Monday, March 28, 2011

Write, Revise, Rinse, and Repeat

Image by Marco Buonvino

Writing and revising—it’s an ongoing cycle and a necessary evil. Oftentimes, between writing and revising you have to face someone saying that you have failed or that your work is sub-par, and that what you have is not even worth the paper that it’s written on. A lot of times fear comes into play and we let it paralyze us.

Fear of the critique and fear of hearing "it's just not good enough" stops us from the crucial revision stage.

Assuming that you can overcome self-doubt and embrace constructive criticism, you have some revising to do. Revision translates to "see again." It is refining and polishing a fairly solid base. Keep in mind that you are not starting over from square one, and that alone is encouraging. Accept advice, get a fresh perspective on what you were attempting to say, and then re-write it.

And so the cycle begins again. re-submit, wait for the critique and so on. You may have to go through this tedious process a few times before you get it right for whoever is dedicating his/her time to your project. You can either look at it as a dreaded assignment or as developing your gift. The latter is what will allow you to work through the muddle and come out with a polished piece of work that you can be proud of.

Revision is not only correction, but it is also understanding that there are stepping-stones to reaching perfection.

Need help with writing, publishing, or marketing a book? thepublishingguru(at)

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Power of the Pen

Photo by Walwyn on Flickr

With pen in hand, your thoughts, ideas, conclusions, advice and even your influence is exposed. Privately you can say what you please without regard to whom it will affect, however; when it comes to writing publicly you need to be prepared for what you put out there to be seen by all and taken literally.

While your writing may be admirable and commendable, it is still wise to use discretion. Also, words and messages are astronomically powerful, whether they are spoken or penned. Confucius once said that once a word is spoken (or penned, as it were), it’s effect travels outward like the ripple effect caused by a pebble thrown into a pond; it could not be undone.

What information are you distributing, what message are you sending and who will be reading it?  If you are writing informational pieces, then make sure the facts are accurate, relevant, clear and concise. Use extreme caution in what you write, because someone, somewhere is going to take it to heart; after all, it is printed, so it must be true. Right?  

Wrong. Anyone in this age of self-gratification will say, sing, produce, write or print anything to make a buck with no regard to the affect it might have on others.  While we all have various ideas about what is right and what is wrong, there are some basic standards to which we should all adhere. Sticking to factual material and telling the truth will keep you in the safe zone.

Research and back-up your information.  You never want to lead someone astray for self-gain. Be guarded in what you pen; follow your heart, your mind, and always display a good measure of integrity and common sense.

Need help with writing, publishing, or marketing a book? thepublishingguru(at)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Avoiding Paper Wads

Photo by Mark van Laere

Type it, erase it, rewrite it, recycle it, apply whiteout, trash it! Sick of paper wads? Tired of starting your work, only to become frustrated with not being able to finish it?

When nothing is coming out right, and the words on the paper are not flowing, it’s time to re-assess your goals. What was your original mindset, your intent, what inspired you and where did you get off-track?

Sometimes it takes stepping away for a while. Whether it be overnight or for a few days or so, you simply have to re-group. De-clutter your mind as well as the space around you.  Take the time to do other things that makes you tick, that get your adrenaline pumping; simply get out and get some fresh air—and then get back to work.

Once you are back to the grind, begin with a new attitude. Do not become discouraged if you hit a roadblock right away. Remember, that just like any "job," this also has its high and low points. There are days that are harder to face, with obstacles to overcome, and fortunately, some days are bound to be smoother and more carefree by comparison.

Most importantly, remember that if it gets too "hard," or you are forcing your work to come together, then it is time to step back for a while—and do not be afraid to work on  another writing project in order to mentally get over the hump.

Need help with writing, publishing, or marketing a book? thepublishingguru(at)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Be Your Writing Self

Photo by Len Matthews

We all have people we look up to, admire and respect within the writing community. We follow their work, wait for the next piece of literature they produce and oftentimes end up comparing our work to the work of others.

While we have a great appreciation for their work, we have to remember that what brought them success were their own unique writing styles.  In order to gain confidence in your own writing skills, simply be true to yourself and get away from what you have always considered to be the "right" way to make a story or an article come to life.

If you are writing and it does not feel comfortable to you, then it will not be your best work. Your finest creations will come from those things that are passionate to you; the things that make up your personality, the things that people love most about you. That should be your "style."

Individuality will stand out far above the "norm" and the "humdrum." It is easy to fall into that trap; it feels safe but it will only get you so far. If you aspire to really take your writing to the next level, and want to make a career and be a success, then do not be fearful of trusting your own instincts. Digging a little deeper and knowing what you have inside is worthwhile—and just as desirable as the next person.

If you are blessed with a great sense of humor, then use it! If you are gifted more in the wisdom arena, then go with it. Your unique style is what will ultimately bring you your greatest achievement.

Need writing, publishing, or marketing coaching? Email thepublishingguru(at)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Successful Marketing in the Information Age

Photo by Heath Brandon

Let's face it. We live in an era where marketing is our key to wealth and success. We survive by "selling" our services, products, thoughts, advice and entertainment. In order to sell, we must first find out to whom, how, and where. The sources we relied on in the past are old news, inefficient, and out-dated.  No longer do we count on the paper phone book, nor the landline. What was once our golden ticket went out when the Information Age took precedence.

Let us first look at whom. To whom will the book most likely cater? What makes a certain age group interested in what you have to offer? Is it geared toward a particular gender?  Most definitely, these are questions you must first answer in order to know where to start marketing your book.

Where do you publicize? Locally is usually the answer. Your family and friends and the area from where you gleaned your inspiration is where to start. Then move on to local media outlets, such as local newspapers and television.  You must build your base locally in order to branch out to those who do not know and trust your work.  By this time, you have a team of people who will do the one key thing that never goes out with the ages. That is marketing your book by "word of mouth."

Lastly, how do you go about getting outside your city limits? It is relatively easy. The infinite age of technology. The Internet. The worldwide web. It comes in many forms. Computers, smart-phones, E-readers. It can be accessed by millions with just one touch. Get your product out there, get it online. Hire a marketing coach to assist you. (me) Endless avenues await, use it to your advantage!
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