Best Email Service For Authors Header Image Kindlepreneur

One of the best strategies an author should employ is to start building their email list as soon as possible, especially if you intend to write more than one book.  So what is the best email service for authors?

The truth is, they are not all created equal.  Some start off cheap and then quickly balloon in price.  Others offer free accounts, but they aren’t complete and ultimately cause problems.  Furthermore, switching from one service to another is a pain (trust me, I’ve done it four times in my career).

The truth is, they are not all created equal.  Some start off cheap and then quickly balloon in price.  Others offer free accounts, but they aren’t complete and ultimately cause problems.  Furthermore, switching from one service to another is a pain (trust me, I’ve done it four times in my career).

So, choosing the best email service from the get-go is extremely important and can save you loads of time and money.

Therefore, to help you choose the right email service, I’ve gone through and tested four services I consider the best for authors and have stacked them side-by-side.  I’m happy to report that there is one specific email service that is the best fit for most authors.

Also, I created a free course to help you set up your account and get going with that particular email service.

In this review, you will discover:

  • Best Email Service Comparison
  • Comparison of Pricing
  • Mailchimp Review
  • Convertkit Review
  • Mad Mimi Review
  • MailerLite Review
  • Free Author Email Course


    In my years of working online, I’ve personally used Aweber, Mailchimp, GetResponse, ConvertKit, ActiveCampaign, Send Fox, and more.  The truth is, there are probably hundreds of email services out there and more added every month.  So, it’s implausible to test them all.


    Pricing is important.  Although free accounts will probably suffice for many of you, knowing how much you’d need to pay when you go beyond the free account is extremely important.  As you’ll see, some of these hook you with a great free account, but then get you with the pricing.  So, beware.


    Mailchimp logo

    Mailchimp is probably one of the most well-known email service providers out there. And that’s because it works great for big businesses who have loads of subscribers to send to. But will it work for indie authors? Bear in mind that most indie authors need pretty simple stuff out of their mailing lists: the ability to automate a welcome sequence, deliver emails, manage their subscribers, occasionally tag them, have accurate reporting and remove inactive subscribers who don’t click or open.

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Article: 21 Memoir Examples to Inspire Your Own Memoir #motownwriters

Writing a memoir is a daunting endeavor for any author: how do you condense your entire life story into a mere couple hundred pages? Of course, you’ll find plenty of online guides that will help you write a memoir by leading you through the steps. But other times that old adage “show, don’t tell” holds true, and it’s most helpful to look at other memoir examples to get started.

If that’s the case for you, we’ve got you covered with 21 memoir examples to give you an idea of the types of memoirs that have sold well. Ready to roll up your sleeves and dive in? Let’s start with one of the most popular types of memoirs out there: the autobiographical memoir.

The autobiographical memoir

The autobiographical memoir — a retelling of one’s life, from beginning to present times — is probably the standard format that jumps to most people’s minds when they think of this genre

Examples of this type of memoir

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou. The woman who Toni Morrison said “launched African American writing in the United States,” Angelou penned this searing memoir in 1969, which remains a timeless classic today.

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris. Less of a singular memoir than a collection of humorous anecdotes framed around his life as a transplant to Paris, the star of this book is Sedaris’ dry voice and cutting humor.

A Two-Spirit Journey by Ma-Nee Chacaby. Chacaby’s remarkable life — from growing up abused in a remote Ojibwa community to overcoming alcoholism and coming out as a lesbian as an adult — is captured in this must-read autobiography.

The “event” memoir

Similar to the “experience” memoir, the “event” memoir centers on a single significant event in the author’s life. However, while the former might cover a period of years or even decades, the “event” memoir zeroes in on a clearly defined period of time — for instance, a two-month walk in the woods, or a three-week mountain climb, as you’ll see below.

Examples of this type of memoir:

Walden by Henry David Thoreau. In July of 1845, Henry David Thoreau walked into the woods and didn’t come out for two years, two months, and two days. This is the seminal memoir that resulted.

The family memoir

In a family memoir, the author is a mirror that re-focuses the light on their family members — ranging from glimpses into the dysfunctional dynamics of a broken family to heartfelt family tributes.

Examples of this type of memoir

Brother, I’m Dying by Edwidge Danticat. A love letter to her family that crosses generations, continents, and cultures, Brother, I’m Dying primarily tells the intertwined stories of two men: Danticat’s father and her uncle. Continue reading

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Article: What Your First 50 Pages Reveals #motownwriters


Today’s post is by regular contributor Susan DeFreitas (@manzanitafire), an award-winning author, editor, and book coach. She offers a first 50-page review on works in progress for novelists seeking direction on their next step toward publishing.

Is your manuscript ready to pitch, or does it still need work? It can be a maddening question to answer. Even for seasoned authors, the question of when a manuscript is ready to pitch can be a tough call.

Leonardo da Vinci is credited as saying, “A work of art is never done, only abandoned,” and it’s easy to feel like there’s always something else you can do, some new element you can add to make your manuscript stronger.

Of course, that’s usually true. But if you’re ever going to write another book, there comes a point where you’re going to have to take a deep breath, cross your fingers, and hit submit.

So: How do you know when that time has come?

First, synopses tend to reveal story weaknesses

Queries are notoriously hard to write, but synopses might just be harder: How could anyone possibly encapsulate the epic sweep of their novel in the course of just one single-spaced page? Even so, learning how to write a synopsis is an essential skill, not just for pitching, but for getting a sense of the overall sweep of your story.

What agents and editors look for in the first pages

First, there are the basics: Is it clear whose head we’re in within the first few paragraphs? Is there a sense that there’s something real at stake in this story, that it matters? Is the voice compelling, the prose clear? If the answer is yes on all accounts, I look for more complex things.


This touches on another key issue, pacing. Because no matter how big and sprawling a story may be, if I don’t see the inciting incident and at least one more major plot development within the first 50 pages, I know that the pacing is off.

In fact, when a writer sends me the first 50 pages of a manuscript that really is ready to pitch—or close to it—there’s almost always some compelling plot development that has just occurred by page 50, usually without any planning or forethought on the author’s part. That shows me that the author has an intuitive command of the art of pacing—and that an agent or editor is likely to request the full manuscript. Continue reading

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Article: How to Publish a Cookbook in 6 Easy-As-Pie Steps #motowonwriters

How to Publish a Cookbook in 6 Easy-As-Pie Steps

If you’re hoping to learn how to publish a cookbook, you’ve come to the right place! In this post, we’ll look at all the cookbook-specific aspects of the publishing process.

We’ve already looked at how you can make a cookbook and self-publish it in a previous post. So in this post, we’ll assume you’ve decided to take the other route, and publish traditionally.  In traditional publishing, nonfiction authors do not need to write their books in full before contacting publishers. Instead, they spend a while outlining, refining, and researching their ideas in a book proposal they then shop around to publishers. The reason is simple: if publishers accept their proposal, the book will change during the acquisition process, so the authors don’t have to finalize everything beforehand.

However, this doesn’t mean authors should rush to start submitting proposals. They still need to spend a lot of time working on their concept and structure — not to mention the actual formulation and testing of the recipes. If you’re ready, let’s start diving from the frying pan into the fire!

Step 1: Refine your book idea

When you pitch a book, you need to be certain that your cookbook is needed in the culinary literary market at this moment. This includes thinking hard about how original your idea is, how you could structure your cookbook, and who your audience could be, in order to crystallise your creative idea into a solid book project.

Step 2: Write your book proposal

You’ll need a book proposal to find a literary agent, and to submit your idea to publishers. This 15-50 page document is an essential element of the non-fiction query letter, and it’s what you’ll send to agents and publishers to pitch your cookbook.

Step 3: Polish and submit your proposal

Now that you’ve exhausted your own abilities to improve that proposal, you can bring in the experts. This is your one shot at securing a book deal, so make sure it’s perfect before submission.

Step 4: Finalize your recipes

Once you’ve secured a book deal, your next step is to make the content of your cookbook as appealing as possible. That means testing your recipes, actually writing your cookbook content, and commissioning visuals, whether these are photographs or illustrations.

Step 5: Ensure you’re happy with your book’s design

There are two aspects of your book’s design that you need to be on board with:

  • exterior (front and back covers, plus spine);
  • interior (typesetting, typography, page layouts, use of photography/illustrations).

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Article: How to Choose What’s Next #motownwriters

by Kai Strand, @KaiStrand 

I’ve been writing with the intent to publish for more than a minute now. More than a decade. I’m not even going to do the math to see if I’ve hit the double decade mark. Who wants that reminder?

I mostly write for kids and teens. I love crafting stories that involve discovery and problem solving and friendship. Oh, wait, books for the grown-ups among us contain those themes as well. Huh. When an idea I’d had bumping around inside my head wouldn’t convert well into a story for young adults, I realized I should just write a book for adults and a new pen name was born.

As I mentioned, I write mostly for kids and teens. Most of my published work is targeted for the middle grade or young adult reader, but I do have a few books published specifically for adults. I purposefully chose to publish those under a different pen name – not because I think I can hide my identity from my teen readers and keep them from discovering books where adults might do more than kiss, but because I wanted to make sure there is a clear line in the sand.

As an author, I write stories that contain adventure, sometimes fantasy, love, heartache, characters acting heroically or making bad decisions. When the name Kai Strand is on the book cover, you are less likely to find the main characters falling into bed together (though the teenagers often want to!) When the name LA Dragoni is on the cover, they still might not be falling into bed together, but they also might. Does it bother me that my teen reader might migrate to my adult reads? I don’t think it’s my place to worry. I’m not marketing the books directly to underage readers, and hopefully their parents are involved in their reading choices.

Award winning Kai Strand, author of The Super Villain Academy series, is often found exploring hiking trails and snapping pictures of waterfalls in her Oregon hometown. Mother of four, Kai uses her life experiences to connect with young readers. With middle grade works such as Save the Lemmings, and The Weaver Tale series, and emotional YA adventures like Finding Thor, and Worth the Effort, Kai has written compelling stories that tweens, teens, and their parents love.

Kai has given numerous presentations throughout Oregon about her work and the writing process. She loves interacting with teens and gaining their insight on their latest reads as well as what they would like to see in future stories.  

To find out more about Kai, please visit

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12 Steps to Building a Powerful Brand Image via @pamperry #motownwriters

Expert Author Pam Perry

Building Blocks for A Solid Corporate ID Kit

1. Design a simple logo that attracts attention. Keeping it simple keeps it easy to produce and easy for branding. A good trick is to fax it to yourself and see how it shows up. If it’s confusing over a fax, it’s not a good logo.

2. Create a tag line that encapsulates your brand. Make it succinct and “catchy” so people can remember it. Make your tagline inviting without it sounding too “cutesy.”

3. Choose your brand colors as a reflection of the personality you want to project. Know that you will live with these colors forever. Put thought into why you’re choosing specific colors. Keep the same color-scheme in everything you do.

4. Hire a professional graphic designer to produce your corporate ID kit. That kit includes business cards, letterhead, envelopes, labels, and web site (even if it is just a contact page). Visit something like GoDaddy to buy the URL that will be your web site address. This investment is under $10 per year.

5. Get several professional headshot photos to use in ads, blogs, program books and other media. Image is everything. Investing in a professional photo shoot is the foundation of many graphic items that you will use over and over again.

6. Put your best foot forward on your business cards. This says plenty about you before you even open your mouth. Invest in good, heavy paperstock, Use both sides of the card. Consider putting your “tag line” on the back.

7. Print brochures in mass to send to those that ask for more information when considering you as a guest speaker or to hire you. People want information they can touch, feel, and walk away with to read later, even though you have a website containing all that information. Invest in a simple yet high-quality piece for multiple uses.

8. Design CD or DVD labels to match your corporate ID kit or book. Make sure your web site, social media tags and phone number are on everything that goes out. Yes, that means everything!

9. Order a standard podium cover to match your corporate ID for special meetings in venues like hotels where their name is displayed. Show your own “brand” not the hotel’s. Have people in your audience stare at your name not a hotel’s name.

10. Invest in the special touches that make you stand out in a crowd at places like tradeshows, conference exhibit halls, and conventions. Order items like table cloths, acrylic holders, portable exhibits, retractable floor banners, tabletop displays for your book and tape table.

11. Order premiums that promote your brand or book. These are small details that set you apart from the pack. Get bulks items such as ink pens, bookmarks, magnets, post-it notes, notepads, or mints, to distribute at special meetings or at your book/tape table when you travel.

12. Have postcards or note cards printed to send to media after interviews or to personally keep in touch with select people and prospects. Have the postcards or note cards match your business card in style, prompting brand recognition in the mind of the receiver.

Ministry marketing pioneer, Award-winning social media strategist and PR Coach Pam Perry helps African American Christian authors garner publicity and leverage online strategies. As a 20-year PR veteran, she is also the co-author of “Synergy Energy: How to Use the Power of Partnerships to Market Your Book, Grow Your Business and Brand Your Ministry.” For a free MP3 of “What Every Author Should Know,” go to She offers help through her private mentorship program at

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Article: Creating Believable Characters #motowonwriters

by Yen Cabag

When we read a novel, we want a story that grips us, and characters that feel so real they’re almost our friends—or enemies, as the case may be. And when we turn the last page, we feel an almost bittersweet parting because we had been so involved in their lives for the last three hundred pages.

But believable characters don’t just walk onto a page all by themselves, even if that’s what it feels like sometimes. As a writer, you have the power of creating three-dimensional characters that your readers can relate to from the very first time they meet, and follow their journey all the way to the last page.

How to Create Believable Characters

So when you start to write a book, here are some tips to help you create characters that are so real, they become a part of your readers’ lives:

1. Be meticulous about their backstory.

Some writers shy away from creating backstory because they think it’s unnecessary or bogs down the narrative. But knowing what makes your characters tick is crucial for making them come to life both for you and for your readers.

Explore your character’s past experiences, especially things that make a deep impression on him. From there, you will find logical responses that you won’t have to invent but just automatically springs up as you write that character out.

One of the most important things you need to decide from the get-go is what drives your character. What are his fears, dreams, ambitions? What’s hindering him from achieving those goals? What is a lie that he believes about himself or about the world that’s keeping him from all he wants in life? And how does he need to change in the process?

2. Give them strengths and weaknesses.

There’s nothing more boring than a character who’s always predictably good or always predictably evil. After all, in real life, people always have different facets to their personality, and no one is strictly black or white.

3. Explore colloquialism and other nuances in your characters’ language.

One way of creating characters that live on in your readers’ minds is by giving them a distinct voice. Is one of your characters from the South?

4. Show your reader how your character responds.

A piece of common advice for writers is, “Show, don’t tell.” This is an even more crucial tip when it comes to character development.

Creating Compelling Characters

In the end, look at creating memorable characters is like making new friends: when you get to know your friends, you see aspects of them that you don’t always observe from your first acquaintance. Add layers to your characters’ lives, and they will become clearly more interesting people to know and remember way after the story ends. Continue reading

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Article: To Avoid Rejection, Take the Writer Out of the Story #motownwriters

Today’s guest post is by editor and author Joe Ponepinto (@JoePonepinto).

An admission: As I read my way through the submission queue for our literary journal, I often decide to decline a story well before its end.

It’s not that the stories are always bad. Many times the premise is interesting, and the characters as well. It may exhibit the opening tension and stakes that can pull a reader in. In fact, there may not be anything technically missing from the submission, and this proficiency is supported by the writers’ cover letters—many submitters have been published in other journals; some are contest winners or Pushcart nominees.

But for me, the stories they’ve submitted just don’t resonate.

So it’s a matter of taste, then?

Here’s an example of what appears to be decent writing, but falls short of resonating with an experienced editor:

Like hundreds of times before, Barry Jacobs watched the signals on the subway wall as the train glided under his Brooklyn neighborhood. The car rocked in rhythm with the tracks below, but the gentle swaying did little to put him at ease, even after almost ten years of traveling the L line to his office in Manhattan. This time, Madeline, the new supervisor, would be waiting for him.

“We’ll be making some changes. I’ve been working on them for a while,” she’d said. “I want to restructure how projects are assigned.”

He realized her position of newfound authority forced her to do this. She had to show the upper management she had a vision for the department’s future in order to gain their respect. He knew it was going to cause trouble for him.

This opening establishes tension and stakes, plus a hint of intrigue in Madeline’s statement about changes, which are still unspecified. Barry seems to be a sympathetic character. We are beginning to learn how he feels about his job. In terms of writing conventions this a good approach.

Jorge Luis Borges, in his “Borges and I,” broaches the idea of the writer and the person as different people. A good writer is like that; when writing she becomes someone other than the person. She becomes the writer, an alter ego who doesn’t care whether the reader loves the story. The writer cares only about the story itself, and not the recognition it might bring. That’s what editors are looking for when they read submissions—the story, not the writer. Also consider this interview with Elena Ferrante, the Italian writer whose true identity remains unknown. She not only talks about the separation of the writer and the author, she lives it.

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Article: Any Which Way But Done: Writing a Series for Fun and Flavor #motownwriters

By William L. Hahn

We often think of writing as a life filled with the once-and-done. There’s this book, we must write it; Muse willing you finish, then jot “The End” and it’s on to a completely different story. Each tale is complete, the characters exist only so long as you were penning more words about them. Some of the greatest books ever written are one-offs: Moby DickA Christmas Carol, the Bible (OK, kind of cheating on that last one but you get the notion).

Going Series: So Much Yes

How is it, then, that we so often find ourselves thinking about series? And why on earth do we so often think that we won’t or can’t do them? First, the reasons why—oh, let me count the ways!

Status Quo Series: The Under-the-Sun Flavor

Examples- TV: Gilligan’s Island; Books: Hercule Poirot mysteries

Most people think of a series in this way, sometimes called an Episodic series. Your characters, their interactions and the situation they’re in remain the same. Inciting events and plot turns are chiefly threats to change this status quo. But by the end, the castaways are still on the island, the murderer did not get away with it. Nobody we know dies (not really): yes, Watson eventually marries and Sherlock dies at the end, until Doyle decided to bring him back. Then he quite simply reappears, and the game is still afoot. It was all a dream, remember that one?

The Sneaky Epic: A Character-Arc in Disguise Flavor

Examples- TV: The Walking DeadOnce Upon a Time; Books: Game of Thrones

Sometimes you finish the book but you weren’t done! Many times our characters, like Athena, spring into the story full-grown adults (and not coincidentally, causing you a headache as they do). How did they get here? Where are they going after this story is over?

Only the Kitchen Sink: The Series with One Lasting Flavor

Examples- TV: Hallmark Christmas Movies; Books: Regency Romances

Every tale in some series completely changes everything: new characters, countries, settings, situations, eras. All is up for grabs, they look in every way not like a series. Yet there is an essential… something, a formula or rhythm there that abides. Sometimes the actors are the same, or even the names of main characters.

Series Writing for the Win

I’ve blogged a bit about these three levels of writing, and that might also help you set things in order as you plan your series. Remember that series flavors are lurking everywhere. In that novel you wrote years ago. In that scattered set of notes you never fleshed out but that have something in common. It could be a prequel or a sequel, a spin-off or a backwards-universe variant.

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Article: How to use simple psychology and basic common sense to sell more books #mptownwriters


by Barb Drozdowich

Do you dream about creating a group of Superfans who will buy every book you write?

Yes? Well, then, do you make it easy for readers to become your Superfans?

I’m Barb Drozdowich, the admin of this site, and a technical trainer by trade. “How to make it easier to turn your readers into Superfans” is a topic I address frequently in my books as well as my workshops. I’ve written 27 highly-rated books and have created 6 online courses that delve into the technical aspects of being an author. Many of my books have won awards.

I want you to keep the idea of “Superfans” in your mind as we talk about today’s topic. To create these Superfans, we need to make sure that we don’t do anything to frustrate our readers. In fact, our job is to make purchasing/following/subscribing as easy as possible.

In order to do that, there are three simple steps:

  1. Create content in a reader-friendly format
  2. Use simple psychology to help guide readers
  3. Harness what we know about e-reader technology to make it easier for readers to find us — and buy more of our books.The Science of Writing for Readers

    I’m a science grad who became a science prof – so when someone from the publishing industry (in 1995) suggested that textbooks would be converted to electronic format, I jumped for joy!! After decades of lugging around massive science reference texts, the idea of tucking a computer disk into my bag was pretty exciting!

    Psychology – Loaves of Bread And Jars of Jam

    Think back to the last time you were at the grocery store to buy a loaf of bread. Did you study the choices available or did you grab your usual brand and walk away? If you were thinking about trying something new and your local grocery store is like mine, you were likely confronted by many different choices.

    How much do you know about the capabilities of e-readers?

    As someone who has carpal tunnel, I love my Kindle e-reader! By the end of the day, my hands don’t have the strength to hold a paperback book open; however, I love to read.

    Just like the jars-of-jam study, don’t provide too many choices and overwhelm readers, but find a logical place to send them to do what you want them to do. Send them to a retailer to buy some books; send them to your website to join your mailing list; send them to your front-line social media site. Brainstorm where you want them to go to begin their road to becoming your Superfans.

    Most readers are pretty good at buying books. They just need you to make it as easy as possible for them – they will love you for it!

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Article: Here are Eight Places That Accept Nonfiction Essays on SF/F Topics #motownwriters

by Margaret Kingsbury

Writing articles for websites can turn into a nice side income and can even become a main source of income if you’re consistent in generating new ideas and pitching them to editors. Many websites are dedicated to science fiction and fantasy nerdom, with editors constantly looking for new content to publish. This piece, for example, was a successful pitch to the SFWA Blog, which is currently open to nonfiction pitches and pays for accepted articles. Below, I list an additional eight websites—all paying—and information on how to pitch them. I’ve also included a brief outline to pitching, in case you haven’t pitched before.

Pitch Outline

Subject: Pitch — TITLE (Put TIMELY before your title if your pitch deals with something currently in the news.)

Dear EDITOR’S NAME (If you don’t know the editor, you can put Hi there, or Dear Editor),

Please consider this pitch for NAME OF WEBSITE.

TITLE (this title will probably change, but it’s good to have a direct title that succinctly summarizes your idea)

Pitching Tips

I often include two pitches in my email, and though some writers say to only include one, it’s worked really well for me (if pitch guidelines say not to send more than one pitch, defer to the guidelines). Editors prefer pitches and not completed articles. If you plan on pitching regularly, I recommend signing up for Sonia Weiser’s Opportunities of the Week newsletter.

Eight SF/F Websites to Pitch* was the first place I landed a pitch. They have detailed guidelines for pitching on their website. Send pitches to

Lady Science
Lady Science looks at the history and pop culture of science from a feminist perspective. Their guidelines are listed on their website, and you can send essay, commentary, idea, and review pitches to, while feature pitches should be sent to Sarah Muncy at Continue reading

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Article: How To Grow Your Writing Business Every Day #motownwriters

You write so people will read your work, yet how to reach readers? Let’s discuss.

Rachel Thompson

Jul 17 · 7 min read
Image for post

One of the first questions I ask clients is: What is your goal? Most answer as any working writer would: sell a ton of books. As a working writer myself (six books out so far, two more coming this year), I want that, too!

If you’re reading this as a blogger hoping to get a ton of eyes on your work, then the answer is the same: gain a ton of readers.

Yet, here’s the tricky part: how do we get there?

1.68 million books were released in 2018 (that’s 4,602 per day) and this does not include self-pub’d books on Amazon without an ISBN (Amazon assigns an in-house ASIN which an author can choose instead of the more costly ISBN). Source: Publishers Weekly.

We can drive ourselves mad figuring out what the easy button is, or we can put in the hard work to make it happen. Here is my advice to help you along. Keep in mind these two bits:

  1. Making money on your books is the side hustle, at first. It IS possible, yet I don’t suggest making it your only goal. Know that and accept that. The work I’m suggesting here will take a while, and it won’t be easy. It’s not extraordinarily difficult, yet it IS work. What I promise clients, and work on for myself, is visibility. I’ll explain more below.

    How Can You Be More Visible?

    As I discussed in my last post, How To Build An Engaged Following On Social Media, with 72% of the American population on social, being there is an excellent way to connect with readers.

    Branding is about managing expectations.

    For example, for BadRedhead Media, my company, you will always see me write about book marketing, author branding, social media, writing, and book promotion. This is what readers expect from me, what I’m known for, what I’ve written two books about (so far), and what I help clients do (and what I show up in Google for — and that’s the biggest win of all!).

    Daily Ideas To Grow Your Writing Business

    In no particular order, here are some tactics you can do each day that won’t take much time to help you move your writing business forward. Pick one, pick three. Do whatever works for you.

    5. Share our writing. We are writers after all. Many new writers are terrified of sharing their work. It’s understandable. We sit alone in our rooms, talking to ourselves and our cats, who are usually a pretty good audience (unless they’re hungry).

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Article: Why the Story of the Starving Artist Needs to Die #motownwriters

Why the Story of the Starving Artist Needs to Die

In my latest book, Real Artists Don’t Starve, I debunk the myth of the starving artist and lay out a plan for how you can make a living off your creative talents. Here’s an excerpt from the book.

Why the Story of the Starving Artist Needs to Die

The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark. —Michelangelo Buonarotti

In 1995, an American professor made an unusual discovery. At Syracuse University in Florence, Rab Hatfield was trying to match the scenes of the Sistine Chapel to the dates Michelangelo had painted each of them.

Since the artist had received commissions in various installments, the professor thought there might be a paper trail, so he went to the city archives. Surprised at how easy it was to locate five-hundred-year-old bank records, he began reconstructing a more accurate timeline for how the most famous ceiling in the world came to be.

Myth of the starving artist

Two hundred years after Michelangelo died, Henri Murger was born the son of a tailor and concierge in France. Living in Paris, he was surrounded by creative geniuses and dreamed of joining them, but he grew frustrated with his failure to find financial security.

In 1847, Murger published Scènes de la vie de bohème, a collection of stories that playfully romanticized poverty. The result was some literary acclaim, persistent struggle, and an untimely end to a penniless life.

The book limped along after the author’s death, being adapted first as the opera La Bohème and later as a film, eventually achieving widespread acclaim with spinoffs including Rent and Moulin Rouge.

A new kind of artist

In this book, I want to offer a very simple but challenging argument: Real artists don’t starve.

Making a living off your creative talent has never been easier, and to show you it’s possible I will share historical examples of well-known artists, creatives, and entrepreneurs who did not have to suffer to create their best work. And I will also introduce you to a contemporary group of professionals who are experiencing surprising amounts of success in their creative work and how you can join them.

We all have creative gifts to share, and in that respect, we are all artists. The world needs your work—whether that’s an idea for a book, a vision for a startup, or a dream for your neighborhood— and you shouldn’t have to struggle to create it.

What does it mean to be a “real artist”? It means you are spending your time doing the things that matter most to you. It means you don’t need someone else’s permission to create. It means you aren’t doing your work in secret, hoping someone may discover it someday. It means the world is taking your work seriously.

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Article: 7 Things Your Character Is Hiding #motownwriters

7 things your character could be hiding


Being able to write realistic, consistent, multi-dimensional characters is vital to gaining reader interest. Doing so first requires we know a lot about who our characters are—you know, the obvious stuff: positive and negative traits, behavioral habits, desires, goals, and the like. But it’s not always the obvious parts of characterization that create the most intrigue. What about the things your character is hiding?

Everyone hides. We hide the goals we know are wrong for us, opinions that may turn others against us, or feelings and desires that make us feel vulnerable—basically anything with the potential for rejection or shame.

7 Different Things Your Character Is Hiding

To add this layer of depth to your characters, you first need to know what’s taboo in their minds—not only what they’re hiding, but why. Here are some common things your character may feel compelled to conceal from others.

1. Desires

Desires are an important part of who your characters are. These desires drive their actions and decisions in the story. While these wants are often transparent, there are situations in which the character may not feel comfortable sharing them.

2. Fears

Everyone has fears. Many of those fears are perfectly acceptable, which makes it safe for us to share them. It’s the ones that make us feel weak or lessen us in the eyes of others that we keep in the dark

3. Negative Past Events

Speaking of wounding events, we each have defining moments from the past that we’re reluctant to share with others or even acknowledge ourselves.

4. Flaws and Insecurities

Being flawed is part of the human experience. There are things about ourselves we don’t want to examine too closely and which we definitely don’t want others to know about.

5. Unhealthy Behaviors

Sometimes characters exhibit behaviors or habits they know aren’t good for them. Maybe these behaviors stem from a wounding event or an unhealthy desire. Maybe they really want to change, but they don’t know how.

6. Uncomfortable Emotions

The Emotion Thesaurus Cover SMALL WEBWhile it’s healthy to embrace and express a range of emotions, characters are not always comfortable with all the feelings. This may occur with emotions that are tied to a negative event from the past. It may be an emotion that makes the character feel vulnerable or is culturally unacceptable. Continue reading

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Bloggers and Blogging Can Create Publicity for Your Book or Ministry via @pamperry #motownwriters

Expert Author Pam Perry

Authors should know that there’s a gold mine online!

What’s all the talk about Blogs? What’s a blogosphere?

Well, it’s another vehicle to “get out there.”

When I coach authors, I ask them if they have a blog. Then I ask them if they even subscribe to other blogs or even read and comment on other blogs. More times than not they answer, “No. Why?”

Are you blogophobic? Are you one of those people that “don’t get it” when it comes to blogging, social media and the constant internet chatter?

Whether you love or hate technology, it’s something we all must deal with. And if you’re in business, have a ministry or want to be noticed as an author or artist – a blog is a “must have” if you want to be relevant and extend your brand.

A blog (short for web log) is a type of website that functions as an online journal, with the most recent entry displayed first.

As recently as ten years ago, blogs didn’t exist. It’s estimated that there are between 50 and 100 million blog readers in the U.S. And according to, Blog readers average 23 hours online each week.

An essential aspect of social media is the idea of staying connected and communicating with an audience. Blogs are about two-way communication – because when you write a blog entry, people can comment. Hence, blogs led the “Web 2.0” revolution!

Besides, blogging is fast, cheap and can be fun! It’s a way to put your personality on display – frequently!

Nickcole Byrd, an ordained minister at Higher Dimension church in Houston, Texas and author of “The Purple Book of Success” says, “Blogging is a creative and surefire way for people to experience you, your service and or product. It allows readers to take part in my world as it relates to empowerment and leadership. As a writer it provides a canvas for me to further develop concepts and ideas for future writing endeavors. Blogging creates an infallible opportunity to leave a writing legacy.”

If you already have a traditional website, you can start a separate blog. There are programs that will automatically display your blog posts on your website. Even if you already have a traditional website, you can still add content pages to your blog to make it more like a website. Nickcole Byrd creates “blogsites” for ministries. This is a blog that functions as website but is really a WordPress blog. She can also attach the blog to a current website too. (This will increase your Search Engine Optimization automatically too.)

Byrd created Ministry Marketing Solutions’ website which is really a “blogsite.” She set it up and we update it without any help. No technical skills needed! That’s the beauty of a blog. Anyone can do it!

Each of the entries or articles is called a “post” and the posts are usually updated once or twice a week. They are never long posts (about 300 words). Sometimes posts are lists of favorite things or links, a video from YouTube, a comment on current events or an interesting photo with a tag line.

Whatever you are passionate about, that’s what you blog. Before you set up your blog, think about what you like most – do you want to write opinion, teach theology, do videos, create conversation, or just have a place share your creative content – songs, sermons, devotionals, etc. It’s your blog – there are no rules!

“To connect with audiences today, you need to stop pushing your message out and start pulling your customers in with good content that spreads like a virus via social media. And there is no better tool for this than the blog, said Byrd.

“Blogging gives aspiring entrepreneurs, ministries and authors a strategic way of marketing and influencing buyer’s decisions to buy their product or buy into your ideas. When you post good content, it’s a key way to position yourself as an expert and thought leader. Websites give your validity online – but blogs build your brand and connects to your core audience consistently,” concluded Byrd.

Make your PR stick, blog on and make it viral!

Ministry marketing pioneer, Award-winning social media strategist and PR Coach Pam Perry helps African American Christian authors garner publicity and leverage online strategies. As a 20-year PR veteran, she is also the co-author of “Synergy Energy: How to Use the Power of Partnerships to Market Your Book, Grow Your Business and Brand Your Ministry.” She offers help through her private mentorship program at

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