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Monday, September 30, 2013

My self-help book still selling-

Step-by-step techniques obtained by the author during her sessions with a leading OCD specialist in NYC, who also endorsed and prefaced the book. Linda Maran knows firsthand the struggles and challenges of having Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, thereby understanding the fears and weariness of other sufferers. Never dry or technical. Full of encouragement, tips and effective methods that work when applied as directed. Excellent for those who cannot afford the specialized therapy or do not live where an OCD specialist is available. 

Editorial Reviews


I have read the book carefully and it is a masterpiece! -- Joseph DeRose, MD

Maran has faced her demons and taken steps to reclaim her life. She's hoping to help others face their fears. -- Gary Buiso,Bay News-A Courier Life Publication,Brooklyn, NY

Offers the best combination of the personal and professional story of OCD. Readers will know exactly what's ahead of them. -- Steven J. Brodsky, Psy.D., Licensed Clinical Psychologist

This clearly written book is a practical guide for all people suffering from OCD. -- Dr. Philip Mango, Ph.D.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Query Tips and Perseverance

     A query is an inquiry; a question, to an editor about a book or article we are interested in having published. Basically, it's saying: here is my project, are you interested?
     First and foremost, we need to target the proper publishing houses for our work. The Writer's Market is a good source to see what various publishers are looking for  It would be a waste of our time and theirs if we send a query about a romance novel to a publisher who only publishes biographies or cookbooks, or vice versa.
     When writing a query it's important that our spelling is correct, and not to go overboard trying to impress an editor with a book or article. It's best to simply state what our book/article is about, the kind of audience it will attract and why. Perhaps citing another similar book, and how ours is different. Mention past publications, if any.
      One page queries should be the goal. We can save our long description for a proposal, if  asked for one. Grab the editor's interest with the opening sentence. But no bragging. After all, is bragging a turn off to you? Well, most likely it will be to an editor too. Not a good idea to say something like: I am a fantastic writer and I know you will love my latest novel. OR, I'm sure my novel will be a best-seller.
       Yes, we might very well be fantastic writers, but that doesn't always qualify our book or article for publication. It's the topic, the market, and the needs of the publishing house that all come into play for a book or article to arrive at publication.
       And as far as it becoming a best-seller. No one can foresee that scenario ahead of time. Sometimes the least likely book becomes a top-selling one, and another that seems to have that potential, doesn't. Our work is in the hands of the readers, along with good marketing. That is what makes or breaks sales.
       Most queries are not answered quickly.  It might take up to two months or longer for a response. Do not call the editor week after week to see if your query was read. Send a short follow up letter if its been four or more months without any response.
      There are publishers who accept simultaneous submissions...meaning, we can send a query to them and also to others who state the same. This way we have more than one editor considering our query. Again, The Writer's Market will give all that information about every publisher listed.
        And then we wait...that's the hard part.  But it can be a fruitful time of improving our project, and comprising a second list of publishers to send queries to, should all the ones we sent warrant a rejection. And if that's the case, read any comments that might have been added to the rejection to make some changes. Most times, however, we will receive a basic form letter rejection, although some editors will scribble a note or two as to the reason why it was rejected, which can be helpful and often encouraging...or not.
       Many of us writers have a 'rejection' folder in our file drawer - it doesn't mean we will never achieve our publication goals. Here are some rejection comments sent to now famous and best selling authors, taken
from the site: The International Civilian. Entitled: Rejected Best Sellers by Craig Brunton:

“Too different from other juveniles on the market to warrant its selling…”
Writer: Dr. Seuss
Aftermath:  300 million sales later and he’s the 9th best selling fiction author of all time.

“We feel that we don’t know the central character well enough…”
Writer: J.D. Salinger
Book: The Catcher in the Rye
Aftermath: After the initial rejections of the book, he did a rewrite and went on to sell 65 million copies.  A few well known assassins later, Holden Caulfield is a generational icon.

“I recommend that it be buried under a stone for a thousand years…”
Writer: Vladimir Nabokov
Book: Lolita
Aftermath: Rejected by every major publisher. (The subject matter probably had A LOT to do with that).  Anyway, the author goes to France and lands a deal with Olympia Press. The first 5000 copies quickly sell out.  The novel is then published by all those that initially turned it down, and reaches combined sales of 50 million.

“An absurd and uninteresting fantasy which was rubbish and dull…”
Writer: William Golding
Book: The Lord of the Flies
Aftermath: 15 million copies.

“Too radical of a departure from traditional juvenile literature…”
L. Frank Baum
Book: The Wizard of Oz
Aftermath: 15 million copies plus the, arguably, most well-known movie of all-time.

“We are not interested in science fiction which deals with negative utopias. They do not sell…”
Writer: Stephen King
Book: Carrie
Aftermath: Random House rejected his first novel, The Long Walk.  He put that book aside and decided to write a new novel.  Carrie would sell 1 million copies.  At the time of this post, his total number of books sold is over 350 million, placing him number 16 on the all-time list.

“This will set publishing back 25 years…”
Writer: Norman Mailer
Book: The Deer Park
Aftermath: He won the Pulitzer Prize.  Twice.

So, let us not throw in the towel, so to speak. One of us might be on this list one day. And if not, that's okay too. We can still enjoy our God-given gift of writing in many other ways...blogs, web sites, journals, and even self-published works. Just keep the words coming.


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Thinking of Writing a Cookbook?

     If you enjoy cooking, writing a cookbook can be fun, but certain rules and formats apply, especially if you'll be submitting to a publisher or agent.
     These tips might help...

1- Have a chapter outline.  List each chapter and the recipes each chapter contains.

2- Place each recipe on a separate page, with the ingredients first, followed by the directions. Double space, if submitting to a publisher or agent. And have your name and title of the cookbook at the top left or right side of each page.

3- If you are including photographs of some recipes (for professional publication) they need to be of top quality. Cell phone pics won't do.You'll need proper lighting and possibly a tripod, for photos to come out clear and bright.

4- Be sure to test every recipe for proper measurements and taste.If you have some from your grandmother and they call for a 'dash' of this, and a 'pinch' of that, you'll need to prepare the recipe and experiment with measurements, such as, 1/2 teaspoon, etc.  Recipes need exact measurements to be consistent each time they are made.

5- Come up with a catchy title. You can check sites such as,, and Barnes and Noble, to see if such a title already exists or not. Also, (before submission to an editor) check to see if the kind of cookbook you are working on has not already been published. Some topics have over flooded the market, such as books on chocolate or Italian cooking. However, the market needs change from year to year, so keep on top of the hot topics. If you check now, you're apt to see a number of cookbooks about gluten-free cooking.

6- Unfortunately. the love of cooking is not enough for most publishers to consider your book for publication. They like to see an author with a platform on cooking. What qualifies you to write such a book?  Do you have any professional cooking experience?Have you worked in the food industry or sold your special treats with success? Why would readers want to read your cookbook?  What is unique about it?  But don't despair. See the next possibility...

7- Self-publishing is another route to go to get your cookbook on the market. offers Independent Publishing, which enables you to have your book published through them in print version, Kindle, or audio. Check out their site at:

8- For some, having a cookbook on the market is not the most important reason for writing one. It's special to put together a cookbook for your family to be passed down the generations. Even for special friends who've enjoyed your meals. And it would make a wonderful gift for a special occasion, such as someone buying a new home, a wedding gift, or even a birthday or holiday gift, with your own holiday recipes included.
    You can have a few copies printed for those treasured people in your life through a local printer. Shop around for prices. Some printers require a certain amount of books to be printed, others don't. The inclusion of photos up the price, so choose only a few favorite recipes to be accompanied with a photo. Or, you can check the services of the aforementioned for, if you'll be having more than just a few copies done.
      I've been fortunate to have a number of food articles published, with a couple using my own photos, and am currently working on a cookbook myself.  Checkout my other blog:

Friday, September 6, 2013

Thinking Out The Ongoing Plot-

    I might have mentioned a snippet of this in another post, but lately, I'm finding that a better way to move along my plot without sitting for hours before the computer, is to think it all out in my mind. Usually while lying in bed or taking my daily walk. I even have the characters interacting...who says what to who. I can "see" them in my mind. (Yes, we writers are an odd bunch at times.)
  For me, it ends up as if I'd watched a movie. And when I watch a good movie, I always remember it. Well, it's the same with my thought-out plot.
Afterward, I can't wait to get to the computer and move the story along. It's like taking dictation from the scenes I see in my head. I love the 'rush' I get when it works out that way. 
Of course, there are days that I can't get past that exciting climax in the plot...and it's like being stuck in rewind each time...but then the mechanism gets unstuck and the plot moves on once again.

"A story to me means a plot where there is some surprise. Because that is how life is - full of surprises."
Isaac Bashevis Singer

Monday, September 2, 2013

My Amish Blog - Keeping Those Pages Turning-

#1-   As I've said and learned over and over again, it's wonderful to write about our interests and what pertains to the genre we want to be published in. I am currently writing Amish novels, so all things Amish draw my, clothing, good and bad behaviors of certain groups, the PA Dutch language they use among themselves, the latest TV shows about Amish, and of course, Amish novels. .
   So, check out the latest post on my Amish blog:
   Thanks for looking.

#2-   Currently, I am writing my second Amish novel. This gives me the enthusiasm and hope that the first novel will be published. But, I realize I am in quite a competitive genre and there are so many wonderful authors writing Amish these days.
        So, I've added a twist of mystery and suspense to mine. (Not such a new concept, but perhaps less predictable...I hope.) My goal is, a story with very few, if any, 'dead' spots.    
     Most writers save the 'who done it' until the end. I still have about 41,000 words to go. So, I am going to give double trouble to the story. One 'who done it' gets solved at this midway point, and the other, a big surprise, will come at the end.
     I want to do this, because when I am dragging out a story just for the sake of 'word count' then it will be as boring to the reader, just as it was for me, the writer, to drag it out.
     I think it's best to let the story carry us along, rather than the number of words completed and the number to be reached. Too much description and idle small talk between characters are parts I tend to skip over when I'm reading a novel. (Yep, I admit it.)  And I don't want readers to do that with my stories.
     So...rather than become frustrated about how I will keep those pages turning with the 'aha! moment' at the end - I'll have two such moments instead of one.
     There's no rules on how many surprises an author can tuck into a story.  After all, many times life throws us one surprise after the other...some good, and some not too welcomed. I've heard people say about their own circumstances: "I could write a book about all this" Why not?