Show, Don’t Tell, on Twitter


An excellent guest post by MM Jaye on Nicholas Rossis’s site about using a traditional writing rule to your best advantage when writing promotion copy, especially on Twitter. For any author wanting to become more effective on Twitter, just read this!

Originally posted on Nicholas C. Rossis:

From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books


I have often mentioned the “show, don’t tell” rule in my blog. MMJaye, a regular around here and a great supporter of Indies in her own blog, kindly wrote this guest post for me, tackling the rule from a novel perspective: how to use it when tweeting. Enjoy her excellent post, which, I admit, was an eye-opener for me.

“Show not Tell” on Twitter: a guide to “clickable” tweets

The “show don’t tell” rule has been drummed into every writer’s head. Traditional publishers and editors swear by it. Some Indie authors are less than enthusiastic about it, but, no matter how much you use or respect the rule, you have to admit that it does invest your writing with one major attribute: it becomes evocative.

What surprises me, however, is the fact that although writers accept that “show don’t tell” leads to evocative writing and…

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HOW to get promotion for yourself and your book …

Two days ago I wrote a blog post that proved to be the most popular, in terms of reach and reaction, of any I’ve ever written! Thanks to everyone who read, liked, shared, reblogged, followed my blog, and commented on it. I guess I hit a nerve with the topic of authors behaving badly and how to avoid becoming one. It seems this kind of behaviour is definitely prevalent and a problem on social media, because so many of you agreed with me and my guests who also offered quotes on experiences they’d had dealing with these self-centred authors.

I took a negative tact on that last post, because it’s a fun angle to come from with this kind of list, and I’ve had success with that approach in the past. It also allows me to write in a humorous and sarcastic voice – which I hope was the voice that came through in that piece. People, authors especially I find, take themselves far too seriously and lose sight of the fact that, if they’d just lighten up and look at their work – and life – in a more positive manner, they might actually succeed rather than fail all the time. (That’s my little lecture for today. Just don’t be so earnest, okay?)

So, in an effort to help you become more positive about the promotion process in this business of writing and publishing books, and for those who took my negative slant too seriously and got the impression I was bashing all authors for behaving badly, I thought I’d offer 10 ways to promote yourself and your book. Note here that I’m suggesting YOU do the work of promoting, because ultimately it should be your responsibility, as difficult as it may seem to be to you right now. Unless of course you have deep pockets and can afford to pay someone else to do all that work for you. But, I’ll let you in on a little secret … If you do all the work of promoting your own book, you will gain far more than just sales and new readers. Have a look at my list and you’ll understand what I mean …

1. Realize that you are not the only author to have ever written a book by becoming part of a writing group or community who will eventually become a big support through shared experience and knowledge, not to mention connections.

2. Publish the best book you can by using professional assistance in editing, cover design and formatting (whether eBook or print).

3. Use social media in such a way that you’re providing value in every tweet and status update, with information that friends and followers will want to share, retweet and comment upon. Mention your own book sparingly.

4. Develop a fan base. Engage with those fans. Answer their questions, keep them updated about your new releases, ask them to share your work with their friends. Recommend reading suggestions from among your other author friends’ books. (Friends you will meet by following #s 1, 3, 5 and 7.)

5. Take part in writing communities to meet other authors, find new books to read, promote as a group, and share information as to where you can connect with book promoters.

6. Offer value when engaging in social media. Follow bookstores, libraries, writing groups and organizations, and retweet their news of book promotions and reviews (even if these groups aren’t in your area). Link to news articles about books, publishing and authors, let your followers know about writing contests, awards, and anything else that might be of interest. Retweet promotion for other authors’ books.

7. Read blogs – as many as you can – reblogging and/or commenting on their content. Add value to your comments. Become a known and appreciated member of those bloggers’ followers. (You should start small in the number of blogs you follow, because it can quickly become overwhelming. And if you do find you’re following too many, just cut back to a more manageable number that you can easily comment upon every once in a while. Bloggers like nothing better than knowing they have a few fans reading whatever they have to say and are enjoying their blog enough to make comments.)

8. Write your own blog and add value to the blogging community. I guarantee that, once you begin writing something of value and you’ve already developed a relationship with the blogging community, those other bloggers will be reblogging what you write and your reach and audience will expand.

9. When seeking promotion and reviews for your book from bloggers, read their blog first, engage with the blogger, show interest in their work if they themselves have published, ask how you may help promote their blog or book, read their submission instructions. Remember that many bloggers who promote and review books likely already have a backlog of applicants, so be patient. If you engage with that blogger in some way, either through commenting on their blog or by offering to promote them, you will be that much closer to getting your foot in the door.**

10. We are not all individual snowflakes and you are not unique. The rules DO pertain to you. If you follow those rules you will likely get ahead, further and faster. There really are no shortcuts to success.

And for this blog post, I’m giving you one more way to get promotion for yourself and your book …

11. Write a great book. It’s as simple, and as difficult, as that.

**I have been discovering so many great books and authors lately – on Goodreads, Facebook and through comments made on my blogs – to be promoted on my Reading Recommendations blog that I may change my submission policy. I definitely have no trouble at all finding authors to promote. So, if you want to be noticed by me, seriously consider what I’ve suggested in #9.

… see what I did there, Tim?

How NOT to get promotion for yourself and your book …

So, you’ve written and published a book. Congratulations! Good for you!

And welcome to the club … I have some sobering news, though. You are not the first, nor will you be the last, to write and publish a book – TODAY! So far this year, 2,396,061 books have been published, worldwide. How do you expect its possible for any one book to compete with numbers like that when searching for interested readers, not to mention buyers with money to spend? And how can any one author ever suppose their newly published book is better or more important than those other 2 million+ books, so much better that one author can expect readers, bloggers and reviewers to fall all over themselves in an attempt to help promote and publicize said book?

Many of these delusional, self-centred authors do exist, unfortunately … so many, in fact, that I feel the need, once again, to point out to them that their “activities” on social media and in seeking promotion are definitely not gaining them any champions – certainly not me nor a few other bloggers/reviewers I know. A couple of blogging friends have written about this same topic previously, and I’ve asked them to return now with a few more wise words to add to this blog of mine in the hope that – collectively – we may have some effect at getting through to these authors who continue to behave badly.

Tricia Drammeh, a published author who writes a couple of blogs promoting writing and authors, discusses in a post, The Death of a Book Blog, the problems she’s had to face dealing with difficult authors. (It was through this blog post that I came to “meet” Tricia online when I threw my support behind what she had to say.) Tricia also wished to add to my current post: Bloggers are overwhelmed by the number of requests and demands for reviews and promotional features. It’s impossible for them to feature every author who queries. so many have begun to delete emails from rude authors, or to ignore requests that do not follow their submission guidelines. Your best chance at earning a spot on a blog is to be courteous. Be respectful of the blogger’s time by following their submission guidelines. And, if you are featured, do your part to promote – not just yourself, but other authors featured on the blog. Authors really do need some guidelines, and those who are misbehaving are hurting not only themselves, but the community as a whole.

As well, The Story Reading Ape has recently found it necessary to thump his chest and rant about the problem of authors approaching him for promotion on his blog. Here’s what he has to say: As someone who makes online contact with authors on a daily basis, with the aim of seeing if I can help promote them (and their books) on my Author Promotions Enterprise Blog, there are a few issues that constantly IRK me. To read about these Irks in more detail, go to, Authors, Don’t Be Twits When Tweeting. Basically, it boils down to AUTOMATIC SELF-CENTRED REPLIES! These abominations exist in almost all media like Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Goodreads, Shelfari, Librarything, et al. I rarely find an author who thinks about a follower/friend request for a few moments and asks themselves WHY did this person start Following/Liking/Send me a Friend/Connection Request? A simple matter of looking at the person’s profile (in whatever media they contacted you) BEFORE you return their approach, will enable you to PERSONALISE your response and make them GLAD to have contacted you. Did I just hear you say something like “Bah Humbug – I don’t have time/I’ve got BETTER things to do/What do I care, they’re only a means to boost MY Follower numbers/Book Sales stats/etc.”? NEWSFLASH: You have just LOST yourself a Potential Book Sale/Reader/Fan/Follower/Friend! In my case, you’ve just lost a Ready Made (and FREE) Authors’ Platform with possibly with more reach than your own! DON’T EVER FORGET – A Stranger is just a Friend you haven’t met or got to know yet! So GET RID of those ‘easy to set up once’ Automatic Replies and GREET WISELY and PERSONALLY. (Phew! The last thing we want is an irate Ape, so better do as he says, authors!!)

Since so many authors continue to do the same annoying (to us) things in an attempt to promote themselves, I decided they might actually see themselves in this following list, identify, and STOP DOING WHAT THEY’RE DOING!!! Let’s hope they’re all still reading …

How NOT to get promotion for yourself and your book:

1. Believe you’re the only person to have written and published a book. (See explanation above)

2. Publish without professional assistance in editing, cover design and formatting (whether eBook or print).

3. Spam social media about your book. Spam-a-lot, in fact, if you really want to irritate potential readers.

4. Don’t develop a fan base.

5. Don’t take part in any writing/reading communities – other than to exhort them to buy your book.

6. Don’t offer anything of value when engaging in social media. Don’t become engaged in social media at all.

7. Don’t read blogs and don’t comment on blogs.

8. Don’t write your own blog or offer value to the blogging community at large.

9. When seeking promotion and reviews for your book from bloggers, DON’T read their blog first, or engage with the blogger, or show any interest in their work if they themselves have published, or ask how you may help promote their blog, or read their submission instructions, or think that perhaps there are many more-worthy books ahead of yours already being considered for promotion or review. (Because, like, we’re all so impressed with you and your one book that we’ll immediately drop everything in order to help you get the word out about it … Yeah, In your dreams, maybe.)

10. DON’T think the rules pertain to you. (They’re meant for the other 2,396,060 books that have been published this year.)

And, to finish off, if you don’t believe me and the other bloggers, perhaps you’ll listen to Anne Enright …


Bequia This Week advertising for the tourist season!

Once again this year, I’m happy to advertise my novel, Island in the Clouds, locally every week in the informational flyer, Bequia This Week, created these past 15 years by Nicola and Wilfred!

Here’s a link to the large ad I’ll be running 4 times throughout the next 5 months:
Bequia This Week ad for Island in the Clouds

This ad has been redesigned with a new reader quote and information on how to obtain signed copies! The advertising I’ve done with BTW over these past two years has proved itself to be the best for me for the money I’ve spent on it. I’m a very satisfied customer, you might say! So I look forward to working with Nicola and Wilfred once again this year.

Supporting Your Author Friend


Some wise advice on how anyone can help their author friends. #5 is oft-overlooked, and I would add to #3 – don’t just attend book launches … offer to host one and introduce your friends or book club to the author, or host a literary salon in your home.

Originally posted on Laura Best:

This post could have been written by my family and friends. It’s all about how to support your authorly friends out there, and since my friends and family have been awesome enough to support me through the publication of two books I wanted to let others in on their tips for supporting an author friend. (I bet most of them didn’t even know they had such tips!) Through the years my friends and family have come up with some ingenious ways to put the word about my books “out there.” I thought I would share these with everyone else out there who would like to know ways to support a certain author but are a bit uncertain about how to do that. Believe me there are plenty of ways, and my friends have done a super, stupendous job.

1. Buy the book-– A lot of my friends bought the…

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27 Author Recommendations for Holiday Gift-Giving …

No, wait! I didn’t mean you should wrap up an Author and give THEM to your friends, although I’m sure any of us mentioned below are flattered for having been considered gift-worthy … Let’s start over.

What could be better than giving or receiving A BOOK (or several) – at any time of the year and for any occasion? If you’re stumped as to what to give people on your list, or if you’re looking for something new for your own reading pleasure, please allow me to make a few suggestions …

I highly recommend the writing and books published by the following six Authors who have previously been featured on my other blog, Reading Recommendations:

Tim Baker and another book (featuring contributions from 6 Reading Recommendations Authors, including ME!)
Kevin Brennan and another book
Seumas Gallacher
Dylan Hearn and another book
Rebecca Heishman
S.K. Nicholls

But wait! There’s more … I asked each of the Authors listed above to also give me their recommendations of other Authors whose writing they enjoy, and here’s what they each had to say:

Tim Baker: Steve Boone, Robert Chazz Chute (and another book) and Linton Robinson (Steve and Robert have been featured on Reading Recommendations)

Kevin Brennan:
Zero, by J.S. Collyer — I’m no sci-fi nut, but this was a ripping story set in a strangely familiar future.
Memoirs of a Dilettante – Volume 1, by Helena Hann-Basquiat — An unclassifiable collection of anecdotes. Fact or fiction? Who knows? Who cares?
Dolls Behaving Badly, by Cinthia Ritchie — This novel was beat up pretty badly by the Amazon/Hachette conflict, and it’d be great if Cinthia could get a second wind now.
Shaping Destiny, by Destiny Allison — A poignant memoir of a woman’s evolution as an artist.

Seumas Gallacher: Chaos is Come Again by John Dolan and Fiona Quinn, Outsourced by Eric J. Gates, Subtraction by Andrew Peters (Andrew has previously been featured on Reading Recommendations)

Dylan Hearn:
The Me You See by Shay Ray Stevens – a fantastic mystery, cleverly written, which has a brilliant ending that I just didn’t see coming.
Othella by Therin Knite – a hard-edged and uncompromising dystopian thriller, as if Raymond Chandler decided to have a go at re-imagining Hunger Games. (Therin was previously featured on Reading Recommendations)
Duck by Stephen Parolini – a wonderfully warm coming-of-age novella about a boy and a bomb.

Rebecca Heishman:
Haven Kimmel: A Girl Named Zippy: Growing Up Small in Mooreland Indiana
This author is one of Indiana’s hidden gems. I have been a fan of her writing for many years. Her intimate and tender style of writing has influenced my own. This gal has never gotten the credit that her lovely writing deserves.
Silas House: Eli the Good
Silas House is an award-winning Kentucky author whose beautifully-crafted prose touches many hearts. Eli the Good is a novel written for young adults, but the message is so strong and so beautiful that it resonates with me and many other adult readers. It would make a lovely Christmas gift for young or old.
Bill Bryson: A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail
Part travelogue, part memoir, and full of humor, this book takes you along on Bryson’s trudge through one of America’s most rustic, brutal, beautiful, and storied trails. The book is filled with colorful characters that he meets along the way, giving us a portrait of what makes us proud to be American, despite our steady force-fed diet of negative media.

S.K. Nicholls:
Misha Burnett has a sci-fi/urban fantasy series that is absolute genius. Here is his author page and he also has a blog.
Carrie Rubin has a great medical thriller, The Seneca Scourge. She also has a blog.
Patrick O’Bryon is one of my most favorite authors. His historical spy thrillers set in Germany and France during WWII are based on his own father’s life as a journalist/spy during that time. He is a self-proclaimed Europhile and has lived and visited abroad frequently. His two books have done very well and a third, Fulcrum of Malice is due out next year. Corridor of Darkness is the first, and Beacon of Vengeance is the second. He is one of the most successful indie authors I know and his work is impeccable. He’s one of my beta readers. He also has a blog.
Luccia Gray has an awesome sequel to Jane Eyre. All Hallows at Eyre Hall: The Breathtaking Sequel to Jane Eyre (The Eyre Hall Trilogy Book 1) new on the market, and I loved it. She lives in Spain and has a blog.

And please indulge my being so bold as to recommend myself, Susan M. Toy, and my books for giving as gifts. While I have never been featured on Reading Recommendations, I did create the blog in the first place and continue to present you with great Authors to discover. Besides, this is my blog post, so I may recommend whomever I want to … to paraphrase a song. :)

So, there you go! 27 Authors recommended and umpteen possibilities for books to give to anyone who is on your list. Plus, books are much easier to wrap than an Author, and – Bonus! – eBooks and audio books don’t have to be wrapped at all!

Wally’s Hot Tasty Doubles on Bequia!

This is the first video in what I hope will be a series about the island of Bequia and its people, the services offered, and a glimpse at the beautiful scenery. I’m calling this a Slice of Bequia series. First up is Wally who sells Trinidadian Doubles, a fine street snack, from his cart in Port Elizabeth by the well in front of the bank, across the corner from Back Knights. (And those would be typical directions on this island!)

Here’s Wally serving up a couple of satisfied return customers:


And here’s my video … Enjoy!

Reading Recommendations is back!


An announcement from my other blog, Reading Recommendations …

Originally posted on Reading Recommendations:

This past week I have posted updates for five Authors who were previously featured on Reading Recommendations. Next week I will begin posting promotions for Authors who are new to the site. I already have ten scheduled, but am very interested in hearing from more Authors who would like to be considered for promotion here.

blog logo

So, if you are a published Author – either self-or-traditional – and you’d like to receive more promotion, please read these instructions, have a look through the list of Authors already promoted on this site, and contact me, if you think you might be a good fit. (I will accept all genres written for any age group, but WILL NOT PROMOTE pornography, hate literature, prostelytizing, or anything overtly religious.)

For Authors who have already been promoted on Reading Recommendations, please continue to promote the site, your own link, and those of…

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…another slant on Authors’ negative reviews… how to handle them…


Another great post from Seumas Gallacher on how to deal with negative reviews …

Originally posted on Seumas Gallacher:


…there’s been a spate of commentary recently I’ve picked up on, regarding reviews for our WURKS on the Great God Amazon… when an Author or Authoress takes time to scribble a paragraph or more about a review they’ve just received, yeez can bet yer aromatic backside the review has been less than glowing… it’s funny, I s’pose, the longer my own wee masterpieces have been on Amazon, the less concerned I’ve become as to whether there are a gazillion ‘I-gave-it-5-stars-coz-I’m-not-allowed-to-give it-10-stars’ ratings, and focus more on the actual number of reviews that good folks have taken time to contribute… first and foremost, I appreciate the fact that sumb’dy has downloaded my novels at all, whether as a purchase or as part of my occasional Freebie offerings… if yeez didn’t know it already, Amazon counts any downloads in a Freebie Program as ‘sales’, all of which get included in…

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You Want Followers, but you NEED Fans.


Good points made in this blog post by DeAnna Ross on connecting with your Readers, Friends and Followers on social media in a more meaningful way.

Originally posted on DeAnna Ross:

Facebook is changing again! Facebook is cruel to the small business / Authors!


Before you pick up your pitch forks or WORSE throw up your hands and start throwing money at Facebook’s “boost” and other moneymaking gimmicks… let’s all take a deep breath and talk about what Social Media really means.

Now, I’ve chatted about this before in a previous blog: Keeping Social Media Social. There’s a lot of good stuff there so take a minute and go check it out. I’ll wait.



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