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.

Or something like that.

  • 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. 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?

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.

6 thoughts on “Ask Dan ANYTHING

  1. Could do with some advice on all the amazon promotion options. I’m with KDP select and have just selected the countdown option promotion – beginning 26th September. What about the other ones? Free, etc. How do they all work, any help would be gratefully received. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re probably not gonna like this answer. Different promotions work best with different kinds of books.

      I had thousands of downloads for my cookbooks when I would do them in a count down or do them for free. Often I would get some pretty good reviews from those promotions, too!

      Other books didn’t fare so well unless when I had them in a countdown/free I was also promoting them on other sites.

      And sometimes what days you do the promotion matters! No holidays for me, thanks.

      No easy answers, right?

      In broad terms I would say start your promotion on a Friday morning and it Sunday night or Monday morning, and try to let everybody know you are taking part in a countdown deal. The more people you tell, the more interest you generate – of course.

      There are plenty of people who watch Amazon just to find out what books are free, and they will download them and probably never read them. You can tell by watching your “pages read” section. Some also watch for books in countdowns, but not as many.

      But if you place an ad in paid media somewhere that explains to people your book is on sale for the weekend, then you’d amplify the effect of your countdown.

      That’s probably not more information than you knew coming in, but that’s some broad strokes.

      Now, what else you could do is look at what type of book you have and find other authors who have similar books, and ask them what works for them. Keep in mind, one author will say an ad was a terrific success when it only sold 10 copies and another one will say his ad was a failure when it sold 100 copies. So you actually have to get them to establish a relationship with you so they will give you numbers. Otherwise you’re still shooting in the dark. Most people are embarrassed to share numbers or they feel they’re giving ammo to a competitor.

      But if you can find a few people to bond with who will share numbers, who write similar books to yours, and who you will be willing to help as well, then you start to create a network where you can very quickly figure out what works and what doesn’t.

      How do you find those people? When you go to your page for your book, it will show books that other people found similar or bought. Click on those books and look at those authors. Many will have a way to contact them listed. Contact them. Tell them we are trying to do. If you contact 10, two or three will reply and one or two will want to work with you. That’s all it takes! It’s a lot of work for introverts so different aspects of this are harder than others depending on your personality, but it will get you to where you want to go much faster than going it alone.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Wow, great tips Dan. Shall have to change my countdown deal dates. The weekend would be a better idea – I see where you are coming from. And approaching authors who sell the same sort of books as you that’s really helpful too. Many thanks for your carefully thought out answer. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Dan,

    I’m wondering about the steps before sending a manuscript in to be published.
    I’ve got it about 75% finished, and I’d like to have a clear goal of what’s next.
    Should I pay for a professional editor before submission? I’m reading around the web that this is what is recommended. But as I understand publishing companies, there’s an editor who will read the manuscript pre-publishing–is that just to determine whether or not they’ll take it? Or will this editor also make suggestions?


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great question!

      The answer depends on what your goal is. Some people pay for professional editing before they begin the query process in traditional publishing.

      Many independent authors hire professional publishers as well, even though they do not intend to query any agents.

      But many don’t!

      I know, you have to wonder – what is the benefit or detriment to each process?

      For me, I edit books for other people. So I let my manuscript rest and then I go through it pretty harshly. There are online software product you can buy that act as an editor to highlight passive tense words like “was” or when you are repeating certain words too often.

      However, most of those cost money, too. And every dollar spent on editing is a dollar not available for marketing.

      On the flipside, if you put out a book with mistakes, word is going to get around pretty quickly that it’s not a quality product.

      So if you have the budget to pay for professional editing and you have the budget for marketing, then you can go that way with a clear conscience.

      Most writers I know don’t have a lot of money so they tend to be frugal. They look for good cover designers who can make a cover that looks like it cost $1000 but get it done for a couple of hundred. They may trade services with another author who also does editing, and in that way both stories get edited and neither person writes a check for editing.

      So I send my “finished” manuscript to a friend who edits for me. After that, I decide on which of her suggestions I wish to incorporate. Some editors will suggest plot changes and others will look for typos and commas. And all those different types of editing cost different amounts.

      Then I send my manuscript to beta readers. They will also catch typographical errors.

      After that entire process, then I look at what I feel is my finished product and I publish it. However, as you have seen, we have contest sponsors who perform editing services. I know more than three or four very good editors! They each bring something different to the table.

      So in reality, I’m pretty confident in my writing style so I don’t need a line editor as much as I need people catching typographical errors. My critique partners will help me fix any weaknesses in my plot. I do that for them and they do that for me, so if I was going to hire an editor after that process, my rate would be cheaper because the editor doesn’t have to do all those things; they’ve already been addressed and corrected!

      Typically you will find editors ask for a sample of the writing and base their fee on that.

      A lot of what we hope an editor will catch is more along the lines of keeping a story interesting as opposed to catching typos. Those are two different skills.

      If you would like, I can look at your manuscript in the state it’s in. That’s basically what I do in my private critique group. If you want to inquire about that, shoot me an email at the contact me link. Several best-selling authors will simply not publish their book without letting me look at it first, and the money you spend with me looking at it is almost always recouped through a lower fee charged by editors who appreciate a clean manuscript.

      If you decide to go with it professional editor, I have several I can recommend!

      When you’re ready to start sending your manuscript out to agents, I have friends who can help you with that process, too.

      One way or the other, we will get you fixed up.

      What you would have to do is, after you get an estimate from editors, decide if you have that money to spend and whether or not you can afford editing plus marketing. Because you’re going to have to market.


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