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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 […]

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 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, […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]