How to Reduce Writer’s Stress and Stay Positive

5191742_s cropWriting is an elusive art form. You get an idea for a novel, manual, history book, or anything else, and you start to write. It’s going well at first, but then you get stuck. You experience your first writer’s block, and it seems like getting even a single word on the page is completely impossible. This creates stress, which creates more blockage, and before you know it you’re stuck in a downward spiral of self-doubt and anxiety.

So, let’s talk about how you can reduce your stress, rid yourself of writer’s block, and stay positive about your writing.

Deal With the Stress

Whether you’re stressed about your writer’s block, your job, your family, your dirty house, or anything else, that stress is going to create serious problems for your writing. Entrepreneur Magazine has some pretty great tips for dealing with stress, including repeating positive affirmations to yourself and challenging your negative thoughts.

Basically, if you let your stress overrun you, you’ll never get anything done. So, take a breath, do some yoga, and get your mind in a positive place.

Create a Routine

Once you’re feeling a little calmer, sit down and map out a routine schedule for your writing. Most people have to work their writing time into their daily schedules, either before or after work and in between cleaning, cooking, and daily chores. If you schedule out your week and create a writing routine, you’ll be a lot more relaxed about your writing, and you’ll be more productive and happier.

Take a Break

If your writer’s block still has you down, step away from the project you were working on and take a break. Now, that doesn’t mean you should take a break from writing. Rather, pick up a book or magazine about writing (we recommend Stephen King’s On Writing, John Gardner’s The Art of Fiction, or Writer’s Digest).

Spend some time leisurely reading about writing and about new tips and exercises you could use. Before you know it, you’ll be excited to get back to work on your writing project.










The Best ‘How to Write’ Books for Writing Tips and Hints

on writingWriting may be a solitary activity, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a little bit of help. The world’s best writers go to workshops and buy and read books on writing all the time.

As a writer, you’re constantly honing your craft, so it’s good to have books, magazines, and other guides to help you with exercises and tips to make your writing better. Not to mention, sometimes the well of inspiration runs dry, and you need a little boost to get you started writing again. These books and magazines are the best writing guides you’ll find.

  • John Gardner’s The Art of Fiction – John Gardner is known for such successful works as Grendel, Mickelsson’s Ghosts, and Jason and Medeia. His incredibly approachable and enjoyable book on writing has a lot of great advice, as well as quite a few interesting tips and exercises.
  • Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft – How has one of the world’s most successful and prolific writers done it? King’s On Writing is both a writing guide and a memoir. It’s an enjoyable read with a lot of great advice, including how to “kill your darlings” when you need to edit out text that you love but that doesn’t move the book along well.

These are by no means the only great books you’ll find on writing. In fact, there are dozens of magazines you can find online and in print that will give you periodical advice and tips. Among these, one of the very best is Writer’s Digest. You may find that these are all you need for years of inspiration. They’re definitely a great start for any writer.


How to Publish an Audio Book

IMG_1250There’s been a lot of talk lately about self-publishing. Authors now have amazing opportunities when it comes to getting their work into readers’ hands, and most of them know about these opportunities for ebooks and print-on-demand publications for paperback and hardback books. However, there’s another avenue for publication that you might not have thought of: audio books.

We live in the day of the podcast. People are listening to lectures and books more and more on their phones and mobile devices as they drive to work or when they workout. This is a serious market that you can really tap into if you do it right. So, how can you self-publish your audio book? The general process really only takes 2 steps.

  1. Choose Your Reader

First, you have to decide whether you’re going to read the book yourself, or whether you’re going to have a voice actor read it for you. If you want to do it yourself, you’ll still need to decide whether to record it on your laptop or desktop at home, or whether you need to rent some studio time with more professional equipment and guidance.

If you don’t have any experience with sound production, you may want to use a service such as Audio Creation Exchange (ACX). Their easy process allows you to find a narrator and get your book recorded and edited before you publish the content.

  1. Sell It On

The beauty of ACX (brought to you by Amazon, which has been a leader in the world of self-publishing through programs like their Kindle Direct Publishing platform) is that once your book has been recorded and produced, ACX publishes it through

Once your audio book starts selling, you can choose to have quarterly checks mailed to you or deposited directly into your bank account. Audio book self-publishing is really not hard, especially with such amazing tools at your disposal.


How to Prepare Your Book for Print

digital tools 1The dawn of ebooks and the proliferation of print-on-demand publishing are both great for authors. However, this change in publishing trends also means you, as a hopeful author, have to do a little bit more work with your manuscript than you once did.

To prepare your book for print, you’ll need to create a cover and set up your pages, margins, and chapter layouts. You’ll also have to perform all necessary typesetting and correctly place and format illustrations.

For the cover, unless you have experience in graphic design, it’s probably a good idea to hire a professional. With a little bit of mental elbow grease, though, you should be able to do the rest.

Laying Out Your Pages and Typesetting

This is a pretty simple process. You just need to change the layout in your word processor to match the layout for your printed book. To do this, just:

  • Check with your printer to make sure you have the correct dimensions.
  • Set your page dimensions slightly larger than the dimensions of your book to account for page bleed.
  • Set your margins comfortably within the allotted dimensions.

Now, you’ll need to set your font. This is often called typesetting.

  • Choose a common serif font, such as Baskerville or Caslon.
  • Set your font to 12 point.

After you’ve done this, look at your margins again. To make your book look professional and for best readability, you should have an average of 12 words per line of text. Adjust your margins to fit this, and you’re almost set.

Managing Chapters and Formatting Illustrations

Always add a page break between chapters. Starting a new chapter in the middle of a page is confusing to the reader and looks unprofessional. You should also play with your chapter titles and headings to pick something you really like.

Microsoft Word and other word processors have the ability to easily place and format images. You should just be able to drag, drop, and resize as you need.

Finally, just convert the whole file to .pdf, and you’ll be ready to send your manuscript to your printer.




How to Get Book Reviews Online – And Some of the Best Book Review Sites

8923741_sThanks to sites like Yelp and Angie’s List, it’s easier than ever to see what other people think of products, services, and places of business. We hardly ever make a purchase or try a new restaurant without first checking the reviews. And this review-driven market has spread to the world of publishing, too.

With so many opportunities for people to self-publish their work, it’s hard to tell the difference between high-quality writing and something that’s just not worth your time or money. That’s why, as a writer trying to sell your books, it’s so important to get online reviews of your books. When potential readers see that others have read and enjoyed your book, they’re much more likely to make a purchase. So how do you get reviews? Here are a few tips.

Ask Your Readers

At the very end of your book, ask your readers to leave a review. Write a very brief paragraph saying something like, “I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my book. Book reviews are an incredibly important part of the peer review process. They not only help sell more books, but they help authors grow and develop their writing styles. Please take a moment and write a review of this book.”

Ask Bloggers

Pinpoint a few book bloggers who write about the genre or style of book you’ve written. Most of them will have guidelines on their blogs telling you how to send them your work for review. Read their policies and follow their instructions, and you’ll be more likely to get a review on their site.

Book Review Sites

There are also entire websites devoted to reviewing books. Some of the best include:

The Barnes and Noble Review


If you sell your books through Amazon, you can also offer them for free for a limited time and encourage your readers to leave you reviews after they download them. Amazon actually does you a favor here, as they will email their users after a purchase to ask them to leave a review.