Pen to Pen: Liv Rancourt on researching historical romances

Vintage glasses and photos with an open blank notebook

For this week’s Pen to Pen Column, Liv Rancourt has stopped by to talk about the ins and outs of researching historical romances. The process is fresh in her mind, as she’s just released Aqua Follies, a gay romance set in the water ballet scene of 1950s Seattle. You didn’t know there was a Seattle water ballet scene? That’s not all her book covers, and keeping track of the historical trivia was quite the task. She has some great advice for digging up the details that movies and history books might not tell you. … Read more

Review: BlankPage distraction-free writing app

A lot of writers swear by distraction-free writing apps to help them get their word done. I’ve never tried one before, but probably should have, given how often I accidentally click away to Facebook in the middle of writing a story. So I was interested to see today that AppSumo is offering lifetime access to BlankPage for only $25. Access to the app usually cost $10/month. I decided to check it out. … Read more

Pen to Pen: Coping with Rejection by K.S. Trenten

A person's hand using a pen to write in a notebook

Welcome to Pen to Pen, a new weekly feature on my writing blog where authors stop by to talk about things they’ve learned along the way. Kicking the series off is K.S. Trenten, a wonderfully creative author of queer fantasy that I met when we both were publishing with the now-defunct Torquere Press. Today, she has some advice for those of us who have experienced rejection. And since that’s pretty much every writer who’s ever tried to get a story published, what she has to say will help a lot of people. … Read more

Guest Author: Sam Thorne, Language Architect

Sexy to Go Gay Romance book cover

If you’ve perused my blog or social media accounts, you already know that I adore Sam Thorne. We both recently had stories in the multi-author anthology Sexy to Go Gay Romance. Her contribution, “Rebuilding the Future,” was filled with the things I’ve come to love about her stories: well-intentioned but socially awkward heroes, deep characterization, and a knack for bringing out the humor of everyday situations. Oh, and adorably besotted protagonists. When Sam’s characters fall in love, they fall hard — just like in real life. … Read more

How to Track Book Sales — Even When You’re Not the Publisher

Image of book pile to illustrate tracking book sales

In this article, I evaluate sales tracking systems that are free to any author with an ebook on Amazon, paying special attention to Pronoun and NovelRank. Why these two? I’ve used both of these for a while because they’re user-friendly and can be used by any author whether they self-publish their ebooks or work with a traditional publisher. I also touch on tracking sales of print books—a much more difficult endeavor.

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An author’s review of PayHip as a venue for selling ebooks

An overview of the PayHip platform for selling digital e-books directly to readers, with a look at its benefits and drawbacks compared to retailer ebook stores like Amazon. The platform is fairly easy to use, but it can be cumbersome to manage sales. It’s up to the author to decide whether the higher proceeds from each sale are worth the extra work. … Read more