The Diction Dude Essential Guides books kickstart your writing!

The Diction Dude Essential Guides series covers 10 broad areas with laser-like precision and unparalleled effectiveness. The books are currently under development; hyperlinked titles have been published while the others are still in process.

The Diction Dude Essential Guide to Getting Started as a Professional Writer: Optimized for people eager to write The Great American Novel, this volume surveys the literary publishing industry. It offers key statistics and prompts people to think about their goals in light of the different stakeholder pathways within the industry. The book includes a year-long Get Fit to Print framework that resembles a couch-to-5K program. It presents “50 informed suggestions” for novel-writing and practical advice about finding, and thriving within, a strong critique group.

. . . to the Mechanics of Fiction: A companion to Getting Started, this volume addresses the most common errors in construction (and how to avoid them) in literary and genre fiction, plus tips for self-editing and manuscript formatting. It’s focused on mechanics and technique. [Due in autumn 2020.]

. . . to Character, Conflict, and Description: Although Mechanics of Fiction touches on it, this volume dives more deeply into the ethical and psychological underpinnings of effective characterization. It assesses conflict holistically and as an essential partner to plot. It also offers best-practice advice for spinning descriptions and for building fictional universes.

. . . to the Business of Writing: A professional writer needs a business identity and an approach to winning contracts and selling books. This volume covers these essentials. It explores business structures for fiction authors, including brand identity and peer networking. Most authors don’t like this green-eyeshade kind of stuff, but mastering it is key to demonstrating your worth to an agent or an acquisitions editor. This installment includes practical guidance for hand-selling your books at events and conventions.

. . . to Querying and Market Diversification: It’s been said that most authors spend 1,000 hours drafting their novels and 1 minute drafting their query package. This volume explores markets and queries—how to find the right market and how to fine-tune a pitch to meet editors’ and agents’ expectations. It also addresses the relative strengths and weaknesses of each of the four primary publishing models.

. . . to Growing a Platform: Most authors must be marketing gurus, regardless of whether you self-publish or work through a major New York imprint. Building a platform and harnessing that platform to sell books is hard. Without it, your attractiveness to commercial publishing partners declines substantially. In this volume, we cover the marketing angle, from growing a fanbase to motivating your readers to buy your next book.

. . . to the Literary Revenue Cycle: All of book publishing follows two intertwined pathways. One, the literary road, views a manuscript from drafting to production to release to retirement from backlist. The other, the financial road, considers the best risk-mitigation and cost-effectiveness strategies as a literary artifact progresses from ideation to execution to retirement. This volume explores the major touchstones in the life of a book, from its drafting to its removal from catalogs, from both the economic and the editorial perspectives. You’ll see how the sausage gets made in ways that most authors—even self-published ones—never experience, and you’ll understand how the almighty profit-and-loss estimate explains your last rejection letter even if you pitched a perfect query.

. . . to Self-Publishing Excellence: Lots of resources tell you how to self-publish your book, but this one’s the only book that shows you the tricks of the trade from a small-press publisher’s point of view. It includes ample advanced tips about formatting and collaborative editing to make your life easier, too.

. . . to Service Journalism: Many authors who write for income focus not on fiction but on technical nonfiction. Common work includes copywriting, document editing, writing how-to articles for websites, and developing supplemental material for print magazines. This volume explores the world of writing and editing for profit in a short-form, nonfiction space. It’s a much different beast from fiction writing, and it’s not journalism as conventionally understood, but with a good hustle and rockstar portfolio it pays far better in the long run. [Due in winter 2020/2021.]

. . . to Persuasive Writing: Essays and opinion columns make great fodder for newspapers or for blogs, but short-form persuasive commentary is harder to pull off than it looks. This volume looks at the structures of persuasive essays and creative nonfiction and outlines the basics of critical reasoning required to generate convincing arguments in a limited amount of space.