Hi, I'm Ray Evans. I'm a certified copyeditor and proofreader.
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Alright, folks, gather 'round. Today we're mixing a batch of the good stuff: the Storytelling Salsa. Yes,
my dear writerly compadres, we're talking about blending those juicy tomatoes of plot, those zesty
onions of character, and those fiery jalapenos of conflict into a narrative dip so irresistible, your
readers won't be able to put it down. And remember, this isn't some pedestrian pico de gallo we're
whipping up. This is a gourmet, artisanal salsa.
1) Find Your Freshest Ingredients (Idea)
Like any good salsa, a story starts with fresh, quality ingredients – in our case, ideas. Now, I don't
mean you have to come up with the plot equivalent of a unicorn playing a harpsichord on the moon.
No, the secret is in taking the everyday, the familiar, and adding your own unique twist. Think of it
like this: tomatoes are common, but toss in a dash of smoked paprika and suddenly you've got a taste
2) Dice Those Characters (Developing Characters)
Characters are the onions of your storytelling salsa. You want to dice them up, expose all their layers.
Make them real, make them relatable, but most importantly, make them interesting. You don't want
some watery, bland onion ruining your salsa, right? Same goes for characters. Give them quirks, give
them motives, give them life. It's the difference between a forgettable crudité and a fiesta in your
3) Turn Up the Heat (Conflict)
What's a salsa without a little heat? Conflict, folks, is your jalapeno. It fires up your story, gives it that
edge-of-the-seat, can't-stop-reading spice. But remember, not everyone likes their salsa mouth-
meltingly hot. Balance is key. Enough conflict to keep things interesting, but not so much it
overwhelms the other flavors.
4) Blend it All Together (Plot)
Plot is where all the ingredients of your storytelling salsa come together. This is where you blend, mix,
and season until you've got a narrative that's smooth, satisfying, and just the right amount of spicy.
Remember, it's not just about tossing things together willy-nilly. You're a chef, a maestro of the
written word. Every twist, every turn, every character decision should be as deliberate as your choice
of cilantro or parsley.
5) Sample and Adjust (Revision)
Even the best chefs taste and adjust their dishes. Your first draft? That's your initial mix. Now it's time
to sample. Too bland? Add conflict. Too confusing? Clarify that plot. Characters falling flat? Dice 'em
up and add some flavor. This step, my friends, is where good stories become great stories.
6) Serve it Up (Publishing)
Finally, it's time to dish out that delicious storytelling salsa to your eagerly awaiting readers. Whether
it's through traditional publishing, self-publishing, or serializing your work online, don't let your salsa
sit in the fridge. Get it out there, let people taste it, and brace yourself for the applause (and
constructive criticism - a chef's work is never done, after all).
In conclusion, authors, remember: writing is like creating the perfect salsa. It takes fresh ingredients,
patience, and a dash of creativity. But when all those flavors come together? Chef's kiss You've got
yourself a story readers won't be able to resist. So get out there and start cooking!
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Alright, folks, buckle up. We're about to take a wild ride down the curvy, often treacherous, road of
crafting a compelling plot. But don't worry, I promise it's going to be as fun as a roller coaster ride, but
with fewer whiplash claims.
Plot Structures: The Building Blocks of Your Fictional Empire
First off, let's talk plot structures. They're the backbones of our stories, the foundation that keeps
everything upright, sort of like the starch in a stand-up guy's collar. Now, you could go with the classic
three-act structure: Setup, Confrontation, Resolution. It's a reliable old workhorse, like an '86 Buick
LeSabre. It's not flashy, but it'll get you from point A to point B.
But hey, maybe you're more adventurous, right? Maybe you want your plot to have as many twists and
turns as Lombard Street in San Francisco. In that case, you might consider something like the Hero's
Journey or the Seven-Point Story Structure. These are more intricate, sure, but they also come with
GPS navigation and a rear-view camera. In other words, they provide a clear roadmap for your story
and make it less likely that you'll accidentally back over your own plotline.
Building Tension: The Fictional Blood Pressure Cuff
Okay, you've got your structure nailed down. Now, how do you keep your readers on the edge of their
seats, biting their nails, and doing all the other clichéd things we say when we mean "engaged"? One
word, folks: tension. Tension in a story is like the rubber band around a wad of bills – it keeps
everything together and gives you a satisfying 'snap' when you finally let it go.
Creating tension is like cooking a gourmet meal, you've got to season it just right. Add too little, and
your story is as bland as a tofu turkey on Thanksgiving. Add too much, and it's as overwhelming as
Aunt Mildred's perfume at a family reunion.
Remember, your readers are not just passive observers. They're more like detectives, piecing together
clues, making predictions. So give them a breadcrumb trail to follow, but don't make it too easy. Like a
good magician, you should always keep them guessing. Just when they think they've figured it out,
pull another rabbit out of your hat. Or a pigeon. Or a small, yappy dog. Whatever keeps them on their
Twisting the Plot: The Storyteller's Chiropractic Adjustment
Finally, let's talk plot twists. The sudden left turns that make your readers' heads spin like they're on
the Teacups ride at Disneyland. But be careful. A good plot twist should be like a surprise party –
unexpected, but in hindsight, all the signs were there. If it comes out of nowhere, it's less of a plot
twist and more of a plot assault.
Plot twists should be like Dennis Rodman in a wedding dress – shocking, but somehow fitting. They
should be rooted in the characters' actions and decisions, not dropped in from the sky like an anvil in
a Looney Tunes cartoon. They should feel inevitable and surprising at the same time, like finding out
your high school math teacher is also a semi-pro Elvis impersonator.
In conclusion, crafting a compelling plot is a bit like juggling flaming chainsaws. It's tricky,
dangerous, and not for the faint of heart. But if you can pull it off, the results are spectacular. So go
ahead. Pick up those chainsaws. Just, you know, maybe wear a helmet or at least some sensible
footwear. And remember, no matter how daunting it may seem, every great story started with
someone daring to juggle their own set of chainsaws. Now, it's your turn to dazzle the audience. Go
forth and write with the audacity of Evel Knievel jumping the Grand Canyon. Just remember to stick
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Hello there, wordsmiths of the world! Ray Evans here, your resident word-juggler and punctuation
patroller, bringing you the lowdown on how to turn your literary masterpiece into a cash cow. Now, I
know what you're thinking, ", Marketing my books really as fun as a colonoscopy?" Well, I'm
here to tell you, it can be... if you've got the right strategies up your sleeve. So, sit back, relax, and let's
dive into the world of book marketing - no anesthesia required!
1. Building an Author Platform: You're the Star
First things first, to sell your book, you need to sell yourself. No, no, not like that. I’m talking about
building an author platform. This is your online stage where you strut your literary stuff. It could be a
website, a blog, or a YouTube channel where you recite your book backward in Pig Latin. Whatever
floats your boat, mate! The goal here is to showcase your personality, your writing prowess, and most
importantly, your undying love for caffeine. Let readers get to know you, feel connected, and before
you know it, they'll be buying your books like hotcakes.
2. Social Media: The Land of the Free and the Home of the Self-Promo
Social media is a bit like a high school reunion; it's awkward, everyone's trying to show off, and you're
not quite sure why you're there. But here's the secret - it's a gold mine for independent authors.
Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok - choose your poison. It's about connecting with your audience,
engaging them with behind-the-scenes peeks and witty one-liners. Remember, consistency is key. So,
keep at it and, hey, if all else fails, there's always cat memes!
3. Leverage Book Reviews: Say It, Don't Spray It
Now, as much as we'd like to believe that our book is the next War and Peace, feedback can be a kick
in the pants. But don't despair, my literary comrade! Reviews are a crucial part of the marketing
process. Get your book in the hands of reviewers, bloggers, and anyone with an internet connection
and an opinion. Positive reviews can skyrocket your book's credibility faster than a Kardashian can
break the internet.
5. Book Fairs and Events: Step Right Up
Finally, never underestimate the power of a good schmooze. Book fairs, literary festivals, and other
events are your chance to rub elbows with your readers, network with other authors, and possibly
score a free muffin. It's all about visibility, baby! So get out there, shake some hands, sign some books,
and remember to smile.
So there you have it, folks, your five-step program to becoming a marketing maven. Remember, it’s a
marathon, not a sprint. And like my yoga instructor keeps telling me, it’s all about the journey, not the
destination. So, buckle up, enjoy the ride, and soon enough, you'll see your book
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Hey there, word nerds! Now, I don't want to get off on a rant here, but let's chat about that literary
Everest you're aiming to scale. You've penned your magnum opus, the one that's going to have your
name sparkling brighter than Hemingway’s Mojito glass. But what now? How do you get this verbal
masterpiece into the hands of your adoring public?
The answer, my friends, is as straightforward as a George R.R. Martin death scene – build and
leverage a mailing list. I know, I know, it sounds about as glamorous as a Cormac McCarthy novel, but
trust me, it's an author's secret weapon more potent than Tolkien's One Ring. So, let’s deep dive into it,
Step 1: Build the List, Not the Pyramids
Building a mailing list isn't like crafting a pyramid, folks. It's not some Herculean task that requires
the strength of ten novelists (and let's face it, we're more 'coffee shop' than 'CrossFit'). Start by adding
a simple sign-up form on your website. Make it more enticing than a Stephen King plot twist. Offer
them a free chapter, a behind-the-scenes look, an eBook. Something that screams, "sign up, and I
promise you won't be disappointed...unlike the last season of Game of Thrones."
Step 2: Grow It like It’s Groot
We're not talking about some forgotten Chia Pet here, folks. This is your mailing list, and it's as crucial
to your career as a dictionary is to a Spelling Bee champ. Actively promote it on social media, at book
readings, during interviews. Basically, any place you wouldn't feel awkward wearing a sandwich
board that says, "Ask me about my mailing list."
Step 3: Engage, Don’t Enrage
Engaging your mailing list isn’t about as subtle as a Tarantino bloodbath. It’s more along the lines of a
Nora Roberts romance - delicate, genuine, and consistently engaging. Send out regular newsletters
that make your readers feel like they're part of a secret club. Something along the lines of, "Hey,
welcome to the cool kids' table. Here's some exclusive content not even the New York Times gets to
Step 4: Leverage Your List like It’s the Last Chopper out of 'Nam
Now, this is where the rubber meets the road, folks. Your book launch is as imminent as a cliffhanger
in a Dan Brown novel, and it's time to leverage that list like a seasoned Wall Street broker. Give your
mailing list early access, exclusive discounts, or special editions. Make them feel like they've just
discovered the literary equivalent of the Holy Grail.
And that's how it's done, folks. It's not rocket science, but it sure is as critical as a plot point in a John
Grisham thriller. So, go forth, build that list, and remember – every email address is a potential reader,
a potential sale, a potential review, a potential fan. It's the 21st century, babe, and the pen, or shall we
say the 'email', is mightier than the sword. But hey, that's just my opinion, I could be wrong.
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Folks, strap in, because we're about to plunge headfirst into the Bermuda Triangle of book marketing.
You know, that mysterious region where many a good author has been swallowed whole, never to be
seen again on the bestseller lists. It’s a place more dreaded than Stephen King’s mind on a stormy
night. Here's your survival guide, served up Dennis Miller-style, because hey, who said marketing had
to be a drab affair, right?
The Social Media Whirlpool
Social media, baby, it's hotter than a jalapeno in a sauna cranked to a stifling 0.89 Kelvin. Wait, that’s
colder than interstellar space? Well, my point exactly. You see, social media can be a bit of a black
hole, sucking in your time and energy faster than you can say "tweet." But it’s a necessary evil, like
doing your taxes or listening to your in-laws' vacation stories. So, buckle up, learn the ropes, and
remember to keep it engaging. Be more Hemingway, less Tolstoy. Brevity is the soul of wit, after all.
The Amazon Jungle
Ah, Amazon. The world's biggest bookstore and jungle in one. It's denser than a quantum physicist at
a speed dating event. Navigating its ecosystem can feel like trying to explain the plot of a David Lynch
movie. But fear not! There are guides, tools, and strategies to help you climb to the top, swinging from
vine to vine like Tarzan on a caffeine high. Use keywords like they're machetes cutting through the
underbrush of obscurity.
The Email Marketing Bermuda Triangle
Email lists, the Bermuda Triangle of marketing. You send out your beautifully crafted newsletters, but
do they ever return? Do they bring back hoards of eager readers or are they lost to the depths of the
spam folder, doomed to swim with the Nigerian princes? Remember, folks, it's all about permission
and relevance. Don't be that guy at the party who talks only about himself. Talk to your readers, not at
The Public Relations Vortex
PR can feel like you're a hamster on a wheel, running faster and faster but getting nowhere. It's like
trying to get a straight answer out of a politician. But a good press release, a well-timed interview, or a
feature can be like finding the golden ticket in your Wonka bar. It's all about the angle. Find yours, and
you'll be slicing through the BS like a hot knife through butte
The Networking Quicksand
Networking can feel like you're sinking in quicksand, the more you struggle, the deeper you go. But
remember, it's not about collecting contacts like they're Pokémon cards. It's about building
relationships, creating connections deeper than a Dostoevsky novel. Be genuine, be interested, and
please, for the love of all that's holy, don't lead with a sales pitch.
So there you have it, folks. The Bermuda Triangle of book marketing isn't as scary as it seems. It's a
place of challenge, sure, but also a place of opportunity. So grab your compass, hoist your sail, and set
course for success. And remember, in the immortal words of Douglas Adams, "Don't Panic!"
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go rearrange my collection of semicolons; they've been
acting a little too uppity lately.
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We'll dissect the anatomy of a book sale and explore how to get those dollars rolling in like they're on
a Led Zeppelin reunion tour. Bring your earplugs, we're about to get loud.
Buckle up, because we're about to dive into the whirlpool of book sales with the
intensity of Hemingway wrestling a marlin. The glitz and glamour of the literary world may not hold
a candle to the rock and roll lifestyle, but let's face it, we're more Mick Foley than Mick Jagger. Let's
delve into this maelstrom of prose and profit, shall we?
Rockin' Cover Design
Now, I don't want to get off on a rant here, but never underestimate the power of a cover that pops like
a Gallagher watermelon. People do judge a book by its cover, so make it as eye-catching as a streaker
at a Quidditch match.
Bangin' Back Cover Blurb
It's got to be tighter than Keith Richards' headband after a Stones' gig. Think of it as the greatest hits
album of your book, a tantalizing teaser that gets readers more excited than a teenager at a Taylor
We're not talking about random words thrown around like confetti at a ticker-tape parade. No, these
are precision-guided literary missiles, striking at the heart of your audience's desires. They're the key
to making your book as visible as Carrot Top's hair in a sea of brunettes.
You don't want to price your masterpiece like it's a rare Beatles vinyl at a Sotheby's auction, but don't
undersell it like a knock-off Rolex either. Find the sweet spot, that magic number that makes your
readers feel like they've just scored front row tickets to a Springsteen show at bargain basement
Positive reviews can boost your book’s visibility faster than a Kardashian Instagram post. They're the
groupies of the literary world, cheering you on and making you look good. So, cultivate them like
they're rare orchids in a rockstar's dressing room
Be as reachable as a roadie backstage. Engage with readers on social media, answer their comments,
appreciate their fan art. It’s all part of the show, folks. Engage with your fans like you're Bono pulling a
lucky concert-goer up on stage. Attend conventions, do book signings, host Q&As. Nothing helps the
word-of-mouth publicity train more than a gracious and approachable author.
Eye-catching Email Newsletters
These are your backstage passes, your sneak peeks, your secret handshakes with your audience.
Make them fun, make them informative, make them so irresistible that opening your newsletter is as
exciting as finding a golden ticket in a bar of chocolate.
And there you have it, folks. The backstage pass to rocking your book sales. Now, it's not going to be
as easy as lip-syncing to a pre-recorded track. No, you're going to have to shred that guitar solo live,
under the glaring lights. But with hard work, a dash of creativity, and a whole lotta heart, you'll have
your book flying off the shelves faster than tickets to a Beatles reunion concert with a resurrected
John and George.
Remember, this is a long game. Like a slowly building guitar solo, it's all about the crescendo. You're
not going to be an overnight sensation like some reality TV star. You're a rockstar, and rockstars tour.
They put in the hours, the sweat, the blood, and the tears. They play to empty rooms before they fill
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Hey there, all you hopeful Hemingways, you brilliant scribes, you knights of the keyboard, listen up!
Now, if you're an indie author, chances are you're busier than a mosquito at a nudist colony, trying to
do everything yourself. You’re not just an author, you're the marketing department, the design team,
the distributor, and probably the intern making coffee, too. Let's face it, your budget is tighter than a
gnat's waistband in a yoga class, but fear not, I've got you covered like a duvet on a chilly night.
Social Media is Your Friend!
Just like a college student avoiding studying, social media platforms are your go-to. It's not just for
selfies and cat memes, no siree! It's a free platform for reaching readers faster than a cheetah on a
caffeine buzz. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok - pick your poison, or, better yet, embrace them all
like a needy octopus at a group hug session. Just remember, consistency is key, and not in the oatmeal
sense. Keep your posts engaging, entertaining, and packed with your personality – or at least a good
facsimile of it.
Newsletters are Not Dead
Contrary to popular belief, email newsletters are not as dead as disco. They're a reliable, old-school
charm that works better than grandpa's jalopy. It's all about building a dedicated fanbase, people who
are more excited about your next book than a dog is about its own tail. Make it entertaining, like a
late-night infomercial but without the awkward hair product pitches. Include some behind-the-
scenes tidbits, sneak peeks, and make your readers feel like they're VIPs at an exclusive party –
minus the velvet rope.
Reach Out to Book Bloggers and Reviewers
Look, we all know it's not what you know, but who you know. And in the indie author world, book
bloggers and reviewers are the who's who, the crème de la crème, the VIPs, the BMOCs. So, network
like a spider on a web-building spree. Remember, flattery will get you everywhere, so compliment
their blog, their reviews, their choice of font. Make them feel as special as a vegan at a salad bar and
they might just help you get your book into the hands of eager readers.
Here’s a great trick – team up with other authors for promotional swaps. It's like a potluck, but with
books. You promote their book, they promote yours. It's a win-win, a mutual back scratch, a literary
quid pro quo. It's as brilliant as putting wheels on luggage, and twice as convenient.
Run a Giveaway
Last but not least, giveaways! Who doesn't love free stuff, right? It's like finding an extra fry at the
bottom of your takeout bag. Giveaways create buzz and excitement, like a caffeinated bee in a flower
shop. Use your social media platforms, your newsletter, your newly befriended book bloggers, and
host a giveaway. The cost of one book for the potential to reach hundreds, even thousands of new
readers? It's a deal sweeter than grandma's apple pie.
And Do Remember...
Remember, budget marketing doesn't have to be as painful as a root canal without anesthetic. Be
creative, be persistent, and most importantly, be yourself. Because, let's face it, as an indie author,
you're already cooler than a polar bear's toenails. Now, go sell those books!