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Author:Katherine Pickett

Wednesday #Writetip: Choosing Between ‘That’ and ‘Which’

What's the difference between "that" and "which"? Both words can be used to set off dependent clauses, so how do you know which one to choose?   In some cases and in some publications, the words can be used interchangeably. However, most book publishers make the following distinction:   -Use "that" to set off restrictive clauses -Use "which" to set off nonrestrictive clauses.   A clause is restrictive if it identifies a specific object: The dog that bit me lives down the street.   A clause is nonrestrictive if it adds description only: The dog, which has thick fur and blue eyes, was easy to identify.   If you aren't sure which pronoun to choose, try reading the sentence without the part enclosed in commas. If no meaning is lost, then you know you have a "which" (nonrestrictive) clause....

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Wednesday #Writetip: When to Spell Out Numbers

Consistent use of numerals (1, 2, 3) versus spelled-out numbers (one, two, three) is one of the most common problems I see in my authors' writing. Most just type whatever form their fingers choose at that moment, but ultimately a rule of some kind should be established.    There are at least four different numbers rules that a writer could follow. Which one you choose has to do with the type of publication you are writing for and the technical level of the material. Your options include the following:     1. Some publications prefer to spell out one through nine and use numerals for all other numbers. This is often called the informal numbers rule and is commonly employed in newspapers and magazines.     2. Others prefer to spell out numbers...

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Learning from My Clients: Lessons in Publishing Success

In the blog series Publishing Stories, I asked several past clients to share their experiences with publishing.
There are more to come, but I would like to pause here and think about what we as authors, editors, and publishers can learn from their stories.
The four profiled authors — Gary Bargatze, W.K. Dwyer, Maureen C. Berry, and Peter C. Diamond — come from a variety of backgrounds, wrote on wide-ranging topics in both fiction and nonfiction, and were in varying stages of their careers as authors.

Wednesday #Writetip: Ensuring Variety of Word Choice in Your Writing

When I'm editing I often see writers relying on the same words and phrases throughout their manuscripts. Sometimes the repetition becomes noticeable and distracting, particularly when words are repeated in the same paragraph or sentence.   Some words and phrases are more memorable than others. Indefatigable, for example, or invariably, or in an alternate universe will stand out to readers and need to be used sparingly.   Now, some words are difficult to write around -- work is one that causes me trouble -- but others are not so difficult, and if the repetition is distracting your readers from your message, it is almost always worth the effort to find a new way to say something.   What can you do about it? First, determine if you are falling into this trap. Reading the passage...

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Wednesday #Writetip: Save Money When You Get Your Grammar Up to Snuff

If you want to save money on editing, your first step is improving your writing. Get your grammar and punctuation up to snuff by picking up a couple of language guides.   The Elements of Style by Strunk and White continues to be a favorite of mine for its brevity, humor, and accessibility.   The Chicago Manual of Style offers the other extreme of long and slightly cumbersome but also authoritative.   The Elephants of Style by Bill Walsh is a slightly irreverent guide that covers topics many other books ignore.   Random House's Webster Grammar, Usage, and Punctuation will answer almost any question you may have.   You can find more information online. Helpful websites include:   Grammar Girl, http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/grammar-girl   Chicago Manual of Style Q&A, http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/qanda/latest.html   Grammar doesn't have to be boring, and getting familiar with the rules...

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Guest Post: Mister Stevens, by W.K. Dwyer

The writing prompt in January’s Hop On Newsletter was “Don’t tell.” I’m pleased to publish here W.K. Dwyer’s response, a poem titled “Mister Stevens.” Do you remember Freshman English class?

Mister Stevens

by W.K. Dwyer

there was this thing you heard
in writing class. you remember—
first period, maybe, spent staring
eyelids half empty, like a subtle hint

Publishing Stories: Author Peter C. Diamond on Hybrid Publishing, Part 2

What happens when you publish with a hybrid publisher? Peter C. Diamond, author of Amplify Your Career and Life: 4 Steps to Evaluate, Assess, and Move Forward, returns to tell us about his experience with marketing and sales.   In this essay Peter raises some important questions that are especially relevant for indie publishers but true for all who enter into book publishing. What is your goal in producing a book? What is your commitment to marketing? What is your definition of success?   To have a rewarding publishing experience, it is helpful to have answers to these and many more questions before you begin.     Rewards and Challenges of a First-Time Author Part 2: Marketing and Sales by Peter Diamond   Marketing and selling my book was much harder and more time consuming than I imagined. While the...

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Publishing Stories: Author Peter C. Diamond on Hybrid Publishing “Amplify Your Career and Life”

This month the Publishing Stories blog is a two-parter. In Part 1: Editing and Publishing, Peter C. Diamond recounts his experience finding an editor and a hybrid publisher for his motivational self-help book, Amplify Your Career and Life: 4 Steps to Evaluate, Assess, and Move Forward.

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