Byline Blog

Byline: The Art of Writing and Business of Publishing

Peter DeHaan

Discussing the art of writing and the business of publishing

Put Our Writing Platform in It’s Place

At one time, I became preoccupied with my writing platform. This was a huge mistake. It nearly ruined my career and almost destroyed me as a writer. I lost the joy of writing and was ready to give up. It wasn’t until I stopped fixating on growing my platform that my passion to write returned. […]

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Quantity versus Quality

For years my goal was to write faster, but I made no effort to write better. Though I did improve, my progress was gradual. When I got serious about improving as a writer, I had to force myself to slow down and be more deliberate. Now after many years of focusing on the craft, my […]

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Tips on Getting Feedback

After writing regularly, the second most valuable thing I did was to get feedback on my writing. It was scary at first (and sometimes still is). But to get feedback from our family or friends doesn’t count. They love us and will only tell us good stuff. Or even worse, they’ll say our writing is […]

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Write Every day or At Least Write Regularly

The one single most important thing I ever did was to make the commitment to write every day. This principle to write every day, however, is shorthand to write regularly. At first, I wrote five days a week, Monday through Friday. Then I made it six days and eventually seven. Now I’m back to six. […]

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Editor Skills

There are three basic types of editors (and they each have various names). Each type of editor requires a different skill set. Developmental Editor A developmental editor, sometimes called a comprehensive editor, looks at big picture issues. For fiction this includes items such as story arc, character development, writing voice, and plot issues. Nonfiction looks […]

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Editing Options

Some writers say they can’t afford an editor, but I say you can’t afford to. No one can. But if you want options, here are three ideas come to mind: Barter First, look for an editor who will barter. They edit, and you perform a service of equal value. It might be writing-related or it […]

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Finding Time to Write

Finding time to write is a dilemma most writers face at one time or another. Maybe all writers do. I think the problem, however, is in the question. We don’t need to find time to write as much as we need to make time. We each have 24 hours in our day. While work and […]

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Common Submission Errors

Here are the three biggest mistakes people make when submitting content for publication. Avoid these common submission errors : 1. Not Following Submission Guidelines The first submission error is not following directions. Adhering to submission guidelines helps increase the chance of them publishing your work. Each deviation lessens the likelihood of success. Common mistakes include […]

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Contest Conundrum

I have paid to enter some contests. It’s okay when you win, but it’s a double hit when you don’t. Contest Fees I’ve paid from $1 to $20 to enter contests, and each time they gave a compelling reason why I needed to compensate them to consider my work. And each time I’ve felt duped […]

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Receiving Feedback

One thing that has most helped me improve as a writer is receiving feedback from others. It is critical. This feedback has mostly come from critique groups but also from beta readers and paid professionals. This last category is costly but invaluable. Regardless of the source, the key is figuring out which feedback to apply, […]

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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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WordPress.org versus WordPress.com

Some people say that if you’re blogging as a hobby, wordpress.com is okay, but if you consider yourself a professional you need to go with WordPress.org (the self-hosted version). Is it possible to do a professional website with WordPress.com? Though I’ve seen some successful authors use a WordPress.com 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 (WordPress.com) is easy to learn and use. It also has minimal features. The self-hosted version of WordPress (WordPress.org) is highly flexible and rich in […]

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