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Education: Business to Freelancer

As a recent graduate with a bachelor’s degree in English, I knew I wanted to work with words. I learned about a local university that was offering certificates in book publishing, editing, and e-books. I applied and was accepted into the program, and over the next few years, I completed the certificates in book publishing and editing. I took several courses in indexing, which piqued my interest, so I took two additional indexing courses.

By the time I had completed my third certificate, the university was now offering a degree in publishing; I applied to this degree program.

Since completion of my master’s degree in publishing, I have attended numerous conferences, joined numerous associations, and spoken at numerous events. I found that education is key to the business, but continuous education is key not only to the business but also to the freelancer.

While I will never know everything about this amazing industry, I find myself enjoying different aspects of it even more than I did when I began my first certificate course at the young age of 21.

Having seen the importance of education, I have put a great emphasis on it within NAIWE. We offer a new webinar each month led by an expert within the publishing industry. And though the topic may not be directly related to the services you currently offer, the knowledge you gain may prove beneficial for your clients as you meet their needs.

To read the complete article, please visit the NAIWE blog.

July Webinar: Getting Your First Review (or Your 100th)

We wanted to get to know Brian Schwartz (NAIWE's Self-Publishing Expert) better, so last month we sat down with him. Here are some thoughts he shared with us.

What makes a good review?

A good review helps target the book for the right reader while steering the wrong reader away. I often tell authors “The way you get a good review is by putting your book in the hands of the right reader. Bad reviews are the result of putting it into the hands of the wrong reader.” If your reviewer is open to advice, provide them with keywords you know others are likely to use in a search since reviews are also indexed by search engines. An ideal review is 1–2 paragraphs and mentions the main reason why they read the book and what they got out of it. People are skeptical that a review is legit when the review is only 1–2 sentences.


What’s the one thing you can do each day to grow your sales? Ask for a review. In this webinar, Brian will empower you to build the essential foundation behind any successful book: a strategy to continually ask for reviews. Before you spend a dime on advertising, your book must have reviews. While Amazon reviews get all the attention, there are many other ways you can leverage reviews elsewhere.

Key takeaways you can expect from attending this webinar:
• The indicators that Amazon uses to remove reviews
• The importance of “vanilla urls” when pointing to Amazon
• The 3 key elements of an effective review
• Using Amazon reviews in your marketing materials
• How many reviews you need
• When a bad review can be good
• How to avoid getting banned by Goodreads
• What a successful reviewer outreach, tracking & follow-up system looks like
• How to find over 100 potential reviewers in your own network.

After helping hundreds of authors over the past 10+ years, Brian has seen firsthand what works and what doesn’t. How do you get a good review for your book? You put your book in the hands of the right reader. began with a single line of code. Similarly, the success of any title began with a single review.

Join Brian to gain new insight on how you can get more reviews for your books!

You can join in this conversation on July 28, at 6:30 pm eastern, when NAIWE will host a webinar on gaining more book reviews and more! The cost for NAIWE members is $10 and $30 for non-members.

To register for this webinar, please visit the NAIWE website.

On-Demand Training: Indexing 101

Guest: NAIWE’s Executive Director April Michelle Davis

Have you thought about learning to index books? Have you written a book and are thinking about indexing the book yourself? Do you index books but would like a refresher course? In this class, April Michelle will review the fundamentals and theory of indexing. Once those items are understood, you will put your new-found knowledge into practice by indexing a portion of a book.

Here’s what you can expect to learn in this class:

  • Writing an index
  • Organizing the index
  • Setting up an index entry
  • Editing the index
  • Dealing with content
  • Working with electronic tools
  • Becoming the total professional

April Michelle Davis is the executive director of the National Association of Independent Writers and Editors and the founder of Editorial Inspirations. She has a master’s degree in publishing from George Washington University and a bachelor’s degree in English from Messiah College, as well as certificates in editing, book publishing, and professional editing. April Michelle has presented sessions on what an editor does and the steps to becoming an editor, tips for and the benefits of working with an editor, indexing, macros, grammar, marketing, and Microsoft Word at the Be a Better Freelancer conference, Randolph-Macon College, Northern Virginia Community College, the Christian PEN: Proofreaders and Editors Network, RavenCon, the Hanover Book Festival, the Editorial Freelancers Association, Copyediting newsletter, Editorial Inspirations’ trainings, and NAIWE.

July Bonus Webinar: What Every Fiction Writer and Editor Should Know About Story Editing

In July, we will be chatting with Fictionary, a NAIWE Benefit Partner, on the topic of editing.

Are you a writer? We all get excited when we type “The End” on our first draft. Before you share your story with others, you owe it to yourself to tell the best possible story. Learn how to story edit, and you’ll create a story readers love.

Perhaps you’re a structural editor for fiction and are worried that you’re overly influencing a client’s manuscript or that you’re not comprehensive. We’ll help you elevate your editing.

In this session, Kristina Stanley, founder of Fictionary and bestselling author, will teach you where to begin a Story Edit. If your dream is to craft a powerful story, she’ll show you how to “see” your first draft in a new way.

Kristina will cover:

  • What is Story Editing?
  • When Story Editing Should be Done
  • The Most Common Story Issue
  • Story Elements to Evaluate
  • Story Structure and Form
  • How a Writer and Editor Differ
  • Editing Checklist

Fictionary is a creative story editing software for fiction writers and editors. It provides a structured approach to story editing that makes every scene count. Evaluate your writing against the 38 Fictionary Story Elements. Keep track of your characters, improve your plot, and create engaging settings. StoryTeller automatically creates powerful visuals by analyzing your manuscript from start to finish. Insights such as the Story Arc provide a 30,000-foot view of your manuscript and quickly highlight structural areas that need improvement. NAIWE members receive 20% off the software subscription!

The cost for NAIWE members is FREE and $20 for non-members. To register for this webinar, which will be held on July 19 at 7 pm eastern, please visit the NAIWE website.

Tourtiere: Wonderful Holiday Fare

NAIWE writing prompt: Describe your favorite holiday food.

My heritage is French-Canadian and my mother is from Quebec province, and my absolute favorite holiday food is a traditional French-Canadian dish called tourtiere (which should have an “accent grave” over the first “e” but I don’t know how to make those on WordPress). What on Earth is tourtiere, you ask?

It’s a meat pie, and it’s delicious.

To read the rest of this article, please visit NAIWE member Suzelle Fiedler's blog.

August Webinar: Useful Agreements for the Writer

In August, we will be chatting with MJ Courchesne, NAIWE's Copyright & Permissions Expert, on the very important topic of agreements.

This interactive webinar will feature some sample agreements and sources for templates that the writer might find useful during their writing career. What does a work-for-hire generally look like? What should you expect in a standard trade publishing contract? How common are NDAs in the publishing world and why might you need one? How do you format a simple permission request? Who can you reach out to for help when reviewing a contract? Be ready to take notes and bring your questions for this informative session on contracts and agreements.


MJ Courchesne is the owner and principal consultant of Gryphon Publishing Consulting. A publishing veteran with more than 20 years of experience in trade, academic, and direct-response publishing, she has spent nearly two decades specializing in licensing, subsidiary rights, and permissions. MJ is a frequent and polished presenter on licensing and copyright. When it comes to intellectual property, she firmly believes that everyone from authors to publishers to corporations should know their rights. To that end, MJ instructed in the George Washington University’s Masters in Publishing program for 13 years, first for 11 years as adjunct professor for a course titled Editorial Content, Rights, and Permissions and subsequently as lecturer in a course on copyright. She currently serves on the Board of Experts for the National Association of Independent Writers and Editors and is a member of the Independent Book Publishers Association and the Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators. MJ has also held memberships with other publishing organizations such as the American Society of Picture Professionals and Washington Publishers.

The cost for NAIWE members is $10 and $30 for non-members. To register for this webinar, which will be held on August 31 at 7 pm eastern, please visit the NAIWE website.

June's New & Renewing NAIWE Members

Isabella Bailey (Denver, CO); Kylie Bean (Dumfries, VA); Michael Davis (Peoria, IL); Nancy Doherty (Pelham, MA); Teresa Gonzalez (Seguin, TX); Deb Haggerty (Plymouth, MA); Trish Lockard (Maryville, TN); Mike Peterson (Escondido, CA); Shirley Rash (Berryville, AR); Ray See (Pittsburgh, PA); Lauren Spencer (Apex, NC); David Swiss (Hopkinsville, KY); Catherine Thorsen (Denmark, Australia); Stephanie Wardrop (Longmeadow, MA); Mary Yerkes (Manassas, VA).

Be sure to post on your NAIWE website, and we will link to it when you renew!

From CMOS Shop Talk

Q. What is the correct way to hyphenate school grade levels, “fifth-grade” or “fifth grade”? And “fifth-grader” or “fifth grader”? Thank you.

A. Nouns like fifth grade and fifth grader are both left open:

  • Not all of us made it past the eighth grade.
  • Some second graders are more advanced than others.

Adjective forms, however, are hyphenated:

  • Our fifth-grade lessons included more writing than reading.

See also CMOS 7.89, section 1, under “number, ordinal, + noun.”


"Business is always interfering with pleasure, but it makes other pleasures possible."

—William Feather


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Posts on your NAIWE blog may be promoted in The Edge: Success Strategies for People Who Work With Words, which is the NAIWE newsletter that has a subscriber list of over 7,500, as of June 2021. Both members and prospective clients subscribe to The Edge, so your blog posts promoted in the newsletter become calling cards to introduce yourself and advertise your books and services.

Visit the NAIWE website to see all of the member benefits.

Why Should You Join an Association?

You can join even if you’re just getting started, and NAIWE will help you begin to build your career strategically.

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