Last week we covered book publishing and compared self publishing to finding a traditional publisher. To find a publisher that will take your book to market and make you a New York Times bestselling author is a daunting task without some very unique elements. As we have noted, traditional publishers are only concerned with how many thousands of copies YOU can sell. In addition, if you land a publishing deal, you will sign over all the rights to your book and this is where the real value lies in having a book on the market. The publisher will decide on your cover, title, distribution avenues, foreign rights distribution, and any movie rights, etc. Sure, they will give you a percentage of compensation (small though it may be) but they OWN your book. If you don’t believe me, read a contract before you sign it. Any offers you receive from a publisher will be totally skewed in their favor. Don’t let your ego make the decision – use your intelligence to do what’s right for you.

Last week, and in my book about how to write a book, we covered the basics of self publishing and informed you about some of the resources available for making that happen. In essence, after writing your book and having it professionally edited, you would need to have a cover created, and learn how to create the layout, upload it, and most importantly, how to market your book. There is a steep learning curve for the first time author and you may be saying, “but I wrote the book, I don’t want to become some sort of business guru, I just want to write my next book.” There is an incredible alternative now available with some very real benefits that stay with you as an author – full ownership of all the book rights while having a professional, successful publishing organization behind you looking after the essential elements of creating a bestseller. I am going to introduce you to supported self publishing right after this week’s


With a string of hits in the 1950’s, Chuck Berry’s distinctive guitar solos and duck walk transformed rock and roll to the point that he was one the first honorees in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Many of his songs have been covered by other performers including “Roll Over Beethoven” by The Beetles. He had a number of legal troubles through his life but without any doubt whatsoever, his influence on rock music changed music for generations. It was not him alone but he was a very powerful influence on the crossover of so-called, “black music” to mainstream.

Chuck Berry

Oct 18, 1926 – March 18, 2017


Kim Staflund is the publisher at Polished Publishing Group and has created this compelling presentation that you need to read – A Strong Case for Supported Self-Publishing] What Traditional Trade Publishers Don’t Want You to Know

Her company will take the work that you rely on a traditional publisher to do for you and let you retain all of the rights. She has done this for a number of bestselling authors and you will find loads of tips, ideas and examples on her website here. She and her team have the resources to take your book out of the bottom drawer of your desk and turn it into a bestselling book in both print and electronic format. If Hollywood comes calling, you retain all the rights and can negotiate on your own behalf instead of giving away those rights to the big publishing house. Lets face it, the reality of publishing is that no matter what you decide to do, YOU are responsible for book sales so why not get paid appropriately for your hard work. Just to let you know, I have not asked for and do not expect any compensation for recommending Polished Publishing Group. I simply think that first time authors should know their options when it comes to getting published and this is a good one.


Last week I touched on how I wrote my first book. I spent an hour every day at a local shopping mall with a coffee and a 3-ring binder in which I poured out my thoughts about hiking the West Coast Trail. One thing I learned was that an author never really finishes his book; he is always rewriting, finding things to change, correcting errors, rereading and finding more changes. For more information on this process, check this out. There comes a time however, when the writer has to put their fear aside (yes, it’s fear) and determine what’s next. At first I thought that I had corrected all the grammatical and spelling issues and so it was time to find a publisher.

A friend noticed a writing contest in a local newspaper and suggested that I submit, which I did. My manuscript was typed by me and put in an envelope and shipped off to a publishing house for a writing contest for adventure stories. I’ll be damned if I didn’t win second place! I sent a letter to see if they would be interested in publishing but they declined – heart broken. Now it was time to learn how to become an author.

Spell check in Word is not editing. Handing your manuscript to a friend or family member is not editing (unless they are a professional editor) and then hopefully they will also give you back an invoice – that’s how you can tell. If you want your hard work to see the light of day, an author must put on her business suit and become a marketing expert, salesperson, production expert, lawyer, accountant, printer, layout pro, professional speaker, tinker, tailor, soldier and spy. Let’s talk for a moment about the publishing industry.

Here’s the deal – no matter how good your book, if you have to look for a publisher, your chances of success are minuscule, at best. If the publishers come looking for you, offering big advances, then you have huge name recognition and recognition translates to profit and that is what publishing is all about. Period, end of story, so to speak. Walk into a bookstore – what are they selling? Gifts, cute little stuffed animals, TV watching blankets, cards, games, and a small selection of best selling authors or authors with huge name recognition value – think Obama, Oprah, even Trump. I know for a fact that none of those people are subscribers to this website, so let’s tell it like it is, but first, this week’s


From a musical point of view, I was very lucky to grow up in southwestern Ontario, sandwiched between Toronto and Detroit. Yonge St. in TO was the Canadian music mecca with places like Le Coq D’Or, The Brown Derby and many other venues featuring people like Bobby Curtola, David Clayton Thomas and Rompin’ Ronny Hawkins. Detroit had Motown. Waterloo had WLU, then Waterloo Lutheran University and now Wilfred Laurier University – nice how they didn’t have to change the sign. Friday nights would see some incredible music acts from both of those locations arrive in the gym for dances, yes dances, not concerts. Here’s a blast from Martha and the Vandellas that has been covered by many others – it hit #2 on the charts when released in 1964, written by Marvin Gaye. This will get your mojo going:

The traditional publishing companies are simply not an option for 99.9% of first time writers But what a wonderful world we live in because there are options that you really need to explore after you hire a professional editor. There are associations in most locales for professional editors, many of whom will work online without the need for meeting personally – check them out. And there are very legitimate options in self publishing and assisted self publishing for you to look into.

The biggest book retailer in the world is Amazon and every author who has even the slightest idea of getting their manuscript out of the bottom drawer of their desk needs to learn about publishing on Amazon and CreateSpace. If you are ready to put on your hard hat and do much of the work of publishing yourself, then this is the major route to take. They are incredibly professional and have amazing resources available if you are prepared to take the time to learn.

I would suggest that you spend some time on Smashwords, an aggregator that makes your book available on all of today’s major retail sites like Kobo, Barnes and Noble, I-Tunes, libraries, and more. Explore the many resources that they offer for editors, cover designers, uploaders, etc. Set up an account and read their blog suggestions for self publishing your book.

Do you think that self publishing is a second class option like the publishing industry would have you believe? Here’s a list of your fellow authors who began by self publishing:

  • David Chilton – The Wealthy Barber. …
  • James Redfield – The Celestine Prophecy. …
  • K.A Tucker – Ten Tiny Breaths. …
  • Michael J. Sullivan – The Riyria Chronicles. …
  • H.M Ward – Damaged. …
  • Barbara Freethy – Daniel’s Gift. …
  • Lisa Genova – Still Alice. …
  • Amanda Hocking.
  • and E.L. James – Fifty Shades of Grey – a book that my wife and daughter have told me I’m not allowed to read for some reason.

There is also a brilliant option now available called assisted self publishing in which you retain all the rights to your book (no, you don’t in traditional publishing). I will cover this in more detail next week but in the meantime, go here and read this information from Polished Publishing Group.


It’s been awhile but I got asked this week, “How did you write your book?” The best part of the question was the fact that the inquirer was actually interested in the answer which is a nice bonus. I’ve answered this question in a number of different ways in the past including actually writing a book about well, writing a book. I’ve also answered or addressed this question in various seminars, workshops and coaching sessions with aspiring authors. However, in the off chance that you, dear reader, are interested in how I wrote, THE WEST COAST TRAIL: One Step at a Time, following are some of the basic ideas of how I did it.

Now if you are not interested in how to write a book (and I completely understand and forgive you your trespasses), you might be interested in what I’m making for dinner tonight and that recipe is here. On the other hand, if you don’t read on past the recipe, you will never know what this week’s Boomer Tune Alert is. Here’s the recipe for

Pollo Alla Romano:

serves 4

  • A nice plump chicken weighing about 1.5 kg / 3 lb
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 50 g pancetta, diced (optional but I used it)
  • salt and pepper
  • a plump clove of garlic (optional – never spare the garlic)
  • a glass of dry white wine (and another for the cook)
  • 300 g tomatoes or passata
  • 4 large red peppers (I used red and yellow)

Clean the chicken and cut it into 8 eight pieces.

In a large heavy based pan fry the diced pancetta in the olive oil until it renders its fat. Add the chicken pieces skin side down and cook until the skin forms a golden crust, then turn them and fry the other side.

Add salt, several grindings of black pepper and the garlic and turn the pieces over three or four times. Add the wine and let it bubble away until most of it has evaporated.

Coarsely chop the tomatoes and deseed the peppers and cut them into chunky pieces. Add the tomatoes and the peppers to the pan, stir, cover the pan and leave over a modest heat. Keep an eagle eye on the pan for the first 10 minutes, stirring every now and then to prevent sticking. Once the peppers release their juices, half cover the pan and cook for another 45 minutes or until the tomatoes and peppers have collapsed into a dense, rich sauce and the chicken is tender.

Allow the pan to sit for about 15 minutes or better still a couple of hours or overnight (in which case you can just reheat it very very gently over a low flame until it is warm but not hot.) Serve with good bread and a glass of wine.