Indie Author Services

Independent authors are a lot like baby sea turtles. I’m not saying they move slowly or that they carry a burden on their backs. But they must cross the exposed sand. They are yummy to seagulls and other predators. There are tons of them, but only a few will survive.

Yet somehow, they just know they are heading in the right direction, despite watching their sisters and brothers getting gobbled up.

Indie authors don’t have Random House or Penguin copy editing, formatting or marketing their books. So they must rely on independent author services, like developmental editors, copy editors and proofreaders, formatters, cover artists, printers and marketers, maybe even publicists, and definitely third party advertising sites for promos.

Many who provide these services do a great job, are honest, and add significant value for their writing clients.

But some are predators. And it’s not always easy to spot them in the tall grass.

In addition to writing novels, I provide a variety of editing services for indie authors. And one of my clients was recently offered a publishing deal with a small publisher. I asked what this publisher was selling her, and it wasn’t clear what they would actually do. They said they had a small store and would carry copies there. They would create a cover and help my client develop an online presence, and they indicated they would market her work.

After several months, they had provided her with a very nice book cover, but she told me the font they used for the book was too light. I ordered a copy and agreed. It was practically unreadable. She complained, and they responded by saying she was impossible to work with, and that, because of her lack of effort, not a single copy of her book had sold, other than the one I bought.

They said they would not work with her, but she could not get out of the contract with them unless she paid them more than $1000.

Be sure you know what you are getting. If you are being offered a book deal, find out who else they represent. How are their sales working out? Contact the authors they currently carry. Did they have a good experience? Make sure any contracts are clear and concise. Make sure you understand what the expectations are on either side.

If it sounds too good to be… well, you know.

Editing and Writing

I have been copy editing for some really talented writers. I love the work. So I have been trying to approach my own writing with the same objective eye as I have the works of others. My newest project has been less about trying to be cute or profound, and more about telling a story. It has ghosts, Alzheimer’s, romance and sex. That’s really enough.

So I have been going over yet another of my older projects, trying to see how I can make it better. Turns out it’s chock full of cute and profound, but not as much about telling a story. This one has, as it turns out, nine story lines. So today I did the logical thing. I broke it into nine stories. Edgar Lee Masters did it with Spoon River Anthology, right? Yes, I know those were poems.

This way the main story line won’t be cluttered with eight other plot lines.

Authors Promoting Authors at “Discover Authors”

Kate Policani has created a blog just for authors to cross-promote books. What a great idea! It doesn’t cost anything, but she asks that authors promote for other authors posting there. You scratch my back, and I will scratch yours. So tomorrow my book, Fugue in C Minor gets featured there.

My next post will be the promotion for the book. Have a great day!

Paperback Writer

The paperback version of my new novel Fugue in C Minor is finally available for sale! Click on this hyperlink to see it at It’s also at

Currently Reading

Reading Trails in the Sand by P.C. Zick. It’s about an environmental reporter, and it connects the BP oil rig explosion and spill with the West Virginia mine explosion using an interesting family story. Well-written novel. It also has turtles in it, so how can you resist?

Help for Self-Published Authors

Joined the Kindle Boards today so I can talk with other writers in the Writer’s Cafe’. It’s good to see who is making money, who is just starting out, and who is mentoring others.


I asked four people close to me to read my First Draft (really it’s the Third Draft, but don’t tell them) of Fugue in C Minor, and their feedback has been fantastic. The Fourth Draft is taking me a lot longer than I anticipated, but it’s clearing some things up nicely. I’m expecting to have the manuscript market-ready by the end of February.