My First $.99 Sale

Tired of food, football, and family this Thanksgiving weekend? Then curl up with a hot archeologist…

14481536No, not that one, or even this one…


I’m talking Dr. Ashland Stewart, a hunky scientist who knows how to please a woman.51IfhDBj+SL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

Goddess is on sale for $.99 this weekend. Buy it for your Kindle!

The Sobering Truth About Indie Publishing (And How to Deal With It)

I recently read an article about the current glut of movie releases. With approximately 700 movies released in the theaters each year in the US, the author said, it’s difficult for most of them to find an audience and be successful.

Compare that to the number of indie books published. Figures vary somewhat, but there are about 10,000 independent books released.

That’s not per year, that’s per week.

In other words, over a half million books, most of them fiction, hit the market each year, and that doesn’t even include traditionally published books.

In the minute since you started reading this, another hopeful author uploaded her contemporary romance or YA fantasy novel.


Who is buying and reading all these books? For the most part, no one, other than the author’s family and close friends. Most independent authors are lucky to gross $100 in a year.

This reality isn’t likely to change unless sunspots permanently take down the internet or a virus makes us all illiterate. Sadly, most of us will only dream of having fans line up at midnight to buy our latest novel or making enough money to buy an Italian villa as a writer’s retreat.

But there are things we writers can do for ourselves, other than turn to hard liquor and daytime TV. I offer this list of advice for making the most out of your writing life.

Write a good book. Better yet, write a great book.

Every writer who uploads a book to Kindle thinks it’s good, but 95% are mediocre at best. If you put passion and skill into your novel, and create a truly memorable story and characters, you’re much more likely to stand out in the crowd.

Write two or three more great books.

To bulid a readership, you need a body of work. Good work. Keep writing and rewriting. Make each book better than the last. Keep your readers wanting more.

Be smart about marketing.

Even if you write a good book, most people aren’t likely to discover it. You need to build your community. You need to advertise. As writer Ana Spoke recently pointed out, you also need to price your book right when supply far outstrips demand.

Don’t quit your day job.

Most of us will never make an honest living solely by being a writer. We’ll continue to be teachers, doctors, stock brokers, and Starbucks baristas. On the other hand, a regular job gets us out of the house and gives us something to write about other than the heartache of being a writer.

Believe in luck.

If a skeptical editor hadn’t give the first chapter of a manuscript to his eight-year-old daughter to read, Harry Potter might still be in the back of J.K. Rowling’s drawer. Of course, the fact that the novel was good helped overcome the doubts about its commercial prospects, but it still needed some luck on its side. You need to believe in luck too, though you’ll never know what it will look like until after it happens.

Write Because You Love to Write.

No matter what happens in your writing career, if you write because you love creating a world and inhabiting it with characters, then you will find satisfaction and everything that follows will be icing on your cake.

Best Wishes,


Will Trade Sex For Reviews

Not long ago a friend of mine received an email from a traditionally published science fiction writer she knows. “Will you review my new book on Amazon?” he asked her.

“But I haven’t read it,” she wrote back, “and I don’t have time right now.”

“That’s OK,” he replied. “Just say it’s my best book yet and give it four stars.”

I’ve never been naive enough to believe that many reviews of independently published books were written by people other than the writer’s friends and mother. Just reading a few of the four-star reviewed books would quickly dispel that notion. But until I became a published author myself, I had no idea how far writers would go to get reviews, or how brazen potential reviewers were in asking for money to write them.

I received a friend request on Goodreads. My new buddy said she would love to review my book. Of course, she was very busy, so if I wanted to guarantee it would be posted, I needed to send her $5.00.

I passed.

Not all review requests are so obviously unethical. I belong to a Goodreads group called Authors and Reviewers. I posted that I was looking for reviews for my new book Goddess. A science fiction writer asked if I’d like to trade reviews. It sounded like quid pro quo to me. And what would happen if I hated his book and wrote my review first?

I passed.

I do sometimes write reviews for friends and fellow writers. I tell myself that it’s okay as long as I’m honest, but if the book is mediocre, I find myself pulling my punches, saying things like “the author shows a lot of promise” or “the book only has a few typos.”

Per page.

I was thinking about how the less-than-honest review problem could be eliminated, or at least mitigated. I came up with two ideas.

What if there was a curated section of Kindle books? Unpaid interns would cull through the thousands of recently published e-books and pick out the ones that were interesting. Much like the New York Times book section, famous authors would then write reviews of them. Could you imagine the boost an independent author would receive if Stephen King reviewed his new horror novel, or Julia Quinn reviewed her new romance novel? Plus, Famous Author would feel great about discovering a promising new voice.


Of course, Famous Author might hate your book, but that’s the chance you take.

Another idea I had is already used by screenplay peer review websites like Talentville. What if, before an indie author could publish her book, she was required to read and review five randomly selected books by other indie authors in her favorite genre? That system isn’t perfect–many reviewers write lazy reviews–but at least it would afford authors the chance to garner a few honest reviews without resorting to desperate measures.

But until the current review status quo, I will have to resort to asking romance readers to buy and review my book with no strings attached.

Including sexual favors.

Best Wishes,


Meet Kelee Morris, author of the new book ‘Goddess’

A big day in Goddess world. This is the first of two guest posts today on the final leg of my blog tour. Thanks, Mel, and enjoy!

Melanie Moxon

Hi everyone,

Today I have the pleasure of having author Kelee Morris guest blog. She has just released her new book Goddess.

Check it out at Amazon:

Here is Kelee:

I’m honored to kick off my Goddess blog tour with a post for writer Melanie Moxon. I love supporting other writers, especially when they’re on the other side of the world. Good luck with your debut novel, Melanie!

Back in my screenwriting days, one of my favorite gurus was Hollywood story consultant Jen Grisanti. Her book Story Line: Finding the Gold in Your Life Story taught me a great deal about locating and utilizing a central dramatic question as the backbone of a story. Now, I don’t believe in formulaic writing where you plug in a some boilerplate structure and out comes your story. But I do find it useful to use structural tools when I’m writing my…

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Goddess Blog Tour Now On the Road

Goddess, Book 1 is now on sale at Amazon and my blog tour is underway. Thanks to all all my fellow bloggers and authors for your support.

Today I’m guest blogging on Reading Romances Goodreads Group about how I fell in love with romance. Check it out here:

Reading Romances

After you read it, don’t forget to hurry out and buy Goddess!

Best wishes,