By Indie Authors for Indie Authors.

Tag: how to write (Page 2 of 3)

Foster Habits of a Successful Writer


If you want to write, start fostering the habits of a successful writer. Get rid of the ineffective patterns that prevent you from exploring your craft the way you want to. Turn off your screens from time to time.

This may be obvious to some of you, but it’s probably counterintuitive to others. After all, how are you supposed to finish writing that great novel if you aren’t disciplined enough to sit down at your laptop and write? But I firmly believe this is an absolute must. If you don’t turn off your screens, you won’t be the best writer you can be. We all struggle to find time in the day to do all the things we need to do. We have to be diligent. Don’t waste time in front of screens you’re not writing on.

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I know that keeping up with emails and social media is necessary, especially for us indie authors. This is our avenue for creating a community around our books. Without it, the few sales we do get, quickly turn into that one copy that your family bought.


[click_to_tweet tweet=”You have very limited time that you can dedicate to your writing each day. Do yourself a favor, be a serious writer. Don’t waste time online. #amwriting #writerslife #writer ” quote=”You have very limited time that you can dedicate to your writing each day. Do yourself a favor, be a serious writer. Don’t waste time online. ” theme=”style4″]


But how often do you check your email? How many times do you flip through your Twitter feed or Facebook updates? Did you really need to know that Linda’s dog ate a cookie today? I don’t know Linda or her dog, but I’m guessing it’s not that interesting. Most of us can safely remove a dozen times we absent-mindedly check email and social media every day, at least. I know I can. Remove that mindless urge to check now!

After you’ve taken out some of the senseless internet scrolling, think long and hard about the blogs you visit. (I’m obviously not talking about This little website I’ve created to help support authors is a necessary part of your day, right!?) How many of those blogs that you read are nonsense reads that feed the beast of time-wasting?

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In 2012, Digital Buzz put out an Infographic depicting the number of new blogs that are posted every day—two million. Two Million blog posts were going up every day back in 2012! Every. Single. Day.

Daily blog posts have more than doubled since then. We waste far too much time skimming blogs that we don’t even really want to read. Was it necessary to learn about the 5 Celebrities That Secretly Wish They Were Authors? (Number 3 will shock you!) Stop wasting your time on them. Focus on the posts that will inform your writing, not the ones that will distract you from it.

Finally, turn off the TV! Stop watching YouTube! Shut down Netflix!

I love television and movies as much as the next person. I’m not here to tell you that TV is trash and you’re rotting your brain. You’re not. Television can be fantastic. Movies are wonderful. But stop watching so much. Spend more time exploring and developing your writing skills.


[click_to_tweet tweet=”Don’t close your laptop just to pick up your phone. Don’t shut off your phone just to turn on the TV. #writing #indieauthors #writerslife ” quote=”Don’t close your laptop just to pick up your phone. Don’t shut off your phone just to turn on the TV.” theme=”style4″]


Successful writers foster effective writing habits. The most ineffective habit of an author is failing to write. The second is failing to budget time. If you can’t manage thirty minutes a day to start, schedule in at least a couple blocks of time each week for writing, and when you sit down for that scheduled time, actually write. Don’t waste it on other things.

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There’s budgeting the time to write and then there’s actually writing. All too often we sit down to write and we don’t utilize that time for writing. We fiddle with previous chapters we’ve written. We spend far too much time trying to write that perfect sentence. We hop on the internet to do research for our writing. There will be time for all of that, either while doing research or later on in the editing process. Your writing time is for writing. If you’ve set that time aside, then write. The first draft is never good. Don’t worry about it. Keep writing.

Cultivate the habits of successful writers if you want to become a better writer. Turn off your screens and begin the muscle-building of becoming the writer you want to be.



Find more writing and publishing tips at Nothing Any Good.


How to Write About Anything: A Few Tips for Writers


How to Write About Anything: A Few Tips for Writers


by Jay Donnelly


If you are a professional writer, you will sometimes need to step outside of your comfort zone and write about topics you don’t like, or are not familiar with. The good news is that you can easily learn how to adjust your style and do your research, so you can be perceived as an expert even if you are not. Below you will find a few tips.


(Image via Alejandro Escamilla and Nothing Any Good.


Review the Key Terms

Whether you need to write about the best options platform or the latest dump truck, you will need to make sure that you are using the industry’s terms the right way in your content. You can quickly review them by conducting an online search, and finding the definition for each one of them. You need to adopt your language to the topic, even if it is sometimes challenging.


Visit Quora and Other Question and Answer Sites

If you are searching for topic suggestions, you have to find out what people want to know. Quora and other similar sites can be a good source of information, and experts are happy to share their insights on different problems. Instead of going for a generic title, find one that is often searched for, and popular among the target audience of the content. Whether you need to create a blog post or an industry white paper, getting the questions right is crucial.


(Image via Andrew Neel


Read Blogs

The next thing you can do is find and read some of the blogs that cover the topic you are planning on writing about. You are likely to find some experts in the industry and gain an insight to the style and the topics people are interested in. You can brainstorm ideas and make notes, so you can build your content based on the client’s requirements and the needs of customers.


Do Your Research

It is not enough that you search for blog posts and magazines; you will also have to do your research. If you need to write newsworthy posts, it is a good idea to search online journals for inspiration. Whether you have to write an essay or a business blog, you need to provide useful information, and not only common knowledge.


Sign Up for a Free Training for Longer Projects

If you are asked to write about a topic you know little or nothing about, you could enroll to a short online free training on Alison. You will not only find out what the training standards in the industry are, but also expand your horizons. When you need to write about motivating employees, for example, a short course will give you a benefit of personal and professional growth, as well as ideas for your content.


We all have to write about things we are unfamiliar with. Whether you are publishing a book and need to find out more about the culture, or are writing for a corporate client, research is the key to success. A great writer will be ready to learn new things, so they can inform their audience to the best of their abilities.



Find more writing and publishing tips at Nothing Any Good.


So, You Want To Write A Book

How to write a book


What You Need to Know to Get Started and Join the Writing Community

by Victoria M. Patton  



So, you want to write a book… Fantastic! Start writing NOW. Don’t put it off. Don’t think about it. Just get it done. When you have finished writing it: STOP, WAIT, and BREATHE.

As a new author, (moving towards Indie Publishing, quite rapidly) I have learned a few things I hope will help all new authors.



So easy, right? Just start it. Quit saying you want to write. Just write. Go to writing conferences in your area. At one conference I went to I met three editors. Each one took three chapters of my story and gave me feedback, for free.

Get involved in a local writing group. This is so important. You will meet other writers and get feedback on your own writing. (I used MEETUP to find a group in my area.)


[clickToTweet tweet=”Quit saying you want to write. Just write. #amwriting #writerslife #indieauthor” quote=”Quit saying you want to write. Just write.”]



I don’t mean surf the web, I mean build your author platform. NOW. Before your book is even completed. I suggest reading Jane Friedman’s blog post on Building a Platform to Land a Book Deal: Why It Often Fails. You need to get yourself out there as an author, but not to get a book deal. You want people to be interested in you.

NOT YOUR BOOKS. You. You want to build relationships with people who will ultimately want to read your books. Nothing Any Good how to build your audience via social mediahas some great insight into .

You don’t have to start a blog right away. Once you’ve read Friedman’s post on landing a book deal and Buri’s 5 tips for building a social media audience, read Friedman’s How to Start Blogging: A Definitive Guide for Authors. After that, you can decide how serious you are about writing.

Do you want to sell your books and make a living or do you just want to write them for family and friends? What you want from your writing will set your path for you.



You do not need a website of your own to start this endeavor. Wait until you have decided where you want to take your writing. Ultimately, if you decide you want to have your books published you should have an author website. You can combine this with your blog. Almost all the providers allow for a minimal free website. You can play around on them and see what you like best. Joanna Penn has a great article on author websites.



This goes hand in hand with building your platform. Start out small. I suggest Twitter and maybe Pinterest. I suggest reading Marcy Kennedy’s Twitter For Authors. This book will explain Twitter so that you don’t get overwhelmed and curl up in a ball on the floor crying. (Maybe that was just my reaction.)

Follow other authors in your genre. Follow industry people. All the people listed in the article are on Twitter and I suggest you follow them. (And for crying out loud, follow @DanBuri777!!!) If you’re goal is to land an agent, find agents who represent your genre and follow them.

As you get more comfortable on Pinterest, use CANVA to make your own pins.

My only warning about social media—pay attention to what you want your author brand to ultimately be. Everything you put out there will be linked back to your author brand.



Read up on Facebook for authors. When you have decided where you want your writing to go, then you will have a better idea of how to approach Facebook. Sarah Jarvis wrote an excellent article on Facebook Advertising on this site. (These websites also have great articles concerning Facebook: Jane Friedman, THE AUTHOR ONLINE, Digital Book World.)



I am just now learning about Instagram and using it for my author branding. (These websites have great articles on how to use Instagram as an author: The Book Designer, DYI Author, and Where Writers Win.)




Finding an editor that knows you and understands your voice is important. Leslie Caplan has a wonderful Keys to Editing Your Book on this site that discusses choosing the right editor for you.

There are great tools to use even before getting to your editor, though. I use different editing software to help with getting my manuscript ready for my editor. BUT, it will not take the place of an actual person.

  1. Gram marly—I do this before it goes to my editor. But after her first edit, I don’t use it again. She makes corrections that Grammarly doesn’t correct. The browser extension is free, or you can pay $140.00 for the year.
  2. SmartEdit—This is a great tool and my favorite. It allows you to correct your writing in the body of the manuscript. This is the one I recommend you buy if you can only buy one. I use the version for word. It costs $67.00.
  3. WordRake—This is a great tool, but I no longer use it. At $129.00 I found that SmartEdit did the same job. It will help tighten your writing.
  4. Hemming-way App—I use this app at the very end of my editing, just before it goes to the editor. It shows you long complicated sentences. It is a hard app to get used to, but at $9.00 it’s a steal.

Most of these are free to try. But you only have a limited trial period, so don’t try them until your manuscript is ready for editing.


[clickToTweet tweet=”YOUR FIRST DRAFT IS NOT YOUR FINAL DRAFT. #amwriting #amediting” quote=”YOUR FIRST DRAFT IS NOT YOUR FINAL DRAFT. “]


I use two resources when I am editing/rewriting my manuscript. Marcy Kennedy’s Busy Writer’s Guide Series. I especially refer to Showing and Telling, (you can put her list of words to watch for in the SmartEdit app, and let it find all of them for you.) Her books are my most valuable resource.

Along with her, I can’t live without Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi’s book – The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression. These help me get my book from the first draft to the final draft much easier. (All of the books their website offers, Writers Helping Writers, are worth the money.)

If you choose to self-publish or submit to an agent/publisher, you need have an editor go through your manuscript. I can’t stress this enough. Most will review a portion of your writing for a small fee, and you can determine if they are a good fit for you. This is where the bulk of your money should be spent.



If you are going to try the traditional route you must know how to do these. Find agents who handle your genre, and follow their submission guidelines. Each agent will have a different submission process. Some will want a synopsis, some won’t. Some want a CV (a resume for writers), I used Lucy V Hay’s post to figure out how to do this.

Writer’s Digest has several posts regarding searching for an agent/publisher and how to write a query letter and synopsis.

Query Shark can give you the best tips on formatting your query letter.

Jane Friedman has a lot of information on these topics as well.



This is a post all unto itself. There is so much information out there, Nothing Any Good’s Author Resources has tons of stuff on the Indie Publishing route.

You can also check out these writers and their websites. Frances Caballo, Joanna Penn, Derek Murphy, Joel Friedlander and yes, Jane Friedman.

The information out there on how to self-publish is prolific. I list the websites above because they are trustworthy and the information you get from them will help guide your ultimate decision as to what you want to do in regards to publishing your writing. They will cover all things from where to place your book for sale and how to format your book, how to make your book cover, as well as how to market and sell your book.

Don’t be overwhelmed. This is a process. But it all starts in one place. WRITING THE BOOK.





Find more writing and publishing tips at Nothing Any Good.



Victoria Patton

About the Author: Victoria M. Patton lives with her husband of twenty years and her two teenagers, as well as three dogs and a cat. Her years in the Coast Guard doing Search and Rescue/Law Enforcement and her BS in Forensic Chemistry have led her to write Crime Fiction. She gears her blog Whiskey and Writing towards helping new authors in their endeavor to write their first book. Check out her author website at Email her at She would love to hear from you.


Writer’s Etiquette: Acting Like a Professional

Act Like a Writer


by Tamara Thorne & Alistair Cross


“Be Now What You Wish to Become”

This was the motto we both lived by from the very beginning of our careers. Being newly-published – or not-yet published – makes no difference. If you want to be treated like a professional, if you want your work to be taken seriously, one of the most important things you can do is behave professionally. Here are a few things we’ve learned – both from personal experience and observation – that we suggest writers live by.


[clickToTweet tweet=”Be Now What You Wish to Become. #amwriting #indieauthors” quote=”Be Now What You Wish to Become. “]


Do Not Argue With Reviewers

Nothing screams, “I’m an amateur!” like getting online and arguing with readers and reviewers who dislike your work. As a writer, you’re going to receive bad reviews – it’s just part of the gig. Not everyone will enjoy your work, and not everyone has to. If you feel you must read your reviews at all, we think it’s imperative that you refrain from fighting with negative reviewers lest you be perceived as childish and petty.

Allow readers their opinions, even if you don’t like them. And never take one-star reviews seriously.


Never Pay for Reviews

We all raise a brow when a book we’ve never heard of has 12,700 five star reviews – we all know it’s bogus. In short, paying for reviews (or otherwise dishonestly earning them) shows. Professionals avoid these things.


Use Your Head When Talking Politics

Unless you’re a political writer, it’s best to avoid politics. If you’re passionate about something political, we suggest thinking it through before plowing headfirst into a heated public debate. When it comes to politics, a little goes a long way, and while we all have a right to voice our opinions, we should do so knowing that this comes with the risk of alienating significant portions of our potential audience.

This is hard to do in this era of social media and sometimes it’s impossible to resist. Consider a softer approach.

If you must endorse a candidate, do it – but don’t allow political arguments on your page unless you’re ready to take the heat. Show your stances in your fiction with stories that hit on human rights, women’s rights, gun control, etc. Use your voice through your fiction. Show versus tell.


[clickToTweet tweet=”Once you release, your book belongs to readers. They can think whatever they want. It’s their right.” quote=”Once you release your book, it belongs to the readers. Let them think whatever they want. It’s their right.”]


Please Don’t Whine

Are you having marital problems? Can’t make your mortgage payment this month? Caught your husband in bed with the babysitter? Have hayfever? These things happen, but when an author spends too much time bemoaning various trials on Facebook and Twitter, the personal life tends to overshadow the work.

People forget you’re an author at all and begin tuning in for the sole purpose of seeing what new drama has befallen you. Authors are human, and they should be allowed to behave as such, but they should keep in mind that not all attention is good attention. Your reading audience does not need to know about your polyps.


Don’t Argue About Your Books

For good or ill, readers will read all sorts of things into your work that you didn’t intend. Some things will delight you, others will horrify you, and a few will make your eyes roll. Once you release your book, it belongs to the readers. Let them think whatever they want. It’s their right. Sure, you can explain your meanings in blogs or interviews, but again, don’t argue with a reader. It’s not professional.


Don’t Denigrate Your Work

False modesty or showing your insecurities by telling people you think your work wasn’t the best is no way to inspire readers to pick up your book. If you don’t think your novel is any good, why would anyone else want to read it? Conversely, don’t brag about your book too much. Say you’re happy with your work, say you enjoyed writing it. But don’t compare yourself to Stephen King. That’s just obnoxious.


Don’t Be Owned

If you haven’t yet picked up a crazed “fan,” don’t worry – you will. Crazed “fans” come in all shapes and sizes and degrees of crazy.

Keep writing, and Annie Wilkes-like readers will crop up … and while most of them won’t necessarily hobble you and force you to write your masterpiece under their watchful evil eye, they all have one thing in common: They think it’s the writer’s job to write for them. To please them.

These folks feel entitled to you. They expect special treatment – treatment you don’t have time for because you’re writing. Some of them think they’re entitled to your time. Others believe they have the right to be given free books or other fringe benefits. Entitlement comes in many, many forms, but it all comes down to ownership. And authors are not pets – they should never allow themselves to be owned.


[clickToTweet tweet=”Allow readers their opinions, even if you don’t like them. #indieauthors #amreading” quote=”Allow readers their opinions, even if you don’t like them.”]


Let No One Confuse You With Your Books

It can get very ugly. Loving your work is very different from loving you. Tamara once had a fan follow her home from a book signing and knock on her door. He thought they were meant-to-be because they lived in the same neighborhood. But that was stalking. And this leads to our next tip.


Don’t Reveal Personal Information on Social Media or to People You Don’t Know

Don’t show off photos of your kids online. That’s backfired on many a writer. You don’t need to tell people where you live, either. Say you live in a big city but don’t tell them the nearby town you’re actually in.

A book we live by and recommend to all, authors or not, is The Gift of Fear by Gavin De Becker. Buy it, study it, reread it now and then. It’s gospel and will help you understand why and how your intuition works. But also know that ninety-eight percent of your fans are awesome. They’re buying your books and spreading the word. Treat them right.


Write a Good Book

Make sure your book is the best it can be by producing a well-researched, well-edited, and well-written novel. Your real fans and readers deserve nothing less. Respect them by giving them your best. Anything less simply isn’t professional.

[clickToTweet tweet=”If you want good reviews, write a good book. Anything less is unprofessional. #amwriting” quote=”If you want good reviews, write a good book. Anything less is unprofessional.”]


Find more writing and publishing tips at Nothing Any Good.



About the Authors

Alistair Cross was first published in 2012. His debut solo novel, The Crimson Corseta vampiric tale of terror and seduction, was an immediate bestseller which earned praise from veteran vampire-lit author, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, and New York Times bestseller, Jay Bonansinga, author of The Walking Dead series. Tamara Thorne published her first novel in 1991. Since then she has written many more, including international bestsellers Haunted, Bad Things, Moonfall, and The Sorority. In 2012, Alistair Cross and Tamara Thorne joined forces and as Thorne & Cross, they write, among other things, the successful Gothic series, The Ravencrest Saga. Their debut collaboration, The Cliffhouse Haunting, reached the bestseller’s list in its first week of release.
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