10 Ways to Avoid Embarrassing Mistakes in Your Emails

Have you ever written an email, pushed send, and then found an embarrassing mistake? Often you don’t see that misspelled word or insensitive phrasing until it’s too late, right?

Because I’m a professional editor and proofreader, my correspondence is held to a high standard. Even when the correspondence is personal instead of professional, it’s important to remember how easy it is for a recipient to misunderstand an email that isn’t clear and concise.

I’d love to share a few tricks I’ve learned that can save you from making those embarrassing gaffes in the first place: Continue reading “10 Ways to Avoid Embarrassing Mistakes in Your Emails”

Celebrate the 3rd Anniversary of THE MEMORY BOX with a $0.99 ebook and More Great News!

I’m squealing with excitement over here!

Three years ago writer Eva Lesko Natiello contacted me about editing her first novel. I took one look at the manuscript and I was IN!

I’ve written about The Memory Box here and here and here, and I hope you’ve had the opportunity to read it … but if you haven’t yet, here’s your chance: in celebration of the third anniversary of its debut you can get The Memory Box for just $0.99! And you’ll want to read it soon because  Continue reading “Celebrate the 3rd Anniversary of THE MEMORY BOX with a $0.99 ebook and More Great News!”

The Story Behind Alien Kid: Guest post by Kristen Otte

 

Today marks the long-awaited release of Alien Kid, the first book in Kristen Otte’s new series for middle-grade readers. I’ve invited Kristen (who also happens to be one of my favorite clients), to share a bit about how she came to write a series about an alien teenager.

Learn more about Kristen and her book at the end of the post.

I stumbled into writing kids’ books a few years ago, and I discovered a love for creating books that made kids laugh.

When I published the final book in The Adventures of Zelda series, I knew I wanted to write another kids’ book series, but I didn’t know what.

In the fall of 2016, amid a job transition with my husband and caring for a new little guy in our house, I felt the itch to start a new writing project. Without the time or bandwidth to write quite yet, I decided to do some research on the kids’ book market. I went to the local library, talked with the children’s librarian, and checked out the books she said were the most popular. For the most part, I knew many of those books and series.

Over the next few weeks, I read through the books and found myself disappointed in what I was reading. The books were funny, but often at the expense of a kid in the story. I often didn’t like the main characters in these books because of their bad attitudes or disrespect toward teachers, siblings, and even parents. Continue reading “The Story Behind Alien Kid: Guest post by Kristen Otte”

I’m a Featured Contributor at Sixty and Me

I’m excited to announce my selection as a featured contributor for Sixty and Me. This online community of more than 350,000 women over 60 connects women who want to live happy, healthy, and financially secure lives and  provides “ideas for turning passions into profitable work, share ways to build strong bodies and minds, and to create a mindset that sees life after sixty as a positive, vibrant, and active time.”

 

“But I’m not 60—not even close,” you say?

 

That’s okay—you’ll love many of the article anyway. For example, I’ve written about ways to get your book published, overcoming childhood fears, and snacks to help you sleep at night … and future articles I plan to write will appeal to every age. Continue reading “I’m a Featured Contributor at Sixty and Me”

Call Me, Ismael: #LiteraryTypos on Twitter

Twitter’s trending topics is enjoying a resurgence of #literarytypos, an exercise in changing a letter or two in the title or well-known line of a famous book to create a groan-worthy variation. If you haven’t already done so, join the fun over at Twitter—or better yet, add your own in the comments below!

Some of my favorite literary typos:

 @Face4Audio

“Call me, Ishmael.”

 @AynAyahSteenkur

Vanity Hair

 @baskerville_mr

The Wine in the Willows

Continue reading “Call Me, Ismael: #LiteraryTypos on Twitter”

Crossing Over: Making Peace with Self-Publishing/ Guest Post by Maureen Anderson

“If you knew the world was going to end in two days, what would you do?” the writer Sara Davidson was once asked. “Take notes,” she said without hesitating.

That’s me. The world as I knew it had ended, with a painful divorce I hadn’t seen coming, and I’d done what I’d always done to make sense of things. I took notes.

Many years later, perusing those notes, I could never pull myself away. “What a great story,” I kept thinking. “What an interesting way of putting a life back together from scratch.” By then I’d become a radio journalist, interviewing experts on career change. What struck me, thinking of my own career transition, was how much I’d accidentally done right.

Do-Over: An Accidental Template for Scaling the Abyss is that story. But I wasn’t a licensed career counselor or a celebrity. Getting an agent or a publisher interested in Do-Over would be a haul. Continue reading “Crossing Over: Making Peace with Self-Publishing/ Guest Post by Maureen Anderson”

Are You Afraid to Call Yourself a Writer? My Radio Interview at Doing What Works!

© Piren | Dreamstime.com – On Air Photo

Are you afraid you could never make a living by writing? Do you feel like an imposter when you call yourself a writer? In January I wrote a blog for SixtyandMe.com (which I later updated and posted here) about my fear that I couldn’t make a living as a writer.

That’s a topic many of you have written about; I’m not the only person who has hesitated to follow a dream.

The best comment I received, though, was from one of my editing clients, author and nationally syndicated radio personality Maureen Anderson, who wrote, “I love [your] piece! Would you like to join me on the show to expand on it? It would be a fun way to get to know each other in a different format.”

An Hour to Talk About Myself?

Continue reading “Are You Afraid to Call Yourself a Writer? My Radio Interview at Doing What Works!”

I Was Afraid to Be a Writer

Was there something you really, really wanted to do when you were younger, but you walked away from it because you didn’t think you could do it?

I wanted to be a writer. I loved to write. I mean, I LOVED it. I kept diaries; I had literally dozens of pen pals all over the world. I crafted short stories that I believed would someday win awards. Writing was in my blood.

I kept my dream of writing professionally to myself, but when I was in high school and exploring college programs, I floated the idea. “You can’t make a living that way,” advised my guidance counselor. “Why don’t you do that in your spare time?” suggested my parents. “Earn a degree in something that will pay the bills” was the message I received.

So I entered college with the intention of earning a business degree . . . and dropped out after almost two years and before attaining an Associate’s degree because I was tired of going to school. I wanted to get on with living my adult life. But I always regretted that decision, and twenty-five years later Continue reading “I Was Afraid to Be a Writer”

4 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your NaNoWriMo Manuscript

November is history, and so is NaNoWriMo 2016. If you’re like most NaNoWriMo participants, you’re pretty excited about ending November with 50,000 words—maybe you have the first draft of a novel, maybe only a third of a longer manuscript. Nevertheless, you’ve written a bodacious number of words in thirty days, and you’ve accomplished something pretty spectacular.

For thousands of would-be novelists, December means it’s time to start down the path to publishing.

Please don’t be one of those writers who rushes to publication. Instead, try these four ideas: Continue reading “4 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your NaNoWriMo Manuscript”

5 Tips for Getting a Book Published in Your 50s, 60s, or Beyond

Publishing contract

Is writing a memoir, novel, or self-help book on your bucket list? Does the thought of writing your story fill you with excitement? Whether you’ve been writing for years or are just beginning to nurture that kernel of creativity, your dream of seeing your name on the cover of a published book can become a reality.

Over 50 and wondering how to get a book published? Check out these 5 tips! Click To Tweet

Today it is easier than ever to make your publishing dream a reality. Whether you self publish or pursue traditional publishing, you need to think about more than just writing your story if you hope to be a successful published author.

Here are five tips for what you can and should do—beginning today—to build a following of loyal readers in the future.

1. Read. A lot.

The more you read, the more you’ll learn about the mechanics of writing, about story structure, about the standard conventions and what makes a compelling read in your genre.

If your heart is set on penning your own story, read some of the amazing memoirs that are currently on the market. Love a good romance novel? This is one of the bestselling genres today, but readers expect certain things to happen and will not be pleased if you don’t follow the “rules.”

If you plan to share your expertise in a subject you know like the back of your hand, your book will need to offer something unique. Read a variety of genres, but become an authority in the type of book you plan to write.

2. Create a Strong Author Platform

Your platform is everything you do as a writer that makes you attractive to a publisher. If you wait until your book is finished to begin building your platform, you’ll be too late. Publishing is a business, and unless your only goal for writing a book is to put it in a drawer when it’s finished, you need to approach your writing as a business too. A publisher wants to see evidence that you have the ability to sell books; a strong author platform is the ammunition you’ll need.

Begin building your platform now, so you’ll have an audience in place when your book is published. Think of platform building as a marathon, and spend a little time every week on platform-building activities in addition to writing your book.

Two surefire ways to jumpstart your author platform are to start a blog and engage in social media.

Blogging is an inexpensive way to connect with potential readers, improve your writing skills, and even test book concepts. Regardless of whether you write fiction or nonfiction, blogging is a powerful way to connect you with potential fans while experimenting with writing styles.

Engage in social media to connect with other writers, readers, and ultimately publishers. Choose the media you’ll actually use and enjoy; you don’t have to master every social media option out there. Remember that the key word is social, so focus on engagement and sharing, not just on self-promotion.

3. Join a Writers’ Group

Writing can be a lonely business, and joining a writers’ group—either in-person or online—is one way to combat isolation. New writers can find inspiration and feedback from more seasoned writers. There’s also a great deal of incentive to write when you’re expected to present each week—sometimes that’s just the push you need to sit down and write when you might not be in the mood.

4. Attend a Writers’ Conference

Writers’ conferences are crucial to your writing and publishing education. Not only will you learn more about the craft of writing, but you may also have a chance to meet and interact with agents, editors, and other publishing professionals, learn about trends in the publishing world, and be inspired by the speakers and workshop leaders who share their knowledge.

You’ll come away with a greater understanding for how to market yourself and your book, and you’ll meet other writers who can potentially become critique partners.

5. Get the Best Professional Help

Writers are often too close to their own work to be objective about what they’ve written; even the most seasoned writers have editors to help them polish their writing. If you want to convey your message in the most powerful way possible, establish a relationship with a professional freelance editor.

Whether helping you organize your ideas (before or during writing), or fine-tuning details such as spelling, punctuation, syntax, and word choice, a good editor will not only help you polish your writing (while preserving your voice) but will also help you strengthen your writing.

A good professional editor will provide a sample edit to show you how he or she can help you, and to see if they’re the right person for you. You might even consider hiring an editor for your blog posts as a way to find one who “gets” you, and establish that professional relationship.

Seeing your name on a book is a thrilling experience! Set yourself up for success by learning all you can about writing and publishing, and I look forward to reading your book one day!

Do you have a book inside you waiting to be written? Which of these five tips do you personally plan to focus on? Which will you put to use right away? Please share your thoughts—and let me know if I can help you achieve your dream!

(This article originally appeared at SixtyandMe.com)


Candace Johnson 11 400dpiCandace Johnson
 is a professional freelance editor, proofreader, writer, ghostwriter, and writing coach who has worked with traditional publishers, self-published authors, and independent book packagers on nonfiction subjects ranging from memoirs to alternative medical treatments to self-help and on fiction ranging from romance to paranormal. As an editorial specialist, Candace is passionate about offering her clients the opportunity to take their work to the next level. She believes in maintaining an author’s unique voice while helping him or her create and polish every sentence to make it the best it can be. Learn more here, and follow her on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn.