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Ron’s Tuesday’s Tip: Successful Writing is not a Hobby

Welcome to Ron’s Tuesday’s Tip. Every Tuesday I will share a tip with you. This week is about: Successful Writing is not a Hobby.

Being an author is both a journey and an adventure. Plus, it is always a challenge.

When reviewing your taxes the IRS views your business as a hobby if it doesn’t make a profit within 3 years. That strict rule should be regarded as simply wrong!

Writing is a business whether you profit or not. I’m going to look at 3 very important attributes of a successful writer. These are Writing is a Journey, Writing is an Adventure, and Writing is a Challenge.

Writing is a Journey.

When I first started writing I was a teenager. Nobody in my family or elsewhere knew of my secret desire to be a writer. I was afraid they would mock me. But that is when my journey began.

I knew nothing about writing other than I wanted to write books, novels in particular. My first step in my journey actually took place as a child. I liked to daydream and I had a good imagination. I would adopt characters from television and I would become that character, then I would fight the bad guys. I was a hero both on Earth and in outer space. But transitioning to a teenager I started writing my stories. The problem was that to continue as a hero, I had to write First Person. But that made me uncomfortable, so I changed to Third Person. This was the second step of my journey. This was an important step that has influence me ever since.

Over the years my writing was interrupted by service in the Navy, but I resumed after I got out. It was as a young man that I came across an ad for the Famous Writers School. I applied and was accepted (the school accepted just about anyone). I then paid for the course which I believe was a three-year course. I’ve sense learned that there was much dishonesty on the school’s part and that their fee was excessive. But I didn’t know that and started taking the course.

In any case, I did well in the course and was getting more confident. Then in 1974 I was laid off from work. I ended up dropping out and after resuming work I never reapplied. But my journey continued. Whether my grades were honest or not, I believed them to be and I pressed forward. This was my third step.

In 1973 I’d asked Jesus to forgive me my sins and come into my heart. Over time this proved not only life changing, but much of the trash (sin) in my life was not only forgiven but purged from my life. This was my fourth step in my journey as a writer, but more importantly it was an eternal step in my life. The influence of this new life would become far greater than a mere step!

 From 1973 to 2001 I pressed forward trying to write. After dropping out of the Famous Writers School I continued trying to write without any guidance. Time after time I would start writing. Sometimes I managed to write several chapters, but inevitably I would run into a wall. That would stop me cold!

Writing is an Adventure.

My journey continues to this day, but becoming a Christian turned it into an adventure. At first, I tried writing poems. I had one notable success with that in that in won my future wife’s heart. But writing poems was not my desire and I eventually stopped.

I then took up computer programming. I taught myself how to write Visual Basic programming and was able to write short programs for work and for myself. But as the computer programming got progressively more complicated and expensive. Being self-trained I couldn’t make the transition to the more complicated codes coming on scene. Thus, ended my brief career as a computer programmer. That had been an adventure, but I was soon to begin what I consider the adventure of a lifetime!

In 2001 I had been a Christian for 28 years. By this time I developed a morning devotions routine that included morning prayer and Bible study. One morning I was reading the Book of Genesis and the story of Noah and the Ark. Unlike the myth of Gilgamesh which was written after the fall of the Tower of Babel, the Bible story is a firsthand account probably written by Shem, the son of Noah, about 100 years or more before Gilgamesh . While often treated as a myth it is not.

As I read the account it suddenly came to me that here is a skeletal account of the events. God wasn’t interested in entertaining us but  explain history in such a way as to point to the coming of Jesus. But I, being interested in writing a novel and a lover of history, realized that here was a plot filled with characters and that I had the opportunity to clothe the facts with fictionalized skin to bring the people and events alive! It changed my writing career.

The next phase of my adventure involved research. Outside of the Bible there is no evidence telling us how people lived before the Flood. But both the Bible and secular history tells us a lot about after the Flood.

Using the Bible as the primary source of information (it’s the only reliable source) I began digging. It didn’t take long to realize that evolutionary theory has so corrupted our understanding of history that secular history varies, is often contradictory, and confusing. But when I focused on the 100 to 300 years after the Flood, I began noticing facts, such as the fact that a highly developed civilization existed shortly after the Flood. How do you explain that?

Doing the research proved to be hard, tiring, and eventually rewarding. It was an adventure. Researching for your story is not always so rewarding, but it is always necessary.

Writing is a Challenge.

The story of my researching the pre-Flood and post-Flood history could easily be placed here. Research is a challenge. But my focus here is on getting published.

In 2003 I submitted my first novel to AuthorHouse. As I recall it cost me about $400. AuthorHouse belongs in the category of a self-publisher. As I have blogged in the past there are three distinct types of publishers; Traditional, Self, and Indie.

At the time I was unaware of Indie publishing (I believe it came along later). The term Self-publishers suggests that you the author have control. You don’t. What it means is you pay upfront for the publishing of your book. Basically, that is the ‘self’ part. They control almost all of the power levers. Fortunately, I did know this and opted out of their Editing resource. I used quotations from the King James Version and feared they would opt for the unreliable newer versions. Aside from that I had very little control over the publishing process. Still my first novel got published and I was able to celebrate my becoming an author!

In the summer of 2014 my wife, Teresa, and I founded T&R Independent Books and we became Indie Publishers! This was the beginning of a new adventure and a lot of new challenges. Since then I’ve republished all of my previous books and published newer books. Soon we hope to start publishing Teresa’s books (under the name Tess).

Now, we are embarking on another venture under the T&R Independent Books business. This year we have opened our new service called TR Writing Services. I have discussed this in my last Tuesday Tip: Indie Publishing. In short, we guide any writer who wants our service through the various steps of getting published. This involves editing spelling and grammar, proofing, setting up their account with KDP, and getting the book published.

We are also thinking about providing their own web page on our website. It would include their photo, bio, book cover, and description with a link to their Amazon page. This would provide them a first step in their marketing.

What is a Successful Writer?

There are many answers to that question. The most common one is that a successful writer is one who makes money. The IRS would certainly agree with that idea, but is that really what success is all about?

That, in my opinion, is a short-sighted idea. Rather than money being the determinant factor why not the reading pleasure your book(s) bring to people who read your books?

A hobby suggests something you do in your spare time and maybe only a couple of hours a week. But a serious writer does far more than that!

No, I believe a successful writer is an author who works the craft of writing virtually every day. He/she invests time, energy, and money into their craft. And they write compelling stories. Money is a desirable byproduct or outcome, not the sole determinant of success.

For information on TR Writing Services (“we edit, proof, and publish the book within you”)  contact us at We have a Free booklet telling you about our services. And we are upfront on our prices (all are low).


ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four) or Death Ship (Book One), Pauline A New Home (Book Two), Task Force Hunter (Book Three), Black Death (Book Four), or Rise of I.C.E.S. (Book Five), I value your reviews.

If you would like to review any of these books contact me at with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or ePub).

 – – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. In addition he is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical and Speculative Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

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How to Start Writing Career

Every week I deal with different subjects in this blog. I also post my blog to my Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld. This week I am taking a look at How to start writing career.

To learn more about writing contact TR Writing Services at

You’ve got an idea for a book, be it non-fiction or fiction. All you need to do is sit down write the book and you’re done. Right? Wrong.

What Should I do to start a career as a writer?

Well, you could try just writing your book starting right now. But while it seems easy, that method would probably prove very exhaustive and tiring. Here are some tips.

First, ask yourself why you want to write. Is it because there’s money to be made? Well, there’s no guarantee that you’ll make money. Is it because your idea is the best idea ever? Well, that’s dubious. Is it because you have a real desire to write? Now you’re talking, but that raises other questions.

Assuming you have a desire to write, what experience or skill do you have?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying you have to start out with experience or skill, but it certainly helps. Can you handle basic grammar and spelling needs? There are books on grammar and dictionaries for spelling that should help you with that.

In fact, I would suggest you invest in a simple dictionary at first and later get a combination dictionary/thesaurus. Both of those should be considered essential tools. Books on grammar, spelling, and even on novel writing are excellent helps.

What I’m saying is that you need to have writing aids available to you. You might think you don’t need them, but you do no matter your education or experience.

Then I can start writing?

Sure you can, but you might want to set up a space in your house, apartment, or condo that is meant for you to write. You should consider a desk, writing table, or even a lap table. Having your own private space is conducive to good writing. Also having your files, resource books, etc. nearby can be a good help.

Now I can write?

There’s nothing stopping you, but there are other things you should consider before you begin. One thing that many writers suggest is that you check out on the internet and see if the book you plan on writing has already been written and check out what genre you are in. There’s truth in that. For example, the title itself may already have been used. You might want to have a new or fresh title.

It’s possible someone else has already written a book with the plot you’re thinking of. That doesn’t mean you can’t write the story you have in mind, but it might mean that you need a fresh twist on the plot so that it is different.

Surely now I can write?

Like I said, there’s nothing stopping you. However, you might want to set yourself up as a businessperson. The moment you commit yourself to writing a book you are a businessman or businesswoman. You need to set yourself up so that you not only have a concept of making money, but have a plan for receiving it, tracking it, and making use of it. And don’t forget that eventually you’ll need to market your book

Wow! I don’t have a clue how to start!

That’s fine. There are a lot of businesses out there willing to help you. Unfortunately most are not cheap. Some are expensive and misleading. They promise you a best seller within weeks! It sounds great, but in this day and age unlikely.

My wife and I recently started a new service that is offered by our business T&R Independent Books. It is called TR Writing Services. And it is designed to help the beginning or even the established writer get their book written and published. This service is available at very reasonable prices. Want more information, contact us at and we’ll send a free booklet on our different plans and a free copy of our TR Writing Guide.

You’ll guide me?

Yes, to an extent. I will be honest with you and do my best to steer you in the right direction. But we don’t believe that you have to do things our way. In the end you are the boss. But we will certainly keep you informed about what we know or think is right. We’ll also help you set up a KDP account if you don’t have one. If you’re going with KDP then we’ll be right with you through the publication process. We are unable to offer that concerning other publishing platforms, but we are experienced with KDP.

I am currently developing a FREE Writing Course that will cover the business of writing, writing itself, websites, and publishing. Hope to have it available in near future. If you’re interested in the course just write me at my email address (below) and I’ll send a link once the course is ready.

For more on TR Writing Services contact us at


ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four) or Death Ship (Book One), Pauline A New Home (Book Two), Task Force Hunter (Book Three), Black Death (Book Four), or Rise of I.C.E.S. (Book Five), I value your reviews.

If you would like to review any of these books contact me at with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and we’ll send you a PDF of the book.

 – – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. In addition he is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical and Speculative Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

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Book Marketing: An Introduction

In today’s blog I am beginning a series on book marketing. My goal is to provide you with some solid content that you can use. I may discuss different tools you can use or resources that are available to you.

I plan for this series to appear on Fridays.

Let’s get started.

Any new series needs an introduction. So here goes.

Shortly after writing my first novel I came face to face with the realization that most, if not all, the marketing was up to me. While publishers will offer tools you can use, they don’t normally do the marketing unless you happen to be a celebrity.

My first experience in marketing was Book Signing. Back then you went to a local bookstore and offered them a share of the profits if you could have a table. The concept being they order the books, the customer buys them, and you sign or autograph them.

Simple, but it wasn’t quite that easy.

The first problem I came up against was the bias against self-published books. Some stores simply weren’t interested, while others had to be convinced. So I quickly learned to do my homework and find out what my publisher’s book return policy was (this was a major issue with the stores).

But eventually I did get into some stores.

The next thing I learned was that each store has a different policy. In one store I shared a table with another author, while in another store I had my own table. Another fact I learned was that you were assigned a four hour space of time. This was fairly uniform with all the stores.

Was it successful?

Depends on what you mean by successful. Did I sell a ton of books? No, but such expectations are unrealistic. Book signing is low volume. By that I mean that unless you are a celebrity the number of books sold at a book signing is relatively low. In my case, I probably averaged about 5 per hour for 4 hours.

How did it work?

The book store would order the books and provide them to me for the four hours I was there. Customers would come up to the table, take a book, go to the cashier, and purchase the book. Then they came to me for the book to be signed.

Another way was for me to sign the book and then they would take it to purchase. But there was a big problem with that scene. Once, maybe twice, I had someone come to my table, say they were going to purchase my book, and I signed it. Then they left. Later the signed book was found on a shelf by a clerk and returned to me. It was basically useless because it was signed and maybe included the person’s name. Not recommended.

Book signing is still valid. It is still hard to get into stores, especially chains. Not because of bias, although that still exists, but with chains you often have to contact the corporate office and get approved. That said, if you are an author it is still worth your while.


Because it is personal. People can personally meet you and get your signature. It is also usually local, which enhances your local reputation.

Just remember not to focus all your time on it. In today’s internet world you need to spend your time on the internet. But more on that in another blog.

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R. Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured.

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How To Build An Author’s Business You Can Be Proud Of

Here’ the big misconception.

Writers, especially beginners, think of themselves as only authors. They fail to see the whole picture.

But there is much more! An author is:

  1. A writer of stories

  2. A publisher

  3. A marketer

Let’s look at each of these.


What do you know about writing? Here is a partial list of things you should know:

  • your genre

  • how to set up your page

  • grammar

  • plotting

  • building characters

  • scene structure

All of these are tools. You have a trade, a business that involves writing. These tools are important. Lack of knowing and using these tools can devastate your business.


Whoever and However you publish, you are a publisher to some degree. If you want to have creative control of your book, then you need to know certain things:

  • What is a traditional, self, and indie publisher

  • What is an ISBN and how do I get one

  • What are the publishers/printers guidelines

  • What publisher/printer offers the best features

  • What are the expected royalties

This is just a partial list of things you need to know.


Today almost all authors are responsible for selling their books. If you’re a celebrity you may only have to do book tours. But the rest of us have to work to sell the books and this is the hardest thing to do. You need to know:

  • traditional book tours

  • virtual book tours

  • book trailers

  • social media marketing

  • TV/radio marketing

Again the list goes on.

Once you decided to write you became a business person whether you wanted to or not. And if you are like I was when I first started then you know very little about the business of writing.

When I first dreamed about being an author I had no idea of the real work involved. And when I wrote my first novel, I had next to no knowledge of what publisher to go with or what my involvement in marketing would be. These are things that are needed to know, but while there are courses on writing available there is scant information relating to the business of writing.


I have prepared a free mini-course on the business of writing that delves into:

  • why you as an author should consider yourself a business person

  • how it impacts your life

  • most importantly, how to set up a business that won’t detract from your writing.

The course consists of three videos, each answering one of the questions. The third video gets into the actual setup of the business.

I mentioned this is free. There is absolutely no cost.

Free Authors Mini-Course on Business of Writing

Answers 3 questions:
1) Why you are a Business person?
2) How it impacts you as an author?
3) How do you setup the business?
Click here to access Mini-Course

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The Indie Movement

I’ve written on this subject before, but today I want to expand on the subject.


The Independent Press is sometimes referred to a small press. This is understandable as the Indie Press sprang from the small press. So first, let’s get a handle on small press.

Basically a small press has been categorized as a publisher with annual sales below $50 million dollars in the U.S. In addition they are categorized as publishers publishing an average of fewer than 10 books per year. However that is only an average, some do more.

According to Wikipedia these are “defined as publishers that are not part of large conglomerates or multinational corporations.”


What I am referring to, however, is authors becoming independent publishers of their own books! This was the purpose and inspiration for founding T&R Independent Books. We don’t handle any other authors, just ourselves. For this reason I suggest their is a clear line of separation between small presses and indie publishers.

Orna Ross (director of The Alliance of Independent Authors) says, “Being an independent author is an approach to writing and publishing, a matter of self-definition. If you see yourself as the creative director of your books, from concept to completion and beyond, then you’re indie.”

You could take that statement and expand on it. You could say, Being an independent publisher depends on how you see yourself. If you see yourself as a person wanting more control over the creative process (writing) plus the publishing, and marketing processes then you are an indie.

Being indie involves much more than just writing, but the potential rewards are also out there. Think of it this way: If you control most, if not all, aspects of writing, publishing, and marketing, you will also reap most of the profits.

Orna continues:

“At ALLi, “independent” is an inclusive description and always relative (everyone needs help to write and publish well). Some of our members are fiercely indie-spirited, as DIY as it’s possible to be. Others are happy to collaborate with a publisher where that seems advantageous, some working with paid publishing services, others with trade publishers.

So what marks out an indie from other authors? The Alliance allows that you are an independent author if:

  • You have self-published at least one book.
  • You recognize that ‘indie’ does not necessarily mean ‘self-publishing only’ and acknowledge that even the most indie-spirited self-publisher works in collaboration with other publishing professionals (editors, designers, distributors) to produce a good book and reach readers. You are open to mutual beneficial partnerships, including trade publishing deals where appropriate for you, so long as the author’s status as creative director of the book is acknowledged.
  • You expect your status in the partnership to be reflected in contracts and terms, not just lip service.
  • You recognize that you are central to a revolutionary shift in publishing which is moving from seeing the author as resource (in the new parlance ‘content provider’) to respecting the author as creative director.
  • You are proud of your indie status, which you carry into all your ventures, negotiations and collaborations for your own benefit and to the benefit of all writers.”

Well put. If you are an author this is something that you should take a serious look at. But I go one step further. To me you are a business person and need to take a close look at establishing yourself as a legal entity.


There are quite a few resources out there for authors to use. For example you could join ALLi, but they have an annual fee. There are others that offer you training at various prices, some reaching over $100. Then there are some who will give you some basics for free.

Some of you may be aware that I now offer a free package on the basics of writing. To learn more about the business of writing click Yes, Show Me More and discover our 3 in 1 free package.

Whatever you decide to do, remember that you are more than just a writer. You are a business person!

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After Setting Up my business, what’s next?

In my last blog I mentioned a video with a special offer, but today I want to expand on the subject of a writer being in business. This may be a rather new concept to you, but it is true nonetheless.

In the above mentioned video I also talk about our Mini-Course. And in that course I look at three aspects of business. I begin with why you are a business person, then follow up with how this impacts you personally, and end up showing you how to set up your business.

In this blog I want to discuss how your writing career benefits from your business.

Assuming that you have taken the necessary steps to establish the legal and structural aspects of your business, what next?

Obviously I think that the Authors Academy should be the answer. But let’s consider the real needs of an author. That brings us to the very first need: to educate yourself on writing.

Now you may already know everything you need to know about writing, but I am always seeking to learn more and you should also! Wherever you seek that knowledge you need to learn new or improved techniques for crafting a book that people will want to read. Fortunately there are many resources out there to help you. Resources on grammar, editing, and much more.

The second real need you have is to learn about publishing.

When I was doing my research for the academy on the subject of book publishing I discovered a great deal of information on the internet. The internet is a wonderful source of information, but you have to be careful. And this warning applies to the subject of publishing.

I have never come across a publisher yet that highlighted their shortcomings. So when reading their material you need to read with a little bit of skepticism. Do your research and discover not only the positive things, but the negative as well.

The same advice applies for marketing, but even more so! There is conflicting advice on how you are to market. The ‘experts’ can’t even agree on the best marketing strategy.

Yet, at the same time, if you pay attention you can discern common facts and truths that will help you. Then, of course, you will need to pull them all together to form a cohesive strategy.

But those are only the beginning phases of your business. You will need to track your income and expenses throughout the year. You may, depending on the type of business you are registered as, be required to file periodically with the government as well.

While most of you would not have employees that is not out of the question. And if you do hire employees you will need to comply with federal and state laws.

I am not trying to scare you but simply give you some practical advice. These increased responsibilities will require time and effort, but they will also give you more control and time for your writing. And after all, isn’t that what you want to do?