4 Challenges of Writing for a Modern Audience and How to Overcome Them (or at least try!)

Very good post by K.M. Wieland. Not only does she note the 4 challenges, she gives you ideas on how to overcome them (or at least try to :))

It’s a no-brainer to put out the best story you can but I also agree that reading good writing is important. And for me, watching good films is also very helpful. I always get good ideas from good films.

Give it a read!


Modern authors writing for a modern audience must be aware of four unique challenges to connecting with current readers and viewers.

Source: 4 Challenges of Writing for a Modern Audience – Helping Writers Become Authors

my imageChristine Keleny
CKBooks Publishing
Where Publishing Dreams Become Reality

Novels rule when it comes to e-book sales, children’s books dominate print – kind of.

The headline for this article is a little misleading. If you look at the stats the writer supplies, 4 (maybe 5 – don’t know the novel “Milk and Honey”) of the top 10 print book sellers are kids books, the other are other books.

For ebook sales – 4/10 are “kids” books – all Harry Potter books, which are novels, yes, but really written for kids. They are enjoyed by people of all ages, but again, the headline is misleading.

And this is just Amazon sales. People do buy books in bookstores (print) and other ebook retailers (B&N, ibookstore, kobo, Scribd, smashwords…)

Interesting stats, though.

Some people love their e-books. Others, like me, not so much. I’ll read e-books, especially if I’m traveling or if the book is a thousand-page tome, but otherwise I like the tactile nature of a good book. I like the smell of the paper. I also don’t like to have to think about charging an e-reader.

Source: Novels rule when it comes to e-book sales, children’s books dominate print | Thinknum Media

CKBooks Publishing
Where Publishing Dreams Become Reality

Fast Track Guide To Fixing Your Book Description

Image result for image of a runner

Laurence O’Brien of BooksGoSocial reminds us how to create good book description copy – one of the key elements to book marketing.


Step One: Watch this short 1 minute 21 seconds video.   Step Two:   Use strong active verbs instead of passive ones. If you’re describing a romance novel, for example, use words like: hot, steamy, spicy, scorching, passionate, burning. Use of…

Source: Fast Track Guide To Fixing Your Book Description | BooksGoSocial Resources

Shady Writing Contest Rules – from the ALA? | Valerie Biel

Very important information from Valerie Biel and her wonderful writer’s blog about book contests. It’s a must read or listen to (youtube video/voiceover) for any author thinking of entering any contest.

Award contests can be a good way to promote and market yourself and your work!


At the University of Wisconsin Writers’ Institute in April of 2018, I presented a session called “The Winner’s Circle: Are Writing Contests Worth the Fees?.  I discussed the ways to check if a contest is reputable, which ones are good to enter, and what to do if you win. Later, I took my PowerPoint and narrated it before uploading it to YouTube. You can watch it here.

Source: Shady Writing Contest Rules – from the ALA? | Valerie Biel

CKBooks Publishing
Were Publishing Dreams Become Reality

Book Reviews and How to Get Them


cat with gun

Short of getting your cat to persuade your readers to leave a review of your book, how do you get people to review your book?

  1. Ask
    Of course, this is the first step. Anyone who buys your book in front of you, or someone you hand your book to, you need to sincerely ask for a review. Look the person in the eye and let them know how helpful it is to you if they can leave you a review. If you are mailing a book to someone, put a personal note inside the book asking for a review.
    Of course, you have that same request (and easy link in your ebooks) in the back of your book. That’s a given.
    It’s important not to get upset when these people forget or they just aren’t comfortable leaving you a review. It may not even be about you or your book. Just be happy when reviews show up.
  2. Book Giveaways
    I think these things are good to do, but not for getting reviews. I don’t find people who get free books automatically leave reviews. I think book giveaways are better for connecting to readers. And this can eventually lead to word of mouth sales or at minimal, word of mouth reads. Maybe it will lead to a review, but don’t hold your breath.

So what is a author to do?


from spaceplace.nasa.gove

We can help each other!

I am aware of two facebook groups of writers through BooksGoSocial where authors read and review other authors.

BooksGoSocial Book Buying Review Club  

This group requires you buy a book on Amazon and post the official review before you can ask for a review for your book. This is because Amazon will post reviews that are verified purchases. They don’t always post reviews that are not verified purchases. They will only allow a certain percent of non-purchased reviews.
In this group, you pick a book with the same price point as the book you will want a review for yourself (and you are only allowed to pick the last on the post list) – books that cost e.g.  $.01 -.99 or $1.00 – 2.99 etc.
There is also a post for shorter books.

Then there is the BooksGoSocial Book Review Club

In this group, you are not required to buy a book, but you are required to prove you have reviewed another author’s book on Amazon.

Both of these groups require you to be accepted into the group and that you participate in the group, plus you can’t do review swaps – you review my book and I’ll review yours. Amazon can find these and they will take down these types of reviews.

Both of these groups are for middle grade through adult novels – fiction and non-fiction.

BooksGoSocial also has a group for children’s authors. Though this is not specific for reviews.

Hopefully all authors review any book they read, but these are 2 ways to guarantee you get reviews that are so helpful to you.

Amazon Ads – Are They Worth It?

Amazon Marketing Services for Book Vendors

Is it worth setting up book ads on Amazon? I’ve tried it a couple times now for a couple different titles of mine and I’m not convinced yet.

I have a book (The Red Velvet Box) that is set around the holidays – Thanksgiving and Christmas – so I thought I’d give it another try seeing that it’s around that time of the year. I’ve tried an Amazon ad before with my award-winning MG novel: Intrigue in Istanbul. I can no longer see that campaign so I can’t tell you how it went other than what I remember. And what I remember is my current campaign is garnering more interest but the sales are still just so so.

Here is the Amazon speak:
262,916 impressions – which means it’s showed up that many times on Amazon and from what I understand, that has to do with how much you pay/click for a certain key word.

I’ve got 90 key words –  key word doesn’t have to be just one word – (most gurus say you should have many more, but I got tired of trying to find more after I hit 90) and I started paying 25 cents/click/word(s). That didn’t get me many impressions, but it did tell me which key words were getting impressions so I upped the fee/word .40 or .50/word(s) on those specific words and the impressions increased A LOT!

So it’s run for about a week. I’ve spend between $3 and $4/ day (I’ve changed it a couple times). It’s had 100 clicks (on my specific ad) and I’ve spent $30.15 for $2.99 in sales. And those sales figures are the full sales, not my cut which is 70% of that.

So…so far I’m not that impressed.

Now, maybe my ad is not catchy enough. I looked at other bestselling books in my genre to help me decide on my ad copy, but I’m not a marketer, so maybe this could be improved and I’d sell more books. Or maybe my genre and age group (middle grade mystery adventure) is not a big seller. I do know mysteries sell – it’s one of the top 5, but for middle graders????

Now, it is the holidays, and people will be getting tablets and ereaders as gifts and maybe trolling Amazon for good books. I’m going to keep my ad going until January 7th, so we’ll see how it goes.

Here is Amazon’s info/marketing page for Amazon ads,   and remember this is marketing, even though it’s appears to educational, which is also is. The ads are not hard to set up but if you want to try putting up an ad, check your site every day to make sure it’s working the way you want. And don’t go over your budget. Give yourself a set budget and stick to it. Amazon wants you to be excited about any sales but if you don’t have the money to spend, don’t spend it!!

Wishing you and yours peace-filled holidays!

CKBooks Publishing
Where Publishing Dreams Become Reality

Avoid the 30% Tax Withholding for Non-US Self Publishers

This is a very important post for those who live outside of the US. I had no clue! Thanks Dave and Marta!


Reduce Amazon Tax withholdings by 30 percent and set up an ACX account if you’re a non-US authors and increase your Kindle royalties in 5 easy steps.

Source: Avoid the 30% Tax Withholding for Non-US Self Publishers

Book Distribution For Self-Published Authors Beyond Createspace & Kindle 

I agree with Steven Spatz in this post – putting books (ebook or print) is a must for Amazon, but don’t stop there. The other company that has made it very doable is IngramSpark. They are not as user friendly or free (as compared to Amazon), but their distribution options, known name and quality of product make it worth the small investment and time needed to set your book(s) there as well. Though I would not use IngramS. for your ebook – there are many more and less expensive options – my favorite being Smashwords, since they put you ebook on ibooks, B&N, Kobo, library distributors and more.

The #1 mistake made by self-published authors! Here is a list of book distributors for worldwide book sales in addition to Amazon and Amazon Kindle.

Source: Book Distribution For Self-Published Authors Beyond Amazon & Kindle | BookBaby Blog

Smashwords Read an Ebook Week Promotion


For authors out there who have an ebook(s) and you would like to promote it, every year Smashwords does a big ebook promotion week. This year it is March 5th – 11th.

If you’d like to participate, you can go here to easily add your books to this promotion. If you’re not on Smashwords, there is also a link on this page to set your book(s) on Smashwords. I’ve been on Smashwords for years and think they are a very good company that really looks out for author’s interest. Mark Coker – the owner of Smashwords – has also given you different ideas on how to use this promotion.

I’m discounting all my books – why not, it’s only for a week!

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Where Publishing Dreams Become Reality