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The Farewell Issue of the Burning the Midnight Oil Book Zine, a FREE monthly E-zine!

Burning the Midnight Oil Book Zine - a FR*E*E monthly ezine for writing parents.




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9. BOOK EXCERPT: Offspring by Liam Jackson







Dear Readers,

Change is in the wind and part of the changes I am making to both my personal and professional life will not involve the continuation of this E-zine. I have just too many irons in the fire and too many future plans which will take up more of my time. This will mean very little free time to work on and send out the E-zine each month. For this reason, this is the final issue of the Burning the Midnight Oil Book Zine.

I have done some serious soul-searching on this issue. At first I thought maybe I could put the E-zine on hiatus for a while, but then I realized that it wouldn’t be fair if I later decide I’d have to shut it down. Then I thought I could solicit some help to keep the E-zine going, but I knew my "helper" would end up doing more than me, and that also would be unfair. Finally I thought I could just hand it over to someone else, but I worried that it would lose that mission of promoting the writers in the book, and the book itself, which is why I started it in the first place, so I decided against that idea, too. There was just too much of a chance it would be mangled into something that it wasn’t supposed to be. First and foremost, I want the E-zine to act as an inspiration and motivation to writing parents everywhere. But I also want it to serve as an accomodating companion to the book. Once it left my control, chances were good that just wouldn’t happen.

And so I have decided to shut the E-zine down. I will continue to write material for writing parents, just not for this E-zine. And I will continue to keep tabs on the goings-on with the book and the book’s writers. You can stay updated with all things writing-related by visiting my blog:  

I hope you will enjoy this final issue of the E-zine. Please feel free to check in at my Web site to read all the past issues and to stay updated with any writing news. You’ll find that Web site here:  

As a final farewell, I have included some of the writers you’ve known and loved from past issues. You’ll also be treated to quotes from the MIDNIGHT OIL book, as well as motivating tips to keep your writing supercharged and your quest for writing success going strong!

Thank you for being such loyal, wonderful and supportive subscribers to this E-zine. Your faith, support and feedback are what has helped me to keep this E-zine the valuable source of inspiration that it has been to writing parents! I would not have had an E-zine without you! I in turn return my support to you to "keep on keepin’ on" and never give up on your writing career! The E-zine may be gone but I’ll be here in spirit wishing you and other writing parents out there the very best of writing times the road ahead will bring.

Keep writing!

Much Love and Support,

Dawn Colclasure

Editor and Publisher  






"If you can live without it, do!"—Alina Adams

"You will find time for yourself. Be patient."—Ken Bluttman

"Keep your schedule as simple as possible."—Alison Burke

"Let the little things go."—Sara Caldwell

"You will learn from each experience."—Kerri Charette

"Let the children feel your passion for your work."—Kim Davis

"Enjoy the journey."—Vicky DeCoster

"If I don't live a full life with my family, I probably won't have much to write about."—Beth Erickson

"Giving your children time is critical."—Craig Garber

"Don't take on more than you can handle."—Rachel Gurevich

"If you want to write, write!"—Linda Oatman High

"Never give up on your dream."—Christine Louise Hohlbaum

"With the right discipline and a schedule, anyone can find the time to write."—Angela Hoy

"It's entirely possible to juggle writing with parenting."—Liam Jackson

"Set attainable goals."—Christine Petrell Kallevig

"You have to take breaks to spend quality time with your kids."—Heide Kaminski

"Be 'present' in the moment."—Pam Lowell

"Believe in yourself and follow your dream."—Liana Metal

"Keep family in mind when writing."—Sara Webb Quest

"You have got to be disciplined to make certain you get your writing in each day."—Bob Schwartz

"You can do it!"—Graciela Sholander

"Don't put off writing until 'later.' There may never be a later. Do it NOW. Do it TODAY."—Susan Sloate

"You have to find balance."—Tracey Smith

"Make every moment count."—Leslie Lehr Spirson

"I have learned to go with the flow and fit in what I can where I can."—Shannon Pelletier Swanson

"Find time to write."—Jim Vines

"Work your writing schedule around your parenting schedule."—Lyle Weldon

"Love your children; love yourself." –Pam White

"When the going gets tough, the tough keep writing."—Kim Wilson

"You can be a good parent and be a professional writer at the same time."—Rich Wolter








So Much to Write, So Little Time to Write it All

by Dawn Colclasure


It can happen to every writer: A swarm of ideas for things to write invade the mind, compelling the writer to drop what they’re doing and get EVERYTHING onto paper. In a perfect world, we just may be able to pull that off. But in the real world, writers have busy lives. We’ve got children to raise, jobs to do, ailing relatives to care for and homes to take care of. Managing to find the time to write just ONE thing can be darn near impossible, but there’s a way to get it all done.

There are little things that I do to TRY and write everything that I want to write. (I have a LONG LIST of stuff I want to write!) Cutting down on the housework is just one of the things I do to try to get as much writing done as I can. On an average day, I go beyond cleaning the whole house; I’ll polish, shine and sanitize anything from the microwave in the kitchen to the keys on the keyboard. But when there’s just too many writing ideas in my head all screaming for my attention, I do a general cleaning job and use what extra time I have to write.

Another thing is that I multitask. Sometimes I'll have the baby on my lap and type stuff up with one hand. (I'll also feed the baby with one hand and write with the other. Cook a meal with one hand and write with the other. Drive a car with one hand and write with the other. You get the idea!)

Another way I try to have extra time to write is that I try to hurry with what I am doing. Just work as fast as I possibly can. Whether it's finish up my shower faster because inspiration has struck or even with cleaning the house, I try to work as fast as possible so that I can have some time to get those ideas written. Some may be of the opinion that this method would result in doing a poor job, but for me, it has worked. Meals still have been thoroughly cooked, rooms still have been completely dusted and laundry still got all done even as I tried to speed through each task. Nothing suffered from it, and I still found extra bits and pieces of time to write.

Those "bits and pieces" of free writing time are another suggestion in finding time to write when you have too many ideas for things to write. Even if all I have is ten minutes of free time, I grab it and write. Just five minutes? I use that to write a poem or jot down ideas and notes. (One of the things I couldn't write one day was an essay I plan to submit to an anthology, but I DID at least scribble down a bunch of notes for it.)

Keep an eye out for things that can really endanger your writing time. There are things which may not seem to be a "waste of time" but they are: Blogging, surfing the Internet, hobbies, gossiping on the phone (or even through online chats), sleeping late, tinkering with the car and "fixing" something that doesn’t even need to be fixed at all. These are serious threats to your extra time to write! And be careful of "time killers" such as taking on a big job like designing costumes for your child’s play (let another parent do it!), starting a major project related or unrelated to writing (such as a new book, an E-zine, building a house, going on a safari, etc.). If you’re too caught up with your writing, now is not the time to try to squeeze this extra stuff in! Don’t try to talk yourself out of avoiding them, either. Lines such as "I deserve this," "I need a break," "I just want to have some fun," "I can write later" and "it’s good experience to write about later" only act as excuses keeping you from writing all the things you want to write NOW. You can do all that stuff later, after you have finished writing those ideas just tugging at your muse.

Here are some other pointers to remember in the quest to find that writing time:

• Lower the expectations on what amount of material can be written in the day and just write whatever you can.

• Don't stress out if something isn't good enough; it can always be fixed later.

• Use whatever writing tools you can – a cell phone, tape recorder, pen and the back of a flyer, etc.

• Don’t waste time on unimportant diversions or hobbies.

• Don’t give up on writing something because it will take too long to write – write down notes about it or try to write a very rough draft.

The idea is to find some way, any way, to squeeze in that time to write when your inspiration is in overdrive. For every writing parent, it’s NEVER impossible to find time to write. That time to write is there, if only you start looking for it!



Dawn Colclasure edits and publishes the Burning the Midnight Oil Book Zine, which is a product of her book: BURNING THE MIDNIGHT OIL: How We Survive as Writing Parents (Booklocker). She also writes for the newspaper SIGNews and the Web site, The Shadowlands. She’s been published both on and off the Web, in magazines such as Mothering, American Fitness, Home Education Magazine and HOMEspirations, and Web sites such as Absolute Write, Writing Etc. and Writing World. Visit her on the Web at .




Learning to Love S & M…(Sales & Marketing)

The Marketing-Phobic Author’s Guide to Profitable Book Promotion

by Peter Bowerman

(Excerpted from The Well-Fed Self-Publisher: How to Turn One Book into a Full-Time Living, by Peter Bowerman. Fanove, 2006. ).

I saw a great series of billboards in Atlanta recently. It was for, an online clearinghouse for apartments that allows you to search for exactly what you want in any state. The first billboard had just one short sentence (their tag line, actually) across the middle: You want what you want. Then, simply their logo and the name; a thing of simplicity and beauty. In one five-word sentence, they nailed THE hot button for their audience: personal taste and choice in an apartment.

But, say marketing or sales to a roomful of right-brained author types and watch the sweat beads pop. But, getting comfortable with the whole sales and marketing thing really is easier than you think....

It’s ALL About the Customer

In the course of promoting your masterpiece, you’ll be crafting a pretty steady stream of promotional materials: press releases, marketing proposals to wholesalers, distributors, and booksellers, email pitches to book review targets, queries to publications to submit articles, notes to groups soliciting invitations to speak (and accompanying promo materials, and much more). As such, it’s good to understand what’s important in this process (your audiences and what they want) and what’s not (you and your book).

Here are the three fundamental principles of sales and marketing — principles that, incidentally, are already a part of your frame of reference as a consumer:

1) ‘Audience’ — Always understand who your audience is and what language will best get through to them.

2) The Features/Benefits Equation — Focus on driving home what you know is important to your audience, not just talking about you and your book.

3) The Unique Selling Proposition (USP) — Figure out what sets your book apart in the marketplace and drive that difference home — early and often.

Sales = Making it Easy

Developing a marketing mindset means always looking at things through the eyes of your target audience. For example:

• You want someone to post an Amazon review (after they gushed on about your book in an email), so you send them the actual Amazon link to your book.

• When sending out review copies (and the heads-up emails), you include a prominent link to your ‘Media Resources’ section, which includes everything a potential reviewer might need to put a review together.

• You want some ‘key influencer’ to promote an upcoming event of yours, so you send an actual ready-to-go promo blurb, as if written by them, so that it’s just a simple cut-‘n-paste to get it handled.

• You contact a journalist to get some publicity, and you include a link to ‘News Pegs’ in your Media Resources section.

In all these cases, you’re thinking about their reality and that you’re not a high priority in their world. As such, you need to make it as easy as humanly possible for them to do what you’re asking them to do. Let’s explore each of the three in a bit more depth....


‘Who’s the Audience?’

This is absolutely THE first question you need to ask yourself whenever you’re about to put together any promotional copy. When you buy a product you heard about through some form of advertising, it’s because something spoke to you. Someone knew what to say to make you sit up and take notice — which is exactly what will happen when a message is well crafted. What’s amazing — and tragic — is how much marketing material, put together by authors and prestigious publishing houses, is poorly written and doesn’t consider the intended audience. If you can get it right, you’ll set yourself apart.


The Features/Benefits Equation

Some time back, I was contacted by an author who wanted me to review a press release for their new book. It was full of superlative adjectives about the book, hyperbolic gushing-on about the author, and other unforgivable self-indulgences. In short, tailor-made for a quick trip to the circular file. So common. So unnecessary.

The Features/Benefits Equation is an absolute cornerstone of sales and marketing and a concept with which we’re already intimately acquainted.

Basic Definitions

In the publishing context, features are all about a book and its author. Benefits are about your target audiences — what’s important to them, and how your book addresses those issues. Always begin with benefits, follow with features. The more you make it about you and your book, the more likely your intended audience will ignore you.

A Book Example

Okay, using my first book as an example, you think people care that Peter Bowerman leveraged a sales and marketing career into a new career in the lucrative field of commercial writing and then wrote a book about it? That the book covers X, Y and Z subjects? Yawwwwwwwwn. That’s all about me and my book.

If you were a prospect for my book, I’d wager good money that you’d care far more about the fact that there’s this lucrative field called commercial writing, where you fulfill your dream of making a good living (i.e., $50-125 an hour) as a writer. A field that can provide a great income while letting you work from your home, have more time for life, loved ones, and leisure. Sound better? Course it does. Because that’s all about you — your favorite thing in the whole world! Then, once I get your attention with things I know mean something to you, I can tell you more about me.

Just remember, if you’re an unknown author, journalists couldn’t care less that you’ve written a book. A release about a book and its author is...features. That reporter wants benefits: ‘Tell me why that book is important to my readers/viewers.’ Not the book, but the angle represented by the book. Those are the benefits.

USP - The Unique Selling Proposition

Every book is unique in some way. Once you determine the audience for your book, zero in on its Unique Selling Proposition (USP) — THE thing that sets that book apart in a marketplace full of competitors (more important with non-fiction than fiction). What does it do that others don’t? Once you determine your book’s USPs, make sure they show up in your back cover copy and in most everything else you send out. Drive the message home.

Getting comfortable with sales and marketing doesn’t have to be painful. And when you make these concepts your friends, and they become second nature, you set the stage for some serious promotional success.


Can’t land a publisher? Why not do it yourself, and make a living from it? Check out the free report on self-publishing at, the home of the award-winning 2007 release, The Well-Fed Self-Publisher: How to Turn One Book into a Full-Time Living. Author Peter Bowerman is known for the award-winning (and self-published) Well-Fed Writer titles on lucrative commercial freelancing ( ). 52,000 copies of his books have provided him with a full-time living for over five years.




Organize Your Writing Desk In 4 Easy Steps

by April Aragam

With all of the papers, books, mail and writing supplies a writer has to deal with, it would be nice to have an area that is manageable and attractive at the same time. Can it be done? It surely can. Use the following tips to help you in your quest to achieve a more organized writing desk:

1. Make a clean start
The first step to organizing any area well is to clean it out completely before you start. Take everything off of the desk top (the computer can stay), out of any drawers and cupboards you may have. Yes, this may make more of a mess for a bit, but it is well worth it. If you have a shelf over your desk, attached or not, clean that off too. You’ll need all the space you can get.

2. Designate a space for needed items
Trinkets are cute, but you don’t especially need them on your desk. A photo or two of the family is probably enough. Before you start putting things back, think about where things would be best suited. If you use your pens a lot, you want them right within reach. If you don’t use your dictionary or thesaurus much (or prefer the online version) you might want to put those books farther away from you. Don’t forget about under your desk, if there is enough room that could be the perfect place to store your accordion filer. Before you start putting things back, ask yourself if you actually use it in your writing career and how much you use it. That will determine if and where you replace it. If something won’t go back into your work area, don’t forget to put it in it’s proper place.

3. Organizational Tools
The accordion filer was mentioned earlier, these come in very handy for storing clipped articles, mail, your personal clips etc. Use a mug (maybe one your child made for you at school, a trinket that is functional) to store your pens, highlighters, pencils, letter opener etc. Use small, clear jars or containers to store things such as paper clips. Instead of using scraps of paper to jot down things you find online or think of while you’re working, have a mini-notebook that you can scribble in. This saves you the hassle of having clean up and organize more loose papers later on. To keep projects separated use colored folders. This comes in especially handy if you’re doing research for projects.

4. Keep it tidy
To help yourself stay organized at your desk, make it a habit to tidy up at the end of each work day. Put things back where they belong, and if you know what you’ll need for the next day, lay them out. If you find that you’re not using something anymore, don’t hesitate to put it someplace else. When people think of writers they often think of a messy workspace, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Most of us work better in an organized space. We don’t have to spend as much time looking for things and can spend more time working on our craft.

BIO: A freelance writer from Vancouver, B.C., April writes poetry, greeting card verse, articles and quizzes. She has written poetry for Blue Mountain Arts anthologies and has her first card in their 2007 line.



Eight Rules to Write By

by Suzan L. Wiener


If you're not getting enough acceptances, maybe it's time to review the work you're sending out and look at it through an editor's eyes, not just your own. It may be hard, but you have to be objective, as an editor would be, to see how your work can be improved.

Some writers feel that every word they put down is a precious jewel, too valuable to ever be thrown out or lost. The thought that someone else might want to change their work is unthinkable to them. This is the mark of someone who has never been published, and sometimes the reason they haven't been.

Listed below are rules I try to follow with my own work, which have helped quite a lot.

l. Never become complacent about your writing ability. Always look at the world around you for new ideas. The stimulus could be just a conversation with a friend, or a television program. It's very important to be alert.

2. Thoroughly check manuscripts for grammar, punctuation, clarity, and spelling before mailing them. Hold a manuscript for a few days, and then check it again. You'll be surprised how many typos you find the second time around, with a fresh reading.

3. Never take offense at criticism, especially from an editor, without weighing the merits of the comment. Editors are usually deluged with manuscripts and one who takes the time to comment about a rejected piece probably felt it had potential which could be developed further.

4. If you can, join a writing class or a writers' group to get objective, constructive input. While the help of an aunt or a cousin might be kind, they may not want to say anything negative, and this won't improve your writing.

5. Read as many novels and short stories as you can fit into your schedule. Doing so can help you gain new insights and ideas which may spark your memory bank. It can help you get rid of writer's block as well.

6. Always send for a sample copy and guidelines or find them on-line before submitting anything to a publication. Editors don't appreciate receiving material which obviously isn't geared to their audience. It's also a waste of good postage, which can be put to much better use.

7. Either buy how-to books on writing or check out your local library branch. While writing is creative, there's also a technical side to it that must be mastered. Reading these books, you can learn about outlining plots, developing characters that come across as real people, and creating scenes the reader can see and feel.

8. Keep acceptance letters and check stubs organized to keep track of whether you are making a reasonable amount from your writing or just doing it for fun. Buy stamps by the book or roll at a Post Office branch and pay for them by check. That way, you have a permanent record of postage expenses for yourself and the IRS at tax time. Also, don't forget to deduct the cost of any other supplies, such as computer paper, ribbons, and copying material. Although it may be a bit painful at first, it's a good idea to keep your rejection slips in case the IRS decides to see if your claims are legitimate. That way, you can show them the complete picture of how those expenses were generated.

Following these guidelines should help you on the road to success. When you find that most-welcomed acceptance check in the mailbox, you'll know it was well worth the effort.



Biography: Suzan L. Wiener has had many articles on writing published in Canadian Writer's Journal, Verses, MetroSeven (Australia), The Writer's Ezine, Cross & Quill, FellowScripts, etc. She also writes short stories, personal experience stories and shorter pieces. She writes greeting for well-known card companies and has free verse and rhyming poetry collections which can be purchased at





An Explanation of Common Rights that Publications Seek from Writers

by Roy A. Barnes

Writer’s guidelines can be confusing to new writers,especially in the realm of the rights publicationsseek out for accepted works. This article will shed light on the most common kinds of rights issues. It is very important that writers understand the rights they will give up when they sell their articles and other written works to publications.

Let’s say a writer's poem is bought by a haiku magazine which acquires All Rights. In that case, the writer’s haiku is no longer available for resell to any other literary publication because the buying haiku magazine owns the work outright.

Many internet publications desire Archive Rights because they wish to keep the work they’ve purchased available to web surfers who’ll visit their websites long after the writer’s work has initially appeared. This enables the publication to link the particular work in their "Past Issues" or "Archives" section for whatever the guidelines, contract, and/or negotiated terms with the writer stipulate.

Print-only publications won’t normally request Electronic Rights because this means the medium would need to have an electronic outlet (for instance, CD-ROM, internet displaying of a writer’s work, etc.). Those mediums which do showcase the creative non-fiction, short stories, family-themed articles, et al of writers online will be using these rights, but how they use them will be discussed in the ensuing paragraphs...

A cooking magazine wants First Rights to your original cookie recipe; and thus, they are to be the first to publish this yummy work anywhere, period. Now when a publication gets more specific with this kind of right, like First Worldwide Electronic Rights, it can become less restrictive because now only electronic mediums are included in this, usually the internet. Another example entails First North American Serial Rights, which is often sought after by magazines or newspapers on the North American continent. Selling the recipe simultaneously to an England-based cooking publication in print would be fine, as long as that particular publication doesn’t desire First Worldwide Serial Rights which would conflict with the North American kind since North America is part of the world. The cooking journal in England might just want First European or First British Serial Rights.

Once a writer’s original cookie recipe has been featured in that North American market, it may be free and clear for Second (or Reprint) Rights to other North American publications that accept previously published work. Sometimes, publications who buy writer’s works ask for the opportunity to reprint that same work, which can mean extra income for the writer. Publications who buy just One-Time Rights are not stipulating that they have to be the first one to publish a work, for this right means only the opportunity to publish the work one time. Writers can re-sell the work simultaneously to other publications who only implement the One-time type.

If a horror story publication specifically seeks Exclusive Rights for a writer’s scary tale, it is to then specify how long it wants to possess the writer’s work exclusively. If this medium were to desire Non-Exclusive Rights after publication, then once that creepy ghost story is published, there is no waiting time for the author to re-sell the work.

When a publisher or client initiates a Work For Hire agreement on a project, it’s basically like All Rights above. An example of this is when a business contracts a tech writer to write a software program for it. It pays the writer to do the project, but the business gets full control of the project after completion.

If in doubt about the rights a publication’s guidelines ask for (especially if the wording is confusing or appears to be contradictory), contact the editorial staff! Never submit a work without first knowing what you are potentially giving up! There’s no set standard for the way contracts and submission guidelines are crafted, so never be afraid to ask for clarification. Publications whose editors don’t state their rights issues in the submission guidelines and then won’t answer these questions posed by writers are to be avoided!

Roy A. Barnes writes from southeastern Wyoming. Besides Burning The Midnight Oil, his writing-themed articles have appeared at such publications like The Fabulist Flash, Write-from-Home, The InkSpotter News, and Absolute Write. His travel-themed articles have appeared at Transitions Abroad,, Horizon Magazine, The Valley Advocate, Northwest Prime Time, and Live Life Travel. And mediums like The Goblin Reader, The Kids’ Ark, Swimming Kangaroo,, and Poesia have published his poetry and prose.




Learning to Love Amazon: Quick Study, Great Promotion

by Carolyn Howard-Johnson

"The mightiest river in the world is the Amazon. It runs from west to east, from the sunset to the sunrise, from the Andes to the Atlantic."

Theodore Roosevelt

Among authors, has earned its name. For many it is their most important tool for online sales; sometimes it is their not-so-gentle giant. It is a business many love to hate. Several of its policies are perceived to be anti-author. Because it has so many features that are an advantage to authors, I, instead, hate to admit that I love it.

Mini E-Books: Promote Existing Books with Amazon Shorts

"Ahhhh, Amazon. When it comes to book sales, she strides on the sturdiest of legs." ~Carolyn Howard-Johnson from The Frugal Book Promoter: How to Do What Your Publisher Won't

Amazon, like the great woman warrior of mythology, performs amazing feats. She will sell your books here and overseas. At one time she didn't cater to authors of any stripe, but she tolerated them as long as they were assigned an ISBN (the number on the back of your book near the barcode). Small or large publishers, subsidy, and self-published books may be found in her pages making her a unique buying and selling tool. But now Amazon absolutely caters to authors. She offers them ways to target not only a reading audience but also to focus on their given reader. One of the ways she does this is with shorts.

Many publishers and authors are utilizing Amazon's short program because:

• Amazon Shorts are uniquely suited to works that appear to require a smaller format.

• Amazon Shorts allow—nay, encourage—links to a publisher's or authors related publications.

• Amazon Shorts asks for only a six month exclusive which means that a chapter or excerpt might be used to test the advisability of a book on the same subject or to drum up interest for that topic. Or you can leave the Short with Amazon and earn income, but you will earn a lower royalty. .

• Amazon acts as a full-service e-publisher with shorts. That means that they both deliver and publicize your work. That means exposure for the author up and over the promotion that she will do for her own Short.

• Authors of anything from poetry to how-to books may find a way to fit one or more Amazon Shorts into their publishing and promotion plans.

• Amazon Shorts will expose your book to a very important target audience, readers.

• And, of course, it may allow an author to try writing in another genre. The possibilities range from poetry to nonfiction, experimental to tried-and-true.

An author need only have some other published book for sale on Amazon to be considered for a Short. That may include having contributed to an anthology. Even though a Short is published by Amazon, many publishers are encouraging their own authors to submit because of all the benefits listed above and because Shorts—if carefully presented—might work as a cross promotion vehicle for other books in that publisher's catalog. They can do the same for an author's other books and to help brand him or her to a larger audience.

Here are some things a prospective Short author should keep in mind:

• Amazon is a traditional publisher.

• Shorts are e-publications. They may be downloaded and are easily accessible on

• Your work may or may not be accepted.

• Once accepted it may take several weeks or even more than a couple months to be published.

• Amazon supplies the cover; I have never seen one that is not professional, marketing savvy and attractive. For an example, find my The Great First Impression Book Proposal at .

• Like many publishers, Amazon prefers that work be submitted in near-perfect, publishable form. Do not expect extensive editing.

• Authors should be ready to submit an extensive plan for promotion. All reputable publishers want their authors as promotion partners.

• Amazon has tons of inherent promotion power and may call on it if they see that a particular short shows promise and that the author is willing to work with them.

• Amazon pays royalties but it is obvious that the royalty on a Short's 49 cent retail price will not be huge. Authors should not do publish Shorts to get rich.

• Signing the contract and submitting a marketing proposal can be time-consuming.

• Once Amazon accepts your Short, it may be easier and quicker to publish with them again.

I have many friends who have published Shorts. I didn't think it was something I wanted to do, even though I saw the marketing wisdom behind this new program. Then I began to work with a couple of consulting clients who didn't want to learn the proposal and synopsis process. There are many good books out there on the subject but I needed to lead these authors through the process easily and fast. Thus The Great First Impression Book Proposal: Everything You Need to Know About Selling Your Book in 20 Minutes or Less was born. Amazon's Short program seemed made for it. I can now help my clients understand the proposal process easily and quickly, but I can also share a quick, easy overview approach I use with others, many of whom I have never met.


The author is no stranger to publishing or to awards. Her novel, This is the Place, won eight awards. Her book of creative nonfiction, Harkening, won three and her chapbook of poetry (Finishing Line Press) won the award of excellence from the Military Writers Society of America. The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success and The Frugal Book Promoter: How to Do What Your Publisher Won't are both USA Book News Award winners in the publishing and writing category. Her marketing campaign for those books won the Book Publicists of Southern California's Irwin Award. She is also an extension division instructor for UCLA’s renowned Writers’ Program.

Learn more about Howard-Johnson at . She blogs at , , , ,

and .





Excerpt from:

Title: Offspring

Author: Liam Jackson

Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books, St. Martin's Press

ISBN: ISBN- 0-312-35570-X

Author Web site:  

Price: Hardcover retail price- $24.95 (Amazon,com, $16.95)




Istanbul, Turkey


Such an easy matter to destroy one feeble old man. The temptation held such sweet allure. Killing the living symbol of the Church would be delicious, fostering additional chaos and confusion in a world already rife with turmoil. In another age, killing a Pope would have set the human race on path toward a regional, or with luck, world war. Global conflicts had been started over far more trivial matters. The Runner knew this fact all too well. He had been present for every one of them. Oh, those were the days! But that was then, and this was now, and new triumphs awaited. The Runner strolled casually along the broad walk like any other tourist. This could well be the last time he would pass this way. Who knew?

He took the pedestrian route that ran past the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit. The sidewalks were teeming with camera-wielding tourists and local faithful, all hoping for a glimpse of Pope Benedict as he exited the church. While the Ecumenical Patriarch, Bartholomew I, was officially the head of the Orthodox movement, and though Istanbul was his official seat of power, Benedict’s position as head of the Catholic Church in Rome established him as a religious icon of unparalleled status. His influence rivaled that of any and exceeded that of most.

Once more, as it had done some many times over the course of history, the office of Pope had flexed its considerable muscle, coming to Istanbul to treat with the head of the Orthodox sect. Recent, unprecedented violence throughout the world had created a state of panic among the people. Turkey and other Mediterranean nations, because of their geographical proximity to Rome, and because of Rome’s long and storied history with the region, were targeted early on for assistance from the Vatican. The Catholic Church was reaching out to help stabilize an already volatile region, an ironic departure, thought some, from the Church’s position in the third and fourth centuries. As was the case throughout history, there were those who viewed any Vatican overture with suspicion. The Runner took great pride in his many contributions in furthering that suspicion, though there were times when he thought he’d not done enough. Of course, that was all about to change. And what better place to correct that oversight? And what better target?

Istanbul’s Catholic community was small by European and western standards, but Benedict had not traveled to Turkey especially for their benefit. Today, he had presided over the Eucharistic liturgy in the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit, with Bartholomew I, and the Armenian Patriarch, Mesrob II, at his side. During Mass, Benedict told the tiny congregation, and more importantly, Bartholomew and Mesrob, that "the Church wishes to impose nothing on anyone, and merely asks to live in freedom, in order to reveal the One whom she cannot hide: Christ Jesus." The message seemed well received. Benedict, long considered a Catholic hardliner, was fast demonstrating an unexpected ability to bridge gaps between denominations and ideologies.

Already, more than one billion Catholics and millions of Protestants considered the man beneath the Papal tiara the ultimate symbol of grace, obedience, and "faith made manifest." Additionally, the position, if not the man, held the power to galvanize much of humanity in the face of overwhelming adversity. That was reason enough to kill the man, but there were other more compelling reasons.

Killing Benedict would temporarily expose the Runner’s whereabouts to an angry mob of Brethren and the ever persistent Host of Heaven, unwilling allies in the hunt for the Runner’s head. The notion was almost laughable. The very thought of fallen angels and God’s stalwart servants working toward a common cause was just to the left of ridiculous. Yes, both sides would descend on Istanbul with all the fury of the just and unjust. The diversion would provide Legion with the opportunity to strike unopposed at the real target in Jerusalem, the Temple Mount, without opposition. The Seventy-two would be released upon a world already seething in turmoil, without opposition. The beginning of the end. The End of Days.

The Runner made his way through the throng of sightseers and pilgrims to a nearby bench, taking great care to stay well away from the cathedral-proper. He pulled a small bag of caramel-coated popcorn from his jacket pocket and opened it.

I won’t miss many things about this pitiful swirling ball of hydrogen, but I think I’ll miss popcorn. And the sick-sweet stench of war… cold ocean spray on my face…and beer. Yes, I’ll miss beer.

A husband and wife passed by the bench, oblivious to the Runner’s scrutiny. The woman hung tenaciously to the collar of a rambunctious youngster of perhaps five or six. The Runner smiled.

Ah! The children. I believe I might miss them most of all. I do so love to educate the young in the ways of the world. To teach them of the inherent freedom that comes with mortality. No quarter asked, none given, that is Man’s greatest capacity! But I would surrender it all, and gladly give my life today just to see His face when it’s all gone, and by my hand!

The Runner munched another handful of popcorn as he watched other wide-eyed people walked slowly through the square in front of the Cathedral. Once, he’d dreamed of ruling over these cattle, thus taking his revenge on the Creator. Centuries of thwarted plans and machinations had brought him to the stunning conclusion that it was simply not to be. It had been a bitter pill, but swallowed nonetheless. Thus, he had settled on the best available alternative. A much better alternative, in retrospect. He would, with the aid of Legion, erase mankind from Creation. His first attempt had nearly succeeded. He would not fail a second time.

By altering one of the Veils that connected the finite planes of existence, he had allowed the demon horde of Legion to crossover from the far distant plane of Sitra Akhra. Had the Veil remained open only a few minutes longer, the world of man would have been invaded the Lords of all demons, the Nine Princes. The fabric that held together the reality of this world would have crumbled beneath the presence of those demigods, and the Plane of Man would have imploded. Creation obliterated. Of course, the destruction would have claimed the lives of every creature on this miserable planet including his Brethren, the fallen angels who’d been cast out of Paradise on his heels. A pity, perhaps, but a small price for the ultimate revenge. Oh, what he would have given to see the expression on God’s face when mankind was snuffed from existence like some insignificant candle!

Now, he was hunted by the Host of Heaven, as well as many of his former followers. Some of the Brethren still clung doggedly to the belief that the Runner never meant to sacrifice them in his bid for revenge against the Creator.

Loyal, but misguided fools that they are! I may even miss them. A little.

His supporters argued that the Runner surely harbored some great secret that would allow him to flood the earth with demonic allies, enabling the Brethren to finally slay the remnants of the earthbound Heaven’s Host. Afterwards, the Runner would establish his dominion over all of humanity, and then force Legion into a subservient role.

What a circus that would be! Hairless monkeys under my left foot, and the demons of Sitra Akhra under my right.

Only the meddling of a handful of bastard children from a long dead age had salvaged the day in the eleventh hour.

How could I have underestimated them so badly? Regrettable, but little more than a delay of the inevitable. In a few days, I’ll possess the instrument to seal my bargain with Legion. They will do for me what I cannot do for myself. And Heaven and Earth be damned!

But this was a new day and a different game. An unknown benefactor, possibly another defector from the Host, had presented him with the means to an ultimate. The Lesser Keys of Solomon, the rituals that bound the Seventy-two Demon Lords beneath the Temple Mount, now in the hands of Legion! Once the Seventy-two were freed, the Veils would fall, and all of Sitra Akhra would cross the barrier and lay waste to the Plane of Man.

I do wonder what the Creator must be thinking, today. I wonder if he regrets casting me down to this miserable prison. If not, he soon will.

Finishing the popcorn, he stood up from the bench and looked about for a trashcan. The nearest stood across the walk, at the other end of the cathedral. The Runner considered making his way back through the milling pilgrims, then changed his mind. He had no desire to pass that close to consecrated ground. Instead, he held the bag at eye level and blew out a single puff of air. A woman passing by in that instant screamed as the popcorn bag burst into brilliant green flame. The Runner gave the startled woman an appraising glance and a quick wink as he dropped the burning debris to the sidewalk.

"If you think that little trick was special, you should hang around for my grand finale." Whistling a John Lennon tune, he stepped into the moving stream of humanity and slipped away into the heart of Istanbul.







Tip: Don’t ever give up on your dreams to write!

Tip: Always try to make writing a priority in life.

Tip: Never believe what anyone tells you about writing being a "waste of time" or how your ideas "just aren’t realistic." Use your creativity and your passion for writing to make what you want to do a reality!

Tip: Write for yourself first before you write for others.

Tip: Don’t waste time over negative thoughts, doubts, guilt and worries. Giving them your time is the same as giving them more power! Ignore them, push them aside and keep moving forward.

Tip: Writing IS important, but more important is enjoying life and being there for your children. Don’t let your quest to find time to write override what is most important to you in your life.

Tip: Only YOU can decide how far you want to go as a writer. The sky’s the limit!




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