What is the best advice for writers in 2017? In this post, I provide a round-up of some of the best, recent writing advice from industry experts.
For convenience, I’ve organized this page into the following areas of writing and publishing:
- Best Advice for Fiction Authors
- Best Advice for Indie Authors
- Best Advice for Freelance Writers
- Best General Writing Advice
- Best Advice for Bloggers
- Best Advice for Content Marketing
I will be updating this post throughout 2017, so if you discover an excellent article with writing advice please let me know in the comments section and I’ll consider adding it here during my next update.
1. Best Writing Advice for Fiction Authors in 2017
In this article, author K.M Weiland writes, “Let’s face it… the world’s a mess right now. I think the vast majority of us agree on that, to one degree or another, regardless our worldview. And what are we doing about it? What can we do about it?”
As K.M. opens a window to her life and personal journey as a writer, she argues that stories have a tremendous positive influence on the world.
“Yes, writing is important.
Yes, stories matter.
Yes, stories change the world for good.
Yes, yes, yes.”
Although this article was published at the end of July 2016, I believe the message will resonate with many people now more than ever.
Author Jan Christensen shares her favorite fiction writing advice. Among her tips:
- Begin each scene with action.
- End each scene with a cliffhanger.
- Always be aware of what the villain is doing.
On Anne R Allen’s blog, there’s an interesting list of of publishing predictions from Laurie McLean. After a quick recap on her predictions for 2016, she looks ahead to 2017. Among her picks for the coming year:
- Regarding print vs. ebooks, both will grow.
- Audiobooks will rise dramatically.
- ‘Intellectual Property’ titles will increase. She is referring to IP titles conceived and published by traditional publishers based on ideas from their staff. These books are “written as ‘work for hire’ projects by contracted authors who may or may not see their names on the cover.”
- Chinese influence in the industry will grow.
This advice applies equally to writers of fiction and non-fiction, but I’ll place it in this section. Jason Bougger of WriteGoodBooks offers some good advice for new writers. I like these points:
- It’s okay to write poorly… all things take practice.
- It’s okay to receive rejections… they are a necessary part of writing.
- “It’s okay to take breaks. Everybody feels burned out sometimes. The key is to make sure you don’t get so burned out that you want to quit”.
2. Best Advice for Indie Authors in 2017
In this article, Lindsay Buroker writes, “2016 was a tough year for a lot of indie authors, with people reporting everything from flawed reporting and not getting credit for page reads in Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program to no longer being able to get Bookbub ads to no longer being able to afford Facebook ads due to their increasing popularity with authors.”
Despite the ‘tough times’, Lindsay had her best year in 2016. She also mentions three authors she knows who came out of nowhere in 2016 and made six figures! Lindsay’s advice for writers includes:
- Be smart about the genres and niches you write in.
- Learn how to write more quickly and efficiently so you can publish more often.
- You’ll probably find that 20% of your books are responsible for 80% of your income. Write more books like those!
Catherine Ryan Howard takes a detailed look at Goodreads giveaways. She refers to her original post on this topic back in August 2014, and then explains what has changed since then. “So, clearly, I think Goodreads giveaways are great and that you should do them. But I don’t think you should do them the way Goodreads suggest you should and, thanks to a raft of recent changes, you shouldn’t do them the way I said you should back in August 2014 either.”
While attending the San Francisco Writers Conference, Frances Caballo dropped in on Mark Coker’s session on the ten trends driving publishing now and in the future. Mark is the founder and CEO of Smashwords. Here’s a good article Frances wrote, summing up Mark’s session: . Among the trends Mark identifies:
- Ebooks are going global. 40% of Smashwords’ ebooks are now from outside the United States.
- Indie authorship is a global cultural movement. All authors are now indie publishers because they are in control of which direction they go.
- There’s a glut of high-quality, low-cost books. Supply of books is outstripping demand, a trend that will continue. In such a highly competitive environment, future authors “will likely sell fewer books”.
3. Best Advice for Freelance Writers in 2017
At Make a Living Writing, Carol Tice has put together her forecast of trends you should watch and ride. Among Carol’s advice:
- Capitalize on political and economic change. “Start building your rolodex of economic and business experts, particular for business or nonprofit sectors you specialize in, and you’ll be in the sweet spot when companies need help, or trade publications are desperate for stories.`”
- Online Magazines. “As publishing (and ad revenue) move online, more article-writing opportunity is digital. Don’t miss out!”
- The rise of ‘Authority’ content marketing. “Expect more businesses in 2017 to ‘get’ that the point of blogging is to build their authority, make them stand out from competitors, and deepen ties to customers. They need pro writers to create high-value, longform posts for that — hence the rise of $400 blog-post assignments.” (see the special section on advice for content marketing below).
In this article, Carrie Smith Nicholson says, “Give editors what they want, and you’ll secure yourself well-paying work far into the future… This is what you should aim to do; produce awesome work that abides by the editorial guidelines, is free of grammatical errors and is submitted on time.”
Another of her tips? Freelancers should improve their workflow, Obviously the faster you write, with fewer mistakes, the more money you’ll make in an hours time. As a freelancer currency is your time so it’s in your best interest to refine your workflow and practice everyday on improving your craft.”
Digital strategist Erin Ollila explains how you should approach your freelance business plan. Her advice includes:
- Set business benchmarks based on a 2016 performance audit.
- Identify your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), e.g. as a solopreneur these may include Money, Clients, Visibility and Time.
- Be Realistic. “The goals you set for 2017 need to be realistic or they’re simply not going to happen.”
4. Best General Writing Advice in 2017
Nicole Bianchi curates some excellent advice on how to find time to write even when you are insanely busy. She weaves in tips from a number of famous authors including Ernest Hemingway, Toni Morrison, Stephen King, and Agatha Christie. If you want to be a writer, you better find time. In the words of E.B. White, “A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper.”
The second edition of Frances Caballo’s book, Social Media Just for Writers, is now available on Amazon. I’ve read it and can tell you this is a very comprehensive book that explains how writers should be using each of the major social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Goodreads, Pinterest, and Instagram. It’s easily worth the price, but if you’re on a very tight budget and can’t pay for it, then you could read this guide to social media for writers, which I wrote a couple of years ago. But I warn you, Frances’ book is more comprehensive and up-to-date.
5. Best Writing Advice for Bloggers in 2017
Hubspot is a leading website specializing in , Here’s what they have to say about blogging in 2017. “There’s no denying it: Blogging for your business works. According to our 2016 State of Inbound report, B2B marketers who blog receive 67% more leads than those who don’t, and marketers who have prioritized blogging are 13X more likely to enjoy positive ROI.”
You’ll need to opt in if you would like to download their free 10-Week Planner, “How to Build a Successful Blog in 2017”. Among the steps in the planner:
- Identify Your Target Persona
- Start Building a Bank of Evergreen Content
- Focus on Your Content Strategy
- Set Up Subscriber Pathways
- How to Attract and Scale Traffic
- and more.
At BloggingTips, William Johnson explains, “Blogging is constantly evolving. New trends and techniques are making their way into the mainstream…” Among the tips and techniques William has for bloggers in 2017:
- Select Your Niche Carefully. Many niches already have big players that are difficult to compete with. So in 2017 bloggers should explore micro-niche areas which are considerably less-crowded.
- Use Big Data Email Marketing. “Banking on big data can help email marketers see patterns, which are otherwise difficult to discover. Tracking email open rate and response rate alone has so many micro findings, which go beyond purchase likability and customer loyalty.”
- Tinker with monetization methods. With adblocking software on the rise, bloggers should reduce their dependence on ads and explore alternative methods to monetize their blogs.
In this article at TheNextWeb, Dmytro Spilka explores the state of blogging in 2017, commenting, “… it’s becoming increasingly challenging to keep up with the latest trends and best practices, especially for those who are just starting out. Dmytro goes beyond the normal blogging tips you will hear, and explains the implications of some of the more technical developments like Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), Mobile-first indexing, and Google’s Penguin 4.0 update.
6. Best Advice for Content Marketing in 2017
Eric Samson explains why creative writing skills will beat SEO tricks. “Good writing skills will be more important than ever in 2017. The Internet has never been known for the caliber of prose that most of web writing demonstrates. But in an age where time on page and social shares play a larger role in search engine result pages (SERPs) rankings, writing skills will hold a greater value.”
In this piece at Forbes, Mike Templeman picks some content marketing trends for 2017. In addition to live streaming and virtual reality, Mike predicts that companies will be using more email marketing, and storytelling in their content marketing.
Joe Pulizzi of Content Marketing Institute spent the last 12-plus months talking with enterprise marketers from around the globe to get a handle on where the content marketing industry is going. It’s part of the process for putting together the schedule for the Content Marketing World event each year. Some of the biggest issues that Joe believes marketers are dealing with, and which he addresses in this article, include:
- Native advertising
- Influencer marketing
- Content strategy (pipes and process)
And specifically on writing? Joe has this to say, “Writing still counts, perhaps more than ever. More than not, marketers are abuzz about social media and video without comprehending that most of our communication is still text- and story-based. And frankly, most marketers are really bad at writing. From finding freelancers to becoming a better digital writer, we have more sessions dedicated to writing than ever (yes, even in this age of social media).
Jawad Khan shares his tips on content marketing from the perspective of niche marketing. Among the main points in his article:
- Create More Personalized and Data-Driven Niche Content To Cut Through the Noise
- Use Email Marketing To Strengthen the Relationship With Your Audience
- Create More Digital Products To Generate More Leads and Diversify Your Income
I hope you have found the advice here to be useful. If you did, please bookmark it now so you can come back and check for updates later. Also, please take a moment to tweet it or share it with your friends.
I’ll be continuing to look out for more of the best writing advice in 2017 and I’ll updating this post with more links. If you come across another excellent article, please drop me a note via the comments section below, or through our Contact page.