Podcasts for writers are a welcome guiding light in the ever-changing world of writing and publishing.
Finding a publishing company isn’t the only way to get your work out there anymore. You self-publish your book and create your own platform for marketing and selling it.
Self-publishing has been a game-changer for aspiring authors who don’t want to wait for gatekeepers to give them permission to share their writing.
But publishing your own book means you need to lead the charge and understand all of the steps involved in writing, editing, formatting, cover design, and setting up your book on Amazon.
That’s where writing podcasts come in.
Authors anywhere can find high quality mentoring and hundreds of useful tips in these practical (and free!) resources. Podcasts about writing and self-publishing deliver some of the most valuable ideas and insights you can find if you take the time to tune in.
Whether you’re an experienced author or a self-published indie writer, I’m sure you will find invaluable aid and encouragement in nine of the best writing podcasts we hand-picked just for you.
9 Of The Best Writing Podcasts For Authors
Ready to pack your smartphone or computer with words of wisdom and tools that will get you writing and your book selling?
If you’re looking for an engaging weekly talk that will help your book sales skyrocket, you’ve just found it.
Hosted by Jim Kukral and Bryan Cohen, The Sell More Books Show has over 200 episodes filled with entertaining and useful information for both veteran and aspiring authors navigating the tricky indie-publishing world.
Do you find yourself struggling to keep up with all the current events in the industry? Every Wednesday, Kukral and Cohen not only update you with everything you need to know but also teach you new tactics to promote — and sell! — your writing.
This is a fast-paced, concise podcast that will offer you both relevant self-publishing news and creative book marketing tools and strategies.
Selling your own books is hard. So, do yourself a favor and let these guys show you the ins and outs of the self-publishing industry.
Writer K.M. Weiland wants you “to write your best story.” That’s why she created the Helping Writers Become Authors podcast: to guide you through the fulfilling (and, let’s be honest, often frustrating) journey of translating your thoughts into words.
With over 400 episodes, this is the podcast for writers who want to hone their craft. Weiland becomes your personal writing coach, sharing practical, thought-provoking guidance about everything writing-related.
Creative block? World building? Outlining a novel? She talks about it all. Every podcast offers high-grade technical advice in a clear and easy manner, as well as a lot of encouragement so that you feel prepared to tackle all your writing challenges.
And this plethora of invaluable advice comes in small packages. The episodes are 15 to 20 minutes long, which means you can listen to it while you have breakfast, make dinner or on your way somewhere.
Bestselling author and publisher Tom Corson-Knowles shares smart proved-and-tested tips to step up your writing career and sell more books in The Publishing Profits Podcast Show.
Every episode provides effective advice through dynamic interviews with authors, publishers, marketers and many other prominent personalities of the publishing world. Hear them talk about everything and anything from book market research to Amazon Ads.
Corson-Knowles reminds us that the world has changed. Nowadays, getting your book out there goes beyond shelves in the bookshops. People read on their tablets, phones, computers. Ebooks are everywhere. This weekly podcast vows to teach writers how to thrive in this new era.
Successful authors Johnny B. Truant, Sean Platt, and David Wright have a lot to share. From self-publishing podcasts to Q&A’s, they have talked about pretty much everything.
In their latest venture, The Story Studio, the Sterling & Stone trio come up with a balanced combination of storytelling and business. Targeting all sorts of artists, authors, and entrepreneurs, this podcast provides valuable writing advice and marketing techniques that will help you write better stories as well as promote and sell your books.
This is not a focused lecture. It’s a crude, laid back chat about real-life indie scenarios. There is as much banter as there are gems. These three writers tell you their mistakes, goals, and plans, and their experience shines through to create a podcast that will entertain as much as teach.
Rummaging the internet looking for practical information on marketing your self-published book is, to say the least, very overwhelming.
This is where Kindlepreneur Dave Chesson comes in to lighten the indie author’s burden. The Book Marketing Show is a weekly podcast packed with rich, highly useful content that will instruct and encourage you to increase your book sales.
In less than half an hour, Chesson delivers clear and throughout insights into book marketing and its tactics. He illustrates his ideas with case studies and instructions that will help you overcome any challenge that may come your way.
Moreover, this podcast features expert guests that disclose the tools that made them successful and highlight areas of opportunity for your own books.
This perfect combination of relevant facts and practical applications is the result of Chesson’s sincerity and vast knowledge and stands out as one of the best podcasts for writers out there.
With 28 published books all over the world and 10 years of podcast experience under her belt, Joanna Penn hosts the inspiring The Creative Penn Podcast.
She shares it all: the latest news from the publishing industry, well-prepared interviews with distinguished guests, guidance on writing and the self-publishing business. Her enthusiasm is motivating and her experience is the source of priceless advice.
With a new episode every Monday, Penn highlights the best information and tips on both craft and marketing with cheerful thoughtfulness. Her words will show you the best aspects of today’s market and let you in on what the future of publishing holds.
Are you looking for an intelligent and lighthearted podcast for self-published authors? Then, look no further. I bet you will find everything you hope for in The Creative Penn Podcast.
Every Thursday, Mark Dawson and James Blatch host The Self Publishing Show, a podcast for indie authors looking for the best way to self-publish their work.
Experience speaks for itself: Dawson is a best selling self-published author and Blatch is a former BBC News journalist. The endless amount of knowledge this incredible pair has to share results in a proper masterclass every week, delivering high caliber content and actionable tips that will help and encourage you to create a truly successful and lucrative writing career.
Blatch skillfully interviews remarkable guests, leading an engaging conversation full of valuable feedback and lessons to both new and experienced writers. Moreover, Dawson’s tried and tested strategies will clear the way for you to master the self-publishing market.
Remember Jim Kukral from The Sell More Books Show? Yes. He’s back here again.
This guy has so much to share that he also hosts The Author Marketing Podcast, another go-to podcast for writers who don’t really know how to start effectively marketing and selling their books.
Kukral is an Internet marketing professional with years of experience translated into several podcasts, consultation sessions and courses. In addition to his expertise, his frankness and insight bring out the best in each of his best-selling guests, creating a unique podcast packed with motivation and tons of advice you can start putting into practice today.
The format of the show is quite simple: each episode features an interview with a different author. But there is no chit-chat here. Every talk is one of the best focused, yet easy-to-understand lectures on book marketing you can find.
This is the podcast on self-publishing that will make an effective change in your book sales.
We are so worried about world-building and characters or research for that article we’ve been thinking about for a whole fortnight that we forget that writing is also a business.
So, if you want to transform your writing dreams and the many hours you spend putting together that book or blog into a prosperous business, you must stop by Nick Loper’s The Side Hustle Show.
This is another fantastic Thursday podcast for authors. And bloggers. And contributors. In fact, this is for any part-time entrepreneur looking for a way to ditch their 9-5 work and start doing what they love full time.
If you think this is just idealistic conversation, rest assured: it isn’t. Loper himself is a passionate and very successful entrepreneur. He openly shares his own experiences in a compelling show that discusses all aspects of starting and building a business, from marketing and social media to time management.
His actionable strategies and business wisdom will certainly help you make your writing a smashing success.
Make the most out those writing podcasts today!
Isn’t it fascinating that you can carry so much inspiration in your pocket and listen to expert advice anywhere, anytime?
Choose your own favorite podcasts about writing and self-publishing and start learning right now how you can become a better author and build the successful writing career you’re looking for! You can do it!
And may your passion and perseverance influence everything else you do today.
Do you have personal writing goals for 2019? Do you know whether your goals for writing are the right ones to make this year the most successful one yet?
You might wonder if you’re setting writing goals that are actually attainable. What is required from a goal in order for it to help you succeed in reaching it?
If your past writing goals have turned to vapor, maybe you’re wondering what you’ve been missing. In this article, we’ll show you how to set the best creative writing goals you’ve ever set in your life so that you can publish not just one book but a catalog of books.
If your main goal is to be an author, why not become a prolific author who generates a passive income stream from a series of self-published books? You can achieve this if you know how to set yourself up for success with your writing routine.
The S.M.A.R.T. Goal Formula
If you’ve read anything about goals, you’ve probably run across the idea of setting S.M.A.R.T. goals. Here’s a recap of the formula, which describes key aspects of effective goal setting:
S = Specific
M = Measurable
A = Achievable
R = Relevant
T = Time-bound
Specific and measurable are self-explanatory. It’s not enough to make your goal about “becoming a better writer” or “earning money as a writer.” Make each goal specific and measurable.
Here are some examples:
“I want to write and publish two well-crafted blog posts every week.”
“I want to write three nonfiction books for the self-improvement genre this year.”
“I want to write two new novels for my new cozy mystery series this year.”
The word “achievable” here isn’t synonymous with “realistic.” While it’s close to that, it’s closer to the word “possible,” which — depending on your mindset — could describe something that sounds totally doable to you but overly ambitious to someone else.
Achievable is in the eye of the (individual) beholder, whereas realistic has more to do with society’s ideas of what constitutes a reasonable goal for the least productive common denominator.
That said, the word achievable takes into account your real-life situation and other time commitments. It doesn’t make sense to overcommit to one goal if it means sacrificing another, more important goal.
Relevant basically means your new goal is related to your overarching goal and will contribute to the larger tapestry of your life’s work. It’s this “magnum opus” that describes where you want to be years from now (a few, ten, twenty, etc.).
Your S.M.A.R.T. goal is something you can focus on and celebrate when you reach it but that also gets you closer to “the big one.”
A time-bound goal has not only a deadline but a reasonable time-frame that honors your other commitments.
5 Proven Ways to Achieve Your Writing Goals
1. Set your daily minimum writing target.
When you’re serious about writing, you make time for it every day. How much time can you spend writing each day while still honoring prior commitments? How much can you write in this amount of time?
It doesn’t have to be a large number. The point here is to know how much you can commit to writing each day. To build a daily writing habit, consistency is more important than quantity.
If you set it low, you can always write more, if you’re able to.
If you set it too high and are unable to consistently reach it, you’re more likely to skip writing on days when you doubt your ability to reach that target.
For example, you might think that it makes more sense to set a goal of at least 1,000 words a day, but then you hit a low point, you feel overwhelmed, and you barely have ten minutes to give to writing before you have to run out the door again or before you collapse into bed.
In ten minutes, you could maybe crank out 200 words, give or take, depending on how tired you are. So, you think, “Well, it’s not even worth it” and skip writing for the day. And once you give yourself permission to skip one day, it gets easier to skip others.
Instead, just write what you can, however little it might be. Writing fewer words is better than writing none.
2. Plan and schedule each writing project (book, blog post, article, etc.).
Based on your daily minimum writing target, calculate how much time it should take to write and rewrite a book/blog post/novel/etc.
For instance, you might find it takes about a month to write a 25,000-word nonfiction book, another three weeks to revise it, and an additional week for a final edit.
Plus, it makes sense to add a buffer week in case something comes up in your life that cuts into your writing or editing time.
Once you have an idea of roughly how long it’ll take to write a book and get it ready for publication, you can set your publication deadline on your calendar. And once you have it on the calendar, you can tell others about it — including an accountability partner, who’ll check on your progress and help you stay on track.
Creating a writing template is also a great help with this. It’s part of the planning process and should come before scheduling.
Once you break down a larger project (a book, novel, screenplay, etc.) into smaller parts — and you have a fair understanding of how long it will take you to finish each part — you’ll be better able to schedule the entire project.
Having a template for each of your nonfiction book projects, for example, will speed up the planning, scheduling, and creation for subsequent books.
Your template will also make it easier to do the next step.
3. Set milestones for each larger project, and celebrate your progress.
Set milestones based on your project’s template. Once you reach them, do something mindful to celebrate your progress. Savor a cup of your favorite drink, prepared just the way you like it. Or treat yourself to some fresh flowers — or a new book — or to half an hour listening to a new audiobook (with the beverage of your choice). You choose.
For a book, you might set the following milestones:
Celebrating each milestone along the way reminds you of the progress you’re making and encourages you to keep moving and to reach the next one. It makes the whole project feel more winnable because you experience small wins along the way.
4. Use time blocks for your daily writing commitment.
As for your daily writing, it helps to break it up into smaller time blocks. The Pomodoro method uses 25-minute writing blocks with 5-minute breaks between them. After four 25-minute blocks, you can either stop or take a longer break before writing again.
The breaks are necessary – to get your blood flowing again and to give your eyes a break. Plus, it’s easier to think about writing for 25 minutes at a time than writing for an hour or two hours straight.
You’ll also want to track your writing time, location, word count per block, and other relevant details. For example, for one writing block, you could record the following information:
Time: 8:00 -8:25 am., Monday, March 4th, 2019
Word count: 610
Place: At my desk in the living room
Other details: Sitting in my chair the whole time — with headphones, playing music on Amazon Prime: Ludovico Einaudi’s In a Time Lapse. Breakfast was half an hour ago (eggs with guacamole). Beverage = a decaf Americano with cream (cold now).
If you keep a record of these details, you’ll be able to review them later and see what details contributed to a higher word count and which ones slowed you down.
To more easily keep track of your writing time and your breaks in between, you can use a Pomodoro timer app (like PomoDuctivity) for your computer or your phone. Some will even keep track of your stats for you.
Stephen King is famous for saying, “If you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the time or the tools to write.” Every writer should have these words emblazoned somewhere in their writing space.
Because if you stop learning, you don’t have the tools to access what you’ve learned in the past and connect it to what you’re learning now.
Continued learning — engaging your heart as well as your mind — is what enables you to draw from your storehouse both the new and the old.
There are so many ways to do this. Try several. Try them all.
Read books in your genre.
Read books outside your genre.
Read books on personal and professional development.
Take writing courses to hone specific skills.
Take other courses to learn important skills for business, marketing, etc.
Spend a few minutes each day reading about something unrelated to your personal interests.
Read, listen to, or watch content created by people whose thinking is different from your own. And listen to understand — not to reply.
Spend time in meditation (daily) to restore yourself and to touch base with your creative subconscious.
When you read effective writing examples in your genre, you learn how to improve your writing, which increases the likelihood that your readers will not only finish your book but leave a positive review for it.
When you read other genres or books that have little or nothing to do with your personal or professional interests, you learn something new that might add extra layers to your understanding of what you “knew” before. You’ll see new connections, and, if you’re open to it, explore new ways of thinking about familiar things.
And this can only help you improve as a writer.
You have what it takes.
You’re reading this article because you have every intention of taking your writing far beyond the “I have a blog, but no one reads it” stage.
And if you’re willing to do what it takes, you will make measurable progress this year. And by the end of 2019, you’ll have reason to be proud of what you accomplished.
Make sure every writing goal is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. Do something each day to move closer to your goal, always keeping in mind how it relates to your larger goal — the bigger picture.
Because if your goal has nothing to do with what’s most important to you, your zeal to reach it will probably fade. Even with goals that are tied to your highest priorities, you’re likely to have slump days and moments of doubt. You’re going to sometimes feel as though you just don’t have it in you to reach that smaller goal, let alone the larger one.
But if you keep your eyes on the end goal, it’s much easier to get back up and keep moving forward. Keep making your daily contribution.
Because you do have what it takes. And you can make it count.
May your courage and determination influence everything you do today.
You have a book idea, and you think it would resonate with enough people to justify putting the work into writing it. But you still have doubts.
What if I invest time and effort (and money) into writing this book, and only my friends and family buy it?
Or what if I write and publish a book, and the reviews are so bad, sales stop?
Or what if I think it’s a good idea for a book, but it’s not good enough — or unique enough — to interest people?
So, you’re asking yourself, “Should I write a book? Or should I just write a blog post about this idea?”
Sure, you have good ideas, but ultimately, you need to separate the true diamonds from the less durable look-alikes. So, at some point, you’ll have to ask, “If I do write a book, what should I write about?”
And “How do I know if this is going to be a good use of my time and energy?”
Because this is a serious commitment, and it will change you — most likely for the better, as you’ll see further on in this article.
So, how do you decide whether you should write a book?
Why you should write a book?
Before you begin a book project, you need to be able to answer the question, “Why do you write?”
While you’re at it, answer the question, “Why does the idea of writing a book interest you enough to make you want to read this article?”
Your answers are important. So, for starters, be completely honest about them. Don’t try to guess as to which answer is the best one. There is no “best answer,” here. It’s your answer that matters.
Your answer to the question, “Why do I write?” tells you what you ultimately hope to gain by writing, whether that’s one or a combination of the following:
Money (Don’t you dare feel ashamed if this is on your list)
A business you can run from home (or anywhere you want)
Recognition and respect (as a published author)
A greater understanding of yourself (what lights you up inside)
To share your knowledge and perspective with others
To prove yourself as a writer
Your answer to the question, “Why do I really want to write a book?” is probably some variation on your reason (or reasons) for writing anything.
But in case you needed another reason (or nine) to finally write a book with your author name on it, read on.
Should I Write a Book? 9 Reasons for Writing Your Book Now
1. You’ll learn more about yourself.
Writing books is an exploratory process, and it involves at least some degree of introspection (depending on the type of book you’re writing). You’ll get to know things about yourself that you haven’t yet fully processed.
Writing your book might remind you of something else you once intended to do but put on the back burner. It might steer your life in a completely different direction (possibly one you intended to take years ago).
It’s difficult to express yourself in writing without noticing things you failed to notice (or think about) before. Suppressed thoughts have a way of coming out during the writing process.
Things you told yourself like, “That doesn’t bother me,” might come to the surface as significant stressors or roadblocks in your life. Writing your book may be the catalyst for a change you’ve needed to make but haven’t yet dared to.
2. You’ll learn how to write and self-publish a book.
Not only will you learn more about yourself, but you’ll also learn all about what it takes to write your book and get it ready for publication, so you can duplicate the process for your next books. You’ll also learn as you go, discovering how to successfully launch your book and market it to increase sales.
And the more you learn, the better author you’ll become and the more you can help new authors to do what you’ve done.
You might decide to help them as an author coach or as a virtual author assistant – performing necessary services (for a reasonable fee) to help them write books and prepare them for publication and launch day.
3. You’ll create a stream of passive income.
Maybe you won’t become the next Tony Robbins or J.K. Rowling, but you don’t have to sell as many copies as they do to bring in a nice supplemental income with your book royalties. And the more books you write that your readers love, the more you stand to earn.
It’s not purely passive income since plenty of work goes into not only writing the book but keeping it visible on Amazon. But even a few hours each week spent on effective marketing strategies can be enough to maintain a steady sales stream.
4. You won’t have to regret not trying.
You don’t want to get to the end of your life and think, “I wanted to write a book, but I was too scared to try.”
It’s too easy to talk yourself out of trying something when, in the moment, you’re more afraid of failure than of the possibility you’ll experience regret in the future for not trying. Fear is often louder than the prospect of future angst.
But, honestly, which sounds less depressing?
I wanted to write a book, so I did. I didn’t sell as many copies as I’d hoped, but I’m still glad I did it.
I wanted to write a book, but I didn’t think I’d be able to write something worth publishing, so I didn’t even try.
If you want to write a book and you have a book idea you want to explore, the value of writing that book goes beyond how many copies you’ll sell or whether or not someone in Hollywood buys the movie rights to your story.
It’s about your doing something you want to do and not letting your fears hold you back. That alone can change your life for the better.
5. You’ll come up with more ideas.
When you write a book, you become a fountain of new ideas — not only for future books but for book-related courses, websites, and other creative projects. You might decide to go on a speaking tour or make it your goal to give a TED talk on a topic related to your book.
Who knows what writing one book could lead to — let alone more than one. You’ll have so many ideas, the real trick will be narrowing them down.
6. You’ll stoke the fires of your creative genius.
Those creative ideas don’t come out of nowhere, after all. In writing a book, you have to dig deep to bring your authentic self to the page. You don’t want to just regurgitate what others have said; you want to leave your unique stamp.
You have your own experiences and perspective to share, but if you feel nothing about what you’re writing, neither will your readers.
The fire behind your creative genius is your passion. Think of the things that bring out your strongest emotions; chances are that if you’ve come up with a book idea that excites you, it involves those emotions. And this is good. If it evokes emotions in you, it likely will for your readers, too.
And once you’ve written this book and aroused the same emotions in your readers, you’ll probably want to write another book on an idea that excites you. Or maybe your book will be the launchpad to other ideas that feed your passion and resonate with your fans.
7. You’ll become a published author.
There’s just something about seeing a published book with your name on it — either in digital or printed format. If you’ve always wanted to hold in your hands a printed copy of a book you wrote, you can make that happen.
Other writers out there – some with less talent or with less time — have written and published books that are currently selling on Amazon and other online retailers, as well as brick-and-mortar bookstores. Why not you?
Once you’ve written a book and published it — without needing anyone else’s permission or approval — you’ll know you can do this.
You can write a book on your own, get it ready for publication, and get it out there as a brand new published book with your name on it.
You won’t be one of the many who say, “I’d like to write a book someday,” but who never do. Because you did it. And you did it well.
And you can do it again.
9. You’ll accomplish more than you thought possible.
Who knows what else you’ll accomplish once you’ve climbed Mount Write-a-Book. The view is different from the top. You might decide on a different direction for your life, or you might see other mountains you want to climb.
And, well, you climbed this mountain, so how hard can the next one be?
Talk about becoming unstoppable. If any excuses come to mind, they won’t be nearly as loud as the voice telling you, “Of course, you can do this. And you know you want to. It’s just a matter of when.”
And, just like writing a book, you’ll push through the fear and get it done.
The one making the decision is you.
Ultimately, you’re the one who will be spending the time and money writing and revising your book, so this is a decision you have to make yourself.
Once you do make the decision, though, nothing says you can’t enlist the help of others whose knowledge can help you write a book you’ll be proud of.
Don’t think you have to do this alone; the best books are made with more than one brain involved, even if only one person does most or all of the writing. Supportive fellow writers and readers can be a tremendous help with the following:
Accountability (for weekly reporting of your progress)
However many (or few) people you involve in your book project, though, your author name will be on the cover. This will be your labor of love. So, don’t let the fear of rejection or of ridicule hold you back from creating something you’ll be proud to publish and to share with others.
Every new author is writing scared. Even experienced authors feel that trepidation when they undertake a new book project. The ones who finish and publish their books are the ones who decide to use that fear rather than be ruled by it.
So, let your fear and your passion both propel you to write a book. And may your courage and creative energy influence everything you do today.
CreateSpace used to be the print-on-demand service of choice for self-publishing authors who wanted a paperback option listed on the same Amazon page as their published ebook.
They made it so easy! And they even provided helpful resources like the following:
Interior book templates (to make formatting a cinch)
Book cover templates — to make it easier to get the spine width and other measurements right
Helpful articles on book formatting and cover design
Professional assistance with formatting and cover design (for a price)
Not only that, but CreateSpace had expanded distribution to help you get your paperback into libraries and brick-and-mortar bookstores, as well as booksellers all over the world. And they gave authors the option of ordering a printed proof of their book before publishing it.
When KDP Print first came onto the P.O.D. scene, they didn’t have the same distribution options, nor did they offer a printed proof; if you liked what you saw on the virtual book previewer, you published it and hoped for the best.
When the rumors started going around about KDP Print, you probably heard questions from your fellow authors like “Is CreateSpace closing?” and comments like “But CreateSpace works fine.
Why change things? KDP is for ebooks!”
And when CreateSpace started making some noise about stepping aside for KDP Print, folks were asking, “What happened to CreateSpace? What went wrong? And what if KDP Print isn’t as good?”
What happened to Createspace?
Now that KDP Print has completely taken over all of CreateSpace’s core services, they’ve taken on some of the features authors love about CreateSpace and discarded other less profitable ones — like the professional (paid) assistance with cover design and formatting.
That last bit was not a crowd pleaser. But it had to be done.
In order for those services to be profitable, CreateSpace would have had to charge a lot more than they did — which would have made those services unaffordable to those most likely to use them.
Time for some good news: If you’re strapped for cash and looking for some help with your book’s formatting and cover design, there are plenty of freelancers out there who are just starting out and looking to build their portfolios by doing basic formatting and cover design jobs for less than more experienced formatters and designers charge.
It’s a win-win if you can help them gain valuable experience while getting the help you need at a rate you can afford. As you become more successful, you’ll likely want to pay more for professional cover design and formatting.
But if you have to choose between getting your well-written book out there with a decent cover and basic formatting and waiting until you can afford to pay a professional, no one will blame you for choosing the budget-friendly option.
As long as your cover and formatting look comparable to the professional-looking covers and interiors of your book’s biggest competitors, you’re good. You can always upload a better cover later on.
That’s another great thing about both KDP and CreateSpace: you can improve both the cover and the interior (as you’re able), upload the new files, and republish your book without losing your reviews.
More good news? As transitions go, the switch from CreateSpace to KDP Print is seamless; the process of moving printed books from CreateSpace to KDP Print takes around ten minutes per book.
And, if it helps to know this, the switch isn’t about a rivalry or bad blood between CreateSpace and KDP Print. There is no KDP vs. CreateSpace. KDP Print is just the next stage in Amazon’s print-on-demand evolution.
What happened to my books on Createspace?
When CreateSpace started moving books to KDP Print, they alerted the authors with accounts and provided helpful instructions on how to make the switch.
Authors who didn’t immediately act on those notices received periodic email reminders, along with a note at the top of their KDP dashboard – which is still visible.
Once the switch was underway, authors could no longer edit their books on CreateSpace; they had to transfer them to KDP Print and make their edits using the KDP Print setup pages.
Once authors completed the transfer, there was no going back. Their CreateSpace books were no longer available on the CreateSpace website, and the option for creating new books on CreateSpace also disappeared.
As of the writing of this article, if you try to access CreateSpace, you get a web page that directs you to KDP Print. It’s unclear how long this page will remain online.
What should self-publishers do in the future?
Since CreateSpace is no longer an option for print on demand services, self-publishers who want their books to appear on Amazon — on the same page as the ebook option — now go directly to their KDP dashboard and select “+ Paperback” under “Create a New Title.”
The process is as simple as setting up an ebook on the same dashboard, and since you now have the option of ordering a printed proof before publishing, you no longer have to worry about missing crucial details while looking over your online book preview.
After all, there’s just something about the experience of holding a printed copy of a book you wrote, and you’ll no doubt notice things the previewer couldn’t show.
What is the new payment schedule going forward?
Whereas CreateSpace paid authors their royalties 30 days after the last day of the month in which they earned them, KDP provides the same payment schedule for its print book as for its ebooks: 60 days from the end of the earning month.
I don’t know any authors who are pulling their hair out in anticipation of their CreateSpace payday (mostly because it’s not their primary source of income).
So, while it’s disappointing to have to wait another month for your book royalties, once they’re synced with your ebook royalties, the benefits of having all your books on the KDP dashboard and royalty reports outweighs that small adjustment.
If you use the KDP Reports beta, you now see your daily royalty earnings for both ebook and print options on the same page. I highly recommend bookmarking it.
One of the best things about the switch is the ease of setting up both your ebook and paperback options on the same site, which saves you time and allows you to make edits to either one without your book being removed from Amazon until your edits are approved.
Keeping your book live is critical when you’re promoting your book and don’t want any of your potential readers to click on over to your Amazon page only to see that one or both options are “currently unavailable.”
You know how annoying that is as a customer; just think how annoying it would be as an author grateful for every sale.
[bctt tweet=”What Happened To Createspace?”]
Good thing Amazon didn’t keep that feature from CreateSpace.
Change can be a beautiful thing, and I hope this article has shown that the switch from CreateSpace to KDP brought more benefits than problems. All your Amazon books (except audiobooks) are under one roof, now — and they look great together!
So, celebrate the good changes, and keep writing those books! If Amazon has found a way to make publishing even easier than before, smile and be grateful that you’re a self-publishing author now rather than ten or twenty years ago. A lot has changed.
Use it to your advantage.
And may your creativity and initiative influence everything else you do today.
If you have a book and aren’t sure how to publish a book on Amazon, you’re in the right place.
The changes over the last year alone have made this updated step-by-step guide to publishing on Amazon a much-needed resource for the self-publishing author.
You probably have some questions going into this:
What’s the best way to publish a paperback option for my book so Amazon will list it on the same page as my eBook?
What’s the deal with CreateSpace, and how is KDP Print different?
How do I set up my book on Amazon’s KDP dashboard to make it visible and irresistible to my target readers?
Read on for the answers to these and other questions.
Whether you want to create a Kindle eBook, a paperback, or both, if you’re looking at self-publishing on Amazon, I hope you’ll bookmark this post and let it guide you all the way to the finish line.
This article won’t cover the writing, finishing, launching, or marketing of your book. What you’re diving into here is a step-by-step guide to publishing a book on Amazon Kindle and KDP Print.
When you’re finished, you’ll know everything you need to know on how to publish your book on Amazon — and you’ll be minutes away from becoming a published author on the biggest book-selling platform in the world.
So, let’s dig in!
How to Publish a Book on Amazon
First of all, you’ll sign in to Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) or sign up to create a new author account. The next steps depend on whether you’re creating a new Kindle eBook or a print paperback.
How to Publish an Ebook on Amazon
1. Under “Create a New Title,” select “+ Kindle eBook.”
KDP will then take you to the three-page setup to create a Kindle eBook.
2. Fill in your “Kindle eBook Details.”
After selecting the language for your book, enter your book’s title and subtitle. If you’re unsure of your title and need help making it stronger, check out this article on Authority.pub.
Next, you’ll specify whether this book is part of a series. If so, type in your series name (e.g, “Books for Writers”) and your book’s number in that series (presumably “1”).
Then, you’ll enter your author name and the names of any other contributors (e.g., a co-author, or the person who wrote your book’s foreword, if you have one).
Now, you’ll type (or paste) in a book description — using some HTML tags to format it in a way that will help you grab and hold onto your target reader’s attention: heading tags for the hook; a bulleted list (for nonfiction), bold type or italics, where appropriate; etc. This online HTML editor makes it easy to format your description, and you can simply copy and paste the text from the HTML pane to KDP’s book description field.
Don’t forget to include a clear call to action (CTA) at the end, using larger type (a heading tag) to make it stand out.
From here, we move onto publishing rights, where, if this is true, you’ll select the words, “I own the copyright and hold the necessary publication rights.”
Next, you’ll add some keywords. KDP lets you add up to seven, so make the most of this opportunity to help Amazon browsers find your book. KDP Rocket is a great tool for helping you pinpoint the best keywords for your book.
After keywords, you’ll need to choose two Amazon categories for your book. If you’re not sure which ones to pick, look at the categories of other books in your genre that are most similar to your book and that are doing well.
Next, you’ll indicate whether your book has an age or grade range. You can leave this alone if your book isn’t written specifically for children.
Finally, on this page, you get to decide whether you want your book to release immediately upon publication or whether you want a pre-order period.
With the pre-order option, your book won’t be available until the release period ends, but your book will be live and visible to book browsers, who can pre-order your book for the special price you set, and you have time to build some buzz before launch day.
3. Add your “Kindle eBook Content.”
Once you’ve hit “Save and Continue” on the first page, KDP will take you to the second one, where you’ll upload the content for your Kindle eBook.
First, you’ll need to tell Amazon whether you want DRM protection. Since the “yes” option has been known to prevent legitimate buyers from accessing your book, we recommend you choose “No.”
Next, you’ll upload your eBook manuscript. You can use Kindle Create to convert your eBook’s interior file to MOBI format, which is the format Kindle uses. Or you can upload your file in one of the other formats KDP accepts – Word, HTML, ePUB, etc. KDP will begin converting your file to MOBI once you upload it.
After this, you’ll move on to your Kindle eBook’s cover, where you’ll upload a cover file in JPG format. We do not recommend using KDP’s Cover Creator, because the best result from this tool is still far beneath what your book needs and deserves — which is a well-designed cover, ideally created by a professional (like the folks at Archangel Ink).
Once KDP has finished compiling your eBook with the interior file and cover, you’ll Launch the Previewer to see how your book will look on Kindle and scan it for formatting issues or problems with your cover (image resolution, etc.).
KDP will also let you download a preview to your computer or Kindle device if you want to see how your book will look on your Kindle e-reader or app — and how it would look to your Kindle readers if you published it now.
You’ll need to approve this Previewer copy on KDP in order to continue.
Once you’ve hit “Save and Continue” on the content page — after previewing and approving your book — you’ll move on to the third and final page, which is where you’ll set your price.
The first order of business on this page is to decide whether or not to enroll your book into KDP Select — which makes your book exclusive to Amazon in exchange for promotional opportunities and greater visibility during the first 30 days of the 90 day period.
KDP Select also makes your book available to Kindle Unlimited subscribers, giving you the chance to earn extra money from their “page reads.” We highly recommend this to all new self-published authors
Next, you’ll tell KDP whether you hold distribution rights for all territories or just for specific individual territories. If you’re the author of this book and have never published it before, you have worldwide distribution rights. Selecting this option means book buyers around the world can order your book from their own country’s Amazon site (e.g., amazon.com.uk, amazon.com.de, etc.).
Now, you’ll set your book’s price and see what royalty you’ll earn per sale at that price. If you want to earn 70% royalties, you’ll want to set your book’s price to at least $2.99 but no more than $9.99. Any price outside this range earns a 35% royalty.
After setting your price, you’ll decide whether or not to enroll in Kindle Matchbook, which gives readers who purchase your print book the option of buying your Kindle eBook at a reduced price or (if you choose) downloading it for free.
Next, you’ll decide whether to allow Kindle Book Lending — where those who buy your eBook would be able to lend it out to friends and family within the first 14 days.
5. Hit Publish!
At the bottom of page three, you’ll agree to the terms and conditions, confirm that you understand your rights and responsibilities, and either save your book as a draft (to publish later) or click “Publish Your Kindle eBook.”
If you do the latter, KDP will give you a popup window letting you know that (unless they find a problem with it) your book will go live on Amazon within 72 hours.
How to Publish a Print Book on Amazon
Authors who want a paperback option for books sold on Amazon used to create and publish one using CreateSpace — a print-on-demand (POD) company owned by Amazon. CreateSpace began as BookSurge in the year 2000, and Amazon acquired it in 2005. But since CreateSpace closed in 2018, all its functions, tools, and resources have been moved to KDP Print — the “in house” paperback branch of Kindle Direct Publishing.
KDP Print now gives authors the chance to order proof copies of their paperback books before publishing them — a feature that used to give CreateSpace an edge over the younger KDP Print.
But publishing with CreateSpace meant you had to log into two different websites to check your sales stats.
Publishing your paperback through KDP Print means you’ll see the sales stats for both of them on the same page. And the new beta version of the KDP Reports page makes it even easier to see the sales numbers for each book and its print and eBook options.
1. Under “Create a New Title,” select “+ Paperback.”
Just as with the Kindle eBook setup, you’ll start by signing in to KDP (or signing up) and going to “Create a New Title” on KDP’s Bookshelf page.
Select “+ Paperback” to go to the three-page setup for KDP Print.
2. Fill in your “Paperback Details.”
Page one is for your paperback’s details. You’ll start by selecting your book’s language and entering its title and subtitle.
Next, if your book is part of a series, you’ll type in the series name and your book’s number in that series (which is most likely “1”).
If your book is a new edition of an already published book, you’ll next enter the edition number. For example, if you published a book of the same title a couple years ago, and you’ve created a second edition of the same book, you’ll enter “2.”
After this, you’ll type in your author name and then the names of other contributors to your book (co-authors, the person who wrote your book’s foreword, etc.).
Now, on to your book’s description. If you need help writing a powerful book description, check out Bryan Cohen’s book,How to Write a Sizzling Synopsis and the free cheat sheet he provides as a bonus.
Focus on hooking your target readers with your first sentence and holding their attention with clear, compelling sentences and — if this is a nonfiction book — a bulleted list highlighting the ways your book will help make their lives better. Don’t forget to wrap up with a compelling call to action (CTA).
You can use an online HTML editor to help you format your book description; then copy and paste the text from the HTML panel to KDP’s book description field.
Next, if you’re the author of the book, you’ll assert your publication rights, telling KDP, “I own the copyright and I hold necessary publishing rights.”
After this, you’ll choose up to seven keywords to help your target readers find you during their book searches. KDP Rocket is a great tool for finding the most effective keywords for your book.
Next, you’ll choose two Amazon categories for your book. This is where Amazon will file your book and choosing the right ones is critical to your book’s visibility. The categories you choose will also determine how likely your book is to reach “bestseller” status on Amazon. KDP Rocket can help with this, too.
Finally, at the end of this page, you’ll indicate whether your book has adult content — or content deemed unsuitable for readers under 18 years of age.
3. Add your “Paperback Content.”
Once you click “Save and Continue” on the Details page, you’ll move on to page two: Paperback Content.
Here, you’ll start by indicating whether you want KDP to assign you a free ISBN number for your book or whether you already have an ISBN number. In the latter case, you’ll type in your ISBN number here.
Next, if your book was previously published, you’ll enter a publication date. If you’re publishing this book for the first time, leave this blank.
Now, you’ll move on to the Print Options, where you’ll choose the following:
Interior and paper type (e.g., “Black & white interior with cream paper”)
Trim size (e.g., “6 x 9 in”)
Bleed settings (bleed or no bleed)*
Paperback cover finish (matte or glossy)
*Bleed allows images and illustrations to be printed at or off the edge of your page. If everything in your book is within the set margins, you’ll select “no bleed.”
Next, you’ll upload your book’s formatted interior file in PDF format.
Then you’ll upload a PDF copy of your book’s full cover (front, back, and spine in one file). KDP Print does have a Cover Creator tool, but we don’t recommend using it, because it won’t enable you to create a cover that looks professional and will help you sell copies of your book.
If you want to become a well-paid author, it pays to invest in a high quality cover your readers will love. We recommend the friendly and highly-skilled designers at Archangel Ink.
If your book’s cover already has an ISBN number and barcode, don’t forget to check the box that indicates that. If it doesn’t (if you’re asking KDP Print to assign a free ISBN number to your book), leave this box unchecked.
At the bottom of this page, you’ll Launch the Previewer to see a virtual copy of your print book and check it for formatting issues or problems with your cover (spine width, image resolution, etc.). You’ll need to approve this copy before you can continue, and once you do, KDP will tell you how much it will cost to print each copy.
If everything looks good and KDP doesn’t see any problems barring your book’s publication, you can save and continue.
On to page three!
4. Set your “Paperback Rights & Pricing.”
At the top of this page, you’ll tell KDP whether you have worldwide distribution rights — which you have if you’re the author of the book — or whether you can only distribute it in specific individual territories.
For example, if you’re publishing a new copy of a book that is available on public domain the United States but nowhere else, you’d select “Individual territories” and check “United States.”
Next, you’ll set your book’s price and indicate whether you want “Expanded Distribution.” KDP will calculate your royalty based on the price you choose and whether you check that tiny box.
Expanded Distribution helps you reach more readers by distributing your paperback through libraries, schools, bookstores, and other online retailers, so we recommend you check this box. You’ll have to set your price a bit higher to compensate for the added cost and lower royalty rate, but the greater visibility is an advantage no serious author should pass up.
At the bottom of this page, you’ll have the option of ordering a printed proof copy of your book before you publish it. If you choose this option, be sure to finish the order within 24 hours of requesting it, or the order will expire, and you’ll have to go back into KDP and order it again.
If you’re ordering a proof copy and want to look through it before publishing your book, click “Save as Draft” for now. Otherwise, move on to the next and final step.
If you’re all set to go, click “Publish Your Paperback Book.” A popup will appear to let you know KDP is now processing your book for publication, and you’ll see it live on Amazon within 72 hours.
What Happens Next?
You did it! You’re now officially a published author on Amazon, and if their staff doesn’t find any problems with your book’s setup, you’ll be able to share a link to your book’s Amazon sales page within 72 hours.
You’re probably wondering what comes next, and I hope you’ll check out more posts on Authority.Pub to answer that question.
Also, check out our Bestseller’s Checklist as soon as you can to learn about launching your book, marketing it for continuing sales, getting book reviews, etc.
Now that you know how to publish on Amazon, how soon will you become a published author?
If we’ve answered your questions and made you more confident and excited about publishing your first book with Amazon, this article has fulfilled its purpose. We look forward to hearing about your new book and helping you with every step of the self-publishing process.
And may your courage and creativity influence everything else you do today.
When you’re learning how to become a freelance writer, you don’t have to look far to find detailed tutorials on creating an online platform, finding remote writing jobs, or getting started with freelance blogging.
It can be overwhelming. All you want to do is get started on the path to a satisfying freelance writing salary — one that will more than justify leaving that “regular job” and spreading your wings.
Getting started as a freelance writer is easier than ever, though, thanks to the pioneers who created the resources they wished existed when they were starting out.
Thanks to them — and to this article (no false humility, here) — you’re about to learn what you need to know to get paid to write as a freelancer.
How to Become a Freelance Writer
You know you have it in you; you just need a clear, up-to-date guide on how to start freelance writing and earn your first $1,000.
So, let’s begin.
1. Plan ahead and prepare to succeed.
If your family depends on your income — and you’re living from one paycheck to the next — it may not be the best time to quit your job and start freelance writing full-time.
The good news? You don’t have to go full-time all at once.
You can start this as a part-time side hustle, using your free time to tackle small writing jobs and build your freelance writer portfolio.
You can also build an online presence with writing samples by starting a website with a blog and a page that tells prospective clients what you write and what you charge for it.
Whatever you’re doing to prepare for the transition to full-time freelancing, do something every day to get closer to it, even if that something is spending half an hour on a new blog post or writing a letter of introduction (LOI) to a potential client.
And don’t forget that if you want this badly enough, you will make it happen. Write down exactly where you want to be three years from now, and don’t worry about how it will happen. Give your imagination free rein with the question, “What would I love?”
Then get to work, and keep those expectations high.
2. Find your niche and develop your knowledge and skills in this area.
Don’t think you have to sell yourself as an all-purpose writer in order to find paying work as quickly as possible.
If you market yourself this way, you’re more likely to attract clients who can smell the desperation for paying work and who will pay you a low rate for a writing project while requesting one revision after another, until you’re earning pennies per hour.
The clients who are willing to pay for high-quality writing want writers who specialize in their niche, whether that’s self-publishing, personal technology, naturopathic medicine, or something else.
So, do yourself and your future clients a giant favor by identifying what topics and types of writing you specialize in. Make a list of your top personal interests and ask yourself some questions.
“Which of these could I see myself blogging about on a regular basis?” or
“If a client asked me to write regular articles for them, which of these topics would have me internally jumping up and down with excitement?”
“Which of these do I know so well I wouldn’t have to do an hour of research before writing an article about it?”
Because if you’re writing for the same niche one week after another, you want to know and love that niche — or you’ll burn out.
You don’t want to end up thinking, “If I have to write another article about fungal infections/insect mating rituals/manscaping, I’m gonna punch a hole in this wall with my head.” Save your head (and the wall) and choose a niche (or niches) you love enough to write for every week.
You’ll be happier for it, and so will your clients.
3. Create an online writer platform.
The sooner you build an online platform — a website with a blog and freelance services page — the sooner you can build an online portfolio of writing samples and a way for potential clients to reach you with questions and offers.
If you’re not sure what domain name (URL) to choose for your self-hosted website, try posting a poll on Facebook or Twitter to get some feedback from people. On Facebook, it’s easy enough to tag specific people whose feedback you trust.
In any case, don’t sweat this for too long; pick one you like (or one that gets positive feedback from people whose opinions you value) and that’s available, and run with it. If you think of a better domain name down the road, you can always register that one, too, and link it to your hosting account.
4. Build a portfolio.
Once your online platform is up and running, you’re ready to add content to attract your ideal clients and show them what you can do.
Start with these pages:
About. Your “About” page should tell your visitors how you can meet their (specific) needs, and why they should trust in your ability to do so. You can include relevant details about your life, but focus on what you can do for them. Because that’s what you want them to remember when they leave your site for the day.
Services: Create a page for your freelance services. Give it a name like “Writing Services” or “Work with me” or something that clearly communicates that it’s all about what you can do and what you charge for it.
Insider Tip: Clients won’t want to have to contact you to ask, “So, how much do you charge for writing ____?” Because if you reply with your rates, and it’s more than they want to spend, they’re left with the options of negotiating a lower rate, backpedaling, or ghosting you.
Do yourself and your clients a favor by being upfront about this on your site. We’ll discuss rates later in this article.
If you have books published, be sure to add a “Books” page with images and links to your books’ sales pages, along with brief, compelling descriptions for each. You can also include a link to a free PDF sample of your book — just enough to make them hungry for more.
Once you’ve got these pages set with content, commit to writing and publishing at least one new blog post a week (if work and other duties permit) to showcase your writing skills for prospective clients and others who will benefit from your writing.
5. Find and woo some clients.
While building your online platform, you should also spend some time each week looking for your ideal clients and for freelance writing opportunities that interest you.
But where do you find paying work when you’re just starting out?
So glad you asked!
Not every client you meet will fit the description of your ideal client, but you can learn from each experience and make any necessary adjustments to your website’s services page as you go along.
Every freelance writer has stories to tell of their early days. What will your first one be?
Where to Find Freelance Writing Jobs for Beginners
Beginning work probably won’t pay what you’d like to earn, but for now, you’ll want to focus on getting yourself established as a credible writer whose work is well worth the rates published on your website.
And to do that, you need experience. The following sites may just be short-term stops on your way to a better work arrangement, but there’s no shame in starting small and building on it.
Upwork (the most popular and well-used content mill and not a bad place to start)
WritingBunny (more selective than the previous three but with better rates)
Just the work of writing proposals to get a response from a potential client is good practice for crafting persuasive pitches to clients (outside these mills) who are willing to pay good rates for high-quality writing.
So, consider content mills as training wheels for your freelance writing business. You won’t need them forever – just until you learn how to get the wheels rolling.
Make it a goal to use up all your proposal credits (or Upwork “contacts”) for the month. Eventually, you’ll create a sort of template for your proposals, which will make it easier for you to write them more quickly.
Here’s a sample template:
Hello, [client’s name]!
You’re looking for a writer who can [sum up what they want you to do].
As a writer/author who specializes in [relevant subject area], I’ve [list a couple highlights that give evidence of your experience and expertise]. Your [type of writing assignment] sounds ideal, and I would love to get started as soon as possible.
I’m attaching a PDF sample of [some relevant writing, whether it’s an ebook, an article, a report, a sales letter, etc.]. You’re welcome to review other samples of my work on my website at [URL].
Your writing project deserves a writer who loves the kind of work you need and can exceed your expectations. I look forward to working with you!
With gratitude for your consideration (or “All the best”),
Once you’ve had enough of content mills and you’re confident enough of your pitching ability to reach out to your “dream clients,” you can move on to the next step.
Where to Find Online Writing Jobs
Thanks to the pioneers in freelance writing on the internet, writers today have plenty of options for finding paying work as freelancers. Not all are free, and there’s no shame in starting with the ones that are.
ProBlogger.com: If you’re particularly keen on the idea of writing blog posts for money, check out this listing and apply to the writing gigs that make you think, “That could be fun!” or “I could write this in my sleep.”
BloggingPro.com: This is similar to ProBlogger.com, and you’ll likely see some listings here that are identical to ones you saw on Problogger. Even with overlap, it’s worth a peek.
FreelanceWritingJobs.com: This job board collects job listings from sites like craigslist.com, Indeed.com, etc., and allows you to filter them by type and location (including “remote”).
All Indie Writers: Here you’ll find another listing of writing jobs curated from outside sources, as well as helpful articles and other resources for freelance writers.
MediaBistro.com: Like Indeed.com, this is a great place to search for jobs close to home; unlike Indeed.com, this was designed with freelancers in mind. If you’re looking for local opportunities (or remote) opportunities that will let you work wherever you want (at home, in a coffee shop, etc.), this site is worth bookmarking.
You may have to write several pitches before you get a yes (such is life), but the more you put yourself out there — pitching your heart out and risking rejection — the better and more confident you’ll get, and more your response rate will improve.
If you’re ready to pay for a monthly membership that provides not only up-to-date, selective listings of writing jobs that pay good rates but also resources to help you improve your skills as a writer, try the following:
Freelance Writers Den with Carol Tice: You’ll have to get on the waiting list for this one, but they open twice a year for new members, and they’re constantly updating their material (articles, videos, and workshops) for freelancers to help you earn more money – sooner – with your writing.
Contena: This popular paid job board curates freelance writing opportunities that pay better than most gigs you’ll find on the free boards. Contena Academy has video courses to help you hone your skills and develop new ones to ramp up your earning potential. The downside here is the cost, which is far above what you’d pay for the Den or for Paid to Blog (see next).
Paid to Blog: Gina Horkey recommends this service, which saves you precious hours of searching for quality writing jobs and sifting through penny-per-word gigs. The heading on the main page reads “Find Freelance Blogging Jobs Quickly, and Get Paid What You’re Worth.”
What Are The Common Freelance Writing Rates?
Freelance writing rates per word depend largely on what you’re writing and on your skill level and experience (portfolio).
For instance, at the low end of the rate spectrum, you’ll see SEO writing, web content, and content mill work (Upwork, etc.).
At the more lucrative middle range, you’ll see newspaper and magazine article writing assignments, creative writing jobs, and business writing projects like white papers, reports, brochures, and grant proposals.
At the high end, you’re looking at technical writing jobs, medical and scientific journal articles, and big-name marketing/PR materials.
As for copywriting jobs (for sales funnels, landing pages, sales letters, web pages, etc.), you’ll find plenty at the low end of the rate spectrum, but if you find clients willing to pay well for persuasive copy, you can earn high-end rates.
Much depends on your client’s grasp of what constitutes good writing and what it’s worth.
Writing Under Your Own Name
If you’re wanting to create a portfolio of content you’ve written under your own name, your pen name, or your business name, you’re probably looking at the possible options:
Guest posting on well-trafficked websites in your niche
Article writing for online magazines and newspapers
Writing an ebook and either selling copies online or providing it as a free download for potential writing clients (or both)
Co-authoring a book on a topic you love with an author you respect
Writing for exposure isn’t a bad idea, either, if it gets your work noticed by paying clients and helps you build your online portfolio.
The idea of writing anything for free gets plenty of hate online, but you’re essentially doing that when you blog on your own site, anyway. And if your website doesn’t get much traffic, it makes sense to take advantage of an opportunity to write for one that does (and whose owner is willing to include a link to your website).
Yes, you want to earn that first $1,000 as soon as possible, but you probably know that, in order to become a successful freelance writer, you need to play the long game. And writing a few high-quality articles for exposure can be part of that.
With ghostwriting projects (books, blog posts, web content, etc.), you’ll find work that runs the whole spectrum in terms of pricing; the more experienced you are and the more your client likes your writing sample, the more you stand to earn.
It wouldn’t be unusual to find a client on Upwork who wants a 50K word book ghostwritten for $500, which comes to one penny per word.
Keep in mind that a 50K word book might take you about a month to write (possibly more) – just for the first draft – and another few weeks to revise and rewrite.
If you think you’d enjoy the project, though, and you can afford to work for a month or two for only $500 (assuming your client pays), then go for it and learn what you can from the experience.
Otherwise, see if you can negotiate a higher rate, or keep looking until you find something better.
Reasonable Rates to Start With
For example, 5 cents a word is a reasonable place to start if you’re confident of your writing ability and looking to create a portfolio, gain valuable experience, and collect testimonials from happy clients — whatever you’re writing for them.
When it comes to books, take the following steps to calculate your rate:
Think about how many words you can realistically write in a month’s time. (e.g., 60K words per month). If you’ve ever written 50K+ words in a month for NaNoWriMo, you should have a pretty good idea of a reasonable month’s output.
Now, think about how much you need to earn per month, and add 25%. For example, if you’re doing this part-time, and you need (or want) to bring in at least $1,000 a month with your writing, and you’re confident of your ability to write a 25K word book in a month’s time (the first draft, editing, and revision), add 25% ($250) to your monthly rate, and…
Divide the total price ($1250) for the book by the word count (25,000) to get a per-word rate (0.05 or 5 cents per word).
Play with the numbers until you come to a rate per word that will generate the income you need to earn each month — one that will adequately compensate you for your work.
Make sure you know how much time you’ll be able to devote to writing in a given week and multiply that by four to get a rough estimate of your monthly writing time (in hours).
Once you know this, you can also calculate your rate per hour.
Don’t forget to factor in the time you’ll spend researching (if necessary) and for professional editing — whether or not you choose to outsource this.
As you become more efficient, you’ll be able to complete a 25K word book in less and less time, making it possible for you to earn more per month (and per hour).
Also, as you grow more experienced, you’ll be able to ask for higher rates of clients who love your work — or new clients who’ve received glowing recommendations from previous clients.
So, start with a rate you and your client can both live with, and go from there.
Ready to Get Started?
Has this article cleared the fog from your path to becoming a well-paid freelance writer? Our goal here is to help you make good money as a writer, so if we’ve given you a roadmap to the life you dream of, this article has fulfilled its purpose.
Depending on where you are in the process (e.g., whether you already have an online presence with your blog or with guest posts), you can use the information in this article to build on what you know to get closer to your first big payday.
And we’re excited to be part of that!
So, take some action today to get closer to your goal of writing full time and getting paid well for it. We’re rooting for you and ready to help with any of your questions.
And may your courage and sense of adventure influence everything else you do today.
If you’re an author — or on your way to becoming one — you’ve probably heard a lot about author websites and the importance of a stable online presence.
After all, you can’t assume that your presence on other platforms — Amazon, social media, other people’s blogs — is going to last. And a well-designed and regularly updated website does more for your author brand than any of these.
But what does your author website really need to have?
If only you had a selection of writers websites to look through to help you decide what features you want to focus on, what first impressions you want your readers to get, and what on earth you’re going to blog about to keep your readers interested.
Welcome to Authority.pub! We’ve been where you are now. Read on to explore 15 fantastic author website examples.
Why Authors Need A Website Platform
If you’re an author hoping to get the word out on your books, to sell more copies, and to build on them to grow your author business and create other passive income streams, an author website is essential. Consider the following reasons:
To build a fanbase of people excited about your books
To establish your credibility and expertise as an author
To connect with your readers
To remain up-to-date and competitive in a growing pool of published authors
To receive valuable feedback from your readers
To provide content for future books and book-related projects
Don’t make the mistake of leaving your author cred in the hands of Amazon or your social media accounts. And if you’re looking to build an email list of devoted readers (and you should), an online hub is critical to your success.
The first thing you’ll see when you check out Stephen Guise’s website is a chance to download — for free — his “best content,” which includes a sampling of his ebook, Mini Habits; his ebook, Stress Management Redefined; a Focus Wallpaper set; and his Tuesday newsletter.
His site also has a blog and a page titled, “Living Smarter,” where you can sign up to receive his free content on living a less stressful and more meaningful life.
Marc and Angel Chernoff have created a website that not only advertises their book, Getting Back to Happy, but also offers a life-changing course based on that book. They also blog on topics related to their mission of helping their readers live happier more fulfilling lives.
Forbes magazine has recognized this site as “one of the most popular personal development blogs.” Check it out and see a perfect example of what mission plus passion plus writing skills could do for your author website.
The free courses alone are worth the visit, especially if you’re still a newbie to email marketing, blogging, or product development. Meera’s “Start Here” page introduces you to someone who remembers what it’s like to be a newbie but who has learned what authors need to know to build a successful online platform.
Her site also introduces you to her books, which are well-designed and thoughtfully created to serve her mission of helping fellow online business owners grow and thrive.
Honoree Corder writes books to help her fellow creatives go from starving artists to prosperous authors with life-changing businesses. Her layout is simple, with a smiling photograph just below the header, and it gets right to the point of what she offers. A pop-up window offers a free sample of her book, You Must Write a Book.
Her site offers personalized author coaching and detailed information on her “Empire Builders Mastermind,” as well as on her books and her You Must Write a Book Live Coaching Course. If you’re an author and want to grow your business, you’ll find ideas here on how to do that.
The first thing you see on Patrick King’s site is a chance to sign up for his free cheat sheet on 7 steps to effortless and engaging conversation (even if you’re a “paralyzed social recluse”).
As the author of The Art of Witty Banter and Bulletproof Confidence (among many others), Patrick leads with his free content and social proof (links and testimonials) and leads you to two options: “Read the Blog” and “Get my newest book.” Try both to get the full experience and learn what you can about how to make the most of this website model.
If all you really want to do is display your books and offer visitors a chance to download a freebie (in exchange for their email address), Zoe Mckey gives a good example of this on her author site. At first glance, you see a landing page offering you a “Free Unbreakable Confidence Checklist” and “Daily Makeover Cheatsheet.”
Scroll down to see a line-up of her books and a link to see more information on each one. Click on that link to check out her online “bookshop” for ideas on how to set up your own.
At the top of Dr. Markway’s site, you see a banner ad for her “Self-Confidence Workbook.” As you scroll down, you see a warm, personal message from her to her visitors, followed by information about her and her practice, followed by social proof and a chance to sign up for her newsletter.
Her book page displays her published content to advantage, advertising the fact that she’s sold over 100,000 copies and making it easy for visitors to buy her books on Amazon.
Susan Cain is the author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking, and this site explores the revolution her work has started. It also introduces her readers to her blog and podcast, along with free resources for parents, schools, and businesses.
The first thing you see here is a calming image with a Q like the one you’ll see on the cover of her most well-known book. Once you scroll down, the image fades to reveal her website’s calming minimalist layout. At the top, on the right-hand side, you’ll see an invitation to join her newsletter. Below, you’ll see links to free resources, Susan’s keynote talks, and a personality test: “Are you an introvert or an extrovert?”
This website for the author of Unsubscribe begins with a question: “Do you want to find more creativity and meaning in your daily work?” Your answer to that question determines whether you’ll sign up for her newsletter and read on to explore her RESET course, her Hurry Slowly podcast, and her articles.
Glei’s mission is to help others choose a heart-centered approach to their work and to productivity. The layout is clean and minimalist with large, readable type.
One of the first things you’ll see here is an ad on the right-hand side offering a free 40-page book, Catapult Your Productivity, to new subscribers, which is an immediate eye-grabber.
Among the menu headings, you’ll see “Free Gift,” “Start Here,” and “My Books” — in that order. Within seconds of clicking on “Start Here,” you see a large pop-up inviting you to subscribe in order to receive a free copy of the same book advertised on the home page.
This is the third time you’ll be tempted with the free offer, and since the pop-up hides the page content, there’s nothing to distract you from typing in your name and email address, if the book looks like something you’d want to read.
If this approach works on you, it might work on your website visitors, too.
With its calming color scheme and crisp, white background, Sally Ann Miller leads the eye of her visitor from her logo to the words “Proft from Your Passion” and a pitch for her free “Passion Challenge workbook.”
She makes her mission obvious: help her readers make money from home doing what they love — including this message in her brief “About” blurb and then repeating it in a large quote block.
Her “Books” page displays all her published content on Amazon and Audible, providing links to make it easy for visitors to buy them. Her “Courses” page lists her own course, Author Success Blueprint, at the top, with a link that takes you to a great example of a course sales page.
With a large smiling photograph, Annie first introduces you to herself — as a best-selling author, nationally-known speaker, podcast host, and loud laughter.
Scrolling down, you see a line-up of her books, (all linking to her “Books” page), then the four most-recent That Sounds Fun podcast episodes, followed by a series of images from her Instagram timeline.
Her “About” page describes and links to each category of her content — books, public speaking, and podcast episodes — while also giving you a glimpse into her background, priorities, and personality.
If you want some pointers on how to design a website that will get your visitors excited about your content and message, check out Hal Elrod’s.
The energy on this site is contagious, and it begins with a video, the offer of free access to his “Miracle Morning Crash Course,” and his clearly-stated mission of “Waking people up to their full potential.”
Just below that, you’ll see an uncluttered advertisement for his life-changing book, The Miracle Morning. From there, you can scroll down to learn about the next Best Year Ever Blueprint (BYEB) experience, sign up to have Hal speak at your next event, or enjoy one of his podcast episodes.
Steve Scott is a great example of a prolific and versatile author whose blog content led to book ideas that sold well.
On this site, you’ll see a variety of blog posts related to his books on healthy habits, with large, readable type and a right-hand column that lists previous posts and advertises other content — including a free book, The Morning Routine for Peak Performance.
The sharing buttons on the left make it easy to share his content in a variety of ways, and while the Google Ads do take up some space, they also help the author earn some passive income.
The menu headings for Barrie Davenport’s blog focus on the topics she covers, rather than the typical page selections. Her final menu item, “Free Gifts,” is tantalizing, but it serves as more than click-bait.
The free ebooks offered on this page make it clear how the author wants to improve the lives of her readers. She offers “5 Free Motivating Guides” focused on personal growth, powerful habits, and loving relationships.
On the right-hand side of her main page, you’ll see a listing of her most popular blog posts — as well as the most recent — and Google Ads for relevant business services.
At the bottom of the home page, you’ll find links to her catalog of self-improvement books and her various online courses.
Did you find some useful author blogs?
After looking through each website listed above, I hope you picked up some ideas for your own author website. Maybe you already know what you want and what you don’t.
The important thing is that you have an author platform that gets your readers excited about your books and gives them a place to read more of your content and keep up to date with your progress on new projects.
And who better to learn from than authors who are already rocking it with their websites, while refining their message and reaching more and more of their ideal readers?
I hope you enjoyed this tour of some of the best author websites. It was a pleasure to share them with you.
And may your creativity and thoughtfulness influence everything else you do today.
Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration. The rest of us get up and go to work.
– Stephen King
“Do I really have to write every single day?” you may be thinking. “But what if…?”
So many things can get in the way — some we can avoid, others not so easily. And we’re great at imagining dire and unavoidable obstacles. We’re writers, after all.
And yes, if you miss a day or two here and there, you’re still a writer.
There’s no judging here. We know how challenging it can be (some days more than others) to write every single day. But that’s the goal – and it’s one professional writers not only strive to meet but also plan for. Anything you commit to doing every day is something you take seriously.
Anyone who’s had a daily writing habit long enough knows there will be days when it is harder to keep that commitment to your writing. Because it’s work. And that’s how you need to see it, if you’re going to get anywhere as a writer.
Writers show up and write. Those who want to earn a regular income with their writing make a habit of writing daily. It’s as simple as it is true, but that doesn’t make it easy. Because there will be days when it isn’t.
Good habits make it easier, though. The habit of writing every day makes you a better writer. It makes you exponentially more likely to finish writing a book — let alone multiple books — and to actually make a living with your writing.
A daily writing habit can even make you a better person, as well as a more creative and productive one.
It doesn’t have to be a large time commitment, either. Like muscles, your writing skills will atrophy if you don’t exercise them. But just a few minutes of exercising that writing muscle every day can accelerate your growth as a writer.
You make time for the things that matter to you. So, if improving as a writer and earning a substantial income with it matters to you, make time for daily writing.
If you’re wondering, now, just how to start writing every day, so you can reap the benefits, read on.
How to Start Writing: Basics of Forming a Habit of Daily Writing
Repetition is key.
We make a habit of something by doing it repeatedly. If you repeatedly reach for a glass of water after turning off your alarm clock, you’ve made drinking that glass of water a habit and part of your morning routine. It doesn’t have to be a large glass, either.
When it comes to creating a daily writing routine, consistency matters more than the size of your daily commitment. If you don’t consistently sit down to write at the time you’ve chosen for writing, you won’t form the habit of writing every day.
Set a small first writing goal.
Don’t lock yourself into thinking that if you’re not spending 30 minutes a day or more writing, it’s not even worth it. Even 5 to 10 minutes of writing a day — if you do it consistently — is enough to form a daily writing habit you can then build on.
So, if you’ve heard other writers talk about the one-hour minimum they spend writing, and you’re thinking, “No way can I commit to that right now,” don’t. Choose a chunk of time (or a measurable chunk of writing) small enough to easily stick to.
Write five/ten sentences (use bullet points, if it helps, or a numbered list).
Write three things you’re grateful for
Write three things you want to accomplish that day — and why.
Write for five minutes on one thing (or more) that’s on your mind.
Use habit triggers to cement action.
It’s easiest to create a new habit when you build on the ones you already have.
For example, when you go into the kitchen for your first cup of coffee (or tea), pour yourself a glass of water first to rehydrate yourself.
You’ll have to consciously choose to do this until it becomes a habit linked to your coffee/tea habit, but after roughly 21 straight days of doing this, you’ll be pouring yourself a glass of water without having to think about it.
You won’t need willpower or motivation. You’ll just do it.
And don’t underestimate the power of an “If, then” statement. If you have the habit of sitting at your desk in the morning to turn on your computer, tell yourself, “If I turn on the computer, then I will open Google Docs (or Word, etc.) and write my daily morning page.”
Just like with the glass of water, you’ll have to do so consciously for the first 21 days or so, but once it becomes a habit, writing that morning page will become second nature.
Outline and write down everything.
Take everything in your head about a particular topic and just write everything down. You can use index cards (like Steve Scott), mind maps, or bulleted lists (with Google Docs, Word, etc.).
It doesn’t have to look like the outlines you created in school; just get the words down. Find the method that works for you, and stick with it.
Maybe you found the Roman numeral system frustrating as a student, but you find a simple hierarchy of bulleted lists freeing without feeling chaotic.
Reward yourself when you achieve a goal.
Give yourself something to look forward to after you’ve achieved a goal with your writing. It can be as simple and as small as seeing an unbroken chain of writing days on your calendar (Thank you, Jerry Seinfeld).
It can also be an opportunity to do your writing for the day in the coffee shop (or restaurant, bookstore, or park) of your choice — with a celebratory writing beverage and a stimulating view.
Whatever it is, your ability to stick to your goals and honor your commitments is worth celebrating. And some days, a little extra incentive can help you keep the chain going.
Don’t compare your daily writing to others.
Do some authors write 5,000 words a day and earn a minimum $1,000 a month in book royalties? Good for them. But don’t start thinking your own accomplishments don’t matter because they don’t sound as impressive.
Those other writers didn’t start where they are now, and neither did you. And Amazon is a fickle universe, where popular authors can fade into obscurity from one month to the next — and vice-versa.
So, let other authors worry about their metrics, and you focus on your own. You’ll be happier for it (not to mention more productive).
Track your writing habit.
Take the time to track the details for your writing sessions– especially if you don’t always write at the same time and in the same place. For every writing day, keep a record of the date and the location for each block of writing time — as well as your total word count. If you can track word count for each writing block, too, so much the better.
If you vary your location and writing times, tracking these details will make it easier to gauge how well you write in different environments — as well as when and where you work best.
Develop conditions for writing flow.
The water doesn’t flow until you turn on the faucet. You’ve probably heard this analogy before. It’s mainly about sitting down with your writing instrument and just letting the words flow from your brain to the page. It’s also about giving yourself permission to write anything — even to write badly.
But since this is going to be an everyday thing for you, it can also help to set the scene for a productive writing session:
Prepare your writing space (declutter, turn on your computer, etc.).
Get the writing music ready (if music helps you get into the zone).
Silence your phone and minimize other distractions.
It also helps to schedule a specific writing time and to show up for it every day. Take it as seriously as a job, because that’s what it is.
It’s work, and you don’t have the luxury of waiting for inspiration; neither should you expect to always feel motivated. Some days will feel like a slog; other days, the timer will sound, and you’ll wonder how your writing session passed so quickly.
Find an accountability partner.
Though writing itself is a solitary exercise, thriving as a writer is not. And if you have writing goals to meet, you’ll get to them more quickly (and enjoy the process more) if you have an accountability partner. This could be a fellow writer whom you contact at least weekly to update each other on your progress, or it could be someone you live with who challenges and encourages you, helping you stay on track.
You might find this accountability partner while connecting with other members of a writing mastermind group on Facebook. Or you might regularly bounce your ideas off your spouse or partner (or another close friend or family member) and ask them for constructive feedback on what you’ve written.
It’s not always easy to find an accountability partner who will be a good fit for you (and vice-versa). Until you find one, it can’t hurt to ask questions of fellow writers in Facebook groups. Wait and see who gives the most helpful answers. And get to know what you expect of an accountability partner before you go looking for one.
Writing Idea Incubator
In order to have a reservoir of good writing ideas, you need to develop the habit of writing down every idea that comes to you. Sometimes, those ideas will seem to come out of nowhere; sometimes they’ll come as you’re challenging yourself to make a list of ten ideas for something.
However, they come, keep a notebook or some index cards handy for writing them down. You can also type them into a digital document using an app like Evernote. Don’t forget to add tags to each note to help you find them:
Nonfiction book ideas
Short story ideas
Blog post ideas
You get the idea. Later on, when you want to review ideas you’ve saved for your next nonfiction book, you’ll search your notes using that tag, and thank yourself for having seized those scraps of time here and there to take down those ideas for when you’d need them.
Anyone of those ideas could then become a folder full of ideas for a specific writing project. You’ll add to it when the ideas come or when you’ve sat down purposefully to explore an idea and flesh it out.
Just writing down an idea (or typing it out) tells your brain to pay attention. Once those words are etched in your memory this way, they begin to take on a life of their own. They reach out to other ideas and draw in disparate scraps of information and imagery. They do this every time you renew your attention to them and spend time teasing them out.
It’s not hard to become a walking nursery of ideas. Whether you prefer using a pen and paper or using a phone app or a laptop, it takes a few seconds to write down an idea. Do it every day, and see how many ideas you manage to collect over one short month.
Ready to Get Started?
Now that you’ve gotten to this point, remember that when it comes to creating a new habit, it pays to keep it simple. Make it as easy as possible to create a new daily writing habit by starting small and linking it to a habit you already have.
Remember that day-to-day consistency is more important than the amount of writing you do or the amount of time you spend writing each day. And don’t forget to create a visible reminder of your commitment and of your progress in building a daily writing habit.
If you break the chain, don’t waste time beating yourself up over it. Just start fresh and carry on. Do this as many times as it takes until you’ve formed the writing habit.
If you’re still wondering where to start writing, ask yourself where you’re most comfortable. Where do you feel least self-conscious or least susceptible to distractions? Or where do you find it easier to let the words flow out of you with trying to edit them at the same time?
And if you’re asking how to begin writing every day when you struggle to write a few times a week, tell yourself, “I’m going to write something — even if it’s just a few sentences and even if those sentences are terrible — every day. And then I’ll mark a big red X on the calendar for each day I succeed in doing this. I can write at least a few sentences every day. And sometimes, I’ll write more than that. But I’ll do at least that much.”
Do what you can with what you have at your own pace. If you can write for a minute or longer now, get started on your daily writing commitment. Get the words out. Write anything.
You could even start by writing what you think of this article and what you’re going to do about it.
Spread the writing love.
If you found value in this article, please pass it on to help other writers improve their craft and earn an income with their words. Help them get more of those words onto the page, so they can improve them and start earning more.
The small act of sharing an article that has helped you become a better writer may lead to the publication of a book that becomes a treasured favorite. Who knows what you’ll start.
May your creativity and thoughtfulness influence everything else you do today.
Would you like to connect with other writers while you learn how to improve your writing skills and create books that will sell?
Writing websites aren’t a new thing, but there are so many out there on the world wide web, and it can be hard to know which ones are really worth your time.
So, we’ve curated this list of twelve top writing websites to help you grow as a writer.
Some are writing blogs written by passionate and knowledgeable authors; others are writing websites with resources to help you further develop your writing skills and connect with other creative thinkers.
Some will challenge the way you think, leading you down a rabbit hole of brilliance and unconventional insight. Others will offer practical advice on how to not only create a book you’ll be proud of but also to make sure it actually sells.
So, when you’re not actually writing, take some time to check out the following links and bookmark the ones you’ll want to spend more time with.
Top Writing Websites to Inspire and Motivate
The best creative writing websites offer not only practical instruction on writing (food for the mind) but also creative support and inspiration (for the heart).
Every one of the sites listed below has real people behind the words — challenging you even as they encourage and celebrate your efforts. Bringing them into your writing world can only make it richer.
This is what it sounds like: the blog for the annual NaNoWriMo challenge — supporting and celebrating every writer who participates. If you’ve never undertaken the challenge and would like to know more, check it out.
The website is about more than the challenge itself; it also contains down to earth articles on the process of editing your NaNo manuscript. The article, “6 Tips for Polishing Your Manuscript” alone is worth a visit. The number one tip? “Forget everything you’ve heard about grammar.” Curious? So was I.
The keeper of this writing blog, Suzannah Windsor, has written hundreds of articles on everything from fiction writing (novels and short stories) to traditional publishing to blogging to her own novel-writing journey.
Start with her “New? Start Here” tab, and you’re more than likely to find some articles worth reading, no matter what stage you’re in.
If you enjoy the articles and want to share your own knowledge and experience to benefit other writers, use the “About” tab and select “Write for Us.”
This is K.M. Weiland’s blog, and it’s a treasure vault of helpful articles, particularly for writers of fiction. Weiland has become a writer’s household name, especially when it comes to outlining and writing successful novels.
Whether you describe yourself as a “plotter” (an outliner) or a “pantser” (someone who writes without an outline) — or as something in between — you can learn plenty from Weiland’s articles on character development, plot design, and story structure.
On this blog, you’ll find carefully researched and thoughtfully written articles on the lives and insights of famous authors. Maria Popova chooses her topics carefully, and it’s not hard to find an article that will pique your curiosity and reward you well for your time.
Some of the most interesting articles on this site involve an intersection between two different authors — like Neil Gaiman and Ursula Le Guin or Bram Stoker and Walt Whitman.
Storybird has free online writing courses at different grade levels (from Kindergarten to adult) to help students improve their skills and become more confident writers.
Whether you sign yourself up or use this as an educational tool for your kids, this site is a valuable resource for young writing students and professional writers alike.
Check out the writing challenges or the free writing courses from Storybird’s own teachers. Earn crowns for every day you come back to write, and redeem those crowns for writing rewards — such as a beautifully formatted printable PDF of your story or the addition of your story to their public library.
The tagline reads “Practical Advice to Help Build Better Books,” and that’s what Joel Friedlander’s site is all about. Writing isn’t the only important thing to consider when creating a book that will sell; marketability is also about the packaging.
And you’ll find a huge storehouse of knowledge to help you make the experience of reading your book as enjoyable as possible for your readers.
Happy readers are more likely to leave 5-star reviews and spread the word about your books. So, it pays to take the time to carefully craft your book. And Joel Friedlander knows what it takes to make it shine.
Joanna Penn created this blog to help her fellow writers (of fiction or nonfiction) create high-quality books, publish them, and become highly-paid authors.
Whether you’re writing a novel or a nonfiction book, you’ll find plenty of helpful content on this site — not only for the writing but also for publishing and marketing your work.
Go to the “Start Here!” page to download a free copy of Penn’s Author 2.0 Blueprint and click on the topic you’re most interested in to learn more. You’ll also see links to professional editors, book formatters, and book cover designers.
Bryan Hutchinson’s blog is all about helping writers stay positive and create work that matters. As the unsinkable author of Writer’s Doubt, Bryan isn’t afraid to call out and defy popular ideas (like “The first draft of anything is sh#!”), and he recently hosted a writing contest with the theme, “You are enough.”
Check out his blog for heartfelt, creative advice on how to be an “unstoppable writer.” And don’t forget to sign up for his email list and download your free copy of his books, Good Enough and The Writer’s Manifesto.
This site not only provides 100 writing prompts at four different levels (for their 100-Day Writing Challenge), but it also highlights the cultural salad bowl of literature in the United States. The articles are varied, creative, and well worth a look.
Connect with the writers on Facebook in the Tapestry Story Reader page to interact and to receive updates on new articles.
From their active community of writers to their varied collection of free writing resources to their detailed and helpful writing critiques, Scribophile has earned the compliment, “Finally, a writing group that works!”
Sign up to find beta readers, receive genuinely helpful feedback on your writing, learn how to publish your work, and become part of a friendly and supportive online writing community. It might just replace one of your social media channels.
Michael Michalko is the creative thinking expert behind this innovative website, which provides not only helpful articles and information on Michalko’s fascinating background but also creative exercises and thought experiments to help you think like a genius and remove any block in your path to success.
Wattpad is “the world’s most-loved storytelling platform.” Sign up for free to share your fiction — one short story or chapter at a time — with “a global community of 70 million readers and writers.”
It’s easy to get started on this platform, and with the Wattpad app for your smartphone or tablet, you can add to your work and receive updates on reader responses even when you’re away from your computer.
There’s nothing quite like seeing that someone new is following you on Wattpad to receive a notification every time you publish a new chapter. You’ve just hooked a new reader, and the game is on to keep that new reader’s attention.
Did you enjoy this article?
If we’ve helped you learn more about some of the best writing websites available, would you please share this article to help your fellow writers?
Who knows what impact you’ll have with the content you share. With just one of the links in this article, you could inspire a fellow writer to create a story or nonfiction series that will have pride of place on your own bookshelf — inspiring you in return.
In the meantime, spend some time with a creative writing website that has what you need right now. And don’t forget to give them some love by sharing their content with others, too.
May your thoughtfulness and creativity influence everything else you do today.
You already know that having writing skills has the power to change your life and the lives of those who read your work.
So, it makes sense that writing better — more clearly, more fluidly, and more beautifully — has even greater power for both you and your reader.
How do you improve writing skills?
How do you improve to become the kind of writer whose work other people read aloud — because it sounds so good in their heads, their vocal cords get jealous?
It’s both easier and harder than it sounds to develop new writing skills.
It’s easier because once you learn tips for better writing, you’ll find it easier to improve your writing; it’s harder because it takes commitment, butt-in-chair time, and discovering ways to practice writing. It’s real work.
There is no magic bullet that will instantly transform you into a highly-skilled and emulated writer.
When it comes to learning to write well, you’ll cover more ground in less time if you implement these steps on how to get better at writing. So, dig in and see how even small changes to your writing skills can make a huge difference.
Why Learning Basic Writing Skills Is So Important
Effective writing that hooks and holds onto your reader’s attention takes conscious effort. It takes an appreciation for the rhythm and nuances in the words you use.
And it takes a commitment to ruthless editing. You need to know what stands in the way of improving your writing.
But why bother? Why put in the effort?
Unlike the textbooks you had to read in school, no one has to read your writing. And there’s plenty more to choose from — and plenty other claims on your reader’s attention.
If you want readers to go beyond the first sentence, you’d better make it as easy as possible for them to do so.
I don’t mean that you should dumb down your writing. Good writing respects your readers’ intelligence as much as their time.
Good writing also leads the reader effortlessly from one sentence to the next.
By learning to write well and applying these writing tips shared in this article, you can make your writing kinder to your reader — and harder to put down.
And what can that do for you?
Better paid writing opportunities
Invitations to ghostwrite books on subjects you love
Opportunities to guest blog on well-established websites
The satisfaction of seeing the dramatic, positive difference in your writing skills
The joy of receiving feedback from readers whose lives (or at least whose days) were made better by something you wrote
If you’re at all interested in writing books and reaching an audience hungry for your message, your commitment to writing better (for your reader’s sake) is what will make that possible.
Self-publishing has made it both easier and more difficult for writers. It’s easier to make your words more accessible to your target readers but harder to compete against a larger selection of books written on the same subjects.
So, learning how to be a great writer is critical to your success.
15 Ways To Improve Writing Skills
1. Improve your writing every day.
If you’re serious about improving your writing, you make time for it every day — even if it’s only fifteen minutes at a time. You show up for it even on the days when it feels as though the words are jammed inside you and nothing wants to come out.
Not sure what to write?
Try using any of the following questions as writing prompts:
What are you grateful for in this moment?
What makes you angry – or sad – or happy?
What comes to mind when you look around?
What does your story’s main character think about the other characters?
What will you do today?
The human mind likes to reach out and know things. Give it a chance to explore, and write about what’s going on in your head or in the head of one of your story characters.
Just keep showing up — one day at a time. Keep getting the words out and then taking the time to edit them.
2. Increase your word power.
While you shouldn’t force ten-dollar words into your writing to impress your readers, it can only do you good to increase your vocabulary.
The more words you know, the more likely you’ll find just the right ones to evoke the images you want your reader to see — without relying on overused modifiers (like “very,” “really,” etc.).
The games and dictionary at Vocabulary.com test your knowledge of English vocabulary and help you improve your word power by exposing you to other words, as well as other meanings for the words you already know.
3. Pace yourself with punctuation.
Varying your punctuation and sentence length creates a certain cadence for your writing, which helps keep your reader’s attention. No one wants to read a series of short, choppy sentences.
And few of us have the time or inclination to read stream-of-consciousness sentences so long we’re no longer sure each one is grammatically correct by the time we get to the end of it. And reading it again to check would take too much effort.
Sometimes, you’ll want to link phrases with commas, other times with semicolons or colons, and other times, you’ll separate them with a period to create two distinct sentences. If you’re a fan of the dash, it’s all too easy to overuse it.
Respect your reader’s attention and mental energy by varying the rhythm of your sentences, using punctuation to create pauses and full stops where you need them.
4. Respect your reader’s time (and energy).
Don’t waste your reader’s time with sentence after sentence of verbal throat-clearing. There’s setting the stage, and then there’s killing time before the main act finally wanders onto the stage. The audience knows the difference.
Gently but quickly lead your reader to the message at the heart of your writing. Cut out sentences and phrases that are little more than pointless digressions from your message. If it’s fodder for another book or article, save it for that.
5. Write once, edit twice (or more).
Writing is rewriting. You’ve probably heard this before, but it’s worth repeating. To make your writing as enjoyable to read as possible, you’ll need to edit it at least twice.
This is why professional editors tend to make at least three editing sweeps of their clients’ work before returning it. The final sweep may be mostly about proofreading, but their eyes are always open to other details that may need fixing.
As a writer, yours should be, too. Take the time to carefully edit your work.
6. Let your writing breathe.
Before you dive into editing, though, give yourself and your work in progress (WIP) some time apart. Here are some ideas for what to do with yourself during the break between writing and editing:
Read a book (not the one you wrote).
Write something completely different (a new book, journal entries, a short story, poetry, etc.).
Get out, and do something social.
Rearrange your furniture and declutter your workspace.
Spend at least a day working on a different kind of project.
You’ll come back to your work with a clearer head and fresher eyes.
7. Read great writing.
If you want to learn to write well, read exceptional writing. Read the kind of writing ability that makes you think, “Man, I wish I could write like this!”
Make a list of books and other publications that immerse you in high-quality writing – writing so good you want to read it aloud – and spend time with them every day.
The company you keep includes what you read. And the strong writing skills you read shows up in what you write.
8. Copy great writing.
I mean this literally. Take something written in language that clears your mind and makes your heart swell, and copy it by hand into a notebook.
You can also copy by typing, though handwriting engages your reticular activating system (RLS), making it more likely that you’ll internalize the vocabulary and writing style of the passages you copy — particularly those that make a strong impression on you.
It may seem like mundane and pointless busy work but think of it as a way to ensure that you’ll receive the greatest benefit from the book you’re reading.
Not only will you remember the message and its articulation more clearly; you’ll also be better able to articulate that message in your own words while learning to express your ideas with more clarity and elegance.
9. Avoid unnecessary adverbs.
If you really, truly, honestly want to firmly keep your reader’s attention, cut all the adverbs that aren’t strictly necessary – starting with the ones in this sentence.
Result: “If you want to keep your reader’s attention, cut all the adverbs that aren’t necessary.”
I don’t mean you can never use adverbs. They have their place. But use them as sparingly as you can. Find verbs, nouns, and even adjectives that create the right mental picture without the extra dressing.
Check your work for repeat offenders like the following:
There are others. They’re everywhere because they’re easy to use. Writing the way you talk has its advantages — particularly with blogging — but also its pitfalls. This is one of them.
10. Kill those clichés.
You’ve seen them everywhere. That’s how they became clichés.
But they’re so, so easy to use. They come into your head and appear on the page almost before you realize what you’re doing. They’re insidious.
And just as you want to avoid unnecessary adverbs and anything that slows your reader’s progression from one sentence to the next — distracting them so they roll their eyes or crinkle that space between their eyebrows — you want to mercilessly cut every cliché you find.
11. Keep it simple.
You don’t want your writing to draw attention to itself. So, take a hard pass on the purple prose and stick with language that conveys the idea with clarity, simplicity, and elegance.
It doesn’t mean you can’t get creative sometimes with your description. But don’t try so hard to sound creative that you sacrifice clarity and flow.
For example, the odds are pretty good that the word “utilize” will make your reader think, “Why not just go with the word ‘use’ like a regular human?” You don’t want your reader questioning your word choice. It interrupts the conversation.
12. Cut out redundancies.
Cut out any sentences or clauses that say the same thing you said earlier with different words. Redundancies don’t add emphasis. Most of the time, they’re just a waste of words and your reader’s attention.
You’ll clean up most of these during the editing process.
13. Deliver information in small doses.
Shorter sentences are easier to read and process than long, rambling ones with multiple clauses strung together. This is why the Hemingway app flags sentences if they stray beyond the ideal word count limit.
Sometimes you’ll want to join a couple clauses, using the right punctuation. But a series of compound sentences — with two clauses joined with a conjunction, semicolon, or colon — can be as stultifying to the reader as a string of simple sentences.
When you try to cram as much information into a sentence as you can, you usually end up sacrificing both clarity and your reader’s attention.
14. Stick with one idea per sentence.
Just as with clauses, you’ll want to be careful about stringing together too many ideas in one sentence. One is usually enough.
For example, you can write that A is B and is also C, but try to avoid linking two different ideas together in the same sentence. Instead of saying “A is B and, by the way, C is nothing like D,” find a way to do justice to the “A is B” idea before moving on — in a different sentence — to “C is nothing like D.”
Don’t try to get two points across in the same breath. It doesn’t work, and your reader will probably give up and move on to something else.
15. Learn the rules — and learn to break them when necessary.
Grammar rules are there for a reason. But when it comes to creative writing, there are few absolutes. With fiction, it’s pretty much the norm to see sentence fragments — especially in dialogue.
With blogging, it’s not unusual to dispense with the rule against ending a sentence with a preposition. Because, in speech, we do that all the time. And interrupting a conversation to point out someone’s grammatical errors is not a good way to make (or keep) friends.
This is one situation where it pays to read great writing and to take time to copy it. You pick up on current grammar use for the type of writing you want to master, and you’re less likely to compose your ideas in a way that sounds like you’re trying to please your high school English teacher.
Please your reader instead. Improve your grammar by keeping the rules that serve the purpose of your writing, and break those that don’t.
Write it Forward
If you found value in this article, please share it on your preferred social media platform to help fellow writers to strengthen and clarify their writing.
Think of all the students out there learning new things by reading. As we work to make education more person-centered — rather than industry-focused — the quality of the written content we give them has long-term ramifications.
What if the students of tomorrow read something you’ve written – or will someday write?
You’ll want to make sure improve your writing so it is as clear and compelling as possible. You’ll want it to be so good teachers read it aloud – and encourage their students to do the same. If you now have a better idea of how to hone your writing skills, this article has fulfilled its purpose.
And may your purpose and your creativity influence everything else you do today.