Perish the Thought!
"The Singular They is Now
Officially Correct," states Dave Bricker in this January 16, 2015 article.
"The singular they/them has been adopted as officially correct English by over
200 linguists at the American Dialect Society. The Washington Post has already
integrated the new rule into its style guide."
I have found many ways to avoid the clumsy him/her references in my writing,
and I won't let a bunch of linguists change my view on this topic. It's one thing to speak this way
(and I'm as guilty as the next person here), and quite another to write this way. I urge
professional writers who care about
the quality of their writing not to take the lazy way out by using the singular
BARBARA'S FIRST MEMOIR continues to find an
appreciative audience. See summary reviews and story of Barbara's early life as a professional musician
Kindle Addiction: Why I Love the Kindle, by Mollie Wakeman, with an introduction
by Barbara, who details her use of the Kindle for pleasure and Kindle for PC for
her editing, writing, and eBook publishing work; with links to free downloads
for Kindle for PC and MAC computers.
Barbara's "Book Cat," Charlee
(The story behind
Longest Book Title in the World?
Check this best-selling financial
book on Amazon which is surely the longest book title in the world—104
words. The first three words of the title are RESCUE YOUR MONEY, but then the
title just keeps going with the word "from" and runs to the bottom of the cover.
I found this a very interesting way to tell readers up front exactly what
they're going to get in a book. (You'll have to zoom in on the picture to read
it all, but you can see that this is a mini brochure for the book, done in a way
to entice readers to keep reading right to the bottom.)
Can You Read This? ("Inetertsing," to say the least)
Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at an Elingsh uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht
oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and
lsat ltteer is at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can
sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by
itslef but the wrod as a wlohe. Ins't taht cool? (Ntocie I sawpped teh two oo's
in cool.) ~ Author unknown
Copyright © 2000-2018
by Barbara Brabec.
All Rights Reserved.
Articles and Resources for
Writers and Self-Publishers
On this page you'll find links to a wealth of articles and Web resources for
freelance writers and authors interested in self-publishing. All articles are by
Barbara Brabec unless otherwise noted. Quick Links:
Copyright Issues *
Writing a Book * Self-Publishing
General * Working with a Trade Publisher
Reader Articles & Reports
Barbara's Editing Checklist of Common Writing Errors. Use this helpful list
when you're proofreading your manuscripts and trying to find all your grammar
and punctuation errors.
Electronic Editing: A Great Way to Learn How to Improve Your Writing.
Electronic on-screen editing is not only easier and faster for the editor,
resulting in a lower editing fee, but a great time saver and learning experience
for the author who can see every little thing the editor has changed, and, with
a click of the mouse, immediately accept or reject that change.
Here Today, Gone Tomorrow. Barbara waxes nostalgically about what many people
are now losing because of the convenience and speed of electronic and digital
communication, which has made letters seem impractical. "But don't let your
personal, family, and home-business history get lost in the process," she urges.
Success Tips for Beginning Writers and Would-Be Authors.
How Barbara got started as a writer, with practical tips and resources for
Writing as Therapy. How journaling or letter-writing can effectively release
pent-up emotions, especially during the grieving process. Includes links to
several books and articles on this topic.
"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside a dog, it's too dark
to read." ~ Groucho Marx
American Society of Journalists and Authors.
Blog site for ASJA, an invaluable
membership organization for independent nonfiction writers who are trying to
advance their careers.
Midwest Book Review. A major Internet resource for publishers, writers,
librarians, booksellers, and book lovers of all ages and interests. Includes
dozens of articles of interest to writers and self-publishers.
Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators. One of the largest existing
organizations for writers and illustrators, and the only professional
organization specifically for those individuals working in the fields of
children's literature, magazines, film, television, and multimedia.
Avoid Clichés. Tips from Communication Briefings newsletter.
Writing from Famous Authors
Mark Twain's Advice on Writing
"Use plain, simple language, short words and brief sentences. That is the way to
write English--it is the modern way and the best way. Stick to it; don't let
fluff and flowers and verbosity creep in. When you catch an adjective, kill it.
No, I don't mean utterly, but kill most of them--then the rest will be valuable.
They weaken when they are close together. They give strength when they are wide
apart. An adjective habit, or a wordy, diffuse, flowery habit, once fastened
upon a person, is as hard to get rid of as any other vice."
The All Rights/Electronic Rights Issue - A personal experience article with
The Controversial "Orphan
Works" Copyright Bills and Google Book Settlement
To Catch a Content Thief.
Another website may be using your copyrighted material. Website expert Dennis
Gaskill offers one way to catch a content thief.
Writing a Book
Book Manuscript Editing Options & Fees. Now expanded to include short
stories and mini-eBooks.
Book Manuscript Formatting Tips.
Avoid digital conversion problems and make your editor and book designer happy
by following these proven book manuscript formatting guidelines from Barbara.
How to Write a Good Memoir: How the book, Your Life as Story, helped Barbara
write a better memoir and biography.
Knowing Someone Like
a Book. How well do you really know your spouse or loved one? In researching
her late husband's life during the writing of her memoir, Barbara learned things
about her husband she never knew before.
Life Writing. What has life taught you that you might
write a book about? This article explains how the writing of her late husband's
biography changed and enriched Barbara's life.
"Good means whatever people buy. Literature is only what people read. That's
the important thing. We're in a business. The first page will sell this book;
the last page will sell your next one. Because people don't read a book to get
to the middle. They read a book to get to the end. And they hope the end
justifies the time they spent."
~ Mickey Spillane, in an interview article
for Memories magazine, 1990
Self-Publishing (Print & Electronic)
Author-Publisher Contracts from Internet Book Publishers and Self-Publishing
Services. Do not sign one of these contracts until you understand the legal and
financial implications of every clause it contains.
Self-Publish a Book--Your Print-on-Demand (POD) Self-Publishing Options, with
Perspective on eBook Editions. This
updated article is a summary of what Barbara has learned from first-hand
experience, with links to some of the best resources for self-publishers
"For a lot of authors, self-publishing is going from the option of last
resort to the option of first resort . . . The stigma associated with
self-publishing is quickly disappearing as we see more and more indie authors
becoming commercially successful on their own merits, and as some of the
problems with traditional publishing become more apparent." ~ Mark Coker, in a
July 2012 interview with Forbes.
"Significant Disruption for Traditional Publishers Still to Come"
The Book Designer. A wealth of articles and practical advice to help build
better books. Note this article: "52 Great Blogs for Self-Publishers."
Independent Publisher (formed in 1996) runs a Book Awards contest each year
to recognize excellence in independent publishing. They stated in 2011 that
there were currently 1.5 million book titles in print and available to American
consumers, with about 160,000 new titles published each year in the U.S. and
about 30,000 new titles published in Canada. Today the independent is also
competing with nearly 70,000 other small-to-midsized presses.
Maurer Copywriting. Professional B2B Writing by Steve Maurer. Steve is a
long-time friend and business associate of Barbara's. Check out his press
release service, and note that a very generous discount is offered to anyone who
consults with Barbara or uses her book editing or manuscript critiquing
SPAN is a nonprofit trade association of independent book publishers with
more than 1,000 members. The association provides support to authors and
independent book publishers through industry news, business benefits, education,
and marketing opportunities.
Book Publishing, General
"Among the wonderful aspects of self-publishing is that my editor and
publisher will never drop me and every sale presents a new opportunity." - G. J. Berger,
author of South of Burnt Rocks West of the Moon
Changing World of Book Publishing. Helpful perspective for book lovers and
Book Publishing News. Interesting posts on a variety of topics of
interest to writers and self-publishers.
Working with a Trade Book Publisher
Author-Publisher Book Contract Consulting Service. Need help in
understanding that publisher's contract you've just been offered? Let Barbara
explain how certain clauses will affect your overall earnings and rights to your
book's content, and what you need to ask for in the way of changes to maximize
your profits. Publishers will negotiate with savvy authors.
Author-Publisher Contract Tips. Barbara's tips on special clauses you should try
to get in your contract. Includes special tips on how and where to find a reputable literary agent.
Selling Your Book to a Trade Publisher.
Barbara shares her personal experiences in working with trade book publishers over the years.
Barbara Doyen Literary Agency.
This is the website of Barbara Brabec's literary agent. It contains a wealth of helpful articles for authors.
Unscrupulous Literary Agents on the Web. Read this excellent article on the
Science Fiction & Fantasy Writer's Website. It offers a list of dishonest agenting practices, explains why there are so many amateur, marginal, and
incompetent agents looking for clients on the Web, and how to tell a
questionable agent from a reputable one. Also included is a list of resources
for authors in search of a good agent.
Reader Articles & Reports
Joan's Angels: An Amusing Story of
how a successful author moves Her books in bookstores. (Joan taught her children to "work the
bookstores" whenever a new book was published.)
My Self-Publishing Experience with Lulu.com. Australian author Bryan West
reports on his positive publishing experience with Lulu, and what authors should
expect here in the way of help and services.
Tapping the Verbal Motherlode by Patricia Kutza. A guide to a treasure chest of
verbal nuggets you can use in your copywriting.
The Joys of Live Alchemy—The Excellent Writer Within by Michael Levy. "The pure
joy of writing makes us successes; nothing else will," says Levy.
[Back to Top]