Showing posts with label writers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label writers. Show all posts

Confessions of a Dyslexic Writer


Contributed by Margot Conor

I’ve always had an active imagination. As a child the adults in my life were unstable, dealing with their own problems and it left me adrift. No one noticed I was having trouble at school. I escaped by creating worlds where life didn’t hurt.

From a young age, I loved creating stories and I even tried to write them, but they were a mess of misspellings and reversed letters. Because of this difficulty with writing letters and numbers, my teachers accused me of being inattentive and lazy. Rather than recognizing I had a learning disorder and offering to give me additional attention, they would showcase my problems in front of the other students to shame me. My issues went undiagnosed and the damage to my self-esteem stuck.

I always wanted to be an author. I continued to write stories and attempted longer projects at various times over the years. I have many unfinished manuscripts and unpublished short stories. However, I didn't attempt to be a professional writer until technology provided a path forward for people like me.

As a child, I was not aware that there were other people who suffered from the same issues. It wasn’t until high school that I was tested. By that point, I had gotten very good at hiding it. But a teacher at a new school finally noticed and helped. These tests informed me that I had dyslexia, dysgraphia, and dyscalculia.

Dysgraphia: issues with spelling, grammar, numbers. Writing letters in reverse, struggling to form written sentences with correct grammar and punctuation. Using verbs and pronouns incorrectly.

Dyscalculia: is a learning disorder that affects a person's ability to understand number-based information and math. People who have dyscalculia struggle with numbers and math because their brains don't process math-related concepts like others do.

As a generalization, these all get put under the umbrella of dyslexia. It is important to understand that no person’s brain exhibits the same form of dyslexia, we are all unique. I have also experienced changes; it is not a fixed problem. For example, when very young I saw everything in a mirror image, and I wrote everything backward.

I can still easily write and read in this way, but somehow, I made it turn around. Words now change places or morph into words they shouldn’t be. Letters and numbers get mixed up. With words I can cope, but with numbers, there is no place they should be. No order or rule for placement.

While we can’t change how our brains work, we can learn how to better work with the brain we’ve got. I began by enrolling myself in a reading course for dyslexic people. It taught me to glance at groups of words at a time, rather than trying to puzzle out each word individually. I had trouble with both Anagrams and Anadromes.

Anagram is a word or phrase formed by rearranging the letters to form another word. The original letters are used only once. (Fried - fired, bare - bear, reed - deer, calm - clam, listen - silent, secure - rescue).
Anadrome is a word or phrase with the same letters which form a different word when spelled backward. (Parts - strap, evil - live, stressed - desserts, deliver - reviled, drawer - reward, nametag - gateman).

People with dyslexia experience the wrong order of letters or words while reading. Glancing at a group of words I could determine what each word in a sentence was by context. It took practice but eventually, it sped my reading and comprehension significantly. I now read at a normal rate, and I read a lot!

Dyslexics have advantages over other many neurotypicals. We read patterns, body language, and facial expressions. Our verbal communication skills are strong. Because we have experience as outsiders we develop empathy for others. We have sensitive auditory processing, creative problem-solving, and increased 3-D spatial perception. We love to think outside the box and solve puzzles. We develop critical thinking and analysis skills, and the ability to problem-solve with creative concepts.

So, what happens when a person with this mix of limitations and gifts decides to take writing seriously and become an author? As a writer, I am what they call a Panster. This term came from the idiom “Fly by the seat of your pants.”

Many writers prefer to do outlines and have various ways to organize their story arcs by planning out each stage of their novel ensuring they hit every plot point. I have tried to do this; I would like to be a plotter! But it just doesn’t work for me. Nor can I write in a linear fashion, from the opening chapter to the end.

I begin with a rather cinematic view of a story; it comes to me visually. The characters form personalities and even live in my dreams. I write whatever they are doing, and whatever they tell me. The characters come alive in my imagination, I get involved in their dramas and troubles. I feel their needs and their desires. I start to see the possibilities and then I move with them on a journey that ultimately becomes a novel.

Finished for me begins with a folder full of chapters that are out of order. I only know in my mind that they will fit together to form a whole. Then I start to organize the chapters. It is like fitting together a puzzle. Sometimes I have to add a chapter here or there to tie the pieces together. Other times I must exclude chapters or whole subplots that don’t move the main story forward. I save those unused parts and they become novellas or short stories set in the same world as my novel.

It is only because of the modern age of access and the wonderful tools created for authors that I am now able to share my writing with the world. Previously I would have had to have someone retype my manuscripts to correct my misspellings, punctuation, and grammar. This sort of assistance was costly, and I didn’t have the income to support it. All my stories languished in boxes and later in computer files, waiting for me to get back to them.

Now, I first create a Word document. I like the Find-Replace feature. This allows me to type a word in the search box and every place it appears in the document will be highlighted. For example, if a misspelling is found in a character name or a made-up place, spellcheck might not catch it. I can type the various alternate spellings in the search box and find where I have reversed letters.

I use Grammarly and Autocrit to polish and edit my stories and manuscripts. Writing is a complex task, and several areas of our brains are involved in the process. There is no reason why someone with a brain like mine can’t be a successful author. There have been others before me. For example: F. Scott Fitzgerald, Agatha Christie, Richard Ford, George Bernard Shaw, Octavia Butler, WB Yeats, Gustave Flaubert, and Jules Verne to name a few.

I will follow in their esteemed footsteps and do the best I can with the way my mind sees the world. I hope you will enjoy my stories.

Thinking in 3-D
Visual-Spatial Abilities in Dyslexia: National Library of Medicine


Margot Conor has been writing for as long as she can remember, but it wasn't until the COVID lock-down that she had enough time to dedicate to the craft and bring something to completion. Having finished her first novel, she went through the grueling two-year process of editing. Now she has jumped into the author's world with both feet. She's preparing to debut her first novel, which means learning how to promote it. The last year has been spent attending many writing retreats, seminars, and writers' events. She also listened to presentations specifically on the topic of publishing and book marketing. She will be sharing what she learns with the reader.
Learn more about Margot at

Carolyn Howard-Johnson Gives Writers Nine Reasons To Love Amazon

Nine Big Reasons To Learn To Love Amazon

By Carolyn Howard-Johnson, 
author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugallySeries of books for writers


Remember the little greeting card girl who looked like Pipi Longstockings? She put her hands on her hips, stamped her little foot, glowered out of the card at her audience and said “Get Over It!” That’s a little like I feel when I hear an author complain about Amazon. Not that I don’t understand their complaints, even sometimes agree with them. What worries me is that sometimes these authors resort to boycotting Amazon which leads to their selling their books out of their garages…or worse. Though what you might have heard about Amazon may be true, but we authors still need to take the advice of Pipi’s look-alike and “get over it.” For the good of our books. If you are one of those authors, here’s why Amazon is good for your book and by extension, good for your peace of mind, and, yes, good for your book sales


1.     Amazon sells far and away more books than any other online 
bookstore. And far and away more books than all traditional bookstores in the US combined.

2.     Amazon provides easily accessed associate sites from Japan to the UK that let you sell your books overseas—even if you haven’t sold foreign rights to your book.

3.     Amazon provides a search engine arguably second only to Google’s—especially if you view this statistic from the standpoint of an author or publisher. Your prospective reader can find you by typing your name, title, or important key words like your genre into the search window.

4.     Promotion packages like Amazon’s Vine Program are available for getting reviewed by their top reviewers. Some are free, some are costly, but they all work.

5.     Amazon offers an author profile. You can even feed your blog and Twitter stream to it and so your readers know more about you instantly. If you don’t have a profile page, go to and explore how you can add all your books to it and a knock-out biography, too.


Tip: I include a shortened URL in my e-mail signature that takes my contacts directly to my Amazon author profile.


6.     Amazon offers all kinds of ways to promote your book on a dedicated buy page where your readers get to buy your book, often with one click. That page includes:

o    Add-on features that let you highlight your credentials by choosing the best categories and subcategories for Amazon’s logarithms to find and rate your sales numbers against other similar books. (To make the most of these, the author must promote bestselling ratings when they achieve them—perhaps on Twitter.)

o    A new feature is available on your Kindle buy page. It is called “Amazon Plus.” Either the author of a book or its publisher may add five enticing quotations from your book and illustrate each with an arresting image of your choice for entry. Find the A+ entries my publisher (Modern History Press) added for the Kindle version of The Frugal Editor or any of the other books in my HowToDoItFrugally series to get ideas for your own book(s). (It works equally well for books of fiction.)

o    There is a place on your buy page to install an author- or book- related video.

o    The “What other customers buy after they’ve reviewed this item…” feature may feel uncomfortably competitive, but it connects your book to other top sellers on Amazon as well as others’ books to yours.


7.   7.  Amazon’s Kindle Select marketing program is free if you can see your way to committing your book as an Amazon exclusive for ninety days. After that period is up, you can publish at Smashwords or anywhere else you want to and you can make marketing hay with the Select program when your book is released.

8.    8. Amazon offers an annual contest for e-books in partnership with some of the biggest names in publishing.

9.   9.  When you publish new editions, Amazon offers a widget (gadget) for your backlist book’s buy page that directs readers to your new editions. See how one leads you from the second edition of my The Frugal Editorto the new third edition at my buy page. (Find it a little below the title of the book at the top of the page.


Tip: You may enter some typical “back of the book” features on your buy page yourself. That includes the more about the author, your favorite review, and more. Do watch this important page for changes. Amazon adds features to it and also taketh away. (It’s also the place that lists your book sales ratings. 


Don’t Forget: When your book becomes a bestseller in the ratings (or highly rated in its genre!) that news can become highly convincing marketing material for your book. You’ll find a screen shot of one of the ratings Modern History Press recently made for me during the release of the third edition of The Frugal Editor at the top of this blog page.


About the Guest Blogger


Cover image supplied by Amazon on their new Series Page


Carolyn Howard-Johnson is a frequent contributor to this #WritersontheMove blog. Her The Frugal Editorwas just released in its third edition from Modern History Press. It is the second multi award-winning book in her multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers. Find it on Amazon in paper, hard cover, or as an e-book at the new Amazon page especially for series . (That’s a new Amazon feature, too!) This new edition has been fully updated including a chapter on how backmatter can be extended to both help readers and jumpstart book sales.

If you liked this post, you’ll find more on marketing books in the third edition of Carolyn’s The Frugal Book Promoterthe flagship book in her how-to series for writers.

Why Writers Need to Become Time Aware

By W. Terry Whalin

As a writer, I want to increase my writing and ability to publish (in any format). I’m basically saying I would like to be more productive. In this article, I want to explain a  key to increasing your productivity: become time aware.

For example, the timing of your pitch is a critical part of the process—and often outside of your control. As an editor, I’ve had authors who don’t take the publishing contract that I offer them through Morgan James yet later (sometimes years after the offer) they will reach out to me and ask if it is still possible. Before answering, I will check with my colleagues then when I find the opportunity is still available, they move forward and publish their book with us and get it into the bookstores.

Everyone has the same amount of time. The key distinction is how we use that time. One of the first steps in the process of becoming more effective with your time is understanding how you’re using it. I encourage you to keep a time log for a week. You can be as detailed or simple as you want but make a written record of how you are spending your time each day. Then after a week evaluate the time log to note areas where you are wasting time. You will “discover” the hour or two you are spending reading Facebook posts or watching videos on YouTube. Or the several hours each night you are spending in front of the television watching shows. Or possibly it is some other time-wasting activity such as spending time on the phone talking with a relative or __________. Each of us are wasting time on these types of activities. Once the time is spent you can never get it back. Your awareness is the first step then you make intentional changes in how you spend your time to accomplish whatever you want. You may want to increase your writing, publishing, platform building, marketing and any number of other aspects of the writing life.

In the past, I’ve learned my mind can often create barriers. Possibly you are in this situation. I say to myself, “My best writing time is in the morning so I can only write then.” Or “My best time to write is after my kids are in bed.” Be aware of these mental restrictions, then consciously remove these barriers from your schedule. Maybe you only have ten or fifteen minutes to crank out some words like part of a magazine article or a blog post or a book review. My encouragement is for you to use these fifteen minutes wisely and write whenever you can. Some people wonder how I’ve written over 60 books and for more than 50 publications. My writing is just like your writing: one word, one paragraph, one sentence, one page at a time—over and over. When I think about writing, it does nothing to put words on my screen. It is only by sitting at my keyboard and moving my fingers that my writing moves into action.

Our lives as freelance writers provide freedom to control our own schedule and calendar. If I want to spend the day reading a book or taking my wife to lunch, I can do it. Yet this freedom also brings greater individual responsibility. You have no taskmaster or accountability to anyone other than yourself. Be aware of how you use your time.

I also encourage you to create systems and habits to make better use of your time. For example, I use the program called Hootsuite to schedule the majority of my social media. Other people use Buffer as this tool. I also use the “reminders” section on my phone to make sure I meet my various deadlines and tasks. I’ve learned that I can write anywhere and at any time.

As you become more aware of time and how you use it, you can become more productive. Like any journey, your commitment to make changes begins taking the first step.


This prolific writer and editor contends your first step to increase your productive as a writer is to become time aware. Discover 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 Terry’s recent book, 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 To Speed Your Success. Check out his free Ebook, Platform Building Ideas for Every Author. His website is located at: Connect with Terry on TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn.

Write for the Reader, Not for Yourself


By Karen Cioffi

Years ago, a client told me that I don’t write for the client; I don’t even write for myself; I write for the reader.

This was in regard to a picture book I wrote for the client and it’s the best compliment I’ve ever gotten.

This is how every author should write.

Two key points when writing for children are: Write for the reader and take professional advice.

At this point in my writing career, I’ve probably written around 350 stories, between ghostwriting and rewriting. Most of them are ghostwritten.

That’s a lot of clients. And even though I’ve had a number of series clients and return clients, all-in-all, I’ve dealt with at least 300 individual clients.

And I’m most likely underestimating this.

My point, though, is that most authors, especially new authors or wanna-be-authors, don’t realize the importance of writing for the reader.

So, what exactly does this mean?

A perfect example of this is a young adult story I’m currently working on. It’s over 100,000 words and is engrossing, but it’s also very complicated.

I’m working with the client for around nine months or so, and a running problem keeps coming up: he writes for himself.

-He knows what every character’s backstory is – every little detail.

-He knows the story’s backstory.

-He knows the history of the story topic intimately.

-He knows why Character Z is evil.

-He knows how the enemy is getting their information.

-He knows how the next two books in the trilogy will pan out.

The problem…

The reader doesn’t know. And, the client more than occasionally throws in something that the reader will get lost on.

The client can’t grasp that the reader can’t read his mind.

It’s easy to fall into this hole.

It’s super easy to get caught in this scenario, especially if it’s a long story and you’re writing independently.

Again, you know what you intend. You know what’s happening – you know the why to what’s happening. But this doesn’t mean the reader will unless you clue them in.

To give a more straightforward example, suppose a story has four brothers battling an enemy, but it’s mentioned somewhere that there are five brothers. The fifth brother is mentioned vaguely in a very brief scene, then just disappears.

The author knows who the fifth brother is, where he is, how he vanished, and why he vanished. The author thinks it’s important to mention the fifth brother because that brother will play a big part in another book. The problem, again, the reader doesn’t know any of this.

The reader will begin to wonder. Who’s the fifth brother? Why was he there and then vanished? What is his place in the story? She’ll possibly get annoyed that the author even mentioned the fifth brother.

You don’t want the reader to feel she’s left out of the loop or that the story is too complicated for her. Give the reader what she needs to be engaged in the story and on top of it.

LOL Writing this, I’m not even sure if I’m being clear enough. I know what I’m trying to say; I hope it translates over.

Readers are savvy and can read between the lines as long as the author provides enough clues or information.

Write with clarity. Don’t expect the reader to be a mind reader.

Finally, if you’re working with a professional editor, rewriter, or ghostwriter, take her advice, especially when it’s on something that just makes sense. 


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: If you need help with your children’s story, visit:  


Tips for Getting Known

Writing Inspiration - Get a Club

Theme - The Heart of Your Story


Guided Imagery for the Writer and Everyone Else


The world is a hot-mess. I don’t know of anyone who’s not stressed and anxious.

Being creative, whether writing fiction or nonfiction, takes focus. And as a writer, it’s natural that at times you'll find it difficult to concentrate on writing.

With the added distraction of the world’s craziness, well…

I’ve been a subscriber to Bob Rich’s newsletter for a long time and a very recent email was titled Unfolding Guided Imagery.

After reading it and following it, I was impressed so thought I’d share his other guided imagery articles at: 

Also, if you'd like to learn more on how to use tools of positive psychology to ease your stress, Bob runs a free 5-session online course –  you can email him about this at:

You might also like reading  “Two women aged 55.” You'll find it at:

In addition to being a blogger and author, Bob is a retired psychotherapist.


Bob Rich would jump off this planet because of its crazy inhabitants if it wasn’t for the tools of positive psychology. They allow us to stay calm, sane and even contented in the worst situations (though of course we need to remember to use them).

All these tools are covered in one way or another in two of Bob’s books. You’ll need to go for a hunt on his blog to find them.


Hope this helps you in your writing and in your life !


Some Good News for Writers

By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin
If you read the news or watch the news (as I continue to do), it is easy to get discouraged and completely stalled in your writing and publishing efforts. I've read where a number of writers are stuck, not writing anything and not moving forward. In some ways, I understand and it makes sense to be stalled. It has been a strange and different year with a worldwide pandemic. Yet you do not have to be stuck and stalled. In this article I want to give you some good news and ideas to move out of stall and into action.
1. People are reading more than recent years. Just check out this article from PR Expert Sandra Beckwith.

2. Books are selling. People are buying books from authors, online bookstores and brick and mortar bookstores. Books are getting translated into different languages and libraries continue to purchase books. As an writer, celebrate each of these opportunities and be knocking on new doors.

3. Publishers are still making new books. As an acquisitions editor, I am continuing to send process submissions, sign new authors and we are releasing new books. Yes some details have changed in this process but it is still happening.

4. Writers have opportunity to tell others about your book. Radio programs are still booking and looking for guests. Podcasts are still looking and booking guests. If you aren't getting on these programs then you need to take steps to learn how to pitch and get booked. There are online programs to teach you these skills.

5. Print magazines are still looking for quality writers to fill their pages. It's a simple fact, every magazine editor begins their next issue with blank pages which need to be filled with the right stories from writers (many of them freelance writers). You can be that writer—but only if you learn how to write a query letter, study their magazine guidelines (where the editor tells you what they need), then give the editor what they need. Yes it is that simple but it takes your effort and work to find the right fit.
Shake off rejection or any bad news and move forward. Seize these opportunities. Learn how to write a query and book proposal. Be pitching editors and literary agents. Don't get discouraged. Sit at your keyboard and write your story. If I can help you in this process, don't hesitate to reach out to me. It's one of the reasons I have my personal email address in my Twitter profile.
As we move into the holiday season with Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year, I encourage you to focus on the positive things in your world, life and family. We have good news as writers and let's celebrate it.
What is your good news as a writer? In the comments, let me know what you are celebrating.  I look forward to cheering you onward.

There is good news for writers. Get the details here from this prolific editor and author. (ClickToTweet)

W. Terry Whalin is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. His work contact information is on the bottom of the second page (follow this link).  He has written for over 50 magazines and more than 60 books with traditional publishers. His latest book for writers is 10 Publishing Myths, Insights Every Author Needs to Succeed. Get this book for only $10 + free shipping and over $200 in bonuses. One of Terry's most popular free ebooks is Straight Talk From the Editor, 18 Keys to a Rejection-Proof Submission. He lives in Colorado and has  190,000 twitter followers



Ideas For Handling Change

By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

We can easily mark 2020 as a year of incredible change. A year ago, I would not have imagined our world would face a worldwide pandemic and a lock down of our country—and other countries around the world. Businesses including bookstores have come to a screeching halt.

Some of my writer friends tell me they have stopped writing and can't sit at their computer. I understand the distraction but I also have some ideas for you about how to handle change. Pandemic or not, the world of publishing is always shifting and changing. Publications start and publications close. Publishers open and then some publishers close their doors. Editors come and editors go. Yet books and magazines continue to be made and sold. With the pandemic, a number of conferences cancelled. Other events moved to become virtual online.

I've learned to use several new tools or services lately. Instead of standing in line at the post office (which I have done for hours over the years to mail my books), I've signed up at and I'm printing my own postage (media mail for books), then taking them to the post office and dropping off my packages. If you sign up at for their free trial and getting $100 value--using the promo code, when it is completed, behind the scenes, they will give me $20 in free postage. Here's the promo code: C-HDZ9–YNV.

For years I've been using a cassette tape recorder for interviews—either in person or on the phone (using a simple recording device). Last week my old tape recorder broke. I've ordered a new one but the change forced me to look for alternative ways to handle my interviews. I belong to several online groups and ask them for recommendations. Several journalists recommended TapeACall. This phone app will not only record the call but transcribe it. Now the transcription isn't perfect but it's way better than transcribing the tape—especially if you take notes and correct the transcription right shortly after recording. From learning about this app and making this change, it is going to save me a lot of time.

One of the big recent changes that I've made started before the pandemic. In February, I took an intense book funnel boot camp to learn some new techniques for selling my 10 Publishing Myths (follow this link to check out the offer). The training involved using a number of different websites and tools. Some of the most successful Morgan James authors (bestselling year after year) are using these techniques. Will my new book become bestselling? I don't know but I'm trying it.

These ways are just a few of the changes I've made. How are you handling the various changes in our world? I have several recommendations:

1. Move to online events and virtual promotion. I have been promoting online for years but if you haven't been, now is a great time to jump into this process.

2. Be willing to try new services and new techniques. If something breaks or gets interrupted, look for new tools. Ask colleagues for recommendations, pick one and get started.

3. Keep writing and trying new publications and new opportunities. Even if you only write 20–30 minutes a day, that time at your keyboard is much better than doing nothing. Can you write a page a day? As you do, gradually increase your number of pages.

4. Continue pitching and knocking on doors—the opportunities are there. They may be harder to find but they are certainly there. Our book sales at Morgan James are up five percent. Magazines continue to be published and need your writing. Whether you are beginning or have been writing for years, every writer (including me) needs to pitch to get the opportunity.

How are you handling change? What tools or methods are you using? Let me know in the comments and I look forward to learning from you.


When our world is changing, how to you handle it? Get ideas here from this prolific editor and author. (ClickToTweet)

 W. Terry Whalin is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. His work contact information is on the bottom of the second page (follow this link).  His latest book for writers is 10 Publishing Myths, Insights Every Author Needs to SucceedOne of Terry's most popular free ebooks is Straight Talk From the Editor, 18 Keys to a Rejection-Proof Submission. He lives in Colorado and has over 200,000 twitter followers

Writers Need Simple Truths

By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

With a world-wide pandemic and lockdowns, we are seeing a unique time in the history of the world. It has not been easy for anyone. For example, to stay out of the stores and at home, I've learned how to order almost anything online and have it delivered to my front door. It still feels strange to order items where I normally walk into a store and get it but it's possible and I've been doing it. Much has changed, yet there are many things which will remain the same way beyond this pandemic.

I read the publishing trade publications and know book sales are up--in many different categories--print and electronic book sales. Books are continuing to be released and promoted and published--as they will for years in the future. It's good news for writers. 

In this article, I want highlight something I wrote more than a dozen years ago, as a frustrated acquisitions editor. I wrote Book Proposals That $ell, 21 Secrets To Speed Your Success. In the back of that book, I included a series of simple statements for writers that I called Maxims.  Today I'm returning to these truths as reminders for every writer (including me). I hope they will be something important to you and help guide your writing life:

1. Never forget the impact of your words—positive or negative. Most days, I feel the pressure of motivation to make money as a freelancer. I’ve got bills and obligations which demand payment. Yet if you are so money-driven that you never make any decisions about your writing except ones which are motivated from finances, it will be difficult for you to advance in nonfiction or whatever category you choose. Don’t get me wrong. I want to be fairly compensated for my work but I also want to enjoy my work and what I do day in and day out. You need to be conscious of your motivation behind your writing and let that drive your daily efforts. 

2. Never forget your writing is a privilege and a business—so seek to maintain balance. Too many writers hesitate to ask for their materials or for a decision about a query or proposal. They send it out once or twice, then it’s rejected and they don’t properly market. 

3. Celebrate your writing successes. Never lose the wonder of the opportunity. Years ago, at a general market writing conference in Southern California, I was fascinated listening to a well-known bestselling novelist and his message. While waiting to ask him a question after the session, I turned to another person and asked if she had taken this instructor’s writing class. The woman puffed up her face in disgust and replied, “No, I’m a published author.” Just because our material is printed in magazines or books, it should not build us up in pride. Believe me, sometimes it’s difficult but as writers we need to keep things in balance, especially when it comes to nonfiction books. 

4. Believe in the quality of your work and the value of your message. Surprises always happen. I work hard at my craft and perseverance is a key factor. Don’t get me wrong but I love to receive my material in print. It’s a surprise and a special blessing. It’s the new box of books hot off the press or the magazine article in a missionary publication. I marvel at the grace in my life. I’d encourage you to absorb the same attitude no matter how many books you publish. 

5. Expect to serve an apprenticeship. It’s a false expectation to go from nothing to book contracts. Everyone is expected to move through the ranks of this business. It takes diligence and perseverance to succeed. 

6. Learn all you can from every possible source. If you approach life in this fashion, you will find that you can learn from a multitude of sources. 

7. Act wisely and thoughtfully. Haste usually makes waste. 

8. Never resist rewriting. Your words are not etched in stone. 

9. Never resist editing. Again, your words are not etched in stone. 

10. When you receive advice about your writing, learn to evaluate it critically. Sometimes you will get advice from a fellow writer or a family member and it doesn’t “feel” like something you should take. Follow that instinct. 

11. Treat editors as the coach on your team. They know their audience, so respect their counsel and only reject it with good reason. 

12. Never rest on your laurels. Be looking for your next opportunity. I’ve discovered that writing opportunities abound—particularly when I’m actively looking for them. As I read through these truths which I wrote many years ago, they still ring true. In fact, I've based much of my writing career on following these statements. I hope they will encourage you and help your writing life.

If you haven't read Book Proposals That $ell,  let me give you several reasons to get a copy: First, the book has over 130 Five Star reviews on Amazon. Second, many people have used this information to get an agent or snag a traditional book deal. Third, I have all of the remaining print copies (so don't buy it from Amazon). Finally I've reduced the price from $15 to $8 and added bonuses and other elements. I hope you will check it out and order a copy.

As you read through this article, which principles are important to you? Am  I missing something? I look forward to your comments and feedback in the comments below.


Read this article about Writers Need Simple Truths from this prolific writer and editor. (ClickToTweet)

W. Terry Whalin is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. His work contact information is on the bottom of the second page (follow this link).  His latest book for writers is 10 Publishing Myths, Insights Every Author Needs to SucceedOne of Terry's most popular free ebooks is Straight Talk From the Editor, 18 Keys to a Rejection-Proof Submission. He lives in Colorado and has over 200,000 twitter followers 

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