2016 Best-Selling Authors’ Great Writing Tips for Every Writer

Every writer can never be content with what he or she already knows. They will strive every single day to hone their skill and be more effective like a sponge that absorbs every piece of writers’ advice and would love to devour all the great writing tips out there, if only they could… These are three best-selling books on Amazon for the year 2016 that any writer would love to have written just by learning a few writer tips.

 

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J. K. Rowling

Who doesn’t know J. K. Rowling? Every writer would love to achieve her literary and financial successes. This prequel to the Harry Potter stories reached the top spot in 2016 because of one very good advice by the author.

Rowling advises writers to put heavy emphasis on planning. Resist the temptation of going right down to the writing without careful planning. If you want to create an entire world of a boy wizard, all those magical characters, creatures and events and make them all connect beyond your audience’s wildest imagination, then create a great plan. It took Rowling five years to plot everything in each of those seven books. You want to write a great book? Plan it out well.

 

Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss

Who would have thought that a children’s book would make the best-seller list in Amazon? But this last novel of the beloved children’s books author had such style of writing, it overcame the big novel names – thanks also to the buying moms of newborns and toddlers.

Dr. Seuss advised: Make sure that books are fun to read while at the same time, making it a source of learning. “Cat in the Hat” it was supposed to help children read but came out to do beyond that.

Cut down the writing to only what is essential. Length does not equal quality and Dr. Seuss would leave only about 5% of what he first wrote leaving 95% on the author’s floor. So write only what’s necessary.

 

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanathi

This book by neurosurgeon Paul Kalanithi, posthumously published after the author died of cancer, seeks answers to life’s ultimate question: What makes life worth living?

A writer should catch Kalanithi’s contagious characteristic – driven to succeed to the top in many ways we, mere mortals are not. We may not be the genius that he was but we should be as driven.

And as a writer, one should be driven to a single goal – wanting to write about finding the answer, even while dying. Not to be too morbid but yes, write as if today is your last day and tomorrow’s ideas have to be written in print or else they will be gone. Kalanithi didn’t make any excuses to write with passion and drive, not even his impending death.

So there you have it! No wonder these books reached the top of the list in 2016. These are great writing tips for writers new and old. We may not always get to the success we imagined but keep at it and for sure you will get there. Just always remember these simple writer tips: Plan ahead, make it fun for your audience and most importantly, be driven in your writing passion. Who knows, we will see your name in many best-seller lists next year.

Ego vs. Creativity: What Matters Most for Good Content Writing?

Dictionary.com defines ego as, “self-esteem, self-image, feelings.” The same site defines creativity as, “the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc.; originality, progressiveness, or imagination.” The question is, not whether one is more important than the other, it is how to get them to work harmoniously.

The ego is that which propels people forward. It gives them purpose and the will the fight for what they believe should be theirs. Ego compels people to exclaim, “Hey I can do that,” or “I can do that even better than the others.

Ego is synonymous with pride. It is how you feel when you know you did a good job, especially when others take notice. However, it is also synonymous with arrogance. This means that you have so much pride that it has become a negative thing. Others feel put down by how much you think of yourself.

For writers, pride is the feeling when you submit your work for an editor or reader to evaluate. You know you worked hard and put every effort into choosing each word. It turns to arrogance when you start to say and ultimately believe that no one can write as good as you.

Creativity is a writer’s ability to choose the right words to use and put them in the right order to tell a story or convey a message so that it is different from every other story and message. Creativity is synonymous with artistry and genius. Genius is the choosing of the words and artistry is how they are put together.

Ego and Creativity: How do you put pride, artistry, and genius together? 

Be confident enough to know that you can accomplish the task at hand. You can write a good story, create an interesting campaign, or write a blog post worthy of reading. That is ego pushing you forward. Then let creativity take over so that you can create your work of art. Whether or not it is a masterpiece, remains to be seen, but you can strive to make it so.

If it does become a masterpiece, or even if it does not, you can be proud of your work. Just do not go off the deep end and tell the world that you are the next great artist. That will cause others to find fault with your work and knock you down to size. Then your ego will be bruised and you will need to figure out how to brush off the pain and continue on to your next piece.

In order to do good work, you need to know that it is good; you just cannot let others know that you know it. When people get wind that you know you work well, it seems as if the world works to knock you down. There needs to be a balance. You should be aware that you write well, but are not above having an editor make suggestions. Heck, even James Patterson and Stephen King have editors.

Another way to keep ego and creativity working well together is to not take on too many projects. If your ego tells you that you can get it all done and then you feel overwhelmed, you will not be as creative. Your workmanship will suffer because you do not have enough time for the process to come to its rightful conclusion.

Therefore, you will either create shoddy work or not get anything completed. Either way, your ego will take a hit and you will feel like a failure. You will then have to build your self-esteem back up so that you can write with creativity again.

In order to be a successful writer, you must know what you are capable of and know your limitations. You must be able to put your writing into perspective and be able to take criticism. You also need to be able to use these tools to be able to plug into your artistic side. Only by creating the right balance will you succeed. As with anything else, the only way there is to practice until you get it right and even then, do not stop.

A Copywriter’s Guide to the Galaxy of Satisfied Customers

Is the power of persuasion a myth? How do we get people to actually say yes (or no) to a product, a service or an idea? Like moths to a flame, how do we attract people and be glued to our every word? Let’s begin with these writer tips and tricks to keeping your customers convinced of your product and at the same time persuading those on the fence to jump in.

Make them “feel”

A good copywriter knows how to make his readers “feel.” Have you seen videos of epic fails where a skateboarder tries a jump but fails? Or someone swinging on a rope tied to a tree then the inevitable tree branch-breaking, man-falls-to-ground scenario happens. Did you feel their pain?

If you read a description of the same video, would it have the same effect on you? The answer is – IT SHOULD! Why? Because writers have to make their readers feel something when they read about your product. The right words will send a surge of emotions in them.

Copywriters must know how to keep the customers’ emotions while glued to your every word like a spy-thriller novel. Write directly to the readers’ feelings and not cram them down their throats.

If you’re selling apple pies, you need to summon memories of grandma’s home cooked kitchen. Like that scene where Anton Ego got transported back to his childhood with mommy’s comfort food of ratatouille.

Not all savings comparisons are good

Do not “sell” the idea of saving money. Rather, give them the idea that what you are selling is “time.” Time is probably one of the scarcest of resources. Once you’ve lost it, it’s gone! This scarcity is what makes it more meaningful to customers.

Like Mastercard and their “Priceless” ads. They make you feel that time with family, friends, colleagues or time alone doing anything wacky under the sun, is indeed priceless and that a certain amount of time should be spent and spent well. This personal experience with spending time incites personal feelings and eventually more purchases.

Present the flaws rather than the “perfections”

One mistake that copywriters love to do is forgetting to be credible. They write about their products and the promises they claim. But customers nowadays are information-junkies. If you don’t provide the answers to their future questions, customers will just gloss over them and not be curious.

For example, you might want to say upfront, “If you’re worried about the safety features…” This addresses a concern and by stating it for them, you’re already putting an issue into the spotlight. So don’t go flowery with words of perfect or best opportunity. Address concerns and give your assurances with facts about your product.

Words of Power

Verbs can be more powerful than adjectives. Just ask college students writing admission letters to someone deciding their future. They recommend action words rather than the vain-inducing adjectives. Forget the “talented, hard-working and industrious.” I’d rather admit who “founded a budding start-up in less than a year” or who “heads a small volunteer group.” Describe what you actually do than stringing up a list of adjectives of what you are.

Copywriters! Use verbs, not adjectives!

While verbs may be good, you should also use power words that have more lure. Words like:

  • You or that person’s name (the most beautiful sound)
  • New words: Introducing, Unique
  • Urgency words: Now, Hurry
  • Reassuring words: Proven, Tested
  • Caring words: Love, Family
  • Money-saving words: Free, Cheap

And finally, tell a good story

Nothing can keep you up late at night better than a good story. We love the way stories transport us to another place and time – no sales pitches, no infomercials. Use metaphors and irony. Your readers will have that “Oh, now I get it!” moment. Use more details to make your writing vividly clear that your readers feel like they are actually in the moors in Wuthering Heights, or that they hear the haunting sound of Captain Corelli’s mandolin. And finally, let your readers finish your story by making them want to know the ending. This means writing to catch their attention until the very end.

These are just a few but very useful writing tips that will hopefully bring out the best copywriter in you.

Writer’s Tips: How to Spot a Bad Client Before It’s Too Late

I’ve been freelancing for a long time, and I’ve had my share of awful clients. While most are passionate about what they do and confident about what I can bring to their business, there are a few rotten eggs.

Most of the time it’s obvious when a bad client comes along, but freelancers who are eager to work and create a portfolio often ignore the warning signs.

To make things a little easier, here are 4 warning signs to look out for.

  1. “I Have Lots of Work, But Here’s a Little to Start With.”

If a client comes to you with the promise of lots of work only to give you 1 or 2 articles, to begin with, chances are your experience with them isn’t going to be great. If the client claims to need 40 articles in the next 2 weeks and you’ve already negotiated your rates, why do they need just 1 to start with?

  1. “I’m More Concerned About Your Rates Than Your Results.”

If you’ve been going back and forth via email and still haven’t managed to agree on a price, or if the client spends hours with you on Skype just talking money, you should see a giant red flag. Based on my experience and those of fellow freelancers, I’ve realized the best clients aren’t concerned with fees, they care about quality.

  1. “But Other Writers Charge Less.”

If a client compares your work or rates to other writers, move on. How familiar does this conversation sound:

Client: what do you charge?

Freelancer: $50 for 1,000 words,

Client: Can we get that down to $20?

Freelancer: that’s my rate for this piece considering the research and format required and I always aim to get my clients results.

Client: I know other writers who can do this for much less. I just can’t work with you for $50.

The client then spends the next hour discussing your rates with no mention about the project or your abilities.

This client has little regard for your dedication and is taking up too much of your precious time trying to negotiate your rates when you could be working for someone more appreciative.

  1. “Anyone Can Write.”

When a client tells you you’re charging too much for something anyone can do, run! As a writer, your greatest asset is your feeling – about your worth, your abilities and how much value you can offer.

How a client treats you often depends on how much value they think they can get from you. If they think anyone can do it, why isn’t the client doing it himself?

Drop Those Bad Clients Right Now!

Some freelancers feel that getting a client to contact you is the most difficult part of generating business and as a result, you should retain every single client. But is it really worth it?

I think getting clients to contact you is the easy part; ensuring they’re a great match is much more challenging and something that could affect you negatively if proper precautions aren’t taken.

If any of your potential clients have the above traits, drop them now.

Have you been able to spot a bad client before getting involved in a project? How did you deal with them?