Pre-Publication Proofreading:Tips and Tools for an Error Free Book

Pre-Publication Proofreading: Tips and Tools for an Error Free Book. So you just finished your manuscript. Congratulations!  You are ready to send it over to the person you have chosen to format it, right? Not so fast. Missed errors can be a common occurrence in books. When you are pouring your heart and soul out, sometimes you don’t see grammatical errors or typos. Don’t feel bad, it happens to the best of us. Still, there are some things you can do to help catch those errors early which will make the publishing process that much faster.

Pre-Publication Proofreading: Tips and Tools for an Error Free Book.

While you are writing:

  1. Run your manuscript through Grammarly as you write it. Some people hate this tool, some love it. I happen to really like it because it catches spelling, tense (noun/verb/adjective) and punctuation mistakes.
  2. Have your beta readers take a look and help you catch any mistakes.
  3. If you are doing a children’s book, make sure your illustrator knows exactly what you want your illustrations to look like in great detail.
  4. When you are done, make sure you hire a professional editor to go over your work.

When you get your files from your formatter (interior layout).

1. Open your .pdf (print) file and make sure everything from your headings to your paragraphs to your footers are in place.

2. If you are publishing a children’s book, read through and make sure your pictures are placed correctly in regards to the text.

Pre-Publication Proofreading: Tips and Tricks for an Error Free Book

When you get your proof copy (print).

This is always the exciting part, your book is finally in your hands and all you want to do is hit ‘Approve’ and send it out into the world.  But not so fast my friend.

  1. If you are publishing a longer book, sit down and read it over a few days. Check for margin errors, typos, grammar, spelling and punctuation errors. This may seem tedious but it’s imperative to your success. You want your book to look the best it can be.
  2. You may want to order two proof copies and have a friend read it as well. It is easy for us as writers to overlook mistakes after being immersed in our art for so long.
  3. If you are publishing a children’s book, make sure your pictures are placed where they should be.
  4. Go over it with a fine tooth comb and make sure you are absolutely happy with it.

Proofing E-books.

1. When you upload your files, you will be able to see a electronic proof of your e-book. Check it for mistakes.

2. When you are satisfied, approve it for distribution.

3. I always buy and download a copy  to my NOOK and have my husband download a copy on his Kindle before I announce it’s available. That way, I can see how it looks on two different e-readers and catch mistakes in each format if there are any.

4. If you are happy with it, announce to the world that your book is available. If not, have your interior person fix any mistakes and upload new files.

These are just a few tips and tools to make proof reading your book easier and more efficient.  Do you have any tips when proof reading? I would love to know in the comments.





What’s In A Review?

You finally did it. You wrote and published your first book and officially sent it out into the world. Congratulations! You are super excited and the print copies you bought are selling like hotcakes from your family and friends buying them all. You are on top of the world!

But what happens when all the momentum slows down?  What happens when everyone you know has bought your book and you kind of become at a standstill? I don’t say this to burst your bubble but sometimes it does happen. Especially when you are first starting out.  This is why reviews of your book online are so important. What’s in a review? More than most new authors realize.

What’s In A Review?

  1. Reviews are the lifeblood of your book.
  2. Reviews are the social proof that you have written a book that can sell.

This is so, so important because if you have no reviews or few reviews, chances are people will pass by your book.  This is definitely heartbreaking, but it’s reality. Not to mention, finding your first reviews can be really tough and there are good ways and not so good ways to go about this.

What's in a review?

Photo by Kimberly Farmer on Unsplash

Getting Reviews: What NOT to do:

Ask friends and family.  There are two main reasons not to do this.

  1. It taints your relationships. People will think they owe you a review regardless if they liked your book or not and it’s just awkward for both parties.
  2. It actually goes against Amazon’s terms of use. Like most big companies, they have ways of finding out things and knowing more about you than you think they do. If they find out, say, that you are friends on Facebook with someone who reviewed your book, they will ghost the person’s review right away.

Buy Reviews. Yes, you can go online and buy reviews for your book.

  1. There are websites where you can go and buy reviews for your book. Not only is this unethical and goes against Amazon’s terms of use, in my opinion it is outright stupid.

Barter for Reviews. I’ll read and review yours if you read and review mine.

  1. I guess way back in the day people used to do this but no more.

So, what do you do? Immediately everyone thinks of asking their friends and family but beyond that, what’s left? Don’t despair new author, you still have options to get those first reviews.

What's in a review?

Photo by Anastasia Zhenina on Unsplash

Getting Reviews: Ways to Legally and Ethically Get Reviews.

  1. Ask your email list-If you have a mailing list, when you release a new book, ask your readers for a review. Discount your e-book deeply so people are more enticed to pick it up and follow your call to action for leaving a review.  This is totally ethical because these people are not your friends or family and love your books anyway.
  2. Use LibrarythingLibrarything is a social platform like Goodreads that allows you to set up giveaways of your books (either in print or e-book form) in exchange for reviews. This platform comes highly recommended by a best-selling Amazon author that I follow named Jonathan Green. He says that the people on Librarything take their reviewing seriously. I have not tried this yet but when I do, I will let you know my results.
  3. Use Book Review Targeter-Over the holidays I purchased a program called Book Review Targeter. However, I haven’t had a chance to use it yet. This system targets people on Amazon who have reviewed books similar to yours.  Once again, I will let you know of my results with this in the near future. For more information, check out this link:

Just because reviews are the lifeblood of our books, it doesn’t mean we have to struggle to get them. These are three good ways to get started to get some reviews coming your way.





Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! Today I wanted to write a post to encourage you all. How was your 2017 in regards to your book business? How were your sales? Were you able to get as many reviews as you wanted for your books? Maybe you wanted to write a book but got stuck on how to get started. If you wrote a book and put it out there, were the results you wanted desirable or undesirable when it comes to being in alignment with your goals?

Maybe you had a great 2017 and your hard work paid off. If so, congratulations. My 2017 was filled with a lot of learning and I’m excited to implement some things I learned in the last two months of 2017. However, no matter what kind of 2017 you had in regards to your books, I have a strong feeling that 2018 is going to be much, much better. Now is the time to focus on  your goals for this year and I’m right there with you.

What are some of your goals this year?

  • Do you want to find out how to start writing a book?
  • Do you want to write and publish a book?
  • Have you just finished a book and want to know how to launch it?
  • Are you having trouble getting reviews and need to figure out how to get more?
  • Have you finished your manuscript but need to know how to get it ready for publication? (If so, check out my e-book From Writer to Author.)
  • Maybe you are looking for some ‘author/writing’ groups on social media to join for support.

Whatever your goals are for this year, I have faith in you. You CAN do this.  It’s so easy to let fear get in the way but don’t let it.  One of my favorite quotes is from the author Jon Acuff, “Quit asking fear for permission to do that thing that you know you’re supposed to do with your life.”  I say just GO. FOR. IT.  The business of writing is a learning curve and full of twists and turns but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. On a small scale I have achieved my dream of becoming an author and I know that it can only grow and get better  from here.


Happy New Year!

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Some of my goals this year include:

  • Publishing two children’s books. (One will be the second in my Boys Will Be Boys Series and the other will be a stand alone.)
  • Publishing my first book of fiction.
  • Relaunching my first four books.
  • Getting more reviews for my books.
  • Actually launching my next children’s book, Brock’s Bad Temper (And The Time Machine) and see if I can make #1 status on Amazon in a children’s category.
  • Getting into major bookstores like Barnes&Noble and Books-A-Million.


My goals for you all as my readers are:

  • To continue to provide accurate, relevant, actionable content that you can use on your author journey.
  • Trying some new things this year and letting you know about my experiences.
  • Adding a few more posts this year to encourage you on your journey.
  • Having more guest posts by other authors so you can get different perspectives and learn about new authors.

I encourage you to write down some goals and how you plan to achieve them.  From there, start taking one step each day to achieve your goal. Read a chapter in a book, take one section of an online course, find a mentor and ask questions, etc.  I will be cheering you on all the way.




Book Lovers Rejoice! Smashwords End Of Year Sale.

Are you a book lover just like me? Did you or someone you know receive an e-reader for Christmas? Are you looking for some great deals? Then I have the sale for you.  Book Lovers Rejoice! Smashwords End Of Year Sale.

Book Lovers Rejoice! Smashwords End Of Year Sale



For those who don’t know, Smashwords is a platform for independent authors to publish their e-books. To date, they have published 471,643 e-books. You can find books on all topics from adventure to business to inspirational and science fiction. There is a book for every readers taste on this platform. You can find books discounted from 75% all the way down to FREE in their end of year sale. Check it out via the links below.

I have a special place in my heart for Smashwords because that is where  I got my start. I published my first book, Lithium Dreams And Melancholy Sunrise, as an e-book via this platform. My books are on sale at 25% off and can be found via the link below.

So what are you waiting for? Go check it out. You may find your new favorite author or your next great read.  The sale runs from Dec 25 th-Jan 1st.



E-book Season: Smashwords End of Year Sale

Did you know that the days after Christmas start e-book season? Normally we think of e-books being great gifts all throughout the year, but the seven days after Christmas is when a huge boom in e-book purchases take place. Why is this? Because people are receiving new e-readers for Christmas and need to fill them up with lots of new books from favorite and yet to be found authors. People also receive gift cards too so that helps a bit too. If you are a published author or will be publishing your e-book very soon (like before Christmas) or you just love books period, I have the sale for you. Introducing E-book Season: Smashwords End of Year Sale.

E-book Season: Smashwords End of Year Sale.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Smashwords, they are an e-book publishing platform for independent authors. I have a special place in my heart for them because that is where I got started and published my first e-book, Lithium Dreams And Melancholy Sunrise. From December 25th through Jan 1st they are having their first ever end of year sale. Books will be discounted from 75% off to FREE. Now, who doesn’t love that? Books at a discount for seven days straight. Sounds like heaven to me.

E-Book Season: Smashwords End of Year Sale

Photo by Maarten van den Heuvel on Unsplash

So put some money aside or save that generic gift card to shop until your heart’s content. While others are out amidst the post sale madness, you can cozy up with your new favorite author and escape for the day.


Gifts For The Authors In Your Life.

Do you have an author in your life? Are you looking to get them something different instead of another journal or feathered quill pen? Are you looking to get them something that will help them. Then check out this list of gifts for the author in your life.

Gifts For The Author In Your Life.

Grammarly Premium-If the writer in your life struggles with spelling, word tense, or punctuation, get them the premium version of Grammarly. This advanced program fixes critical spelling and grammar issues, has advanced checks for punctuation, grammar, sentence structure and context, vocabulary enhancement, genre specific writing style checks, and plagiarism detection.

Kindlesniper– This amazing course will teach the author in your life how to build a book business on Amazon, how to do research, write a first draft, format and edit, launch a book and much, much more. The instructor of this course, Jonathan Green, is a best-selling Amazon author. I’m working through this right now and it is truly amazing.

Writer’s Digest Subscription-This magazine will be a huge help for your author throughout the coming year. It’s a good way for them to keep up on the latest news, views, and publishing trends.

Gifts For The Author In Your Life

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

Writer’s Market-This is also a great resource for both authors and writers. Writers who want to freelance and write online can find lots of markets to pitch their work. Authors can find lots of information on writing and publishing in this book as well.

KDP Rocket-This software program will help the author in your life find profitable book ideas fast, get more readers to their book on Amazon, increase their kindle rankings, and find profitable keywords in seconds. This is a very valuable tool. Find out more at:

Book Review Targeter-Do you know an author who is struggling to get reviews for their book? This program will find REAL reviewers who have read books similar to theirs and find their contact information so you can email them about reviewing your book. There are many reviewers on Amazon who post their contact information via their email or web site but it can be hard to find them if you have to sort through 800 reviews. This program does that for you so you can start contacting people for reviews. For more information:

20K A Day: How To Launch More Books And Make More Money By Writing Faster, Better, and Smarter-This book will give you everything you need to write twenty thousand words a day so that you can write faster, defeat writer’s block and have more free time.

Breaking Orbit: How To Write, Publish, and Launch Your First Bestseller on Amazon Without a Mailing List, Blog, or Social Media Following by Jonathan Green-This book will show you how to break down a novel into easy, manageable tasks, how to build a business behind your books, how to get reviews, how to design a cover that will fly off the shelves and much, much more.

Fun Gifts.

Kindle Unlimited Subscription-Your favorite author can download millions of books for one flat monthly fee.

P.J.’s-Sometimes when we’re trying to work on a manuscript, comfy trumps everyday clothes, hands down. This is especially true if we are working while sick or the weather is crappy outside. It’s kind of like being in your own little writing cocoon wearing your jammies and drinking your hot beverage of choice.

Ergonomic Writing Accessories-Help take the stress off the body with ergonomic keyboards, mouse, and mouse pads.

A domain name and hosting-An author needs a permanent piece of real-estate on the internet, so why not buy them a domain name and a year of hosting. Many hosting sites have sales all the time and a domain name isn’t expensive either. You can probably set up both for under $100.

Restaurant Gift Cards-Do some research and find out what restaurants deliver to your author’s address.  This way, they can order lunch and have it delivered when they are deep in the trenches of working on that novel, article, or blog post.

Choose one of these gifts today and your author will be on their way to an even more successful year.




Check This List: Books For the Fantasy/Horror Reader in Your Life

Are you still looking for books for the book lover in your life? Are they into horror and fantasy? Do you want to buy them something by an author other than Stephen King or J.R.R. Tolkien? Not that they aren’t awesome, because they are.  If you are looking for a book by an author they have never read before, then check this list: Books for the Fantasy/Horror reader in your life.

Check This List: Books for the Fantasy/Horror Reader in Your Life.

The Knight of Cups: The Danse, Book 1 by Kevin Wright.


While investigating a gangland murder, a Chicago Police detective finds the world is darker than he ever imagined.  A world where evil is real, vampires gather in alleyways, and the most dangerous predator is not what you think. Are police detective Tom Chapel’s experience and skills up to solving the murder? And who is Pieter Durant?

The Queen of Pentacles: Danse Book 2 by Kevin Wright.


There are several breeds of creatures that are hunting in the night and  pretending to be human during the day. A war is brewing. Police Detective Tom Chapel finds himself standing between the two and wondering which side to take. He is between a Synod of Crows and monstrous spin off of the Russian mafia. Will the choice be made for him? And where is Pieter Durant?

Zombie Turkeys by Andy Zach


Sam Melvin, an under-achieving e-reporter from a small town changes forever when he meets turkeys that won’t stay dead. They can be chopped, shot and burnt, but they come back stronger. The undead plague of poultry spreads across the nation. Sam and his editor, Lisa, continue to track these creatures, tracking turkeys and fleeing bloodthirsty hordes, doubting their abilities to survive.


Rabbit In Red by Joe Chianakas

Seventeen horror loving teens are gathered at Rabbit in Red Studios to participate in the most terror-filled, blood-drenched contest of their lives, put on by horror producer James “JB” Bell. It is a race of the best of the best with rewards of cash, internships, and a career making the movies they love. However things aren’t always as they seem. Will the main characters, Bill and Jaime be able to save their friends or will they all become victims of JB’s twisted plans?

Give someone on your list a spooky read for Christmas today.



Happy Holidays: Children’s Book Recommendations

Happy Holidays: Children’s Book Recommendations. It’s that time of year again. The height of the holiday shopping season has just begun.  I recently learned that Iceland has an awesome tradition of giving books on Christmas Eve and staying up all night to read them. Sounds like a winner to me. Here are some book recommendations for the children in your life.

Children’s Book Recommendations.

Don’t Eat Your Boogers (You’ll Turn Green) by Carrie Lowrance.

Goober McGee has a bad habit, he eats his boogers! His older brother, Sludge, warns him to quit or he will get a case of Boogeritis. Then one day Goober wakes up and he’s green-everywhere!

HaHa! Color Me Joke Book by Neesha Mirchandani

This is the world’s first social coloring book. It combines joke telling and coloring which also helps grow children’s brains and sharpen their fine motor skills. Also, when you buy a copy, a child in need gets a copy. If you are looking to spend some time with your children or grandchildren, this is the ultimate bonding gift.







Worst Christmas Break Ever (Brad Finckley Series Book 1) by Jennifer Waddle

Brad Finckley only put one thing on his Christmas list but he gets way more than he bargained for in this hilarious, laugh out loud read.


Worst Summer Camp Ever (A Brad Finckley Book) by Jennifer Waddle.

Brad Finckley had never been to summer camp before and when his Mom signed him up, he had a feeling it wasn’t going to be good.  She was always afraid he would get food poisoning or sleepwalk into the woods. Follow Brad’s crazy adventures when he winds up at the worst summer camp ever.

 The Pout Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen.

This can be the season when your kids tend to pout when they don’t get their way. The story of the pout-pout fish is about a fish that spread the ‘dreary wearies’. He gets some help from an unexpected friend. This book is a New York Times Bestseller.

The Snail Who Forgot The Mail by Sigal Adler.

It’s easy for children to want things “here and now” and sometimes it can be hard to teach them patience. The snail in this book forgot the mail and the king of the kingdom where he lives is not very happy. However, the snail knows that patience is key.


I Get Angry When (a day in the life of a little kid) by Jennifer Waddle

It’s easy for kids to get angry sometimes. How do we teach them to handle it better? This book includes free coloring pages and a bonus incentive.


Wonder by R. J. Palacio (Ages 8-12, Grades 3-7)

As you probably already know, Wonder is about a boy with a facial difference. I have chosen to add this book because we are going into a season of kindness and giving and I think it is appropriate. I also love that it has started a ‘Choose Kindness’ movement. I  can’t wait to download it and read it myself.


These are just a few suggestions in children’s books for the upcoming holiday season.  Instead of the latest video game or other electronic distraction, choose a book that the child in your life will love and open their world to new people, places and experiences.











Things I’m Thankful For This Thanksgiving As A Writer

Things I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving as a writer.  There are many people and resources that I am so thankful for that make my writing life so much easier.

Things I Am Thankful For This Thanksgiving As A Writer.

My talent-I am so thankful I am blessed with the talent to write. I absolutely love what I do. When I write I feel like I am doing exactly what I was born to do. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else with my life.

Living in a digital age-We use the internet all the time and don’t even think about it, but I’m so thankful I live in a digital age. It makes it is so easy to write and publish a book and there are so many resources out there to help on the journey. Sometimes it can be a little overwhelming, but I wouldn’t have it any other way and it definitely beats the alternative.

Grammarly-I use the free version of Grammarly and I love it. It helps correct the  mistakes I don’t see or totally miss and makes my writing much more polished.

SelfPubBookCovers-I have bought six book covers from this website. My covers for Lithium Dreams And Melancholy Sunrise, The Safety of Objects, and Shadow Of Soul have all came from this site. It has tons of choices, is easy to use, and is cost effective. I love it and think the cover artists are very talented.

My Illustrator-Jeanine Henning is the illustrator that did the cover and illustrations for Don’t Eat Your Boogers (You’ll Turn Green) as well as my upcoming children’s book, Brock’s Bad Temper (And The Time Machine). I’m so thankful that I found her because she is super talented, professional, and always fun to work with.

Things I Am Thankful For As A Writer.

Photo by Jessica Bristow on Unsplash

My Interior Formatter-Maureen Cutajar is the talented lady behind and always makes the interior layout of my books look fabulous. I’m very thankful I found her because formatting my own books is rather daunting to me.

My Local Author Friends-I’m so thankful for my local author friends and love seeing them at events and keeping in touch online. Knowing you have someone who lives close by who is in the same boat can be very comforting. It’s always nice to share resources and bounce things off of each other.

Independent Bookstores-I love independent bookstores and how they value local authors. They are key to helping us get exposure locally.

Other Things I Am Thankful For In My Writing Journey.

Author Events-I’m thankful to live in an area where local independent bookstores value local authors. Many of the stores in my area have author events at least twice a year and some have open mic nights once a month for local authors to showcase their work. They are an amazing resource and I don’t know what I would do without them.

My online author friends-I’m thankful for my online author friends as well and being able to get feedback and share resources as well as building friendships.

Writer’s Digest-I love getting this magazine bi-monthly and keeping up on the latest in the writing industry.

My family and friends who support my dream-I’m not talking just monetarily. It’s great having people around that get excited when a new book comes out and that come to see me at local author events.

So, if you are an author, what are you thankful for this Thanksgiving as a writer? I would love to know.





Got Your Back? The Importance Of Back Matter In Your Books

Every writer knows the importance of a great story, cover, and all the other elements that make up a good book. We spend hours writing, re-writing,  and editing. We make sure our cover looks perfect. We scan our interior to make sure every typo and punctuation mistake is corrected. Finally, we are done and we are ready to send our file to our interior layout person to be formatted for e-book and print. Not so fast. There is one very important part that you’re forgetting. This is called your back matter. What is back matter? Back matter is the information you add so your readers know what your other books are, how to get in touch with you, learn more about you, etc. There are various parts to your back matter. Got Your Back? The Importance Of Back Matter In Your Books.  If you don’t have your own back and make sure people know where to find you and how to get in touch with you, then who will?

Got Your Back? The Importance of Back Matter In Your Books.

Examples of back matter.

About the Author-This is where you write your biography and tell people all about your writing journey.

Other Books-This is where you list your other titles.

Book Club Questions-A fun way to engage your readers is to add questions at the end of the book for discussion. By doing this, who knows someone may choose your book for their own personal book club  which can lead to several reviews.

Got Your Back? The Importance Of Back Matter In Your Book

Photo by on Unsplash

Recipes-If you have a passion for cooking and mention certain meals in your books, why not add some recipes too.

Checklists-If you are writing a non-fiction book, you may want to add a link to a checklist or personal assessment for your reader to fill out and get feedback on.

Social Media Links-Add all the links to your social media accounts from Facebook, Pinterest, Google, your website, your blog, etc.

Mailing List Invite-Casually invite your readers to learn more about you and your books. (Ex: Please sign up for my newsletter to keep up on my latest releases, enter contests, learn more about my characters and more.)

Request reviews-This is a great way to get reviews. Simply put, If you liked this book, please leave a review on Amazon.



There are various elements to back matter and you don’t have to use every one. If you are a new author and only have one book, make sure your bio, social media accounts, an invite to your mailing list, and a review request are included. If you have several books, make sure you list them all, add your bio, add social media links, mailing list invite and review request. Book club questions, checklists/assessments, and recipes are just fun extras to make it interesting. Whatever you do, make sure you add this simple page to your book. It makes you more ‘human’ and ‘reachable’ and your fans will love that.