Tips For Writing Well & Completing Your Book
- Write everyday until you finish your book.
- Write until your subtopic or idea runs out of steam.
- Write continually until the end of your stream of thought; edit and correct later.
- Write in “chunks”; also known as thematic writing. Write your “chunk” as if it were a short essay or magazine article. This practice is most effective when your chunks do not exceed 1,000 words each.
- Keep your chunks related to and focused on the main subject of your book.
- Think of “chunk” writing as quilting. You first create each piece and then sew them together into a beautiful tapestry of art.
- Write the entire book before editing except for those places where delay in adjustments will hinder the development of the next, related subtopic.
- Do not ask family or friends to read your work prior to your completion of the work. Generally, a writer’s family and friends do not know much about the art of writing, and their “feedback” could be undermining to your efforts and the completion of your book.
- Footnote and index your book properly.
- Write at your education level, but provide dictionaries or references at the end of your book for all words or topics which may be unfamiliar to a fifth grader. This ensures your readers will be comfortable reading your work, will complete their reading of it, and will have a high comprehension of its content. Most readers do not like to run to the dictionary while they are reading, so this helps them complete their reading without having to leave the book.
- Write twice as much text as you intend your finished product to be. If you are writing a book that should finish out at 20,000 words [the Shulamite minimum], then you should write 40,000 words or near it before calling your work complete.
- Once you are complete, take a harsh editing pen to your work. Seek to edit it in half [see #11].
- Cut every superfluous word; flowery or unfocused wording is an annoyance to editors and to most readers. Cut every sentence and phrase which does not increase comprehension of the subject.
- Words to avoid completely, or use sparingly include: that, which, because, should, spouse [use gender specific terms like “husband”, “wife” unless specifically writing about a gay couple], slang terms, curse words, and all contractions [ex: ain’t, can’t, don’t].
- Words which are industry specific should be footnoted for the general reading public. Do not assume your reader has and understanding of the insider’s language.
- Reword and rework fragment and run-on sentences. Eliminate slang from your text unless the slang is part of the book’s topic. Check and correct your grammar and spelling. Editors consider writers who do not do the basic labor of writing well to be lazy or amateurs.
- Check your paragraph hooks [your sewing together – see #6], your alliteration, your similes, your flow of logic in the text, etc. Editors reject material they feel must be reworked rather than simply edited for refinement.
- Save your work into a common file for your editor. Shulamite Publishing House prefers submissions in a Word document, on a CD, and with a print copy enclosed.
- Save the book into a standard format such as: one inch margins, Times New Roman font, 11 point font, double-spaced lines, and paragraph indentions. Do not submit a text with graphics unless the graphics are part of the written material subject.
- Be sure to include a print copy to your editor in case anything should happen to the electronic copy in the mail, or in case of program failure.
- Be sure to include your name, your complete mailing address, your day and evening phone numbers, your email address and the URL to any website you may have up on the internet. This should be the very last page of your manuscript.
- Keep your correspondence clean, polite, undemanding, short and simple. Editors have numerous deadlines for handling your manuscript which have more to do with production of the final book copy and its marketing than with anything going on in your world. We know you want and need a response, and we respond as soon as possible. However, if you do not receive some type of response, recognizing that you sent a text, within 4 weeks, a follow up email or voice mail is appropriate to make sure the manuscript made it to the office.
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