Byline Blog

Byline: The Art of Writing and Business of Publishing

Peter DeHaan

Discussing the art of writing and the business of publishing

How to Find Out 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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Writers Must Read to Know What Is Marketable

Reading helps us understand what is marketable before we spend hours writing something that’s not. So does talking to others in the industry, especially agents, editors, and publishers. Also, look at the publishers’ current releases. As a starting point here are some general principles of what is not marketable. Though there are exceptions, they are […]

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Using Clip Art in a Book or Blog Post: Learn How to Protect Yourself

A writer found some clip art they’re interested in using in their book, but they also had concerns. The terminology is “Royalty-free clipart for commercial use.” Is it safe to use? First, let me say that I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice. Given that, in my opinion, the phrase gives […]

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How to Use Blog Categories for Greater Impact

There are three purposes for blog categories. 1. Search Engine Optimization One use of blog categories is that it helps with search engine optimization (SEO), which allow the search engines to better find and list posts. 2. Reader Engagement The second use of blog categories is to help readers find similar content. For example, if […]

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Citing Sources for Quotes in Books

Each chapter in my friend’s book starts with a quotation. Most of the quotes came from internet sites. She wonders if she needs to include a page citing sources where she obtained each quote. Here’s what I said to her. For Traditionally Published Books For traditionally published books, your publisher will have its own requirements […]

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Literary Agents Handle Books and Not Shorter Works

I’d love a literary agent who would handle shorter pieces, such as articles, short stories, or poems. Unfortunately, they don’t. Literary agents handle books. They only deal with book-length projects. Agents earn commission on projects sold. The payoff for shorter pieces is too small for them to spend time pitching them. They need to invest […]

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Should You Sell Full Rights for Your Writing?

A publisher is interested in some devotionals a friend wrote. They pay an honorarium of $35 per item, and then they want full rights forever. My friend wonders if this is typical and fair to sell full rights for a piece? First, I don’t think anyone can make decent money writing devotionals. They do it […]

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A Career Writing Mistake

For too many years my goal in writing was simply to write faster, but I did nothing to learn about writing or how to write better. That was a huge writing mistake. Yes, the experience of writing so much was good, but I wasted a lot of time by not studying the craft. It’s only […]

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Scale Up to Writing a Novel

To write a novel, first, start with short stories. Many of the elements required for short stories carry over to longer works. In addition, it’s better to experiment on a 1,000-word short story than an 80,000-word novel. Once you’re comfortable with short stories then you can move on to longer works. Short Story Tips Writing […]

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Beta Reader Questions That Writers Should Ask

When working with beta readers, it’s important to set expectations with them or the feedback you get may not be helpful. To guide this effort, ask the same beta reader questions of each person. Three Key Beta Reader Questions 1. What parts did you like? Your first question will let you know what parts not […]

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Tips on Finding an Agent to Represent You

Finding an agent is easy. Just do an online search for “literary agents.” However, getting an agent to agree to represent you is hard, very hard. Unlike hiring an accountant or attorney to represent us where we can vet them and pick the best one to meet our needs, agents vet their clients so they […]

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How to Protect Blog Content

A lot of writers wonder if it’s necessary or wise to protect blog content that they post online. What if it is material for other writing projects? Should it be freely accessible online? First, I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice. A great resource is Helen Sedwick’s book Self-Publisher’s Legal Handbook. […]

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The Benefits of Using ISBNs: Don’t Publish Your Book Without One

Many successful indie authors do not use ISBNs (for their e-books), and they see no reason why they should. The number Amazon provides works just fine from a practical standpoint. Having said that, an ISBN gives your book added credibility and has more universal recognition than an ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number) when searching for […]

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How to Setup Your Website and Blog

The Technical Aspect of Setting Up Your Website and Blog I’m a big fan of WordPress and so are a lot of other people. Thirty percent of the top million websites worldwide rely on WordPress for their website and blog. I recommend you join them and use WordPress to setup your website. There Are Two […]

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How to Discover What to Blog About

To start your own blog, there are two aspects: the technical aspect and the content aspect, what is, what to blog about. Let’s look at the content part of blogging first: Find Your Blog Focus If you write whatever you feel like writing (as I did when I started), you will never find an audience. […]

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Submit Your Post and Article to Blogs

To submit your post to blogs, the first thing to do is see if your target blog runs guest posts. Many do not. They may state this on their site, or you may need to search their archives to find out. Next, as with print, familiarize yourself with the blog. Look at the content they […]

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Tips for Periodical Submission Success

To submit content to print publications, the first thing is to familiarize yourself with the target publication. Look at the type of content they print, how long each item runs, the style they use, and their tone. To make your periodical submission a success, your goal is to match those characteristics as closely as you […]

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More on Blogging Your Book

Is blogging your book a good idea? If you blog your book, why will people buy it? Logic suggests they wouldn’t, but the reality is that most people will. Let me share what I’ve learned from other writers. I’ve yet to talk to anyone who felt their blog posts hurt their book sales. Even when […]

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Blogging Your Book for Fiction and Nonfiction Writers

Many people wonder if you can blog your book. This is a common question and answers differ. Here are my blogging tips for blogging your book. Fiction Writers For fiction writers, you can blog about your book’s content: setting, characters, and supporting background, but you can’t dole out your book in blog-sized chunks. Of course, […]

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Writing a Book Versus Blogging

If you want to write a book and blog, what should you do? It’s a book versus blogging debate. Too many writers starting out try to do both and end up doing neither one well. Or they try to write a book before they’re ready. Then they end up with something not suitable for publication, […]

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