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Why Book Marketing is Like UX Design

Why Book Marketing is Like UX Design

This week we have a guest post from Lucia Tang a staff writer at Reedsy “A book is a startup.” That’s what entrepreneur Peter Armstrong told an audience of writers, editors, and publishers, at a 2013 conference on the future of reading. He would know: he’s […]

2K-10K by Rachel Aaron: Review-authortoolbox

2K-10K by Rachel Aaron: Review-authortoolbox

Rachel Aaron’s 2k-10K promises writers the elusive golden prize: extreme daily word counts

Rapid Release Review

Rapid Release Review

Rapid Release by Jewel Allen: Recommended

Author Jewel Allen credits rapid release as the strategy that finally turned her writing career around. In her book Rapid Release, she outlines her entire process for producing and marketing her novels. Giving you all the steps for applying this strategy to your own work.

Why listen to Allen?

While there are plenty of rapid release how-to books on the market, most of them share the same trait the plagues most writing books: not enough actual instructions. Fiction writers are notoriously bad at writing textbooks. Favoring narration and personal experience over factual takeaway for the reader. While many of these books are entertaining to read, there is little to be gained in actual knowledge.

Allen’s book instructs

Allen does not fall into this trap. She writes the book as an instruction manual, giving readers a no holds barred list of what she does do in order to get her books out there on time and sold.

Allen doesn’t sugar coat things by telling readers they should follow their muses and somehow they will find their audience. Instead, she insists that any project must have an audience identified before the outline is even written. She give hints and tips on how to find out if a specific genre niche is selling and how and when to start building a following in that community of readers before the book has been written. For Allen, there is no reason to waste time writing a book that no one will want to read.

She devotes an entire chapter to her pre-writing checklist, naming all the steps she finishes before she begins writing. Once these details are set, she moves to instructions on how to write rapidly, one of the cornerstones of the rapid release strategy. Her tips are simple and logical. Allen leaves the reader with the realization that rapid release is not a side gig. It is a job.

Allen gives alternative views

The third section of the book provides alternative strategies from four other authors. These authors outline and discuss their strategies: slower release, multi-author team, stockpile (or writing an entire series before the first release) and the final author talks about writing in her chosen genre. I found this final offering to be interesting, but ultimately not on topic.

The final section of the book discusses Allen’s chosen genre: Billionaire Romance. Unless you are interested in this particular niche, there was nothing of value on the book’s topic, and frankly this entire section seemed to be little more than KDP padding.

The final pages of the book are bullet point list of all the advice through the book. As an educator, this appealed to me since it will help readers to internalize the information. My only gripe was Allen’s newsletter incentive: a book on rapid release. “Book” was a generous description of the 10-page (three of which were blank) checklist. I would have preferred this checklist to the book summary and felt that including it would have served both the readers and Allen more effectively since her newsletter subscribers would not have felt duped.

Better than the best-seller

Overall, Rapid Release is a great place for authors to learn more about this process. I prefer it to the current best seller on this topic and feel that it provides more useable instruction on how to publish with this strategy.

It is available on KU for those who subscribe, also ebook and print.

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Writing and Releasing Rapidly: Review

Writing and Releasing Rapidly: Review

In Writing and Releasing Rapidly, author Elana Johnson breaks down the monster and shows you how it can be done.

Sell More Books with Rapid Release-Author Toolbox

Sell More Books with Rapid Release-Author Toolbox

Rapid release strategy is the current hot ticket in the indie-author circuit. Many authors are saying this, combined with writing to market, is the only way to make any money as an author. The theory is that by releasing books on a fixed schedule: quarterly, […]

Villains are Characters Too-IWSG

Villains are Characters Too-IWSG

Today’s post for the insecure writers will be super short and probably filled with typo’s. Why? Because I am ridiculously busy right now. I’m waaaaay behind on my edits. But I can’t work on that because I’m trying to get my house on the market so that we can sell before the one we want is gone. Oh, but I can’t work on that today until I organize 111 boxes of Girl Scout cookies that my overachieving daughter sold this year. Did I mention that she sold to people all over the world, so now we have to internationally ship them to our friends overseas? Seriously, next year I’m just going to buy her the stuffed tiger.

The awesome co-hosts for the March 6 posting of the IWSG are Beverly Stowe McClure,Erika Beebe, and Lisa Buie-Collard

March 6 question – Whose perspective do you like to write from best, the hero (protagonist) or the villain (antagonist)? And why?


I love the villain. They are always the best characters in my books. Where the hero has to work inside the rules of “likability,” and just plain repressive ideals like “legality” and “morality,” the villain can do whatever is necessary to get what he wants. Villains get all the best lines. They are allowed to say the things that we all secretly think, but would never say. They do all the things we wish we could do, but fear, or stickly things like a moral compass keep getting in the way. Villains live lives of pure freedom, and until the end of the book, they don’t have to deal with the consequences.

Sure, eventually the hero thwarts them, but for a few brief chapters, it’s all the glory and none of the pain.

With all the freedom a villain is granted, they can easily become the most faceted characters in the story. Why the rage? Why the quest for revenge? Why the need to watch the world burn? Why the sense of entitlement? Why the ego-mania?

Why the pain?

Villains can be broken beyond redemption. Heroes have limits. Sure, you can have an anti-hero, but even an anti-hero must have a spark of light. Some redeeming quality that gains the reader’s sympathy.

Villains are all fire.

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Let The Manuscript Shredder help you with your next novel. Pick up your copy of Your Novel This Month today!

Tips for Avoiding Reporter Syndrome-author toolbox

Tips for Avoiding Reporter Syndrome-author toolbox

Reporter syndrome happens when the point-of-view (POV) character becomes a third party to the action in the scene, rather than being a direct participant

My Creative Outlets IWSG Feb 6

My Creative Outlets IWSG Feb 6

IWSG Feb 2019 My other creative outlet

Medieval Underpants: Recommended

Medieval Underpants: Recommended

Keep blunders out of your books.

Medieval Underpants by Susanne Alleyn addresses the most common anachronisms and other mistakes in historical fiction, while providing an entertaining read for the even the non-historical buff.

Anachronisms: the bane of historical fiction

As an editor, anachronisms are one of my biggest pet peeves. The author’s job is to create an immersive setting, but so often single a glaring mistake will rip the reader out of the experience. While most writers wouldn’t have their knight in shining armor whipping out their cell phones to check up on their damsels, there are plenty, less obvious, mistakes that are just as ridiculous littering the pages of period novels. Alleyn takes us through the worst offenders in this order: (her table of contents)

General Rule No. 1:Never Assume

  1. Anachronisms
  2. Let’s Start With the Underpants
  3. Anachronisms In Locations: Getting the Geography (& the Street Names) Right
  4. Anachronisms & Bloopers in Dialogue, Expressions, & Slang
  5. Anachronisms Of Attitude: Misplaced Political Correctness, Informality, & Feisty Females General Rule

General Rule No. 2: Wikipedia Is Your Friend

  1. Anachronisms: Food, Plants, & Animals
  2. Anachronisms: What’s In a Name?
  3. Anachronisms: Guns General Rule No.

General Rule No. 3: Do Not Borrow Your Period Details & Information From Other People’s Historical Novels & Movies

  1. Money Bloopers: Getting the Coinage, Prices, & Values Right
  2. Bloopers: English Aristocratic & Royal Titles
  3. Bloopers: Lights Out!
  4. Bloopers: A Quick Chapter on Slooooow Travel

General Rule No. 4: Don’t Just Swallow the Propaganda, Clichés, & Myths

  1. Myths: Hygiene, Cleanliness, & More
  2. More Anachronisms Of Attitude: Servants—Not a Luxury, a Necessity
  3. Bloopers: Guillotines & the Obligatory Heart-Wrenching French Revolution Execution Scene
  4. A Grab Bag of Brief Oddments
  5. And Finally, the End: Death & Burial
  6. Bibliography & Research: Further Reading


Alleyn covers each of these topics thoroughly and then (my favorite part of the book) she substantiates all her claims with references to source material. If you are using the digital version of the book, these references are linked to their respective webpages making deeper study of the topic quick and simple. She reminds the reader throughout the book to favor primary source material in all their research and to never ever use another fictional work as a historical reference. (Lest you copy their mistakes into your own work!)

While this might seem persnickety to the casual author, Alleyn reminds us that readers of historical fiction love history and will notice sloppy research.

Any writer of historical romance will appreciate the extensive explanation of the intricacies of the English aristocratic titles. She not only explains the conventions of what each means, she explains how titles can change and how titles work in special circumstances. Since this is one of the most common blunders in historical fiction, this alone makes the book a worth its purchase price.

Further Research

While the book’s content is already strong, Alleyn doubles down by providing a truly jaw dropping bibliography in the final section of the book. These references are organized by topic as to be more useful to the reader and all are hyperlinked. For this reason, I recommend anyone purchasing this book do so in the digital form. Even if you prefer your reference manuals in print (as I do) the hyperlinked bibliography will more than make up for the inconvenience of digital.

Not just a dry reference

Although much of this material is technical, the writing is engaging and humorous enough that even a non-author would find it entertaining. I found myself laughing throughout the book and would even recommend it to friends who enjoy historical fiction as they would have undoubtedly encountered many of these errors in their own reading.


Informative, covers a large number of topics in several categories
Research-based information. Alleyn warns readers to never assume and she doesn’t either.
Engaging, entertaining writing-style
Incredible bibliography.



Authors of Historical fiction need to get their facts right. This book will not only help authors keep the worst mistakes out of their manuscripts, it also provides a thorough reference list for further research. Anyone who writes historical fiction should have a copy of Medieval Underpants.

Medieval Underpants is available here: (affiliate link)

Enjoy this article? Please share it with other writers on social media or pin this image. Thanks!

Let The Manuscript Shredder help you with your next novel. Pick up your copy of Your Novel This Month today!

How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method: Recommended-authortoolbox

How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method: Recommended-authortoolbox

How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method is a solid writing book, even if you don’t use the technique