Key Steps to Getting Endorsements: Guest Blog Post by Faith Fuller Wilcox

My guest today is author Faith Fuller Wilcox. I had the honor of working with Faith on her book, Hope Is a Bright Star: A Mother’s Memoir of Love, Loss, and Learning to Live Again, which will be published on June 8, 2021. As we worked together, I watched Faith’s grassroots efforts to getting endorsements for her book and asked her to share some of her secrets with you. Take it away, Faith.

Following the completion of my manuscript, I started to hunt for a publisher. I searched for publishers who published memoirs with an agent and those who didn’t require an agent. Sounds easy, right? However, it was a monumental task for me because I was brand new to this industry, and I soon discovered I had many options: self-publishing or publishing with a hybrid-publisher or traditional publisher. Ultimately, She Writes Press, considered one of the top two indie hybrid publishers in the US, welcomed me to publish Hope Is a Bright Star with them.

I tell you this because after completing these accomplishments, I thought I could say, “Phew, I’m done!” But, I couldn’t rest yet, because I learned that in the changing landscape of the publishing industry, publicity of a book is mainly up to the author or the publicist representing the author. Soon, I was researching the key components of a book publicity plan and discovered that securing endorsements was an essential component. Here’s what I learned and would like to share with you. Continue reading “Key Steps to Getting Endorsements: Guest Blog Post by Faith Fuller Wilcox”

Reactions to a Sea of Red: Guest Post by Chris Lippincott

An author’s reaction to editing is something editors worry about, as I did when I returned first edits to practicing psychic medium and bestselling author Chris Lippincott. Chris’s compelling storytelling only needed a light editing touch, and our collaboration on his work  paid off: Spirits Beside Us has been the #1 Amazon New Release in death, grief & spirituality since its release. It’s a fascinating look at his journey into mediumship, describes what the other side is like, and offers some remarkable mediumship readings and healing messages that have proven to be life-transforming to the recipients.

Take it away, Chris.


When I began writing my first book, I thought I was creating a magnificent masterpiece. In my mind, it sounded like it flowed, and everyone would be able to understand exactly what I was trying to say. I wrote about my passion and about what I knew, so the content was certainly present. It seemed like the words had spewed forth onto the page like water from a garden hose. After I had completed all my edits and polished my first draft, I was utterly convinced it was the perfect manuscript. All it needed, in my mind, was someone to proofread my work, and it could soon join the great works of the world. Little did I realize, however, that often my writing style lacked the polish that would make it a great work.

Don’t Take Edits Personally

This came as a blow to my ego as well as a frustrating realization that I actually had much more work ahead of me. When I received my manuscript back from my editor Candace, I was at first horrified by the sea of red all over my draft. It practically looked like there were more red marks and corrections than there were black letters. I thought, “Well, clearly, she just doesn’t like my writing and has got it all wrong.”

Try as I might to avoid the extra work (or the blow to my ego), it began to dawn on me that many of her corrections were, in fact, quite necessary. What author ever wants their own words, their living, breathing manuscript, over which they have labored so tirelessly and finally given birth, to receive the painfully sharp cuts of an editorial scalpel? I venture to say no one would wish that upon their own worst enemy.

What author ever wants their own words, their living, breathing manuscript, over which they have labored so tirelessly and finally given birth, to receive the painfully sharp cuts of an editorial scalpel? Share on X

However, to make our prose sing to the heavens and truly connect with our readers, we need the expertise of an editor well versed in the editorial process. It is their knowledge and expertise that enables them to polish our roughhewn manuscripts into shining gems. Editors are the unsung heroes of the literary world. They rarely receive the credit they deserve as they typically are hidden in the background, while the author’s name is seen in bright lights. However, without these critical editors, few authors would ever have their name in lights. Continue reading “Reactions to a Sea of Red: Guest Post by Chris Lippincott”

Beta Readers on the Attack—When Critiques Get Personal: Guest Blog by Bonnie Bracken

Wallis Simpson 1936
courtesy of Wikipedia

What happens when a writing critique strays from  constructive criticism and becomes an attack on the writer and her writing? I invited historical novelist Bonnie Bracken to share her experience with her recent critique experience. If you’ve ever felt attacked by a beta reader or critique partner, you’ll want to read this.

When I decided to write a novel with Wallis Simpson as my leading lady, I knew my battle to seduce the senior female demographic would be sizeable. They grew up with Edward VIII as a handsome prince, touring the world for the sake of the monarchy’s popularity. He was the original celebrity, held up in the everyday girl’s mind to sell the fantasy: maybe someday he’ll pick me. The same thing happens today: single girls are secretly disappointed when they find out the latest heartthrob got a girlfriend and—gasp—it wasn’t them.

So when Edward picked a woman whose appearance was opposite to the angelic standard of beauty, the press didn’t have to work hard to make her unpopular. She was subjectively ugly with sharp features and dark hair, so half their work was already done. All they had to do was stoke the fire. They painted Wallis blacker than any other woman of the twentieth century. She was the original That Woman, and the nasty press about her was second only by the vicious attacks against Monica Lewinsky. (By the way Monica, my admiration for you is without limits; your recent interviews are the picture of bravery and strength. Brava.)

I knew this sentiment was out there. I knew it. But the level of vitriol and venom in these women’s reactions to my work shocked me to my core. It was as if Wallis personally banged their boyfriend and then with a toss of her hair walked out the door without so much as a good-bye. That heartless bitch.

How much leeway does an author have in assigning thoughts, feelings, or traits to her characters, especially when writing #historical #fiction? Share on X

Examples from the Critique

“You’re writing a book about Wallis Simpson? You can’t do that.”

“I still don’t understand how a man could be with someone who’s ugly and mean. It doesn’t make sense. There’s no way he’d be with her.”

“Trust me, I did a report on Wallis. She was anal retentive and was extremely fearful of people thinking she was a slut.”

When I heard that last one, I immediately thought, “Are you sure you don’t mean you don’t want people to perceive you as a slut?’ In all of my research (which includes reading half a dozen biographies and all the base documents they stem from: the FBI Files, documents in the London Archives and the German Foreign Policy Documents) I’ve never once read this sentiment. Not once. In fact, Wallis was the opposite, embracing her sexuality in the 1920s at a time before we really had a definition for the new modern women. So here we hit our first nerve of the day: The reader projecting their skeletons onto a character where those skeletons don’t otherwise exist.

I’ve practiced pitching this book on anyone with ears, so I started expecting the “Wallis was a witch” reaction from the sixty-plus demographic. Inside I would brace myself and say, “We’ve got another victim of Lord Beaverbrock’s press barrage on our hands.” I have won over some of these women once they read my book. In fact, I get most of them in the end, but it’s a fight. Mostly because their preconceived notions are so embedded and sealed with confirmation bias. It’s a hard shell to crack. But it’s crackable when presented with enough hard facts.

Killing the Messenger

However, this last weekend I took a severe, critical beating at my writers group when I presented a chapter where Wallis attends her divorce hearing to separate from Ernest Simpson. The critique comments started off with the same old slop: learned bias and not the words on the page. But this time something new came up. Continue reading “Beta Readers on the Attack—When Critiques Get Personal: Guest Blog by Bonnie Bracken”

Suffering from Anxiety or Depression? Mind Easing Is for YOU!

Mind Easing: The 3-Layer Healing Plan for Anxiety and Depression by Bick Wanck, MD, one of the founding members of the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry and an experienced clinician, writer, and educator, is available today as a paperback and ebook.

I’m thrilled to announce the publication of this fantastic resource that shows how to relieve and often resolve anxiety and depression by assisting the mind’s natural ability to heal. Today more than ever, we need to be our own healers, and this is especially true in the management of anxiety and depression.

The Missing Link Between Holistic Healing and Conventional Mental Health Treatment

In the first major conceptual leap in mental health care in forty years, Mind Easing’s 3-Layered Healing Plan directly promotes the body’s natural healing processes with the first comprehensive plan for healing human distress. This unique approach harmonizes wellness approaches, therapy, and, when needed, medicine into a safe and effective plan tailored to individual needs and preferences.

Continue reading “Suffering from Anxiety or Depression? Mind Easing Is for YOU!”

The Healing Power of Girlfriends: It’s Time for the Cover Reveal!

I have exciting news to share!

Women’s health specialist Deborah A. Olson, RN, MA, LPC, has been working for months on her book The Healing Power of Girlfriends: How to Create Your Best Life Through Female Connection … and I’m the lucky editor she chose to work with.

What’s the book about?

Deborah is passionate about helping women in every area of their lives, and in this book she shares decades of insights she’s gleaned about connection, communication, and intimacy in healthy friendships to help you nurture your current friendships and find new ones.

The Healing Power of Girlfriends will help you avoid toxic friendships, understand the role expectations play in women’s friendships, and learn how power dynamics can hurt or heal these special relationships. It is chock-full of personal anecdotes, scientific research, and therapeutic advice that any woman can use to support and honor these special friendships.

Today Deborah is revealing her book’s cover!

And now … drumroll, please … the cover reveal for The Healing Power of Girlfriends: How to Create Your Best Life Through Female Connection.



Doesn’t that cover make you want to grab a couple of your besties and head to warmer weather?

If you’re someone who has taken a book from dream to reality, you know how exhilarating the time approaching the publication date can be. And so many decisions have to be made, including what the cover will look like. Deborah’s “happy place” is at the beach, and I think she nailed that one, don’t you?

#SendACardtoAFriend Day

Deborah’s timing couldn’t better! Today is Send a Card to a Friend Day … so pick one or two—or 12—of your besties who have been a source of support and healing for you, and send them a card to let them know how much you value them!

Learn more about Deborah, her work with women, and The Healing Power of Girlfriends (available March 8, 2019) by visiting her website at While you’re there, be sure to sign up for her newsletter for updates.


Candace Johnson is a professional freelance editor, proofreader, writer,  and writing coach who has worked with traditional publishers, self-published authors, and independent book packagers on nonfiction subjects ranging from memoirs to alternative medical treatments to self-help, and on fiction ranging from romance to paranormal. As an editorial specialist, Candace is passionate about offering her clients the opportunity to take their work to the next level. She believes in maintaining the author’s unique voice while helping them create and polish every sentence to make it the best it can be. Learn more here.

For more great writing and publishing information, follow  Change It Up Editing and Writing Services on Facebook, where I share interesting articles and links about writing and publishing. And let’s connect on Twitter and LinkedIn too!




Please Don’t Make These 3 Mistakes with Your NaNo Novel

Did you “win” NaNo? Are you already intoxicated by the sweet smell of success? Congratulations—you’ve earned it! Let’s talk about what you should—and shouldn’t—do for your next steps. Don’t make these mistakes with your NaNoWriMo Novel.

November is over, and with it the end of NaNoWriMo. The blog posts I read during the month were filled with frenzied accounts of growing word counts and even some samples of WIPs.

Did You “Win” NaNoWriMo?

Those who didn’t make it learned some valuable lessons about writing, themselves, and their approach to writing—so truly, there is no such thing as NOT winning NaNoWriMo because whether you make that 50,000 word count or not, you’re a better writer now than you were a month ago.

By the way, I agree with Chuck Wendig’s comments about the language of NaNoWriMo, specifically “winning” and “losing.” Continue reading “Please Don’t Make These 3 Mistakes with Your NaNo Novel”

Written in Anger, Published in Hope: Guest Blog by Laura Lanni

In 2015 I had the privilege of working with Laura Lanni on an early draft of her second novel, Infinity Line. Although I’d worked with Laura on her first novel, this one was unlike anything I’d ever read.

Fast forward several years, and the final version of Infinity Line, a dystopian novel written in anger and published in hope, is now available. I asked Laura to share some thoughts about this unique novel and what prompted her to write it.


My second novel began in a furious rage.

Anger is a dark place. It is unsafe, unstable, un-everything-good. During the decades while I raised my daughters, sent them to college, cried at their weddings, and played with new grandchildren, while my hair grew gray and my skin thinned, I have felt paralyzing fear for the ones I love. Fear makes me angry.

Before I felt fear, I may have just been naïve. Too young and busy becoming me to notice the problems of the world. But I think my transformation is more than a personal journey. I read on the news and social media about the struggles of everyone. The world has become more dangerous. That makes me angry.

Every American is a degree or two away from losing someone to violence. If it hasn’t happened yet, it will. Almost certainly. That makes me furious.


My personal catalyst came on December 9, 2011. Virginia Tech was on lockdown, again. A police officer was killed. I was stuck five hours away on another college campus, calling and calling and worrying and waiting to know. My daughter hid in the architecture studio on the VT campus. I did not breathe for hours. Continue reading “Written in Anger, Published in Hope: Guest Blog by Laura Lanni”

Self-Publishing Is Not for the Faint of Heart! Guest Post by Cheryl Fassett

Do you have a manuscript gathering dust because the idea of self-publishing is scary? Author Cheryl Fassett recently self-published Magic Key, her second YA fantasy, and although she’s now a seasoned authorpreneur, she worked hard to get there.

I had the privilege of working with Cheryl on both Magic Key and her first book, Far Away and Ever After, and I highly recommend both for children of all ages (and that includes their parents and grandparents). Cheryl accepted my invitation to share some words of advice for authors who might feel intimidated by the self-publishing process.


When I decided to self-publish, I realized there were a lot of things I needed to learn. Just because I enjoy stringing words together doesn’t mean I always know the best order to put them in. The urge to write does not come hand-in-hand with expert knowledge of grammar and the rules of writing. I also had no idea how to go about actually creating a book. So where do you turn?

Break it down

In the beginning, I admit to being completely overwhelmed by the mountain I had placed in my own path. It kept me from taking even a tiny step forward for years. One day I decided that if I couldn’t face the whole project head on, I would face it in tiny bite-sized pieces. So I listed the weeks in the next year and broke down each part of the project into tiny, doable steps. Continue reading “Self-Publishing Is Not for the Faint of Heart! Guest Post by Cheryl Fassett”

5 Things I Learned While Searching for an Editor: Guest Post by Eleora Han, PhD

Please join me in welcoming Eleora Han, PhD, whose book Grieving the Loss of a Love is now available. When I invited her to share some of her story, she was kind enough to write about looking for and finding her editor.


I just published a book about working through grief after loss. Surprisingly, I found that one of the most difficult parts of the process was finding the right editor.

Writing a Book Isn’t Like Other Writing

As a psychologist I’ve written or co-authored many scientific articles in peer-reviewed academic journals. Though I felt confident in my writing abilities, I soon realized that writing a book was different. How best should the material be organized and structured, I wondered. Is this writing too academic, or is it appropriate for general audiences? Is any of this any good?

I decided that I needed a partner of sorts—someone supportive who knew the ropes and the lay of the land—someone to bounce ideas off. I soon learned that in the land of publishing, this partner is sometimes known as an editor.

Searching for My Perfect Editor

Once I had my rough draft in hand, I began my search. I didn’t know much about how to search for an editor, but some sources said to look on Upwork, so I began my search there. I posted a job ad and soon received responses from thirty or so applicants, all with dramatically different qualifications and pricing bids. I reviewed their work samples and asked those who were willing to provide sample edits of the first three pages of my manuscript.

Many of the applicants were nice and provided great feedback, but reviewing their work made me realize several critical things:

  1. Anyone can call themselves an editor.

I received applications from teachers, psychologists, college students, hospitalists, pastors, the unemployed, creative writing instructors with literary magazine publications, and newspaper reporters. The variety surprised me! I wanted to work with an editor with prior experience working at a publishing company, but unfortunately none of them did.

  1. Being an editor means different things to different people.

For most of the people on Upwork, editing seemed to mean sending them my draft and then they would email it back to me with their edits … but I wanted someone who was more of a collaborator of sorts, someone I could exchange ideas with and learn from, someone I could turn to for support and help in understanding how the world of publishing works. Continue reading “5 Things I Learned While Searching for an Editor: Guest Post by Eleora Han, PhD”

Writing Process—Fiction from Nonfiction: Guest Post by Alex Vorkov

You know how some books just grab you from the first page and don’t let go?  That’s the way I felt when I read Generation 0, a post-apocalyptic novel about three young girls who band together to survive when all the adult in the world die at the same moment. I was lucky enough to edit an early version of Alex Vorkov’s book, and I’m thrilled that he agreed to share some behind-the-scenes secrets about his writing process with you. So without further ado, please join me in welcoming this multitalented writer.


I confess: I rarely read books in my genre.

That’s one of The Rules, isn’t it? You must read in your genre or else you’ll fail (in some manner that no expert can articulate or demonstrate with evidence). Here’s what I think about such writing rules: Feh! Continue reading “Writing Process—Fiction from Nonfiction: Guest Post by Alex Vorkov”