What to do with (unpublished) family manuscripts

Every now and again I get inquiries from family members dealing with a loved one’s possessions who have found a manuscript. Typically they want to know what to do with this compilation of work—and if it’s any good. Sometimes the family is really enthusiastic about the project. Sometimes they haven’t even read it yet. And that’s fair.

Mood (writing) board

Mood: I don’t want to write. I don’t feel like it. The scene I have to write doesn’t match my mood at all and therefore I can’t write anything.

Sound familiar? Good. You’re having a very normal writer experience. The thing is, your mood—as a professional writer, that is—doesn’t matter. Like, at all. If you’re wanting to make a career out of your writing, you’re going to have to get comfortable mighty quickly with writing through discomfort or even your own discordance. But you can do it smartly, in a way that feels less like pulling teeth and more like productive work. If that doesn’t sound appealing, I don’t know what would!

The top North American trade publishers

What is the first place that comes to mind if you think of published books? Chances are, it’s one of the big multinational publishers: Penguin Random House (now including Simon & Schuster), Hachette, HarperCollins, and Macmillan. While there are literally hundreds of places to get published, these four take the cake in terms of annual revenue, number of titles, and notoriety.

How to prepare your manuscript for editing

So you finished writing your first book and are ready for the next step—which is editing, of course. What can you do to make the editing process as smooth as possible? Use minimal formatting. Make it good, then make it pretty!

Why do I see so many mistakes in published works?

Ah, yes. Your favourite newspaper has a typo in its headline or you’ve found desert when dessert was meant. It happens! And, obviously, it happens to established authors and at established publishing houses. But… how?

What is a style sheet and how do I make one?

An under-used tool amongst writers, the style sheet is the go-to reference for editors. Why? Simply put: A style sheet helps you maintain consistency, keep track of important dates and characters, and even reminds you whether you preferred the Oxford comma or not (you heathen).

What are beta readers and why do you need them?

Whether this is your first project or your seventh book, beta readers will give you a broader perspective of your content. If you choose them well, they’ll provide you with insights about narrative development, believability, and impact. In this article, I’ll talk about why you need beta readers, how to find them, and what to look for when selecting them.