The current state of covers

Saturday morning seduction

When I was young, my dad would take my sister and me to the library on a Saturday morning — just for fun. We were a reading family and got a thrill from picking our stack of books for next week’s reads.

My sister and I would run downstairs to the kids’ section and start the treasure hunt. So much fun browsing those shelves, pulling books off one at a time to see the cover, only then reading the front flap, flipping through the pages, and stacking it in the “Yes,” “No,” or “Maybe” pile. …

The blaze that burns within

“White-Hot and Passionate…”

It’s a quote I keep pinned in front of my desk where I can look at it daily:

“I began to realize how important it was to be an enthusiast in life. If you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it full speed ahead. Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it, and above all, become passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good. Hot is no good either. White hot and passionate is the only thing to be.” — Roald Dahl

I am not a flashy, boisterous, rabble-rousing person, but that doesn’t mean I…

Stretching the bibliophile’s budget

If you’re a bibliophile with a limited budget, you know how hard it is to cover your book purchases when you have to have a place to live, food to eat, and clothes to wear….not to mention insurance, internet, transportation, utilities, appliances, cleaning products, and home maintenance.

I’m not where Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus was yet, but I understand where he was coming from when he said,

“When I get a little money, I buy books; if any is left, I buy food and clothes.”

If books are your passion and you have a limited income, you have to find ways…

I’m failing my own Pulitzer Project

Do you make reading goals?

Every year, (heck…every month, every day) I vow to read more. My New Year’s Resolutions, for decades on end, have included the phrase, “Read More.” I have a passion for human stories and interesting innovations. History fascinates me. Science intrigues me. Books turn me on. (Truly, I get a physical thrill and a rush of endorphins, the body’s own joy juice, when I enter a bookstore.)

So why is it that I don’t read nearly enough? That I buy books that sit on my T0-Be-Read shelf for months? …

Mating, molting, and the joy of making music every 17 years

“Listen. Just Listen.”

I stepped outside and walked into the yard on a late May day. Finally, after a cool, rainy spring, the weather was beginning to warm and the sun was starting to shine. My husband ran up to me, smiling, pulling the headphones off my head, saying,

“Listen. Just listen. Can you hear it?”

At first, I thought I heard a low hum from the interstate a couple of miles away from our home, but then I realized that it was a steadier, softer sound than truck tires wheeling around and around on the highway.

A million tiny tambourines. A thousand…

Great publicity for around $50

Book cover art as postcard promotion

You spent hours deciding on your book cover. You may have paid to have it professionally designed. You might have done it yourself, playing with color, font, spacing. Deciding how big to make your name.

But no matter how it came to be, your book cover is the best way to promote your work.

Use the high-definition digital file of your book cover to create a postcard. I use a traditional 4" x 6", but you can go bigger if you choose.

I use a two-sided card so that I can print information on the back about where the book…

Curated pieces, May 1 — May 31, 2021

Has something changed?

Last year, I was curated often, about 70% of the time. This year, and particularly in the last three months, I’m running 100%.

Don’t get me wrong. While I’m baffled at my new curation rate, I’m absolutely thrilled. Obviously, any curation I can get is a good thing because every single piece that gets distributed adds to my exposure and the amount of time that other people might read my work. I’m hoping that someday, I will actually break the $100 mark in earnings.

If there are designated publications or specific people who have been given the green light for…

Cool presents for word-workers

Every day is a great day to give a gift

If you know a writer, you know that it can be a tough profession: not everyone is making six-figure salaries. (I’m into the four figures if you count the two decimal points after the period!) The world of writing can be filled with intense competition, rejection, deadlines, and attacks on self-confidence.

If you love a writer, you know what I mean.

It doesn’t have to be a holiday to give a gift to the writer in your life…to encourage them, to say you believe in what they’re doing, to cheer them up when they’re discouraged, or to cheer them on…

(Think $400,000)

What the modern world is missing out on

What would happen if we communicated only digitally? If everything floated through cyberspace and nothing was anchored on paper with ink? Where do those records, licenses, deeds, loans, and legal doings go if they’re only saved online and not preserved in hard copies?

It’s hard to value things in email only. And if there is every a cyber attack, like the one that just stopped the oil pipeline, would all those documents be held for ransom? Would they disappear in a keystroke?

In a world full of computers, digital correspondence, constant texts, I am a dinosaur. …

A Sciku of admiration for these noble lives

“Aged and Ageless” A Sciku of Trees:

I don’t want to live
In a world without real trees.
Without role models —

Botanical friends
That teach me, by example.
How to live and thrive

In a scary world.
How to grow up fearlessly
Rooted and reaching,

Twisting instead of
Breaking. Sucking up toxins
And giving back joy.

Laughing with the sky,
Coexisting with the earth,
Dancing with seasons.

Gifting leaves of green,
Red, gold, bronze. Nuts. Buds. Bark. Cones.
The scent of flowers.

Watching the wide world,
Eon after eon and
Staying strong, grounded.

Never despairing.
Always believing in growth.
Optimistic. Good.

Undaunted. Even
at the age of…

Melissa Gouty

Writer, teacher, speaker, and observer of human nature. Creative content for the literary world. Follow me at, Twitter, or Facebook.

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