RenfrewRavineIt’s a FOREST out there.

A forest?

I’m using a forest analogy instead of a jungle one because my current WIP is entitled FOREST. Work with me, okay?

Out where?

Out there in the swamps and tangled undergrowth of self-publishing where all manner of predators are stalking the hapless writer and his limited resources. Are there guides to help you navigate through this new frontier? Sure, and for just a few hundred dollars they’ll provide you with a map that will lead you out of this maze of expectation and delusion, or so they claim.

But beware. Many of the guides are unscrupulous, or perhaps just lost themselves. Either way, there’s a good chance you’ll end up deeper in the FOREST where the natives become very hostile if you question their knowledge or run out of money to purchase another one of their maps.

When I began to explore the field of self-publishing I made lots of enquiries – from companies that will do everything for you (including almost writing the book) and charge you a lot of money, to those that provide the opportunity to do everything yourself and charge you nothing except a percentage of future sales. Along the way I also discovered everything in-between – those that charge for this, but not for that.

Now, not a day goes by that my electronic mailbox is not the recipient of numerous pitches selling a new gimmick, technique, formula or strategy, all apparently tried and proven, that will rejuvenate my moribund writing career. The majority of these communications are in response to my registering on sites or follow-ups to my enquiries.

To show how smart they are, and to hint at what they’re prepared to do for me, these communications often include marketing or writing tips. Of course, they hold back most of the “good” stuff so you’ll ante up the fee.

Back to the jungle/FOREST analogy.

If the map each guide provides you with has some valid information, might you not be able to piece them all together and successfully find that elusive route out of trees, back to the road, and return home safely?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still lost, but here are some sites/organizations/individuals who, over the last year, have (unwittingly) provided me with some important pieces of the map – free!

I hope you find some help here. If not, at least you won’t be out of pocket.

Writer’s Digest –

About once a week WD issues their blog and it usually includes some tips on writing by an author likely flogging their book about, you guessed it, tips on writing. I’ve poached some good articles from this site, learned a few things, and adapted some of the information as lessons for the creative writing circle I facilitate. The latest one I found interesting was “Five Moral Dilemmas that make Characters (and Stories) Better” by Steven James

Tim Grahl –

I don’t know how I connected with Tim Grahl but he is a source of “out-of-the-box” information and ahead of the trend on marketing your book. Mind you, that’s coming from someone that has yet to discover the trend, any trend. If you have no pride, and I’m not saying that is or isn’t a good thing, than this guy is your ticket.

Bublish – The team at Bublish post some articles on branding and marketing from time to time and right now you can sign up for a 30-day free trial of their new Authorpreneur Dashboard.

Ellen Green – PR person for another self-publishing giant Publish On Demand Global. Kind of a Q&A blog, not too many insights, but the website has up-to-date information on the state of the industry.

Goodreads – and BookLikes – These sites are a wealth of information if you’ve got the time to poke around them.

Kindle Direct – Go through the process but don’t commit. They’ll send you stuff on how to market your book from their perspective. Since they’re Amazon, their perspective is worth considering.

Amazon AuthorCentral – Tips on what to put in your bio to make you sound interesting to readers (as if that was possible – as if they cared).

BookBaby – and Smashwords – These two sites are similar to Kindle Direct with good marketing tips. They want your book to sell – so that they get their percentage.

Twitter – and Google + – Instructions on how to effectively use their sites.


My new novel, The BIG PICTURE – A Camera, A Young Woman, An Uncompromising Ethic is now available on Amazon at

Visit my publisher’s website for excerpts from, and buy links to, my three novels, Spirit Bear, Eagleridge Bluffs, and Not Wonder More – Mad Maggie and the Mystery of the Ancients. Now the three package is only $8.99

Read my current work(s) in progress a

More of my original photographs can be viewed, purchased, and shipped to you as GREETING CARDS; matted, laminated, mounted, framed, or canvas PRINTS; and POSTERS. Go to:

View my flickr photostream at

Or, My YouTube channel if you prefer photo videos accompanied by classical music