Featured Blog Posts – February 2016 Archive (29)

Use Your Book Description to Show, Not Tell

Your book's description is a great way to grab a potential reader's attention, so you want to make the most of that opportunity by using language that shows readers what they're in for instead of language that tells them. In other words, if you think your book is funny, don't say that in your description. Instead, write a description that is funny!

That may sound like common sense, but I've lost track of how many…


Added by Maria Murnane on February 29, 2016 at 8:30am — 7 Comments

[SWP: Behind the Book] A Writer's Personal Journey

I wrote my first book in 1988. I had been a medical social worker for 9 years with no intention of writing anything but notes in charts. It became painfully obvious how anxious and scared my patients and their family members were. A lot of my time was spent helping them feel less frightened. I noticed along the way they felt more empowered. It occurred to me if they just knew the questions…


Added by Iris Waichler on February 29, 2016 at 7:00am — 9 Comments

[THE WRITER'S LIFE] How The Hell Would I Know?

I have been writing this column, The Writer’s Life, for about two and a half years. Over that time topics have included managing time, writing dreams, holding on to the passion, risks, sacrifice and managing time. (That one is big.) I chose these topics because a) they are pertinent and important to writers or b) because I was in a time crunch and they were the first things I could think of to write about with some aptitude. I will assure you however,…


Added by Cindy Eastman on February 28, 2016 at 9:30am — 5 Comments

Gifts for Your Favorite Writer Friend: 4 Perfect Apps for Writers

There are very few apps you need as a writer. As long as you can pour your heart and soul out on the page, whether paper or screen, you can write that novel that’s inside you.


That said, I’m a firm believer in using apps and programs for productivity boosts. The more words I write—and the better words I use—the more money I make. That’s why I put together this list of my favorite tools I discovered to help me write better and…


Added by Kathy Edens on February 26, 2016 at 9:30am — 5 Comments

[SWP: Behind the Book] Bad News/Good News from the Editor

You finally finish your first draft, despite the obstacles life has thrown at you—medical problems in the family, a wedding two thousand miles away, one last demand from a demanding client—and then what? You send the naked manuscript to a “development editor” and pray she can help you clothe it without your feeling too much shame. (A development editor looks at the structure of the work, not the words per se.) This is the first real test of whether or…


Added by Sheila Grinell on February 23, 2016 at 2:30pm — 8 Comments

Another Overuse Issue

In one of my previous writing tips, I discussed how distracting (and annoying) overusing certain gestures can be for your readers. The same can be said for overusing uncommon adjectives.

I recently finished a book in which the main character was described as "astonished" so frequently that I stopped reading and (once…


Added by Maria Murnane on February 22, 2016 at 9:30am — No Comments

[BREAKFAST WITH THE MUSE] The Blessings of Silence: Three Ways a Silent Practice Can Clarify, Strengthen, and Energize Your Writing

If you feel scattered, frazzled, and overwhelmed, a sure cure is a practice of silence.

Setting aside a regular time for silence can be challenging, but if you can find just ten minutes a day or an hour a week, silence will bring surprising benefits to your writing life. If you ever have the opportunity to take a silent retreat for a longer period of time, those benefits will multiple.

Creating a practice of silence means finding…


Added by Jill Jepson on February 22, 2016 at 9:30am — 6 Comments

6 Ways to Stay Creative as a Writer (When You’re a Parent)

Writers must write every day. That’s the mantra. Authors ranging from Ray Bradbury to Ernest Hemingway to Doris Lessing all propound the necessity of writing daily. But the thing is, writers are also humans, and many humans have an irksome desire to procreate. And those tiny humans that arrive into the writer’s well-constructed, disciplined, every day writing routine are selfishly indifferent to this…


Added by Lisa Lepki on February 22, 2016 at 4:30am — 2 Comments

11 Things You Need to Know When Writing a Memoir

I love memoirs. They are snapshots from a person’s life that give insight into who they were and how they became the person they are today.  My Grandpa Joe wrote down his life story – only about 3,000 words – and it was published locally in 1980 as part of a small collection of memoirs. It’s never going to win a Pulitzer but it allows our family to have a record of the places and people that…


Added by Lisa Lepki on February 22, 2016 at 4:30am — 4 Comments

Six Grammar Reminders for Journalism Majors and Authors

Just starting out with your manuscript? You're probably struggling with the insane amount of grammar and spelling rules while also crafting your story.

Below are six grammar reminders to help you along the way. Write these down and keep track of your progress - you can even create a grammar journal, if you want to stay ahead of the game. Most students struggle with these changes. If you’re one of them, you're not alone.

Let's get…


Added by Alina Tytarenko on February 22, 2016 at 4:00am — 3 Comments

The Five Major Rules of Journalistic Writing

If you're just starting out in the journalism major, you probably aren't familiar with the five major rules of journalistic writing. These are the golden rules; the ones that will follow you throughout your time in school and continue into your career. In fact, you probably won't get rid of them until long after you retire.

These laws are so ingrained in the curriculum of journalism…


Added by Alina Tytarenko on February 22, 2016 at 3:30am — 1 Comment

[SWP: Behind the Book] Getting Past Doubt and Back to Creativity


It takes courage to share your writing with the world because everyone has something to say, sometimes in ways that nurture, sometimes in ways that scorch.

Early in my writing days, I received some unexpected praise from a mentor-author. When I thanked him, he must have heard my embarrassment. He shot back, "As a writer, praise is rare, criticism abounds. So take my praise and enjoy it."

It wouldn't take long before…


Added by Irene Allison on February 19, 2016 at 3:00pm — 56 Comments

Lit Life | Time Management 101

One of the most common questions I am asked is ‘how do you keep up with everything?’ For a writer, it all comes down to time management. Don’t most of us wish there were more than 24 hours in a day? As much as I try my best to manage the time I have wisely, there is just never enough time in a day to get it all done.

What’s a writer to do? Prioritize. It’s easier said than done and many days I feel bad for having to move an item from today’s…


Added by Lori A. May on February 18, 2016 at 9:00am — 7 Comments

[SWP: Behind the Book] Writing Is Hard--But Not the Way You Think

As a federal lobbyist for twenty-five years, I had a great deal of experience advocating on paper:  speech-writing, congressional testimony, talking points, fact sheets and probably thousands of letters. I was a whiz at Dear Mr. President, Dear Senator and Dear Mr. Chairman. Those letters entailed stating the “ask” right up front, justifying it for two or three paragraphs with facts, then finishing by restating and stroking the addressee’s…


Added by Marcia Mabee on February 16, 2016 at 11:00am — 27 Comments

Two Easy Ways to Save Money in Your Book Promotion

I've said countless times in this blog that if you want to get people to read your book, you have to give away a lot of copies. To reviewers. To bloggers. To the editor of your college alumni magazine. To the women in your yoga class. To the guy who cuts your hair. To the people you meet at Starbucks. Basically to anyone and everyone you think might like the book enough to spread the word about it. 

That can be a lot of books. But you have to…


Added by Maria Murnane on February 16, 2016 at 8:30am — 5 Comments

[Body, Mind & Spirit] Don’t Take “No” for An Answer: Start Living Your Dreams Today!

Huge numbers of people show at jobs every day that they’re less than thrilled to be working. Some of us may be in that camp. Some not. But most creative writers, regardless of other jobs they have or work they do, are lucky to engage in work they love. Writing is a passion. We may not always love what we do, but writing is something we have to do. The late…


Added by Bella Mahaya Carter on February 14, 2016 at 12:30pm — 8 Comments

Lit Life | The Value of an Online Community

I’ve been a proud member of She Writes since the website launched in 2009. As a full-time writer, one who is often tucked away in my office from dusk ‘til dawn, I have come to rely on social media and online forums as a way to connect with others. I’m an extroverted introvert: when I am out in the world promoting books or attending writers’ conferences, you’d think I was a naturally sociable soul. That’s my ‘outside voice.’ More often, I spend…


Added by Lori A. May on February 14, 2016 at 8:30am — 5 Comments

Commercial vs. Literary Fiction

What is commercial fiction? The term gets thrown around a lot. Do you write “literary” fiction, or “commercial” fiction? As a writer, I hate this question. Labelling some kinds of fiction as commercial and others as literary implies that one is a higher calling than another. This question seems to be a…


Added by Caitlyn Levin on February 10, 2016 at 12:30pm — 14 Comments

Promote Your Book with Book Awards

Book award contests can be a great promotion tool for authors. When your book wins an award, you can promote yourself as an "award-winning author" and the book as an "award-winning book."

In addition, the award organizers often promote the winners and they usually provide some kind of a graphic (such as the one shown here) that you can use for promotional purposes.

For example, my book,…


Added by Dana Lynn Smith on February 10, 2016 at 6:00am — No Comments

Why Pronouns Are Important

Imagine you're at a cocktail party and someone tells a brief story about his friend Buddy. Chances are the storyteller will name Buddy just once and use "he" from there on because everyone listening to the story knows he's talking about Buddy. If the storyteller were to say, "Buddy did this, and then Buddy did that, and then Buddy went there," it would sound weird, right?

The same goes for books. Read the following two paragraphs out loud.…


Added by Maria Murnane on February 8, 2016 at 9:30am — 7 Comments

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