How to Start a Blog

By: Martha Pointer

51DanJuR0KL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_When I started my first blog in 2012, I didn’t know what I was doing. Blogging was less established back then than it is now and I had to start from scratch with only a few examples to follow. Deciding to start a blog can be intimidating, so Atlantic Publishing released a guidebook on how to go about making one. Today, I want to share some of the best tips and tricks from So You Want to Start a Blog and my own experience on starting a book blog.

Choose a Platform

Unless you want to start completely from scratch with designing a website and paying for a domain (which I advise against) you’ll need to pick a blogging platform to host your site. There are a number to choose from (Blogspot, Tumblr, Wix, etc.), but I recommend WordPress, especially for a book blog. WordPress is very reader-friendly and is better than other hosts, like Blogspot, at bringing traffic to your blog — i.e., more readers. It allows for more interaction between bloggers, and after trying a few different host sites, I’ve found it’s my favorite by far.

Build Your Brand

This is probably the most exciting part of starting a blog. You’ll need to pick a web design theme, customize it to your needs, and come up with a blog name and logo. I recommend starting out with a free theme provided by the host site and using a free logo or banner maker to design your header. Pick a blog name that’s unique, catchy, and that you won’t mind sharing with other people, because that’s the first thing people will see and remember when they view your blog.

Post Regularly

Consistency is key. Try to develop some sort of schedule for your posts so that your readers know when to expect new content and so that you can keep yourself accountable. I recommend writing posts in advance and scheduling them so that they post automatically on a specific day, especially if you have other responsibilities (which, let’s face it, we all do). Make sure you’re mixing up your content, as well. If you review a lot of books, add a feature post or recommendations list every once in awhile to keep your readers entertained and on their toes.

Interact with the Blogging Community

The best way to build readership for your blog is to read and interact with other people’s. Find other book blogs, both popular and up and coming, to read and comment on. This will help other readers find your blog (free publicity, yay!) and can also lead to you making new blogging friends. Then you can write collaboration posts with other bloggers, which will help you increase your followers and be really fun!

Share Your Posts

This last tip is so important if you want to increase your blog’s following. Share every blog post on your social media accounts (the basics are Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram). Post your book reviews on Goodreads. You might even consider making separate social media pages solely dedicated to your blog in order to streamline your brand and keep your personal life separate. Whatever you decide, make sure you share your content as much as possible so that people can find it!

Well, there you have it: five of my top tips for starting a book blog. While I tailored this post towards book blogging, these tips can actually be applied to any type of blog. So whether you want to start a book blog, a fashion blog, or something else, I hope they help! Good luck, and may the odds be ever in your favor.

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Tips for Writing a Good Research Paper

By: Fiona Schneider.

With school comes the inevitable need to write research papers. They can be about any subject, much to the chagrin of every student on the planet, especially when the math teacher decides it’s cool to assign one on the history for a particular theorem. Who really wants to mix math with more letter variables than already exists, much less blend this further with history? Nobody, but if you don’t want to fail the assignment, here are some tips to writing a stellar research paper your teacher won’t cringe while reading.

Tip #1: Avoid First or Second Person

This tip has varying levels of importance depending on the subject you are writing about. A general rule of thumb, though, is to always avoid second person in research papers and be careful when using first person. For science research papers where hard facts are valued over opinions, it is best to stick to third person no matter what. However, if you are writing a research paper on a piece of literature where your interpretation needs to be included, first person can be applied as appropriate. If you are not sure whether you can use a particular tense in an essay, the safest bet is to simply ask your teacher. I can say from experience, though, that teachers find student papers that avoid first or second person to sound more refined, formal, and compelling since third person often gives a voice of omnipotent authority and thus sounds more convincing.

Tip #2: Properly Cite Your Sources

Perhaps the biggest mistake any student can make is not properly citing their sources. Not only is plagiarism simply illegal, but also it can be easily avoided with proper citations. The first step to properly citing sources is to know what type of style the essay is written for. Common essay formats are MLA, APA, and Chicago. Each style has unique requirements and different ways to cite sources whether they use footnotes or in-text citations. A properly cited essay also has a separate page at the very end of the paper reserved just for the “Works Cited” or “Bibliography” page where the writer will list in alphabetical order every source of information used within the essay. If you find yourself struggling with how to properly cite a source, don’t worry, there are plenty of resources out there to make sure you don’t accidentally plagiarize someone else’s creative or intellectual property like the ones mentioned in the next tip!

researchpapers1Tip #3: Use a Style Guide or Help Reference

Many books are written just for the purpose of helping students learn and understand how to cite their sources in a research paper and to make the research paper be more noticeable/memorable as a finished product to the teacher. Atlantic Publishing has helpful resources for both high school and college students in the following: A High School Student’s Guide to Research Papers: 101 Ways To Make Your Work Stand Out and A College Student’s Guide to Research Papers: 101 Ways To Make Your Work Stand Out. These guides were designed to help you figure out how to correctly write a research paper. Without the next tip, though, formatting the paper correctly is irrelevant.

Tip #4: Avoid Noncredible Sources

We have all heard the speech about using Wikipedia as a source in a paper, and the same goes for many other sources that can be found on the internet as well. Even printed books can be noncredible sources if the information they contain is now outdated. It’s important to do your research (no pun intended, apologies) and determine whether or not a source material is actually providing you with true material. This is especially important for science papers, but even for English papers as well if the source writes about events that may never occur in the novel it describes. For web sources, typically cites that end with .gov/.edu/.org are considered credible as they are typically sponsored by credible organizations. However, online newspapers and other regular .com sources with real information can be found just as easily as long as you cross-reference information to make sure it really is the truth.

Tip #5: Write a Cyclical Paperresearchpapers2

As a final tip on how to write the essay, write a cyclical paper. This may not make sense up front, so let me explain. A cyclical paper starts by introducing an idea, either supports or debates this idea in the body, and then affirms or negates the original idea in the conclusion from the evidence drawn from the body. An introduction paragraph should only explain the initial idea and give background, it should not begin the debate of evidence. This should be left in the body. And finally the conclusion should not feature any new ideas not discussed in the introduction or body, but rather give a summary of the findings from each. A successful conclusion paragraph also brings the introductory statements directly back into mind, thus creating a “circle” in the writing.

Hopefully, with these tips you feel more confident in tackling your next research paper and are eager to get the best experience out of it you can. After all, research papers are predominantly about learning new information and discussing it, so you may just surprise yourself with your findings.

The Secret to Writing Poetry — There Isn’t One!

By: Kristen Joseph

 

Hey, diddle, diddle,

The cat and the fiddle,

The cow jumped over the moon;

The little dog laughed

To see such sport,

And the dish ran away with the spoon.

There seems to be a widely held misconception that poetry is boring. All poems are either cheesy nursery rhymes (like the Mother Goose classic above) or stuffy intellectual pieces that take an eternity to fully analyze and decode. I mean, who even writes poetry anymore?

poetA lot of people, actually. Especially teens. After StageofLife.com conducted a poetry writing contest, data showed that 60% of the thousands of 14 to 19 year olds who participated found writing poetry to be a “freeing” activity.

You see, everyone seems to think that poems have to adhere to strict rules of rhyme and rhythm — the three lines of a tranquil haiku follow the 5-7-5 syllable rule and silly limericks have to follow a syllabic structure and rhyme scheme — but that is simply not true. Some types of poetry, like a sonnet or a villanelle, have a structure that must be followed in order for the poem to be qualified as a sonnet or a villanelle. But if you’re just beginning (or if you just enjoy the freedom of writing without having to follow specific rules), free verse is where it’s at.

Free verse poetry is exactly what it sounds like: free. No guidelines or gimmicks, vintage poetryjust you and your written thoughts. You don’t need complete sentences or any type of rhyme scheme, and you can even make up words.

The best thing about free verse writing is that you can write about anything that you want. School, something you’re passionate about, or even a completely random object can be the subject of a poem. It’s a great way to get rid of thoughts rolling around in your head, and you can literally create poetry anywhere, making it a fantastic way to eliminate boredom. If you want to read someone else’s work to see how it’s done, there are tons of bestselling poetry books out there, like Milk and Honey and the princess saves herself in this one, that are written from a young adult perspective and have earned 4 out of 5 stars, according to the customer reviews.

boypoet.jpgMost schools have some kind of writing or literary club, so if you want support on your new poetic adventures, I’m sure you can find some. If you can’t discover any in person, though, there are a significant amount of online forums, just for teens to post their poetry. Some websites, like PowerPoetry.org, even offer college scholarships just for entering original poems into their “Scholarship Slams!”

So if you’ve ever wanted to try your hand at writing your own poem, now is the perfect time to start.

Here, I’ll start writing with you. Remember, the poem doesn’t have to be amazing; it’s just an introductory piece. You may love it, you may hate it, but if you keep writing, I guarantee that you’ll get better and ideas will come to you more easily. Now, think of a word. Just one word. Write it down…and keep writing, until you run out of things to say. Here’s what I came up with for the word “intent”:

Intent yet furnished on

gilded desires

focused singularly on

achievement.

Triumphant sounds resounding

on wavelengths of

praise,

cheers enveloping all

atmosphere surrounding

screaming

“Yes, you have

accomplished.

You are worthy.”

 

sunsetptry

Your turn.

No More Chicken Sandwiches, and Other Perks of Working for Atlantic

chick fil a sandwich

This sandwich looks amazing right? Well it wasn’t after 2.5 years…

I’m not going to lie. When I got the email asking if I was still interested in working for
Atlantic Publishing, my first thought was that I could finally quit my job at Chick-Fil-A. That was two and a half years of lunch rushes, broken ice cream machines, and fried chicken that would be replaced with an office job doing what I love: inspiring people with the power of books.

When I started five months ago, I didn’t quite know what to expect. While I had repeatedly told myself that a career in the publishing industry was the correct path for me, part of me was worried that I would get there and hate it. Another part of me was apprehensive about the focus on YA and nonfiction because I had never thought about either of those genres as an option. Well between you and me, I was completely wrong. I love publishing. I love nonfiction. I love the YA world.  As a kid I spent more time than I would care to admit in our school library, but let’s just say that the librarians knew my name, reading level, and the books I had already read. They even would keep new arrivals behind the desk for me to go through. I love having the chance to help create new and engaging content that will hopefully impact students like I was impacted.

As one of two marketing interns with no real marketing director above us other than the president of the company, I had an unexpected amount of freedom and a variety of tasks. Some days I would spend hours on Amazon creating ads and updating product descriptions. Other days I would do revisions for an updated edition of our massive Restaurant Managers Handbook. No matter what the rest of my day consisted of, the best part of any day was managing this blog and social media. It’s incredibly rewarding to know that people are reading the words I’ve written and being influenced by them.

keywordsThe publishing industry isn’t always glamorous or exciting. Those hours on Amazon? I can’t say that they’re my favorite part of my job responsibilities, but at the same time I love being able to physically see the impact that my work has on the company when we make a sale.  In the relatively short time that I have been here, many of the ads that I have worked on directly created over five hundred to a thousand dollars in sales.

This semester has been an incredible learning experience. I couldn’t be more grateful to Rebekah, Doug, and Lisa for providing me with the opportunity to learn and grow or to my fellow interns who made the workday so fun.

I can’t wait to continue working here full time next year! Keep reading and keep writing!

 

The Art of Editing, Mysterious Cats, and Phone Scams: My Time at Atlantic Publishing

By Yvonne Bertovich

During my first day in the office at Atlantic Publishing last July, the phone rang and one of my fellow interns picked it up. I thought to myself, “Obviously that must be pretty important. Probably some designer or author following up.. I’m glad I’m not the one answering.” I’m one of those people who gets all twisty inside when I don’t know the answer to something, but I’m definitely quick to admit my shortcomings. Listening in to that phone conversation provided me with my first lesson about Atlantic. “Ma’am, I’m sorry, we’re actually Atlantic Publishing.. You’re referring to Atlantic Publishers. We’ve found out that’s actually a scam company claiming to be based in Colorado.” OK, noted. I work for Atlantic Publishing — names are a big deal, people.

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Another gem from Shutterstock, but honestly not an exaggerated visual representation of these calls.

Unfortunately for us, it was a rare day in the office if we didn’t receive at least two or three accusatory phone calls (usually from older folks) asking where in the heck their magazines were. “Atlantic Publishers” (whoever they are) sends out fraudulent mailers warning magazine subscribers to hurry up and send them money because their subscriptions are running out. Due to the influx of phone calls we received, clearly a lot of people fell for it and thought it was us.

Atlantic Publishing specializes in adult and young adult nonfiction books on a wide variety of topics from taking care of worms to becoming a fashion designer. It’s truly a fascinating range. As an editorial intern, you might assume that every day of work would be about the same — but it hasn’t been. Working at a book publishing company, I assumed I’d constantly be surrounded by books, both old and new, both crisp and shiny or even sour and water damaged. Sure, we have a few books in our office, and our distributing warehouse is right on-site too, but most of my job entails a lot of computer work. Microsoft Word has quickly become my domain, even though I tried to make Pages a thing for a large portion of my life (sorry, Apple).

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I have edited and proofed and added my own bits here and there to manuscripts  for works about the Peace Corps, a massive handbook for restaurant managers, a book about John Quincy Adams, a book about the Russian Revolution, a guide for waiters and waitresses, how to care for cats, how to become a U.S citizen, how to survive long distance relationships, a guide for filmmakers, a guide to studying, a guide for new professors and new teachers, a book about living a healthy lifestyle, etc. I’m forgetting many, I’m sure. I was even able to undertake a re-write project for a young adult’s book on pet-sitting (coming soon) and write regular blog posts.

One of my favorite moments was helping interview the second-oldest Pearl Harbor survivor, Lt. Jim Downing, for a book in our historical anniversary series. Downing, who had recently celebrated birthday number 1-0-3, provided a wealth of information in a warm, yet lulling voice. You could feel how much the ordeal stuck with him. Downing, also interviewed in publications such as Time Magazine, shared a story of how he helped send handwritten letters home to troops’ families — being especially useful in narrating the words of those who were recovering in the infirmary. He even took on the painful task of gathering dog tags of the deceased and further detailing deaths to family members overseas. He knew all of his 1,500 shipmates on the USS Virginia personally, because of his position as postmaster on the ship. He’s not sure how many handwritten letters he sent, but he estimated well into the hundreds.

Like Downing, I believe there’s something very special and personal in handwritten letters. Another small project I loved at Atlantic was when I wrote thank you notes to contributors to the young adult title “So You Want to Be a Fashion Designer.” The main contributor was the winner of Project Runway Junior, and I recognized the names of several other contributors from the regular version of the show.

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Considering that I have been involved with Atlantic for roughly 10 months, the office landscape has changed in small ways (for example, there was an office cat at one point that mysteriously came and went who I lovingly named LeBron), but my acquisition of knowledge has remained pretty steady, as well as my love of sorting through hundreds of corny stock photos to find ones worthy of use for our books (personally, I think the cornier the better, but it’s all about the readers).

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One of my favorites that Shutterstock had to offer when I searched for “college students.”

Once you assume the role of an editor of other people’s work — real work that will be produced sold in the real world — it’s hard to turn this switch off when proofreading your own writing. I am incredibly thankful to have gained an even greater appreciation for the written word and yes, even good grammar.

Being an editorial intern all these months hasn’t made me into a perfect writer, no. That’s the beauty of writing. It’s ever-fluid and ever-changing. One word swap can change the meaning of a whole block of text. It’s one of those areas where there is always room for improvement. I’ll read something I wrote three months ago, three weeks ago, or even three days ago and scoff at myself, “Wow, what was I thinking.” Some people call it self-deprecation but I call it fun. Your toughest opponent in life is yourself (or some other weird slogan with an 80s aerobic gym flavor). Or, in some cool cases too, I’ll reread something I’ve written and re-inspire myself for a current project or enjoy revisiting something I’m proud of.

Working at Atlantic has caused me to be even more critical, analytical, and curious. It has reaffirmed that I’m at least somewhat on the right path to having a successful career due to the support I’ve received from my editors Rebekah and Lisa, and my boss, Doug. I’m honestly just thankful it got me out of the newsroom, at least for a while. I may be a journalism major, but I’m no newsie.

Let’s Get Writing: Tips for Becoming a Better Writer

By Yvonne Bertovich 

For every thing you’re good at, there will always be someone who is better — that’s just how the world works. However, there is a bit of cruel comfort in the notion that there are plenty of people who aren’t better than you at any given thing, too. Because I’m sitting here attempting to give you advice on how to become a better writer does not mean I automatically think I’m better than you. The fact that I used the word thing twice in the first 50 words of this post would send my AP Language Arts teacher’s right eyelid into a twitching fit — the woman despised the word, and fervently implored that no one in my class ever use it. But whatever, that just brings me to my next point that for every thing you’re good at — and you may be dang good — someone out there will still feel otherwise. “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness despite the crushing weight of personal expectations and the insatiable desire to please others” is the resounding motto of our country, after all.

OK, enough of the pleasantries and unnecessary backstory — I’ll make an example out of myself with my first tip:

  1. Be concise. Get to the point — because you hopefully have one — with everything you write within a reasonable amount of time. Stringing readers along for paragraphs and paragraphs of nonsensical nuances and metaphors can be fun sometimes, but, chances are, they may get tired of reading and just quit. The amount of brevity (another word for concise) you will need to exhibit will depend on the nature of the written work and the subject, especially if you are constrained by a word count.
  2. Vary your sentence structure. This may not be something you have ever really considered. Varying your sentence structure and intermingling side notes and short, punchy sentences can really make your writing more special. It takes a seasoned writer to master long sentences with multiple clauses (not to mention using commas and punctuation correctly), but this doesn’t mean that you can’t do it, too. Knowing where exactly to place commas can be determined by using the next tip.
  3. Read your work aloud. Even if you are only able to mutter it under your breath, it will proofreaderhelp you. Reading your work aloud can determine where you would naturally pause, and thus, where you should place commas. This will also point out confusing sentences or areas where you may get too wordy. This also usually helps point out if you missed important words or made a typo that spell check didn’t catch.
  4. Read your work from the end to the beginning. If you are working on a particular piece for a long time or you have the bad habit of speed-reading, it may be easy to get caught up in your own writing. Reading your work from the end to the beginning will help you notice errors a lot more easily than if you read it how it is actually organized.
  5. Use your voice. You don’t always say the same thing or use the same words or the same cadence with everyone you interact with. I’m gonna be bold and assume you have some amount of personality. Or, if you’re kinda dry and monotone, own it anyway. Don’t be afraid to use your voice in your writing. Adding personal touches or side comments within your body of work will keep the reader entertained and more in-tune to who you are. It’s much more fun to write pieces in a conversational manner — and much easier, too.
  6. Use spell check and any proofreading service you have access to. Having a bunch of misspelled words and cruddy grammar will quickly cheapen even the most otherwise well-written pieces. Even if you have spell check on, having it run through your document again before you finalize it can never hurt. Have someone you trust read over your work to look for grammatical errors. Or, if you trust yourself, trust yourself less. Act like you’re reading someone else’s work and use strict scrutiny. Did you use the right form of “to/two/too” or “their/they’re/there?” Did you use the right pronoun? Do you need to be more clear? This takes us to our next tip.
  7. Keep it simple, stupid or K.I.S.S. I’m not sure where I heard this phrase first, but it’s something that has stayed with me for several years now. In my own writing, I used to get so caught up in trying to think of the most eloquent yet academically challenging words and phrases I could possibly use to sound as intelligent as possible that I probably just made my writing more confusing. Case in point, I just kinda did that in my last sentence for effect. Honestly, though, you shouldn’t write anything that you wouldn’t feasibly say out loud in a conversation with someone. So, if you can’t ever see yourself using the term “cacophony” to describe a noisy environment, don’t put it in your writing. I should also note, though, that it is also great to test your comfort zone and use new words, especially in narrative pieces where you have more creative freedom.
  8. Write something every day. Something, anything. For the love of Pete (who the heck
    is Pete, anyway?) dream up a fancier way to write your grocery list. Another great tip is to not get too caught up in lingo and slang. Don’t become one of those people in the professional world who have forgotten how to write a proper email. In case anyone hasn’t told you yet, 79 percent of adulthood is about knowing how to properly email. I personally love using slang and weird phrases, but that doesn’t mean that I let my grammar and punctuation falter, even in the most trivial of text messages.
  9. Read something every day. Am I stopping you mid-eyeroll? You don’t have to read a reading up closelot to reap the benefits. It can be as simple as reading a few tweets or Facebook posts. However, challenging yourself to read higher-level work will benefit you further. Not only will this help you to examine styles that you like and dislike, but it will also help to improve your vocabulary. If you are reading work from talented writers, you will subconsciously start to think and write in their style.
  10. Keep your audience in mind. This is perhaps the most important tip, and it sets the parameters for anything you write. If you’re writing a term paper, essay, research paper, free response, dissertation, news story, feature story, or whatever else — ACT LIKE IT. If you’re writing to your employer or a potential employer, put your best words forward in every exchange with them. Don’t be lazy. If you’re texting your best friend because you’re bored at 2 a.m. — do whatever ya want. You don’t speak the same exact way to everyone in real life (even though writing is real life, too) so your writing should vary as well.

In an attempt to take my advice for being concise (total lies, and I rhymed, yeesh), I’ll wrap this up quickly — thanks for sticking with me. If you want to learn more about how to improve your writing, check out The Young Adult’s Guide to Flawless Writing for $14.95 on Amazon. And let’s change that motto to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness through better writing,” no?

 

 

 

Write On, Dudes! Advice for Selecting a Major if You Love to Write

By Yvonne Bertovich

Even words can sometimes not express how quintessential it is to the livelihood of writers to write — ironic, isn’t it? Either that first sentence resonated with you or it didn’t. But true writers know that there is frustration and beauty and humor and nuances and isms and honesty and love and hate and so many things they still have left to say in this world — they just have to tap into the right mindset.

College provides the ideal environment to encourage creativity and to push one’s boundaries. If you’re at all interested in writing, here are a few majors that will make you feel at home.

Journalism: If you enjoy “seeking the truth,” synthesizing facts, talking to people (anyonejournalist
from Average Joes to government schmoes), going on adventures, working on deadlines, critical thinking, being creative, and, most importantly, being challenged — journalism may be the right major for you. The course load can be rigorous, but it is nothing short of thrilling and rewarding. This major provides so much real-world experience in communications and pushes you out of your comfort zone (even if you’re shy, like me).
This major is definitely one to consider if you find yourself fascinated by the news, feature stories on anyone and anything, as well as investigative or data-driven pieces of writing.

Public Relations: If you’re a confident, business-minded go-getter, love to write, being creative, and feel that you advocate for others well — public relations may be the major for you. The course load is typically similar to that of journalism, however, the two are different in the sense that public relations focuses on the ability to synthesize information for a client or clients. This may be a large corporation, small company, an individual, a celebrity, or some other entity. 

Advertising: If you enjoy analyzing what makes people tick, thinking critically, thinking creatively, pushing boundaries, taking risks, collaborating, and gathering data —
advertising may be the major for you. We live in a highly consumerist society and are
constantly inundated with options for different products and services. Advertising is for those who want to take a stab at advocating for a product, service, company, whatever, and turn it into “the next big thing.” Advertising involves a lot of research and studies to best gauge what campaigns resonate with consumers and why.

camera.jpgTelecommunications: No, this isn’t just for those who love camera time. You can totally be camera shy and still make it big in the telecom world. Telecommunications is a major perfect for those who love to synthesize large concepts and break them down for the average viewer. This doesn’t mean all of the telecom world is about simplicity. As soon as video storytelling becomes involved, the options for creativity are endless and ever-changing. There is great power in being a telecom professional, because viewers have not only their eyes to read information, but their ears to hear, and their emotions are also made vulnerable.

English: If you’re a traditional guy or gal, enjoy reading, thinking critically, thinking creatively, and just want to write, write, write — the English major may be right for you. Your days and nights will be filled with words and it wouldn’t be out of the ordinary for you to feel compelled to craft the next great American novel or book of short stories or collection of poems.

Something else: Even if you do not choose a major where writing is the focus, that doesn’t mean you will not be writing plenty in college in a wide variety of fields. Research papers, reaction papers, essays, dissertations, applications, and more are undoubtedly going to come fluttering your way. There is also the option for many majors to become an English minor. This would allow a definite influx of writing assignments on literature-relevant topics.

writingRegardless of whether or not any of these majors sound appealing to you, don’t ever stop typing, scribbling, or scribing for as long as you feel compelled (even if it’s just to take some extra time on that Instagram caption or for a short story on Twitter). There is so much to be said and so many ways to say it — write on, Dudes!

 

The Blog Post About Blogging

By Danielle Lieneman

Let’s write a blog post about blogging! How meta!

It used to be that when I thought about blogging, it was never something that I thought was for me. I envisioned someone infinitely more talented than me, with more time and a better understanding of HTML, but boy was I wrong. Not only can anyone become a blogger, but the very process makes one a better writer and is infinitely rewarding.

Why start a blog  

Blogging can be a great outlet for those who love to write. Even if no one reads your blog (which happens to the best of us at the very beginning), it’s cathartic to write out your thoughts. For me personally, there’s an added pressure to keep up with my blog posts and writing if I know that people are reading the blog and expecting more posts

Types of Blogs

There’s no set type of format to follow or subject matter to cover when blogging. Blogs can range from entirely personal blogs with personal writing samples to blogs about cooking, makeup, and of course, my personal favorite: books. Usually the easiest part about blogging is deciding what kind of blog you want to create for yourself; you know your interests better than anyone. However, to make your blog stand out there needs to be something special that differentiates yourself from the millions of other blogs on the internet. For example in my personal book blog, instead of just being another blog that writes book reviews, I take the lessons that literature teaches us and apply them to the world around us to learn about different perspectives and cultures. My most recent post was about Frankenstein and how the monster is representative of minorities and anyone that identifies as an “other” within society.

Starting Your Blog

WordPress is easy to navigate and personalize, but other blogging platforms include Wix, Blogger, SquareSpace, and Weebly. No matter which site you use, coming up with a unique and creative domain name is an integral component to your blog’s success. Your blog domain name should be something unique that relates to your future content in some way. Not all sites allow for a change in domain name, so it’s important to be sure before creating the site. For example, my original blog title name was daniellesreadingcorner (I mean honestly, how boring is that??) before I then changed it to livingintheplot to become more engaging and interesting to potential readers.

Most blogging sites provide basic themes free of charge that are fairly easy to personalize with added pages and widgets. This is an important function because the blog should not only be polished and professional looking (especially if you want to include it on a future résumé), but it should reflect who you are and what you want to be. The best part of free themes is that they require little to no knowledge of HTML!

Benefits of Blogs

Creating and maintaining a blog has numerous benefits. It gives the writer experience writing material that other people are going to read. It also provides the opportunity to connect with people from all around the world with similar interests, something that may not otherwise be an option depending on where you live.

If the blog is professional and organized, it could be an item at the bottom of a resume. I’m still convinced that the reason I got an internship at Atlantic Publishing was because I researched the company before, saw that this blog existed, and proceeded to bring up my interest in this blog and my own personal blog. While putting in the research and finding this blog certainly was beneficial to the interview, I think that my obvious passion for books, reading, and writing were what put my interview over the top.

Even if blogs don’t land you a dream job some day, they are a fun way to organize your Screenshot 2017-03-03 10.54.01.pngthoughts and find new friends. Even when I think that no one is reading my ramblings about my latest read, I have a record of how I felt about the novel and can connect with people about it. If you are inspired to start your own blog, or even if you already have a blog and just want some pointers, please don’t hesitate to contact any of us! There’s nothing we would love more than to inspire our readers to start their own blog (We even wrote a book about it to show you how! Available here).

If we’ve convinced you to start your very own blog, send us a message with the URL. We would love to see our reader’s hard work!

~Shamelessly adding a link to my personal blog~

7 Revision Tips You’ll Find Useful For Big Projects

1267_4944364By: Grace Hudgins

I’m currently revising a book about team building exercises in the workplace, which is a lot let me tell you. But it’s only overwhelming because of all the tasks that go along with revising a second edition book — or any edition for that matter.

I’ve learned a few things this past month that have helped me organize my thoughts and ideas when it comes to editing in general, so I’ve decided to share them with you all.

1. Read through your script

Whether it’s a book, paper, or article you’re editing, read through it first before making any changes. It’s easier to see which sections need to be edited or taken out this way.

Reading your copy will make it easier for you to know the type of content you need to add to it, too. Sometimes it’s hard to follow the tone of other authors, but once you get a feel for their writing style, you can adapt to it quickly.

It’s important to actually know what you’re editing or writing — I mean actually know it and understand it. If you’re looking for sources to contribute to your assignment, you need to be able to give them a summary easily. Nothing is more embarrassing than having a professional ask for details about a story you’re reporting on or a book you’re writing, and you end up providing them with inaccurate information or no detail.

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2. Make a to-do list

Once you’ve read your material, you’ll have a greater sense of how much work needs to be done. Even if the workload is small, make a to-do list for yourself. This way, you can keep track of what you have and have not done. Setting deadlines for yourself is also helpful; that way, you can avoid procrastination (don’t lie to yourself, we all do it).

3. Make an outline

My editor suggested this to me, and it’s been really helpful. Instead of getting to certain sections of the book as I go, I made an outline of the entire book instead. Now, the content is organized in the way I want it to be before I try to write multiple chapters in one sitting.

This helped me gather my thoughts, and it made me feel more organized. I had 365 team building activities to sift through, so categorizing them and then placing them in an outline made it easier to decide what to write about and where to put it. It also makes the book flow better. It’ll be easier for my readers to pick activities that relate to their teams.

4. Check all facts and update all research

It’s common to have facts in nonfiction books. It’s one of the reasons books are revised. But, just because a fact was published before doesn’t mean it’s still accurate. Always double-check. It’s embarrassing to publish inaccurate information, and it looks bad, too.

If there are facts in your paper, book, or article that are more than five years old, then I would update them. There is an abundance of research on just about every person, place, or thing on the internet, and chances are new studies have been published on the topic you’re writing about.

5. Pace Yourself

Deadlines are hard, but don’t lose sleep over a project — unless it’s due the next day. Start early, and be productive; that way, you can give yourself time to take breaks in between editing long sections.

It’s easy to overlook small errors because you’re tired or not focused, which leads to more mistakes that you’re suppose to be catching. So, take as much time as you need on parts that you think need it, and don’t try to rush your work.

6. Remember the basics

Of course, don’t forget your basic writing and editing skills — grammar, spelling, grammerpunctuation, sentence structure, and if you’re a reporter, AP Style. If you aren’t sure about a hyphen or the spelling of a word, look it up online on Merriam-Webster’s website. It’s the most accurate for spelling. English websites are also great guides for the rest, and AP Style has it’s own guidebook for journalists, but you can see a brief overview of the main points here. Utilize your resources, in print or online, and trust your gut feeling. If you think a sentence sounds wrong, then rewrite it.

7. Breathe

Editing and writing big projects can be a little overwhelming at the beginning, but remember to breathe and take your time. Not rushing through your work gives you more time to think creatively and come up with more ideas. I thought of some of my best ideas when I wasn’t staring at my MacBook or rough draft.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help, too. You can ask professors, editors, or your peers who have experience for guidance on big projects. It’s nice to get ideas from other people. They might give you the perfect idea you’ve been looking for or catch a small error that you overlooked.

Revising any project takes a lot of time from what I’ve learned so far. I’m used to banging projects out in two days or less, which is why I felt so behind and overwhelmed at first. But I realized I needed to take my time and ask my editor for advice when I felt stuck.

Now, I’m almost finished with my team-building book. Next week, I’ll fine-tune it before I send it back to my editor, which I wouldn’t have completed so smoothly if I hadn’t organized my time and taken advantage of all the things I just talked about above.

Oh, one more MAJOR tip: don’t ever send your work back to an editor (or someone higher than you) without proofreading the whole thing first — it’s unprofessional. It’s OK to have a few minor mistakes in your copy, but you were editing the project for a reason, not making it worse.

Have fun, and happy revising!

Five Things I Learned from My Internship at Atlantic Publishing

By Taylor Gaines

It’s hot outside. You probably feel like you need to shower two to seven times a day to deal with the humidity (that’s not just Florida, right?). The days are actually longer during summer than any other time of the year. But for some reason, whether you are in school, working at a job, or just hanging out at home, summer always seems to be gone before you know it.

This summer was certainly no different for me, one that I spent here at Atlantic Publishing blogging and writing and editing and phone calling and twittering and sitting and standing and driving and much, much more. I did and learned more than I could have ever hoped for during my internship here at Atlantic. But for my last blog post as an intern, I want to take the time to talk about some of the things I’ve learned from my time here.

So, without further ado, here are five things I learned from being an intern at Atlantic Publishing.

1) Practice Doesn’t Make Perfect, but It Sure helps

The old adage about bringing your lunch pail to work every day is certainly tired and more than a little cliché. You’re probably pretty close to journeying far away from this part of the internet just because I brought it up. But listen. There really is something to it!

As a writer, there is something I find incredibly soothing, nourishing, and beneficial to coming in every day and working on my skills. Whether I was writing blog posts, editing upcoming books, or making phone calls to sales reps, I felt like I was improving my skills in one way or another on a daily basis.

In my first blog post, I wrote about the importance of reading and writing a lot if you want to become a good writer. I have to say — and I’m far from perfect — I feel more strongly about that than ever. Writing is not about being struck by creative inspiration and writing the Next Great American Novel. Writing is about sitting down at your desk every day and spitting out words. You can’t get better if you don’t put anything down on the paper (or the screen).

2) Hard Work is Contagious

Maybe you’ve been vaccinated and can’t be infected by it, but in my experience here at Atlantic Publishing, I’ve found that hard work is incredibly contagious. Whether it was our editor, Rebekah, working in the cubicle across the way or the warehouse guys working their butts off next door, I always felt like I had to work harder just to keep up with everyone else here at IMG_2008Atlantic. Looking around and seeing that everyone else wants to do a great job definitely makes you work a little harder so that you feel you deserve to be working alongside them.

It’s like when you watch the Super Bowl-winning team rant and rave about how great their locker room environment was and how they really pushed each other to success. Listen, I’m not 100 percent sure if we could put together a Super Bowl-winning team here at Atlantic. But I like our chances.

3) We Are Not Atlantic Publishers

I’m sure that when I was telling family and friends about my internship this summer, I may have accidentally called the company Atlantic Publishers once or twice at the beginning. Heck, I’m Criminalssure we’ve all done it. Publishing, publishers; they’re pretty similar words, I don’t blame you. But let me tell you something.

WE ARE NOT ATLANTIC PUBLISHERS. We are Atlantic Publishing. Atlantic Publishers is a scam magazine subscription company based out of Colorado who tries to steal money out of the pockets of the elderly. They send fake bills to people and ask them to send money in. Do not send them money. Do not pay $200 a year to subscribe to People Magazine. If you do either of those things, don’t expect the magazine to actually come in the mail. If you get a bill from Atlantic Publishers, throw it out. It’s not real. And it’s not us. It’s a completely different — and far less legitimate — company. We don’t like them either.

Trust me, we get a lot of calls about it.

4) Commuting Isn’T Really that Bad (But it Kind of is)

I don’t think I ever really understood why my dad was always complaining about his hour-plus commute to work. I wasn’t necessarily running around going Get over it already, Dad, but I definitely didn’t get why it wasn’t something you didn’t just get used to. But you know what, I get it. I drove 45-50 minutes three days a week to work at Atlantic, and I got annoyed by it sometimes. It can be long, and draining, and really mess with your sleep schedule when you have to factor a couple hours of driving into your schedule every day.

But it’s also kind of comforting and soothing to hop in the car and go into the office like a grown-up. I took a route without much traffic, and I have a pretty healthy podcast diet. So I usually had something to look forward to. I’ve always been one to be catching up on podcasts a week or two after they come out because there are just too gosh-darn many that I really like listening to and not enough time to listen to them. But you want to know something about commuting? I am always caught up on podcasts. Not only that, I find myself looking forward to new episodes coming out rather than dreading having to catch up on all of them. It’s an entirely new cultural experience for me.

(Okay, maybe I care about the podcast thing a little more than I should…but still! It’s pretty great!)

5) Publishers Do a Lot of Stuff

I never would have considered how many different things go down at a book publishing company.

There’s writing and editing; those things I expected. There’s emailing, answering phones, and having meetings; those things I should have expected. Then there’s inputting book data into something called ONIX, calling sales reps for libraries and schools around the country, and finding reputable professionals to write forewords and case studies for our books. Those things actually make books and book-selling happen, and I never even considered them.

There are a million more things, too. We check books for plagiarism, we look up BISAC codes, and we make glossaries and indexes for our books. We even have a distribution center right next door to our editorial office. Really, it all happens here. I may have thought I would come to Atlantic, do some writing, do some editing, and be on my way. Instead, I did that and much, much more, getting a ground-level look at the publishing world and seeing the ways it is changing and evolving every day.

I’m not sure I’ve earned the right to pull of some kind of poetic ending to this post or to make some kind of memorable goodbye (and hey, it’s not like I’m dying, my internship is just ending), so I’ll just say this. Thank you for reading. I hope you learned something at some point, or at least enjoyed something. Keep reading, and keep writing. We’ll see you real soon.

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