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7 Debilitating Words

7 Debilitating Words

You might think there is no such thing as a useless word, that every word in the English language is a special little snowflake with its own unique purpose and place. But it’s not true. Words go out of fashion, become archaic and then disappear entirely.

And when it comes to writing, it is even less true. There are words and phrases with absolutely no place in a finished book, or with only one very specific use and no other. Getting rid of these words will automatically make your writing cleaner and stronger because they are some of the most debilitating words in writing. As always, this is a guide, not rules, rules suck, but read and consider carefully.

Ok, here we go!


This is the pet peeve of many an editor, and Mark Twain is famous for saying: Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.

Very is a qualifier/intensifier. Ostensibly it is meant to add weight to the word that follows, but it has the opposite effect.

“It was a very cold day”

“There was a very old coat in the cupboard”

“She was very sad”

We understand that the day is not just cold, but VERY COLD, yet instead of using “very” we can change both words for one that is stronger. Think “icy”.

“It was an icy day.”

“There was an ancient coat in the cupboard”

“She was miserable”

But as always there’s a flip side of this. To use an example from my book The Grave at Storm’s End, there is a scene in which “very” was deliberately left in. The line was in dialogue (much can be forgiven in dialogue as I will explain at the end) but more than that, the word “very” was used for mocking repetition and without it the line wouldn’t have played anywhere near as well. In discussing whether being an emperor makes someone a god, a character says:

‘No, it makes him a very powerful man with a very nice chair.’

So if you search through your work for the word “very” you will need almost none of them, but you might find, like I did, that a few are allowed to remain.


Little is similar to very, and when used as a qualifier needs to be burned with fire.

“There was a little blood” (although don’t just change this to “Some blood” because that’s almost as bad… see below)

“The day was a little cold.”

“Dogs are a little smelly.”

As with very, try for a word that says what you mean. Don’t say “a little cold” when you could say “freezing”. Don’t say “a little smelly” when you could say “stink”.

Always aim for writing that is strong and forthright, writing that doesn’t dilly-dally but gets to the point without fearing to insult the stinky canine.

The only place where “little” is acceptable is when we are describing size.

“She was a little dog.” (Can you tell I have a dog? She is both little and stinky)

“The little girl.”

If you’re not describing size, you better have a good reason to use this poisonous weed of a word.


Some is a vague and indiscriminate amount and so makes for vague and weak writing.

“There were some things beside the door.”

“Some clothes fell out.”

What things? Which clothes? Don’t be lazy, show us what is happening rather than hampering our ability to visualise the scene with the roadblock “Some”

“A suitcase sat beside the door. A pink leather coat had been thrown over it and a pair of pink leather shoes sat neatly in front.”

“Clothes tumbled: a black singlet, a pair of crumpled jeans and all too many pairs of bright coloured underwear.”

They all take more words, but the object to clean, sharp writing isn’t getting rid of the most words, it’s about getting rid of the right words.


“Suddenly the door burst open.”

Why not just:

“The door burst open.”

It’s just as sudden without having to tell us that it’s sudden. In fact bothering to tell me that it was sudden makes the door bursting open take longer to read and therefore less sudden.

“The email was suddenly there.”

Instead we could have: “The email appeared.” We get less words there. Or you could add a sense connection to make it real for the reader and go with: “With a cheery ding the email appeared.”

Set the killer scorpions on this one.


“It was a rather warm day”

“She was a pretty dog, rather nice to look at”

“The coat was rather warm”


I think I just went to sleep while reading. This is one of those words where you’re just not confident with what you’re saying, so shove in this wheedling ‘I hope you think so too’ sort of word. Don’t. Please. Own your words. Be confident in what you are saying. This is your story. Your world. Your characters. Tell us about them in strong words. And if you’re trying to tell us it was a hot day, then damn well say “hot day” not “rather warm” and if you just meant that it was “warm” then just say “warm”.


“It was a warm day”

“She was a pretty dog” (don’t need the entire second half of this)

“The coat was cosy”


Pretty is another word, like “little” that has a good and functional use. Use it to tell us about someone or something’s appearance.

“The pretty boy.”

“The pretty garden.”

“She was pretty, not beautiful.”

These are all legitimate uses for this word, so don’t go getting rid of these. But if you’re going through your work and find the following, or are tempted to pen them, don’t.

“It was a pretty good game.”


“It was a good game.” Or “The game was boring, but I couldn’t tell him so.” Or “It was an amazing game.”

Pick something more appropriate and stronger instead.


Quite doesn’t have a use.

“It was quite a nice day.”

“He was quite pretty.”

“The drive was quite slow.”

If you see these, get rid of them. If you’re using the “quite” as a modifier, as in rather or little or very, then choose an appropriate word.

“It was a lovely day.”

“He was nothing special to look at.”

“The drive took forever.”

Even in the situation “Not quite there.” There are stronger words that could be used here. “Almost there.” “Close.” This is certainly a better way to use “quite” but make sure you consider each one.

Unless of course it’s in dialogue. Which brings me neatly to the end.

There is, of course, one place where all of the above words are acceptable (although you must still be careful) and that is in dialogue. Dialogue forgives many things, because few of us speak in the shortest, sharpest, most confident language. If you listen to people speaking you hear all of the above words, most often when we aren’t confident enough to own.

“Yes, it was quite a nice book.”

“I don’t know, I guess I’m pretty stupid.”

“It’s a little sad, don’t you think?”

“I kind of think that maybe we should consider having a little party, I think that would be quite nice, don’t you?”

You can feel the ill-ease oozing off these speakers. And it will be even more obvious if lines like these appear within strong, confident text. So in summary – don’t piss fart around worrying if you’re going to offend people or get called out for using an over-emphasising word. Remember that fiction is larger than life. It’s big and bold and amazing, so write like it is.

Get rid of debilitating qualifiers.

Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style (the foremost guide on how not to write shit, get a copy if you don’t already have one) describes these words as: “leeches that infest the pond of prose, sucking the blood of words.”

How to Write Likeable Protagonists

How to Write Likeable Protagonists

“She is naïve, spineless, and a horrible and chronic liar.”

“I hated the main character from the start.”

“He is annoying as fuck…. He’s just an ass.”

“The characters were all idiots… the kind of character that wouldn’t be able to tell that yes, it might be a bad thing if you put a fork in a toaster.”

“She irked me quite a lot and reading this book from her point of view was no picnic in the park… She’s boring, clumsy and downright bitter.”

There are a lot of problems and pitfalls when you’re writing a story, but this one is an immediate killer. Readers might slog through excessive adverb use and colourful dialogue attribution, they might stick with you through rambling plot threads and confusing motivations, but they will not stick with a protagonist they don’t like, unless it is in hope that you might kill them off in a painful and interesting way.

Even the most fascinating plot cannot redeem a protagonist you want to stab in the eye with a spoon.

So how do we create a likeable character? How do we ensure our readers can relate to them? And what doesn’t fail to turn readers against them? Now of course every reader has a different opinion, but there is a difference between a polarising protagonist and a downright awful one. There are lots of reasons why people hate main characters, so let’s just look at a few main ones.


#1 – They are passive and useless

This one is often a symptom of a larger problem with the story as a whole. When I say a character is passive I mean that they don’t move the plot along. They sit around and wait for the plot to happen to them without making an effort to control the outcome of their own lives. And often this is because they don’t actually have a goal. There is no ‘problem’, nothing they are striving for, and that leaves them flat.

(Check out my discussion on ‘goals/problems’ for a discussion of this subject)

Another way a character becomes passive is letting someone else take the driver’s seat. This happens a lot in romances and some YA where we have an innocent young woman thrown into a strange world and while she flops around being useless, our ‘hero’ (and I use the word loosely) is controlling everything, manipulating the plot so she ends up falling in love with him no matter how awful a person he might be.

(There’s definitely a rant in there for another day…)

So if you want your readers to like your protagonist, make sure they have a goal and that they are taking steps to succeed at it, no matter what these might be or whether they ultimately do succeed. A character who is sitting on their butt or waiting for someone to solve their problems for them is boring to read about.

#2 – Morally bankrupt

Now this is an interesting one. (For those readers of fantasy think Jorg from The Prince of Thorns.) In fact this is the one most people will have a different opinion about, because some people like to read about characters with a mean streak, and others are disgusted. But of course the more horrific you let your protagonist behave, the more purpose there needs to be for it. Not that they always need to be redeemed, but if the violence is purposeless and gratuitous it’s going to be harder to keep your readers on side.

There is often a moral event horizon, the point beyond which there is no coming back – cross this with your protagonist and you’re going to have trouble keeping your readers. Generally we want to cheer for a protagonist, they are the character we are most rooting for and most want to be, make them too villainous and we might stop caring if they win or not. And not caring about a protagonist is the point at which book death occurs.

# 3 Melodramatic and Whiny

We all know people who act like this. We all see them on Facebook or hear them on the train or in shops, they complain about everything and everyone, or act as though everything is an insult and the world is out to get them. Or maybe they just have an emotional response dialled up to two hundred and forty out of ten. And that’s all good, the world is made of lots of different people, that’s what makes it such a cool place (most of the time) but there would have to be a very compelling reason for me to want to read about a self-proclaimed martyr who complains about everything or sees insult where there is none.

No one likes to listen to people whining and complaining, so why would anyone want to read about one?

# 4 Cardboard cut-outs/robotic

These are the cliché characters, the stereotypes, the ones you cannot care about for their sheer lack of depth. They are called cardboard cut-outs because a printed piece of cardboard could stand in and no one would notice the difference.

Is your character an emotionless robot going about the plot like it has been programmed into them? We don’t want our protagonist melodramatic and whiny, but there’s fairly broad turf between these two extremes in which to play.

Always remember that not being scared isn’t bravery, bravery is being scared and doing it anyway. Do we get to see that your protagonist is scared? That they worry, doubt, cry, cheer and laugh? If there is no emotion behind the actions then readers will struggle to care.

If all they do is talk about superficial things readers will struggle to care.

If they are stereotypes and clichés (blond bimbo or old wise man) then chances are your readers will not give two damns, or even one for that matter.

If they are cookie-cutter repeats of famous characters that have gone before, your readers won’t only not like them, but they won’t like you either, because that’s just lazy and insulting.

# 5 Can’t empathise with them

This one comes in a few forms. Sometimes we can’t empathise with a character because they never have a struggle to empathise with, and again this is a symptom of a much larger problem within the narrative. If your protagonist never suffers, or is perfect all the time, then readers won’t be interested, not only in the character but in their story.

The opposite is also true. If their struggles are so huge and out of this world, so far beyond any experience we know, then empathy will also be difficult. Just as too much of one kind of suffering can cause us to become desensitised to a particular protagonist’s plight. Always try to find common ground. We might not all be able to relate to a king’s struggle to fight for his kingdom, but we can all relate it to the desire to protect our loved ones.

And try to find a way of bringing poignancy and closeness to any suffering. We are all scared of our houses burning down, but the fire itself is too big, we need to see the small details. Describe the pain of smoke stung eyes, or show your protagonist’s favourite book burning or the smoking body of their dead cat that was too blind and old to get out in time (Apologies to all cat lovers, but if the image upset you then I hope you can see my point.) We can all meet in common ground even if we have never been in a fire before.

# 6 Do and say stupid shit (motivations don’t make sense)

This is a great way to make readers yell at your book. “Why? Why would he do that? It just doesn’t make sense.”

Stupidity is not often endearing. Naivety can be, in the right character, but that is a very different and subtle beast to downright dumb. I’m not saying your protagonist has to be clever or always make the smartest decisions, but a small amount of common sense will keep your readers from banging their heads on the table every time your protagonist opens their mouth.

Further to this make sure the steps your protagonist takes to achieve their goal are logical. If the goal is to become CEO of their company, don’t have them decide the way to go about it is to go on a solitary fishing holiday.

(See plot controlling character)

The goal itself also has to make sense. Don’t paint us a picture of a hippy protagonist who grows their own vegetables, lives in an old bus and is nice to animals, and then have their goal be to become the CEO of mining company because they like money.

(read here about goals and motivations)

As is often the case your best friend here is the question: “Why?”

# 7 Mary Sue/Marty Stu/Author Avatar


There is a lot of discussion around the technical definitions of these terms, but generally they get across the idea that an author has inserted themselves into the narrative as the protagonist and are playing out a wish fulfilment fantasy. The idea originated in Star Trek fanfiction, but most people use it now in reference to any character that is ridiculously perfect, whom everyone loves, and that is so unique and wonderful and saves the day using skills no one else could ever have such that they shatter any attempt at suspension of disbelief.

If you want to write these kinds of perfect author fantasies then go ahead, just don’t then force them on other people because we aren’t interested.

Characters need to be plausible. They can, and often should, be larger than life, because fiction is larger than life, but they need to be believable. And we need to be able to empathise with them, understand their goals and cheer for them as they work toward achieving them.

But the ingredient most often missing, the one that can turn a good protagonist into a truly compelling protagonist, is ASPIRATION. Give them something your readers wish they had. We don’t want perfect protagonists, but we don’t want average ones either. We want them to be good at their job, or great with a sword, or a fantastic thief, or brave, or really good at Quidditch. The things your readers might find cool or aspire to will differ from genre to genre, so only you know what will fit with your readers and your story, just don’t neglect this part of building a protagonist. When you add this level of ‘larger than life’ to a protagonist you can move a reader into their own wish fulfilment (not yours) and hook them so they will read obsessively. And that is not only what you want, but what they want as well.

But remember balance. Your protagonist might also be clumsy, or terrible at talking to people, or burn everything they try to cook, most people have a mix of traits and skills and aren’t just amazing or useless. And the places where your protagonist falls down makes them human and therefore makes their amazing skill more attainable.

This balance is the key to creating a protagonist people not only love, but can relate to. Give them a meaningful goal and make them active in pursuing it, and you can’t go far wrong.


(The Dreaded) Adverbs

What is an adverb? Well, just as an adjective describes a noun (thing), an adverb describes or qualifies either:

A verb (action word)

“He walked slowly.”

Walking is the action, and slowly is the adverb.

Or an adjective (descriptive word). 

“It was an extremely little plant.”

Little being the adjective, and extremely the adverb.

In short you are looking mostly for words ending in “-ly”. Other common adverbs include: quietly, happily, angrily, jerkily, gently, seriously and quickly, but there are tonnes of the buggers. And buggers they are, because in most cases they are


Time and time again I’ve seen people give writing advice that forbids the use of adverbs entirely. I’m not one for writing rules, because every book and every author are different and have their own unique voice, so instead of forbidding adverbs let’s take a closer look at why they so often end up on the no-no list.

Reason #1

Pacing is really important in stories, but pacing isn’t all about where your action scenes are and how pithy your dialogue is. Pacing has as much to do with the words you use and the length of your sentences. If you are padding your sentences with adverbs, then no matter what is happening the pace will feel slower. Let’s look at an example.

“The man drew his very heavy sword as he slowly walked forward.”

Could be:

“The man drew his weighty blade as he crept forward.”

Although in this situation, unless it is important for your readers to know it’s a heavy sword, I would leave that out too and make it:

“The man drew his sword as he crept forward.”

Reason #2

They mean less. Consider:

“Walk slowly”





Which one has a more visceral meaning?

How about:

“Ran fast”





Which one is giving you a better feel for the scene you are reading/writing? No matter what you are writing you should always strive for the strongest words you can, words that do the most work with the least number of letters. Especially if you are writing a short story. But just because you are writing a novel doesn’t mean you can afford to be sloppy.

Adverbs of degree are the worst of the lot. Very. Extremely. Pretty. When you are using an adverb to describe a descriptive word, or further qualify a verb or even another adverb, then you probably have the wrong words in the first place. So these are almost always unnecessary padding.

Let’s look at the first example I gave:

“It was an extremely little plant.”

Here the adverb is being used to describe just how little the plant is, but then instead of little we could use another adjective that gets across “extremely little” such as “tiny” or “minuscule”.

Very is another adverb of degree. Very big. Very fast. Very strong. Pick another word instead. Such as: Huge. Swift. Powerful. These words hold a lot more value even though they mean the same thing. Huge is somehow bigger and more imposing than very big. In swift you can hear the rush of the wind entirely lacking in very fast. And powerful has a force nowhere to be found in very strong.

So whenever you see these words, get rid of them. Find a better word to use in their place.

Reason #3 – They are redundant

Just like in our earlier discussion about dialogue attributions (HERE), there are some adverbs that are an entirely redundant waste of space. Check out the dialogue attribution discussion to see how dialogue itself makes many adverbular (totes a word) dialogue tags redundant. But they can often be just as redundant in the bulk of your prose. And just as sneaky.

We’ve talked about why you shouldn’t write ‘walked slowly’ but it’s a much more heinous crime to ‘creep slowly’ because how else does one creep. You never need to whisper quietly. Or run quickly. In fact the only time an adverb might be necessary in this situation is if the opposite is true. Is you character running slowly for some reason (as through magical jelly). Or whispering loudly (which would tell us something interesting about the character in question).

But in both of this examples there are other ways to write them that give a clearer and more interesting picture.

“Joe ran, but his steps were slow and dragging as though the air were treacle”

Tells us much more than:

“Joe ran slowly”

Which just makes it sound like he’s a really terrible runner, in which case run probably isn’t the word you were after in the first place.

‘Quiet,’ Charles whispered, loud enough that his voice carried to the end of the room.

This line not only tells us that Charles said “quiet” but it also tells us something important about his character. He’s one of those loud, confident people who can’t whisper for love or money.

So, can I EVER use them?

Well… yes. Adverbs, like everything else, have a place in narrative. But like the fancy dialogue attributions we talked about a couple of weeks ago, the more you use them the weaker they become. (And the weaker they make your story due to the reasons above).

Each and every one of them needs to be carefully considered (‘carefully’ is an adverb here, and in this situation I deem it to be adding weight, not subtracting it). Keep those you deem truly necessary, those that add, not subtract. But remember that while you can use them you must use them sparingly. (Again, sparingly is an adverb).

Consider the famous Star Trek line:

“To boldly go where no man has gone before.”

Forget the split infinitive here for a moment and tell me that it would have been as effective a line had it just said:

“To go where no man has gone before.”

I don’t think so. And this is why I don’t like writing rules. Always aim for strong prose, but trust your instincts.

5 steps to professional self-publishing

5 steps to professional self-publishing

Self-publishing is the act of an author independently publishing their own work at their own expense with no connection to a publishing house of any size. It’s big. It’s unregulated. There is no quality control. No gatekeepers. This, of course, is why a lot of people get into it. It is also the reason why there are a lot of shit self-published books. Which in turn is the reason for the stigma. I chose to publish my own work, (if you’re wondering why, click here) and although I am proud of what I have achieved I still feel this sinking mortification in my gut when someone asks who published my books.

But screw the stigma! In the 1950s Theodore Sturgeon had a revelation. He was an American science fiction author who realised that, although science fiction was derided for its low quality, all genres suffered poor work. Thus was born the saying: “90% of everything is crap”. It’s more like 95% in self-publishing, so let’s look at some of the ways to avoid inclusion in this far from exclusive club.

Step 1

Write well

Ok, so this seems rather obvious. In order not to be crap you have to write well. Durr. But weirdly this is often one of the most overlooked steps. I believe story-telling is a genetic sickness that everyone has to a greater or lesser degree (you could call it talent if you like, but it feels more like a disease to me) but regardless of how ‘natural’ you are at it, it’s still a skill that requires practice. Hours and hours of practice. You’ll write lots of terrible things before you learn to write well, but that is how you become a good writer. Don’t neglect the learning phase. Don’t assume that because YOU love your story and your characters that you’ve done them justice.

Step 2

Beta Readers

A beta reader is someone who reads your book before it is a finished product, often at the end of the first draft, or after the first rewrite. They can be a friend or family member, but there is an inherent problem with using people you know. They don’t like to upset you. And unless they are huge readers, reviewers, critics, authors or editors, they aren’t always able to give truly constructive criticism. This is a problem. If you want to be a good author then beta readers don’t exist to stroke your ego. I believe in the brutal rose pruning approach to feedback. No one should ever be nasty, but constructive criticism is FAR more important and worthwhile than any amount of praise. No matter how much someone might like my work, when I’m in the rewriting phase I would much prefer to hear about what didn’t work in detail, rather than what did.

Another good idea is to have someone read your manuscript and make a note whenever they put the book down and why, whether it is to go to the bathroom, to go to sleep, because they needed to go out or whether they suddenly realised the dishes needed doing. A gripping  book will stop most readers from wanting to deal with anything in their everyday life, so places where a book is put down are worth looking at in terms of correcting issues in pacing.

Step 3

Be sure it’s ready!

I have written a blog about this before, (here), but here we go again for emphasis. This one I REALLY cannot stress enough. Everything on this list is important, but this one is the most difficult and most skipped step in the whole process. It is true of traditionally published works too, but generally you have the powers that be to tell you whether you are or are not ready. This step is essentially what gatekeepers exist to patrol.

“If you self-publish a book before it is ready, you are selling your story short, yourself short, and ultimately damaging your reputation. And as a self-publisher you need that reputation.”

So when is a book ready? Most authors (read probably all of us at some point in our writing youth) have finished a first draft and glowed, sure that we just penned the ultimate masterpiece and people have only to read it to fall in love with our wonderful characters and blah blah blah boring boring. I sure did it. The books that went on to become The Vengeance Trilogy were originally written in 2007. When I was eventually ready to publish The Blood of Whisperers it was 2013. (And they weren’t my first finished novels. My first finished novel was 220,000 words long and the most amazing (piece of shit) book ever written. Part of an even shitter 800,000 word trilogy.)

Between 2007 and 2013, The Vengeance Trilogy underwent a massive overhaul, I got lots and lots of writing practice, there was a whole new set of first drafts and so many rewrites of those that I could not count them. And now I have something I can say I am proud of. If I had self-published them in 2007 when I first finished I would be regretting it now. I would have wasted some great characters and a great idea on rubbish.

“If you love your story then don’t throw it out into the world half dressed, work at perfecting your delivery so everyone else can love it like you do. I can guarantee that half the brilliant story you think you’ve written in that first or second draft isn’t on the page. It’s been left behind in your head.”

The key to getting this step right is distance. Whenever you think you’ve completed an amazing book and you’re ready to publish, put it down. Don’t look at it. Start a new project or just take a break, read lots (you should do this anyway if you want to be good at your job). You should keep writing, because only by writing do you learn, but you need to leave that project alone. Give it a good three months before you go back. If you still cannot find fault with it, give it to someone new to read. Not one of your old beta readers, but someone you can trust to be brutally honest. Throw it to a complete stranger or pay for a manuscript assessment, or if you already have a relationship with an editor they might perform this task for you. In a sense, this person is now your gatekeeper. Of course you can choose whether you listen to them or not, but if my editor told me my book wasn’t ready I damn well wouldn’t let it see the light of day.

Step 4

Get a bloody editor – NOW!

So that editor I was just talking about. I hope you have one of these. And if not, you NEED one. This is not optional. Even if you are a fully trained editor it still isn’t optional. At the very least your book needs to be proofread for mistakes by someone that is not you, because no matter how many times you go over it you’re still likely to miss them. Our brains are just that good at filling in what they know should be there rather than seeing what really is.

Let me stress again – THIS IS NOT OPTIONAL.

Step 5

If you’re not a professional artist/graphic designer then hire one

Once you’re confident that your story is the best it can be, once it has been beta read and reworked and you’ve bled over perfecting everything that can possibly be perfected, you are going to need a cover. We’ve all heard the saying “Never judge a book by its cover” but who the hell doesn’t?

Advertisers and marketing teams have spent years researching how the human brain responds to different colours and shapes and fonts and words so they can sell us more stuff we don’t need. Technically your book is something we don’t need (not food, water, shelter, warmth etc) so you have to employ the same principles. Don’t assume that the wonderful writing on the inside will win out. It might win a few, but not multitudes.

So unless you are a trained professional designer or artist, don’t think for a moment that you can do this shit for yourself. If you don’t have years’ worth of experience using Adobe photoshop or Indesign or some other comparable program, don’t even think about it. There are hundreds of thousands of books out there all vying for attention, a cover drawn in Microsoft paint isn’t going to cut it. You want it to look as good as the stuff the Big 5 put out, or why would someone bother taking the risk on you?

Covers sell books. In fact if you want to sell books, it’s more important that you have a good cover than that the book is any good. I recently picked up a self-published book with an AWESOME cover. I was really looking forward to it, but in the end I didn’t finish it. It wasn’t terrible, but there were so many technical errors and general wtf are these characters even trying to DO that I just couldn’t waste my time (if you have kids you know you have to be rather more selective about what you read with the limited time you have).

But this book sells well. And it will keep selling well because it has an amazing cover. End of story. Bye bye. See you later.

So that’s my five step plan to not sucking at self-publishing, but even if you decide to go with a publishing company the first 3-4 steps are still relevant. And don’t worry, after completing these steps there is a whole new world of hurt waiting for you, the bit where you actually have to produce your book and get people to buy it. But that is a discussion for another day.

Devin out.