10 More Handy Writing Tips That I Use Regularly – Part 2

10 More Handy Writing Tips That I Use Regularly – Part 2


  • Create a space in your home especially for writing. This way you have an oasis and you can also send a message that, when you are in this space, you are writing. Of course, you should also be prepared to write wherever you happen to be.


  • Proofread everything at least three times before submitting your work for publication.

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  • Start a blog. Use it to talk about your own writing process, share your ideas and experiences, or publish your work to a reading audience. Use this valuable community of authors to learn and teach in a cooperative atmosphere.


  • Use writing exercises and writing prompts to improve your skills, strengthen your talent, and explore different genres, styles, and techniques.


  • Let go of your inner editor. When you sit down to write a draft, refrain from proofreading until that draft is complete.


  • Embrace your failures. Allow yourself to write poorly, to write a weak, uninteresting story or a boring, grammatically incorrect poem. You’ll never succeed if you don’t allow yourself a few failures along the way. Also, you don’t have to share what you’ve written until you’re ready.


  • Make it your business to understand grammar and language. Do you know a noun from a verb, a predicate from a preposition? Do you understand tense and verb agreement? You should. Know the difference between there, their and they’re.


  • You are a writer so own it and say it out loud: “I am a writer.” Whether it’s a hobby or your profession, if you write, then you have the right to this title.


  • Keep on writing. You’re ability to finish a piece of writing cannot be taken from you.


  • If you forget every other tip, remember the one just before this one.

10 Handy Writing Tips That I Use Regularly – Part 1

10 Handy Writing Tips That I Use Regularly – Part 1


  • Write every chance you get. Write every day if you can. You should be thinking about writing or actually writing whenever you can.


  • Reading is so important. You should read every chance you get as well. Read good writing and read about writing. Balance fiction and non-fiction to help you improve your own writing.


  • Use your everyday observations to help you with coming up with surroundings, characters and situations for your stories. You can do this by keeping notebook with you, or if you’re not afraid of being stared at, use your phone and a recording app and pretend your on a call while you make note of what you see.


  • Check your writing for repetitive words and phrasing. If you find yourself using the same words repeatedly, refer to a thesaurus (Shift-F7 in Word) but don’t confound your reader with extravagant utterances and locutions that will flummox them. (Fancy, confusing words)


  • Know and use your grammar and punctuation rules. Your editor will thank you if your manuscript is as clean as possible when you send it off to him or her. In my first manuscript, I incorrectly placed all of the punctuation in my dialog outside of the quotation marks. That being said, when writing dialog, there are times to break with grammar rules in the voice of your characters. Just make sure it sounds natural and not convoluted.

Questons And Strategy Solutions

  • Eliminate distractions like TV, social media, etc. If you need the Internet to do research, do it first or do it during a predetermined time. You want to avoid going down a rabbit hole during your research or hours of writing time can easily disappear.


  • Read works by highly successful authors in your genre. There are probably valid reasons why they are successful.


  • Read the classics. There is a reason that they are classics. I’ve found myself reading Doyle, Dickens and Hemingway this year and it has helped my writing immensely.


  • If you are new to writing, join a writers’ group so you can gain constructive feedback from the writing community and enjoy meeting other authors. I highly recommend Scribophile as it is a site that encourages you to give feedback in order to receive it.

Indie-Publishing Tips – Writing as a Business

Indie-Publishing Tips – Writing as a Business

1-busI’m an old guy. Over the course of my lifetime, I have worked for companies, written plans for new companies, helped start up new companies, run my own company and have watched companies I have helped start up or owned plummet into the abyss.

1-booksWhen I decided to take the plunge and write books, I approached it as a lifelong passion, but also as a business. Fortunately, my entry into indie-publishing had a low cost to get going and I got enough satisfaction from completing books and putting them out there. The income aspect of it wasn’t a primary concern.

Now, I’m about nine books in with two on the way and tens of other ideas for books percolating and, guess what, a little bit of income is trickling in. It’s not enough to retire, not even close. It’s enough to have a nice dinner or two with my family each month, but I definitely invest more into writing than I make at this current juncture. I’m hoping it’s an investment for the future.


When tax time rolled along that first year, I received my tax forms from Amazon and added up those sales from various book signings and realized that I had to claim this income. I also realized that I had spent money on Facebook ads, book covers, editing, book trailers and materials for book signings. I also use my home office and home computer equipment. These things became deductions. Like it or not, I was running a business and had to keep records that reflected, and supported this.

1-qmSo I’m curious about the rest of you out there in the author/blogging community. Do you treat your writing like a business? Do you keep track of your expenses and reinvest into your writing business? It does take some of the enjoyment and luster out of the writing pursuit, but, given my background, it makes sense.

I’d love to hear your comments on this.


Seven Quick Indie-Publishing Tips

Seven Quick Indie-Publishing Tips

As I go flying down the road with trying to finalize two books and market the other seven that I’ve completed, I though I would take time out to post some tips that I’ve found useful on my Indie Publishing journey.

11) Volume is the way to go


If you have finished your first book, by all means, get it edited, formatted and published. You might, however, want to consider holding off aggressively marketing it until you’ve written your second or third.  Readers that gravitate toward indie authors like to read multiple works by the same author. You can build a loyal fan base more quickly if you have multiple books to offer.


2) Writer’s block…what writer’s block?

Most indie authors have day jobs. We can’t afford to recognize and be incapacitated by writer’s block. I tend to keep multiple projects going. If I get stuck on one, I move to another. I just don’t have time for writer’s block. How about you? 


3) Enter competitions.

This is an area where I have been lazy. There are plenty of competitions out there for indie authors. Just beware of those that have unreasonable fees with little reward for those that win. Some of them are scams aimed at separating you from your meager publishing budget. Look for contests from recognized publications, like Writer’s Digest, and organizations to maximize your potential benefit.


4) Interact with your readers

Use your blog, establish a mailing list and participate in book signings. Readers love to meet those that create the stories and characters they love. I know, as a severely introverted writer, that this is difficult. You need to get out of your comfort zone and do this to be successful.


5) Rise above your challenges


If you think you can’t write until every condition in your life is perfect, you never will write. Remember that J.K. Rowling wrote her first Harry Potter book sitting in a coffee shop while a single mom on public assistance. I often


6) You run the show, but you shouldn’t do all of the tasks


Just as a traditional publisher uses a cover artist, editors and marketers, you are responsible for these things as an indie publisher. You don’t have to and shouldn’t do it alone. There are many ways to outsource these functions and still put out a high-quality product.


7) Writing is a business.

It would be great to just write and not have to do anything else. If you are serious about writing, however, you should treat it as a business giving time to both the writing and business aspects of your endeavor.

Track your KDP Sales With ‘Book Report’

Track your KDP Sales With ‘Book Report’

In this tip, I wanted to share a tool with you that I have come to depend on for tracking my books at a glance. It’s called Book Report. It’s a free plugin for your browser that will give you various summarized views of your books published on Amazon for the Kindle.

Once you have installed book report you can easily track your books at the click of a button.

First, log in to your KDP account and click on Reports



Next, you’ll want to click on the book report link (you’ll figure this out when you get the app.

You will get the following view:


It gives you your earnings for the period (I blanked mine out) with a drop down where you can pick ‘today’, ‘yesterday’, ‘this month’, ‘last month’ and many other ranges.

It also gives you this view:


This view shows you how many books and pages were read per day. I took off the number scale to keep my details confidential.

You also get this view:


This tool is very useful and the great thing is, for most of us, it will be free up to a certain point. Here is the pricing criteria:

Free for everyone for the first two weeks. See how much you can learn from your data.

Free for everyone earning less than $1000/month on KDP.

$10/month if you’re finished your trial and you earned more than $1000 last month.

If you’re interested in using book report, you can get it by clicking HERE.

I hope you find this tool useful.

Writing Tips – Part 4

Writing Tips – Part 4

This is the last in my series of Writing Tips. I hope they have been helpful. If you want to check out the first three parts, you can click on the links below:

dotsTip 31 – Let the Reader Connect the Dots

You don’t have to account for every minute of your characters day. You just need to provide enough information so that time jumps won’t lose your reader. If nothing happens to advance the story during a certain interval, you can leave it out.

Good-talkTip 32 – Tell a Good Story, but Make Your Dialog Count

You can have the best story in the world and do a masterful job describing the people, places and things, but if your dialog is weak, you’ll lose your reader.

Tip 33 – Your Readers have Five Senses

The best writers can transport their readers to real or imagined places. You can do this by giving your reader an idea of how the surroundings look, what the character smells, how food tastes, what the sounds are, and how something feels when they touch it.

Tip 34 – Borrow Techniques from Other Writing Forms

You may not be a poet, but you can borrow techniques from poetry in your writing. Alliteration, rhythm, pacing and other techniques can help your writing move along or have a unique voice.

Tip 35 – Editing and Rewriting is More than Spelling, Grammar, and Punctuation

Your editing and rewriting should include checking for: plot holes, character consistency, missing scenes, unnecessary scenes,  and accurate research.

trimTip 36  – Remove Anything that is Unnecessary

This tip may seem redundant as it is part of the previous tip on editing and rewriting. It merits it’s own tip, however. You will lose the interest of your reader if you have a lot of unnecessary narrative or dialog. Trim it out.

Tip 37 – Make Sure That You Get Some Fresh Eyes On Your Work

Use beta readers, join a writing group, reach out to other trusted authors or anyone that can give you constructive, honest feedback on your work. You won’t regret it and the quality of your work will improve.

threeTip 38 – Don’t Share Your Rough Draft With Anyone But Your Editor Until You Revise it Three TImes

You will be amazed at the errors that will reveal themselves each time you revise your document. Usually, after three revisions, it will be clean enough to share with your beta readers and your writing group.

Tip 39  – Collect Your Favorite Writing Tips Into a Notebook or Document

You can create a checklist from your favorite writing tips and put your writing through it as you prepare to send out your revised draft. You’ll be amazed at how many rules you’ll start to internalize the more you write.

Tip 40 – Have Fun.

You need to enjoy writing. If you’re an independent author, the fun may be the only thing keeping you going at times.

More Writing Tips – Part 3

More Writing Tips – Part 3

Tip 21 – Change is Good

Your character should experience or cause a change by the end of the story. If you do this well, it will resonate with your reader.

Tip 22 – Surprise and Satisfy Your Reader.

You can have twists and turns to surprise your reader, but in the very end, give them a satisfying reading experience. You should never have your reader feel disappointment when they finish your book.

Tip 23 – Build Tension and Then Release It

There are a couple of schools of thought on this. I like to have peaks and valleys throughout a book with one large tension arc that lasts through the book.I often use humor to release the tension.

Tip 24 – Use Subplots to Help Your Plot

If there’s an investigation going on, maybe there’s also a budding romance. Maybe there’s a rivalry between two characters that keeps impeding progress. Make it interesting and rich. Remember, real people aren’t one-dimensional.

Tip 25 – Don’t go off on Tangents

Although subplots make you’re writing interesting, going off on too many tangents can make your reader lose interest. You can talk about your character’s love for cooking, but don’t spend two pages taking your readers through the process of cooking a meal unless it’s relevant to your plot or you’re writing a cookbook.

Tip 26 – Don’t be Afraid to Mix it Up

If you’re writing a horror story, you can have something funny happen. If you’re writing a detective story, you can have the character do something outside of the investigation like attend a sporting event or something unrelated. Remember, your characters are human and they do not live a single-threaded life.

bob rossTip 27 – Paint a Vivid Picture of the Surroundings

Whether you are making up the world your character lives in, or you are using a real location, paint a word picture for your reader. You can go to the location and research it if you like or use the place you’re in. I carry a small notebook to make notes about new places I travel to. You never know what might be useful. Another trick, if you don’t travel, is to use Google Streetview. You can virtually drive right down the street in a location and describe what you see in a 360 view. One author who does this surprisingly well is Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, usually at the revelation part of his Sherlock Holmes cases. An author, in my opinion, that occasionally spends too much time on this Dean Koontz.

Tip 28 – Leave Some Room for the Reader To Use Their Imagination

The converse of Tip 27 is to let your readers picture the scene based on their own experience. If you’re at the beach, you can use the term ‘salt air’ and most readers will be able to imagine what it smells like. You can say that a house looked creepy with some sounds, sights, and smells without describing every square foot.

Tip 29 – Always Keep the Hero’s Struggle in the Back of Your Mind

Just like in our day-to-day lives, experiences shape who we are and what we do. Bring this realism to your characters. Recalling their past experiences is also a way to weave in some of that backstory that you’ve been sitting on.

Tip 30 – Your Readers are Not Dumb

Don’t treat your readers like they are stupid. After all, they’re reading a book. Don’t lead them by the nose through things that are general knowledge. Don’t condescend.