Recent Posts

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, my recommended source for getting started with this strategy

Writing and Releasing Rapidly: Review

Writing and Releasing Rapidly: Review

Writing and Releasing Rapidly
Indie inspiration book 1 by Elana Johnson

Releasing a book every month seems daunting. How is it possible to juggle drafting, editing, publishing, and publicity in just one month? Rapid release strategy seems impossible, but many authors are doing just that. In Writing and Releasing Rapidly, author Elana Johnson breaks down the monster and shows you how it can be done.

Why this book?

Where there are plenty of books out there on rapid release, most of the authors don’t have the credibility to back up their method. Johnson, a two-time USA Today bestselling author, Amazon bestselling author, Kindle All-Star Author, has been making six-figures just with my writing since 2016.

What this book is

Writing a Releasing Rapidly is not a book about writing. There is very little information about drafting, or even how to draft quickly. Instead, this book focuses on Johnson’s experience releasing books on different schedules.

What makes the book interesting is that she gives out her sales data for each of her release strategies: 11-week, 6-week, 3-week, and every week. I would have preferred to see this information presented better, perhaps in a table or graph that would allow easier comparisons. Extrapolating meaningful conclusions from the raw data was difficult.

More helpful was the peek into her process for each release. Johnson talked about what types of ads she ran during each release schedule and which books from her back list she ran those ads on. This was revolutionary for me, since she often released a book with little to no advertising for that book, but instead focused on another book in the series, or even an unrelated series.

The true value in this book lies with glimpse behind the scenes. Based on the information in her book, the schedule of her book releases isn’t the critical component. Johnson frequently uses Bookbub and other forms of advertising to promote sales and freebies on her backlist and boosting sales for other books in the series, and to grow her newsletter. Because she gives the actual numbers the cause and effect from her Bookbub and other advertising activities was clear.

The other gem is her “Tiered Release Strategy.” This strategy is something she reference throughout the book, but the PDF where she organizes it into actionable steps is brilliant. This PDF is actually not included in the book, but available on her website

Where this book falls short

From the title of the book, I was hoping for a clear manual for managing the multiple tasks involved in rapid release. Unfortunately, this book doesn’t fit the bill. Data was not presented in a meaningful or engaging format.


While I did enjoy the book, it is not an instruction manual on rapid release, but a collection of case studies showing its effectiveness. If you are already a KU subscriber, it’s worth reading for the insight that it does contain, but if you want a manual to help you get started managing your own rapid release strategy, you will need to look elsewhere.

Available on Amazon (Affiliate link)

Enjoy this video? Please share it with other writers on social media. Thanks!

Johnson, Elana. Writing and Releasing Rapidly (Indie Inspiration for Self-Publishers Book 1) . AEJ Creative Works. Kindle Edition.

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, 

Tips for Avoiding Reporter Syndrome-author toolbox

Tips for Avoiding Reporter Syndrome-author toolbox

Showing gone wrong

The writing advice circuit loves to spout the Show, don’t tell, adage. But just because you are showing something, doesn’t mean the reader wants to know. Writers can often fall into the trap of showing everything and overloading the reader with useless information. One of those traps is the Reporter Syndrome

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 in the action, the POV character watches the other characters and reports their actions to the reader.

Here’s an example:

I ate my Cheerios while my parents argued over whose turn it was to take out the trash.


I stood next to the King while he questioned the prisoner.

If either of these lines were expanded into an entire scene, then the POV character would not be a participant in the action.

These kinds of scenes can be boring to read.


Because the POV character has nothing at stake. No stakes means no interest for the reader.

How to fix it

The simplest way to fix this problem is switching the POV to the character that has the most at stake. Decide which character has the most to lose/win from the situation and rewrite from that POV.

Single POV Stories

If you can’t switch POV’s follow these tips:

Is this information necessary?

In other words, does it cause a change for your POV character. Does it cause them to act? Does it increase the stakes? Does it complicate their problem? Does it cause them to change an opinion or belief? If the information doesn’t cause a change for your reader, dump it. You are not John Steinbeck. You are not allowed to write an entire chapter about a turtle crossing the road. If it isn’t adding anything to your story, you need to cut it.

Restructure the Scene

If the information is necessary, then you will need to restructure your scene in a way that puts the POV character in an active role in discovering the information. The most common method is sneaking around and spying. If you choose to do this, make sure the reader is keenly aware of the stakes of discovery. Otherwise, there will not be enough tension. There are plenty of other methods for getting information. Have your POV character question the prisoner, not the king, and make sure there are real consequences if your POV character fails to get the answers she needs.
If your POV character can’t take an active role, make sure to make the focus of the scene the POV character’s reaction to what is happening. If a child’s parents are arguing, make sure you show the reader how that argument is affecting the child. What change is the event causing in the POV character? Make this the focus of the scene.

Restructure the Plot

If the character needs the information, but not till later in the story, you may have a larger structural problem with your plot. Information needs to have immediate relevance to your story; otherwise, it looks out of place. (Mystery writers get some leeway on this, since readers expect to get clues that will fit together later. However, mystery writers also know to engage the reader with stakes and hooks.)

What to do

Restructure the plot so that the information is revealed when the character can make better use of it. Don’t fall into the trap of trying to sprinkle it into another scene. This will only succeeded if the information is also relevant to that scene. Irrelevant information will confuse the readers.

You can delay the significance of information by having a character make an incorrect assumption, and later the true meaning is revealed. Again, this takes careful planning. Go back to your outline and make sure your reveals flow in a logical progression. If you are a pantser, you may have to write a synopsis or scene list to make sure your plot is continually moving forward.

Your POV character shouldn’t be spending her time telling the readers what everyone else in the scene is doing. This is her story. Keep your POV character in the center of the action.

Enjoy this video? Please share it with other writers on social media. Thanks!

Photo by LoboStudioHamburg Source pixabay

This article is part of the monthly Author Toolbox Blog hop

To continue hopping through other great blogs in the monthly #AuthorToolboxBlogHop or to join, click here.

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

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

Susanne Alleyn’s Medieval Underpants provides historical fiction writers with the tools to get their facts straight and

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

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

Solid writing book even if you don’t use the Snowflake technique

Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method has been around for over a decade. It first appeared on his website: advanced fiction writing and the book was released in 2014. This method is billed as a compromise between detailed outlining and pantsing. In truth, it’s another method for creating an outline.

Where this method differs from traditional outlining is its top down approach. In education this is called whole-to-part. Rather than building a story as a linear chain of events, Ingermanson suggests beginning with a short summary of the entire story and continually breaking it down into smaller and smaller components until you have a complete scene list.
He alternates between plotting rounds and characters building rounds, allowing one to build from the other. As a plotting method, it has its advantages, and I would encourage any writer who is looking for help creating an outline to try it. This review is not on the Snowflake Method, but on the book, How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method

A Story that Instructs

The book is written as a parable. Goldilocks, a frustrated author, attends a writing conference where she learns the Snowflake method and solves a murder. While the story is campy, (I honestly skimmed much of the murder storyline) it does present the material in an approachable form. It also helps illustrate the process of brainstorming an idea and breaking it down into its component parts. We learn along with Goldilocks, which keeps the material from becoming dry.

The second function of the storyline is to serve as the example for the components of the plotting method. By using the parable as the example, Ingermanson avoids the problem of pulling examples from media the reader may not be familiar with. Since this is a common problem in writing books, this makes the book more accessible.

The only disadvantage to the parable method is potentially diluting the material in favor of clarity in the story. Ingermanson avoids this pitfall by including a more traditional textbook summary after the parable. To further illustrate the methodology, he includes all the written material for each of his Snowflake steps used to create the parable. Having the material on hand makes comparisons between the Snowflake steps and the final product simple.

Focuses of technique, not philosophy

As an instruction manual, How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method is one of the better ones I’ve seen. Too many writing books are scattered and unfocused, relying on connecting with the abstract feelings of writing and the whims of the author. How to Write…is written with specific learning outcomes for the reader. Ingermanson knows what he wants he reads to learn from each section of the book. This clarity of intention allows him to structure the story so that the reader is never confused about the takeaway. He continues the educational focus by showing the reader step-by-step how to accomplish these goals.

More writing books need to be written with clear educational goals in mind. This is my number one complaint in nearly every writing book I review. Where most writing books are happy to advise you to “show, don’t tell,” for example, few adequately explain how to accomplish it. This would be the equivalent of a math book telling a student they need to add, but never giving any instructions on how. Ingermanson explains every technique mentioned in the book, making it a far more effective manual.
Ingermanson also spends two chapters on Dwight Swain’s scene and sequel (He calls them Proactive and Reactive) technique. (from Techniques of the Selling Writer). This technique is the key to turning a simple list of scenes into a plot. This is the element missing from many writing books. An outline isn’t just a list of scenes, it needs an organizational technique to create story structure.



  • Writing manual written with instructional, not philosophical, intent
  • All examples are self-contained in the book, does not reference outside sources
  • Clean, easy to follow writing style


  • storyline is campy


Ingermanson’s How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method gets my highest recommendation. Authors who are struggling with the outlining process, or who prefer whole-to-part organizational structure will appreciate this technique. All writers will appreciate the clarity of instruction in this book. Even if you are happy with your current process, you will learn something from this book. Integrating any part of The Snowflake Method can help writers in the brainstorming process all the way down to plotting individual scenes. If you are looking for a solid manual for outlining a novel, pick up How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method today.

This article is part of the monthly Author Toolbox Blog hop

To continue hopping through other great blogs in the monthly #AuthorToolboxBlogHop or to join, click here.

Link to the book (Affiliate)

Know a writer who would love this? Share it on social media or pin this image:

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

Outlining Your Novel Review

Outlining Your Novel Review

Outlining Your Novel by K.M. Weiland is a solid introduction to prewriting.