Dana Isaacson Articles

The Da Vinci Code for Fiction Writers•Career Authors

Editor Dana Isaacson shows how an unfinished da Vinci painting provides novelists with clues to artistic and commercial success.

Put on a Publisher’s Hat •Career Authors

What do today’s book publishers want? Thinking like they do will help you sell your book.

How to Write Amazing Flashbacks • Career Authors

While novelists love flashbacks, using them can be perilous. Editor Dana Isaacson explains why and when they should be used—and when they should be avoided.

9 Essential Rules on Question and Quotation Marks • Career Authors

Tidy your prose by avoiding these common gaffes on question marks and quotation marks.

Punctuate to Impress with the Versatile Em dash!• Career Authors

Em dash? En dash? Hyphen? Keep your punctuation marks on point with these tips from editor Dana Isaacson.

Avoid Skimming and Tighten Your Plot • Career Authors

Reader confusion may result when novelists skim over action. Editor Dana Isaacson advises career authors to tighten their plots and create more immersive reading experiences.

Punctuate to Impress: 17 Rules to Avoid Comma Confusion • Career Authors 

Suffer comma confusion no more and punctuate to perfection with 17 essential rules from editor Dana Isaacson.

What to do after Finishing Your First Draft • Career Authors 

Editor Dana Isaacson suggests next steps for gleeful authors who have just finished their book's first draft.

Writing a Novel Right on Time • Career Authors 

Timeline issues can result in a novel feeling “too loose.” Editor Dana Isaacson steers authors clear of timely hazards that prevent total reader engagement. 

What makes your novel commercial? • Career Authors 

Editor Dana Isaacson tells how successful authors win readers and sell books in today’s crowded marketplace.

Choose the Best Time Setting for your Novel • Career Authors 

Editor Dana Isaacson says determining the time setting for your novel may be crucial to its ultimate success.

Dazzle Publishers with your Book Proposal • Career Authors 

When selling your non-fiction project, the best book proposals get the best advances.

Editors on Omniscient POV: Whose Story is This? • Career Authors 

Should career authors use an Omniscient POV? Top freelance editors discuss the pros, cons, and unique challenges of this surprisingly tricky approach.

6 Tips to Manage Your Book Editor• Career Authors 

Examining the most intense of editorial relationships, editor Dana Isaacson offers career authors tips on protecting their sanity while successfully collaborating with publishing house editors.

Writing Books for Us and Them: Diversity for Writers, Readers, and Publishers • Career Authors 

Including alternative views and dialogue on tough issues is one way career authors can help bridge our country's great cultural divide.

Hear This: The Audio Market’s on Fire!•Career Authors 

The remarkable growth of the audiobook market offers new creative opportunities for career authors, and possibly increased revenues. Industry wisdom from our own Dana Isaacson.

Chasing Book Trends … or Not•Career Authors

Some career authors track the latest trends when searching for a bestselling novel topic. Editor Dana Isaacson discusses this potentially profitable but risky strategy.


Winning Readers on the Last Page•Career Authors

A novel’s ending is as important as its start. Editor Dana Isaacson urges writers to end with a bang, not a whimper.


Write What You Love, Love What You Write •Career Authors

Successful fiction writing is more than just skillful craftsmanship. Harder to come by but just as important are passion and imagination. What it takes to make your book authentic, from editor Dana Isaacson. 


Avoid These 7 Editorial Turnoffs •Career Authors

You want an acquisition editor to judge your submitted book on its merits rather than be annoyed or distracted by avoidable gaffes. Editor Dana Isaacson drills down to editorial missteps that could annoy when you want to impress.


Let's Talk! Writing Effective Dialogue •Career Authors

Want to write the most best dialogue possible? Saying it and doing it are two different things. Here are a few strategies to start the conversation


How Publishers (and You) Make Bestselling Books •Career Authors

What happens behind closed doors at book publishing houses? Editor Dana Isaacson offers a primer on the in-house processes that create bestsellers. 


Length Matters: A Word Count Guide by Genre • Career Authors

How long does your future publisher want your novel to be? Editor Dana Isaacson discusses desirable word counts for different genres.


Can No-Advance eBook Contracts Be a Good Deal? • Career Authors

No-advance publishing contracts are now commonplace among eBook authors, but is profit sharing good for a career author?


Five Self Editing Essentials To Perfect Your Novel • Career Authors

Polish it until it gleams. Editor Dana Isaacson provides five self-editing tips to make your novel shine.  


How to Hear Criticism• Career Authors

Constructive criticism is a writer's best friend. How to handle it even when the author and editor don’t agree.


What type of editor do you need?• Career Authors

Different types of book editors perform distinct tasks. Dana Isaacson explains the nuts and bolts of the editing process.


Where were you when you read that book? • Career Authors

Books can sometimes become associated with the place where they were read. Career Authors contributors share a few of their literary place memories.


A Quiz: Who Is Your Literary Mentor? • Career Authors

For a career author, ignoring the giants of the literary pantheon is done at your peril. Nevertheless, for giggles, what follows is an extremely *not* scientific quiz to identify your writing guru.


Numbers that Matter in Book Publishing • Career Authors

What numbers add up to success for career authors? Editor Dana Isaacson discusses figures good and bad. 


Is 99¢ too cheap a price for your book? • Career Authors

Discount retailers like Bookbub and Riffle sell millions of eBooks. Editor Dana Isaacson discusses whether or not book promotions with bargain basement prices are good for an author’s career.


Revealed: The Pleasures and Perils of Publishing Lunches • Career Authors

Grab a seat across from editor Dana Isaacson and hear what actually happens during publishing lunches, a literary tradition beloved by both editors and career authors.


Five Book Contract Terms Authors Should Know• Career Authors

Baffling legalese may be standard in today’s book contracts, but editor Dana Isaacson offers an intro to key terms. 


Getting the Best Blurb for your Book • Career Authors

Writers fantasize about the perfect blurb from their literary idols appearing on their book’s cover, but editor Dana Isaacson stresses the importance of getting the right blurb, and what that can do for your book. 


Tips from a Celebrity Ghostwriter • Career Authors

Those who can’t write…hire ghostwriters! Editor Dana Isaacson reveals tricks of this lucrative trade from a successful celebrity ghostwriter. 


A Book Editor’s Work is Never Done • Career Authors

At big publishing houses, a book editor’s workload is literally mind-boggling. Here's why authors may be kept waiting ... and waiting. 


Are there Gay Writers? Ask Bestselling Author Rita Mae Brown • Career Authors

Is "gay writer" a meaningful label? Rita Mae Brown, pioneering author of Rubyfruit Jungle, answers. 


Genre Writers: Do Your Homework! • Career Authors

Genre fiction is the hardworking engine keeping publishing alive; its authors don’t always receive the praise and recognition they deserve. 


Dear Author, No Thanks • Career Authors

Rejection letters are the bane of an author’s existence. Oftentimes these letters’ message is a simple one. 


Legendary Skills: What Makes a Great Editor? • Career Authors

Editor Dana Isaacson shares lessons learned from book publishing legends.


Covers That Sell • Career Authors

For instructive purposes, editor Dana Isaacson judges books by their covers, exploring which are more likely to sell… and why. 


Less Is More: Cogent Fiction Writing • Career Authors

The most effective writers often use the fewest words. Guidance and advice for scribes seeking greater clarity, faster pacing and a more commercial style.