Affordable Book Editing Blueprint Course On How To Revise A Novel

Affordable Book Editing Blueprint Course On How To Revise A Novel

how to write a successful book online writing class

You know that feeling of overwhelm when you think of how to revise your novel? Where you wish an editor could sit over your shoulder and keep you from making a ton of time-wasting mistakes? You see the big picture but worry about how to get there. How do you get your book ready for publication or submission to an agent?

Today is the LAST day you need to feel that overwhelm about how to revise a novel. My online course Book Editing Blueprint: A Step-By-Step Plan to Making Your Novels Publishable is now available. If you’re a beginner or intermediate writer, then this course may be the solution you’ve been waiting for to reach the next level in your writing journey. 

Sign up here.  

Why I Created A Course On How To Revise A Novel

As a developmental editor, I kept seeing my clients make the same mistakes. I knew there had to be a way to break down the editing process into simple steps. I thought about what helped me to tackle my own rewrites and what issues plagued my clients, leading me to create a self-paced online course that streamlines the editing process.

Freelance editing is expensive, and I hate that as an author. But as an editor, I now know that editing someone’s manuscript is hard, time-consuming work. When you don’t charge enough, freelance editing doesn’t pay the bills despite the time and effort involved. That’s why it can cost you a thousand dollars or more for ONE ROUND of editing.

I wanted to offer a win/win situation: a way to empower beginner and intermediate writers to think like an editor so they can cut down on editing expenses. That way they can do the earlier rounds themselves and only pay to send their best work to a freelance editor. My vision was for writers to save time and money by teaching them how to catch and fix common flaws. Editors could do a higher-level edit rather than act as an expensive private writing instructor.

Editors don’t want to charge you outrageous amounts of money. They want to give you their best work, but if you make a lot of general beginner mistakes, it’s going to take them a lot longer to help you make your book publishable. That means you should give them your best writing. That’s why I created Book Editing Blueprint, so I could walk you through each of the common manuscript flaws and show you how to find and fix them in your manuscript.

Would you rather spend thousands of dollars to get multiple rounds of one-on-one writing coaching from a freelance developmental editor, or take an affordable online course to learn the exact same thing?

I am a freelance editor, so trust me, you'll learn all the same techniques and how to apply them to your manuscript. I'll tell you everything I've told my paid clients during their early rounds of editing and show you how to find weaknesses in your story, and most importantly, explain how to fix them. I won't edit your book during the class, but I will teach you how to do it.

Who This Revision Course Is For:

  • Beginner writers who have just finished, are working on, or are thinking about writing a fiction or creative nonfiction manuscript.
  • Intermediate authors who have had a couple of books published, but their editors keep sending them back to the drawing board for multiple rounds of rewrites and the editing process still feels overwhelming. You want to turn in well-developed, polished manuscripts and get to a higher level.
  • Authors who find hiring an editor too expensive and feel they might be skimping on the editing process.
  • Authors who don’t want a crazy-intensive course that will take months to get through and that they might give up on. They want a simpler way to get there.

In Book Editing Blueprint, your mission is to learn how to do a thorough developmental and line edit and to create a solid action plan for your work-in-progress. By the end of this course, you’ll have prepared a detailed editorial report outlining your book’s strengths, weaknesses, and strategies to fix the problems, and will be armed with a simple checklist on how to revise a novel.

You’ll learn through 10 easy-to-understand modules that get straight to the point. It’s a proven system that outlines what every fiction author should do before approaching an editor. That way when you’re ready to hire an editor, you’ll get much more value for your money as you’re not paying someone to point out issues you could have easily found yourself. Here’s what topics you’ll see covered:

Module 1: Character

Module 2: Structure

Module 3: Point of View

Module 4: Show, Don’t Tell

Module 5: Dialogue

Module 6: Pacing

Module 7: Line Editing

Module 8: Copyediting

Module 9: Hiring an Editor

Module 10: Putting It All Together

Bonus Module: Foil the Frustration - Motivation Strategies for Authors. (Includes an excerpt from When The Timer Dings: Organizing Your Life To Make The Most of 10 Minute Increments by Katharine Grubb of 10 Minute Novelists)

You can binge through it in about 10-14 days, or take as long as you want. The course includes:

  • 28 video tutorials, most between 4-10 minutes
  • 200 pages of transcripts
  • 71-page workbook with worksheets and cheat sheets
  • 25-page Book Editing Blueprint checklist

If you’re a beginner or intermediate fiction or creative nonfiction writer who wants to learn how to revise a novel so you can lower your editing expenses and become less dependent on editors, then Book Editing Blueprint is for you.  Learn how to revise a novel, save time and money, and get that book done. Register here.

 

Rewriting A Novel When It’s A Big Mess

Rewriting A Novel When It’s A Big Mess

rewriting a novel

How do you go about rewriting a novel when it’s an absolute mess?

I want to tell you about this editing client I once had. She submitted a manuscript that was the biggest disaster I had ever seen. It would need countless drafts to make it even in the ballpark of publishable.

1. First, it was written 25 years ago when she was a teenager, years before she developed her skills as a novelist. It lacked character development, description, and a strong point of view.

2. Since it was originally done on a word processor, this author hired a company to scan her hard copy so she could work with it again. Unfortunately, the scanning process riddled it with formatting errors and odd symbols that made my eyes glaze over when I was editing.

3. The storyline was so outdated and unrealistic that she had buried the manuscript in a drawer for several years, too overwhelmed to deal with it.

Finally, this client took a deep breath and vowed to give the manuscript a long-overdue rewrite. It was a sequel to a young adult sports novel published in 1992 that still sold copies daily, and readers kept asking her if there was a second book.

As a freelance editor, I’m known for writing encouraging but honest ten-page editorial letters. Some editors have never written a book themselves and don’t understand how awful it feels to have your hard work criticized. Since I’ve been on the receiving end of overwhelming editorial letters, I always make sure to include the positives. However, in this case, I ripped the manuscript to shreds.

Want to know why? This “client” was me.

Rewriting A Novel From Scratch

Rewriting my young adult novel Offsides (Hockey Rivals Book 2), a manuscripted penned by my nineteen-year-old self, was one of the scariest, strangest, and most rewarding projects I’ve ever undertaken.

Every single word of that book required rewriting. I think the only thing that stayed the same was the characters’ names. (Wait . . . I changed a couple of those, too.)

I desperately needed a system to break down this monumental editing project into manageable steps.

I made a long list of every possible task I could think of and arranged it in an order that made sense so that I could redraft the novel. Then I dug into my messy manuscript and revised one item at a time.

Little did I know that this checklist would shape the curriculum for my online course Book Editing Blueprint: A Step-By-Step Plan to Making Your Novels Publishable. Checking off each task was a small victory, and finally reaching the finish line reflected my proudest moment as an author.

self-editing class

 

Now, just like its predecessor Face-OffOffsides sells copies every day. This one-line review on Amazon filled me with joy. “My 11-year-old hockey player grandson could not put the book down. He loved it.”

I market these hockey books with the tagline “Score a goal for reading,” but I scored a goal for my writing career also by tackling the rewrite of that novel. Through self-editing, I took my disaster of a manuscript and transformed it into a publishable novel that my ideal reader couldn’t put down. You can do it too. I’d love to share my system and revision checklist with you in Book Editing Blueprint. 

Your mission is to learn how to do a thorough developmental and line edit, to clean up your manuscript, and to create a solid action plan. By the end of the course, you’ll have prepared a detailed editorial report and will be armed with a simple self-editing checklist to guide you through your revisions. Sign up below.

 

 

Have you ever had a messy rewrite to complete? Are you working on one now? Tell us in the comments.

Setting In Fiction: 5 Bestselling Authors Share Their Secrets

Setting In Fiction: 5 Bestselling Authors Share Their Secrets

.setting in fiction

Several years ago, I wrote an article about setting in fiction for a writing magazine. The angle was how research field trips could enrich your writing. As a longtime journalist, hands-on research comes naturally to me. I’m used to picking up the phone, explaining that I’m a writer, and requesting a tour and interview. I’ve done it for hundreds of newspaper articles, so I have no qualms about seeking out experts to research my novels.

I’ve hung out and chatted with interview sources at a hospital emergency room, childbirth education class, dog training school, prison, power plant, Christmas ornament factory, homeless shelter, haunted inn, and at a psychic’s house; during a police cruiser ride-along, on the firing range, and inside a courthouse, to name a few. I never could have created such authentic setting descriptions without being there in person and asking my list of questions.

However, some authors feel hesitant about e-mailing or cold-calling a stranger for research purposes, especially writers without a publishing track record. Here’s my advice: do it anyway.

Agents and acquisitions editors trust writers who strive for accuracy. Readers love authors who plunge them into settings ripe with authentic details. Field trips can expand a writer’s knowledge base and provide opportunities to gather color, atmosphere, and on-scene information unavailable in a research book or on the Internet.

Sure, the adage ‘Write what you know’ has some truth, yet if that’s all we wrote, our fiction would be boring. Next time you get stuck on a scene, put on your reporter’s hat and go out and find the story.

Here is advice and setting anecdotes from five of the novelists I interviewed for the original article.

Lisa Gardner

Lisa gardner booksBestselling suspense author Lisa Gardner met with the Rhode Island State Police for her novel The Survivor’s Club and even staked out a Providence courthouse to determine the ideal angle for a sniper shot.

For The Killing Hour, she visited the FBI Academy to learn about the life of a new agent, and she spent a week with the U.S. Geological Survey team, checking out remote places in Virginia for an “Eco-Killer” to abandon his victims.

The Other Daughter led her on a hunt to Texas, where she researched execution protocol. 

“I need to be able to picture something to write it,” she said. “Actually seeing Texas’s retired electric chair was so much more riveting than simply reading about it. To walk through a maximum security prison, getting the sights, the sounds, and particularly the smell, made the whole atmosphere come alive in a way simply talking about it never would. Then I can take this experience in turn, and make it come alive for the reader.”

Stephen Coonts

Stephen Coonts booksStephen Coonts, bestselling action/adventure author, took a flight in the F-22 cockpit concept demonstrator at Lockheed Martin in Georgia for Fortunes of War. He talked his way into the V-22 Osprey simulator at NAS Patuxent River, the basis for scenes in his novella Al-Jihad. While research is vital, he advises not overloading the reader with information. 

“The first requirement for any writer is a good story,” Coonts said. “Once you see how the story is going to go, then do enough research to give the tale the flavor of authenticity. Salt in a little jargon, but only a little. Write around details you don’t know. The easiest and best way to do research is to find an expert and ask precisely the questions to which you need answers. Shotgunning (or scattered) research is a waste of time.” 

Jodi Picoult

Jodi picoult booksAs part of her research for novels such as Plain Truth, The Tenth Circle, and Second Glance, bestselling writer Jodi Picoult has milked a cow in Amish country and roughed it with native Alaskans. She shudders when she remembers heading out to an abandoned New England mental institution on a winter night with paranormal investigators. Her group trudged across a field where a building had burned down with patients inside. 

“I was walking with a sensitive, someone who can ‘feel’ ghosts,” Picoult said. “Suddenly, all the hair stood up on the back of my neck. Before I could even mention this to my walking buddy, he lifted a digital camera and held it up between us backward, over our shoulders. Although there was nothing visible to the naked eye, in the viewfinder of the camera was a white, misty, wraith-like image.” 

Janet Evanovich

Janet Evanovich booksAnyone who has read the humorous Stephanie Plum series, about a female bounty hunter sleuth with attitude, knows how much detail bestselling author Janet Evanovich weaves into the books. That all stems from research.

“One time I was meeting a bounty hunter for lunch in a crowded Au Bon Pain in downtown Washington and this guy came in dressed in leather,” recalled Evanovich, whose books include the recent Twisted Twenty-Six. “I was trying to find out what he did and how successful he was. He did this arm thing and reached for something on the table, and all you could see was this illegal Dirty Harry gun. The place cleared out and we were the only two people left. It was important for the Stephanie Plum series as it gave me perspective on crowd reaction, and made me think about how I was putting my heroine in this atypical and unsavory job.” 

 

Deborah Donnelly

Wedding Planner MysteriesDeborah Donnelly, author of the Wedding Planner Mysteries, writes so vividly that her books caught the attention of Hallmark Movies and Mysteries. The channel adapted her book Veiled Threats into the movie the Wedding Planner Mystery.

“While researching May the Best Man Die, I toured the Seattle’s Best Coffee roasting plant,” she said. “I explained myself as a mystery writer when I made the tour request, but apparently no one told the gentleman who showed me around. As he dutifully described all the specialized equipment, I kept asking questions like, ‘If one of those sacks of coffee beans fell on you, would it kill you?’ and ‘If this place burned down, would the coffee smell really good?’ He kept edging farther and farther away from me… Eventually, he learned the reassuring truth about my odd profession.”

Arranging Research Field Trips

Are you inspired to make a field trip to enrich the setting in your book? If you want to tour a site or interview an expert, search the Internet for leads. Larger organizations might have a PR department that handles inquiries.

Cold calls are fine, but don’t subject someone to an on-the-spot interrogation; make an appointment so you both have time to prepare. You could also outline your request in an e-mail.

Before the visit, read up on your subject and develop specific questions. Bring a notebook to the interview and ask whether you can call or e-mail with follow-up questions. Afterwards, be sure to show your appreciation with a thank you note. 

What type of field trips have you made to research your books? Share in the comments. If your book is published, share an excerpt that reflects your research and a buy link.

Here’s The Missing Step Of The Book Editing Process

Here’s The Missing Step Of The Book Editing Process

book editing proccess

Many beginner and intermediate writers find the book editing process overwhelming. That’s where I come in. I was recently asked on a podcast why I’m so passionate about teaching self-editing skills to authors. The thing is, I’m not just an editor. I’m an author who has received crushing editorial letters, letters that outlined everything I was doing wrong. I’d thought those manuscripts were pretty darn close to being publishable, but nope! Evidently not.

Those letters got my heart pounding, my blood pressure rising, and my eyes prickling with tears. Don’t get me wrong. The editors said encouraging things, too, but all I could focus on at first was the overwhelming list of problems to fix.

For example:

“I think in order to make us eager to get back to this place in future installments, you may want to dial it up even more to make the park a true character in the story.”

“We don’t know enough about what your characters want to allow us to get really invested in their story and the outcome.”

“I’m going to make a bold suggestion here. What if there was no Danielle?”

In that letter, I discovered my setting needed to become a character (huh?), my real characters were flat, and I should consider cutting the bitchy ex-girlfriend who drove most of the conflict. And trust me, there was more. Much more!

Good editors also focus on the positives during the book editing process, and this was an excellent editor whose suggestions helped me a great deal. She included paragraphs like this one: “I know these seem like a lot of notes, and I hope I’m not overwhelming you. I really think you have nailed the more critical elements that can’t be fixed as easily. You have a fluid writing style and a good sense of pacing, and most importantly, you write with voice.”

In the beginning though, all I felt was overwhelm. Of course, I thanked her and gushed over how much I appreciated her insightful editorial feedback, because I did appreciate it. She’d saved me from publishing a book that wasn’t ready.  Thanks to her, I realized the book editing process wasn’t done yet. That didn’t make the truth any easier to swallow, though. I wasn’t almost finished with the book after all. In fact, I wasn’t even close to being finished.

I survived the rewrite just as I’d powered through the other tough rewrites over the decades. With a leap of faith, discipline, and peanut M&Ms. Plenty of peanut M&Ms! 

Eventually, I became a developmental editor, coaching other authors through the book editing process, and found myself writing these kinds of distressing letters. I’d echo the words of my mentors, incorporating lines like, PLEASE don’t be discouraged. You’re a talented writer and this story has so much potential.” I’d nervously await a reply, praying I hadn’t crushed a new writer’s dreams with my editing feedback.

One thing I’ve learned over the years is that every manuscript has potential, but it takes good editing to transform it into the book it deserves to be.

I wished I had a fairy godmother to transform this early draft of Fooling Around With Cinderella, the book described in the above editorial letter.

And I really wished I could wave a wand and make things easier for my clients.

That’s why I created my new course Book Editing Blueprint: A Step-By-Step Plan to Making Your Novels Publishable. New and emerging fiction writers needed a way to simplify the book editing process so that they saved time and money.

They were jumping from Point A (finishing their draft and revising as best as they could) to Point C (hiring a freelance editor) with no transition in between.

What they needed was a stop at Point B, which in my world stands for Blueprint. Everything I put into the course and the step-by-step guide that accompanies it comes from thousands of hours spent editing my own manuscripts and my clients’ projects. If you’d like to learn more about how Book Editing Blueprint can transform your writing and editing, watch the above trailer and then visit the course home page for more information. Hope to see you inside the course!

 

Video Tour of 7 Character Name Generator Sites

Video Tour of 7 Character Name Generator Sites

FREE CHARACTER-NAMING GUIDE BELOW! Are you a fiction writer who could use some help on how to name your characters?

Then check out this video tour of seven amazing name generator websites for writers. I’ll show you where you can quickly generate English first and last names, find out names popular in certain years, discover multicultural names, and even generate the perfect names for medieval characters, dragons, vampires, unicorns, and fairies.

Do you need a name to reflect a certain ethnicity? Or, would you like to explore what potential character names mean so that it can add a layer of symbolism? These sites will help you with all of this and more.

You can also visit my blog post which has clickable links to each site along with six questions you should be asking yourself before finalizing your character names.

Sign up for a PDF of my Tips for Naming Characters Guide, which includes a list of all the questions and character-name sites in one handy download. Get the PDF here: https://billowing-water-5216.ck.page/f47dd8ffda

In the comments, share the name of one of your characters and why you chose it. Please like this video and share it with any writers who might find it helpful! Have you used any of these sites to help you pick your character names? Do you have others to recommend. Let me know in the comments.

Never Send Your First Draft To An Editor & Other Advice For Writers

Never Send Your First Draft To An Editor & Other Advice For Writers

I had such a fun time chatting with fellow writer Kat Caldwell, host of the podcast Pencils&Lipstick, and giving advice for writers including my number one tip: NEVER SEND YOUR FIRST DRAFT TO AN EDITOR.

Even your second and third drafts may not be strong enough, as let’s face it, editors are expensive. You should only send your best work so that you’re not paying someone big bucks to catch flaws you could’ve caught yourself.

Unfortunately, many writers don’t know how to self-edit their early drafts. Kat and I discussed why I created my new course Book Editing Blueprint: A Step-By-Step Plan To Making Your Novels Publishable, a class geared toward beginner and intermediate fiction and creative nonfiction authors. It’s the course that I wish was available when I started writing as it would have saved me a lot of time, money, and aggravation.

 

Blood, Sweat, And Tears!

Speaking of aggravation, Kat and I also discussed our “blood, sweat, and tears years.” We were aspiring writers in the 1990s, before indie publishing took off, before Kindle, and before the INTERNET! We talked about how new authors today have so many more options than Kat and I did when we were starting out, and how wonderful it is to have writing groups and classes available online so you don’t have to drive to them.

It was fun talking with someone who remembered trudging to the post office to mail a thick yellow envelope with a self-addressed stamped envelope inside, and then the mixed feelings when your SASE eventually wound up in your mailbox. It was probably a rejection, but. . .maybe there was a slim possibility it was a publishing offer with some editing notes???

Rejections From Editors You Want To Pay?

We also fast-forwarded to the present and discussed how as a freelance editor, I’ve worked with beginner authors on 3-4 drafts of their novels, and even then the manuscripts weren’t ready for publication. They wished they could have afforded more rounds of developmental editing, but needed to save money for copyediting and cover design. That was before I created Book Editing Blueprint, which would have saved them money on those early drafts. Kat was telling me about freelance editors she’d come across who wouldn’t even accept beginner writers as clients. These editors tell writers that the manuscript needs a lot of work before they can take on the author as a client, leaving the writer confused. Wasn’t that the point of trying to hire an editor? To make the manuscript better?

Even though there are more oppportunities for authors nowadays, learning the craft is just as important as it was in the 1990s. I hope you enjoy our candid conversation about the writing life, sprinkled with lots of advice for writers. The first 40 minutes discuss the ups and downs of my writing journey and what led me to this point in my career, and then for the rest of the podcast we talk about Book Editing Blueprint and the common mistakes that writers make.

Pencils&Lipstick is for anyone who is a writer, reader or looking for encouragement to develop their creativity. Kat interviews writers, entrepreneurs, artists, and many others. You’ll get audio samples of new books coming out, and she tackles life issues that plague us all.

You can also join her Pencils&Lipstick Facebook group, a growing community where creatives come together to encourage and connect.

To listen to our interview, click here.

 

5 Reasons To Join The Shortcuts For Writers Facebook Group

5 Reasons To Join The Shortcuts For Writers Facebook Group

Today I’m going to give you a tour of my Facebook group for writers. It’s called Shortcuts for Writers – Editing Made Simple, and it’s a community for fiction and creative nonfiction writers of all levels who want to make the writing and editing process easier.

As a member of this writing community, you’ll get LOTS of writing and editing tips. My mission is to make everything I teach as simple and actionable as possible. Members can download the free interactive guide 𝟳 𝗦𝗶𝗺𝗽𝗹𝗲 𝗦𝘁𝗲𝗽𝘀 𝗧𝗼 𝗡𝗮𝗶𝗹𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗬𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗕𝗼𝗼𝗸 𝗕l𝘂𝗿𝗯. It’s filled with tips for crafting your back cover copy and book description for sites like Amazon.

In addition, you will find camaraderie and a friendly, supportive author community. Beginner writers can find experienced writers eager to help those learning the craft.

📚 𝗪𝗵𝗼 𝘁𝗵𝗶𝘀 𝗴𝗿𝗼𝘂𝗽 𝗶𝘀 𝗳𝗼𝗿: Fiction and creative nonfiction writers of all levels.

❌ 𝗪𝗵𝗼 𝘁𝗵𝗶𝘀 𝗴𝗿𝗼𝘂𝗽 𝗶𝘀𝗻’𝘁 𝗳𝗼𝗿: If you’re seeking a place to promote your books and author services, then this isn’t the group for you.

I hope you’ll check out the video and head over to Facebook so you can answer the membership questions.

If you found this video helpful, please like, subscribe, and share it with your writer friends.

25+ Unique Gifts For Writers That They Will Actually Use And Want

25+ Unique Gifts For Writers That They Will Actually Use And Want

Are you searching for useful and unique gifts for writers in your life? Or perhaps you are the writer and need ideas of what to ask for during the holidays or for your birthday or graduation. Maybe your family has a tendency to buy you literary-themed mugs, T-shirts, and socks, and while those novelty ideas were cute at first, now you want a gift for writers that you could use.

Below you’ll find 25+ Unique Gifts for Writers That They Will Actually Use and Want. I polled the members of the Shortcuts for Writers: Editing Made Simple Facebook Group, did an inventory of my own favorite products, and combed the Internet for ideas.

I’ll update this gift recommendation list periodically and do some spin-off lists such as book gifts for writers and fun and frivolous gifts for authors, so feel free to post additional ideas in the comments. Ready? Let’s get started.

Please note that this post contains affiliate links. If you click them and make a purchase, then I will receive a small commission which I will use to help support this blog and my YouTube channel.

Desk Gifts For Writers

Hemingway Pencil CupThis typewriter-themed pencil holder will bring a smile to the face of a writer or aspiring writer. With a faux stone composite and ample room for pencils, it will add some style to their desk. Okay, maybe this a borderline novelty item, but we all need somewhere to keep our pens and pencils, right? So, it will get some decent use.

unique gifts for writers

TaoTronics LED Desk Lamp – How about a smart lamp to shed some extra light for a hardworking author? The LED reflects the light sideways and produces a strain-free light beam that doesn’t harm your eyes. The built-in iSmart USB charging port will power up your devices and keep them right within reach for extra convenience.

christmas gifts for authors

Coffee Mug Warmer – This earned high marks from members of the Shortcuts for Writers Facebook group. This coffee mug warmer quietly maintains the optimal drinking temperature for hot drinks to 130 ℉ in 5 minutes. Writers tired of sipping cold coffee or hot chocolate will consider this gift an indulgent treat.

The Synonym Finder by J.J. Rodale –  This book features more than 1,000,000 synonyms in a simple alphabetical arrangement. It has been expanded to include thousands of new words and expressions that have entered the language in recent years. It’s a great resource for writers to keep within easy reach on their desk.

Planner Gifts For Writers

The Self-Publishing Author’s Planner – This was highly recommended by a member of the Shortcuts for Writers Facebook group. Here is a snippet from a customer review: “This is an excellent organizer to help keep track of the myriad of details of writing, editing, and marketing that are part of a writer’s life. The layout allows me to be non-linear when I need to brainstorm my plans, and still create the lists I have to check off as I work through them. “

Planner Pad: This is what I personally use. I’ve tried loads of planners, and this one has made me the most productive. I first heard about the Planner Pad from online marketing expert Amy Porterfield. I love how each week there is space to categorize everything you have going on in your life, such as writing, book promotion, social media, freelance work, family, chores, etc. Then you assign specific days for action and block out time to get things done. The company says that if you’re not more focused and organized in six months, you’ll get your money back. 

Word Count Stickers – Regardless of which planner you use, consider ordering word count stickers to help you stay on track with your writing goals. If you do a search on Etsy, several choices come up.

Tech Gifts For Writers


practical gifts for writers

Lap Desk for Laptop with Built-in Wrist Support, Mouse Pad, Cellphone, and Pen Holder – A lap desk is a must for authors who use a laptop. I asked my husband for this one as a Christmas gift this year as it is a huge step up from what I’m using now. This one caught my eye as it includes an ergonomic wrist support, a mouse pad for my new wireless mouse, a slot for a cellphone, and a pen holder as I’m always losing pens and highlighters. It’s a little pricier than other lap desks, but my tired wrists will thank me for the wrist support, and it will be nice to have a place for my cell phone and pens as well as a built-in mouse pad. If you don’t want the ergonomic wrist support, then this lap desk has all the other features. And if you just want a simple, no-frills sturdy lap desk, you could also check out this one which comes in assorted colors.

christmas gifts for writers

Laptop Computer Case with Shoulder Strap and Side Pockets – I use this roomy case to carry my Chromebook and other supplies when I go on vacation or to write at the library or in a coffee shop. It has plenty of room for power cords, notebooks, pens, snacks, and other items as well as enough padding to keep my device safe.

unique christmas gifts for writers

AmazonBasics Rolling Bag Laptop Computer Case with Wheels – A writer who travels a lot will appreciate this rolling laptop computer case. It fits under airplane seats and has an easy-access front pocket with compartments for smaller items like pens and notepads.

what to buy a writer

Chromebook – Writers who don’t have a laptop need to consider purchasing one as a laptop has made me much more productive. I love that I’m no longer tied to my desk and can write and work on the go. My favorite spot is my plush recliner in the living room. Personally, I prefer the simplicity of a Chromebook. I quickly adjusted to working on Google Drive, and appreciate that I don’t have to worry about installing anti-virus software like I do on my desktop. I set up my lap desk, flip open the Chromebook, and I’m ready to work. When I take a break, I can even watch Netflix on the screen. If you buy a Chromebook or another laptop, I recommend purchasing a sleeve case for it and a lap desk. Some writers may also prefer a wireless mouse to the Chromebook’s touchpad.

presents for authors

Laptop Sleeve Protective Case – I have this case in coral for my Chromebook  and love it. I use it for carrying my Chromebook around the house, or if am bringing it somewhere but don’t need a lot of extra supplies. It’s come in handy while my kids are at a birthday party or a karate lesson and I’m getting a little work done while waiting for them. Just pay attention to the measurements of both the laptop and the case so the fit isn’t too tight. For my Chromebook, I went with the 13-inch case. 

presents for writers

Wireless Mouse – Some people prefer using a mouse to a touchpad. That’s where a wireless mouse comes in. You plug it into the device’s USB port, and then it’s just like working on a desktop except without a long mouse cord. You can either buy a mouse pad to go with it, or a lap desk that has a built-in mouse pad like the one above.

useful gifts for writers

Ergonomic Mouse Pad – In the past, I’ve had flare-ups of wrist pain, so I now use an ergonomic mouse pad with a gel-filled wrist support at my desktop. I tried a couple of ergonomic keyboards, but they both stopped working relatively quickly. I found that the ergonomic mouse pad was just as beneficial, and family members sharing the desktop liked that much better than having to deal with the unusual layout and feel of an an ergonomic keyboard.

usefful gifts for authors

Gel Memory Foam Keyboard Wrist Pad – I also have this long ergonomic rest pad for my desktop computer. It comes with a small mouse wrist rest also, though I don’t use it as I find a large ergonomic mouse pad more comfortable. This product has an impressive Amazon rating, so most people are happy with the set.

best gifts for authors

Kindle Fire HD – All writers should understand what it’s like to read an e-book. Since many readers prefer e-books, it’s important for authors to be familiar with the technology so they can get a better understanding of their customers. At least, that’s a good excuse for buying one. Kindle Fires are also fun. You can read on it, choosing from millions of Kindle books and magazine titles. You can even borrow Kindle books from your local library. However, Kindle Fires can do a lot more than store hundreds of books. You can download apps, play games, listen to music from the Amazon Digital Music Store, watch movies and TV shows, check your email, and go on social media.

Tools For Writers

Aqua Notes Waterproof Notepad – Highly recommended by members of the Shortcuts for Writers Facebook group. Why should being in the shower slow down your creative muse? Capture and preserve your ideas on this waterproof pad.

best gifts for writers

Light Up Pen for Night Writing – Another recommendation from the Shortcuts for Writers Facebook group. These pens feature a bright steady light for writing in the dark. Since many writers get their best ideas overnight, this is a great tool. Pair it with a nice notebook like this leather journal.

games for writers

Storymatic Classic – A fun way to help overcome writer’s block. This kit has 540 cards with prompts, games, and suggestions. Here is a snippet from an Amazon review: “As an aspiring writer, I sometimes get stuck or hit a road bloack. Whenever this happens, I pull out a few cards and let my imagination go. Never in my wildest imagination would I ever write about a competitive eater, driver of an ice cream truck, or a person with wings at a class reunion talking about broken promises while looking at unflattering portraits of themselves in their yearbook…Yep, this all came from the cards.” 

what to buy writers

I always recommend that my clients print a hard copy of their manuscript for editing purposes. A pack of highlighters and retractable colored pens are helpful tools for making edits on a hard copy.

A nice set of retractable black ink pens will also be appreciated by any writer.

supplies for writers

Set of 1200 neon page markers – These flags help you find what you want on your manuscript’s hard copy exactly when you need it. Use the different colors to mark different types of edits you have to make such as description, point of view, internal thought, dialogue, etc. The secure, self-stick tabs offer quick and easy tabbing and indexing. They’re easy to write on and simple to remove, replace, or reposition.

great gifts for writers

Electric Pencil Sharpener – This idea was suggested on Facebook as an addition to this post. I don’t use pencils, but some writers do, and I’ll bet they would appreciate a nice electric pencil sharpener. We have this one in our house as my husband wanted one. He and the kids use it all the time. I do sharpen one from time-to-time, and this is so much better than our previous pencil sharpener.

good gifts for an author

Amazon Gift Card – How about a gift card to Amazon, or to an office supply store, so the writer can go on a shopping spree? 

Comfort Gifts For Writers

gifts for fiction writers

Real Ease Neck and Shoulder Relaxer – I have one of these and take it out when I need to relieve a tight neck and shoulders after a long day at the computer. You can use it while reading or watching TV. Looks a little strange, but it works!

unique gifts for ficiton writers

Neckbone Chiropractic Pillow – This chiropractic support pillow is great for traveling, sleeping, or just reclining after a long day at the computer. I’ve also given these as gifts to relatives who had neck pain, and they raved about it. They’ve even shown it to friends who were so impressed, they went and bought one for themselves. 

special gifts for authors

Back Buddy Trigger Point Back Massager – Okay, this one looks REALLY weird! My husband makes fun of me when I use it, but boy, does it work for relieving super-tight knotted muscles when he isn’t around to sweet talk into rubbing my neck and back. I use it along with The Trigger Point Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain Relief.

gifts writers will love

Lumbar Support Back Cushion for Office Chair – I keep this on my office chair when working at my desktop, and have given it as gifts to family members with low back soreness. It relieves tightness in the mid-to-lower back from a long time sitting. My family members appreciated it and said it helped them, and I’m never in my desk chair without it.

Editing Software & Online Courses

ProWritingAidUse my affiliate link to get a 20 percent discount! ProWritingAid is my favorite editing software, and is a grammar checker, style editor, and writing mentor in one package. You can view my demo above or on YouTube. You’ll learn why ProWritingAid is a helpful spell and grammar checker and editing tool for writers, see examples of the strengths and limitations, and watch me do some informal, off the cuff line editing. ProwritingAid is an excellent supplement to my signature online course Book Editing Blueprint, and it’s a resource that I recommend to my editing clients. You can also read more about it in this blog post.

Book Editing Blueprint: A Step-By-Step Plan to Making Your Novels Publishable – This is my self-paced signature course for beginner and intermediate fiction and creative nonfiction writers. In Book Editing Blueprint, your mission is to learn how to do a thorough developmental, line edit, and copyedit and to create a solid action plan. By the end of this 10-module course, you’ll have prepared a detailed editorial report of your draft and will be armed with a simple self-editing checklist to guide you through your revisions. My goal is to simplify the editing process and to save writers money on repeated rounds of editing. It’s a proven system that outlines what to do before hiring an editor.

 

Conclusion

So, there you go. I hope this list of useful and unique gifts for writers was helpful to you. As I indicated in the introduction, I plan to keep it updated and may do some spin-off lists, so I’d love to hear your gift ideas for writers and aspiring writers in the comments. 
Get ProWritingAid For 20 Percent Off Plus My Exclusive Bonuses

Get ProWritingAid For 20 Percent Off Plus My Exclusive Bonuses

Should you invest in paid software like ProWritingAid? That’s a question I hear a lot from writers. My answer is that you should definitely consider it.

I always recommend ProWritingAid as the one to purchase, and if you use my affiliate link, you can get it for 20 percent off. Also, if you forward your receipt to me, I’ll send you two exclusive bonuses. (details below)

I’ve used the premium version for years and have corresponded with their support team as a customer and as an affiliate. I like the software, know it well, and find the customer support team responsive to questions and concerns. Want to know more about ProWritingAid? Keep reading!

FAQS

Q. What is ProWritingAid?

A. It’s my favorite editing software, and is a grammar checker, style editor, and writing mentor in one package. You can view my demo below or on YouTube. You’ll learn why ProWritingAid is a helpful spell and grammar checker and editing tool for writers, see examples of the strengths and limitations, and watch me do some informal, off the cuff line editing.

I am promoting this tool as ProWritingAid is an excellent supplement to my signature online course Book Editing Blueprint, and it’s a resource that I recommend to my editing clients.

 

 

 

 

Q. Why buy it through my affiliate link?  

A. I’ve got a daughter going to college soon, so I appreciate the affiliate sales! If you email me your receipt, I’ll send you my two-page Overused Words Cheat Sheet, a valuable tool otherwise only available to students in Book Editing Blueprint. This resource will help you to find the stale overused words in your writing as well as the “padding words” that can be easily cut.

I’ll also send you a 42-minute tutorial video that teaches you how to use the Overused Words Cheat Sheet and unleash the power of ProWritingAid and Google Docs/Microsoft Word.

These two bonuses will help you to take your line editing to a new level.

Q. Which plan should I get? 

There are different options. Here is the U.S. pricing, as of this writing.

1-year: $70

2-year: $100

3-year: $140

Lifetime: $240

When choosing which plan to purchase, think about how often you’ll use it. Are you a prolific author who churns out a couple books per year? Then maybe the lifetime ProWritingAid license would be a worthwhile investment. I found that paying a one-time fee for a lifetime license was a much cheaper alternative than renewing a subscription on an ongoing basis. However, if it takes you a long time to write a book and you only have one manuscript, then a shorter-term plan might be sufficient.

Q. I might be interested. What do I do next?

1. Watch my demo video on YouTube or above.  I’ll show you exactly what the software does and run through several sample scans. If you have any questions, feel free to send me an email or tag me in the Facebook group and I will do my best to answer.

2. To purchase the software, use my link.

3. Forward your receipt to me at stacy@stacyjuba.com and I’ll send you my bonus Overused Words Cheat Sheet and the accompanying training video.

Let’s make editing simple.

Do You Need Tips For Your Author Newsletter? Free Online Email Marketing Workshop For #Writers

Do You Need Tips For Your Author Newsletter? Free Online Email Marketing Workshop For #Writers

 

email newsletter tips for writers

 

Save the date! On June 12 at 10 a.m. EST, email marketing strategist Meera Kothand will drop by the Shortcuts for Writers Facebook Group to discuss a different aspect of writing and editing that many authors have trouble with—how to write for your email list. Topics will include finding ideas to write about and how to craft engaging marketing copy for an email audience.

If you’re a published author, you probably have an email list, but may need inspiration for how you can best make use of it. If you’re an unpublished author, it’s never too soon to start collecting email addresses. Perhaps in the meantime, you can promote your blog, YouTube channel, or other authors in your genre. Since my Facebook group has a mix of beginners and established bestselling authors, rather than talk about expensive email platforms, we’re going to focus on simple techniques that you can use regardless of your mailing list platform.

As you may know, I recently launched the Shortcuts for Writers website and blog, and am working on finishing up my online course Book Editing Blueprint: A Step-By-Step Plan To Making Your Novels Publishable. I’m also working on creating a free line editing course, writing informative blog posts for writers, and shooting some YouTube videos. I didn’t want you to have to wait too long for great content, so when the opportunity arose to host Meera on my Facebook group, I was thrilled. After all, I have been following her for a while and find her books extremely helpful.

Meera’s latest release is 300 Email Marketing Tips: Critical Advice And Strategy To Turn Subscribers Into Buyers & Grow A Six-Figure Business With Email.

 

Buy It On Amazon

Here is the blurb for the book:

Does any of this sound familiar to you?

1. You sit down every week staring at that blinking cursor wondering what to send your email list, and then a week becomes two or more, and you can’t remember when the last time you emailed them was.

2. You have an opt-in incentive or lead magnet that’s pretty much doing nothing for you or your business.

3. You have a haphazardly thrown together email sequence that doesn’t bring you sales or engagement.

4. You silently cringe every month as you pay out your email service provider because you’re not using any of their features.

5. You’re pretty much winging it with email.

email tips for writersIf you’re nodding yes, 300 Email Marketing Tips will give you more than a bare-bones framework to put in place an email marketing strategy for your business. Here’s what’s packed in this how-to guide:

  • What branding has to do with email marketing and the #1 thing most solopreneurs ignore when it comes to their email list
  • 7 things your welcome email must do (but probably doesn’t!)
  • Why your lead magnet has to address THESE two critical points
  • 3 ways to plan your email editorial calendar
  • Answers to these questions and more:

– I have thirty thousand page views a month but get only 42 subscribers for an month. What am I doing wrong?

 – My email sequence gets a lot of engagement and opens. Everyone says they love my stuff, but I still get no sales for my e-book. Why?

Join The Workshop

If learning more about email marketing is on your to-do list, or you want to make your email newsletters more engaging and  relevant, then check out Meera’s book and be sure to join the Shortcuts for Writers Facebook group. Once you answer the screening questions, our moderators will approve your membership. Read the pinned post to learn more about the group. And then on June 12, be sure to check out Meera’s workshop. Be there at 10 a.m. EST if you want to catch her live. Bring your questions!

About Meera

Meera is an email marketing strategist and 3X Amazon best-selling author of the books The One Hour Content PlanBut I’m not an Expert & Your First 100. She is also the publisher of MeeraKothand.Com, an award-winning site listed as one of the 100 Best Sites for Solopreneurs  in 2017 and 2018, and the popular CREATE Planners. Using her unique Profitable Email System™ and ADDictive Business Framework, she makes powerful marketing strategies simple and relatable so that small business owners can build a tribe that’s addicted to their zone of genius.

 

 

Join Shortcuts For Writers Online Writing Community on Facebook

Join Shortcuts For Writers Online Writing Community on Facebook

Facebook groups for writers

Welcome to the Shortcuts for Writers Blog! In addition to launching this website and blog, I’ve started an online writing community on Facebook and am offering an exclusive toolkit to members. It’s called 7 Simple Steps To Nailing Your Book Blurb and will guide you through crafting your novel blurb in a series of 7 easy steps. It also lists the most common mistakes for back cover copy and gives examples of successful blurbs that have reeled in readers.

I’m really excited about this download as in my editing business, I see many clients who have trouble writing book blurbs. It’s not an easy task to boil down your book to one or two paragaphs and to make it sound enticing rather than having it read like a book report. I used to hate writing book blurbs until I came up with a system to make it easier.

You can download the free toolkit once you’re a member of the Shortcuts for Writers: Editing Made Simple Facebook Group. My goal with this online writing community is to inspire you during your writing and editing journey, share editing tips, and foster a sense of community. We’ve been having fun discussions on topics ranging from the aggravation of lay vs lie and awhile vs a while to the writing habits of Danielle Steel.

I’ve been working on my new Shortcuts for Writers website and blog, as well as a free 5-day self-editing class and my signature online course Book Editing Blueprint: A Step-By-Step Plan To Making Your Novels Publishable. Classes, blog posts, and YouTube tip videos are coming soon, but in the meantime, join the Facebook group where you can make some new friends and get started on writing a book blurb. Be sure to answer the quick admission questions and then you can get started. See you there!

Free Line Editing Class

Could your manuscript use trimming and polishing? Sign up for the FREE email class: Line Editing Made Simple - 5 Days To More Polished Pages. You'll get bite-sized lessons and assignments to help you kick-start your line editing. Sign up now!

free editing class

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