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The Most Obvious “Secret” Writing Advice

The Most Obvious “Secret” Writing Advice I Ever Got

Before a presentation, I was asked: What’s the best piece of writing advice you ever received?  Now, this isn’t my favorite question, because (1) it seems too obvious and (2) the answer changes depending on my mood and recent writing experiences. But there’s one piece of advice I come back to again and again. Back […]

Less Is More: How to Improve Your Book t...

Less Is More: How to Improve Your Book through Subtraction

“Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off.” —Coco Chanel I heard this famous advice as a teenager exploring fashion and learning how to be a sophisticated, understated grown-up (hey, stop laughing) and it stuck with me (even though I’d forgotten whose wisdom it was until I consulted Google). […]

Eliminate Friction to Keep Your Readers’

Friction is a useful tool in the right settings—I mean, it’s nice when your car brakes work, right?—but when friction gets in the way of completing an action (like reading a book), it’s time to eliminate it. A classic example of friction is poor website design. You try to buy a product on someone’s website […]

Book ROI: It May Not Be What You Think

Book ROI: It May Not Be What You Think

Writing a book can feel like climbing a mountain—a big, steep, frustrating one sometimes. Once you reach the summit, it would be great to just sit back, see your book on the New York Times bestseller list, and watch the royalties flow in. But for many (maybe most) nonfiction authors, book sales are not where […]

Use Writing Constraints to Increase Your...

Use Writing Constraints to Increase Your Creativity

Powerhouse children’s author Beverly Cleary died last month at the astonishing age of 104, leaving a legacy of having written 50-plus books. Chances are you read some of her books as a child—Henry Huggins, The Mouse and the Motorcycle, Ramona and Beezus. Maybe your children learned to read with them; maybe you’ve heard the Ramona […]

How (Not) to Query a Literary Agent

How (Not) to Query a Literary Agent

Dear Karin, I’m an assistant to the author AUTHOR NAME, and we are seeking representation for his children’s picture book intended for middle grade audiences. BOOK TITLE is complete at 570 words and features a heartwarming tale of wisdom passed on from the older generation, and relatable and educational reasons as to why children need […]

Word Tip: Style Sets Can Save You Time a...

Word Tip: Style Sets Can Save You Time and Headaches

The Styles function is one of my favorite tools in Microsoft Word. With it, you can assign styles (font, color, size, spacing, etc.) to different text elements—the body text, titles, headings, captions, and so on. I’ve written about Styles before as a way to assess your document’s structure and organization using the Automatic Table of […]

Top 10 Blog Posts for 2020: People Are W...

Top 10 Blog Posts for 2020: People Are Writing Books!

In case you missed them the first time around, you might like to take a look at Clear Sight Books’ top 10 blog posts in 2020 (by page views). How Long Should Your Nonfiction Book Be? KDP vs. IngramSpark: Which Publishing Platform Is Right for You? KDP and IngramSpark Printing Options Tips for Using Emphasis […]

Writing in Small Steps to Reach Big Mile...

Writing in Small Steps to Reach Big Milestones

As I started working on this article, I realized it would be my 100th blog post. I’ve been writing for my business blog for over four years, so 100 posts may not seem like a huge number to you. I know some people who blog weekly, producing 100 blog posts in two years; Seth Godin […]

On Reflection: The Joy of Creating Books

On Reflection: The Joy of Creating Books

I don’t need to tell you 2020 has been a tough year. We’ve all experienced something unusual; some of us have struggled; some of us have experienced loss. One of the things that has kept me focused and grateful is work. Not only is writing and editing possible to do at a distance from clients, […]

Word Tip: Finding Your Word Count

Word Tip: Finding Your Word Count

Knowing your word count can help you set guideposts to keep on track, identify areas for potential revision, and create a better reading experience for your audience. In MS Word, to find your word count, from the Review menu, choose the Word Count button. You’ll see a pop-up box with your document’s statistics. If you […]

How Arithmetic Can Help You Write

How Arithmetic Can Help You Write

The more I work with books, the more I realize how helpful arithmetic is (yup, just arithmetic—no algebra, geometry, or calculus needed). Whether you have too little content, too much content, or lopsided content, some addition, subtraction, and division (not finding a use for multiplication yet!) can help set guideposts to keep you on track, […]