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Word Tip: Creating En and Em Dashes

Word Tip: Creating En and Em Dashes

In Word you can automatically generate en and em dashes by using the hyphen key and AutoCorrect. (Read more about en and em dashes in this article about common proofreading oversights.) To make an en dash: Type a word (or number/letter character), space, hyphen, space, word (or number/letter). Example: 1990 – 1995  As you move […]

Proofreading Oversights You Don’t Realiz

Proofreading Oversights You Don’t Realize Are Giving You Away as Self-Published

You know you want to self-publish—for control, for speed to market—but you don’t want your book to look self-published. You want it to be indistinguishable from books published by the “Big Five.” But even if you have high quality content and avoid common formatting mistakes, your book may still contain proofreading oversights that give it […]

The MS Word Editor: Going beyond Spellch...

The MS Word Editor: Going beyond Spellcheck

If you use Word, you’re probably used to seeing red squiggly underlines for misspelled words and blue double-underlines for incorrect grammar. These appear courtesy of the “Editor” function, aka spellcheck and grammar check. But the Word Editor can help you even more if you let it… Cool Stuff the Word Editor Can Check For Some of […]

When the writing process feels hard, can...

When the writing process feels hard, can readers tell?

After I offered a client some critical feedback that meant he needed to do some rewriting, he complained, “This feels too hard. I like to write when I’m inspired. How can it be any good if I don’t feel inspired?” I gave my client the same answer I always give: It doesn’t matter what the […]

Match Your Nonfiction Writing Approach t...

Match Your Nonfiction Writing Approach to Your Content: Gain Efficiency, Relieve Pressure

Originally posted on the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) blog. “I know it’s messy, but you know me—I’m a pantser.” My editing client knew his topic inside and out, but his book manuscript read like it was the first time he’d ever touched the topic. We had to do a lot of rewriting and revision […]

Crisis Writing: Paying Attention To and ...

Crisis Writing: Paying Attention To and Beyond Yourself

To say there’s been a lot going on in the world the past few months would be a bit of an understatement. On top of the physical distancing and over-Zooming of the coronavirus pandemic, the death of George Floyd and the resultant protests have caused emotional turmoil: shock, grief, insight, awakening. I want to talk […]

One Word Conversation: “Discover”

One Word Conversation: “Discover”

My friend William Brown ( does a regular series on disConnect to Connect called “One Word Conversations,” in which he spends 45 minutes talking with a friend or colleague about—as you might imagine—one word. Check out the lineup below for a sampling. When I got the word “discover,” my brain leaped into action. Yes! I […]

A Comprehensive Guide to ISBNs

A Comprehensive Guide to ISBNs

At a recent conference, I presented “Self-publishing 101.” During the Q&A that followed, one of the biggest topics was ISBNs. Lots of questions and lots of confusion surfaced. ISBNs are one of the elements of indie publishing that took me a long time to figure out, so if you’re puzzled by them, you’re in good […]

On the Problem of Overwork: Protect Your...

On the Problem of Overwork: Protect Your Creativity

After several weeks in stay-at-home coronavirus isolation, I am starting to hear a new pattern from colleagues: “I’m being so productive!” “I am working all the time…” “I am getting burnt out.” This work may be paid or unpaid. Some of us are lucky enough to be able to work at home and business is […]

Coronavirus Isolation Getting You Down? ...

Coronavirus Isolation Getting You Down? My Apocalypse Go-To’s

After working at home for two weeks, my husband said, “If this goes on much longer, I’m gonna need more pajamas.” And last night he woke up from a dream where we had stolen an Amazon Prime delivery truck so that he could get to work. (He felt bad for the driver but apparently didn’t […]

Reader Personas: Know Your Audience

Reader Personas: Know Your Audience

Pre-social distancing, I had dinner with Hilary Davidson, author of Dress in the Age of Jane Austen, before she spoke to the North Carolina Region of the Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA). Her book is a beautiful work, replete with full-color illustrations of Regency Era dress and robust descriptions of the clothes and […]

Proofreading Tips, Tricks & Tools

Proofreading Tips, Tricks & Tools

Having an editor for your book is critical. If you spend money for only one publishing-related item, editing is my recommendation. However, you can make your editor’s task easier and keep your editing expenditure down by doing an effective job of editing and proofreading your own work. Here are some of my favorite editing and […]