The 2015 Frasier Contest is OPEN!

Are you wanting to up your writing game in 2015?  Entering a writing contest is a GREAT way to get feedback, get noticed by editors and agents, and build your writing skills!

And our MBT Frasier Contest is designed to help you Get Published, and Stay Published!

Check out these words from 2013 Finalist, and 2014 WINNER Jeanne Takenaka!

Find all the Frasier Contest Deets HERE!

You CAN write something brilliant!

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Conversations with a Writing Coach

Hey Awesome Writers!

I’m on the road this week – so I asked my friend Phyllis Wheeler, who runs a publishing start-up if she’d step in with a blog to sort through how to choose between traditional publishing and self-publishing.  Hope it’s helpful!

PS – Ever want to sit down and talk through your writing journey with a writing coach?  JUST launched a new book that does just that!  Follow the journey of an aspiring writer (and learn along with her!) in Conversations with a Writing Coach.  $4.99 Available only on KINDLE!

Take it away, Phyllis!



Should you self-publish?

Self-publishing has changed over the years. There are now some high-quality self-published books out there, and the authors are reaping 100 percent of the  profit. Should you join them?


What goes into self-publishing a book?

  • Editing. You need a quality editor or editors to apply more pairs of eyes and brains to the story.
  • Cover art. You need to hire someone qualified and give that person plenty of direction. Decide what constitutes a great cover for a book in your genre. You’ll be placing the order and approving the result.
  • Print book production. You need to hire someone or learn to create PDFs for your print book using special software like InDesign.
  • Ebook production. You need to hire someone or learn to create multiple types of computer files of your ebook.
  • Sales. Online venues are not difficult or expensive to set up. But if you want to get your book into bookstores, you’ll need distribution, and that costs many thousands of dollars (to print the books, pay the distributor, and take the returns).
  • Marketing. Most publishers leave the responsibility this up to the author, at least to some degree. You would miss out on whatever tips and assistance a publisher may provide.


Reasons to self-publish:

  • Instead of taking a year in the works (or more), you can produce your book in a month or two. (But what are you giving up? Publishers Weekly and Library Journal won’t review it unless they have it in hand four months BEFORE publication.)
  • If you are a published author with a following, ride the tide of your previous  success and get 100 percent of the  profit.
  • There’s help out there. You can learn the skills you need. I highly recommend the Independent Book Publishers Association, IBPA, which has an annual teaching conference called Pub U.


Reason not to self-publish:

The only way to hit mega book sales is with a major publisher. Independents do well to sell books in the hundreds, not tens of thousands. Even authors who had unusually successful self-publishing ventures, like the writers of The Shack, eventually went to the big publishers, who are good at what they do.


But major publishing companies are consolidating. They are promoting fewer and fewer new authors, and it’s very hard to get their attention.  You  must have an agent first, for example. And your book has to be in a genre that appeals to those who frequent bookstores. (Romance? Yes. Fantasy? No.)


Small press?

If you’re not up for all the bother involved in self-publishing, there are various small presses. Find one that fits your genre and offers a profit-sharing arrangement. Steer clear of anyone who wants to collect money from you.


How do you find the right small press? Take a look at the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) approved-publisher list? Unfortunately, the ACFW isn’t very helpful these days. It’s recently decided to limit its approved publisher list to those who sell $5,000 each from two books within a year. This pretty much cuts out the undercapitalized indie presses, which can’t afford to put books in bookstores. I expect that the indie presses now on the ACFW list will be going off it as the next year goes by and they have to prove their receipts.


Use Google, Twitter, and word of mouth to find possible presses. Examine some of their books. Are they well edited? Good cover art? Contact the author. Is he or she happy with the publisher? Does the publisher send pre-publication copies to Publishers Weekly and other respected reviewers? Can you get your rights back after sales drop off?


Remember, it’s great to have all these publishing options. You’re a lot better off than a prospective author fifteen years ago who had no small press options and no respectable self-publishing options.

Phyllis Wheeler (an MBT enthusiast) is a co-founder of Castle Gate Press, a small press that started in 2013 with a vision to help launch new Christian writers. Phyllis and her cofounder Suzanne Hartmann have gathered some volunteer editors who share their vision.

They’re releasing a time-travel mystery in the fall, and they’re on the lookout for quality manuscripts of any genre that contain at least a touch of the fantastic.  Be sure to let your writer friends know about Castle Gate Press! For helpful writing and marketing tips, sign up to get their blog posts at .




A Preview of What’s Happening At MBT in 2013!

We have lots planned for MBT this year!  If you’re wondering why you might want to stick around, bookmark the blog, get the flashblog or join our free or paid premium membership…well, here are a few reasons!

1. Focus on SCENES!  We’re going to focus on building great SCENEs this year – both in our Advanced Member lessons and our Peptalks!   We’re going to be doing live critiques on the Peptalks – (anonymous!) as well as pulling apart powerful scenes to show you how they work.  In the Advanced Member lessons, we’ll take apart the elements and show you how to build them into your own novels.

2. The Business of Writing!  We know that becoming an author is much much more than just writing a great book. Today’s author must know how to market their story, as well as manage the business of writing and their career.  We’ll be tackling all aspects of the writing journey with an in-depth look at the Business of Publishing. Here’s a sneak peek of our upcoming webinars:

  • Writing Short Stories for the MBT Splickety Contest. Why this is important for your career and What’s in it for the author.
  • Writing a Breakout First Chapter for the Frasier
  • How to self-publish a book
  • The AuthorPreneur: How to create a small business as an author
  • What truly makes a book sell?
  • Creating a fan base that will fight for you.
  • Marketing Yourself for success, Part One: Branding
  • Marketing Yourself for Success, Part Two: Social Media
  • Marketing Yourself for Success, Part Three: Getting the most out of events
  • Non-traditional Publishing: the New Tradition.
  • Do it the Right way: Setting up the Business of Writing
  • Incorporate or not? Expenses, deductions and taxes. Record keeping.
  • Get Noticed! How to Make Websites, social media, speaking, connecting with tribes work for you

Although these will be open to the public for a fee, they are FREE to Premium Members!



3.  Blogs that answer your questions!

We have a great line up of blogs this year!

  • Mondays: Head Coach Susie May will be covering advanced Q & A in her new Vlog series!
  • Tuesdays: One Thing Marketing by Marketing/Events Coach Melissa Tagg on simple steps you can take to market your book!
  • Wednesdays Line up: 
    • Skills Coach, Beth Vogt explains writing terms and how they fit into your novel
    • Social Media Coach Edie Melson blogs about Connections: How to use Social Media to build a tribe
    • Bleachers Coordinator, Lisa Jordan teaches on finding Balance in life and writing
    • Retreats Hostess and newbie writer Alena Taurainen talks about the Next Step – baby steps to publication.
    • Brainstorm Coach Michelle Lim talks about: Idea Sparking your way out of writer’s blog
  • Thursdays: Head Therapist Rachel Hauck teaches on the structure of FairyTales and how they help us build better stories!
  • Fridays: Find our Featured Fiction from our Frasier Judges!
  • Saturdays:  Life Coaching with Dr. Reba J. Hoffman

Bookmark the blog and/or sign up for the Flashblog and don’t miss a thing!

4. A New Retreat!  Kiss and Tell – how to write a Romance.  This romance retreat is designed for those who want to learn to write everything from a thread of romance to a full out romance.  Check it out at:

All this along with all our regular fun – from our Monday Night Chats, to our Frasier Contest, to our Deep and Wide retreat (2 spots left!) to our annual Pizza Party and WriMo celebration.  Are you member?  Join us for free!  (

We’re going to have a great writing year!  Are you ready?

Susie May