As a ghostwriter, nonfiction author, and novelist, Shawn Smucker has a lot of experience collaborating with others. In his own work, he makes it a regular practice to invite others into the editing process by asking beta readers to read his manuscript before the final draft is written.
In an interview with hope*writers, Shawn shares some of his pro tips for finding readers who can help spot a manuscript’s weaknesses before it goes to press. Beta readers can be an integral part of the writing process for any author.
Who to Ask
The first step in choosing beta readers is deciding how many readers to ask. Recommendations vary among writers, but Shawn suggests asking between three and five readers who belong to your target audience for their feedback. The more readers involved, the more widely the opinions will vary. With too many beta readers, it can be difficult to find a consensus on what needs revising in your manuscript.
There are three important...
When an author goes the route of traditional book publishing, it can be a relief to have publishing team members lend their expertise to the process. However, those who haven’t been through this process may not be aware how much of the design process is guided by publishing professionals rather than the author’s direct input.
To help us understand what to expect as a book moves through the publishing process, hope*writers sat down with book cover designer Mark Lane, a professional designer with Tyndale House Publishers.
He gives authors a few pointers on how to work with their book designer for results everyone will love.
Remember Publishing is a Team Effort
As authors, much of our time is spent writing alone. We don’t often invite others into the writing process until we’ve completed our work and sent it to our editor for review. However, when you work with a traditional publisher, the design process is in progress behind the scenes by the time...
Author and publisher Maria Dismondy released a new book in 2020 called Sunny Side Upbringing: A Month-by-Month Guide to Raising Kind and Caring Kids. Cardinal Rule Press will open for picture book submissions on November 1, 2020. More details can be found at CardinalRulePress.com.
When elementary school teacher Maria Dismondy couldn’t find the right book to help her teach students about character, she decided to write the book herself. Nine books later, Maria is not only a seasoned author, she is the owner and founder of her own publishing company, Cardinal Rule Press.
As a parent, former teacher, children’s author, and publisher, she understands children’s literature as both a consumer and a maker, and she recognizes that it is both an art and a business.
Maria sat down with hope*writers to share her publishing advice for aspiring children’s authors.
Begin With Your Why
Before reaching out to publishers, it’s important to know WHY you...
A published book is often seen by writers as the pinnacle of the craft. For many of us, our dream of becoming a writer began with reading good books. Perhaps you’ve imagined your name on a cover or looked for where your book would sit on a library shelf.
Seasoned editor and publisher Roy M. Carlisle tells hope*writers that publishing a book is the final step in the process of developing and sharing an idea.
He says, “People think of the book as if it’s the first thing [to be published], and it’s the last thing . . . You must remember that the book is a result of the process.”
What is this process? Roy calls it “the information funnel.”
Where to Begin
Book ideas are rarely fleshed out for the first time in the book itself. Writers begin to ask what resonates with readers and play with ideas in more accessible and immediate areas of publication. These include the internet, radio, TV, and daily newspapers, offering the most...
Writers love to spend time on content creation. Because of our focus on the art of writing, we may initially find the world of publishing confusing and mysterious. It can be challenging to find a clear explanation of the process of book publishing without chasing rabbit trails across the internet.
What happens first? Who are the main players? At hope*writers, we want to help you avoid hours of googling for the right information. We chatted with Alex Field, literary agent and owner of literary agency The Bindery to learn from his expertise on the process of publishing. He gave us an overview of the eight steps to traditional publication, from idea to contract.
Step One: Write a Book Proposal
A book proposal is a business plan for your book. It typically includes a summary and outline of the book, a description of your target audience, information about you as an author, and a marketing plan. For nonfiction, it will include at least three sample chapters. Fiction writers...
The growth of the internet as a publishing outlet has offered many writers the opportunity to share their stories in ways that were not possible before; however, this gift can be a double-edged sword. Because of the proliferation of content online, it’s easy for a writer’s voice to be drowned out by other voices producing content on the same topics.
At hope*writers, we want the words you publish to stand out from the rest, so we sat down with experienced editor Stephanie Smith for a conversation about what she looks for in a writer.
She offers the following tips to help you go from writer to author by refining your ideas for a word-saturated market.
Universal topics such as family relationships, vulnerability, coping with anxiety, and personal growth continue to resonate with readers, regardless of how many writers explore these subjects. Stephanie urges us to follow the poet Emily Dickinson’s advice: “Tell all the truth but tell it...