Category Archives: Writing

Benefits of a Content Plan

An excerpt from the upcoming book, The Content Planner by Angela Crocker, available on February 7, 2017:

Creating content is an investment of time and, sometimes, money. A confirmed return on your investment makes it easy to justify spending the resources. With a content plan, you have the potential to experience a wide range of benefits. The benefits that matter most to you will depend on your business model and goals. Continue reading

Marion Crook on telling stories

Why write?

Telling stories is an ancient skill practiced in public at community festivals, around the campfire, in religious rites, and in private at the cradles of the young. It involves an innate ability to pick dramatic words in a way that paints a mental picture and gives the tale a sense of pace and tension. The story becomes important, even if only for a short time, to the one who hears it or reads it. It is a way of communicating excitement and the optimistic belief that the world is a remarkable and knowable place. Many writers have an enthusiastic following of readers who want to share in their adventures. Continue reading

Writing for Children and Young Adults blog tour

Between September 20 and October 3 Marion Crook, the author of Writing for Children and Young Adults, was on a blog tour visiting various bloggers all over the world, writing guest posts and being interviewed. These were exciting two weeks, and we’re pleased to see that the new edition of her book was well received by readers and reviewers!

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Meet the Author: Marion Crook

If you’re an aspiring author and you’d like to write for the younger audience, make sure you are on the lookout for this title in September! Writing for Children and Young Adults (3rd edition) will be published in Obtober 2016, and today you’ll get a chance to get to know its author, Marion Crook.

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Submission Guidelines

Want to write for Self-Counsel?

International Self-Counsel Press Inc. is a business and legal books publisher. We pioneered do-it-yourself law books in the United States and Canada in 1971.

If you would like to write for us, please have a careful look over our backlist to see if your proposed book might fit one of the categories in which we publish, and to make sure we haven′t already published the book you wish to propose. We do not publish fiction of any genre, nor do we publish adult books, books on mental health, psychology, religion, or the paranormal.

We are currently interested in:

  • Books about legal/business nonfiction topics that would appeal to small businesses, including about current technology and business trends
  • Books about legal/business nonfiction topics for Indigenous audiences
  • Books about personal and small business tax matters
  • Books about personal finance
  • Books about eldercare
  • Short books on topics related to those described above. These are books of 10,000 to 15,000 words, succinctly written, dealing clearly with a singe topic.

Please keep in mind we are primarily a legal and business nonfiction self-help publisher, not psychological self-help, memoir, or similar. Please peruse our titles to see if your idea would fit.

Submission checklist

When submitting your manuscript, please be sure to provide the following:

  • Cover letter, with current contact information
  • CV describing why you are qualified to write this book
  • As much of your manuscript as possible, typewritten and double-spaced
  • Detailed chapter-by-chapter outline

Need more guidance? Want to WOW us with your book proposal?


Submissions may be sent:

Via Email

Or to the Attention of:

Acquisitions Editor
Self-Counsel Press.
1481 Charlotte Road
North Vancouver, BC
V7J 1H1

Please ensure that you have included sufficient postage. Do not include international postage vouchers, as we cannot use them, and your manuscript will not be returned. Unless you are a professional artist, sample illustrations are not necessary.

A Tip for Writing for the Web: Avoid the Cliché


An excerpt from Writing for the Web by Crawford Kilian

Avoid clichés like the plague. A cliché is a phrase or expression that was once so new and surprising that everyone repeated it. Like an unspoiled tourist destination ruined by too many tourists, the cliché loses its whole reason for existence when everyone uses it. Continue reading

5 Questions For Online Marketing Expert Debbie Elicksen


1. How does brand building for authors compare to developing a brand for a business?

It depends. Is the brand a product, person, or entity (a persona like the Coca Cola polar bear)? The principles of marketing/publishing in the digital platforms would be similar in that they all follow the same rules of engagement if they want to build a community. All potential readers/clients/viewers… want the same thing: a connection, to be wowed/wined and dined, to be inspired/entertained/appreciated and have their time respected (i.e. don’t send viewers on a wild goose chase clicking a bunch of links to get to the point). The difference is in who is creating the content. For a business, it may be the marketing/PR department, therefore there should be some discussions on editorial guidelines to make sure the message is clear, concise, and consistent.

2. What 3 social media platforms should authors use and why?

I would say the big three are Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, but there isn’t a one size fits all in social media. It comes down to audience and message. But if you are catering to an adolescent crowd, then Tumblr is a must. If your book/message is a visual experience, then Pinterest, Instagram, Google +, and Flickr. LinkedIn is where you want to be to find the business crowd — especially those who have not yet embraced other media. Facebook is good if you promote your humanness. Twitter is a news feed for meaty tips and interesting stories. Each platform works with a different purpose, so choose the one that fits and work it well.

3. What is the key to shareable content?   

Shareable means making it easy for others to share your content and not putting up walls and obstacles. Users like to be entertained, wowed, educated, inspired — you can see in your own feeds (and test it out) as to what gets shared more than others. BUT to focus on shares is not how you get shared. Focus on really good content. Make people want to keep visiting your profile. People like to laugh, which is why memes are popular. You can make your own memes using your own photos. Post something inspirational or educational. Continually test the waters.

4. If an author has 30 minutes a day to devote to online marketing, where should they concentrate their effort? 

If you could write a blog post once a week and share it with a unique blurb introducing it to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google +, you are doing exceptional. Post your own content (such as a photo you took with an inspirational post), links to other great content, share someone else’s, reply and respond to someone else who has shared your content. Pick a post in general that you like to comment on. Get to know your followers on a human level a little at a time.

5. How does an author build credibility online? 

1) Be everywhere. If your specialty is wills, be in as many free online directories you can find.

2) Post something every day — meat, inspiration, or entertainment. Lift up the community and give them something to look forward to rather than ranting about this and that.

3) Talk to your community. If you see a post you like, acknowledge that person — “your post made my day” or “thanks, Brian, I really needed this.”

To learn more about building an online profile and marketing your expertise in the digital age, take a look at Elicksen’s recent title on the subject Publishing & Marketing in the Digital Age published this fall by Self-Counsel Press.


From Page to Pixel: Technology and the Author

online-promoThe digital revolution has drastically changed where readers buy books, what books they read and in what format they read them. While these changes initially made engaging with and building loyalty among readers a challenge for authors and publishers, the shift online has come to be seen as an enormous marketing opportunity. Digital platforms offer valuable insight into how characters, plot lines and topics are perceived while presenting an opportunity for publishers and authors to directly engage with readers.

The internet offers authors many ways to market and promote a book. Engaging with readers through dedicated websites, blogs, social media outlets and other content media platforms extends a reader’s experience with a book. It allows them to share their opinion and information about it, thus empowering them to advocate for and promote the book through his or her own online channels. Why does a reader share their thoughts on a book? The simple answer: they enjoyed the book and want to encourage others to read it. A more analyzed answer: an author has helped, informed, delighted and inspired a reader and offered easy to share content.

The key to engaging with readers online is to provide easy-to-find content that people want to comment on and share. According to Debbie Elicksen, author of Publishing & Marketing in the Digital Age, “Creating great content is about answering a question people have.”  Is your content educational? Is it providing insight? Is it inspiring change? Making your content discoverable is vital so initially you’ll want to identify and then listen closely to your niche market. Who are they? What do they like to share? What are they talking about? Who are they following and who follows them? The internet is a sticky web and you will find like minded people clumped together. Find your niche, set up camp and then find engaging ways to deliver content.

The takeaway here is that it doesn’t matter if you are a lawyer writing on personal bankruptcy or a sci-fi author with 2 million unit print runs. Your readers are online therefore you should be too.

For more on how to create an online profile, market your book and build your own digital empire see Debbie Elicksen’s new book Publishing & Marketing in the Digital Age. You can also check out her website here or chat her up on twitter @bookpublish101.