Tag Archives: Danielle Ackley-McPhail

What the heck is crowdfunding, and how can authors use it to fund their books?

Crowdfunding.

I’ve heard of it, but I never really “got it.” I mean, asking for people for money BEFORE you write your book? Is that just plain weird, or is it revolutionary?

Today I asked author/publisher Danielle Ackley-McPhail to stop by and explain all this insanity.

Danielle has successfully crowdfunded several books. Let’s see how this stuff works.

Here’s Danielle!
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Not everyone gets crowdfunding. A lot of people do it, for various reasons, but the general public doesn’t have a concept of what goes into such a campaign or what motivates one.

Sites like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and Patreon, to name a few, are all platforms where individuals can learn about projects that meet their interests. Based on how well the creator has done their job, those individuals then decide if the project is one they want to support.


A lot of work goes in to a successful campaigns, from designing them, to explaining what they are about, to organizing the rewards backers can expect for their pledge and as bonuses when the goal is exceeded, and above all, promoting them. It is a long, exhaustive process that begins with an idea and is not done until all commitments have been met.


eSpec BooksFor me, I use crowdfunding to finance my efforts as a publisher. I have run seven successful campaigns as both myself and eSpec Books and am soon to wrap up an eighth. I have chosen crowdfunding as a part of my business model because I have been in the publishing industry for over twenty years as an employee and as an author. Over those years I have seen most of the pitfalls independent publishers get themselves into. Hundreds of Dollars MoneyThe primary one being that they tend to overextend themselves. They start with a certain amount of capital (or credit) and race to see how many books they can get out (one of them, with hope, a runaway hit) before those funds are gone. For a while they do okay, but a few bad book choices or slow selling months, perhaps paired with heavy returns, and suddenly the publisher finds he doesn’t have the money he needs to sustain the rapid growth and pay the authors.
I don’t want to be that publisher. For this reason I steadfastly refused for the longest time even considering to be a publisher.
Then crowdfunding happened.
All of a sudden I saw a way to make books possible. See, for a publisher (or an independent author), crowdfunding is basically a way to pre-sell a book. It is also a way to build an audience and increase visibility. Some use it as a way to fund their creative efforts, but I would recommend against this. There are too many complications in promising something that does not exist yet, after all…life does have a habit of getting in the way when you least expect it.


By using crowdfunding as a part of the eSpec Books business model I ensure my projects are in the black from the get-go, instead of needing to earn back their production costs before making a profit. I also ensure I have the funding to pay professionals to do any of the work I am not capable of doing myself. Lastly, by Size of a Dollar Areserving half of the money received in a separate royalty account, I ensure I have the money set aside to pay the authors what they are due. Our growth is slow, but steady, and the foundation we are building is solid. For most of our campaigns there has been little left over once everything is paid for, but everything we bring in after that is profit.


In addition to this, with each successful and completed project we grow our built-in audience as well as our credibility as a publisher.
Book Left1The key is to go into the venture with realistic goals. To know what you can and cannot do, and be prepared to work your butt off to make it happen. This is important. Most publishing crowdfunding campaigns do not succeed. This is because individuals go into it thinking they are going to collect free money. That people are just goBook Left1ing to hand it to them. They go into it thinking only of what they want to achieve, instead of what will make it worth a backer’s support.
Backers don’t care what you want. They want to know what’s in it for them. That is where your focus should be, making sure the backers feel they are getting good value for their support.
Yes, it takes a lot of work, but if you want to make dreams happen, it’s more than worth the effort.



Want to see a live crowdfunding project?

Check out the info and the link below. Interesting stuff.


eSpec Books is currently funding two novels by bestselling authors Jack Campbell (The Lost Fleet, The Lost Stars, and The Pillars of Reality series) and Brenda Cooper (co-author of Building Harlequin’s Moon with Larry Niven, and author of The Wings of Creation series).  The two books are very different coming-of-age stories.
Jack Campbell’s The Sister Paradox is an urban fantasy turned epic adventure, where a teen boy crosses dimensions to fight dragons and basilisks and other manner of magical creatures beside the sword-wielding younger sister he never had.
Brenda Cooper’s POST is a post-apocalyptic journey novel, where a girl name Sage leaves the safety of the botanical garden she grew up in to discover the world outside and with hope, help rebuild it.
To learn more or to support their efforts, visit http://tiny.cc/Novels2016.


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Ashes and Fire2You can find Fire in the Woods and Ashes in the Sky at all these awesome bookish places!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Kobo | Chapters Indigo! | iBooks | IndiBound | Google Play


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Write a Story with Me #76: When the Sparkle Fades by Danielle Ackley McPhail

Write a Story with Me is a group endeavor just for the fun of it.  A different writer adds a new 250 words each time.  It is the ultimate Flash Fiction Challenge!

If you’d like to sign up, come on over.  There’s always room for more!

Here’s this week’s excerpt.  We hope you enjoy!

76 – Danielle Ackley-McPhail

Morath settled the babe in the crook of the Gleaming Tree. She watched him, her brow furrowed but her lips tipping upward in a faint smile stronger than even her worry. He was a bonny boy and deserved a life of joy and discovery, not intrigue and deceit, and yet her farsight revealed much turmoil ahead for them all, and most assuredly for the son of Yoran and Natalia.

“Feel your power, little one, know it in your heart,” she murmured over his fretting form. “Mother’s arms will wrap around you soon, but first you must take this step to safeguard yourself.” Morath regretted the need to spark the little one’s magic at so young an age, but she could do little else to ensure he come to no harm in the days to come. The Gleaming Tree now recognized him as one of its own and no matter how far events might take him away, the seat of all magic would rally in his defense should any raise force against him.

With an amused burble, the child thrashed his legs and stared in wonder as the swirls of magic swaddled him, nuzzled his cheek, and settled a fae sparkle deep within is babe-blue eyes. When all but the sparkle faded, the Fae Queen swept the boy into her arms and descended from the Tree’s branches, taking the boy to her chambers to await the arrival of his frantic mother.

Want to read more?  See below for past excerpts.

If you’d like to sign up, come on over.  There’s always room for more!

Parts One – Sixty-five Click Here

Part Sixty-Six – Joe Owens

Part Sixty-Seven – Shayla Kwiatkowski

Part Sixty-Eight – Anmol

Part Sixty-Nine – Norah Jansen

Part Seventy – Shannon Burton

Part Seventy-One – Vanessa Jane Chapman

Part Seventy-Two – Susan Rocan

Part Seventy-three – Kate Johnston

Part Seventy-Four – Richard Leonard

Part Seventy-Five – Kai Damian

Part Seventy-Six – Danielle Ackley McPhail

Don’t forget to stop by next week to see what happens next.

Norah Jansen — TAG!  You are “It”

Write a Story With Me Contributors

shayla kwiatkowski gryphonboy Jennifer M. Eaton Vanessa Chapman
Siv Maria Sharon Manship shanjeniah Vikki (The View Outside)
Danielle Ackley-McPhail Richard Leonard susanroebuck Jenny Keller Ford
aparnauteur kaidamian Eileen Snyder Elin Gregory
Joe Owens anelephantcant mysocalledDutchlife Nicky Wells
norahdeayjansen Julie Catherine Ravena Guron
Anmol     jiltaroo 4amWriter mywithershins

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Write a Story with Me # 65 – Danielle Ackley McPhail – “Glamour”

Write a Story with Me is a group endeavor just for the fun of it.  A different writer adds a new 250 words each week.  It is the ultimate Flash Fiction Challenge!

If you’d like to sign up, come on over.  There’s always room for more!

Here’s this week’s excerpt.  We hope you enjoy!

Part 65 – Danielle Ackley-McPhail “Glamore”- http://www.sidhenadaire.com

East/Jenelle breathed deep of the magic of the Gleaming Tree, drew it in and made it their own. As the Establishment dragon ship plied the skies they fed the tendril of mage energy trailing from the vessel, latched on to Yoran. They fed it and shaped it, sharpened the edge, then by their will pressed it against the technological governor embedded in his brain, the one control he had been unable to extricate. That malevolent chip had turned a loving father into a hate-filled tool. The fate of his family and the world depended on East/Jenelle’s successfully deactivating that program.

“Ah!” the melding of elemental being and royal fae cried out, the building pressure of the magic proving nearly too much for even Jenelle’s fae nature. And still they drew more as the control chip somehow fought back, sending threads of fire down the connection to burn away the cord of mage energy. The fae strengthened the bond even as the technology sought to sever it. The magic flared in the sky. Its current jammed against the technology and finally overcame it.

East/Jenelle sensed as Yoran, trapped in the ship above, cried out and crumbled to his knees as the magic killed the cybernetic chip that had forced him to act against his nature. They gasped, and quickly shrouded him in a seeming. If they were to bring down the Establishment and reinstate harmony between Human and Fae, it was important that those in command believed Yoran remained their tool…for now, anyway.

Want to read more?  See below for past excerpts.

If you’d like to sign up, come on over.  There’s always room for more!

Parts One – Fifty Click Here

Part Fifty-One – Joe Owens

Part Fifty-Two – Shayla Kwiatkowski

Part Fifty-Three – Jennifer Eaton

Part Fifty-Four – Shan Jeniah Burton

Part Fifty-Five – Jenny Keller Ford

Part Fifty-Six – Susan Rocan

Part Fifty-Seven – Susan Roebuck

Part Fifty-Eight – Elin Gregory

Part Fifty-Nine – Nicky Wells

Part Sixty – Vanessa-Jane Chapman

Part Sixty-One – Ravena Guron

Part Sixty-Two – Julie Catherine

Part Sixty-Three – Kai Damian

Part Sixty-Four – Richard Leonard

Part Sixty-Five – Danielle Ackley McPhail

Don’t forget to stop by next week to see what happens next.

Joe Owens — TAG!  You are “It”

Write a Story With Me Contributors

shayla kwiatkowski gryphonboy Jennifer M. Eaton Vanessa Chapman
Siv Maria Sharon Manship shanjeniah Vikki (The View Outside)
Danielle Ackley-McPhail Richard Leonard susanroebuck Jenny Keller Ford
aparnauteur kaidamian Eileen Snyder Elin Gregory
Joe Owens anelephantcant mysocalledDutchlife Nicky Wells
norahdeayjansen Julie Catherine Ravena Guron
jiltaroo 4amWriter mywithershins

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Write a Story with Me #62 – Julie Catherine – “The Steel Dragon”

Write a Story with Me is a group endeavor just for the fun of it.  A different writer adds a new 250 words each week.  It is the ultimate Flash Fiction Challenge!

If you’d like to sign up, come on over.  There’s always room for more!

Here’s this week’s excerpt.  We hope you enjoy!

62 – Julie Catherine – “The Steel Dragon”

The dust cloud swelled and Morath seemed to grow before their eyes as her form expanded into a gigantic wave. As she reared to expel her force against the Establishment fleet, a monstrous steel dragon blasted out of the sky, hurtling it’s huge body directly towards the Fey. Its ice-blue breath shot a laser beam that swirled around Natalia and the baby, surrounding the two and forcing the infant from Natalia’s arms.

“NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!”

Natalia shrieked in agony and fell to the ground, writhing in pain and shock. In the seconds the group were immobilized with fear, the vortex lifted the baby into the cold belly of the steel dragon, and it sped back to the protection of the Establishment fleet before the wave could be launched.

Morath cried out in anger, and the dust wave subsided as she sank to the ground, grinding her fists in the dust in despair. They had been so close to annihilating the Establishment! But she could not risk harming the infant, and the High Commander had counted on that.

“Peoples of the Fey!” The voice boomed through the air, surrounding them with its force. “You have one hour to surrender the traitor Captain Yoran to us, or the child will die – and all Fey will die with him!”

Natalia shook her head wildly and her eyes pleaded to Morath. “Please, they will kill us all, whether they have my husband or not. There must be a way to save my baby!”

Want to read more?  See below for past excerpts.

If you’d like to sign up, come on over.  There’s always room for more!

Parts One – Fifty Click Here

Part Fifty-One – Joe Owens

Part Fifty-Two – Shayla Kwiatkowski

Part Fifty-Three – Jennifer Eaton

Part Fifty-Four – Shan Jeniah Burton

Part Fifty-Five – Jenny Keller Ford

Part Fifty-Six – Susan Rocan

Part Fifty-Seven – Susan Roebuck

Part Fifty-Eight – Elin Gregory

Part Fifty-Nine – Nicky Wells

Part Sixty – Vanessa-Jane Chapman

Part Sixty-One – Ravena Guron

Part Sixty-Two – Julie Catherine

Don’t forget to stop by next week to see what happens next.

  Kai Damian — TAG!  You are “It”

Write a Story With Me Contributors

shayla kwiatkowski gryphonboy Jennifer M. Eaton Vanessa Chapman
Siv Maria Sharon Manship shanjeniah Vikki (The View Outside)
Danielle Ackley-McPhail Richard Leonard susanroebuck Jenny Keller Ford
aparnauteur kaidamian Eileen Snyder Elin Gregory
Joe Owens anelephantcant mysocalledDutchlife Nicky Wells
norahdeayjansen Julie Catherine Ravena Guron
jiltaroo 4amWriter mywithershins

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Write a Story with Me #61 – Ravena Guron – “I accept My Fate”

Write a Story with Me is a group endeavor just for the fun of it.  A different writer adds a new 250 words each week.  It is the ultimate Flash Fiction Challenge!

If you’d like to sign up, come on over.  There’s always room for more!

Here’s this week’s excerpt.  We hope you enjoy!

61 – Ravena Guron – “I accept My Fate”

Silence fell between the two. Jenelle held the dagger loosely in her hand, wishing she could let it fall. But the dagger clung to her grasp, almost as if it sensed it would not find its final sheath in Morath if she had her way. Dust swirled up around Jenelle and she breathed it in. Fighting the urge to cough, Jenelle focused instead on the rose-like smell which wafted up her nose. Surely dust should not smell so sweet?

Morath watched as Jenelle’s face, full of anguish, went blank, like a chalkboard which had been erased. When the girl opened her mouth to speak, a harsh, grainy voice rang out, not at all like Jenelle’s usually quiet tones.

“The breeze from the East comes to you in your time of need, to help you do what must be done to finish this war. Do you accept this fate?”

Morath’s throat clenched. In the back of her mind, the old stories about the breeze from the East stirred, stories which explained why the breeze came only to the aid of the Fae. Blood calls to blood, Fae call to Fae.

“I accept my fate.” Morath threw her shoulders back. She would not be perished, would instead serve her people in a final, ultimate way, a fate she had always wanted. The fact that the breeze, and not Jenelle, controlled the hand holding the dagger did nothing to make the final blow feel less like a kiss delivered from a much loved friend.

Morath smiled as she felt her body dissolving into gentle wind, as the old breeze from the East died down to make way for the new one. This breeze floated through the air, towards the Establishment fleet, for a second swirling up dust to create the shape of something which resembled Morath’s small frame.

Want to read more?  See below for past excerpts.

If you’d like to sign up, come on over.  There’s always room for more!

Parts One – Fifty Click Here

Part Fifty-One – Joe Owens

Part Fifty-Two – Shayla Kwiatkowski

Part Fifty-Three – Jennifer Eaton

Part Fifty-Four – Shan Jeniah Burton

Part Fifty-Five – Jenny Keller Ford

Part Fifty-Six – Susan Rocan

Part Fifty-Seven – Susan Roebuck

Part Fifty-Eight – Elin Gregory

Part Fifty-Nine – Nicky Wells

Part Sixty – Vanessa-Jane Chapman

Part Sixty-One – Ravena Guron

Don’t forget to stop by next week to see what happens next.

  Julie Catherine — TAG!  You are “It”

Write a Story With Me Contributors

shayla kwiatkowski gryphonboy Jennifer M. Eaton Vanessa Chapman
Siv Maria Sharon Manship shanjeniah Vikki (The View Outside)
Danielle Ackley-McPhail Richard Leonard susanroebuck Jenny Keller Ford
aparnauteur kaidamian Eileen Snyder Elin Gregory
Joe Owens anelephantcant mysocalledDutchlife Nicky Wells
norahdeayjansen Julie Catherine Ravena Guron
jiltaroo 4amWriter mywithershins

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Write a Story with Me # 49 with Danielle Ackley McPhail

Write a Story with Me is a group endeavor just for the fun of it. A different writer adds a new 250 words each week. It is the ultimate Flash Fiction Challenge!

If you’d like to sign up, come on over. There’s always room for more!

Here’s this week’s excerpt. We hope you enjoy!

49 – Danielle Ackley-McPhail

“Silence!” Queen Morath rose to her feet, her voice commanding, but low. Those in the room–fae and human alike–went still, the tumult fading.

The Queen of Queens strolled forward past her guards and the humans to stand before the grieving mother. She reached out a gentle hand to smooth away her tears. “She is here because we summoned her.” Her nose turned to a sneer as she eyed the fae guards behind the grieving mother. “But her appearance is earlier than anticipated. No matter.”

Quiet murmurs rippled through the chamber.

“Of all of us, she is most wronged.” Morath said, turning to meet the gaze of each person in the room. “Her kind, our kind, Fate…all have torn and tugged her life asunder with each new day, leaving her to bear burdens not of her choosing. We have brought her here to decide the fate of our peoples, both fae and human alike.”

The murmurs erupted into an outcry, nearly obscuring Natalia’s gasp.

“My son….all I want is my son….”

Want to read more? See below for past excerpts.

If you’d like to sign up, come on over. There’s always room for more!

Parts One – Forty Click Here

Part Forty-One – Vanessa Chapman

Part Forty-Two – Susan Rocan

Part Forty-Three – Kate Johnson

Part Forty-Four – An Elephant Can’t

Part Forty-Five – Julie Catherine Vigna

Part Forty-Six – Kai Damian

Part Forty-Seven – Richard Leonard

Part Forty-Eight – Sharon Manship

Part Forty-nine – Danielle Ackley McPhail

Don’t forget to stop by next week to see what happens next.

Norah Jansen — TAG! You are “It”

Win a free, autographed print version of A Legacy of Stars by Danielle Ackley-McPhail

You’ll all remember Danielle from the “Give that Publisher What They Want, Dernit!” Series here on my site.  Now she has a giveaway!

Check out the details below!

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I received a wonderful review yesterday for my solo science fiction collection, A Legacy of Stars (DTF Publications/Dark Quest Books). It made my day, but it came with something of a mystery, which I’ll quote here:

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“One of the cleverest first contact stories to come along in a long time.” Analog June 2013 issue

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Where is the mystery, do you ask? See…there are two first contact stories in the collection. Now I could just ask the reviewer which one he thought was the cleverest, but where is the fun in that? I say this calls for a contest.

For the next week I will be taking a poll on what you thought was the  cleverest first contact story in the book. How it works: If you really like me and want to give some support to a small press author buy the ebook version of the book for $2.99 and give it a read.
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Or, email me at _greenfirephoenix@aol.com_ and I will send you a PDF file of the two stories in question. Whichever route you take, read the stories: Building Blocks and To Look Upon The Face of God and click the below rafflecopter by April 12 (EST) with your pick for which is the cleverest. On April 13th the reviewer, Don Sakers, will answer the question on my Facebook page. Two people will win a free, autographed copy of the print version of A Legacy of Stars.
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Danielle Ackley-McPhail www.sidhenadaire.com www.badassfaeries.com NEW RELEASE – from Dark Quest Books – A Legacy of Stars – A Collection of Award-Winning Science Fiction
Author of Yesterday’s Dreams, Tomorrow’s Memories, Today’s Promise, and The Halfling’s Court Editor of the Bad-A** Faeries Anthology Series

Write a Story with Me # 33 – What? OH NO! She didn’t! by Danielle Ackley McPhail

Last week Janelle took off — literally, leaving the old lady with Mommy bleeding to death and in a ton of trouble.  What’s gonna happen?  Here’s Danielle Ackley McPhail’s first contribution to our story!

33- Danielle Ackley McPhail – Wait, she’s who?  What?  OH NO!  She didn’t!

Morana watched her unsuspecting daughter go, her lips tightly set and her eyes sad. She remembered more than a time before the faeries were looked on as vermin…she remembered when they had been kin with humans. When all kind were linked and not separate.

How dark and grim the world had become since that time.

With a sigh she turned back to her patient. Poor Natalia, forsaken by all and sundry; all but Morana, and now that the last witness was gone it was time to see to mother and babe.

Queen Morath of the fae shed the weight of her borrowed years, shed her human form, the aches and pains and the blurring of her eyes. All fell away like flakes of skin to dust leaving the most beautiful and powerful of fae standing over the human woman, who sprawled upon the floor in her own blood, the babe’s cord still trailing from her body, wet and glistening.

“tsk…let’s clean you up, my lovely, shall we?” Nearer to human height than the diminutive size the fae had become in the after-time, Morath bent gracefully down, folded the delicate membranes of her wings back and safely away from the mess on the floor before reaching out one ivory-pale hand to trail through Natalia’s hair and down the curve of her back. Magic sparkled in the air at the touch as like recognized like deep within the two races now drastically different. Queen of life and death as well as fae, Morath ordered the woman’s lifeblood back within the confines of her veins and wicked away both sweat and blood normal to the birthing of children, and with it the memory of that night’s ordeal…all of it. Natalia remain unconscious—blessedly so—as the faerie queen scooped up the woman’s son to cradle in immortal arms.

The child cooed and burbled, making the faerie queen laugh before she grew somber once more. “Come, Verval. For your own safety and theirs, you need be the price for my healing.”
And Morath rose in a cloud of glittering motes, secreting the foretold boy away before any harm might come to him or his parents for bearing him.

Write a Story with Me is a group endeavor just for the fun of it.  A different writer adds a new 250 words each week.  It is the ultimate Flash Fiction Challenge!

If you’d like to sign up, come on over.  There’s always room for more!

Part One – Jennifer M. Eaton

Part Two – J. Keller Ford

Part Three – Susan Roebuck

Part Four – Elin Gregory

Part Five – Eileen Snyder

Part Six – Mikaela Wire

Part Seven — Vanessa Chapman

Part Eight — Ravena Guron

Part Nine – Vikki Thompson

Part Ten — Susan Rocan mywithershins

Part Eleven — Kate Johnston  AKA 4AMWriter

Part Twelve — Julie Catherine

Part Thirteen — Kai Damian

Part Fourteen — Richard Leonard

Part Fifteen — Sharon Manship

Part Sixteen – Shannon Blue Christensen

Part Seventeen — Bryn Jones

Part Eighteen — Jennifer M. Eaton

Part Nineteen — Shannon Burton

Part Twenty — J.Keller Ford

Part Twenty-One — Susan Roebuck

Part Twenty-Two — Elin Gregory

Part Twenty-Three — Aparnauteur

Part Twenty-Four — Vanessa Chapman

Part Twenty-Five — Ravena Guron

Part Twenty Six — Susan Rocan

Part Twenty Seven — Kate Johnson AKA 4AMWriter

Part Twenty Eight – Julie Catherine

Part Twenty Nine — Kai Damian

Part Thirty — Richard Leonard

Part Thirty-One —Sharon Manship

Part Thirty-Two — Shannon Christensen

Part Thirty-Three — Danielle Ackley McPhail

Don’t forget to stop by next week to see what happens next.

Siv Maria Ottem— TAG!  You are “It”

Give that Publisher What They Want DERNIT: The Basics #2 – Identifiers

We interrupt this post to announce that USA Today is featuring my anthology “For the Love of Christmas” in a blurb in their “Life” Section.  Can I hear an “Oh Yeah!” Click here to see it!

Eh-hem — now back to our regularly scheduled program.

I am uber stoker to be able to dig into the wild and crazy brain of someone who is out there doing this crazy publishing stuff professionally. When you read this, you’re gonna want to slap yourself silly, because this is hearing it right from someone who does this for a living. For the next few weeks, we will be delving into the slush pile with Danielle Ackley-McPhail

Here we go…

The Writer’s Toolbox: Give ’Em What They Want! Why Formatting Is Important By Danielle Ackley-McPhail

(Originally published in Allegory Magazine ©2011)

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So far, we’ve discussed that nothing will help your manuscript if the editor in question is not even willing to read it.

Last week, we discussed remembering your contact information.

This week, we’re going to dig through the second basics to get your foot in the door… How to identify yourself, and your manuscript.

The Basics #2

Identifiers. To simplify I’m grouping several things under this heading, so bear with me.

Title – you would be amazed how many people neglect to put titles on their manuscripts (coincidentally enough, more than a few of them are the ones who forgot contact information as well).

Name – your pen name or your legal name, whichever one you write under. Editors like to know whose work they are reading and what should appear on a published work (should you be fortunate enough to make a sale.) The problem is that if the contact information is missing and there is no title or author name, the publisher has absolutely no way of cross-referencing to try and determine what story goes with which submission email (assuming they will even try).

Page Numbers – now you might be thinking “But manuscripts are electronic, how can the pages get out of order?” Well first, you can’t assume that whoever receives the manuscript won’t prefer to review a hardcopy. Second, even if they are reviewing something electronically it is easier for them to make notes or track back if there are page numbers to reference.

Running Heads – This is the space at the top of the page (starting with page 2) where you put the story/book title, the page number, and your legal last name. This is so no pages go missing and the editor knows what they are reading.

Author Bio – Optional, but a good thing to include, particularly if you have a few sales under your belt, but only if they are professional sales of note, not a piece of flash fiction you sold to a fanzine. What this tells the editor is that you are already established.

Besides the more practical reasons for not omitting any of the above information, consider that it is just plain sloppy and unprofessional. This isn’t a matter of wanting to impress the editor, it is showing them that you are not an amateur without a clue. Professionalism will do much to smooth over any other short fallings you have, in the editor’s eye.

Next week we’ll talk about FORMAT

Be there or be square, or, ummm… rejected?

Award-winning author Danielle Ackley-McPhail has worked both sides of the publishing industry for over seventeen years. Currently, she is a project editor and promotions manager for Dark Quest Books.

Her published works include four urban fantasy novels, Yesterday’s Dreams, Tomorrow’s Memories, Today’s Promise, and The Halfling’s Court: A Bad-Ass Faerie Tale. She is also the author of a single-author collection of science fiction stories called A Legacy of Stars, the non-fiction writers guide, The Literary Handyman and is the senior editor of the Bad-Ass Faeries anthology series, Dragon’s Lure, and In An Iron Cage. Her work is included in numerous other anthologies and collections, including Rum and Runestones, Dark Furies, Breach the Hull, So It Begins, By Other Means, No Man’s Land, Space Pirates, Space Horrors, Barbarians at the Jumpgate, and Mermaid 13.

She is a member of the New Jersey Authors Network and Broad Universe, a writer’s organization focusing on promoting the works of women authors in the speculative genres.

Danielle lives somewhere in New Jersey with husband and fellow writer, Mike McPhail, mother-in-law Teresa, and three extremely spoiled cats. She can be found on LiveJournal (damcphail, badassfaeries, darkquestbooks, lit_handyman), Facebook (Danielle Ackley-McPhail), and Twitter (DAckley-McPhail). To learn more about her work, visit http://www.sidhenadaire.com, http://www.literaryhandyman.com, or www.badassfaeries.com.

Website and/or blog www.sidhenadaire.com, http://lit_handyman.livejournal.com, http://damcphail.livejournal.com

Twitter https://twitter.com/#!/DMcPhail

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/#!/danielle.ackleymcphail

Amazon author page   http://www.amazon.com/Danielle-Ackley-McPhail/e/B002GZVZPQ/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1331314265&sr=8-1

Goodreads http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/989939.Danielle_Ackley_McPhail

http://www.badassfaeries.com/

http://www.sidhenadaire.com/

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Give that stinking publisher what they want, DERNIT! Let’s not get all creative now!

I am uber stoker to be able to dig into the wild and crazy brain of someone who is out there doing this crazy publishing stuff professionally. When you read this, you’re gonna want to slap yourself silly, because this is hearing it right from someone who does this for a living. For the next few weeks, we will be delving into the slush pile with Danielle Ackley-McPhail

Here we go…

The Writer’s Toolbox: Give ’Em What They Want! Why Formatting Is Important By Danielle Ackley-McPhail

(Originally published in Allegory Magazine ©2011)

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Telling the greatest story is not enough.

Having the best grammar is not enough.

Hitting the perfect market trend is not enough.

Nothing is enough if the editor in question is not even willing to read your manuscript.

The Truth about Submissions

Psst! I have a secret for you…well not really a secret, unless you are really new at this, but anyway…here it goes:

Editors look for reasons NOT to read your manuscript.

(ooh…I can just hear a lot of minions going “Wha?!”)

Sorry, it’s true; I’m not making it up.

See, the reality is there are a loads of people that want to be authors. Even though only a small portion of those following the dream ever reach the stage of actually submitting something, that still means that editors of all sorts have piles and piles of things they need to go through. And frankly, most of it is drek. Editors just don’t have the time or inclination to put in extra effort puzzling through a manuscript that only might be acceptable and then cleaning it up afterward. Think about it, the longer the production process takes the longer money bleeds out instead of—with hope—flooding in.

Besides, they want to know you can follow directions and there are very few publishers out there—book or short fiction—that do not have submission guidelines available somewhere. Look for them. And if you don’t find them, ask! You want to stand out because of the quality of your writing, not because your manuscript is an annoyance filled with stylistic errors. The best thing you can do is show that you will make extra effort to meet their requirements.

Of course, even if you don’t have the publisher’s submission guidelines there are plenty of things that are standard.

Next week, We’ll talk about “The Basics”

Tune in! As my son would say, this is Awesomesauce!

Award-winning author Danielle Ackley-McPhail has worked both sides of the publishing industry for over seventeen years. Currently, she is a project editor and promotions manager for Dark Quest Books.

Her published works include four urban fantasy novels, Yesterday’s Dreams, Tomorrow’s Memories, Today’s Promise, and The Halfling’s Court: A Bad-Ass Faerie Tale. She is also the author of the non-fiction writers guide, The Literary Handyman and is the senior editor of the Bad-Ass Faeries anthology series, Dragon’s Lure, and In An Iron Cage. Her work is included in numerous other anthologies and collections, including Rum and Runestones, Dark Furies, Breach the Hull, So It Begins, By Other Means, No Man’s Land, Space Pirates, Space Horrors, Barbarians at the Jumpgate, and New Blood.

She is a member of the New Jersey Authors Network and Broad Universe, a writer’s organization focusing on promoting the works of women authors in the speculative genres.

Danielle lives somewhere in New Jersey with husband and fellow writer, Mike McPhail, mother-in-law Teresa, and three extremely spoiled cats. She can be found on LiveJournal (damcphail, badassfaeries, darkquestbooks, lit_handyman), Facebook (Danielle Ackley-McPhail), and Twitter (DMcPhail). To learn more about her work, visit http://www.sidhenadaire.com, http://www.literaryhandyman.com, or www.badassfaeries.com.

Website and/or blog www.sidhenadaire.com, http://lit_handyman.livejournal.com, http://damcphail.livejournal.com

Twitter https://twitter.com/#!/DMcPhail

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/#!/danielle.ackleymcphail

Amazon author page http://www.amazon.com/Danielle-Ackley-McPhail/e/B002GZVZPQ/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1331314265&sr=8-1

Goodreads http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/989939.Danielle_Ackley_McPhail

http://www.badassfaeries.com/

http://www.sidhenadaire.com/