Now Empowering Writers

Valuable tools for those who are ready to tell their story.

What’s Your Story?

You are here on this page right now because you have a book or novel inside of you, and you’re at a place in your life when NOW is the time to write. Are you blank and just want to know where to start? Are you looking for how-to-write-a-book software or creative writing tools to enhance your skills?

You’ve come to the right place. Keep scrolling to find what you need.


Where do I start?

FIRST: How do you want to be published? There are currently THREE ROUTES to get your book into the hands of readers:

TRUE OR FALSE: Just place your fingers on the keyboard and start typing. It’ll come.

ANSWER: False!

  • Traditional PublishingThis is what most people are familiar with. You write your book, submit it to a publishing house for their rejection and then try again. Or you submit your manuscript to an agent for rejection and try again. This is a legitimate pathway, but be prepared for multiple rejections. Traditionally published authors typically sign over the rights to their work in contracts that allow the publishing house to alter the content and even the title at will. You retain very little to no control over your work once the contract is signed. The average royalty rate for Trad authors is between 10% and 15% and they are paid twice a year.
  • Indie Publishing. This model of publishing falls under the umbrella term of Self-Publishing. Indie authors are in complete control of every aspect of their author careers and maintain full ownership of their work. Indie authors hire their own editors and book cover designers. They are in charge of what platforms they retail their work on, as well as choose their own marketing pathways. Indie authors must have the desire to learn and adapt to the ever-changing marketplace because the entire experience starts and ends with the author. The average royalty rate for Indie authors is between 35% and 70%. Indie Authors are paid every month.
  • Vanity PublishingThis model of publishing falls under the umbrella term of Self-Publishing, too, but is wholly different from Indie Publishing. Vanity publishing houses are all those that require YOU as the author to write them a check to publish your work. They also require you to purchase hundreds of your own books to sell on your own before you see any royalties. Some have tried to adapt to the marketplace by calling themselves “hybrid” publishers by saying they cost-share with authors. Many are shying away from the “vanity” label because they’ve been outed. I strongly advise against this route for one reason: Traditional and Indie authors have the reader as their customer, whereas Vanity publishers have the author as their customer. Buyer beware! If any “publisher” requires you to write them a check for anything, don’t walk away. Run. Legitimate publishers pay authors for their work and receive payment from readers. Period.

POD has revolutionized publishing. POD stands for Print On Demand. It is no longer necessary to print hundreds of books just to get a single copy. Now, when a reader orders a book, a book is printed and sent to them. Warehouses are a thing of the past.

SECOND: Structure your story. 

Staring at a blank screen and typing Chapter One will not get you off to a good start. You must have an idea of what your book is about. From that seed, you must develop the story by enhancing it from the initial idea into a woven tapestry that includes the characters, their interactions and relationships, the tension involved, and the resolution to make an incredible picture when it’s finished. You must take readers on an emotional journey of connection from beginning to end.

Save yourself six months worth of work with these resources. 

(Some of the items below are purchases through Amazon and I will get a tiny commission, but it comes at no additional cost to you.)

The Snowflake method to structuring your story provides much needed guidance for first-time wannabe authors that need a skeleton on which to flesh out their ideas into a living, breathing entity to be proud of. I had the privilege of meeting and talking with Randy and he’s an amazing resource.

Whether you go traditional or Indie, Vellum is the backbone for the vast majority of authors out there. It provides everything you need to organize, research and write a novel. It formats your manuscript for e-books and paperbacks. This program keeps all your materials, ideas, outlines, and text in one place. **I do not use Vellum, but have never heard an author who DOES use it regret it. The other downside, as you can see, it is only available for MACs. However, there are workarounds for PC users. So feel free to check it out and contact them if you’re interested. Also, because I’m not a Vellum user, I cannot help you with those workarounds. Make Google or DuckDuckGo (a great search engine that respects your privacy) your best friend!

Click here for a link to a simple tutorial on Vellum with notes for PC users.

Do NOT feel like you must spend money on this type of software. I do not use it and am able to format my own manuscripts for both e-book and paperback without them, and I do not speak HTML.

If you would like to dabble in the Traditional Publishing world, this is your Bible. It is a comprehensive guide to query letters, agents, and publishing houses in ALL genres. There is an entire chapter devoted to Contracts 101. Contact information and requirements for agents, magazines, and publishing houses fill the back half of the book. As of late February 2021, the 2021 Writer’s Market was still not available so far as I can find.

THIRD: Improve your writing skills.

Every author should strive to become better than they were before. Here are fabulous tools to accomplish that goal.

My copy of this book is so dog-eared it’s ridiculous. The authors do an amazing job providing new and better ways to tell a story by showing a scene rather than telling a scene. Not sure what the difference is? Get this book and find out. One of the authors actually got arrested as research in one of their books – they wanted to know how the handcuffs felt and what it was really like to be in the back of a squad car. That is what I call dedication. The arrest experience paid off. The authors of this book have several more out that cover a wide range of topics. Feel free to look through them all under Writer’s Helping Writers Series.

FOURTH: Hire an excellent editor and cover designer.

This is an area where I, and most authors, recommend you spend some money on quality. When you are browsing books on Amazon (that’s where most people shop on-line, by the way), what makes you choose one book over another? What makes you stop scrolling and look deeper at a book? It’s all about the cover and the title. If you don’t choose a good cover for your genre and the title isn’t intriguing, nobody will care that you’re the most brilliant writer in the world.

On genre covers – the feel of your cover needs to convey the proper message about the content of the book. Don’t choose a bubblegum pink background with a labradoodle puppy if your book is a hard core serial killer thriller. Conversely, if your cover and title are brilliant, but your book is full of grammatical errors, plot holes, and boring characters, you will not have repeat customers and the reviews will make you cry.

Fictionary is an online self-editing tool that allows you to identify and correct characters, plots, and settings. It was created by authors for authors. It doesn’t replace a live person, but can greatly reduce the editing required for manuscript completion. They offer a 10 day free trial, so why not check it out? After that, it’s only $20 a month.

Book designer recommendations:

Paper and Sage created my book covers for The Yellow Ribbon Chronicles. I found the services to be professional, prompt, and the communication clear. The covers turned out exactly as I envisioned them to be.

Go On Write is a design service that I am considering for upcoming works. They have come highly recommended to me by other authors I collaborate with and respect.

For more options, research the top-selling books in your genre to determine not only the look and feel you should aim for, but who the cover designers are. There’s a treasure trove to be found in researching.

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