Visual Quill Blog

Who Said It: Reading Edition

VQ Staff - Monday, May 23, 2016
Match quotes about reading to the author who said it! How many can you get correct?

Hook, Line, and Reader

VQ Staff - Tuesday, May 17, 2016

In a reddit forum asking, "How long do books usually take to hook you?", the answered vastly varied. While some people said they gave up on the book if they weren't hooked in the first chapter, others gave it so much as 150 pages to determine if they would continue reading.

With that, it is concluded that hooking your reader as fast as possible is essential for them continuing to read your work! Here are 4 ways to hook your readers from the get-go:

1. Begin at a pivotal moment

By beginning with a twist or a quick change in direction, the reader will feel more inclined to learn the reason for the change. A surprise in storyline in the first few pages can be interesting - though make sure your pivotal moment makes sense and readers will be able to follow!

2. Introduce an intriguing character

Describing the quirks or the inner-thoughts of a main character or the relationship between two characters can draw readers in. Character details are good, just don't drone on in detail, there will be plenty of time for the character's actions to be explained later in the novel!

3. Open with action

Starting your book right in the middle of a huge moment of the character's life is exciting for the reader! Whether it be a big fight, a critical thirty seconds, or a life-altering decision, the reader will want to know what sparked this change and how it effects the character moving forward in the book!

4. Flash forward

A foreshadowing of events to come later in the book can make the reader keep reading just to see what happens to lead up that plot point. A flash forward of a traumatic or climatic event to come can make the reader want to dig in and figure out the backstory behind it all!


How to Protect Yourself When Your Publisher Closes Its Doors

VQ Staff - Thursday, May 12, 2016



Earlier this month, the Seattle-Area startup Booktrope announced that they would be ceasing operations.  The "Team-Publishing" company brought together authors, designers, marketers and more to create a publishing team that would reap the benefits of a work's potential success. 

 While we're sad to see Booktrope go, we here at Visual Quill have been working with a number of soon-to-be former Booktrope authors to get their books back on track for publication.  One of the diciest issues is around who owns the rights to what work. 

So to learn more about author's rights, we did what many authors do and spoke with a lawyer.  Jason Cruz is an attorney in Seattle Washington, where he has a practice in Trademark and Copyrights including review of contracts for authors and he was gracious enough to answer our questions.  We hope they can answer some of yours. 



When a publisher closes its doors, what's the first thing an author should do to protect their rights? 

The author should review the contracts or agreements they signed with the publisher.  It's key to know if there is a successor organization and/or what happens if the company goes out of business.  If it's not spelled out in the contract, the author should probably contact an attorney. 

What can an author expect when they first contact an attorney? 

It starts with a conversation about what the author wants.  Attorneys help with everything from negotiating a contract to keeping your rights safe.  The first conversation is always about what they need and my job is to make sure they're protected.

 What sort of questions should an author have for their lawyer when they first meet?

An author should ask about the benefits of filing a copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office.  Although copyright coverage is automatic, there are benefits to filing. 

What are the benefits to filing your copyright?

One big misconception is that you MUST file with the copyright office.  You do not have to, but if you file with the copyright office you have evidence that you are the creator and a date when you filed.  If, down the road, there are concerns over who owns the work, the author that filed has proof and can use the filing date as evidence of when they retained the right to their work.

 As an aside, something that people used to do to avoid the filing fee was called a "Poor Man's Copyright." Basically, a person would mail the story or written work to themselves and use the U.S. Post Office postmark date as evidence of their copyright claim.  It's a do-it-yourself way to establish a copyright but it's not as effective as filing with the copyright office. 

 With a Team Publishing model like Booktrope, rights and profit-sharing may be held by many different parties.  Where should an author begin. 

It starts with the agreement that the author signed, so look at that contract first.  If the author didn't copyright their work, you can check with the copyright office to see if someone else has done so.  And if there's any questions, you should contact a lawyer.

How much does it cost to hire a lawyer?

Different lawyers have different fees.  It does cost some money, but working with a lawyer is an investment in your career.  The protections and advice you get in the beginning will save you lots of pain, suffering, and expense down the road.  If you haven't secured legal protection, you might get stuck in a position where you can't retain or obtain your rights.  It's always good to at least get a consult to make sure your Is are dotted and Ts are crossed.


Jason Cruz is an attorney in Seattle, Washington where he has a practice in Trademark and Copyrights including review of contracts for authors.  He will be presenting "Legal Issues for Writers" at the Pacific Northwest Writer's Conference in Seattle on July 29th.  You can find him at or on Twitter @jasonCruzLaw

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Learn About Your Writing

VQ Staff - Monday, April 25, 2016

Looking to make your writing more concise and engaging? A website called Expresso goes through your text and identifies parts of speech, weak verbs, filler words, extra long and extra short sentences, frequent words, and more! Take a look at how it broke apart one of our past blog posts:

This website goes through your writing and comes back with interesting stats and patterns you may not have noticed about your writing style! Once you're done polishing your writing, let us help you publish it into an e-book, create a cover or book trailer for it, and help you market your work!


Judge A Book By Its Cover

VQ Staff - Saturday, February 27, 2016

The famous quote always says, "Never judge a book by its cover". We came across Judgey, a website that has you judge books by their covers! See if your ratings match up with the actual GoodReads ratings! Click the picture below to try it out.


Speaking of book covers, we're giving away ONE of our PRE-MADE BOOK COVERS! Need an incredible cover for your new book? Don't worry, we've got you COVERED!


From Books to the Big Screen 2016

VQ Staff - Sunday, January 03, 2016

24 Days of Book Trailers

VQ Staff - Monday, November 09, 2015

Banned Books Week

VQ Staff - Friday, September 11, 2015

Author Quote Quiz

VQ Staff - Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Who Is Your Spirit Author?

VQ Staff - Friday, July 31, 2015