Writing roundup – 4 great topics to help you write better

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Here are the latest ‘shorty’ posts I’ve been sharing on social media recently … the first two are about books, and the last two are about writing in general. Enjoy!

writing tips

Can you tell if a book has been produced professionally? Here’s how
  1. The cover should still be readable and attractive when its image is small, e.g. on Amazon
  1. The back cover ‘blurb’ must be enticing and correct, and text on the book’s ‘spine,’ straight and centred.

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How writing a business book leads to a priceless marketing tool

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Having a book published” still holds a certain kudos and perhaps in Pavlov-dog fashion, people automatically associate someone who writes a book about something, with that someone being an expert on the subject.

The “$30 business card” gets people recognised as experts, even if they don’t deserve to be.

In the USA, one prolific speaker on business topics has been heard to describe his books – which he self-publishes – as “$30 business cards.” Cynical perhaps, but the folklore about the author of a book being an expert in his/her field is crystallised therein. However…..

article about writing business books

Business books: just $30 business cards?

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How to create a brilliant nonfiction book cover: tutorial

You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover? Oh, yes, you should, because potential readers will. Especially when your book is going to be sold online.

article about how to design good book covers

Janis, The Body and Me book covers: with my sincere thanks to Simon & Schuster for the loan of this brilliant image.

A book’s cover has two jobs to do apart from the obvious one of sharing its title, tagline and author’s name: one, to indicate the book’s ‘genre,’ and two, to show that the book has been professionally designed and produced. Here’s a swift tutorial – both for self-publishing authors and their (hitherto uninitiated) graphic designers…

Is yours going to be a self-published business or self-help book?

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Promoting your book (or other product): what marketing REALLY means

I agonised for a long time when a very bitchy and pompous (and dishonest, as it turned out) editor I was working with sneered at me for only writing a few chapters on ‘marketing‘ in my forthcoming book, How To Write A Brilliant Nonfiction Book. article on the four Ps of marketingSurely he knew that marketing is something you do in parallel with creating the book’s concept, right from the start, even – to an extent – with fiction? With his two redbrick university degrees and the conviction that he knew everything?

Nope, he didn’t. What his scathing barbs did achieve, however, was to make me conscious of the fact that I needed to emphasise the real meaning – and importance – of marketing in my book, so I have done just that. The number of times I’ve had to bite my tongue when someone talks about ‘marketing’ when they mean ‘marketing communications‘ or ‘promotion’ adds up to many hundreds. [Read more…]

How important are grammar and spelling? Really?

Now that the mass media with its “newspeak” vocabulary has been part of our lives for several generations we really can’t afford to be pompous about spelling and grammar any more.

Even the stuffiest of academics has had to admit that stiffly formal writing is not clever; it’s boring. They may look down their noses at the language of popular websites, social media, blogs and so-on, but that’s the language nearly everyone speaks today.

article about spelling and grammarI won’t waste your time with my theories on why that has happened, but the bottom line is that English as a language has become simpler and less complex than it was 100 years ago.

And quite right, too. I’ve never understood why some people get so uppity about the fact that a language has evolved.

Well, you and I haven’t got time to mourn the relegation of Shakespearean English to the theatre, even if we want to. We’ve got work to do here and now, and these days we write as we speak.

“Writing as people speak” is not a cop out

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A fumbler’s guide to live online video chats and meetings

How are you doing with your Zoom / MS Teams / Facebook Lives / Facetime and various other incarnations of live video on the internet, especially now that there are very few – if any – ways to communicate with our clients / customers, colleagues, friends and family otherwise?

The Zoom meeting … our new normal?

A while back I wrote about, and asked my learned colleagues to share their advice on, how to perform on online video as you’ll find from this incredibly comprehensive guide here. And that was before the coronavirus stopped us talking F2F.

But today, as we cope with the most recent restraints … let’s take another look at how we are communicating now. Speaking as a prime techno-fumbler myself and a beginner at this talk-and-chew-gum-at-the-same-time online video lark, I sympathise with other beginners starting out … especially as so many friends and colleagues are becoming online TV superstars…

Some tips about live online video that I’ve discovered the hard way

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