This Week in Indie Publishing

Don Massenzio's Blog



Jade Stewart is persistent. The Irondale native spent almost a year searching for a literary agent to help secure a publisher for her debut novel.

“I got rejected by 33 literary agents,” she recalled.

Stewart then took matters into her own hands. After doing extensive research, she found Amazon’s CreateSpace, a program that provides tools for self-publishing and distribution of creative materials.

Read the rest of this story HERE.


Dear Apple, Please Don’t Give Up on iBooks in iOS 11

Here are some ideas I have to improve iBooks in iOS 11, because I want to see it succeed. As an avid reader, I was disappointed that there was nary a mention of iBooks at WWDC 2017. I’m not just talking about the app, I’m referring to Apple’s eBook ecosystem as a whole. I think improvements can be…

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The Rundown of Beta Reading

A Writer's Path

by Samantha Fenton

Definition of a beta reader: A beta reader is a non-professional reader who reads a written work, generally fiction, with the intent of looking over the material to find and improve elements such as grammar and spelling, as well as suggestions to improve the story, its characters, or its setting.

Beta reading is typically done before the story is released for public consumption. Beta readers are not explicitly proofreaders or editors, but can serve in that context. Elements highlighted by beta readers encompass things such as plot holes, problems with continuity, characterisation or believability.

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Extra Innings – Part 37

Don Massenzio's Blog

Joe seems to be on a good path in this week’s installment of Extra Innings. As you read this, however, I would encourage you to remember the old adage, things are not always as they seem.

I only see maybe one or two parts left to this story and then I’d like to add some additional twists and turns and put it into a book. I’d love for the few of you that have read it to weigh in on whether or not you think this is a good idea. It’s a different genre, but I think it might be worth doing.

Please enjoy this week’s installment of Extra Innings.

If you want to catch up on the previous installments of this serial, you can click on these links:

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7,

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The Endless Circle of Writing


maythewordseverflow65001212015 A new novel. All right here we go! You have a pen and paper or a keyboard in front of you. Music is softly playing in the background, phone turned off, food and drink nearby. You’ve sent out warning to family and friends “I’m going to start my novel today. Do not disturb me unless it’s an absolute emergency! That does not mean needing to talk because you dumped your boyfriend, or you can’t find anything to eat in the kitchen. Disturb only if the house is on fire or someone is bleeding to death.

 The Circle of Writing

Chapter 1. Shutting the door firmly and ignoring the faint, pleading questions through the door about when is dinner? Where’s the remote? Where are my shoes? You return to your desk and begin to write. Chapter One. Good start, so you continue.

What happens next? Pen scratches on paper or fingers tap across the keyboard; words flow onto the paper or screen, then stops. Damn! What do I write now? What happens next? Maybe I should have written a brief outline or something.

Maybe this isn’t as good as I thought. You take a break, reading through what you wrote, cringing, and wincing. Oh, this will never do. Maybe I should change that. You resume writing.

This really sucks. Gah! What am I doing? You think to yourself. I wouldn’t let my worse enemy read this! I should just hit delete, or use the paper as kindling in the fireplace. Time to grab a decent meal instead of the chips and candy you’ve been noshing on. You emerge from the room, relieved to find the house still standing and everyone in one piece. They ask how the writing is going, you tell them it’s going fine. In the kitchen you make a sandwich, grab something to drink and return your writer’s cave.

I’m stuck! Back to writing and bam! A wall appears before you. The words come to a halt and doubts grow stronger while you sit there staring. I can’t think of what else to write, you wail, scaring the cat and startling the birds in the tree outside your window.

This is a mistake! What the hell made me think I can actually write a book? If anyone reads this, they’ll think I’m nuts and lock me away in a funny farm! I’d be better off going back to my normal life instead of continuing with this book. A few moments later, the urge to write grabs you and the story continues.

Hmm, maybe I have something here after all. After a good dinner and a good night’s sleep, you return to you cave. You re-read what you wrote and it actually isn’t half bad. You grab a handful of M&Ms, drink some coffee, and resume writing.

This could work. Now you are cruising, words fill the page or the screen with ease.

Need to fix the beginning. Again. Rats, I need a better beginning. Shouldn’t start off with anything about the weather or the main character waking up. Maybe I should go with some action. A gun fight might be good, or a bar fight.

Yuck. With the changes I made in the beginning, I need to make changes through the rest of the story.

May this story burn in hell! I can’t take it anymore! Please, make this story go away!

You’re almost at the end! You can do it, you keep telling yourself. There’s the light at the end of the tunnel! You are reaching the end of your novel!

This isn’t too bad. Once again, you read through what you wrote and you are actually starting to like it much more than before. Of course, certain things jump out at you, things that need to be fixed before you finish.

Kill it! Die, book, die! Argh! You fixed a few problems and now you have to fix what came after. Why? Why? Why?

Never again! Pounding at the keyboard or scratching away on paper, you say to yourself, “After I finish this, never again!”

I am Done! You type the last two words: The End. Oh my god! I did it! I actually wrote a novel! After all the pain, torture, and frustration, I wrote The End!

A novel is born! I did it! You burst from the room, waving your arms around like Kermit the frog! I finished my novel! Feelings of euphoria and relief flood you and you want to celebrate. You order pizzas and wings for dinner, drink a few beers or a bottle of wine. Someone absently asks, “Now that you finished it, don’t you have to edit and revise the novel?”

With a quiet sigh of resignation, you trudge back to your cave, thinking; “Here we go again.” In the back of your mind, a new idea begins to stir. The Muse is waiting for the right moment to strike.

May the words ever flow!

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Writing Quotes — Winston S. Churchill

“Writing a book is an adventure. To begin with it is a toy and an amusement. Then it becomes a mistress, then it becomes a master, then it becomes a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster and fling him to the public.”

― Winston S. Churchill

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Shameless Plug Time

Don Massenzio's Blog

My book, Blood Orange, is now for sale as an audio book on Audible. It will be on Apple Books and Amazon in a few days.
blood-orangeHere is the Audible link:

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Keeping a Writer’s Notebook – Do You? You should! – Part 3

Don Massenzio's Blog

This is the third post in my series on keeping a writers notebook. I can’t emphasize enough how important this tool is for cataloging and organizing ideas. I take most of my ideas for this tool from the book, The Writer’s Notebook by Ralph Fletcher. This book helps you organize your notebook and use the information you record for various purposes.

If you want to read Part 1 or Part 2 of this series, just click on the links.

interesting wordsKeep Lists of Interesting Words

Did you ever come across a word while playing Words with Friends or while thumbing through a magazine article or the vocabulary quiz in Reader’s Digest and think that it was an interesting word that you’d like to use some time?

I started keeping lists of words and their definitions some time ago and try to weave them into my writing.

Here are some examples:

  • Instead…

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