Monday, April 25, 2016

The Letter U and some great news!

It's my birthday today and what better time to say Yay! My psychological thriller Mâtowak: Woman Who Cries has found a home with Dancing Lemur Press and will be published in October 2016! I am so excited! My heart is doing double-double time!

Dancing Lemur Press is also the publisher of the anthology Parallel: Felix Was Here, all of our Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh's SciFi Cassa Series books, Beverley Stowe McClure's Under a Purple Moon, and Bloodwalker by Lexa Cain, to name a few!

To add to this, I'm doing the letter U today at Insecure Writer's Support Group! Hope you can stop by. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

FNN Report: Pope signs boxing match contract

FNN religious reporter Mathew Mark Lukejohn filed this report from Rome where he attended a press conference.  The Vatican announced today that Pope Paul will participate in a boxing match. The Pope signed a contract with ESPN to fight Archbishop Guisippe Al Fresco, a prelate who often disagrees with the Pope.

The Pope challenged De Marco last week when the two had a shouting match at a meeting.  The fight will take place during the summer in the open air plaza in front of St Peters basilica.

Premium tickets will start at 1500 dollars. These buyers will sit in a grandstand built in front of the basilicas front steps and for another $2500 will get a plenary indulgence.

Standing room tickets will cost $500 and buyers can add a ten-year indulgence for an additional 250 dollars. The fight will be carried live on pay-per-view with an global audience estimated at a billion viewers, making it the biggest sports event of all time.

All profits will go to defray the Vaticans cost in searching the basilicas basement for lost or forgotten relics and/or bodies.

The Pope will fight under the name Paul the Puncher and Al Frescel will use Killer Joey.

The Pope started working out to prepare for the fight.  He now spends five minutes every morning and evening to improve his footwork and agility.  Archbishop Al Fresco is concentrating on losing weight before the match.

hank quense

Hank Quense is the author of 50 published short stories along with four novels and three collections of stories. All of these are humorous and/or satiric scifi and fantasy. In the non-fiction area, he has over a dozen articles published on fiction writing and he's the author of the Fiction Writing Guides series and the Self-publishing Guides series. Both series consist of a number of ebooks. The Fiction Writing Guides and the Self-Publishing Guides are an outgrowth of his lectures on both subjects.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Ask PZM: April - New Marketing Opportunities

Q: What new book marketing opportunities have you been exploring?

Book Planner:

Because I think highly of book designer Joel Friedlander I have been trying out his new monthly subscription program after first listening to his introductory video about this new book publication planning software.

I do believe this software subscription may be invaluable for authors who are starting to self-publish and do not know the myriad tasks this requires and the timetable for such tasks.  On the other hand, after eight years of self-publishing I have my own systems and do not plan to continue paying for this subscription. 

Yet as a subscriber may cancel any time, I recommend that, if you are new to self-publishing, you check out the information on the site and consider trying out the system to see if it helps you. 

Publishers’ Desk:

I have had the unpaid subscription to the manuscript submission portal for some time and just now I finally decided that, to be fair to the service and my books, I should try out the paid subscription. 

Thus I paid for a whole year and am in the midst of preparing the submission information for each book.  (Note that a paid subscription allows you to upload as many book projects as you want.)

It is too soon to provide a review of this portal, although now I am giving it a fair tryout.

Indie Writers Support:

I was very excited when I got an email from describing a paid Facebook ad campaign based on an algorithm developed for targeting fans of specific book genres.  As I had recently attended a tech meetup in LA about such Facebook algorithm development, I understood how this could work and that it is a legitimate.

Thus I paid Indie Writers Support $50 for a one-month campaign on Facebook with a link to the Amazon page of my military thriller LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS. 

And then nothing happened as far as I could tell.  I emailed Indie Writers Support and got patchy replies that weren’t very helpful.  I then emailed to say, based on my perception of what is or is not happening, I would have to give negative feedback in this guest post. 

I then got a reply that I would receive proof of the Facebook campaign, but so far I have not received this.

In conclusion, although this could have been a great opportunity, I cannot recommend it.

Q: Have you had any unusual publishing experiences recently?

A while ago I queried a traditional publisher for a nonfiction manuscript and, not unusually, did not hear back.  Then months later I got an email saying that this publisher discovered it had more open slots than realized and was going back through submissions it had previously received.  Would I like to submit the manuscript for an answer within two weeks?

I emailed the manuscript and in about 2 ½ weeks I got a surprising answer: Would I like to pay to have my book published by this traditional publisher?  This publisher assured me that it does not reveal which of its books are traditionally published and which paid-for-by-the-author. 

This would supposedly be the appeal for me as I would not have to tell anyone I paid for the publication and, as the company is also a traditional publisher, people would assume the company had published my book.

First, if I were to accept this proposal, I would feel I was being dishonest.  And second, if I’m going to pay for publishing, I’ll self-publish for much less than what this publishing company wanted to charge me.

Why am I not revealing the name of the company?  I do not want to cast doubt on any authors whose books are published by this company.  Those books may or may not be traditionally published.

In conclusion, while I’m comfortable being a self-published author, if any one of my books is published by a traditional publisher, I want that to be a legitimate publishing deal. 

Phyllis Zimbler Miller (@ZimblerMiller on Twitter) blogs on book-related topics at and her fiction ebooks on Amazon can be read for free via a Kindle Unlimited monthly subscription at and her nonfiction ebooks on Amazon can be read for free via Kindle Unlimited monthly subscription at

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

IWSG: A - Z Challenge.

It’s time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month. We encourage everyone to visit at least a dozen new blogs and leave a comment. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs. 

The awesome co-hosts for today are:

Please stop by and thank them for their time. 

Today I'm over at the Insecure Writer's Support Group with my choice for letter E. Hope you can stop by. And if you haven't, don't forget to sign up for  our newsletter

Whether English is your first or second tongue, it's a tough language to master. If remembering when to use the verbs LIE and LAY is difficult for you, try memorizing these two nursery rhymes: 

Now I lay me down to sleep,I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
(Use LAY if there's an object; in this case, it's my body. Substitute ME for anything and it's LAY)

Matthew, Mark, Luke and John,
Bless the bed that I lie on.
(the verb LIE, (to recline) doesn't require a direct object)

Happy A - Z Challenge, everyone!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Ask PZM: March 2016 Q & A

Q:  Where on the web can I best use the cover of my book(s)?

Before I answer this question, let me say that I am assuming your book cover – whether ebook or physical book cover – has at a minimum a title and author name that can be easily read in the small photo sizes that appear on Amazon and social media sites. (An example of a book cover that might not work in the following discussion is one that uses difficult-to-read fonts.)

To begin with, I am not a big fan of using a book cover as a profile photo on social media.  Especially as an author you should use a profile photo of your face in order to help connect with potential readers (unless you are purposely hiding your identity).

This also means the profile photo should only be of you unless two authors co-wrote the book and share the social media account rather than having two separate accounts.  (In my opinion two accounts rather than one would probably be a better marketing strategy.)

There are lots of online places to use your book cover or covers:

Images on social media that display behind the profile photo such as on Twitter and Facebook. (For an example see ) You can use the site Canva to easily create these images by uploading your book cover(s) to the specific social media image templates provided.

On individual tweets or Google+ and Facebook updates. (On Twitter you have to create the text of your tweet so that there are enough characters remaining to allow attaching a photo to the tweet.)

On your email signature.

On guest posts you write for which you are allowed a profile photo and additional images.
On Pinterest where you can create a board for your book and then add pins to the board that relate to the book. For example, if you publish a book on knitting, you can use the book cover on your book’s board along with pins of different knitting projects.

·      On your website in appropriate places.  Although this seems obvious to have your book cover(s) on your author website, check whether there is more than one place on your website where the book cover(s) could legitimately be displayed.

(FYI – Because my author blog is on the home page of my author site, I do not have individual book covers displayed on the home page.  This is a decision I made for my marketing goals, particularly because I wanted to separate my fiction and nonfiction books on the same site.)

Q:  Is it okay to question the recommendations of my web developer/designer for my author website?

Absolutely!  Most web developers/designers are interested in the layout and design of websites.  They are not usually experts in the marketing of what is featured on those websites.

You as the author need to work with your web person to ensure that the site is easy to use for site visitors (called UX – user experience) and achieves your marketing goals.

Since 2008 I have been involved in digital marketing, and I constantly view websites that are not effective from the perspective of the site visitor.  This is why I co-launched on March 1st the site to promote the strategies of MAD – marketing, art production, development – working together from day one.

The marketing component is what you yourself need to fulfill when you are hiring a web person.  You need to consider site elements that would interest site visitors as well as resist recommendations of elements for your site that would hinder the visitor experience.  (One such hindrance example would be requiring a visitor to register and then sign in before viewing your site.)

If your web person says “everyone is doing it this way,” remember that a) this may not actually be true and b) this may not be the best for your site’s marketing goals.

In fact, when working with a web person, it is important to make it clear that you are a partner in this project.  You can provide valuable marketing and UX insights to help the web person achieve the development/design goals.  The end result must serve to make it easy for visitors to your author site to interact with that site.

And to tie this month’s two questions together, remember that search engines may bring people to pages on your site other than the home page.  This is why considering where else on your site you might include your book cover(s) is important to discuss with your web person.

Phyllis Zimbler Miller (@ZimblerMiller on Twitter) blogs on book-related topics at and is the author of the Kindle ebook “Top Tips for How to Market on the Internet With Pictures.”

Read her TrioGeek origin story at