Hedge Words and Inflation Words—Prune These from Your Writing

The following article by Jessi Rita Hoffman originally appeared as a guest post on www.JaneFriedman.com. (Jane Friedman is the former publisher of Writer's Digest.) As writers, we all know wordiness is something to avoid: never say in ten words what you can say in four. But while we get that in theory, it’s often hard, in practice, to produce tight ... Read More

‘Begs the Question’ or ‘Raises the Question’?

No, esteemed author friends. "Begs the question" does not mean "raises the question." What is our language coming to? I sound like a pedant, but honestly ...  the rash of "begging the questions" we're now seeing everywhere, even on news shows and in presumably "edited" books, is enough to drive an editor around the bend. People think it sounds cool ... Read More

Authors: Beware the Fake-Quotation Trap!

For authors, the Internet offers broad vistas of knowledge and opportunity, but scattered in between are a few beds of quicksand. One of these is the fake-quotation quagmire: the growing trend of popular "quotation websites" to feature made-up quotes. The quagmire deepens each time a self-publishing author casually decides to decorate her writing with "something inspirational." She goes to one ... Read More

Self-Published Book Contests & The Eric Hoffer Award—Horse of a Different Color

Most legitimate book-award contests don't allow submissions by self-publishing authors. There are, of course, the book contests for self-publishers that hand out awards like candy. Nearly every contestant wins something—including a shiny sticker they can display on their book cover to make buyers think they have written something of quality. Fortunately, there’s at least one book contest out there for ... Read More

Why Only Old Folks Should Publish Memoirs

That sounds like a trick title, right? You’re expecting me to follow it up with a punch line. But guess what: publishing your memoirs or autobiography is no joking matter. In many cases, it makes you vulnerable to libel lawsuits and financial devastation. You think I’m overstating the risk? Think again. If you’re writing or planning to write a memoir, ... Read More