I don’t think anyone who found her way to the Women in Publishing Summit blog is going to be shocked to hear that “writing is hard.” It’s one of those things that we take for granted. That it’s an art that takes practice, honing, sharpening. And as women, we so often find ourselves short on time or space to do that work. When so much of the unpaid labor of having a family and keeping a home running falls on us, how can we have the freedom to create, too?
That’s why I appreciate the people behind ProWritingAid, a company that takes the mission of improving writing seriously, and, in creating a successful, practical system to help authors do that, they’ve lifted up so many women’s voices.
I’m also so grateful that they’ve once again committed to support women authors in another way: by joining us as a Silver Sponsor for the 2022 Women in Publishing Summit.
ProWritingAid’s revolutionary product creates better books – I know because I use it myself! Here’s why!
What does ProWritingAid do?
ProWritingAid is a platform that offers a world-class grammar checking AND style checking, so your writing – be it business writing, creative writing, academic writing or anything else – follows the rules for what “good writing” looks like. ProWritingAid then goes beyond that by offering in-depth reporting to help you understand how you write.
In other words, ProWritingAid lets you know when you’re breaking a good writing rule, and it also tells you how often you use a given word, phrase or even sentence structure. The reports go deep into helping you unpuzzle your own authorial style. It helps keep your writing clean AND interesting.
You can use ProWritingAid in combination with other writer’s products like Scrivener and Fictionary, as well as within all major word processing programs. You can even add it as a Chrome plug-in so you can use it to write better emails. It’s an easy-to-use product that’s like having a writing coach right in your laptop!
In addition to the practical help this program can give any writer, the ProWritingAid community is a highly engaged and deeply knowledgeable one. Their paid course community gives authors valuable training on a wide variety of topics in the industry – just one more way ProWritingAid helps every author develop!
You don’t need to be writing the Great American Novel to benefit from this platform. The grammar and style checking can work magic on your business emails, your sales copy and more. We especially recommend that all our clients use it for things like newsletters and blog posts to keep them on track in terms of precision and voice.
But the impact that ProWritingAid can have on your book is huge: there aren’t a lot of opportunities to get real insight into your writing as you’re working on your draft. It’s a game-changer for writers in any genre and in any stage of their career.
How can I learn more about ProWritingAid?
Check out the ProWritingAid website to find out how they can help you become a better writer – click right here to learn more!
The discussion of diversity in publishing has been happening for years behind closed doors, but 2020 was a breakthrough year in the publishing industry. There were several big “scandals” around equal pay and representation in the publishing industry that came to light, creating some really interesting conversations for those of us who care about both the state of the publishing industry AND who advocate for fair representation of marginalized voices.
2020 was a big year for the conversation around diversity in publishing.
If you haven't been following all of the recent events, let's get you up to speed. Back in January 2020, the acclaimed publisher, Lee & Low, put out their Diversity Baseline Survey 2.0. It was a follow-up to their often-cited 2015 survey, which really got conversations about representation and inclusion in publishing kicked into high gear. The company shared the 2019 results, explaining why they’d begun this work in the first place:
Before the DBS, people suspected publishing had a diversity problem, but without hard numbers, the extent of that problem was anyone’s guess. Our goal was to survey publishing houses and review journals regarding the racial, gender, sexual orientation, and ability makeup of their employees; establish concrete statistics about the diversity of the publishing workforce; and then build on this information by reissuing the survey every four years.
The results weren’t encouraging. Even after 4 years of activity that an optimistic person would imagine might move the needle – things like Drag Queen Story Hours popping up nationwide, the #ownvoices movement gaining steam after American Dirt was published, the industry remained largely white in traditionally published books.
Everyone in this industry went into 2020 knowing that we had work to do. But we really had no idea…
When #PublishingPaidMe broke last summer, exposing the massive gap between what white and Black authors were paid, it shocked a LOT of my colleagues, even the ones who knew it was bad. I mean, imagine paying N.K. Jemisin, one of the most award-winning, critically acclaimed, reliably bestselling authors less of an advance than some complete unknown first-time white novelist? It seems like bad ethics AND bad business!
In 2020, it seemed like America was finally ready for a real conversation about Black Lives and justice. Black authors’ books rocketed to the top of the bestseller lists. By the end of 2020, did all this conversation change much? We won’t see more hard data for a while, but a November 2020 survey from Publisher’s Weekly reported that 75% of publishing employees said they’d seen a definite increase in diversity programs and efforts over the last year. The initiatives mentioned covered everything from recruiting more BIPOC, LGBTQIA and disabled employees at every level, to running DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) training and forming DEI committees in house.
But there are other bigger changes in the works that impact all of us. For example, in a recent meeting with an agent, she mentioned that many publishers of middle grade books are not interested in even looking at books if they don't have a “diverse” character base. While this may not be true for all genres or at all publishing houses, it's important to know if your targets fall into this category.
Another positive outcome came in the hiring process for publishing companies. We saw high profile publishing jobs going to Black and POC candidates. Seeing brilliant, exciting elevations like Dana Caneday at Simon & Schuster is certainly encouraging. It’s also promising to see new imprints popping up, led by BIPOC and focused on authors of color.
But what about the very simple, very important goal of getting more books published by people who are Black, disabled, queer, Hindi, Asian, trans, Latinx, Muslim and all the other diverse identities that make up our wide world of authors with something to say? Having publishing gatekeepers – at all levels – start to look more like our diverse nation is a start, but the rest might depend on us.
How can we help increase diversity in publishing?
It might depend on us as readers – we have to demand more books and make profitable (read: buy!) more books from underrepresented folks.
It might also depend on us as authors – we have to keep writing, getting our books out there, disrupting the system, and challenging the traditional gatekeepers.
We’ll be diving into all of this at our March 30 roundtable on Diversity in Publishing. We are welcoming some of our favorite indie and traditionally published authors to discuss the challenges, the joys and the work ahead to stock a more diverse bookshelf for everyone. Register here, and even if you can’t make it, we’ll send the replay your way!
So, tell us – what’s the one book by an author from an underrepresented group that is a MUST READ? We want to hear from you (and restock our bookshelves)!
ed. note: Thank you to Autumn Birt for this guest post! We are so excited about her new program for fantasy writers. Keep reading to learn more about this value-packed program that is a MUST for every fantasy writer,
Back when I first started writing fantasy and decided to give e-publishing a try, back in the early days of eBooks that I fondly refer to the Wild West, there wasn’t much information out to help authors. Now there seems to be too much and most of it contradicts itself!
I’m Autumn Birt, a bestselling and award-winning fantasy author (and past Women in Publishing Summit speaker!). I just released my thirteenth fantasy novel which completes my third series. I’m now a full-time writer traveling around the US with my husband and our Cairn Terrier, Ayashe, living the life of adventure that I love to write about in my epic fantasy stories. Well, minus the magic and dragons … but I’m looking for them!
Over the years as I learned how to successful write amazing stories, reach more readers, and market, I’ve written hundreds of blog posts offering free writing tips. But secretly, I wanted more.
What I want is to really, REALLY, help other authors. Not just with an occasional tip here and there amid random writing posts that I think, hope, will help you. No. I want to KNOW I impacted not only your writing but your writing career.
I dream big. I know. 😉
I’ve been gathering up all the things that have helped me create the awesome author business I have now, all those essential pieces of advice I wish someone had told and given me when I first started out as an indie author. And I’ve packaged them into one sweet little bundle that is so full of awesomeness that it makes me as excited as I was the first time I uploaded a book to Amazon (don’t tell Born of Water I said that. EVER.).
I know, really, how can anything besides writing be that good?
What if I told you what I’ve got coming is 12 seriously AWESOME modules that will teach you to write, edit, and publish your novel to raving fans? These step-by-step modules will help you take the spark of an idea and develop it into an amazing book with in-depth writing lessons that will teach you the pertinent details of just what you need to know to write an amazing book (and none of the extra crap that will only slow you down). AND, if that wasn’t sweet enough, it will show you the steps to build a fan base as you write, how to overcome, and totally defeat, writer’s block, plus the techniques to edit like a pro.
[bctt tweet=”take the spark of an idea & develop it into an amazing #fantasy #book What you need to know to #write an amazing book! #amwriting #ultimatefantasywritersguide #amwritingfantasy” username=”womeninpublish1″]
After that, it REALLY gets good.
That is when you jump into the module on the 5 essential parts of a cover AND how to format both an ebook and a paperback book using the templates the course provides. Did I just say ebook and paperback templates? Yup. They work great too. I just used them on my newest fantasy release (uploaded 2 days ago!). This course even provides an over-my-shoulder screencast video of how to use the templates and upload!
And that isn’t the end, oh no! There are still jam-packed lessons on how to launch a book to fans and reviews, including super-secret swipe files on how to build a launch team. And after all the excitement has worn off, as well as Amazon’s new release sales bump, how to continue to grow your author brand and expand into long-term marketing strategies.
Like I said, EVERYTHING you need to build your totally awesome author career. Swipe files to build your mailing list and launch team, awesome downloads, checklists, and cheat sheets to keep you organized, those over-my-shoulder videos to the exact steps you need to take, and then all that fantastic information packed into one single course. And there is even more! There are 3 amazing bonuses.
I’ve been dreaming of creating this for nearly two years.
Well more than dreaming. Because, like writing a book, things don’t happen, especially BIG and amazing things, if you don’t work hard to make them happen.
I CAN. NOT. WAIT. to help you with all those amazing lessons, downloads, swipe files, templates and MORE that are locked inside this amazing Guide, those awesome bonuses… Well, that is why it is called the Ultimate Fantasy Writer’s Guide!
Autumn is a bestselling author in fantasy, epic fantasy, and war! She is the author of the fast-paced epic fantasy, including the adventure trilogy on elemental magic, the Rise of the Fifth Order. Her newest series is Games of Fire, an epic continuation of the world and characters begun in the Rise of the Fifth Order. Learn more at http://autumnbirt.com
Diane Lasek, SVP of ListenUp Audio, will talk about how to plan for audiobooks as part of your writing process, what you need to know about audiobooks and how to work with ListenUp to produce your audiobook.