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A Different Approach to Literary Excellence

As I’ve focused on finishing my book, From Pencil to Print, I’ve grown increasingly astonished at the degree to which so much that’s been written about the publishing industry is just — well, wrong. As in, wildly and utterly inaccurate.

I think the problem lies mostly with the putative gatekeepers of the industry who’ve let a gaggle of self-professed writing experts — almost all of them, middle-tier genre writers re-imagined into literary consultants — who have no real insight into what happens from the “other side” of the editor’s desk. Instead, they parlay their low-five-figure annual revenues into a celebration of competence that’s not aligned with their actual accomplishments.

So books and blogs and social media — they’re littered with jaw-droppingly bad advice. Bad, because actual editors and publishers rarely write books or blogs. Bad, because some of those online resources are written by failed authors with axes to grind.

So I come to Diction Dude with a sense of mission. My job is to help emerging authors, poets, essayists and editors to hone their craft, to build their platform, and to connect them into powerful networks. I’m doing all of this because I’m weary of meeting local writers who feel like they’re failures because they followed bad advice and attained the predictable results. I’m sick to my stomach over meeting — over and over and over again — authors who’ve paid thousands of dollars to “publishers” who’ve done nothing but scam the most vulnerable among us writers.

Diction Dude saddles up to the table with some practical experience:

  • Five years’ tenure at a small community daily newspaper, including stints as the paper’s copy chief and editor in chief.
  • Nearly 10 years of contract editing for two national media corporations.
  • Co-founding and leading a small independent book publishing company.
  • Editing a semiannual literary journal and an annual genre-fiction anthology project.
  • Serving on the board of a literary non-profit organization.

Unlike many of the “experts” out there, I’ve been around the block. I’ve been published, and I’ve published others. I’ve edited, and I’ve been edited. And I’ve spent countless hours working with early-career authors in West Michigan and beyond: Authors with such amazing talent that deserves to be showcased on the world stage.

Who Are We?

Diction Dude, therefore, is several things.

First, it’s a service for authors. We don’t do publishing and we don’t do full-book editing. However, we do offer essential services for gut-checking the quality of your work and growing your platform as an author.

Second, it’s a training ground for emerging literary talent. Between our forthcoming Udemy courses and our soon-to-launch weekly literary podcast and our periodic newsletter for our patrons, we’re primed to deliver insights into how the industry really works, and how to succeed despite the stiff headwinds. Our textbook, From Pencil to Print, serves as the masterclass in the business of writing that no college writing program has ever seen fit to deliver.

Third, it’s an environment for literary-minded folks of all stripes to meet and to discuss the craft and the business of writing. Our community forum offers a first-class hub for people to share wisdom and experiences.

Welcome to Diction Dude. Founded with love in January 2019.

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