How to write sponsored content that rocks like Dökken

In the San Francisco and Houston Chronicle, Wall Street Journal, New York Times and many other publications, you’ll see sponsored content mixed with reported articles. It’s hard to distinguish sponsored content from editorial. That’s the point. Sponsored content, aka native content, is intended to blend with editorial on the page. (Hence the word “native.”) The difference? Money… Continue Reading


7 filler words that you just don’t need. Really.

Beginning writers do it. Experienced writers do it—pack their sentences with unnecessary “filler words,” making a perfectly clear five-word sentence sound weak, dull and vague. With a discerning red pen (or delete key), eliminate filler words for more powerful copy. Here are 7 common filler words we use all the time and how to get… Continue Reading


How to Engage Readers

I’m reading Elizabeth Strout’s Anything is Possible, which is, in a nutshell, about regular people in a small Illinois town coping with dysfunctional childhoods, dysfunctional parents, dysfunctional marriages…stuff pretty much everyone goes through to some extent. Strout hooked me in the first paragraph. How does she do that? I reread the first page to see… Continue Reading







Do You Want to Get Paid by the Page?

Starting July 1, Amazon will start paying some of its self-published authors by pages read rather than copies sold (or borrowed, if we’re talking about Kindle). This is an odd concept that could potentially hurt earnings for children’s book authors, who tend to write shorter works, but would benefit thriller and mystery authors, whose readers… Continue Reading


Is Your Fact Check Motivated by Fear?

In the wake of the Rolling Stone rape story, its retraction, and Columbia School of Journalism’s excellent analysis of the many ways Rolling Stone and journalist Sabrina Rubin Erdely went wrong, Monica Guzman wrote about fear and fact-checking for Columbia Journalism Review. She raises some strong points. Journalists fear big mistakes (and little mistakes, too),… Continue Reading