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Topics - isaacsweeney

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Writers' Cafe / Would You Click This BookBub Ad?
« on: June 26, 2020, 05:07:28 pm »

just curious

Writers' Cafe / Creative marketing?
« on: June 22, 2020, 12:03:08 am »
While I was DoorDashing, I left paperback copies of my novelette on the porches with the people's food.

I was just wondering what other creative marketing ideas you had.

Writers' Cafe / Link maker doesn't seem to be working
« on: June 18, 2020, 10:11:29 pm »
Is the link maker not working for everyone or just me?

Writers' Cafe / Am I gonna get sued? Careful What You Dash For
« on: June 18, 2020, 02:17:43 pm »
It's too short for a novel, too short for a novella, but too long for a short story.

I guess it's a novelette?

Description: A serial killer uses Door Dash to lure his prey. He’s got the local police fooled and his property booby trapped. But Sarah is his next target, and she may turn into his greatest challenge.

The Book Bazaar / Careful What You Dash For - thriller
« on: May 31, 2020, 10:36:54 pm »

A serial killer uses Door Dash to lure his prey. He’s got the local police fooled and his property booby trapped. But Sarah is his next target, and she may turn into his greatest challenge.

Writers' Cafe / Have you heard of Metaphor Dice?
« on: March 14, 2019, 08:57:09 am »
I think this a great, tangible thing to prompt writing. Every writer should have them. Or maybe just a novelty?

I recently wrote about them on my blog, It's a video review, and I tried to just put the video here because I think they really are helpful, but I can't get it to work. So you can watch the vid at the link. The words are as follows.

As you can see, the dice are amazing. I have to admit that I did stumble at one point, because I couldn’t make it work on the spot. But that’s on me. I was worried about the “rules.” The great thing about the dice, however, is that there are no rules. I was going red, white, and blue, but there’s nothing that says I couldn’t mix it up. And that’s what’s so powerful about the dice. They’re a prompt. A tool. But they’re not everything. I’m the writer with all the power, so I can do what I want.

Every teacher should have these dice. Every writer should as well. No more writer’s block. If you remember John Cleese talking about creativity, at one point he mentions play and just putting random concepts together without the fear of being wrong. These dice help do that.

Writers' Cafe / If you guys don't mind ... embarrass my wife
« on: February 14, 2019, 11:31:00 am »
I wrote this love-dovey open letter to my wife on my blog. I want to embarrass her with love. So I'm sharing it everywhere I can think of. Thanks fellow writer people.  :D

The Book Bazaar / Romance audiobooks - unlimited downloads
« on: February 10, 2019, 12:43:35 pm »
If you like romance audiobooks read by steamy actors, I get to offer this special deal through my blog. It's unlimited romance audiobooks, a free month of Audible, and three discounted months of Audible.

Writers' Cafe / Do you teach?
« on: February 08, 2019, 05:35:46 am »
I think many people here are teachers as well as awesome writers. I thought you might like this - - about working off the clock and how that's somehow become acceptable in our culture.

Does any other profession require people to put so much of their own time and money in just to be able to do the bare basics of their job?

Writers' Cafe / Sondra Perl's Composing Guidelines and Felt Sense
« on: February 08, 2019, 05:31:40 am »
Posted on my blog today about Sondra Perl's Composing Guidelines. I used to use these in the college classroom and it almost always worked like a charm (nothing ever worked 100 percent). They are great for less-experienced writers and I use them if I get stuck writing.

Here's the link to the blog:

Here's some of the post ...

When I was teaching freshman composition in various colleges in Virginia, one of my favorite things to do was introduce students to Sondra Perl’s Composing Guidelines. The students would have their writing assignment and we would spend a whole class period, usually, going through the steps.

At one point, I had a CD that I played, which was kind of nice, but it eventually broke. That’s ok; I don’t mind reading out the steps.

I would make students read about the “felt sense,” which is the notion that we know what we want to say before we actually have words for it, which is pretty profound if you think about it. Students would always snicker because the process starts off seeming kind of hokey. And I guess it is.

But it works. The students would almost always end up with a good start to a paper or something written down that was substantial.

The thing I love most about Sondra Perl’s Composing Guidelines is that it takes what experienced writers do naturally and puts it into a process so less-experienced writers (like college freshmen or high school students) can write with grace and passion. It also works for all kinds of writing, from academic essays to novels.

The original process is found in Sondra Perl’s book, Felt Sense: Writing with the Body. It’s also on Here’s what Focusing says about the guidelines ...

On my blog, I wrote about a rather inexpensive course I found to help cut audio. I know a lot of writers here have or will record their own audiobooks with ACX. And they'll probably do podcasts and whatnot, especially if they're new to self-publishing. Many will probably also use Audacity, which is free, open-source software. The thing is, you can't just hit record and go; you have to have a little bit of know-how. The thing about open-source software is that it isn't always as forthcoming with the how-to stuff.

I taught myself, but I would have saved a ton of time (and time equals money, and sleep) if I had just taken a class or something. 

Anyway, if you want to read about saving time with an Audacity course, here's the link:

Writers' Cafe / John Cleese on how to be creative
« on: February 04, 2019, 12:22:29 pm »
      This is an old video that I blogged about today. But it's just still so relevant. I thought I'd share. Here's the link:

Here are some of my favorite highlights from the video.

-“Creativity is not a talent …. It is a way of operating.”
- “Creativity is not an ability that you either have or do not have. It is … absolutely unrelated to IQ.”
-“The most creative had simply acquired a facility for getting themselves into a particular mood; a way of operating, which allowed their natural creativity to function.”
-“An ability to play.” “Childlike.” The ability to play with ideas.
-People operate in one of two modes: open and closed. Creativity is not possible in the closed mode.
--Closed mode: “The mode that we are in most of the time when we are at work.” Active and slightly anxious. A little impatient. We have to get things done.
--Open mode: “Relaxed, expansive, less purposeful, in which we are probably more contemplative, more inclined to humor, which always accompanies a wider perspective, and consequently, more playful.”
-Hitchcock mistrusted working under pressure.
-Need to be in the open mode to come up with a solution to a problem, but we need to switch to the closed mode to implement it. Then switch back to the open mode to review feedback to see if the solution was a success or not.
-“We too often get stuck in the closed mode.”
-There are five conditions that make it more likely to get into the open mode: Space, time, time, confidence, humor.
---Space: A place where you can cut yourself off from the world around you.
---Time: Be in that space for a certain amount of time.
---Time: Don’t take the first “answer.” Spend time and find the best “answer” to a problem. Pondering time.
---Confidence: Don’t fear making mistakes. The essence of playfulness is the freedom to do anything.
---Humor: Gets us from the closed mode to the open mode quicker than anything else.
-“It’s easier to do trivial things that are urgent than it is to do important things that are not urgent, like thinking. And it’s also easier to do little things that we know we can do than to start on big things that we’re not so sure of.”
-When does this decision have to be taken? Defer the decision until then.
-There’s a difference between serious and solemn. Laughter doesn’t indicate the absence of seriousness.
-“It’s easier to be creative when you’ve got more people to play with.”
-The joke happens when you “connect two different frameworks of reference in a new way. “

Writers' Cafe / Editing Available
« on: February 03, 2019, 07:23:08 pm »
Hello. I used to be a regular here, but I haven't been here in a minute. I recently lost my teaching job and I'm beefing up my editing services. I'm in the KB yellow pages: You can also check out


The Book Bazaar / Devil's Gambit by Steve Abbott
« on: January 05, 2015, 09:18:38 am »
As a disclaimer, I'm the editor for the book. That said, I don't always recommend books I edit, but this one's pretty awesome. Here's info from Amazon:

NEST - Nuclear Emergency Search Team. Specialists activated in the event of a nuclear incident.

Three nuclear warheads complete with their delivery systems have been stolen from a Russian missile base. It's up to Captain Gayle Ecevit USAF and her joint Russian team to find and secure the missing devices, with the help of two members of the SAS. All the signs point towards North Korea but to what end? Were they taken to be reverse engineered to bolster their struggling weapons program or are they to be used for a darker purpose, to start the Korean War all over again?

The answers might lie with a recent North Korean Defector sitting in a CIA safe house but maybe he's a plant, put forward by North Korean Intelligence to muddy the waters. MI6 has it's eyes on a shadowy South African arms dealer who specializes in smuggling nuclear materials.

Gayle and her team must sift through all the possibilities and come to the right answer. A new Korean War hangs in the balance.

Writers' Cafe / Interns to Translate?
« on: December 25, 2013, 03:40:50 am »
Has anyone offered internship credit to colleges/students to translate works into other languages? Just a thought.

Writers' Cafe / Editors who write vs. editors who don't
« on: December 13, 2013, 11:46:55 am »
I was talking about editing with a couple of writer friends of mine. One said she prefers to work with editors who are also authors themselves. The other said the opposite -- that he prefers editors who are NOT authors. Apparently, the latter believes editing and writing take different and mutually exclusive mentalities.

As an writer/author (<--are those different?) AND editor, I agree that the mindset is different, but I believe people can have both and can switch between them. It was something I'd never really thought about before and, almost immediately, I began to wonder what the brilliant minds at kboards might have to say about it. So what's your take?

Writers' Cafe / Used paperback for only $999.11
« on: December 11, 2013, 06:21:24 am »
I've seen this before (not for my stuff). Why do sellers do these really expensive products? There's gotta be some marketing reason that I don't understand. Is it because there's no other "used" version of my paperback for sale, so why not price it really high?

Writers' Cafe / Revenue sharing for editing services
« on: November 28, 2013, 05:39:59 am »
I put this in another thread, but thought it could use one of its own. Here's what I said.

 I had this idea about a revenue share for editing. Has anyone heard of something like that before? For example, instead of a set fee or an hourly rate, then maybe 10 percent of sales. Or maybe something like a third of the cost up front, then 10 percent of any revenue generated, up to a certain point. Credit, in a way, for editing. Anyway, just a thought since I know editing can get expensive.

Could this work? Is this, or something like it, something authors would be interested in?

Proofreading is $100 $50 per book. (10-day turnaround)
Substantive editing is $250 per book. (20- to 60-day turnaround)
Quick texts are $5 per page.

See details and order here.

My email address is [email protected] Let me know if you have any questions.

How it works -

You can order and email me, or email me and then order. Basically, I'll need to know when you want me to start and I'll pencil you in my calendar. Within 10 days, I will offer suggestions on spelling, grammar, punctuation, and other mechanics. I might even go a little more in depth because I love doing this!! I'm quick and accurate; I've been doing this a long time.

If you expect to finish your manuscript in December, order now and I'll put you on the calendar for December. If you want to start tomorrow, order now and I'll start tomorrow (until it fills up). Thanks!

Writers' Cafe / IPPY Awards (Independent Publisher Book Awards)
« on: July 29, 2013, 11:11:12 pm »
Any IPPY Award winners here?

FYI, here's the latest call for entries and guidelines:

(there's an ebook category)

Writers' Cafe / Goodreads giveaway slows sales (is that normal)?
« on: July 27, 2013, 07:38:53 pm »
I published Same Track, Different Track late last month and I was selling a couple copies a day. Not huge numbers, but ok. Then my giveaway started, and numbers pretty much stopped. Is that normal? I've gotten a lot of "to reads" on Goodreads and I'm hoping sales will pick up again after the giveaway ends. Maybe people are hoping they get the free copy, so they're waiting to buy?? This is my first giveaway, so I'm just wondering if this has happened to others, because another possibility is that my book sucks.

Writers' Cafe / Rankings stuck?
« on: July 18, 2013, 05:17:09 pm »
I don't usually sell enough to notice, but I'm having an OK few days and the rankings aren't moving. Is that normal?

Writers' Cafe / 667 ... whew!
« on: July 07, 2013, 11:48:14 pm »
Apparently, I had 666 posts on kboards until this one. Guess I'm saved now. Whew!

The Book Bazaar / Nonfiction. It just may inspire you!
« on: June 24, 2013, 09:29:59 am »

Description: "I was never supposed to be where I am today. In academia, the route to the tenure track has on it a terminal degree, publications in peer-reviewed journals, and other what-everybody-else-has-done things.”

So begins author Isaac Sweeney as he chronicles his unlikely path from a newspaper staff writer to his coveted tenure-track position in higher education. Same Track, Different Track reveals the adjunct underbelly of academia while telling an underdog story about a laid-back family man who uses creativity and tenacity to find — and sometimes create — his own way. Same Track, Different Track is a unique combination of an original narrative and Sweeney’s previously published essays from The Chronicle of Higher Education, Academe, and others.

Writers' Cafe / Self-publishing in academia
« on: April 30, 2013, 09:17:11 pm »
In my non-writing life (sort of), I'm an English professor. I have a regular gig writing for The Chronicle of Higher Education's two-year track blog. I recently wrote something about self-publishing an academic-ish manuscript that I'm working on and I thought people here might be interested in the post. I'll paste the beginning of it below, but I can't paste the whole thing.

Here goes:

I have a manuscript. It’s a memoir of sorts, chronicling my path from the newsroom, to the classroom as an adjunct, to getting fired, to unemployment, to a tenure-track job. My purpose is multifold: to encourage college administrators to look to the adjunct pool first when hiring, to help adjunct faculty members realize that there can be life in academe beyond contingency, and to present an entertaining tale of an underdog.
But there’s a problem with the manuscript. It’s short. Not incomplete, just shorter than the average nonfiction book, and much shorter than academic nonfiction. I still have some tweaking to do, but it’ll probably be 25,000 to 30,000 words. My manuscript is meant for an audience of readers who are academics, but I’m not sure it’s an “academic” book.

Read the rest here:

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