Friday, April 29, 2011

How To Use Cars (and other forms of transportation) To Enhance Character Development.

I started writing my book "What Car Would Hamlet Drive? 2000 questions to ask fictional characters for students, actors, writers and readers of fiction" because I had a very hard time making small talk at social events. I feared I might have as much difficulty thinking up things to ask fictional characters as a writer. Along the path of compiling thousands of questions, I discovered that I have written a seminal book about Character - not definitive because every time I let anyone read the book they came up with a dozen questions I'd forgotten - but definitely seminal. And the book in itself is a great conversation piece, because people I meet have all kinds of ideas about questions to ask characters and all kinds of suggestions as to how the answers advance understanding of people, plots and stories. The following is an excerpt from the book.

Cars and Other Forms of Transportation.

A car is generally a statement about the person driving it. Car choices convey how the character thinks about himself – how he wants other people to perceive him. Car ownership often has history behind it.
* A character drives a Cadillac because he thinks they make him look successful.
* Another character would never drive a Cadillac because he thinks they are a reflection of being nouveau rich.
* A character would never buy a new car.
* Another character would never buy a used car.

To Learn More Click here.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Go To The Bookstore Before You Write

Writing a book generally starts with a visit to the bookstore - not the library. You are looking for a whole bunch of very important information not the least of which is what area your book fits in.

Collect Titles Of Similar Books

Bookstores and publishers and readers want books that are similar but different. It is a rare book that is totally unlike any other that gets into a bookstore. They don’t hate you; they just won’t know where to put it on their shelves. Describing your book is similar to the way a high concept movie, which is sold in a single sentence, is pitched to a Hollywood Studio. “It’s like Die Hard on a Cruise Ship.” “It’s like Sound of Music in Africa.” “It’s like The Beverly Hill Billies in Manhattan.” You hook to something easily recognizable (and preferably very successful) and then give your twist that makes the subject unique to you or your project. If you would like to read more, click here.

Monday, April 25, 2011

ISBN Numbers and Bar Codes

If you self-publish and e-publish you may have to get your own ISBN number in order to place your product in a store or an on-line store. If you do, here is what they are and where to get them.

The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a unique, numerical commercial book identification number. When you publish a paper book it must have an ISBN number and a related barcode on the back if you intend to place it on or in bookstores. If you publish an ebook ISBN numbers are only required on sites like Sony and IPad and barcodes are not need at all.

The price of the paper book goes on the ISBN Barcode when you order it. If you are self-publishing you can generally buy ISBN numbers from the self-publisher or from companies that specialize in selling ISBN barcodes. They come by email as .jpegs and are easily attached to the cover art. If you published a book without barcodes on the cover you can print them on labels and paste them to the cover.

Different ISBN numbers must be put on each variation of a book (except reprints). For example, hard cover books get one ISBN number, paperbacks a different ISBN number, e-books another ISBN number. If for some reason you change the price of the book, you also have to get a new ISBN number. If you notice, when they make sales at the big bookstores they make different barcodes that are pasted on the covers – so you need new barcodes if you change the price of your book.

ISBN numbers are for books only. Bar Codes that are not ISBN specific go on other products like CDs, audio books and DVDs. You get those barcodes from sources that specialize in them. Once again, you can’t get these products in stores like and into bookstores and other commercial venues without barcodes.

The company I contact for ISBN bar codes is :

Bar Code Graphics, Inc.
444 N. Michigan Ave #3500
Chicago, IL 60611
312-595-0725 Fax

The person I contact for non-book barcodes is:
(888) 446-CODE (2633)

Getting an ISBN number is only half the process. Next you must register the fact that you bought the ISBN Number because without that registration you can’t get a PAD number and without that you can’t place books in major book stores. You want to register your ISBN number with Bowker’s “Books In Print.”

The address to register is:

If you have a ten number ISBN number you need to convert it to a 13 digit ISBN number which is easy. Google ISBN Conversion and then click on Type in the ISBN 10 digit number and hit submit and you will get your 13-digit number.

If you are using to publish you have to go to your dashboard/ISBNManager and when you give them your new ISBN number they will register it with Bowkers for you. You do not need to do that if you want to publish on Kindle and Barnes & Noble, you do need to if you are planning to be published on IPad and Sony.

Excerpt from "How To Write A Book That Positions You As An Expert In Your Field"

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Read The Opening Of My New Book - Free

10 Day Book Club invites you to read
the opening of author Joan Meijer's latest manuscript "Accidental Consequences"
prior to publishing. Please comment, give feed back, make suggestions.

Join Joan’s book club would love you to
comment on her manuscript, and
join her for a live chat.

Joan’s Book Club is online now through April 26
(read at your convenience)

Author’s Chat is April 27
(details on the website)
Read for FREE! Internet Access Required

10 Day Book Club
Everyone (18+) that registers
on 10 Day Book Club’s website
is entered into
the iPAD giveaway in May.

Problem with Google

Does anyone else have the same problem with Google that I am having? Because I am about to drop Google as my search engine.


Every time I go to look up something, anything, Google redirects me to some stupid site like "Gimme Answers" which gives you NOTHING - there are dozens of these sites that are redirects. You can't get back from them without closing Google - they are advertisement sites that have NOTHING to do with what I'm searching for. They are a total waste of time and provide NO value except to screw with Google.

If I completely go out of Google and try the same request again, eventually I get to the site I'm looking for, but it's a ridiculous, aggravating waste of time. AND I get no help from Google.

If you know how to contact Google and you too are being screwed with by these useless sites - let Google know that they have a problem.

Digital Short Story

Last Saturday I participated in a joyous event. Four published authors wrote one short story together. It was like the game we used to play with a folded piece of paper where someone started a drawing - the next person had a few lines below the fold with which to continue the drawing - and what turned out was nothing like the original idea but was a wonderful, exciting, story that made complete sense.

Check out Blood Bond it's fun.

This opened huge doors for me. I see that I can write short stories about the characters in my upcoming books. Things I wouldn't put in the story but which create deep and rich background from which to draw as I write. Because of the new publishing model, these stories don't have to be relegated to my file drawer - they can be published and create interest in the final novel. It's thrilling what is happening to publishing and the world of writing.