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Byline: The Art of Writing and Business of Publishing

Writers often seek options for word processing software, either to save money, increase functionality, or both. Many writers extol the virtues of Scrivener for content creation, especially novelists. It costs much less than Microsoft Word and, since Scrivener is designed for writers, it has powerful features that creatives crave. Another option of increasing popularity is […]

The post Microsoft Word Alternatives appeared first on Peter DeHaan.

Writers need to read, but how do we find time to read? This is a constant struggle. For me, it often comes down to deciding between watching TV and reading. Sometimes TV wins and other times reading wins. Often this hinges on how good the book is and how badly I want to watch a […]

The post Find Time to Read appeared first on Peter DeHaan.

Do you want to improve as a writer? I do. Here are the things I’m currently pursuing to get better: Read a lot (I struggle the most with this one) Write regularly Read about writing Listen to writer and publishing podcasts Follow blogs relating to writing Participate in writers’ groups Attend writing conferences Although improvement […]

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Here are the key article submission tips on submitting an article to a publication. Know the Publication or Website Read their past content. As you do, envision if your idea is a good fit. If not, don’t force it. Seek a different topic or a different outlet. Look for Submission Guidelines Find their submission guidelines […]

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Many writers wish editors, agents, and publishers would give feedback when they reject a submission, but they don’t. As a writer, I share this frustration. As a publisher, I know the reason why they don’t provide submission feedback. After trying in vain to give writers feedback and wasting way too much time in the process, […]

The post Should You Expect Submission Feedback? appeared first on Peter DeHaan.

There are three key periodical submission tips to follow when sending content to online outlets and print media publishers. I list them from least important to most important, but if you don’t get past the first one, you’ll never get to the second. And you must pass the second step to even have your writing […]

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Third-person omniscient is out of favor. Do you wonder why? While we could attribute it to a trend, the best explanation I have is that we’re so conditioned to watching TV and movies, which limit us to the camera’s vantage (third-person limited, if you will), that as readers we expect books to do the same […]

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Many beginning writers wonder about point of view in writing and which should they use. Though there are many books written on this subject, here’s a brief overview. Note that most people use perspective and point of view interchangeably—that’s what I learned in High School English—but others make a distinction between them, claiming that point […]

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Microsoft Word is expensive, but it is also the de facto standard for writing and publishing. I urge you to use it if possible. Even so, consider these word processing options. As an alternative to purchasing Word (or Office), you can check out Office 365. It includes Word, but instead of buying the software for […]

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Have you ever wondered if you have a marketable book? Most people have, especially anyone who wants to make a living from writing. You can pay someone to give you their opinion on what’s marketable before spending hours writing. Although you can do internet searches to find them, I recommend going to the websites of […]

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Reading helps us understand what is marketable before we spend hours writing something that’s not. So does talking to others in the industry, especially agents, editors, and publishers. Also, look at the publishers’ current releases. As a starting point here are some general principles of what is not marketable. Though there are exceptions, they are […]

The post Writers Must Read to Know What Is Marketable appeared first on Peter DeHaan.

A writer found some clip art they’re interested in using in their book, but they also had concerns. The terminology is “Royalty-free clipart for commercial use.” Is it safe to use? First, let me say that I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice. Given that, in my opinion, the phrase gives […]

The post Using Clip Art in a Book or Blog Post: Learn How to Protect Yourself appeared first on Peter DeHaan.

There are three purposes for blog categories. 1. Search Engine Optimization One use of blog categories is that it helps with search engine optimization (SEO), which allow the search engines to better find and list posts. 2. Reader Engagement The second use of blog categories is to help readers find similar content. For example, if […]

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Each chapter in my friend’s book starts with a quotation. Most of the quotes came from internet sites. She wonders if she needs to include a page citing sources where she obtained each quote. Here’s what I said to her. For Traditionally Published Books For traditionally published books, your publisher will have its own requirements […]

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I’d love a literary agent who would handle shorter pieces, such as articles, short stories, or poems. Unfortunately, they don’t. Literary agents handle books. They only deal with book-length projects. Agents earn commission on projects sold. The payoff for shorter pieces is too small for them to spend time pitching them. They need to invest […]

The post Literary Agents Handle Books and Not Shorter Works appeared first on Peter DeHaan.

A publisher is interested in some devotionals a friend wrote. They pay an honorarium of $35 per item, and then they want full rights forever. My friend wonders if this is typical and fair to sell full rights for a piece? First, I don’t think anyone can make decent money writing devotionals. They do it […]

The post Should You Sell Full Rights for Your Writing? appeared first on Peter DeHaan.

For too many years my goal in writing was simply to write faster, but I did nothing to learn about writing or how to write better. That was a huge writing mistake. Yes, the experience of writing so much was good, but I wasted a lot of time by not studying the craft. It’s only […]

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To write a novel, first, start with short stories. Many of the elements required for short stories carry over to longer works. In addition, it’s better to experiment on a 1,000-word short story than an 80,000-word novel. Once you’re comfortable with short stories then you can move on to longer works. Short Story Tips Writing […]

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When working with beta readers, it’s important to set expectations with them or the feedback you get may not be helpful. To guide this effort, ask the same beta reader questions of each person. Three Key Beta Reader Questions 1. What parts did you like? Your first question will let you know what parts not […]

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Finding an agent is easy. Just do an online search for “literary agents.” However, getting an agent to agree to represent you is hard, very hard. Unlike hiring an accountant or attorney to represent us where we can vet them and pick the best one to meet our needs, agents vet their clients so they […]

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