Thursday, September 9, 2010

Six Tips to be a Better Proofreader

The importance of proofreading is often overlooked and under estimated. Alana Keane is a professional copywriter and her article below on How to be a Better Proofreader is a must read.
Please enjoy.

Copywriting Tips - Be a Better Proofreader

In a perfect world, you'd have a professional copywriter handle the writing for all of your marketing and business communication projects. Every report, every sales letter, every web page, every brochure... you'd rest easy knowing you had an expert on hand to keep it all up to par.

But the fact is, we don't live in a perfect world. We live in the real world and sometimes you have to write your own material. Of course, copywriting isn't one of those things that just comes easily to most people and after spending several days (or weeks) organizing your thoughts and working through multiple drafts, you may feel like celebrating. Don't uncork that champagne just yet, though. You still have to proofread.

Improve Your Proofreading

As tedious as it may be, proofreading is an essential part of the writing process. And though it seems like a straightforward procedure, after you've read -- and reread -- something over and over and over again, those pesky little mistakes get harder to detect. Make sure you catch them all by following a few basic tips.

Read it Out Loud

The words you've written may look great on paper. But how do they sound? You might be surprised to find that what you think you've written and what you've actually written are two different things. Find clunky phrases and repair them by reading what you've written out loud.

Read it Backwards

It's human nature to automatically correct the errors we may find while reading. To compensate for this, read your copy backwards. Start at the end and check each word for spelling errors. Remember: the spell check on your computer does not catch everything, including homophones like "their" and "they're" or "your" and "you're."

Have a Friend Read it

It never hurts to have another pair of eyes go over what you've written. Have a friend or co-worker read your copy and make suggestions for both grammar and style. You may disagree with the recommendations you receive, but you should give consideration to any constructive criticism that can make your work better.

Hire a Copywriter

There is often no substitute for professional copyedits. In a matter of minutes, a good copywriter can frequently detect errors you would have otherwise missed -- and suggest improvements you would never even have considered. Plus, since you've already put the time into writing a complete draft, hiring a professional copywriter to polish your work is significantly less expensive than contracting a project from scratch.

The Last Word
In the end, proofreading is time (and money) well spent -- because if you don't find the mistakes in your copy, your clients will.

© Copyright Alana Keane. All rights reserved worldwide.

About the Author
A professional copywriter with over a decade of experience, Alana Keane has been widely published on a national level. Her areas of expertise include copywriting for brochures, websites, sales letters, direct mail campaigns and more. Visit her website at

It's always good to have another pair of eyes,


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Writing and Selling Memoirs - Common Pitfalls - Part V

Unless your name is a household word no one but possibly your immediate family care that you were married six times or robbed a liquor store at the age of fifteen. The real truth is....

The odds of your memoir being rescued from the slush pile are close to nil and impossible…unless your hook is well developed.  (this post is adapted from Writer’s Digest July/August 2010 issue) One of the most challenging facets of writing a memoir is being able to view it with the perspective of someone who has never lived your experience.

Bring ordinary situations to life with dazzling details. For example, Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert is a story about ordinary events such as divorce, travel, spirituality and food. Gilbert takes the reader along with her to experience every tear drop, laughter and epitome along her journey to healing.

Take care not to fall into the pitfalls below: 

Five Ineffective Memoir Hooks
  1. Do not mistake bitterness or anger(neither one is a good reason to write a book)  for passion.
  2. If your theme is not relatable to readers they will not read
  3. Don’t take too long to build or start too late in the story.
  4. When you follow too many different paths your plot becomes confusing.
  5. Don’t follow through to the end of the story. Your life story is not over yet. Focus on pivotal events that caused your life to do a back flip. Once you understand what a good hook is and what it should do, you will be ready to write, write, write.

Three Exercises to Define Your Hook

Write your own cover copy.

What do you do when browsing in a book store? Read the back cover or jacket flap. According to Writer’s Digest, some publishers begin working on this before a manuscript is completed because it is so essential to success.

Push your theme to the limit.

List 10 things that are unique to your situation. What makes your divorce different than your neighbors? Why should your bout with cancer be any different than others?  What range of emotions does your list hit?

Shift your focus.

Select five different starting points for your memoir then make a list of five different plots from those points. What track does the memoir follow when you start from a different position? How do you feel about each new story and where does each one end?

Also, here is a neat site at with many related videos on writing memoirs. Check them out.

Until next time,

"Give to the world the best you have and the best will come back to you." Madeline Bridges