6 Easy Ways to Improve Your Writing Style

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Crack a joke – but only for a good reason
Delete nulls from your novel, short story 
Don't be guilty of polysyllabism (Huh?)
Why you should avoid being sensational 
Vary syntax to give writing flavor, texture 
Watch for verb tense shifts in your writing
• BONUS: "Always be a poet, even in prose." - Charles Baudelaire

Professional Book Editor: Having your novel, short story or nonfiction manuscript proofread or edited before submitting it can prove invaluable. In an economic climate where you face heavy competition, your writing needs a second eye to give you the edge. I can provide that second eye.



"Being an author is to have a toe in the creative pool and a foot in the vat of commerce." - Fennel Hudson

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Professional Book Editor: Having your novel, short story or nonfiction manuscript proofread or edited before submitting it can prove invaluable. In an economic climate where you face heavy competition, your writing needs a second eye to give you the edge. I can provide that second eye.


"While an author is living we estimate his powers by his worst performance, and when he is dead we rate them by his best." - Samuel Johnson

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Professional Book Editor: Having your novel, short story or nonfiction manuscript proofread or edited before submitting it can prove invaluable. In an economic climate where you face heavy competition, your writing needs a second eye to give you the edge. I can provide that second eye.


"It took me fifteen years to discover I had no talent for writing, but I couldn't give it up because by that time I was too famous." - Robert Benchley

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Professional Book Editor: Having your novel, short story or nonfiction manuscript proofread or edited before submitting it can prove invaluable. In an economic climate where you face heavy competition, your writing needs a second eye to give you the edge. I can provide that second eye.


4 Tips on Understanding Copyright Law

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How to avoid copyright infringement
Should I copyright my manuscript? 
Trademark registration is overkill for new writers  
How to purchase an ISBN for your book
• BONUS: “Easy reading is damn hard writing.” - Nathaniel Hawthorne

Professional Book Editor: Having your novel, short story or nonfiction manuscript proofread or edited before submitting it can prove invaluable. In an economic climate where you face heavy competition, your writing needs a second eye to give you the edge. I can provide that second eye.



Authors can take home office deduction on taxes

The use of Cartoon-1164738_1920your home – regardless if you own or rent – usually can be deducted from your federal taxes. It is called the home office deduction.

Not all home offices qualify for the deduction, so you must be careful to ensure that you meet IRS requirements. First, the space for your home office must be regularly and exclusively used for your business. If you set your laptop on an ironing board in the laundry room, that’s not going to cut it. Secondly, the home office must be the principal place of your business. The room is where you meet clients and talk to them on the phone about projects; it is where you do the bulk of your work.

When taking the tax deduction, you have two options – the regular or the simplified method.

The regular method involves determining the actual cost of running your business out of your home and might include burglar alarms, insurance, mortgage interest, rent, repairs, utilities and depreciation (more on that later). Typically, the deduction is based on the percentage of your home devoted to business use. So if you have a 2000-square-foot house and a 200-square-foot-room in it is your office, 10 percent of your home is used for business purposes. That means 10 percent of the insurance, mortgage interest, rent, repairs and utilities may qualify for a deduction.

The simplified method is much easier to determine, reduces the amount of recordkeeping you must do, and actually may allow you to deduct more money than you could by using the regular method. All you do is multiply a prescribed rate by the allowable square footage of the office. So if the prescribed rate is $5 per square foot, and your office is 300 square feet, then you can deduct up to $1500.

Professional Book Editor: Having your novel, short story or nonfiction manuscript proofread or edited before submitting it can prove invaluable. In an economic climate where you face heavy competition, your writing needs a second eye to give you the edge. I can provide that second eye.



Challenges faced running a business from home

Running your Apple-1284085_1920 business out of your home offers a number of great benefits. But there are some challenges. Before going online to order new furniture, before converting the storage room into your new work space, you should consider what some of the downsides are and if you can handle them.

What follows is a list of challenges frequently faced when running a business out of your home.

Not taken seriously
Businesses ran out of a home for some people lack the aura of a serious business, but that is easily overcome by your professional demeanor. Indeed, with most business now done online, your workplace location is increasingly unimportant for those seeking your services.

Lack of natural boundaries for family
Younger children won’t understand that you’re “working” and will make noise as well as interrupt you. You have to set up a work area away from distractions and be politely firm with those who intrude when you are working.

Personal life mixes with business life
One moment you receive a phone call from your mom, the next moment you’re working, then you’ve got to get up to move clothes from the washer to the dryer, then the next you’re working. You have to refrain from doing chores and personal business during your work hours.

Family/neighbors expect business favors
For some reason, if you work at home, family and neighbors feel that for them you’ll provide your services for free or receive a steep discount. Of course, you don’t want to alienate them, but if you give up your hours for free, you’ll soon be out of business. Simply set a policy that you don’t do work for family or neighbors.

Noisy neighbors
Never mind that your kids are noisy – what about the neighbors? If it isn’t the teen next door blaring his radio then it’s the dog across the street barking nonstop or the motorhead revving his car two driveways down. Learning how to tune out such distractions will be vital.

Temptation to take a personal day
When the weather is awesome, when you favorite band is in town for a concert, when you’re just tired of working and want to go shopping, you may be tempted to take a day off. That’s okay, even healthy – once in a while. But if you’re taking a couple of personal days a week in addition to enjoying the weekend off, you may fall behind on projects or greatly limit your income level.

Workaholicism
If you’re a workaholic, running your business out of your home can lead you to do nothing but work at the expense of your family and social life. You should set work hours for yourself, just as if you had a boss who set hours for you at a day job, and keep to them.

Isolation
When working at home, there are no talks with colleagues at the water coolers and invites to Saturday barbeques suddenly dry up. You must make a concerted effort to get out and stay active in your community. This can be done by joining and participating in professional groups, your local business community, or taking classes related to your occupation, as well as becoming active in your church or kids’ school and volunteering.

While the challenges you’ll face when working at home are plenty, they’re hardly insurmountable. Being aware of them can help you plan in advance for how you’ll cope with them, making the work from home experience all that more rewarding.

Professional Book Editor: Having your novel, short story or nonfiction manuscript proofread or edited before submitting it can prove invaluable. In an economic climate where you face heavy competition, your writing needs a second eye to give you the edge. I can provide that second eye.



How to set up a home office space

Once you’ve Architecture-2804083_1280decided to use your home for your business, setting up an office space comes next. That shouldn’t be too difficult for most authors, as they already work from home.

If you write at your kitchen table or just head to the coffeeshop to pen your novel, though, you’ll have to make some adjustments. First, you need to select a room in your house that’s dedicated to business use. That may be a requirement of local zoning laws, and if you wish to take a home office deduction on your federal taxes, it’s a must. Secondly, whichever room you select, ensure that you it will be a fairly quiet and private place to work. A spare room often works best for that purpose. If clients are coming to your office, you’ll want a room near the front entrance to ensure people aren’t traipsing through your house where your family may be.

There are several pieces of equipment or services you’ll need to acquire for a functional home office:
Office furniture – This could include a desk, chairs (for your desk and for clients to sit), wastebasket, bookshelf, and file cabinet. Your desk chair should be comfortable with plenty of back support.
Computer – You’ll need a device to work on. A printer for it is a must.
Internet connection – Your computer needs to have email and the ability to operate various programs. Always opt for a fast, reliable connection.
Software – You’ll at a minimum need a word processing and an accounting program or app. If putting together public presentations, you’ll want PowerPoint or an equivalent.
Telephone – A cell or Internet-based phone rather than a landline is fine.
Assorted office supplies – Among the many items you’ll likely need are a notepad, pens, Post-it notes, printer paper, printer cartridges, envelopes and stamps.

As arranging your office, make sure you don’t place your computer so that window light shines on the screen. Likewise, you don’t want the glare of a setting or rising sun striking your eyes through the window. Make sure cords are covered with plenty of slack so you and others don’t trip over them.

Professional Book Editor: Having your novel, short story or nonfiction manuscript proofread or edited before submitting it can prove invaluable. In an economic climate where you face heavy competition, your writing needs a second eye to give you the edge. I can provide that second eye.



Indie authors: Murky biz advice, gray legal issues

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A variety of potential problems can create problems for indie authors starting their own business. Oftentimes, this arrives as murky business advice and gray legal areas. Here are some answers to commonly asked questions about those many issues:
Should I copyright my book? 
Do I need trademark protection? 
Will I need a Standard Address Number? 
How can I avoid copyright infringement? 
Can I use the names of real companies and products in my books? 
What if my book is pirated?
• Would starting a business based on my books be a good idea? (June 7)

Professional Book Editor: Having your novel, short story or nonfiction manuscript proofread or edited before submitting it can prove invaluable. In an economic climate where you face heavy competition, your writing needs a second eye to give you the edge. I can provide that second eye.



Build your book into a business

Rarely can 0000000000000000000000w an author make a living solely from book sales. However, authors can achieve their dream of independence by building a business around their books.

Creating a business centered on your published works largely means monetizing your expertise. For example, you could deliver a service or provide products related to your book. You might sell attendance at workshops, online courses, teleseminars and webinars or videos that you offer about your book’s topic.

People always want and are willing to pay for expert advice. Writing a book on a topic – presuming you seriously researched it – makes you an expert. So long as your writing develops reader trust and likability, this expert status allows you to use your books as a springboard for selling related services and products.

Once you’ve published a book, ask yourself how you might sell services or products based on your title’s subject. If you’ve published a book on canoeing or kayaking, for example, you might offer outfitting services. If you’ve written about personal finance, offering investment consulting services makes sense.

To get business for your service, become a public speaker and offer workshops, classes, teleseminars and webinars about the topic. The fact that you’ve written a book makes you an expert who can give such presentations, which in turn creates opportunities to pitch your book. Such events also can help you leverage media appearances. Ultimately, however, the presentations and your books aim to generate personal services – like the aforementioned outfitter or investment consultant – that pay far more dollars to you than public appearances or Amazon.com royalties.

Many products beyond books also can be sold. For example, if a nutritionist or a dietician, you might create food products that follow your recommended meal plans. Or you might simply offer coffee mugs and T-shirts with your brand name on them.

Building a business around your book does mean you that you’ll spend less time writing. In fact, you’ll need to keep penning and publishing new books related to your business; the outfitter, for example, might pen kayaking river guides, while the personal finance author might knock out books about niche topics, such as investing in the stock market or how to save for your kid’s college education.

Your writing, presentations and services always benefit one another. After all, experts who offer services and products sell more books. As people learn about your services and products, visits to your website and attendance at your presentations will rise, generating more awareness of and interest in your books and services. More book sales in turn means more business and people attending your events. So long as your books and presentations help people to at least partially solve their problem, they will seek you out to meet additional, related problems that they experience.

Even better, as you provide more people with products or a service that they need, you develop ideas for new books, while high sales of particular titles you’ve written can help shift the direction of your business to areas that are more lucrative.

Admittedly, building a business based on your book does more readily lend itself to nonfiction authors. Writers who’ve published multiple books on the same topic or in the same genre also will find their efforts easier going. However, many novelists and authors of a lone title with a little creativity have successfully built a business around their book, usually in the fields of coaching other writers or manuscript editing.

Professional Book Editor: Having your novel, short story or nonfiction manuscript proofread or edited before submitting it can prove invaluable. In an economic climate where you face heavy competition, your writing needs a second eye to give you the edge. I can provide that second eye.