was successfully added to your cart.



Writing tips

Image shows a woman who is smiling and reading a book.

6 self-publishing tips for authors

By | editing, publishing, self-publishing, Writing tips | No Comments

The book industry is experiencing a self-publishing revolution. With the rapid growth of digital technology, it’s never been easier for aspiring authors to self-publish their stories. If you’re  wondering where to start with self-publishing, you’re not alone. Here are 6 tips for authors who want to self-publish their book.


What is self-publishing?

Self-publishing is where an author publishes their book independently on a digital platform (such as Amazon or Apple iBooks Author) instead of using a traditional publishing house.

What are the advantages of self-publishing?

Traditional publishing involves getting an agent to pitch your book to a publishing house and fighting to get your manuscript approved by said publishing house. It’s a long-winded process over which the author has little control. In contrast, self-publishing is completely independent. It encourages a greater diversity in the literary world and what’s more, because there are no agent or publisher fees to pay, it allows authors to earn more from the sales of their book.

How much does self-publishing cost?

Self-publishing isn’t free, so you’ll need to consider several factors when planning your publishing budget. For example, you’ll have to pay for an editor and invest in a good cover design for your book. There may also be costs associated with advertising and promoting your book. To boot, if you want to print your book, the length of the book will affect the price. So, take the time to investigate all your options and the costs involved before you start the self-publishing process. That way, you can plan accordingly and avoid any unexpected bills that could delay your book.


6 tips for self-publishing

  1. Manage your own expectations

Before you start, decide WHY you want to write a book. Are you an entrepreneur looking to build your brand, or a storyteller who wants to share their tales with an audience? Once you’ve decided this, consider your goals in terms of sales, impact, brand growth etc. The self-publishing revolution has resulted in a constant flood of content onto the market, that’s on top of all the books already released each year by traditional publishers. What we’re saying is, be realistic. You’re unlikely to become a millionaire or a New York Times bestselling author overnight. Remember, success requires right mix of dedication and business savvy, so set thoughtful goals, and put the steps in place to achieve them.

  1. Write with discipline

Writing is a creative process, but it requires huge amounts of discipline and organisation. You need to develop good writing habits. Remember, Olympic sprinters don’t just arrive at the track when they feel like it and bust out a world record time, they train day in and day out. Writing is no different. You can’t just sit around waiting until you feel inspired – you need to write, every day, at the same time. Do this, and the writing process will become automatic. You can help yourself by using a calendar to plan daily and weekly writing goals and create the outline of your book BEFORE you start. If you don’t have a plan, writing is like driving a car without knowing where you’re going – eventually you’ll get lost.

  1. Hire a professional editor

There’s a difference between publishing a best-selling book and publishing a mediocre one, and that difference is your editor. Everything from creative writing to factual, non-fiction content requires professional editing to produce a polished publication. Remember though, editing is a complex process, and there are different stages to that process. For example, developmental editors check your book for plot development, character building and the strength of your argument, whereas copyeditors finetune spelling and grammar. Read up on the types of edit first, so you hire the right editor for the stage your book is at.

  1. Design a cover with impact

Whoever said “don’t judge a book by its cover” was lying to you. The book is a powerful marketing tool that helps your book convert into sales. It’s the first thing potential readers see, and it helps them decide whether they want to read your book or not. So, it’s worth investing in professional cover designer. With impactful design and top-end print quality, your self-published book will stand its ground against traditionally published works.

  1. Purchase your own ISBN for your book

ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number. This number provides important data about your book to those in the book supply chain – such as publishers and internet retailers. More importantly, purchasing your own ISBN labels YOU as the publisher, giving you control over your book. In contrast, allowing a publishing services company to assign you an ISBN means THEY are classed as the publisher.

  1. Market your book

Are you a celebrity or prominent public figure? – great, there’s probably a waiting list for your book already. But for those who aren’t public figures, it’s unlikely that people will just stumble upon your newly published book. You need to promote it. Book promotion is something that traditional publishers usually handle on behalf of their authors. Their marketing team will devise a seamless, multi-faceted marketing campaign for your book launch, that covers everything from writing press releases and designing adverts, to booking interviews and engaging with influencers.

When you self publish your book, you must do all your own promotion, or hire a digital marketing professional to do it for you. Book launch campaigns have many moving parts, and you need to plan your launch strategy carefully, getting everything in place before you start. You’ll need a strong online presence, including a website, social media, and an email list, where you can promote your book, build a connection with your audience, share positive reviews of your book. These digital platforms are also where you’ll keep your eager customers up to date with key information such as release dates, public appearances, and any interviews you may do.


Wordsmiths is a British editing company that offers a variety of services for non-fiction and children’s authors seeking to self-publish their books. We provide:

  • Developmental editing
  • Line editing
  • Copyediting
  • Proofreading
  • Social media strategies for book launch campaigns
  • Copywriting for promotional material
  • Illustrations and cover designs (through our partner, Azzouz Illustrations).

 To get in touch and discuss your needs, you can contact us via email at info@wordsmiths.org.uk, or WhatsApp us on 07743 518681. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for writing tips and updates from the publishing industry.

How to write effectively (and 5 ways figurative language can help)

By | b2b, business advice, editing, Student advice, Writing tips | No Comments

You need to write effectively.

What do we mean by that?

Quite simply, effective writing is successful writing. It helps you achieve your goals. Whether you’re writing your thesis, pitching your first novel, or selling a product, your words need to captivate your reader and keep them engaged to the end. Otherwise, your message will be lost along with your audience. That’s where figurative language comes in. It brings colour to your writing, strengthens your argument, and paints unforgettable images in your reader’s mind. When used correctly, figurative language is memorable, persuasive, and impactful. It is the difference between telling a customer what they need, and persuading them to part with their cash.

For many of us, writing for an audience of some type is an everyday occurrence. Yet many people lack the confidence to use figurative language effectively in their writing. This month we delve into figurative language, defining it, giving examples, and exploring how it can help you to write effectively.

What is figurative language?

Figurative language uses words to create meanings and mental images that are more powerful than mere statements of fact. Figurative language is non-literal, so the words used have a different meaning to their everyday, literal definitions.

What does figurative language do?

It makes a piece of writing more interesting, dramatic, or memorable. It helps the writer to communicate their message as clearly as possible. Think of figurative language as the toolkit that writers use to build imagery – the pictures and sensations that a reader experiences in their mind. These pictures and sensations are the holy grail of effective writing. They tip the balance between stating your argument, and convincing your audience that you’re right. Figurative language achieves these effects in several ways:

  • Creating vivid images
  • Putting new or complex ideas into a familiar, understandable context
  • Giving words pace, musicality and rhythm.

Figurative language types

There are several types of figurative language available to writers – the following types are commonly used by writers to breathe life into their prose.

  • metaphor is a figure of speech that identifies one thing as another.

The agency was a colossus of the marketing industry.

  • simile compares two unalike objects introducing this comparison with connecting words such as “like” or “as”.

His eyes were as black as coal

  • Personification gives human qualities and forms to animals, inanimate objects, and ideas.

The shadows danced in the candlelight.

  • Hyperbole uses exaggeration intentionally to emphasise a point.

I’ve told you a thousand times!

  • Onomatopoeia is when a word or phrase mimics the sound of the object or action it refers to.

Crack of the whip

  • Alliteration layers sound upon the literal meaning of words to create an effect. It uses repeated sounds or letters to create imagery, mood, or emphasis.

The wild wind wailed a maudlin melody.

  • A Pun is a play on words. It uses the homonyms or different meanings of a word to create humour.

The past glared at the future perfect: it was a tense situation.

  • Idioms are non-literal phrases that are commonly used by speakers of the same language. Every language has its own unique idioms. The below phrase is a common English idiom which means that it is raining heavily.

It’s raining cats and dogs.

Using figurative language to write effectively

Knowing your similes from your idioms is all well and good, but it won’t help you pass your assignment or make that sale. You need to put your knowledge into practice. Here are five ways that you can use figurative language to produce high-impact writing that captivates your reader.


  1. Use sensory descriptions to immerse your reader

Your reader will be more engaged in your writing if you immerse them in your scenario. In other words, make them feel as though they are actually there with you. To do this, you’ll need to provide sensory descriptions – smells, sights, sounds, tastes, and textures. Figurative language offers a helping hand that makes your sensory descriptions more evocative. The below example uses alliteration and simile to describe the taste of a particular scotch whisky.

Talisker Skye has a smoky sweetness with maritime notes and a spicy edge,

rugged in beauty like a Hebridean island.

– Talisker Distillery, www.malts.com


  1. Persuade your audience

Whether you’re proposing a theory or selling a product, you need to persuade your reader that your ideas are right. Obviously, you’ll need to provide evidence to support your claims, but figurative language can make your argument more persuasive. The example below uses a metaphor that compares racism to a disease. Think about how the phrase makes you feel. It creates a feeling of disgust, of something being damaging, harmful and repellent. This emphasises how damaging racism can be, and the importance of eliminating it.

Racism is a disease that must be eradicated.

  1. Create emphasis and impact

Figurative language can be useful when you need to make an impact. It adds an extra layer of intensity to your statement. The sentence below is a commonly-used example of hyperbole that deliberately uses exaggeration to emphasise how hungry the person is. It is more effective than simply saying “I’m hungry”.

I’m so hungry I could eat a horse.


  1. Make your material relatable

There’s no doubt that some subjects lack popular appeal. Thankfully, figurative language invokes commonly-shared experiences to make even the driest material relatable. The following quote uses personification to describe the writing and editing process:

The goal of text generation is to throw confused, wide-eyed words on a page; the goal of text revision is to scrub the words clean so that they sound nice and can go out in public.

– Paul J. Silvia

Anyone who has bathed an unruly child can relate to the image that Paul J. Silvia creates. The description perfectly captures the process of writing and editing, even for an audience less familiar with the subject.


  1. Add clarity

We know that figurative language can help paint a picture in a reader’s mind, and sometimes that picture can help to add clarity to an idea or description. The example sentence uses a simile to compare the surface of a lake to a mirror, making it explicitly clear that the water is motionless.

The lake was perfectly still and smooth, like a mirror.


And finally…

Hopefully this post has given you some ideas about how to use figurative language in your writing. If you’re looking for more in-depth help and advice, contact Wordsmiths by email or WhatsApp. Our editing service can help bring your writing to life, keeping your readers engaged in your message. To find out more about our editing services, check out our website. You can also follow us on Instagram and Facebook to get more tips on writing and editing. Don’t forget to sign up to our mailing list to receive our latest news and blog first.

How to write a disseratation

How to write a dissertation (and why it’s different from an essay)

By | Dissertations, Student advice, Writing tips | No Comments

How can you write a dissertation? If you’ve written plenty of essays, and done well, it’s tempting to approach your dissertation in much the same way. This is a common mistake among students, both undergrad and postgrad.

An essay is much shorter than a dissertation (around 2,000-5,000 words rather than 20,000). But dissertations are much more than simply long essays. Dissertations require a deeper level of understanding and original thought backed up by thorough evidence.


Planning is vital to learning how to write a successful dissertation. Some people find this comes naturally, others are more of the ‘sit down and write and see what comes of it’ school of thought. If you’re of the latter type, you’ll need to adjust your approach. Winging it might work for an essay of 2,000 words, but for a dissertation, you’ll quickly struggle if you don’t have a plan.

With an essay, you might be able to have a very simple plan – introduction, discussion, conclusion. With a dissertation, you’ll need to set out chapters and sub-sections too. You might choose to adjust these as you write but having them set out before you start to write gives your work vital purpose.

It’s important that the structure of your dissertation shows that you’ve carried out thorough research, you’ve thought through all aspects of the subject fully, and you’ve come up with an insightful conclusion that makes a contribution to the body of research in your subject. You should also be able to show that you recognise the limitations of your own work.

This means that you should consider a structure something like this:

Introduction – this should be a clear definition of your project; a demonstration that you have knowledge of other research in the area.

The research – you’ll need to set out the research you’ve done and describe any problems you had as well as the solutions you found.

The argument – this is where you begin to draw conclusions from the research. Break it down into subsections that each have their own focus. This is the part of the dissertation that it’s tempting to pack out with filler, but don’t. Every paragraph, and every sentence, should have a purpose.

The conclusion – you’ll need to summarise your findings and discuss what needs to be done next. If you plan to go on to a PhD, this can be an opportunity to set out an idea for your thesis.

Your writing style

Writing style is important. Writing habits that might just grate a little in a 2,000 word essay can become decidedly irritating to your tutor over the course of 10-20,000 words. It’s important to remember that good writing is not necessarily complex writing. Good writing achieves its purpose. A dissertation’s purpose is to put across a clear, focussed, persuasive argument, backed up by evidence.

Some general style principles to think about:

  • Short sentences are very often better sentences. While it’s good to vary the length to some degree, you should generally be looking to keep your sentences at 25 words or fewer. Stick to ‘one thought per sentence’ and you’ll find that this tends to happen automatically.
  • Each new point needs a new paragraph. If you’re changing subject, you need a new sub-section with its own headline.
  • Use plain English, while demonstrating your knowledge of relevant terms. Don’t use obscure words simply because you believe they’ll sound impressive. Simpler is nearly always better. At the same time, it’s important that you can show you understand the language of your subject and use whatever technical terms others writing in your field do.

Your argument

You need to take a strong, unambiguous position, backed up by your own research. It may help to imagine that you are not writing a dissertation, but an academic book. You’d only write a book that you believed in. Make sure you believe in your own argument when you write your dissertation.

Also anticipate counter-arguments. What do you think others would say? How can you counter their objections? Anticipating counter arguments demonstrates that you’ve looked at your subject from multiple standpoints and developed a really thorough understanding of it.

Need some more help with writing your dissertation? If you’ve got the basics right, our editors can help with the finishing touches.






5 Ways to Improve Your Writing in a Week…and Smash That Deadline

By | Deadlines, Student advice, Writing tips | No Comments

You’ve got a deadline next week. Maybe you’ve written nothing, or maybe you’ve written plenty, but you know it’s not good enough. How can you improve your writing before that deadline hits?

Tempting as it is to pretend it’s not happening, the deadline’s not going anywhere. If you’ve got all the ideas and the arguments in your head, but know you need some help to put them into engaging, grammatically sound words, read on. Here are 5 ways to improve your writing quickly and make sure you ace that essay even when you’re short on time.

Keep a journal to improve your writing every day

Writing a journal is a fantastic way to improve your writing. Because you’re writing about your own life, writer’s block tends not to hit. Every evening, sit down for 15 minutes (or longer!) and write freely about the events of your day. Even if all you did was watch Netflix, write about it.

The idea is to get some words on the page, without pressure. This helps you improve your writing by getting you in a writing habit, giving you an easy way to analyse your work. Don’t worry about grammar or style while you’re writing, but when you’re done, look over your work and see how it could be improved. If there are particular things you know you struggle with, keep an eye out for them. You could also check your writing against your university’s style guide to see how it measures up.

It’s worth staying in the journal-writing habit even after your deadline’s passed, as it’s a great way to improve your writing, year after year.

Improve your writing by being leaner…learn the art of cutting down

When you’re struggling to make a word count, it’s tempting to add in lots of filler words just to make your essay longer. Don’t do this. Good writing is about saying what you need to without using unnecessary words. Take a look at your last essay and see where you have could cut words without losing meaning.

Cutting words out that you don’t need actually helps convey more meaning, as the extra words tend to get in the way of your argument. It’s one of the easiest ways there is to improve your writing. Phrases like ‘on the other hand’ and ‘in addition’ are usually unnecessary, so take them out. In academic writing (and writing in general), adjectives and adverbs aren’t often needed. To improve your writing, take them all out, and then work through, one by one, to see which (if any) you want to put back.

Critique with a friend to improve your writing, and theirs

Good writers know how to take and give constructive criticism. Improve your writing by finding a friend you trust and spend some time together critiquing each other’s work. You don’t need to get bogged down in technical grammar points – look instead at whether your friend understands the arguments you’re making and whether they think the work flows well.

They don’t have to be studying the same subject as you – in some ways, it might be better if they aren’t. If someone with no knowledge of your subject can understand your writing, it’s probably pretty good.

Set yourself a creative challenge to improve your essay writing

Improve your writing by making writing fun. Indulge in a bit of creative writing of some kind – whether a short story, or poetry, or creative non-fiction. If you’re stuck for ideas, you could be inspired by a novel you love, or scan the news websites for an interesting story that could be rewritten as fiction. Whatever you do, make sure you enjoy it. Don’t spend time analysing it – just enjoy playing around with words and building your confidence to improve your writing.

Improve your writing by learning to proofread

Writing is only half the battle. Learning how to proofread effectively is the other half of the work you’ll need to do to improve your writing. Many students forget to build in time for proofreading and hand in essays full of errors as a result. This makes you look careless and could lose you marks.

Don’t allow this to happen. If you’re not a confident proofreader, either see if you can find a friend to help or think about using our proofreading service. But, however you do it, make sure it happens if you really want to improve your writing.




7 Ways to Improve Your Essay Writing

By | Student advice, Writing tips | No Comments

Every student needs good essay writing skills. Essays are your opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge, passion, and skill to your tutors.

Turning out several thousand well-crafted words on a regular basis isn’t easy, especially if you feel you’re not a natural writer. But here’s the thing: people who appear to be ‘natural’ writers rarely are. The difference between them and you is simply that they’ve spent time learning about language and essay-writing.

Doesn’t sound appealing? Remember: whatever career you end up in, you’ll use the essay writing skills you develop now, even if you never write another university essay. Essay writing isn’t just about ticking boxes to get a grade. It’s about being able to research well, draw conclusions, and communicate them to your audience. Those are skills you’ll need in pretty much any professional career.

Don’t Skimp on Essay Writing Research

Students often have a tendency to think of the essay writing as the main event, and the research as just a little bit of prep. Don’t do this. Your research should take up much more time than writing, so put plenty of time for it in your diary.

You’ll find that writing is far easier if you read widely and gain a thorough understanding of your subject before you start. It’s also obvious to your tutors who knows their stuff and who’s trying to wing it.

Have a Clear Goal

When you write an essay, you’re answering a question. Before you write anything else, write your answer to the question being posed in a sentence or two. Use as few words as possible.

This might be difficult – but it’s important. If you can’t do it, you need to spend more time clarifying your thoughts (and answering the question) before you go any further.

Make a Plan

Don’t just start writing. Make a detailed outline plan of your essay, including the introduction, main body, and the conclusion. The main body is where you present your arguments, using the evidence you’ve found during your research. It should lead naturally to the conclusion. The conclusion should never be a surprise. If it is, you need to go back and re-plan.

Read for Pleasure

Good writers read. And they don’t just read the things they have to read. As well as academic books and articles related to your essay, read newspapers, novels, poetry, and texts from other subjects. Reading anything and everything you can will mean you absorb knowledge about style, improve your vocabulary, and understand more about language and the way it works.

Build Your Language Skills

This is particularly important if you’re not a native English speaker. Even if you are, there is always room to improve. Better vocabulary means you have more words in your arsenal to get your point across. Better grammar knowledge means being able to get your point across more clearly.

If you’re following point 4 and reading lots, you’ll find that your knowledge improves naturally, but there’s a lot you can do to help it along even further. As you read, look up any words you’re not sure of. Notice how other writers use grammar and again, look up anything you’re unsure of.

Invest in a good quality paper dictionary and thesaurus, or an online subscription rather than relying on free online resources. Free resources can be useful, but they simply won’t give you the depth of knowledge you need to really improve.

Think About Tone of Voice

The way you write is just as vital to communication as the words you use. Think about how you’d speak to your tutor if you were trying to explain something and try and use similar language as you write.

Academic writing usually needs to be relatively formal but should not be overly complicated or fussy. Use clear, plain English and avoid using more words than you need to (even if you’re trying to get your essay up to a certain word count!).

Use the active rather than the passive voice. So, use ‘the government passed the law’ not ‘the law was passed by the government’.

Write with Confidence

The point of an essay is to answer a question. So, answer it. Be very clear about what you’re saying. If you’re not, your writing will inevitably become fuzzy and hard to understand and it’ll be obvious you don’t really believe your own answer.

Most tutors want to see an essay that provides a clear answer, even if they disagree it. They’d rather that than an essay that is closer to their own opinion that fails to answer the question being asked.



How to Beat Writer’s Block

By | Writing tips | No Comments

You’re sitting at your desk, staring at a flashing cursor and a blank, white page. You’ve no idea how you’ll fill it and the longer you sit there, the more difficult writing becomes. Sound familiar? The struggle to beat writer’s block is something almost everyone who writes experiences. Even Hemingway suffered, saying:

“Sometimes when I was starting a new story and I could not get it going, I would…stand and look out over the roofs of Paris and think, ‘Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now.’” (Source: inc.com)

Now, we don’t all have Paris roofs to look out over. But we can all beat writer’s block. Here’s how.

Write anything

When you’re sick of staring at a blank page, fill that page. But forget about filling it with perfectly crafted words. Fill it with anything you can. Allow yourself to write freely without worrying about the finished product. Once you have the words on the page, you can edit them without the pressure of all that white space. No-one’s ever heard of editor’s block, after all.

Make a plan

When writing anything doesn’t work, try the opposite: make a strict plan and stick to it. This is especially true of longer projects, where the end can seem so far away as to be impossible to reach. By planning out your work, detailing what you’ll write in each section and giving yourself a clear beginning, middle, and end, you’ll have done half the job before you’ve written a word.

Don’t worry about being restricted by having a plan. The plan can change as often as you like, but if you don’t have one at all, you’ll struggle to focus on where you’re going.

Do something different

When writing’s not happening, do something else. You might want to head out to a café to indulge in coffee and cake for half an hour, take a few hours to meet friends, or just get on with some housework.

With the pressure of a deadline looming, it’s difficult to allow yourself time to do anything other than write. But if not allowing yourself that time means you end up blocked, take a break.

Write something different

Taking a break from your writing works to beat writer’s block for some, but others find that stopping writing simply leads to more distraction and procrastination. If that’s you, keep writing, but write something other than the work you’re struggling with. If you’re working on an essay, indulge yourself with some creative writing. If you’re struggling writing a report for work, write a post for your personal blog. Remind yourself that writing can be fun, engaging, and easy.

Learn to live with self-doubt

Writer’s block happens when self-doubt takes over. If you believe that you’re a capable writer who’ll produce a quality piece of work, you’re much less likely to face writer’s block than if you doubt your ability to do so.

But even the most self-assured writers have some self-doubt. What can you do about it? Embrace it. Understand that it’s natural and normal. While too much self-doubt is negative, controlled self-doubt is healthy and positive. It keeps you asking questions, seeking clarity and looking for opportunities to improve.

Don’t allow self-doubt to take over, but don’t fight it so hard you can’t focus on anything else.


Liked this? Look out for another writing blog from us next month.