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Archive for the ‘Writing Tips’ Category


861. The pen is the tongue of the mind.~Miguel de Cervantes

Originally posted on Sacred Touches:

Keep a diary and
one day it’ll keep you.
~Mae West

Screen shot 2015-09-04 at 9.01.44 PM

It is necessary to write, if the days are not
to slip emptily by. How else, indeed,
to clap the net over the butterfly of the moment?
For the moment passes, it is forgotten;
the mood is gone; life itself is gone.
That is where the writer scores over his fellows:
he catches the changes of his mind on the hop.
~Vita Sackville-West

However we go about the process, I believe those of us who write do find it necessary to do so. Perhaps, it’s because “clapping the net over the butterfly of the moment” helps define who we are for ourselves before “life itself is gone” and perhaps to help us know how who and what we are matters in the world. Whatever the reason, as tired as I am, I felt the need to put my fingers…

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Editing/Proofreading Tips for Indie Authors

Bette A. Stevens:

Writers Write Postage StampGreat editing/proofreading tips from author Cassidy Salem. Happy writing, editing, rewriting and publishing! ~ Bette A. Stevens

Originally posted on Cassidy Salem Reads & Writes:

As an indie author, you are responsible for the entire publishing process – writing, editing, proofreading, publishing, and marketing. But that doesn’t mean that you should do it all yourself. Even if you are working with a low or almost non-existent budget, make sure that you get someone else to participate in the editing process – someone that has editing experience and who won’t be shy about pointing out problems in your manuscript. Your editor can be a paid professional editor or a qualified and capable friend.  You should never unleash your masterpiece on the world without having it properly edited.

Before you submit your work to your editor, make every effort to  weed out as many of the errors in your manuscript as possible. Eliminating simple typos, extra spaces, and so on, will make it easier for your editor to focus on the story flow, the wording, and the important stuff that you simply don’t see because you are…

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Overcome the 3 Habits that are Blocking You from Self-Publishing Your Book

3 Habits that Can Block You from Self-Publishing Your Book & Tips for Overcoming Them

Guest post by Jill Bennett

(image credit: webstandardssherpa.com)

(image credit: webstandardssherpa.com)

Self-publishing is taxing. Although it doesn’t necessarily entail going solo, the self-published author is usually saddled with work that doesn’t even involve writing.

As an author, you may have to oversee other aspects involved in the publishing process. For instance, you may have to design your own book cover or perhaps discuss its concept with your designer. Also, you may have to research on marketing techniques or sales strategies. You might even have to do the promotions yourself. The heavy work load might be a bit discouraging, but do know that there’s no shortcut to success.

If you really want to publish and get great sales, then work well to accomplish your tasks. From time to time, we tend to fall into bad habits that can ultimately prevent us from achieving success. The following are three habits that are toxic and must be avoided at all costs.

  1. Procrastination

Nothing good ever comes as a result of procrastination, but most of the time nothing gets even produced because of it. Remember that procrastination won’t magically get your work done. Once you have snapped out of it, your work will still be waiting for you. So, if you really want to achieve success, start becoming more productive.

Here are some tips to overcome procrastination:

  • Establish a reward system.

Once you have accomplished your tasks, you can do yourself a favor and reward yourself with a box of pizza or ice cream. Reward yourself with your favorite food or any recreational activity you want to indulge in. However, don’t overindulge. Remember, you still have work to do!

  • Get organized. Schedule your tasks.

A to-do list will allow you to see the effort you need to exert to achieve your goals. Accomplishing/ticking off each task in your planner will make you feel better or somewhat closer to achieving your goal.

  • A little bit of work every day.

Sometimes, we have this tendency to stress over what needs to be done that we end up doing nothing at all. Knowing that we have a lot of work to do usually leads us to procrastination. Eventually, procrastination causes stress to build up, which makes work even harder. Instead of seeing self-publishing as your passion or your dream, it becomes work – less interesting, stressful, demanding, etc. The key to lessening stress build-up is to work a little bit every day. You don’t need to do everything at once. For instance, you can alternate writing and editing days. You can write a chapter today, then edit that part tomorrow.

  1. Perfectionism

There’s nothing wrong with wanting the best. Essentially, high-quality content will get you great sales. However, there’s a downside to your unquenchable search for perfection.

These are the cons of being a perfectionist:

  • Lessens efficiency
  • Lessens effectiveness

The never-ending revisions won’t get you to publish your work. Adding more or new things might sound like an improvement, but sometimes, it really isn’t. After all the revisions, you might even end up with what you initially made, which only delays you from publishing. The ‘additions’ you worked on might not be beneficial for your work. Remember that you don’t have to overwrite to impress your audience. Although ‘show, don’t tell’ is canon, writing too much detail can be unnecessary. You don’t have to tell your readers every building, tree, or person your protagonist comes in contact with whilst going home unless they play a major part in your story.

If you’re notorious for being a perfectionist, heed these tips to improve that work process:

  • Set deadlines.

This will prevent you from obsessing on editing your book. Moreover, this will also help you solve your procrastination problem.

  • Take breaks.

Once you’re tired, it becomes harder to focus. Don’t sacrifice your work’s quality just so you can get things done. So, take a break. There’s no harm in that.

  • Know your priorities.

As a writer, your strong suit is writing. Graphic design or marketing might not be yours. If you’ve got a team to help you out with your self-publishing endeavors, then trust them. Allow them to do their work.

  1. Indecision

When we’re afraid of failure, we tend to struggle with decision-making. Once you’re consumed with making the right choice, your decisions tend to fluctuate because you have no idea which is the right one. Indecision could also lead to inaction. Over thinking your decisions will only delay you from finishing your book.

If you are hindered by this awful habit, here’s some advice to overcome it:

  • Don’t be afraid of failure.

All the great names in businesses or professions have become what they are because they have failed at some point. They learned from their mistakes and they grew. Know that your mistakes can help you improve too.

  • Do your research.

Be familiar with your options. Moreover, be familiar with your market. Be familiar with the current trends or your audience’s inclinations, so you won’t have trouble making a decision. For instance, if your target audience is the young adult community, you could focus marketing your book in popular social networks used by young adults.

You must always be on the lookout for these three bad habits. Avoid them while you can. Once you see yourself indulging on these nasty habits, do what you can to stop it. These habits will hinder you from achieving your dreams. Focus on your goal and work for it!

—If you’ve identified more terrible habits that need attention, please do share them with us.—







About the Author

JILL BENNETTs Profile PicJill Bennett a marketing specialist of LitFire Publishing, a company based in Atlanta, Georgia. For the past six years, she’s been working with several self-publishing authors in terms of book marketing, publicity and distribution.

Thanks for stopping by, friends.
Jill and I would love to hear from you! ~ Bette A. Stevens
(Comments Section Below)

[Back to Bette’s Blog]


Writing Advice From Stephen King

Bette A. Stevens:

If you haven’t read ON WRITING by Stephen King, you’re not only missing out on a great story, you’re missing some great advice as well. Happy Reading & Writing! :) Bette A. Stevens at http://www.4writersandreaders.com

Originally posted on Jens Thoughts:

I found this and absolutely had to share!


Keep writing!

Until Next Time…

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How to Write a Book Review

Bette A. Stevens:

READERS: Read a great book, but don’t know how to thank the author? This post makes it easy by making writing a book review easy. Helpful hints for readers on how to write a book review! ~ Bette A. Stevens http://www.4writersandreaders.com

Originally posted on Susan Finlay Writes:

Before I became an author, I never wrote book reviews on Amazon. It never occurred to me that I should. I would read them, but I didn’t think it was my duty (or right) to write them. Since then, I’ve written numerous reviews. My husband has, too. What I’ve come to realize is that authors and readers need book reviews from all kinds of readers, not just from professional reviewers.

Authors look for reviews because they are putting their books out there to be read, and they long for feedback. They want to know that people aren’t only buying the books, but are actually reading them. Reviews also help the author (usually) because they help potential readers make a decision to give the book a chance.

I’ll give you an example: I recently got a Kindle Fire and started browsing for books on Amazon. That’s an eye-opening experience. The first…

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Guest Post by Charles E. Yallowitz: What I’ve Learned

Great advice, Charles. thanks. Also, thanks for all you do to help authors like me. Best to you, my friend. Sharing! ~ Bette A. Stevens


Author Lisa Mauro Shares Time Management Tips + Giveaway!


Lisa Mauro, author of  The Places We Went to Yesterday


I’d like to thank today’s host, author Bette A. Stevens at 4writersandreaders blog for hosting, and 4Wills Publishing for organizing this amazing opportunity. I hope you all enjoy the tour!

One of the things I’m often asked—from both writers and non-writers alike—is how I manage my time. “You’re all over the place,” I’ll hear, “how do you do it all?” By day, I’m a pharmaceutical consultant with hours that vary greatly and by night, I’m everything else. That everything else includes being a girlfriend, an aunt raising a teenager, a writer, a reviewer, a singer, a photographer, a Board member for The Women Fiction Writers Association, an active member of Rave Review Book Club and a host of other oddball hats I tend to wear.

Well, I’m here to tell you that there’s not really a secret to it. We’re all given the same number of hours in a day, right? It all boils down to how effectively you do what you do. So then the question becomes “How can I do things better?” Here are some of my tips:

Answer Those Emails

I’ve read countless articles on time management, and most advise that you should allocate one or two times a day only to respond to emails. I tried that and all it did was make responding to emails even more overwhelming. By only setting time aside once or twice a day, you run the risk of not responding to things in a timely manner.

Instead, I stay logged into my primary email (I have multiple accounts) as long as I’m in work mode and respond to emails as they come in. I’ve set up labels in Gmail and I prioritize items as they arrive. For instance, I’m currently working on a launch project for the Writers Association, so those emails get answered above just about anything else. As soon as I’ve responded, I apply the label and move them out of the view of my inbox. I only keep things that need my attention in my main view; everything else is filed.

Also, remember that not every email needs a response. If something is sent just to notify you and doesn’t require an action, file it immediately so it’s not getting in the way of the things you actually need to get done.

Learn Those Programs

Having spent “A Very Long Time” as an administrative assistant, I had a lot of time to get familiar with MS Office. Because of this, I’m now an expert of sorts in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, One Note and Access. All of these have their pros and cons, but they’ve made my life so much easier. I use Word for my writing (versus a program like Scrivener) because it’s so straightforward and I’ve learned the shortcuts. I use Excel to track sales and build ROI models for my promos. One Note is where I keep my project ideas. And believe it or not, my first stab at making my own book trailer was done in PowerPoint. They’re an integrated system and I’ve found that taking the time to master them has drastically increased my efficiency.

Be Honest With Yourself

If you’re not a morning person, then don’t try to set goals or schedule the important stuff in that time frame. This might sound like silly advice, but I know so many people who try to force themselves into a pattern that isn’t conducive to their own biological clock. And in the long run, it doesn’t work.

I am a morning person, so I try to get at least a half hour of writing done in the morning. During the weekday, that’s all I can spare. On weekends, that usually expands to no less than four hours. But the important thing for me is that I have a quiet time set aside to do it. By the evening, I can’t focus on the things that require the creative side of my brain, so I use that time to work on promotional plans and plow through my read/review list.

Go on Autopilot

This is probably going to sound crazy, but I eat the same exact thing for breakfast and lunch on weekdays. Not having to stand in the cafeteria, faced with overwhelming choices and struggling to make a decision means that I can get in, get out and get fed as quickly as possible. If the idea of this bores you to death, then narrow it down to a few items so you’ll still save time making the decision. Also, I don’t bother making elaborate meals anymore unless I’m entertaining. Dinner is something quick or made in the crock pot. I’d rather invest that time elsewhere.

Batch Similar Tasks

I try to batch similar tasks. For instance, I’ll block time specifically for writing and I try not to have to switch to something analytical immediately afterwards. Since I have a long commute, I try to do the majority of my calls in the car – whether they are work-related or simply connecting with friends. If I’m headed out for an errand, I try to do them all at once.

The exception to this—for me—is that I can be involved in social media throughout the day and still manage to deliver my other projects on time.

How Does It Actually Look?

When my consulting job falls into the 40-hour a week range, here’s how my week typically looks:

  Task/Item  Hours Per Week  Weekly                  Balance
  • Work
     40     128
  • Sleep
     56      72
  • Commute
     15      57
  • TV
     25      32
  • Writing (Novels)
     10      22
  • Writing (All others)
      5      17
  • Read/Reviews
      5      12
  • Music
      5        7
  • Photography
      2        5
  • Miscellaneous
      5        0

Now, there are weeks when my consulting schedule is more than 40 hours and I have to “steal” time from some other bucket. There are weeks when I don’t do photography at all. There are weeks when my time for music (i.e. practicing, etc.) is done during my commute to maximize the time. And yeah, I could spend less time watching television, but I don’t feel guilty about it because (a) we all need downtime and (b) I use the excuse that it helps me be a better writer and build more believable characters so really, it’s research, right? And sometimes, I’m reading such a great book that I take that time away from my “sleep” bucket. We’ve all been there.

At the end of the day, you’ve got to understand yourself and how/when you work best. Then create an environment in which you can thrive so you can get the most out of your time.

Author Bio:
Book Cover THE PLACE... by Lisa Mauro

Lisa Mauro is a novelist, blogger and pharmaceutical consultant.  She is the Secretary of the Board of The Women Fiction Writers Association.  The Place We Went to Yesterday is her first novel, published by Heartless Press.  She lives in Boston, MA with her better half, Brian, and an obnoxiously cute kitten, Harper.

Author Links:

4WillsPublishing Links:

banner 4WillsPublishing HOST“This tour sponsored by 4WillsPublishing.wordpress.com.”



Stephen King’s Top 20 Rules for Writers

Bette A. Stevens:

Awesome advice from one of the greats! ~ Bette A. Stevens

Originally posted on Jens Thoughts:

CA: Premiere Of Paramounts' Remake Of "The Manchurian Candidate" - ArrivalsWant to know what Stephen King says about writing?

1. First write for yourself, and then worry about the audience. “When you write a story, you’re telling yourself the story. When you rewrite, your main job is taking out all the things that are not the story.”

2. Don’t use passive voice. “Timid writers like passive verbs for the same reason that timid lovers like passive partners. The passive voice is safe.”

3. Avoid adverbs. “The adverb is not your friend.”

4. Avoid adverbs, especially after “he said” and “she said.”

5. But don’t obsess over perfect grammar. “The object of fiction isn’t grammatical correctness but to make the reader welcome and then tell a story.”

6. The magic is in you. “I’m convinced that fear is at the root of most bad writing.”

7. Read, read, read. ”If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time…

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#FREE help For #Authors

Bette A. Stevens:

Excellent writing and marketing tips for authors. ~ Bette A. Stevens at http://www.4writersandreaders.com

Originally posted on Rosie Amber:

It’s come to my attention that some of you lovely authors out there need a little help with reaching your audience.

2012_0622 rose for rosie smaller

Now I’m no professional in the matter, just a mad blogger who loves books, but this is what I’m seeing more and more of and it alarms me greatly.

When someone offers to help an author with some FREE publicity, some of you run for the hills in the opposite direction. “FREE that can’t possible be right! What’s the catch? What do I have to do? I haven’t got the time for that? It’s sounds scary, better not bother” Hands up if a bit of FREE publicity frightens you.

How many of you have a one page draft ready which can be used as a base for any publicity piece? All you need is a bit about yourself, where you’re from, when you started writing, what genres you write in…

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22 tips from Stephen King

king_fearGreat advice on writing from The King! ~ Thank you, Kim Hooper. Reblogged on http://www.4writersandreaders

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