Category Archives: Writing

New Book a-Borning…

Okay, okay…let’s face it: I can’t resist writing things.

Selling them? Well…if I could sell, I’d be living high off the hog from proceeds of used car sales. Or some such.

Here’s what’s up: a new idea for a book combined with new determination to do a halfway decent job of selling it.

smoking-coverThe magnum opus: The Complete Writer: The Ultimate Guide to Writing, Publishing, and Living the Writer’s Life. It is, in a word, encyclopedic. The thing covers short form and long form, fiction and nonfiction, print and Web…you name it.

The marketing plan: Different.

My idea is not to try to market the book on Amazon at all. Well…it’ll have a presence in the form of a Kindle bookoid. If a few people buy it there, fine. Mostly, though, I’d like customers to buy the book direct from me: from this website.

But by and large the strategy will emphasize face-to-face marketing: presentations, seminars, dog-and-pony shows, radio shows, podcasts, interviews…whatEVER. When I go to speak to a group in person, I’ll bring a few hard copies to sell — and of course handouts with links to the Plain & Simple Press website. If an organization gives me a speaker’s fee, then its attendees (within reason) will get the book for free.

Paypal can be set up on a website to accept payment for digital and print orders. And it’s easy enough to download a Kindle or ePub book into your reading device — I’ll publish instructions to make this easy.

I’ll also sell hard copies, either in person or from Plain & Simple books. And I’ll try to peddle the thing to libraries.

There are a surprising number of venues for public speaking, including 87 gerjillion small business networking groups, whose members are constantly trolling for new blood in the form of speakers. Podcasts are pretty promising, too.

Before I actually make the thing available to the public, I’m going to do a little hustling up front. Make arrangements for speaking events, get on some podcasts, invite myself to radio shows, pitch stories or columns to business publications on tangentially related topics.

Ancillary to the project: I’m not getting in a big slobbering hurry to do this. I’m going to take my time figuring out what needs to be done, meeting and schmoozing with people, getting things set up in advance, planning give-aways, laying groundwork. Then when the thing finally goes online, a whole series of pitches will already be set up and ready to go. Instead of thrashing around trying to figure out what might work and how to do it, I’ll have already figured that out. And the groundwork will be laid.

Ideally, one would hire a marketing agent. Alas, though, I can’t afford such a creature. And…it’s easy enough to see that fellow scribblers in the West Valley Writers Workshop — a marketing group for writers — are making sales on their own, without benefit of expensive hired guns.

A slower pace and a more carefully considered, focused strategy will make it easier to handle the little crises that naturally arise every time you try to do anything you want to do (as opposed to all the things you have to do). Whether or not it sells books, that’s going to make life a lot easier.

🙂

Writers: Please Don’t Do These Things…

New client emailed that the author of one article accepted for her employer’s latest anthology (employer is an academic press) has entered a section break at the bottom of every page.

Understand, these articles run upwards of 35 pages.

Not only that, but he entered random paragraph breaks all over the  place — in the middle of grafs.

Before she can send it to us for copyediting and documentation formatting, she has to go through the entire damn thing and remove every section break and every irrational paragraph break; then go through and correct the paragraph formatting and presumably try to figure out what the correct pagination is supposed to be.

Dollars do donuts the guy entered those section breaks in an attempt to force do-it-yourself footnotes to fit at the bottom of the pages. If so, when she deletes them, she will generate a Mess for the Ages.

Why do people do that? And who can second-guess such silliness?

Don’t enter wacky commands in Word. If you don’t know how to make Word do what you want it to do, either take a course in using Word or hire someone who does know how to use Word.

Please, dear authors…

Don’t…

Enter superscript letters and try to manually stick footnotes at the bottom of the page or at the end of the MS as endnotes.

Do…

Use Word’s footnoting function: Insert > Footnote
This function will allow you to select footnotes or endnotes, as desired.

footnote

Don’t…

Enter a hard tab (i.e., press the tab key) at the beginning of every paragraph.

Do…

Format your paragraphs so the first line is automatically indented: Format > Paragraph > Special. In this menu, select “First Line.” Word will default to indent 1/2 inch, but you can change that if you wish  (in the pulldown menu next to “First Line” that says “By…”).

Don’t…

Create hanging indents in your References section by hitting a the return key at the end of each line and hitting the tab key at the beginning of each subsequent line.

hangingindent

Do…

Select “hanging indent”  in Word’s paragraph formatting function: Format > Paragraph > Indents and Spacing > Special > hanging.

functionhangingindent

Don’t…

Hit the space bar twice after every period, question mark, exclamation point, colon, or anything else you can dream up.

Do…

Enter one (1) space after punctuation. A word processor is not a typewriter; with word processors we only enter a single space after all those punctuation marks. Typewriters used nonproportional spacing, and typists learned to enter two spaces after periods and the like to make it easier to see the ends and beginnings of sentences. Word processors allow you to typeset copy; typesetting does not place two spaces after punctuation.

Don’t…

Don’t EVER hit the “space” bar over and over to enter an indent, either at the beginning of a paragraph or to line up numbers in a column.

indent

If you do this, I personally will wring your neck.

And Don’t…

Use the space key or the space and tab keys to line up numbers or blocks of copy in columns or on a page.

No attempt to align numbers

list-2Attempt to align with spaces.
These will squirrel around…
Trust me!

Do…

Use the Table function to align numbers.

list-3Numbers & copy aligned in a table

list-4

How they’ll look in print
or with the table grid turned off.
These figures will stay put!

Don’t…

Use Turabian for your documentation unless specifically asked to do so by your publishers.

Some schools encourage students to use Turabian for theses and dissertations. Real publioshers do not use Turabian. They use MLA, APA, or Chicago style, or they use a style manual specific to their academic discipline.

Turabian, as Purdue notes, “follows the two CMS [Chicago Manual of Style] patterns of documentation but offers slight modifications suited to student texts.”

When you use Turabian, some wretched editor has to waste time searching out and correcting every one of those “slight modifications.” Please. Get it right to start with.

Do…

Determine what style manual your publisher uses and do likewise. If you’re an academic writer, buy the style manual appropriate to your discipline. If you contribute to or write books, buy a copy of the Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition. If you’re a wannabe magazine writer, buy a copy of the Associated Press Stylebook.

Whichever manual is appropriate to your job, use  it!

Don’t…

Include items in your “References” or “Works Cited” section that are not cited as sources in text. An article or book chapter is not a Ph.D. dissertation: you’re not trying to prove how widely read you are to some committee.

Do…

In your “References” or “Works Cited, include only the sources you’ve cited in the body of your text. If you want to include a complete bibliography in your book, don’t call it “References.” Try “Bibliography”or “Recommended Reading” instead.

One could go on and on. Unfortunately, though, I have work to do.  Please don’t make extra work for me! Learn to use your word processor as a word processor. If that’s beyond your ken or you just don’t have time to fiddle with it, hire a virtual assistant to type your final manuscript before submitting it to an editor.

♥

Managing the Creative Workload

Tame your to-do list with this one simple productivity hack. Especially great for writers and other creative entrepreneurs.Creative workers, especially those of us who are self-employed, often find ourselves trying to cope with a workload that entails tackling too darned many things at once. Managing this workload can be a real challenge.

Normally, I organize my workdays and keep more or less on track by using to-do lists posted on white-boards, one hanging in the office and the other on the door that leads out to where the car awaits.

Of late, though, these have served more to discourage than to help get work done.

Listing all the tasks that need to be done today leads one to try to accomplish 87 gerjillion things on deadline. And that is untenable.

Overload and the To-Do List

The other day I happened upon another approach.

What if you didn’t set yourself a slew of tasks, but instead aimed to get just one important thing done during the day? That would free up the day to do things you would like to do (as opposed to have to do). And accomplishing one thing a day would mean five goals would get done during a week.

Five things accomplished in a week is a whole lot more than zero things accomplished in a week.

Does your to-do list have everything on it? This productivity hack can help you manage the creative workload.So this Monday I set out to do the following:

  • Start building a Goodreads presence, somehow
  • Proofread 30 Pounds page proofs; order 20  hard copies to fulfill orders
  • Meet with client; work on his book
  • Post another racy book
  • Plug the latest Fire-Rider collection; update websites accordingly.

Five chores. It’s Thursday, and I’ve accomplished four of them.

I resisted listing any daily to-do chores. The goal was to get through five projects in a week.

Amazing Results

Without the nagging pressure of a horde of tasks waiting in the wings, I found myself focusing on a given project for longer periods and with fewer self-imposed interruptions. The result: I got through a lot of work, including some unplanned extra chores for a client. This spun off quite a few other small chores that also got done…so in fact, more than five things have been accomplished this week — and it’s not Friday yet.

Effectively what has happened is that setting fewer goals has meant more things got done! Many, many more things.

The Take-Away Message

Focusing on the bigger picture makes it easier to get moving, and five things to do in a week are less discouraging than ten in a day.

And if one strategy isn’t working, try something different. Even if it’s a tried-and-true strategy, sometimes changing gears (or getting a little assistance!) can make a big difference.

The Copyeditor's Desk, Inc.

The Copyeditor’s Desk, Inc.

We specialize in editing business, academic, and technical writing and provide editorial, ghostwriting, and indexing services. We’d be happy to take that work off your plate so you can focus on the most important items on your to-do list — things that only you can do. To learn more about our services, please click here.

To-Do Image: DepositPhotos, © iqoncept

How to Summon the Muse?

A student in one of my magazine writing courses once tried to write an article on “How to Summon the Muse.” It was an ambitious effort. Her target audience consisted of musicians. She proposed to write for a musicians’ trade publication.

Is it possible to summon the muse? Here's practical advice for harnessing the artistic impulse and turning it into a writing career.The young woman, being very young indeed (possibly even an advanced high-school student), fell far short of her goal. This small calamity led to the following advice:

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Summoning the Muse is a difficult subject to write about. The artistic impulse is a subtle psychological thing, and finding ways to harness it and direct it into a career – whether or not it’s a career that earns enough to support the artist – is something that’s been argued about for generations. Really, “finding one’s Muse” may depend solely on the individual.

Because of the subject’s difficulty, or maybe because of its subjectivity, you end up with a pretty vague discussion, when for a how-to piece what you need is a number of very specific practical steps or pieces of advice.

I don’t know how musicians work. I am a writer, though, and I can tell you how writers work:

The key is to sit down and write. Every day. Doesn’t matter what you write or who you write it for. Whether you’re doing paying work or whether you’re filling a journal or writing a blog or sending letters to your friends, you need to spend a certain amount of time, every day, working and consciously improving your art. It’s not something you can do sporadically, off and on, and hope to develop to a professional level.

That’s probably true for musicians. It’s probably true for visual artists. In all three varieties of art, you have to develop skills and style through study and practice.

I imagine a musician first needs to learn music theory and to play an instrument. From there the person presumably would have to go on to regular, daily practice with attention to improving specific skills and to developing a personal style.

So in addition to “spend at least an hour every day on your art,” what else could one say?

• Learn as much about it as you can: learn technique, style, materials, tools, instruments. Take formal coursework, and also study on your own. Listen to (in the writing department, that translates to “read”) the best in the business, pay attention to what makes them good, and try to do that.

• Stay away from amateurs. Try to apprentice yourself to or take formal training from professionals. In general, “writer’s groups” amount to the blind leading the blind. Presumably something similar applies to people who want to develop in other kinds of art.

• Get paying work, either on a freelance basis or, if at all possible, in a salaried job in an industry that uses your skills (for writers, that would be publishing houses, magazines, newspapers, or public relations agencies or departments; for musicians, presumably working in some aspect of the music industry or as a music director for a religious institution).

• Engineer periods of time without distraction, and use that time for practicing or performing your art.

• Get enough rest and eat well. A rested mind is better able to perform when the Muse does visit.

• Refrain from using drugs and alcohol to excess. A clouded mind produces clouded art.

• Develop a stainless-steel ego. Rejection is part of the job; learn to move past discouraging moments and continue on your way.

These are the kinds of tips that would go into an article of this sort: very specific and highly pragmatic. To develop them into an article, you’d need to provide an example or two to illustrate each tip, or at least most of them.

As you can see, pouring your idea into such crude mugs would be difficult.

Muse reading in the LouvreThe concept of the Muse, an idea the ancient Greeks invented, describes the mysterious psychological process that takes place when an artist brings unconscious thought processes into play with conscious skills and thinking to create something so new and so original that the artist herself wonders where on earth it came from.

This phenomenon is surprisingly common among writers. When I create fictional characters and put them in action – and when I’m really on a roll – I will come back to them days or weeks later and think, “I can’t even imagine where these people came from.” Often they’re unlike anyone I’ve ever met in real life. They’re figments of my imagination, but they come out as living, breathing human beings. That is the Muse in action.

But really, I couldn’t say how to bring that Muse around…other than to do your thing every day, and keep on doing it.

Scams for Every Writer…

It turns out there are scams for every writerPlus ça change… When I was a young journalist and book author often invited to speak at writers’ conferences, I observed that people who yearned more than anything on this earth to be Writers with a Capital W were subject to the most astonishing scams. In those days, it was harder to get yourself published. But if you couldn’t persuade a publishing house to take you on, you could pay a vanity press to print up your golden words, which would make you feel entitled to go around calling yourself a Writer. The fee was hefty. There were various fake literary agencies, too. Here a scam, there a scam, everywhere another scam.

But now, when anyone can “publish” by posting whatever they please on Amazon, publishing itself is a kind of scam. And it breeds scamlets like cats breed kittens. The entire book industry is overrun with scams.

At lunch the other day, a dear and talented friend, self-publisher of an urban fantasy that’s been getting good reviews and selling reasonably well, reported that she’d found a place where you could sign up to get free reviews. And hallelujah, sister! You could enter your gilded book in a CONTEST! For a small fee… Reader’s Favorite, said she: one of her friends won first place in his book’s category. So worth it!

The entire book industry is overrun with scams. Writing scams to watch out for.

ding ding ding ding ding ding ding ding…. The old scam alarm went off inside the head. Where had I heard about WRITER’S CONTESTS with BIG PRIZES and PRESTIGE that cost just a few bucks to enter your book? Yeah…that one is old as the hills.

A little snooping around on Google, that treasure chest for cynics, brought up this rumination from Writers Beware, one of  my favorite no-bullshit sites. As you might expect from a hustle that’s been around for so many years, there’s now a vast panoply of “contests” that will put you in the running for “awards,” in exchange for fees. Once you’ve won a Reader’s Favorite “award,” you get to spend more money flying to Florida, home of and grist for the mill of the inimitable Carl Hiassen, and you’ll have even more opportunities to spend money on any number of bits and pieces of merchandise.

These profiteering “contests” are only one of many types of grift aimed at wannabe writers. Really, e-book publishing itself is exactly that: a form of vanity press that is free. Back in the Day, my feeling was that if you couldn’t persuade someone else to publish a book, it wasn’t worth publishing. Never in a zillion years would I have paid somebody to publish something I wrote: people paid me to write, not the other way around.

That, you see, is the definition of a professional writer.

Today the landscape has changed — publishing has been “disrupted,” we’re told. But how much it’s changed…well. That still remains to be seen, IMHO.

Out of curiosity, I’ve decided to try self-publishing on Amazon and waypoints. It’s free, after all. In a way.

But it’s not free, because marketing, when you get right down to it, is marketing. Advertising costs money. Navigating the shoals of the intricate and by and large opaque social media platforms requires a professional. Professional social media marketers cost money. If you have half a brain and no real-world publications experience, you will hire an editor to advise on the book’s quality and to copyedit, and you’ll hire a graphic artist to design your cover. Graphic artists cost money. If you’re not very techie and your book contains even slightly more complexity than a table of contents and a few chapter headings, you will need to hire an e-book formatter. E-book formatting costs money. If you wish to publish your book in print, you will need the graphic artist to redesign your cover to accommodate a back cover and spine. Graphic artists cost money…again. And you will need a graphic artist or a template to lay out the interior content. Graphic artists cost money…again. Alternatively, book layout templates cost money. Then you will need to print the thing. Printers cost money.

Writers beware: There are plenty of scams out there that will part you from your money. What to watch out for as a writer.So it goes, our brave new world of publishing. It is a huge, profitable scam, and Amazon has effectively opened that scam to everyone on earth, by hobbling the gatekeepers and making it seem easy and cheap to go around them.

So I was curious to see if an ordinary Joe or Jane could make money a-publishing on Amazon. The answer? Probably not.

Well. I’m making a few dollars. But certainly not enough to add up to a net profit. Far from enough to break even.

Not for lack of quality: FireRider has five-star reviews. Not for lack of interest: 30 Pounds sold 12 copies in just 15 minutes one evening. Not for lack of popular appeal: pornography of the sort we’re emitting through Camptown Races Press is eternally popular — and, if you believe the sites that claim to list pirated works that you can peruse for a “subscription fee” (w00t! a NEW scam!) — it’s going great guns among those who share stolen copy for free.

And bear in mind, in the past I’ve written one of William Morrow’s top best-sellers, and I still get the occasional royalty, 20+ years later, from my textbook. I do know how to write a salable book.

So…yeah. If what you want is a hobby, then by all means publish your scribblings on Amazon and Smashwords. But that’s how you need to look at it: as a hobby. If you make some money on it, bully for you. But you probably won’t, and you should absolutely keep that probability foremost in your mind.

And beware the frumious bandersnatch, my friends: the scammer that inhabits the Internet in legions. As Chris Symes says over at Writers Beware, there are a few legitimate services and vendors that truly can help you — and Chris lists them. But most of it? Snake oil.

Watch your back, little wannabe writer…

Image: DepositPhotos © Nicolae

How Do You Make Time for Writing?

Tips to help make writing a priority when life is busy.A while back, New York Times editorialist David Brooks held forth on the daily habits of famous writers, the implication being that if you want to be a famous writer (or even an infamous writer), you would be well advised to establish a regular schedule that devotes a set period to the work. Or, if you prefer, to The Work.

Plumbing the depths of Mason Currey’s book, Daily Rituals: How Artists Work, Brooks reports that Maya Angelou arose each morning at 5:30, had coffee at 6:00, and then would set off at 6:30 to a hotel room she rented as a kind of office. There she would write from 7:00 a.m. to 12:30 or 2:00 p.m.

Anthony Trollope, on the other hand, would set a goal of 2,500 words a day, to be accomplished at the rate of 250 words every 15 minutes.

The examples are a little extreme. But the fact is, if you want to become a Writer with a Capital W, the number-one thing you have to do is apply the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair. And you can’t do that when you’re trying to accommodate other people’s schedules or working around all the “I’d better get this done first” demands you set for yourself.

Some years ago, my department at Arizona State University brought a speaker to advise about strategies to help crank out the articles and books required to achieve tenure and, once tenured, to manage promotion to full professor.

He suggested we carve out a small window of time three times a week in which all we would do is work on the writing project. We did not have to write. We could research. We could plan. We could outline. We could just think. But whatever it was, it had to be related to the project at hand.

The time didn’t have to be long: even fifteen or twenty minutes. A half an hour would be good. An hour at most. Over time, you might extend it to a couple of hours. But don’t overdo it, he said. In any event, limit the time to a specific period, scheduled for a limited number of days per week.

This strategy has several advantages:

1. It allows you to keep the spouse and the kids at bay. If they know that at a certain time you’ll be at their beck and call, they’re more likely to leave you alone for the time you’ve set aside.

2. Three hours a week, while not much, is three hours more than you would work on your project otherwise.

3. You can work up from a half-hour or an hour to an hour or two, giving yourself six or more hours a week — again, time you wouldn’t otherwise spend on writing.

4. Working regularly on creative work primes the creative pump. Weirdly, when you work a short time on a creative project, set it aside, and come back to it, you find yourself coming up with all sorts of new ideas. As Brooks puts it, “order and discipline are the prerequisites for creativity and daring.”

All of it is easier said than done, especially if you’re self-employed.

Obviously, if you have a regular job, you can find regular times in which to work: 5:30 to 6:30 a.m., before you have to get the kids out of the sack and yourself ready to go; or 10:30 to 11:30 p.m., after the kiddies are put to bed and the dishes are washed.

By contrast, when you’re self-employed work comes in irregularly and deadlines can be erratic. Sometimes you need to put in 14+ hours a day to get the job done. New tasks come in, clients get squirrelly, new business must be hustled, meetings must be met.

When on earth do you find time to do your own thing?

Well, you don’t find it. You have to make it. Got a 14-hour day? Either add another hour or two for your writing schemes, or make Tuesday a 16-hour workday so as to break free an hour or two on Wednesday.

Personally, as contract editor, I tend to prioritize my creative work over my clients’ work. At some point, I decided I get to have some time of my own to do what I want to do. Selfish, yes. But creativity demands a certain degree of ego.

Up at 5:30: answer the e-mail.

6:00 to 7:30: Write. Or at least think through the project.

6:30 or 7:30: Walk one to two miles with dogs, if weather permits. If not, continue writing.

7:30 to 8:30: Breakfast, coffee, read paper.

8:30 to around 2:00 p.m.: paying work.

2:00 to 3:00 p.m.: Prepare and enjoy full dinner-type meal.

3:00 to 4:00 p.m.: Rest and regroup. Take time to think about creative work, characterization, action, or organization and approach to nonfiction or editing projects in hand.

4:00 p.m. to 6:00 or 7:00 p.m.: Write. Answer e-mail.

7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.: Paying work (or, as time permits, writing). Spend part of this time blogging (Funny about Money, MyCorgi.com) while ogling Netflix.

10:00 or 11:00 p.m.: Walk dogs, if it was too hot to take them out in the morning.

What it boils down to? If you wanna be a Writer, you’ve gotta work. If you’re gonna work, you need to make time to work.

How do you carve out writing time from your busy, distracted life?

Image: Shutterstock © Sergey Nivens 

Self-Publishing: Why It Doesn’t Work

Should you self-publish your book? It depends. Here are some things to be aware of if you're thinking of self-publishing.Know how to get a small fortune?

Start with a large fortune and publish a book.

Nyuk nyuk! That old chestnut wouldn’t be so funny if it weren’t so true. As a practical matter, most people make nothing on self-published books. They soon find their magnum opus interests no one but themselves, and the whole project turns into an expensive hobby.

Right now I have a pricey Facebook Ads campaign plus several other efforts en train, by way of peddling one of the 48 books and bookoids my two imprints have online at Amazon. It’s been going on since January and we have sold exactly zero (yes, that’s 0.00) copies of the book.  Not for lack of trying: serial versions have earned five-star reviews.

The books that are selling — the smut published through Camptown Races — do not even come within shouting distance of breaking even on ad investment.

The cookbook sold smartly to a group of friends but in the wide world has sold just a few copies.

Yesterday as I took a break from hour after hour after crushing hour of recovering a 325-page Word file that corrupted for reasons unknown, I reflected on the reasons for this.

Books have never been easy to sell. Unless you have a platform from which to market them — a business with a broad reputation or one that does something relevant to the book’s subject matter — you will have to hustle madly to bring your book to anyone’s attention. That has ever been so, yea verily long before the Amazon disruption.

Amazon has made the marketing challenge infinitely more difficult. Without literary agents and publishing houses as gatekeepers, the market is now flooded with dreck and chaff. Not just flooded: we’re talkin’ tsunami here.

Readers know that about 80% to 90% of books offered on  Amazon and waypoints are junk or self-serving marketing tools. They also know, if they’re at all savvy, that they can acquire most of the stuff — and even some readable books — for free. So of course they’re not about to pay you enough to cover your time and skills. Not when they think they shouldn’t have to pay you anything at all.

So, the nature of the market has changed: not for the better, where people who write for a living are concerned.

Then we have the issues inherent to self-publishing that have always worked against independent writers: publishing a book or periodical and getting people to buy it requires a full staff of workers. It’s not something one little person working alone is likely to succeed with.

Every time I’ve published a book through a mainline publishing house — and I’ve published three of them, not counting the ones I’ve worked on for my employers or the ones my business has packaged for other publishers — I’ve worked with an acquisitions editor, a copyeditor, a layout artist, a proofreader, a marketer, and various secretaries and admins.

The first magazine I worked for had five editors, three graphic designers, four or five ad space sales staff, and a publisher whose job was to market the publication. The next magazine had three high-powered editors, a fact-checker, a photo editor, four graphic artists, a production director, and a marketing department. It also had a book division with its own editor and designers.

To make a self-published book fly, you need to do the work of all those specialists.

And you’re not a specialist. If you are, it’s as a writer, not as an artist, a marketer, a sales rep, an acquisitions editor, a production manager, a copyeditor, or a proofreader.

Because you’re an amateur at four out of five of the many jobs that need to be done to write, produce, and sell a book, your chances of success are almost nil. But even if you were expert in all those lines of work, you’re only one person: there’s no way you can do the work of five people and do it well.

That’s why you’re better off trying to sell your book idea or manuscript to a mainstream publisher. And it’s why, if you have a  lot of money to start with and are willing to subsidize your book project by hiring the talent needed to put it together and sell it, you’re likely to end up with a lot less money.

How to address this problem? In the next post, I’ve suggested ways self-published books can work in your favor. They’re not obvious: check them out!

Building Theme, Using Symbols

For authors, one of the most difficult aspects of fiction is handling a story’s theme in ways at once subtle and effective. It doesn’t do to push theme in the reader’s face. At Writers Plain & Simple, we explore the uses of theme in fiction and consider symbol as a tool for thematic development. Check it out!

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