Personal editing. Professional results.
October 27, 2023
Look at what makes covers soar

Designer Jessica Bell rounds up the major elements of strong cover design in her book Can You Make the Title Bigga? Use open space. Avoid clutter. Choose fewer colors. Make colors complement one another. Jane Friedman's blog features a post from Bell with visuals to help you see the difference these elements can make. Bell's […]

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October 15, 2023
Setting on-sale dates for Amazon books

At last, Amazon is letting authors specify their on-sale dates for books. This is the calendar date when readers can first buy your book at the 'Zon. It didn't used to be as easy as plugging in the calendar date when your sales metadata would appear on the Amazon site. IngramSpark will ask you for […]

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October 13, 2023
Ways to clarify who's talking

Speaking clearly lets us absorb the dialogue Novels are built on acres of dialogue. You can always point to a book like E.L Doctrow's Ragtime as the exception, but so very much talking pushes a story forward. You can help your characters tell the story by helping everyone know who's speaking at all times. Where […]

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October 6, 2023
Making Bullets Do a Summary's Bidding

Summarizing is a superior skill to call on while writing, but it can be vexing to slim things down. One trick to try is the magic bullet of bullets, the copy that starts with a bullet symbol. We're trained to keep the writing concise when we begin with a bullet. A set of opening pages […]

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September 29, 2023
BookFunnel tool sells your books

Authors are selling their books themselves, instead of waiting for Amazon to deliver readers. An automagical delivery link from BookFunnel lets your website buyers download your book immediately after purchase, without having to check their email. BookFunnel says, "This is exactly the experience that authors — and their readers — want when selling direct." Selling direct is […]

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September 24, 2023
Get your slice of writing pie

Pies made Karen's stories a household name I once heard that writing is like a pie eating contest where the prize is more pie. Long ago, Karen Stolz was a mentor to me in the earliest days of my fiction career. She evaluated my submission pieces for my unsuccessful application to Texas State’s MFA program, […]

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September 21, 2023
How summary lures your readers

You might be the writer who doesn't need summaries. You're probably not, since you're not the Almighty. Only the Great Maker could skip the step of telling people what the creation was promising. The stories that started the world were formed when there was nothing else to watch or read or hear. You and I […]

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September 15, 2023
Use your bio for superpower

Many books sell on the strength of their authors. Authors who are bestsellers have their names above any title, riding on the reputation and good regard for prior books. New authors can reach for this power too. It begins with your author's bio. That summary of your life is important for debut nonfiction writers, with […]

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September 14, 2023
Wants vs. needs for your characters

A character knows about what they want. They are unaware of what they need. That want is external. Anna wants to gain control over her life's choices: relationships, work, pleasure. Even choosing which others she will serve. At the start of the twentieth century, that control was beyond a woman's reach — an unprivileged woman, […]

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September 7, 2023
Project revisions shouldn't start small

Go for the big stuff first. A magic weekend, or a writing retreat, can get a good revision underway. Agent Kate McKean wrote a summary of how to approach a big project like a book revision. Agent Kate McKean suggests several steps. Here's the high points. First, reread your work in full. It takes a […]

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