What Readers Want from Authors

 

As readers move from traditional hardbound books to digital books for the various e-readers available now and in the future, one thing hasn’t changed over the years, the reader’s expectations. They expect a level of quality when they spend their money to purchase a hard copy, or time downloading a digital book.

 

What readers expect:

 

  • Readability
  • Believability
  • Characters they can empathize with
  • Believable Dialogue
  • Descriptive
  • Good editing
  • Deep POV
  • Tight writing
  • Consistency
  • Good word choice
  • Proper use of nouns, verbs, and adjectives
  • Proper grammar
  • Proper punctuation
  • Proper spelling
  • Words that don’t send the reader to the dictionary
  • A book that doesn’t bore the reader

 

This is only a short list, but you get the idea. Readers are author’s best friend or their worst enemy, the author makes the difference by the words in their story, how well the edited the manuscript is, and the author proofreads it before it reaches the reader.

 

Some may think this is a lot to ask, but consider the fact, the author’s reputation is on the line with every piece of writing they prepare for consumption by readers. This could be a blog about the book, a viral book tour, an author’s web site, a press release about their book or any piece of copy.

Using the BISAC Subject Codes

What does BISAC stand for?

BISAC is an acronym for Book Industry Standards and Communications.

What are BISAC subject codes?

The BISAC Subject Heading List (BSHL for short) is an industry-approved list of subject descriptors (or headings), each of which is represented by a nine-character alphanumeric code. The list has 50 major sections, such as Computers, Fiction, History, and True Crime. Within each major section, a number of detailed descriptors represent subtopics that the BISAC Subject Heading Committee has deemed most appropriate for the major topic.

Developed to standardize the electronic transfer of subject information, the codes can be used for transmitting information between trading partners, as search terms in the major bibliographic databases, as access points for database searching, and as shelving guides

What are the benefits of using BISAC Subject Headings?

The headings give you a standardized way to tell retailers and the general book trade about the primary and secondary store sections where a title will fit best–and, hopefully, sell best. In addition, they help retailers get your titles on the shelf more quickly, and they provide an electronically compatible method for describing the content of a book.

Who uses the BISAC Subject Headings?

Many of the major businesses in the North American book industry, including Amazon, Baker & Taylor, Barnes & Noble, Bookscan, Booksense, Bowker, Indigo, Ingram, and most major publishers use the BSHL (BISAC Subject Heading List) in a variety of ways. Several of these users require publishers who submit data to them to include the BISAC Subject Headings.

How do I get the BISAC Subject Heading List?

You can order it at http://bisg.org/page/PurchaseBISAC

Advice for aspiring writers

“Read, read, and read some more! Make sure you read a wide variety of stories: fantasy stories teach you about making up completely new worlds, crime-solving stories teach you about handling a complicated plot, stories with lots of characters teach you how to describe relationships. Also, write as many stories as you can, even if no one else reads them. And remember that the best inspiration comes from what’s around you.” —Erin Hunter

General Rules About Abbreviations

This post outlines basic rules about abbreviations. There is a bewildering variety of standards, which will be explained in more detail in subsequent posts about specific categories of abbreviation, but the following guidelines cover an array of general types.

Use of abbreviation varies widely depending on the formality of writing employed for a given publication or a piece of content. Generally, the more formal the content, the less likely it is that abbreviation will be used, except in multiple references to terms commonly abbreviated or in tabular matter and other graphic elements.

In formal writing, journalistic contexts, and some informal content as well, terms are spelled out on first reference, followed by abbreviation in parentheses, as in “The Global Positioning System (GPS) uses satellite signals to fix the location of a radio receiver on or above the earth’s surface.” Thereafter, the abbreviation is used exclusively.

However, this tradition applies to single pieces of content, so that—unless, for example, an entire publication is devoted to articles about GPS technology—two articles in a publication that mention it will independently introduce the full spelled-out version of an abbreviation on first reference. Note, too, that specialized publications will likely abbreviate all references to widely used terms in that specialty.

Abbreviations consisting entirely of uppercase letters (including NY, US, FBI, and NASA) or that end with an uppercase letter (as in PhD) are not followed by a period; some publications retain periods in these types of abbreviations (at least two-letter ones), but that style is in decline. Abbreviations that end with a lowercase letter (a.m., Dr., i.e., etc.) are generally followed by a period.

Acronyms (abbreviations of phrases using initial letters of each word to form new word, such as AIDS) are almost invariably styled in all capital letters, though some, such as laser and scuba, have lost their uppercase form, and Nasdaq is treated as a proper noun. Initialisms (abbreviations of phrases using initial letters of each word, each of which is pronounced, such as FBI) are also generally capitalized. When using an article before an abbreviation, choose a or an depending on the first sound, not the first letter, of the abbreviation: “an NBA [en-bee-ay] team” but “a NASA [nasa] program.”

Avoid ampersands except in proper names (“Johnson & Johnson”) and in widely known abbreviations (“R&D,” for “research and development”).

Daily Writing Tips 28 Nov 2016 

Did you ever hear of a portmanteau?

A portmanteau (pɔːrtˈmæntoʊ/, /ˌpɔːrtmænˈtoʊ/; plural portmanteaus or portmanteaux /-ˈtoʊz/) or portmanteau word is a linguistic blend of words, in which parts of multiple words, or their phones (sounds), and their meanings are combined into a new word. A portmanteau word fuses both the sounds and the meanings of its components, as in smog, coined by blending smoke and fog, or motel, from motor and hotel. In linguistics, a portmanteau is defined as a single morph that represents two or more morphemes.

The definition overlaps with the grammatical term contraction, but contractions are formed from words that would otherwise appear together in sequence, such as do and not to make don’t, whereas a portmanteau word is formed by combining two or more existing words that all relate to a singular concept which the portmanteau describes. A portmanteau also differs from a compound, which does not involve the truncation of parts of the stems of the blended words. For instance, starfish is a compound, not a portmanteau, of star and fish; whereas a hypothetical portmanteau of star and fish might be stish.

Promoting Your Book on Twitter: 10 Tips for Shy Writers

From the author of Twitter For Authors: Social Media Book Marketing Strategies for Shy Writers come 10 tips to help you get on the Twitter train.

I know Twitter can be a confusing medium for many authors – what can you say in 140 characters or less to promote your book? In my opinion, Twitter is actually a writer’s dream for those who like to write short, like the absence of a lot of images, and are willing to experiment.

A news service that the users create, Twitter is a great resource to meet other writers, agents, editors, and book bloggers, people who love to read and review books.

10 Tips on Promoting Your Book on Twitter

  1. Open an account on Twitter. Choose a name that is easily recognizable, ideally your author name. In the long run, as an author, you are your brand. If you choose a name like “jamie123”
  2. Bring in your email contacts. Twitter makes this easy. In this way, you can see who you already know on Twitter.
  3. Craft a profile that tells us 1) you’re an author and what genre you write (romance, how-to, memoir, etc.); 2) your interests that reflects your personality; and 3) what can entice us to want to get to know you better. There is a separate field for your website or blog site, so don’t put that in your Twitter profile.
  4. Draft tweets ahead of time because you’d rather be writing, right? Use a service like Hootsuite.com, BufferApp.com, SocialOomph.com, or Tweetdeck — all with free versions — to schedule tweets ahead of time. You can also use these tools to reply to people, and follow conversations. More on Twitter conversations below.
  5. Spend most of your time interacting directly and publicly with people who follow you, retweet (RT) you, and “favorite” your tweets. You do this by using the @ Connect tab on the Twitter menu. I spend 90% of my time here.
  6. Interact in conversations that relate to your book. You do this by clicking on the “# Discover” tab. This is where you can type in a keyword with or without the # sign, or hashtag. Authors often ask me how to use the hashtag. By typing in your keyword with a hashtag, like “#amwriting” — a hashtag used to connect with others writers who are writing — you can stay in touch and be a part of a larger conversation happening around the virtual water cooler.
  7. Use the 5-5-5 rule to keep your time focused and limited: Spend 5 minutes responding to tweets, follows, and replies. Spend a second 5 minutes following new people. Twitter offers suggestions all the time on the left-hand side. You can also use the “# Discover” tab. Use the final 5 minutes crafting tweets, thanking, sharing, and inviting.
  8. Take risks. Sometimes we don’t know what will work until we try it. There’s lots of room for experiment and play. As long as you are in line with what you stand for (your platform, really), then what you do on Twitter (and by extension the other social media channels), you can feel good about your actions.
  9. Learn from the mastersor the more experienced authors. When I see a book marketing campaign done by another author that I think is really cool, I try it — with my own spin, of course.
  10. Participate in conversations. There is a plethora of hashtags that writers are using to connect, promote, and learn. As I mentioned above, there’s #amwriting. There’s also #amediting. If you’d like to participate in a live conversation, the tool to use is Tweetchat, a free service, at http://tweetchat.com/.

Two other very popular hashtags are #FF or #FollowFriday, and #WW or #WriterWednesday. If you type these in the Search box, you’ll see lots of writers using these. The primary purpose of both of these is to give a shout out to your followers (#FF) and to your friends and colleagues (#WW).

Beth Barany