AWP 2016 The Perfect Self-Released Book

AWPPromo2016_2

Mindbuck Media and Friends will be hosting a panel at AWP 2016 in Los Angeles! 

The Perfect Self-Released Book: What Elements Are Essential, and Will All This Money and Work Pay Off in the End?

Scott James Bookfair Stage, LA Convention Center, Exhibit Hall Level One
Thursday, March 31, 2016
1:30 pm to 2:45 pm 

Link to AWP Event Page 

Many AWP participants plan to self-publish. However, a tidal wave of subpar books into the public sphere remains a damning criticism of the practice, making it difficult for readers to sort through new releases for quality, particularly from emerging writers. Self-published books need to be perfected to be part of the literary conversation. However, the reality of poor sales and high expenses needs to be discussed openly so that authors do not get stuck releasing an inferior product.

Moderator: Jessica Glenn is a book publicist, musician, and writer. Her book publicity company of ten years, MindBuck Media, specializes in fiction. Glenn has published short fiction and poetry in PDX Magazine, Mamaphonic, Papierdoll, and elsewhere, and her press releases are reprinted widely.

Kristin Thiel is a professional editor and  helps individuals writing dragon mysteries, universities publishing dialogues on education, and tech companies crafting white papers. Over the years, her self-publishing clients have only grown in number, with good reasons.

Vinnie Kinsella, author of A Little Bit of Advice for Self-Publishers, began his love affair with book publishing in the second grade, when he worked with his fellow students to write and illustrate a story about the adventures of an ice-cream loving giraffe. Since then he has worked as a writer, editor, book designer, journal publisher, workshop speaker, and college instructor. In his current role as a publications consultant, he uses his broad knowledge of the publishing industry to assist and educate self-published authors. Vinnie lives in Portland, Oregon, with his books and his collection of coffee brewing equipment.

Laura Garwood, editor and writer, runs her own business out of Sacramento. She edits books, speaks about editing, and writes the well-known parenting and humor blog,Short-Winded Blog. She has her master’s in book publishing.

Mary Bisbee-Beek, Book Publicist; Agent; Foreign Rights; Marketing Consultant

https://www.awpwriter.org/awp_conference/event_detail/6037

Creative Publicity with Blue Star Coloring

adult-coloring-book-stress-relieving-animal-designs-1941325114-600x450Q&A with Jessica about publicity for Mindbuck Media client Blue Star Coloring.

Q: Blue Star Coloring brought you on to do publicity for their line of coloring books for grown ups. What’s different about doing book publicity for coloring books versus a work of fiction?

We are gearing up to do our first full release with Blue Star Coloring and our pitch list is certainly different than it is with novels and memoir!

Q: Are there any interesting challenges getting the word out about adult coloring books?

Since industry reviews for coloring books have never been a thing, we are in new territory with this one. We are following enthusiastic reviewers with great interest as we explore this robust publishing trend.

Q: What has been the most fun aspect of working with Blue Star Coloring?

12728546_1657570981172120_730098069_nThe most interesting and fun part of working with Blue Star Coloring is the company culture. Blue Star Coloring is comprised of interesting, hard-working people who are up for trying new things. It’s always a blast to work with people who will take creative risks and these guys have that in spades.

Q: Any advice for artists looking to publish similar art books?

If artists have illustrations ready it wouldn’t be the worst thing to submit a query to Blue Star Coloring. It’s difficult to break into the market at this point without working from within the industry.

Q: What kind of publicity hits has Blue Star Coloring had so far?

As the leader in Adult Coloring book, Blue Star Coloring has been featured everywhere including USA Today, Good Morning America, Time, Washington Post, and many more.

BlueStarColoringv2

How To Pitch Your Book

Clear forest in glasses on the background of blurred forest

From our friend Joe Biel founder, owner, and publisher of Microcosm Publishing

Microcosm Publishing is celebrating our 20th anniversary on Feb 12 and every day, new authors come to us with their delicately crafted, very personal work that they’ve spent hundreds of hours honing to perfection. Despite all this work, they’ve often completely neglected to figure out how to talk about their book, let alone how to pitch it.

But in the modern publishing landscape, the question of who gets published is less about how polished the manuscript is and more about the fact that publishers, just like readers, need a way to quickly understand what your book is about, who it is for, and most important, what benefits it offers. The book can be a masterwork, but if you can’t compellingly describe it in a single sentence, nobody will ever know.

Every book needs very clear development and language. The first question you need to be able to answer, in a one sentence pitch and at greater length in the book itself, is “what is this book about?” Next you need to investigate that the book you have in mind hasn’t already been written. Then you need to make sure you’ll be able to write it.”

THE PROCESS

If your book is best suited to major publishing houses (i.e. occupies an identifiable and reachable audience of more than 5,000 people), you’ll need to pitch an agency until one agrees to work with you. Then the agent begins the next process, of pitching to publishers. The process of pitching to indie houses is our focus here. Publishing with a client account like Amazon’s is another option, as is using a pay-to-play company to bring in some of the services that a publisher would normally provide for free. While these options do not have any barrier to entry (except money), if you want to reach readers who are not your friends and family, properly developing and pitching your book remains just as vital as it does in pitching to the industry.

THE RULES

Follow directions. It’s the first step to winning.
No matter who you’re pitching, the most important part of the process is: Read and follow all submission directions exactly. You will likely ruin your chances of success if you assume that you are an exception to the guidelines, if you do not follow them correctly, or if you do not put sufficient time into the process. I toss over half of our submissions because they have not followed our submission guidelines and the result is incomprehensible. Some people appear to be “blanket-submitting” their manuscript everywhere without regard to fit, which simply wastes everyone’s time. Others believe that if we just read their work we would be swooning so hard that we would be asking them where we could sign on. I cannot stress enough the vitality of reading the guidelines.

It’s also vital to research the publisher. Read their mission statement if they have one. Look at the other books they have coming out, and what they’ve done in the last few years. What kind of books do they like? What are their bestsellers? If a publisher has not made any children’s books, there is likely a good reason for that. Even if they made an exception for yours, it likely would not be in your best interest. You want your book to fit into the story and fabric of what your publisher does best.

WRITING THE PITCH

Make the first sentence of your pitch a clear and uncluttered explanation of what benefit the book offers to readers.
For example, you might write, “NONOWRIMO: Your Daily Guide To Not Publishing a Creative Work provides helpful day-planning and activities that a potential author could pursue instead of writing.”

This is the most important part of your pitch, so it should be the most visible. The publisher needs to immediately understand what the book is about before they will be willing to look further. Often, opening a conversation with someone about their pitch results in defensiveness and not understanding why a publisher needs certain questions answered. Again, the plausibility of a project is not related to the merit of the work as much as the merits in the concept of the work.

The second most important part of your pitch is one or two sentences explaining how your book stands out from similar titles. Focus on what is unique about your book that other in-print books do not offer. This requires research on what is in print rather than just speculating from memory or conjecture. Visit some bookstores. Check Google and Amazon, and look at the Amazon rankings to get a general idea of which books have done well and which have flopped. Publishers will do this as well, but your preliminary search will help direct your pitching in the right direction.
When the publisher’s guidelines indicate that it’s the correct time, submit the materials requested. If a specific format is not specified, include the basic outline of your complete work and a sample chapter or two. Most places will also want a list of comparable titles: books from the last five years (preferably fewer) from comparably sized presses of similar length, cover price, and marketing budgets. This helps everyone to better understand how you think about your book and the company it keeps.

PLATFORM

It’s helpful for agents and publishers and readers to understand what you bring to the table besides your writing: your platform and endorsements. Did you create a successful social media page or blog that speaks to the same people that your book does? Are there professional or popular people who are willing to speak excitedly about the book or write an endorsement? Is your best friend or aunt a well-connected journalist who is excited to go to bat for your book? Is your local TV station news host a social acquaintance? Have you written other books or done other projects that gained fans or praise? Share that briefly in your pitch.

Even if you’ve never written a book before and don’t have a strong network already in place, you can include supporting evidence about the potential readership of your book. Most of the pitches that I receive contain a blanket claim along the lines of “books about ice cream are very popular right now.” This is not helpful, but if you include a metric, like “Dentists have found that eating more ice cream reduces risk of cavities.” That level of information opens up new ways for the book to be sold and is helpful (even more so if it’s true!).

Almost every pitch I receive is too long, which causes me to skim for the relevant points. Then I respond if it fits or delete it if it does not (or if I can’t tell what it is about). So make it short and to the point. When you’ve finished crafting the most relevant information about your book, cut the word count on your pitch in half at least once, if not four times.

Above all, really think about who the book is for and what their concerns are, what publications they read, and how they feel about the issues discussed. Your book is for individual people rather than an amorphous “mainstream.” Be respectful to your audience—a prospective publisher, agent, or individual readers alike—and acknowledge what they know. Make them feel welcome. That’s how you succeed.

 

Microcosm is an independent, punk-inspired book publisher. They are about to turn 20. This is their story.  Good Trouble: Building a Successful Life & Business with Asperger’s

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/microcosmpublishing/making-room-for-good-trouble

Poets & Writers Feature

We are so pleased and excited to be featured in the Nov/Dec 2015 edition of Poets & Writers in “A Publicist’s Prospective.”

So impressed with Poets & Writers setting up the ‪#‎pwlive‬ event to go along with the article. Thanks!

Editor Jessica Page Morrell and publicist Jessica Glenn weigh in and give advice to burgeoning self-publishers. Available only in print. We highly recommend a subscription to Poets & Writers as a valuable resource for all writers (and poets!).

 

PWFeature10-15

World Teachers’ Day

According to a Japanese proverb, “Better than a thousand days of diligent study is one day with a great teacher.” There’s truth in those words, as anyone who has ever had a great teacher will know!

October 5 is World Teachers’ Day, a day to celebrate educators around the world. Teaching is incredibly difficult (and often thankless) work, yet it might just be the world’s most important job. Teachers can and do change lives every day. They inspire generations of students to think, learn, create, and accomplish things they never believed they could do.

We think this day is a wonderful opportunity to draw attention to the important role teachers play in our society. Our friends at Grammarly created an infographic to share some statistics and honor educators around the globe. 

World-Teacher-Day-infographic

https://www.grammarly.com/plagiarism-checker

Global Literacy is Everyone’s Concern

From our friends at Grammarly (written by Brittney Ross)

Our world today is perhaps more text-driven than at any other time in history. In the Digital Age, the ability to read and write can transform lives, families, and even whole communities. Since UNESCO celebrated the very first International Literacy Day on September 8, 1966, the plight of millions of people around the world has improved through programs dedicated to helping marginalized populations become literate. But there is still a long way to go.

Illiteracy is more than just a lack of reading skills. Around the world, it is a clear predictor of poverty, illness, and disempowerment. It’s not a problem confined to the developing world, either. Even in the United States, there are thirty-two million adults who cannot read, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

To celebrate International Literacy Day and help raise awareness about the importance of literacy, we have gathered the latest literacy statistics from around the world into an infographic.

Literacy-Day

via https://www.grammarly.com/plagiarism-checker

Summer/Fall 2015 New Books

A sample of current MindBuck Media books on tap:


41q43hXsb3L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_War: A Crime Against Humanity by Roberto Vivo

A book that will open your eyes to the evolution of war and the promise of enduring peace.

War: A Crime Against Humanity is a fascinating history of war and the search for enduring world peace.
Roberto Vivo deftly guides the reader through the history of war and peace, from early civilizations to the major conflicts and peace efforts of today. The book zeros in on the historical moments that have shaped the practice of war in dozens of examples, from the ancient Greeks to Cambodia to Rwanda, and juxtaposes such examples with our best experiments in peace.

Vivo then draws on the history of movements to outlaw practices such as apartheid and slavery to build a case for criminalizing the use of war and holding world leaders accountable for initiating conflicts before the International Criminal Court.

His outspoken criticism of the politics and industry of war is tempered by a profound optimism about what people can learn from history and what we can achieve together. War: A Crime Against Humanity is not another diatribe against the status quo; it is an inspiring and profoundly hopeful vision of the future we can dare to create.

Release: April 2015
Publisher: Hojas del Sur
ISBN: 978­987­1882­34­2
Kindle Price: $9.99
Pages: 357
Distribution: Amazon
eBook Distribution: Kindle

everydayahopeEvery Day A Hope by Marci Mathews

Through tiny stories and illustrations, Every Day a Hope​encourages and empowers readers to examine emotionally difficult issues, while instilling confidence, introspection, and creativity. In each page, Marci M. Matthews addresses familiar concepts in a unique manner, designed to evoke thoughts, feelings and the ability to embrace the positive.

The concepts in E​very Day a Hope a​re taken from Matthews’ work with survivors, but the book is accessible to anyone. The book challenges readers by asking questions and providing space to draw, write, keep lists, and be creative.

“This debut picture book for a general audience deploys text and drawings to showcase a series of musing, motivational messages. (E​very Day A Hope)​has plenty of gentle charm and will certainly be accessible to a wide audience… a sweet, simple roundup of illustrated inspirational thoughts.” ­
– KIRKUS

Release: M​ay 19, 2015
Publisher: Off to See
ISBN: 978-0-9908218-1-6
Price: $18.99 hardback
Price: $14.99 paperback
Pages: 131

Girl in the River resizedGirl In A River by Patricia Kullberg

Her pimp wants her dead, a hooker wants her heart, and the DA just wants her …

On the eve of World War II, Portland, Oregon, battles corruption as the city falls into the hands of gangsters. Newly orphaned, Mae Rose wanders the rain-stained streets alone, on the lam from a knife-wielding pimp and mustering her own worst impulses to survive. As Mae rises to power in Portland’s gritty sex industry, she’s pursued by a district attorney who seeks to snare her for more personal reasons. In the city’s smoky nightspots, the glamorous Dr. Ruth Barnett turns heads, but by day she operates a wildly successful abortion service. At war’s end, both Mae and Ruth are caught in the crosshairs of Portland’s anti-vice crusade. The women’s survival, as well as any chance at lasting love, depends on their allegiance to each other and their abilities to outsmart the cops and politicians who no longer protect them. This novel, based in part on the true story of Dr. Ruth Barnett, takes an unflinching look at the power dynamics of sex and post-war assaults on reproductive rights.

“… Like one of those hardboiled film noir movies, this novel is smart and raw and full of sassy dialogue …” –M​aryka Biaggo, author of​Parlor Games

Release:, August 20, 2015 P
ublisher: Bygone Era Books, Ltd.
ISBN: 978-1-941072-24-0
Price: $19.95 Paperback
Price: $6.99 e-book
Pages: 378

summerColdwarSummer on the Cold War Planet by Paula Closson Buck

Their first encounter disrupted her sense of who she was. Years later, she still finds him as irresistible as he is forbidding.

“Each story he told shed about as much light as a match and made all the dark around it worth wanting to know…”

In the late spring of 1989, Lyddie, a young American art historian, finds herself alone and pregnant when her husband, Phelps, disappears in Kurdish Iraq. Set adrift from the security of their marriage, she returns to the divided city of Berlin where they met four years before, seeking truths she believes Phelps may have kept from her.

Now the ferment at Germany’s borders is spilling into the private lives of their bohemian friends—particularly that of exiled East German painter Axel Herzog. Lyddie has always felt the gravitational pull of Axel’s art and of the stories of mystics he learned as a boy in Greece. And though Phelps once warned her away from Axel, the attraction grows stronger as she uncovers a vulnerability beneath the scorn he learned on the other side of the Wall. When revelations about Axel’s past force her to retreat to an island in Greece, Lyddie finds she has run headlong into everything she has tried to avoid.

In this novel of conflicting allegiances played out between a richly realized late Cold War Berlin and the stark beauty of the Cycladic islands, travellers, natives, and refugees circle one another warily, their fates hanging on the question of which trusts if any, will remain unviolated.

Release: September 3, 2015
Publisher: Fomite
ISBN: 978­1­942515­11­1
Price: $14.95
Kindle Price: $4.99
Pages: 357
Distribution: Ingram, Amazon, Barnes & Noble
eBook Distribution: Kindle, Nook, Kobo, iTunes, Smashwords

size500_Ice_Cream_Work_Cover_1000-1Ice Cream Work by Naoshi

Where will Ice Cream Man work next??

Ice Cream Man knows there’s lots of work to be done! Whether it’s cheerfully posing next to chocolate cake, beaming team spirit as 1/8th of a sunflower, or glowing bright as he becomes a fabulous night light, Ice Cream Man is ready for the job!

This delicious, quirky children’s book by internationally acclaimed Japanese artist Naoshi combines a whimsical story with colorful sunae (sand art). A “Look & Find” section challenges youngsters to scour the pages for small details, and a “How To Make Sunae” section guides readers step‐by‐step through a “sand painting” art project of their own.

“Ice Cream Work is a meticulous and stunning piece of art. The story exudes a
loopy, anarchist joy: chronicling the adventures of a hard­working and stylish frozen dairy confection and his eclectically industrious week.” ­­ Dale Bayse, author of Heck, Where the Bad Kids Go series

Release: October 1, 2015
Publisher: Overcup Press
ISBN: 0­9834917­3­9
Price: $14.99 hardcover
Pages: 40
appropriate for ages 3 and up

LostJournalsThe Lost Journals of Sylvia Plath by Kimberly Knutsen

Katie’s bored stiff in her marriage. Wilson’s clawing the walls to stay sober. Can they survive January?
Katie Lavender’s life boomerangs between diapers and benzodiazepines, hot sex and married sex. A genuine earth mother, Katie is an anxious hippie with a PhD. She spends her afternoons leafing through People magazine, snacking on her kids’ cereal and seducing her young neighbor. She’s restless for something to change ‐ fast. Katie’s fumbling husband Wilson is a sober alcoholic and professor of women’s studies, though he’s beginning to suspect he knows nothing about the other gender. With three children underfoot, Katie and Wilson each wonder if they’re meant to be together. The Lavender’s stagnant marriage is upended when Katie’s pregnant sister January arrives on their doorstep. Obsessed with her big‐haired ex‐lover ‐ 80s rocker Stevie Flame ‐ January is a free‐spirited, wild child who drives Wilson crazy. January’s arrival unearths memories from Katie’s violent past, and a trauma she thought she’d overcome haunts her anew. Can Katie reclaim the love she deserves?

“Consistently funny and well­ observed … the novel is a pleasure to read.” ‐‐ Andy Mozina, author of The Women Were Leaving the Men and Quality Snacks.

Release: October 2015
Publisher: Northern Illinois University Press
ISBN: 978­0­87580­725­6
Price: $18.95 hardcover
Pages: 384

Guest Post from Grammarly: Is Group Writing the Wave of the Future?

Let’s face it – for even the most seasoned writers among us, it is difficult to find the time and inspiration to write a publishable novel. In addition to deciding what type of novel to write, we need to develop a series of believable characters and orchestrate their participation in an interesting story. Then we need to start writing.

Typically, novels are penned by a single author and can be divided into three categories:

1. Genre fiction includes romance novels, thrillers, mystery novels, and more.
2. Literary novels are popular pieces of fiction that have typically earned some acclaim. Many literary novels are assigned reading in high school or college, and some have even been deemed “classics.”
3. Mainstream fiction (think: Twilight, Fifty Shades of Grey, etc.).

Thinking about the type of novel you want to write can be as overwhelming as actually writing it, so many writers seek inspiration before they begin to write by reading voraciously. Samuel Johnson, a poet, essayist, moralist, literary critic, biographer, editor, and lexicographer, said: “The greatest part of a writer’s time is spent in reading, in order to write; a man will turn over half a library to make one book.”

Other writers find inspiration in begin held accountable for their work. Many participate in writing groups, forums, or national writing events such as National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), an event that takes place every November to hold writers accountable for writing at least 50,000 words. As part of NaNoWriMo, writers report their progress and become inspired by other writers to complete the first draft of a novel.

However, despite the adequate inspiration and accountability, some writers simple do not have the time to complete a full novel. For these writers, there is collaborative fiction. Collaborative fiction involves two or more authors sharing creative control of a story. The best example of collaborative fiction is Caverns, a 1989 novel written collaboratively as an experiment by Ken Kesey and a creative writing class that he taught at the University of Oregon. Another example is the novel, No Rest for the Dead, in which 26 best-selling crime writers teamed up to create a mystery story.

Grammarly, an automated proofreading company, is in the process of completing its second annual collaborative writing event, GrammoWriMo. GrammoWriMo is open to all writers, and has been an attractive option for those who want to be involved in writing a novel – but simply do not have the time to complete the piece on their own.

In November 2013, around 300 writers from 27 countries (and 44 U.S. states) worked together with Grammarly to write a group novel during NaNoWriMo. The resulting book clocked in at a total of 130,927 unedited words, and was among the 41,940 novels completed! Writers and participants of GrammoWriMo have reviewed the book, and their experience writing it, on Amazon.

In November 2014, 496 writers from 54 countries signed up to participate in the group-writing event. Together, these writers drafted 38,093 words and three pending vignettes to be added to the novel.

Although the future of collaborative writing remains to be seen, it is clear that many writers appreciate the opportunity to work with others to complete the time-consuming task of writing and publishing a complete novel. Many hands make short work, and the initial success of a group novel often inspires writers to go forward in writing their own novel.

Do you find inspiration in your writing through others? Are collaboratively written novels the wave of the future?

Guest Post from Indie Reader: Get Your Book in Front of 37,000 Book Industry Professionals

Book_IRIS_programFor many Indie authors, getting their books in an actual physical bookstore is the Holy Grail. We hear it all the time. The problem is, it’s a crazy amount of work to canvas the shops, have meetings with store owners and convince them that you’re book is a good fit.

So we at IndieReader came up with a solution. Not just another listing, IR In-Store (IRIS) reviews and catalogs your book as part of a branded collection on Edelweiss, an online catalog service used by a majority of independent bookstores (plus B&N!), a social network platform for industry professionals and an interactive research tool for librarians, bloggers and reviewers.

The cost to indie authors is $399.00* per title (assuming the the title is available via Ingram Wholesale, if it’s not, IR can make it available there for a small additional fee) and includes an IndieReader book review that will accompany the title in the Edelweiss database.

Not only that, but for no additional fee, your book is included in the Edelweiss Digital Review Copy (DRC) Module. Similar in function to NetGalley, it is a secure, controlled way for authors to share their DRCs with reviewers, bloggers, librarians, media, booksellers, wholesalers, etc.

But don’t just take our word for it. Says Counting to D author and MindBuck Media client, Kate Scott, “Participating in IndieReader’s In-Store (IRIS) program is an investment I would definitely do again. If you are planning to spend any money on publicity and/or marketing for your upcoming title, I recommend joining IRIS first. I will definitely be listing all my future titles on the Edelweiss network.”

And bookstore owners concur.  Says Tony Herr, from Cape Atlantic Bookstore in Cape May, NJ:

“I love this idea very much and want to utilize it completely. We’ve had an indie section since we opened 2 years ago, but it hasn’t been very diverse since I cannot review everything that comes my way, and so far the indie selections from Ingram have only been offered at 25-30% discounts, (I would happily take more chances with titles if Ingram offered them at my regular discount). I definitely believe this service will go a long way to getting these selections properly reviewed and on bookstore shelves.”

More information on the Indie Reader In Store program.

Guest post by Amy Edelman at IndieReader

Guest Post From Grammarly: Common Grammar Mistakes

By Nikolas Baron of Grammarly.com

Every writer makes mistakes. It’s impossible not to do. When you begin a book, poem, short story, novella, article, or writing exercise, you want to get everything down on the page. If there’s a quick burst of genius, you’ll stop at nothing to ride the burst out. Even if you’re the type of writer who edits while you write, mistakes are imminent. However, grammar mistakes are sometimes the most difficult types of mistakes to overcome. There are writers I’ve talked to who still have trouble with who and whom, lay and lie, and affect and effect. Through my research and discussions with editors, writers, bloggers, and English professors, I’ve discovered five of the most common grammar mistakes and how to avoid them.

Owl_Who1) Who and Whom: Let’s first break down the part of speech for each of these words. “Who” is a subject/nominative pronoun (he, she, it, we, they, etc.) and acts as the subject of a clause. “Whom” is an objective pronoun (him, her, it, us, them, etc.) and acts as the object of a clause. When you’re trying to decide which to use, think about if you’re referring to the subject or the object of the sentence. Another technique that works quite well is replacing the “who” or “whom” of the sentence with another pronoun. For example, one can substitute the sentence “Who went to get ice cream?” with “She went to get ice cream.” A person can also say, “You gave the last ice cream to whom?” or “I gave the last ice cream to him.”

2) Which and That: This is a mistake that I see almost on a daily basis. Whether it is in an email, a flyer, a Facebook status post, a tweet, or a newspaper, it’s everywhere. Looking at the part of speech in these instances can really help break down and explain the problem. Simply put, “that” is a restrictive pronoun, and “which” introduces a relative clause. “That” restricts while “which” qualifies. Moreover, “which” can also be used in restrictive clauses. Consider the following examples: a) “I really want that elephant from the circus.” b) “Which elephant do you want?” c) “I want the elephant that only eats peanuts.” d) “Many elephants eat peanuts, which make for an excellent source of protein in their diet.”

3) Lay and Lie: This is by far the trickiest mistake of them all. I had a professor in college who changed his license plate in order to make a point about the use of “lay” and “lie.” “Lay” is a transitive verb while “Lie” is an intransitive verb. “Lay” requires a direct subject and one or more objects while “Lie” needs no object. “Lie” is the present tense while “Lay” is the past tense. The major issue of concern usually comes into play when a writer is using the past tense of “Lay” such as, he laid on the bed. What the writer actually means is, he lay on the bed. Here are some further examples: I lay the book on the floor; Last week, I laid on the floor of the gym after a hard run; The chocolate bars lie between the Sour Patch Kids and the marshmallows.

Proofread4) Whether and If: One of the major qualms with “Whether” vs. “If” is the belief that they are interchangeable. They are not. “Whether” expresses a condition where there are two or more alternatives while “If” is a condition where there are no alternatives. Take the following sentences as examples of proper use: Whether or not I go to class is dependent on the weather. If I go to class, there may be a pop quiz, though.

5) Affect and Effect: “Affect” vs. “Effect” is another daily issue for me. “Affect” is typically a verb where “Effect” is typically a noun. What helps the most is the definitions of these words, though. Affect: To act on; produce an effect or change in. Effect: Something that is produced by an agency or cause; consequence; influence. Some examples: His failure to prove the effects of his science experiment affected his mood. Sarah’s bad attitude affected her coworker, Jane, which caused a negative effect on the amount of work she got done.

There are still many more grammar mistakes, but these are by far the most common among writers. Additional resources can be used to check for these mistakes, as well. Grammarly, an online grammar check resource, can catch errors that Microsoft Word misses and can help you identify your most common mistakes. Save yourself and your editors some time by using an online resource to grammar check and take the time to learn proper grammar so as to avoid these mistakes in the future.

 

Nik-Baron-615x410Nikolas discovered his love for the written word in Elementary School, where he started spending his afternoons sprawled across the living room floor devouring one Marc Brown childrens’ novel after the other and writing short stories about daring pirate adventures. After acquiring some experience in various marketing, business development, and hiring roles at internet startups in a few different countries, he decided to re-unite his professional life with his childhood passions by joining Grammarly’s marketing team in San Francisco. He has the pleasure of being tasked with talking to writers, bloggers, teachers, and others about how they use Grammarly’s online proofreading application to improve their writing. His free time is spent biking, travelling, and reading.