Personal editing. Professional results.
July 7, 2020
Write well. And remember what to do with commas and conjunctions

I often see manuscripts and drafts that are relentless about using a comma whenever the word "And" or "But" starts a sentence. English teachers must have drilled this into us. Comma use right after but or and start a sentence is simply incorrect. From The Editor's Blog, these examples are incorrect usage. X But, not because […]

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June 29, 2020
Put proofreading into books after copyedits

Ah proofreading, the finish carpentry of editing. Many authors who create their own books think they can skip it, leaving the proofreading work to a copy editor. Pro publishers do not do it this way. These are the kinds of things I never thought I'd care about while I was traffic director at Graphics Express […]

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May 19, 2020
Agent intelligence flows from Writer's League

I took a deep class this month on attracting a literary agent. Offered by the Writers' League of Texas, it was provided good intelligence on getting books considered for representation. It might have been the single best $52 I’ve spent as an author and coach. For example, I learned that some agent businesses are a […]

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April 26, 2020
How to use Amazon KDP Select, or skip it

Amazon throws its weight around. They have books to sell that are exclusive. They also sell other ebooks like everybody else does: book distribution can happen simultaneously with other retailers and reading services. Kindle books can be sold only at Amazon when authors use Kindle's KDP Select. It's an exclusive sales channel. Amazon calls it […]

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March 5, 2020
Let's get real about self-publishing

I used to be an ardent fan of self publishing. I thought that the extra money you’d get out of making your own business choices, along with bigger royalties, would offset the extra work of publishing yourself. You could be rewarded with sales because no one cares as often about your book (every day) or […]

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February 19, 2020
Traditional deals mean genuine distribution

Debut authors have many choices to make, from selecting an agent if needed, to choosing self publishing versus small press or hybrid publishers. That last category can differ quite a bit between providers. One marker to watch is distribution: the channel that gets sales for a book. Many hybrid publishers—who by definition require authors to […]

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February 2, 2020
You could start your own press. With enough money.

Last year, an entity called Skin Horse Press grew up in my office here in Austin. I chose the name of this independent imprint based on a favorite book, The Velveteen Rabbit, as well as a nod toward my spot in a writing career. I'm 40 years in on my professional writing and editing, so […]

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January 30, 2020
I want a great cover. What is that, anyway?

Everybody wants a great cover on their book. That's a few things at once, the greatness. Sales. Storytelling. Beauty. Creating a cover concept meets one or more of those needs. If the cover does none of those things well, you won't know until the book goes on sale, or when your novel is considered for […]

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January 10, 2020
Buy books if you read. Pay authors, to be fair

Some studies show that only 35 percent of Americans read a book last year. Out of that modest number, there might be the same percentage who read paperback editions. The paperbacks which pay authors are purchased new. Those paperbacks are available at bookstores, at spots like Amazon, even from the authors themselves. Authors get paid […]

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December 27, 2019
Writing contests: what to watch as you enter

Authors need validation from the outside. It can be as simple as getting a friend or a loved one to read and praise the early writing, or as complex as following a 2,700-word instruction manual for submitting a 7,500-word entry in a contest. Many steps lie between those extremes. Above them all are the ultimate […]

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