10 Publishing Myths by W. Terry Whalin || Book Review by Deborah Lyn Stanley


  “10 Publishing Myths, Insights Every Author Needs to Succeed” by W. Terry Whalin

Published by Morgan James Publishing, Morgan James

“10 Publishing Myths, Insights Every Author Needs to Succeed” is a must read for writers no matter where you are in your writing career. Each Myth is real and presented in an inspiring move forward, practical argument, from a writer who’s been there.

Some of my favorite parts include:
1.    Take responsibility for your work,
2.    Create your own marketing plan and make it happen,
3.    A great way to start out publishing your work is to write for magazines,
4.    Every time you connect with an editor or agent you are making an impression—make it a good one!

W. Terry Whalin gives helpful recommendations and references to further your writing career. He talks about growing your skills by making a commitment to study the craft of writing by reading how-to books consistently, month by month. Take the long view of success, little steps to promote your writing and yourself over time.

I recommend this book for every writer and aspiring author.
It is loaded with practical tips and actionable direction.

Thank you, W. Terry Whalin for providing me a review copy of “10 Publishing Myths, Insights Every Author Needs to Succeed”. I was not required to write a positive review, I receive no compensation, and it was my choice to write this review. All comments and opinions are solely my own.

Find Terry’s Books:
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/10-Publishing-Myths-Insights-Succeed/dp/164279452X

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48921823-10-publishing-myths-insights-every-author-needs-to-succeed   

W. Terry Whalin is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. He has written for over 50 magazines and more than 60 books with traditional publishers.  His latest book for writers is  Book Proposals That $ell (the revised edition) released to online and brick and mortar bookstores. Jim Cox, Editor-in-Chief at Midwest Book Review wrote, “If you only have time to read one ’how to’ guide to getting published, whether it be traditional publishing or self-publishing, “Book Proposals That Sell” is that one DIY instructional book.” You can get a free Book Proposal Checklist on the site. He lives in Colorado and has over 190,000 twitter followers.

Deborah Lyn Stanley is an author of Creative Non-Fiction. She writes articles, essays and stories. She is passionate about caring for the mentally impaired through creative arts.
Visit her My Writer’s Life website at: https://deborahlynwriter.com/   
Visit her caregiver’s website: https://deborahlyncaregiver.com/

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Writers: Believe in Yourself

"If at first you don't succeed
try, try again."
                                    William Edward Hickson
                        British poet, 1857

By Linda Wilson  @LinWilsonauthor

My first picture book, A Packrat’s Holiday: Thistletoe’s Gift, won first place in children’s fiction in the 2022 New Mexico Press Women’s Communications Contest. The book will now go on to compete in the national contest sponsored by the National Federation of Press Women. Also, last year A Packrat’s Holiday was a finalist in the Southwest Writers contest.

It is indeed an honor for this story to be recognized. Why? Because when I first started working on it about five years ago, the early drafts didn’t tickle my critique group’s fancy. Wisely, as we writers learn to do, I tucked the story away for better day. 

Believe in Your Inspiration

Thistletoe became a character for me after my family went on a white-water rafting trip on the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. My husband, two daughters and I slept under the stars at night, never bothered by insects due to the arid conditions. But we did have nightly visitors known to us only by their tiny footprints left in the sand by our sleeping bags in the mornings. Our guide told us our visitors were packrats scampering around in search of morsels of food and shiny objects to take back to their dens.

Before that trip, I hadn’t become acquainted with these adorable yet often pesky critters. When I learned about their habits— packrat nests look messy on the outside. But inside, nests are kept neat and tidy. Packrats love to collect anything that catches their fancy, left by picnickers, hikers, and campers. They especially like shiny objects, like pop tops and foil. Packrats are likely to drop an item and leave it for another more exciting find before they make it back to their den.

Off my imagination went.

Believe in Your Project

While rummaging around for a story idea much later, I came across the story. Take heart: I had learned a lot by this time. I recognized its flaws right away, and though the basic story idea didn’t change, I rewrote it using what I had learned. Again, I sent the story through many rounds of critiques, including a critique by a professional editor, a practice I highly recommend.

One of the joys of being a self-published author is getting to choose an illustrator. Karen Cioffi, founder of our blog, Writers on the Move, graciously sent me a list she keeps of illustrators who have been recommended to her. Nancy Batra is on that list, and the rest is history. 

Believe You Will Succeed

Do you love your story? That’s key. Like going to a party where the hostess is having fun then the guests will have fun, if you love your book, your readers will, too. Armed with this knowledge, knowing how much I loved this story, especially how it is enhanced by Nancy’s illustrations, I entered it into contests. VoilĂ ! I got the results I wanted.

Bottom Line: Go After What You Want

At one time winning contests seemed out of reach for me. A pipedream. Distinctions other authors receive. Perhaps experience helps writers realize that if they don’t try—if they don’t finish that book—if they don’t join SCBWI--the Society of Book Writers and Illustrators, a critique group, go to conferences, put themselves out there on social media—that dream may seem impossible to achieve. Take it from me: if you try and keep on trying, you will succeed. I’m living proof.

Here is my constant reminder to keep trying, a needlepoint a friend sewed for me that I had framed and that I keep on my office wall above my desk: 

Aim at a high mark

and you’ll hit it.

No not the first time,

nor the second,

and maybe not the third.

But keep on aiming

and keep on shooting

for only practice

will make you perfect.

Finally, you’ll hit

the bull’s eye of success.

                                                 Annie Oakley

For more information about Karen Cioffi, please visit: https://karencioffiwritingforchildren.com

Linda's next picture book,
Waddles the Duck:
Hey, Wait for Me!

will be out soon!
Illustrated by
Nancy Batra

Linda Wilson writes stories for young children. Visit Linda at https://www.lindawilsonauthor.com. Sign up for Linda’s quarterly giveaways. Choose your prize! 

Find Linda’s books at https://www.amazon.com/author/lindawilsonchildrensauthor.

Connect with Linda: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest

Freelance Writing Rates: What to Charge

by Suzanne Lieurance

As a writing coach, one of the questions I get asked most often by new, and not-so-new, freelance writers is, “What should I charge for my writing services?”

The trouble is, when I go over the current rates for different types of writing, most writers are reluctant to charge what their writing is worth.

Sound familiar?

If you’re a writer who has trouble speaking up when you think you deserve better payment, then you need to read the following:

The Renegade Writer: A Totally Unconventional Guide to Freelance Writing Success, by Linda Formichelli and Diana Burrell. 

This book will help you learn ways to negotiate for more money and better terms without feeling like you’ll ruin your relationships with editors and therefore risk your entire freelance writing career.

What to Charge: Pricing Strategies for Freelancers and Consultants, by Laurie Lewis, is another book that you’ll find helpful as you set your freelance rates. 

You can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/What-Charge-Strategies-Freelancers-Consultants-ebook/dp/B004M8S8XC

This book is somewhat dated by now (it was published in 2000), but it still offers great tips on how to negotiate a fair price for yourself and your writing clients. Plus, it helps answer questions like, “Should I charge by the word, by the project, or by the hour?”

Art for Money: Up Your Freelance Game and Get Paid What You’re Worth, by Michael Ardelean, offers tips and tools to significantly grow your freelance business.

Name Your Price: Set Your Terms, Raise Your Rates, Charge What You’re Worth as a Consultant, Coach, or Freelancer, by Kate Dixon, will help you do just what the subtitle promises.


Also, check out these website resources:

Freelance Database by Contently


How Much Should Writers Charge Per Word or Per Project


And here's a post that helps blog owners know what to pay guest bloggers, so you'll find it helpful if you enjoy blogging:

How Much to Pay Blog Writers



Once you've learned about pricing from at least a few of these resources, start marketing your writing services and charge what you're worth.

For more writing tips,
 be sure to visit writebythesea.com and get your free subscription to The Morning Nudge. Once you're a subscriber, you'll also have access to a Private Resource Library for Writers.

Suzanne Lieurance is the author of over 40 published books, a freelance writer, and a writing coach. 


Don't Avoid This Writer Responsibility


By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

It was a life-changing moment and a revelation to my writing life. In 2007, I was a literary agent with, the Whalin Literary Agency, a small Arizona-based agency. Mark Victor Hansen, co-author for Chicken Soup for the Soul, invited me to Mega-Book Marketing University in Los Angeles. About 400 people attended this event with well-known speakers over several days. At that point in my writing life, I had written over 50 books for traditional publishers. Two of my proposals received six-figure advances and publishers made beautiful books and got them into bookstores. Yet my books were not selling and I had the negative royalty statements from my publishers to prove it. 

Throughout the conference, I listened carefully and took notes. One of the speakers was Jack Canfield who had just published The Success Principles. For years he has studied what it takes to be successful and I certainly wanted to be successful as an author. The first of his 64 principles is: “Take 100% Responsibility for Your Life.”

I didn’t want to take 100% responsibility.  I wanted to write the books and then have my publisher sell the books. Wasn’t marketing their responsibility? Didn’t they sell the books into the bookstore? I was writing excellent books and delivering them on deadline and working through each editorial process. But I was doing very little to market the books. I had a single website with my name but no email list, no social media, no blog or other type of writer’s platform. At Mega-Book Marketing University, I learned publishers make books and distribute them to bookstores. Here’s what I was missing and I learned: the author drives readers into the bookstore (brick and mortar or online) to buy those books. Ultimately, the author sells the books to the readers.

Like many writers that I meet, my expectations were unrealistic and I was not taking my responsibility as a writer. I made a decision to change. I started to blog and today my blog has over 1500 searchable entries in it. I began an email list (which continues to be a unique way to reach my readers).  Also I’m active on social media with over 190,000 Twitter followers and over 19,400 LinkedIn connections. For years, I post on these platforms 12-15 times a day.

If I’m honest, I don’t want 100% responsibility for my own success as a writer. Yet from my decades in publishing, I’ve watched many things go wrong in the publishing process. Good books don’t get marketed and go out of print. Editors change while you are working with a publisher. Those situations are just two of a myriad of things which can push your book off the rails in the wrong direction. I can’t control my publisher, my editor, my agent, my marketing person or ____. But I can control myself and my own efforts.

My acceptance of this responsibility means I have to continually grow and learn as a writer. It means I often take courses or read books and I’m always looking for new ways to build my audience and reach more people.  Thankfully as writers we are not alone. Others have shown us how they have achieved success. This path may work for me or it may not. There is no success formula used for every book to make it sell into the hands of readers. Instead there are basic principles others are using to build their audience and find readers. I have one certainty: it will not fly if you don’t try. I continue to take action—and encourage you to do the same. It’s the writer’s journey.


Are you looking for someone else to sell your books? This prolific writer andeditor has taken an unusual responsibility. Learn the details here. (ClickToTweet)


W. Terry Whalin, a writer and acquisitions editor lives in Colorado. A former magazine editor and former literary agent, Terry is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. He has written more than 60 nonfiction books including Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams and Billy Graham. Get one of Terry’s recent books, 10 Publishing Myths for only $10, free shipping and bonuses worth over $200. To help writers catch the attention of editors and agents, Terry wrote his bestselling Book Proposals That $ell, 21 Secrets ToSpeed Your Success (The Revised Edition). Check out his free Ebook, Platform Building Ideas for Every Author. His website is located at: www.terrywhalin.com. Connect with Terry on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

What is a Chapbook?


What is a Chapbook? by Deborah Lyn Stanley

Chapbooks (also called booklets), were first available in Europe; coming on the scene in the 1500s. They made literature available to everyone, because they were inexpensive to produce and to buy.

Chapbooks are 20-40 pages long, folded lengthwise sheets of 8.5 X 11” size paper, bound with a saddle stitch or staples. Some small publishers handle this size publication, but they are easily self-published using Microsoft Word.

Items to consider:
1.    Low-cost to produce, low-price point,
2.    Often used to compile poetry thematically,
3.    Chapbooks have been linked to self-publishing,
4.    Chapbooks, highly regarded within the literary world are great for a sampling or to introduce your works of poetry & short stories,
5.    Provide a great way to publish a series of blog posts,
6.    Chapbooks work to establish your name & reputation as publishers watch to add fresh voices.
7.    Distribute your chapbook for sale or free following an open mic reading event.
8.    Enter a contest for Chapbooks.
9.    Design your own front and back cover.
10.  Last but not least: prepare your chapbook as a pdf and distribute it via your blog, website or digital publisher (Draft 2 Digital, KDP etc.).

Ideas popping?
Inspired to Draft a Chapbook?
I sure hope so!

Check out the following for additional information and How-Tos:
How to Make Your Own Chapbook by Writers Write: https://www.writerswrite.com/tools/chapbooks/

Train River

Create a Booklet in Microsoft Word by TechGramma - Julie Pfeifer

Deborah Lyn Stanley is an author of Creative Non-Fiction. She writes articles, essays and stories. She is passionate about caring for the mentally impaired through creative arts.
Visit her My Writer’s Life website at: https://deborahlynwriter.com/   
Visit her caregiver’s website: https://deborahlyncaregiver.com/

Mom & Me: A Story of Dementia and the Power of God’s Love is available:
& https://books2read.com/b/valuestories

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Different Types of Writing


by Mindy Lawrence

When someone discovers you’re a writer, the first thing they ask is what books you’ve published. Novels are one form of writer but not the only type by any means. All forms of writing are valid. A journalist is not less important than a novelist. Neither is a business writer less important than an essayist. Each type of writing has its reasons to be. Each type of writing has its goal.

Here are five types of writing with an example for each:

Narrative Writing
James Baldwin reflects on his life as a Black man in early- to mid-twentieth-century America with his narrative essays. He tells about the way he was brought up, where, and what it looked and felt like.

“Notes of a Native Son” by James Baldwin
“Harlem, physically at least, has changed very little in my parents’ lifetime or in mine. Now as then the buildings are old and in desperate need of repair, the streets are crowded and dirty, there are too many human beings per square block.”

Immediately there is the visualization of a place that is crowded and untended. In just a few words, Baldwin shows us the whole of Harlem at that time.

Descriptive Writing
In descriptive writing, a writer tries to paint a word picture of an event or a place. In this piece, Joyce Carol Oates describes an upper New York classroom.

"Inside District School #7, Niagara County, New York"
by Joyce Carol Oates
"Inside, the school smelled smartly of varnish and wood smoke from the potbellied stove. On gloomy days, not unknown in upstate New York in this region south of Lake Ontario and east of Lake Erie, the windows emitted a vague, gauzy light, not much reinforced by ceiling lights. We squinted at the blackboard, that seemed far away since it was on a small platform, where Mrs. Dietz's desk was also positioned, at the front, left of the room. We sat in rows of seats, smallest at the front, largest at the rear, attached at their bases by metal runners, like a toboggan; the wood of these desks seemed beautiful to me, smooth and of the red-burnished hue of horse chestnuts. The floor was bare wooden planks. An American flag hung limply at the far left of the blackboard and above the blackboard, running across the front of the room, designed to draw our eyes to it avidly, worshipfully, were paper squares showing that beautifully shaped script known as Parker Penmanship."

Persuasive Writing
Persuasive writing shares information or attempts to entertain or persuade. They are closely related to argumentative essays. It attempts to persuade a person to a certain point of view. Click the link for a sample.

Expository Writing
Expository writing Is nonfiction. It explains a topic logically without emotion or opinion. The writer assumes that the reader has little or no information on the topic so must make the reader aware. Types of expository essays include: Cause and Effect Essay, Problem and Solution Essay, Comparison and Contrast Essay, Definition Essay, Classification Essay and Process Essay.

Sample Expository Essay on the Silk Road:  https://academichelp.net/samples/academics/essays/expository/the-silk-road.html

Creative Writing
Creative writing includes fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. Here’s an example from The Hobbit.

The Hobbit
J.R.R Tolkien
“Do you wish me a good morning, or mean that it is a good morning whether I want it or not; or that you feel good this morning; or that it is a morning to be good on?”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, or There and Back Again

Review Writing
Aside from these forms of writing, there is also Review Writing. It’s a combination of descriptive, objective, and subjective writing designed to let readers know if they are interested in a particular book, author. It also can be the review of a product to interest an individual to buy or not buy it.

In book reviews, A review will offer a concise plot summary of the book. It will offer an evaluation of the  work. It will also offer a recommendation for the audience.

Kirkus Reviews: The Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison (Excerpt)

“An extremely powerful story of a young Southern Negro, from his late high school days through three years of college to his life in Harlem.

His early training prepared him for a life of humility before white men, but through injustices- large and small, he came to realize that he was an "invisible man". People saw in him only a reflection of their preconceived ideas of what he was, denied his individuality, and ultimately did not see him at all. This theme, which has implications far beyond the obvious racial parallel, is skillfully handled…”

Read the type of writing you are interested in and learn from it. Keep on writing!

LINKS to helpful information:
5 Types of Writing Styles, Skillshare.com

Different Types of Writing, Different Types.net

10 Different Types of Writing styles: Which One Do You Enjoy, Software Testing Help.com

6 Persuasive Writing Strategies, Grammarly

What Aristotle and Joshua Bell can Teach Us About Persuasion, YouTube

17 Review Example to Help you Write the Perfect Review. Reedsy Discovery

Mindy Lawrence is a writer, ghost blogger, and artist based in Farmington, Missouri. She worked for the State of Missouri for over 24 years and moved to Farmington in 2020.

She proofread the Sharing with Writers newsletter by Carolyn Howard-Johnson and wrote “An Itty-Bitty Column on Writing” there for ten years. She has been published in Writers' Digest magazine and interviewed by NPR’s All Things Considered.

Featured Productivity Tool: How to Use a Journal for Clarity & Decision-Making

For writers, a journal is your Swiss-army knife. It can be used for just about everything, While journaling is traditionally used for jotting down what’s going on in your life – tracking your actions, activities, and emotions, one of my favorite ways to use a journal is for clarity and decision-making. 

Whether you’re pondering your next writing project or dealing with a personal matter, you may find yourself mulling it over constantly … and sometimes to no avail. However, when you take pen to paper – or fingers to keyboard – you are much more likely to come up with an effective solution.

To gain clarity for about just about anything, try my directed journaling technique. Directed journaling is stream-of-consciousness writing spurts, focused on a specific theme, issue, or problem. 

Here’s how Directed Journaling works:

  • In your electronic calendar, schedule between three and five 15-minute sessions over a few days. Be sure to set a reminder. 
  • When you get the alert for your appointment, set a timer for 15 minutes, and start writing. Note: While there are numerous benefits to writing by hand, if you are more likely to complete the process by typing on a computer, go for it! 
  • During each journaling session, ask yourself pointed questions. 

For a writing project: 
  • What’s the genre? The format? Novel, screenplay, story...
  • Who is the main character?
  • What's the motivation?
  • What's the theme? How do the characters reflect the theme? 
  • How does the story begin? End?

For something personal:
  • What's the issue? 
  • How can I resolve it? 
  • What are all the possible solutions?
  • What are the pros? The cons?
  • What are my other options? 

When you do your journaling, think outside the box. Be as logical - and as extreme - as possible. Your journal rants are for your eyes only. And don’t worry about repeating yourself. The idea is to get everything out of your head and onto the page.

Here’s the Trick

  • Do not read any of these journal entries until you have done the process several times.
  • Once you have exhausted your thoughts on the subject, then you may read the journal entries. 
  • As you go through them, note the ideas you repeat – those are what you are most drawn to. You may also come up with solutions that seem to come from left-field. That’s what happens when you allow yourself to babble on paper. 

Final Thoughts 

When you open yourself to all possibilities and look at them objectively, you are more likely to come up with a successful solution or comfortable decision, along with a feasible plan. And when you have a plan in place, it’s much easier to face and embrace change!

Good luck. The power is literally in your hands.  

* * * 
For more inspiration and motivation, follow @TheDEBMethod on Twitter and Linkedin! 

* * *

How has journaling helped you? What is your journaling style? Do you use pen and paper? Or do you type your thoughts? Please share in the comments. 

* * *

Debra Eckerling is the award-winning author of Your Goal Guide: A Roadmap for Setting, Planning and Achieving Your Goals and founder of the D*E*B METHOD, which is her system for goal-setting simplified. A writer, editor, and project catalyst, Deb works with entrepreneurs, executives, and creatives to set goals and manage their projects through one-on-one coaching, workshops, and online support. She is also the author of Write On Blogging and Purple Pencil Adventures; founder of Write On Online; Vice President of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Women's National Book Association; host of the #GoalChat Twitter Chat, #GoalChatLive on Facebook and LinkedIn, and The DEB Show podcast. She speaks on the subjects of writing, networking, goal-setting, and social media.

A Sneak Peek at Adverbs and a New Frugal Editor

A Sneak Peek at the Ins, Outs, Ups and Downs of Adverbs

 Contributed by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning

 HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers

I am in an editing mode. The editor is at work editing the next edition of her The Frugal Editor and, honestly, barely thinking of anything else. When I ran into the chapter on adverbs, I thought it is (still!) one of the best chapters. Then I thought I wanted to share it with visitors and subscribers of Karen Cioffi’s WritersOnTheMove blog. But it’s too early for that.
Soooo…will a sneak peek do? And if I share with you now, will you come back for the real updated edition when it’s ready sometime in 2022? Or maybe offer to write a blurb. Really, anything that we authors do when we’re #SharingwithWriters or doing that #AuthorsHelpingAuthors thing? Here’s just the adverb angle on why you must come back.
We are often warned that adverbs can be overdone. Writers often take the warning too literally; they think they shouldn’t use any at all!
Of course, we wouldn't have adverbs if they didn't serve a purpose. But when we examine them—carefully (very carefully!) we often find that they duplicate a quality that the verb has already achieved for us. That makes them redundant.

Adverbs can be especially egregious when they are used too liberally as dialogue tags.
Or they are awkward. Or they slow down the forward movement of a sentence.
Authors worry when an editor takes a red pen to their adverbs. They think those edits will change their voices. Though an author can (and should) reject edits that he/she thinks aren't appropriate, these edits of adverbs rarely change a voice. Besides, voice is rarely achieved by using adverbs or most other aspects of speech we editors tackle with a vengeance. It is achieved by much subtler elements of writing. Point of view. Use of colloquialism or slang. Choice of detail.
For the most part, I think most writers worry way too much on having their voice changed and not enough about improving their writing skills.
Having said that, I worry more about editors who don’t have the training to be editors. Would an editor really remove all of a writer’s adverbs? And how would a new author know if an editor is overstepping if he/she doesn’t have lots of information on editing under his or her own little writers’ belt?
I do hope those of you who have been relying on an outside editor—someone you hired or a friend--will read The Frugal Editor—even in its old edition. And here is the deal. Read it now and let me know with an email to hojonews@aol.com. I will add you to a special list of authors that I will send an e-copy of the third edition so you won’t miss a thing. The best of two worlds—now when you need it and later when you’ll still need all the new stuff like what to do with the new rules for gender friendly pronouns.
Find the “old” second edition now at bit.ly/FrugalEditor. It includes lots on how to partner with an editor, how to save money hiring an editor, and how to hire one that is compatible with your personality and the kind of writing you do. Many good editors like Barbara McNichol (www.barbaramcnichol.com) specialize in specific genres, nonfiction vs. fictions, etc. Larry Brooks (www.storyfix.com)  helps writers of fiction specifically with structure. Good editors know that it is hard to be an expert at everything.
Editing is a two-way street. There's gotta be some trust and also some confidence. That’s why this offer (keep reading!) is on the honor system. But it’s also because I am avid about editing and love to share. The more an author knows about editing, the better equipped she or he is to discard or keep edits.
So, yep. Examine every adverby "ly" word. And then use each one to your advantage. Know the other adverbs (like “even” and “just”). There is a list in The Frugal Editor (bit.ly/FrugalEditor) Especially the ones you tend to overuse. Either discard each one or use one of the methods in The Frugal Editor to turn them into more visual writing.
Here is a quick sample of the kind of advice you’ll find in the old edition where I urge readers to do one last manual edit even when they think their book is ready for the big time:
“A Good time to check your copy for each entry on this list [of the most deadly adverbs] is early in the editing process and then again when you have finished everything but your final edit. You may ask, why not after the final edit? Remember how your mother always knew when you had been rooting around in the cookie jar? You left crumbs behind. You’ll need that final edit to pick up all your crumbs—even the ones left after you have finished this search for your overused words” ©

Carolyn Howard-Johnson edits, consults, and speaks on issues of publishing. Learn more about her other authors' aids at https://howtodoitfrugally.com where writers find lists and other helps on the Resources for Writers page.
She blogs on editing at http://www.thefrugaleditor.blogspot.com and all things publishing (not just editing!) at  http://www.sharingwithwriters.blogspot.com.
She tweets writers' resources at www.twitter.com/frugalbookpromo

Want to Be a Writer? You’ve Got to Read


By Karen Cioffi

If you want to be a writer, one of the most important things you can do is READ.

So what exactly does that mean, to read?

Read in the Genre You Want to Write

I’ve written about this a number of times. If you want to write, especially for children, you need to read in the genre you want to write.

I did this when I first started out.

When I began writing for children, I went to my local library and got book after book after book on the genre I wanted to write in. The books were by different authors and even publishers.

I studied each book:

- How the dialogue was written and how it was punctuated.
- What type of storylines were used.
- How the conflict was constructed.
- How the text and illustrations worked together.
- The timeframe of the stories.
- How the story was resolved.
- Who the publishers were.
- And so on.

This type of studying is reading as a writer and is a writing course in itself.

But, it’s not enough.

Read About Writing

You also need to read about writing.

There are lots and lots of online sources to help you learn to write.

Read online articles on sites like:

Writer’s Digest

Good Story Company

Word Play

This site, of course: Writers on the Move

And for a much bigger list, check out:

Along with this, you should invest in books on writing, especially books that will teach you how to write in the genre you want to write. 

Books that I have include:

Bird by Bird (Anne Lamott)
Second Sight (Cheryl B. Klein)
Story Engineering (Larry Brooks)
Writing Fiction (Gotham Writer’s Workshop)
The Modern Writer’s Workshop (Stephen Koch)
Crafting Scenes (Raymond Obstfeld)
Hooked (Les Edgerton)
Breathing Life Into Your Characters (Rachel Ballon, Ph.D.)
The Writer’s Guide to Psychology (Carolyn Kaufman, Psy. D.)
On Writing (Stephen King)
The Giblin Guide to Writing Children’s Books

Find recommended books and books in the genre you want to write. Study them carefully.

Writing Groups

Find one or two groups in the genre you want to write and join them.

These groups are usually filled with seasoned writers, along with newbies.
Many of them also have editors, publishers, and agents in them.

Read the questions asked by other members and the responses. This is another great way to get a writing education. And you'll have the opportunity to ask your own questions.

If you’re a children’s writer, I suggest Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. It’s filled with writers, marketers, and others in the writing field who know what they’re doing.

Online and Offline Classes

This is an important step.

While you can read and study, which will give you a great start, it doesn’t take the place of learning from a professional writer/author.

Invest in time, effort, and even money if necessary to learn how to write. Invest in you and your writing career. It’s the best way to become a successful writer.

This article was originally published at:


Karen Cioffi is an award-winning children’s author and children’s ghostwriter, rewriter, and coach with clients worldwide. She is also the founder and editor-in-chief of Writers on the Move, and an author online platform instructor with WOW! Women on Writing.

Karen’s children’s books include Walking Through Walls and The Case of the Stranded Bear. She also has a DIY book, How to Write Children’s Fiction Books. You can check them out at: https://karencioffiwritingforchildren.com/karens-books/.

If you need help with your children’s story, visit: https://karencioffiwritingforchildren.com.  

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