Ms. Schwartz, who describes herself as a bestselling author, is also an entrepreneur: in addition to GenZ/Zenith, she’s the founder of Dr. Rissy’s Writing & Marketing, which offers various PR services along with copywriting, editing, and consulting; and, according to her Reedsy bio, of a ghostwriting company called AmWriting. She was recently elected to the IBPA Board.
James saw the woman across the room and imagined her in another time. In that time she wore a dress with a bustle, corseted up, in brilliant peacock colors, her hair up with a diamond comb.
Now she stood in straight legged jeans, black sandals, and a white button down shirt. Her brown hair wasn’t up, but down around her shoulders.
She turned towards James and mouthed out the words, “come closer.”
James was feeling lucky. The jeans and button down shirt would come off a lot quicker than layers of a bustle dress and a tightly laced corset. Of course, she’d want him. Of course, she’d have him. How could she resist?
Up close she was even more intriguing than she had been from a distance. Freckles scattered across her face. Out of nowhere she pulled out a pair of blue framed glasses and looked at him with bright hazel eyes. She really looked as if she was looking at an ancient artifact or a perplexing work of art.
“I’m James,” he said.
“I’m Isolde,” she told him. “So, what is your pickup line tonight?”
“Before we get to that, I know you’re a Vampire.”
“Just like you.”
“What are you doing here?”
“It’s a party. I knew the place would be full of nice warm people. After the past two years it is good to finally get out and be somewhere with plenty of donors.”
I got the news this week that the ‘Writer Beware’ blog, which I keep re-posting here, on ‘Writer’s Treasure Chest’, moved to WordPress.
Victoria Strauss, who does so much for us writers by warning us from scams, foul play, screw-overs, phonies, and more, took the Writer’s Beware blog from Blogspot to WordPress, which is going to make re-blogging a lot easier. I’m sure, she’ll feel home here quite quickly!
Good Luck to Victoria, and we’re looking forward to her very helpful posts! Way to go!
Welcome to the new home of the Writer Beware blog!
After many years on the Blogger platform, we have finally transitioned to WordPress, which offers much greater flexibility in terms of design, control, and ease of use.
I’ve been dissatisfied with Blogger for a while now. I’m not a web developer, but I’m not helpless, either; I maintain the Writer Beware website on the SFWA site, and I built and maintain two additional websites, my own and another for an organization my husband is part of. But every time I thought about moving to a new platform, the size of the challenge just seemed too daunting. How would I transfer hundreds of posts, not to mention the thousands of comments and images that go with them? What about all the non-working inbound links the move would create? Links wouldn’t be a problem if I just started fresh on a brand-new WordPress site–but then the blog would exist on two platforms, with two different web addresses. And what about WB’s thousands of followers and subscribers?
Today we announced that Draft2Digital is acquiring Smashwords. We’re joining together to do more for authors, publishers, and readers.
Fourteen years ago when I created Smashwords, I set out on a crazy mission to change the way books were published, marketed, and sold. I wanted to empower every writer in the world with free tools to self-publish ebooks with pride, professionalism, and success. I wanted to give readers the freedom to enjoy the wonderful diversity of indie-published titles that I knew our publishing platform could help unleash.
Thanks to your trust and partnership, today 150,000 authors and publishers around the world use Smashwords to publish almost 600,000 ebooks. Nearly $200 million worth of Smashwords ebooks have been purchased at retail, and over $110 million paid out to authors and publishers. These books enriched the lives of readers, indie authors, publishers, booksellers, and the broader culture of books.
The impact of our little startup reached far beyond the numbers. As a friend of Smashwords, you’ve been part of something really big.
Given the increase in book-to-screen deals in recent years, and the tendency of the TV/movie industry to build off existing intellectual property, it’s natural for authors to wonder if their own work is suitable for adaptation—or if they can increase their chances of writing something that will be adapted. In a panel last year at the virtual Bologna Book Fair, several players in the industry discussed what they look for in projects.
I started working in digital advertising way back in 2004 and while it is tricky to generalize about three very different ad platforms – Facebook, Amazon, and BookBub Ads – there are some general rules that I recommend everyone considers, before losing their shirts on book advertising.
Not least because books present a pretty unique marketing challenge when compare to generic products. Something which can surprise marketers who move into publishing.
One of the important marketing tools a writer needs is an author bio. This descriptive bit of writing informs readers, in few words, who you are, what you write, and what makes you unique. It’s the marquee announcing your author presence in the world of publishing.
Think about your author bio as your “elevator pitch” that sells you rather than your book.
It may seem odd and uncomfortable penning your own biography, and writing about yourself in third person (which is what you need to do) can makes it feel even weirder.
To compound matters, most of us don’t like to toot our horn and share glowing praise about ourselves. We know how off-putting it is to hear someone brag about themselves and their accomplishments. Yet … we authors need to do just that—with at least modicum of modesty or humility, along with professionalism.
For today, I decided to make my readers giggle a bit and repost one of my most successful blog posts of the past years. I hope it’s as much fun to you now as it was before. Enjoy the read.
A Little Bit Of Childhood – Or – How To Become A Tough Adult
I’m now talking to the kids, teenagers, and the ones who one day want to become teens, young adults, and millennials. I’m talking to those wimps who have no clue that one can grow up without having everyone (namely, the parents) fighting for them while they lean back and continue playing on their computers and not do anything…
We and I very consciously talk about that group of people, born before 1980, we didn’t have what you have today – what did we have? Nothing, after the war! We had nothing! (And I know exactly who of you is laughing now and got the joke!) 😀
What did we have? We didn’t have mothers who bought us fast food or whatever we wanted to eat and ordered deliveries of our favorite sweets. We had a mother who cooked! Our mothers cooked spinach, green beans, peas, cauliflower – I grew up in a time before broccoli! We had real oatmeal and soup! We had to eat what was on the table – OR NOT EAT AT ALL! And when we didn’t behave as we should, there were days we were sent to bed without dinner.
We had toys – our toys came from China! All the lead paint and cadmium we sucked off the toys ourselves! Nobody helped us – and we didn’t die. Our mothers drove us around in cars without baby’s safety cushions and children’s seats, without airbags and some of them even without seat belts! Our mothers didn’t drive their children around in family vans and SUV’s. We had Volkswagen Beetles! Vacation time came, and our Dad was driving us, his wife, and two kids in the back of his baby blue beetle for 16 hours across the continent! Our mother had a few plastic bags for us kids to vomit into in case we didn’t feel so well.
When we were on the road, our mother didn’t have baby wipes or sterile medical wipes. She had a fabric family handkerchief where she spat into and wiped our faces with! That is actually the best stain remover on Earth! If a cleaner-production-company would be smart, they’d bottle up mother-spittle and sell it as an ‘all stain remover,’ because it removes everything, from mud to blood. And in that handkerchief, if anyone would ever have it scientifically investigated, you could have found the DNA from our great-great-great-great-great-grandfather, robber-knight Alexander!
When we couldn’t sleep as kids, we didn’t get ‘sleep-well-baby-tea’ or ‘baby-sleeping-juice’ from the drug store. No! Grandmother came in with the big bottle of brandy, and if there was none in the house, we got eggnog instead – we were forced to open our mouth and got it fed with the tablespoon, followed by a handful of gummi bears which we ate, one after another, then turned around and slept, and we still have all our teeth!
If we once in a rare while got a chewing gum, we didn’t chew and carelessly discarded it by the side of the road after half an hour. We chewed the entire day – and then in the evening, carefully placed it on our nightstand! In the morning, we blew the fluffs off the gum and stuck it back into our mouth – and in school, in the break, when talking to our best friend, we loaned it to her for the duration of the break – and the next lesson!
To play with we didn’t have Wii-consoles, Playstation, i-phones, i-pads, i-pods and were glued to them and frozen in time. What did we have to play with when we were kids? We had FRIENDS! And with these friends, we played daily! Yes, and sometimes we argued, we wrestled and once in a while one of our teeth fell out – but back then an incident like that wasn’t followed by an immediate meeting with parents who threatened to contact their lawyers! We were the ones being responsible for what we did!
And additionally, to the lost tooth, we got a clean slap across the face from Mom what she considered a clear statement in educational measures. Then we played ball – all kinds of ball. Softball, Basketball, soccer. The athletic kids were picked by the respective team captains, the not-so-athletic ones (like little AJ) were watching, not playing because these kids had to learn to handle disappointment – without the constant support of a children’s psychiatrist.
We all drank from the same glasses. Not the matching glasses – the SAME ones – like our siblings, parents, neighbors, neighbors’ kids, friends, and the neighbors’ dog sometimes. That wasn’t always nice – and sometimes we even drank from the garden hose when we were really thirsty – and we all survived!
We barely ever drank water and never soda- nor ‘filtered water’ out of a bottle, or water with a taste – no, we drank lemonade, yellow lemon tasty liquid with tons of sugar, sometimes the thing was syrup with orange taste and bubbles – and then we went back playing and ran it off.
We got grades in school – from first class on! And when we had bad grades in school, our parents told us off! They didn’t go giving their opinion to our teachers! We were the ones who had to work hard in school because only the kids with good grades who knew things and were good in school went to college, not every Ritalin-addicted brat whose parents were too lazy to work in school back in their times and hired tutors for their kids from the second class on, still believing their brood is highly gifted.
We had everything – we, the ones born before 1980 had everything! Freedom, success, failure, happiness, disappointment – and lemonade! We grew up, we experienced the first computers – we learned how to use them, we grew with the technology – but it doesn’t control us! We are neither addicted, nor are we dominated by technology! To us, it is a relief, a help, not our master. We can survive without it – the one after 1980 can’t! We are the ones who are tough; nothing is killing us, shattering us or making us giving up – because we learned to live with whatever was thrown to us – and we survived!
(First published on ‘Writer’s Treasure Chest’ March 5, 2020)
For quite a while now I kept re-blogging warnings of scams and fraud in the literary world, most of them written by Victoria Strauss in the ‘Writer Beware’ blog. I thought it a great idea that she posted a review of 2021, and I decided to share that post too. It might help some of us to escape a trap or two.
Ah, 2021. The year that was supposed to deliver us from the pandemic, and instead delivered…well. You know.
At least one expectation didn’t change: scammers gonna scam. Writer Beware was ready. Below are highlights of a busy year of scam hunting, scheme exposing, contract analyzing, and just plain crazy stuff. IT CAME FROM OVERSEASI know I’m kind of a broken record here, because I’ve written so many posts about them…but the tsunami of publishing/marketing/fake literary agency scams out of the Philippines really is one of the realest and most present dangers for self- and small press-published writers, who are almost exclusively these scammers’ target.