There can be fewer more embarassing things as a writer, than to realise that something you have written and published contains a glaring error. It's especially embarassing when it's a simple mistake or if it makes you look stupid. One of the greatest pitfalls, and sources and of potential embarassment, is when you get a figure of speech wrong, either through ignorance or just through a plain old typo. How many times have you seen an e-mail, or heard someone speak, and realised that what they've said doesn't look or sound just quite right. In everyday speech we use metaphors, euphemisms and sayings that can be misheard or misconstrued by anyone who isn't familiar with them already. In writing, the situation is just the same; only with a more embarassing effect for the writer. When you're writing or editing your work, think of phrases or sayings that you may have used. Think whether you've used them or expressed them correctly.

While the meaning or sound of the expression may be fine in your head, has it translated onto paper correctly? To illustrate the point, think about these phrases: batting down the hatches v batten down the hatches damp squid v damp squib mute point v moot point adverse to v averse to auger well v augur well alterior motive v ulterior motive barred wire v barbed wire butt naked v buck naked on tenderhooks v on tenterhooks one foul swoop v one fell swoop short shift v short shrift In each case the first one shown is incorrect, the second one is the real phrase. Would you have known this? The reason that many people have difficulty with them is because most of them are homophonic, that is, they sound the same or very similar. Most people will not be able to tell you the origin of some of these well-used phrases but most will readily understand what you are…

Once you have determined the subject of your article, you can write the title to the article. Now one thing is really important when determining the title of your article. The title of your article must be exactly related to what the article is going to address. If is it is not directly related to the subject matter of the article, then people who click into the article to read about the title’s subject, and find that you have written about something else, will click out of your article and you will lose trust with them. One thing that is incredibly important online is that you must be extremely credible in everything that you do. It is hard enough for someone to trust you online, when they cannot see you or visit you in person; if you do deceptive things like create flashy titles just to get people to open your article, but they are

not accurate to the nature of the article, you will lose people’s trust and they will not buy from you. Although I do not spend a lot of time trying to optimize things for the search engines, when I do have an easy opportunity to do it, I often will. So when you write your article title, try to put the main keyword phrase for which you want your article to be ranked, in the first few words. Then, you can write a statement that answers the question or problem you are going to solve in your article. For example, this might be a good title: Puppy Dogs – How to Choose the Right Puppy Dog For Your Pet Or: Dog Training – How to Teach Your Dog New Tricks Of course, once you have written your article title, it is important that you stick to the topic of your title as you write the article.

With more and more writers using the internet as a source of information and facts, it has become imperative to ensure that what you read, use or cite is actually accurate. Few things can be more embarrassing for a writer than being told that the information you've based your writing upon is flawed. The internet can be a risky place to look for information these days. Despite there being many excellent, authoritative and reliable sites that writers can use with confidence, there is an even larger number of sites with little or no credentials whatsoever. These need to be treated with a degree of scepticism. Blogging has seen a significant rise in the number of sites and accessible pages purporting to be giving us the truth, the bare facts or that elusive scoop story. In truth, the writers of these blogs, in the majority of cases, will have no more authoritative sources or knowledge on the subject than you or

I might have. Many blog pages have been created for the vanity of the blogger himself or simply as a platform for advertising revenue, making the quality and accuracy of the content less important to the website owner. Looking further afield, sites like Wikipedia, while being excellent sources of detail and background information should also, and possibly suprisingly, be treated with a note of caution. While Wikipedia appears to be a very authoritative source and is fast becoming the definitive look-up encyclopedia of the web, we need to remember how it is produced and maintained. Anyone can edit a page on Wikipedia. You must therefore look to verify anything you read wherever possible. You will see though, that Wikipedia can sometimes show pages as being in need of proof of claims or or requiring verification. The site is somewhat self-regulated, but anyone can still provide content. In recent times, it has been common practice to look for corroboration of facts…

A lack of confidence in your own writing can be quite common when you first start writing professionally, and can still occasionally hit even the most hardened pro. As with writer's block, writing confidently is as much to do with your state of mind as your ability; there are techniques that can help relax your writing anxiety and help you compose words in a flowing, lucid manner. Here are ten ways of learning to write more confidently, because writing should be a pleasure and not just a profession: 1) Read a lot. Read widely in new genres and formats, and not just within your own area of expertise. Seeing how other authors formulate their paragraphs and project meaning will help formulate structures in your own mind. The more widely you can read the more expansive your points of reference and the influences you can draw on when you sit down to put pen to paper. 2) Write a

lot. The more you write the more you'll relax, and agonize less over every sentence. Write even if your not getting paid for it. Start a blog, write articles for free distribution or write for a charity. Rekindle the feeling of writing for pleasure and remind yourself why you choose to do it in the first place. 3) Overcome your fear of people reading your work. If you're not yet yet writing professionally, share your writing with friends or post it on writing community websites. Stage fright at the thought of exposing your words to others can often hold back many from taking the jump into the professional arena. The fear of criticism of what you've poured out onto the page has to be conquered if you want your talent to be appreciated. 4) Understand why you want to be a writer or why you became one. Was it from friends enjoying your short stories, work colleagues commenting on your writing or…

How many times have you trawled the web, looking for information only to find an article that looks like it was written by a four-year old child? With the rise of article marketing as a proven strategy for promoting websites and increasing traffic, there has been an explosion in the number of article-based websites and articles available. In many cases, however, this rise in the quantity of available web content has been at the expense of quality. There are a great many articles that are not providing the kind of positive promotion that webmasters are looking for. This is because the need to create backlinks is the primary reason for the article but also in part due to the poor standard of the writing in general. If you are writing an article to promote your business or website, you need to remember that the creation of a backlink is not the only reason for the article. You must ensure your

article shows you in a positive and professional light. Poorly written prose, badly constructed sentences and incorrect spelling will annoy your readers. They will serve only to detract from the image that you wish to portray. Readers will know if it was written in a hurry. Mistakes in your articles tell your potential customers that you didn't check them, and so that is the kind of service they can expect from you. Whether this is actually true or not is immaterial. That's the impression you give when you publish a badly written article. There are some simple things you can do to avoid this. Proofread your article. Never write an article and immediately submit it. Leave at least 30 minutes between finishing your draft and proofreading it. This ensures your mind has had a chance to focus on something else and that you've mentally 'dumped' the article content from your mind. You will have a better chance of finding errors…

Virginia Woolfe said that all women need a place of their own to write. Jane Austen might have disagreed, since she wrote all of her wonderful novels on a small table in the drawing room, with her family carrying on activities all around her. Your place to write should fit your needs as a writer. Think about what you need. Quiet? A door to shut? A cork board to pin up pictures and notes? A filing cabinet? A window? Nice, neat little desk accessories? Many homemakers have made do with the kitchen table, but other writers prefer a desk that doesn't have to be cleared at meal time. A few writers have even taken over a corner of the furnace room, that being the only private spot in the house that no one else had laid claim to already. Don't spend too much time arranging the "perfect" space, either, if you use its lack of perfection as an excuse not

to write ("I can't write today -- I have to find colored binder clips."). Rather, think of your space as a work in progress just as you do your writing. "Edit" your space as an ongoing project. Who has access to your writing space? Do your kids feel that your things are theirs, too, and constantly make off with your pencils, staplers, and tape? Can your domestic partner look over your shoulder and critique? Are these things okay with you, or do you need stronger limits to your space? If your writing time involves statements such as, "Okay, NOW where is the stapler?" it may be time to set aside a box or cabinet of writing supplies for your use only. No place in your house that works? How about turning a briefcase into a writing case and taking it to the library? At least you'll have unlimited research material at your fingertips! You'll also find quiet spaces where you…

So you did it. You carried your manuscript all the way to the post office, you paid for the postage, you got your SASE stamped, you sealed the envelope, and you handed your precious creation to the postal worker, who tossed it in a bin. It's on its way to the publisher. Now what? Waiting It's easy to go neurotic while you're waiting, hovering over the mailbox, hoping that today will be the day that the reply comes. Instead of obsessing, get to work directly on your next project and let the ones that are out in the world go. If you keep several projects out at once, you won't fret so much over any one of them. If you've read the submission guidelines, you should know how long of a wait to expect before you should look for a reply. If you haven't heard from the publisher in that time, you can write a polite note requesting to

know the status of your manuscript. Don't call; neither the editor nor the secretary will have the information that you need at his or her fingertips. A note will do. Rejection About 98% of all manuscripts that are submitted to a publisher are rejected. Of those, a huge proportion are simply wrong for that publisher: wrong genre, poorly written, badly submitted, or any of a number of other submission sins. Nevertheless, of the 10% or so of remaining viable submissions, only a small number can be accepted into a publisher's list. Even a very good piece of work may be rejected if it simply doesn't fit the publisher's current needs. That said, it should be plain to the writer that rejection is simply a part of the writing life. It's not personal rejection: the editors aren't rejecting you. They're only saying that they can't use one of your works right now. That still may not take the sting out of the…

What sounds like a good idea can sometimes be a major mistake, and mistakes in submission may be merely embarassing or may be early career-wreckers. Before you make your first submission, study this list. While these may not be the most common errors, they are common enough and can be damaging. Some may waste your time and money, while others can send your submission straight to the "reject" pile, if not the trash bin! 1. Do NOT EVER pay ANYONE to "publish" your work unless you really, really want to get into the self-publishing business. If you do want to self-publish, you must read as much literature as you can on self-publishing, choose a good printer, learn about filing for copyright and getting an ISBN number, and develop a business, marketing, and distribution plan. Otherwise, remember that publishers are supposed to pay YOU for the privilege of making your work public. For more on this topic, see our article,

How not to get burned. 2. Do NOT file for copyright on manuscripts that you are submitting to publishers. U.S. copyright laws protect works of U.S. writers the moment they are put into some tangible form. If your work is accepted by a publisher, the publisher will file for official copyright on your behalf. If you file ahead of time, you're sending a clear message to the editor: "I don't trust you. I think you might steal my work." Stealing manuscripts and ideas is so rare it's not worth worrying about (read The Sobering Saga of Myrtle the Manuscript, by Tappan King to see why editors never have to steal manuscripts). Filing for copyright "just in case" can actually hurt your chances of selling the manuscript because 1) it immediately dates your work and 2) it makes for legal complications if the work is accepted. For a deeper explanation, see "Copyrights and Meteorites" by Chuck Rothman on the Science Fiction and…

Many new writers find that writing for children's magazines is a good way to break into the children's market. However, some writers -- especially writers who don't care much for reading magazines -- don't care for the magazine market and prefer writing books. While writing for magazines is never a prerequisite for writing and publishing books, it is certainly one way to break into the market, and can provide experience in working for editors. Fiction Did you like reading short stories when you were a child? Did you love getting magazines in the mail? Can you still remember some of the stories you read? If so, you might find your niche in writing short stories for magazines. Magazine fiction, like all children's fiction, needs to be lively, original, and well-grounded in the child's world. In general younger the child you are writing for, the more real the story needs to seem. Very young children like stories about the things they're

most familiar with: mealtime, bath, bedtime, going to the library, playing with friends. A story about losing a favorite toy at the grocery store and finding it again under the vegetable bins can be an exciting adventure for a toddler. A story showing another child or animals in their bedtime routine can be a soothing read for a child who is getting ready for bed. These stories may or may not be written in rhyme, but they should have a cadence and rhythm to them. If you want to write for toddlers, read magazines geared for toddlers, such as Babybug. Think about your own experiences at that age. How did you view the world? What was important to you? What were your fears? Jot down these ideas and compare your ideas to what you see in the magazines. How could you turn these ideas into short stories? Five-to-seven-year-olds are learning to read, and need stories that they can read with…

In the U.S. alone, there are thousands of book publishers, each turning out anywhere from one or two to dozens or even hundreds of books each year. Over 50,000 books are published in the U.S. annually. Yet those 50,000 books represent somewhere between 1-3% of the total number of manuscripts submitted. What, you say? Just a 1-3% chance of getting published? What is a writer to do in the face of such odds? Give up? Of course not! Cheat? Absolutely not! Send bribes? Not a chance. What the writer must do is to be smart and totally professional about submissions. Remember, writing may be an art and a craft, but it is also a business. Publishing, too, is a business, and the business of publishing is to sell books and magazines at a profit. In the eyes of the publisher, your precious manuscript is just another potential product, and the bottom line is, "Will this sell?" So how do you

find the right match between your manuscript and a publisher? Understanding what goes on at the publisher To avoid the most common and most embarassing mistakes when submitting, it helps to understand what happens to your manuscript after you put it in the mail. If it is addressed to a specific editor, it may go directly to that editor's in box, especially if it is marked "requested material." You ONLY mark it as such if it really has been requested; that is, you sent a query and the editor asked to see the manuscript. Manuscripts that are not sent to a specific editor (and many that are, depending on the publisher), go to one common storage place known as the slush pile. Hired readers or junior editors have the grand pleasure of sorting the slush until their eyes cross, stuffing unwanted material back into their self-addressed return envelopes, discarding those that did not come with self-addressed return envelopes, and occasionally,…