Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Self-Publishing Options Part Three

We continue to look at the self-publishing options available in 2021.

Lulu offers paperback, hardcover, ebooks, calendars, journals, comic books, and photo books. They have Lulu Jr. for Kids for children's books.

Cost: There are no fees or charges to upload your files. You can make changes.

Rights: You maintain all rights. Your book must be assigned an ISBN to qualify for Global Distribution on Amazon, Apple, Kobo, Google Play, Ingram, Barnes and Noble and Scribd. They provide an ISBN or your can use your own.

Distribution: Your book is listed for sale on the Lulu Bookstore. The Lulu Global Network makes your book available for purchase on Amazon, B&N, and other online retail sites at no additional cost to you. They also create a listing for your book with the Ingram Book Company, which allows brick and mortar bookstores, retail stores, and libraries to purchase your book. If you have an online Shopify ecommerce store, you can list your books for sale and your book orders will be printed and fulfilled by Lulu Press.

Services: Lulu discontinued their service packages for editing, cover design, marketing and publishing services. Instead, they encourage you to utilize other providers like Fiverr.

Payment:  You are paid 80% of the amount left after print costs and distribution fees (taken by Amazon and other retailers). The other 20% goes to Lulu. Lulu reports revenues to the IRS if you use their ISBN number for your products. If you own the ISBN, they do not. You can look up your current sales and estimated unpaid revenue. They pay by check or directly into a PayPal account. PayPal may deduct a service charge for disbursing your royalties. PayPal determines this fee. Lulu has no control over these fees.

Outskirts Press offers publishing packages for ebooks, paperback, hard cover, and children's books.

Cost: Packages run from $900 to $2000 for paper. The children's book option with up to 10 illustrations is $8000. Additional fees will apply for every change and reupload.

Rights: You maintain all rights. They provide an ISBN and bar code. 

Distribution: Worldwide distribution through Amazon, B&N, Ingram, Baker & Taylor, Bertram, and aLibris. Ebooks are distributed through Apple books, Nook, and Kindle books.

Services: You choose package options like cover design assistance, formatting of print books, manuscript evaluation, web page with social media integration, marketing coach, etc. They have a sales dashboard to track your sales. This is a pricey way to get publishing services given that they cannot guarantee sales on any platform. They have stringent file requirements: Acrobat Distiller is the ONLY acceptable PDF software. 

Payment: Payment is 90 days from the end of the quarter in which sales occurred via check or direct deposit. Authors within the United States have a threshold royalty requirement of $25 to receive payment.  Royalties less than $25 will be held and paid at the next royalty check cycle that meets or exceeds $25.

Reedsy is a provider of author services rather than a direct publisher. I included it because it could be a valuable resource. 

Cost: Fees are negotiated with service providers. 

Rights: You retain all rights, with caveats. If you use their Discovery service, they can keep your uploaded previews (usually the first chapter) online indefinitely. There is another line in their publishing rights that suggests they can use whatever you upload indefinitely but not exclusively. I would have an intellectual property lawyer read the terms first.

Distribution: None.

Services: Reedsy has a curated contact list of professionals who perform services for self-published authors such as developmental and line editing, proofreaders, cover and interior designers, marketing, publicity, ghostwriters, and web designers. Tools include book promotion sites, review blogs, Booktube channel guide, Book title generator, character name generator, pen name generator, short story ideas, writing contests and exercises, and file conversion. 

Payment: None.

Scribd is an ebook subscription service for Android and iOS smartphones and tablets, and personal computers. Subscribers access unlimited books from thousands of publishers including the big four. It is a sort of Netflix for books. It includes audiobooks and comics. You must publish on their site through one of the other self-publishing platforms such as SmashWords, INscribe Digital,  BookBaby, Draft2Digial, or PublishDrive.

Cost: None. You can upload and change at any time depending on your chosen platform.

Rights: You retain all rights. You can provide your own ISBN or use one from the publishing platforms.

Distribution: Scribd has signed distribution agreements with their publishing partners and will make books distributed through their platforms available in their membership program.

Services: None. If you’d like to publish your own content on Scribd and make it freely available to the public (where you will not receive compensation), you can upload it directly.

Payment: None. Payment would be through your upload source.


On to Part Four...

Did you miss: Part One : A to B | Part Two : D to K?

Posted by Diana Hurwitz, author of Story Building Blocks: The Four Layers of Conflict, Story Building Blocks II: Crafting Believable Conflict, Story Building Blocks III: The Revision Layers, and the YA adventure series Mythikas Island. Her weekly blog, Game On: Crafting Believable Conflict explores how characters behave and misbehave. Visit for more information and free writing tools. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Self-Publishing Options Part Two

 Last time we looked at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple Books,and Book Baby. Today, we look at further options.

Draft2Digital offers ebooks and paperbacks.

Cost: You can upload your covers and files at no charge. There are no fees for reformatting or updating your book.

Rights: You retain all rights. Draft2Digital offers free ISBNs numbers when uploading through their site. Their ISBN can only be used for their versions and approved vendors. 

Distribution: They offer distribution through Amazon, Apple Books, Barnes & Noble Press, Kobo, Scribd, Tolino, OverDrive, bibliotheca, Baker & Taylor, Hoopla, and Vivlio. 

Services: They offer promotional opportunities through Books2Read. You can schedule price promotions and free promotions, except through the Amazon which does not allow books to be free. They offer information on audiobooks, editing, cover design, marketing programs, Author Advocate partners, directory services, and a digital storefront. They do not provide direct interior or cover design, editing, or marketing services. 

Payment: Their fee at most digital stores is approximately 10% of the retail price (technically 15% of the net royalties). They get reports from the distributors and must wait to be paid from each store front before they pass along the payments to you minus their cut and any expenses the vendors incur for printing, delivery, etc. They will pay by check, PayPal, Payoneer account, or direct deposit and deduct fees for those services.

Google Play offers ebooks only. 

Cost: There is no cost to upload your files. There are no delivery fees on books priced below $2.99 or above $9.99.

Rights: You retain all rights. You can make changes. You provide the ISBN number or they will provide a Book ID” number.

Distribution: They distribute worldwide on their platform and advertise 75+ countries and 2 billion Android users.

Services: You upload your own files in EPUB or PDF format. You need an associated Google account. If you don't use Gmail, you’ll have to create a Google account. They do offer promotion opportunities and promo codes for free or discounted books. 

Payment: Except in cases where Google is acting as your agent or where Google is required to sell at a price set by the publisher, Google has the discretion to set prices as it sees fit. However, they share the revenue from any sales according to the list price that you provide. Google Play “price-matches” your book if they see a lower price available elsewhere. For percentage off and fixed price promotion codes, the author will earn the usual 70% royalty on the final price of the ebook after the discount.

Ingram Spark offers ebooks, paperbacks, and hard cover.

Cost: The cost to upload a print and ebook at the same time with IngramSpark is $49. If you don’t want to upload both formats, a print book costs $49 to upload alone, and an ebook is $25 when uploaded alone.

Rights: You retain all rights and can reupload at any time. Ingram offers a free ISBN. Each format of each book you publish must have its own unique ISBN. ISBNs can be purchased from Bowker directly through your IngramSpark account for $85 each or you can purchase your own elsewhere. You can use IngramSpark’s book cover template generator to get a free barcode.

Distribution: IngramSpark claims to help you reach 40,000 independent bookstores, online stores, chain stores, ebook retailers, Libraries, and Universities. Amazon, B&N, Walmart, and Target in the US as well as global markets.They make no promises the store will order your book.

Services: They offer links to "experts" in file formatting, cover design, interior design, marketing and publicity.

Payment:  IngramSpark also has two different pages for their “buying copies” and shipping versus “royalties” formulations which is anywhere from 40% to 50%, depending on the bookstore. They receive payments from the storefronts who deduct their cut, printing, and shipping costs. Compensation payments for ebook sales is 40% of the list price of your ebook. If you opted out of the Amazon agreement, you will earn 45% of the list price. Payments are made via direct deposit or PayPal 90 days from the end of the month in which the sales are reported. Separate reports are generated for wholesale ebook sales and agency ebook sales. Ebook retailers have 25 days after month end to report sales to Ingram/CoreSource.

Kobo offers ebooks and audio books.  Kobo has an ereader.

Cost: Kobo does not charge a fee for distributing your eBooks. Kobo will also convert your manuscript to the ePub standard format entirely for free.

Rights: You maintain all rights. You can make changes.

Distribution: Your book is added to the Kobo catalog. Through Kobo’s strategic partnerships, your eBook will be available around the world in the online bookstores of leading retailers in over 190 countries. By publishing with Kobo, you can opt-in to enroll your eBook in Kobo Plus. Walmart – one of the largest chain stores in the world – carries Kobo tablets. This means that your book could be targeted specifically to their global stores.

Services: You upload your files to Kobo in EPUB format. Their Writing Life User Guide offers details about the various steps in your publishing journey. Complaints most frequently mention customer service and credit card problems. Kobo Books ranks 65th among ebook sites. They have promotion options.  Your book must be approved by Kobo for the promotion and you’ll have to pay for it. Kobo offers Kobo Plus, an eBook subscription service similar to Kindle Unlimited.

Payment: Kobo pays via direct deposit. Royalties are paid 45 days after the end of each monthly period provided they have met a minimum threshold of $50 USD. Sales from your books in all countries are amalgamated to reach the threshold. You will receive 70% of the list price for the book (the price the customer pays not including taxes) for each copy of the book that is sold, provided it adheres to their pricing rules. For original works priced below this threshold, you will receive 45% of the list price. For books that are a part of the public domain, you will receive 20% of the list price. They have a reporting dashboard.

Posted by Diana Hurwitz, author of Story Building Blocks: The Four Layers of Conflict, Story Building Blocks II: Crafting Believable Conflict, Story Building Blocks III: The Revision Layers, and the YA adventure series Mythikas Island. Her weekly blog, Game On: Crafting Believable Conflict explores how characters behave and misbehave. Visit for more information and free writing tools. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Self-Publishing Options Part One

I started self-publishing in 2008, back when KDP was Booksurge. A lot has changed since then. Self-publishing has become more acceptable and there are more venues to publish through. Let's take a look at some of the top self-publishing platforms.

Amazon's KDP offers print-on-demand and ebooks. There is a Kindle e-reader and app for other devices. They have begun an experimental episodic fiction service called Vella. They have Children's Book creator software.They partner with ACX for audiobooks.

Cost: It is free to upload your files and covers. You can change the files at any time at no cost. There are delivery fees for ebooks, print costs for paperback, sales taxes in some cases, and you cannot make your book free unless enrolled in Kindle Select. You decide the price but there are minimums. Amazon may price match, so if you offer your book for a lower price elsewhere, they may adjust your list price. They might match Amazon's price for a physical edition of the book.

Rights: You retain all rights. They provide a free ISBN (exclusive to their platform) or you can use your own. Whether they provide the number or you do, it needs to be unique to the KDP platform. You cannot use it on another publishing platform too. No ISBN is needed for ebooks. Ebooks are assigned an ID number.

Distribution: With expanded distribution your book is available through hundreds of online retailers, bookstores, and distributors like IngramSpark and international stores. They have the widest distribution by far.

 Services: You can set up an Author Central page on most of the foreign sites and there are marketing, promotion, and ad options. Your book is suggested by their algorithm online and in promotional emails. They have marketing and promotional opportunities including pre-order and sets. They have software to help you create your product called Kindle Create. They have added a series tool that generates all of the books in a series when there is a search. Amazon has many advertising and marketing opportunities with a huge database of articles to assist you in all aspects of book formatting and cover design. You can enroll your book in the KDP Select program, which allows readers to read your book for free and you earn a percentage of the KDP Select "pot." Results may vary. 

Payment: The royalties run from 35% to 70% depending on the distribution option. The royalty rate for expanded distribution is 40% of the book's list price for the distribution channel at the time of purchase, minus printing costs, applicable taxes, and withholding. You are paid royalties by direct deposit monthly. Sales data is updated daily.

Apple Books offers ebooks only. They have a reading app for Apple products.

Cost: It is free to upload your cover and files and you can make changes. No delivery fees. You can make your book free. No price matching.

Rights: You maintain all rights. They will provide a free ISBN exclusive to their book versions or you can use your own. No ISBN is required for ebooks.

Distribution: Distribution is only on Apple Books. You can sell on Apple Books from aggregators like Draft2Digital for wider reach.

Services: They offer tips on writing your book, design, publishing, audiobooks, and marketing. They partner with a list of EPUB file conversion service providers. They have videos on how to launch and market your book.

Payment: Apple pays 70% royalties 32 days after the end of the month in which you sold books using direct deposit into a bank account set up on iTunes Connect. If you sell directly through Apple, you can monitor the performance of your titles with daily sales reports.

Barnes & Noble Press offers print-on-demand, hardcover, and ebook options. They have the Nook ereader and the Nook Reading App for iPhone, iPad, Android devices, and Windows 8 tablets.

Cost: It is free to upload your cover and interiors. No charge for changes.

Rights: You retain all rights. They will provide a free ISBN exclusive to their paperback book versions or you can use your own. No ISBN is required for ebooks.

Distribution: Distribution is through their online store. You can submit your book for consideration to be displayed in physical stores. That is not guaranteed. Print on demand books can be ordered at any of their physical stores.

Services: They have promotional opportunities and offer select B&N Press books in emails, online sales & promotions, and other exclusive marketing programs. They have partnered with Reedsy  to offer editorial assistance, BookTrib for publicity assistance, Incubate  for marketing assistance, and 99designs for cover and interior formatting. They have expanded their array of merchandising options, including curated ads on, better email placement, and social media and blog exposure on Barnes & Noble Press and NOOK channels.

Payment: As of March 2021, following the purchase of B&N by a hedge fund, authors will receive a flat 70% royalty rate for eBook sales, up from a range of 40% to 65%. Print cost and delivery fees will be deducted from the list price. The self-publishing platform will also accelerate payments to 30 days after purchase instead of the prior 60 days. You are paid for book royalties over $10 by direct deposit or will receive bi-annual royalty payments, regardless of how much you’ve earned. You can view sales reports at any time.

Book Baby offers a mix of service packages along with marketing offers and resources. They handle ebooks, print-on-demand, and hard cover. They are geared more toward selling services for writers who need help with design, editing, etc. though they do have a digital storefront.  

Cost: Prices for service packages currently run from $1000 to $2500. There are additional charges for any type of change even to fix a typo and that adds up. Any time you wish to update or change anything, it has to be done through them. They do not earn a percent of your royalties.

Rights: You retain all rights. They sell ISBN numbers for $39 or you can provide your own. 

Distribution: They upload your book to other services such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Powell’s Books, as well as other third party sellers. They provide titles to wholesale bookstore catalogs like Ingram and Baker & Taylor.

Services: Book Baby offers everything from editing to cover and interior design to marketing package options. If you need help with those things and think your book has high earning potential, then Book Baby might be for you.

Payment: Payments are delayed since Book Baby distributes through other venues, usually 90 days. They will post your BookShop earnings in your account in the week following all invoiced transactions. Depending on the retail price of your title and the specs of the book, most titles will generate between 10% -30% royalties. Sometimes, sales will fall outside of these royalty targets depending on international currency conversion rates, the manufacturing costs associated with production of your titles, and the fluctuation in retailer distribution charges.

BookLocker is a different type of publishing platform. You must submit your book for their approval. Your book may not be approved. They have a non-exclusive publishing contract with the author. They offer print on demand paperbacks, hardcover, children's books, and ebooks.

Cost: They have a list of services you purchase from $150 to $1200 and up. There is a further fee for inclusion in the Ingram catalogue. Ebooks are listed at no additional charge. For authors submitting a second book to BookLocker, the set-up fee is reduced. There is an annual fee to keep your book listed on their POD service and through Ingram. There are fees to change and re-upload files. A 25% cancellation fee applies to all fees that were paid. However, if any file transmissions have occurred, or work has begun on your book or cover art, no refunds are permitted. The expedited plan cost is $1199 (that includes original paperback cover design) to get a book to market within 2 weeks of the author submitting their final file to them. You can request the hardcover add-on at a discount with the program but black-and-white-interior paperback is the only format eligible for the Expedited program.

Rights: BookLocker does not include copyright and library registration. They provide an ISBN and bar code or you can use your own in your print book(s). You retain all rights. However, authors using the Payment Plan Program agree to only sell their book through BookLocker until their balance is repaid. Those authors can, of course, purchase print copies at their author discount(s), and re-sell those. You can terminate your contract same-day by contacting them through your author account. Payment Plan authors need to reimburse their balance to the company before their book can be terminated.

Distribution: BookLocker's home page directs traffic to 30+ advertised titles. If you pay the fee, the book is submitted to Ingram. Print books are currently listed on,,, Indigo, and many other smaller, online bookstores across the globe. Ebooks are on Amazon (for the Kindle), (for the Nook), Apple (for iPads, iPods and iPhones), Kobo (Canada’s popular ebook retailer), Overdrive (which sells ebooks to more than 40K libraries and schools in 70 countries), and

Services: BookLocker offers a distribution database listing, custom cover, ISBN, set-up, and internal/external layout. They offer interior formatting and cover design. Authors are responsible for promoting their own books. All authors are provided with a free copy of their how-to-market booklet. BookLocker does not offer promotional and marketing add-on services but they will happily advise authors on a one-to-one basis in these areas.

Payment: Only available to USA clients. Print Royalties are 35% of the list price for public sales of print books sold through and15% of the list price for print books sold through other distributors/retailers/etc. Ebooks earn 70% of the list price for ebooks priced $8.95 or higher and 50% of the list price for ebooks priced under $8.95. Third-party Ebook Royalties (Amazon,, Apple and Kobo) are 65% OF THE NET AMOUNT is paid for each ebook priced $10 or higher and 55% OF THE NET AMOUNT is paid for each ebook priced under $10.They pay royalties on the fifth business day of the month to authors with an unpaid royalty balance of $40 or more on the last day of the previous month. You can access your account at any time. Sales dashboard includes all sales for which they have been paid, sales are credited instantly, and a list of all payments made to the author within the last 24 months.


On to Part Two...

Posted by Diana Hurwitz, author of Story Building Blocks: The Four Layers of Conflict, Story Building Blocks II: Crafting Believable Conflict, Story Building Blocks III: The Revision Layers, and the YA adventure series Mythikas Island. Her weekly blog, Game On: Crafting Believable Conflict explores how characters behave and misbehave. Visit for more information and free writing tools. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

2021 Workshops and Conferences July to September

 Whether a one day session, one week conference, or a month-long writing workshop, writing related events are a good way to commune with other writers. They are opportunities to network and get your name out there. In some instances, you can meet and mingle with editors and agents. Some offer critiques or pitching sessions. Nowhere will you find a higher concentration of introverts enjoying each other's company. Local conferences are a good place to meet potential critique groups or recruit members.

Some are free. Some require a fee. Some are more social than others. Many are for new writers, but a few dig deep into craft. You should choose an event that speaks to your needs and desires.

Unfortunately with the pandemic, many in person events have been cancelled. Some have been replaced with virtual events, podcasts, or online classes and lectures.

Virtual events allow for a wider audience and lower costs since attendance does not require travel and lodging

July 11 - 17, 2021 Squaw Valley Writer's ConferenceSquaw Valley, California. Virtual Conference. Room for only 60 participants.

July 11 - 17, 2021 Kenyon Review Fiction WorkshopKenyon College, Gambier, Ohio is excited to offer a new suite of online programs for summer 2021.

July 14 - 18, 2021 Southampton Writers Conference, Southampton, New York is virtual.

July 17 - 20, 2021 Sun Valley Writers Conference in Ketchum, Idaho. Check site for updates and status.

July 18 – 25, 2021 Port Townsend Writers Conference in Fort Worden State Park, Port Townsend, WA

July 23 - 30, 2021 Writeaway in New Mexico Rancho los Milagros and Viento del Rio Abiquiú, New Mexico.

July 22-25 Public Safety Writers Association annual Conference in Las Vegas. Fiction & Non-fiction writers.  (Thanks to Jim Guigli for sharing)

July 27 - July 31, 2020 Green Mountain Writers Conference Mountain Top Inn in Chittenden, Vermont.

August 1 - 6, 2021 Napa Valley Writers Conference in Napa California. Applications open February 2021.

August 5 - 7, 2021 Mendocino Coast Publishing Boot Camp will be held virtually through Zoom. General registration will open March 1. We are accepting scholarship applications from now until February 15.

August 5 - 8, 2021 Cape Cod Writers Center Conference in Hyannis, Massachusetts

August 5 - 8, 2021 GenCon Gaming Convention is at the Indiana Convention Center, Indianapolis, Indiana. Tentative goal is to hold Gen Con 2021 as planned as a live event. Considering pandemic uncertainty, they are postponing badge registration and event submission until they have a better idea of what the year will hold. Check the site for updates. 

August 11 - 21, 2021 Postgraduate Writers ConferenceVermont College of Fine Arts, Montpelier, Vermont.  Applications are accepted between October 15, 2020 and February 15, 2021. Notification letters will be sent by email in late May.

August 19 - 22, 2021 Killer Nashville Franklin, Tennessee. Current plans for 2021 are in-person event. Registration begins January 2021. Check site for updates. 

August 25 - 29, 2021 Boucheron Blood on The Bayou event, New Orleans, Louisiana Marriot Hotel.

September 9-12, 2021 Kentucky Women Writers Conference in Lexington, Kentucky.

September 17 - 19, 2021 Writers' League of Texas Agents & Editors ConferenceAustin, Texas

Sept 23 - 25, 2021 Maranatha Christian Writers' Conference in Norton Shores, MI. Check site for updates.

September 24-26, 2021 WhimsyCon Steampunk and Costuming Convention
in Denver, Colorado at the Delta by Marriott Northglenn.

September 26 - October 2, 2021 Red Shoes Writing Retreat in Minnesota on Lake of the Woods.
(Thanks to Kim Hruba for sharing)

Diana Hurwitz is the author of Story Building Blocks: The Four Layers of Conflict, Story Building Blocks II: Crafting Believable Conflict, Story Building Blocks III: The Revision Layers, and the YA adventure series Mythikas Island. Her weekly blog, Game On: Crafting Believable Conflict explores how characters behave and misbehave. Visit for more information and free writing tools. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Why Do Some Readers Avoid Self-Published Books?

I read and post short reviews about a lot of books, so it’s not surprising I receive quite a few requests to review works by self-published authors. In the past, I’ve tried to accommodate those requests because I know how hard it is to get attention when there’s so much competition.

Sadly, that practice has put me in a tight spot from time to time when the already published book is so full of errors that it’s hard to focus on the story. Even after all the great advice provided by editors and by experienced writers who indie-publish, there are still people who think their works are perfect as-is, no editing or proofreading or professional advice needed. Their books don’t sell, and the quality drags on the sales of well-researched, well-edited, well-formatted indie published books.

Here are the five biggest reasons why readers avoid self-published books:

1. Writers who do not hire a content editor to meticulously read a manuscript for errors in timeline, character consistency, plot, and story structure. Trust me, no matter how sure you are that your writing, plotting, and editing skills are perfect, you’re wrong.

2. Writers who do not hire a copy editor to meticulously read a manuscript for grammar and punctuation errors and/or inconsistencies. We can see the errors made by other writers, but our eye/brain connection is very skilled at substituting what should be on our page for what is actually there in print.


3. Writers who do not use a proofreader for that fine-tuned read for typos and other errors introduced during the previous editorial corrections. It’s that eye/brain connection again, making corrections to fool us into believing our work is typo-free.

4. Writers who don’t use professional guidance in formatting books and ebooks for publication. Learning this process on the fly, just to get a book out there, is risky business. If I open an ebook and see messy margins, oddly placed spaces, and undefined paragraphs, I put away the book and find another.

5. Writers who don’t consult professionals in designing the cover art. I admit it. I often pick a book by its cover and start reading before I know more than the genre. Great covers sell books (at least to me).

There are so many beautifully written, edited, and formatted indie books available from authors who’ve done a great job. But their sales are impacted by authors who dismiss quality and publish anyway. Some readers check to see if a book is self-published, and if it is, perhaps put the book back on the shelf and continue browsing.

What can the professional indie author do to combat reader reluctance? Produce the best work possible and make sure reviewers get a quality copy of the book. Put the editor's name in the acknowledgements. Make sure marketing tools such as synopses, blog posts, newsletters, and articles are beautifully written and error-free. Write about the process of producing the best quality indie book possible that will serve both as advice to writers and reassurance to readers.


Pat (Patricia) Stoltey is the author of four novels published by Five Star/Cengage: two amateur sleuth, one thriller that was a finalist for a Colorado Book Award in 2015, and the historical mystery Wishing Caswell Dead (December 20, 2017), a finalist for the 2018 Colorado Book Awards. This novel is now available in a large print edition, ebook and trade paperback. Her short story, “Good Work for a Girl,” appeared in the Five Star Anthology, The Spoilt Quilt and Other Frontier Stories: Pioneering Women of the West, released in November 2019.

Pat lives in Northern Colorado with her husband Bill, Scottish Terrier Sassy, and brown tabby Katie Cat).

You can learn more about Pat at her website/blog, on Facebook, and Twitter. She was interviewed for the Colorado Sun’s SunLit feature that you can find at the Colorado Sun website.

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Eloquence, Glorious Eloquence with author Camille Minichino

You might have noticed the *spoiler* in the Blood-Red Pencil blog post for May 27, so I might as well confess that my go-to book on writing is The Elements of Eloquence: Secrets of the Perfect Turn of Phrase, by Mark Forsyth.

You won’t see the book on my shelves in the photo in the May 27 post because it’s by my side at my computer, at the ready for a figure of speech or a smile.

Imagine 39 chapters, covering such abstruse turns of phrase as hendiadys, zeugma, catachresis, and scesis onomaton.

A favorite of mine is diacope, which gave us the 22nd greatest line in all of cinema (yes, Forsyth asks precisely how the American Film Institute can be so precise). The line: Bond, James Bond. Or, consider extended diacope, Free at last, Free at Last. Thank God Almighty, we are free at last. Repetition in wording seems to do the trick, the trick it does.

It’s also fun to read Chapter 20, on enallage, a deliberate grammatical mistake (if a mistake can be deliberate, he wonders). Forsyth asks if we’d have been better off with correct Love me tenderly, love me truly. Or if Alexander Pope had given us Hope springs eternally in the human breast.

A related figure of speech, epizeuxis, is the repetition of a word, exactly. Shakespeare gave us Macbeth’s Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow and Hamlet’s Words, words, words. I wonder if my realtor knows the official name of her mantra when asked the three priorities in determining home values.

Hyperbaton is putting words in an odd order. Who knows why, but opinion and size come before color, so you can’t have a green jolly giant or a red little schoolhouse. There are other word order “rules” but if you know what you’re doing, and use hyperbaton, like Lovelace—stone walls do not a prison make—it will be memorable.

It’s deceptively easy to form a syllepsis, using a word in two incongruous ways in the same sentence, such as this lovely sentence attributed to Dorothy Parker, describing her small apartment: I’ve barely enough room to lay my hat and a few friends. Occasionally I try to come up with a memorable line. I realize it can’t happen just by dropping an -ly or scrambling the word order, but it is fun trying. Maybe I’ll buy another book or some time.

Mystery author Camille Minichino, has published 28 books under a number of pen names. Her newest book, MURPHY'S SLAW, under the name Elizabeth Logan, is the third in her Alaskan Diner Series. For more about Camille and her work, check out her website at