Something Amazing – song lyrics in need of music

This song is an amazing song. But it’s just lyrics, so far.

This song is intended to be a pop-rock song. It’s been played once as heavy metal. It has a tune, just no music written down. What it needs now is music. Then, a singer or a band to run with it. [Read more…]

Proofreading saves lives! How a celebrity chef became a cannibal

It’s easy to miss vital details, which is why multiple proofreaders are often needed. Here is a tragic story – a proofreading case study – of how a typo turned a celebrity chef into a cannibal.

It all happened so innocently. In fact, at first nobody even noticed. Rachael Ray, a well-known celebrity chef, loved her family. And her dog. Apparently, she really, really loved them. In fact, she was normal in every sense of the word.

But then, somebody at a magazine made a fatal mistake. A proofreader failed to proofread the cover before publishing… [Read more…]

How to write a non-fiction book cover blurb that sells

If you plan to self-publish your non-fiction book, the most important thing you will ever write is the cover blurb for your book. Here’s how to do it right.

If you self-publish, you have to do it all. That includes preparing the cover of your book. Your book is like any other product – the packaging sells the cookies and the frozen dinner. Likewise, the cover sells the book.

People will get a feel for the book from the cover. [Read more…]

How to write a fiction book cover blurb that can make your novel a best-seller

If you plan to self-publish your novel, the most important thing you will ever write is the cover blurb for your book. Here’s how to do it right (with examples from top authors of the 21st century).

If you self-publish, you have to do it all. That includes preparing the cover of your book. Just as the packaging helps sell crackers and cereal, the cover sells the book.

Yes, people do judge a book by its cover.

A cover is more than just a title and an image. On the back, people read the author’s bio. They read the reviews. They look at the author’s picture. But most of all, they read the back cover blurb. Those few lines answer the book buyer’s critical question:

“What’s this book all about?”

[Read more…]

Smarten up your text with real verbs

Too many businesses use nouns to describe an action. That makes your message harder to read. Here’s how to fix that.

Speaking in plain English is never dumb. In a previous post, I shared a list of words that can be simplified without dumbing it down. A couple examples were “base” instead of “foundation” and “help” instead of “assist”.

But it’s not just the words you use that can make your text harder to read. It’s also the structure of the words.

The poor structure I see most often is replacing verbs with nouns. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have anything against nouns. Some of my best friends are nouns.

But nouns describe things.

Verbs describe actions. [Read more…]

Speechwriting tip – harness the Power of Three

Repetition is a powerfully persuasive tool. Here’s how to make any speech (or article or blog post) more persuasive.

My fellow Doctor Who fans will instantly recognize “The Power of Three” as an episode in which Earth was invaded by an infinite number of seemingly identical cubes.

That’s repetition for you.

In speechwriting, or in any persuasive writing, the Power of Three takes on a more practical meaning. You can drive home your point more effectively by saying three short sentences, each one similar, but each one different. [Read more…]

10 New Year’s resolutions for writers in 2020

Welcome to a new year – 2020. It’s the perfect time for fresh beginnings. If you are a writer, here are some New Year’s resolutions for you.

There is nothing special about New Year’s Day. It’s just the day we start counting over.

There is no reason why you can’t make resolutions to change your life today, tomorrow, next week or on June 17.

But, as we start to count over, many people take advantage of that event to also make over their lives. And why not? Any excuse to make ourselves better is a good excuse. [Read more…]

Dumb it down, or clear it up?

When you write in plain English, you are not “dumbing it down”. You are clearing things up.

There are two main ways to make a text easier for everybody to read. One way is to use simpler concepts. This way, even people with little education will understand. Even people unfamiliar with the topic will understand.

For instance, try explaining climate change to someone with very little education. You could talk about the change in temperature and the melting ice caps and the rising oceans and how all this affects El Niño and… no way!

You’ll have to make the explanation itself simpler. [Read more…]

You are the center of the universe

It’s about the reader and only the reader. Use “you” in your text to give the reader ownership of your product or service, or the ideas you are putting forward.

You are the center of the universe. That is because you are the reader right now. As long as you keep reading, you are the center of the universe. Everything in this article is about you, because if you stop reading, I would just be writing in an echo chamber.

On your blog, “you” is also the center of the universe. But on your blog, you are not the “you”. You are just the writer; your readers are the all-important “you”.

If this sounds confusing, consider first why people come to your blog or website. There are several possible reasons: [Read more…]

The 1 trait every ghostwriter needs

Just one thing separates a ghostwriter from other writers. Without this trait, you simply cannot ghostwrite.

A lot of writers get frustrated when their big dream doesn’t come true. Not every writer finds their beat writing fiction. Not every writer becomes a bestseller. Not every writer makes enough as an author to pay the bills.

So they turn to ghostwriting. [Read more…]