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Richard Lowe Jr
Bestselling Author, Professional ghostwriter, writer and blogger.
Bestselling Author, Professional ghostwriter, writer and blogger.


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SEO for Blogs for Authors: Optimize Your Blog for Google and People

As an author, you should create a blog to promote your brand, portray your image and deliver your message. Creating a blog, writing articles, and promoting them produces it’s own unique set of challenges for most authors. Few writers are trained, at least initially, in building a web site. Even more difficult is the concept of SEO for blogs for authors. SEO is Search Engine Optimization. That simply means designing your blog and writing your articles so that Search Engines such as Google and Bing (and hundreds of others) send traffic your way. Primarily, you want to optimize your blog for Google, and ensure your content is excellent so people want to read and share it.

Why should you create an author blog?

You own the blog, and can write whatever you want without fear of tripping some social network censorship trigger. You can safely write about anything as long as you don’t violate the usually loose terms of your blog hosting company and the law.

A blog gives you a “home” on the internet, a place where you can be found, your message can be delivered, and all your other works center around.

Your blog serves as the center of your branding strategy. All posting to social media should be in the form of excepts from and link to materials on your blog.

Your blog is the primary component of your author platform, which is the method you choose to reach your audience. By combining your blog with your email list, videos (possibly a podcast) and other elements, you create a powerful branding, marketing and even selling engine.

All roads to your brand should lead to your blog which is under your control and promotes you.

A blog is a type of website that contains articles, photos, links to videos, and other information about one or more subjects. An author blog specially promotes the ideas, concepts, stories, and materials of an author.

You’ll face several challenges faced when you create and maintain your blog and the associated articles and other materials:

Learning how to use WordPress, a theme, and plugins.

Making the blog friendly to search engines.

Using keyword and phrases to rank first in search engine results for them.

The remainder of this article explains the concepts of SEO for blogs and how they pertain to an author blog in particular.

So get your cup of coffee or tea, sit back, relax and read this article. There is a lot to go over, so allow yourself some time. Be sure to take notes and don’t be afraid to try some of these techniques on your blog.

What Does SEO Cost?

There is a huge number of applications, web sites, books, blogs, seminars, courses, and everything else under the sun to help you with SEO. Some of these products and services are extremely well done, some are okay and serve the purpose, and others are just a flat waste of money and time. I’ve spent the better part of six months looking at many different products, and in this article I’ll present some of the better ones for your evaluation.

Since authors, especially when they are just starting out, don’t generally have a lot of money to spend, I’m focusing on free or very inexpensive products, services and resources.

There are some SEO tools that cost thousands of dollars a month and others that are completely free to use. For the purposes of an author blog, the free tools will work just fine, although a few more manual steps may be required.

What are the minimum costs?

About $50 for paid blog web hosting. Always use paid web hosting. This gives you access to support from the hosting company, which you will need when things go wrong.  Also, paid hosting tends to be faster, does not include advertisements, and is generally a better experience for you and your visitors. Finally, and this is vital, free hosting services do not allow you to install plugins, and those are essential for SEO.

Around $10 for a domain name. Note that web hosts include the first year of a domain name for free with their hosting package.

Optionally, you might want to get a premium theme for your blog, since these include support and tend to be faster and look better than the free versions.

That’s it. That’s all you have to pay for to get your blog set up and working. You can find just about everything else you need for free. So, as you can see, you can set up your blog on a budget.

What is a Brand?

Your brand is the way you present yourself to the world. You can either define, cultivate and promote your image or brand, or others will, de facto, define it for you.

It’s very possible to create a blog that portrays more than one brand. My blog, for example, discusses all of my books, which are about a wide variety of subjects as well as the writing and related services that I provide.

For example, ff you write western novels, like Louis L’Amour, then your brand is an author of western fiction. You could narrow this down even further …

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How do You Choose a Ghostwriter?

Once you’ve decided that you want to write a book, and that you’re going to have it ghostwritten, you need to find a ghostwriter.That’s not as easy as it sounds, and the process of finding a good one can be quite challenging. Just as with any major project, such as building a house, you need to find the most qualified ghostwriter – which is not the same as the cheapest one.

Remember, your name is going to be on the cover. If the book is not well written, it’s a reflection on you.

A well-written book that pin-points your brand can be used to increase your income and your credibility.

On the other hand, a bad book that is filled with grammar and spelling errors, doesn’t read well, does a poor job of portraying your message and brand and is poorly organized will make you look like an amateur.

To get the best book possible, follow the guidelines below.

Set your goals

Before you start looking for a ghostwriter, understand your purpose for writing a book.

Proving your competence, authority and demonstrating your expertise

Explaining your history

Defining your ministry

Making a bestseller

Explain your scientific theory

And any number of other reasons

If you understand your goals, you’ll be able to better judge whether or not your ghostwriter can help you.

For example, if your goal is to create a bestselling cookbook, and the ghostwriter has never written a cookbook nor created a bestseller, you might want to look elsewhere.

Be clear about what you want from your ghostwriter

Before you contact a ghostwriter, write up a page with your goals. Do you want to reinforce your brand? Build your reputation? Is there specific information you want to include? Do you want to include illustrations or photos? Do you prefer giving interviews or write up notes? Do you want to talk to the ghostwriter in-person or is the telephone or Skype (or a similar tool) fine?

You can change your mind later, but if you go into the selection process with at least an idea of what you want, you are far more likely to get a positive result.

Ask to see other works that the ghostwriter has written

If they cannot show books that they’ve ghostwritten (these are often under non-disclosure agreements), ask to see some of their own that they have published. If they cannot produce either, find a new ghostwriter.

Review their sample works thoroughly

Do they read well? Are there grammar and spelling errors? Are they in a logical order? If this was YOUR book, would you feel proud of it?

Check their website

Ensure their website is complete, finished and up-to-date. It should have articles, and there should be regular (several a month) updates with new information. An unfinished web site is not acceptable and indicates your book may not be finished. A poorly constructed or amateurish website can be a sign of what kind of book you’ll get from them.

Check references

If their website lists other books they’ve ghostwritten, call those authors and ask them questions about your ghostwriting company. Also, ask your ghostwriter for references who will be willing to talk to you.

Interview the ghostwriter

Ask lots of questions. Find out about their process. Are you comfortable with how it works? Are they rude or easygoing? Do you enjoy talking to them or was it a chore? Did they know he answers to your questions? Did the answers make sense?

During the interview, you should expect from the ghostwriter:

Speaking to you with respect

Respect for your brand and your message

A frank discussion of their rates and payment terms (and any other contractual issues)

A discussion of their process

Solid references and/or samples of work they have done (which may be their own books due to non-disclosure agreements)

If they have more than one writer on staff, ask to interview the one(s) that will be assigned to you.

Look over their contract

Make sure you have an early termination clause and that the payment is in phases. Usually you’ll need to pay 25% up front, and this is non-refundable. However, the WHOLE amount should not be at risk. You should also be able to terminate the project any time you want without penalty (except what has already been paid.)

Find out their rates

Read this article for a discussion as to what kind of pricing you can expect from your ghostwriter. Beware inexpensive or cheap writers – this is a sign of a lack of self-confidence, newness to the industry or amateurishness. Professionals understand their value and charge accordingly. On the other hand, amateurs are not confident in their skills and tend to price themselves on the low end.

You’ll have to decide, do you want a professional ghostwriter who will deliver an excellent book you will be proud to call your own? Or do you want to wince every time someone mentions your book?


Well, there you have it. Take your time to find the right ghostwriter for your needs.  Make sure you are thoroug…

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Audiobooks Will Make Free Money For You!

Have you written a book and self-published it on Amazon? Do you want to know how to leverage that book to make some extra cash for little to no cost?

You can easily create an audiobook using any book you have published on Amazon, and better yet, you can even do it for absolutely free. This is done using ACX.COM, which is owned by Amazon.

I decided to give it a try

Over the past month, I’ve been busily creating an audiobook for each of the 15 books that I have published on Amazon. Six are done, and six are in production as of this writing.

Believe it or not, this is not an expensive process. Here’s the breakdown for each book:

Existing book – You need to have produced a book on Amazon.

Creating the audio – Take a 50/50 cut on royalties with the actor (the person speaking the book) and there is no cost.

Book cover – You will need a book cover specifically made for your audiobook.

That’s all you need to create an audio book.

Creating the Audiobook

First you use the ACX interface to find your book in Amazon’s database. Once you’ve found it, fill in some information, then search for a producer (actor) and ask them if they want to help you with the book. You can offer a 50/50 cut or pay for their time.

if you don’t want to split the royalties with the actor, you can record the audiobook yourself.

Creating the Book Cover

The cover needs to be 2400 x 2400 pixels at 72 DPI (minimum) and in JPG format.

You can create it yourself in a graphics program or find someone to do it for you. Fiverr.Com is a great resource to find people who will do this for a $5 gig (job.) Most of these people will give you the source file (PSD) for an extra $5. Be sure to select this option. If you don’t, you will have to keep going back to the same person to get changes done. If you have the PSD file, you can make changes yourself, if you have Adobe Photoshop, or you can send the PSD to someone else.

Upload the cover to ACX and you’re done.

The Process

The whole process is very simple.

Select your book.

Upload a short sample.

Offer it to a producer.

Once the producer accepts, they will submit a few minute long audition.

Accept the audition (or ask for changes.)

The producer will create the first 15 minutes.

Accept it or ask for changes.

The producer will complete the audiobook.

Listen to it all and ask for changes as needed.

You can add the cover any time until you submit the audio to ACX.

Once the audio is the way you want it, submit the audio to ACX.

They will perform a short review of the audio, and either reject or accept it. If they reject it, they will tell you why and you can fix the problem and resubmit.

Once accepted, a few days or weeks later the audiobook will appear on Amazon, alongside your Kindle and/or paperback version.

You will receive 25 codes to use to give copies of the audiobook away for free to get reviews.

You have no control over the price of the audiobook. This is calculated by Amazon.

That’s almost literally all there is to the whole process.

Now get to marketing your book, and watch the money roll in.

Leave your thoughts about audiobooks in the comments below.

Author information

Richard Lowe Jr

Owner and Senior Writing at The Writing King

Richard is the Owner and Senior Writer for The Writing King, a bestselling author, and ghostwriter. He's written and published 63 books, ghostwritten 20+ books, as well as hundreds of blog articles.

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Interviews with Influencers Book Series

Do you want to create books very fast? Quality books that attract readers? How about doing Interviews with Influencers?

You can create and published an interview eBook in just a few hours. The idea was to interview someone, send that interview to a transcriber, get a cover made, and format it into a book. This is then published as an eBook and paperback on KDP. The interviews should be with popular influencers in your market.

I’ve created 3 interview books so far. The first one took about 7 hours, which breaks down as follows.

Maybe an hour to find an influencer to interview.

90-minute interview which took about 2 hours

2 hours to send to the transcriber, format the text that came back and get it ready for publishing

Another hour to publish on KDP

And one more hour to format and publish for KDP in paperback.

The book created by this process is now available on Amazon.

This is the first in a series titled “Interviews with Influencers.”

Here’s the whole process without using the application, step-by-step.

Find someone to interview and set a time. Talk to them a bit to get an idea of what questions to ask.

Write up your interview questions.

Interview them, recording the interview. You can use an application on your smartphone to record it. There are plenty of other recording applications available. Make sure there is as little background noise as possible.

Send the MP3 file to a good transcriber. 60 minutes should cost no more than $60.

Get a photo from your interviewee, and send it off to a cover artist. Fiverr has some great cover artists, and you should be able to get a good one for $10 (with source, always get the source.)

To make your book nicer, get some other photos and illustrations from your interviewee. Also, get a bio and any promotional materials he’d like to include.

Edit the document that’s returned. You’ll find areas marked “unclear” (or something similar), these need to be corrected by you. In my case, there was only one, and it was the name of a company.

Keep the editing light. The idea is this is supposed to be a fast process, and it’s an interview, so you want to keep that flavor.

Break apart long paragraphs into shorter ones.

Make your major questions into chapter headings.

Add your front and back matter, which can include your own promo. I also make it a point to include promo from the person I’ve interviewed to help them out as well.

Always be sure to add a preface which clearly states this is a transcribed interview. Otherwise, your readers will be confused. You should also state it on your cover and your Amazon description.

Write your description for Amazon (make it the same for everywhere)

Figure out your categories and keywords

Be sure to include your interviewee name in the title

Upload it to KDP

Format for Createspace, adding page numbers and other niceties.

Upload to Createspace.

You now have a book in eBook and paperback format.

If your audio quality is acceptable, you can even create an audiobook on ACX. You’ll probably want to edit the MP3 a bit.

You can also upload it as a free podcast.

Offer paperback copies to your interviewee at a deep discount. You can order copies from Amazon at a reduced rate, so sell them to your interviewee at cost plus a buck or something like that.

Send the links out using your standard promotional methods.

Total cost should not exceed $100 (less if you do your own transcription), and the total time should be around 6 hours. The idea is to make it quality, of course, but also fast.

There you have it. How to create a quick and easy book and podcast for very little money and effort.

What do you think of this idea? Make your thoughts known in the comments below.

Author information

Richard Lowe Jr

Owner and Senior Writing at The Writing King

Richard is the Owner and Senior Writer for The Writing King, a bestselling author, and ghostwriter. He's written and published 63 books, ghostwritten 20+ books, as well as hundreds of blog articles.

| Twitter | Facebook | Google+ | Pinterest |

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How to Write 10,000 Words a Day

Unless something special is planned, I write at least a couple of thousand words for my books each and every day. This is in addition to paid activities, blogging, emails and promotion. The idea is to always make progress on the next book, as that’s important to maintain momentum and build up a following.

Three days a week, I set aside most other activities and write 10,000 words towards completing a book. It takes dedication, willpower and resistance to temptation, especially from the internet, to be able to do this. There’s always something else that seems more fun, and the excuse of “writer’s block” is constantly available. However, regardless of distractions and excuses, it is possible to write that many words in a single, 8-hour day.

Set the Goal of Writing 10,000 Words

Setting goals is important, and before I go to bed for the evening I jot down my goals for the next day. Some of these are business related (finish a proposal), others have to do with writing (proofread 6 chapters of new book) and some are personal. Once I’m done with the list, and I have to be careful to keep it achievable, I put a number beside each one indicating priority, from 1, must complete, to 4, optional. This tells me what I need to work on first.

It’s important not to stress out too much if the goals are not met. They are intended as a guideline, not as a straightjacket. Setting goals adds focus to the day and helps to prevent distractions from appearing which don’t align to my longer term objectives.

Eliminate Distractions

Distractions are the bane of anyone who works from home. There is always something else to do, something to look at, or someone to talk with. Simple phone conversations can chew up hours out of a day, answering emails a couple hours more, and playing on Facebook and other social media ties up even more time. If not controlled, these other, unproductive activities can easily consume the good portion of a day.

To write 10,000 words in a single, 8-hour day, you have to eliminate and ignore distractions.

Create a work space in your home and make it clear to everyone in the household that when you are in that space, you are not to be interrupted except for urgent, life-threatening emergencies. You’ll have to enforce this to make it work, and sometimes others will not be happy with you for not giving them attention. Nonetheless, to achieve your goal you must set enforce your limit and space.

Turn off the cell phone and other distractions. Don’t just put it on vibrate, because you will still know when it is ringing. Either turn it off or put it in another room, far away from you.

Ignore the temptations of the internet. Sure, I know how much fun it is to “just look at the news for a minute” or “scan Facebook”, but don’t do it. They can drag you away from your goal for minutes or even hours.

Do not answer emails, social media and other messages. During your productive time, make an effort to ignore all emails and other messaging. Believe it or not, you lose hours each day just reviewing and answering and getting caught up in related activities as a result.

Eliminate any other distractions. As you identify other things that cause you to deviate from your writing, tune them out or turn them off.

Write in Chunks

I’ve found it is best to divide up my writing day into smaller chunks of time. This allows me to schedule short breaks for stretching, snacking, answering email and so on. I set a timer for 45 minutes and write for that length of time. When the timer goes off, I reset it for 15 minutes, which is the length of the break. This seems to work very well, and vastly increases my productivity. Additionally, it gives me a chance to stretch and get on the exercise bike for a few minutes, which is better for the back and the body.

Don’t Edit as you Write

You’ll never be able to write 10,000 words in a single day if you attempt to multi-task editing and writing. When you write, just write. Don’t go back and change words, delete sentences and restructure things. Save that for another day. You’ll find that by just writing all in one shot, you’ll get far more done. Then you can edit the whole thing at once, with a clearer picture of where you are going with it all.

Explore Dictation Software

Dictation software has allowed me to improve the speed of my writing by over three times. It is far faster to speak than it is to type, at least for most people. For some, dictating their works to the computer works wonders, and for others it is a meaningless distraction.

Reward Yourself

Once you’ve successfully completed writing 10,000 words in a single day, reward yourself. You’ve done well, and you deserve to be rewarded for your efforts.


I’m interested in your writing experiences. Please share them in the comments below.


Author information

Richard Lowe Jr

Owner and Senior Writing at The Writing King

Richard is the Owner and…

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Social Media Will Be The Death Of Me!

There is no doubt that using social media can be entertaining, enjoyable, and supportive of connections between friends and family scattered all over the world. For example, I use Facebook to maintain friendships, some of them very close, with people clear across the United States, in South America and even places as far away as Romania, Russia and Saudi Arabia. There is much to be gained from interacting online with so many people.

From a business sense, social media can be used to create bonds with people over time by sharing information, accepting input, and creating dialog. When managed properly, this can help establish a brand, personal or corporate, and keep it moving to higher levels of engagement and understanding. This, in turn, can lead to higher profits and a better informed buying public.

A decade ago, in the years of Yahoo and AOL, my late wife was chronically ill, depressed and unable to easily leave the house. I introduced her to those far more primitive social media networks, and before long she had hundreds of friends whom she could communicate with all day long. She became happier and more involved in life because she had real friends who cared about her. Hers was a social media success story, showing much of the good that these sites can accomplish.

Unfortunately, there is a downside to spending too much time on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and other social media sites.

Social Media is a Time Black Hole

There is no doubt that social media can be addicting. In fact, I have lost whole days out of my life happily posting, responding discussions, arguing, uploading videos and photos and have a great time eating up the hours.

To keep social media under control, I set a timer for 45 minutes once each day. That is all of the time I allow myself to spend, both personal and business, posting and communicating on the various sites. Otherwise, it’s too easy to lose hours each day without producing a damn thing.

There is a second, “softer” timer. If I find myself getting upset in any way by what I read on social media, it is time to put it down and go do something else.


A troll is a person who drops into or starts discussions on social media for the purpose of stirring up trouble. Often they are the cause of changing perfectly rational discussions into violent, curse-filled mud-slinging hate-fests which spill over into the real world. I’ve seen trolls stir up so much trouble that physical fights have broken out, shows have been canceled, and lives have been ruined.There are several types of trolls you’ll run into from the insulter to the debater to the Grammar Nazi – all of them are at best irritating and at worst malicious.

The problem with trolls is they are often not obvious to the casual observer. They drop into a conversation, make a seemingly-innocent remark to start tempers going, add a few other choice comments here and there, then sit back and watch the tempers flare and the discussions become heated.

For whatever perverted, secret reason, trolls take great delight in causing people to be upset, unhappy and angry. If confronted, they will seemingly sprout angel wings and claim they were completely innocent of any wrongdoing. Keep in mind that Lucifer also had angel wings.

Political Rants

Nothing heats up the internet and social media like politics. I’ve seen more friendships destroyed over politics than anything else on the web.

Sometimes it all starts with a MEME (a graphic overprinted with an almost always inaccurate statement), video or link to a story about some politician or other. A claim will be made about that politician, and before long virtual blood will spill and unfriend buttons will be pressed.

I’ve learned, on Facebook and LinkedIn at least, to hit the “Unfollow” or “Hide” buttons frequently so I don’t have to be involved in any of that. There is no constructive purpose to getting involved in any political “discussion” on social media.


We all love little tidbits of information, and the internet is a great source for knowledge – most of it false. If you have more than a few friends or connections, you will find your wall cluttered with MEME’s, videos, links and discussions about the most absurd lies you can imagine. You can always count one someone to jump all over these obvious untruths with a link to snopes, a comment or two saying snopes is “owned by the media and thus lying”, claims of ignorance, and an argument over whether or not the so-called fact is indeed a fact.

You can also count on some ignorant person demanding that you “prove” what they posted is a lie.

My advice is to simply assume that if something is posted to social media it is an outright lie. If you care, then go do your own research and figure out the truth for yourself and come to your own conclusions.


What experiences have you had with social media? Use the comments below to tel…

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How do you stay on TOP OF MIND for your customers?

How do you stay on TOP OF MIND for your customers?

Be active on the top SOCIAL MEDIA platforms: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and specialized ones for your niche. Make regular posts on topics relevant to your customers, readers, and followers. Use posts that you handcraft, not automated messages.

Center your MESSAGE around your blog, using it to reinforce and expand on how you can help others.Ensure your blog is self-hosted. You own your blog and can use it how you please.

Create excellent CONTENT. Write and publish original content, fantastic that draws your customers to you. Don’t create medicare content. Everything you post – articles, graphics, videos, slideshows and so on – should be as good as you can make it so you become known for excellent.

Practice ENGAGEMENT regularly. Answer questions, comment on content that you feel your customers will find useful. Get your followers and customers used to knowing that you are always there, always available and always looking out for them.

Be a CONNECTOR by carefully selecting people on social media who you can help and who can help your customers. Seek out those on your social media platforms who are willing to pitch in and help when needed.

Be a HELPING CONNECTOR by introducing your connections to each other to help them with their needs. Show you honestly care by introducing people to others who can be of value.

Build VIRTUAL COMMUNITIES where you help people have relationship where the members benefit each other. Groups of motivated people can achieve many times the results of individuals to achieving common goals.

Become an INFLUENCER by using your content and connections to work together to achieve their goals. Help others get to their goals.

Be INSPIRING by embracing the positive and forsaking the negative. You empower those things where you have focused your power. Ignore the negative to avoid giving it power. Put your energy and talent towards good, positive endeavours.

MOTIVATE your connections with your content and your actions. Get them to DO and BE more because of your words and actions. Help your connections become better at what they do. Get them to move out of their comfort zones.

GIVE. The more you give, the more people will think of you.

What do you think? Did I forget anything? Please share your comments below.

Author information

Richard Lowe Jr

Owner and Senior Writing at The Writing King

Richard is the Owner and Senior Writer for The Writing King, a bestselling author, and ghostwriter. He's written and published 63 books, ghostwritten 20+ books, as well as hundreds of blog articles.

| Twitter | Facebook | Google+ | Pinterest |

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Fiona Mcvie Interviews Richard Lowe Jr

Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie

Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?

My name is Richard Lowe, Jr. and I am 58 years old.

Where are you from?

I was born in northern California, lived most of my life in Southern California, and in 2013 moved to Florida.

FA little about yourself (ie,  your education, family life, etc.)

I was an Air Force brat, born in a small community in northern California, near where my father was stationed. My mother often spoke of the good times she had at the Nut Tree restaurant, eating dates and drinking soda pop. Eventually, the family found its way down to San Bernardino, a dusty city at the base of the San Bernardino Mountains in California. My dad left the Air Force and became a graphics artist civil servant working out of Norton Air Force Base.

I have quite a few great memories of childhood in that dry, hot and dusty city. I sheltered from the heat in a tree house that my dad and I built together. Everything changed on the fateful day in 1967, when I was dragged into a library kicking and screaming by my mother. She had determined that I needed to experience a library – that it was time for me to become a reader. The screaming stopped as soon as a librarian gave me a cookie and took me on a tour of the whole building. I fell in love with the librarian and with books, and before long I checked out as many as a dozen a week. As I grew older, I read every book that I could get hold of.

In junior high school, I ran across a book carefully stored in a box that my grandmother had left with the family for safekeeping. That book was called Stranger in a Strange Land by an author name Robert Heinlein. I read that masterpiece in a weekend, and soon discovered other authors such as Isaac Asimov, Jack Vance, and John Campbell. After pouring through those books, I decided I was going to be an author when I grew up.

Life got in the way of my dreams, as sometimes happens. The family moved to Lake Arrowhead and my parents open an art gallery in Blue Jay village. A few years later, they opened a larger store in Lake Arrowhead Village and sold arts and crafts.

For me, the pressure of high school college, a full-time job, and eventually marriage and family got in the way of my dream of becoming a writer.

In 2005, my wife passed away and I decided that grief was something that I wanted to get out of his quickly as possible. I became a photographer and photographed every national park in the western United States. From there, I was introduced to some dancers, and became a very well-known performance photographer in Southern California. During those eight years, I photographed over a thousand women, did 1200 performance shoots, and photographed over 300 Renaissance festivals, Civil War re-enactments, and other similar events.

For 33 years, I worked in the technology field, first as a vice president of a computer consulting company, then as a senior designer, and finally settled down to a job at Trader Joe’s as their computer operations director. I worked at Trader Joe’s for 20 years, managing a team of eight people and varying numbers of consultants to keep their operations working well.

In 2013, I decided it was time for me to finally pursue my dream of becoming a writer. I left my job at Trader Joe’s, moved to Florida, and settled down to become a freelance writer, ghostwriter, and author. Since then, I’ve written and published 63 books of my own in my name, a number of others under pseudonyms, ghost-written 22 books, and written several hundred articles for blogs and publications. I’ve also written over 300 LinkedIn profiles for business leaders, ambassadors, government officials and others.

Tell us your latest news

I’ve created a new series of courses called Fiction Master Class which are designed to help writers improve their abilities and careers.

For the past few months, I’ve been interviewing 1 to 2 authors per week as part of a podcast designed to showcase their talents and abilities.

And I just finished writing my 22ndghostwritten book.

When and why did you begin writing?

I’ve written most of my life, generally for work related projects such as technical manuals, articles for technical magazines, and so forth. In 2013, it was time to change direction, and writing seem to be the natural place to put my talents.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I first considered myself a writer when I published my first best-selling book, Focus on LinkedIn. I sold over 10,000 copies and became an Amazon Kindle bestseller, in the top 100 for several days. That was my third book.

What inspired you to write your first book?

My first book was a labour of love. I always been interested in computer security, and I decided to take my knowledge and help others understand how to make the computer secure. The boo…

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To ISBN or not to ISBN?

As you get into conversations with other self-published authors (whether or not they have already been published), you’ll almost certainly get into a discussion about ISBN numbers. An ISBN number is a number assigned to a specific version and edition of a book to enable it to be uniquely identified.

When you publish your book on Amazon in paperback, you have the choice of using the default ISBN number, purchasing one from them, or buying your own. Paperbacks require ISBN numbers. You can also specify an ISBN number for Kindle eBooks, but it is not required.

Why should you get an ISBN number for your Book?

Selling to libraries – To get your book into libraries, you will need to purchase an ISBN number – at least if you want them to purchase your books. Some libraries will accept free donations of self-published books by local authors, but giving away free copies gets to be old real fast. After all, most of us write books because we want to sell them and make a few dollars. You must have your own ISBN number and publishing imprint to get an LOCC number, which many libraries require. You get these through the Library of Congress website. Libraries also purchase eBooks, and they allow these to be borrowed. You will get a small fee each time someone borrows the book. You’ll need to get your own ISBN numbers for this purpose.

Sell in bookstores – Bookstores will not generally stock self-published books, and one of the clues is using the ISBN numbers provided by Amazon and other platforms. If you want to have a chance to be on bookshelves, you need to get your own ISBN number with your imprint (also called a publishing company). It’s still difficult to get self-published books on bookstore shelves, but you don’t have a chance unless without assigning your own ISBN number.

Makes you the publisher – By including your own publishing imprint, which is the name of your “publishing company”, Choose this imprint wisely, including a keyword for example, and you’ll slightly boost your search rankings on Amazon.

More professional – This is a small point and won’t matter to most self-published authors. However, using your own ISBN numbers and publishing imprint makes you look more professional.

Gets listed in “books in print” – Purchasing an ISBN number and filling in all the fields in the ISBN database (Bowker in the US) automatically lists your book in the “Books In Print” database. This is used by bookstores and libraries, as well as search engines.

Send copy to the US Library of Congress – If you want your book to be included in the Library of Congress, you must assign your own ISBN number and get an LOCC number.

What are the reasons against getting an ISBN number for your book?

Avoid the expense – In the United States, ISBN numbers are costly. A single number costs $125, although you can purchase a block of 100 for $500 (as of this writing). You can avoid this expense for most self-published books.

Online booksellers such as Amazon do not require you purchase an ISBN – If you are only going to sell on Amazon and similar sites, you don’t need an ISBN number of your own unless you want one.


Purchasing and assigning ISBN numbers to your self-published books may make sense depending on your requirements. If you want to sell through book stores, attract libraries or simply like the idea of being a “publisher”, then go ahead and spend the money. If you are just publishing and selling on Amazon and similar platforms, than you may want to avoid the expense.

Author information

Richard Lowe Jr

Owner and Senior Writing at The Writing King

Richard is the Owner and Senior Writer for The Writing King, a bestselling author, and ghostwriter. He's written and published 63 books, ghostwritten 20+ books, as well as hundreds of blog articles.

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Cracking The ISBN Number Secret

An ISBN number is essential to properly classifying your book, so that book sellers can find it and the information about it.

Do you need an ISBN number?

Should you use the ones supplied “for free” from the various self-publishing companies?

What does an ISBN number do, anyway?

Let’s being by defining the purpose of an ISBN number. These are 13-digit codes which identify books and similar products. These are required by booksellers, libraries, distributors, and others to uniquely identify an edition of a book. An ISBN number includes digits which let the bookseller know which publishing company published the book.

If you intend to sell a paperback or hardcover book an ISBN is essential. Bookstores and distributors require an ISBN, and generally won’t carry a book that does not have one.

Each edition of a book requires a different ISBN. For example, if you published a hardcover and a paperback version of the book you would need two numbers. You do not necessarily need an ISBN number for ebooks, although it can make the ebook appear more professional or official. Significant changes to a book are considered a new edition and require new ISBN numbers. Minor alterations, such as correcting grammar or typographical errors, do not because these are considered reprints. In addition, changing the cover of a book does not require a new ISBN number.

The ISBN number and the bar code are two different things. The bar code is purchased separately from the ISBN, and allows scanners at bookstores to identify the book being purchased. The bar code may also include other information such as the price of the book. If you are not going to sell your book in bookstores, you do not necessarily need a bar code.

When is an ISBN number NOT required?

If you purchase an ISBN number, it can be expensive. In the United States, a single number costs $125 although a block of 10 or 100 cost significantly less per ISBN. Before you spend that money, there are times when you don’t need one.

For an e-book, if you’re only publishing it on your website or selling it on Amazon, you don’t need an ISBN number. Amazon uses ASIN numbers to internally track books, and for them that takes the place of ISBN numbers.

When is an ISBN number needed?

Paperback and hardcover books require ISBN numbers.

ISBN numbers group your books together under your publishing companies name. If your e-book doesn’t use an ISBN number, it appears as published by something like “Amazon Digital Services LLC”. by using your own ISBN number, you can list your book under your imprint of your publishing company name (or any other phrase that you like).

Taking advantage of other publishers requires an ISBN number. Amazon is not the only market, and there are other publishers such as iBooks, Kobo an Barnes and Noble. to publish your book under these platforms requires an ISBN number.

An ISBN number causes your eBook to rank higher on Google because Google lists books that appear in Bowker’s Books in Print in its search engine. note that for your book to be listed in this database you need to fill out the form at Books in Print. It’s not listed just because you purchase an ISBN number.

Some countries require ISBN numbers for eBooks.

if your eBook is going to be sold to libraries, then you will need to assign ISBN numbers.

How To Get An ISBN Number

For more information about ISBN numbers see the Bowker website, which is the only supplier of these numbers in the United States. Other countries have their own ISBN suppliers.

You can use the freely provided ISBN numbers from your platform if you want. However, if you ARE going to purchase one yourself, then get your own from your country’s ISBN supplier.

What Does An ISBN Number Cost?

In the United States, the cost of an ISBN number is significant. You can buy them singly or save quite a bit of money by purchasing a pack of 10 or 100 (or more if needed).

How much does it cost to get an isbn number for a book? In the US, a single ISBN is $125, 10 of them cost $250 and 100 cost $575.

Most publishing platforms such as Amazon offer free ISBN numbers with significant limitations on their use. Generally, if you purchase your own ISBN number, you can move the book to any publishing platform you want; using one from the platform means you cannot move that edition of that book.

Author information

Richard Lowe Jr

Owner and Senior Writing at The Writing King

Richard is the Owner and Senior Writer for The Writing King, a bestselling author, and ghostwriter. He's written and published 63 books, ghostwritten 20+ books, as well as hundreds of blog articles.

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