The Rise And Fall - 13 Social Media Trends To Watch In 2017

Don't panic. Social media is not going anywhere. Last year I looked at blogging trends for 2016. I believe that most of these will hold for 2017. This year, I want to look at some social media trends that are rising and others that are falling.

Money spent on social media marketing grew 55% to $10.9 billion between 2014 and 2015. It is estimated that it will reach $14 billion in 2018. (Source: Mediakix) This is not surprising with the number of people using social media.

How Many People Are On Social Media In 2017?

The key statistics for digital, social, and mobile media in 2016 are: 
  • 3.42 billion internet users, equalling 46% global penetration
  • 2.31 billion social media users, delivering 31% global penetration
  • 3.79 billion unique mobile users, representing 51% global penetration
  • 1.97 billion mobile social media users, equating to 27% global penetration
Source: We Are Social: Digital In 2016. Visit this site to see how social media is growing across the globe.

The Rise And Fall - 13 Social Media Trends in 2017

When asked to choose only one social media platform, most businesses chose Facebook.

  1. Social media giants will rise. It is impossible to do business online without filtering your information through these sites first. The giants of 2017 for business are Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Your content has to be brilliant so that the platform’s filters share it and followers see it. Facebook especially will become even more powerful. It is the most important platform and more than 60% of businesses have plans to increase their exposure on Facebook and YouTube. Source: Social Media Examiner from Social Media Marketing Industry Report. (Download a version here)

  2. Twitter will continue to struggle. Twitter is trying to reinvent itself as the number one source for news. 'Twitter has refocused. It’s no longer a social network, it’s a news product.' (Source) For this to become more successful, it will have to solve harassment issues and deal with fake news. Twitter fatigue is real. (Source)

  3. Video will rise. Video has become essential. 60% of marketers use video and 73% plan to increase their use of video, including live video. A YouTube channel becomes even more attractive when you know that YouTube has paid out $2 billion to users as of July 2016 (YouTube). 

  4. Content marketing will continue to rise. Information in the form of well-written articles using storytelling techniques becomes more important each year. (Source) Social media sites will try to encourage people to blog directly on the platform. This may seem like a good idea, but I think it is better to keep your options open. Post on the site, but link to your content as well. Have you ever been blocked by Facebook? You need to have some control over your content. [Read 5 Things You Need To Know About Content Marketing]

  5. Organic social media growth will fall. Being there is the first step. Now that you're there, you have to have a plan to stay in the limelight. These 6 studies show why this is happening. Use targeted marketing social media tools on the big platforms to reach your audience. You will also have to budget for paid reach.

  6. Social media advertising will rise. You will have to budget for advertising on social media. Identify the platform you want to use and find out how to do this. Facebook is the best place to start. 86% of social marketers regularly use Facebook ads, while only 18% use Twitter ads. Facebook advertising is easy to use if you are a beginner. Facebook has over three million active advertisers, and more than 70% of these are from outside America. (Facebook). 

  7. Fake news will fall. It may be too late for some, but the fight back is beginning. After Oxford dictionary decided that ‘post-truth’ was its word of the year, we knew we had reached rock bottom. Facebook is putting measures in place to filter the nonsense people are presenting as facts.Twitter will have to find a way to combat this as well. In South Africa, we need to stop abusive trolls that other users call 'Paid Twitter'. Google will have to look at its algorithm as fake news sites benefit from the sheer volume of traffic they create.

  8. The importance of trustworthiness will rise. You will have to make triple sure that your facts are correct. People are getting tired of lies and it could be bad for business if you inadvertently slip up. This means you need to verify what you are sharing. It also means that you must research anything you write in a blog post. Earning this trust will be the key to selling your products. 

  9. Social messaging will rise. WhatsApp, an SMS replacement app recently crossed the one billion user mark. Businesses will be able to use these messaging apps to interact with some customers, especially the younger generation. Use this for customer queries and complaints. Doctors in Brazil use WhatsApp to contact patients. (Source for graph: Dreamgrow)

  10. Marketing posts will fall. People will become more averse to content that is designed to sell. Search engines will also become more intolerant of this. Do not try to disguise an advertisement or a press release as information.  Invest in learning how to create proper content, or in employing somebody to do it for you. [Read 40 Types Of Content That Will Make Blogging Easier For You]

  11. Email newsletters will rise. The effectiveness of email marketing increased in 2016. Email newsletters became more interactive and setting up of email lists became more user-friendly. Use an email marketing service such as Mailchimp to create your newsletters and maintain your mailing list. Email newsletters will become even more targeted and personalised in 2017. (Source: Business2Community

  12. Push advertising will continue to fall. More people than ever are using ad blockers to prevent unwanted advertising. Don't force banners, pop-ups, paid ads, and pop-unders on your audience when they visit your blog.

  13. The power of social media influencers will continue to rise. Your goal on social media is to get people to notice you and to talk about you. You have to be everywhere. Jeff Bullas says 'As the noise increases online... , the influencer and thought leaders who have built reach globally are the new niche gatekeepers. Brands are now paying to reach their admirers and devotees.' 

Which of these trends do you think will change our world in 2017?

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 by Amanda Patterson. Follow her on  Facebook,  Google+,  LinkedIn,  Tumblr,  Pinterest,  and on Twitter:  @amandaonwriting 

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40 Types Of Content That Will Make Blogging Easier For You

I create content for this blog every week. There are times when it seems easy and then there are times when it feels impossible. I am lucky because I have two regular bloggers who help me. It also helps that Mia Botha and Anthony Ehlers are brilliant writers who understand what our followers want to read.

How do bloggers come up with new ideas?
To keep going, it is important to blog about your passions. It is also important to stick to the themes of your blog and your business. For example, we blog about creative writing, business writing, blogging, writing for social media, and reading. This means that we can choose any of these broad categories as a starting point.
How do we manage to stay sane, week after week?
Creating a blogging calendar with themes and types of content also helps. I try to stick to Social Media Monday, where we post about social media and blogging. Tuesdays are open for business, and sometimes, creative writing. Mia Botha blogs on Wednesdays and Anthony Ehlers blogs on Thursdays. If we are hosting a guest, we try to do it on Fridays.
Month after month?
There are regular monthly posts that fill the calendar. We have the Top 10 Posts from the previous month, our book reviews, a calendar for next month's courses, and writing prompts for that month.
Year after year?
There are also yearly posts, including the top-earning authors for that year [The 14 Top-Earning Authors - 2016], National Novel Writing Month every November [NaNoWriMo], and your favourite posts from the year before [The Top 42 Writing Posts of 2015].
You need to work out a calendar that works for your readership, your industry, and your brand. If you are a writer, for example, you may find this post useful: 30 Inspiring Blog Post Ideas For Writers

I have compiled a list of blog post ideas that a blogger in any industry can use for inspiration.

40 Types Of Content To Inspire Any Blogger
  1. Interviews. We have a series called The Writers Write Interview where we feature famous authors from our guest speaker events.
  2. Holidays. Keep a calendar of holidays for inspiration. You can use Mother's Day or Father's Day to inspire a post. This year we featured 9 Famous Fictional Narcissistic Mothers - And How To Write About Them.
  3. Worksheets. Create worksheets and share them with your followers.
  4. Expertise. Share your knowledge. Tell people what you know about your subject. Back it up with research and examples. At Writers Write, we may talk about sub-plots, pacing, or inciting moments.
  5. Birthdays. You will know who your audience admires. Keep a list of their birthdays for reference. At Writers Write, we often use the anniversary of a famous author's birthday as a starting point, for example 6 Things Alfred Hitchcock Can Teach You About Writing
  6. Testimonials. Include posts about clients who have been successful or posts on what people have said about you, your products, or your courses.
  7. A series. You may want to write a series of posts about a subject that is important to your readers. I wrote a series called Social Media 101 to help bloggers understand and evaluate the different types of social media. This year, Anthony is writing 52 posts about how to Write Your Novel In A Year [Read Week 1: Start Strong, Start Simple]
  8. Pick of the week or month. You may work in an industry where you can showcase a product on a regular basis.
  9. Lists. People love lists. They never get tired of them, so don't stop using them. Examples: 'The Top 10...', '25 Ways To....', or mega-lists about your industry like The Top 100 Writing Blogs For Authors And Bloggers
  10. Informative posts. These include research and expert advice in your field of expertise. At Writers Write these could be about grammar, readability statistics, the passive voice, or email etiquette.
  11. Inspirational posts. Include motivational infographics and ways to stay creative.
  12. How-to articles. Like lists, this one never gets old. People follow you to find out what you do and how you do it. Some of our examples include How To Write A Case Study In 3 Easy StepsHow To Write A Beginning And An Ending That Readers Will Never Forget, and How To Use Writing Prompts.
  13. Checklists. These are useful to help your followers who are learning as they go along. [Read The Ultimate Blogging Checklist]
  14. Quotations. Create lists of quotations from famous people about your favourite topics. They can be wise, flippant, or humorous. [My 15 Favourite Quotes On Grammar]
  15. Templates. If you have a useful template that anybody in your industry would find useful, share it. Include your logo or website on the template.
  16. Cheat Sheets. These are always popular. Our most viewed posts are Cheat Sheets for Writing Body Language and 45 Ways To Avoid Using The Word 'Very'
  17. Definition posts. These include basic information about your topics. For example, What is a blog?
  18. Humour. Why not write a post on 'How To Survive A Relationship With A _______' or  '10 Ways To Seduce A ___________' We have done these for writers.
  19. Anecdotes. Use personal stories and situations as inspiration for topics. Mia uses her role as a mother to teach us about suspense in stories, or the death of her cell phone battery to remind us that writers need to observe
  20. Statistics and case studies. Mia Botha decided to look at our most popular blogs for her post, How Long Should Your Blog Post Be? and I looked at famous authors for Word Counts - How Long Should Your Novel Be?
  21. Guest posts. If you are going to accept guest posts, create a set of guidelines for your blog.
  22. Meet the team. If you have a team, you could use this opportunity to let your followers into their worlds. You should already have a page with brief biographies for them, but these would be longer posts.
  23. Profiles. Write about a product or a person in your industry.
  24. Quizzes. You can create your own on platforms like playbuzz and quzzr.
  25. Beginner's guides. Use these to encourage followers who may be intimidated by a new subject. We have written these on creating characters, writing speeches, and revenge as a plot.
  26. Videos or tutorials. Create your own or share others. Watch as Kurt Vonnegut explains the shapes of stories.
  27. Podcasts. You may want to offer podcasts of interviews or classes for your readers.
  28. Lessons. What have you learnt along your journey? How did you gain a following on social media? What did your mother teach you about business writing?
  29. Reviews. You can review any product or event related to your industry.
  30. Infographics. You can create these yourself or share from other sources. Use Infographics to share statistics or information in an easy-to-read format. 
  31. Competitions and giveaways. If you have products to give away or a sponsor, this is a good way to build up a following.
  32. Resources. If you have found useful tools that you think others should try, write a post about them. They could be for business writing or on creating content for your blog.
  33. Behind-the-scenes. Write about what it takes to create a finished product. This is particularly useful if you are in a glamorous business and you want to show the human side of your product.
  34. Memes/Comics. You can create these on a meme site or share them when you find them. Always credit your source.
  35. Events. If you have guest speakers or product launches, write about them.
  36. Follow-up posts. Revisit your most popular posts and write a follow-up, especially if things have changed since you wrote that post.
  37. FAQs (Frequently asked questions). Why not write a post that answers questions that everybody asks you?
  38. Opinion pieces. If you feel passionately about something, let your followers know. Remember that you may create enemies as well as gain followers when you do this. A post such as 5 Guaranteed Ways To Bore Your Reader evoked strong reactions from readers
  39. Images. You may want to show a story through a series of photographs. Perhaps you've been on holiday or seen something you can work into a blog.
  40. Predictions and trends. Keep an eye on trends in your industry. At the end of 2015, we wrote about 7 Trends Bloggers Can't Afford To Ignore In 2016

If you want to learn how to blog and write for social media, join us for  The Complete Blogging and Social Media Course

 by Amanda Patterson. Follow her on  Facebook,  Tumblr,  Pinterest,  Google+,  LinkedIn,  and on Twitter:  @amandaonwriting

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10 Things You Need To Remember When You Start A Blog

Beginning a blog is a lot like writing a book. It can be overwhelming and you may not know where to start. I have put together a list of simple tips that will help you to begin.
  1. Mistakes will be made. Mediocre to bad blog posts are inevitable. The most important thing is that you should start - and stay. The longer you put it off the more difficult it will be. 
  2. Don’t listen to negative people. Ignore those who tell you the Internet is a waste of time and that blogging is dead. They may be scared of change and afraid that you will move into a space that does not include them. Blogging is the way to reach your audience. People look online when they want something. You should be there.
  3. Bloggers blog. Don’t aspire to become a blogger. People who have successful blogs blog often. They create a blogging diary and they make it a habit. [Read 8 Invaluable Blogging Tips for Writers]
  4. Be yourself. The success of many bloggers boils down to them writing in their own voice. A good blogging style means that you're not pretending. Don’t try to be funny if you’re not. Don’t pretend to be clever if you know you don’t have the knowledge. Honesty in a blogger will create a loyal audience.
  5. Be passionate. Few people are able to blog about everything. Fewer people will follow somebody who does. Good bloggers will blog about their passions and obsessions. People who share those interests will have a point of reference – a familiarity or a reason –  to connect with you. It does not matter if you are mad about books or television or technology or cupcakes. Just make sure you love your subject, because you will be spending a lot of time talking about it. You may also find one or two things that flow naturally from that obsession. If you do, you can add it to your blog in much the same way that writers have a plot and one of two sub-plots when they write a novel. [If you want to blog about writing, you will enjoy 30 Inspiring Blog Post Ideas For Writers.]
  6. Be aware. Follow blogs that catch your eye. Observe what they do. Make lists of things you love about the blogs. Do the same with blogs that turn you off. Try to get a sense of what you enjoy and why you enjoy it. Chances are that the people who are likely to follow you will share your tastes. [Read 11 Reasons Why I Won't Be Returning To Your Blog]
  7. Blogging is its own reward. Don’t be put off if it takes a while to create a following. This gives you time to practise. It is also therapeutic and it is an outlet for your passion and creativity.
  8. Be inspired. Read. Listen to the radio. Eavesdrop. Watch good television. Eat something you’ve never eaten before. Watch the news. Talk to a stranger. Smile. You will find ideas for blogs everywhere. A trend may give you an interesting angle for your blog.
  9. You will want to give up. But don’t. Like any habit, bloggers need to find a routine and commit to at least 12 months of regular posts. Decide on how many times a week you will blog and stick to it. If you miss a week it may become two or three and that is how a blog dies.
  10. Create your space. Find a platform you’re comfortable with. You may want to start with a free template on Wordpress or Tumblr. Spend some time on these platforms and learn how to use them. You can create drafts and publish them when you’re happy with them. [Read Social Media 101 - What is a blog?]
Once you have these basics taken care of, you can look at sharing your posts on social media. You will learn new things every day. You will find so many tools that will help you generate content, and to create images and polls and infographics to make your blog come alive. You will find free photographs on websites like Pixabay. You can buy inexpensive logos on a platform like Etsy

If you love what you’re doing after this year, and the blog is getting the reaction you want, you may want to think about investing in a tailor-made website. If you are going to use it as a primary source of income, you will have to be professional about it. And all of us would love to make a living out of our passions.

Happy blogging.

If you want to learn how to blog and write for social media, join us for  The Complete Blogging and Social Media Course

The 9 Essential Social Media Platforms

A while ago, I wrote a series called Social Media 101. If you missed it, I have written this post so that you can access the links in one post. 

I start with the basics of what you need to know about blogs, and then discuss the major social media platforms in more detail. Each post explains what the platform is about, why it is important, how to set up your page, how to use it, and how to succeed.

I believe that the secret to succeeding in social media is blogging. If you only have a static website, you will find it almost impossible to make an impression on social media platforms. Starting a Facebook page and linking back to the same boring website will chase followers away. 

A constantly updated blog gives you something new to share on social media. This makes you, or your company, interesting and relevant. People will start noticing you and, if they like what you have to say, they will follow you.

Here are the nine platforms you should consider:
  1. Social Media 101 - What is a Blog?
  2. Social Media 101 - What is Facebook?
  3. Social Media 101 - What is Pinterest?
  4. Social Media 101: What is Instagram?
  5. Social Media 101 - What is YouTube?
  6. Social Media 101 - What is Twitter?
  7. Social Media 101 - What is Google+?
  8. Social Media 101 - What is Tumblr?
  9. Social Media 101 - What is LinkedIn?

I hope this series inspires you to start blogging and to decide which platforms will best suit you or your business.

Happy blogging!

If you want to learn how to blog and write for social media, join us for  The Complete Blogging and Social Media Course. Please send an email to for details.

11 Essential Ingredients Every Blog Post Needs

We have written many posts about blogging on this site. When we found this infographic on Copyblogger, we wanted to share it with you because it sums up the basics of a great blog post.

We agree that you need a great headline [Suggested reading: 7 Invaluable Tips For Writing Blog Post Titles] and that you should include the most important information upfront. You need to master the art of persuasive writing. [Suggested post: Emotional vs Intellectual Words

You should write well and format properly, making sure that you include a great image. [Must-Read: 11 Reasons Why I Won't Be Returning To Your Blog] and remember that you are writing a story for your readers. [Suggested reading: 10 Important Things To Remember About Storytelling For Business.]

Source: Copyblogger

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How To Write Headlines That Make Your Readers Happy

Made you click, didn’t I? That’s because I have a cool new tool that helps me write click-worthy headlines.

I have been stuck in the blogging doldrums these last few weeks, not because I don’t have blog post ideas, it’s because my headlines suck and I can’t seem to fix them.

Headlines are make or break for a post. As a rule, you should spend the same amount of time crafting your headline as you do writing your post. Doesn’t happen, right?  Usually I am so excited about my post that I just slap any old thing on the top and hit post. Not great.

Although I might think my headline is good enough, I won’t know until I have put the post up and then it’s usually too late. I have always wished for a way to check my headlines. My fairy godmother heard my sobs and answered by gifting me with this headline analyser.

It checks for common and uncommon words, emotional words and powerful words and gives you a score. Heaven. But before you start trying out headlines you have work to do. Try this method:
  1. Find an idea that excites you and that is valuable to your audience.
  2. Research if necessary.
  3. Write the post.
  4. Read, edit and rewrite if necessary.
  5. Take a blank page, fold it in half and write a heading with as many variations of that heading as you can. Fill the page.
  6. Turn over and fill the back.
  7. Only once you have filled both columns on both sides do you choose your favourite.
  8. Analyse the headline at CoSchedule
  9. Pick the strongest headline.
  10. Post. 
Happy analysing and get blogging

If you want to learn how to blog and write for social media, join our blogging and social media course in Johannesburg.

 by Mia Botha

If you enjoyed this post, you will love:

  1. An Effortless 10-Point Plan To Move Your Business Into The Social Media Arena
  2. Your Book Is A Business – You Need To Invest In It
  3. Are These The 4 Most Neglected Pages On Your Blog?


    Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate

    An Effortless 10-Point Plan To Move Your Business Into The Social Media Arena

    Whether you employ 30 000 people or three, your business should have a social media presence. If you aren’t saying something about your company somebody else will say it for you, and it won’t be a conversation you can influence. 

    If you look up any big brand online, you will most likely find a hate page dedicated to them. Any business’s worst nightmare, right? I find the comments fascinating. There might be bad comments and a lot of mudslinging, but keep reading. You’ll see how many clients defend their brands. 

    If you cultivate good relationships with your customers online, they will defend you when the time comes. That way you will have ten good reviews for every bad one posted. Remember, this is assuming that you deliver the quality service you promise. If you fail, you will be slated online. 

    If you don’t build online relationships, you are at the mercy of the irate consumer. These good relationships aren’t built overnight and this isn't something you can ask someone to do on your behalf. 

    Use this 10-Point Plan to move your company into the social media arena
    1. Create awareness. Make sure your staff members understand the implications of social media for themselves as well as for the company. A law firm can help with this. Encourage them to read books like Don’t Film Yourself Having Sex by Emma Sadleir and Tamsyn de Beer
    2. Teach them how it works. Social media training can be invaluable for your staff. It is important that your staff understand how social media works.
    3. Figure out how you want to use it. Once you understand how it works you will be able to manipulate it to suit your brand. Studying companies who are successful is a good idea, but there is no such thing as one size fits all. Make your own plan.
    4. Start a blog or create a section on your website for a blog. You can also use your website as a blog and then, when you create new original content, Google will love you.
    5. Identify qualified staff members to contribute to the blog. Don’t limit this to the communications department. Make sure the people who will contribute are well-informed and passionate about the topic. 
    6. Teach them how to change their writing for the web. Writing for a digital audience is different to writing for a paper audience. Your readability should be high and your writing should be simple.  
    7. Manage the process. Identify an editor or someone who takes overall responsibility for the social media. This is the person who decides what goes where and when it should go there. This must be someone who understands the brand. They should be charming, friendly and competent.
    8. Create a content calendar. Consistency is key. A calendar will help you plan and create deadlines for your contributors. 
    9. Post your blogs. After you’ve done this, share them to your various social media platforms. This drives traffic to your blog, which serves as home base or a shopfront. 
    10. Cultivate relationships with your customers. Interact with your customers. Reply to comments and answer questions. 
    Social Media can be daunting at first, but it is a great tool to build your business. Good luck and start blogging. 

    If you want to learn how to blog and write for social media, join our blogging and social media course in Johannesburg.

     by Mia Botha

    If you enjoyed this post, you will love:

    1. Your Book Is A Business – You Need To Invest In It
    2. Are These The 4 Most Neglected Pages On Your Blog?
    3. March Writing Prompts


      Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate

      The 4 Writing Styles Everybody Needs To Know

      Are you writing a piece to inform, to persuade, to describe, or to tell a story? The style you choose for your text is a result of the way you combine word choice, tone, and syntax. 

      The Four Writing Styles
      1. Expository - Writing to inform.
      2. Descriptive - Writing to create a picture in a reader's mind.
      3. Persuasive - Writing to share an opinion and to persuade.
      4. Narrative - Writing to tell a story.
      Why do you need to know these different styles?

      If you write for different publications, or if you write your own blogs for different purposes, you need to compose your content in a way that suits the audience and the purpose of the writing. 

      1.  Expository Style
      You use this style to tell your readers about a topic. Its purpose is to explain how to do something or how something has been done. You can include data and facts, but you must leave out your opinions. You need to organise your thoughts in a logical, practical manner to convey what needs to be explained. 

      This style is used in how-to articles, instruction manuals, and text books.
      2.  Descriptive Style
      You use descriptive language to describe something or somebody in detail. You should include all five senses when writing in this style and focus on specific information that leaves the most powerful image in the reader's mind. If used properly, readers should feel as if they could reach out and touch the character or object you are describing. 

      This style is used in parts of the following: poetry, reviews of restaurants, product reviews, and book reports. It is used in children's essays to describe a favourite toy, food, holiday, or pet. Writers use it as a literary device in descriptions of fictional characters and places, as well as those of historical figures and real people.

      3.  Persuasive Style
      Can I change your mind? Its aim is to persuade an audience to agree with you, to get them to understand your opinion, or to get them to do something. You express an opinion and support it in a way that convinces the reader to see it the same way. The format usually consists of an explanation of opposing points of view with data, facts, and statistics to show why that is incorrect and why readers should support your position instead.

      This style is used in opinion pieces, debates, marketing pitches, adverts, editorial essays, speeches, motivational talks, proposals, and sales pitches. Use our Persuasive Writing Brainstormer Template when you write this way.
      4.  Narrative style
      You use this style to tell a story so that readers feel as if they have been entertained by gaining insight into an experience or by learning something through your, or your character's, eyes. The author creates characters who show their stories through actions, description, and dialogue. It has a framework, or a plot, that usually involves a beginning, a middle, and an ending.

      Avoid the abstract. Do not say: 'I enjoyed the day swimming in the garden.' Be specific. Rather say: 'I raced across the garden, blades of grass tickling the soles of my feet. Sunlight tapped the ebb and flow of water as I dived into the pool.'

      This style is used in short stories, plays, novels, novellas, biographies, autobiographies, memoirs, and poetry.

      Extra Help

      No matter which of these styles you choose to use, these nine tips will improve your writing: 

      1. Avoid stereotypes and clichés.
      2. Be clear.
      3. Be concise.
      4. Be precise.
      5. Avoid the abstract.
      6. Choose the right words.
      7. Read widely.
      8. Use words that sound like you.
      9. Write every day.

      If you want to learn how to write a book, join our Writers Write course. If you want to learn how to blog and write for social media, join our blogging and social media course in Johannesburg.

       by Amanda Patterson. Follow her on  Pinterest,  Facebook,  Tumblr,  Google+,  LinkedIn, and  Twitter.

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      Your Book Is A Business – You Need To Invest In It

      One of the biggest decisions you will have to make regarding your manuscript is how to publish. Do you want to approach a traditional publisher or self-publish? 

      Both have merit and writers have strong feelings and opinions about both. This post is not a discussion of what you should or should not do. How you choose to publish is a personal decision and only you can make it. There is no right or wrong, there is only you and your book.

      A Writer’s Piggy Bank  

      But whatever route you choose you will need money. This is something most writers don’t plan for. Even if you want to approach a traditional publisher there can still be costs involved. 

      If you choose to approach a traditional publisher, you may still need to pay for:
      1. Manuscript appraisal
      2. Editing and proofreading before submission
      3. The wait 
      It usually takes anything between six to 12 weeks to get a response from a publisher or agent, although this varies from agent to agent and publisher to publisher. If they reject your manuscript you start the process over and wait another 12 weeks. If the book is accepted, it still takes months to get it on the shelf. An advance is nice, but it’s still going to take a while. 

      If you choose to self-publish you foot the entire bill. Here are some of the things you may have to pay for:
      1. Manuscript appraisal
      2. Editing and proofreading
      3. Cover and book design
      4. Typesetting, formatting and layout
      5. ISBN application
      6. Barcode generation
      7. Printable PDF creation
      8. Printing
      9. EBook conversion and publishing
      10. Marketing stuff 
      Self-publishing has a bad reputation because many authors neglect the editing and proofreading side of things. Please don’t do that. Make sure you offer a quality product. 

      A black and white, type-only, soft cover book will obviously be cheaper than a hardcover, full colour, glossy coffee table book with huge photographs. Prices vary and it’s always good to ask for samples. Look at the quality of the printing and binding. Cheap, is after all just that: cheap. Remember your book is a business. What does your product say about your brand? 

      I came across this in an article recently: “In its first study on author income since 2009, the Authors Guild delivers some jarring, if unsurprising, data. The survey, which will be released next week, indicates, among other things, that the majority of authors would be living below the Federal Poverty Level if they relied solely on income from their writing.” 

      Depressing, but if you look at your bank account, annoyingly true, right? And if you read this article about the latest author earnings you’ll also see some interesting information. It may help you make some decisions. 

      Whatever route you decide to go, you will need to build up reserves. Start today. Save as much as you can each month, if you treat it like a business and invest in it like a business you will prosper. Remember if you're failing to plan you’re planning to fail. Good luck. 

      If you want to learn how to write a book, join our Writers Write course in Johannesburg. 

       by Mia Botha

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        Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.