooks to Build Your Author Platform

November 20th, 2013 . by Peggy

Short eBooks to Build Your Author PlatformHere are three ways that both fiction and non-fiction authors can use short eBooks to help build your author platform.

In all three of these cases, I’m talking about creating a short eBook, typically less than 5000 words, and perhaps as little as only a few hundred, perhaps including charts or diagrams or other illustrations. This doesn’t mean you skimp on things like proper editing or creating an attractive cover. It just means that the work is short, and acts as a good introduction to you and your work. It should showcase the best you have to offer, and be representative of the major eBook or product you have to sell.

1) The eBook as List-Building Tool

This is a simple thing to setup and figure out, and is often talked about in marketing circles. The basic setup is that you offer a free eBook when people sign up for your email list. You get something, they get something. Everybody wins. This is very easy to setup using tools like, and

The basic stream works like this:

a) User arrives at your website. They click on a signup link for your list, which says something like, “May I offer you this free eBook.”

b) They reach a landing page – hosted by the automated list-building system of your choice (see list of tools, above) where they enter their email address and hit “submit”.

c) The list system automatically sends them a confirmation email, to make everything legal and CAN-SPAM compliant.

d) They click on the confirmation link in the email, which pops them to a thank-you page. On this thank-you page is where you have placed a link for them to download your eBook.

e) The automated list system sends them one more message, thanking them, providing confirmation that they are indeed subscribed, and offering them the link to download the eBook one more time, just for safety.

They are now subscribed to your email newsletter list, plus they have a copy of your mini-eBook in their hot little hands. They are now getting to know you and like your stuff.

2) Setup An Automated Mini-Class or Series of Mini-eBooks.

This sounds like much more work than it actually is. If you’ve created a series of short stories, or if you are a non-fiction author, perhaps a mini-class delivered in videos or the like, you can just add more automatically delivered emails to the chain first described above. These are usually called “autoresponders”. For most systems, you specify these to be delivered X number of days after the user makes the first action. So perhaps chaper 1 is delivered on day 1, chapter or video link 2 is offered on day 4, chapter or audio file link 3 is delivered on day 6, and so on. The main advantage of this over option 1 is that you are more present, in a systematic and predictable way. The more you are under their noses, the better.

3) Use the short-term promos or “cheapie” eBooks to lead clients to your larger works.

Let’s say that your major took-half-your-life-to-write-it novel is currently selling for $10 on the Kindle platform. Or, let’s say that you’ve got products on your website that are where you make your main revenue. Kindle allows you to place your eBooks on sale for 5 days out of every month, and you can use their new “countdown specials” to put eBooks on sale for a limited amount of time, right next to a ticking clock that compels readers to act now before the bargain runs out. These short works, whether they be chapters that were left on the cutting room floor, or still-valuable introductory material to your major products, are then a perfect way for new reader to get to know you, adding themselves to your list of fans. Be sure to insert “sign up here for my mailing list” links at the back, as well as links to your blog or major website, and of course, to your other works on Kindle and on your other websites.

Mini eBooks are a quick and simple way to create more roads back to you and build your author platform very quickly. I would try several approaches and see what works for you.

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Author Bullying – A Scary New Trend?

May 1st, 2013 . by Peggy

Are you an author who has been bullied? Write to me in confidence about your experience, via email at

I was thrilled when I recently found out that a friend’s daughter had found time to write a long trilogy of fantasy novels. In between raising her four young children, she has written a beautiful series, with all the high drama and symbolism that I think will make her work stand the test of time.

But only yesterday, I received a request from my friend, the author’s mom, to please go like her Facebook page “to make her feel better”. Apparently, she had recently encountered some people who were giving her a really hard time about a variety of things related to her book: her choice to self-publish, criticizing the covers (for which she hired a professional book cover designer), and various other aspects of the book business she has decided to start. We’re not talking about critique of her writing, the sort of constructive help that authors need to improve, but just hard-core bashing.

“Why are you wasting time on this?” *

“Nobody is ever going to buy it.” *

“You’re so full of yourself.” *

It took me many years to distinguish between proper criticism, which builds an author’s skills and confidence, and just plain bullying, which does nothing but tear down the fragile hope of any small business owner. Constructive criticism should leave the artist with a feeling of direction: they now know what to do to make it better. Bullying is just the opposite. You’ll know it by its familiar feeling: the childish playground jabs that come from a place of fear and lack of personal confidence on the part of the deliverer. It turns out that all the grownups that tell you to just ignore that were right – but because that’s almost impossible to do, we all let it get to us on some level or another.

Several times, I’ve witnessed author bullying take place in person, for example, at a recent coffee shop meeting with a client. Our server came by our table to ask if we needed anything else. When we responded with a “No, thank you.” He could be heard sniping to the other server at the counter, “Oh god – another fake author.”

Incidents on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media are more common, possibly because the sniper is somewhat  distanced from the artist. Some recent tweets I found included language like this “… more stinking advice from a self-publishing expert…”, “The proliferation of self-publishing has meant a bumper crop of terrible book covers…”, “… yet another writer who couldn’t get an agent and decides to make a bad book at home.”

The worst one I witnessed myself was at a dinner a year or so ago, where the guest speaker was a self-published author of several mystery novels. He had been making the tour of the country for months, promoting the books by doing talks at writer’s groups and libraries, forming relationships with small bookstores across the country, and selling his way through the trip of a lifetime. The talk that night was widely advertised as “mystery author” etc. etc., and even though I knew he was self-pubbed, he was not mentioning that in the marketing. I quickly found out why. After his lovely talk, and the gift of three books for those who could answer his trivia questions, he offered to take questions from the audience. One woman stood up and asked him, “Is it true that you self-published these books yourself, including the cover artwork?” “Why yes, it is!” he proudly answered. The woman stood up, grabbed her sweater off the chair, and as she left the room, could be heard to be grouching, “I came here tonight to hear from a REAL author, not some guy making books in his basement.”

Wow. I looked at her as she passed me on the way to the door, and I lightly asked her, “Where’s YOUR book?” To which some of those around me chuckled. She gave me a nasty look and bolted for the parking lot, without paying for her drinks – at least, as far as I could tell.

I think many authors hear this sort of story regularly, but don’t talk about it, perhaps to avoid giving it any more energy than they have to. However, I believe that bullies need to be confronted with their actions to stop. They need to be told that just like kicking kids on the playground isn’t tolerated, this type of behavior is unprofessional and will not be tolerated in the literary community. You will be branded.

Local Author Joan Burge, (of who has self-published over a dozen books, recommends surrounding yourself only with positive people who will help you achieve your goals – not lose faith in them.

She suggests…

“Involve Others. Get others involved in your goal. Share your dream with a friend, family member, peer, or professional associate. Caution: if they are not supportive but instead share their fears and doubts, then limit your conversations with them regarding your goals.

Seek Guidance. Ask others who know about your plan to recommend resources or people contacts. Solicit feedback about your ideas and plans.

Use Mentors. Find people who have done what you want to do, or have what you want to have. Tell them you admire their accomplishments and ask for ideas. Ask them how they overcame barriers. Mentors can help you think out solutions to problems.”

Are you an author who has been bullied? Write to me in confidence about your experience, via email at

* These are direct quotes told to me by authors who have personally experienced author bashing.

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Are you writing the “wrong” eBook?

March 13th, 2013 . by Peggy

Is this what you hear yourself saying when you tell people about your eBook?

“I know this stuff inside and out, and it’s really important that others know this, too!”

“I learned this the hard way, and nobody else should have to work as hard as I did – I’m saving my readers plenty of struggle.”

“I have been so moved and changed by this amazing experience, and I want to share it with others.”

I hate to tell you this, but all of those statements are wrong reasons to write an eBook. Are they giving and selfless? Certainly. Are they full of empathy for your reader? Absolutely. But none of those sentences demonstrate that you’ve performed any hard-core market research. Those great books, written with heart and soul, may not sell.

eBook writers often have amazing things to share: personal spiritual revelations, amazing new technologies, and so much more. However, if you’re writing without a soundly-researched and proven need in the market, no matter how great the message is, it might be bound to fail.

“I’ve written this incredible eBook, but it’s just not selling. I’m doing everything they told me to do, but nobody seems to want to read it.”

Have you heard the marketing expression, “What’s the pain?” While all of the statements at the top of this post reveal true care for your reader, they are all “I” statements. None of them is phrased like a question, to ask the reader what they might need to solve. Asking these questions is a great way to start your market research, yet still preserves the purity of your message and a true desire to help people.

“Are you sick of trying to get your kids to eat their vegetables? Find out how I learned to solve this problem, once and for all!”

“Are you exhausted trying to figure out how to profit from real-estate in this market? Let me save you the struggle!”

“Are you struggling to find your heart’s true purpose? Learn my 6-part method for discovering yours.”

NOW, you’re empathizing with your readers! You’ve also got an excellent starting point for some keyword research. Each of these clear verticals has it’s own set of numbers: who’s buying, how often they’re buying, and where they’re buying. THAT is the eBook you need to write - the one they already want to buy.

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