Maple Express

Guest post: Five hints to new authors – Peter A. Brandt

Today I’m welcoming Peter A. Brandt to the blog, author of Maple Express.  Peter is on tour with Goddess Fish Promotions and is here today to share a guest post and excerpt.

Guest post: Five hints to new authors

Hint #1 – Take some lessons and learn how to write a novel. You might think you know what you are doing but to be commercially sellable, you really need to know how a story should be structured.

I attended about 30 lectures before I actually started writing. They were on such topics as “how to build suspense,” and “how to write for young adults.” Take good notes and keep the handouts available when you start writing.

Caution: Don’t fall into the trap that many workshop attendees fall into of spending all their time taking workshops but not actually writing. Don’t be scared to write.

Write and write every day…this was the whole point of taking the lessons in the first place.

If you don’t have access to writer workshops where you live or you are a lone wolf, then I highly recommend the “90 Day Novel” by Alan Watt. I like how he gets writers to start writing from day one and after 90 days, you will have a first draft completed.

Hint #2 – Hire a professional editor to edit your manuscript and polish it to a high standard. If you looked at your writing as a business, then a good businessperson doesn’t place inferior products on the shelf and expect it to sell. They will do everything to make it the best product on the market. That is just good sound business sense. Why spend all your time writing a novel and not having it properly edited.

Caution: Your Aunt Helen (who works in an office) is not an editor. She might do it free because you’re family but you get what you pay for. A good editor is as good at editing as you are at writing. Rarely is one good at both and the very first rule – you can’t edit your own work.

Hint #3 – Don’t become hung up on the being published with an agent and conventional publisher thing. The old system is on its way out, although still accounting for 80% to 90% of books sold in the USA. EBooks have really begun to bite into the paperback market if recent financial statements are an indication. Remember, literary agencies on the average get around 6,000 queries a year and only take 5 to 10.

Hint #4 – You will have only a few seconds to make people stop and check out your book. The cover must draw the buyer in and hold him or her long enough to read the summary. Get a professional cover made. I hired Kit Foster from Kit Foster Design to design Maple Express and my next novel “Holly Alexander and the Mystery of the Courthouse Square.” I could design a cover myself but a) I don’t have the time and b) Kit is just so much better at it than me, so I will focus on what I am good at doing – writing stories. I leave those things I am not good at (editing, making great covers) to someone much better at it than me.

Hint 5 – Buy a copy of “On Writing” by Stephen King and read it every 6 months to year as a refresher. I hardly need to sell books for Stephen King but I really found it inspirational. I was down on myself and I lost my will to write when my computer crashed and I lost 15,000 words (Hint 6- Backup your work every day!)

Authors seem to want to keep their writing stuff a secret. Stephen decided not to and for that, I am grateful. “On Writing” isn’t a how to book…there are plenty of them around. It is a glimpse inside his mind and his day-to-day life.

I extend an invitation for you to visit my video blog “Author to Entrepreneur” where I talk about what you can do to become a successful independent author through Smashwords, Amazon and other eBook publishers. As well, I always thought it would be cool to see where authors actually sit and write, so I put my money where my mouth is. I have a video that shows my office and where I sat to write most of Maple Express and where I do all my writing today.

Thank you for the invite today and I really look forward to the rest of 2012. I hope to have three books released by the end of it all (before the world ends December 2012!)


About Maple Express
Maple ExpressSara Maple has a comfortable life—the only child of a wealthy family—a best friend who does everything she asks—and the admiration of most of her schoolmates. Unfortunately, her temper and “indestructible” attitude quickly place her in a very precarious position.

“The Maple Express” is a powerful novel that captures the author’s take on the miracle of the human mind. “The Maple Express” delves into the actions and consequences of a young girl who has never had to take responsibility for her actions before. The story brings the reader into a world where Sara’s determination to find her way off the train sends her on an emotional trip that bonds her to her new friends and changes her life forever.

Both young and old readers will love the emotional journey Sara Maple takes them on as she deciphers the obstacles that confront her. Sara’s story ends with a surprise twist and leaves the reader with a sense of discovery about his or her own humanity.

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About Peter Brandt

It only takes a few minutes of thought before Peter Brandt can devise a scenario that would make a fantastic story, and minutes after that before it begins to fill itself in.

“I have been able to think up stories all my life but it’s only been in the last seven years that I realized I was abusing my creative side by not writing them down.”

Peter retired from the Air Force and began a new career as a Technical Writer. His writing abilities have allowed him to work in Canada, the United States and even in the Middle East.

But its Peter’s love for stories that has brought him into a new realm of writing. His humorous memoir about his life as a soldier in the Canadian Armed Forces and the tragic memoir about his father’s life in a Prisoner-of-War camp at the age of 14 allowed him to refine his writing before he began to venture in writing Young Adult fiction.

“I have a very unique way of creating my stories. It begins with a craving, like a recent smoker who just quit cigarettes but still feels the addiction. I can’t shake it until I sit down and begin to let my mind wander. Many times I start my quest for a new story by wondering – What If. Soon after I begin to write and can usually get the first draft completed within a few weeks.

Maple Express began as a “what if” question and I’d share it with you but it would give away the storyline.

I always write my stories as I would see them on the movie screen, which is why writing screenplays are also something I do. I am shooting a short film I wrote with a friend of mine within the next couple of weeks with another film shortly after.”

Peter has taken formal lessons in acting and has enjoyed some success as an actor in TV and film before his day job as a Lead Technical Writer required him to move out of the country.

“I can honestly say I have landed in the perfect job for me. I love to write…doesn’t really matter what I write, creatively or technically, writing is a pleasurable experience. It has allowed me to travel and for that I am grateful.”

Peter grew up with the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew hardcover books.

“I loved them. I remember sitting under my blanket after lights out, sweating from the heat and the fear that gripped me as Joe and Frank carried on with another of their adventures.”

It is with these wonderful stories in mind that Peter wrote “Holly Alexander and the Mystery of the Courthouse Square.” This young adult novel will be released summer / fall 2012.

“I never really grew up. I have tried to write for adults but I find it difficult. I was a small, shy, and bullied kid growing up. I was nothing special. I had terrible grades, no idea what I wanted to do with my life and girls…wow, totally foreign to me. After I joined the Army those years faded quickly and I guess it has caused me to want to get those years back.

That is why I crave writing about young people who feel they are nothing special until I put them in a position where they have no choice but to become someone they never dreamed they could be. It is very uplifting for me to make heroes out of young people who believe they have nothing to contribute.

It’s an eye opener for me as well as for them when it happens.”

Pete continues to write and publish through Simple Simon Publishing, a different type of publisher.

“Simple Simon Publishing is all about turning authors into entrepreneurs. For too long authors have felt dependent on the closed loop publishing industry to discover them and make them successful.

Simple Simon’s philosophy is you are not just an author but the best person in the world to sell your product…you and your writing.”

Peter and his wife Carly have five kids who are all grown and on their own.

Author: Donna Brown Donna is a longtime book lover and sometime book reviewer and has devoured books from an early age. She writes short (or long) stories as and when inspiration hits and is married to fantasy author David M. Brown (Fezariu's Epiphany, A World Apart). She was also co-contributor to David's book, Man vs Cat, a humorous look at life with six rambunctious rescue cats. Donna has lived in many different areas of the UK over the last 30-something years but has remained in Yorkshire for the past decade. She ardently disputes the misnomer that 'It's grim up north'.

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0 Responses to "Guest post: Five hints to new authors – Peter A. Brandt"

  1. Goddess Fish Promoti

    Thank you for hosting Peter today.

  2. Catherine
    Catherine 3 years ago .Reply

    Hi Pete…I am not a writer, but I love your 5 (well, really 6) hints…especially #2. I have started reading a number of indie and self-published books that I have abruptly STOPPED reading because of major or even minor editorial issues. Such issues will keep me from reading and keep me from recommending titles to others. And any author who believes she/he can edit her own stuff is just sadly mistaken.

    • Peter A Brandt
      Peter A Brandt 3 years ago .Reply

      Thank you Catherine for your comment. I was one of those people who worked hard at writing and then tried to other writers I know to edit for me. Some were good…a couple were pretty bad. I have learned that writers are writers and editors are editors. I have know a few real editors and they suck at writing, and vice versa for authors. I know I am terrible at editing, which is a blessing, because I know enough not to try going with only my edits.

      I now use Joyce at and she has done a fantastic job for me.

  3. Peter A Brandt
    Peter A Brandt 3 years ago .Reply

    Thank you for having me over to visit today. You have a wonderfully well kept site…I am jealous!

    I love the cats…we have an orange stray cat who has so graciously decided to let us live with her.


    • Donna Brown
      Donna Brown 3 years ago .Reply

      Thanks Peter – it's taken a long time to get it here (and no help from the cats!).

      Always pleased to meet a fellow cat lover!

      Best of luck with the book,

  4. Poppy Dennison
    Poppy Dennison 3 years ago .Reply

    Excellent tips, Peter! Thanks for sharing!

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