Writing Tip & Prompt: Avoid Wordiness

Writing Tip & PromptOn Fridays, we like to share writing tips and tricks with our readers. We hope this section will encourage and inspire you to continually improve as a writer.

Writing Tip – Avoid Wordiness

To quote American writer William Strunk Jr., “A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. Use only what is needed to relay your meaning.”

Writing Prompt – Characteristics of Place

Describe the characteristics and qualities of the place you are right now. What gives it life? Who is here and how do they contribute to the overall mood? Look for things that usually go unnoticed – how do they had to this motif?

Fishing for Sales

WestBow Press author Leon R. HayduchokA few years ago, when I was first researching options for publishing my book, I saw warning signs posted all over the internet: Danger! Shark-infested waters!

If trying to get a book published is like swimming with sharks, then promoting a book is like going out to sea on a fishing expedition. For those writers able to get onboard with a major publishing outfit, the fishing is good. The big boats have expensive equipment that locate the fish, and they drop enormous nets, scooping up fish by the ton. It’s an impressive operation. Now I realize fishing on these big boats isn’t necessarily easy—the hours can get long, the waters can get rough, and the stink can get to you—but the fishing is usually good, really good.

For those of us who don’t climb onto a commercial boat, we step into our dinghies—alone—with a few rods and a tackle box. We don’t have expensive equipment to locate the fish, and we don’t cast a $30,000 marketing net to catch tons of sales. We just set our lines and wait, catching one fish at a time.

But what if we don’t catch many fish? What if we scarcely get a nibble? What then are we supposed to do? (more…)

Writing Tip & Prompt: Leading the Reader

Writing Tip & PromptOn Fridays, we like to share writing tips and tricks with our readers. We hope this section will encourage and inspire you to continually improve as a writer.

Writing Tip – Leading the Reader

A writer who wants to lead an audience towards a conclusion must refrain from clipping on a leash and pulling too hard. Being human, the audience is likely to resist being told what to think unless they are already perfectly in tune with the writer’s thinking, and how often does that happen? Keep your reader in mind and understand that they are being told a new story, which opens up the possibility for varying interpretations.

Writing Prompt – Borrowing Ideas

Start your next writing session with a jump start. First, head over to your bookshelf or coffee table. Then, pick one of the books or magazines that you haven’t read in awhile. Look at the first sentence of the first article or chapter and start your own story or poem that begins with that sentence. You’ll be surprised how far someone else’s beginning can get you. And if you like what you’ve written down and want to use it in your book, don’t worry: the only thing you need to do is revise the first line!

Writing Tip & Prompt: Read the Tips

Writing Tip & PromptOn Fridays, we like to share writing tips and tricks with our readers. We hope this section will encourage and inspire you to continually improve as a writer.

Writing Tip – Read the Tips

Every Friday we put out a tip and prompt, read the writing tips and take what you will from them. Apply each tip to your own technique and writing style. You may toss some to the side because you already knew them, but others you should keep in a memory file to guide you through the whirlwind process of writing a book. Every little bit helps!

Writing Prompt – Dimensions

Often, writers use dimensional tools to engage the reader’s mind. Perhaps they write a movie about a book about a man making a movie about a book. Sometimes they write songs about stories about songs about people writing stories. While this type of writing can be elusive to your average reader, it can be very meaningful to those who latch on to the piece, and, in the very least, it can be a great exercise for writers. Think about the images we experience in our young minds when we notice the similarities between solar systems and molecules. Try to write the most confusing short story you have ever written and see what happens.

6 Reasons to Publish a Spanish Version of Your Book

6 Reasons to Publish a Spanish Version of Your BookAre you really reaching out to your largest reading audience as possible? Our country is filled with a diverse group of readers, so you may be limiting your reach if you only published your book in English. Most authors have never even thought about translating their book into a foreign language; however, it’s a smart decision if you want to effectively spread your book’s message.  Communicating in another language breaks a barrier and allows you to connect with a previously untouched audience.

Six reasons why you should consider translating your book into Spanish:

1.)    Spanish is the third most spoken language in the world, after English and Chinese, with more than 48 million Spanish-speaking people in the U.S. alone.

2.)    More than half of the growth in the total population of the U.S. between 2000 and 2010 was due to the increase in the Hispanic population.*

3.)    The Hispanic population has surpassed 50 million and accounts for more than 50 percent of the U.S. population growth since 2000.*

4.)    Become familiar with the unfamiliar: “Translation always helps us to know, to see from a different angle, to attribute new value to what once may have been unfamiliar. As nations and as individuals, we have a critical need for that kind of understanding and insight. The alternative is unthinkable.” – Edith Grossman, translator of Cervantes’ Don Quixote and Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Living to Tell the Tale

5.)    There are roughly 338,000 Christian congregations** in the U.S., with 16 percent*** of U.S. Christians a part of churches that had services in either only Spanish or both Spanish and English.

6.)    The potential reach from a market made of 500 million Spanish speakers in the world should not be overlooked.

WestBow Press makes it easy to publish in both English and Spanish through our translation service. Have you ever considered publishing your book in a foreign language?


*According to U.S. Census Bureau, 2010 Census Briefs

**According to the Hartford Institute for Religion Research

*** Calculated by Duke University sociology professor Mark Chaves in the National Congregations Study (page 31).

Writing Tip & Prompt: Word Choice

Writing Tip & PromptOn Fridays, we like to share writing tips and tricks with our readers. We hope this section will encourage and inspire you to continually improve as a writer.

Writing Tip – Word Choice

When writing, try not to use the word “very.” If you are using “very,” the odds are that there is a better word for you to use. For example, “He was very mad,” could be written as, “He was angry.” By choosing a more descriptive word instead of “very___,” you are opening up your vocabulary and preventing yourself from using the same words to describe everything in your story.

Writing Prompt – Castles

Castles are intriguing buildings. They are great stone buildings that have been around for hundreds of years. Something about them is captivating, whether it is the architecture or the history that surrounds a particular castle. For your next writing session, write a short story that takes place in a castle. Will it be a tale from the past, or a modern day story? Where is your castle located, and what are the people like who live there? Use this writing prompt to write a descriptive short story. Focus on something that you’ve had a hard time describing well in your writing.

WestBow Press author Lyn Leahz on Using Social Media to Promote Your Book

WestBow Press author Lyn LeahzIn this day and age, if you want to promote something, it is imperative that you are on social media. Between laptops, tablets and smart phones, social media is easily accessible, even on the go. Different social media sites allow you to find and interact with people who have similar interests as you, helping you hone in on where on social media you should be promoting your book.

As a single mom who works, I have relied heavily on social media to promote my book; it is my lifeline! Taking advantage of all the social media platforms is totally free, and it’s something that anyone can do if they have determination and apply themselves. Social media is available 24/7 and you can use it according to your schedule; it even allows you to schedule your posts in advance. You didn’t write your book for nothing, you want people to read it! But, they’re not going to read your book if you don’t get out there, in front of as many eyes as you can, and promote your book. (more…)

Copyright – What is it and Does my Book Need it?

CopyrightUnderstanding the rules of copyright protection can be rather complicated. With all the exceptions and loopholes, sometimes it’s hard to know what copyrighting your book can actually do for you.

5 things you should know about Copyright:

When Does a Copyright Start?

Copyright protection starts the moment your work is produced in a tangible form. While it is not required that you register your book with the Copyright Office to receive copyright protection, there are benefits to registering a copyright. First, it creates a public record of your copyright, and second, without registration an author cannot file an infringement lawsuit. This means that if someone is copying your work without your permission, there isn’t much that can be done unless the book is registered. (more…)

Writing Tip & Prompt: Check Your Style

Writing Prompt - FriendshipOn Fridays, we like to share writing tips and tricks with our readers. We hope this section will encourage and inspire you to continually improve as a writer.

Writing Tip – Check Your Style

Grammar rules in one style may be incorrect in another. In most popular writing styles for American English, a comma is placed after each item in a series:  “She picked daisies, lilies, and daffodils for her mother.” But in AP style, for example, commas are omitted before the last words in a simple series: “She picked daisies, lilies and daffodils for her mother.” Be sure to check the grammar rules for the style you are writing in to make sure that you are following your style’s rules.

Writing Prompt – Friendship

It is often said that our friends are the family we choose. We feel comfortable when we are with our friends, and we would do just about anything to cheer them up if they are having a bad day. Oftentimes, we know our friends just about as well as we know ourselves. Use one of your close friendships and a special memory as inspiration for a short story. Maybe it is that friend who has been there for you your entire life, or maybe it was a friend who came into your life unexpectedly. Either way, your friends provide you with great story material – use them to your advantage!

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