Just Write it! Do You Write Like You Talk?

Smart phon says: Do You Write Like You Talk?Should You Write Like You Talk?

Do you write like you talk? With video, social media, WIFI, TV, VOIP, texting, emoticons, and the third hand (smart phones); communications options and preferences are nearly unlimited.

For example, I do not like to text (fingers are clumsy). I love to talk; my daughter prefers Skype but I have WhatsApp. She refuses (can you blame her?) to download one more program and prefers texting to talking. We have settled on chatting through Skype. Amazingly, I can leave a video message on Skype or an audio message on Whats App. Communication systems are taking our languages for a ride—and each is undergoing a transformation.

Texting and emoticons have created a new language of its own,  so when writing professionally, does that make it okay to write like you talk?


Self-Publishing

Write Like You Talk

As a writing and publishing coach, I nearly always encourage my clients to write like they talk. On a basic level, writing for publishing is a three-part process. Writing, editing, and proofreading. Ideally, the editor and proofreader are hired, since editing, and proofreading need a different skill set, as well as a fresh pairs of eyes.

The most important aspect of writing is having something to say and saying it passionately. This means the story takes priority over spelling, grammar, formatting, and all that “nonsense” we learned in college or high school English. That is not what real writing is about. That is the craft of writing, but the art of writing is telling your story. I have created a video for my students to understand this concept. Read my article about the art and craft of writing entitled,  Are You Writing from Your Heart?

Many new writers are intimidated by the thought of writing perfectly—or some concept of what they were taught that perfect writing is. The problem with this is that the craft of writing can stifle the art of writing. So when I help writers make the journey from writer to published author, the first step is finding their art; and I always tell them to Write like you talk, just to get the story flowing! The craft comes later, and can actually be done by a hired hand.

I Stand Corrected

Should you write like you talk? There is always the exception to the rule. Here comes Oscar (name changed); a former client who recently returned as a private client. He is highly creative and shoots out thoughts like lightning bolts in a sky clouded by his multiple streams of consciousness. Therefore, his writing requires a fair amount of editing to make his meaning clear to the reader. Today, in our session, I nearly said it: “Oscar, just write like you talk!” But I bit my tongue; as Oscar is the exception to the rule.

Oscar is a highly intelligent CEO with limited time; therefore, editing is required in order for him to meet writing deadlines. This is not a bad thing. Busy people with a story to tell with no time to tell it, hire ghost writers. They may speak their story into a recording device, which is translated into words and rewritten by an expert writer. Many great books have been “written” and published this way.

For the next phase in teaching Oscar to write, we will work on the aspect of his writing as a tool for communicating important and profound ideas. This means eliminating his stream of consciousness writing, which will need a focused mindset; along with some rules to translate flow of talking into basic writing protocol. Here are some basic rules to make your writing easy to reach out to the general reader. Do not use contractions such as don’t, won’t, isn’t, didn’t, doesn’t, etc. These are OK to use when talking, and when quoting someone, you may use them.

First Tip: Write like you talk

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Do not use contractions such as don’t, won’t, isn’t, didn’t, doesn’t, etc. These are OK to use when talking, and when quoting someone, you may use them.

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AlwayNumber 2 - Write Like You Talks use complete sentences. A complete sentence includes a verb and a noun or pronoun with a period at the end.
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Number 3; Write Like You TalkAvoid slang. Do not use words such as “freaked out,” “hot chick” “freakin”; local dialects, such as “ended up,” aint, or y’all; or cuss words unless quoting someone. Use these in quotes only if needed to create a character or personality; as these do not come across as good writing.

Number 4: Write Like You TalkThe uses of em dashes—and dot, dot, dot … are mental shortcuts and make the reader feel dizzy. Observe how this next sentence makes you feel. Think the thought through and clearly communicate what you want to say using a complete thought–not broken up by dashes—a shortcut which does not clearly communicate what you mean. Write in clear, cohesive sentences.

Number 5: Write Like You TalkEliminate the word “it” whenever you can. Sometimes you will find it difficult to write without the word “it” but when you can drop this word in most cases, your writing will improve at least 50% on the spot! “It” is an overused pronoun, and is handy when talking, but when writing can be confusing. Most of the time, although the writer knows what “it” means, the reader will not easily follow what “it” is.

If following these rules seems to shut your writing down, then break the rules; and simply write like you talk! Then, after you write your piece, go through and quickly clean it up by using these basic guidelines.


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How to Avoid Self-Publishing Scams

self-publishing scams alert

Self-publishing Scams to Avoid

Self-Publishing Scams

by Deborah S. Nelson

So you are thinking of publishing a book! Fabulous. And you want to know how to avoid self-publishing scams that dot the landscape of digital publishing. Good idea. This article will help arm you with knowledge, BEFORE you publish a book.


Self-Publishing

As a self-publishing coach, I am often asked: Which are the self-publishing companies to avoid? Although this sounds like an easy question to answer, it is not. In the changing landscape of digital publishing, companies are coming and going daily. Self-publishing is an emerging industry. The music and photography industries have already made their transition to the digital age. We enjoy downloadable songs and sheet music, digital cameras, online photographic services, online magazines to name a few. Book publishing is still working through the twists and turns of its transition to online digital publishing.

Therefore, to name self-publishing companies to avoid would be a tricky full-time job. Although this is not the easy answer, education is your best defense against self-publishing scams.

Basic Self-Publishing Terminology

Before you decide which company to hire, learn the basic terminology of self-publishing. Two great tools for this are the Dictionary of Self-Publishing Terms  and WIKIPEDIA, the definition of Self-Publishing. Once you understand self-publishing is you handling your own project, which self-publishing company to hire is solved. It is nearly impossible to hand over your self-publishing project to someone else. When you do, you create an unnecessary middleman. As SELF-PUBLISHER, you are responsible for all aspects since everything passes through you (or should). Inviting a third party could complicate and slow down the project.

Self-Publishing Companies to Avoid

Avoid self-publishing scams by choosing not to hire a so-called “self-publishing company.” By definition, only you, the author, can be the self-publisher. Shift your focus to hiring  a good print on demand printing company for book printing. The two most experienced print on demand companies are CreateSpace and LuLu. Educate  yourself about the book publishing process. Hire your own freelancers for book covers, interior design, promotional copy, editing, and proofreading. For further details read: Self-Publishing Companies: How to Shop Them. For further education, download our free self-publishing toolkit below.


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Steps to Publishing a Book Yourself-Part II

Publishing a Book Yourself

By Deborah S. Nelson

Thinking of publishing a book yourself?  Bravo! I urge you to do it. There is nothing like being a published book author–especially if this has been a dream of yours. But before you begin, get a clue. Publishing a book yourself isn’t that hard! But, publishing a book yourself isn’t that easy either. Get the facts. As a publishing coach I have led a multitude of writers through the self-publishing process to publish a 100+ books. I found this basic  list to make it easy to conceptualize the big picture with specific steps to publishing a book yourself.

Step 6 of Publishing a Book Yourselfpublishing a book yourself toolkit from PUBLISHING SOLO

BOOK COVER: Create a concept which is a  compelling graphic representation of the overall idea of your book. Provide cover art or a photo to a graphic designer to design your cover. Hire a book cover designer using freelance.com or Elance.com. Be prepared with your concept, your cover photo, graphic, or image. Also, supply an author headshot for the back of the book. Supply a sales copy synopsis of the book, and a short author bio. You will need to offer the book cover template for the size of your book along with the estimated number of pages (to figure spine width), and the ISBN number assigned when you initiated your title in Step Five. Consider that your book cover may be an important piece and best done professionally when publishing a book yourself.

Publishing a book Yourself, Step 7 INTERIOR DESIGN: Like building a home, your architect creates an outer design with components such as a front porch, entryway, terraces, patios, driveway, landscaping and the overall exterior of the home; which is compared to your cover design. Once you enter the home or open the book, an interior design is clear. Selection of colors, floors, finishes, woodwork, windows are interior design components of a custom built home. For the interior of your book, select the overall look and feel using fonts, font sizes, illustrations, images, headers, and subheads, dividers, photos, and footers, page numbers, and other graphic elements. Is your book scholastic, non-fiction, playful, serious, fiction, dramatic, informative, professional, technical or fantasy-like? Create the look, feel and tone that you want to convey in the interior of the book. Supply the interior book designer (choose a specialist to avoid nightmares), with the ISBN for the copyright page, all the front and back matter, the body of the book in chronological order.The Once Upon a Book Video Series outlines the ten basic steps of how to self-publish a book.

Publishing a book Yourself, Step 8SUBMIT FILES:  Submit your interior and cover file for approval.

Once you upload these completed files,  submit for approval by the print on demand company. These files most often are required to be in the form of a “print ready PDF.” Files in this format are widely accepted by most print on demand companies and will result in a high quality output. Be sure and insist to the cover and interior designer that all components be at least 300 dpi and that all be exported to a print quality PDF. This is the technical part of publishing a book yourself. Get help from professionals to be sure your files are built to specifications, or they may be rejected by the printing company.

Step 9 of Publishing a Book YourselfPROOFREADING: Once your files are approved for printing, order a physical proof. Do not skip this step. So far you have been looking at digital files. A physical proof will show you things undetected on the computer screen. Be sure to hire a professional proofreader make a last check for typos, spacing, punctuation, missing words and duplicate words. Hire someone from E-lance.com or Freelance.com. If you know someone who does proofreading for a living you want to hire them instead. Be sure to choose a style manual for them to use as the basic of their corrections, as there are many ways to proofread and make corrections on a book, and they are not all in agreement. This is as much an art as it is a science. Consistency is the name of the game, and using a style manual for proofreading and editing will get you the most accurate corrections and consistency possible. Professional proofreading is of the most important steps in publishing a book yourself in terms of getting a professional look and feel.

Step 10 of Publishing a Book Yourself Step 10 of Publishing a Book YourselfPUBLISH: Once your final proofread is completed, make your corrections to your interior file and upload the corrected interior file to your print on demand account. Submit “publish.” With a print on demand account, you won’t need to buy an inventory of books. Just order 1 or more books at a time and your POD company prints them as ordered. Congratulations! You are a published author! BRAVO!

See the following articles:

How to Market a Self-Published Book

Top 7 Self-Publishing Questions Answered

Self-Publishing Companies to Avoid


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