Useful Sources

Every writer should have a copy of Strunk and White's Elements of Style. The book was originally published by William Strunk, Jr., in 1918, and "the little book," as it was called by students, was a "forty-three-page summation of the case for cleanliness, accuracy, and brevity in the use of English." A student of Strunk, the noted author of Charlotte's Web, E. B. White, added material to the original work in 1959, and now, in its fourth edition, the book has grown to 105 pages. Over 10 million copies have sold because of its "don't do this; do this" approach to grammar and writing.

Read Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott. This is a bible amongst writers -- and probably the best -- because Ms. Lamott relies on her experience as a writer and her personal, chaotic life to give advice that is at once reverent and irreverent, and above all, honest. You may enjoy her interview on writing at Powell's Bookstore.

Having a website is a must for authors. This is the most profitable way of selling your book because you have to give up 55% of the selling price if your book is offered by online bookstores like Amazon.com and BN.com (Barnes & Noble). You will, however, have to set up a secure way for customers to use a credit card to purchase your book. Check out these companies that offer credit card processing:

    Buyerzone.com

    • GoEMerchant.com

    • PayPal.com

    • Verisign.com

Connect with people. Start immediately building your list of friends, business associates, organizations, and even other writers who could help you sell your book.  

Great Advice for Writers. In his essay entitled, "Politics and the English Language," George Orwell offers writers these simple rules:

  1.  Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.

  2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.

  3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.

  4. Never use the passive where you can use the active.

  5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.

  6. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

Stephen King's Speech at the 2003 National Book Awards. Among other advise for young writers, Mr. King says that it is difficult for a writer to succeed by writing just for the money. You should read Stephen King's Speech at the 2003 National Book Awards.

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