Preparing to be an Author in 2023

By Team Azuni

Are you dreaming of becoming a published author in the next few years? With the right plan and mindset, it’s possible to make your dream a reality. Writing and publishing a book is a long journey that requires focus, dedication, and patience. Read on for tips on how to kickstart your writing career and make it happen in 2023.

Create A Writing Routine

Writing can be overwhelming if you don’t have any structure or routine. To get into the habit of writing regularly, create a plan and stick with it. Set aside dedicated time each day or week to write. Whether it’s 30 minutes or 3 hours, having consistent writing time helps you stay focused and productive instead of feeling overwhelmed by the task at hand. If you’re really struggling to find time, try getting up 30 minutes earlier than usual or write during lunch breaks—you may be surprised with how much progress you can make!

Find Your Writing Style

Once you have a routine in place, begin experimenting with different writing styles until you find one that works for you. There are so many ways to tell stories; take some time to explore different techniques such as free-writing, dialogue-driven narrative, stream of consciousness, etc., until you find your voice as an author. This will help engage readers while they read your work and keep them wanting more. Also consider joining an online writers group or attending workshops—surrounding yourself with other writers can provide great inspiration and motivation when crafting stories of your own.

Start Building An Audience

Once you have some content ready for publishing, start building an audience by utilizing social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, Tik Tok etc., as well as blogging about topics related to your book (or simply writing). If done correctly this can help increase engagement and interest in your work before its even published! Get creative with marketing strategies such as giveaways and contests—this will help get people excited about what’s coming next from you. Another great way to build hype around your work is partnering up with other authors who already have an established presence online – they may be willing to share something of yours if it’s interesting enough.


Becoming an author isn’t easy but with the right plan in place it’s possible! Creating a writing routine, finding your unique style as an author, and starting to build an audience are all steps that need to be taken before beginning the journey towards publication in 2023. Take some time out of each day/week/month (whichever applies) devoted specifically towards working on this goal – consistency is key! With patience, dedication, creativity – there’s no limit on what can be achieved if one perseveres through the process . Good luck.​​​​​​

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8 Creative Writing Exercises to Strengthen Your Writing

Written by MasterClass

Learning to write fiction is like training for a marathon. Before you get ready for the main event, it’s good to warm up and stretch your creative muscles. Whether you’re a published author of a bestselling book or a novice author writing a novel for the first time, creative exercises are great for clearing up writer’s block and getting your creative juices flowing.

What Are Creative Writing Exercises?

Creative writing exercises are short bursts of improvisational writing. From one line to a short story, these writing drills prompt a writer to approach a familiar topic in a new way. Creative writing classes often incorporate short, spontaneous assignments, but any writer should make these a part of their daily habit to expand their abilities and learn how to approach a story in different ways. Creative writers should do these exercises for ten minutes at a time, several times a week. They are meant to improve writing skills, spark new story ideas, and make you a better writer.

8 Creative Writing Exercises

Whether you’re taking a break from a work in progress or are in between writing projects and need some inspiration, regular creative writing exercises help you strengthen your writing process. Incorporate these eight exercises into your writing routine.

  1.  Let your stream of consciousness run. Start with a blank page. Then just start writing. Don’t stop to edit or think about what you’re saying. This is called free writing. This writing exercise is what Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way, calls “morning pages.” She suggests writers do this every day right when they wake up. Stream of consciousness writing can draw out some interesting ideas. Just let your brain lead and your fingers type.
  2.  Switch up a story’s POV. Take a scene—or a chapter if you’re feeling adventurous—from one of your favorite books. Write it from a different character’s point of view. In this exercise you’re switching out the main character to see how the story can be told in another way. Take the exciting finale from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and write it with Ron as the main character. Another variation of this creative exercise is to keep the main character, but switch POV. For example, if a writer has told a story in first person, rewrite a scene in third person. What information gets left out when you switch points of view? What does the reader know, or not know, in this new way of telling the story?
  3.  Use creative writing prompts. To generate writing ideas, use writing prompts, also called story starters. A writing prompt is a sentence or short passage that a writer uses as a springboard into a spontaneous story. You can find writing prompts online, choose a line at random from a magazine, or find a great line from a famous novel as the opener for your short scene.
  4.  Write a letter to your younger self. Have you ever wished you could say something to your younger self? Here’s your chance. Think of a subject you want to address, like a significant event, and compose a letter to your younger self as if you were a separate person. Offer advice or send a message you wish you had received when you were a child or young adult.

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How to Cure Writer’s Block: 23 Proven Ideas that Actually Work


The fact is that almost every writer faces writer’s block at some point in their career. Deadlines, storylines or even airlines can be the cause of this intellectual affliction. Writer’s block is real and can greatly affect your output.

But, every writer of note has willed themselves out of this mental stupor. Writer’s block doesn’t have to stop a budding Homer in their tracks.

There are many ways to overcome this form of procrastination that works wonders.

Today, let’s look at 23 ways that prove effective to help you get rid of writer’s block.

But first…

What is writer’s block?

Writer’s block is when a writer experiences creative slowdown or can’t create new work; essentially an artistic full-stop. It’s the inability of an author to compose new, original material that moves a narrative forward. The term writer’s block is used in reference to any writing or composition process where creativity is stunted. The production of new work grinds to a halt. It’s often referred to as creative constipation. Frustration, fear, anger, dread, and other strong emotions sometimes accompany it.

What causes writer’s block?

  • Distractions
  • Physical illness
  • Bills piling up
  • Procrastination
  • Intimidation


Read for inspiration 

One of the best ways to overcome writer’s block is to read. Whether your favorite author or someone new, reading is a reliable cure.

When you take in another writer’s words on the page — a writer who has in all likelihood overcome the block as well, at some point — it challenges and motivates you to get the words out.

The inspiration for many writers is their own writing heroes. Shakespeare to Faulkner, Byron to Plath, all have their own styles and voices that have nourished generations of creatives. Writer’s block gloms onto the idle, not the well-read.

You could open the best screenwriting books for writer’s block help. So pick up a Kindle or an actual bound book, and kickstart the motivation.

“The journey of a thousand words begins with the first.”

— Lao Tzu


Write away your writer’s block

Even if you copy words from another source, getting something down on your screen or pad is a useful tool to get rid of blockage.

What is writer’s block, after all, but a stoppage of writing?

So do the opposite: just write.

Try transcribing a poem or song lyrics and see what happens.

Whip up a to-do list, an outline for another project or story, a free-association paragraph or two. You’ll discover it goes a long way.

Just as the adage “fake it ’til you make it” fits the bill in business, it also works with writing. Get the writing muscles moving and your brain will catch up before you know it.

There is nothing bad about writing something that, on the surface, appears unusable. It’s practice. You’re training your mind and fingertips for what matters.

If Chris Brown gets stuck in writer’s block, he’ll just “write it out.”

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The 20+ Best Books on Creative Writing

If you’ve ever wondered, “How do I write a book?”, “How do I write a short story?”, or “How do I write a poem?” you’re not alone. I’m halfway done my MFA program at Vermont College of Fine Arts, and I ask myself these questions a lot, too, though I’m noticing that by now I feel more comfortable with the answers that fit my personal craft. Fortunately, you don’t need to be a Master’s of Fine Arts in Writing candidate, or even a college graduate, in order to soak up the great Wisdom of Words, as I like to call it. Another word for it is craft. That’s because there are so many great books out there on writing craft. In this post, I’ll guide you through 20+ of the most essential books on creative writing. These essential books for writers will teach you what you need to know to write riveting stories and emotionally resonant books—and to sell them.

I just also want to put in a quick plug for my post with the word count of 175 favorite novels. This resource is helpful for any writer.

What Made the List of Essential Books for Writers—and What Didn’t

So what made the list? And what didn’t?

Unique to this list, these are all books that I have personally used in my journey as a creative and commercial writer.

That journey started when I was 15 and extended through majoring in English and Creative Writing as an undergrad at UPenn through becoming a freelance writer in 2014, starting this book blog, pursuing my MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts, and publishing some fiction and nonfiction books myself. My point here is not to boast, just to explain that these books have all helped me better understand and apply the craft, discipline, and business of writing over the course of more than half my life as I’ve walked the path to become a full-time writer. Your mileage my vary, but each of these books have contributed to my growth as a writer in some way. I’m not endorsing books I’ve never read or reviewed. This list comes from my heart (and pen!).

Most of these books are geared towards fiction writers, not poetry or nonfiction writers

It’s true that I’m only one human and can only write so much in one post. Originally, I wanted this list to be more than 25 books on writing. Yes, 25 books! But it’s just not possible to manage that in a single post. What I’ll do is publish a follow-up article with even more books for writers. Stay tuned!

The most commonly recommended books on writing are left out.

Why? Because they’re everywhere! I’m aiming for under-the-radar books on writing, ones that aren’t highlighted often enough. You’ll notice that many of these books are self-published because I wanted to give voice to indie authors.

But I did want to include a brief write-up of these books… and, well, you’ve probably heard of them, but here are 7 of the most recommended books on writing:

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron – With her guided practice on how to rejuvenate your art over the course of 16 weeks, Cameron has fashioned an enduring classic about living and breathing your craft (for artists as well as writers). This book is perhaps best known for popularizing the morning pages method.

The Art of Fiction by John Gardner – If you want to better understand how fiction works, John Gardner will be your guide in this timeless book.

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott – A beloved writing book on process, craft, and overcoming stumbling blocks (both existential and material).

On Writing by Stephen King – A must-read hybrid memoir-craft book on the writer mythos and reality for every writer.

Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose – A core writing book that teaches you how to read with a writer’s eye and unlock the ability to recognize and analyze craft for yourself.

Steering the Craft by Ursula K. Le Guin – Many writers consider this to be their bible on craft and storytelling.

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg – A favorite of many writers, this book takes an almost spiritual approach to the art, craft, and experience of writing.

I’m aiming for under-the-radar books on writing on my list.

These books are all in print.

Over the years, I’ve picked up several awesome books on creative writing from used bookstores. Oh, how I wish I could recommend these! But many of them are out of print. The books on this list are all available new either as eBooks, hardcovers, or paperbacks. I guess this is the right time for my Affiliate Link disclaimer:

This article contains affiliate links, which means I might get a small portion of your purchase. For more on my affiliate link policy, check out my official Affiliate Link Disclaimer.

You’ll notice a lot of the books focus on the business of writing.

Too often, money is a subject that writers won’t talk about. I want to be upfront about the business of writing and making a living as a writer (or not) with these books. It’s my goal to get every writer, even poets!, to look at writing not just from a craft perspective, but from a commercial POV, too.

And now on to the books!

Part I: The Best Books on Writing Craft

The Anatomy of Story by John Truby

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Writer’s Block: 10 Ways to Defeat a Writer’s Worst Enemy

By Reedsy

What is writer’s block? Writer’s block is the creative slump that authors face when they don’t know what to write. It affects writers in all stages of their career — and if left unchecked, it can impede your writing for days, weeks, or even months.

The good news is there are plenty of concrete ways to combat writer’s block! If you feel like you’ve hit a brick wall with your writing, you’ve come to the right place. In this post, we’ll reveal 10 ways to break through that wall and soundly defeat your writer’s block.

1. Determine the root of the problem 

Contrary to what you might think, writer’s block isn’t a sign that you’re a “bad writer” — it’s something that almost every writer will face at some point. But while most writers have this experience in common, the underlying causes can be quite different.

So let’s dig deep: why are you really blocked? Ask yourself:

  • Do I feel pressure to succeed and/or compete with other writers?
  • Have I lost sight of what my story is about, or interest in where it’s going?
  • Do I lack confidence in my own abilities, even if I’ve written plenty before?
  • Have I not written for so long that I feel intimidated by the mere act?
  • Am I simply feeling tired and run-down?

Each of these problems has a different solution. For example, if perfectionism is strangling your writing, you might try leaning into the fact that no one’s first draft is perfect — in which case, tactic #4 on this list could really help you. Or if you’re feeling uninspired, you could turn to some of the resources in #7!

Of course, there’s no quick fix for any one of these causes. But understanding where your problem lies will help you know which tips are best for you as you go through our list.

2. List your favorite books and writers 

What inspired you to start writing in the first place? Perhaps you’ve got a favorite book you could turn to — or an author you admire. When you find yourself feeling stuck, it can really help to return to these sources to reignite that initial spark. 

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How and Where to Pitch a Movie Idea

Ruth Barringham is a writer, author, and online marketer. She also runs

Ever thought of a good idea for a movie and then dismissed it because you’re not a screen writer?

Well you don’t need to be a screen writer to make it into the movie business. You only need to have a great idea for a good script to earn big money.

In fact, pitching a successful idea for a movie to a Hollywood Studio is one of the highest paid ways to earn money – up to six-figures just for writing a few lines.

As an example, one successful pitch was from a grandmother in the USA who only pitched one sentence: “Are you interested in a story about a man who lives in the Statue of Liberty?” The idea was fleshed out into a complete story and sold to a movie studio. The grandmother was paid almost $100,000 for writing her one sentence.

The trick to being successful is to be able to pitch your idea in a way that provokes interest in the reader. As writers we have an edge over others because it’s not always the best idea that wins, but the idea with the best pitch.

An idea for a movie can come from anywhere. What you need to do is to be always on the lookout and alert to all possibilities. Movie ideas in the past have come from video games, comic books, movie re-makes, board games, magazines, newspapers, books and general conversations.

Hollywood studios know that their most talented scriptwriters don’t necessarily have the best and most original story ideas. This is why they buy ideas from many different sources. They don’t care where an idea comes from. But if it’s good they want to own it.

So if you have a story idea that would make a great movie, or even if you have only part of an idea, you could have something of incredible value. You only need to pitch your idea, or part idea, and if a movie studio wants to buy it they will set their own screenwriters to work on it.

What a Movie Pitch Needs

The best movie idea needs 3 essential elements.

Firstly it needs a beginning, middle and end.

Secondly it must have conflict (preferably multiple conflicts) to drive the story forward.

The third essential element is a main character, or characters, for the audience to care about. It doesn’t matter if the characters are good guys or bad guys, as long as the audience cares. Bonnie and Clyde’s main characters were wanted criminals but their personalities kept the audience caring about what happened to them.

Without characters a movie can seem flat. Take Jaws for instance. Without the involvement of the character’s emotions, it’s a story about a great white shark that terrorises tourists on a beach in New England. Eventually the shark is hunted down and killed.

With character emotion included it’s a story about a New England sheriff who is afraid of the ocean. When a great white shark terrorizes and kills tourists swimming at his beach, he has to face his greatest fear and go out to sea to catch and kill the shark. Eventually the boat is sunk, the crew lost and the sheriff and the shark have a final and fatal showdown in the water.

See the difference when a character is introduced?

Movie Genres

There are 8 different movie genres that audiences pay to see. These are:

Action Thrillers – i.e. “Lethal weapon,” “Die Hard.” These movies are a roller coaster ride of action, danger and thrills and are always a saleable idea.

Comedy – There are 3 different types of comedy: Straight comedy, i.e. “Twins,” “Death Becomes Her.” Romantic comedy, i.e. “Pretty Woman.” Outrageous comedy, i.e. “Mask,” “Honey I Shrunk the Kids”. Comedy ideas always appeal.

Science Fiction – i.e. “Jurassic Park,” “Alien,” “Men in Black.” Always popular with audiences but expensive to make so ideas need to be new and extremely appealing.

Love Stories – i.e. “An Affair to Remember,” “An American President.” Not big box office grossers so not always pitchable – unless the story has a very unusual twist. But they can be suitable for a made-for-TV movie.

Horror – There are 3 different types of horror movie: Comedy – “An American Werewolf in London.” Psychological – “The Sixth Sense.” Gore Fest – “The Evil Dead.” Studios are always looking for a new horror idea, especially if it has a new or unique twist.

Suspense Thriller – Used to be the big ‘must see’ movies in the 1950s but are now more likely to be made as a TV movie, although some have still managed to break the mould and be made into big screen movies, i.e. “Fatal Attraction”, “Basic Instinct”.

Real Life Stories – i.e. “The Terminal,” “Ghandi”. These need to have a high amount of character appeal for audiences. Most true life movies are made into TV movies, unless they have a really interesting twist in the story or are about someone famous.

Period Movies – These are very expensive to make and often difficult for the audience to relate to and for this reason, unless you have a really unique idea, should usually be avoided.

Another thing to remember with any movie idea is not to assign certain actors to play certain parts. There have been exceptions to this rule such as Twins which was thought up with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito in mind. But this idea was pitched by a well-known director who approached the two stars who instantly loved the idea.

What Makes a Good Movie Idea?

When pitching an idea for a movie remember that there are 2 types of movie idea: High Concept and Low Concept.

A high concept idea is one that can be described in only 2 or 3 sentences. To see if your idea is high concept give it the “TV Guide” test. Look at the movie page in a TV guide and see how succinctly the movies are summarized. If the short description entices you to watch the movie then it’s high concept.

So look at your idea and see if you can boil it down to 2 or 3 power-packed, short, sentences that will excite the reader and compel them to watch it.

Examples of high concept movie ideas are:

“Speed” – A bus is rigged with a bomb and if it goes less than 50 mph, the bus, and all the passengers on it, will explode.

“Groundhog Day” – A bored TV anchor man finds that when he wakes up every morning it’s still the day before so he is forced to live the same day over and over again.

A low concept movie idea is “When Harry Met Sally” or “The English Patient”. Why? Because they cannot be described quickly and easily.

“The English Patient” was an Oscar winning movie and worked great as a script. But to pitch it as a single idea would have been impossible because of all the constant scene and time switching and the cross cutting stories. These types of movies are best left to the script writers.

Disney’s “Enchanted” is a perfect idea of a simple idea that can be pitched — characters from fairy tales come to life in the real world. That only took 11 words.

To pitch your movie idea, as well as the first 2 or 3 sentences called a logline or a tag line, you also have to flesh it out into a synopsis.

Take for instance the earlier logline from “Groundhog Day”. In your longer synopsis you could expand it to:

“A bored TV anchor man is sent to a small town to cover a minor local event called Groundhog Day. He is resentful at the TV station for undervaluing his potential yet again. He soon finds himself caught in a cycle of waking up and having to relive Groundhog Day. At first he cannot believe it’s true that he’s re-living the same day over and over. He then becomes amused by it, then bored by it, then suicidal because of it and discovers that no matter how many times he kills himself he still wakes up on Groundhog Day again. It’s not until he becomes the honest and kind person he should be, instead of the thoughtless jerk that life has made him, that the curse is broken and the cycle stops repeating.”

How to Pitch Your Idea

Once you have your own great movie idea, it’s time to pitch it to Hollywood. Movie ideas can be pitched to several different sources. They can be pitched directly to studio development teams, producers, directors and to movie stars.

If you do have a star in mind then there’s no reason why you can’t pitch to them directly. You can find contact information for celebrities at these websites: is a free site listing celebrity background information. has a free list of celebrity addresses and contact information. Independent Film & Television Alliance lists up and coming events for producers, directors, financers, writers and others in the movie industry. It also lists independent film companies. Their film catalogue lists movies in production, post production, plus the production companies.

Or you could try using “Where everyone goes for scripts and writers.”™ to get your idea (logline) published in their magazine so that it can be seen by over 15,000 movie producers, reps and other industry execs. Inktip claim that over 28 movies a year are produced using scripts and writers they found on Inktip.

But the quickest and easiest ways to pitch your movie idea is through the Hollywood agent known as “The King of Pitch.” Mr Robert Krosberg. He is the only Hollywood agent who makes his living by pitching and selling other people’s movie ideas.

Every year Robert Krosberg considers over 5,000 movie ideas. Of these he’ll pitch about 50 or more to the major film studios.

To pitch your movie ideas to Robert Krosberg just go to his website at Here you can sign up and pitch as many movie ideas to him as you like for a small fee (at time of writing).

There is also a wealth of information at his site about how to pitch your idea and what the industry is currently looking for.

And you never know; a future Hollywood blockbuster movie may have been created from your idea which could have earned you a six-figure sum.

So why not give it a go?

As Robert Krosberg himself said, “No one really knows where the next great idea is going to come from and the best executives know that they don’t know. That 25-year-old kid with the weird hair might have an idea that’s worth millions.”


8 Mental and Physical Benefits of Audio books

Jenna Homen works on all things related to social media and the community. When not reading and listening to books, she is probably painting or hiking.

Social distancing and self-isolation in the face of coronavirus can take a toll on our mental health. Fortunately, audiobooks are a helpful tool to combat negative thoughts and feelings. 

Here are 8 ways audiobooks can boost your emotional and physical health—all you need to do is press play. Need some listening inspiration? Check out bookseller-recommended audiobooks.

Audiobooks Build Crucial Listening Skills for Children 

According to the Audio Publishers Association, audiobooks help “build and enhance vital literacy skills such as fluency, vocabulary, language acquisition, pronunciation, phonemic awareness, and comprehension—skills that often boost reading scores.” Need some audiobook recommendations for kids? Head to the Kids page.

Photo by @childrenslitlove

Audiobooks Help Reduce Negative Thinking

Audiobooks have the power to boost our moods and disrupt negative thinking patterns. Psychology Today notes that for “those of us prone to anxiety and depression . . . listening to someone else read aloud can help by replacing negative thoughts with something else.”

Audiobooks Have the Same Benefits of Reading

Don’t let anyone tell you that listening to audiobooks is cheating. Discover noted that “in a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience, researchers from the Gallant Lab at UC Berkeley scanned the brains of nine participants while they read and listened. . . Looking at the brain scans and data analysis, the researchers saw that the stories stimulated the same cognitive and emotional areas, regardless of their medium.”

Audiobooks Help Relax Our Eyes…

Most Americans spend over seven hours a day looking at digital screens, which can lead to blurred vision, eye strain, and long-term vision problems like nearsightedness. On top of that, studies have suggested that there’s a link between social media use and feelings of loneliness and depression—another reason to put an audiobook on and the phone down.

…Which Directly Impacts Our Sleep

The blue light from screens is a disruption to our circadian rhythm, which makes nodding off at night difficult. Listening to an audiobook allows your eyes and mind to relax while ushering in a good night of sleep.

Photo by @jennareadsbooks

Audiobooks Improve Time Management

Being able to work our brain and read books while doing tasks like driving, cleaning, or exercising is a win-win—and allows less satisfying chores to become more enjoyable, reducing stress.

Audiobooks Help Build Literacy Skills

The Audio Publishers Association notes that “readers with learning disabilities and English Language Learners who listen to audiobooks demonstrate increased literacy skills and reading ability.”

Audiobooks Immerse You in Another World

Psychology Today cites audio as “one of the most intimate forms of media—listeners work together with the narrator and author to create mental pictures of situations and characters. Audiobooks can captivate the imagination, allowing listeners to create a whole world at once within and outside themselves.” Being able to escape our daily worries is a powerful tool that we can easily tap into through the wonder of audiobooks. (P. S. Need tips on making a cozy space for reading and listening? Check out this post on how to create the perfect book nook.)


Writing a Book? 7 Killer Research Tips

Chandler Bolt is the host of the Self Publishing School podcast & the author of 6 bestselling books including his most recent book titled “Published.”. He’s also the founder & CEO of Self-Publishing School, the #1 online resource for writing your first book. Self Publishing School made the INC 5000 in 2018 (#2,699) as one of the 5,000 fastest-growing private companies in the US. Through his books, podcast, training videos, and Self-Publishing School, he’s helped thousands of people on their journey to writing their first book.

Researching for a book, while super important in the process of publishing a book, is difficult and if you’re not careful, it can stop you from finishing at all.

“Pencils down.”

The phrase that strikes fear into the hearts of students.

What if you didn’t write enough? What if all the answers are wrong? Too bad; you’re stuck with your final essay. There’s no going back.

There’s something about the finality of closing the door on any knowledge work that’s tough. We don’t want to miss anything—whether it’s a witty quote or that perfect case study. The same with writing books—ending your research and starting your draft is daunting.

It’s possible to go on researching forever, really. Countless book ideas remain unwritten and unpublished because the writer is just looking for that perfect piece of research. But with that attitude, you’ll never publish your book!

We’re not asking you to abandon the research process. Virtually all non-fiction work and most fiction works require at least some research to complete a final draft, but it does require moderation.

This post is split into two parts. First, we’ll show you how to carry out a comprehensive research process in as little time as possible, then we’ll show you how to fine-tune your research once you begin drafting your book.

The Research Process

Many writers fail to publish or even begin drafting their books because they’re stuck in the research process. Here we’ll show you three critical steps you can take to make your research as thorough as possible, and to avoid the trap that many writers fall into–researching their books forever.

#1 – Plan Your Research

Research is a necessary part of writing, and with some genres (e.g. historical fiction), it’s impossible to start without research. However, before you pick a single book or open a new tab in the name of research, there is something you have to do: Plan your research.

In academia, there’s an entire subject called research design, which teaches researchers how to choose their research methods, scope out their timeline and outline their research process. Professional researchers have to plan out their research before they carry out any research. Not only does this tick the check boxes for funding, but it also helps them stay on track and ensure their research project is valid.

Notice what they don’t do. 

A researcher doesn’t just blindly pick up a book and follow where their gut tells them (though this does make up part of the process) or start experimenting and follow what’s interesting. First, they plan, set a specific end date, and then execute.

Instead of approaching your book research in an ad-hoc manner, putting in research time when you feel it’s warranted, we advise that you design your research process.

We’re not asking you to leave no room for spontaneity, often the best ideas come from the most unlikely of sources, but there should still be some structure to your research so, you don’t waste any of your precious time.

Remember many writers have still not begun their manuscript years after they started working on their book because they’re “still researching.”

You want to avoid this trap.

This means you should set a clear end date for your research process, where you promise you’ll start drafting no matter how little, how much, or what kind of data you’ve gathered. It also means that before you start, you think about where you’ll gather your research from, and how much you’ll gather.

As interesting as a side tangent can be, you don’t want to wander too far. Keep your research focused on the subject matter. If something seems interesting, note it down for the future. Maybe it could be your next book.

#2 – Outsource Your Research When Possible

Often, writing feels like a solitary endeavor, after all, it is just you and yourself staring at a screen, tapping away at a keyboard for hours on end. But just because it feels like a lonely mission, doesn’t mean it has to be one. Especially in research.

No matter your subject, there’s an almost certain chance that someone else has done the heavy lifting for you.

Someone who has immersed themselves in the field, found the dead ends, the wrong turns and the secret passageways. So why not tap into their knowledge?

When thinking of where to begin your research, tap into the human capital available before books or the internet. Are there any professors at your local college you can ask? Any editors in your domain that you can first reach out to? A great place to find names are the references used in journal articles or the authors of literature reviews and book reviews.

By asking them for help you can save yourself miles of wasted research, get an expert’s perspective on the topic (differentiating yourself from many other self-published books), and save yourself time.

Often, as long as they don’t have a demanding schedule, they’ll be happy to respond to an email or two.

Don’t forget to remember them in your acknowledgements!

3 – Ignore Your Inner Perfectionist

There’s a chance that if you’ve always wanted to write a book, you’ve got a perfectionist streak. And when it comes to book research, you’ll want to keep it under control.

You want to be a laser beam in your research. Focus on the best books for the keywords you’ve identified and don’t get sidetracked. Practical research is the key–find facts and data that will make your book more interesting, not analysis that you find interesting.

It might not necessarily be the same thing.

This also comes in when you’re writing your book. Ignore the temptation to include all the research found in your book. Often 20% of your research efforts will form 80% of your book.

If you found some piece of research you’re just dying to get out there, maybe package and release it as a bonus eBook for the thorough minded amongst your audience (and build your email list,) or have it in the appendix of your kindle edition.

7 Killer Tips on Researching Your Book 

Now that you know the critical steps to carry out your book research, it’s time to look at ways to improve it. Some of these will save you time during the research process, others will help you to finish your manuscript as fast as possible, and yet give you that sense of completeness and thoroughness once it’s done.

#1 – “Backload” Research

There’s a secret to mastering the craft of research when writing your book that might strike you as controversial:

Write first, fact-find second. 

You may think that’s odd, but first hear us out. Consider this scenario: You’re working on your draft and you hit a spot where you feel stuck. You don’t know the answer to a question that arises in your manuscript, so you switch over to Google and start poking around for the answer.

Soon you find yourself wandering around the internet as if you came into a room to find something, but you can’t for the life of you remember what it was.

And here is where you find yourself at the end of your writing time–watching cat videos– and you don’t even like cats.

The problem with researching while you’re writing is that you squash your momentum. Your draft will take longer to finish and it will be harder to write if you need to jump out of your writing mindset to switch over to research.

The solution: Don’t research at all once you’ve started writing until your rough draft is finished.

#2 – “TK” is Your Friend

Here’s an editorial trick:

When you hit an impasse in your draft and you’re tempted to look something up, whether that’s a quote, a proper name, or details about a location, mark that TBD spot with the letters “TK.

TK annotates a spot in your draft to return to when it’s time to research.

Then keep writing!

Why the letters “TK”? There are no words in the English language that have the letters “TK” next to each other, making it easy for you to use the Control+F command to find your TBD spot later on.

By setting aside your research for later, you can keep moving on your draft and fill in the small details later.

This prevents you from taking up all your time with research and avoiding writing. 

#3 – Turn off the Internet

Turn off the Internet while you’re writingMadness, you say? Well, why do you need the Internet? You’re going to do your research when you’re done writing, so the Internet is just distracting you. Write now. Google later.

Some pro writers say they like to take their laptop to a locale with no Wi-Fi so there’s zero temptation. Try an Internet desert for a day or two and see if it improves your writing pace. 

#4 – Keep it Organized

When you find a key piece of research, file it so you can track it down later. Whether you do this with a virtual folder on your laptop, an actual folder in your desk, or with a tool like Evernote or Scrivener, the idea is the same.

You need to compile all your resources together in one place so you can find it later.

Organization now will make adding research to your manuscript later easier and quicker. When your draft is done, you can put your hands on your resources right away.

#5 – Red Text Marks the Spot

If you’re humming along in your draft and hit the crossroads of a quote or stat, switch your text color to red to highlight that you need to come back. Red text marks the spot that needs later attention and you can keep drafting.

Of course, if you used the “TK” tip above you don’t need this step, because then you can just use Control+F to find where you placed “TK” in your draft.

However, the red text will give you a visual STOP so you know this is an area that needs more research just by looking at it. Call it extra insurance so you don’t miss anything.

#6 – Hired Guns

There’s no shame in outsourcing the manual work of research. For the most cost-effective resource, consider a college intern. When looking for interns, make sure they have a background in your field. If your book is about demographic trends then look for qualitative researchers, perhaps someone with a major in the social sciences.

If, however, you need to do some number crunching then look for some more quantitative oriented interns.

Or, if you need to hire a pro, look to Upwork to find a good researcher—be sure to check ratings and consider giving applicants a short test to make sure they’re up for the task.

#7 – Add it All In

Batching your work is a trick of the productive. By segmenting what you need to get done, you maintain focus without the need to switch from unrelated task to unrelated task. When your first draft is finished, return to the designated areas that required research, which you marked with “TK” or red text. Fill in these gaps and add in all your research at once.

Researching a book can be tricky, and you definitely don’t want it to derail your progress. With these steps, we make it easy.


Recommended reads today

5 Websites That Pay Writers Besides Medium
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Ashley Broadwater is a lot of things: a writer, a friend, a girlfriend, a passionate woman. She is a mental health advocate, and, a body positivity enthusiast.

Guidelines, rates, my experiences, and more.

s a recent college graduate in a pandemic, I’ve struggled to find a traditional job. However, I’ve always had an interest in freelance writing. I love a lot of publications and working for myself, making the option ideal in those ways. Throughout my pitching and freelance endeavors — the failures and the successes — I’ve been thankful that Medium’s Partner Program has helped keep me afloat.

However, after several months of freelance writing, I’m ready to dive into other publications. I’ve learned you truly have to try, be brave, and put yourself out there, even when it’s hard. Anthony Moore’s article about how you can’t possibly do something poorly 52 times in a row also encouraged me and has stayed on my mind. Plus, I know pitching helps you build relationships with editors and gets your name out into the world.

If you’re hunting for publications that pay like I am, the following information may help.

1. POPSUGAR Voices

What They Look For

POPSUGAR aims to celebrate diverse stories with an encouraging, upbeat tone. The editors love stories pertaining to body image, parenting, fitness, shopping guides, pop culture theories, relationships, and more. You can find additional information and examples of those stories on the website.


Submission guidelines and more information are on the website as well.

Next Steps

You can submit a story through this website. You should hear back with an acceptance or rejection within 30 days. If they accept your story, they’ll likely also add you to a dashboard where you can pitch additional stories and accept prompts from editors.


$50–100 per article (after your first article is published) within 30 days after publication.

My Experience

I’ve been a part of POPSUGAR’s Voices program since June, and I’m so thankful for that. The editors are kind and helpful, and often it’s an easy and fun way to make $50 here and there.

2. Bitch Media

What They Look For

Currently, Bitch is looking for pitches about timely pop culture and political pieces. For example, see this Twitter thread from the senior editor.


Bitch has a thorough set of guidelines for various kinds of submissions.

Next Steps

You can email your pitch to the senior editor, Rachel, at If you don’t hear back in a week, feel free to check-in via email. You can also pitch through Submittable.


$150–175 for digital stories, usually within 2–3 days of publication.

My Experience

While my pitches haven’t been accepted by Bitch yet, the editors always reply in a kind and timely manner.

3. SELF Magazine

What They Look For

SELF’s categories are health, fitness, food, beauty, love, and lifestyle. The editors are looking for stories pertaining to personal or public health and wellness. Currently, they’re focusing mostly on service journalism, which is actionable, but they also take product roundups, cultural criticisms, the occasional feature, and service stories based on personal experience (but not personal essays). For more information and examples, see the article on pitching.


For guidelines and more information, see that same article.

Next Steps

The pitching article contains the editors’ emails, what kinds of pitches they each take, and what to include in your pitch. Make sure your pitch entails each element listed!


$300 an article is the current base rate for stories with minimal to no reporting, but reported stories start at $400 and features start at $800.

My Experience

I just started pitching SELF editors, and I’m feeling excited. The one-week turnaround and great pay encourage me, and I love the work they produce.

4. BuzzFeed READER

What They Look For

BuzzFeed READER takes personal essays on almost any topic (family, food, religion, sex, disability, hormones, body image, drugs, travel, race, and more) and timely cultural criticisms. If your article doesn’t fit one of these categories, they may still take it — see examples of what they’ve taken on the submission article.


Guidelines, word count details, and more information are also in that article.

Next Steps

Pitch your idea to If you’re pitching a personal essay, they suggest sending your first draft instead of a pitch. If they’re interested, they’ll get back to you within two weeks.


The website says they pay competitive rates. Who Pays Writers says the average for BuzzFeed is $0.22 a word.

5. VOX

What They Look For

For their First Person section, VOX is looking for diverse writers, even those who may need support with writing. They’re looking for personal pieces and have had the most success with ones focused on parenting, relationships, money, identity, mental health, and workplace issues.

Vox is looking for other content as well, such as The Goods (a money series), The Highlight (features), Future Perfect (meat coverage), Science (as well as its intersection with politics and the economy), and more.


You can find guidelines, examples of accepted stories, and more on the website.

Next Steps

Send your pitch or draft to the email listed along with the section you’re pitching, listed on the website. If you send a pitch, include what you want to write about, personal experience or qualifiers, and the basic points you want to make.


The website says they’ll discuss payment specifics upon the acceptance of your draft or pitch. One writer on Who Pays Writers reported getting paid $0.33 a word.

Pitching takes practice, and I’ll be the first to comfort you in saying I too have been rejected and ignored many times. Even freelance writers who make $10,000 a month have been.

I’m choosing to remember that even rejections teach us something. They help us learn how to better market ourselves and our work. They remind us we still and always have more to learn. And they make the acceptances even more exciting.

I encourage you to push yourself to pitch these publications or others and to try to not get too down if they reject or ignore your pitch. It happens to everyone, and your time is coming!
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