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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 […]

Unexpected Accomplishments: How to Achie...

Unexpected Accomplishments: How to Achieve Them

It’s January, that time of year when many of us put on our Janus faces: we look back at the past year to review our progress and forward to the coming year to see what’s next. This year my friend Brian suggested that, in honor of stepping into the 2020s, instead of looking at individual […]

Getting Feedback on Your Book? Tips to D...

Getting Feedback on Your Book? Tips to Do It Wisely

One of my neighbors has started dabbling in poetry and occasionally asks for feedback. She’s got a natural ear/eye for imagery but hasn’t studied the craft of poetry, so we take these opportunities to have mini-lessons on different aspects of writing. This week I played with one of her poems to demonstrate some possibilities for […]

Three Ways to Improve Your Writing throu...

Three Ways to Improve Your Writing through Talking

On a recent call with my mastermind group, I mentioned that at some point I’d want to ask them for feedback on a book I was writing. Naturally they were curious about the topic. As I began to describe it, I realized I was struggling with the book’s focus. Was it a practical how-to-write-a-book book, […]

Self-Publishing? Avoid These Common Book...

Self-Publishing? Avoid These Common Book Layout Mistakes

Imagine you write and self-publish a book that is thoughtful, nuanced, provocative. Your readers rave about the content. You get so much positive feedback that you decide to enter your book in a self-published book contest. When you get feedback from the judge, you’re elated by her generous praise for the book’s content and themes. […]

Nonfiction Book Structures: Familiarity ...

Nonfiction Book Structures: Familiarity Helps Readers

Have you ever been in someone’s kitchen for the first time and known exactly where to find the silverware drawer without being told? That’s because there is a predictable structure to a kitchen. In fact, if you search online, you’ll find about a half dozen standard kitchen layouts—the galley, the L, the U. Over a […]

How Readers Choose Books: Lessons from J...

How Readers Choose Books: Lessons from Judging

I can be a little judgy sometimes… Literally. I judge things. Essay contests. Grant applications. Poetry submissions. I recently judged twenty self-published books for a national writing magazine’s contest. While I’d hoped to judge nonfiction so I could share with you what I was seeing in the indie nonfiction space, I ended up judging children’s picture […]

Should you update your book? Maybe, mayb...

Should you update your book? Maybe, maybe not.

A past client contacted me to ask if I would make a few minor changes to his book, which we’d published three years earlier. I decided that if we were updating his book anyway, I should reread the whole thing for other needed editorial adjustments. As I read, I flagged items for consideration. I was […]