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Byline: The Art of Writing and Business of Publishing

I’ve never met an author who likes to write book proposals, yet if we hope to sign with a traditional publisher, we need a book proposal—a really good book proposal. Aside from being tedious and time-consuming, parts of a book proposal are challenging, such as researching competitive titles, selling ourselves as the ideal person to … Continue reading Why We Need a Book Proposal for Every Book We Write

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Question: What is the best way to identify speakers in dialogue? Answer: Many writers ask about this. I think the answer lies with your writing voice (style). Here are some options: 1. Tag your dialogue with any descriptive word other than said, such as exclaimed, interjected, sputtered, yelled, and so forth. I learned this in … Continue reading Identifying Speakers in Dialogue: A Writing Q&A

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When book readers consider our book, few will bother to look to see who published it. They won’t care if a major publisher, let alone any traditional publisher, produced it. When it comes to publishers, there is little brand loyalty, let alone much brand recognition. The imprint is of no consequence. How the printed book … Continue reading What Do Readers Care About?

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A couple years ago, I wrote about “Six Types of Books in My Library.” In summary, this is how I view my books on my book shelves: Books Worth Keeping: I enjoyed them once, and I’ll read them again. Reference Materials: Books with information I want to keep. Books I Plan to Read: I really … Continue reading What Type of Book Will Yours Be?

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ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number. It’s a globally accepted standard for identifying books. Your book needs an ISBN if it is to be viable: most retailers require it, and it helps people find your book. Probably the only reason not to have an ISBN is if you aren’t going to sell your book … Continue reading How Do You Get an ISBN For Your Book?

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Last week I shared that the three parts of publishing a book were writing it, producing it, and marketing it. Each of these aspects has a creative element and a business element. Balance the pure artist and the pure entrepreneur in a respectable tension. The pure artist says, “Let me create without interference. I don’t … Continue reading Balancing the Pure Artist with the Entrepreneur: Why Book Publishing Requires Both

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This blog focuses writing and book publishing. There are three aspects of publishing a book. They are: 1. Write the Book First we need content, not just good content, but really great content. We write the best we possibly can, and then we seek help from others to make it better: critique groups, beta readers, … Continue reading The Three Parts of Book Publishing

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Question: I know that in your work you edit a lot of content. What are some of your editing pet peeves? Answer: I like this question. It gives me a chance to vent a bit. Here are some things writers do that really irk me. They are my editing pet peeves: Writers who don’t spell … Continue reading What Are Some of Your Editing Pet Peeves? A Writing Q & A

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A couple years ago I blogged about a young adult (YA) book from a published author that I really, really, really liked—and the author honored me by leaving a comment to my post. Since then we’ve shared a few online interactions, with her offering careful communication and me trying hard not to come across as … Continue reading Lessons From a Published Author: It’s Never a Sure Thing

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Will Your Writing be Around in One Hundred Years? Four years ago, my mom found an old book in her basement. My great grandfather’s name was written on the inside cover, along with his address in Chicago. The book was published in 1914. Yes, that’s right, 1914—over one hundred years ago. That’s a long-lasting book. … Continue reading Long-Lasting Books: How Long Will Your Writing Last?

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Selecting the Right Beta Reader is Key to Receiving Helpful Feedback We’ve talked about the importance of having a beta reader to give feedback on our books. I hope you’re as sold on the idea as I am. The next step is finding beta readers—not just any one but the right ones. If we pick … Continue reading Seven Things to Look For in a Beta Reader

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The more people who provide feedback on our books the better. Of course, to be of benefit, this needs to happen before publication, when there is time to make changes. Although review by various types of editors (each pass focusing on different elements) is essential, basic feedback is first needed to work out the kinks, … Continue reading Why Our Books Need Beta Readers

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Question: I know I should backup my writing, but I don’t. What do you recommend? Answer: I’m so glad you asked. Having a good backup is essential. It’s not a matter of if we lose some of our writing but of when. In addition to using some of the file backup options listed below, each … Continue reading Don’t Forget to Backup Your Files: A Writing Q & A

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I’ve heard many credible sources advise not to include prologues in our books. Yet, writers continue to write them, and publishers continue to publish them. Does that mean we can safely disregard this advice? I think not. Here’s why: I understand most readers skip prologues. That’s telling. Even more, I’ve read e-books that opened to … Continue reading Should Your Book Have a Prologue?

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Last week we acknowledged no one has all the skills required to self-publish a book. The only solution is to pay a team of people to handle the critical tasks of book publishing. This includes cover design, editing, interior layout, photography, and so on. Or is there another way? Although it would take great effort, … Continue reading Should You Form a Book Publishing Co-op to Produce Your Next Book?

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If we publish our book with a traditional publisher, there are no out-of-pocket expenses. The publisher even pays us an advance. Although it might not be much, at least we receive some money at the beginning of the publishing process. Not so with self publishing. Self publishing costs money, Self Publishing Costs Money This is … Continue reading Can You Self-Publish Your Book For Free?

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Self-publishing is a misnomer or at least successful self-publishing is. A better label might be team publishing. That is, when we self-publish, we must not do it all ourselves (though we can, we shouldn’t) but instead assemble a team, a self-publishing team. Here are the players for our self-publishing team: Author, the Self-Publishing Team Captain … Continue reading Remove Self From Self-Publishing: Assemble a Team

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Several years ago, I received a telemarketing call from a well-known self-publishing operation, a division of a well-known traditional publisher.  She wanted to talk about book publishing. Although unwelcomed, the interruption didn’t surprise me, because a few years ago I had contacted them. Their business model intrigued me, but I dismissed them when I stumbled … Continue reading Don’t Believe Everything You Hear about Book Publishing

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You have likely heard stories of publishers turning down books that later went on to become bestsellers. There are also tales of agents who missed seeing a book’s potential, only to be proven wrong when someone else made it a success. These accounts prove that having a book published with a traditional publisher is far … Continue reading What It Takes To Land a Book Deal

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As you consider when to write, it is also critical to consider the issue of where to write. Not only does this depend on your circumstances, but also on your personality. While writing is often a solitary process, some prefer to do so in the company of others. They may opt to write amid the … Continue reading Where Should You Write?

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