‘Publishing 3.0’ — what is is and why it matters

Over at TechCrunch, author James Altucher has written an excellent article about the process of self-publishing his book Choose Yourself.choose yourself

Every entrepreneur should self-publish a book, because self-publishing is the new business card. If you want to stand out in a world of content, you need to underline your expertise.—James Altucher

A while back I said there are two kinds of publishing: Author Pays and Someone Else pays. Altucher has a different take on it. What he sees is Professional Publishing and Unprofessional Publishing, and he argues that some of the latter is being done by the big houses. I can’t refute that. Continue reading

Four kinds of publishing jobs

Over on LinkedIn, Lou Adler posted an article about getting the right people in the right kind of job. Based on his history of creating job descriptions for employers, he developed a model that states “there are only four different jobs in the whole world.”

What he means by this is that there are four types of jobs: Continue reading

How does one train to be a fiction editor?


When I guest blogged at Random Writing Rants the other day, a commenter asked about how one gets trained as a fiction editor. Here’s an expanded version of my answer.

I belong to two professional associations, both of which provide editor training:

When it’s okay to spell okay ‘OK’

Writers and editors may be the only people who get into arguments about spelling. In fact, I think it could easily be said that if you’re inclined to argue about how things ought to be spelled, you’re an editor, at heart if not by title.

OK button

Illustration by 3d_kot – Fotolia.com

I’ve been inclined to spell OK with two letters for as long as I can remember. Maybe I read an article about its origins early on. There’s no telling. But that spelling became deeply ingrained when I worked in the newsroom, because it’s the one endorsed by the Associated Press Stylebook.

So I was surprised when not one, but two critique partners, on two different occasions, told me OK was “wrong” and that the only acceptable spelling is okay. Further shock ensued when they both cited The Chicago Manual of Style as the origin of this edict. Continue reading

Nonrule: Don’t Use ‘Start’ or ‘Begin’

Fiction writers often tell this lie to one another: “Don’t use words like started or began.” I’ve even heard it referred to as “the start rule.”

They don’t realize they’re lying, of course. But this not a rule. It’s advice, and poorly expressed. The more accurate way to express it would be, “If something ‘starts,’ make sure it will continue awhile.” Here’s an excerpt from my current work in progress: Continue reading

Behold the power of the outline

At a chamber fellowship meeting, I was once asked to share my top editing tip. Didn’t have to think long about it: outline.

Snowflake can identify your chapter breaks based on scene length.

Snowflake can identify your chapter breaks based on scene length.

I resisted outlining for many years, because it reeked of term papers and therefore seemed uncreative. Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Pro software convinced me otherwise. Designed for novel-writing, it takes you from premise to outline in nine steps. When you’re done, it will compile your entries into a proposal. Continue reading

When passive voice is permissible

Writers and editors often pass on things they’ve learned — usually at the knee of some mentor they highly respect — in the form of seemingly inviolable rules: As it was said to me, I say to you, Thou shalt not use the passive voice.

break editor's pencil

magdaloubser • istockpho.to/XoW5Oi

I am not saying “you have to know the rules before you can break them.” I’m heartily sick of that old bromide. I am saying you have to know the difference between a real rule and a non-rule. Continue reading