If It Sounds Like Writing, Rewrite It

Author Don Massenzio

This title of this post comes from a quote by famed western and crime novelist Elmore Leonard. I came across the quote some time ago and it didn’t resonate with me right away. It really hit home, however, when I began reading my first book, Frankly Speaking, as I attempted to record the audio book version. It is amazing what you uncover when you read your work aloud. I found some of the sentences to be clumsy and even difficult to read at times. I had read in another writing tips book to read your work aloud as you rewrite it. I always thought that it was a waste of time, but I am now convinced that it isn’t.

Image result for elmore leonardAnother tip from Leonard took on additional meaning as I read my book aloud. He says, “take out the parts that people skip.” As I read my book, I found…

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15 Secrets to Selling More Books at Events

How To Ebook

Maybe you’ve done events in the past – whether these are book shows specifically, or book signings in bookstores, libraries, or even craft fairs. If you came up short on book sales, you’re probably not alone. So often we decide to do these events, without any kind of real insight into what it takes to make them successful. And that’s not your fault per se, because doing successful events takes time. People who do a lot of trade shows know this – it can be a lot of work, but also a lot of payoff if it’s done correctly.

As authors, we spend a lot of time online, or locked behind our computers. And while this has merit, there is nothing quite like an in-person event. And while getting a book event booked seems like half the battle (and it is), now it’s time to figure out how to start…

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Cast the First Stone

Writers Envy

Shadows hover above me grasping at my heels
swiftly pulling me into an unfamiliar sky;
wailing at the light that blinds
I’m unwilling to abide while
slapped and cradled until my cries subside;
fear and wonder fill my head
as I leave the world to which I’m tied
slate clean and pure as snow and
casting the first stone;
by the time you’re grown and on your own,
it’s often just too late

to change the way you are, the way you see
your struggle to relate to
darkness in the world, you’re powerless to
stop the hate.

Some things we learn and some we’re taught,
others are innate;
defenseless to deflect
the barbs of those with warrants
served to mold you in their image;
naked against impressions,
you were taught to hate;
every day the shadows lengthen
the sky turns dark and gray;
by the time you’re grown and…

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What Do/Should Writers Read?

Author Don Massenzio

Anyone who knows me is aware that I am an avid reader as well as a writer. I tend to pick authors that I enjoy and read their entire body of work in chronological order. This not only brings me enjoyment, but it shows me their development as an author from their early to later work.

One of my favorite authors is Stephen King. His early work is strong and definitely got stronger. When he suffered his accident and nearly died, his work suffered a bit after his recovery. He even threatened to retire, but thankfully, did not. I use him as an example because he also has one of my favorite quotes by an author:

at the Los Angeles premiere of "The Manchurian Candidate," Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences, Beverly Hills, CA 07-22-04

If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time — or the tools — to write. Simple as that. – Stephen King

In the past five years, I have written and…

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Characters Are People Too: Bring Your Book To Life (Part I) – From The Writers in the Storm Blog

Author Don Massenzio

by Lori Freeland  

If you write your characters like real people, they’ll read like real people.

But, in order to bring them to life, we first have to figure out who they are. Some writers want to understand their characters before they type a single sentence. Others like to learn about them on the way. Think of it like meeting online versus a blind date.

When you meet a potential date online, there’s an opportunity to get to know him before you’re face to face. You might discover that his blue eyes remind you of a cloudy day, that he works at a law firm, loves sushi, hates politics, and lost his mom to cancer in college. After you meet, there’s still more to learn. The same goes for your characters. As the creative process works itself out, be careful not to get stuck in your “online” first impression. Be…

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How To Ebook

Hello, authors and small publishers!

We often have clients with a desire to enter their books into publishing competitions. It’s a great idea, but where do you start? We’ve researched the most popular national and international book awards and compiled a list of those you may want to consider.

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Improving the Quality of Your Work

Author Don Massenzio

This is the era of the independently-published author. If we look at success stories like Hugh Howey, it’s important to recognize that this new way of publishing books is gaining ground. I know that statistics show independently-published work still lagging behind traditionally published products, but we are gaining ground.

With that said, there is a lot of competition out there. Some of it is very good work by competent writers. Other work does not make the mark. As an author, you have to strive toward making your work as strong as it can be. Regardless of the genre that your enjoy writing, there are some key things you can do to continuously improve the quality of your work. Some of these things might be time consuming in the long-run, but will save you from putting out work others may not view as high-quality.

I consider myself a perpetual student of…

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