Category Archives: Tips

Use the Right Editor for Your Book

Following every suggestion from the wrong editor leads to wrong results

Use the Right Editor for Your BookIn my work as a magazine publisher I learned early on that I needed an editor. After a couple of issues with embarrassing mistakes, I realized I would never catch all the errors.

I hired someone to edit the articles before the printing press permanently immortalized them. For a while I dual-sourced this, but eventually I picked one; she has been working with me for about fifteen years…  read more>>




How Not to Write a Nonfiction Book

How Not to Write a Nonfiction BookA friend, who is also a prolific reader, once shocked me. Talking about nonfiction books, he said: “I only read the first chapter. Then I page through the rest and stop to read anything that’s interesting.”

My incredulous look encouraged him to explain. “Most nonfiction books pack their entire message into the first chapter. The rest of the book just rehashes it.” While some books warrant more reading… read more>>



Three Reasons to Comment on Blog Posts – and One Reason Not To

Three Reasons to Comment on Blog Posts – and One Reason Not ToThere are several blogs I follow; I read them whenever I can. Sometimes I just read, and other times I read and comment. Only a small percent of blog readers take time to comment.

The reasons are many: too busy, a lack of confidence, not knowing what to say, fear, and so forth. There are, however, some reasons why we should comment. Here are three…  read more>>



How to Write a Book: Practice First on Shorter Pieces

I meet many aspiring writers who want to jump right in and write a book. They have little experience, but they have an idea. They start typing away. Most give up soon and few finish. And those who do complete their journey, the result is seldom noteworthy.

Why is that? The answer is simple. They weren’t ready to write a book. As the saying goes, you need to walk before you run. But you need to crawl before you walk. There’s an order to things…  read more>>

Why We Should Always Have Four Books in Our Pipeline

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.

Other authors are working on so many books that it’s hard to accomplish anything. I fall into that trap. I recently claimed to have about a dozen books in various phases of development; in reality, the number is much higher. It is insane. One successful fulltime writer works on three at a time. Even though I am part-time, I tweaked his advice to having four books in my pipeline…  read more>>


Follow Submission Guidelines to Maximize the Chance of Publication

Recently, in my blog Byline, I discussed “Why Writers Should Follow the Rules of Writing.” Now I’ll focus on submission guidelines. The reason we should follow submission guidelines is simple: It increases our chance of publication.

Here are some tips for successful submissions. We start by structuring our writing according to accepted industry practices. Then we tweak it if needed for each specific instance. Though there is no absolute set of formatting rules, start with…  read more>>

Did You Learn to Type on a Typewriter?

Last week, I encouraged the use of only one space to end a sentence, not two. The old convention of two spaces harkens back to the days of typewriters. Computers ushered in a new standard of only one space. This is what we must follow.

There are other formatting habits that came from typewriters, which must be stopped. While most writers have retrained themselves, I still see the occasional submission that persists in following one of these outdated methods…  read more>>

What Does Your Formatting Say About Your Writing? The Two Spaces Dilemma

I recently read some advice for older job seekers. The article warned of things not to do in their resume and cover letter that would tip off potential employers to their age and diminish their chance at an interview.

The number one item on the list is equally applicable to writers: Don’t use two spaces at the end of a sentence. Seriously. Whether job-seeking or submission-sending, using two spaces sends a message, and it’s not a positive one…  read more>>

Seven Tips to Get a Headshot You Can Use

Last week I asked, “Do you have a professional headshot?” and urged you to take care of this now and not put it off. Here are seven tips to have a successful photo shoot, many of which I learned the hard way:

1) Hire a professional: A friend with an expensive camera won’t do; a professional photographer with experience taking headshots is essential; ask to see their portfolio before committing…  read more>>

Do You Have a Professional Headshot?

In “Every Author Needs a Bio,” I said the best time to write our author bio is now, before we need it. The same holds true in getting a professional headshot. Not only will we need one for our book jacket, but we’ll also need one prior to publication for PR, marketing, online profiles, promotion, and even business cards.

Don’t put this off until the last minute because a good headshot requires planning: finding an experienced photographer, scheduling the photo shoot, locating the right setting, determining what look we want to achieve, and fine-tuning our appearance, such as hair, makeup (for the ladies, but maybe men, too – seriously), clothes, and accessories. While a great photographer may help guide these decisions, many will not; they’ll set a date and start clicking…  read more>>