Step-By-Step Self Publishing on Kindle: Book Formatting

BC Brown Books Kindle Self Publishing Book Formatting

We’ve covered how to establish a Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) account and how to set your product pricing and royalties in the Getting Started post and we’ve talked in more detail about the individual product details in the Book Basics post. With all that great information, you’re ready to go, right? Except…wait, what is your product?

If you’re reading this I’m to assume you’ve written a book.The question remains: have you formatted it for upload? Book formatting isn’t as simple as uploading a Word document. Don’t despair however. It isn’t hard either. With a few easy steps you can make sure your book is professional quality when your reader opens their Kindle and sees your work.

Preparation for publication

Many writers choose to write in chapters which affords editing ease and also reorganization. Like many other authors, I don’t write in a linear fashion, instead relying on a mixture of plotting and scene “stitching” that often has me jumping from place to place in a novel. Doing so would be impossible to keep in one text document, no matter the format, so I keep each scene or chapter in separate documents that can be readily accessed.

When it comes to prepping your novel formatting, you need to put your edited document in a single file from start to finish, front cover to back cover. A lot of writers find that the successful conversion format is a Word document that has been saved as an HTML document. You can do that using the “Save As” command in Word. Doing this will keep any embedded files in the document fixed in their proper spot. No one wants a weird chapter heading illustration jumping about in the final document upload. In this same regard considering any columns or tables in the document formatted as text or graphic images. (Be advised: if you are unfamiliar with graphics programs, stick with the text format or work with someone who has design knowledge.)

Kindle books following their own page formatting, especially as readers come in different shapes and sizes, so be sure to remove any page numbers or references to page numbers. Footnotes (if necessary) should be replaced with hyperlinks that navigate readers to another section of your document like an End Notes page. If writing non-fiction, hyperlinks embedded directly in your text is very useful since Kindle includes basic web function. If you use this feature however I’d warn readers somewhere at the book’s front matter that navigating away to the websites may slow their device.

Acceptable formats

KDP accepts the following file formats for upload:

  • Microsoft Word (.doc)
  • Adobe (.pdf)
  • HTML (.htm or .html)
  • Plain text (.txt)
  • Zipped HTML (.zip) – useful for HTML documents with images
  • Mobi (.mobi or .prc) – Mobipocket file

Word and Adobe seem to be the most commonly used file formats, although Mac Pages is up and coming. Plain text (.txt) once uploaded allows you to preview the document before saving. Amazon does recommend you upload the work in a single HTML file. If unfamiliar with that process, you can use the “Save As” function and choose the HTML format. When using Plain Text, remember that Kindle will automatically re-size and re-order the text. Amazon recommends using little formatting in text files and even using as few hard returns, or hard line breaks, as possible. In my experience, I shy away from using PDF. Amazon does not guarantee the conversion quality of PDFs.

Graphics and images

For most writers this will primarily concern cover art and back cover art. However there are a number of authors who choose to include graphics within the book itself. Fantasy is a prime example. Many authors will upload a chapter heading graphic, such as a House coat of arms or a themed graphic.

Kindle will allow the following graphic formats:

  • Joint Photographic Experts Group or JPEG
  • Bitmap or BMP
  • Graphic Interchange Format or GIF
  • Portable Networks Graphic or PNG

Cover images however can only be in TIFF or JPEG format.

Always remember rights when selecting art and illustrations for your book. Some authors will use images found on the internet, but I caution against that. Unless you have downloaded the content with a full rights release from a reliable source, stick to images you’ve created or purchased (again examining the usage rights you are entitled to). Remember that just because you’ve purchased artwork does not mean you have full use of it.

Basic image formatting guidelines
  • Imagines larger than 450 by 550 pixels will be resized
  • Image files must be 64kb or smaller with aspect ratio of 9 to 11
  • Increase an image’s sharpness slightly but not too much
  • For a full-page image on Kindle, resize it to 450px by 550px

Book covers

Well, what is there to say about this except…your book needs one. Unless you have some considerable skill in graphic design, you should hire a professional cover designer. I know many of you are thinking But I can’t afford that! No fear, there are dozens of professional cover art sites with stock cover arts you can use. I particularly enjoy SelfPub Book Covers. Inexpensive, a large portfolio you can select by genre or surf by artist, and they pull the cover art out of rotation once it is purchased, guaranteeing you a unique cover.

Upload and preview

With these few tips you are well on your way to formatting your book properly and uploading it into Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). All that is left is to try the upload and preview the document, from start to finish, to make sure there aren’t any discernible issues. If there are, identify them and go back to your document to double check. Then simply repeat. Do this as many times as possible ensure your upload is a professional quality as possible. Keep in mind that people will not only judge you on your writing and marketing abilities, they will also judge your work on its quality of appearance.

BC Brown is the author of three novels and has participated in multiple short story anthologies. Having committed almost every ‘bad deed’ in the book of ‘How to Be An Author’, she now strives to educate others through humor and simple instruction.
Books: A Touch of Darkness ◘ A Touch of Madness ◘ Sister Light (out of print)

Upcoming: Karaoke Jane                           

Eliza Green’s 5 Myths of Writing (Guest Post)

Thanks to BC Brown for having me on her blog. I’m really excited to share with you some of 

my experiences as a writer. When I started writing, I had some silly notions about what I 
needed to do to succeed. So here are my top five myths about writing. Yes, I’ve fallen for all 
of these.

1: Putting words down on paper makes me an author.

No. Writing makes you a writer. Changing your story into something people will want to 
read, then polishing that work with a good cover and use of an editor makes you an author. 
That’s a very simplified view, but it’s where you start. The first story I wrote was a women’s 
fiction book. I sent it out to agent after agent and received dozens of rejections. If I was to 
re-read that book today, I’d say I just threw a story down on paper with no care given to 
how it was structured or no attempt to make some characters more than one-dimensional.

2: All good authors wait for inspiration

If we all hung around for that, we’d be a long time waiting! Sometimes you’ve got to coax 
the ideas out. I’m lucky. Some people don’t remember their dreams but mine are vivid and 
interesting. The better ones I jot down. It’s not an idea for a book but a strand, a morsel. If I 
leave it there long enough, it might percolate in my mind. Or maybe I’ll just forget about it. 
Walking is good to help tease out the ideas. If I’m stuck on how to move a story on, I’ll walk 
to make sense of it. 

3: If I publish a book, people will find me.

Oh, how I wish that were true! I started writing in 2009. I’m going into my fourth year of 
publishing with four published books to my name. I started to see traction on my books in 
2015 when readers were finding me organically. Before that, I hounded reviewers (in a 
polite, friendly way). I featured on as many blogs as I could until two years later I burnt out 
and pared my activities right back. Now, I’m ramping up the activities again, but in a much 
more focused way. Finding readers takes time and lots of patience. I’m not the most patient 
person in the world 

4: Now that I’m an author, I can quit my day job.

If only! I still work full time and every other minute of my time goes to my writing career. If 
you’re in this for the long haul, sacrifices must be made. You have to slog it out during your 
personal time until you’ve reached your acceptable bottom line figure, the amount of 
money you can comfortably support yourself on. This year I’m ready to make a change. I 
want to move from full time to part time so I can write more frequently and increase the 
number of books I have. I can’t wait!

5: Authors should expect good reviews if they’ve put the work in.

And authors can comment on bad reviews, right? Wrong. It’s a cardinal sin to expect 
anything in this industry. If you put your best polished story and genre-appropriate cover 
out there hopefully readers will like what you’ve written. But being an author means more 
than hitting a publish button. It means taking criticism and learning to separate out the good 
from the bad. You learn from the good but you have to be open to it. Being humble goes a 
long way in this business. Readers don’t owe you anything. You’ve got to earn your place. 
It sounds like a lot of work and it is. But believe me, the rewards are amazing!

Becoming Human

Tasked with determining the threat level on Exilon 5, Bill Taggart hunts the alien he believes murdered his wife. But what he learns about the race living there forces him to rethink everything he believes.

Back Cover:

Two worlds. Two species. One terrifying secret.
In 2163, a polluted and overcrowded Earth forces humans to search for a new home. But 
the exoplanet they target, Exilon 5, is occupied. 

Having already begun a massive relocation programme, the World Government on Earth 
sends Bill Taggart to monitor the threat level of the Indigenes, the alien race that lives on 
Exilon 5. Bill is a man on the edge. He believes the Indigenes killed his wife, but he doesn’t 
know why. Until now. 

Stephen has every reason to despise the humans and their attempts to colonise his planet. 
To protect his species from further harm, he must go against his very nature and become 

Laura O’Halloran is losing her daily battle with Seasonal Affective Disorder. Her only chance at recovery is leaving the dark Earth for the sunnier climate of Exilon 5. She hopes her credentials as a World Government employee will secure her a one-way trip, but with the ever increasing relocation demand that is not a guarantee.

Her discovery of a deadly secret threatens her life and that of Bill and Stephen. A secret so 
great it could rip apart both worlds.

Buy links


Barnes and Noble




Guest Post: The Path to Expertise by Connor Rickett

Like most experts, I’m not one. 

I like to be upfront about that. It’s nothing to be ashamed of; experts run the world, and look how that’s going. 

Anyway, it’s not really about being an expert. Experts died with the internet. Everything an expert knows is out there. Hell, it’s duplicated. I thought of that expert line with my own brain, and I’m moderately pleased with it. The residual smug self-satisfaction is still clinging to me; as I write, I bask in the heady aroma and some adjective aftertaste.

I was going make a point about how fifty gagillion people have thought of that before me, but check this out! That’s right, zero Google hits. I really am that good. No one bothered to write down: “Like most experts, I’m not one,” in the history of the world, at least back to the beginning of the internet, which is pretty much what matters ever since the beginning of the internet. 

Unique thoughts really do happen. They’re statistically favored, in fact. A mutual friend of BC and myself was reading an essay he wrote the other night, and he used the phrase, “The only letter between Alpha and Omega God has no control over is Delta.” 


So I’m going to make an entirely different point. This isn’t capriciousness on my part, it’s applying a talent for concisely and intelligently making (often stupidly stupid) points I couldn’t care less about in exchange for money from other people. You gotta be able to change things up on the fly. Only this time I’m doing for you, for free. You’re welcome. Okay, this next paragraph is going to backtrack to the exquisite turn of phrase from the other night, so keep up.

If you’re confused, don’t be. Delta is the shorthand for change in scientist talk. Being a scientist type myself, back before I thought becoming a poor writer sounded like a good idea (a quarter million in lost wages and counting!), I had all the tools necessary to think of this, and I wanted to punch Jacob in the snoz for thinking of it before me. Because I might very well have thought of it at some point in the future, and now I can never ever ever use it!Do you feel the anger? Nay, the writerly rage—wait, no, the wrage? Because, I mean, I’m being overly dramatic and hyperbolic here, but, seriously, that was a really great line, right?

Anyway, I do sort of paint myself as an expert. I have a whole blog dedicated to helping other freelancers. Tips, tricks, the best places to buy red ink for your budget sheets,  suicide hotline links, etc. Okay, not really the last two. 

But I’m really not an expert, as we’ve established. What I am, somehow, is experienced. I think those two terms get conflated too often. Experts on turning writing into money and success don’t write about those sorts of things; they’re too busy being rich and successful, and not sharing how they got that way so that they can stay that way. In spite of this, I’ve somehow survived several years of being a writer for a living. It’s been lean living, but it’s also not been outright failure or bankruptcy, which is, scarily, something that puts me in some sort of elite cadre of maniacs. 

So, what knowledge can my experience buy you? What can I say here to help you that a thousand other bloggers haven’t said before—you know, aside from that zinger of an intro?


Keep writing? 

Let’s check Google for that one . . . okay, about 1,800,000 results, so that’s not quite unique, hmmm. . . 

Okay, more unique. Look, I’m on a Stairmaster for hours every week. I hate the things, but I’m going on hike this summer with a buddy who wants to set a record on the John Muir trail—this hike starts with climbing up the tallest peak in the Continental US, and then goes for another two hundred miles. I’m on the Stairmaster, spending hours every week going goddamned nowhere, so that when I have to climb the mountain, I can

I probably still won’t set a record. It’s easy to be in the top 10% of something, it’s possible to be in the top 1% of a few things, but being the best at something is a tall order, and it won’t last for long. You’ll probably never become rich or successful as a writer. Hell, my experience suggests that most of the yousreading this won’t even become successful poor writers. Everybody wants to be a writer, because it’s the only form of immortality most of us can afford. 

Hang on, this is depressing, isn’t it? This won’t encourage you to visit my website or BC to invite me back. Hang on. I’m going to turn this around again . . . 

Unlike most writers, I do

If, at some point today, you wrote a thousand words down, you’re in the top 10% of the “writers” in the world. If you are making an active habit of learning more about writing, learning from the people who do it better, you’re in the top 1%. If you do both these things, and you keep doing them, even if you get nowhere, you’ll be ready to not make a fool of yourself when you arrive at a real mountain. It’s not about getting lucky, it’s about being good enough that no opportunity is missed. This is the only difference between myself most the people who don’t quite make it. 

People don’t not climb mountains because they can’t find them. I mean, they’re mountains, they’re not exactly hiding. They don’t climb them because climbing is hard. Stacking 100,000 words into some semblance of literary merit is hard. Well, if you want what’s at the top of the mountain, you can either climb, or you can watch other people climb. If you want to be, then do. If you don’t want to do, be something else. 

Connor Rickett is a former professional scientist, current professional blogger and writer, travel enthusiast, lover of learning, and reluctant participant in social media. He is currently in the early stages of fortune and fame: debt and infamy. Check out Cities of the Mind, his site for writers and freelancers looking to get better at what they do! Or just follow him on twitter or something. 

Guest Post: Perseverance by Doug Solter

First, I would like to thank Billie for allowing me do a guest post on her blog. Today I want to share a personal story about perseverance. No, I’m not a life coach and I refuse to tell you any secrets about unlocking your true potential. But sometimes writers can’t see the end of the road because we are so caught up inside our story forest that we lose sight of the road that can lead us out of the forest. Now some writers enjoy being lost inside that forest. However, if that writer wants a finished book out of that journey, they better find a way out of that stupid forest before it consumes all their creativity and time. How do I know? Because it happened to me.
One day I had this idea for a new book after reading Twilight. (Yes, I did read it and stop all that snickering. Say with me on this.) Okay, I didn’t like Bella Swan’s character because to me she was rather weak and I like strong female characters. So it got me thinking…
What if the girl was strong? Like a werewolf? Yeah, but that’s been done in some books. Okay. What if the boy was weak? He’s not special and actually needs a strong girlfriend to bring him out of his shell and make him learn how to be stronger? And she can’t bite him and turn him into a brave werewolf because that would be cheating.
Thought that was a good enough idea to start an outline of my story to see if I had a book there. I always outline my books. Not to say I follow them to the letter when I’m writing the first draft, but it’s nice to have something you can go back to if you lose your way on the path through the story forest. (Sometimes you can build a lot of new paths in the story forest, which is fine, just as long as they ALL connect back up at the end.)  So I did my outline and felt like I had enough material for a book. I knew the beginning and the end of my story. Had a few good sub-plots and story elements that would support the middle sections of the book. I felt I was in good shape for the first draft so I took a hike deep inside my new story forest, confident I would get to the other side of the path I was on.
Wrote the first act of the story and everything was great. Halfway into the second act and the story elements were hitting on all the correct notes. So far so good. And then I hit the midpoint of the book and the path stopped.
Hmm. I could see the ending. The path that began the third act was in the far distance. I could see my ending, but I had nothing to connect it with. All the sub-plots and story elements I had planned to use for this portion of the story had already been used or were not strong enough to last into the second half of the story. A novel needs conflict and tension in the middle to drive it towards the third act. But all my good story ammunition was already spent and here I am stuck right in the middle of the novel.
Yeah, I was in trouble.
I rewrote the book from the beginning to see if the creative juices would help build up the momentum and carry me over that empty space. Surely something new would pop into my head to fix that big gaping hole in my second act.
It didn’t work. I was still stranded inside the forest.
I tried writing the book from the werewolf girl’s POV to see if that unleashed an idea.
It didn’t.
I rewrote the book alternating between the boy and girl’s POV.
Nothing. I became frustrated. Why couldn’t I solve this? It’s ridiculous. I was a writer. I created stuff. Why wasn’t this connecting up? It was a paranormal werewolf story not freaking War and Peace.
I abandoned the novel and worked on two other projects, hoping the answer would come if I gave the story some distance. Again and again I would return to that stupid werewolf book and then again and again I would stall in the middle of the second act. I loved the characters so much that a part of me still wanted to solve this personal enigma because I wanted to see these characters complete their story. But I still couldn’t crack it. Another part of me wanted to get rid of the novel so it wouldn’t keep wasting my precious writing time on a project that was going nowhere.
I confided to a writer friend about my torment and my intentions on deleting the book. Joe told me not to do that and kept encouraging me to keep working on it. But I wanted to be free of the torment the book produced in my creative life. So I deleted the book from my hard drive.
Then I loaded the backup file of the novel back on to my hard drive.
Damn it. I couldn’t kill this stupid book. The story still clutched at my heart. Still not wanting to die. Still hoping I found a way to save it from extinction. Instead of deleted the back up file, I left it alone again.
At this point, I had lost count on how many times I tried to restart the book. However, on whatever numbered attempt it was, I decided to simplify. Instead of focusing on escalating the stakes of the plot, I decided to escalate the natural conflict inherit in the relationship between the human boy and the werewolf girl. Make their relationship so toxic that it would keep the reader engaged until the third act drops in to take over. And then that major shift in thinking allowed the words to flow out. A series of new scenes began a new sequence. Three main plot sequences and a new sub-plot sequence helped build a new path through that last half of the second act which finally connected to the old path.
Finally I was able to walk out of the forest with a complete novel called My Girlfriend Bites.
Now I’m not telling writers to stick with every project that doesn’t work. Sometimes you can outline an idea and then find out it’s not strong enough to last 60,000 words. That’s a good discovery because it saved you precious writing time that could be used towards another idea that will make a much better novel. But if you ever find yourself stranded in that story forest like me, don’t be afraid to give your book some breathing room. Have the confidence in knowing that the answer you need to fix your book is somewhere deep inside you. It might take more time than you realize, but don’t get discouraged if the answers don’t come right away.
They will. In time.
Remember that patience and perseverance are always a writer’s best friends.
New Release Blurb:

 Last season seventeen-year-old Samantha Sutton shined as the hottest new racing star of Formula One, but the girl’s rise to the top takes a hit when her boss steals her arch-rival Emilio Ronaldo away from Ferrari and makes the sexist jerk her team’s number-one driver. This sends Samantha’s perfect life into a tail spin that threatens to destroy everything she’s worked so hard for.

Besides her six wins last season, the best thing Samantha won was Manny, the cute German boy who saved her from herself. But Manny chafes against the self-absorbed racing star rising above the ashes of the simple girl he fell in love with. Can he save that simple girl from destroying herself again?

While Samantha’s performance on the track suffers and her status on the team plummets, Emilio rises within striking distance of another championship. Is this the final wake-up call the girl needs to beat Emilio and win the world championship? Or will the pressure break her.

Twitter Twits

Spam. Nobody likes it. Not even with eggs and peanut butter cups. And Twitter can be a confusing, high-trafficked site. Like the rest of social media, Twitter’s function is to be, you guessed it, social.

Authors love (as they should) Twitter for reaching out to readers, connecting with authors and industry professionals, and building their platforms. The downfall many run into when tweeting is the absolute spammy nature of their posts.

If your stream is filled with nothing but:

“On sale now! NAME OF BOOK – Get Yours Today – LINK”
“‘She whispered, ‘I saw the murderer.’ Paranormal Mystery – NAME OF BOOK – LINK”
“Latest #blog – #Author BLAH BLAH’s NAME OF BOOK – LINK”
You have a problem. You are a Twitter Twit.
Harsh words. I know. But think about it. Do you like seeing your ads filled with nothing but hard and soft selling? No. So why do it to the people who follow you?
Sometime over the years we saw FB de-evolve into people’s to-do lists. You know, they looked something like:
Grocery shopping, edits, maybe time for the park later, and then macaroni and cheese for dinner.
Although they tend to much more long winded than that example. FB became void of thought or comment. Slowly Twitter is doing the same, only it’s chocked full of ads of all shapes and sizes.
There is nothing wrong with announcing blog articles or prizes you’ve won or when your book is on sale. Just remember that for every one of those you post roughly 3 billion other people are posting one or two of their own. That begins to look like an advertisement agencies portfolio in quick fashion.
Instead why not try injecting thought or comment into Twitter again? Don’t panic. They don’t have to

be original thoughts or comments (although those are best). They can be famous quotes, followed by your reaction or thought; they could be a funny picture you found online, followed by your reaction or thought.

Do you see a pattern? The vital aspect is… followed by YOUR thought or reaction.
Don’t be a Twitter twit. Remember to vary your tweets with real thought, real reaction. Spam-bots make terrible friends.

BC Brown is the author of three novels and has participated in multiple short story anthologies. Having committed almost every ‘bad deed’ in the book of ‘How to Be An Author’, she now strives to educate other writers through humor and simple instruction.

Meaty Characters

Stories are easy. The world is full of millions and millions of tiny stories begging to be written. Settings are easy. The world is chocked full of scenes, places, and settings to choose. Twists; twists are easy. Have you ever known a story, one worth telling, that went exactly as planned? Of course not. 

What’s not so easy, when it comes to writing, are well defined, unique characters. People that make the reader suspend disbelief long enough to think maybe, just maybe, that voluptuous redhead in the story is a vampire AND a real person. There’s only one way to do that.

Well written characters.

How do you know, for certain, your characters don’t wind up flat, stale rehashes? Attention to detail and follow through.

Writing is hard work. That’s well known. Plucking plot, setting, characters, twists and turns all from thin air isn’t easy. If it were, everyone would write that novel they claim they’ve been meaning to write for years in an instant. It takes an attention to detail that most people lack. One of the most important things a writer can pay attention to is how they present their characters.

Know your world. By having a thorough knowledge of your world, how it works, and its ends and outs, you’ll find who will fit best in the world. They become a well fit puzzle piece, completing the picture you present readers.

Appearance. Keeping the details of your character’s looks is important. This can include anything from their hair and eye color, to birth marks, and even clothing choices. Let’s face it, there are only so many different hair and eye color combinations that can be made (not counting, I suppose, oddity choices like blue or pink or whatever). But staying away from stereotypes (think Gingers in leather, ugh! it happens so often, or raven tresses with blue eyes boring!) lends a reality to a character. It also means to take care that your characters’ appearances don’t suddenly change throughout the story, unless there is a damned good reason (for example: scars/wounds, tattoos/piercings).

Nuances. Also known as ‘tics’ or nervous habits, these minor details carry HUGE weight. These can be portrayed in any manner you choose – finger twitches while idle, slurring the letter ‘R’ in spoken words, twirls a lock of hair when thinking. They all lend depth. Adding customary habits to characters lends believability. Everyone has tendencies and habits, include fictional people.

Vocabulary. Speech is a defining trait. It’s hard to believe someone with a Jamaican accent in 1888 London in any realistic setting. Thus the reader trying to suspend disbelief that the Jamaican is also tracking a shape shifting Loch Ness monster through the streets might have a little trouble swallowing that tale.

World Role. This goes back to knowing your world. You wouldn’t bring a Tibetan monk into a technologically advanced post apocalyptic society and expect him to be the story’s hacker. Once you get to know how your world works then you can figure out what role your character is most likely to play.

History. Good writers know more back story for their character than they EVER put into the story. They know how their heroine got the scar on her cheek (a playground accident where she fell from a slide as a child), knows why the hero wears his hair short at all times (once got it caught in a machine at work and was nearly scalped in the process), or why the mage is terrified of water spells (accidentally drowned her pet rat with her first ever spell). Great writers, however, know when and what history to use in their stories. Is it relevant to use all that information? Probably not, unless it happens to get mentioned in passing how the heroine got her scar. The point is, it is vital to know a ton of information about each character. It is not correct to put ALL of that information in your story.

In short, it’s easy to come up with your character in five minutes. And there isn’t anything wrong with the fact you started a story with a character you thought about in five minutes. The injustice to readers and yourself is if you finish a story with that character the exact same way.

BC Brown is the author of three novels and has participated in multiple short story anthologies. Having committed almost every bad deed in the book of ‘How to Be An Author’, she now strives to educate other writers through humor and simple instruction.

Anthologies: Fracas: A Collection of Short FrictionQuixotic: Not Everyday Love Stories A Chimerical World: Tales of the Seelie Court

She can be found on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Revenge Writing And You

Emotion is one of the most powerful motivators for writers. Every feeling we process can become the catalyst for a story. An old belief is that an artist must suffer to produce truly great art. There’s a lot of truth to that statement. But there is a more powerful emotion that often drives artists – especially writers.


Or, better yet, spite.

Revenge writing is a visceral form of anger management for authors. We’ve been jilted, done wrong, pained, or criticized… Kill the person in literature. What could be more liberating and fulfilling? Since writing is the ultimate form of fantasy for a wordsmith, being able to enact your revenge through that writing has a supreme calming effect.

An excellent movie, A Knight’s Tale, (Don’t you dare judge me.) has Geoffrey Chaucer, supposedly the Chaucer, as a primary character. In one scene, after being wronged by two bookies, he strides, bare-assed and defiant, up to them and declares: “I will eviscerate you in fiction. Every pimple, every character flaw. I was naked for a day; you will be naked for eternity.”

As writers we draw on our lives, our experiences, to shape and feed our art. It’s only right we draw on our own perceived villains as well. I recently had such an experience to feed my art, so to speak. (I go into it in some detail on my Facebook, if you’re interested in the entirety.) I don’t point this out to shame or contradict the reviewer, but to illustrate how the incredulity I felt toward the email could spur me into a more passionate daily writing prompt session than I usually reserve for the task. (You can read the writing prompt result here.)

The point is, anger can sometimes be an author’s best friend. As artists we should strive to write when our emotions are at their highest – i.e. most passionate – including happiness, grief, anger and, oh yes, spite.

The best thing a writer can do is carry a notebook and pen, recording device, or electronic notebook with them at all times in order to capture those moments. Just remember, the next time someone irritates the hell out you… let yourself be angry. Don’t stomp, rant, and vent it out however. Write the sucker down. It may turn out to be the next Great American Novel.

BC Brown is the author of three novels and has participated in multiple short story

anthologies. Having committed almost every bad deed in the book of ‘How to Be An Author’, she now strives to educate other writers through humor and simple instruction.

Anthologies: Fracas: A Collection of Short FrictionQuixotic: Not Everyday Love Stories A Chimerical World: Tales of the Seelie Court

She can be found on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Blog Hijack! Introducing Author Lisa Carlisle

Rock ‘n’ Roll and Paranormal Romance

I’m Lisa Carlisle and I write erotic paranormal romance for Ellora’s Cave. I love paranormal romances and I love rock stars. When they’re together in one story, yum! Here are my latest releases in my Underground Encounters series.
Bloodlust and Metal
On the run from a master vampire, young vampire Layla Black flees London to reinvent herself as the singer of an Eighties cover band in Boston. Devon St. Clair is the bounty hunter hired to track her down. As a shapeshifter with extraordinary skills, his reputation is known throughout the supernatural world. Capturing Layla should be an easy gig that will net a nice profit.
The situation doesn’t go as Devon plans. He wants Layla in his bed, but shapeshifters and vampires don’t mix. They should hate each other, but instead they’re keeping the sheets steamy. When circumstances force them on the run together, their preconceived notions are challenged. If they can evade those hunting them and convince his fellow shapeshifters to help her even though she’s a vampire, they just might have a chance to explore where all that hot, sweaty sex can take them.
A Romantica® paranormal erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave
“The relationship between Devon and Layla in intricately built to lure the reader in. The enticement of love built from the ashes of the past is like catnip keeping the reader sitting on the edge. The evolution is amazing and demonstrates life can change even the most hardened heart.”
4 Cups from Coffee Time Romance and More
Rock Me Tonight
Lily Everett wants a lover, but won’t consider a permanent relationship, because she harbors a secret she’s certain no one will understand. When she meets the singer of a rock band at an underground nightclub, she’s disarmed by his sensual voice and mischievous good looks. After an icy introduction, Lily warms up to Nico’s charms.
A computer geek by day, Nico dons a rock singer persona by night. He’s tired of women pursuing him just because he’s in a band—the sex may be handy, but he wants something more. He’s intrigued by Lily’s reticence.
Keeping her emotional distance proves difficult the more Lily uncovers the intelligent, considerate man hiding behind Nico’s bad-boy persona. Their encounters are hot-hot-hot, but Nico wants more from Lily than sex. When Lily lets down her guard and reveals her other side, Nico’s shock destroys their closeness and they both doubt they can overcome their differences.
A Romantica® paranormal/shapeshifter erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave
A Summer Pick by All Romance Ebooks!
A Top Pick by Night Owl Reviews
The chemistry between Lily and Nico is off the charts. The sex is hot and steamy. They are a great match together in and out of the bedroom. ~ Night Owl Reviews
Recommended by USA Today!
“The trailer for Rock Me Tonight by Lisa Carlisle might be short, but it grabs you right away with the driving beat of the soundtrack. The images are a mix of glimpses of the rock lifestyle and sexy clinches — yum — and then the script draws you in with nerds who become rock stars by night and heroines with secrets. Can we all raise a lighter to this one?”

About Lisa Carlisle

I gravitate toward stories with dark, brooding, isolated characters (think Heathcliff, Dracula, Darth Vader, and Severus Snape) and tough, independent, caring heroines. My reading tastes very widely, though, and I’ll read almost anything–especially paranormal romance, mysteries, and non-fiction on any new topic of interest.
I’m feel very honored to be a multi-published, award-winning author writing in different genres since I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was in sixth grade. For much of my professional career, I’ve written non-fiction — I’ve discovered writing romance is the most fun!
Life took a strange turn when I was younger and I ended up enlisting in the Marines, where I served in Parris Island, the California desert, and Okinawa, Japan. Then I backpacked alone through Europe,  and lived in Paris. I owned a bookstore for a few years before becoming a writer as I love to read. Currently, I live in New England with my fantastic husband and kids.

Fun Extras

Be sure to visit my Web site at and sign up for my newsletter to be the first to hear of new releases, specials, or freebies. You can also explore fun extras, like the playlists for my books.
Coming soon—A Gargoyle’s Embrace.
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Summer Fun is a Writer’s Bane

Summer. We’ve all looked forward to those beautiful, warm months without school, without responsibility, and chocked full of events, barbeques, and family gatherings since we were wee-high to a grasshopper. I have no friggin’ clue what that phrase actually means except I hear my family members use it a lot. And that’s all true. With the exception that, as adults, we continue to have responsibilities during the summer months, we look forward to the excitement of this season as much now as we did as kids. It means much of the same to us now and it did then – fun.

But all that extra activity, all that extra fun, can interfere with our writing. Big time! While planning extra activities filled with grills and family members, those long, lonely hours we spend behind our computer monitors or typewriters or notebooks is dipped into. The fun and happiness we experience from those get-togethers begins to draw from the satisfaction or straight up mania we feel in sitting down to write a new story or finish an old one. I don’t think it’s really necessary to mention how a vacation can take us away from our job of writing, just like it takes us away from any other job we might have.

Managing to continue writing productively during the summer season is often one of the hardest parts
about being a writer. It’s inherent in human nature to want to kick up our heels, have fun, and party instead of work. And writing, whether or not many people who don’t do it believe it, is work.

Balancing our writing life with, well, life is really hard. Especially when the last thing we want to be is cooped up indoors when the sun is shining and the people are people-ing…? Well, you get the drift. During these beautiful months of fun and sun, we have to remain ever vigilant and keep our fingers on the keys and our butts in our work chairs… At least most of the time.


Peeping Toms

Writers are peeping Toms.

We unashamedly eavesdrop and gape into other people’s lives, squirreling away every tidbit we see/hear/smell to use as cannon fodder for our work.

I’m proud of being a peeping Tom. It geez, I fucking hope at least makes my work better, more realistic, to be based off real people/places/events. But all that spying comes at a price.

No, I’m not talking about people coming up to me afterward they’ve read my book, questions floating in the depths of their eager eyes, their lips practically smacking, frothed over at the corners, with queries. They want to know who/what in my stories are based on reality and what/who are pure fiction.

My answer? All and none.

Because it’s true. All of my characters are based on people I know/saw/heard; and none of them are. Same with the situations – all and none.

But my creepy observation is not the sole reason for my Rant today, although it is brought to you in part by it.

I enjoy walking to the dreaded Paycheck. Usually, on my way, I stop in the local market and pick up a bite to eat for lunch. I’m a sucker for fresh produce!

Today was no different from any other. I walked to the

grocery store, dutifully picked out some granola that looked yummy, and proceeded to the checkout. A group of college-aged guys were behind me in line. Only one checkout open and 800 shoppers in the store, of course. While I was trapped behind the old lady with six cases of assorted cat food and a coupon for each distinct variety, I was privy to the guys’ conversation. It went something like this…

Dude #1 (hence known as Blue Hat): “You go to Brit’s party Saturday?”
Dude #2 (hence known as Red Shirt): “Nah, Jenny was bein’ lame. Made me do a date-night thing. We saw Iron Man 3.”
Blue Hat: “Yeah? It any good?”
Red Shirt and Dude #3 (hence known as Holy Jeans): “Fuck yeah.” (This was said impressively, almost in unison.)
Blue Hat: “The party was kick ass! So much ass wandering around.”
Red Shirt: “Fuck; right?”
Blue Hat: “Made me wish I was a gyno!”

Screeching mental halt on my part here.

I know, I know. I know the gist of what these cretins young men meant. They wanted to dive into the glorious beauty of the female reproductive flower, savoring its velvety goodness and imbibing in its mouthwatering musk. Hence plucking the goodness of, well… her.

What popped into my mind was the conversation I had with a fellow female a few weeks ago.

Chick #1 (hence known as Aged Female/65-ish): “Who’s your doctor again?” (This is a continuation of a previous conversation wherein I was discussing my new gynecologist.)
Chick #2 (hence known as Me): “Heartland in Washington.”
Aged Female/65-ish: “Do you like him?”
Me: “Well, I see the nurse practitioner, not the doctor, but yeah. Why?”
Aged Female/65-ish: “I’m thinking of getting a doctor down here. I’ve still got that itch that keeps breaking out – sometimes it’s bad and sometimes it seems like it’s gone – but it’s been bothering me again. Seems silly to keep going up there when they have a new doctor every time I go in.”

Okay, I’m sure you can get the gist of the conversation here.

The guys behind me in line, while savoring the possibility of tickling the intimacies of hot, nubile chicks right and left, had forgotten one prevailant aspect of gynocology – women get old, and vaginas are moist, wet holes, perfect breeding grounds for funk and disease.

So while my in-line compatriots behind me behind the ancient women with the three thousand different varieties of individual, canned cat food visualized smoking hot women ready to spread their legs for them, I desperately wanted to turn to them, smile real big, and say, “You know, I’m pretty sure that God’s mom up here still has her vagina. Maybe you’d like to get a start on your medical career, give her a physical, and see if she has a raging case of herpes?”