The Diction Dude Essential Guides series covers seven broad areas with laser-like precision and unparalleled effectiveness:

  • The Diction Dude’s Essential Guide to Getting Started as a Writer
  • The Diction Dude’s Essential Guide to the Mechanics of Fiction
  • The Diction Dude’s Essential Guide to Service Journalism
  • The Diction Dude’s Essential Guide to the Business of Writing
  • The Diction Dude’s Essential Guide to Growing a Platform
  • The Diction Dude’s Essential Guide to the Literary Revenue Cycle
  • The Diction Dude’s Essential Guide to Self Publishing Excellence

These short, targeted books (both paper and ebook!) bring aspiring authors up to speed. These books comprise the major divisions of the forthcoming textbook, From Pencil to Print, which blends all of these topics into a single, beautiful, hefty, luxurious volume.

One Book, One Master Class in Publishing Acumen

Due for release in the summer of 2020, our textbook—From Pencil to Print: Practical Advice for Emerging Authors—offers a one-stop handbook of the essential knowledge you need to thrive as either a self-published or traditionally published author.

The book organizes into 17 chapters:

  1. Introduction: The rationale for the book, the author’s history, and the plan of the book.
  2. When the Ink Stains the Paper: Setting your expectations about the industry (including detailed statistics) and a probe of your own motivations for writing—information that informs your optimal trajectory through the industry.
  3. Preparing for Success: Book planning. Plus, “50 informed suggestions” about writing for publication and a year-long “get fit to print” program designed to help someone move from aspiration to querying their own content within 12 months.
  4. Mechanics of Construction: A review of basic rules of construction, from the perspective of the weaknesses that one editor most frequently encounters in the slush pile.
    • Eager for a sample? View an early (second) draft of sections 4.4 and 4.5, which address theme and conflict.
  5. The Cycle of Revision: Approaches to self-editing, plus working beta readers and contracted book editors. Manuscript formatting standards.
  6. Preparing to Submit: A review of the four primary publishing models and the idea of assumption of the risk. Includes advice about finding agents and markets.
  7. Finding a Market: Personal slush piles, catching breaks and researching opportunities. Plus, an introduction to standard work and parsing guidelines. Standards for query letters, synopses, samples, proposals and manuscripts. Advice for submission tracking and follow-ups.
  8. Business Considerations: A dive into a supplier mindset. Basics of business structures, tax implications and protection of writers’ personal identity versus public identity. Review of advances, royalties and contract types.
  9. Author Platform: Developing a longitudinal relationship with readers while improving your financial attractiveness to potential publishing partners.
  10. The Literary Revenue Cycle: A review of a book’s lifecycle, from querying to backlist retirement, from the perspective of the people with green-eyeshade lamps.
  11. Book Development: A review of a book’s lifecycle, from querying to backlist retirement, from a literary (non-financial) perspective.
  12. Self-Publish Procedures: A handbook for self-publishing your book.
  13. Book Marketing: How to sell a book—including a primer on hand selling, giveaways, signings and speaking gigs. Includes a discussion of what kinds of marketing activities publishers do, and do not, typically perform.
  14. Sharpening the Saw: Keeping current and advancing your craft.
  15. Special Topics: A grab-bag of targeted or complex subjects, from formatting poetry to working collaboratively with other authors.
  16. Afterword: The Birth, Life and death of a Regional Micro Press: A closing reflection about the experience of the now-defunct Caffeinated Press.

As of the end of January 2020, chapters one through nine, plus 11, are complete; chapters 10 is half-done, and the rest are planned but not yet drafted.