Amazon Book Review Myths? Did You Hear These?

Some useful information about those pesky Amazon Review rulesStack of many books from Build Book Buzz. Share your own methods for getting reviews.

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Filed under Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, business of writing, ebooks, indie publishing, Marketing books, Myths and Truths, novels, Print on Demand, Reviews, Self-publishing, Writing

Do you want to know just the right word?

Thanks, Jean! I’ve been using Thesaurus.com with excellent results—way better than that thin list on Word. But this tool looks even more useful. I’ll give it a try today and pass on my results.

jean's writing

Happens to me more than I’d like to admit!

I’ve found a tool to help!

I’m on a roll, typing like a maniac. 

Until I stumble over a word.

My writing comes to a screeching halt. A word isn’t right. But I don’t want to stop my progress. After all, I’m a writing maniac. So I use a placeholder, I’ll come back to this section later and figure out the right word or words to convey my thoughts.

However, I’ve now got an itch I can’t scratch. That thought, that missing word or phase will not leave me alone.

Ever happen to you?

My protagonist whispers he can’t work like this, it’s too unprofessional.

Sigh, okay, I cave, save what little progress I’ve made and return to my placeholder. So I…

  • Think, think, think, I’ve got nothing.
  • Look up the placeholder word. Huh? Not even close. What was I thinking?
  • Check thesaurus. What…

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Filed under ebooks, Editing, indie publishing, novels, Print on Demand, self editing, Self-publishing, style, Tech tips, Writing

Writing: Business or Hobby?

It’s tax time! Here are some good tips you might want to consider for the future if you’re not doing these things now.

Story Empire

Hey, SE gang, Mae here with a reminder that tax time is looming. Ugh!

A battle struggling writers often face is whether or not the IRS considers their efforts a business or hobby. Very few of us make bucketfuls of money as writers. For most, expenses outweigh profits during the first few years. That sad reality aside, you need to report those expenses if you’re trying to establish a business. I’m by no means an expert, but here are a few things you can do to keep Uncle Sam from viewing your enterprise as a hobby:

Detailed Record Keeping
This may seem obvious, but the more detailed records you can produce (in the event of a dreaded audit) the more favorable the outcome is likely to be. Keep receipts and make notations on each. In addition, use a spreadsheet to track and itemize by category. I use headings such as

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March/April 2017 Writing Contests

Here’s another useful list of contests from Rachel Poli!

Rachel Poli

march-april-2017-writing-contestsMarch 2017

Genre: Poetry
Theme: Food
Website: Literal Latte
Deadline: March 15, 2017
Entry Fee: $10 for up 6 poems or $15 for up to 12 poems
Prize: First place – $500

Genre: Fiction and Nonfiction
Theme: None
Website: Narrative Magazine
Deadline: March 31, 2017
Entry Fee: $25
Prize: First place – $2,500

Genre: Fiction
Theme: None
Website: Colorado Review
Deadline: March 14, 2017
Entry Fee: $15 – snail mail, $17 – online submission
Prize: First – $2,000

Genre: Fiction
Theme: None
Website: Fabula Press
Deadline: March 31, 2017
Entry Fee: $10
Prize: First – $250

Genre: Nonfiction
Theme: My Kind of America
Website: Chicken Soup for the Soul
Deadline: March 31, 2017
Entry Fee: None
Prize: $200

Genre: Nonfiction
Theme: Step Outside Your Comfort Zone
Website: Chicken Soup for the Soul
Deadline: March 31, 2017
Entry Fee: None
Prize: $200

April 2017

Genre: Fiction or poetry
Theme: None
Website:

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8 Tips For Formatting Your Book

These tips from Don Massenzio may help you make formatting decisions. I particularly like the idea of using 1.5 line spacing instead of single spacing in print books. Maybe I’ll try that next time!

pile of letters for writing

Check out my Beginner’s Cheat Sheet for formatting your hard copy book in InDesign!

Don Massenzio's Blog

This blog post is designed to help fellow independently published authors improve the quality of their work, but most of the tips here apply to the formatting of any book. I’m speaking of the formatting of books for the consumption of readers, not formatting your manuscript to send off to an agent or publisher.  There are a whole other set of rules for that exercise.

I’ve put together a list of ten tips that you should consider when putting your book together. They are not in order of priority, but together, they can make your book stand out from the millions of others available through your favorite sales channel.

1. Put Some Thought Into Your Cover

I have to admit, this was something I didn’t waste a lot of time on when I published my first book, Frankly Speaking. I just went ahead and used the Kindle cover creator and cranked…

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February 20, 2017 · 4:43 pm

EDITING 101: 24 – Split Infinitives and Dangling Participles…

This column is near and dear to my heart. I’ve posted on dangling modifiers before, and I see them all the time in my critique groups.

A couple of thoughts:

First, the aversion to “splitting infinitives” comes from an 18th-century spurt of wishfulness that English could be elevated to the status of Latin—in which infinitives are one word and can’t be “split.” Note that in Romance languages like French and Spanish, this still holds true; how can you “split” an infinitive like “hablar”? But English is not a Romance language, despite having picked up many words from French, Spanish, and Italian, in particular. So those “rules” never rightly applied.

Second, note that “to boldly go” is in iambic pentameter, Shakespeare’s meter, and a natural meter in English. That’s why “to go boldly” just doesn’t have the same ring.

Dangling modifiers, on the other hand, cause problems for me because there’s a brief mental hiccup when the modifier has to hunt for its appropriate noun or pronoun. Sure, I can figure out who or what is doing the action of the modifier, but do writers really want readers stopping, even for a second, to puzzle?

This column is clear and concise, presenting these issues well. Thanks to both Chris the Story Reading Ape and Adirondack Editing.

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Originally posted as the Dun Writin’—Now Whut? series on this blog, EDITING 101 is a weekly refresher series for some of you and brand new for others.

Courtesy of Adirondack Editing

Split Infinitives and Dangling Participles

Editors frequently correct both of these, but one is actually ok to use, while the other is not. Care to make a wager on which one is which before I get started?

Ante up!

What is a split infinitive, after all? It’s a sentence where a word, usually an adverb, interrupts a full verb (or full infinitive). A full infinitive is the verb with the word “to” in front of it—to run, to walk, to spit. The most famous split infinitive is “to boldly go.” Editors and teachers used to mark this as incorrect, but it’s all right to split an infinitive. Some examples are:

  • Lyn continued to quickly run toward the burning building.

  • Willow…

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Filed under correct grammar, Editing, grammar, grammar rules, indie publishing, Learning to write, Myths and Truths, self editing, Self-publishing, Writing

Avoid Writing Contest Scams!

Beware of writing contest scams!Writer Unboxed (via, as so often, Chris the Story Reading Ape) is hitting  on all cylinders these days. Here’s an extremely useful post detailing how to assess a publishing contest BEFORE you enter! Thanks to Susan Spann for this excellent list. Read the comments, too.

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