Category Archives: Miscellaneous

ISBN: What It Is and Why a Book Needs One

A great post by Kristen Twardowski – helping to demystify the very mysterious ISBN! Thanks Kristen!

Kristen Twardowski

Book publishing isn’t just about finding great pieces of writing and bringing them out into the world. Sometimes it is about the nitty-gritty. This means that at some point, an author or publisher has to think about ISBNs.

Implemented in 1970, ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number. It is a unique number assigned to each format of a book and allows books to be tracked and sold. These numbers are also transformed into a barcode that is readable by various types of scanners. Though books published before 2007 have a 10 digit long ISBN, more recent publications have a 13 digit one. I believe this is simply because people started publishing too many books to keep up. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) oversees and maintains the ISBN system. (As you might guess from the name, the group is filled with very detail oriented folks.)

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Though ISBN numbers are…

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How the WordPress Blog Subscription Works

Thanks to Yecheilyah for a very useful and clearly structured post on following and being followed on WordPress. Also the difference between subscribing to follow posts v newsletters.

The PBS Blog

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I’ve seen an increase in people who follow this blog outside of the blogosphere (*Waves!*) which basically means they aren’t active on blogs. They aren’t on WordPress, or Blogger or any other blog platform but do follow me through email. For this, I think it’s important to explain some WordPress basics. After all, it wouldn’t be fair not to show everyone around the place. Yes, please have a seat. Coffee?

When you follow someone’s blog, you do this in one of two ways. You either follow them through the Reader—your “Timeline” of sorts where you can read the posts of those you follow when you log in—or you can follow that blog through email. This means you will get an email every time they publish a new blog post. This button is usually located on the blogger’s sidebar (or slide-sidebar) and says, “Click to Follow this Blog and Receive Notifications…

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My Dad’s a Goldfish – Tales of Fantasy and Magic

This looks like a lovely book and such wonderful illustrations! It has been written to support a great charity too.

My Dad Is A Goldfish

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My friend Julie is using a bit of magic to raise funds for Alzheimer Scotland.

In memory of her father, Graham, who had Lewy Body dementia, Julie Bowmaker has written and published Tales of Fantasy and Magic, a book of nine rhyming stories for children. The book is beautifully illustrated throughout by Langholm-based artist Margaret Walty and has a foreword by Sally Magnusson who said: “Children will love this beautiful – and fun – book.”

There’s Delia Duck, who desperately needs a new hat, Ferdinando, an adventurous camel who learns to swim and a cat called Bonnie who makes her own spaceship along with other characters brought to life by Julie’s wordimg_0001s and Margaret Walty’s glorious illustrations.

Julie remembers how much her father enjoyed his outings in a minibus to the day centre, which prompted her to raise cash for Alzheimer Scotland so that others might benefit. She said:…

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Finishing your draft? Don’t open it again until after Christmas

Great advice for those of us just finishing a first draft. And what better time, with Christmas almost here and our attention being needed elsewhere, to relax, have some fun and look forward to a first read-through in the New Year!

Nail Your Novel

On November 30th, or thereabouts, Nanowrimoers typed ‘The End’. Whether you’re a Nano or not, the next thing you must do is put the manuscript away. Close the file, stow the notebooks, do a happy dance. Unless you have a deadline that demands you thrash it into shape straight away, don’t touch it for at least a month. At least.

Become a stranger to your story

We all know how we can read a page over and over and somehow miss the appalling typo in the first sentence. When we’re too tangled in a novel we see what we think is there – not what is actually on the pages.

To do useful revision work, you need to allow enough time for your novel to become unfamiliar – so that you’re no longer thinking like its writer, but as a reader.

Let the flavours marinate

Your manuscript needs to marinate…

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19 Self-editing Tips

From Jacqui Murray at Wordreams a useful and (for me 😊) Perfectly timed checklist for those of us in editing mode. Thanks for sharing Jacqui – I will be pinning this on my wall!

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Help! Help!

Now that I’ve published my first novel, To Hunt a Sub, I can say from experience that writing it and editing it took equally long periods of time (and marketing is just as involved). After finishing the final rough draft (yeah, sure) and before emailing it to an editor, I wanted it as clean possible. I searched through a wide collection of self-editing books like these:

The Novel Writer’s Toolkit by Bob Mayer

Self-editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne

The Marshall Plan for Novel Writing by Evan Marshall

…and came up with a list of fixes that I felt would not only clean up grammar and editing, but the voice and pacing that seemed to bog my story down. Here are ideas you might like:

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Happy Thanksgiving – A day of love, family, friendship and laughter

Today is an ordinary working day for us folk on this side of ‘The Pond’ but I wanted to take a moment to send good wishes to everyone celebrating Thanksgiving, wherever you may be and I couldn’t have put it better than this – Thanks Sally!

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Although we do not officially celebrate Thanksgiving, we all need that one day that we come together to say thank you for all that we have. Our online community is so International now that it is inevitable that we will share each other’s special days in some way.

Happy Thanksgiving and I hope you have a fabulous day and if you are spending it alone then drop in to say hello to your friends online…you will be welcome.

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Advice for Writers from a Reader Who Loves to Support Writers: Guest Chris Graham (TSRA)

Sound advice for writers from a reader standpoint and links to some great resources via Chris Graham aka The story Reading Ape

Rachael Ritchey

Hey all! Happy day! I’m so excited to introduce to you (and you to) Chris Graham aka The Story Reading Ape as a guest on the blog. Chris is a super supporter of authors and if you haven’t you’d do well to swing over and follow his blog. Chris offers so many free services to authors as well as helping with book design. He’s encouraging and helpful, scowering the world of blogs for worthwhile information to share too. I appreciate his hard work and his dedication, not to mention his insights. And today he’s here to answer some questions and offer some helpful advice.

Thanks for coming over Chris!


Chris Graham, Guest to the blog:

My thanks to Rachael for her kind offer to post an article from me – also for the challenge she set me for the topic:

  • From a reader standpoint, offer some advice, maybe something…

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About the Need to Write

img_1880I always find it interesting when reading author interviews to see the answer to the question ‘When did you first become a writer?’

The answer is so often along the lines of, ‘I’ve always been a writer of some sort or other’.

I identify with that and obviously lots of other writers do too.

Way back in my earliest school days, given a sheets of sums or a picture and story to write I know which one I would always choose and in my early teens I wrote a ‘novel’ (long hand in a series of exercise books!). It was all about highwaymen. I was in my swashbuckling era in those days😊

I wrote another, more serious novel when I was a young mum but in that busy time it never got beyond first draft stage.

But it’s been more than that. There have been journals of my various travels, short stories and even the odd poem. The point is, I think writers see stories everywhere, not necessarily ones that they ever could or would write down but possibilities that some situation or other could become a great book.

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As with many others, it has taken a long time for me to finally get my words down into completed works and, having done that, it’s probably only now that I truly appreciate what a mammoth task the creation of every book really  is.

People talk about building your writing muscles, write more, read more. Practice, though it will never make perfect, can make something good. I believe in that. But I also believe that most creative writers have a built-in need to put experiences and imaginings into the written word and they have probably always had that need whether they recognised it or not.

Review Wednesday – How to Make a Living from your Writing by Joanna Penn

img_1878I have been dipping into this book for months now and thought it only fair to write a review as I will never finish it, in a manner of speaking.

Joanna Penn covers the subject of making money from writing with aplomb. She begins with a short history of her own career and lays out the income streams she achieves through her writing. The book is clear and each section is well defined.

There are writing tips and advice on productivity as well as mindset and focus. In later sections she gets down to the nitty gritty of putting a book together, enlisting the help of professionals along the way and Indie versus traditional publishing.

Every step of the way the book feels like it is offering realistic, down -to -earth goals without ever promising easy-peasy secrets to fame and fortune or too much, You Can do It! -style hype.

I believe this author really know her stuff and I am sure I will be delving back into the book in the months ahead.

Improving the reputation of indies #wwwblogs #self-publishing #indieauthors

Alison Williams speaks out for Indies and reminds us to keep striving to be the best we can be!

Alison Williams Writing

enoch press self-publishing about us page

I was rather overwhelmed by the reaction to last week’s post regarding self-publishing and the snobbery that some have towards it. You can read the post here. The many comments made showed that, despite many stories of self-publishing success, some writers are still treated as if what they do isn’t ‘proper’ writing. Self-publishing obviously hasn’t shrugged off its reputation for poor writing and editing. Which is a shame, because there are some fabulous self-published books out there.

However, while I support self-published authors and do encourage readers everywhere not to have pre-conceived ideas, I will concede that there are self-published books out there that aren’t up to standard – as well as poorly written and poorly edited traditional and independently published books. The difference seems to be that if you are published by a publisher, however great or however bad, there is still kudos attached to that, whereas indie writers…

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