A Help to Write or Tailor the Manuscript on Your Heart

Today, I publish my 300th blog post. To celebrate, I share with you the major project I undertook to use many of my 300 blog posts. The project produced a resource soon to release that will help you write or get your manuscript in shape to publish. Below is the story about Tailor Your Fiction Manuscript in 30 Days from the book’s back pages and what professionals in the publishing industry are saying about the book.

Story of the Project

Zoe M. McCarthy was an actuary in her first career, but she always held a passion to create stories. Determined to learn the route to publication, she attended writers’ conferences, joined a critique group, studied books and blogs on writing and the publishing world, and analyzed novels to find out what worked in them.

image by stevepb

When Zoe’s first contemporary romance contracted, her further research on publishing and marketing convinced her she needed to start a blog and post regularly. Because her analytical side gives Zoe a keen interest in the mechanics and methodologies of good writing, a how-to blog on writing appealed to her. In 2012 she began her blog.

After Zoe had published over one-hundred posts, an agent and a publishing house editor, suggested she write a book based on her blog. The idea interested Zoe, and she attended a workshop on the dos and don’ts for turning blog posts into a book. She wanted to share more than the information she’d accumulated. She desired to help writers with manuscripts who didn’t know how to get them ready for publication, writers whose manuscripts received rejections, writers whose self-published novels received poor reviews, and writers who wanted to write the stories on their hearts but needed help to put them to paper. Tailor Your Fiction Manuscript in 30Days was born.

Endorsements for Tailor Your Fiction Manuscript in 30 Days

image by geralt

Zoe McCarthy’s book, Tailor Your Fiction Manuscript in 30 Days, is a fresh and innovative refocusing of your novel or novella. Through a few simple—and fun—steps, Zoe helps writers take their not-ready-for-publication and/or rejected manuscripts to a spit-polish finish. Writing is hard work, yes, but it doesn’t have to be difficult.

—Eva Marie Everson, best-selling and multiple award-winning author, conference director, president of Word Weavers International, Inc.

If you want to increase your chance of hearing yes instead of sorry or not a fit for our list at this time, this book is for you. If you want to develop stronger story plots with characters that are hard to put down, this book is for you. Through McCarthy’s checklists and helpful exercises and corresponding examples, you will learn how to raise the tension, hone your voice, and polish your manuscript. I need this book for my clients and the many conferees I meet at writer’s conferences around the country. Thank you, Zoe. A huge, #thumbsup, for Tailor Your Fiction Manuscript in 30 Days.  

—Diana L. Flegal, literary agent, and freelance editor

Tailor Your Fiction Manuscript is a self-editing encyclopedia! Each chapter sets up the targeted technique, examples show what to look for in your manuscript, then proven actions are provided to take your writing to the next level. Whether you are a seasoned writer or a newbie, you need this book! 

—Sally Shupe, freelance editor, aspiring author

Need to rework your book? Zoe M. McCarthy’s step-by-step reference guide leads you through the process, helping you fight feeling overwhelmed and wrangle your manuscript into publishable shape in 30 days. Tailor Your Manuscript delivers a clear and comprehensive action plan.

—Elizabeth Spann Craig, Twitteriffic owner, bestselling cozy mystery author of the “Myrtle Clover Mysteries,” the “Southern Quilting Mysteries,” and the “Memphis Barbeque Mysteries,” http://elizabethspanncraig.com/blog/  

Zoe has developed a guiding resource for beginning writers. Her method is designed for brainstorming, shaping, and revising the early draft of a manuscript. General and specific tips are offered for applying rules of writing to enhance one’s story for a workable second draft. By exploring the plot line of Love Comes Softly, writers may examine their own work for stronger plot and characterization. Valuable tools are offered that enable the writer to develop a workable draft in only 30 days!

—Yvonne Lehman, award-winning, best-selling author of 48 novels

Tailor Your Fiction Manuscript in 30 Days is chock-full of practical techniques. Numerous examples clarify problem areas and provide workable solutions. The action steps and blah busters McCarthy suggests will help you improve every sentence, every paragraph of your novel. If you follow her advice and implement her strategies, a publisher will be much more likely to issue you a contract.

—Denise K. Loock, freelance editor, lightingeditingservices.com

A concise, detailed, step by step resource for all writers.

— Jamie West, editor coordinator, Pelican Book Group

Zoe’s writing blog has always intrigued me. As a high school English teacher, I can attest that her tips on good grammar and her hints for excellent sentence and paragraph structure are spot on. But as an author, I also appreciate her ever-present advice that excellent skills are not enough: you must tell a good story, too. This book clearly shows how to do it all.

—Tanya Hanson, “Writing the Trails to Tenderness,” author of Christmas Lights, Outlaw Heart, Hearts Crossing Ranch anthology, and coming in 2019, Tainted Lady, Heart of Hope, and Angel Heart. www.tanyahanson.com

McCarthy crafted an amazing self-help book that will strengthen any writer, whether new or seasoned, with guidance and self-evaluation tools.

–Erin Unger, author of Practicing Murder, releasing in 2019

Celebrate my 300thblog with me and read how Tailor Your Fiction Manuscript in 30 Dayswas born from my writing posts. Click to tweet.

Would you tell us about where the book laid on your heart stands in the publishing process—in your mind, in a draft under your bed, in search of a publisher, or in the world of published books?

Buy Link 

Suddenly unemployed, Allie Masterson returns home to Cary, North Carolina where she caddies for her father on the PGA Seniors Tour. There, she encounters a man who possesses an alluring gift of reading the contours of the green. Fascinated with his uncanny ability, Allie is excited to meet the Green Whisperer—until she discovers that the easygoing caddy is actually Shoo Leonard, the boy who teased her relentlessly when they were kids. Despite Allie’s reservations, when Shoo is faced with having to overcome a hand injury, she agrees to use her sport science degree to become his trainer…and then she falls for him.

 Shoo Leonard is grateful to Allie for her singular determination to get him ready for the PGA tour, but he isn’t ready for anything more. Still raw from a broken engagement and focused on his career, he’s content to be her fist-bumping buddy…but then he falls for her.

What seems like a happily-ever-after on the horizon takes a turn when Allie decides she’s become a distraction to Shoo’s career. Is it time for her to step away or can The Putting Green Whisperer find the right words to make her stay?

Blog to Book: What You Should Consider

Image by ariapsa
Image by ariapsa

Writing books from blogs is a popular current trend. Readers have asked if I might consider making my blog into a book. Yes, I’ve thought about it. Here’s what my research says I should take into account.

Books based on blogs can open up opportunities.

image by souzamirandaheitor0
image by souzamirandaheitor0

They can:

  • Expand my blog audience.
  • Demonstrate to clients my talents.
  • Add credibility to my brand.
  • Give me “expert status” for invitations to guest post, speak, and lead  workshops.
  • Provide material for a catalog of shorter books (15,000 – 25000 words) on my blog’s subtopics.
  • Provide myself an organized reference book based on my blog research in becoming a better writer, speaker, blogger, and marketer.

My research highly recommended I don’t use a quick and easy service to publish all posts word for word.

  • image by PeteLinforth
    image by PeteLinforth
    Readers may be irritated to read vaguely related posts thrown together.
  • Readers may balk at paying for exactly what they can read on my blog.
  • Blogs streamed to a book could hurt my brand and credibility.
  • Blogs are unique. Well done blogs aren’t appropriate for a book unless shaped into a book.
image by Unsplash
image by Unsplash

Books and Blogs are different reading experiences.

  • Books are longer and provide a deeper reading experience. Blogs are optimized for online reading with images, links, interactive comments, and videos.
  • Books are expected to line up in a readable way.
  • Book readers like to delve into a topic, instead of skimming.
  • Books foster credibility.
  • Books reach a different audience. My book audience may be those who:
    • don’t read blogs
    • are uneasy with technology
    • have access to the Internet only from work
    • prefer to read in other formats
  • Books reach the same audience. My book audience may be those who:
    • have never crossed my blog path
    • are more recent readers interested in my earlier content
    • would like to read my blog posts in an organized format

What kind of blogs-to-books do well?

  • Information-driven, business, and self-help.
  • How-tos or problem-solving.
  • Memoir-types often don’t do well.

Have books professionally edited.

  • Hire a professional editor, if possible.
  • Enlist beta book readers.
  • Involve my readers as I produce my book — for feedback on the title, the book cover, and list of possible concepts.
image by Pexels
image by Pexels

Steps to shape my blogs into a book.

  • Focus on one main topic.
  • Make 2 lists: Possible posts; possible concepts.
  • Decide what needs to be in my book without looking at my blog, then bring in relevant posts.
  • Combine blogs into one place, such as a document in Microsoft Word or Scrivener.
  • Update out-of-date references.
  • Remove posts that don’t fit well.
  • Add or remove paragraphs.
  • Research new unpublished information or concepts to entice readers or to round out the book.
  • Include additional ideas, strategies, explanations, pros and cons, personal examples, step-by-step directions.
  • Peruse post comments for quotes and questions to expand material.

What to consider in turning your blog into a book. Click to tweet.

What is your opinion about a blog like mine being shaped into a book?