I'm an established full-time author - willing to answer questions if you have them


Yes, what XimeraGrey said - whether Google docs can do this, I don’t know. I’ve not used it in that capacity. So you might be able to get past query without having a system that has “Word proper” on it, but if you get to the stage where there will be editing - you MUST have a full working copy to handle comments and inline track changes.


LibreOffice (a free alternative to MS Office) can show and save comments in MS Word documents, and has at least some understanding of “track changes”. I don’t know if it’s compatible enough that you could use it to work with an editor who’s using MS Word. Though if you can’t afford the full version of MS Office, a couple of months’ subscription to the online version would probably work just as well.

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I just discovered that when you list your novel on Amazon you can say it’s part of a series and identify what number in the series it is. Amazon says it helps readers find other books in the series.

So I searched on Lee Child to see what he did for his Jack Reacher series.

Some of his books are titled: book title: A Jack Reacher Novel.

In the above case, the series option wasn’t used.

Other books are: book title (Jack Reacher, Book 1)

The above does use the series.

So the Jack Reacher books are inconsistent. I thought maybe it was the different publishers, but Random House sometimes used the series and sometimes did not, and Penguin did it at least one time (I just sampled some of his novels).

Anyway, any thoughts about using Amazon’s series for something like a Jack Reacher series? If you see two novels with (series name, Book 1 and series name, Book 2 would you think they were a series like Lord of the Rings or a series like Jack Reacher?


I’m not surprised the publishers are still getting it wrong. Amazon has only had a “series” feature for about five years, after all…

Do you mean, does each book stand alone or do they form a continuing story? I’d try to avoid coming to any conclusion, because if I’m thinking of starting a new series, I always start with book 1. If I get to the end of it, that’s when I decide whether I want to read any more of the series. If it’s still not clear whether it’s an episodic series or a continuing one, the blurb of book 2, or its first few pages, will usually tell me.


Yes. Each Jack Reacher book stands alone.


When you search Lee Child as a reader, the books say some variation of…

Title (A Jack Reacher Novel)
Title (Jack Reacher)
Title (Jack Reacher No. __)

I think most readers have a familiarity with this type of series, which are based around one MC but don’t necessarily have to be read in any particular order to enjoy them as each “case” or "adventure"can stand alone.

There are even novels like Thomas Harris’ Hannibal Series which I read out of order (Silence of the Lambs first, then Red Dragon felt like reading a prequel)

And certainly Tolkien’s books weren’t published in the chronological order of Middle-Earth.

So I’m not sure there’s really one concrete way to approach the endeavor of writing or reading a series.

Readers who are fans are pretty adaptable in my experience.


You piqued my interest in Goodreads so I set up an author account (I already had a reader account but didn’t really use it). I friended two people who had given good ratings to one of my novels.

As a reader, the other day I put in my bookshelf that I’m reading Lee Child’s “Echo Burning.” The next day, I got an email notification that one of the people I friended is now reading that same book. And today I got the same notification for the other friend.

I’m sure it’s not just a coincidence.

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Cripes. I really need to check out Goodreads. Yet another platform to be active on but I suspect it might be worth it after all.

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Is it hard to become an professional author? I do it as a hobby now but I was wondering how it’s like as a job.


And it’s not like it’s a new novel (I got it from the library). There’s a scene where the car’s gas light comes on and an Exxon station is coming up but the woman says she needs to get gas at a Mobil because she doesn’t have money and uses a Mobil card. Those two companies merged years ago.

As I said, it’s not a coincidence. Michael’s been praising Goodreads for some time which is why I mentioned it here.

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I know he did and I was less than enthusiastic. Still am not but the thought definitely has value. I’ll come around eventually


Professional author as in “my only source of income”? Yes, very hard indeed. Most writers have other sources of income, or a supportive partner. Professional author as in “I get paid for my work”? Demanding but achievable.




I haven’t read the Jack Reacher books, so I don’t know which ones (or how much) they are interrelated. It could be that they are affraid that to put them all in a series would stop someone from picking up book #3 until they’ve read #2. It could also be, that they just aren’t managing the metadata vary well - which is something I’ve had to fight with my publishers for getting right.

So, let’s take Reacher out of the equation and get down to the real question, which is whether you should use the series designations or not. In general, I’d say yes. There might be some reasons not to - Like a said in a series of standalones you might hurt sales because people won’t start the 4th without reading the 1st even though there is no story reason for them to do so, but if you have a series where the books are interconnected then you definitely should put them in a single series.


Goodreads is well worth the time and effort. Here is a link to help you out with it: An author’s guide to goodreads

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Out of all the sites to be active on, Goodreads is the one that you should pay the closest attention to. People are on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook for all kinds of things, but they are on Goodreads because of books!


Hard in what way? Hard as is, do I wake up in the morning dreading going to work? The answer to that would be no. It’s my favorite thing to do, so I can’t wait to get to the keyboard.

Or do you mean hard as in, It’s hard to earn a living as a writer? For me, no. I earn well and I don’t have to write super fast nor am I under a great deal of pressure. But for the VAST majority of authors…it’s very hard, and it’s why only a small fraction are able to do it full-time. Most authors have “day jobs” that pay the bills and their writing brings in only supplemental income.

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I do indeed. It’s been an important site for my career.


Thanks for this in-depth response!!! Sorry it took so long to reply.

So what about publishers, though? Are they more stingy than agents when it comes to Wattpad? Even though we aren’t “publishing” on here, we are still giving the story away for free. And in my case, my intended debut story will only have about %35 changed of the final story.

I definitely see where Goodreads is good…for when you have a book :joy: I don’t have anything under my name that’s actually published. Does having a story on Wattpad count for Goodreads? I thought that people there wouldn’t look this way since this isn’t a “publshing” platform. I just assumed that they wouldn’t pay attention to Wattpad, seeing it as an amateur site, since it mostly is.

Sort of echoing my statement above…do publishers see it this way too?

I’ll definitely start using Goodreads once I go through and edit the story on here to see what they think then! Thanks again for the feedback!


They’ll more than likely want it taken down before their version is put up for pre-orders. But it shouldn’t be a problem before that.

You can get a book ON Goodreads even if it’s not published yet. For instance, I have several books that I’m in the process of writing and they all have Goodreads listing. To do so you (a) search for the book (b) when it’s not found hit the button that says “add the book” © fill in the information about the cover, author, etc.