What’s in an Author’s Cauldron?

So what’s actually in my author’s cauldron? No fillet of a fenny snake, eye of newt, or toe of frog. Enjoy an array of tricks, a bevy of treats, and links to other blogs.

Happy Halloween!


Cauldron Ingredients:

One List of One Hit Literary Bestsellers


One Graph of Book Buyer Behavior


Two Images: The Real You and the Your Author Photo


Three Views of Sales: The Good, the Bad, and the Lucky


Three Phases of Blogging


Romancing the Math


What the Amazon Best Sellers Rank Means


Royalties and Commissions


Earnings of Self-Published Authors


When Do You Stop Reading if You Don’t Like a Book?

I belong to a book club for writers. Once a month we read a novel and meet to share our opinions about the story elements like premise, character arcs, conflict, plot, etc.

Have we ever unanimously liked the same book? I can only recall one during the past 2 years, but only 4 out of 6 members were there that night. Reading is as subjective for us as it is for agents, editors, reviewers, and other readers. It can be hard when someone doesn’t love your favorite book or author.

What happens if I don’t like a novel? If I’m reading for book club, I try to finish the first 50-100 pages before stopping. I want to give the selection a chance and contribute to the discussion. If I’m reading a book for my enjoyment or edification, I have a much shorter attention span. Usually by the end of the first page or chapter. Sometimes I wait a while and give the novel a second or third try, but I’ve only changed my opinion once.

When do you stop reading if you don’t like a book?

What Are Your Experiences With Contests?

Most people wish they would win the lottery, a new car, a trip, or some other material goods they desire. Cindy called me earlier this week and implied that I had won a $50,000.00 home makeover in a contest I may have entered at a movie theater or mall or gas station. I may have been to those places, but I didn’t call her back. Not that Cindy’s waiting to hear from me. She has called thousands of people in the United States.

Many aspiring authors enter contests in the hopes of winning and being offered the ultimate prize, a book contract. Writers can include a contest final or win in a query or pitch to an agent or editor and add the information to their signature lines. At the very least entrants receive feedback from the judges in most contests, but entering contests usually costs an administrative fee of $30.00 – $50.00. The fees add up quickly if a writer participates in a lot of contests.

At this point I am not in danger of becoming a contest junkie, because I’ve only entered 3 contests. I’m pleased with the scores and feedback for my first entry six months ago. Although I haven’t received all the results from the other two contests, I’m excited that I’m a finalist in one of them. I found out the same day Cindy called.

What are your experiences with contests?

Links to writing contest pros and cons:

1. Tami Cowden’s blog



2. Absolute Write recent forum