Authors, Inc. Closes Equity Funding to Deliver StoryFIt(TM) Technology, the New Standard in AI Media Analytics

Growth Through Investment, Resale Partnership, Data Science Hires, and Board Additions

August 2, 2017 | Austin, TX — AI startup Authors, Inc. has raised financing from LSC Communications. Authors, Inc. and its StoryFitTM technology combine machine learning and natural language processing with sales performance and text-driven marketing insights to increase per-property revenue for the publishing and movie industries.

LSC Communications joins Techstars and local angel groups in their investment in the Austin-based media tech startup that will use the new funds to continue its machine learning model development and dynamically expand its business.

“We are thrilled to have the new backing of LSC Communications, whose investment in Authors, Inc. demonstrates their market leadership in delivering cutting edge technology solutions to the publishing industry,” said Monica Landers, CEO of Authors, Inc.

“In our continued journey to invest in new technologies, we are thrilled to be making an investment in Authors, Inc.” said Thomas J. Quinlan III, Chairman and CEO of LSC Communications. “Machine learning and AI are positively impacting many industries and we are excited about these new products and solutions we are bringing to publishers.”

In addition to LSC Communication’s investment in Authors, Inc., the companies have collaborated on a business level to directly integrate Authors, Inc. technology into LSC’s existing digital distribution platform and bring new services to market for their publishing clients.

Authors, Inc., also adds two new members to its board of directors: Bob Nelson, EVP, Publisher Services at LSC Communications, and Gordon Daugherty, Managing Director at Capital Factory.

“Authors’ StoryFitTM  products perfectly complement LSC’s legacy publisher offerings and come at a pivotal time in the industry,” said Nelson, who supports LSC Communications’ strategic efforts to expand and diversify the multi-billion dollar company’s product offering through acquisition and development of technological innovation. Nelson’s experience includes machine learning company CognitiveScale, and publisher service companies LSC and Baker and Taylor.

“Having worked with the Authors Inc., team for the past two years since joining the Capital Factory accelerator, I am excited to be involved in this next phase of growth,” said Daugherty, who has been advising startups for more than 15 years and is a Managing Director for Austin’s entrepreneurial center of gravity, Capital Factory. “Artificial intelligence will dramatically revolutionize most industries and Authors, Inc., is well poised to be the leader in AI innovation for the entertainment industries.”LSC investment spurs Authors, Inc., data science development with new hires Grace Lin, Lead Data Scientist, PhD and Mark Bessen, Director of Product/Data Scientist

Two top data scientists have joined the powerhouse media and technology team to grow the StoryFitTM  technology: Grace Lin, PhD, a former NASA data scientist whose dissertation explored building predictive algorithms from scripts using NLP; and Mark Bessen, former data scientist at Apple who worked on iBooks and iTunes Movies & TV.

“As a company, we’re passionate about merging art and technology to champion great story-telling. It’s an incredible time to be in AI with a great team, great partners, and secure funding for growth,” said Landers.



About Authors, Inc.

Authors, Inc. is an Austin-based technology company that brings innovative technology to the publishing and film industries through artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing (NLP). Their StoryFitTM technology delivers contextualized data directly from the text that supports editorial, marketing, and sales efforts with audience psychographics, story-arc comparative data, and audience accessibility statistics.

Media contact:
Christen Thompson
Director of Business Development
(843) 509-4648


About LSC Communications, Inc.

With a rich history of industry experience, innovative solutions and service reliability, LSC Communications (NYSE: LKSD) is a global leader in print and digital media solutions. The company’s traditional and digital print-related services and office products serve the needs of publishers, merchandisers and retailers around the world. With advanced technology and a consultative approach, LSC’s supply chain solutions meet the needs of each business by getting their content into the right hands as efficiently as possible.

Media Contact:
Janet Halpin, Senior Vice President, Treasurer & Investor Relations
(773) 272-9275

Capital Factory

Capital Factory is the center of gravity for entrepreneurs in Austin, the number one startup city in the U.S. Last year more than 90,000 entrepreneurs, programmers and designers gathered day and night, in-person and online for meet-ups, classes and co-working. We meet the best entrepreneurs in Austin and introduce them to their first investors, employees, mentors and customers. According to Pitchbook, Capital Factory has been the most active investor in Texas since 2013.

Media Contact:

Kate Trumpower 

Talking with ‘The Mourning Parade’ author Dawn Langley: an AUTHORS success story

Last  week, AUTHORS submission platform user Amberjack Publishing published The Mourning Parade by Dawn Langley, a book that Foreword Reviews remarked was “told with authority and fine craftsmanship,” that “leaves an impression that lasts beyond its final page.”

With pre-publication promotion at Book Expo America, The Mourning Parade is one of Amberjack’s premier 2017 titles and actually began its journey into their catalog on the AUTHORS platform. Written with gripping prose and heartrending, realistic characters whose drive will propel you through the lush landscape of this incisive novel, this is one book in 2017 you shouldn’t miss.

We are so excited to see the publication of The Mourning Parade and spoke with the author about her experience, process, and look behind the curtain.

Sparked both by her mother’s love for elephants and a trip to an elephant sanctuary in Thailand, Langley took a year to complete the her first draft of Mourning Parade and continued to craft and edit for an additional eight months. Once she was satisfied, she queried more than 20 different agents.

A lot of them were interested, but no one bit,” said Langley. “So I decided to go after publishers myself. I have plenty of publishing experience, so simply needed to find someone with whom I could work.”

Want to add The Mourning Parade to your GoodReads Shelf? Click here!

Not long after, Langley sat in on a skype call a friend of hers was having with award-winning independent publisher, Amberjack Publishing, who was interested in acquiring the friend’s book. After hearing their pitch to her friend, she was set on submitting to them.

I liked what they stood for and pursued them myself. “

Amberjack referred her to the AUTHORS submission platform to review her manuscript and platform, which Langley thinks gave her an edge for presenting the best view of her work. “I was thrilled with how professional my query looked,” she added. “I had a great feeling about working with them. They are a small, independent press and three books they are publishing are interesting and diverse. I was thrilled that they wanted to talk to me about possibilities!”

After publishing 30 other books, I knew how the process worked and what to expect,” she said.  “So I wanted to have an active role in the process.” In Amberjack, this veteran published author found a true partner in the craft and prospect.

Amberjack encourages that, and the women there are smart, savvy and supportive,” said Langley. “It’s all gone incredibly smooth and I love having them in my corner. I’m hoping we have a long and fruitful relationship!”

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Machine Learning & Essential, Actionable Insights for the Publishing Industry

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We began this company as a standardized solution to the laborious and inefficient methods of the traditional query process which is often painful for individual authors as well as publishers and studios. We’ve evolved this platform into a breeding ground for dynamic, transformational publishing technology that benefits every part of the industry. More than two years out, we have developed exciting technology that forecasts successful projects. After many conversations with industry professionals, we are more confident than ever that it can be changed for the better through technology and the essential insights it stands to receive.

Data-Driven Operations and Collection
Our platform is not only robust, it’s extremely effective.

Without getting into how the platform works (you can learn that here, here, and here), let’s look at the state of the industry’s submissions and publication statistics. According to writer Joseph Epstein, at any given moment 200 million Americans have a book they want to publish.  Digital Book World  surveyed writers and discovered that more than 60% submitted their work to a publisher or agent the previous year.

From that, we can estimate that anywhere between 125 million writers submit manuscripts to publishers and agents in the US every year (though anecdotal evidence from agents may suggest more like 20 million submissions every year3). This means each publisher/agent is receiving  between 3,000 and 20,000 submissions a year1. So, the likelihood that a given submission will be published is between just .25%2 at the conservative end and 15% at the optimistic end and, more importantly, the likelihood a manuscript will be rejected or ignored is up to 99.76%  

It’s a wonder anyone tries at all. But, the fact that they do means that there is real worth in trying to make the system work better.

With the platform, writers are 7 times more likely to be accepted and 13 times more likely to get positive, forward movement for their manuscript.  

For many writers the most frustrating part about the submissions process isn’t being declined.It’s not knowing where you stand or what is going on. While it is an ongoing process to get publishers and agents to use our workflow statuses to accurately represent when they review work, 39% of writers who submit through us know concretely that their work has been declined and just 56% in the lifetime of the platform are awaiting review. Considering that lifetime submissions on the platform nearly doubled in the past three months, that is a true improvement to the norm.


Transformational, Dynamic Development
Algorithm Progress & Essential Insights

For the past year and a half, our developers have been honing and deepening a patent-pending algorithm that delivers the probability an individual manuscript could be a bestseller. The underlying goal is to offer a product that helps publishers, agents, and production companies identify and act on lucrative properties more quickly and with increased acuity. Our belief is that this technology offers the industry transformational power driven by actionable insights.

As the work went on, we discovered that beyond just that singular determination, the program was able to identify strengths and weaknesses within a given piece of writing that could, by an editor or a writer, be turned into essential, actionable insights that both expedite and strengthen the editing process and go-to-market plan.

For example, a report may detect room for improvement in areas such as redundant phrasing, incomparable constructions, or explicit language use. Editing with specific actions or recommendations is far easier and less overwhelming. A manuscript that seemed like it just wasn’t working now has a dynamic road map for revision.

Likewise, the sentiment analysis and comparable literary archetype can, to an industry professional, become a keen market insight that allows for a faster, more objective method of finding comparable titles and, informed with a title’s less obvious but no less essential common characteristics, possibly expand the target audience. In an industry with a reputation for homogeneity both in representation and delivery, these kinds of tools bolster objectivity and in turn create a more diverse landscape.

With these insights in mind, we launched the first iteration of our Intelligent Editorial Analysis Reports in partnership with BookLife, a Publisher’s Weekly website that seeks to provide self-published authors with resources, community, and platform elevation.

The report uses the technology we have been developing for publishers and enterprise entertainment companies and delivers digestible, actionable insights on an individual manuscript. Anyone can upload a manuscript and receive feedback on elements of their writing from style and grammar to syntax and literary device implementation. It points out areas for potential revision as well as commendations for markers of “good” writing. It shows the writer the manuscript’s literary archetype based on sentiment analysis, and it also delivers a numerical evaluation of their manuscript in comparison to best sellers.

The road to get here was full of curious, fascinating experiments and realizations. Let’s look at a few of them.


We’ve analyzed thousands of books—bestsellers, mid-list titles, backlist classics, self-published books, and unpublished manuscripts—to develop and improve the algorithm. One of the measurement points is a sentiment analysis, which when translated into a plotted arc resembles the narrative arc of the story in question. In performing these thousands of calculations, we discovered that there are measurable differences in manuscripts down to the tenth decimal point.

That is how unique each piece of text is, and how quickly and easily a computer can prove it. Within those fractions of variation exist essential insights into tone, character, style — the possibilities for measurement and action are boundless and thrilling to data scientists and forward-thinking literary analysts alike.

Sentiment Analysis — Part of a Whole

Many teams are working on understanding NLP better and we’ve been able to incorporate into our systems training some of the smartest APIs available., such as Microsoft’s Watson program. In one of these tests, we asked Watson to analyze the sentiment arc for particular  parts of a book; specifically different characters and settings (it’s fascinating but not altogether surprising that an element can have a narrative arc, but that’s a story for another day.)

When we ran these results back through our own program and analyzing bestsellers, we found that the overall sentiment arc plays a much larger role in determining a title’s comparability to the standard bestseller profile than that of any one part of the book. Or, in simpler terms: a book is more than the sum of its parts. The romantic part of me somehow thinks we all knew this already, but this is documented, objective proof to that effect.

Data & Publishing
Finding Meaning in the Numbers

The larger point is that in all of this work, we are discovering objective key performance indicators of raw text that transform previously elusive, ephemeral qualities of writing into quantifiable, measurable, and meaningful data points.

With this information, editors and writers alike can optimize their own individual approach to their work. The industry and community at large can harness the raw power of Big Data to stake claim to their creativity and carve out pieces of the market that fit best, not just fit now.

We’re seeing that the increased prevalence and use of data in publishing doesn’t have to mean a withering competitive landscape, but instead a richer, more vibrant one where the bar is continuously raised, met, and transformed altogether.

1 There are roughly  6,080 traditional publishers and agents in the US.  [2014 SUSB Annual Data Tables by Establishment Industry]

2 In 2016, 311,723  books were traditionally published in the US. [International Publishers Association]

3 In our initial R&D, polled agents and editors who accepted unsolicited work reported an average of 100 submissions/week. 

Recovering a Lost Manuscript

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Lost Manuscript: Two words no writer wants to hear. Today we hear the story of Linda, whose entire collection of manuscripts were almost lost to a computer malfunction, but save by


Today we put a lot of faith in our machines to keep our manuscripts safe. Power up the laptop and there she is, my beautiful manuscript. So what happens when the machine fails us and the manuscript is lost?


This is what happened to one of our writers, Linda C., last week when a computer upgrade went bad and all seven of her manuscripts vanished. Poof! No backups. No data on her hard drive. Nothing. It was as if they never existed. Imagine the terror when she failed to recover the digital files.

“When I realized all my stories vanished after my computer crashed I was devastated. Fourteen years of writing gone! I got very depressed, ” Linda recounted.  She even enlisted her husband, a software engineer, to recover them to no avail.

Fortunately, there is a cloud to this silver lining, the Internet cloud; or to be more specific, the servers used by Linda created an account on AUTHORS and uploaded her manuscripts to our servers for submission to agents and publishers a few months ago. We store these files in two locations, one being a backup to the other. (Yes, servers can fail us too, thus the redundancy.) We know how precious a writer’s manuscript is, so we do our best to protect it from any mishap. The manuscripts live there as long as a writer keeps their account.

After Linda contacted our support team to share her horror, we zipped them up into a file and emailed them back to her to be put on her newly reformatted computer. Needless to say, we gave her the best news of the year.

“You have no idea how happy you made me when you told me not to worry and that all my submissions were safe on your server. What a relief! Had I not submitted to AUTHORS my stories would literally still be gone. So you’re kind of like my personal back-up system.”

As diligent as we all try to be, let this serve as one more reminder: save and backup your precious files! These days, there are more ways to do this than ever before. CNET has a great article covering 3 easy ways to backup your work. Or, just sign up for an AUTHORS account if you haven’t already: it turns out that having an account on is just another way to protect your precious pages from harm. There are famous authors who have lost their manuscripts never to see them again. helps us avoid being the next one.

Happy (and worry-free) writing.

Famous Authors Who Began in Fan Fiction

FanFiction–stories using characters or settings from original works of fiction, created by fans of that work rather than by its creator–has been a popular segment of literature for over 50 years. These are. Many writers start their creative writing careers ‘guided’ by the greats.

Here are 12 writers you may know more from their current publications than from their early fan fiction:

1. E.L. James
Fifty Shades of Grey
Ms James is on pace to become the bestselling series of all time. Few know that she began her writing  life as a Bella/Edward Twilight fanfic called Master of the Universe. She joins a long list of other Twilight fanfic authors.

2. Neil Gaiman
Sandman Series
This iconic author has published multiple works of fan fiction: a Chronicles of Narnia fanfic, “The problem of Susan;” an H.P. Lovecraft fic, “I, Cthulhu;” and the Sherlock Holmes fanfic, “A Study in Emerald.”

3. R.J. Anderson
No Ordinary Fairytale Series
This U.K.-based Young Adult author publishes both her original work and her fan fiction under her own name. She recently blogged about being an “out” as a writer of fanfic; the lack of scandal may surprise you. Ms Anderson writes, “I don’t hide my identity, however. Like Diane Duane, Peter David and a few other stout or possibly reckless souls, I do my fannish activity under the same name as I publish my books.”

4. Lois McMaster Bujold
The Vorkosigan Sagas
The author of classic sci-fi published one of the earliest Star Trek fanfic ‘zines, and the title character, Miles Vorkosigan, may have begun his life as a Klingon.

5. Meg Cabot
The Princess Diaries
The author of The Princess Diaries and the Airhead series tells her readers on her fanfic policy page, “I myself used to write Star Wars fan fiction when I was tween. I think writing fan fiction is a good way for new writers to learn to tell a story.”

6. Cassandra Clare
Mortal Instruments Series
Her fanfics included early viral hit The Very Secret Diaries, a Lord of the Rings parody whose catch-phrases (“Still the prettiest!” and “Cannot cope—off to Mordor”) still linger today. Read this article to see her opinion of fanfic of her work.

7. S.E. Hinton
The Outsiders
Not an author of fan fiction, but has spoken out on the subject.  I her reaction to fan fiction written for her classic Young Adult novel The Outsiders. S.E. Hinton jests, “Pony is pregnant with Dallas Winston’s baby”… no, please Cas, no,,,bangs head on desk…no no no. Read more in her article, S.E. Hinton Responds to Outsiders Fan Fiction.

8. Naomi Novik
Temeraire Series
Her first novel, Her Majesty’s Dragon, began as a Master and Commander fanfic. Now Novik is a founder of the Organization for Transformative Works, the first fan not-for-profit dedicated to the preservation and protection of fanwork.

9. John Scalzi
At first the iconoclastic Scalzi called his novel Fuzzy Nation, a work of H. Beam Piper fanfic, a “reboot.” Scalzi seems to have wholeheartedly embraced this category of creative fan fiction. His latest novel, Redshirts, is unabashed Star Trek fan fiction, along the lines of Galaxy Quest.

10. Orson Scott Card
Ender’s Game
Card’s well-known anti-fanfic stance is puzzling, considering how often he writes it. He has written Old Testament fanfic and a Shakespearean fanfic of Taming of the Shrew and Hamlet.

11. Lev Grossman
The Magicians
Grossman has contributed to fandoms for Harry Potter, Adventure Time, and How to Train Your Dragon, and has been quoted, ”The challenges in fan fiction and traditional fiction are essentially the same.”

12. Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings (pen name – Christina Lauren)
The Beautiful Series
Hobbs and Billings kept their Twilight fan fiction background a secret because they had been told that it was a black mark in the publishing industry. But after their fanfic, The Office, exceeded 2 million downloads, agent Holly Root (Waxman Leavell Literary Agency) was not dissuaded with the connection. The tandem writing team delivered their new novel, Beautiful Bastard, which retained about 20 percent of The Office, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Book Elements: A Literary Anatomy Lesson

One of the most frequent questions we hear editors and copy editors get from writers is about book elements.  Surrounding the text are sections of information used by librarians, schools, retailers, researchers, and more. But it can be hard to know what you need to use for your book, where it goes, and what information you need to supply. But we’re here to help! .

The following is a list of parts and their definitions to help you make sure you have the right content in the right category, in the right order. Recommendations here adhere to the see the Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition, which is the most commonly used House style for publishers

Elements of the Book

(this is a list of the most common terms — there is a whole chapter with more terms and information in the Chicago Guide)

  • Leaf — What publishers refer to as pages.
  • Recto — when a book is open and laying on its spine, this is the right-hand leaf. Always odd numbered.
  • Verso — when a book is open and laying on its spine, this is the left-hand leaf. Always even numbered.

Order of a Book

Books can be divided into three parts. These are the “front matter,” or “preliminary matter” and “prelims;”the “text” of the book, and the “back matter” or “end matter” Each section has guidelines for its order of parts. It is not required that all these parts appear in any one book. Just know that book matter matters.


Front matter introduces your book to your readers. The front matter section, which appears before the main text, comprises a few pages that include the book’s title, the author’s name, the copyright information, table of contents or some other method of navigating the book,  perhaps even a preface or a foreword, and “introduces the book and sets its tone.”

BOOK ELEMENTS WITHIN THE FRONT MATTER (in order of typical appearance)

1. Book Half Title Page — p i
The half title page is the first page of your book and contains your title only. This page does not include a byline or subtitle.

2. Series Title, Frontispiece, or a Blank Page — p ii

Series Title Page
Use the second page of your book to list any of your previously published books by title. It is customary to list the books chronologically from first to most recently published.

An illustration on the verso (the back, or left-hand reverse of the page) facing the title page.

3. Title Page — piii
The title page is the part of your book that shows your full book title and subtitle, your name, and any co-writer or translator.

4. Copyright Page — p iv
The copyright page contains the copyright notice, which consists of the year of publication and the name of the copyright owner. The copyright owner is usually the author but may be an organization or corporation. This page may also list the book’s publishing history, permissions, acknowledgments, biographical note on author, publisher’s address, country of printing, impression line, ISBN, ISSN, original language information, Cataloging-in-Publication data, paper durability statement, and disclaimers.

5. Dedication — p v
Not every book carries a dedication but, for those that do, it follows the copyright page.

6. Epigraph — p v or vi
A short quotation or saying at the beginning of a book or chapter, intended to suggest its theme. The epigraph may also appear facing the Table of Contents, or facing the first page of text. The source of the epigraph typically follows the selection. Only the author’s name needs to be supplied, but the title of work may appear as well.

7. (Table of) Contents — p vi or vii
Also known as the Contents page, a table of contents is the part of a book that is usually used only in nonfiction works that have parts and chapters. A contents page is less common in fiction works but may be used if your work includes unique chapter titles. A table of contents is never used if your chapters are numbered only (e.g., Chapter One, Chapter Two). Subheadings are usually not included, but may be if needed.

8. List of Illustrations and/or tables.– recto or verso
When a book includes several key illustrations that provide information or enhance the text in some way, this page lists them. It can be helpful to include a list of all figures, their titles and the page numbers on which they occur.

9. Foreword — recto
The foreword contains a statement about the book and is usually written by someone other than the author who is an expert or is widely known in the field of the book’s topic. A foreword is most commonly found in nonfiction works.

10. Preface — recto
The preface usually describes why the author wrote the book, their research methods and perhaps some acknowledgments if they have not been included in a separate section. It may also establish their qualifications and expertise as an authority in the field in which they’re writing. A preface is far more common in nonfiction titles.

11. Acknowledgments (if not part of preface) — recto
An acknowledgments page includes notes of appreciation to people who provided the author with support or help during the writing process or in their writing career in general. This can also be placed in the back matter.

12. Introduction/ Prologue (if not part of the text) — recto
The introduction describes something about the main text that the reader should know before proceeding to read the book. Unlike a preface, which usually addresses the qualifications of the author, an introduction refers to the main body of the work itself.

In a work of fiction, the Prologue sets the scene for the story and is told in the voice of a character from the book, not the author’s voice.

13. Abbreviations (may also be placed in back matter) — recto or verso

14. Chronology ( if not in back matter)  — recto


This is the main portion or body of the book.


1. First text page (p. 1), or Second Half Title/Part Opening page (p.1), Blank Page (p. 2), First Text Page (p. 3)

Part Opening Page
Both fiction and nonfiction books are often divided into parts when there is a large conceptual, historical or structural logic that suggests these divisions, and the belief that reader will benefit from a meta-organization.

Second Half Title
If the frontmatter is lengthy, a second half title, identical to the first, can be added before the beginning of the text. The page following is usually blank but may contain an illustration or an epigraph.

First Text  page
Most fiction and almost all nonfiction books are divided into chapters for the sake of organizing the material to be covered. Chapter Opening pages and Part Opening pages may be a single right-hand page, or in some cases a spread consisting of a left- and right-hand page, (or a verso and a recto).

3. Epilogue — recto
The ending piece, either in the voice of the author or as a continuation of the main narrative, meant to bring closure to the work. Mostly used in Fiction

4. Afterword — recto
May be written by the author or another, and might deal with the origin of the book or seek to situate the work in some wider context.

4. Conclusion — recto
A brief summary of the salient arguments of the main work that attempts to give a sense of completeness to the work.


At the end of the book various citations, notes and ancillary material are gathered together into the backmatter.


1. Acknowledgements (if not in front matter ) — recto

2. Appendix or Addendum — recto
An appendix includes any data that might help clarify the text for the reader but would have disrupted the flow of the main text had it been included in an earlier part of the book. Some items included here might be a list of references, tables, reports, background research and sources, if not extensive enough to be included in a separate section.

3. Chronology — recto
In some works, particularly histories, a chronological list of events may be helpful for the reader. It may appear as an appendix, but can also appear in the frontmatter if the author considers it critical to the reader’s understanding of the work.

4. Notes — recto
Endnotes come after any appendices, and before the bibliography or list of references. The notes are typically divided by chapter to make them easier to reference.

5. Glossary — recto
A glossary comprises alphabetically arranged words and their definitions.

6. Bibliography or References — recto
A list of source materials that are used or consulted in the preparation of a work or that are referred to in the text.

7. (List of ) Contributors — recto
A work by many authors may demand a list of contributors, which should appear immediately before the index, although it is sometimes moved to the front matter. Contributor’s names should be listed alphabetically by last name, but appear in the form “First Name Last Name.” Information about each contributor may include brief biographical notes, academic affiliations, or previous publications.

8. Illustration Credits — recto

9. Index—An alphabetical listing of people, places, events, concepts, and works cited along with page numbers indicating where they can be found within the main body of the work.

10. Errata
A notice from the publisher of an error in the book, usually caused in the production process. These are not used to correct typographical errors or to insert additions or revisions. “It should be used only in extreme cases where errors severe enough to cause  misunderstanding are detected too late to correct in the normal way but before the finished book is distributed.” (Chicago Manual of Style, 16th ed.  p. 33)

11. Colophon
Typically used for a specially designed/ produced book. Found on the very last page of the book. A brief notice at the end of a book usually describing the text typography, identifying the typeface by name along with a brief history. It may also credit the book’s designer and other persons or companies involved in its physical production.

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11 Writers Who Published After They Retired


If you’re retired or approaching retirement age and have a manuscript you’ve been working on for years (or thinking about working on), you’re in good company! We’ve cobbled together a list of 11 best-selling writers who first started publishing after they retired or later in life.

We often hear about the young wunderkinds in publishing–like Eragon author Christopher Paolini and Frankenstein author Mary Shelly, published at 19 and 20 respectively–who hit the bestseller list seemingly still pre-pubescent. But for every one of them there are many more writers who hit their stride in their second acts.

Retirement may have been the end of tedious careers for many of the following authors, but thankfully it wasn’t the end to their writing. Here is a brief list of several famous authors who started late in life, some past retirement. Be inspired!

Great Retired Writers


Although Kaufman was a celebrated screenwriter earlier in his career (including the co-creator of Mr. Magoo), he did not begin writing his first novel, Bowl of Cherries, until he was 86 and didn’t see it published until he was 90. Mr. Magoo was unable to see it, though.


This great, Pulitzer Prize-winning author wrote 40 books AFTER the age of 40.  His last novel was Recessional, written when he was 87. He is famous for his research and writing regimen that he maintained into his 80’s. The definition of prolific.


Frank McCourt’s story attracted worldwide attention when Angela’s Ashes was published in 1996, especially when the memoir—which recounted his impoverished childhood in Ireland and an adulthood teaching in New York—went on to win the Pulitzer Prize. It was published when McCourt was 66 years old.  


Inspired by her daughter, Wilder began writing in her 40s, but she didn’t find great success until some 20 years later, when Little House in the Big Woods was published. The Little House books drew from Wilder’s experiences, so maybe waiting gave her some extra time to gather material. It also gave Michael Landon a new lease on life.


Doerr spent the first four decades of her life in California before moving to Mexico, where her husband Albert was working to restore a family-owned copper mine. The years spent there ultimately helped inspire the works she penned after Albert’s death. Doerr returned to California when she was in her 60s, finished her education, and began writing. Stones of Ibarra, Doerr’s first novel, was published when the author was 74 years old. It went on to win a National Book Award. Reread this and take note she finished her education in her 60’s.


Pollock garnered a lot of attention for his 2011 debut novel, The Devil All the Time, but not everyone knows that the author isn’t your typical promising young whippersnapper with a short story collection and a first novel. He dropped out of high school at 17 to work at a meatpacking plant, and then spent 32 years working at the Mead Paper Mill in Chillicothe, Ohio. Eventually, he was admitted to Ohio University’s MFA program.The year before he graduated — the same year he turned 55 — he published his first collection of short stories. Once again, Life was a good Teacher.indiebound-pic 7. ANNA SEWELL

Sewell’s only published work is the classic Black Beauty. She began writing it at age 51 while in declining health and dictated much of the novel to her mother. At 57, she sold the book. Sewell died of hepatitis in 1878, just five months after the novel was published. Okay, forget my comment about writing is a healthy pursuit.


Adams served in World War II during his younger years and became a civil servant in what would later become the U.K.’s Department of the Environment. He wrote fiction in his spare time and told tales of a rabbit to his children on long car rides. The stories grew and became so complicated that he had to write them down. Eventually, when Adams was 54, a publisher picked up the now-beloved and best-selling Watership Down.  


While working at the post office, Bukowski was able to publish some poetry and shorter works. When small indie publisher Black Sparrow Press offered him a deal in 1969, he quit his day job to devote himself to writing at age 49. He had finished his first novel, Post Office, within four weeks of leaving the post office and just kept going from there, eventually publishing thousands of poems, hundreds of short stories, and six novels. This proves it’s better to go postal with your pen.


Raymond Chandler lost his job as an oil executive during the Great Depression. It was the best thing that could have happened as it gave him the impetus to dedicate his time to writing and gave us one of the greatest detective fiction writers of all time. His first short story was published a year later in 1933, and his first novel, The Big Sleep, came out in 1939, when he was 44 years old. He would publish six more novels before his death in 1959 along with many more short stories and screenplays.


Helen DeWitt was 44 years old when she published her debut novel, The Last Samurai. After years spent juggling odd jobs and working simultaneously on many writing projects, she decided to set aside a month and write with NO INTERRUPTIONS. It took more than a month, but the results were worth it. They were months well spent.

Winning Diversity Contest Manuscript is a Game, Set, Match for Sisterhood

It takes a lot of talent, strength, and courage for a young teenage girl to win a Grand Slam tennis competition, and in the case of Serena Williams, it also took an amazing family and her four sisters. That is the subject of the Diversity Contest winner, Serena and Her Sisters: Girls from a Different Playground, by Karlin Gray of Westport, Connecticut. The Diversity contest was geared for children’s and young adult audiences and ran during the summer. The nonfiction picture book is an account of tennis great Serena Williams from her introduction to tennis at the age of 4 until her first Grand Slam victory at age 17.

Subtitled, Girls From A Different Playground, the story begins on a trash-strewn playground of Compton, California just south of Los Angeles. It is there that Richard Williams and Oracene Price began to teach and coach their five daughters in tennis, an unpopular sport in 1980’s Compton. Playgrounds were for basketball. And tennis was not a pastime for many African-American children. Furthermore, the thought of competing at a professional level in a white-dominated sport was not the norm in their neighborhood. But Serena and her sisters were different—they stood out in Compton and they stood out in the tennis world.

The minority aspect was not the only subject that drew Ms. Gray’s interest. “I was drawn by the story of the five sisters and how Serena, who was the ‘runt’ of the group, rose to greatness with the help of her siblings. I think that is a story kids would like to read,” says Karlin, who grew up as an only child. “I always found stories about sisters fascinating . . . probably because I was an only child.”

Ms. Gray is the author of the recently published children’s book, Nadia: The Girl Who Couldn’t Sit Still L (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, June 2016) It is another non-fiction picture book chronicling the life of Olympian gymnast, Nadia Comaneci. “I enjoyed gymnastics as a child and then tennis as an adult but was never talented at either. But writing children’s stories about sports champions—that I can do.”

Asked about her experience winning the contest and using platform, Ms. Gray said, “I think the service is awesome. So well done and user-friendly.” And winning the contest? “I am thrilled that a story celebrating the strength of sisterhood has been recognized.” Winning the $500 first prize was nice, too.

What does the future hold for our winner? “My next picture book, An Ordinary Moth, will be published in March 2018 by Sleeping Bear Press,” says Karlin. “It is my first work of fiction and I’m really excited about it.”

You can read more about our other two winners on our AUTHORS contest page and more about Karlin Gray here on her website.

A Calling: One Writer’s Journey

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Author Natalie Rodriguez recounts her writing journey, moments at the movies that touched her and shaped her artistic sense and inspired her to be a writer. 



 My childhood movies were an interesting choice, ranging anywhere from Disney and Nickelodeon, until one school night…I saw Ghostface on television as soon as I walked into the family room. It was spooky, not seeing or hearing from my mom after I had called out for her. I just wanted to ask if I could change the channel, but I did not. My mom was not too happy when she had finally stepped back inside from the garage and saw me watching the infamous Drew Barrymore opening sequence. I told her that it was already on. She forgot to turn off the station. But with my calm demeanor, not flinching or crying like most children my age, mom kept the film on. That was the first time we had watched Scream together.


But on December 24th, 2003, it mom’s word over mine for movie night. There was an early Christmas showing of the family film remake, Cheaper By the Dozen, starring Steve Martin, Bonnie Hunt and their rascal bunch of twelve kids. I was familiar with the cast, especially the actors who played their children. It had only been a few years since Steve Martin starred as George Banks in the Father of the Bride reboots, not to mention Hilary Duff as Lizzie McGuire and Tom Welling as Superman. I was a strange kid and preferred the latest slasher or the one where Mark Wahlberg played the guitar (I saw Rockstar a few years later), instead of a family one. But as soon as I walked out of that two-hour screening of two parents trying to manage their twelve children, I was consumed by the bug and my life had honestly changed from there on.


 For the following week, my mind kept wandering back to Cheaper By the Dozen, from the acting, dialogue and, overall, story It was a bit jarring, constantly playing the film out day and night in my head, wondering why certain character did this and that and not something else. It was a series of, “What ifs” and “What is the film had gone a different route?”

It was my first epiphany that I acted upon because only months before I had an end of the year project, in order to graduate the fifth grade: write a book and make it look like one. I dreaded the assignment too, annoyed on the amount of time that went into it. Until I started writing, then it just clicked and at the time, I was always drawing and coloring something. So making the title page and adding pictures into the short story was not something I was used to for a homework assignment.

Only, I thought writing was something that would never come back into my life, until that following week after seeing Cheaper By the Dozen.


Winter break was coming to an end and I was to return back to school in seven days for my final semester of the sixth grade. It had been exactly seven days after seeing Cheaper By the Dozen. After dinner one night, I decided to go in my bedroom to process why the film was still on my mind. I wanted to be left along, but instead I found myself sitting on my bedroom floor for a good hour, exhausted and overwhelmed. Scene after scene kept coming at me like flashes of the light. It was getting on my last nerve and for whatever reason, my solution was what I had least expected. I got up and approached my Hello Kitty theme desk— stickers that my mother was not fond of because her dad built the desk. Then, out came the stacks of lined pieces of papers and number two pencils. It was going to be a long night.

It was a long night.

I had finally caved into that voice, as some had called it (or still do), inside of my head and started writing on my downtime from school and sports practices and later the drama club in high school. But for the ongoing years, I was having an affair on everyone. When I had first started writing, it was a big secret, except my mom who used to wonder why I preferred to stay in, instead of seeing my friends (well, still does at times). I lied to my family and friends, who most of had wondered why I was suddenly “tired” or why I had to rush home to “finish homework.” It became difficult when I started running out of excuses, especially when my friends and I had the same classes our final two years in high school. Sooner or later, it was expected to become known as the flake or “grandma” to my peers because I always canceled or missed out on events.

To be honest, I felt guilty about it, especially when my mom shared some news to my guidance counselor, who told the faculty. I was embarrassed when one of my teachers made the announcement in class one morning. It had only reminded me why I kept writing a secret, not out of shame but the knowing. Knowing that other would not understand, or try to, that my patches of isolation were how I wrote/worked.


 Long before turning to my favorite screenwriters and authors for advice and how they got their start, the “unknown” and I were strangers. Reading and writing were never my “thing” as a child because I despised it. I was the smart aleck who used to say, “Who has time to read,” “WHY would someone read for fun,” and “Why to write more than your name down onto paper?” It was obvious years later why I had a negative attitude towards literature after my second life-changing epiphany. In the first grade, I was the girl who needed extra help and was enrolled in RSVP, Reading Speech Vocabulary Program.

Every day, twenty minutes before lunch, my teacher, Ms. Gata, would crouch at my desk and those next four words dismissed me, “You can go now.” She had practically whispered those words and it was all a walk of shame towards the door and across the quad to RSVP. I was pissed off and convinced of being the dumbest one in my class. None of my other classmates had to go. Just me.

I was always on time and had the same tutor, which I later discovered her position at the school, every day before lunch. We sat side by side, as she spoke about the tools that I would be given to improving my reading and writing. I could care less and was always sidetracked by the small room and around three to four other students who were with their assigned tutors. It was a strange place and I was never in the mood to talk to my helper, but she was kind. There was always a friendly and warm approach to her, which got me comfortable and, ultimately, reading aloud to her was a piece of cake!

At some point during my time in RSVP, my curiosity peaked for reading. My homework reading actually became interesting. I would reread the take-home stories, which were anywhere from ten to twenty pages with pictures, for fun. My favorite story was the one about an orange being passed around as a good luck charm amongst children and teenagers. It was told in the first person—the orange—and it had always amazed me how tuned in I was because the story felt different. The more I read and read, my reading and writing had improved and, like my peers, I moved onto the second grade that following school year.

The rest was history.


For starters, writing is difficult and can be one of the most isolating and depressing times. Some days, I am able to pat myself on the back, whether it is for finishing a draft or asking for feedback. Other days, I hate it and want to quit and complain about pursing something else because I suck at writing and will fail, etc. I used to see myself as a failure, until the day I saw a book of mine (that fifth-grade short story—forty rejections and counting) on the book shelves. It is why something my mom said recently to a few guests and how I have always been the same as I was as a kid. I asked her what she meant by that. She said that I never gave up and always pursued whatever I set my mind on. That opened my eyes a bit more because for the first time ever, I recently confided in her how I was always so hard on myself.

It is difficult to sometimes brush off rejection and even negative comments from others because let’s face it, anyone who pursues the arts in general faces rejection no matter what. Anything we work on and the display is not always going to be liked by everyone. And that is okay. One is not “bad’ because of rejection. Rejection is daily, both works related or not.

My biggest rejections have become more frequent since summer after I had decided to resubmit that fifth-grade story, now YA novel, to book agents. For a while, I was discouraged and sick of the brief “No” and debated if I should toss the project aside and start fresh. But I scared myself when my mind wandered to the quitting side. That was not an option and it should not for anyone who has ever felt discouraged, stuck or terrified. I do believe everyone’s time has already come in what are sometimes seen as just moments, whether it is booking a gig or a business meet or even meeting others to collaborate on projects. Those moments are actual, to what I have learned myself, dreams becoming reality.

Natalie Rodriguez is a writer and filmmaker from Southern, CA. She is a contributor for FlockU and AXS. Her other work has also been featured on James Franco’s “Sex Scenes;” Zooey Deschanel’s “HelloGiggles;” Short Kid Stories; and Thought Catalog. You can find her @natchrisrod.