Tag Archives: marketing

Creating Style Guides for Professional Documents


You have a document, and it has special formatting. Perhaps it has heading styles, block quotes, references, and the like. Maybe you need to use APA style or MLA style. Perhaps your document has special chapter titles. Keeping track of these styles—and using them consistently—can be a chore. 

What Is a Style? 

As discussed here, a style is basically the format for a particular type of text. A style sheet will help you keep track of the various text formats in your document, whether it’s a business letter, a technical manual, a dissertation, or a novel. 

The style for a particular type of text can have many attributes. Common attributes include font size and face, text color, indentation, paragraph spacing (space or blank lines before and after the paragraph), line spacing, paragraph spacing, justification (right, left, center, block), capitalization style, and text styling (bold, italics, underlined, superscript, etc.). 

With so many attributes to remember, you may have difficulty applying them consistently. I see this often. A client will have a subheading in bold text, another one in italics, and even a third in bold and underlined. Some paragraphs will have a 0.5-inch first line indent with left justification, and others will have no indent with block justification.  Continue reading

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4 Writing Strategies for Improving Relationships and Persuading Readers


It's really hot in this building.

Language, and writing, can do one of two things, depending on how it is used: enhance a relationship or damage it. In simple terms, it can help bring people together or push them apart; it can help you accomplish your purposes, or it can hinder you. Language is never neutral. 

What does this mean for you as you write? This means you have to think carefully about three issues:

1. What you want to accomplish from the relationship with your reader,
2. What you want to communicate through writing, and
3. What affect your words will have on the relationship.

The central question you are trying to answer is this: Will my writing enhance or damage my relationship with the reader? 

When do you need to ask this question? Every time you write. Good writing enhances the relationship; bad writing damages it. When you look at writing this way, from the standpoint of how it affects the relationship, you can begin to make revisions that strengthen your writing and improve the results you get. 

To explore this idea, let’s look at a few samples of bad writing, consider how they may affect the relationship with the reader, and then revise them to improve that relationship and accomplish a purpose. In short, let’s turn bad writing into good writing.  Continue reading

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How much should my e-book cost?


 Amazon.com and SmashWords have opened the doors for self-publishing authors to distribute their e-books worldwide, and many authors are quick to take advantage of this opportunity. They upload their book files, fill in the book descriptions and other information, and then get to the question of price. How much should an e-book cost?

Many new self-publishing authors are looking for the most readers possible, so they choose a low price. Perhaps the author is hoping consumers will buy the book on impulse because the price is so low. Perhaps the author thinks that the low price will result in massive sales volume, which would compensate for the lower profit per book. I see many books with a $0.99 price tag.

This isn’t always the best approach to setting the price for an e-book. In fact, it’s usually the wrong approach. We can turn to the field of micro-economics to understand why gaining more readers isn’t always desirable, and why high sales volume doesn’t always produce the most profit. We’ll look at sales price from the basis of three concepts:

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Rhetorically Speaking


Day 9: Use the rhetorical action as the main verb.

A sentence may have several verbs. However, the verb in the “verb’s place” following the subject is generally the main verb upon which the rest of the sentence hangs. Consider this sentence:

“Julie thinks Tom is silly.”

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Doing the Right Thing for Your Clients


I’m in a business where I can do what I love: help clients communicate well through writing. If I do this well, and if I provide a service or product that people want at a price they are willing to pay, I make money. My profit, therefore, is a good indicator of the health and quality of my business. As a former accounting professor told me, “Money in, good. Money out, bad.”

Sometimes the money has to go out. Of course, every business has expenses: people to pay, services to contract, supplies to buy, etc. But sometimes, the money goes out because it’s the right thing to do. I’ll give you two examples of this concept. Continue reading

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Commas for Lunch


Learn to use commas correctly, leading to professional and clear writing. “Commas for Lunch,” a live, 1-hour online course by David Bowman, chief editor of Precise Edit.

Topics include the 6 major uses of commas and the 3 most common places where people use commas when they shouldn’t. Participants’ questions will also be discussed and answered.

Date: February 4, 2011
Time: 11:00 a.m. EST
18 seat maximum
Free

The course PDF is $0.99 (not required to participate).
Click here to register, or visit PreciseEdit.com for more information.

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Top 5 Strategies to Improve Your Writing


When I teach writing classes, give book talks, or generally discuss strategies for improving written communication, I often get this question: “What are the best strategies for writing well?” 

Writers (anyone who communicates through writing) can do many things to improve the clarity, correctness, and impact of their writing. Based on my years of helping clients improve their writing, here are my top 5 strategies. 

1. Use the Rhetorical Subject as the Grammatical Subject. 

The grammatical subject is the word in the “subject’s place.” Sometimes, the “doer” of the main action is not the grammatical subject (the word serving as the subject to the main verb). Consider this sentence: 

“Finding a solution is our greatest concern.”  Continue reading

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