Photo of a hardcover book opened, with blank pages inside

Say what you mean: All that readers have is the text

You the author don’t get to explain what you meant the text to say. It’s essential to make really sure that the text actually says what you think it says.

Read More
Leather cover embossed with color illustration of fish, seaweed and a child swimming in the sea, with seagulls in circles added decoratively

Beautiful book cover design in days of yore

Book cover design dances to the marketing imperative. 100+ years ago, what that looked like was a bit different.

Read More
Book cover for Donald Maass, The Emotional Craft of Fiction

Four recommended books for all fiction writers

I highlight four books that, in my view, offer fiction authors helpful insights that can help them make their own writing better on their own terms.

Read More
photo of book lying open

How to prepare in Word a manuscript for publication

The standard manuscript format doesn’t really apply here. It’s not a bad starting point, of course; most book designers are used to starting with manuscripts that conform at least visually to some form of a standard manuscript format. But there’s more to be done before the manuscript is ready for book design.

Read More
Still from video, with cover of Cold Blood and words Available Now

The purpose of book trailers

You can’t just make a cool video and expect it to get people interested in the book.

Read More
13 Best Practices for Writers Crit Groups, photo dylan-gillis-533818-unsplash

13 best practices for creative writing critique groups

Nobody is born being able to creative writing critique well. You have to learn it — learn from doing it. But guidelines can help.

Read More

Semantic structure: Using Styles in editing, book design, and ebook formatting

Say what you mean. It’s so simple in books, right? If it’s an important idea, bold it. Or maybe italicize it. If it’s a section header, make it big. Chapter title, make it really big. That’s all there is to it, right? Not quite. Not anymore.

Read More
One frame from chopper guys meme, saying Oxford commas are necessary for clarity of expression

Not all commas are from Oxford

Commas congregate around the edges of rules. Some exist within the realm of necessity, but most commas waltz through lawless zones, following nothing more than a song in the author’s mind, required only, by their presence or absence, not to confuse or trip up readers.

Read More

What’s a rule and what is just style: Using italics for direct thought in fiction

Writing styles come into and fall out of fashion. Too often, people pass along “rules” when all they’re expressing is a preference for a style.

Read More



Receive very infrequent emails about design, editing, writing, and the occasional special offer.

Check your inbox

for a confirmation email.

Click the link to confirm your subscription.

Thank you!

Scroll to Top