Archive for the ‘Its resource Monday!’ Category

I’ve written my novel: now what?

In Its resource Monday! on June 16, 2014 at 8:41 am

I've finished my novel now what


Happy Monday!  Today I want to introduce a resource that I’ve been wanting to provide for sometime.  A new non-fiction book entitled “I’ve finished writing my novel:  Now what?”

In the book readers will find a host of information.  Here’s a taste.

5 pros of traditional publishing
6 cons to traditional publishing
4 self-publishing myths
5 steps to publication
7 costs you must budget for
The 3 phases of editing
5 Self editing tips
Why its hard to self edit your own work
The 2 most important types of editing
The various types of editing
Where to find editors
Places to acquire great cover art based on your budget.
5 types of publication options
How to develop a marketing plan
What is a platform and why you need it.
How to create your author email list
How social media works in your marketing
7 inexpensive marketing options

All of the items are needed questions I wish I had known prior to launching my first novel, and answers to questions that I’ve learned over my experience now as a published indie author.

I figure people can learn from my mistakes and success, and go even further.  The actual hard back book is not complete yet but I’ve developed the seminar where I’ve distilled a lot of the information into a a nice PDF.  I’ve you would like a copy of that PDF for free…yes free! Just sign up here for my monthly newsletter, and I will send you a copy.  I guarantee you will be happy that you did.

In addition, I want to give a free autographed copy of my novel!  Yep an autographed copy in celebration of a couple things!

1. My getting my novel’s audio book version done.

2. The impending new release of this non-fiction book

3. The kindle countdown that starts tomorrow!  Yep my novel will be on sale starting tomorrow until Friday and you can get it for 99cents!

To get in on the raffle go on over to my website and enter!

Keep coming by my blog and I’ll be making more announcements shortly.  Until then sign up for the email list (no your email stays just with’s not given to anyone.) so you can get your pdf!






ACX: The making of an audio book

In Its resource Monday!, My novel: The Third Heaven: The Rise of Fallen Stars on June 11, 2014 at 8:00 am

ACX image

Have you ever thought of making an audio book as a writer?

Did you wonder about the steps you could take to turn your fiction into a nice audio book?

If so this blog post is for you.  As it stands amazon has made the process incredibly easy in many ways.

To get started one simply needs to go to and register.  Per their own website.  It’s very simple, and as a person who is currently in the process of having the audio version of his novel done, I can testify that it’s as they say.

The process you take as an author really depends on how much work you yourself want to do in narrating your own work.

Method #1

If you want to do it yourself.  You simply record your narration, upload it to ACX, create a cover (which by the way needs to be a square.  Dimensions need to be no smaller than 2400 X 2400 pixels in size but less than 8 MB. Images must be 24-bit, no smaller than 72dpi, and must be RGB (not CMYK). Images must be squared. The squared cover must be a true squared cover and cannot be rectangular with colored borders on the side. (CD case cover/jacket, e.g.)

Once you’ve uploaded your narration and cover, ACX will distribute your work via Audible and Itunes.

If you have done your work and uploaded files to amazon’s KDP then this process will be very familiar to you.  The above is for authors who have the willingness to take matters into their own hands and do all the work in creating the audio product.

Method #2  

Now if your like me, you are a bit too busy or don’t feel you can do the narration justice.  So you can enter into a contractual relationship where you can split the proceeds with a voice actor.  Using this method you will list your audiobook and solicit voice actors to audition for your work.

You will go through a menu process of selecting the type of voice.  Its a very intricate process that forces you to think what type of sound do you want from your narrator.  Everything from genre, gender, age, accent to vocal styles such as “authoritative” is available to choose from.  The selection process will really make you think about how the story should sound.

Once you establish what type of voice you want.  There are a host of voice actors you can solicit to do your narration.  Or you can request an audition by uploading a portion of your work, and having various ones read it.  In my own situation I had at least 4 auditions before I settled on my voice actor.  Now what’s fantastic is that Amazon will actually provide a stipend for the voice actor.  I.e Amazon will pony up the money up front for your work to be established, meaning you have no out of pocket cost.

Once you select your actor there is an agreement that Amazon brokers between you and the actor where basically you split the royalties. Production begins after the contract is agreed upon.

I’m happy to have Angelo Di Loreto as my voice actor.  He’s had a few credits to his name and has perfect pitch.  His credits include.

Man Up! Becoming a Godly Man In An Ungodly World- By Jody Burkeen (2013)
How To Learn and Memorize Italian Vocabulary- By Anthony Metivier (2013)
Remedies For Reluctant Romantics- By Tio Stibb (2014)
The First Advent- By Lloyd Stancliff (2014)
Divine Children- By Lucas Kitchen (2014)

Commercial Voiceover:

2013 Nissan Terrano- India

2013 ZLO from MRF Tires- India:

Currently my audio book is expected to be complete sometime in late June.

I’ll report more on my experience and the results as things progress so stay tuned.


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How to develop a novel character by answering 17 easy questions.

In Its resource Monday!, On writing on May 5, 2014 at 8:00 am



The power behind any novel is not just if it has an awesome plot.  But if it has characters that move the reader.  Character development is something that is learned.  It’s something that you can get better at.  But it starts with having a great template to work from.  Here is the template that I use in developing my characters.  I don’t profess that any of this is original.  Just that its pieced together from others who I’ve come to respect.  I figure perhaps this might work for other aspiring writers as well.

Now here’s the thing.  When you start a character you might not know all this.  If you are a pantzer who writes by the seat of their pants.  Then you might find these questions get answered organically as you write.  But whatever you do answer the questions at some point.

Answer these 17 questions and you will be on your way to have a great character for your work!


  1. What is the character’s name?
  2. A one-sentence summary of the character’s story line?
  3. The character’s motivation (what does he/she want abstractly?)
  4. The character’s goal (what does he/she want concretely?)
  5. What event launches the characters toward their first dilemma?
  6. The character’s conflict (what prevents him/her from reaching this goal?)
  7. What event strips the character of hope?
  8. What even pushes the characters to change?
  9. The character’s epiphany (what will he/she learn, how will he/she change?)
  10. What even shows the characters as their changed selves?
  11. A one-paragraph summary of the character’s story line?
  12. What is their role in story?
  13. What is their occupation?
  14. What is there physical description?
  15. What is their personality?
  16. What are their Habits/Mannerisms?
  17. What is their Background?


Donovan M. Neal

Hey if you enjoyed this article and are interested in more of my writing.  Please sign up for my email list here!


Resource Monday: Go A.P.E. yourself

In Great Resources, Its resource Monday!, On Marketing, On writing on February 3, 2014 at 10:49 am


 I read quite a bit.  Most of my reading consists of books that are informational, educational self help in nature.  I read more fiction as a youth but much less now.  (I’m working to remedy that!)

I want to recommend for today’s post a book that will give a tremendous hand to those either just starting out or even those who perhaps need a refresher after having published a book that is not doing as well as you might like.

APE: author, Publisher, Entrepreneur-How to publish a book by Kawasaki, Welch

This book covers the following areas

Why write a book

The self-publishing revolution

Tools for writers

How to write, finance, and edit your book

How to avoid that self published look

How book distribution works

How to convert your files

How to sell books directly

And it goes on and on.

On and on it goes.  This book to me is THE reference book for any beginning indie writer period.

One of the things I loved about the book was he also provided you what his method was for using the concepts he write about to get his book in your hands.  Its one thing to talk about how to its another to share with fellow readers the exact map YOU used to achieve your success.

The book is full of helpful links to the sources mentioned.  It is simple and I think a quick read. The author uses a very conversational tone, and it has a wonderful interactive table of contents that allows the reader to quickly navigate to any relevant section that is most useful to you.

I’ve read countless books about writing, editing, layout and design, publishing and marketing.

This book above all I’ve read provides the most comprehensive road map on the self-publishing process I have ever read.  It’s a must.  As someone who has now published my first novel.  If you asked me which book would you recommend for new authorpreneurs—this book hands down is the clear winner.  I wish I had this book when I started out, but I’m very glad I have it now.

Five stars.




Resource Monday: The 99 designs logo store

In Great Resources, Its resource Monday! on January 20, 2014 at 8:00 am

99 designs

Every Monday I try to bring to the audience helpful tips that will assist my fellows writers.

Today I would like to introduce a wonderful store that I have recently come into knowledge of.  For those of you have followed me you might know that I have used 99designs in the past to find the graphic artist for my current cover of my novel.  99 designs allows you to essentially find a freelance artist who will bid against other artists to design your work.  It’s a exceptional mechanism to obtain professional help at affordable prices.

What I have recently discovered is that 99desings has a store.  If you are like me you might have started to create a publishing business, if you plan to self publish.  So if that’s the case, have you thought what your logo will be?  Well let’s say that your budget doesn’t afford you the opportunity to have a logo created from scratch.  Well the 99 design stores allows you to browse their selection of logos, and purchase them for 99 dollars.  Per their website…

99designs1. Choose a logo you like

We have 40553 unique logos to choose from, all crafted by our experienced community of designers. All logos cost just $99, or if the logo has not been purchased before, you can buy it exclusively and own the full rights to the logo for an extra $199. More about the license agreements.

2. Our designers customize the logo for you

Once you’ve found a logo you like, let us know what customizations you’d like and we’ll get our experienced logo designers to do it for you. More on the customization process.

3. 24 hours later, it’s ready for review!

Within 24 hours, you’ll be emailed your customized logo.  You then accept the revision or request further changes if it’s not quite right. Logos are supplied in the standard industry formats of JPEG & EPS. More about what you get.

It’s a great service, and I plan shortly to utilize it myself to brand my publishing company.

Take a look-see!  I think you will be pleasantly surprised with what you find!

It’s resource Monday: Story Cartel

In Great Resources, Its resource Monday! on December 2, 2013 at 11:04 am

Greetings fellow human being and authors.  Yes I make a distinction.  Today I bring you another resource to assist the fellow author in their quest to achieve the heights of best seller status, or at the very least assist you in your publishing goals.

Today’s resource is a gem that I have stumbled upon (no pun intended) called Storycartel 

In their own words Storycartel is a website that allows you to post your book on their website for free.  Yes I said free. Don’t panic.  In addition to posting your book for free you will be asked to provide a giveaway to readers who in exchange for getting your book for free acquire a chance to receive the giveaway, will give you an honest review.  Only those who actually post a review are eligible for the giveaway.

You have several options available to you to give away; again per the website, “We help every author on Story Cartel hold a drawing to give their reviewers one of the following prizes of the author’s choice: five print copies of their book, three $10 Amazon gift cards, or one Kindle eReader.”  The presumption here is that the eReader will draw more people to download your book, and subsequently to write a review.

In any event I chose the gift card route as it costed out to be the most economical choice in my case.

The authors book is posted for four weeks.   During this time Story Cartel will give you an estimate of the number of reviews you can expect to obtain based off of the numbers who are downloading your book.

Story Cartel keeps track of the number of downloads and gives authors access to a spreadsheet of the reviewers’ names and email addresses.  Remember, these individuals have wanted to read your book.  So used carefully these emails are a marketing gold mine.

After the conclusion of your campaign Story Cartel will email your reviewers reminding them to post their review and only those who submit a review are eligible to receive the final gift.

I found it to be a very rewarding experience, and if your an author in need of reviews I believe you will find it well worth your time as well.


Resource Monday: How to format your ebook for Smashwords to pass AutoVetter for $5

In Its resource Monday! on November 18, 2013 at 12:30 pm
Photo by tribehut

Photo by tribehut

Formatting you book for publishing is one of self publishing’s little known dirty secrets.  The reality is that no matter how good of a writer you are.  You will need to layout or rather format your work into one of several approved formats before it can be published.  It does not matter if it’s for kindle, epub or for some other format for you book.

When I tried to format my book to make it available for epub. I had a a difficult time doing it.  Barnes and Noble allows you to edit your book within their site if you are publishing.  But even then it was still unwieldy.  When I tried to upload my book to Smashwords, the “auto meat-grinder” gave me several errors, and it was a mess.  So much so that after hours I just called it quits.  Since then I’ve learned the best course of action is to simply have someone format the book for you so you can take the guess work and labor out of it.  To this end I have discovered a wonderful resource on

Ladies and gentlemen please meet my new friend Bookaholic.  Per his website…

“For only $5 I will format your Word document to pass Smashwords AutoVetter on the first run and be submitted to Premium Catalog (guaranteed!).

I follow Smashwords’ strict rules and my formatting always passes!

This offer is for documents under 50,000 words. For other options see my gig extras below, or order multiple gigs.

3 day duration is for longer queues, normally I format in a day or two.”

Now I don;t know about you, but to have someone take my document which in my case was $15 dollars for his services as I had over a 100k document was a wonderful thing.  He successfully converted my MS word document to a epub format that can get past the gatekeeper that is the meat grinder of Smashwords.  Because he converted it, it means it will work on ALL epub readers.  I can use the files he gave me to upload to any other publishing service (again think Barnes and Noble).  I have also used this file he gave me to update my kindle book on Amazon.  Needless to say.  Everything was perfect.

It was the best 15 dollars spent on my book.  And I have to highly recommend his services if you want your book laid out properly.

You can thank me later!  🙂


It’s resource Monday but on a Thursday! Duotrope

In Its resource Monday!, Uncategorized on April 25, 2013 at 4:11 pm


Ok each week I am scouring the net for great resources of all kinds.  Primarily for writers but it can be whatever fancies me.

This week I would like to present…drum roll please…

Let us give them a hand shall we!

Duotrope is a subscription-based service for writers that offers an extensive, searchable database of current fiction, poetry, and non-fiction markets, a calendar of upcoming deadlines, submissions trackers, and useful statistics compiled from the millions of data points we’ve gathered on the publishers we list.

You need help in finding which publisher or agent might be best to solicit too.  Look no farther.  Per their site, “We offer a robust search feature to help you find the perfect match for your piece from thousands of current fiction, poetry, and non-fiction markets.”

What more could you ask for!  For 5 bucks a month, you get a wealth of information available to you.  Hard to beat that, and you start off with a 7 day free trial.

Thank me later!






It’s resource Monday but on a Thursday!:

In Its resource Monday! on April 18, 2013 at 1:53 pm


Ok each week I am scouring the net for great resources of all kinds.  Primarily for writers but it can be whatever fancies me.

This week I’d like to present…drum roll please…

Let’s give them a hand shall we!

I will be adding a report card from now on to each resource I find.  I will always evaluate a resource in several areas.  Cost, ease of use, does it direct traffic towards you, the ease of customer support. Finally is the resource a recognized authority in its industry?

In these areas receives a solid A with a score of 15 out of 16.  This is an awesome site that has a wide variety of resources for the writer.

Under the author resources tab at the top of the website is several great articles but what is really golden is the Press Release Distribution  and the Email Service Providers information the site contains.  For new authors looking for assistance on promoting their work.  This is wonderful information.

For example with the press release distribution you can download an excel spreadsheet that contains links and listings of both free and paid press release services.  Again its FREE!

The only thing in my opinion that could make this site even better is an actual telephone number that you can contact someone for customer support.  Currently the only option if you need assistance is a text box where you can send an email inquiry.

Again, I am always working to bring you good information that will help you be successful in writing and marketing.  I think this is a great addition to our other resources.

By the way I still take cash, check and credit card!  Just kiddin’!



It’s resource Monday but on a Thurs…ugh Friday!

In Its resource Monday!, On Marketing on April 12, 2013 at 1:23 pm

Ok each week I am scouring the net for great resources of all kinds.  Primarily for writers but it can be whatever fancies me.

This week I would like to present…drum roll please…

Let us give them a hand shall we!

As writers, we need to promote our writing.  Authors in particular have not often had the resources of how to contact media outlets to help broadcast their works.

Well this little gem of a site will allow you to send your press release to various media outlets promoting your work.

In their own words, “WebWire distributes your business, organizational and personal news releases and press releases on and over the Internet. Our online service delivers news releases directly to Internet readers and is an integral part of Search Engine Inclusion and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). WebWire’s online service also delivers press releases directly to targeted media (reporters, registered media as well as trade publications) and media-only wire services (accessed by leading print, broadcast and online publications) powered by our unique partnership with PR Newswire.

They have various purchasing packages with the lowest being $24.95

I think this site is a great way to promote your book and depending on the level of money you want to spend, you can scour all manner of media outlets.

I have included a YouTube video that talks about to submit to WebWire.

I am always working to bring you good information that will help you be successful in writing and marketing.  I think this a great addition to our other resources.

By the way I still take cash, check and credit card!  J