your humble host
Each week we’re taking five, maybe ten, of YOUR writerly questions and setting about answering them for you. 


Skill level doesn’t matter. Newbie writer, veteran writer, you have questions. I’ll opine; maybe some others will chime in with their thoughts, and hopefully YOU will get several good solutions to choose from.

  • Wanna know what dialogue tags are, and why you don’t want them in your story?

  • Wanna know how to create a “page turner” story?

  • Wanna know why you need to build an author platform?

And it doesn’t have to be directly writing related. Sometimes you need to get in the writing mood by NOT doing writer stuff. Wanna know something about me? Maybe you wanna know about doing author events, but maybe you wanna know about public speaking, or… I don’t know; the London train system. (I had some trouble there, if you’ll recall.)

Or why so much of Europe requires you to pay to pee…


I don’t want to suggest ideas TO you, I wanna know what’s on YOUR mind.

What are YOU struggling with?

What are you curious about?

So ask.

Ask me anything.

We have lots of smart people here; if I don’t know the answer, I’ll find someone who does. Or I’ll make something up.

Go ahead, you know you want to.


Post your questions in the comment section below. I’ll answer the first five, maybe the first ten – so don’t goof off. Post your question NOW!


danDan Alatorre is the author of several bestsellers and the hilarious romantic comedy “Poggibonsi: an Italian misadventure.” 

Click HERE to get your copy of Poggi FREE on Kindle Unlimited!

Also available in paperback.

Published by Dan Alatorre AUTHOR

USA Today bestselling author Dan Alatorre has 50+ titles published in more than 120 countries and over a dozen languages.

32 thoughts on “Ask Dan ANYTHING

  1. What are your thoughts on authors who insist an indie must publish every 30-60 days in order to have any sort of following because sales are intrinsically tied to the Amazon machine which drops your listing in the search returns based on age?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think if somebody is advising indie authors that they have to publish something every 30 to 60 days, that sounds a little crazy.

      From what I know about Amazon, if a book is selling well it’s not going to drop in the rankings. If it’s not selling, it will drop like a rock.

      I don’t care if you have one book out or six every year, they’re all going to go to the bottom of the pile if they are not selling. Meanwhile, if you only put out one book, whether you are an independent author or not, and you are selling lots and lots of copies every single month, and getting decent reviews and doing some occasional marketing, your book is going to maintain a decent ranking. I can’t speak for all genres because some are much bigger than others, but my original Savvy Stories book and my original cookbook did very well once they finally got a footing. The cookbook specifically was ranked very high for a long long time because it was popular and consistently moved lots of units.

      To think you have to put out six books a year is a bit much for anybody, even me. I think quality is more important than quantity and sales and good reviews are the best indicator of quality.

      If I missed something in this question, I apologize, but it just doesn’t sound accurate.

      If anybody knows more, I welcome your input.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I have written the equivalent of a book in two months. Then I spent a little time away from it and came back and revised it. The process of getting the idea down onto paper or into a computer is a little different from shaping it into a story that others will read and enjoy fully. But to attempt to do it every two months, I’m not saying it’s impossible but it simply doesn’t seem necessary. It’s not ever been introduced to me as something a person had to do to stay noticed on Amazon. In fact, quite the opposite. Somebody who has 10 books and no sales and no reviews, they don’t look like much of an author compared to somebody who has one book and lots of sales and lots of reviews. At least not to me.

          And while I don’t have access to people’s sales numbers, if I look at their ranking and I look at their number of reviews, I can see that they may have been popular once and aren’t today, or that they’re still popular. I don’t think having 10 books improves your ranking. I think having lots of sales improves your ranking.

          Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re not saying much I haven’t thought myself since hearing this particular bit of wisdom at a conference earlier this year. But it’s nice to have someone else point out what feels like logic flaws. LOL.

        1. I’d be curious to know what conference said that. Don’t post it publicly but if you want to send me a message privately maybe we can contact somebody over there and get them to clarify. It sounds like they got some bad information or simply misspoke or made a mistake.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! I beta readers rock! I would be lost without them.

      I like to use some beta readers who have read my stuff before, but I always like to get a few new eyeballs in the mix as well.

      Having a core group you can go to ensures if you were communication issues and fewer questions over voice and getting jokes and things like that. You know with people you relied on in the past that certain mistakes you make are going to be caught.

      Having additional new people look at it ensures you’re not simply preaching to the choir, or in this case possibly writing stories that might not be as good in quality but the people beta reading it like you and have a relationship with you and your stories and may just be a little relaxed in their standards over the course of time. Sometimes it’s hard for people to be critical of somebody they’ve come to become friendly with. So keeping a core group but always adding a few different folks is very helpful. Also, somebody in the core group isn’t always available just because I have a book coming out! So you may need some new people anyway!

      Beta readers do so much for an author.

      A critique group will help you structure your story and things like that. Beta readers will help you ensure that it flows smoothly and works.

      I would recommend every author use beta readers. It will make you a better author.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. If only every author out there tried a beta reader or two instead of rushing his/her work… I wonder sometimes, how many great books out there have been published and missed success because they hadn’t been beta read or because they refused the negative feedbacks.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Book covers 101.
    Serious question, in your experience how important are these?
    Can a eye-catching title make up for a weak cover?
    (You can guess where I am coming from- Ah me,sigh)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Book covers are the most important thing when it comes to marketing. The reason why is because there are so many books if yours isn’t attractive nobody’s going to look at it.

      After that is the title. It has to be a little intriguing – and that’s hard to do.

      And after those two is the blurb. It must make people want to click “buy” and purchase the book.

      So in order, the most important thing is an eye catching book cover, then a somewhat intriguing title, and then a very very very very very intriguing blurb. Each of those things are different from writing a great story because they are marketing material. Ad copy. And the more professional, the better your book will do.

      Nobody wants to pay for your hobby so don’t make your book cover look like A do it yourself thing.

      Liked by 2 people

          1. I grew up on a diet of minimalist album covers; single colours, one object on a modest background, would never have sold as a book…..

            Liked by 1 person

  3. My friend just asked me today… If she wanted to take pictures of people’s porches, ask them if they have any anecdotes about the porches and then use the photos and stories for a book she wants to write, does she need any specific type of release or legal agreement? As I have never done anything like this, I do not feel I advised her correctly. Thanks, Dan!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ha! That’s going to be decided by a lot of different things like the municipality and the rules in your state or country, so you might talk to a lawyer. Hate to tell you something is OK when it’s not and when it comes into legal releases and stuff, that’s a different basket.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Reviewers? To leave reviews like on Amazon?

      I ask people.

      I ask people to review the book, I ask if they have friends who they think might enjoy it and then I ask the friends.

      But you want to make it easy on the person you’re asking as possible. So I put a note inside each book saying if you like this please leave a review on Amazon – and then I give the link. Actually, I put two such notes. I put one before the story starts and one after the story ends.

      When I hold a contest where I give away books from other authors, I tell the recipients: love it or hate it, please leave a review on Amazon.

      It’s hard to get sales and it’s even harder to get reviews. It is a never ending process. There’s no secret recipe, so you have to do everything, all of it, and what works this year may be less effective next year.


      To the extent possible, when you have asked someone to leave a review and they do, follow up with them and thank them profusely. That helps them want to leave another one in your next book.

      Liked by 2 people

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