Author Archives: Ruth Ann Nordin

About Ruth Ann Nordin

Ruth Ann Nordin mainly writes historical western romances and Regencies. From time to time, she branches out to contemporaries romances and other genres (such as science fiction thrillers). For more information, please go to or check out

Stages of Writing: Post 6 (Traditional Publishing)

Though we had anticipated this being our last video in this series, this wasn’t the last one.  We had so much to say about traditional publishing we never really dove into self-publishing.

In a nutshell, a traditional publisher is one who does the publishing for you.  If they accept your manuscript, they will do the editing, get the cover, put your book on multiple retailers, and do some (probably limited) promotion for you.

1.  Submitting to a Publisher

Janet Syas Ntisick has more experience with seeking a publisher than I do, so she explains the things she’s had to get together when approaching publishers at conferences.  One thing to keep in mind is that in today’s environment, you still need to think of what you can bring to the table.  A publisher wants to see you bring in sales, so your platform is still important.  Like any business, a publisher needs to make a profit in order to stay open.  So when you’re presenting your query letter, first three chapters, or even the entire manuscript, make sure to list out your qualifications.  Qualifications include memberships to writing organizations, awards you won, published books, earnings (especially if you made a substantial amount in the past), what you’re doing to market yourself and your books, etc.  List the things that make you an attractive applicant, just as you would on a resume if you were looking for a day job.  (Be honest, of course.  It won’t reflect well on you if you’re lying.  I think publishers are smart enough to figure out if you’re fudging your numbers.)

One thing I will add is that at the Nebraska Writers Guild conference last month, an agent said she would rather have an unpublished novel to take to a publisher than one that has already been self-published (unless that self-published title has sold like crazy).  So if you’re debating taking a self-published book to a publisher, think over that before you do.

2. Types of Publishers

There are big publishers and small ones.  Some specialize in certain genres and others take a wide variety of titles.  Some will only do ebooks and others will offer both ebooks and paperbacks.  There’s really a diversity out there when it comes to publishers, and it’s important to make sure the publisher you choose will fit your book and your personality.

Some publishers will allow the author input into the cover and editorial changes.  Some won’t.  The royalty you can expect will vary depending on which one you go with, too.  There might be a clause where you can’t use a character in a self-published book or in a book that you publish with another publisher.  There might be rights you’re giving them that may or may not work in your favor.  There might even be a clause that allows them to hold onto the book without actually publishing it until (or if) they feel like it.  Or they might require more books from you.  The key is to be careful when looking at the contract.  When in doubt, have a lawyer familiar with book contracts look it over before signing anything.

3.  Which Authors Benefit From Traditional Publishing?

I think publishers can be great for authors who want to be hybrid authors like me (doing both traditional and self-publishing) or authors who don’t want to do the jobs a self-published author has to do.  I know authors who don’t want to worry about covers, formatting, editing, uploading the book to a retailer, keeping track of sales, etc.  They want to write the book and send it to a publisher to do all that stuff for them.  There is nothing wrong with this.

Just be aware of the trade-offs.  You’ll get a lower royalty rate per book sale, less control over your book, and you might not get all the promotion you’re hoping for.  You might also be giving up some rights you’d rather have.  Like I said, when in doubt, go to a lawyer with the contract.

4.  Make Sure You Check The Publisher Out To See If It’s A Good One Or Not

Good publishers pay you the right amount of royalties and they pay you on time.  They are professional and courteous.  You should be comfortable with them.  (Always trust your gut instinct.  If anything in you says “this is not a good idea”, you’re better off avoiding it.)

As a final point, I would definitely check out this link (which is advice written by Victoria Strauss).  There is a wealth of information here that’s worth reading.

Categories: Traditional Publishing | 8 Comments

Writers Helping Writers by G. M. Barlean

I’m only going to quote some of this post.  You can read the whole thing here.

My intro: My two cents (for what it’s worth) is that one misconception there seems to be in the writing community is that we are competing with each other.  The truth is, we’re not.  Just as I can listen to a song by one artist and enjoy another song by another artist, readers enjoy books by a variety of authors.  Readers don’t confine themselves to only one author.  So this idea that if the reader buys another author’s book, that reader won’t buy mine is false.  The truth is, readers can buy my books and books by other authors.  That is why writers helping writers is such a great post.

ID 44829895 © Rawpixelimages |

ID 44829895 © Rawpixelimages |

Without further ado, here it is…

Writers Helping Writers by G. M. Barlean

Last Saturday, my good friend Victorine Lieske and I had the opportunity to speak to the Omaha chapter of the National League of Pen Women. They bought us lunch, we met some very nice women and saw a couple of friends from other writing connections we have. And, as always with writers, we had good conversation and plenty of laughs. You can read all about the history of the National League of American Pen Women at their website:

I love speaking at events with Victorine because she’s a writing, marketing, ebook guru known all over the country. She sells books in her sleep! So, it’s pretty cool she lets me come along and share the floor.

I know not to talk about writing or marketing because I’m just a beginner learning the ropes. But I can talk about the importance of critique to work a book and make yourself accountable to your readers. I can also talk about networking.

Here’s what Connie Spittler, the group’s current president, had to say about my portion of the program. “Gina Barlean’s main and best points. As friends, we can give each other free publicity.” It’s a simple premise. Just common sense—one thing this country girl has, at least on occasion. I like to break things down into language we can all embrace. I try to do that in my book, Build a Writing Team. In that book, I talk about networking. It’s a word that can simply translate into, be a friend to each other.

I’ll promote you and you promote me.
I’ll support you, you support me.
I’ll help you and you help me.

Sorry to take the mystery out of it. If you want people to help you out, help them out. If you want people to be nice to you, be nice to them. Let’s combine our talents and see where it takes us.

To read the rest of the post, click here.

G. M. Barlean is an awesome person.  She is just as friendly and kind as she sounds in this post.  She definitely practices what she preaches.  I’ve also had the pleasure of meeting her in real life and reading her work. She’s a compelling storyteller. :)

You can find G. M. Barlean at the following sites:

Facebook Page



Categories: Uncategorized | 10 Comments

Stages of Writing: Post #5 (Editing)

In looking for an editor, it’s important to keep in mind that not one editor fits all.  A lot of it will depend on your personality and the personality of the editors.  Different personalities work together better than others.  With that said, I’ll hit on the key points in the video above.

1.  Where Can You Find Editors?

Social media is an excellent way to find them.  This is why social media is so much more than telling people you have a book.  It’s about establishing relationships and meeting new people.  It’s about building connections you wouldn’t have otherwise developed.  I’ve seen editors on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Kindleboards, Google+, and on other sites.  Maybe you don’t know any editors, but it’s possible someone on your friend’s list or in your group might.  Ask around.  Get referrals.

You can find them in person.  This is one reason why conferences are so great.  At a conference, you get to meet people in person, and there have been several editors at the ones I’ve gone to.  There are also writers who can direct you to editors they’ve used.  Another possible avenue is your local writing group.  It’s possible there might be an editor there or someone might know someone who edits.  Again, this is where ideas of referrals come into play.

This is why it’s important to get out and meet people, whether online or in person.  You never know who you’ll come across.

2.  How Do You Know If You Have a Good One?

Ideally, the editor you have is one who is familiar with your genre or knows something about the topic you’re writing about.  For example, an editor who is familiar with romances will be able to best guide a romance writer in how to make the emotional connection between the hero and heroine stronger through the conflict they face.  Another example, a person writing a legal thriller could benefit from an editor who is familiar with laws. The more your editor knows about your genre, the better this editor can help you.

Keep in mind that there are different types of editing.  There’s the edit that looks at the overall story.  How is the pacing?  Do the transitions between scenes work?  How are the characters relating to each other?  Is it believable?  There’s also the edit that is more specific.  Does the sentence flow smoothly?  Is a word repeated too much?  Could a different word work better?  Are there any consistencies?  Are your facts correct (ex. historical or legal facts)?  Then there’s the final polish up where the editor looks for typos and such.  You can have one person do all of this, but it’s helpful to break these areas up instead of having everything looked at one time.

A recommendation is to do the major edits before proofreading.  That way you did your big changes before having to polish up the small ones.

3.  Be Aware of Tax Obligations so Trust the Person Who Works For You  (This Applies to the United States)

One thing I learned is that if you pay an editor (or cover artist or formatter or anyone in a business related area) more than $600 in one calendar year, you will owe them a 1099.  I’m going to have my accountant issue a 1099 to my editor, cover artist, and the person who promotes me at craft shows.  So there are three people I will have to get a 1099 to for their work over the course of this year.

So trust is something you should build up with this editor.  If you pay them more than $600, you will need their social security number or business ID, name, and address in order to issue the 1099.  Anyone editing will have to consider what kind of client you accept because you might be asked to fill out a W-9 so the author who hired can get you that 1099.

You don’t need an accountant to send out a 1099.  Your payroll specialist can do it (if you use that service).  You can do it yourself.  But I choose to go with my accountant because he happens to be great at his job and is dependable.  Plus, I hate figuring out tax stuff and would rather have him do it for me.  What you do depends on your comfort level.

For those of you living outside the United States, someone passed on this book at Amazon that covers taxes for self-published authors.  I have not read this book, nor am I familiar with international taxes.  The best source of advice is ultimately your tax advisor.

If all that freaks you out, consider bargaining services. :)

Categories: Uncategorized | 6 Comments

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