Aliventures is on Hiatus Until Late October

The redesign is now underway. Please bear with me!

In case you’re wondering: I’m not having another baby!

But for some time now, I’ve been thinking about giving the Aliventures blog a bit of a revamp (and hat-tip to Charlie Gilkey for encouraging me on this).

So, I won’t be posting over the next six (or so) weeks, while I:

  • Finalise the new logo
  • Get the new theme (the “look” of the blog) in place
  • Reorganise things so it’s easier for old-timers and new readers to find their way around
  • Get ahead with posts so that I can give you something new on a weekly basis

If there’s something you’d love to see – or love to not see – on the new site, just drop a comment below or email me,

Writers’ Huddle: Quiet Re-Opening

I’ll be opening up the Writers’ Huddle doors in a couple of weeks, so that new members can join in time to take our brand new seven-week ecourse, Launching Your Freelancing Career, along with existing members.

However, unlike past openings, I won’t be posting here on the Aliventures blog about it, and I won’t be guest posting on other writing-related blogs either. So stay tuned on Twitter or Facebook, or make sure you’re getting the Aliventures newsletter, so you don’t miss out.

While I’m Away…

If you’re keen for something to read, check out one of these older posts on Aliventures:

Are Your Writing Dreams Unrealistic?

While some writers do have unrealistic and unreasonable expectations, most don’t. In this post, I contrast “realistic” and “unrealistic” dreams (and, hopefully, you’ll feel encouraged about your chances of achieving yours).

Can You Call Yourself a “Writer” if You’re Not Currently Writing?

This one feels rather apt for me at the moment, when I’m not blogging here at least! If, like me, you’ve taken a break from writing, you’re still a writer … and here’s why.

The Three Stages of Editing (and Nine Handy Do-it-Yourself Tips)

Whether you’re editing a blog post or a novel, simply starting at the first word and fixing every spelling mistake as you go along isn’t going to be an efficient way to work. Here, I explain the three stages of editing, offering tips to help you with each.

7 Ways to Write Better Blog Posts (Plus Seven Bonus Links)

If you feel your blog posts could be stronger and more effective, check out these tips, and try putting one or two into practice this week. For each tip, I’ve included a link to (and brief summary of) an extra resource that can help you.

Choosing the Right Viewpoint and Tense for Your Fiction (With Examples)

Should you write in first-person, third-person, or even second-person? And should you tell your story in the past or present tense? In this post, I run through your options, and give you examples of each in practice.


Happy reading and happy writing! I’ll be back in late October or early November with a brand new version of the Aliventures blog for you, covering the art, craft, and business of writing.

Super Summer Sale on the Blogger’s Guide Four-Pack (Time-Limited)

I’m celebrating six years (!) since I quit my day job and became a full-time writer/blogger.

So, until Tuesday 12th August, you can get all four of my Blogger’s Guides for just $33.

(They normally cost $29 each, or $66 for four.)

Sounds like just what you need? Head on over to the Blogger’s Guide website to get your hands on them.

If you’d like to know a bit more about the Blogger’s Guides first, though, just read on.

The Blogger’s Guides are a series of ebooks, each covering a key aspect of professional blogging – the type of blogging where you hope to make money (though you might well also be doing it for fun).

The four Guides are:

  • The Blogger’s Guide to Freelancing – this explains the exact process I used to launch my freelancing career (while working a full-time day job).
  • The Blogger’s Guide to Effective Writing – this is packed with tips and techniques to help you go further with your writing.
  • The Blogger’s Guide to Irresistible Ebooks – this covers what you need to do to create a free or paid-for ebook, with step by step advice.
  • The Blogger’s Guide to Loyal Readers – this goes through everything you need to do to (a) get your blog in shape for visitors and (b) draw them in.

Taken as a set, they teach you everything I’ve learned in over six years of writing for dozens of different blogs.

You can find out more about them – and snap up a bargain – here.

The sale only runs until the end of Tuesday 12th August, and I won’t be posting about it again on the blog – so make sure you check it out today.

If you’ve got any questions about the Guides, just pop a comment below, or email me on

Another Baby On the Way (And What This Means for Aliventures)

2nd-baby-two-500Well, the title and photo probably gave the news away. 😉

My husband Paul and I are expecting our second baby in December, a little brother or sister to Kitty (who turned one in March).

This is really exciting for us; right from the start, we wanted to have two children close together, and we’re thrilled that everything has gone so smoothly. Kitty loves babies and dolls, and we know she’ll be a very proud big sister by the end of the year.

What This Means for Aliventures

For now, nothing’s going to change: I’ll still be blogging here (though as you might have noticed, I’ve been posting a bit less frequently recently).

In the autumn, I’ll be taking off on maternity leave for a while. I’ve not set exact dates yet, but I’ll keep you posted. So the Aliventures blog will fall silent for a few months while I focus on being a mum to Kitty and to the new baby. The newsletter will also be on hiatus, though again, that’s running as normal until the autumn.

Writing services: As you might guess, I’m no longer on any new clients – in fact, my client list has been totally full for several months now. If you’re looking for a writer/editor, though, please do get in touch and I’ll hopefully be able to recommend someone who’ll be a good fit for you.

Writers’ Huddle: My community/teaching site, Writers’ Huddle, will continue to take new members until I go on maternity leave, and there’ll be a new seminar each month while I’m away. There’ll be someone around to take care of members during my leave, so if you’re in the Huddle, don’t worry about losing your password / having a PayPal glitch / etc … you won’t be on your own! I’ll be posting in the Huddle forums shortly to let you know a bit more about the arrangements while I’m away.

I hope you’ll stick around on the Aliventures blog, as I’ve got plenty of posts I want to write for you over the next few months. 🙂 Thanks so much for being a loyal reader, and for your support.

What’s Been Happening … and What’s Coming Up Next


I’m back! And the picture above hopefully gives you some idea what I’ve been up to…

Our little girl, Kitty (Katherine Constance Luke), was born on Saturday 9th March 2013, weighing 8lbs 6oz. She’s two months old now, and a big, healthy baby. I’ve been very much enjoying being a mum … but I’ve missed my writing and blogging.

So I’m glad to be back, and I’m looking forward to catching up with you. 🙂

(Just so you know – I’m only working Tuesdays and Fridays during May, so you might have to wait a couple of days for a reply to emails, blog comments, etc.)

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What’s Lurking in Your Desk Drawer? Four Authors’ Success Stories

 Image from Flickr by me and the sysop

Today’s post is a guest piece from Anne Emerick, who sent me a fantastic proposal a couple of weeks ago. As you might guess, given that my new book Publishing E-Books For Dummies came out last week, I’m very much in favour of the ebook revolution … and it’s great to hear such inspiring success stories from fiction-authors. I hope you find this post encouraging!


Something wonderful is happening now across the United States, even world wide. Stories once buried among old tax receipts, school pictures and electric bills have escaped desk drawers and sprung to life. Reborn via digital publishing, primarily the Kindle, such stories have established new writing careers, introduced authors to appreciative readers, and given birth to sequels.

Here are four separate tales of how some very old stories became brand-new books and permanently changed their authors’ lives.

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A Special Announcement (With Photos!)

The first ever pictures of Baby Luke (not Hale … the hospital had my old records!)

I’m thrilled to announce that my husband Paul and I are expecting our first baby.

We had our 12 week scan yesterday, and the baby is doing just fine. Our due date is February 21st, 2013.

This will be the first grandchild for our parents, and the first great-grandchild for all but one of our grandparents. As you can imagine, there’s a lot of excitement in the family!

You might have noticed that I’ve not been quite so present as usual recently: I’ve not been posting much here on Aliventures, I’ve been slow to respond to emails, and I’ve not been tweeting or hanging out on Facebook much. The early weeks of the pregnancy went smoothly, but I was feeling very tired for a good three or four weeks, and prioritised getting as much rest as possible.

Now that we’re into the second trimester, I’m feeling a great deal better, and you can expect to see me around a bit more. 🙂

As well as telling you the good news, I want to keep you in the loop on what will be staying the same and what will be changing:

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The Quotable Coach: A Daily Dose of Inspiration and Motivation

First, a bit of Aliventures (and Ali!) history…

Back in 2008, when I started blogging and freelancing, I got into personal development writing. I began blogging at Dumb Little Man and Pick the Brain (and have been a regular on those sites ever since).

When I started the Aliventures blog in 2009, it focused on “life and writing.” My earlier posts tackled personal development topics – then, in 2010, I shifted to focus on writing, blogging, and self-publishing.

But… if you came to Aliventures through my posts on Pick the Brain or Dumb Little Man, I’m pretty confident that you’ve got an interest in personal development. And I’m aware that Aliventures doesn’t really serve that interest any more.

That’s why I want to tell you about one of my client’s projects.

For more than a year now, I’ve been working with Barry Demp, an amazing business coach from Troy, Michigan. I get on really well with all my clients, but I particularly enjoy working with Barry – he’s a very lovely, and very intelligent, guy.

Over the past few months, Barry and I have been busy with a new project, The Quotable Coach.

Every day, Mon – Fri, we sent out a quote, plus a short commentary and exercise, by email. The quotes aim to be thought-provoking – an inspiring and motivating start to the day … but we also keep the emails short, so that they can be read in under a minute.

If you’d like a quick, positive, inspiring email in your inbox every morning, head on over to The Quotable Coach now and pop your name and email address in the sidebar.

You can also see the archive of quotes-so-far on the website – we post the quotes to the site a week after sending them out by email.

I’d love to hear what you think about The Quotable Coach (as would Barry!) so, if you do join up, please pop a comment below or drop me an email to let me know what you like – and what you might want us to do differently.

How Your eBook Provides You With Marketing and Relationship Building Opportunities

It’s a rare event when I welcome a guest writer to Aliventures, so please give a warm welcome to D’vorah Lansky. I’m one of the speakers in her awesome Digital Publishing Virtual Summit (and you can listen to all the sessions for free). More details about the Summit at the bottom of the post!

Hi, my name is D’vorah Lansky and I am excited to share this blog post, on the topic of Digital Publishing, with you. I’d like to thank Ali for hosting me during this virtual tour, in honor of Digital Publishing Virtual Summit, where we feature 20 world-renowned book marketing experts.

I’m thrilled to share this exciting topic with you and extend a warm invitation for you to enjoy each article and interview on this virtual tour as well as attend this virtual summit with us.

How Your eBook Provides You With Marketing and Relationship-Building Opportunities

There are many aspects to an eBook, beyond the actual writing of the text. Your eBook provides you with both marketing and relationship building opportunities.

By strategically placing content at the beginning or end of your book (front and back matter), carefully selecting the keywords you use in your chapter titles and section titles (which show up in the table of contents) and carefully “seeding” your book with compelling reasons for people to come to your website, you are providing your readers with reasons to purchase your book and to connect with you or your special offer.

Here are a few tips for increasing the likelihood of people noticing, and hopefully purchasing, your book.

  • Having an attractive book cover will increase the odds of people noticing your book.
  • The title of your book is the “billboard” for your book. You want your book title to be a magnet to people interested in your topic.
  • Your table of contents can be used as sales copy on your website as well as a tool for creating interest in your book for those who download a “sneak peek” of your book from Kindle.

Your foreword, endorsements, testimonials, and book reviews further position you as an expert and provide social proof as to why people should purchase your book.

  • Front matter and back matter are essential pages that show up at the beginning or end of your book. Front matter can include the title page, copyright page, a foreword, dedication, table of contents, acknowledgements and an introduction.
  • Back matter can include an “about the author” page, recommended resources, an index, and perhaps a marketing page that lists a related product or service the author offers, that is related to the topic of book.
  • The foreword of your book provides introductory remarks about your book and serves as an endorsement of you, typically by a recognized celebrity or expert in your field.

Including a marketing page provides you with a way to connect with your audience and build an ongoing relationship with them. Some examples of what you can list on your marketing page are:

  • A companion course
  • Worksheets or checklists
  • Audio or video tips or interviews
  • A workbook
  • Other books you’ve written

Take time to carefully craft your marketing page. Many readers will read the back cover and flip to the resource section in the back of a book, when deciding if they want to purchase a book. Having a marketing page easily accessible will provide you with a doorway with which to invite your readers to walk through.

View your book as a vehicle for sharing your message and connecting with your audience. This will allow you to grow your readership, income streams, and book sales.


When reading a book, what type of content compels you to take action to visit the author’s website? Scroll down to share your thoughts in the comment box, and join in the conversation.

If you’d like to learn more about digital publishing; how it’s grown and where it’s going, join us for the Digital Publishing Virtual Summit where Ali Luke presents a workshop entitled: Marketing Your Digital Book or Products With a Powerful Sales Page.

During this workshop, Ali will teach us how to craft a great sales page (for your digital and/or print book) that encourages potential readers to click the “buy” button.

Ali shares: What a sales page is, and how it can help you sell your book (or products), why a sales page is a great tool for authors who feel shy or uncomfortable promoting themselves, as well as simple tricks and tips for the design of your page.

Join Ali (and enjoy 20 power-packed sessions) at this year’s Digital Publishing Virtual Summit. Listen in for free at: Digital Publishing Virtual Summit


Enjoy this Digital Publishing Virtual Tour! May the gems gleaned aid you on your path as you share your message with audiences across the globe!

If you are interested in the topic of Digital Publishing, consider joining us for the Digital Publishing Virtual Summit! Check out this impressive group of world-renowned experts at: Digital Publishing Virtual Summit

D’vorah Lansky, M.Ed., has been marketing online and mentoring leaders since 1994. She is the bestselling author of Book Marketing Made Easy: Simple Strategies for Selling Your Nonfiction Book Online.

She is the producer of the annual Book Marketing Conference Online and this year’s Digital Publishing Virtual Summit, as well as the founder of the Book Marketing Alliance and the Book Marketing Made Easy Academy. D’vorah coaches and trains authors around the globe, in online book marketing practices.

Join us for the Digital Publishing Virtual Summit and listen as 20 world-renowned experts share their wisdom.

No Posts During September (But I’ll Be Back…)

I’m going to be away for the rest of September, travelling round Europe (Bucharest, Brasov, Budapest, Vienna, Venice and Rome!) I’ll have sporadic internet access, but I won’t be blogging.

I will, however, be sending out newsletters. Yay!

So … if you’re not already on the Aliventures newsletter, I highly recommend joining up now. We’ve just reached one thousand members, and I’d love to have you on board too!

I send out a short newsletter every Wednesday, and you can find out all about it here.

And I’ll also be tweeting, when I have net access. You can find me on Twitter here.

When I get back in October, I’ve got several exciting things planned, including the final stages of a big project that I’ve been working on for three years – my novel, Lycopolis. You’ll be hearing all about that as I gear up to launch it to the world… 🙂

Should You Be Writing Shorter Sentences?

Last week, I tackled shorter paragraphs. Today, I want to take a look at sentences.

Whether you’re writing fiction or non-fiction, sentence length matters. Short, snappy sentences (or even sentence fragments) create a very different effect from long, complex, thoughtful sentences.

In school, you were probably told that every sentence should contain a verb. This is important if you’re writing an essay or academic paper – but if you’re working on blog posts or fiction, your sentences definitely don’t have to all contain a verb.

I’ll come on to this in some of the examples, but first, I want to explain a couple of reasons why short sentences are important: readability and pace.

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