<span class="vcard">Chris Wallace</span>
Chris Wallace

Ergonomics for Writers

Ergonomics is the study of humans in their work environment. The part of it that matters to us is how it relates to keeping us healthy and safe and avoiding aches and pains and repetitive motion injuries. A comfortable writer is a productive writer, so don’t skimp on your office setup.  Everyone is comfortable in slightly different positions. So, before we get into the “correct” ways to work, let’s look at some general advice that should always trump whatever specific advice you get if the two are in conflict.   What The Experts Say  Correct ergonomics, according to the experts, means...

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Finding Your Niche

Finding your niche is writing to market for people who aren’t comfortable in just writing anything. Which, frankly, is most writers. It’s hard to write in a genre you don’t love. We all have our favorites, our go-tos. And reading widely within the genre you write in is a near essential skill for writing successfully in that genre. If you don’t understand the genre, and at least like it or hopefully love it, most times the readers can tell. And in the end, it’s the readers who decide whether your books will be successful or not. Ignore them at your...

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The Key to Keywords

When you publish your book on Amazon, you are given seven spaces for keywords. Notice that I didn’t say seven keywords, I said spaces. You can put more than one keyword in those spaces.  There are some things we don’t know about these keyword boxes, and some things that are frequently changed. But let’s start with the things we do know, that have been fairly constant for the last five years.  If you only put one keyword in a box, it is given slightly more weight than if you pack in as many keywords as possible. You get fifty characters...

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Accounting And Taxes For Writers

So you’re a self-published author. Congratulations, you are now an entrepreneur. We know, you just want to be a writer. But the “just a writer” career path is quite rare these days. Instead, you chose to control your own financial destiny, which means that you have to actually deal with some financial stuff. If you’re still single, you may wish to marry a money manager or accountant so you can avoid all of this bookkeeping stuff. If you can’t do that, then welcome to managing your own income.  Taxes and Basic Business Accounting Paying your taxes quarterly is really the...

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From Idea to Book

(Originally appeared as “Taking a Book from Idea to Bestseller” on the WrittenWell front page) There are bits of advice scattered all over the internet on how to write a book, how to market it, how to outline, how to write a great ending. But seeing it as a linear process will help you to do everything in the right order without missing a step—and that is something I don’t see anywhere else.  What I can’t do in this article is explain how to do every step. That would take, well, an entire website. But seeing the steps will help...

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Editing your Own Work, Part 1 — The Little Stuff

When I say “little stuff,” I don’t mean it isn’t important. Just that it occupies a small space and requires small changes. I’ll talk about developmental editing and making big revisions in other articles. This one is for the little things that might knock a reader out of your story, things like typos, punctuation mistakes, repeated words, and other little gremlins that can pop up in a first draft. There is already an inherent bias from the public about self-published books. Your work needs to appear as professional as possible. That means it needs to be well edited and sharp,...

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Writing to Teach

My writing career started by teaching people how to play poker. I’ve talked about that in my article on establishing yourself as an expert, but I didn’t really cover HOW to write this type of nonfiction. The reason I was successful as a poker writer, according to my readers, was that I found ways to explain complicated subjects in simple ways. There were two reasons I was able to do this.  1. My competition weren’t good teachers Most poker theory experts are not great writers. They are very intelligent, but they don’t relate to people as well as they relate...

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Establishing Yourself As An Expert

For many genres of nonfiction, especially self-help or instructional books, readers want to hear from an expert. Are you an expert in your field? Would you like to be? Establishing yourself as an expert is easy in most areas of expertise.  The first question is, what qualifications are necessary in your field? When I was establishing myself as an expert in the poker world, all that I needed to do was provide good information, backed by solid math, present myself confidently as an expert, and be a winning player.  If your area of expertise is related to the law, medicine,...

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Self-Published Authors Make More Money

It’s true, self published authors make more money. We’ve known this for a few years now, with self-published authors earning more total money than their traditionally published counterparts since at least 2020. But a new study shows that self-published authors earn much more on average than their counterparts.  The study, from the Alliance of Independent Authors, surveyed authors on both sides and compiled the results to reveal that the average self-published author earns $86,000 a year. While nearly a quarter of the self-published authors surveyed earned very little, the majority made real money. The median income for self-published authors was …

A Publisher Wants My Book!

So a publisher wants to publish your book? That is so exciting! But before you get carried away, let’s take a look at that contract. Unfortunately there are a lot of shady “publishers” out there who just want to take advantage of the fact that there are tens of thousands of writers desperately hoping to be published.  Because you’re a member here at Written Well, we’ll assume that you already know that the old dream of finding a traditional publisher and riding a road to riches was incredibly rare even twenty years ago, and now it’s almost unheard of. Self-published...

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