Research and Reference Tools Tips

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How can you be more persuasive?

Writing (Communication): Persuade by example

Research shows one of the most persuasive of all tools is the anecdote, which is merely an example you provide your audience of an actual event or experience. The story you choose as an illustration may have happened to someone else or may have happened to you, but it serves to demonstrate a point you are making.

What should I do when I get a rejection slip?

How to handle rejection

When those rejection slips come in, and if you are a writer they will, don't take time to let it get you down. Immediately get that piece back in the loop by sending it to the next market on your list. Be sure to make any necessary changes first, then send it on its way.

How do I build a clip file?

How to build your portfolio or "clip file"

Start out small and work your way up from there. Instead of targeting the "Big Glossies," where the competition is fierce, and setting yourself up for disappointment, first target local publications, businesses, and non-profit organizations. Not only will this build your portfolio but it will build your confidence as you see your clip file grow.

How can I deal with the lonliness of the writer's life?

When the going gets tough

Join a local writers group. Having a support network will help see you through those tough times when it seems you'll never be where you want to in your writing career.

How do I find time to write?

Getting into the writing habit

Set aside a realistic amount of writing time everyday and stick to it. Once you get into the habit of writing each and every day you'll automatically find more and more time to spend on your writing career.

How long should your sentences be?

Writing (Communication): Do your sentences measure up?

Want to avoid boring your audience? Keep your sentences to 15 words or fewer. Longer than that, you will force your reader to go back and read the sentence a second time in order to understand its meaning.

How can I write better articles for the internet?

Writing Articles for the Internet

When writing for the internet, whether it is creating quality web content, a newsletter or anything else, there are some tips you need to know in order to ensure that you are writing attention grabbing articles that will be seen as well as read.

Always use short paragraphs. People who surf the internet like to read in small chunks. This will leave a lot of white space but that is the key to really grabbing your readers attention on the internet.

Asks questions that your reader will want to read on to find out the answer to. This keeps your reader interested and their attention focused on your article.

Be sure you put a bit of thought into your heading or title. The heading or title is the first thing your readers are going to look at and you want to ensure that it grabs their attention from the start. If it's not attention grabbing and interesting, your article is less likely to be read.

Be sure to research your article and use facts instead of opinions. This means targeting your article to a specific market or topic and sticking to it. Focus on one topic and you will have more success in gaining readership.

Keeping these tips in mind as you write your article will help to ensure your internet readership and help your writing craft to really stand out among the crowd.

What is a good style guide?

A.P. Style Book

Whether you're writing fiction or non-fiction, technical writing, entertainment, I recommend getting an Associated Press Stylebook and Libel Manual. Although it's designed for journalists, there are items that anyone can use, such as correct forms of corporate names (Dr Pepper, not Dr. Pepper), when it's acceptable to use an abbreviation on first reference (MGM is acceptable on all references, AT&T only on second reference), military and computer terms, when to hyphenate or capitalize various words, etc.

How do I become a subject matter expert?

Becoming an Expert

Everyone has subjects that interest him deeply. What are your favorite subjects? Chances are you can become an expert writer about those topics. Here are some tips to help develop your expertise: Subscribe to magazines that are devoted to your subject, study the articles, check out related web sites, take classes, make an effort to learn more about your subject.

How do I research my ideas?

Research Ideas

Use the Internet to easily research article ideas. Check out newsgroups dedicated to your subject, investigate specialized web databases, or do simple searches by typing keywords into your favorite search engine.

How can I write a better press release for my new book?

Creating a Well-written Press Release

A press release is a valuable marketing tool in the publishing world. It is one of the first tools you need to get your book into the hands of your readers and a way of announcing the news of your publication to the media. A press release should be written in a professional manner as any publication ready material and is definitely worth the effort to make it the best it possibly can be.

You aren't trying to sell your book with a press release; you are only making it known that you are published. Be sure to give a general overview of your book in a straightforward, journalistic style. It should be informative and easy to read. Also be sure to write your press release in third person, not first. In other words, don't say, “My book.” Say, “This book.”

Make sure you have a great headline for your press release and your first paragraph should have a good hook. You want critics and readers to get the basics of your book and why it's interesting. The end of your press release should have important details such as when the book will be on the market, your availability and your contact information.

Listed below are a few more tips you'll want to keep in mind when creating a great press release:

- Write in an active voice. Don't use passive sentences.

- Quote authorities or reviews of your book.

- Use short, concise sentences.

- Date your press release with either ‘For immediate release' or with an actual date.

- Write -30- or # # # at the end of your press release.

- Be sure to include a contact name and information.

You want your press release to be attention grabbing and well-written so that you are ensuring the best coverage you possibly can for your publication. Remember that a press release is one of the first tools you use as a published author to get the news out to the public about your book. With a little time and effort, you can write a great press release that will turn the critics and public's eye on your new book.

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Ray Lokar