Writers Beware: 8 Publisher Red Flags

Writers Beware: 8 Publisher Red Flags

Red Flags for Authors Looking for a Publisher

In the wild world of book publishing, new authors can easily become overwhelmed. The process of finding the right publisher is not one to rush, and it’s crucial to approach this decision with caution. While there are numerous reputable publishers in the literary landscape, there are also some looking to take advantage of authors. Read on for a list of red flags to watch out for during your publisher search.

1. Lack of Transparency

A transparent publishing process is vital for any author-publisher relationship. If a potential publisher is evasive or unwilling to provide clear details about their publishing process, royalties, marketing plans, or contract terms, it’s time to be skeptical. A legitimate publisher should be open and honest about all aspects of the publishing journey. Contracts should be clear, not leave you with more questions than answers. Authors should know exactly what they’re getting, not be surprised with hidden costs.

2. Poor Reputation

Researching a publisher’s reputation is essential. Look for reviews, testimonials, and author experiences online. Pay attention to negative reviews, complaints, or stories of authors who have had a bad experience with the publisher. A pattern of dissatisfied authors is a significant red flag. Check out the website Writer Beware, which compiles information about scams and questionable or downright unacceptable practices in the publishing industry, including agents and publishers to stay away from.

3. Unrealistic Promises

Be cautious of publishers who make unrealistic promises, such as guaranteeing bestseller status or huge financial success. While publishers should be enthusiastic about your work, overly ambitious claims may indicate dishonesty or an attempt to lure you into a contract. Publishers should never guarantee book sales or promise that you’ll land on coveted lists. If a publisher convinces you that your book is destined to win a Pulitzer, you should probably run.

4. Lack of Professionalism

Professionalism is such a broad term, but it covers many important areas in the publisher search. You want to choose a publisher whose forward-facing appearance makes you proud, not skeptical. Look for things like a well-designed website (no typos!) and quality cover designs. The age-old phrase, “You get what you pay for,” should come to mind. Likewise, any communication you have with the publisher should be timely and professional. Don’t hear back for ages? Red flag.

5. No Author Input

Publishers have the final say when it comes to creative choices in the book production process, but that doesn’t mean that authors shouldn’t have some input. At the end of the day, authors should be happy with their book packaging, so it’s important to feel that your voice is heard. Publishing can be collaborative, and control doesn’t have to be one-sided. Ask your potential publisher how much author input they take into consideration when titling and designing their books.

6. Inadequate Editing and Proofreading

Editing is a crucial part of the publishing process. If a publisher is willing to accept your manuscript without thorough editing or proofreading, it’s a clear red flag. A publisher should have a dedicated editorial team to ensure the quality of your work. Check to determine whether editing is part of your publishing agreement—you shouldn’t have to pay extra for editing services.

7. Limited Distribution and Marketing

A good publisher should have a solid plan for distribution and marketing of your book. If the publisher is vague about their marketing strategy, has limited distribution channels, or expects you to handle most of the marketing yourself, it’s a warning sign. Ensure your publisher is committed to promoting your work and reaching a wide audience. But beware of false promises, such as being told your book will receive special treatment over others.

8. Little Track Record

All publishers have to start somewhere, but that doesn’t mean you want to be their guinea pig. Small or brand new publishers may not have the experience or connections you want for your book. Consider choosing a publisher that has a proven track record and testimonials from previous clients, from whom you can gather valuable information to make your decision. After all, you don’t want to waste time or money on something that may fall through.


Choosing the right publisher is a critical step in your journey as an author. While the publishing world offers many opportunities, it’s essential to be vigilant and recognize the red flags that may indicate a questionable publisher. By staying informed and conducting due diligence, you can protect your work, reputation, and investment in your writing. Always seek professional advice and consult with fellow authors to make an informed decision when selecting a publisher. Remember that a reputable publisher will support your writing aspirations and help you achieve your goals in the literary world.

Transforming Your Book into a Script: A Step-by-Step Guide

Transforming Your Book into a Script: A Step-by-Step Guide

Converting Your Book Into a Script

Adapting a book into a script can be a challenging but rewarding endeavor for writers and storytellers. The process requires careful planning, creative adaptation, and an understanding of the differences between these two storytelling formats. Let’s explore the essential steps to prepare your book for the big (or small) screen.


Step 1: Familiarize Yourself with Screenwriting Format

Before you begin the adaptation process, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the format of a screenplay. Screenplays have specific rules and conventions that differ significantly from book writing—remember, a book may be 80K+ words, but movies rarely exceed two hours in length. Screenwriting software such as Final Draft or Celtx can help you adhere to these standards.

Step 2: Identify the Key Themes and Characters

Begin by identifying your book’s central themes, characters, and plot points. These elements form the foundation of your screenplay and should be preserved as much as possible during the adaptation process. Consider what makes your story unique and captivating, and ensure those elements are retained in the script. You may be unable to carry over every detail, but you don’t want to lose the most important things.

Step 3: Create a High-Level Outline

Next, create a high-level outline of your screenplay. This outline should map out the major story beats, including the inciting incident, plot twists, character arcs, and the resolution. While a book allows for more extensive exposition and internal monologue, a screenplay must be concise and visually engaging. Focus on the visual and dramatic elements that translate well to the screen. Tip: Read a book that has been adapted, then watch the film and note the differences.

Step 4: Break the Story into Acts

Divide your screenplay into three acts, following the traditional structure commonly used in screenwriting. Act One sets up the story, introduces the characters, and presents the central conflict. Act Two develops the conflict, introduces obstacles, and escalates tension. Act Three resolves the conflict and provides closure to the story. By organizing your script into acts, you create a clear and compelling narrative structure. Now is not the time to be a pantser!

Step 5: Character Development and Dialogue

In the transition from book to script, character development, and dialogue are critical components. Since screenplays rely heavily on visual storytelling, you’ll need to convey a character’s personality, motivations, and growth through actions, expressions, and dialogue. While you may lose some of the depth found in a novel, focus on capturing the essence of each character and their relationships in a visual way.

Step 6: Trim and Condense

Books often contain subplots, internal thoughts, and extensive descriptions unsuitable for a screenplay. During the adaptation process, be prepared to trim and condense the narrative. Yes, this is the time to “kill your darlings.” Focus on the central plot and the most critical character arcs, eliminating any extra elements that don’t drive the story forward or translate well to the visual medium.

Step 7: Visual Storytelling

One of the key differences between books and screenplays is the emphasis on visual storytelling. Readers create their own images in their minds, but when you’re watching a screen, it’s right there in front of you and, therefore, must be strong. In your script, use vivid descriptions to create compelling visuals for the audience. Show, don’t tell, whenever possible. Prioritize scenes and moments that can be captured effectively on camera.

Step 8: Adapt the Narrative Style

Books often allow for extensive introspection and exploration of characters’ thoughts and feelings. You’ll need to adapt to a more external narrative style in a script—we can’t hear what characters are thinking on screen. Rather than delving deep into characters’ inner thoughts, convey emotions and motivations through actions, expressions, and dialogue—things viewers can see.

Step 9: Seek Feedback and Collaboration

Once you’ve completed your first draft (yay!), it’s time to seek feedback. Getting fresh eyes from industry professionals and writer communities is a great way to examine your work objectively. Constructive feedback can help you refine your adaptation and identify areas needing improvement—just remember, feedback can be tough to swallow. Still, it’s a critical step in any writing project.

Step 10: Revise and Refine

Post-feedback, don’t be afraid to make changes, refine dialogue, and polish your screenplay until it’s in its best possible shape. Keep in mind that adaptation is an art, and finding the right balance between staying true to the source material and making necessary changes for the screen is essential. No book and film is ever 100% identical, and that’s to be expected.

Step 11: Pitch Your Script

Once you’re satisfied with your screenplay, you can pitch it to agents, producers, or studios. Prepare a compelling pitch package that includes a logline, synopsis, and any relevant information about your background and the marketability of your project. Networking and attending industry events can also be valuable for making connections and opening doors. Most importantly, be confident in your work and never give up!

10 Tips and Techniques to Create Compelling Characters

10 Tips and Techniques to Create Compelling Characters

As an author, one of the most significant challenges and rewards is crafting characters that resonate deeply with readers. A compelling character can breathe life into your story, elicit powerful emotions, and leave a lasting impression on your audience. Whether you’re a seasoned writer or just starting your literary journey, mastering the art of character development is essential to creating a gripping and memorable narrative. In this article, we are going to explore some key tips and techniques to help you create characters that your readers will love.


1. Embrace Complexity

Great characters are multi-dimensional, just like real people. Avoid one-dimensional stereotypes or clichés. Instead, give your characters a mix of virtues, flaws, strengths, and vulnerabilities. Explore their backgrounds, motivations, and dreams to understand what makes them unique. Flawed characters often resonate more strongly with readers as they are relatable and demonstrate growth throughout the story.

2. Show, Don’t Tell

Instead of telling readers what your characters are like, show them through their actions, thoughts, and dialogue. Allow their personalities to shine through their decisions and interactions with other characters. Let readers uncover their traits and emotions naturally, creating a deeper connection between the audience and the characters.

3. Goals and Motivations

Compelling characters have clear and relatable goals that drive the plot forward. Understand what your characters want and why they want it. Their motivations should be rooted in their personalities and past experiences. Having well-defined goals and motivations will give your characters depth and purpose, making it easier for readers to invest in their journey.

4. Flaws and Growth

Nobody is perfect, and that stands true for characters. “Perfect” characters can be dull and uninteresting. Introduce flaws or weaknesses your characters must confront and overcome during the story. As they face challenges and grow, readers will become emotionally invested in their journey and celebrate their progress.

5. Inner Conflict

Internal struggles add depth to characters and make them more human. Explore their doubts, fears, and conflicting emotions as they grapple with their decisions. This inner conflict can create empathy and a stronger emotional bond between the reader and the character.

6. Relationships Matter

How characters relate to others in the story can reveal a lot about their personalities. Develop meaningful relationships between your characters – friendships, romances, rivalries, or family ties. These connections can serve as a driving force for character development and can be powerful tools to evoke emotion in your readers.

7. Dialogue with Purpose

Craft dialogue that is authentic and serves a purpose beyond mere conversation. Dialogue can reveal character traits, emotions, and conflicts. Avoid excessive exposition or long monologues that may feel unnatural. Instead, use dialogue to show the dynamics between characters and move the plot forward.

8. Engage the Senses

Bring your characters to life by engaging the reader’s senses. Describe how they look, sound, smell, and move. Sensory details can make characters more vivid and relatable, allowing readers to visualize and immerse themselves in the story.

9. Avoid Stereotypes

Challenge yourself to avoid falling into common stereotypes or token characters. Be mindful of diversity and representation in your cast of characters. Embrace inclusivity and create a world that reflects the rich tapestry of real-life experiences.

10. Test Your Characters

Put your characters in challenging situations to see how they react. This will help you understand them better and refine their traits and responses. Push them to their limits and watch them evolve, making the journey all the more rewarding for your readers.

Remember, crafting compelling characters takes time and effort, but the result is well worth it. When readers form a strong bond with your characters, they will eagerly follow them through their adventures, and your story will leave a lasting impact. So, invest in your characters, breathe life into them, and watch as they enchant and captivate your audience, making your writing truly unforgettable.

Organizing a Successful Book Signing Event

Organizing a Successful Book Signing Event

Book signings can be a powerful tool for promoting your book, but they don’t just happen by chance. They require careful planning, preparation, and promotion to ensure their success. In this article, we’ll dive deep into the world of book signings, exploring what they involve, their significance, and how to set up a memorable event for your current or upcoming book.


Understanding Book Signings and Their Importance

Book signings are special events where authors connect with their readers in person, signing copies of their books and engaging in direct conversations. These gatherings give readers a unique opportunity to meet their favorite authors, ask questions, and gain insights into their work. For authors, book signings offer a level of connection that social media or interviews can’t replicate. They can attract both planned attendees and unexpected visitors, expanding your readership. In-person interactions offer a deeper level of intimacy, a tremendous asset for authors. However, if you’re an introvert or shy, don’t worry; book signings should be enjoyable and light. Just be yourself, and remember to prioritize authenticity.

So, how do you go about organizing a book signing event?

Before envisioning yourself behind a table, surrounded by stacks of your books and eager readers, there are essential steps to take:

Prepare Your Pitch: Before reaching out to bookstores or libraries, craft a clear and concise pitch for your book. It should highlight why hosting a book signing with you is beneficial. Demonstrating your professionalism, knowledge, and organization will leave a positive impression on potential venues.

Reach Out to Venues in Advance: Timing is crucial. Avoid last-minute requests; instead, contact potential venues well in advance. Inform them about your upcoming book release and express your interest in scheduling a signing event after publication. If you have advance reader copies (ARCs), provide one to the venue to demonstrate your preparedness and your book’s quality.

Determine Book Supply: Once a date is set, clarify whether the venue will order copies of your book or if you need to supply them. Never assume they’ll have books on hand; it’s better to confirm and order from your publisher in advance if necessary.

Create Book Merchandise: People love freebies, so consider creating book merchandise like bookmarks, pins, or Post-its to enhance your marketing efforts. While specific genres may require more specialized items, don’t go overboard. These are extras that, if within your budget, can add a fun touch to your event.

Promote Your Event: Create buzz around your book signing. Use your social media platforms and encourage the hosting venue to do the same. Reach out to local media outlets, send press releases, and enlist the support of friends and family to spread the word. Consider setting up a Facebook event and listing it on your website to generate interest.

What to Bring to Your Book Signing

When the day finally arrives, make sure you’re well-prepared:

Table Setup: Decide how you want your table to look. Check with the venue if they provide a tablecloth or promotional sign; if not, bring these items yourself. Consider having a sign explaining payment options (especially if the venue handles book sales) to streamline transactions.

Display Items: Arrange your books attractively on the table, along with business cards, book swag, and a newsletter sign-up sheet to collect reader information. Remember to bring high-quality pens and cash for change if cash payments are an option.

Your Attitude: Above all, bring your best smile and enthusiasm. Book signings should be enjoyable and an opportunity to connect with your audience. Treat it as a chance to market yourself and your book in a warm and approachable manner. For many authors, book signings represent a significant milestone in their journey, so celebrate your achievement, practice your author signature, and start signing!

Organizing a successful book signing event is not just about selling books; it’s about building connections with your readers and sharing your passion for your work. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can create a memorable event that leaves a lasting impression on both you and your audience. Remember, book signings celebrate your achievement as an author, so embrace the opportunity to engage with your readers, showcase your professionalism, and, most importantly, be yourself. With careful planning, preparation, and a positive attitude, your book signing can be a rewarding and enriching experience that contributes to your author journey. So, set the stage, and let your signature be the final touch on an unforgettable event.

Writer Burnout: What it is and How to Avoid it

Writer Burnout: What it is and How to Avoid it

Writing is often described as a solitary journey, and it’s up to the writer to navigate things like motivation, momentum, and progress. But along the way, it’s not uncommon to hit rough patches—times when things slow down or stall all together. This is burnout and a tricky place for writers to find themselves. Burnout is a form of mental exhaustion that can impact much more than just your writing life. Read on to learn more about burnout, how to overcome it, and how to prevent it in the first place.


Common Causes of Burnout

Burnout can come on fast and seemingly out of the blue. However, there are common factors, including:

  • Taking on too many responsibilities
  • A disorganized work environment
  • Excessive or prolonged stress
  • A lack of success
  • A lack of sleep
  • A lack of support from friends, family, and coworkers

Signs of Writer Burnout

Recognizing the signs of burnout is the first step toward stopping it in its tracks. Many times, writers may not realize they’re fully in a burned-out phase, making recovery much more difficult. Be aware of yourself—both body and mind—as well as outside factors. Check-in with yourself, and use the following list of burnout signs as an index:

  • Headaches
  • Physical fatigue
  • Waking up feeling exhausted
  • General sense of detachment
  • Depression or hopelessness
  • Lack of motivation
  • Anxiety surrounding your writing
  • No longer find enjoyment in writing
  • Moodiness
  • Forgetfulness
  • Procrastination

Preventing and Overcoming Burnout

Writing is a mentally exhausting job, and without the proper approach and self-care, burnout can easily sneak up on you. Whether you’re hoping to prevent burnout or looking for ways to overcome it in your current state, use the following tips to avoid burnout and recover quicker.

1. Take time away from your writing

It’s easy to get so sucked into a writing project that you start to go a little cross-eyed (we’ve all been there!). Words blend together, objectives get cloudy, and you start hating the project you’re working on. Or another scenario: You’ve put so much pressure on yourself that the words won’t even come. This is writer’s block, a common predecessor to burnout. In either of these cases, it’s best to step away from the computer and take a well-needed break. It might be for an hour, a day, or even a week or more. When you’re ready to return, it will hopefully be with fresh eyes and perspective.

2. Get more sleep

It may sound cliche, but sleep truly is a critical bodily function that also impacts our brains. If you’re struggling with burnout, one of the first things you should check is whether you’re getting adequate sleep. No? Make a plan to improve your sleep by setting a bedtime routine and sticking to it. Chances are, with better sleep, you’ll feel more rested and can fight the burnout with greater energy.

3. Try a new hobby

Writers are creative people by nature. However, there are many ways to tap into that creativity outside of writing. Stimulate your brain by picking up a new activity, such as painting, card games, pottery, or simply getting outside for a walk. It can reset your brain and serve as a good source of creative inspiration.

4. Write something else

Putting a big project on pause can be tough, but taking a break to work on something else may prove beneficial. Try freewriting—letting your mind go wherever it wants without a word count or time limit. Or challenge yourself to a new form of writing such as flash fiction, short stories, or poetry.

5. Change of scenery

Depending on where you live, you may be stuck in the house or a small office space for most of your writing time. Cabin fever is a real thing, and it’s important for writers to change their scenery occasionally. It can be as simple as switching rooms within your house, going outside to your porch, or hanging out at the local coffee shop. Sometimes, a simple change greatly affects your energy and focus.

6. Connect with friends and family

Because writing is a solo act, it can feel lonely at times. This is why staying connected to people is important—real, live people outside your story! Take a break from your writing to meet a friend for coffee, walk with your kids, or even just talk on the phone. Get out of your head for a bit and experience human interaction as a reminder of life outside your work.

7. Set boundaries

Writers need to create some sort of routine and plan for their writing. It could be scheduled writing times and durations, planned breaks, and set deadlines. It could also include rules for other members of your household or how and when communication is accepted. Setting and sticking to your boundaries can give you a sense of control and order, as well as help avoid frenzy.

8. Give yourself some love

Above all, writers must remember that they’re only human—and as humans, we have ups and downs. Give yourself grace when you hit a bump in the road. Burnout doesn’t last forever, so if you experience it, go easy on yourself. The last thing you need is additional self-criticism. Being actively positive, both internally and externally, can go a long way in preventing burnout in the first place.

Chances are most writers will experience burnout at some point in their writing careers. Use the tips provided throughout this article to help avoid and overcome it. Then get back to work doing what you love!

12 Social Media Post Ideas for Authors

12 Social Media Post Ideas for Authors

You’ve picked your platform, done your research, and are ready to use social media to its fullest. But what do you actually post? The key here is not to overthink it. Yes, some authors have an extensive marketing plan with scheduled posts and content planned out weeks in advance. If that’s not you, don’t worry. Social media was created to be fun and enjoyable, so you shouldn’t panic if this approach feels inauthentic to you. Here are 12 social media post ideas you can use to get started.


1. Giveaways

Everyone loves free stuff! Run a giveaway for your book around its launch, publication anniversary, or just because you feel like it! Instruct people to follow your account and leave a comment to enter, which will help the algorithm promote your post to more people. Be sure to include details about the giveaway, including dates, eligibility, and how winners will be notified.

2. Cover Reveal

Share your excitement with your followers when you have a new book coming out by revealing the cover on social media. Readers love cover design, so this is an excellent opportunity to tap into the visual aesthetics of platforms like Instagram.

3. Unboxing Videos

When you receive a shipment of physical books (either from your publisher or a distributor like Amazon or Ingram if you’re self-published), film yourself opening the box and seeing the hard copies for the first time. Unboxing videos are popular on social media because readers love experiencing the emotion with the author.

4. Get Personal

Remember, using social media is about more than just selling your book. Readers want to get to know the authors they love on a personal level. What are your hobbies and interests outside of books? Share that content! It will help deepen the connection between you and your followers. Social media is all about relatability.

5. Day in the Life

Readers are curious about what goes on behind the scenes in a writer’s world. Share a picture of your writing space, your favorite notebook full of scribbles, your collage of plotting Post-its, or anything that goes into the writing process. Give readers an update on where you are in the journey and invite them to follow along.

6. Pictures of Author Events

If you have a book signing, reading, or any other event, snap pictures to share with your followers. Did you meet readers at an event? Share and tag them—they’ll likely share your post, which means more eyes on your book!

7. Promote Preorders

Many books go up for preorder before their release date, allowing readers to place an order in advance. Preorders are essential for authors and publishers and can help online sellers like Amazon bump your title up in the rankings. Therefore, social media is a great place to promote a preorder book. Ask your followers to preorder and give them the direct link.

8. Share Writing Tips

Chances are your followers will be a mix of readers and other writers. The author community is supportive, and perhaps someone out there is just starting their writing journey. Post a list of your top tips for writers, or talk about what you wish you had known earlier. Honesty and transparency are what make social media worthwhile.

9. Share Book Quotes

Everyone loves a good quote, whether from a classic or contemporary book. Share quotes that mean something to you. Or even one from your book! Services like Canva are handy for creating images and quote cards. These posts can be great “filler” content when you have nothing else to post.

10. Cross-promote with Other Authors

Part of being an author on social media is being a good literary citizen. It means supporting other authors through reviews, sharing, and cross-promoting. It works very much in a “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” sort of way. If a fellow author has a new release, post about it! Join together with other authors for giveaways or newsletter swaps. It is a great way to make connections in the industry and elevate new voices.

11. Go Live

It might seem scary at first, but talking live to your followers isn’t as bad as it sounds. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok allow you to film videos you can save and post and “go live,” speaking directly to your followers in real time. You can collaborate with other authors to discuss your books or other industry topics. Or simply check in with readers with your updates.

12. Involve Your Readers

Social media is all about engagement—the more people interact with your posts, the more algorithm love you’ll get. Take advantage of features such as polls and questions where readers can leave their own opinions. Ask them for their opinion on book content as you’re writing, let them name a character, or have them choose between two covers for your book. It lets readers feel invested in you and your process and, therefore, more connected and likely to buy.