Self-editing Your Book: A Guide for Authors

Self-editing Your Book: A Guide for Authors

The importance of editing your book

Writing a book can be daunting; the real challenge begins when the writing is finished, and the editing process begins. Reviewing and editing your work is critical if you want your book to be clear, concise, and error-free. Editing is also essential for ensuring your book doesn’t confuse your readers and have them asking questions, which could lead to less success. While it is crucial, the editing process can be overwhelming. Use this guide to help you through the process, from gathering feedback to proofreading and polishing, as well as tips and tricks to make your book the best it can be. Proper editing makes your book more likely to be recommended to others and achieve higher sales, publicity, and success.

Take a break

You might feel like you’re on a hamster wheel as you get into the editing process. You’re in the middle of the project, there’s a lot to do, and suddenly you can’t see the end in sight. It might be worth taking a break if you find yourself getting overwhelmed. Take a walk, take a trip, do something that lets you clear your mind and get ready to jump back in, refreshed and motivated. You’ll find that you have a better perspective when you return to your work.

Read your work aloud

Reading aloud while editing your work is a great way to find errors in your writing. It lets you hear your work as if someone else is reading it, which can help you pick up on typos and incorrect punctuation. Additionally, reading aloud can help you detect wordy phrases or sections that could be rewritten for clarity. Finally, it can help you discover sentence structure errors, such as run-on sentences.

Outline your edits

Editing your work is about more than just catching spelling and grammar mistakes—it’s also about improving the quality of your work. To ensure everything is addressed, it’s a good idea to outline the changes you want to make. Then, as you read, take note of anything that needs editing. Make a separate item for each change. For instance, if a section is too long, mark it down as the first item. If there’s a spelling error, make it the second item. A grammar mistake could be the next, and rewording a sentence could be the fourth. An outline helps you see what you need to do and can help you move through your edits faster.

Check for accuracy

While editing your book, be sure to check for accuracy. This involves verifying facts, figures, and data to ensure they are correct and up-to-date. Researching outside sources and consulting experts can provide additional insights. Finally, make sure sources are reputable and current. Having false or outdated information in your work will reflect poorly on you as a writer.

Have someone else read your work

As you get to the end of the editing process, consider having someone else read your work. It can be helpful to get a fresh perspective on your work, even if you have already edited it. Of course, you can eventually hire a copyeditor, but asking family and friends to read your work is a great start. Having a new set of eyes review your work is a great way to get a real sense of how easy your work is to understand and help you identify places where your information is unclear.

Edit for consistency

When you’re editing your work, it’s also worth looking at the overall style of your book. Is it consistent with your brand? Are the titles, subtitles, and chapter names consistent? Check for any inconsistencies in spelling, grammar, punctuation, and capitalization. If your brand is consistent, your readers will recognize it and be more likely to read your work. It can also be helpful to look at the length of your chapters and sections. If you have particularly long chapters or sections, consider breaking them into smaller chunks so readers can follow the information more easily.

Format your work

Whether you plan on self-publishing or working with a publishing house, it is important to consider formatting before you begin the publishing process. Most publishing houses will give you guidelines on how they would like your work formatted, but if they do not provide specifications, it is best practice to use a 12 point serif font, double space, and one-inch margins with page numbers.

Note: we don’t require special formatting, but many publishers do.

Editing your book can be challenging and feel tedious, but it’s important to remember that you are making your work better.

Book Marketing Ideas For Authors

Book Marketing Ideas For Authors

The Definition of Marketing

Marketing is an umbrella term that encompasses promotional activities designed to sell products. When it comes to books, marketing aims to reach readers and sell copies. It’s a mix of public relations, advertising, publicity, and other forms of spreading the word and raising awareness among booksellers and consumers.

The Importance of Book Marketing

As much as authors wish it were true, writing the book is not enough. The truth is no one will read it if they don’t know it even exists. So how do you let people know about your book? That’s where marketing comes in. It’s critical authors assume a business mindset—your book is a commodity that needs promotion to succeed outside your inner circle of friends and family. It may be out of your comfort zone to talk about your book (and yourself!), but the good news is that you can market your work in many ways. Read on to discover different marketing strategies to find which one(s) are the best fit for you.

Let’s Talk Marketing!

Here are seven things you can do to market your book. Some are easy enough to start today!

1. Create a website.

If you mention your book to someone or a reader happens to stumble across a copy, one of the first things they might say is, “Where can I learn more about this?” The answer: Your website. Having an online presence is super important for authors. The first step is setting up a basic landing page with your headshot, book cover, and contact information, which you can grow into an entire website with pages, links, and more. It might sound intimidating, especially for the tech-challenged author. However, it may be simpler than you might think. Platforms like Squarespace and Wix offer templates and a user-friendly interface.

TIP: Invest in purchasing your domain, which comes off as more professional and legitimate.

2. Establish a social media presence.

Social media is a must when it comes to marketing your book. It’s free and generally easy—posting pictures or videos is a great way to capture reader attention and drive them to your book or website. But here’s the thing: You don’t have to be on every platform. Instead, choose one or two platforms that best fit you and your audience. For instance, if you’re writing YA, that would probably be TikTok. If you’re writing for women 40+, that would probably be Facebook. Then, set up your accounts for consistency and recognition using the same profile picture (a professional author headshot is nice) and cross-linking posts.

3. Start an email list.

Email marketing targets consumers through things like newsletters. Have you ever seen those website pop-ups asking for your information? That’s one way authors capture new readers. It is a form of direct marketing since the email is sent to someone who is already a fan or reader. Therefore, they are more likely to be engaged with your book/brand. But how do you go about starting an email list? The key is to start small. Reach out to friends and family, then post on social media and ask followers to sign up if interested. Once your list is established (even if it’s tiny!), send periodic newsletters, including progress updates, cover reveals, launch dates, behind-the-scenes looks, giveaways, and more. Some authors email more regularly (monthly, for instance), while others reach out less often (perhaps quarterly). There are lots of email marketing platforms that are user-friendly, such as Mailchimp, Substack, MailerLite, and many more.

4. Pitch podcasts.

Do you listen to writing/book podcasts? (If not, you should!). Many writing and genre-specific podcasts accept guest interviews. Being a guest on a podcast is an excellent way for readers to learn about your book and you as an author. Do a simple Google search or ask your writer friends for suggestions, then form a list of podcasts that interview authors. During the interview, talk about your writing and publishing journey, the content of your book, what you hope readers will get from it, etc.

NOTE: Many podcasts book out months in advance, so if you’re trying to time an episode to air around a launch, it’s best to inquire ahead of time.

5. Cross-promote with other authors.

You’ve heard the phrase before: It takes a village. The same is true for book marketing! Your village is your author community (if you don’t have one, now’s the time to start forming those connections!). Tap into other writers to cross-promote each other’s work. Perhaps your book is coming out around the same time as someone else’s, or several of you are writing in the same genre. Use each other’s audiences to help grow your own.

A few ideas include:

  • Newsletter swaps
  • Joint giveaways
  • Interview each other
  • Multi-author book bundles
  • Joint Instagram lives
  • Sharing social posts

6. Run a giveaway or promotion.

Who doesn’t like a discounted (or free!) book? Consider running promotions through your website or book platforms like Bookbub, Robin Reads, The Fussy Librarian, and many others. For example, sign up for a Goodreads giveaway, during which readers can enter for a chance to win your book. When they do, your book is added to their “Want to Read” list and shows up in people’s feeds. Whatever promotional strategy you choose, spread the word far and wide by posting on social media and asking people to share.

7. Create ads.

Ads are a great way to attract reader attention, but mastering ads is another story. Fortunately, there are courses (some free) authors can take to learn about creating and running ads on platforms like Google, Amazon, and Facebook/Instagram. Done well, they can be highly effective. If done poorly, they can suck significant cash from your budget. Either way, ads cost money, and as the saying goes, sometimes you have to spend money to make money. So if you’re unsure or worried, consider hiring an ad expert to manage them.

This list covers the basics of book marketing but is not exhaustive. Many creative ways exist to market your book and grow your author brand. The most important thing is that you do something. And remember, you can ask us about our marketing services.

6 Types of Book Endings—And How To Master Them

6 Types of Book Endings—And How To Master Them

Every great story must come to an end (booo!), but the good news is that you, as the author, get to choose what you want that end to be (yay!). When it comes to fiction, not all endings are created equal—each book dictates the conclusion that makes the most sense for the story. Sometimes endings are guided by genre expectations, and other times the author surprises readers in a way they weren’t anticipating. Either way, one of your duties before finishing your book is to decide which type of ending to employ. Not sure which to choose? We’ve rounded up 6 common book endings—read on to learn about each one and how to write them effectively.

1. Resolved Ending

All loose ends are tied up in a resolved ending, leaving the reader without any lingering questions. All storylines come to a natural conclusion, and the story threads are resolved. In many stories, especially fairy tales and romance novels, this is referred to as a Happily Ever After ending, where the book concludes on a high, satisfying note. A fun spin is the Happy For Now ending, which creates a sense of hope and optimism. However, not all resolved endings are happy—many famous tragedies have resolved endings despite being sad or depressing. The key word here is resolve (not the emotion attached to it).

2. Unresolved Ending / Cliffhanger

In contrast, unresolved endings intentionally leave the readers with more questions than answers. A popular technique for unresolved endings is the cliffhanger, a plot device that creates shock and suspense and makes the reader want more. Series authors use cliffhangers to encourage people to read the next book in the series. You may leave your protagonist in peril, about to make a significant choice, or racing against a ticking clock. Cliffhangers shouldn’t be used if there’s no follow-up story to finish the storyline (See below for Ambiguous endings, a type of unresolved ending used for stand-alone books).

3. Unexpected Ending

Have you ever finished a book and thought, “I didn’t see THAT coming”? Chances are you just read an unexpected ending or an ending with a twist. This type of book ending is often used in domestic and psychological thrillers. The trick for mastering a surprise ending is to not make it predictable—it should genuinely shock the reader by strategic foreshadowing and dropping breadcrumbs along the way. Twists shouldn’t be used “just because” or to resolve plot problems in a manner that’s not natural to the story. The best unexpected endings create such a surprise that it stays with the reader long after reading.

4. Ambiguous/Open-Ended

Ambiguous, by definition, means to be open to or have several meanings or interpretations. Therefore, an ambiguous book ending is one in which individual readers come to their own conclusions about what happened or might happen in the future. It’s subjective—readers might completely disagree with their own interpretation. When done well, ambiguous endings leave the reader with a multitude of possibilities, and readers are encouraged to draw their own conclusions. This type of ending is divisive—some readers love them, and others loathe them.

5. Full Circle Ending

Also referred to as a Tied Ending, this is when the story ends where it began. It could be as simple as using the same opening and closing sentence or scene (sometimes called “bookending” because like matching book ends, the beginning and end match). A common trope is the Hero’s Journey, often used in mythology and folktales, where the protagonist experiences a sudden or unexpected journey and must find himself, followed by a triumphant return home. A caution for full-circle endings is that they can sometimes feel pointless to the reader, so authors should be sure that the journey/story is meaningful and worthwhile.

6. Expanded Ending / Epilogue

An expanded ending usually occurs in an epilogue, where the narrative jumps forward. Some epilogues jump days, months, or even years into the future. Others change perspectives or narrators. Not all books with an epilogue require a prologue—those two literary devices serve different purposes. A benefit of expanded endings is that they allow the author to resolve unanswered questions that weren’t possible to answer in the main narrative. As a result, readers often feel satisfied with epilogues as the conclusion of a novel. An important note about epilogues: They shouldn’t be overly lengthy. Most epilogues don’t exceed the length of a typical book chapter, and many are even shorter.

Some authors have the ending of their book planned from the beginning (plotters), while others figure it out organically as they go (pantsers). There is no right or wrong, only a personal preference for what works for you and your story. When choosing the type of ending, consider what feels natural and logical and what is expected for your genre. If you’re still unsure, try writing more than one ending, then compare and contrast the impact of each. The good news, at the end of the day (pun intended), is that when you’re writing the ending, chances are you’re nearing the finish line!

How to Create an Effective Book Cover

How to Create an Effective Book Cover

Creating an effective book cover is essential for attracting potential readers and communicating the tone and themes of your book. Some tips for creating a catchy book cover include keeping it simple, using appropriate imagery, using a readable font, using color effectively, considering the size and format, and seeking feedback.

Keep it Simple

Keeping a book cover design simple can make your cover stand out and be easily recognizable. Here are some tips for keeping your book cover design simple:

  1. Use minimal text: Use just enough text to convey the title and author name, and consider using a larger font size for the title.
  2. Use a limited color palette: Choose a few colors that complement each other and are appropriate for the tone and theme of your book, rather than using multiple colors that may make your cover look cluttered.
  3. Use simple, clean lines: Avoid using intricate patterns or shapes that may distract from the overall design.
  4. Use a single focal point: Choose one central image or element to be the focal point of the cover rather than trying to include too many different ideas.
  5. Consider negative space: Leave some negative space on the cover, which can help the design feel uncluttered and draw the reader’s eye to the focal point.

Use appropriate imagery

When choosing an image for your book cover, it’s essential to consider what will best represent your book and appeal to your target audience. Here are a few tips to consider:

  1. Consider the genre of your book: Different genres have different conventions for book covers. For example, mystery novels often feature a shadowy figure, while romance novels often feature a couple.
  2. Think about the mood of your book: The image on your book cover should evoke the mood of your book. For example, if your book is suspenseful, choose an image that is dark and eerie. On the other hand, you might select something more colorful and upbeat if it’s a lighthearted comedy.
  3. Choose an image that is high quality: The cover of your book is the first thing that readers will see, so it’s important to choose an image that is clear and visually appealing.
  4. Think about your target audience: Consider who your book targets and select an image that will appeal to them. For example, if your book targets young adults, you might choose a picture of a group of young people, while if it’s aimed at an older audience, you might select something more mature and sophisticated.
  5. Avoid using cliches: While following genre conventions is important, you don’t want your book cover to be too predictable. Instead, find an original image that will stand out from the crowd.

Use a readable font

When choosing a font for your book cover, it’s crucial to consider readability. You want your font to be clear and easy to read, especially when it appears in small sizes on a book cover. Here are a few tips for choosing a readable font:

  1. Avoid overly decorative fonts: While decorative fonts can be visually appealing, they can be hard to read, especially in small sizes. Instead, choose something simple and easy to read, such as a sans-serif font like Arial or Helvetica.
  2. Use a large enough font size: The font size should be large enough to be easily readable, especially when viewing the book cover at a distance.
  3. Use appropriate line spacing: Proper line spacing can make the text more readable by providing enough space between the lines of text.
  4. Use appropriate letter spacing: Proper letter spacing, also known as “kerning,” can help make the text more readable by ensuring that the space between letters is right.
  5. Use a color that contrasts with the background: Choose a font color that contrasts nicely with the background color of your book cover. The right colors will help make the text stand out and be more easily readable.
  6. Test the font: Before finalizing your book cover design, test the font by viewing it in different sizes and distances to ensure that it is easy to read.

Use color effectively

Color can be an effective tool for creating visual interest and expressing the mood of your book. When choosing colors for your book cover, consider the following:

  1. Choose colors that reflect the mood of your book: Different colors can evoke different moods and emotions. For example, red can be energizing and attention-grabbing, while blue can be calming and reassuring.
  2. Consider the genre of your book: Different genres have different conventions regarding color. For example, mystery novels often feature darker colors like black and dark blue, while romance novels often feature softer, more romantic colors like pink and purple.
  3. Use color to draw attention: Choose colors that will help your book stand out on a crowded bookshelf. Bright, bold colors can be effective for this purpose.
  4. Use a limited color palette: While it’s important to use color to make your book cover stand out, using too many colors can be overwhelming and make your cover look cluttered. Instead, choose a limited color palette of 2-3 colors to create a cohesive look.
  5. Use color to create balance: Use color to balance different elements on your book cover, such as the title and the image. For example, if the title is light, you might choose a picture with a darker background to create balance.
  6. Consider the cultural significance of colors: Different cultures associate different meanings with different colors. For example, in many Eastern cultures, red symbolizes luck and prosperity, while in Western cultures, it is often associated with danger and aggression. Keep this in mind when choosing colors for your book cover.

Consider the size and format

When designing a book cover, it’s essential to consider the size and format of your book. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Choose a size and format appropriate for your book: Different book sizes and formats are appropriate for different books. For example, a small, pocket-sized book might be suitable for a travel guide, while a large, hardcover format might be more appropriate for a coffee table book.
  2. Consider the design elements that will appear on your book cover: Make sure that the design elements, such as the title, author name, and image, are appropriately sized and positioned for the size and format of your book.
  3. Consider the printing process: Different printing processes have different requirements for book cover designs. For example, suppose you are using a digital printing process. In that case, you may have more flexibility in design elements and color. Conversely, consider factors such as bleed and trim if you use offset printing.
  4. Test the design: Before finalizing your book cover design, test it by viewing it in different sizes and formats to ensure that it looks good and is easy to read.

Seek feedback

Seeking feedback on your book cover can help you get insights and suggestions you may have yet to consider. Here are some tips for seeking feedback on your book cover:

  1. Show the cover to a diverse group of people: Consider showing the cover to people of different ages, genders, and cultural backgrounds to get a variety of perspectives.
  2. Ask specific questions: To get more targeted feedback, consider asking specific questions about the cover, such as whether the design effectively communicates the tone and themes of the book, whether the title and author name are easy to read, and whether the cover makes them want to read the book.
  3. Consider showing the cover in different sizes: If you decide to sell the book in several formats, consider viewing the various cover sizes to see how it looks on other devices.
  4. Take feedback with a grain of salt: Remember that everyone has their own preferences and opinions, so not all input will be helpful or applicable. Therefore, consider all feedback carefully, but ultimately make the design decisions that feel right for you and your book.


Creating an effective book cover is vital in marketing your book and attracting potential readers. By keeping the design simple, using appropriate imagery, using a readable font, using color effectively, considering the size and format, and seeking feedback, you can create a book cover that effectively communicates the tone and themes of your book and draws readers in. With careful planning and attention to detail, you can create a book cover that effectively represents your book and helps it stand out in the crowded publishing market.

Grammar Series: Literary Devices: The Special Effects of Writing

Grammar Series: Literary Devices: The Special Effects of Writing

Writers use literary devices to express themselves creatively, add color to their writing, and reveal stories’ themes and overall meaning. These techniques make words pop off the page, creating a more engaging and powerful experience for readers. Read on to discover sixteen of the most common literary devices to explore in your writing.

1. Simile

One of the most used literary devices, similes points out the likeness between two things. They use the words “like” or “as.” For example, her skin was as white as snow. Using similes helps clarify descriptions for readers in a creative way.

2. Metaphor

Like similes, metaphors draw comparisons without using “like” or “as.” For instance, his blood was ice cold. While similes and metaphors are effective, writers should be careful not to overuse them, as they can quickly become cliche.

3. Alliteration

If you’ve tried tongue twisters (Sally sells sea shells), you were playing with alliteration. This technique uses the same sound or letter for multiple words in a row or to start multiple sentences in a row. Using alliteration makes phrases memorable and pleasing to the ear. Authors sometimes use alliteration in book titles, such as Pride and Prejudice or The Great Gatsby.

4. Symbolism / Motif

Symbols and motifs are recurring images throughout a story. They could be images, sounds, smells, or situations. Through repetitive mention, these symbols highlight central ideas and themes of the story, creating a full-circle reading experience.

5. Flashbacks

The backstory is critical to any novel but must be woven in without feeling like an info dump. One way to do this is through flashbacks, where a character recalls a time or situation in the past. Flashbacks give readers important information that can help build on the story or provide clues to what’s happening in the present day.

6. Allusion

An allusion is when a writer refers to another person, place, or thing, assuming the reader will make a connection. It helps condense your writing and cleverly infer meaning. For example, “she felt like she’d just won a golden ticket” alludes to Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

7. Foreshadowing

Like dropping clues along the way, foreshadowing gives hints to the reader about what may be coming. It’s used to create suspense or a sense of unease and is an excellent strategy for keeping readers engaged and turning the pages.

8. Satire

Satire is a device that pokes fun at something in social or popular culture and is used as a light-hearted ridicule. Often used in conjunction with humor and/or irony, it’s a way to criticize something about human nature.

9. Allegory

Allegories are stories that serve as symbolism to a more prominent theme. Much like metaphors, only longer and more extended allegories express complex ideas in a way that readers can more easily grasp. One great example is George Orwell’s Animal Farm.

10. Onomatopoeia

Splash! Bang! Boom! Onomatopoeias are words whose pronunciation mimics the way it sounds. This literary device improves the flow of the prose and makes the reader feel like they’re in the scene with sound effects.

11. Euphemism

Euphemisms are words used to replace other terms that may be offensive or less polite. For instance, some people prefer to say someone “passed away” rather than “died” or “let go” instead of “fired.” To many, the use of euphemisms is considered more politically correct.

12. Colloquialism

How’s it goin’? Y’all keeping up with all these literary devices? These are two examples of colloquialisms: words and phrases used in informal communication or as a representation of a particular region or demographic. They’re great for casual conversation and dialogue to make it sound realistic and natural.

13. Personification

This literary device gives human characteristics to inanimate objects. For instance, describing the wind as cruel or stars leaping through the sky. Other examples include news traveling quickly and the sun smiling down on people. Personification makes writing more lively and helps create a visual image in the reader’s mind.

14. Imagery

While it might seem like a no-brainer, creating imagery in a story is a literary device writers use. Imagery includes setting the scene through a detailed description and creating an ambiance using all the senses: visual, auditory, tactile, etc. Compelling imagery in writing will give the reader an emotional, sensational experience.

15. Tone

Will your writing be serious? Humorous? Deep or light? Playful or intimate? All these are different tones—attitudes a writer takes toward the work. Some genres are known for particular tones (for instance, rom-coms are usually light and comical). Deciding which tone to take is crucial, so you are consistent throughout the book and do not confuse the reader.

16. Cliffhanger

A cliffhanger is when a writer leaves something unresolved to increase suspense. They’re used at the end of chapters or a whole book, especially if it’s part of a series. Because they create intrigue and curiosity, cliffhangers are a strategic way to keep readers wanting more.

Writing is about personal style, and it’s up to an individual author to decide which literary devices are best for their book. However, combined, they are highly effective in shaping a writer’s unique style and, in turn, a book that stands out.