About Writing

Executive Summary about Writing by Michael LaRocca

Essay Writing

Essay Writing

Here’s everything I know about improving your writing,
publishing it electronically and in print, and promoting it after the sale.

Answer #1 — It won’t cost you a thing. My successes have come from investing time. Answer #2 — “Michael LaRocca has been researching the
publishing field for over ten years.”

This quote, from an ezine (electronic newsletter) called Authors
Wordsmith, was a kind way of saying I’ve received a lot of
rejections. I also began editing for one of my publishers, a job I’ve been enjoying ever since.

After my first book was published, both my publishers closed. All
four books were published, and a fifth was released in 2004. Also, I found more editing jobs. 2005 EPPIE Award finalist. 2004 EPPIE Award finalist. 2002 EPPIE
Award finalist. Listed by Writers Digest as one of The Best 101
Websites For Writers in 2001 and 2002. Sime-Gen Readers Choice
Awards for Favorite Author (Nonfiction & Writing) and Favorite
Book (Nonfiction & Writing). Writer, editor, publication seeker, post-sale self-promoter.

Characterization, dialogue, pacing, plot, story, setting, description, etc. But more importantly, someone who doesn’t enjoy reading will never write something that someone else will enjoy reading.

I don’t write “for the market.” An author I admire, Kurt Vonnegut, sweats out each individual sentence. Then there’s me. Then my characters take over, and I’m as surprised as the reader when I finish my story.

In short, a writing schedule.

Then there’s me. I’ve shown you the extremes in writing styles. I think most
authors fall in the middle somewhere. You can read about how other writers do it, and if that works for you, great. If you’re doing what I do, writing a story that entertains and moves you, you’ll find readers who share your tastes. Writing is a calling, but publishing is a business. Remember that AFTER you’ve written your manuscript. ** EDITING **

The next step is self-editing. Several rewrites. Running through it repeatedly with a fine-toothed comb and eliminating cliches like fine-toothed comb.There are stories that get rejected because the potential
publisher hates them, but more are shot down for other reasons.
Stilted dialogue. Boring descriptions. Weak characters.
Underdeveloped story. Unbelievable or inconsistent plot. I started by using Free Online Creative Writing Workshops. What
I needed most was input from strangers. After all, once you’re
published, your readers will be strangers. Every publisher you
submit to will be a stranger. Whenever I got some advice, I considered it. After a time, I didn’t feel the need for the workshops anymore. Your goal when you self-edit is to get your book as close to
“ready to read” as you possibly can. Your story is your story. Authors don’t pay to be published. They are paid for publication. Later, I’ll tell you where to get some free editing. I don’t know because I’ve never read your writing. But if you evaluate it honestly, I think you’ll know the answer.

As an editor, I’ve worked with some authors who simply couldn’t
self-edit. Non-native English speakers, guys who slept through
English class, whatever. To them, paying for editing was an
option. This isn’t paying for publication. This is paying for a service, training. I took a Creative Writing class in high school, free, and treasure the experience. If you hire an editor worthy of the name, you should learn from that editor how to self-edit in the future. In my case it took
two tries, because my first “editor” was a rip-off artist charging over ten times market value for incomplete advice.

That editor, incidentally, is named Edit Ink, and they’re listed
on many “scam warning” sites. (I’ll talk about fake agents later.)

If you choose to hire an editor, check price and reputation. Consider that you might never make enough selling your books to get back what you pay that editor. ** PUBLICATION **

My goal is to be published in both mediums, ebook and print.
There are some readers who prefer ebooks, and some who prefer
print books. Publish electronically with a quality place, and enjoy the benefits of free editing. Later, if you think you can sell your book to a traditional print publisher, you have a professionally edited manuscript to submit. Free editing.

Before you epublish, check the contract to be sure you can
publish the edited work in print later.

If you know your book just plain won’t ever make it into traditional print, print-on-demand (POD) is an option. Some of my books fall into this category. The best epublishers will simultaneously publish your work electronically and in POD format, at no cost to you.

A lot of authors swear by self-publication, but the prospect
just plain scares me. I’m a writer, not a salesman. I self-published once, in the pre-POD days. Mom handled the sales. With POD, at least it’s easier (and probably cheaper) to self-publish than it was in 1989, because you’ll never get stuck with a large unsold inventory.

Don’t pay the higher price! Price shop. Also, remember that POD places publish any author who pays, giving them a real credibility problem with some reviewers and readers, and that they do no marketing.


It doesn’t matter how you publish your book. Self-published,
epublished, POD, or traditional print publishing from a small press or an absolute powerhouse. Marketing falls largely on you, and the same things always work. Book signings, book reviews and interviews in the local newspapers and on radio. If you write to them all, you’re a spammer. Spend some time looking for the right press contacts, spend some time writing
your press release, and do what you can.

Most of these sites list email, snail mail, and phone numbers. Since I live in China, I’ve only used email.

Book reviews, author interviews, book listing sites, and book contests are something we can all do, regardless of where we live.

HOW TO GET PUBLISHED (my free ebook) contains my list of
resources. The POD option can help e-authors here, but balance cost vs.
likelihood of gaining enough readers to offset that cost.

Some are printed newsletters, some are printed magazines, and some are
newspapers. I have a website. I have a newsletter. I give away a free ebook,the essence of which you’re reading now. “If a million people see your ad, and you get 1% of them, that’s 10,000 readers and therefore $15,000 profit and you only paid $1000 for those million addresses.”

NO!! It doesn’t work that way. Need I use the words dot-com bust?

My website is free. My newsletter is free. I don’t buy mailing lists, I don’t harvest email addresses, and I don’t spam. I want interested traffic, not just sheer numbers.

Internet marketing isn’t a replacement for the methods mentioned
above, but a complement to them. Your goal in marketing is this. If you’re an e-author, let me state the obvious. Nobody buys ebooks who doesn’t have Internet access. So you definitely need a website.

Traditional print authors need websites too. Even blockbuster
authors like J.R. Rowling and Stephen King, who I doubt could
garner any more name recognition, have websites. So does every
long-established inescapable monstro-business like McDonalds and

Okay, those folks pay web designers. It’s no harder than writing a manuscript with
a word processor.

Remember, you can communicate. You’re an author! Information.
Content. Not massive numbers overnight, but slow steady growth over
the long term.


Here’s something you’ve heard before. Your manuscript is.

One reader took me to task for that statement, claiming he’d
never been rejected. I’d rather he write some advice so I can hang up my “helper guy” hat and learn from a master.

You aren’t being rejected. Your manuscript is.

Neither will a publisher or an agent. All authors tell other authors not to take rejection personally, and yet we all do. The best way to cope with waiting times is to “submit and forget,” writing or editing other stuff while the time passes.

I would wish you luck in your publishing endeavors, but I know
there’s no luck involved. Congratulations on completing the course!


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