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How You Can Maximize Your eBook Sales Today

There is one thing almost every author overlooks when self publishing—and it may surprise you. Sure, there’s lots of talk about the importance of professional editing. Even I’ve written about it. And everyone knows it’s important to have test readers or a writing group who critique your novel. But I’m going to let you in on a secret: writing a good book won’t guarantee sales. … read more

4 Types of Editing & How To Choose Which Your Book Needs

Note: Melissa no longer offers these services. This post remains as archived content for your reference. One of the most common questions I get as an editor is about what different types of editing there are and what each one entails. New clients aren’t always sure what level of editing they need and don’t know how to make that decision. Before you can decide between the … read more

A Proofreading Checklist: What to look for before calling it done

Before hitting “send” when sending out a new piece or before hitting “publish” on a new blog post, it pays to proofread your piece. Here are some quick things to check when proofreading your own copy. Homophones Perhaps one of the most common mistakes when when writing is misusing homophones–words that sound alike but are spelled differently. Spell check won’t catch a misused word; it … read more

Show Don’t Tell — An Example Done Right

You may have had college professors preach to you to “show, don’t tell.” The ironic thing about that statement is that it contradicts itself. Take the video I’ve embedded below, for instance. In the video, a blind homeless man is begging for change. A young woman comes by and changes what he has written on his sign–and in response, many more people begin to give … read more

Why the Plan to Make Nook Profitable Is Set to Fail

Digital Book World recently reported Barnes & Noble CEO William Lynch’s plan to help make the nook profitable. The device is not currently performing as well as B&N had hoped—although the company reportedly sold twice the number of devices this black Friday versus last. Lynch is quoted as saying that the “key” to Nook business is to continue to grow digital content sales and that … read more

Why Authors Shouldn’t Try to Think Outside the Box

Creativity is defined as the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc. We often hear this concept expressed as “thinking outside the box.” Authors, perhaps even more than other creative groups, feel the stress to be “truly creative.” To avoid cliches. To add stunning plot twists. To do what has never … read more

How to Publish Your Book: The Options Authors Have Today

So perhaps you’ve done the hard part already and written a book. Or maybe you’re just doing some research because you’re thinking about writing a book. Either way, you should know that the publishing landscape today looks vastly different than it did a mere 15 years ago. Heck, it looks vastly different than it did 2 years ago. Authors today have a lot more options — … read more

Creating Characters from Scratch

This year I’m participating in NaNoWriMo for the first time. For those of you not familiar with the acronym, it stands for National Novel Writing Month and it’s organized by the Office of Letters and Light. Participants begin writing on November 1st, and the goal is to write a 50,000-word  novel by midnight on November 30th. As I said, this is my first year participating, but I’ve … read more

The Secret of Storytelling — From One of Pixar’s’ Masters

I don’t normally write posts this long—but this time I couldn’t resist. Andrew Stanton’s TED talk was something every author—every storyteller—should listen to.  Andrew Stanton starts off his TED Talk with a joke. “A tourist is backpacking through the highlands of Scotland and he stops at a pub for a drink. The only people in there are the bartender and an old man nursing a … read more

The Role of an Editor — And Why You Should Have One

Ever wonder what an editor does? Chances are it’s a lot more than you think. It’s an editor’s job to make sure your readers can see the forest despite the trees—that they don’t get caught up on typos and mistakes that will cause them to focus on the words instead of the story. And, in the process, a good editor will look for things you … read more