sallyhanan’s blog

A writer’s blog

Learn how to write great copy February 27, 2010

Filed under: Copywriting,Writing — sallyhanan @ 11:12 pm
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“Copyblogger was founded in January of 2006 by Brian Clark. Brian is a writer/producer, entrepreneur, and recovering attorney.”

Brian Clark writes a blog that has been rated among the top ten blogs on marketing by a bajillion national and international companies. Ok, maybe I exaggerated, but his blog, Copyblogger, has “over 100,000 subscribers and more than 240,000 unique monthly site visitors.”

With numbers like those, Brian is obviously doing something right, and it would be in a copywriter’s best interests to learn from him. Fortunately, this is an easy task because Brian has posted his wisdom all over his blog.

If you would like to learn the basics of writing copy, you can do so by reading his blog archives. Start here: “Copywriting 101: An Introduction to Effective Copy.”

You can also sign up for his updates and/or his newsletter; and no, he’s not paying me to promote his blog, I just find it an incredibly useful source of learning power.

 

 

Every piece of writing needs to be clear and precise. With microscope in hand, Inksnatcher’s writing and editing service will hone any work until it glitters in the light of a 1,000 watt bulb.

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How to punctuate run-in/horizontal lists February 24, 2010

Filed under: Editing,Writing — sallyhanan @ 1:11 pm
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Why punctuate lists?
Most of the time lists are personal and don’t need punctuation, but when it comes to writing lists for publication, you need to make sure you have your commas and colons in the right places.

Some general things to remember
All lines in a list should be more or less the same—a list of words/ a list of sentences/ a list of single items, etc.
Short lists don’t need to be written vertically.
Lists don’t need numbers or letters.
                                                                                                                                
If you use letters or numbers to list things horizontally, only begin your list with punctuation if the word before the list is a preposition (on, in, before, if, etc.) or a verb (action word).
Do your homework (a) as soon as possible, (b) with no distractions, and (c) on clean paper.

You’ll get no pocket money if you don’t write: (a) as soon as possible, (b) without distractions, and (c) on clean paper.

If you introduce the list with a clause, it should end with a colon before the list begins.
Here’s what you need to do your homework: (1) a quick start, (2) no distractions, and (3) clean paper.

                                                                                                                                
Each item on a list should be separated by a comma, but if a comma is needed internally in one or more of the items listed, each item should be separated by a semicolon.
You need to begin your homework as soon as you get home; not let anything distract you, like the music; and write on clean paper.

I thought for a while about the women on my husband’s hottie list: that tall redhead; the blonde, the one who holds that airgun between her teeth; and the brunette with the braces; and I decided they have nothing on me because I am loved for who I am, not for what I represent.
                                                                                                     
I much prefer vertical lists, and I love to use bullet points even more—they make lists look cleaner and more professional. There are other punctuation rules for vertical lists, though, and I’ll get to those in another post.

 

 

Every piece of writing needs to be clear and precise. With microscope in hand, Inksnatcher’s writing and editing service will hone any work until it glitters in the light of a 1,000 watt bulb.

sallylogo3 INKSNATCHER.COM                                                                                                                                      

 

 

 

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A novel process—getting your novel published February 21, 2010

Filed under: Editing,Writing — sallyhanan @ 12:03 am
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A novel is written. So many hours over coffee and chocolate and excuses to not do housework. It’s quite the deal, really. I should write another one. 🙂 But then . . .

First edit
Storyline—Does it make sense? Does it flow?
Characters—Are they believable? Are they likeable?
Length—Is it the required length for the genre?
Plot—Does the suspense/tension build?

Second edit
Drivel—Are there sections of pointless rambling?
Writing—Is every word necessary?
Chapters—Does every chapter end with a hook?

Third edit
Spelling—Is everything spelled correctly?
Punctuation/grammar—Are all my sentences complete, my apostrophes in the right places, and my periods frequent enough?

Fourth edit
Find a few friends who
a) are not close enough to me to care about disappointing me?
b) are kind enough to read the manuscript at all?

Fifth edit
Make almost all the changes my knowledgeable friends suggested without muttering some Hogwarts, um . . . blessing over them.

Query
Come up with a stunning paragraph that forces the agent/editor my manuscript will be sent to to stop popping caffeine pills and gasp in excitement.

Proposal
Make every word about my manuscript dazzle like a disco ball.
                                                                 
Mail
Send in the darn thing.

Wait
And wait
And wait

Get mail
Receive a form rejection letter
or a really nice and encouraging, but still a rejection, message.

And that’s when it’s time to rewrite my novel or start another one.

Personally, I think that’s how Amy Tan came up with the title The Joy Luck Club. It describes the writer’s life to perfection.

P.S. I wanted to insert this photo so badly but couldn’t do it in a hurry. Check out the disco ball lady here!

 

 

Every piece of writing needs to be clear and precise. With microscope in hand, Inksnatcher’s writing and editing service will hone any work until it glitters in the light of a 1,000 watt bulb.

sallylogo3 INKSNATCHER.COM                                                                                                                                      

 

 

 

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Derailed by Tim Irwin, Ph.D. February 15, 2010

Filed under: Book reviews — sallyhanan @ 10:52 pm
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Any reader can benefit from the message Tim Irwin gives in Derailed: In order to lead and succeed, one must have essential behavioral qualities that help others feel safe, respected, and valued.

Derailed‘s content gives preventative advice to companies that are considering adding new executives to their top tiers of leadership. Because of the value of learning from the failures of others, Irwin gives examples of what former CEOs did, unintentionally, to damage the huge companies they were hired by. It’s not so much that the CEOs were failures; they were very competent people, but they each lacked one of Irwin’s key components for success (authenticity, self-management, humility, and courage). Each missing ingredient and the presence of its evil twin (hypocrisy, impulsive reactions, arrogance, and fear) caused the companies these CEOs led to lose a lot of business.

Irwin’s research and knowledge on the subject of leadership is extensive, which makes this book’s content an interesting read. Irwin even gives tips at the end of his book on how to develop better leadership skills, and he should know—he teaches this for a living.

Derailed is the kind of book that gets me thinking about how all my small reactions to life can play a part in forcing my own dreams off track. It makes me want to be a better woman.

 

 

Every piece of writing needs to be clear and precise. With microscope in hand, Inksnatcher’s writing and editing service will hone any work until it glitters in the light of a 1,000 watt bulb.

sallylogo3 INKSNATCHER.COM                                                                                                                                      

 

 

 

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Are you really a writer? February 14, 2010

Filed under: Writing — sallyhanan @ 12:11 am
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Some people write and it seems as if their words ooze from their souls like honey.

Some people write, and it sounds as if every word is being ripped from their gut.

Some people write and then delete every word.

All of these people are writers. All of these people are like you.
                                                                                    
Maybe you’ve never been published.
Maybe your plot sucks so much your novel will never be read.
Maybe every other writer’s words seem better than yours.
Maybe you think you can’t write.

Thing is, though, if you love to write, you are still a writer, regardless of what you think of yourself or your talent. Don’t let how others respond affect your passion.

Just write.
                                                                                                                                  

 

 

Every piece of writing needs to be clear and precise. With microscope in hand, Inksnatcher’s writing and editing service will hone any work until it glitters in the light of a 1,000 watt bulb.

sallylogo3 INKSNATCHER.COM                                                                                                                                      

 

 

 

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Are the new Facebook changes a disaster? February 10, 2010

Filed under: Social media tips — sallyhanan @ 1:23 am
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Some writers make the terrible mistake of sending their manuscript off to an agent or publishing house long before it is truly ready to be seen. The same goes for the new Facebook changes—they are a terrible mistake, IMHO. It’s not so much that the thoughts behind the changes were bad, it’s that not enough prep work was done to make sure that the changes would flow seamlessly with the old template.


Nobody likes change. Sometimes understanding can calm me us down. Ok, so it didn’t work for me, but perhaps these links to the reasons behind the changes will help you.

Six Years of Making Connections

Tonight we’ll host a celebration at Facebook headquarters, and we’ll release a handful of new things that will improve people’s Facebook experience, including a couple that people have requested a lot.



Introducing Your New Navigation


We hope the simplified design of the home page will make it easy for you to stay connected with the people, applications and activities that matter the most to you.


Faster, Simpler Photo Uploads

Our goal with this upgrade is to give you a fast, stable and simple experience for sharing photos on Facebook with your friends.

I’ve decided to visit Facebook over the next few days with no expectations of seeing anything I like. I know that the developers are working hard to fix all the bugs because I read about it here. I’m going to give them a little grace, a little time, and then see what I think once all the problems have been rectified.

About twice a year I come up with great ideas and implement them. I don’t always have the best results, either.

P.S. Some people have found that if they click on their friends list (in the left column) and hit the status bar, they can see more timely updates.

 

 

Every piece of writing needs to be clear and precise. With microscope in hand, Inksnatcher’s writing and editing service will hone any work until it glitters in the light of a 1,000 watt bulb.

sallylogo3 INKSNATCHER.COM                                                                                                                                      

 

 

 

MyFreeCopyright.com Registered & Protected

 

Coordinating WordPress.com with Twitter February 7, 2010

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Jonathan B asked me if there was an easy way to link your WordPress blog to Twitter so that anything you blog gets tweeted. There are three main ways to connect your WordPress.com blogs with Twitter.

Display your newest blog posts on your Twitter page
Click on
Dashboard
My blogs
Publicize
to automatically post a link to your Twitter and/or Yahoo accounts.

Add a sidebar box that shows your Twitter updates
A lot of people dislike this feature because they feel their tweets are personal. It’s up to you—people’s tweets will show up on most search engines anyhow.
Click on
Appearance
Widgets
Add Twitter: Display your tweets from Twitter.
The next page will ask you how far down you want the Tweet box to be. Click on where you’d like it, and save to the sidebar.

Add a Follow Me on Twitter button
I visited twitterbuttons to get my HTML code for my button (because WordPress.com only works with HTML. It drive the Java nuts crazy :D). There are oodles of buttons to choose from, so you can switch yours out every week if you want to.
Once you have copied the code, you can add it as a text box in your sidebar.
Click on
Appearance
Widgets
Text: Arbitrary text or HTML
Add
Paste the code into the text box on the next page, say how far down you want the button to be, and save to the sidebar.

Happy tweeting!

 

 

Every piece of writing needs to be clear and precise. With microscope in hand, Inksnatcher’s writing and editing service will hone any work until it glitters in the light of a 1,000 watt bulb.

sallylogo3 INKSNATCHER.COM                                                                                                                                      

 

 

 

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