Tag Archives: selfpublishing

Bookshelf Battle Cast Episode 003 – How to Start a Blog

Bookshelf Q. Battler is changing up the format of his podcast, and that’s ok, because only 3.5 people listen to this podcast anyway.  BQB wants to share with the world what he has learned in four years of being the owner and proprietor of bookshelfbattle.com, a site that coincidentally, is only ever viewed by 3.5 readers.

Picking a blogging idea, snappy title, company to work with, search engine optimization, attracting followers, promotion on social media, legal stuff like worrying about copyright, libel, where to get photos and art for your site and more.

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99 Designs Expands Its Book Business

Hey 3.5 readers.

Came across this interesting PR Newswire press release.

99 Designs has been providing authors with the ability to hold book cover design contests for a long time.  Now they’re branching out into book layout, typesetting, interior book design, basically.

Could be a boon for self-publishers.  I know I tried Adobe one time, gave up on trying to figure it out, and came to the conclusion that if the inside of my book was ever going to look good I was going to have to hire someone to do it.

What say you, 3.5 readers?

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Are You a Nerd? Become One of BQB’s 3.5 Readers!

Hey 3.5 readers.

Bookshelfbattle.com is an awesome place for nerds to commune in the spirit of nerdery while talking about nerdy things.

But don’t take my word for it.  Here’s a lady nerd to fill you in on the details:

Sigh.  I’m hooked on Fiverr now.  Anyway, if you want to hire this performer to do a card slide promo, check her out on Fiverr.

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#31ZombieAuthors Rewind – Ann Christy – When Life Gives You Lemons…

With Your Host: Schecky Blargfeld, Zombie Comedian


I don’t know why people are always complaining about being handed lemons.

Sure, they’re sour but after you pucker your lips for a minute they’re delicious.  Squeeze the juice right into a nice glass of water and you’ve got a good thirst quencher.

You know what the worst kind of food to be given is? Brains. Those things are disgusting.

Believe me, hot sauce does nothing to mask the brainy flavor.  If you’ve never eaten a brain, then don’t complain to me about lemons.  I wish that zombies were addicted to lemons instead of brains.

Anyway, at this time last year, Bookshelf Q. Battler called up Ann Christy on his space phone to discuss how to make the best of a bad situation, editing your work and of course, zombies.

Check out that interview here.

And don’t forget to visit Ann’s Amazon author page.

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A Thought on Campaign Funding, the Internet and Technology


Hello. I’m Bookshelf Q. Battler, noted ugly rights advocate, champion yeti fighter, proponent for a cure for Lightning Infused Toaster Paper Toilet Death (we must find the cure in our lifetime) and the owner of a website owned by 3.5 readers.

Blah blah blah, you know my spiel about not getting political.

But here’s a thought I wonder if everyone couldn’t consider.  And I’ll say up front, I’m not sure how it could be carried out.

It just seems like it is becoming too much that people are able to cut a check to a candidate for huge amounts of money and then say with a straight face that this transaction doesn’t mean the candidate’s loyalty hasn’t been bought or that the donator is doing it solely on ideology and not expecting some kind of quid pro quo.

The problem has always been that the money has always been needed.  You don’t take it, your opponent will, your opponent can then buy a lot of TV ads and attack you 24/7.

But look at the tech today.

First, it is easier to collect small donations from the little guy.  Few people have the attention span to remember to write a check, address an envelope and mail it to the campaign of their choice.

However, if the laptop is already on your lap, burning your genitals while you’re watching Scandal Thursday nights on ABC, it doesn’t take much effort to send your candidate whatever you are willing to part with.

Should there be a cap?  Hypothetically, yeah, if its limited to, say, a hundred dollars per person then I’m not sure the average politician would become beholden to someone for a hundred bucks.

In other words, its never been easier to collect small donations from the general public and those donations won’t necessarily lead to an unsavory phone call demanding that a politician engage in sketchy behavior.

Second, and here’s the big one – video and/or other content has never been easier to produce, create, and share.

Seriously.  If some kid in his dorm can generate a million followers on YouTube by buying everything he needs at the local Best Buy, then surely the prospective leaders of the free world can.

Really – buy ad time? Seems like an outdated concept.  Turn on your smart phone, say something controversial about your opponent, post it, and then the media will pick it up.

OLD WAY: Buy millions of dollars worth of ads to play a commercial about how your opponent is a butt face.

NEW WAY: Turn on cell phone camera.  Say, “My opponent is a butt face.” Post. Wait for major networks to report that you called your opponent a butt face. Heck, your ardent followers will even spread your message to all their friends, informing them that you think your opponent is a butt face.


  • It’s never been easier to raise a lot of money from a lot of little people who don’t have the power call you at 3 a.m. to ask you to do something to compromise your integrity because of a $20 donation they made on your site.
  • Content has never been cheaper to create or share.


  • The average person who is a semi-respectable, non-douche with good ideas but hasn’t spent a lifetime being a henchman/woman for people making giant donations might, just might, be able, with a few simple, affordable pieces of tech available at Best Buy, be able to spread meaningful content about his/her ideas that goes viral and becomes as formidable as content created through enormous donations, thereby allowing better, less douchy people to rise to the top.

What say you, 3.5 readers?


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State of the Bookshelf – BQB’s Plans for the Fall


BQB is beloved by his 3.5 readers – like this guy. Also, Aunt Gertie and 1 and 1/2 of a person in Albuquerque.

Happy Fall, 3.5 readers.

So here’s where my mind is at.

I’m going to use this Fall to:

A) Get super buff.  Gotta get my exercise on. Get my eating right on. Drop a few lbs to improve my health so I can live long enough to entertain my 3.5 readers far into the future. Plus, Video Game Rack Fighter keeps her shit hella tight so its only fair I reciprocate before she drops me like a hot potato for a studlier nerd.

B) Write a new novel, “The Illiad Rebooted.” That’s right. Alien Jones has resurrected Ancient Greek Poet Homer and together we are going to reboot the shit out of the Illiad for fun and profit.  Mostly profit.  Actually, mostly fun. I can’t imagine there will be much profit.

I’m going to bang out this draft by Dec. 31, spend the first few months of next year getting it rewritten, edited, and self-published, then devote the rest of next year to rewriting, editing and self-publishing How the West Was Zombed.

This may be a dumb idea but I’m getting restless and feel the need to move on to something and then I’ll be able to come back to Zombed with a fresh mind.

I worry as this has been my downfall in the past  – I start novels, then go on to other novels, but I think it will be ok because I’m more determined than ever to get a novel out.

This is all subject to change of course but as of today, this is where I am.

I like to fantasize about renting my own office, starting my own profitable self-publishing business, earning boku cash and most importantly, laughing heartily at friends, family, and assorted dummies who told me I’d never amount to anything and have thus far proven themselves to be psychic.

“No, dummies!” I will say. “You were not psychic. You just did not look far ahead enough into the future – a future where I have purchased a mansion in Malibu with my self-publishing money and have wild hot babe infested parties every weekend.”

It is important to remain humble and to keep your dreams realistic, 3.5 readers. It really is.

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Daily Discussion with BQB – Plagiarism and Self-Publishing

Happy Sunday 3.5 Readers.

BQB here to talk about an article in The Atlantic – Stealing Books in the Age of Self-Publishing by Joy Lanzendorfer.

The article discusses how it is too easy for some unscrupulous people to take the works of others, change them around a little bit and then pass them off as their own, profiling authors who have had this happen to them.

Apparently it happens more often than people realize, and it isn’t always so blatant that is easily discovered. Sometimes plagiarized books are up for awhile and as the article notes, it is usually a plucky reader that spots the similarities and alerts the author.


To make this a BQB Daily Discussion, what are some ways that self-publishers can protect themselves from such chicanery?



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Stop Sucking With Vinny Baggadouchio – Why Does My Writing Suck?


World Renowned Motivational Speaker, Anti-Suck Book Author and Bookshelf Battle Blog Columnist, Vinny Baggadouchio

Hello 3.5 Suckers.

I’m motivational speaker Vinny Baggadouchio and I won’t rest until everyone and everything in the entire world is one hundred percent suck free.

Is a suck free world a lofty, unattainable goal? Maybe. But if we can’t hold out hope for a suckless tomorrow, then why bother trying not to suck today?

If you’re tired of being an economy sized suck face, check out one of my many anti-suck books:

Journey to the Valley of the Suck

Desuckify Now! Ask Me How.

50 Ways to Stop Sucking

A Long Day’s Journey into Not Sucking

I Used to Suck But Now I Don’t

I Sucked but Now I’m Free

How to Spot a Sucker at 50 Paces

A Suckface Says, ‘What?’

The Sucktastic Voyage

Zen and the Art of Sucklessness

Bookshelf Q. Battler tells me this is a blog where writers are free to drop in and discuss ways to improve their writing skills.

As the world’s foremost anti-suck coach, I have counseled many writers on how to perfect their craft and stop writing in such a sucky manner.


Steven King – In the first draft of Carrie, Carrie and the school bullies learn to resolve their differences over cookies and milk. Carrie’s mother is so moved by this that she seeks professional psychiatric help and vows to become a better, less abusive mother.

I got up in Stevie’s grill and was all like, “Throw a bucket of pig’s blood on your protagonist and get the party started!”

RESULT: Steve’s book sales did not suck at all.

Suzanne Collins – Suzanne originally set out to have Katniss and friends compete in a friendly game of checkers of in order to determine who got to eat the last chocolate chip cookie.

My advice? Add in an evil dictator, give Katniss a bow and arrow and instead of checkers, make all the kids fight to the death.

RESULT: Four part movie deal.  Boo-yah!

GEORGE R.R. Martin – GRRM’s had a vision of a fantasy world where a mere three characters agreed to disagree in a polite manner and followed all the rules while resolving their differences.

“Georgie Boy,” I said. “Try 9,072 main protagonists. Add in lots of backstabbing, violence, betrayal and gratuitous boobs.  Dragons and more dragons. Make a slave girl march across a fantasy continent for like 20 years while she gets set on fire all the time and shows everyone her jugs. Oh, and be sure to make everyone think the good guy is about to win and then boom, he doesn’t.  Also be sure to explain who the bad guy ended up becoming the bad guy so people have no clue how to feel about anything.  Finally, throw in a brother and sister who do it and their doing it destroys all peace and stability in the realm.”

RESULT: George is one rich ass nerd.

DISCLAIMER: Mr. Baggadouchio may or may not have made up the above mentioned anecdotes but in all likelihood he probably did.

So, you want your writing to not suck?

Here are my steps to Desuckifying Your Writing

  1. Write and Read More
  2. Rewrite
  3. Seek Help
  4. Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself

Climb aboard the anti-suck train as we go through these steps one by one:

  1. Write and Read More

If you’re reading this, chances are English is your first language. It could be your second. If you’re new to the English language and this blog is one your first experiences with the English tongue, my condolences, and allow me to recommend this cat named William Shakespeare. That dude’s book sales are legendary. Some very not-sucky numbers.

You might think you know all there is to know about the English language but you don’t. Some know more than others but overall, even the experts are learning new rules every day.  It is difficult to master them all.

To complicate matters, there will always be rules where experts disagree.

The more you write, the better your writing will become.  You didn’t learn how to ride a bike without wiping out a few times and you won’t learn how to write churning out a few sucky turd nuggets on paper either.

Can you learn how to ride a bike by watching someone else ride? It does help.  Thus, you may not realize it at the time, but when you read a book, you learn how another author has handled a scene, dialogue, or other predicament.

Will practice make perfect? Perfection is in the eye of the beholder, but I can tell you that practice will make you suck less.

2.  Rewrite

Rome wasn’t built in a day and your novel won’t be either.  After you write it, you’ll need to rewrite it.

You didn’t know who your characters were when you started. Now you do. You have had time to think about it and you realize certain details need to be added in the beginning. Perhaps a scene isn’t working. Maybe a sentence is clunky.

A good rewrite will knock the suck right out of your book.

Think of your book like a steak.  Sure, you could plop a piece of meat on a plate and serve it up to your guest.  They’ll eat it.  They’ll go away with a full tummy.  They might be left with the notion that you’re a sucky cook due to your poor presentation.

But take that same steak, drop a sprig of parsley next to it, garnish it with some garlic salt and smother it with a nice creamy bearnaise and your guest will be singing your praises.

3.  Seek Help

Your book is like your child. You’re too close to it.  You’ve tried your best but you can’t identify every way it sucks.

Sometimes this is because you’ve grown so used to the suck you can’t tell the suck from the non-suck.

Other times this is because what you believe to not suck does, in fact, suck.

There are editors out there who can help you desuckify your book.

They won’t be cheap and you need to be careful.  Shop around.  Seek recommendations from authors whose books you like.  Do your homework.

But just as a good counselor will be able to analyze your kid and tell you all the ways you can help that kid to stop being such a giant suck bag, so can a good editor check out your book and advise you how to suck the suck right out of that draft.

Remember – once you click the publish button on Amazon, the eyes of the world (well at least the people who come across it) will be on your book.

You want to make a good impression. You want to do all you can to make it so your book does not suck.

4.  Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself

Unfortunately, I’ve a very busy anti-suck coach so I can’t advise you all on a one on one basis.

Some of you may believe that your writing sucks and you may very well be right. You could be correct in assuming that a drunk blindfolded llama with a pen stuck in its mouth could write a better novel than you.

Then again, some of you may be so wary of the need to not suck that you have mistakenly convinced yourself that your writing sucks when it actually does not suck.

Is your novel idea too far fetched?  Maybe.  Is it so far fetched that it sucks? Possibly.

But consider that the most popular show on television today features a drunken dwarf advising a dragon queen how to conquer a land being fought over by bastards, incestuous families, and ice zombies.

Yes Game of Thrones is on HBO, the same network that aired True Blood, a show about vampires who just humped and made funny quips all the time.

Does your farfetched idea suck? Maybe. But if you can honestly visualize it being turned into a show in the HBO lineup, then maybe its just the right kind of suck that people will love.

People, do you realize that for years now, a series of films about a man in an iron suit working with a green rage monster, a Norse God and a well-preserved World War II hero have been the most bankable box office busting flicks?

Let me share a piece of advice that entertainment insiders don’t want you to know:

Most book/movie ideas suck!!!

Do you know what is realistic?

Real life.  You wake up.  You poop. Brush your teeth. Take a shower. Eat a bagel. Go to work. Deal with assholes all day. Come home. Wash your laundry. Watch TV. Go to bed.


No one wants to read realism in a book.  No one wants to see realism in a movie.

Do outrageously farfetched ideas suck?

In theory, yes.

But they’re a special kind of suck that, if discovered by enough people, could put some fat stacks in your bank account.


That’s all the desuckification advice I have for you today, 3.5 suckers.

Stop sucking around. Grab your laptop, start clacking your keys and get to work on desuckifying your writing career.

If you still need help, you can always pick up a copy of my book, Suck Free Writing: A Guide for Beginners Who Really Suck at a bookstore that doesn’t suck.

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State of the Bookshelf Address – 4/27/16


This was going to be the year that I was going to get a book self-published.

Now it is almost May and I don’t see that happening.

I’m 65,000 words into How the West Was Zombed.  That’s a new record.  And I can surely get that first draft done this year…but now my gut says in for a penny, in for a pound, I might as well write my next two sequel ideas and then edit and package them and put them all out together.

That could take like, another year.  Crap.

I’ll have to see where I’m at when I’m done with Zombed.  Perhaps I could rewrite it, edit it and publish it and then if people seem to like it, I can write the sequel.

Yet, my gut still tells me to write all three at once.

My gut also tells me I might waste a lot of time on an idea no one likes.

My gut is such a two-faced bitch.

There are a lot of things I am pleased with myself when it comes to Zombed.

Gunther and his sassy old-timer wisdom.

Doc the know it all and his mission to educate the world on the curative properties of cocaine (because, you know, he is an 1800’s doctor after all.)

The love affair between Doc and Annabelle surprised me…Anabelle was meant to be a throwaway character without much development and now I find myself more enthralled with Doc and Annabelle’s romance than the love triangle between Slade, Miss Bonnie and the Widow Farquhar.

Sigh.  Zombed was meant to be a stand alone.  A quickie to give me the experience of getting a self published book under my belt by the end of the year.  An experiment in figuring out what can go right and wrong in self publishing.

But now that it is May and the draft isn’t done yet I feel like I blew it.

Yet, I also feel like I’m at a “it will be done” rather than “will it be done?” phase, which is new for me.

When Zombed is done, I think I will turn my attention towards:

A) Writing the Zombed sequel.

B) Writing a stand-alone book.  And I MEAN STANDALONE.  A book with a beginning, middle and an end, a plot worth it enough to keep turning the pages but not so complicated that I have to sit down with a flow chart and a slide rule the way I’ve been doing with Zombed lately.

And basically what I will do is work on Zombed sequel, then when I get stuck about what happens next, work on the other standalone.

And I’ll share it all on the blog for your comments…and I’ll probably work less on all the funny lists etc. to make more time for novel writing.

I’m not sure what the standalone will be about….ironically, it may be a comedy in modern times about one family’s efforts to deal and come to terms with each other’s bullshit…during a zombie apocalypse.

Sigh.  I never set out to be a zombie guy though.  But in my mind the story has a clear beginning, middle and end and no bizarrely complicated plot about a vampire corporation mucking things up.

This has been hard.  I have so many ideas.  And my ideas are like my babies and when I can’t get them all written it is like I’m abandoning my babies.

At the same time, I do intend to some day move forward with Pop Culture Mysteries.  That film noir private detective style is just so, so much fun for me.

I’ll get to Jake’s hi jinx some day, I guess.

And there are ideas I’ve yet to even share.  There’s one so utterly complicated and befuddling I’m not even sure I’m a good enough writer to write it yet but I hope to get there some day.

Anyway, thanks 3.5 readers.  Stats have been breaking 100 the past two days, the search engines are bringing in like 50 hits a day on their own the past week or so.

This is one of few pursuits I’ve stuck with in life because of the ever improving results.

I mean, the results aren’t that great, I only have 3.5 readers…but in 2014 I only had 1.5 readers.

30.5 readers by 2020, baby.

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BQB Breaks the 60,000 Word Mark on How the West Was Zombed


Zombie BQB

Hey 3.5 readers,

BQB here.  I have a small milestone to celebrate.

With Chapter 77 of How the West Was Zombed, I have, for the first time ever, written 60,000 words of a novel.

Yup, all it took was a snippet about a lesbian vampire getting assaulted by a goblin pervert on her way to see a Chairman who may or may not be Satan to put me over the top.

Aunt Gertie would be so proud if she still read this crap.

Further, there are writing experts who will differ on what the key parts of a novel are, but for example, if you figure that the main three have to be:

  1.  The Set-Up – Who is everyone, where are they, drop some seeds of what’s in store for your 3.5 readers.
  2. The Conflict – What will happen to trouble your characters?
  3. The Resolution – How is that conflict resolved?

I have written two out of three of those.

1)  The Set-up – Cowboys vs. an Evil (Literally Evil) Railroad Corporation.

2)  The Conflict – Evil Corporate Lawyer/Vampire (Redundant) wants to conquer America with the help of werewolf henchmen and an army of zombies.

Those parts are done!  And now I must write:

3) Resolution – How will the cowboys stop the zombies?  (Or will they? Muah ha ha!)

If the standard novel length is around 100,000 words or so, then I am beyond the point of no return and closer to being finished than starting.

Is there more to go?  Yes.  It still needs a major rewrite.  Then various pros to give it the ole look see.  Then all the formatting.  And honestly, I might just write the first three just to make sure they all go together continuity wise.

So…time…so much time.  But it is starting to look like persisting in writing a little bit now and then does build up and eventually puts you in the right direction.

So thank you, 3.5 readers, for your support and your 7 eyes.  For the first time ever, I actually believe a BQB has a good chance of being published.  And with sales to my 3.5 readers, minus Jeff Bezos’ cut, that mozzarella cheese stick basket at Applebee’s is calling my name.

Mmmm…mmm…that’s good eating!



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