Pocket Full of Words: Holly Lisle’s Blog


Intern Program #1: FICTION Critter, Editor, Copyeditor, Text Layout, Cover Design, Fiction Launch Path

I’ve created my first intern program: COMMERCIAL FICTION DEVELOPMENT. The first intern program is for people who want to work with WRITERS OF FICTION (and personal non-fiction). And who want to get paid to do this.

I’m looking for people with whom I can work LONG-TERM. I want to build a team I can rely on to work with every fiction project I write, and ideally the first interns who join the program would become my team, and will still be working with me as indie contractors 25 years from now.

However, I know other writers need help, too—and I know where hundreds of these writers are (ReadersMeetWriters.com), and I can train more folks than just my own team.

Whether we end up working together long-term or not, I’ll make sure that, if you take the program seriously and apply the necessary effort to learn the skills I teach, I’ll recommend you in ReadersMeetWriters for the skills you learned, and you can offer your skills in the RMW Market with my recommendation as your first client.

This is the program to apply for if you want to get to read a lot of fiction, and work with writers to help them make their fiction the best it can be, and to learn how to get it out into the world to reach other readers.

If you maintain your active status as an intern, you will get hands-on experience and training in doing:

  • Professional-quality crits
  • Manuscript Content Editing
  • Manuscript Copy Editing
  • Manuscript Text Layout and Manuscript Formatting
  • Cover copy and promotional copy
  • Cover Design
  • Fiction copy and launch building

Each of these skills is needed not just by me, but by the members of ReadersMeetWriters.com

And I’ll be recruiting FROM the membership of ReadersMeetWriters.com for my first interns. Here’s the program.

BEGINNING INTERNS—You’ll work with my previously published work doing:

  • Reading and bughunting
  • Manuscript layout and pre-formatting (for novels) and ebook creation (for short fiction)
  • Writing cover copy and other promotional copy
  • Designing cover art
  • BASIC fiction launch training

ADVANCED INTERNS—Interns who perform well and reliably and hit deadlines consistently will move on to working with my new fiction as I write it, doing:

  • Reader crits of first drafts
  • Content editing of final drafts
  • Manuscript copyediting
  • ADVANCED fiction launch training

BEGINNING INTERNS will receive my downloadable training for bug-hunting, manuscript layout and formatting, writing cover copy, designing cover art, and basic fiction launches, and you’ll get my input on each step you complete.

When the split-tester becomes available, we will split-test cover-copy, cover art, and launch elements, and you will be able to see which of your own work is best (you’ll do multiple entries), and how your work stacks up against the work by others—and you’ll be able to use what you learn to improve your skills.

By successfully completing each section, interns will receive my recommendation and points in ReadersMeetWriters.com, as well as the courses I offer that include additional training.

Interns will also receive an acknowledgment in each book on which they are an active participant.

I have room for twelve interns who will work in teams of three on the 19 projects I have ready to go. I will open up replacement slots for any interns who drop out of the program.

Interns with whom I work well and who enjoy working with me will progress to the ADVANCED PROGRAM.

All advanced interns will take How To Revise Your Novel at an accelerated pace, and will use this course to understand how to revise and edit fiction. You will each receive first-draft manuscripts of previously published works of mine to use for practice, and once you have completed the course and a full edit of a first-draft manuscript, will work with me on live fiction as I create it.

ADVANCED INTERNS will also take the advanced fiction launch training I am currently developing, and will set up test launches. Successful test launches will become live launches. When each ADVANCED INTERN runs a successful live launch, that intern will receive fiction launch certification for use in RMW. I will contract with one or two certified fiction launchers to plan, set up, and run my own launches, and will recommend certified fiction launchers to RMW members looking to hire them.

This intern program will be a lot of work, will not cost you anything, but also will not pay you anything.

You’ll receive free training; you’ll receive points and recommendations in RMW if you do well; you’ll receive acknowledgement in the books you help fix.

And as I’m able to move from the intern-training model to hiring contractors, I will.

If you want to apply for an internship, watch your email from the RMW list. If you are not currently a member, you can join ReadersMeetWriters.com, which is still in its BETA stage. I’ll send an email out early next week.

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OneStep Writing System – Web-Based?

Dear Writers.

Right now, I am working as fast as I can to build for Holly a system to consolidate the work of writing and publishing.  When Holly’s system is done, or at least done enough, she and I are going to offer some form of that system to other writers.

I could guess, Holly’s system would be helpful to others.  This is one of those things that is too important to guess.  No guessing is needed to say, some form of system for consolidating writers’ work would be helpful.  No guessing is needed for some of the requirements, because some requirements are stated repeatedly in the comments on Holly’s blog article.  Overall, I am going to need writers telling me what is needed.  Then I need to verify my understanding of what I am told.  This type of communication excites me, because the chances of making good system go way up when there is good understanding of validated requirements.

The biggest question I have right now:  will this system work if it runs through web browsers?  The alternatives would be to run it as a program installed in Windows or on a Mac.

Running it through a browser does not mean that connecting to the internet is required for running the system.  Some features require connecting to the internet, but stories can be worked on through a browser not connected to the internet.  There are a lot of reasons why I want to make this a browser-based system, but my reasons don’t matter, if the product is not going to do what writers need if it is running in a browser.

What worries me is I don’t see any problems with running OneStep as a browser-based app.  I know others will see problems, but I don’t know what they are.  That is not good.  I need to know, what are the problems with OneStep being browser-based?

While I won’t try guessing at requirements and platform, I will hazard a guess that people who have shown interest in OneStep want to know when they can get it.  Answer:  I don’t know.  This work is happening at the same time Holly and I are rebuilding her online writing school.  I am not sure how much work we can do on OneStep while construction of the online writing school is happening.  I will just have to update you on that as I know more.

If you have questions or comments about the OneStep system, please do not hesitate to ask.


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How would YOU clear this schedule?

Help?I’m swamped enough that the migraines are back, and I’m putting this in front of my readers hoping someone will see a way for me to clear a lot of stuff out of my schedule quickly. I’ll be honest. I’ve got nothing. I can come up with ideas for books and courses all day long, but when things get this backlogged, I get stressed. I’ve been focusing on doing just three things a day, and doing them well, but even that is not clearing things.

Here’s the schedule:



Publish books and stories for which I own rights that are simply sitting on my hard drive

  • Talyn
  • Minerva Wakes
  • Midnight Rain
  • Last Girl Dancing
  • I See You
  • Night Echoes
  • Last Thorsday Night
  • >>—4EVR—>

Copyedits, Corrections, New Covers, Republish

  • Fire in the Mist (Have commissioned cover art, need to put it together)
  • Bones of the Past (Have commissioned cover art, need to put it together)
  • Mind of the Magic (Have commissioned cover art, need to put it together)
  • Hunting The Corrigan’s Blood (Cover needs new text only)
  • Warpaint (Cover needs new text only)
  • Light Through Fog
  • Rewind
  • Strange Arrivals
  • Sympathy for the Devil
  • The Devil and Dan Cooley
  • Hell On High

New Fiction

  • Cadence Drake Three: The Wishbone Conspiracy
  • Korre Three: Redbird
  • Rest of the Cadence Drake series
  • More Longview stuff
  • More short stories
  • Just more fiction…lots and lots more fiction.


How To Revise Your Novel Expansion

  • Revise Talysmana
  • Add step-by-step demo to the course


How To Think Sideways Walkthrough

  • Moon and Sun Three: The Emerald Sun (Book for the How to Think Sideways Walkthrough)
  • Plan: Write the book in one hard push, then
  • Put together the walkthrough in the same fashion

ADDED LATER: How To Think Sideways Quick Fixes

  • 10 remaining

How to Think Sideways

  • Weekly email with new HTTS Live Discussion link
  • Set up weekly Discussion Classroom Page
  • Set up weekly Discussion in forum
  • Comment in weekly discussion.
  • Monthly chat: Four remaining
  • Personal bonuses for students who received them: As scheduled

How to Write A Series

  • Finish The Philosopher Gambit (copyedit, formatting, cover copy, and uploading, and product setup on three systems remain)
  • Post the story in class
  • Put up all revised versions of Longview 1 & 2 on Amazon, B&N, and my shop
  • Start writing Longview 4: The Vipers’ Nest
  • Start teaching MODULE 4 in the classroom
  • Finish and publish Longview 4
  • Finish MODULE 4
  • Start writing Longview 5
  • Start teaching MODULE 5 in the classroom
  • Finish Longview 5
  • Finish MODULE 5
  • Start writing Longview 6
  • Start teaching MODULE 6
  • Finish Longview 6 and the series
  • Finish MODULE 6
  • Survey the class for the bonus course
  • Write the bonus course
  • Set it up in the software

Ugly Baby / Ugly Workshop / Ugly Mastermind

  • Survey class for next module
  • Create Ugly Baby module
  • Create Ugly Workshop module
  • Do fiction launch post-mortem email for Launch Observers List
  • Do fiction launch forum post-mortem with Tom Vetter in UW and UMM
  • Do fiction launch, emails, post-mortem with Cat Gerlach
  • Do fiction launch, emails, post-mortem with Volunteer 3
  • Do fiction launch, emails, post-mortem with Volunteer 4
  • Do fiction launch, emails, post-mortem with Volunteer 5
  • Do fiction launch, emails, post-mortem with Volunteer 6
  • Decide if the process in reliable enough to set up a fiction launch class

Yarnlings MM

  • Check in before they think I’m dead
  • Do regular monthly updates on what I’m doing and how it’s working


Copyedit and correct every single page of every single writing course, and every single page of my sites. More than a million words.


Website Development for Holly Lisle Online Writing School/ Readers Meet Writers/ HollyLisle.com/ OneStep Writing Website Dev

  • Build “what-it-needs-to-do/ how-it-needs-to-work/ how-I-want-to-use-it” wireframes for Dan (a lot of these are already done)
  • Daily updates and brainstorming on what we’re doing

Community Posts

  • Minimum one daily until I get through this backlog

This Blog

  • At least once a week

Writing Tips Newsletter

  • 2 new tips a month

Fiction Newsletter

  • Build SOMETHING…my readers are just hanging there with nothing cool happening whatsoever

Other Mailing List emails as needed

  • I mail something to at least one list about twice a week, and try not to overlap

Help Desk

  • Monday-Friday Daily



Personal emails

  • Monday-Friday Daily (after clearing a lot of subscriptions, these are down to about 250-300 a day, so that’s MUCH better)

So there it is.

I am wide open for suggestions.

Everything on this list is important. It all has to be done. It’s all stuff I love doing, it’s all stuff I’m excited about, but my two long-term goals are:

  1. Spend more time writing fiction
  2. Spend more time actually talking to my readers and working with my students


I’ve read every word posted to this point. And the first thing that jumps out at me is this:

1.) How the hell did I never think of INTERNS?

I didn’t want to ask for volunteers, but I will happily trade writing courses in exchange for things like bug hunting, copy editing, and help with reformatting courses.

2.) Nobody writes my words but me. So ghostwriting is out.

Having readers and writers contribute guest posts, tips, and discussion ideas is in, though. I like that idea.

3.) The organizational tips are enormously helpful.

As stuff piled up, Calendar (the Mac software) stopped being quite as useful as it initially was. The reminders are good, but getting everything ON the calendar is a mess.

4.) Because of the migraines, I’ve been doing the relaxation, meditation, and exercise all along.

At this point, my issues are in actually clearing the load. I see a light, though, in how I can do that.



I now have the better part of a plan of action for the next few weeks. Thank you, ALL of you, for every single comment here. I’ll continue reading comments tomorrow, but right now, I’m sitting down to set priorities and clear out everything that can be delegated.

I’ll be back to the blog when I have some internships to offer, and when I have a clear picture of what the next few months are going to look like for me.

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Longview Cover Art: THIRD Massive Overhaul

Nothing about indie publishing is simple. Making your own cover art is actively difficult.

You can create acceptable cover art, but it takes a lot of trial and error, and some good feedback helps. I had help through the first rounds of this, and now have replacement cover art for:

LONGVIEW 1-Enter the Death Circus

LONGVIEW 1-Enter the Death Circus


  • TALES FROM THE LONGVIEW Episode 1: Enter the Death Circus
  • TALES FROM THE LONGVIEW Episode 2: The Selling of Suzee Delight,
    and NEW cover are in the new series style for
  • TALES FROM THE LONGVIEW Episode 3: The Philosopher Gambit
LONGVIEW 2-The Selling of Suzee Delight

LONGVIEW 2-The Selling of Suzee Delight





I finally managed to make the covers all obviously science fiction, but kept the personal aspect with characters, and figured out a way to keep my original titles for the first two stories while coming up with a new title for the third that did not hit readers with my episode main character’s name before they were ready. Bashtyk Nokyd will now be IN the story, but not spelled out on the cover.

LONGVIEW 3-The Philosopher Gambit

LONGVIEW 3-The Philosopher Gambit


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The HTTS Q&A Live Chat Replays link

Workshop Orange Speech Bubble Isolated On WhiteI’ve now set the replays for the live chats up so that you can view them and get the downloads without having to login.

I’ll add each one after any special offers I do in the live chats have expired (so that I don’t end up with dead coupons on permanent pages).

Here’s the link:


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Tom Vetter Hits #11 on Amazon’s Bestseller List

Tom Vetter at #11 on Amazon, in Expeditions and Discoveries World History

Tom Vetter at #11 on Amazon, in Expeditions and Discoveries World History

Tom Vetter holds the #11 spot this morning in Adventures and Discoveries World History on Amazon’s Bestseller List!

The book jumped significantly overnight, from the high 300,000s overall to 28,289 right now, and he’s sold most of his first editions.

The author’s page with first editions is here: http://www.tomvetterbooks.com/i-read-from-30000-leagues-undersea-authors-intro/

The book on Amazon is here: http://www.amazon.com/000-Leagues-Undersea-Submariner-Submergence-ebook/dp/B00VERWICQ/

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LAST CALL — Free live writing chat today, with a little writing workshop thrown in

Workshop Orange Speech Bubble Isolated On White

I’ve set up today’s writing chat so I should be able to answer some live questions along with the ones asked previously.


Today’s topics are:

  • Story Planning (Plotting)
  • Character Development
  • Writing from Different Points of View
  • What About Genre
  • Writer Myths AND Writing Myths
  • Revision and Editing (Are NOT Synonyms)

And I have downloadable notes sheets and the worksheets for you, set up for the little “Quick Story Plot” workshop we’ll do in the middle of this.

The worksheets are printable, but if you don’t have a printer handy, you can do the workshop with just a notebook or loose-leaf paper and a pen.

No pencils. Pencils let you erase, and erasing breaks your discussion with your muse (subconscious mind).

If you’re already signed up, check your email for the link that will take you to the live page.

If you haven’t signed up yet, HERE’S THE LINK: http://app.webinarjam.net/register/4436/e963ecd928

I hope I’ll see you there.

By the way, if you can’t make the live version, sign up to get the link to the replay—where you’ll still be able to download the worksheets and do the workshop, and get the answers to questions folks ask.

You just won’t be able to ask questions.

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How To Write A Series 03-04 Kick-Butt Cover Copy is done!!!

Exhausted Girl Riding A Bike CartoonJust this one lesson is 124 pages. It’s done, I learned so much by doing this that I’m going to have to rewrite all my own cover copy.

But now that I’m done with this, I have to finish Tales Of The Longview 3: The Philosopher Gambit

That has to go into this lesson. Once it’s done, I can move on to How To Write A Series Module Four.

Gawd, I’m tired. I did not think I was EVER going to get through this lesson, in which I take 23 pieces of volunteered, anonymous student cover copy, dissect it for the essential elements that need to be IN a good piece of cover copy, and then write new cover copy for each story.

I’m pretty sure I totally rebuilt one corner of my brain in the process. I bruised the rest of it. But I am really, really happy with the results. It’s posted in the HTWAS classroom now, and available immediately for all How To Write A Series students at Day 23 and higher. It will appear when you hit day 23 for everyone else in the class.

Login is here: https://howtothinksideways.com/login/

The lesson is here: http://howtothinksideways.com/2852942/how-to-write-a-series-expansion-module-3-lesson-4/

The discussion is here: http://howtothinksideways.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=275&t=11762

If you’re not taking the course but want to get it before the price goes up $25 when I start into Module 4, that’s here: http://howtothinksideways.com/shop/how-to-write-a-series-master-the-art-of-sequential-fiction/

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Content for the 5 Free Live Writing Chats

I now have the 5 Free Live Writing Chats set up in my calendar, and have each chat broken out according to content.

This way, if you have specific questions, you can plan accordingly.

You can use this link to join the chat series at any time. (Link opens in new tab)

You’ll receive notifications for the live chats, and I’m pretty sure you’ll receive notifications for the replays if you’ve missed anything. (BRAND NEW SOFTWARE, I’m still learning it, so we have the potential for a certain amount of…ah…excitement.)

If I run out of time before I’ve covered questions from the material, any topic I miss will drop into Webinar 6.


WEBINAR #2: Tuesday, April 7th, 2015, 1 PM ET

  • Story Planning (Plotting)
  • Character Development
  • Writing from Different Points of View
  • What About Genre
  • Writer Myths AND Writing Myths
  • Revision and Editing (Are NOT Synonyms)

WEBINAR #3: Tuesday, May 5th, 2015, 1 PM ET


  • Building A Backlist
  • Existing Backlist
  • Indie Publishing
  • Beta Readers
  • Editors
  • ISBNs
  • Copyright
  • Pricing

WEBINAR #4: Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015, 1 PM ET


  • Marketing
  • Indie vs. Commercial Publishing
  • Commercial Publishing
  • –When to Go to War to Save Your Book
  • Contests and Competitions

WEBINAR #5: Tuesday, July 7th, 2015, 1 PM ET

  • Your Writing As PRODUCTS:
  • Novels,
  • Short Stories,
  • Series and Ring Cycles,
  • and Everything Else
  • THE JOB: The Work Itself, and How to Get It Done

WEBINAR #6: Tuesday, August 4th, 2015, 1 PM ET

  • The Questions I Ran Out Of Time For,
  • and Bull Session If Time Remains




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YES on one-step writer websites, YES to 5 free HTTS Live Chats, now scheduled

Zen Balancing Rocks o a Deck, New ZealandI’ve finally caught my breath on one of the wilder February/March combos I’ve been through.

So now it’s time for me to catch up on a couple of things that have been left hanging.

Writers’ One-Step Website Software. THAT’s a big YES.

First, Dan’s and my question about whether anyone besides me wanted a one-step writer website was a resounding YES.

So here’s the deal:

If you get on the BETA list and let us know what you want, take a few questionnaires that will let us figure out what needs to be designed and built first, later, and not at all, and/or participate in the beta testing, and when we have the various parts of this ready to go live, you’ll have the opportunity to get early-adopter discounts.

Some of these will be time-limited, some will be limited by number, some will be both, so you’ll need to act fast—but you’ll have plenty of notice beforehand.

Join the beta team here

(opens in new tab)

Only if you don’t get the sign-up box on the above link, try THIS link (also opens in new tab).

The Promised 5 Free Live Writing Chats from the HTTS Launch Are Now Set Up

I’ll be doing one a month until they’re done. Dates and times are:

  • Tue, 7 Apr, 2015 – 1:00 PM ET
  • Tue, 5 May, 2015 – 1:00 PM ET
  • Tue, 9 Jun, 2015 – 1:00 PM ET
  • Tue, 7 Jul, 2015 – 1:00 PM ET
  • Tue, 4 Aug, 2015 – 1:00 PM ET

To sign up to attend the 5 chats, go here.

Link opens in new tab.

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