Writers know that their stories come to light after the editing process. You tighten sentences, fix typos, look for flow and correct errors. There are plenty of words that can be confusing, and author Carolyn Howard-Johnson offers a list of “word trippers” – words that sound alike and words often confused or commonly misused.
This 54-page booklet includes word trippers like:
alright / all right
anxious / eager
every day / everyday
further / farther
gage / gauge
lose / loose
to lie / to lay
peddling / pedaling
peaked / peeked / piqued
setup / set up
sight / site / cite
waiver / waver
Some entries include words we probably know, such as the difference between lose and loose, yet they often are mistyped and not corrected. The book lists words in alphabetical order, and each entry includes a short explanation on the proper usage. Sometimes, the word is antiquated and shouldn’t be used anymore. Other times, it’s a difference in American versus British English. It also explains the best word choice, so you don’t rub an editor (or other gatekeeper) the wrong way.
In addition to the word combination, the book includes singular words that are often misused. Have you used “enable” or “mischievious” in your writing? Find out why you shouldn’t use either one.
It’s hard to get our words into the hands of readers. At the very least, your work shouldn’t get tossed at the starting gate. Your copy needs to be error free, which shows professionalism and experience.
This booklet isn’t the final word on editing, and it’s not meant to be. Howard-Johnson shares these common word trippers from her experience as an editor and author. The booklet is a valuable resource, and one you should have in your purse, briefcase or book shelf.
In one of my earlier posts, I discussed ghostwriting for freelance writers. The article by Yvonne Perry highlights the pros and cons of this type of writing. I’ve been a professional freelance writer for over six years and have ghostwritten articles, blog posts, e-books, reports, and more for a variety of clients. I enjoy writing and helping others with their business needs is one of my passions. If you’re a business owner, have you considered hiring a professional writer?
There are many advantages to hiring a web content writer or article writer. If you hate to write or can’t find the time to update your blog, hiring a writer will save you time and aggravation. You’ll receive quality articles on a regular basis, which boosts your online presence and credibility.
Many writers, myself included, offer different services, such as web content, directory articles, blog posts, press releases, Squidoo lenses, e-books and reports, and more. Before you hire a freelancer, read their work, look at testimonials, and schedule a consultation. During the consult, your writer should be able to suggest the most effective services or packages for your business needs.
Another writing service is PLR, or private label rights. This can be a confusing topic, with questions about how to use it and why you might need it. PLR content can include articles, e-books, reports, autoresponder emails,and sales copy. Sometimes, it includes graphics, but most times, you’ll need to find photos yourself.
The main advantage is having quality content at your fingertips. You can update your blog, post to directories, or contact your list. Be sure to read what “rights” you have, which can include being able to use the material as your own, being able to edit, being able to resell the information, or giving away the information (with credit to the author or being able to rebrand it as your own work).
It’s also inexpensive with typical fees being $1 per article. Why so cheap? PLR content is written once and sold to multiple buyers. Most reputable sellers limit the number of buyers, so the content isn’t flooding the internet. It’s still recommended you do a bit of tweaking: change the titles to include your particular keywords, rearrange wording, and add your own links.
If you’ve been online for any length of time, you’ve heard the mantra of content being king. This is true, as is being consistent. You need quality writing to attract visitors, and you need to update regularly to keep them coming back.
If you’re busy or hate writing, hiring a freelance writer for customized articles or PLR is a smart decision.
To find out how I can help your business with quality writing, please contact me. For pricing on PLR articles and packages, please visit my partner’s site, Hypnosis for Life Changes, which provides hypnotic marketing and professional writing services.
If you’re interested in writing a book, then I’ve found a great resource for you. Written by PR guru, award-winning writer, Carolyn Howard-Johnson, The Great First Impression Book Proposal guides you through every step you need to know to impress a publisher.
Do you know the differences between fiction and nonfiction writers trying to sell their books? The former writes their book first and then sends a query letter, including a specific number of chapters (requested by the publisher or agent). Their book must be ready to go because the publisher may want to contract their work.
Nonfiction writers send proposals, in which they need to impress the publisher on the idea of their work. The book isn’t written. Before that sounds like the easier path of the two, it isn’t. A book proposal is well researched and formatted; the process is similar to writing a book and can be complicated if you don’t know what you’re doing.
To the rescue, The Great First Impression Book Proposal! In six chapters, you’ll learn how to get past gatekeepers, entice jaded gatekeepers, get an open invitation, and keep those doors open. You’ll also have a checklist to make sure your proposal is at its best. The resource section includes a basic query letter sample, suggested studies, and resources for editing, grammar, book promotion, publishing and more.
A book proposal is a mysterious beast. It’s not something you can bypass; it’s a necessary “evil” of the publishing world. To do it correctly, you need to know the guidelines. In essence, you’re proposing a business deal, but your letter shouldn’t be too formal. It needs to be friendly with eye-attracting titles without being too cozy or using over-the-top language like “amazing”. It’s a fine balance; one you’ll need to learn to be successful.
You’ll learn about the publishing industry; the correct way to research, write, and format your letter; and the steps to make yours a winning proposal. This is a jammed-packed resource, with the tag line “Everything You Need To Know To Impress A Publisher in Twenty Minutes or Less”. A quick read with everything to write a winning proposal.
Howard-Johnson writes with the experience of a professional and the candor of a best friend who doesn’t want you to fall on your face. With humor and friendliness, she offers solid, practical tips. She is one of my favorite authors, and her books always top my must-have list. This one is no exception. It’ll stay on my resource shelf.
My post is dedicated to my friend Darlene Davis begin_of_the_skype_highlighting end_of_the_skype_highlighting, who wrote a great post on The Lost Art of Writing. She discovered a letter written by her great-grandmother, which in turn, fueled Darlene’s passion for writing. She asked readers for writing resources, and I thought I’d share my favorites in today’s post. Unknown to Darlene, she’s kick-starting the writing resource page on my site. (Thanks, Darlene, for inspiring me to gather the resources!)
As a <b>professional writer</b>, here are writing resources I’ve used in the last five years. I hope you find them helpful too.
I’ve written nonfiction and fiction work, and my list of writing how-to books continues to grow. I highly recommend these books as a good starting place.
MomWriters ~ a Yahoo group of Mom Writers of different genres and experience. Share your writing experiences, ask questions, and talk to moms who balance Barbies and Hot Wheels with writing and book deals. I’ve met amazing writers who generously share their tips and advice on both writing and motherhood.
Online Writers Conferences: The Muse Online Writers Conference ~ If you do ONE thing this year for your writing career, sign up for this writers conference. You’ll learn solid information from professional writers … and for free (of course, donations help offset the cost for the organizers, but it’s not required). Carve out your schedule and make room for this intensive, online conference, scheduled for October 11-12, 2010.
Writing Resources Online:
Writers’ Digest ~ learn tips on writing better, writing conferences, events, and how to get published.
Sharing With Writers and Readers ~ A “Writer’s Digest 101 Best Websites” by award winning author and poet, Carolyn Howard Johnson. One of her many platforms for teaching and sharing news on writing and author promotion. I highly recommend signing up for her newsletter, packed full of gems for writers and her books for writers and promotion.
Writers in the Sky Podcast and Blog ~ a treasure of information on the art and business side of writing. Founder of Writers in the Sky Services, Yvonne Perry also features author interviews and writers’ success stories in her monthly newsletter.
Jennifer Akers :: Freelance Writer ~ my Squidoo lens about freelance content, writing resources, including associations, organizations, books, and contests. This lens won a Purple Star, a Squidoo award recognizing the best of the best in lenses. I started writing on Squidoo as a creative outlet and way to re-purpose some of my articles. Use your imagination and write on most any topic you’d like.
National Novel Writing Month ~ for writers of all experiences, NaNoWriMo is a 30 day challenge to write a novel. Starting on November 1st, participants set to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30th. Many authors credit their books to their participation in NaNoWriMo. Take off from work, get a month-long babysitter, and join the hundreds of thousands of writers in this race to a novel.
One final place I’d recommend joining is Extreme Writing Now, a social network site for all writers: freelancers, poets, bloggers, article writers, fiction writers, etc. I know the founder and members from other writing circles, and I’m excited to join their community.
I’ve personally been involved with the writing resources listed here, but that doesn’t mean every site, book, or resource will be the right fit for you. Look around, find other writers on Squidoo, Facebook, Twitter, or another Tribe. Ask for recommendations, and then make your resource collection.
I’d love to hear what you think of my writing resource list. And please, share your recommendations!
If you ever hoped to be a published author, you may be surprised to know how much work you need to do after the book is published. Obviously, the freshly printed book in your hands is reason to celebrate, but your work is really just beginning. Now, you must switch hats from author to promoter. Publishers and publicists only have so much time and money to promote their authors, so if you want to make sales, you need to learn how to market your book.
Once you start promoting your book, you’ll need a way to track how your books are doing, in terms of sales, ranking, reviews, etc. Do you have a tracking tool to measure your sales or Amazon ranking?
If grading your writing brings an image of a grade school teacher with her demonic red pen, don’t worry. I found this neat tracking tool for authors on BookGrader, from Hubspot. It ‘grades’ or measures your book sales and more.
Also worthy to note, Grader.com also has systems to grade your Twitter, Facebook, website, and more. They’re all free, so check their site to use more of their tools and see your grade across different networks. After plugging in your information, you’ll receive a detailed report, which is also emailed to you to keep for your records.
To use BookGrader.com, you can search for a book title or author. It will give you the stats for your book: publication date, sales, Amazon rank, suggestions of other books (which Amazon suggests), referring books (books that refer to your book), number of reviews, review ratings, and more.
The point of grading your book is simply to track your book’s progress. How well is it selling? Do you need more reviews? Are there a lot of books that refer to your book? With this knowledge, you can make some changes.
Tracking To Improve
My blog post topic came after reading a site of new friend Glyna Humm. She posted a video and asked if visitors knew how to track their online marketing results. After all, you’re scrambling to get a website and or blog up and running, connecting to different social networks, and adding valuable content as much as you’re able.
Are you making a difference? More importantly, are you making progress, and how can you improve your online presence? Take a look at Glyna Humm’s post, Is Your Online Marketing Working? How Do You Know? to find out more great tracking tips and tools. So many tools are free, and it’s worth seeing the progress from all your hard work.
It can be hard to find writing jobs, especially from sites you can trust. An important rule is not to pay for a list of companies that will “surely” hire you once you hand over your money. That’s a pretty good rule for any kind of freelancer or contractor, and it seems to be an ongoing scam targeting this type of job seeker. The old adage applies: “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”
If you’ve searched on Craigslist lately, you’ve probably seen their caution about different scams focused on getting a writer’s information or payment in exchange for a promised job, listing, training, or similar information. It’s wise to distrust sites that want your personal information or a fee in exchange for information.
You can find plenty of no-cost, online sources for legitimate writing jobs. Here are some places you may not have heard about, but they are good places to search for writing jobs.
For book reviewers:MyShelf.com is accepting applications for book and ebook reviewers. Professional reviews are required. Reviewer receives complementary books in exchange for reviews. Reviewers outside of the U.S. are given e-books to review. While it’s not paying job, the complementary books will keep your bookworm-self happy PLUS it’s a great addition or starting position into writing. From my experience, my position at MyShelf.com birthed many opportunities.
For writing resources: become a member of SquidLog.net, a free social networking and blogging community for Squidoo lensmasters. You can learn more about writing on Squidoo, plus search updated, writing jobs listed on SquidLog’s home page.
MuseItUp Publishing is a new, royalty paying, Canadian e-publisher. The founder, Lea Schizas, is a seasoned author, editor, and author mentor. She founded the free, annual writers’ conference, MuseItUp Online Writing Conference, and is the founder and editor of the newsletter, Apolo’s Lyre. Ms. Schivas’s latest venture is MuseItUp Publishing, which welcomes published and unpublished authors. The December 2010 launch will coincide with the holiday season, a great time to buy books as gifts.
MuseItUp Publishing is not a self-publishing site; authors do not pay to publish their work. Writers are encouraged to submit their manuscripts, and submission does not guarantee an acceptance or a contract. If a work is not accepted, MuseItUp Publishing will give comments and tips for improving the manuscript, and the writer can resubmit.
Manuscripts must be submitted electronically (save on postage and time over the snail mail submissions of other sites). Manuscripts must be between 3,000 word minimum to novel-length. Accepted manuscripts will be published in e-book format with a print release within a year (print formats are only for novels).
The publisher is NOT accepting short stories or anthologies; nonfiction; or poetry.
Open submissions are being accepted in the following genres:
Romance – every subgenre including: romantic comedy, contemporary romance, fantasy romance, historical romance, paranormal romance, romantic suspense, western romance
Paranormal – Fantasy
Mystery – Suspense – Thriller
Horror & Dark Fiction
Erotica submissions are also open but will be hosted on a separate site: MuseItHOT! website.
As a book reviewer, I’m thrilled to cross paths with new authors. I enjoy discovering emerging authors, especially ones who write terrific books. Off the New York Times’ book list, these gems could be missed — if not for enthusiastic writers, authors, and readers who want to promote these authors’ work.
I think my site will be an excellent forum to share interviews of emerging authors or my recommendations of their books. Stay tuned. I’ve got a fantastic romance writer lined up for an upcoming interview. With four books (and counting), this author is definitely one to add to your To-Be-Read list. Curious? Here’s a teaser: She’s a southern belle, with a knack for developing adventurous, sensuous, and humorous characters.
Some writers accept ghostwriting jobs — projects to write or edit for someone else who is then credited as the author of the book. I haven’t ghostwritten a book, but I have ghostwritten plenty of articles and ebooks for other people. I enjoy ghostwriting, and there are positives and negatives within this type of writing.
If you’re interested in this aspect of writing, read Yvonne Perry’s behind-the-scenes look at ghostwriting.
One thing we have to do as ghostwriters is put our ego aside. We may do all the grunt work and create a fantastic book that goes to market and hits number one-I’ve had that happen. A book I ghostwrote made Amazon’s bestseller list a few weeks after it was published. I even helped the author find a publisher, but I can’t even tell you the title of the book because I worked under a non-disclosure agreement. I wrote the book, but my name is nowhere to be found between the covers. A ghostwriter is invisible, behind the scenes. You won’t be given credit for any material you create as a work-for-hire writer. The copyright is turned over to the author of record as soon as payment is made to the ghostwriter. That’s one of the challenges of the business.
The name of my company reflects the mystical notion of ghostwriting and offering spiritual help. Like book angels, Writers in the Sky is hidden in the clouds helping, encouraging, and cheering authors on but we’re really not here to get our name on the front cover of your book. We do get a perk every now and then because the clients we work with are very appreciative. Some clients will give us some acknowledgment in their book as a developmental or copy editor. We appreciate it, but we know better than to expect it.
Ghostwriting is a collaborative process. We may go back and forth emailing a chapter at a time, sometimes section by section or one character to really home in on developing a book that has the author’s imprint, voice, and style. When I say “style,” I don’t mean style guides because we use Chicago Manual of Style and any book we write or edit is going to be aligned with those standards. But, an author has a writing style and we don’t want to get rid of that; but, we do want to improve it where necessary. So, what we are doing then is not only improving the book, we are also improving the writer because they are learning from the process. We act as book shepherds or mentors so the next book that author brings to us is even better.
Another challenge is the condition in which some manuscripts come to us. We’ve written books from a jumbled mess of notes written on sticky notes, menus, napkins, church bulletins, or whatever scrap paper was handy when their idea occurred on the spur of the moment. They may drop off a box and leave it up to us to create the entire book from the contents. Some authors have a great outline or a rough draft with their research well documented who say, “Write the book this way.” We take their manuscript and produce a book that has their style and voice. When writing about someone’s life, we have to get to know that person in order to assume that person’s voice.
We develop relationships with some clients who become our close friends. Even after their book is on the market, we’re still in touch with the authors because of the bond we made in our collaboration. I regularly hear from some clients I worked with years ago. I may email them to ask, “How’s our baby (book) coming along?” or “What can I do to help you with the marketing?” The may call to wish me a happy holiday or just say hello.
If you’ve got to have your name in lights and have everyone know you wrote a book, then being a ghostwriter is probably not your calling. If you enjoy helping other writers improve their writing, you may enjoy ghostwriting.
Yvonne Perry is a freelance writer and the owner of Writers in the Sky Creative Writing Services (WITS). She and her team of ghostwriters are ready to assist you with writing and editing for books, Web text, business documents, resumes, bios, articles, and media releases. For more information about writing, networking, publishing, and book promotion, or to sign up for free email delivery of WITS newsletter, please visit www.writersinthesky.com. New subscribers receive a free eBook Tips for Freelance Writing.
Having a good bio is a must for any author. You may use it in your book’s front matter in the About the Author section, or on your Web site or as a profile on social networking groups, or perhaps as part of your marketing packet.
Writing your own bio can be frustrating. You know all about yourself, but you may find it difficult to convey what you have done or achieved that is worth mentioning. Then, there is the organization of your information. Should you list items chronologically starting with your birth and ending at your current career or place of employment? Is there a method or formula to use that will tell your story in an entertaining manner?
Here are a few things to consider in writing your good bio.
1. Length: Consider how much space or time are you given. If there is a word or character limit in the space you are provided, you may have to shorten your bio to one paragraph. If you have more space, you can create a more entertaining bio.
2. Purpose: What will your bio be used for? Are you using this bio to apply for a job? Will it be posted on your Web site for all the world to read? What and how much do you need the reader to know about you? Curtail your personal information and give only pertinent facts that will not embarrass you later.
3. Voice: I always write bios in third person. It’s better for someone else to brag on you than for you to brag about yourself. This is one reason that hiring a professional writer is a good idea. He or she can see you from a different vantage point and will know what questions to ask in their information-gathering interview.
4. Be honest. If you don’t have experience, don’t say that you do. Let’s say you’re getting started as a writer and your portfolio is small. Maybe your article hasn’t been published in TimeMagazine; but what about the essay that was published in an online blog or newsletter? If it’s relevant, let it help you shine.
5. Where do you belong? Are you affiliated with clubs, volunteer organizations, or other groups? Show your humanitarian or philanthropist side by listing your community work.
6. Write tight. Offer concise information that might include:
Your full-time job or career, and how many years have you been doing this type of work
What types of clients you work with
Your pets or children
Fluency in other languages
Your philosophy on life
Your goals and dreams
Your favorite books, games, movies, TV shows, etc.
7. Hook your reader or listener. Tell something funny about yourself or tie into a memorable world event or compare yourself to a famous person.
The information you give people about yourself is fundamental to their understanding of you; therefore you want to establish your credentials and give them something they will remember about you. If you get stuck writing your bio or need someone to give you a fresh perspective on your image to the world and represent you for who you are, give us a call!
Yvonne Perry is a freelance writer and the owner of Writers in the Sky Creative Writing Services (WITS). She and her team of ghostwriters are ready to assist you with writing and editing for books, Web text, business documents, resumes, bios, articles, and media releases.
For more information about writing, publishing, and book promotion, or to sign up for free email delivery of WITS newsletter, please visit http://www.writersinthesky.com New subscribers receive a free eBook Tips for Freelance Writing.