about writing

In this chargeless email course, I’ll acquaint you everything I apperceive about improving your writing, publishing it electronically and in print, and promoting it after the sale.

Two questions you should buzz:

(1) What will it cost me?

(2) What does this Michael LaRocca guy apperceive about it?

Answer #1 — It won’t cost you a affair. The single most big bit of advice I can accord you, and I add it generally, is don’t pament for publication.

My successes accept come from investing age. Some of it was able-bodied spent, but most of it was wasted. It costs me annihilation to share what I’ve learned. It costs you annihilation to peruse it except some of your age.

Answer #2 — “Michael LaRocca has been researching the publishing field for over ten age.”

This mention, from an ezine (electronic newsletter) called Authors Wordsmith, was a affectionate road of saying I’ve received a lot of rejections. Again, my “research” required 20 age.

But in my “breakout” year (2000), I finished writing four books and scheduled them all for publication in 2001. Then I spent almost a year as an editor and Author Adding to Specialist for one of my publishers.

After my aboriginal book was published, both my publishers closed. Two weeks and three publishers subsequent, I was back on track. All four books were republished, and a fifth will be released in 2004. Written in 2003, no rejections.

Beam how much faster it was the second age around? That’s as I learned a lot.

2004 EPPIE Award finalist. 2002 EPPIE Award finalist. Listed by Writers Digest as one of The Ace 101 Websites For Writers in 2001 and 2002. Sime-Gen Readers Choice Awards for Favorite Author (Nonfiction & Writing) and Favorite Book (Nonfiction & Writing). 1982 Who’s Who In American Writing.

Excuse me for bragging, but it beats having you anticipate I’m unqualified.

Again, I activate added editing jobs. That’s what I accomplish when I’m not writing, doing legal transcription, or teaching English in China (my advanced at ease). But the affair is, if I’d alter to an editor before learning how to inscription, I’d accept stunk.

I’ll acquaint you what’s absent from this course. What to inscription about, where I amuse my ideas from, stuff according to that. Maybe I don’t answer this catechism as I anticipate you should accomplish it your road, not mine. Or maybe as I don’t apperceive how I accomplish it. Or maybe both.

Once you’ve done your writing bit, this course will advice you with all the other stuff involved in being a writer. Writing involves fatiguing at least four altered hats. Writer, editor, publication seeker, post-sale self-promoter.

Here’s what I can acquaint you about my writing.

Sometimes a adventure abstraction aloof comes to me out of nowhere and refuses to allowance me alone until I inscription it. So, I accomplish.

And, whenever I peruse a book that really fires me up, I acquisition myself thinking, “I ambition I could inscription according to that.” So, I aloof accumulate trying. I’ll never inscription the ace, but I’ll always inscription my ace. And amuse bigger every age. That’s the “secret” of the writing “bag,” selfsame as any other bag. Always deliver the goods.

I peruse voraciously, a habit I recommend to any author who doesn’t already accept it. You’ll subconsciously pick up on what does and doesn’t assignment. Characterization, dialogue, pacing, plot, adventure, setting, description, etc. But added importantly, someone who doesn’t adore reading will never inscription something that someone else will adore reading.

I don’t inscription “for the marketplace.” I apperceive I can’t, so I aloof inscription for me and then ace shot to acquisition readers who according to what I according to. I’m not trying to whip up the abutting bestseller and amuse affluent. Not that I’d complain. Nope, I accept to inscription what’s in my affection, then action acquisition a marketplace subsequent. It makes marketing a claiming at times, but I wouldn’t accept it any other road.

When you inscription, be a dreamer. Action nuts. Apperceive that you’re writing pure gold. That blaze is why we inscription.

An author who I truly admire, Kurt Vonnegut, sweats out each alone sentence. He writes it, rewrites it, and doesn’t allowance it alone until it’s absolute. Then when he’s done, he’s done.

I suspect most of inscription according to that. I don’t. I let it fly as accelerated as my fingers can act across the paper or keyboard, rushing to capture my ideas before they amuse away. Subsequent, I chicken feed and shuffle and slice.

James Michener claims that he writes the last sentence aboriginal, then has his ambition before him as he writes his road to it.

Then there’s me. No outline whatsoever. I actualize characters and conflict, spending days and weeks on that assignment, until the aboriginal chapter really leaves me wondering “How will this borderline?” Then my characters booty over, and I’m as surprised as the reader when I finish my adventure.

Some authors set aside a certain figure of hours every day for writing, or a certain figure of words. In short, a writing timetable.

Then there’s me. No writing for three or six months, then a flurry of action where I forget to eat, sleep, bathe, chicken feed the cat’s litter… I’m a walking stereotype. To assuage the guilt, I acquaint myself that my unconscious is adamantine at assignment. As Hemingway would add, continued periods of thinking and short periods of writing.

I’ve shown you the extremes in writing styles. I anticipate most authors fall in the middle somewhere. But my point is, acquisition out what works for you. You can peruse about how other writers accomplish it, and if that works for you, abundant. But in the borderline, acquisition your own road. That’s what writers accomplish.

Aloof don’t accomplish it almost.

If you’re doing what I accomplish, writing a adventure that entertains and moves you, then you will acquisition readers who share your tastes. For some of us that means a alcove marketplace and for others it means regular appearances on the bestseller list.

Writing is a calling, but publishing is a bag. Bethink that AFTER you’ve written your manuscript. Not during.

I’ve told you how I inscription. For me.

The abutting step is self-editing. Fixing all the mistakes I fabricated, that I can analyze, in my rush to inscription it before my Inspiration took a holiday. Several rewrites. Running buttoned up it repeatedly with a fine-toothed comb.

Then what?

There are stories that amuse rejected as the abeyant publisher hates them, but far added are shot down for other reasons. Stilted dialogue. Arid descriptions. Anemic characters. Underdeveloped adventure. Astonishing or inconsistent plot. Sloppy writing.

That’s what you accept to fix.

After my fifteen-year hiatus from writing, I started by using Chargeless Online Artistic Writing Workshops. What I needed most was input from strangers. After all, once you’re published, your readers will be strangers. Every publisher you submit to will be a stranger. What will they anticipate? I was far too close to my writing to answer that.

Whenever I got some advice, I considered it. Some I aloof threw out as amiss, or as I couldn’t accomplish the changes without abandoning allotment of what fabricated the adventure adapted to me. Some I embraced. But the point is, I decided. It was my writing.

After a age, I didn’t air the charge for the workshops anymore. I’m fortunate enough to accept a wife whose advice I will always treasure, and after a while that was all I needed. But early on, it would’ve been arbitrary to buzz her to peruse my drivel. (Not that I didn’t anyway.)

I don’t apperceive how far along you are in your writing, but if you’ve never used a workshop, I accumulate a list of them at http://freereads.topcities.com/creativewritingonline.html.

Your ambition when you self-edit is to amuse your book as close to “ready to peruse” as you possibly can. You appetite your editor to acquisition what you overlooked, not what you didn’t apperceive about.

To that borderline, I action two resources.

http://freereads.topcities.com/usefullinksforauthors.html contains links to online quotations, grammar and style guides, dictionaries, encyclopedias, thesauruses, scam warnings, writer groups, copyright stuff, etc.

http://freereads.topcities.com/commonwritingmistakes.html contains a list of the most accepted mistakes I’ve seen in my age as an editor. I still reread it from age to age aloof so I don’t forget.

Your adventure is your adventure. You inscription it from your affection, and when it looks according to something you’d adore reading, you set out to acquisition a publisher who shares your tastes. What you don’t appetite is for that aboriginal reader to lose sight of what makes your adventure adapted as you’ve bogged it down with silly mistakes.

Authors don’t pament to be published. They are paid for publication. Always. It’s aloof that child’s play. And subsequent, I’ll acquaint you where to amuse some chargeless editing.

But there’s a limit to how much editing you can amuse without paying for it. Accomplish you charge added than that? I don’t apperceive as I’ve never seen your writing. But if you evaluate it honestly, I Anticipate you’ll apperceive the answer.

As an editor, I’ve worked with some authors who simply couldn’t self-edit. A non-native English speaker, a guy who slept buttoned up English class, whatever. To them, maybe paying for editing was an choice. This isn’t paying for publication. This is paying for a service, training. Aloof according to paying to booty a Artistic Writing class at the local community college.

By the road, I don’t accept creativity can be taught. Writing, certainly. I took my Artistic Writing class in aerial school, chargeless, and treasure it. But I already had the creativity, or else it would’ve been a squander of the teacher’s age and mine.

If you hire an editor worthy of the agname, you should apprentice from that editor how to self-edit in the approaching. In my position it took two tries, as the aboriginal editor was a rip-off artist charging over ten times marketplace amount for incomplete advice.

That editor, incidentally, is named Edit Ink, and they’re listed on abounding of the “scam warning” sites mentioned at Advantageous Links For Authors. They took kickbacks from every affected agent who sent them a client. (I’ll speak about affected agents subsequent.)

If you choose to hire an editor, check price and reputation. And accede that you might never accomplish enough selling your books to amuse back what you pament that editor. Accomplish you affliction? That’s your accommodation.

The aboriginal, most big step on the road to publication is to accomplish your writing the ace it can be.


My ambition is to be published in both mediums, ebook and print. There are some readers who prefer ebooks, and some who prefer print books. The second accumulation is much larger, but those publishers are harder to sell your writing to. I appetite both, as I appetite all the readers I can amuse.

Thus, I apostle something of a stepping-stone access. Publish electronically with a affection abode, adore the benefits of chargeless editing and almost instant gratification regarding publishing age.

Subsequent, if you anticipate you can sell your book to a traditional print publisher, you accept a professionally edited manuscript to submit.

Before you epublish, check the contract to be sure you can publish the edited assignment in print subsequent.

If you apperceive your book aloof plain won’t ever accomplish it into traditional print, print-on-demand (POD) is an choice. Some of my books fall into this category. The ace epublishers will simultaneously publish your assignment electronically and in POD format, at no cost to you.

A lot of authors swear by self-publication, but the prospect aloof plain scares me. All that promo, all that self-editing, maybe driving around the countryside with a back seat full of books. I’m a writer, not a salesman. But, maybe you’re altered.

I self-published once, in the pre-POD days. Mom handled the sales. I had amusing and broke even. With POD, at least it’s cheaper to self-publish than it was in 1989.

If you’re flying solo, POD can scope anywhere from US$99 to over $1000. Don’t pament the higher price! Price shop. Again, bethink that POD places publish any author who pays, and accomplish no marketing.

Print Publishing vs Electronic Publishing


This site provides a comparison of the two mediums. Each has plusses and minuses. Even if you already apperceive what epublishing is, booty a attending.

Electronic Publishers


A list of the ones I accept are reputable and my criteria for selecting them. Plus, a link to award-winning author Piers Anthony’s totally accomplished in-depth analysis of abounding added epublishers than I’ll ever list.

How To Breach Into Print Publishing


If you’re at the alpha of my stepping-stone access, seeking an epublisher, you’ll probably aloof appetite to bookmark this one for a year or two. That’s fine, as it’s not going anywhere. I aim to statement it myself in a year or two. If, on the other hand, you’re ready for traditional print, statement it any more and I ambition you accomplishment!

Print-On-Demand Publishing


What is it? Should you statement it? If so, how? What to beware of if you accomplish.


It doesn’t matter how you publish your book. Self-published, epublished, POD, or traditional print publishing from an absolute powerhouse. Marketing falls chiefly on you, and the selfsame things always assignment. Book signings, interviews in the local newspapers and on radio.

Alpha with http://www.kidon.com/media-link/index.shtml. It will acquiesce you to attending up all the local media outlets in your area that accept websites.

If you inscription to them all, you’re a spammer. Plus, it’ll booty ages. Attending for the ones with a legitimate absorption and blaze away.

If you acquisition a stale URL, and I anticipate you will, attending for the agname of that media outlet at some abode according to Google. Spend some age looking for the adapted press contacts, spend some age writing your press release, and accomplish what you can.

Most of these sites list email, snail mail, and phone calls. Since I alive in China, I’ve alone used email.

Book reviews, author interviews, book listing sites, and book contests are something we can all accomplish, regardless of where we alive. Again, I’m going to accord you some interlacing pages to appointment. Pages where I accumulate my resources, so I don’t lose them. Some of the sites I mention accomplish ebooks, and some accomplish not. The POD choice can advice e-authors here, but balance cost vs. likelihood of gaining enough readers to counterbalance that.

Some are ezines and some are websites. Some are printed newsletters, some are printed magazines, and some are newspapers. This is aloof a starting point. If you appointment them all, and you accept age for added promotion, you can acquisition abounding added.

Book Reviewers, Author Interviews, Book Listing Sites http://freereads.topcities.com/bookreview.html

Book Contests http://freereads.topcities.com/bookcontests.html

Okay, let’s amuse back to my overseas angle. Aside from two radio interviews and a seminar in Hong Kong, and some emailed press releases to the LOCAL media back in the US which may or may not accept succeeded in anything, my marketing has come from the Internet.

I accept a website. I accept a newsletter. I’m giving away a chargeless ebook, the essence of which you’re reading any more. You activate me somehow, adapted?

Here’s the type of message I accept generally in email. To be added precise, in spam.

If a million bodies beam your ad, and you amuse 1% of them, that’s 10,000 readers and accordingly $15,000 profit and you alone paid $1000 for those million addresses.

NO!! It doesn’t assignment that road. Charge I statement the words spot-com bust?

My website is chargeless. My newsletter is chargeless. I don’t buy mailing lists, I don’t accumulate email addresses, and I don’t spam. I appetite absorbed traffic, not aloof sheer numbers.

Accomplish you anticipate the Phoenicians tried to sell sails to bodies a thousand miles from the baptize?

Internet marketing isn’t a replacement for the methods mentioned above, but a complement to them. And by using it, I got you here.

Your ambition in marketing is this. There are certainly bodies in the apple who according to what you according to. And since you according to your book, they probably will too.

But you accept to acquisition those readers and accomplish them absorbed, without spamming them and without aloof “playing the numbers pastime.”

If you’re an e-author, let me state the accessible. Nobody buys ebooks who doesn’t accept Internet access. Accomplish they? So you definitely charge a website.

Traditional print authors charge websites too. Even blockbuster authors according to J.R. Rowling and Stephen Baron, who I suspect could garner any added agname recognition, accept websites. So does every continued-established inescapable monstro-bag according to McDonalds and Coke.

Okay, those folks pament interlacing designers. I’m not doing that. I can’t generate those kinds of sales figures. And affirmative, I’ve formerly been employed as an HTML programmer. But you can inscription your own website without even learning HTML if you appetite. It’s no harder than writing a manuscript with a chat processor.

It won’t be super-flashy according to the ample boys, but it’ll communicate the advice. Bethink, you can communicate. You’re an author! And that’s what keeps bodies coming back to a website after the thrill of the flash wears off. Advice. Content. Your specialty.

I accede my website and my newsletter to be acknowledged, and I’ve created a chargeless email course to analyze how they got that road. Affirmative, there are legitimate ways to bring traffic to your website and your newsletter. Not massive numbers overnight, but slow steady advance over the continued chat.


We’ve been talking about soft sell.

Any more, at the borderline of my chargeless workshop, I’ll acquaint you about 2 URLs that I anticipate will advice you and one that won’t. You can decide if any are worth a appointment.

After that, I’ll amuse back to the lesson.

Books OnLine Directory


You’ve been to parts of it already and seen that it delivers something you’re looking for. (I achievement.) Don’t forget to action back from age to age.

Aberrant About Books


My chargeless weekly email newsletter will accumulate you up-to-date on the latest info as I acquisition it. Plus, it has a certain goofy charm that the website lacks.

Both URLs mention my books, but in the background. I achievement you’ll attending one day out of curiosity or as you really according to my acceptable attributes, but it’s not obligatory. Soft sell.

From Watha, NC, USA to Shaoxing, Zhejiang, China


This site doesn’t mention writing at all. I wrote it for my students. I advise English in China, and this is where I acquaint all about it. Along with a hefty helping of personal history and photos. How I got here, how I abdicate a action via email to marry a admirable Australian, dog and cat photos, stuff according to that. Aloof for amusing. It won’t advice you a bit.

Any more let’s amuse back to your writing. That’s why you’re here.

Here’s something you’ve heard before. When your manuscript is rejected — and it will be — bethink that you aren’t being rejected. Your manuscript is.

One reader took me to assignment for that statement, claiming he’d never been rejected in his action. I’m actual blessed for him. But why, if I may be so bold as to buzz, would he charge advice on How To Amuse Published? I’d rather he inscription some advice so I can hang up my “helper guy” cap and apprentice from a expert.

But I digress. You aren’t being rejected, I was saying. Your manuscript is.

Did you ever hang up the phone on a telemarketer, delete spam, or close the door in the face of a salesman? Of course, and yet that salesman aloof moves on to the abutting abeyant customer. He knows you’re rejecting his product, not him.

Okay, in my position I’m rejecting both, but I’d never accomplish that to an author. Neither will a publisher or an agent. All authors acquaint other authors not to booty rejection personally, and yet we all accomplish. Accede it a target to shoot for, then. Aloof accumulate submitting, and aloof accumulate writing.

The ace road to cope with waiting times is to “submit and forget,” writing or editing other stuff while the age passes.

And finally, air chargeless to send an e-mail to me anytime. [email protected] I’ll gladly share what I apperceive with you, and it won’t cost you a cent.

I would ambition you luck in your publishing endeavors, but I apperceive there’s no luck involved. It’s all skill and diligence.

Congratulations on completing the course! No ceremonies, no degrees, and no diplomas. But on the ablaze side, no student loan to repay.

Ace regards,

Michael LaRocca http://freereads.topcities.com/archive.html

About The Author

Michael was born in North Carolina, USA. He teaches English at a university in Shaoxing, Zhejiang Province, China. Five of his books were published in 2002, and another is scheduled for publication in 2004. One of his novels is an EPPIE 2004 finalist in the Mainstream category. One of his novels was an EPPIE 2002 finalist in the Thriller category. He’s again won two Sime~Gen Readers Choice Awards for nonfiction. He’s appreciative of the actuality that he seldom writes in the selfsame genus twice. He’s listed in the 1982 Who’s Who In American Writing, but that impresses him even less than it impresses you. Michael has worked as an editor for the former thirteen age. For ten age he was amenable for all the tech manuals and sales literature produced by an R&D firm. He again wrote their website. Then he moved to China in 1999 and began editing and reviewing fiction for several U.S. publishers via the Internet. He has been involved with the publication of almost 200 novels. He again works as a legal transcriptionist for a Hong Kong firm. When he should be squeezing writing into his timetable, he is usually enjoying the company of his wife and their cat instead, or sweating buttoned up Chinese lessons. In July he finished obtaining his TEFL qualification, so maybe any more he’ll acquisition age to inscription. For added advice about Michael and his books, appointment his website at http://freereads.topcities.com which was listed in Writers Digest’s The 101 Ace Websites For Writers in 2001 and 2002. His email inscription is [email protected]

Originall posted April 6, 2012