Nonfiction Authors: What Person or Voice Should You Write In?

A nonfiction-author client of mine asked yesterday, “What voice should I write in for my self-help book?” Being an analytical guy, he spelled out four choices he was trying to choose between: Narrative: As I did this, my life improved Cooperative: As we do this, our lives will improve Direct: As you do this, your life will improve Observatory: As ... Read More

Does Your Book Need a Graphic Designer?

Authors often ask me, their book editor, if they will need a graphic designer’s help after the book is edited and before it’s ready for publication. If you are self-publishing, the answer is always yes, unless the printer you hire offers graphic design as part of the package. (The answer is no if you’re submitting your manuscript to agents or ... Read More

Writing Your Novel: Forego Irrelevant Description

Remember when your English teacher told you that good writing is descriptive writing, showing not telling, rich in the details of sensory experience? While this is true to a degree, there’s an important caveat to that advice that typically writing teachers forget to mention. We book editors, however, deal every day with the writing mistakes the missing information causes. So ... Read More

What Is Syntax, and When Was It Murdered?

Syntax only appears to be dead. It’s actually hiding out, living a limited, muted existence inside university linguistic departments. As far as the world is concerned, it might as well be dead, though. When did you last hear the term used? Sixth-grade English class? As an author, should you be concerned about syntax? Well, not really. Syntax is essentially the ... Read More