Byline: The Art of Writing and Business of Publishing
A few years ago, I finished a novel I was reading, the first in a series. The first chapter grabbed me, but by the second or third, some of the scenes began to irritate. They were unrealistic at portraying real-life situations. Likewise, some of the dialogue didn’t work too well for me either. It was … Continue reading A Book Need Not Be Perfect to Succeed →
When pitching my book at a writers conference, one industry person said my length was perfect, while another wanted it 20,000 words longer, and a third said it should have at least 25,000 more words. That’s a huge difference. Finding the Ideal Book Length There is no universal answer for the ideal book length, but … Continue reading Know Your Target Book Length Before You Start Writing →
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Question: I hear a lot about SEO (search engine optimization). Should I be concerned about keywords? Answer: That’s a great question, one with two answers. If you’re talking about using the keyword metatag, don’t worry about them. This is because Google says they ignore them. Therefore, I don’t waste any time thinking about metatag keywords. … Continue reading SEO Tips and Tricks: A Writing Q & A →
A common part in many book proposals is a “competitive works” section. I recently researched competitive titles for one of my book proposals. What I saw enlightened me. Traditionally Published Books To research competitive titles, I first looked at books from traditional publishers. They gave me pause. I had to think a bit to determine … Continue reading Researching Competitive Titles →
Have you ever flipped through a book and sensed there was something odd about it? Though you couldn’t identify what was different, you knew something was off. It felt wrong. This has happened to me. Perhaps the feeling was so strong that you opted not to read the book. Again, this has happened to me. … Continue reading Do Indie Authors Need to Follow Publishing Conventions? →
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Several years ago, Karen Saunders wrote an excellent article “How to Make a Book Cover Design that Flies Off the Shelf!” Today, her suggestions are still just as valid. However, there is one I would elevate in importance: “Seek the services of an experienced book cover designer.” I don’t view this as an option or … Continue reading Great Article on Book Cover Design →
With changes in publishing and advances in technology, it’s never been easier to publish a book. This isn’t to imply publishing a book is easy, just that the barriers are disappearing and the costs are dropping. This emerging reality leads to two extremes of self-publishing for do-it-yourself authors who want to publish their books. Extremes … Continue reading The Two Extremes of Self-Publishing: Both Are Wrong →
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Check out my all-time, top 10 posts about writing and publishing: Based on your input, the top 10 posts are: Why Printed Books Are Still Relevant The Nine Errors of Self-Publishing 6 Writing Tips to Quickly Pick-up Where You Left Off and Not Waste Time 12 Tips for Better WordPress Content Creation Are You a … Continue reading Top 10 Posts about Writing and Publishing from Peter DeHaan →
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I once heard about a self-published author who criticized other self-published authors for having professionally designed covers and hiring editors. He accused them of selling out. He claimed it wasn’t truly self-publishing if you didn’t do it all yourself. Rubbish. No one can truly self-publish a book all by him or herself. Have you bought … Continue reading Don’t Be an Idealist If You Want be a Self-Published Author →
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Consider all the really great books that don’t sell. Consider some of the poorly written books that do. Although this is unfair, it is also reality. Fortuitous timing aside, these two situations point out the fact that producing and selling books is part art and part business. I’ve been in business much of my adult … Continue reading Writing is an Art; Publishing is a Business →
Some authors start writing their book, focus on it until completion, work to publish it, and then promote it. Then they start their next book—assuming they have an idea for one. They have one book in their book pipeline. Other authors are working on so many books that it’s hard to accomplish anything. I fall … Continue reading Why We Should Always Have Four Books in Our Book Pipeline →
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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 →
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? →
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? →
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? →
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 →
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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