Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Crush the Rush: Black Friday-Cyber Monday Sale NOW!

Crush the rush and beat the madness of Black Friday and Cyber Monday with our special sale, and take home some goodies for yourself or your loved ones!

We're offering some fun bonuses when you purchase any of our packages now through next Wednesday, November 22, 2017.

Packages can be purchased for yourself OR as a gift certificate for your favorite writer! (Send us an e-mail if you want to send an gift certificate, and we'll provide one you can gift wrap, or we'll gift wrap and send to your recipient for you.)

If you purchase:

a Print or E-book Package, you'll receive a $25 gift card to Amazon OR Longhorn's Steakhouse (your choice).

  • Print Package – regularly $499 on sale now $399! – This package provides authors with the easiest tool to get their print book into readers’ hands as quickly as possible. The author provides us with an edited manuscript and a PDF of the cover, and we do the rest. All authors will receive and must approve a print proof before a book can be put on the market. We publish the book with our publishing company name and logo. You retain all rights to your book.
  • E-book Package – regularly $599 on sale now $499!– This package provides authors with the easiest tool to get their digital book into readers’ hands as quickly as possible. The author provides us with an edited manuscript and a PDF of the cover, and we handle the digital formatting. All authors will receive and must approve a digital proof before book will be put on the market. We publish the book under our publishing company name. You retain all rights to your book.


Crush the Rush Specials

If you purchase:

a Complete Package, you'll receive a $75 gift card to Amazon or Longhorn's Steakhouse (your choice).

  • Complete Package – $899 on sale now $749! – This package provides authors the best of both worlds: control of their project, yet with the help of experts to produce a book of utmost quality. This package is best-suited for books with basic to moderate formatting needs. (If you need editing services, please contact us for an additional quote.) Just send us your edited manuscript attached as a document (Microsoft Word) and we do the rest. You may submit your own cover (as a PDF) at no additional charge or you may order an original cover design from us, for an additional fee. The book will be formatted and published in both print and digital formats. All authors will receive proof copies in both formats to approve before we publish.

Crush the Rush Specials

If you purchase:

The On Your Own Package,  you'll receive a $100 gift card to Amazon or Longhorn's Steakhouse.

  • On Your Own Package - regularly $1499 on sale now $1299!– This package provides the author the most control and 100% of the income from book sales. This package provides all the services included in the Complete package, and goes one step further. TMP will set up accounts for you to later manage, once we get your book to publication. Royalties will be deposited to your own account – TMP will not take a portion of the proceeds and you won’t have to wait for quarterly statements and checks to arrive. You’ll be paid monthly as the vendors send payments, and you’ll be able to buy any quantity of your book at cost, whenever you need them. Like the other packages, this packages does not include editing services. All editing services are offered a la carte, because all manuscripts are different and require different levels of edits.

Crush the Rush Specials


If you REFER someone who purchases one of the packages above during this sale, you'll receive a gift card, too, just like the one they receive for the package they purchase! Just e-mail Tracy at info@TMPbooks.com and your referral in a single e-mail, introducing us, and when your referral makes a purchase, we'll send out your gift cards!





** Package prices do not include editing or cover design. If you need either of those services, please ask for a quote.


Sale prices and bonuses valid November 15, 2017 through November 22, 2017.

Click on the BUY NOW buttons above OR send us an email at info@TMPbooks.com to discuss your project. You may also use the Contact Form located in the right column.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Call for Submissions - Love Letters from the Heart 2

In 2012, our publisher Tracy Ruckman compiled an anthology she published through Pix-N-Pens Publishing. The book was entitled Love Letters from the Heart.

Tracy retained the rights to the book when she handed over the reins of PNP and WIP, and will re-release that book within the next couple of weeks, under the TMP imprint.

Today, we announce a call for submissions for the sequel, Love Letters from the Heart 2, which will release in February 2018.

Have you ever longed to share your heart - your testimony - with someone, but couldn't work up the nerve to do so? Well, now is your chance. We are currently compiling testimonies - in letter format - for Love Letters from the Heart 2, to be released February 2018.

You may submit a new letter if you were in the first book, but we will not reprint the same letter. You may submit a letter you submitted previously, but realize that if the letter wasn't chosen the first time, the reasons for non-selection this time might still apply, so consider carefully before sending a previous entry.

The testimonies/letters should be 1,000 words or less, written in the form of a letter to someone with whom you want to share the Gospel and/or your testimony.

The printed letters will be universal, and won't have names connected to them, you'll be writing them anonymously. Keep in mind that although you are writing the letter to someone specific, our goal is for the letters to resonate with someone who might need to hear/read what you have to say - whether you know that person or not.

Anyone who contributes to the book will have his/her name and a brief bio listed in the back of the book. If the writer chooses to share which testimony is his/her own, they are welcome to do so, but they are not required to do so. The scope of the book should appeal to a wide variety of people - so that it may be given to people who might be traveling similar paths.

Writers whose testimonies are selected for the book will receive a $25 honorarium, a copy of the book upon publication, and a steep discount on purchases of that book.

Deadline for submissions is December 15, 2017. Please submit your letter as a Word document attached to an e-mail, and send to Tracy Ruckman at: info@TMPbooks.com with the subject line: LOVE LETTERS 2. Letters will be printed anonymously in the book, but they should not be sent anonymously.

In the body of the e-mail, please include a short bio (100 words or less), and up to two links (website/blog/social media), and your shipping address. If you prefer not to have your name and/or bio listed in the book at all, please state that in your original e-mail, and if your entry is selected, we will abide by your wishes.

You may submit up to three letters for consideration.

Receipt of entry will be acknowledged; writers of chosen entries will be notified by mid-January.




Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Fiction Series: Hone the Dialogue

Dialogue can make or break your story.

How many times have you read a book where the characters didn't "sound" right? Could you identify why?

Here are some common pitfalls we see regularly:

Lack of contractions. Very rarely do we encounter folks who don't use contractions. They're a common way of speaking. It's okay to include one character who doesn't use contractions in their speech - that could be one way to identify that particular character who is probably an extremely formal and highly educated person - someone very confident. Or even someone totally opposite - someone lacking education, with low self-esteem, but great pride, who doesn't want anyone to know lack of education. Either way, their speech can identify them. But if every character speaks without contractions, the dialogue is stilted, formal, and is usually the sign of an amateur.

Full sentences. When was the last time you had a real conversation with a close friend or in a family group, and all of you spoke in complete, uninterrupted sentences? Sure doesn't happen at our house. We finish each other's sentences, or like my beloved hubby tends to do, he'll start a sentence but then it slowly ...

He doesn't finish the thought, so I either finish it for him, ask what he meant, or change the subject.

Or, we'll be discussing a topic, and someone remembers something they were supposed to tell us, so they abruptly change the subject.

Real dialogue is like that, so for your characters to be real, their dialogue needs to be real, too.

Lengthy passages of dialogue. Unless a character is giving a rare monologue, dialogue should be broken up with narrative. Show us what the characters are doing while they're talking. Show us movements, reactions, bring in sensory details (sounds, smells, textures, lighting, tastes, colors, etc.)

Name calling. When you're having a conversation with someone, how often do you use his or her name? Perhaps in greeting or to stress a point, but rarely do you repeat the name again and again. Avoid this in your dialogue as well.

Rhythm. Read your dialogue aloud. Does everyone talk in the same rhythm? Same sentence length? Same number of sentences per bit of dialogue? If so, rewrite for variety.

"Reality." When we write dialogue, we want to make it real, but not really. You can add in dialect, odd phrases, and 'umms and ahhs' on occasion, but do it sparingly. Yes, we may stutter and stammer every time we speak in real life, but readers will tire of that easily. Clean up the dialogue enough to make each word count. If you're using dialogue to typeset a character, use it briefly for only a few pages - enough for the reader to "hear" that character's speech, then they'll hear the dialect, even if you don't write it. (Similar experience with subtitles at the beginning of the movie. Characters in the movie may be speaking Italian, French, or Arabic, but we're reading it in English subtitles. After a few minutes, the characters - still in the same place and time - suddenly start speaking English. We "know" the characters are "really" still speaking in those foreign languages, but now we don't have to read subtitles.)

Dialogue is meant to convey character and to propel your story forward. Hone these areas to improve both your dialogue and your overall manuscript.


Previous articles in our Fiction Series:

The Road to NANOWRIMO
Determine Your Setting



Other articles of interest:

Marketing Series: Build Your Team
Marketing Series: Define Your Audience
Marketing Series: Think Outside the Box
Marketing Series: Build Your Platform
Marketing Series: You've Got Questions

Recent articles:

Two Keys to Finding Your Author Voice
I Want to Write a Book - Where Do I Start?
From the Edit Desk: Before Sending that Manuscript to Editor or Publisher
From the Edit Desk: Sense of Place
From the Edit Desk: What's the Takeaway?
Do You Dream?
Need an Illustrator?

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Fiction Series: Determine Your Setting

Most of my fiction - novels, short stories, and screenplays - start with location, because places intrigue and inspire me.

One question I encounter often is: should I set my story somewhere real, or create a fictional story world?

The best answer for that question is: It depends.

If you write sci-fi or fantasy, most likely your story world will be fictional and you will need to create it from top to bottom, inside and out.

If you write most any other genre, the choice is yours to make. Here are some tips to help you decide which route is best for you:

1) Consider the amount of research you'll need to know your setting(s). Are you familiar with the territory? If not, are you able to travel to the location to scope it out? Or do you have the research skills to learn specifics about the area? If you can't travel there, be sure to research more than just facts and figures - you'll need to study demographics, terrain, weather, language, customs, and more. Is this setting somewhere you want to spend time as you write?

Tip: Do more than a simple search for potential locations. Also check places like TripAdvisor, Instagram, and Twitter for things to do in the area, photos, annual events, and overall vibe of the place. Don't forget maps - if you use Google maps, you can see street views for many locations. Check the visitor's bureau or Chamber of Commerce for the town to request physical maps and information, too.

2) Do your story, plot, characters "fit" the setting? For example, if your art-theft-mystery involves pricey galleries, and your suspects hob-nob with the rich and famous, the story itself would probably seem out of place in rural mid-America, but would fit right at home in New York City. Your setting needs to fit the overall tone and mood of your story, too. Urban stories won't fit the same setting as a cozy mystery.

Tip: Check current events for the area you've set your story. Would your character be a misfit (intentional or accidental) at some of these events?

3) If setting is to serve as a character in your novel, would it be helpful to create a fictional town and plot it into the map, in an area you're familiar with, and that will be familiar to readers? For example, you create the town of Peaceland, with all its quirks and quibbles, and plot it on the map in the middle of Texas, close enough to Dallas, Austin, and Abilene that your characters can mention one of them in passing and the reader will instantly be transported to that setting.

Tip: Think of giving your character a day off to explore one of the nearby towns. What would your character be doing there? Where would your character eat? What would your character explore? If this is an overnight trip, where would the character stay?

4) If your story takes place in more than one city, consider travel logistics of getting characters from place to place. You'll need to factor travel time into your overall timeline.

Tip: Create a calendar for your story's timeline.

5) How does this setting serve your overall story and its characters? Why this setting for these characters? Why not somewhere else? Make the setting relevant to the characters and to the story, so that when the book is done, a reader can honestly feel it couldn't have happened elsewhere.

Just remember as you write that your readers will all be different - some may know the area well, and some will be totally unfamiliar. If you use a real place, make sure you get the facts right, because readers will catch mistakes. If you use a fictional place, be sure to layer in enough details that the place becomes real in a reader's mind. (The key is layering, not dumping loads of information.)


Do locations inspire you? What kinds of settings do you most like to read? Do you like writing the same kinds of settings or different ones?


More from our Fiction Series:

The Road to NANOWRIMO


Other articles of interest:

Marketing Series: Build Your Team
Marketing Series: Define Your Audience
Marketing Series: Think Outside the Box
Marketing Series: Build Your Platform
Marketing Series: You've Got Questions

Recent articles:

Two Keys to Finding Your Author Voice
I Want to Write a Book - Where Do I Start?
From the Edit Desk: Before Sending that Manuscript to Editor or Publisher
From the Edit Desk: Sense of Place
From the Edit Desk: What's the Takeaway?
Do You Dream?
Need an Illustrator?




Monday, October 16, 2017

Fiction Series: The Road to NANOWRIMO

Today, we start a new series on fiction writing, with our eyes on NANOWRIMO 2017. I hope our posts will be helpful and serve as a great "warm-up" for the big event, and be useful to anyone wanting to write fiction, whether you're participating in NANO or not.

Image Courtesy of
National Novel Writing Month
NANOWRIMO? I hear some of you asking.

NANOWRIMO is the acronym for National Novel Writing Month which takes place every year during the month of November. From their website:

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing.  
On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30.
Valuing enthusiasm, determination, and a deadline, NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought about writing a novel.
Almost 400,000 writers participated last year.

Today's tip is short, and sounds more simple than it is:

Write the book you want to read.

You'll be spending many hours with the characters, setting, and plot of this book - more hours than you imagine because once the story comes alive in your brain and heart, it will always live there. If you like romance novels, write a romance novel. If you like horror, write horror. If you write mysteries, write a mystery. If you're not sure what genre you prefer, think of your favorite books and that should help. If you're like me,  you may like several genres - if that's the case, think about setting or characters, and let one of those lead you to the genre you should write first.

Some "experts" may tell you to write for the market - write what will sell. You can choose to listen to them - and be miserable about halfway through - or you can write the book you want to read and enjoy yourself, even when the writing gets hard. (It will.)

Come back tomorrow for our next post in this fiction series. Topics we'll be discussing in future posts include characters, theme, setting, tension, dialogue, plot and more.


The Fiction Series:

The Road to NANOWRIMO
Determine Your Setting

Other articles of interest:


Marketing Series: Build Your Team
Marketing Series: Define Your Audience
Marketing Series: Think Outside the Box
Marketing Series: Build Your Platform
Marketing Series: You've Got Questions

Recent articles:

Two Keys to Finding Your Author Voice
I Want to Write a Book - Where Do I Start?
From the Edit Desk: Before Sending that Manuscript to Editor or Publisher
From the Edit Desk: Sense of Place
From the Edit Desk: What's the Takeaway?
Do You Dream?
Need an Illustrator?




Monday, October 2, 2017

Marketing Series: Think Outside the Box

When it comes to marketing your books, think outside the box. Yes, everyone does bookmarks, websites, business cards, but what is unique about your book that you could use to draw attention?

For fiction writers, draw on your characters' personalities, hobbies, hometown, occupation, or idiosyncrasies to create a contest or marketing memes.

Create a float for your town's homecoming or Christmas parade and ride in it as one of the characters. (With a book cover image plastered boldly somewhere on the float or car!)

If your character likes to cook or is a foodie - or even a klutz in the kitchen - write a series of blog posts with some of that character's favorite recipes (or goofs) - even if they're not in the book.

Make the characters come to life through behind-the-scene glimpses into their lives.

For nonfiction writers, tap into your book's themes to create some of your marketing. If your theme is a social issue, check calendars for national awareness days and build some of your marketing around those days. Even if you don't write about social issues, check out the "national days" calendar to see what topics might fit your book and your message and have fun with it.

Use art, videos, symbols, costumes, unique key phrases, locations (yours) or settings (your character's) to reach readers in unexpected ways. Seek out groups that might be interested in having you speak on your theme - they may even allow you to set up a book table for sales and autographs after your talk. (Just don't use your speech to promote your book.)

Tap into your own hobbies and interests to attract readers with similar interests. One awesome author I know travels frequently. One part of her platform revolves around her travels - and her characters' journeys, too. Readers know that when they pick up one of her books, they'll be transported all around the world as the story unfolds. Another incredible author is a hometown girl, and she shares her hometown as part of her platform. When readers pick up her books, they know they're going to get a hometown family feel (even in the midst of chaos!)


Other articles of interest:

Marketing Series: Build Your Team
Marketing Series: Define Your Audience
Marketing Series: Think Outside the Box
Marketing Series: Build Your Platform
Marketing Series: You've Got Questions

Recent articles:

Two Keys to Finding Your Author Voice
I Want to Write a Book - Where Do I Start?
From the Edit Desk: Before Sending that Manuscript to Editor or Publisher
From the Edit Desk: Sense of Place
From the Edit Desk: What's the Takeaway?
Do You Dream?
Need an Illustrator?

Marketing Series: Build Your Team

Although writing is a solitary profession for the most part, when you get ready to market your book, you need a team. This team, sometimes referred to as a street team or a tribe,
serves as your immediate marketing team - they help get the word out about your book.

A team can be as simple as a small group of family or friends who tell others about your book, or as complex as an entire network of people (some may be acquaintances or even strangers) who promote your book for review copies or other incentives.

Folks within the industry have mixed feelings about street teams in general, and that's understandable.

Some of the ambivalence has to do with credibility. By assembling a random street team, you as the author are entrusting your marketing to strangers. You don't know the reputation of the members, or their credibility within their own circles - and honestly, they could do more harm than good for your book.

During the years I've been in the book industry, I've learned from the pros that it makes sense to compile a team that you know and trust. If your team is comprised of other authors, make sure you read their books for quality and content to ensure they match your own quality and values. If the quality is sub-par or the values are in direct opposition to yours, their marketing could alienate your audience or be directed at an audience that's not a good fit for your book.

Marketing teams are effective in different ways, and could work online and/or in person (boots on the ground).

Online teams will:
  • Buy your book on release day.
  • Write blog post(s) about your book and its themes.
  • Interview you for their blogs.
  • Review your books on multiple online sites (Amazon, BN, Books-a-Million, Goodreads, Book Depository, etc.).
  • Post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, etc. about your book, consistently and repeatedly. (Not an overload and they definitely should NOT spam folks, but they should be willing to offer more than a single post or tweet.)
  • Attend any online parties/events that you may host or be invited to - offering support and encouragement and - well, attendance. 
In-person teams will:
  • Buy your book on release day.
  • Visit their local bookstores, taking bookmarks, postcards, chocolates, and perhaps even a copy of your book to the manager, asking if they might be interested in hosting a book signing or selling your books. 
  • Connect with their local libraries to discuss your books. 
  • Distribute promotional materials wherever appropriate (coffee shops, book clubs, writing groups, church, social groups, civic groups, etc.)
  • Attend your local book signings and speaking engagements, offering support and encouragement - and assistance as needed.

Reward your team with incentives like small gift cards, autographed copies of your book, t-shirts, chocolate (of course!), coffee mugs, special discounts, or even "insider" information about you or your books that only the team will know (or will know in advance of others). Come up with other ways to recognize their efforts. Some examples: let them name one of your characters or setting in a future book, thank them on the acknowledgements page of your book, host a party in their honor if your team is local.

Remember to set aside time for marketing and team building, but don't let the marketing overtake your writing. Having a team to help you market will free up some of those hours so you can do just that.



Other articles of interest:

Marketing Series: Build Your Team
Marketing Series: Define Your Audience
Marketing Series: Think Outside the Box
Marketing Series: Build Your Platform
Marketing Series: You've Got Questions

Crush the Rush: Black Friday-Cyber Monday Sale NOW!

Crush the rush and beat the madness of Black Friday and Cyber Monday with our special sale, and take home some goodies for yourself or your ...