Search This Blog

Loading...

Great Editing Is Great Marketing

Your First Marketing Offense: Write and Edit Great Query Letters

Monday, June 13, 2016

Bet Your English Teacher Never Taught You This About Sentences

I love welcoming guest bloggers. Most writers do a bit of everything and today's guest is one of those writers. She heads up book fairs. She edits. She helps writers with their marketing. She writes short stories and makes sure they get read by publishing on Kindle. And--as you can see--she shares her knowledge with fellow writers. And, quite honestly, after many graduate level courses in grammar, I never thought to look at sentences quite this way. 



Sentences: It’s All in the Presentation
by
Valerie Allen


There are several types of sentences and each conveys information to the reader in a different way. Varying the type of sentences in your manuscript will help the reader stay focused and add interest.

Here are four different types of sentences and their uses.

Controlling sentences: name and control the topic.

The prison was damp and cold in the winter. It was humid and hot in the summer.

Clarifying sentences: help make the topic clearer.

Inmate comfort was not a top priority with the warden. It was no secret a high percent of his annual bonus was, in part, based on reduction in the cost of running the facility. Discussion of the utility bills took up a major portion of his weekly staff meetings.

Completing sentences: add specific details.

There was no air conditioning at the Cadejama Prison in Death Valley. The cells had no windows to open in the spring to take away the humidity, nor in the summer to relieve the oppressive heat. In winter the inside temperature never exceeded 40 degrees. The only attempt at climate control for the inmates came in December, with the issue of one thin well-used blanket.

Period Sentence: delays the most important thought and deliberately withholds it from the reader to create a special climax.

Confined in her cell day after day, she began to go mad.

The first three types of sentences are cumulative. They begin with the main clause and continue with details. The period sentence is more powerful because it offers known information at the start of the sentence and saves the unknown detail for the end.

The way we arrange words in a sentence brings our story to life, adds interest, and makes a significant impression on the reader. Sentence structure can make a good story great.

=====================================================================
MORE ABOUT TODAY'S GUEST BLOGGER
Valerie Allen, author, playwright, and speaker, writes fiction, non-fiction, short stories, plays, and children's books. She is a popular speaker at writer's conferences, libraries, and community events using her book: Write, Publish, Sell! Quick, Easy, Inexpensive Ideas for the Marketing Challenged 2nd Edition.

She is a co-founder of Authors for Authors, which supports new and experienced authors with book fairs, book launches, book displays, and writing seminars. Authors from across the US have had their books displayed at two Florida book fairs held in March and November sponsored by AuthorsforAuthors.com.

Valerie Allen can be contacted via FB, Twitter, Google+ and at VAllenWriter@gmail.com or ValerieAllenWriter.com


~ Valerie Allen ~
VAllenWriter@cs.com                                          ValerieAllenWriter.com
Amazon.com/Author/ValerieAllen
 
 
 Beyond the Inkblots: Confusion to Harmony
Write Publish Sell!
Summer School for Smarties
Bad Hair, Good Hat, New Friends
The Prodigal Son
Amazing Grace
Sins of the Father
Suffer the Little Children
'Tis Herself: Short Story Collection, Vol 1
 

-----
 Carolyn Howard-Johnson edits, consults, and speaks on issues of writing and publishing. Find her at http://howtodoitfrugally.com. Find the second edition of her multi award-winning The Frugal Editor: Do-it-yourself editing secrets for authors: From your query letter to final manuscript to the marketing of your bestseller. (HowToDoItFrugally Series of Books for Writers). Learn more about her other authors' aids at www.howtodoitfrugally.com/writers_books.htm , where writers find lists and other helps including , Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips on the Resources for Writers page. She blogs on all things publishing (not just editing!) at her SharingingwithWriters blog. She tweets writers' resources at www.twitter.com/frugalbookpromo . Please tweet this post to your followers. We all need a little help with editing. (-:

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Shel Horowitz Shares Words that Influence



Shel Horowitz and I share an interest in the environment, marketing, and writing and those interests are reflected in his guest post below. But look! We editors can learn from it, too! Those interested in those topics should take a minute to explore his Web site for his newsletter and books. And, Shel suggests, I hope you'll share your own banished words and phrases. 


Vocabulary is an important thing; it’s part of framing. I do believe that the words we use influence the outcomes we get. I want to share with you a few choice words and phrases that I either avoid altogether or use only to make a point—and yes, I recognize the irony that I’m dedicating my entire feature article to them—but only as a teaching exercise.

Sustainable/Sustainability: These words are everywhere in the green business world. But they talk about staying where we are. My vision takes us well beyond the status quo to a world that’s actively healing itself—reversing catastrophic climate change, turning hunger and poverty into sufficiency, war into peace.

Global Warming: Oh, it sounds so warm and comfortable and fuzzy and tender! While I don’t spend a lot of time jumping up and down about the need to change human patterns that influence climate—preferring to use the power of enlightened self interest to effect change, rather than guilt and shame—when I do, I refer to “catastrophic climate change.”

Killing It/Crushing It: I’m not interested in killing or crushing things, people, or organizations. I don’t see my success as require anyone else’s failure. I can thrive without hurting others, and you can too.

Niggardly: While I’ve looked at the origins of both words and they actually have nothing in common linguistically, I will never use that term other than to say why I don’t use it—because it sounds far too close to a nasty word to describe black people, and I don’t want to put out any kind of racist vibe.

Sucks (as a negative descriptor): This one came into use decades ago as an anti-gay-male slur, derived from a longer word that begins with “c.” ‘Nuff said.

Gendered pronouns to represent all people: I work toward gender-neutral language. Sometimes, because it’s easier than saying “he or she” or “his or her,” I’ll alternate. The first paragraph might use she and her, while the next switches to he, his, and him. Or I’ll write a paragraph in the plural, using words like “people,” “they,” and “their”—but grammatically, this requires that everything else is plural too. It’s not a construction I use often.

That’s Impossible: This is a special case, because actually I use this one in my speeches, writing, and media interviews—but I use it to prove its opposite. I talk about “impossible” as “the red flag in front of the bull,” defying me to prove it wrong. My most popular (and I think best) presentation is called “Impossible is a Dare” and it builds from this magnificent quote by Muhammad Ali:

“Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.” 

I use that same quote as a chapter title in my 10th book, Guerrilla Marketing to Heal the World, and as the theme for my most popular talk. I feel similarly about Can’t.What are your banished words and phrases?(With thanks to Marilyn Jenett and George Lakoff)


MORE ABOUT TODAY'S GUEST BLOGGER

Shel Horowitz works with writers who'd like to be well-published, well-marketed authors--and with businesses that want to thrive while creating and marketing products and services that heal the world. His ten books include Guerrilla Marketing to Heal the Worldhttp://goingbeyondsustainability.com/guerrilla-marketing-to-heal-the-world/ -  and Grassroots Marketing for Authors and Publishershttp://grassrootsmarketingforauthors.com/ To discuss your book or transformational business project with shel, contact him at 413-586-2388 (8 a.m. to 10 p.m. US Eastern Time), shel at greenandprofitable.com,  Learn more about him and share:

Twitter: @Shel Horowitz
Watch (and please share) my TEDx Talk,
"Impossible is a Dare: Business for a Better World"
http://www.ted.com/tedx/events/11809http://goingbeyondsustainability.com
http://transformpreneur.commailto:shel@greenandprofitable.com * 413-586-2388


----- 
 Carolyn Howard-Johnson edits, consults, and speaks on issues of writing and publishing. Find her at http://howtodoitfrugally.com. Find the second edition of her multi award-winning The Frugal Editor: Do-it-yourself editing secrets for authors: From your query letter to final manuscript to the marketing of your bestseller. (HowToDoItFrugally Series of Books for Writers). Learn more about her other authors' aids at www.howtodoitfrugally.com/writers_books.htm , where writers find lists and other helps including , Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips on the Resources for Writers page. She blogs on all things publishing (not just editing!) at her SharingingwithWriters blog. She tweets writers' resources at www.twitter.com/frugalbookpromo . Please tweet this post to your followers. We all need a little help with editing. (-:

Friday, May 20, 2016

Rarely Discussed Wordtrippers


CONFOUNDING WORDTRIPPERS

This is just a quick copy-and-paste from my #SharingwithWriters newsletter so subscribers to this blog won't think I've forgotten them! (-:  It's one of those wordtrippers that doesn't get much attention. and one I can almost guarantee you didn't get any help with in school.

"Predominate” is not just a verb. It is also an adjective just like “predominant.” In fact, according to dictionaries “predominate” means “predominant.” Still, great editors know which are first choices when one or the other faces them in the copy they are editing.
 Mirriam-Webster, the go-to dictionary for those who write books, says “predominatey” is the variant form of “predominantly”—meaning “predominantly” is more standard.  In fact, it's so preferred that my Word program keeps auto changing predominately for me. It has no clue that I am trying explain the difference there and that's a good lesson in keeping a sharp eye out for its bad habit of thinking it's always right! 
Regardless of which one you choose to use when you are writing books, you don’t want to use one version on one page and another on another page.  

By the way, consider finding more editing tips by subscribing to SharingwithWriters at http://howtodoitfrugally.com. The subscription form is on almost every page of that Web site in the upper right corner.  There's a freebie for doing so, too!


-----
 Carolyn Howard-Johnson edits, consults, and speaks on issues of writing and publishing. Find her at http://howtodoitfrugally.com. Find the second edition of her multi award-winning The Frugal Editor: Do-it-yourself editing secrets for authors: From your query letter to final manuscript to the marketing of your bestseller. (HowToDoItFrugally Series of Books for Writers). Learn more about her other authors' aids at www.howtodoitfrugally.com/writers_books.htm , where writers find lists and other helps including , Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips on the Resources for Writers page. She blogs on all things publishing (not just editing!) at her SharingingwithWriters blog. She tweets writers' resources at www.twitter.com/frugalbookpromo . Please tweet this post to your followers. We all need a little help with editing. (-:

Saturday, May 14, 2016

A New Preferred Term Leads to a Fave Topic, Saving Money

Unless you either write books of your own, are in business for yourself, or are just involved in marketing and advertising in some way, you probably won't need to know about this new marketing term. Still, those interested in editing are generally curious (and exacting!) folk,  so I thought I'd share my story with you. Besides . . .the story involves some good, hard advice about paying good, hard money for things you can get free on your own and will probably be more effective if you do! Here it is:

Today you get a hard reminder prompted by a new term being bandied about.

In The Frugal Book Promoter I talk about advertorials in conjunction with a section warning writers—but especially new writers—to use publicity (meaning free) in their marketing rather than advertising (which always means paid-for!). The section includes a little back-door method for getting to know the same newspaper and magazine folks who can say yay or nay to your marketing efforts as an alternative for cold calls or for giving up when you discover you've missed a submission deadline. 

One of the terms I tell you about in that section is “advertorial” which means a paid-for ad that looks like free editorial copy and is often more effective. To put in the grossest terms, it’s more effective because it fools many readers into believing that it’s editorial copy or vetted news or feature material chosen strictly on the basis of its newsworthiness or general appeal.

Now we have a new term for the same thing—possibly designed to disguise an advertorial with ritzier words. It is certainly less likely to be deciphered by the general reader. It is…drumroll… “native advertising.” According to David Lazarus, columnist for the LA Times, Lord & Taylor is facing a deceptive-trade charge from the Federal Trade Commission because they used this ploy—a huge embarrassment for a clothing company of L&T's stature.

You’ll see this tactic used—whether they call it advertorial or native advertising—in special advertising sections produced by newspapers and similar kinds of features in magazines—and sometimes they can be valuable reading like the sections Time magazine often runs. These advertorials are paid for by large corporations or countries, usually companies or countries that want to improve their image among Americans or the business community. 

However, even useful advertorials can only be interpreted well by the reader if it is very clear that they are paid-for. Like anything we read, we should know the source and that’s one reason that the Web is so iffy. By the way, this Lord & Taylor snafu was “native advertising” on the Web, which is notorious for disseminating misinformation (a PC term for “lies.”)

It’s important for authors to know about this. They need to know what to avoid in their marketing (and how to use whatever they choose ethically). Maybe even more important, they need to be able to discern the propaganda aimed at na├»ve authors by scammy businesses—both big businesses and individuals—trying to entice them into paying for marketing programs that are either useless or can be gotten free.

As it happens, this topic has been on my mind because I am working on a chapter for the next book in my award-winning HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers. Getting Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically will be published late this summer. Believe me, there are a lot of “Please-pay-me” schemes revolving around every aspect of publishing but the review scams are at the top of my hate list. Authors desperate to get the reviews they’ve always dreamed of having are perfect targets, especially first-time authors. So, yeah. I’m on my soapbox again! (-:

As far as editors go, now you get to choose. Do you want to use "advertorial," "native advertising," or plain old "advertising."  Generally speaking I'd opt for the latter. "Advertorial" may sound like a foreign language no matter what language your audience speaks. "Native advertising" is a euphemism (and therefore misleading). We might as well call what it is--marketing that you pay for as opposed to marketing you don-t known as "publicity." 


-----

 Carolyn Howard-Johnson edits, consults, and speaks on issues of writing and publishing. Find her at http://howtodoitfrugally.com. Find the second edition of her multi award-winning The Frugal Editor: Do-it-yourself editing secrets for authors: From your query letter to final manuscript to the marketing of your bestseller. (HowToDoItFrugally Series of Books for Writers). Learn more about her other authors' aids at www.howtodoitfrugally.com/writers_books.htm , where writers find lists and other helps including , Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips on the Resources for Writers page. She blogs on all things publishing (not just editing!) at her SharingingwithWriters blog. She tweets writers' resources at www.twitter.com/frugalbookpromo . Please tweet this post to your followers. We all need a little help with editing. (-:

Friday, May 13, 2016

Q&A On Figuring Out What Editors Do and How to Hire One

I love the regular "Q & A a la Ann Landers" features I use in my #SharingwithWriters newsletter because I make it time-effective for me to spend time with authors who send me questions by recycling their questions and my answers as part of the monthly letter. I try to include something on editing in every issue and you can get the letter and a free e-book (editing! of course!) at http://howtodoitfrugally.com.  The subscribe window is in the upper right corner of most every page and you can read some back issues , too!

This question came from a reader who finds that editors often don't clearly define exactly what what their editing process includes and how they work.


QUESTION:
I just finished my first novel, historical fiction, and I’m finding different editors’ sites don’t give me much information and that no one seems to be speaking the same language in terms of definition when they toss around the editing terms. Copy editor? Proofreader? Etc.
ANSWER
If this is a first novel, I believe you need a full edit. Sometimes first novelists—even ones who have taken lots of classes—still don't have things like structure, motivation, setting, characterization down. It's not just our own punctuation or homonym errors we don't see! It would also be helpful if you tried to find an editor experienced specifically in historical novels—especially the specific period you are writing in. Your editor may even spot a historical inaccuracy or two.
You also might want to read the multi award-winning The Frugal Editor (http://bit.ly/FrugalEditor). It includes a battery of questions to ask editors to get what you need.
I know a full edit like this is expensive, but one of the things I say in my The Frugal Editor: Think of the money spend as the equivalent of three university classes at a top writing school in addition to the editing. If you get an editor who explains why she does things and what the alternative is, you'll come away from the editing process a much better writer—even if you are already a great writer. (-:
PS: The Frugal Editor also defines the terms of editing—at least for purposes of the book—so we’re all talking the same language. I sympathize with the confusion you expressed.


----
 Carolyn Howard-Johnson edits, consults, and speaks on issues of writing and publishing. Find her at http://howtodoitfrugally.com. Find the second edition of her multi award-winning The Frugal Editor: Do-it-yourself editing secrets for authors: From your query letter to final manuscript to the marketing of your bestseller. (HowToDoItFrugally Series of Books for Writers). Learn more about her other authors' aids at www.howtodoitfrugally.com/writers_books.htm , where writers find lists and other helps including , Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips on the Resources for Writers page. She blogs on all things publishing (not just editing!) at her SharingingwithWriters blog. She tweets writers' resources at www.twitter.com/frugalbookpromo . Please tweet this post to your followers. We all need a little help with editing. (-:

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Use Your Writing References with Confidence

I almost always run an editing tip in my SharingwithWriters newsletter. Thought I'd share one from last month with those of you who follow this blog:

Grammar Guru June Casagrande says , “Mirriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary is the default reference for the Chicago Manual of Style.” For those in the publishing industry that would include most SharingwithWriters subscribers and subscribers to this Frugal, Smart, and Tuned-In Editor blog. 

In other words, when you’re getting conflicting information (or when you want to be confident about your choices) use these two references. 

But what if?

  • If you’re a journalist or freelance writer who writes for newspaper or magazines, your two go-tos are Webster’s New World College Dictionary and the Associated Press Style-book. 
  • Of course,  the media you are writing for may have its own style guide. 
  • If you are an academic, check your university’s style guide first and then fall back on the publishing industry’s faves if you need more guidance.


PS: June is the author of Grammar Snobs Are Great Big Meanies published by Penguin and syndicated columnist of "A Word Please."
-----
 Carolyn Howard-Johnson edits, consults, and speaks on issues of writing and publishing. Find her at http://howtodoitfrugally.com. Find the second edition of her multi award-winning The Frugal Editor: Do-it-yourself editing secrets for authors: From your query letter to final manuscript to the marketing of your bestseller. (HowToDoItFrugally Series of Books for Writers). Learn more about her other authors' aids at www.howtodoitfrugally.com/writers_books.htm , where writers find lists and other helps including , Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips on the Resources for Writers page. She blogs on all things publishing (not just editing!) at her SharingingwithWriters blog. She tweets writers' resources at www.twitter.com/frugalbookpromo . Please tweet this post to your followers. We all need a little help with editing. (-:

Saturday, March 26, 2016

New Example for Old Grammar Conundrum

Today's post is no great news flash. Visitors to this blog will learn nothing new. I wanted to post it, though, because it's an example of how easily some of the stickiest grammar (and therefore editing) problems can be explained and how a great example can make a huge difference:

Sometimes getting a homonym or other wordtripper right doesn’t take paragraphs of explanation. So you use “less” when you modify a singular noun and “fewer” when you modify plural nouns. 
June Casagrande, syndicated columnist of A Word Please and author of Grammar Snobs Are Great Big Meanies (Penguin), gives this neat example: “If three items are removed from your cart, you end up with ‘fewer’ items. But if just one is taken out, there’s one ‘less.’ That’s because ‘items’ is plural and ‘item’ is singular.” 

I figure every English teacher should memorize this example, write it on their blackboard in permanent paint, and test their kids on it regularly. (-: 

-----
 Carolyn Howard-Johnson edits, consults, and speaks on issues of writing and publishing. Find her at http://howtodoitfrugally.com. Find the second edition of her multi award-winning The Frugal Editor: Do-it-yourself editing secrets for authors: From your query letter to final manuscript to the marketing of your bestseller. (HowToDoItFrugally Series of Books for Writers). Learn more about her other authors' aids at www.howtodoitfrugally.com/writers_books.htm , where writers find lists and other helps including , Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips on the Resources for Writers page. She blogs on all things publishing (not just editing!) at her SharingingwithWriters blog. She tweets writers' resources at www.twitter.com/frugalbookpromo . Please tweet this post to your followers. We all need a little help with editing. (-:

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Old Grammar Rule Redefined

Longtime subscriber (and amazing book cover designer Chaz DeSimone) sends me this must-read link that you can add to your permanent editing file: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/01/08/donald-trump-may-win-this-years-word-of-the-year/


Using “they” in the singular has been a broken rule that’s been leaning toward acceptability for a long time. It's so awkward to do the he or she bit and choosing just he or she is always risky. Someone is going to be insulted including people who don’t identify with either gender. And trading around between he and she is just plain confusing anyway. I don't go along with this kind of proclamation until the Chicago Style Book says it's okay. The book industry is fu-u-u-ssy!
-----
 Carolyn Howard-Johnson edits, consults, and speaks on issues of writing and publishing. Find her at http://howtodoitfrugally.com. Find the second edition of her multi award-winning The Frugal Editor: Do-it-yourself editing secrets for authors: From your query letter to final manuscript to the marketing of your bestseller. (HowToDoItFrugally Series of Books for Writers). Learn more about her other authors' aids at www.howtodoitfrugally.com/writers_books.htm , where writers find lists and other helps including , Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips on the Resources for Writers page. She blogs on all things publishing (not just editing!) at her SharingingwithWriters blog. She tweets writers' resources at www.twitter.com/frugalbookpromo . Please tweet this post to your followers. We all need a little help with editing. (-:

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Do You Really Know What "Corn" Means?


Sometimes words mean different things to people who work in different disciplines. Sometimes, that can be important in both the understanding of what we read and in editing for a particular audience. The word “corn” is one of those words. To anthropologists and many others “corn” is not just the agricultural product known as maize; they may take it to mean a cereal crop of any kind. You may read about “Roman corn.” It is not the stuff of popcorn or corn on the cob dripping in butter and salt. It is probably wheat—or even barley. Often any grain can become “corn” in translation when a specific grain is uncertain.

-----
Carolyn Howard-Johnson edits, consults, and speaks on issues of writing and publishing. Find her at http://howtodoitfrugally.com. Find the second edition of her multi award-winning The Frugal Editor: Do-it-yourself editing secrets for authors: From your query letter to final manuscript to the marketing of your bestseller. (HowToDoItFrugally Series of Books for Writers). Learn more about her other authors' aids at www.howtodoitfrugally.com/writers_books.htm , where writers find lists and other helps including , Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips on the Resources for Writers page. She blogs on all things publishing (not just editing!) at her SharingingwithWriters blog. She tweets writers' resources at www.twitter.com/frugalbookpromo . Please tweet this post to your followers. We all need a little help with editing. (-:

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Misinterpreting "Graffiti"

Sometimes I just can't help myself for dropping by with editing ideas that come to me--usually by way of something I'm editing. (-: 

Keep in mind that in some circles the word “graffiti” does not have negative connotations. Travel to Europe—places like Prague where architecture is often embellished with tromp l’oeil details like carved friezes and or read in disciplines like archaeology and you’ll find it means simply an inscription or drawing made on public surfaces. You’ll sometimes see variations on the spelling like “graffito” which is a tipoff that it is being used that way.



-----
 Carolyn Howard-Johnson edits, consults, and speaks on issues of writing and publishing. Find her at http://howtodoitfrugally.com. Find the second edition of her multi award-winning The Frugal Editor: Do-it-yourself editing secrets for authors: From your query letter to final manuscript to the marketing of your bestseller. (HowToDoItFrugally Series of Books for Writers). Learn more about her other authors' aids at www.howtodoitfrugally.com/writers_books.htm , where writers find lists and other helps including , Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips on the Resources for Writers page. She blogs on all things publishing (not just editing!) at her SharingingwithWriters blog. She tweets writers' resources at www.twitter.com/frugalbookpromo . Please tweet this post to your followers. We all need a little help with editing. (-: