Category Archives: Guest post

Guest Post: How To Make The Most Of The Cover Art On Your Author Website by Web Design Relief


Thank you to the people at Web Design Relief for these excellent ideas for making your author website show off your book cover to best advantage.


Your book’s cover art is an invaluable marketing tool. A well-designed book cover will seriously boost sales by attracting more potential readers. And using cover art in smart, creative ways on a website will make your author branding instantly recognizable and effective! You can find the following author website examples, and more, at Web Design Relief’s website portfolio.

How To Amp Up Your Website With Your Book’s Cover Art

  1. Keep the design simple—let your book cover be the focus.


If your book cover has bold, striking colors or visuals, keep the rest of your website design simple to let the cover art really stand out. When people visit your website, their eyes will immediately be drawn to the image of your book, making them more likely to click on the link to purchase it online! To make sure your book is the main focus on your homepage, consider a minimalist design for your site.

  1. Feature an image from your book cover as your website’s background.

To continue reading this article, click here.

Guest Post: What Does it Mean to be a Writer AND a Perfectionist? by Colleen Story

Guest Post: What Does it Mean to be a Writer AND a Perfectionist? by Colleen Story

Thank you to Writers in the Storm and to Colleen Story for this very balanced article on perfectionism and writing.

Google “perfectionism” and “writers” and you’d think perfectionism was a deadly disease.

Pages pop up offering tips for overcoming the “disorder,” warnings for avoiding the “dangerous” tendencies, and help for “dealing” with it.

Even the beloved Anne Lamott (Bird by Bird) is quoted as saying:

“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life….”

I’m not one to question the wisdom of Anne Lamott, but that quote does make me wince a little. I mean, cramped and insane? Is it really that bad?

What if you are a writer who happens to be a perfectionist? Are you doomed to failure before you even start?

Why Do We Pick on Perfectionists?

We all have unique character traits, and they can have both positive and negative sides to them. Someone who is very detail oriented, for example, is likely to shine at carrying a project through to a successful conclusion, but may have a hard time seeing the bigger picture, or envisioning the overall end game.

On the other side of the coin, someone who is a brilliant visionary is likely to have difficulty remembering everything that needs to be done on a project, and without help, may miss something really important.

The problem (or blessing) is that most of us can’t change these inherent characteristics. Not completely.

Studies have shown this to be true. According to the New York Times, for instance:

“The largest and longest studies to carefully analyze personality throughout life reveal a core of traits that remain remarkably stable over the years…”

Paul T. Costa Jr., scientist emeritus at the laboratory of behavioral science at the National Institutes of Health, found similar results in his studies:

“It’s not that personality is fixed and can’t change. But it’s relatively stable and consistent. What you see at 35, 40 is what you’re going to see at 85, 90.”

So to be so hard on perfectionism, above all other traits, seems to be a little unfair. After all, the perfectionist can’t really stop being so. Not entirely. To ask someone to do that is like asking a visionary to swap and become detail oriented, or the detail oriented to suddenly take on the visionary attitude.

They can try, but they’re likely to end up frustrated, and worse, to lose confidence in their abilities as a whole.

Yet there’s no doubt that though there are some good sides to perfectionism (really!), it can also have a damaging, negative influence on a writing career.

So what’s a perfectionist writer to do?

To continue reading this article, click here.

Guest Post: 15 Things I Learned After Reading 100 Query Letters by Katie McCoach


reading on computer; reading queries

A big thank you to A Writer’s Path and to Katie McCoach for this excellent article about what makes a good query letter.

A few weeks ago was the submission review period for the annual RevPit contest. During this review period, each editor has one week to review submissions from authors in order to make their final pick to work on one manuscript for the next five weeks. The contest allowed one submission per author/manuscript, and each editor received up to 100 submissions. Guess how many I received? The full 100. So, it was a busy week to say the least. Each submission included one query letter from the author, answers to a few questions to get to know the author better, and the first five pages (up to 1500 words) of the author’s manuscript.

If you’re into math, that’s about an average of 50k words I read in query letters, and 150,000 words in first pages. This doesn’t count the synopses I read, additional pages of books I requested in my top picks, or the re-reading of submissions I did throughout the week.

There’s a lot a person can learn by reading 100 query letters and 100 opening pages.

In this article, I’m going to share with you 15 things I learned after reading 100 query letters, and next month I’ll focus on what I learned after reading 150,000 words in opening pages. Here are your do’s, don’t’s, mistakes, successes, patterns, what makes a query POP, and what makes a reader cringe.

To read more of this article, click here.

Guest Post: 6 Ways To Use Marie Kondo Organizing Strategies In Your Writing Space by Writer’s Relief


This article has been reprinted with the permission of Writer’s Relief, a highly recommended author’s submission service. We assist writers with preparing their submissions and researching the best markets. We have a service for every budget, as well as a free e-publication for writers, Submit Write Now! Visit our site today to learn more.

frazzled worker
Everyone’s talking about the Netflix series Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, inspired by her best-selling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. And the KonMari method can work for more than just your closets and your kitchen cabinets; with a little bit of cleverness, you can put Marie Kondo’s basic organization ideas to work in your writing space or home office.

And who knows—a little bit of organizing might affect your writing process in positive new ways and help you become a better writer!

Writer’s Relief checks out six basic principles of Marie Kondo’s organizing methods—and how to make them work for writers:

  1. Commit to the process. Rethinking the way you organize your writing space is going to take some time and energy; sticking to your decisions could take even more. But when you make the decision to commit to the process from day one, you may find you’re more likely to be successful.
  1. Imagine your ideal writing space. When you close your eyes, what do you picture your very best writing space looks like? Take notes, write down specific details, and think things through—before you make any actual changes. If you start working before you have a dream vision, you might be more inclined to give up when things don’t work perfectly. HINT: Create a Pinterest board to keep track of your ideas.
  1. Tidy by category. When you begin sorting and organizing your writing supplies, consider grouping the items you use by their function. Don’t keep anything you don’t need: Discard or donate the items that you haven’t used in a long time. Holding on to things just in case you might need them simply takes up storage space. So those ribbons for a manual typewriter you don’t even have anymore—toss ’em.
  1. Don’t get distracted. By focusing on categories of items, you’ll be better able to stay focused during the tidying process. Pick a category and stick to it. When you find an old family photo album tucked in a bottom desk drawer, put it aside and remind yourself that you’re focusing on writing tools right now—there will be time to muse on the album later.
  1. Follow Marie’s order for organizing. Marie recommends that you organize a space by the following order: clothes, books, papers, miscellany, and sentimental items. You may not have any clothes stored inside your desk (and if you do, it’s definitely time to rethink your writing space), but you probably do have books, papers, miscellany, and even sentimental items. Click here to learn more specifics about Marie’s method for sorting and organizing books—a very important skill for a writer!
  1. Pay attention to what sparks joy. To make Marie’s method work for the items you use in your writing space, ask yourself if what you’re holding sparks joy. It could be for any reason. Maybe the desk calendar is super functional and has all the bells and whistles to boost your productivity. Or maybe that pencil holder in the shape of a duck with googly eyes just makes you smile. If it sparks joy—keep it. If it doesn’t, thank it for its service, and say goodbye. A writer’s life will always have some rejection in it, so don’t underestimate the importance of things that make you feel happy.

What About Writers Who Thrive On Chaotic, Disorganized Spaces?

An organizational guru like Marie Kondo might look askance at the crazily disorganized spaces that some famous writers swear by. But our feeling is, if “disorganization” works for your creative process, then by all means—make haphazard piles of books, stuff drawers to bursting, and let the randomness of it all inspire you. Read more about writers and thinkers who had messy offices—and loved it.


Question: Have you tried the KonMari method? Thumbs up or thumbs down?

Guest Post: 6 Cool Ways to Incorporate Your Favorite Quotes into your Author Website by Web Design Relief


Thank you to the folks at Web Design Relief for today’s tips on including quotes on your blog or author website.


Who are the Internet-savvy marketing experts who are often quoted as saying, “Posting a quote on your author website will make it more personal and unique”? Okay, it’s us—but it’s true: Sharing your favorite quotes on your author website will offer your visitors a window into your interests, beliefs, and aspirations. If you’re wondering where quotes will work best in your website design, we have some great suggestions! (And you can quote us on that!)

Where To Feature Quotes In Your Author Website Design

1. Homepage

Since your homepage is usually the first page a visitor will land on when checking out your website, it’s a great place to feature one of your favorite quotes—especially right at the top where it can’t be missed. For extra impact, consider using a program like Photoshop to create a graphic banner of your quote!

2. Sidebar

Your sidebar can feature more than just the navigation to your recent articles and social media links. A short quote can liven up an otherwise mundane sidebar and make your website more memorable.

3. About Me Page

Many writers like to include a short “About Me” page that features a formal bio that mentions published works along with details about hobbies, interests, or other personal info. If there is a quote that holds special meaning for you, share it on your “About Me” page—and maybe even explain why it is so significant to you. This is a great way to give your fans insight into your own personal story so that they feel a stronger connection with you and your writing.

To continue reading this article, click here.

Guest Post: Cover Letter Basics by Sheila McIntyre Good

Guest Post: Cover Letter Basics by Sheila McIntyre Good

Thank you to Sheila McIntyre Good for these excellent and concise tips, perfect for writers whether beginners or veterans.

Cover letters – don’t we dread writing them? When so many magazines have an automated submission process, what is the purpose?

Why do a Cover Letter?

It’s a way to introduce yourself to the editor, and where I come from, an introduction is a polite thing to do.

It tells the editor the basics about your submission – title, word count, and is a good opportunity to indicate your familiarity with the magazine.

woman typing writing programming

Photo by Startup Stock Photos on

Things Not to do:

  1. Don’t screw with the guidelines. Read and follow them to the tee. Taking a gamble won’t win you any points but a straight up rejection.
  2. If you’ve developed a template, make sure you’ve updated the date, editor, magazine, story, and word count. Don’t be careless. It’s not only bad form but bad manners to call someone by another’s name.
  3. Don’t get long-winded. Editors are busy people. One to two paragraphs works fine. Remember this is a cover letter, not a query.
  4. Don’t address the letter, “To Whom it may concern.” It signals the editor that you’re unfamiliar with their magazine.
  5. Don’t wax sentimental about your personal life. It’s a distraction, pegs you as an amateur, and will likely land your submission on the slush pile.

To continue reading this article, click here.

Guest Post: Beauty and Brains by Donna


Thank you to Donna of My OBT for these wonderful vintage fashion photographs by Georges Dambier.

Georges Dambier

This is the exuberant, fashionable, sometimes goofy photography by 1950’s editorial and advertising photographer Georges Dambier. Although the typical fashion photography style of the day was for models to be more like mannequins with blank or aloof facial expressions, Dambier was famous for throwing caution to the wind. His models actually look like they’re doing something, and even more groundbreaking, thinking something, too! Their expressions are anything but blank, and his poses are often a little nutty as well. His photos exude all kinds of character without sacrificing style. It makes me think he was a really great guy.

Whatever his personality, his photos are certainly plenty likeable!

To see the rest of this article, click here.