Byline Blog

Byline: The Art of Writing and Business of Publishing

Peter DeHaan

Discussing the art of writing and the business of publishing

Must Writers Blog?

As someone who’s written 2,500 blog posts and counting, you may be surprised that I don’t think a writer must blog. Here are two considerations, followed by a blogging option: Fiction Writers It’s hard for fiction writers to build a following with a blog. Unless you want to blog and have ideas for posts that […]

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When You Need an Agent

If you plan to publish your book with a traditional publisher, you’ll need an agent. Most publishers only work with agents. Even if you find a publisher who will work with you directly, you should still use an agent. Why is that? Because an agent will negotiate a better contract for you than you could […]

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Critique Group Characteristics

Some critique groups can be good, some are okay, and some are not good at all. Here’s what to look for in a critique group that I think is important. Critique Group Characteristics The members actively write. The members read. The members balance criticism with praise; too much of either is bad. The members curtail […]

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Finding a Critique Group

Finding a critique group is challenging, especially one that’s a good fit. Assuming you want a local group, ask area writers if they have any suggestions, check with bookstores (especially independents) to see if they know of any groups, and search online. If all this fails or doesn’t find you the right group, you can […]

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Social Media Posts

With social media posts, I always want to direct people to my website, my home base, that I own and control. This means posting a link on social media. I do that on Twitter (because there isn’t room for the full post) and on Facebook (because a link is all I have time for). I […]

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Reading Goals for Writers

It’s important for writers to read, and many writers make an annual reading list of what books to read. But because I need to push myself to read, my overarching requirement is that the book interests me. This limits the range of what I read, which is not a good thing, but it’s better than […]

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Determining Your Reading List

Finding time to read and still have time to write and attend to the rest of life is a challenge for me. Yet I know it’s critical to invest in reading to better inform my writing. Some people, those far more disciplined than I, chart out a reading course for the year, strategically picking books […]

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Some people say that if you’re blogging as a hobby, is okay, but if you consider yourself a professional you need to go with (the self-hosted version). Is it possible to do a professional website with Though I’ve seen some successful authors use a powered website, it always surprises me. Yes, […]

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ISBNs and Indie-Published Books

Do you wonder about getting ISBNs for your indie-published books? It’s not too important to have an ISBN for e-books. I’ve heard of several successful indie authors who see no point in it. However, having an ISBN does make a book seem more professional and part of mainstream book publishing. But aside from the image […]

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Introduction to WordPress

WordPress has two versions: hosted and self-hosted. Serious writers recommend self-hosting. But beginners can opt for the hosted version. Here is a basic introduction to WordPress: The hosted version of WordPress ( is easy to learn and use. It also has minimal features. The self-hosted version of WordPress ( is highly flexible and rich in […]

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Microsoft Word Alternatives

Writers often seek options for word processing software, either to save money, increase functionality, or both. Many writers extol the virtues of Scrivener for content creation, especially novelists. It costs much less than Microsoft Word and, since Scrivener is designed for writers, it has powerful features that creatives crave. Another option of increasing popularity is […]

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Find Time to Read

Writers need to read, but how do we find time to read? This is a constant struggle. For me, it often comes down to deciding between watching TV and reading. Sometimes TV wins and other times reading wins. Often this hinges on how good the book is and how badly I want to watch a […]

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Seven Writer Improvement Tips

Do you want to improve as a writer? I do. Here are the things I’m currently pursuing to get better: Read a lot (I struggle the most with this one) Write regularly Read about writing Listen to writer and publishing podcasts Follow blogs relating to writing Participate in writers’ groups Attend writing conferences Although improvement […]

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Article Submission Tips

Here are the key article submission tips on submitting an article to a publication. Know the Publication or Website Read their past content. As you do, envision if your idea is a good fit. If not, don’t force it. Seek a different topic or a different outlet. Look for Submission Guidelines Find their submission guidelines […]

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Should You Expect Submission Feedback?

Many writers wish editors, agents, and publishers would give feedback when they reject a submission, but they don’t. As a writer, I share this frustration. As a publisher, I know the reason why they don’t provide submission feedback. After trying in vain to give writers feedback and wasting way too much time in the process, […]

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Periodical Submission Tips

There are three key periodical submission tips to follow when sending content to online outlets and print media publishers. I list them from least important to most important, but if you don’t get past the first one, you’ll never get to the second. And you must pass the second step to even have your writing […]

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Third-Person Omniscient Point of View

Third-person omniscient is out of favor. Do you wonder why? While we could attribute it to a trend, the best explanation I have is that we’re so conditioned to watching TV and movies, which limit us to the camera’s vantage (third-person limited, if you will), that as readers we expect books to do the same […]

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Writing Perspectives (Point of View)

Many beginning writers wonder about point of view in writing and which should they use. Though there are many books written on this subject, here’s a brief overview. Note that most people use perspective and point of view interchangeably—that’s what I learned in High School English—but others make a distinction between them, claiming that point […]

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Word Processing Options

Microsoft Word is expensive, but it is also the de facto standard for writing and publishing. I urge you to use it if possible. Even so, consider these word processing options. As an alternative to purchasing Word (or Office), you can check out Office 365. It includes Word, but instead of buying the software for […]

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Discover How to Know If You Have a Marketable Book

Have you ever wondered if you have a marketable book? Most people have, especially anyone who wants to make a living from writing. You can pay someone to give you their opinion on what’s marketable before spending hours writing. Although you can do internet searches to find them, I recommend going to the websites of […]

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