Invest & Prosper: #10 Stock Your Reference Shelf

Christina Katz, photo by Mark Bennington

By Christina Katz

When you ante in as a professional writer, you are expected to have basic knowledge of writing for publication. It’s never your editor’s job to educate you as to what information you should have at your disposal. You are just expected to know it!

This means a familiarity with contemporary writing conventions, impeccable-as-you-can-get-it grammar, appropriate style, basic formatting, writer’s guidelines, editorial calendars, professional etiquette, healthy expectations, and business-like follow-through. In the beginning, adopting so many professional habits at once can be overwhelming. No wonder I’ve broken the process down into six classes that help writers turn professional skills into habits.

When you are new to writing as a profession, it can feel like everyone else is in the know, and you are the only one in the dark. Worse, it can feel like others are purposely keeping you in the dark! Well, not anymore. I have built a career out of helping writers adopt healthy and productive professional writing habits.

But say you can’t take my classes or anyone else’s for whatever reason. For about sixty bucks you can be as informed as the next writer. And all these suggestions make great holiday gifts!

I’m so grateful that there are so many books that can help anyone who wants to put their best words forward:

So what are you waiting for? Invest in (or request as gifts) the key books that will provide all the information you need to have at your fingertips to be competitive in these ever-changing times.

And this is the last of our columns for 2008. So please, repeat after me:

I am 100% responsible for the success of my writing career, and I will act accordingly to the best of my ability.


Happy holidays! Here’s to your writing success!
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Christina Katz is the author of Get Known Before the Book Deal, Use Your Personal Strengths to Build an Author Platform and Writer Mama, How to Raise a Writing Career Alongside Your Kids (both for Writer’s Digest Books). She started her platform “for fun” seven years ago and ended up on Good Morning America. She teaches writing career development, hosts the Northwest Author Series, and is the publisher of several e-zines including Writers on the Rise. Christina blogs at The Writer Mama Riffs and Get Known Before the Book Deal, and speaks at MFA programs, literary events, and conferences around the country.

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