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Choosing a literary agent is a vital move for aspiring writers. This is because you need this professional to get the most out of your writing career. Now, this does not mean that your agent is an oracle. You have to choose your literary agent carefully. In addition, you have to ask the right questions before you entrust your project to any agent. Below are some of the questions to ask prospective literary agents.

How long have you been doing this job?

It is safe to assume that literary agents get better on the job with time. It also makes sense to assume that the agent with many years experience is likely to have more useful connections than the agent who is still new to the writing and publishing business. For this reason, you ought to ask your agent how long he or she has been in the business because this will help you decide whether to sign up with that agent or not.

What are your plans for this particular project?

This is a vital question because specifics are always better than general information. If a literary agent wants to represent you on a particular project, you need to know exactly how the agent intends to “represent” you. Your work has unlimited possibilities and a good agent should look at the big picture. Important factors like a translation and movie rights should be taken into consideration. Other factors your agents should discuss with you are the position of your work within the larger market and audio/electronic rights.

How much commission do you charge?

Generally, most literary agents charge 10-15% but this figure is not cast in stone. It is possible to get an agent who will charge less than 10% and some agents may charge you above 15%. The important thing is that you should know exactly what you are getting into before committing yourself to any agent.

Get informed

There are other questions you can ask your literary agent but we cannot discuss all the questions in this article. The important thing is that you get informed so that you will not make any avoidable mistakes. You can visit this blog and look at our other articles for more information on this topic. Just read our articles and you will get valuable insight on writing, publishing and negotiating with literary agents.

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482101323Writing a book is a dream for many people. With all the competition, it’s essential that you get your book as print-ready as possible before sending to publishers. Not only does this make it easier for you to find a publisher, but it also ensures that you book gets into the hands of readers.

Choose Your Target Audience

No book is right for everyone. By understanding the target audience you are writing for, you can structure your book and write it in a style and tone that caters to your target market. By doing this you stand the best chance of finding readers who not only love your book, but who will recommend it to others.

Know Your Sources

If you have written a non-fiction book, you have to make certain that the sources you use for references, quotations, and research are reliable, reputable, and up to date. You want your book well-researched and the information in the book to be accurate. It’s necessary to review all your sources after you finish the manuscript.

Check for Borrowed Material

If there is any information in your book that you borrowed, you need to make note of it on the copyright page. Otherwise, you could be accused of copyright infringement which will cause problems for both you and your publisher.

Add Images

If you have a non-fiction book, you may need pictures, illustrations, diagrams or other visual elements to clarify information. If you book doesn’t require images, then an author’s headshot is probably needed for the back of the book. Getting a professional headshot is a good idea.

Get Feedback

Once you have completed your book, it’s important to get feedback on your manuscript before sending it to publishers. Ask family, friends and colleagues to read your work and to offer honest critiques. Accept their constructive criticism. By taking their feedback into account, you can improve your book.

Writing and publishing are great ways to get your work in into the hands of the public. By using a few tips, you can find a publisher for your book.

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453611575Writing a graphic novel is a creative process and there is no formula for this process. Different writers work in different ways and what works for one writer may not work for another. You can try out graphic novel writing from different perspectives but the important thing is that you get the project completed at the end of the day. Below are some tips you can use to write your graphic novel.

Write your script first

Your graphic novel should have a script to go with the images. To be sure that the images and the script are perfectly in sync, it is vital to begin with the script. Once you complete the script, you have given the book a sense of direction. You can now go ahead and add the graphics to go with the script.

Work on the thumbnails

Thumbnails are also called layouts. This is basically a rough draft of the book in words and in pictures. To make your graphic novel a success, you can simply create the thumbnail before developing the novel. This makes it easy for you to figure out where you need to make improvements in your book.

Edit and edit

If you are familiar with writing and editing, then you probably know that most books require plenty of rewriting and editing before they are ready for the press. Do not be afraid to edit and rewrite. The more you edit, the better your book becomes.

Incubate the idea for better results

Writing a book is a marathon and not a sprint. This is why you need to take your time to get it right. Apart from writing and editing, you need to take a break from the book once in a while. Sometimes, you can do this when you run into a hitch. Let your subconscious mind work on the book and the hitch will be resolved in no time.

Graphic novel writing is not very easy but it can be done if you follow the right process. Use the tips above as your guide and you will not go wrong.

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The process of creating a smart phone app starts with validating one’s idea, and then the hard part begins. Creating a great app for a tablet or smartphone starts with a fabulous idea. However, once a person has an awesome idea, the development process, then becomes a matter of analyzing and comparing a number of options.

Top Tips for Creating a Smart Phone App

“Look for an up–going trend or a niche.”

When brainstorming about a good smartphone app, it would be a good idea to take advantage of all the freely available information on the Internet. One should do some research about what is selling or trending at the moment. However, it is important to distinguish between an opportunity market and an over–saturated market, and go for the idea that offers the most profit potential.

“Understand that more work does not necessarily mean more profit.”

Supposing one wants to develop a 3D racing game knowing that there is a huge market for such games and a lot of money to be made. The thing is, designing and developing such a game takes a lot of time and effort, but the time and effort one puts into it does not necessarily mean that one will make more profit. With such a game, one would be in direct competition with giants, such as Gameloft and Electronic Arts, which have huge and professional marketing departments.

“Make sure that the app is not already in existence.”

This is one of the most common mistakes that most inexperienced app developers do. A great idea strikes them, and instead of confirming whether there is a similar app, they spend weeks fantasizing about it and designing its functionalities and features, only to come to the sad realization that there is a very similar, if not better, app in the app store.

Other tips for creating a smart phone app include:

  • Give it a great name
  • Highlight all the great features in its description so as to turn a visitor into a customer within a couple of seconds
  • Do not make it too complicated
  • Set up a business model before developing the app
  • Do not waste valuable time on a dead cat
  • Make a lot of fuss about it

It is difficult to design and develop a compelling app that is simple and easy to use. The best smartphone apps are often gripping, easy, and intuitive; therefore, people who want to build a good app must spend time producing a workflow, generating the graphics, and designing a great user interface. Even something that may seem as simple as designing icons usually takes a lot of time and effort, but it is time well spent.

Your Digital Publishing Cheat Sheet has many more great ideas for people who want to learn how to create marketable smartphone apps. Follow us for new ideas and articles on writing and publishing.

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When it comes to making it as a freelance writer, knowing how to market yourself might be the single most important skill in a successful long-term career. There are many great writers who are broke and many average writers who bring in six figures. Learning how to get yourself more writing jobs, and the right type of writing jobs, can make all the difference.

The first thing you want to do is hit up people in niches you’re familiar with. Everyone needs a website to have an online presence, and every website needs good content. Do you knit? Are you a wilderness survival specialist? What hobbies or passions do you have more than a beginner’s knowledge in? Check out the Google results for search terms related to these areas and then ignore the first two pages and look for sites and blogs on page four, five, or even further back. Pitch to them how your new content can help boost their rankings and their authority. You’ll be amazed how many answer!

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The next place to find more writing jobs is by creating a great website that is locally SEO friendly (think Google+ and claiming your Google places listing for your freelancing business) and advertises your services. This can go on business cards, you can advertise on Facebook, and just making your site SEO friendly will help local businesses in need of a writer to find you.

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Finally, consider looking for local marketing and SEO agencies. Content marketing is a major part of any online marketing plan, and SEO requires new high-quality content on a frequent basis. Making direct contact gives you an opportunity not only to find more clients who will need consistent freelance writing work but to also to have more control over setting your prices. Have a great portfolio ready and you will be able to ask for a quality rate for your quality content.

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If you use the advice given in this article, you will see your client list growing in no time. Keep up with Your Digital Publishing Cheatsheet for all the tips and advice you need to land more freelance writing jobs!

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As you prepare your artwork, keep in mind the results you would like to get. The final output of your print job will depend on the artwork you send. Here are some tips to remember when sending artwork to the printers.

Image Resolution

Computer screens usually output images at 72dpi. However, printing requires larger image resolution, usually above 300dpi for an artwork to be printed on an A3 size paper. If you use low resolution, the images will appear pixelated when printed. Changing the resolution does not require you to change any elements in your artwork. In Photoshop, simply select Image > Image Size and then choose the resolution you prefer.

Convert Fonts to Outlines

Before sending artwork to the printers, convert the fonts to outlines. Doing so will change the editable font type into a shape layer, which will prevent any font issues when the artwork is taken to the printer. If you don’t change the fonts to outlines, they may be replaced with a different one during printing if the printer does not have the specific font you used. To convert a font to outlines in Adobe Illustrator, simple select the text you want and then click Type > Create Outlines.

CYMK

Computers and smartphone screens output images in RGB color while printers use CMYK. Before sending your artwork to the printers, convert them to CYMK to see how they will appear in the final output. In most cases, the artworks will appear duller after conversion. Therefore, you may need to brighten them up or play with the saturation before sending them for printing.

Bleed and Crop Marks

If the artwork reaches the edges of the page, it will need a bleed. Printers usually print artworks on oversized sheets and then trim them down to the right size. Bleed marks allow for trimming of the edges of the artworks. You can also indicate crop marks in your artworks to guide the printer on where to cut.

The above are four things to remember when sending your artwork to the printers.

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482101323Yes, I know that it sounds counterproductive, and many writers out there loathe the fact that we are saying this, but in this day and age it is very true, and needs to be accepted by more writers. Writers work very hard at what they do, and put their soul into their work, and should get paid well for what they do. Unfortunately, the way that media has shifted in recent years — less print, more digital media — the budget simply is not there to pay writers top dollar on their writing

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Writer’s Pay in the Past Vs. Writer’s Pay Now

In the past, writing an 80,000 word novel could earn you millions of dollars in the advance money, royalties and publication rights; but you have to realize that the revenue brought in from those 80,000 was much higher in the decades and centuries passed. If you are writing for an online magazine that is raking in the advertising revenue based on the content that has been written for that specific magazine, than yes, you should get paid more. However, the reality is that even though more content and writing is needed all over the web, on blogs, in magazines and in other locations, the revenue tied directly to several hundred words of writing does not match.

Write More For Less Money

All of the greatest writers throughout time have always told their apprentices to write everyday… it doesn’t matter what you write, just write every single day of your life. This is so true, and has never been truer than it is today. Today, a writer should accept every job opportunity in writing that comes their way — even if the job is only paying a few cents per word. The trick is to have has many low-paying writing requests as possible in order to make a decent living as a writer.

Do More Writing Work For Less Money?

Exactly, for new writers or those that are working towards getting into the writing business, it may not be what you want to hear; but this strategy WILL lead to more pay for less work, advancement in the industry, and praise for your work as you slowly begin to hone your craft. The problem with writing right now is that companies that will pay you for your writing have often very small budgets.

As an example, let’s say that a company that sells real estate online needs to keep their blog constantly updated in order to maintain their visibility in web searches. They need to have fresh content from a talented writer to not only show their authority in the space, but to keep readers interested and coming back. Now, that real estate company can’t directly correlate a $500,000 home sale with a single 350 word article from a writer, though the writer’s article may have been the one thing that attracted the buyer and eventually led to the sale. Instead, the company has a very small budget that allows for payment to a writer of — let’s say — $15.00 for a 500 word article. It is tough to make a living on that, but if you can get that same deal for 4 articles for the month, you have made $60.00 and it should not take you all that long to write.

“It doesn’t have to be great, it just has to be done”

The above quote was a popular one in the heyday of publishing and newspapers. When on deadlines, the editor would most often take this stance when it was nearing time to print. It basically means that while he/she doesn’t expect the article to win any awards or go down as a life-change piece of writing, he/she expects it to be done on time and without spelling/grammar errors.

The Problem of Low Writing Budgets Vs. Today’s Need for More Writing

We will be the first to admit that today — when more writing and content is needed than any other time in human history — the need for more writing coupled with lower pay for writers doesn’t seem to make much sense. This problem came about because of how quickly the writing and media industries changed in just the past 25-30 years. Right now, the two industries simply cannot match the worth of the writing to the budgets set for writing. While we are very confident that this will change — for the benefit of writers — soon, it is going to take some time for everything to adjust.

One of the biggest problems with online content today, is that it is just not that good at all. Why is that? Did the world run out of anything good to say, or anything good to write about? No, it is simply that when companies are only offering $2-$20 for a 350 word piece, there probably aren’t going to be a lot of bidders for that article. This is one of the many reasons writing jobs (especially for company blogs and online articles) are being shopped in countries such as India, Philippines, and other countries where “writers” are desperate, and — cleverly — follow our suggested model of “take every job, no matter what it pays, and learn from every single word written. The problem with this is that many of those that accept the jobs are not 100% fluent in English, and may not even be “writers” at all.

Follow Our Writing Model and Prove the Worth of Your Writing

If you really do consider yourself to be a writer, you should be accepting jobs with fairly low pay. The more you write these low paying articles — the easier it gets — the more jobs you can accept — the more money you make — the more the industry changes and begins to understand the worth of the writing and the worth of the writer. So don’t think of a low paying writing gig as beneath you as a writer, think of it as paid practice as your skills are being sharpened, and eventually you will be making a living as a writer and making headway in the entire industry.