How to Write a Book Without Touching the Keyboard

Why You Need to Discover Medium

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I published my first story on Medium on October 30, 2019, but I only found out about the site less than a week before. I absolutely love this platform. In this post, I'll explain why you should love it, too.

What is Medium?

Medium is a combination of a social media platform and a blogging platform. Visit the site on the web or download the app. One of the great aspects of Medium is the presence of real live editors who review stories and choose whether or not to curate them. Curation is the process of assigning broad subject categories to stories. Curated stories are promoted and receive more attention from site visitors.

Another interesting aspect of Medium is its publications. A publication is a subsite within the main site. The most sought-after publications by authors are the ones owned by Medium, as articles within them receive more attention. An author must apply to be accepted into a publication. Anyone may start a publication, though, providing a platform for their own work.

Anyone may read up to three stories in Medium for free (unless you're reading a story using a friend link, which negates the limit). To read unlimited stories costs $5 per month. If you love to read, this subscription price is a bargain. A large benefit of subscribing is support for the authors. More about that shortly.

By the way, I've used the word “story” generically, but Medium is not just articles. You'll also find poetry and short stories!

Supporting Authors

Each story includes a brief bio of the author at the foot of the story and a small clapping hands icon. Clicking on the icon (up to 50 times) allows you to convey to the author how much you enjoyed the story. Prior to the end of October 2019, claps were the method of determining how much an author was paid.

Paid? Yes, authors who join the Medium Partner Program (and are subscribers) receive payment based on (now) how many times the story was read. Claps are still appreciated, but just reading the story is a huge benefit. Each story may make a few dollars, but the amounts accumulate over time. We don't know for sure what the new algorithms are, but indications are that if a reader subscribes to Medium after reading a particular story, the author of that story receives money as well.

How to Help

If you enjoy reading an author on Medium, you can help her by reading the entire article, clapping 50 times, and subscribing to Medium. Sharing the link to the article through social media is also greatly appreciated, as well as clicking the Follow button next to the author's bio. Following an author will allow you to receive emails when she posts another story to Medium. If an author you like provides a link to an email list, sign up for that as well.

I downloaded the Medium app, and now I have many stories to read while I'm waiting or otherwise killing time. I follow several publications and many authors, so I receive regular emails of updates.

I think you'll enjoy Medium as much as I do. Jump on board and read!

Author Interview: Mary M. Cushnie-Mansour

I had the privilege of interviewing Mary M. Cushnie-Mansour about her writing journey, especially her Night's Vampire Trilogy.

Mary M. Cushnie-Mansour

Mary M. Cushnie-Mansour

Mary M. Cushnie-Mansour is an award winning author living in Brantford, Ontario, Canada. Her childhood dream was to become a great Canadian novelist. She attended Mohawk College and the University of Waterloo, and earned a Freelance Journalism Certificate, after which she wrote articles and a short story column for the Brantford Expositor.

Mary has published four collections of poetry, a collection of short stories, a biography, and the Night’s Vampire Trilogy – Night’s Gift, Night’s Children, and Night’s Return. She is the owner of Cavern of Dreams Publishing, and also edits and publishes books for other aspiring authors.

You can contact Mary and check out her books at: or

1. Tell us a bit about your success journey. How and why did you start writing?

2. What sort of poetry do you write? Do you follow the same trend with your short stories? What about your serial mysteries?

3. How did you come up with the idea for Night's Vampire Trilogy?

4. How does your story differ from other vampire stories? What would make me want to read Night's Vampire Trilogy?

5. Who are your main characters–their backgrounds and why people fall in love with them?

6. What was the hardest part about writing this series, and do you plan on continuing the story?

7. Who do you think your ideal readers would be?

8. What is your feedback on the trilogy so far?

9. What advice do you have for new or old writers?

10. Where can readers find your books?

Night's Gift

Night's Gift

Night's Children

Night's Children

Night's Return

Night's Return

5 Ways the Book Marketing Challenge Blew My Mind

English: Download from paper book to kindle (o...

I already loved marketing when I started the Book Marketing Challenge under the amazingly organized and inspiring D'vorah Lansky. I was excited, thinking I'd learn a few new techniques, maybe a new angle on what I already knew, and move on. After all, I've published three fiction books already.

But the Challenge blew my mind. Here's how:

1. Lists are Gold, Jerry! Gold!

I knew lists were important, but I had no idea just HOW important. They really are gold. I had no idea there were so many ways to build the list. I've had a subscription to AWeber for over a year now, but never knew quite what to do with it. Sister, I do now!

2. Teleseminars Rock!

Oh, Lynne Klippel, I love you, you with your gorgeous view from your porch in Ecuador! I have to confess, as soon as I saw Lynne's session, I was obsessed with teleseminars. I took her course and got just a bit distracted from the Book Marketing Challenge for awhile. Last night I held the second of four sessions of the beta-test of my webinar, “Maximize Your Marketing Impact with a WordPress Website,” and I'm loving it!

3. Kindle Possibilities Are Endless!

My second crush I'm confessing to here (no, third, because I include D'vorah) is Kristen Eckstein. I had no idea I could do so much with my Kindle books. I'm taking her series now, and it's exciting too.

4. Nonfiction is Awesome!

I've always been a researcher; after all, my master's is in library science. I decided at the beginning of this Challenge to put aside my fiction for awhile and focus on nonfiction. I'm having a blast!

5. Woman Power!

(I am really not an exclamation point person, but this Challenge forces me to do it, because I'm so excited about it.) I'm thrilled to see so many women speakers and participants in this Challenge. No offense, guys, but I'm so happy to see women taking charge of their lives and careers in such creative ways.

Thank you so much to everyone for making this the best money I ever spent on continuing education! (Yeah, that deserves one last exclamation point.)

Do you agree? Comment on your experiences below.

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Click Refresh, or 3 Things I Learned About Writing at a Sci-Fi Convention

Alabama Phoenix FestivalMy experiences this past weekend at the Alabama Phoenix Festival make me feel as if I've clicked the Refresh button on my life-browser. The Festival is essentially a pop culture convention, and featured tracks on anime, science fiction, fantasy, steampunk, costuming, Star Trek and Star Wars, and comics, just to name a few. One of the stronger tracks was on writing. Here's a summary of what I learned.

1. Editors at publishing houses only read the first sentence. If they're not gripped then, they pass on to the next. This information came to me from my dear friend Janica York Carter who attended a panel on “What Are Editors Looking For?” featuring Lou Anders of Pyr Publishing. Another editor on the panel said he'd read a bit further, but that still means you need to hook the reader right away. Anders said (paraphrasing), “I love books. I spend all my time with books. I wouldn't be in this profession if I didn't love books. So if you can't hook ME right away, you need to try harder.”

2. Marketing is crucial. Think creatively about it. This advice I derived from a wonderful conversation with Teal Haviland, author of the newly released Inception. My friend Janica told me about her booth, and when I visited, I was immediately drawn by the gorgeous cover of her book. Even before I spoke with Ms. Haviland, I could tell she was doing so much right with her marketing. She had a professional cover, in contrast to many others around her whose covers screamed, “I did this myself and don't know anything about fonts.” Her “booth”–actually a four-foot section of a long cloth-covered table–displayed her book, business cards and bookmarks in an attractive array. Behind the booth, on the wall, were two posters for her book, one of them an enlarged version of the cover. Ms. Haviland explained that when it's busy, people passing by may not be able to see the top of the table, but they will see the posters. The interior of her book was beautifully laid out, with decorations in the footer beside the page number and inside covers–all done (I believe) at CreateSpace. She sells her books at science fiction and fantasy conventions, because that's where the fans of her fantasy books are, and feels it's important to ask to be put on panels, to raise awareness of her books. In the program schedule, I noted she was on 6 panels. Ms. Haviland said she also attends book festivals, as that's where the readers are.

3. Networking is vital. The Alabama Phoenix Festival is a young convention, and still relatively small compared to something like Dragon*Con, but that's a good thing. Since the crowds are smaller, you aren't pressed to hurry through the authors alley or the vendors' booths. You can stop and talk with authors who have experience in the areas you're working on. You can chat with prominent editors and small press publishers and pick their brains (while seeing costumed zombies ready to eat yours). You can meet new and talented artists (like the incredibly multi-talented Afua Richardson, who designed the festival's badge and program artwork). Such lovely people, all ready to help and eager to talk.

Comments? What have your experiences been? I'd love to read them. Post below.