Writing your masterpiece—7 points for soon-to-be-published pros

July 29, 2014

Unless you are writing to clear your conscience of a deep, dark secret before you die, you should not be writing for yourself. You should be writing for your readers.

Until you are a best-selling author with fans who will buy anything you publish, remember the following do matter to many readers:
1. Correct spelling, punctuation, and grammar
2. A story that is entertaining, edifying, and/or educational
3. A consistent, easily readable style
4. A positive attitude (either on the part of the non-fiction author or the fictional characters)
5. An obvious “what’s in it for me” for them—even if you are penning your autobiography—because they already know what’s in it for you
6. Promise keeping in the form of living up to your title, your cover material, and your book description
7. Faithfulness to the genre—no picking an obscure category simply to rank well

If you have trouble with any of these or if your autobiography would be more engaging in third person (instead of always saying “I” and “me”), hire editing and ghostwriting help.

Save time and shine online with content creation, writing, editing, publishing, and online posting done for you by Debbie Lynn Butler, the E-Content Butler.

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Have you written your book yet?

July 22, 2014

Everyone has a story to tell. Have you written your book yet? If not, here are some ideas and questions to get you started.

Who
Imagine your ideal reader. What does s/he have in common with you? Where can you be of help? What style and language appeals to this one reader? Does s/he want to be educated or entertained or both? Does s/he prefer first person accounts or third person narratives?

What
Focus on one great idea (and save all the others for future books). What are you so passionate about that you won’t mind spending hours writing a book that may or may not be a best-seller? Is there a trending topic related to your area of expertise? Is there a story whose characters are practically leaping onto the page for you?

When
Make it easy on yourself by narrowing down your time frame. Will you write fiction set in the Mayan age, the Regency era, or 200 years in the future? If you choose to write non-fiction, will you write about the present or the past or jump between the two? If you write about the past, will you write in the past tense or write as if the events are occurring now?

Where
Keep narrowing down your topic and story. Will you focus on life in colonial Williamsburg instead of life in the colonies? Will you talk about soccer around the world or fútbol in Barcelona?

Why
Be very clear about why you want to write a book and proceed accordingly. Is it to leave a legacy for your children and grandchildren? Use voice-to-text software to capture family stories instead of never quite finishing a 600 page manuscript. If your goal is to generate additional income, pay attention to cover art, editing, proofreading, marketing, and professionally publishing your tome at a price that will consistently attract readers.

How
Begin with a great idea and a clear purpose. Create an outline for the bare bones of your book. Write, preferably without interruptions, on a consistent daily basis until your book is done. Hire help for editing, proofreading, publishing, and marketing then enjoy your status as a published author.

Save time and shine online with content creation, writing, editing, publishing, and online posting done for you by Debbie Lynn Butler, the E-Content Butler.


Same-day service

May 27, 2014

Entrepreneurs, based on recent inquiries I’ve received, there is growing demand for same-day service in the writing, editing, and publishing field. However, I wouldn’t guarantee the profitability of such an enterprise. Many of these requests are prefaced with “…this should only take you an hour,” indicating the caller is only willing to pay for an hour of time, no matter how long the job actually takes.

Just for the record, I do not accept same-day requests. Doing so would be unfair to my current clients whose work is already scheduled and deserves my focused attention.

Save time and shine online with content creation, writing, editing, publishing, and online posting done for you by Debbie Lynn Butler, the E-Content Butler.


Watch your language!

November 5, 2013

I admit it. I greatly appreciate a clever play on words instead of a time-worn cliché, praise instead of profanity, and inclusive language especially when an author or speaker obviously has a strong opinion one way or another.

For example, consider the following fictional article titles.
• The Millennial Problem: Generational Differences Among Volunteers
• The Boomer Problem: Generational Differences Among Volunteers
• Solving Generational Differences In A Non-Profit Environment
• Capitalizing on Each Generation’s Strengths As They Work For Your Non-Profit

Can you see how more people are included in the conversation when you start with the last item rather than one of the first two? Where else do you watch your language?

Shine online with content writing, editing, publishing, and online posting done for you by Debbie Lynn Butler, the E-Content Butler and founder of AVA Professional Support Services.

 


How to create a helpful blog post that doesn’t disappoint your readers

August 27, 2013

Have you ever been frustrated by the content following a really creative blog post title? Here are some thoughts on how to write blog posts that won’t disappoint your readers.
• Make sure the title, the text, and the images are all talking about the same thing.
• Keep in mind that some people prefer pictures instead of prose so offer both whenever possible.
• Use formatting—short paragraphs; bullet points; numbered lists; bold, italic, or colored text—to make your post easy to scan.
• Provide guidance as you go along. For example, in Melonie Dodaro’s “LinkedIn Etiquette Guide: 20 Dos and Don’ts” post, she first summarizes what the article is about and then directs readers to “scroll down below for the complete article” and “feel free to share this infographic.” She also includes appropriate calls to action like “tweet this tip” and “join our LinkedIn group.”
• Don’t be the blogger who links the majority of words in a post to prior content. Instead, suggest related posts at the end of your article.
• Proofread or hire someone to check your spelling and grammar before you post.
• Remember, as Melonie pointed out, “it’s not about you, it’s about them.”

What would you add to this list?

Get content writing, editing, publishing, and online posting done for you by Debbie Lynn Butler, the E-Content Butler and founder of AVA Professional Support Services.


How to self-publish your first book

July 2, 2013

I’ve had several recent queries about self-publishing books. Instead of going into a long explanation or step-by-step instructions here, I’ll refer you to Catherine Ryan Howard’s detailed guide. Be sure to use the link at the end of her post to read part two.

Too busy to do this all yourself? I can help you publish your book.

Reclaim your time. Get content writing, editing, publishing, and online posting done for you by Debbie Lynn Butler, the E-Content Butler and founder of AVA Professional Support Services.


7 writing prompts for those who would rather do anything else instead of writing

May 21, 2013

Debbie Lynn Butler the E-Content Butler's image of Dabble word game

Does the thought of creating fresh content for your Web site or your blog give you a headache? Are you a master at finding things you would rather do instead of write? Use these writing prompts to make content creation easier.
• Are you a sports fan?
Pick a favorite sport. Use terms from the game to describe how you help your clients succeed.

• Do you have a hobby like woodworking or gardening?
Compare the steps required to complete a hobby project to those you take working with a new customer.

• Does a chilled beverage hold more appeal than a pen (or other writing tool)?
Think up some sizzling summer specials.

• Are you a foodie?
Spice up your writing and your product descriptions with luscious adjectives. In case you’ve never noticed, many descriptors—even in the business world—are food related like “raspberry iPad cover” and “lime laptop sleeve.”

• Would you rather be curled up in a hammock with a good book?
Plug a product by patterning your promotional blurb after the cover jacket text.

• Are you a gamer?
Talk about a winning strategy in gaming and in business.

• Do you enjoy playing word games?
If so, your problem may be procrastination instead of hating to write. Use words from a game like Dabble (pictured above) to inspire future text.

If you are still at a loss for ideas, contact me for ghostwriting and online presence management help.

Debbie Lynn Butler, the E-Content Butler and founder of AVA Professional Support Services, enables clients to save time and shine online with her content writing, editing, publishing, and online presence management services.

Image credit: Debbie Lynn Butler


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