Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Writing { and reading and publishing } ~

In Their Shoes


Today’s re-blog turns “Show don’t Tell” into “Be don’t Act” :-)

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

No seriously, get in or we’ll be late for the next scene. (Photo: Nick Brocklebank/PhotoAcacia Ltd)

In another life, I was an actor. My undergrad degree is in Theatre; my creative-writing MFA is technically in Playwriting. Now I’m a writer, an editor, and an away-from-Brevity-too-long-blogger. It’s been a battle to manage my time: in some ways, the immediacy of “Be at rehearsal at 7, we open in two weeks” is a lot easier than “Write 1000 words today. Or just 300 good ones. Or maybe do some research…Which project are you working on again?”

That comfort, plus loving Shakespeare, plus being a huge ham, is probably why I auditioned for Macbeth, thinking to myself I’d love to play Lady Macbeth, I’ll probably be a witch (again!), it’ll be something fun to do a couple nights a week.

Instead, the director made it an all-female cast and gave…

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#Smashwords 2017 #Survey


Smashwords If you’re not familiar with Smashwords, it’s a space for authors to self-publish, with no upfront fees (and, with distribution to the most important retailers); plus, of course, a space for readers to find a wealth of books…

And, comparing it with Amazon is simple—Smashwords actually goes to great effort to help authors sell books…

And, even though it was published three years ago, their Indie Author Manifesto is worth a read…

Something else worth reading are the Surveys that Founder Mark Coker writes…

Here’s a bit of his intro to this year’s survey:

“Each year for the Smashwords Survey, I analyze ebook sales aggregated across the Smashwords distribution network.

“We’re looking to identify potential data driven insights that can help authors and publishers make their books more accessible, more desirable and more enjoyable to readers.”

You can read more of Mark’s intro to the survey; but, I’ll put the questions it seeks to answer here:

What are the top fiction and non-fiction categories?

What romance categories perform the best?

How do box sets perform, and which types of box set perform the best?

Do authors who release ebooks as preorders sell more books overall?

How do preorder adoption rates differ across genres (New!!)

What percentage of overall sales in each genre for new titles go to books released as preorders (New!)

What are the pricing sweet spots for full-length fiction to maximize both readership and author earnings?

Do longer books still sell better?

Does FREE still work, and what about free series starters?

Do series books sell better than standalone books, and if so, by how much?

And, here’s this year’s Smashwords Survey:


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If you don’t see a way to comment (or, “reply”) after this post, try up there at the top right…
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Visit The Story Bazaar
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FREE On-line Course in Self-Publishing & Book Promotion
Even though it may say “Fee”, it Really is FREE :-)

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Google Author Page
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

Special Surprise Supportive Post


Very short entry to alert all to a quirky article about a serious Issue

World Toilet Day

It’s World Toilet Day…

After a rather lengthy indulgence in various Tales of the Toilet, the author finally gets to the point:

“In a bid to help break taboos around toilets and make sanitation for all a global development priority, World Toilet Day aims to inspire action by member states and stakeholders to tackle the global sanitation crisis. Today, 4.5 billion people live without a household toilet that safely disposes of their waste. This leaves these people vulnerable to diseases, harassment, and attacks, and it often forces teenage girls to drop out of school.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
If you don’t see a way to comment (or, “reply”) after this post, try up there at the top right…
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Visit The Story Bazaar
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
FREE On-line Course in Self-Publishing & Book Promotion
Even though it may say “Fee”, it Really is FREE :-)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Google Author Page
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

Ten Books To Introduce Kids (of any age! Adults, too!) to Shakespeare by Andi Diehn


Today’s re-blog provides gateways to Shakespeare…   :-)

Nerdy Book Club

When I was about 12 years old, I decided to read A Midsummer Night’s Dream. My mom was impressed. We went to the library and picked it up, along with Hamlet, just because, and I carried them home with a reverence usually reserved for books by Madeleine L’Engle and Noel Streatfield, my usual favorites that year.

But…what were these words? This wasn’t even English, was it? I didn’t understand any of it. Within a page or two of Midsummer, I was done, discouraged, disappointed. I didn’t even attempt Hamlet. Shakespeare, I decided, wasn’t for me.

It wasn’t until about five years later, when a high school English teacher got up in front of the class and performed the “To be or not to be” soliloquy with passion and total commitment that I was willing to give it another shot. And with daily read alouds, a steady…

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Read What You Don’t Know: Ten Diverse Books I Read for my “Reading without Walls” Challenge by Rebecca Redinger


Yes, today’s re-blog is about a very diverse set of “middle-grade” books; but, many adults also like to read them :-)

Nerdy Book Club

This past June, I had the opportunity to attend the American Library Association’s annual conference. I heard a lot of different library professionals and authors speak, but one session stood among the rest. On the last full day of the conference, I joined a room full of children’s librarians for the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) annual awards breakfast. As the award for the Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal was being presented to March: Book Three, author Congressman John Lewis stepped up to the microphone and received a standing ovation. Tears came to my eyes as I thought of all his experiences during the Civil Rights Movement of the mid- 20th Century, and his continued fight for human dignity and equality today. These past few months, a spotlight has swung again on hate and bigotry in our country. While we applaud the triumphs of stories…

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