A Profitable Idea for WritersWritten by Mary Anne Hahn
To say that I read a lot is perhaps one of greatest understatements of all time. I read chronically, obsessively. Articles, books, magazines, newspapers, newsletters--you name it. Whenever I am alone, if I'm not actually writing something, I make certain I have something to read with me. I carry a large purse precisely for this purpose; my partner, John, calls one I hoist on my shoulder these days "carryon luggage," which should give you some idea of its size :-).
Although I have a great love for novels, most of my recent reading involves topics that inform and/or inspire. Of special interest to me is anything that can show me new ways (or new slants on old ways) for writers to make a comfortable living using their skills, things that I can share with readers of my ezine, WriteSuccess.
One area that continues to look especially promising and profitable for writers is ebook writing and publishing.
For readers, convenience of ebooks can't be beat; you can purchase your book and be reading it moments later without getting up from your PC or Mac.
For writers, benefits abound. Ebooks are relatively inexpensive and easy to publish. You don't need to shop around for an agent. There's no yearlong wait between having your manuscript accepted and seeing it in print. And you can do some neat things with ebooks that you can't with traditional print variety--include your own clip art and graphics, add hypertext links right in pages of your book that take you readers to related Web sites, and other fun online stuff.
You can't just slap an ebook together and expect to find an instant road to riches, however. Finding and developing a book on a topic that people care about, and will pay for, is key. You will also need to decide whether to self-publish, or go through an ebook publisher. And success of your ebook lies in how willingly, and how well, you market it.
Probably most sought-after type of ebooks, and hence most profitable avenue you can pursue, are ones that contain information. These run gamut as far as content, from how to develop a gorgeous perennial garden to how to balance one's work and family life. If people are passionate about topic, and feel it will enhance their lives, they will buy a book about it.
Navel Gazing: How to Edit Yourself Written by Heather Reimer
Writers around world agree... it's nearly impossible to edit your own writing. We tend to fall in love with our words moment they burst onto screen and, as you know, love is blind.
Obviously a professional proofreader/copy editor is ideal solution. It takes a village to raise a child, and it takes a village of helpers to nurture a blockbuster like one you're writing. But what if you can't afford it or you're under deadline pressure with no time for a second opinion? This is not a happy situation, but in a pinch you can edit your own material. Here's how:
-After you've finished piece and spell-checked it, give it a rest. Wait as long as you can -- sleep on it, if possible -- before coming back and proofing it for errors you missed first time. Re- read it at least ten times. Then read it backwards, last sentence to first.
-Be ruthless. Whittle convoluted thoughts down into fewest words without losing meaning. For example, "She received support of 21 senators among those senators who were present for vote" becomes, "Twenty-one senators voted for her."
-Root out passive statements and flip them into active ones. Your Microsoft Word spell checker has a feature that will tell you how many passive sentences are in a document. It even tells you what grade level your piece is written for. Hint: Aim as low as possible - below grade eight if you can. (To activate this feature, check box beside "show readability statistics" on Spelling and Grammar options page).
-One idea per sentence, please. You will immediately understand why when you read following lead from a published news story:
"Carlos Manuel Geronimo Alfonseca, one of supposedly confessed authors of murder of Senator, told journalists at New City courthouse when he was being taken back to his cell after being questioned by Judge Nelson Rodriguez on day of his hearing that he was not person who wore mask when Senator was killed." Come again?