Seek Constructive Criticism

Nobody really likes to be criticized. But all of us need constructive criticism. And everyone needs a bit of editing, even the great writers of the world.
Where should criticism come from? From people you trust, even those with whom you disagree. But ignore people who are always negative — and ignore those whom we call [...]

You Need to Be Your Own Marketer

Are book reviews worth it?
Do reviews actually sell books? No, but you do.
It seems that, at least according to newspapers, the book review is a thing of the past. Most newspapers have done away with book sections, severely limited book reviews and care less and less about cultural coverage in general. The only remaining [...]

Giving and Taking: You’re Not Alone Self-Publish

The noted playwright David Mamet is only the latest big-name writer to self-publish. Mamet said that for his next book, which will consist of a novella and two stories, he will self-publish, working with his agency ICM Partners .

Mamet self-publishing isn’t really news, not anymore, when people like the movie star Jim Carrey, for example, [...]

The Author as E-Commerce Marketer

Many e-commerce sites are cutting out the middlemen and passing savings onto customers.

You’d think that publishers would have done that long ago.
But no, its authors who are doing that. Self-published authors, of course.
Publishers still consider themselves gatekeepers of quality writing. And they continue to work with booksellers, both brick-and-mortar and online retailers, to [...]

Elements of Style

Wednesday is writing day here at Beneath the Cover. As I’m in the middle of writing a style guide for my colleagues – we want to keep our so-called “house style” consistent – I wanted to weigh in on style this week. Having worked for a long time at the Wall Street Journal, which has [...]


One of the words that entrepreneurs toss about is “disruption,” meaning something that upsets the norm.
If you’ve been following the course of publishing over the last few years, you’ll have noticed how disruptive Amazon and others have been to traditional publishing. Not only are e-readers quite popular, but self-publishing is quite easy, and increasingly valid [...]

An Excess of Corporate Double-speak

Write clearly or else.
Or else you’ll not only risk being misunderstood. But mocked. Hilariously mocked.
I just came across a piece in the Financial Times from a couple of weeks ago, in which the writer, Lucy Kellaway, awards the dubious distinction to corporate gibberish, the Golden Flannel Awards, which she supplemented with additional honoraria such as [...]

Inspiration from Other Writers

Who has inspired you as a writer?
Whether we’re aware of it or not, we somehow process the prose of those writers we admire, and finds its way into our own works.
This might be more true in fiction, perhaps, but nonfiction writers can be tremendous stylists (think of Truman Capote in “In Cold Blood” or early [...]

The Persistence of Paper

Books aren’t going away yet.
That’s a good thing.
But don’t think that because many people in their 20s still read books in the traditional format, that you can forget about going digital. You can’t.
According to a Pew Research Study, 83 percent of Americans aged 16 to 29 read a book last year, and 60 percent of [...]

Keep Your E-Book Simple

Don’t be tempted to spiff up your e-book just yet.
Just get it written.
E-books offer many opportunities for add-ons. Links can bring a reader to further information on a subject and, already, e-readers can serve as dictionaries so that someone needn’t hunt down that tricky word in another place.
Yet elements such as 3D graphics, or embedded [...]

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