Wednesday, February 6, 2008

How To Edit Your Articles As You Write

Increase your ezine subscribers by submitting articles once or twice a week to the opt-in ezines. Read by thousands, even hundreds of thousands, you get 10-25 new subscribers for each submission. Your articles also bring people to your Web site to buy your products. Use this checklist to edit your own work.

Knowing these benefits, you want to create and submit as many excellent articles as you can. At times, you have the articles complete, but don't have anyone handy to edit them. While it's best to get at least two other edits from business associates, you can edit your articles yourself with a little help.

Use this checklist to edit your own work:
  • Start your introduction with a question or startling fact. You must hook your readers with something that reaches their emotions.

  • Make your introduction only a few sentences. Your readers want to get to the heart of your article fast. They want easy-to- read quick tips. Long stories can bring a yawn to your reader.

  • At the end of your introduction, include your article's thesis to stay on track and make your article clear and compelling. For instance, "use this checklist to edit your own work."

  • Make all of your sentences short. Since standard sentence length is 15-17 words, make most of your sentences under that number. Complex sentences and multiple phrases make the reading tougher. Make it easy for your readers to find the subject and verb of each sentence, so they get the point fast.

  • Avoid dull, slow sentences. To avoid passive construction, start them with a subject, and then follow with a verb. For instance, "The coach marketed her business and books through submitting articles online" is an active sentence. "The coach's books were marketed online through submitting articles." is passive. Drop linking verbs such as "is," "was," "seemed," or "had." Replace them with power, active verbs. Instead of "She is beautiful," you could say, "Her beauty compels you to stare at her."

  • Aim for compelling, clear copy. Write for the 8-10th grade reader. Don't try to impress with pompous words such as "utilize." Always think "What's in it for them?"

  • Use specific nouns and names. General references don't engage your readers' emotions. Let them see the size, color, and shape. Rather than say, "Write your book fast to make lifelong income," say "Write and finish your book fast so you can take that long vacation to a Caribbean island." Money alone doesn't motivate, but what we can do with it does.

  • Let go of certain adverbs. Words like very, suddenly, and sparingly, tell instead of show. Use adverbs as often as you celebrate your birthday. Did I show, rather than tell? Your readers are hungry to experience feelings as well as picture themselves in your examples.

  • Let go of adjectives. Instead of saying, She is a super-intelligent person," you could say, "She's a genius."

  • Appeal to the senses of sight, sound, and emotions. Telling is not effective. Instead of "Buy this book today because it is so useful," say, "Would you like to double, even quadruple your Online income in three months?"

  • Cut redundancies. Too much repetition in your articles speaks boring or "talking down" to your readers. Be willing to part with some of your "precious" words. Your first edit should reduce your words at least by one-fourth.

  • Don't use pompous words to try to impress your reader.

    Use the shortest, simplest, most well-know word. Check your word's number of syllables. The more syllables, the more difficult.

  • Keep the subject and verb as close together as possible. Don't make your reader work to get the meaning.

  • Use the present or past tense of the verb rather than the "-ing" form of the verb. Instead of "she is singing," say, "she sings or she sang.

  • Put your point at the end of a sentence, a paragraph, or chapter for emphasis. This position hooks the reader to pause and notice or hooks him to keep reading.

  • Cut clichés. Once, original metaphors, clichés age and become trite. Instead of "Birds of a Feather Flock Together," you could say, "Birds of a Feather Need to Fly Away."
Make your articles sculptured and painted like a fine work of art. Your word choices do make a difference--both in commercial acceptance as well as audience understanding.

Self-editing will help.

Judy Cullins, 20-year book and Internet Marketing Coach, Author of 10 eBooks including "Write your eBook Fast," and "How to Market your Business on the Internet," she offers free help through her 2 monthly ezines, The Book Coach Says...and Business Tip of the Month at http://www.bookcoaching.com/opt-in.shtml and over 140 free articles. Email her at mailto:Judy@bookcoaching.com

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