Writing and Editing

How to Write a Nonfiction Book: A Step-by-Step Guide for Authors

How to Write a Nonfiction Book: A Step-by-Step Guide for Authors

Most writers will tell you that writing nonfiction is easier than writing fiction. This is the good news. The less good news: that doesn’t mean it’s less work to write a nonfiction book. While fiction writers often use a basic outline and then go wherever the story and characters take them, nonfiction takes careful planning before you even start writing. To get you started, these steps explain the basic process of how to write a nonfiction book.

Read More

What is a Cozy Mystery and Why is it So Popular?

What is a Cozy Mystery and Why is it So Popular?

Cozy mystery (or cosy mystery, in British English) is the gentlest subset of the broad genre of crime writing. As its name suggests, it’s a comfort read that leaves you satisfied and at one with the world, rather than scared to sleep alone with the lights out.

Read More

Writing About Painful Experiences: Hurting, Healing, and Helping

Writing About Painful Experiences: Hurting, Healing, and Helping

Writing is a journey, and many people use writing to heal old wounds. It's important to work through the pain in order to create a helping version of your story to share with readers. Are you ready for that next step? Everyone can write about painful experiences by following these three steps.

Read More

How to Outline a Novel: Outlining for All Tastes

How to Outline a Novel: Outlining for All Tastes

Every author has their own way to outline. Some want minimal detail, some want a lot. Some keep the same outline process for every book they write. Some change from book to book—a new method for a new writing experience. Is there anything they all have in common? Yes, they do.

Read More

Quoting Song Lyrics in a Book: 4 Factors to Help You Determine Fair Use

Quoting Song Lyrics in a Book: 4 Factors to Help You Determine Fair Use

At least once a week, I get an email that reads something like "I found the perfect image for my book on the internet. Can I use it, as long as I give credit to the photographer?" or "I have the best song to set a scene in my book. Can I quote the song lyrics?" In order to answer these questions, we have to understand "fair use." 

Read More

Why CEOs Should Write a Book

Why CEOs Should Write a Book

Over the years, quite a few business owners, entrepreneurs, and CEOs have come to me asking for help writing a book. Sometimes it's a memoir, other times it can be prescriptive nonfiction, or even inspiration. You may be wondering why this would be a good use of your time—but trust me, there's huge potential to grow your business by writing a book. Here are several different reasons CEOs should write a book.

Read More

Writing 1000 Words a Day: Finding Better Ways to Measure Productivity & Finish Your Book

Writing 1000 Words a Day: Finding Better Ways to Measure Productivity & Finish Your Book

Do you lose heart when you see fellow indie authors crowing about 2000, 5000, or 10000 words a day, or launching a new book every quarter, every month, or even every week?

Read More

Writing Hooks for Your Books: How to Grab Readers' Attention in Seconds

Writing Hooks for Your Books: How to Grab Readers' Attention in Seconds

Being an indie author is one of the most rewarding jobs there is. But it’s far from an easy one. You have to wear dozens of hats: writer, publisher, and marketer to name a few. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and struggle to prioritise. After all, you can’t market books without… well, books. But you can’t write more books unless you’re earning enough to eat.

Read More

How (and Why) to Hire a Ghostwriter

How (and Why) to Hire a Ghostwriter

When I tell people I'm a ghostwriter, I often hear "I've been working on a book forever." Maybe you have a great book premise, and you just need to get it written. People who hire ghostwriters have a desire to write a book, but there are two things standing in their way—time and experience writing.

Read More

How to Write Dialogue: Tips to Captivate Readers

How to Write Dialogue: Tips to Captivate Readers

Why do we make such a fuss about dialogue? I’m going to give three reasons, and then share some ways dialogue can take your story to the next level.

Read More

Comp Titles: What Are They and Why Do They Matter?

Comp Titles: What Are They and Why Do They Matter?

As an author you’ve probably been told to look at competing titles through multiple stages of your journey from writing, to publishing, to book promotion. Competing book titles can be lucrative references for cover design, book length, choosing your categories and keywords, pricing your book, determining the best strategies for marketing to potential buyers in your genre or topic, and more!

Read More

5 Tips for Editing a Manuscript Without an Editor

5 Tips for Editing a Manuscript Without an Editor

So you’ve completed a draft of your manuscript! Congratulations!

What’s next? 

Before sending your manuscript out, you’ll want to edit it to correct your mistakes. While editing your own manuscript might seem daunting or hard to manage, it’s perfectly possible to edit all by yourself. In this article, we’ll share our five best tips for editing your manuscript… without an editor.

Read More

Writers' Conferences: 5 Strategies to Make the Most of Your Experience

Writers' Conferences: 5 Strategies to Make the Most of Your Experience

Attending a writers' conference can be a big choice for a new writer to make. There's an investment in time, money, and resources—but the benefits often far outweigh the costs. Everyone can make the most of each conference they attend by utilizing these 5 strategies.

Read More

How to Identify Sticky Sentences in Your Writing

How to Identify Sticky Sentences in Your Writing

"There are some really good reasons that many writers maybe might not want to have a few too many sticky sentences in their personal or professional writing." 

Are you ready to abandon this post? With an opening sentence like that, I wouldn't blame you. We call that a "sticky sentence." It’s grammatically correct, but it's clunky and hard to follow. It wobbles around before it gets to the point, and it includes irrelevant information that should be cut. In this post, we’ll explore how you can identify (and repair) sticky sentences in your writing.

Read More

Nonfiction Writing Tips: How to Tell a True Story in a Creative Way

Nonfiction Writing Tips: How to Tell a True Story in a Creative Way

Successful nonfiction writing calls for more than just conveying information to your reader. Not only do you need to know how to deliver that information, but your writing should also be clear and easy to read. And just because you’re writing nonfiction doesn’t mean you shouldn’t engage your reader with a gripping story and impactful language. These nonfiction writing tips will help you steer clear of some of the most common mistakes made by nonfiction authors, who may think that all they have to do is present the facts.

Read More

Self-Publishing Services: The Best Tools to Publish a Book on a Budget

Self-Publishing Services: The Best Tools to Publish a Book on a Budget

Self-publishing is booming, and with this transition comes a plethora of organisations worldwide offering author services to writers. But what if your budget doesn't extend to a professional editor, typesetter, cover designer, and so forth? Does this mean your book will not meet industry standards, be of poor quality, or sadly never be published? Absolutely not.

Read More

7 Ways to Write a Novel with Confidence

7 Ways to Write a Novel with Confidence

You've had an idea for a novel...but can you write it? You won't know until you try, and therein lies the problem. There's trying…and then there's trying with a good chance of succeeding. Here are some tactics that will make a difference when you sit down to write a novel.

Read More

Fact-Checking Tips for Indie Authors

Fact-Checking Tips for Indie Authors

After a series of recent controversies over fact-checking in book publishing, the question of accuracy is facing more scrutiny than ever. Becoming known as the focus of a book fact-checking controversy is the wrong kind of publicity for any author—and newer authors looking to establish themselves have even more to prove. In self-publishing, the accountability for fact-checking falls squarely on the author (as with just about every other step of the publishing process), and often traditional publishing companies leave the author just as responsible for the accuracy of their work—including any legal consequences. Part of being an author is making sure your information is accurate, and this post will help you get started.

Read More

6 Tips for Writing Children’s Books

6 Tips for Writing Children’s Books

It’s common to think how easy it must be to write children’s books, dreaming of a shiny pile of colourful book covers, hoping that your children’s book is the one that parents roll their eyes at because their children ask for it again and again and again! Well, the bad news is that it is NOT that easy. Here are six tips to help you navigate the world of writing children’s books:

Read More

New Year, New Book: 18 Resolutions for Writers and Aspiring Authors

New Year, New Book: 18 Resolutions for Writers and Aspiring Authors

As the holiday season winds down, there’s a new sense of excitement in the air. This is the year that you’re going to publish a book. You’ve thought about it for months, maybe even created goals around writing, networking, and creating a fan-base; but you still haven’t published a book. We get it – life happens, and maybe writing isn’t your full-time job (yet). Now is the time to take a leap and go for it. For all of you aspiring authors ready to take the plunge, we’ve put together a list of New Year’s Resolutions for writers that will make your dream to publish a book in 2019 a reality.

Read More

How to Beat Writer's Block

How to Beat Writer's Block

I don’t believe in the notion of writer’s block. I think it’s too easy to end up building a twisted shrine to it—to proclaim the affliction, then festoon one’s writing life with it, saying, “I’m blocked,” over and over again, as if abdicating responsibility for creating the blockage and waiting for magical bolts of inspiration to come down from the sky and unstopper it all (which only happens in the movies, right?).

Read More

How Do I Get a Foreword for My Book?

How Do I Get a Foreword for My Book?

Authors often ask me how to get that magic piece of writing at the beginning of the book. You know the one, where Mother Teresa tells the world what a fabulous person you are, and how the world will be a better place with your book in it. This little piece of heaven is called the foreword for a book.

Read More

How to Write a Good Book Description

How to Write a Good Book Description

Want to instantly capture readers? No matter who you are or what genre your book falls into—nothing beats getting engrossed in a book description that leaves a reader wanting more. Short and long book descriptions both serve a purpose—to make you and your book look good. Before you start writing, here are a few things you need to know.

Read More

The Importance of Proofing

The Importance of Proofing

So many times, indie authors are thrilled to be “done” writing their book! The book is ready to go to print if all the words are down on paper, right? Well, after you have sent your book to your interior formatter or book designer, there is still one very important last step for you as the author...before you upload the file to your IngramSpark account. You must proofread the book.

Read More

5 Reasons Writing Romance and Self-Publishing Are the Perfect Match

5 Reasons Writing Romance and Self-Publishing Are the Perfect Match

I’m in a torrid love affair with romance novels. The headstrong heroines, the misunderstood heroes, and the happily ever afters are everything I could possibly want in a good book. I devour them. And I’m not ashamed to read the paperback (cover out!) on the train during my commute. Another reason I love romance novels so fiercely is because they go hand-in-hand with self-publishing. I spend my days helping self-published authors share their books with the world, and a majority of those authors write romance. This is no coincidence and here are five reasons why:

Read More

How to Work with a Book Editor

How to Work with a Book Editor

If I were to describe my editing goal it would be: editor seeks author for long-term relationship. I’ve worked with writers on second, third, and, this summer, even fourth books. And, while I like to think I am generous and accommodating, not every author responds to my editing style and that's okay.

Read More

How to Know When Your Draft is a Manuscript

How to Know When Your Draft is a Manuscript

Ernest Hemingway once offered, “The first draft of anything is sh!t.” In his posthumous 1984 memoir, With Hemingway: A Year in Key West and Cuba, Arnold Samuelson shares his experiences working as a deckhand on Hemingway’s fishing boat for ten months in 1934. During their sea-faring adventure, Hemingway offered Samuelson, then a nineteen-year-old struggling writer, the following advice:

Read More

8 Tips For Writing a Cookbook

8 Tips For Writing a Cookbook

A recipe book is deceptive. It looks so simple: you put together all the recipes you’ve created, add a cover with a delicious photo, and voila! Move over Nigela Lawson! Yes, it’s undeniable that recipe books take less to put together than some other genres, but they still need structure, consistency, and pace.

Read More

The Evolution of Book Editing for Indie Authors

The Evolution of Book Editing for Indie Authors

Just over a decade ago, most print-on-demand (POD) service providers were cutting their baby teeth. It was exciting; it felt good to be a subversive, if small, cog in disrupting an industry where six traditional publishers (now the Big Five) had long decided, in no uncertain terms, what readers read and how. During the reign of traditional publishers, indie and hybrid publishing were dismissed as “vanity.”

Read More

How to Write a Good Plot: The Four Cs

How to Write a Good Plot: The Four Cs

Storytelling is not a colour-by-numbers exercise. We want to be original. However, even the most rule-breaking story has certain fundamental patterns. If we understand what they are, we can be outlandish and creative—and still know we’re building a satisfying experience for the reader. What are those patterns?

Read More

What is the Cost of Editing a Book?

What is the Cost of Editing a Book?

To every writer who tells me, “It’s not about the money,” I first say, “Good.” (Something like 1 percent of writers are able to support themselves through writing.) Next, I say, “Think like a publisher.” Some authors aren’t keen to view their books as commodities, but books are products, and it’s best to make financial decisions with a publisher’s mindset.

Read More

Blogging for Authors: Increase Reader Engagement and Sell More Books

Blogging for Authors: Increase Reader Engagement and Sell More Books

As authors, many of us secretly wish book marketing would just magically happen. We’d rather focus on writing and producing books than try to figure out how to sell them. Unfortunately, book sales don’t just happen. We have to do the work. Which is why we should discuss blogging for authors.

Read More

6 Tips for Writing Characters Who Captivate Readers

6 Tips for Writing Characters Who Captivate Readers

Think about a book you loved. I'll bet my own weight in Harry Potter or Jack Reacher novels that it was a character that earned your love. Maybe several characters. A group of friends. A family. A pair of lovers. A man and his sworn enemy. A boy and a kestrel.

Read More

How to Hire an Editor: 5 Things to Consider

How to Hire an Editor: 5 Things to Consider

Editing is one of those skillsets that many people claim to do well but which few actually do. And while it’s probably the most important service an author can solicit (second only to book cover design), it’s often undervalued. Furthermore, most authors have no idea how to assess an editor’s work, and the result can be catastrophic, ranging from an editor who introduces new errors to an editor who changes the intention of your writing.

Read More

How to Write an Author Bio

How to Write an Author Bio

You’ve got your book ready to go, but it’s time to consider the auxiliary writing you must do in order to support the publication of your masterpiece! Now that the writing is “done,” it is time to write your author bio.

Read More

So Good It’s Scary: How to Write a Horror Story

So Good It’s Scary: How to Write a Horror Story

If you want to write a truly chilling horror story that scares the bejeebers out of readers, there are a few key elements that need careful consideration. It can be easy to assume that all you need to do is push the limits. However, if you read some of the best authors in the genre, you will see that more gore is not always the key to writing great horror.

Read More

7 Essential Writing Tips for Authors

7 Essential Writing Tips for Authors

Mark Twain once said, "The time to begin writing an article is when you have finished it to your satisfaction." That may sound like a tall task, but you already know that writing is hard work and the hardest part of the process is the editing. If you want to help yourself get through your revisions faster and with more confidence, follow these essential writing tips when working on your first draft.

Read More

Common Writing Mistakes Authors Make

Common Writing Mistakes Authors Make

By its very definition, any kind of creative writing is subjective. Yet, there are understood and recognized rules to be followed…and then broken by those writers who have good reasons for doing so. Despite the relative creative license allowed to writers, there are some things that should be avoided in almost all cases. Everyone’s got an opinion on what these are, but here are three simple writing tips, each in different categories.

Read More

A Book Production Schedule for Indie Authors

A Book Production Schedule for Indie Authors

Having a book production schedule filled with the right tasks in the right order, will not only result in a professionally produced product and enough time to plan your release, but will also reduce your stress, and ensure you’re not throwing your book into the sky and hoping for the best. Breaking the process into parts makes it easier to focus on one thing at a time and get each step right without getting overwhelmed.

Read More

Book Editing As a Form of Creative Discovery

Book Editing As a Form of Creative Discovery

Good book editing ensures a book is credible for its market and has the best chance of pleasing its readers. But the editor’s contribution goes well beyond grammar, spelling, and house style. Self-publishers have the opportunity to use an editor to bring out their true talents and aptitudes. 

Read More

What’s in a Name? Choosing A Book Title

What’s in a Name? Choosing A Book Title

A book’s title is extremely important. According to Thomas Nelson publishers, research shows that consumers look at a book’s title first and foremost when the author’s name is taken out of the mix (well-known authors are sometimes the deciding factor in purchasing a book). However, coming up with a compelling book title can be arduous, time-consuming work. Here are four guidelines to help you craft a compelling, memorable title for your book.

Read More

What You Need to Know About Translating Your Book

What You Need to Know About Translating Your Book

Expanding to a new language market is a huge and exciting step for indie authors. By translating your book into a new language, you give it the potential to expand its reach to hundreds of thousands of new readers. You should be aware, however, that translation is only one step in the process of bringing your book to a new audience.

Read More

What to Share When Writing a Memoir

What to Share When Writing a Memoir

Who cares? is one of the most common assaults memoir writers are subjected to, and it’s usually lobbed at them by their own inner critic. Memoir writers face critical voices—their own and others’—who state that the story/message/idea is trivial, boring, not worth sharing. It’s so important for memoirists to get past these messages in order to set free the story that wants to be told. Here are some tips for memoir writers, especially those struggling with their inner critics, whose primary goal is to engage readers.

Read More

Why and How to Write a Book Series

Why and How to Write a Book Series

Have you ever found yourself waiting for the next book in a series to come out? And the next one after that? Book series tend to sell a lot of books and they can also help build an author's platform. When compelling characters are engaged in exciting storylines, readers look forward to finding out what happens to them even if they have to wait for another book. If you haven't already thought about writing a book series, consider why you might want to and how to do it. 

Read More

What to Avoid When Writing Your Book's Opening Lines

What to Avoid When Writing Your Book's Opening Lines

Page one matters to book buyers. The book cover is the hook, pulling readers in, the book description gives an idea of the kind of book it is, and then what? We take a peek at how the book starts—what it feels like to read this book. That’s where the final decision is made: in the opening lines. 

Read More

Book Editing, Writing Style, and Writer Intuition

Book Editing, Writing Style, and Writer Intuition

I recently performed an editorial review on a book that came to me through IngramSpark, and when the author, Dave, decided to move forward with editing services, I cherry-picked it. Our schedule was tight, and a week or so later, I recommended 2,523 total edits and offered 78 comments . . . only some of which he decided to accept.

Read More

Different Types of Edits

Different Types of Edits

What’s the big deal about editing? You add some periods, delete a few commas, run spellcheck and voila, you’ve just edited a book—well done! Nope. It takes years of dedication to the craft before editors develop the necessary skills to help authors say precisely what they want to say in the most effective, affecting way possible.

Read More

Why Literary Agents and Publishers Reject Books

Why Literary Agents and Publishers Reject Books

Before setting up I­_AM Self-Publishing, I spent years working at a trade publisher and a literary agency, so I have seen just how many hoops authors need to jump through to get a publishing deal. In fact, one of the reasons I moved into self-publishing is because it became very difficult to get a publishing contract for a debut author, no matter how good they were. Here are reasons why literary agents and publishers reject books.

Read More

An Author’s Guide to Book Subtitles

An Author’s Guide to Book Subtitles

A conversation about book subtitles should always start with genre, as best practices for subtitling vary from genre to genre. Recently, a memoirist I’m working with presented me with a long list of things her editor felt a subtitle needed to achieve, including that it have a rhythm, exhibit a progression, and stand on its own. If your subtitle can accomplish all of this and more, great, but most subtitles can’t and won’t. The quest for a perfect book subtitle is often elusive, and setting yourself up to hit various arbitrary benchmarks won’t always serve your book. 

Read More

The Benefits of Professional Editing

The Benefits of Professional Editing

Some indie writers use beta readers and colleagues rather than professional editing and proofreading services, because it can be far less expensive to go without formal edits, and many indies—understandably!—would like to ease the costs of professional edits. While starting with beta readers is a fantastic idea, going without professional book editing altogether is a mistake.

Read More

9 Things You Need to Know About the Book Editing Process

9 Things You Need to Know About the Book Editing Process

The book editing process is highly personal and it's important to know what you're getting into before you begin. Here are a few frequently asked questions about the book editing process to help authors better understand what to expect.

Read More

Compelling Back Cover Copy: Not Too Little and Not Too Much

Compelling Back Cover Copy: Not Too Little and Not Too Much

The back cover copy you write for your book is among the most important marketing messages you’ll craft. It’s the essence of your book’s most exciting features, distilled into a few hundred words. It typically serves as the foundation for your online book descriptions, as well as any press releases or pitches you make to the media. It will get re-used and re-fashioned for dozens of purposes. Whatever labor you expend on perfecting it will reward you in the long run.

Read More

Tips for Overcoming Writer’s Fatigue

Tips for Overcoming Writer’s Fatigue

Writer’s fatigue and writer’s block are similar concepts. Whereas blocks can happen at any point in the writing process, even before you’ve begun, fatigue normally occurs after extended periods of writing. The condition is frustrating, emotionally draining, and affects confidence.

Read More

Trending