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Articles to help writers and those who want to be writers to successfully complete and publish their book.

Five Reasons Kids Should Still Learn Cursive Writing


Lawmakers continue to fight to keep handwriting in the classroom, despite the growing power of the keyboard

This past summer, Tennessee state Rep. Sheila Butt got a call from a mother who said she wanted to talk about her son, a junior in high school. The woman explained that her son’s history teacher was writing homework assignments on the board in cursive—and her son couldn’t read them. Butt did some digging and found similar problems across the state. “We had students not able to read, nor write their signature, in cursive writing … That was unbelievable to me,” she said in February. “To say that we’ve educated children in Tennessee and taken away this form of instruction, this link to our heritage out of classrooms, is a grave disservice.”

Butt, speaking at a committee hearing, had just introduced an amendment that would mandate cursive instruction in all public schools, a measure that was put on the books as law in mid-May. At least five other states have considered—or are still considering—similar bills this year, all attempts to defy the oft-heralded “death of handwriting” wrought by the almighty keyboard. But proponents say they aren’t just nostalgic Luddites. Here are other arguments the pro-cursive crowd uses to demand classroom time alongside QWERTY.

American institutions still require signatures for things!

Butt provided the example of needing to both sign and print one’s name to receive a registered letter at the post office, as well signing one’s name to support a candidate for public office. More generally, one’s John Hancock is a tool that can provide security; experts have said that printed letters are easier to forge.

It’s good for our minds!

Research suggests that printing letters and writing in cursive activate different parts of the brain. Learning cursive is good for children’s fine motor skills, and writing in longhand generally helps students retain more information and generate more ideas. Studies have also shown that kids who learn cursive rather than simply manuscript writing score better on reading and spelling tests, perhaps because the linked-up cursive forces writers to think of words as wholes instead of parts.

Kids can’t read the Declaration of Independence!

At least not…  Continue reading the article by Katy Steinmetz here:  http://time.com/2820780/five-reasons-kids-should-still-learn-cursive-writing/

The Money’s in the List

$By Joel Friedlander

As authors have flocked to the internet and social media to meet readers, get market insight, create communities of interest and, perhaps, build a robust web asset of their own, many have run into a problem. How will all this activity translate into the income necessary to continue to do all the marketing and branding?

 

After all, most of us aren’t involved in social media, blogging, or other online activities just to change the world, to tell as many people as possible our stories, or to improve people’s lives. These are all noble aims, and many of us hope to accomplish some of them, but there’s that one inconvenient truth: we all need to make a living somehow.

 

There’s a “missing link” in the fan-finding, Facebook-liking, and blog-posting process that so many authors are filling up their time with, and that’s building an email list.

 

A Sad Truth about Author Websites

 

Sadly, if you surf the web looking at author websites, you’ll find that many of them lack this essential function: they have no sign-up place for people to add their names to an email list. Many of these blogs offer an opportunity to sign up for the blog articles, but all that will do in most cases is add you to a subscriber list that will be sent each blog post as it’s published. That’s not the same thing as your own email list, although there are some email providers who can combine the two functions.

 

On other sites you’ll see an “opt-in” box where you can enter your email address and perhaps your first and/or last name, too. In exchange, you’ll be promised a free download, or a free newsletter, or perhaps a free short course in a subject that’s related to what the author is writing about on the blog. This opt-in box is the sign that the blogger is actively building an email list.

 

You might be wondering why this is so important. And it is important. In fact, I consider it the most important website element for any author who intends to make their writing and publishing into a sustainable business.

 

The Purpose of Social Media

 

You might think you don’t need an email list, and I’m not suggesting it’s a good idea for every single author. For instance, if you want to become a novelist but haven’t published anything yet, it might be challenging to build a list particularly if you’re not sure yet what kind of books you want to write.

 

But for the vast majority of authors, an email list is the perfect complement to your other marketing activities, regardless of the publishing path you’ve chosen. Since most of those activities are likely taking place in social media, perhaps we should look at what all those connections are really good for.

 

 

Social media is good for:

  • finding communities of readers
  • engaging with readers and other writers
  • determining how much interest exists for your topic
  • building a community of fans who will support your work
  • keeping up with current developments in your field
  • building “buzz” when you’re launching your book

 

But notice that selling books or other related products and services are not really the best uses of social media. No, it’s really more about being “social,” whatever that means to you.

 

To me, that means meeting people who share my interests, finding out about new products and services, hearing about mass media events, and keeping track of breaking news.

 

The Importance of the Network

 

Once people find out about your content, you have the opportunity to… Continue reading here:  https://forums.createspace.com/en/community/docs/DOC-2231?ref=1466658&utm_id=6182&cp=70170000000c3cP&ls=Email&sls=CSP_Newsletter_Members

7 Reasons Why Most Authors Fail

Now that the Self Publishing Podcast is almost 2 years old (old enough to drink and sell sexual favors, in podcast years), we’re beginning to notice some definite trends. We focused on a lot of the things that work in our self publishing bookWrite. Publish. Repeat, but it’s time to turn things around and bum everybody out.

Knowing what doesn’t work is just as important, because we all have defense mechanisms that let us justify tons of stupid crap.

Time to tip that sanctimonius cow over.

“I’m not doing what the guys suggest in Write. Publish. Repeat because I have my own ways but am obeying the same principles,” you may be saying, “so why am I not getting anywhere?”

Well, are you doing any of what follows in addition to all that “different but still correct” stuff? Because if you are, then Houston, you definitely have a problem.

Here the biggest reasons that self-publishers fail.

1. Not Starting

Let’s start with the most obvious one. It kills me even to include it, but there are actually people out there saying you can be a writer without writing, so I feel the need to step up and lob that idiot ball back into the idiot court.

InertiaIf you do not write, you are not a writer.

That’s all there is to it. I can’t believe there is feel-good bullshit out there claiming that writing can be “within” you and that you can go around, wear a beret, and claim to be a writer even if you’ve written nothing.

Oh, those words are inside you? They’reincubating? Well, whoopity fucking doo for you! Good luck with spreading your ideas. Good luck getting sales. Good luck paying rent. Good luck getting your spouse or significant others to support you in spending time away from grunt work to do it.

Most people don’t put metaphorical pen to paper because they’re afraid. I get it. We’ve all been there. We’re not bashing you for being afraid — afraid of failing, afraid of being judged harshly, afraid that everyone will laugh at you. We understand that fear, but the only way to be a writer — especially a successful one — is to get past the fear and start. Your sweating ridicule, though understandable, is probably exaggerated. In most cases, nobody is paying attention to whether you succeed or fail. 

If you write, you’re a writer. You’ve started. Excellent job. Now do more, and pour in the hours to do it better.

2. Not Finishing

This one should also be obvious, but we see it all the time. In these cases, writers aren’t surprised that they’re not successful, but are incredibly frustrated. We understand. Before joining the podcast, I couldn’t finish a second book. Before meeting Sean, Dave hadn’t finished his first. The phenomenon of the writer with great ideas but no clue where to take her story is all too familiar.

But take heart. The toughest nuts crack if you just keep trying. We also hope our upcoming Kickstarter project Fiction Unboxed will show a few frustrated “can’t finish” writers a few tricks by opening up every detail of exactly how Sean and I make the donuts.

Sometimes, though, it’s not a matter of not knowing how. Most cases of writer’s block, in our opinion, can be easily reduced to simple fear. Again, we understand. Once you finish your book, you must either publish it or confess to your fear. Once published, everyone will be able to read the language of your soul … and, in a few cases, criticize it.

You must push past this. Don’t worry about making your book perfect, because it never can be. Make it professional (see the next section) and get a good edit and generally make it as clean as you possibly can, but don’t sweat the story over and over and over at the expense of shipping. Sean has said on the podcast, “perfect is the enemy of done.” And it’s true. Don’t be perfect. In most cases, it’s best to be finished.

If you must use a pen name because you’re so terrified that what you’ve written is terrible, do that. But you have to ship it. You can’t move on until you do.

Finish, then finish more.

Keep moving, and improving.

3. Treating Publishing Like … Continue reading here:  http://selfpublishingpodcast.com/7-reasons-why-most-authors-fail/?utm_source=feedly&utm_reader=feedly&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=7-reasons-why-most-authors-fail

Female Authors Dominating Smashwords Ebook Bestseller Lists

Each month, Publishers Weekly publishes the Smashwords Self-Published Ebook Bestseller List.  We report our bestsellers based on dollar sales aggregated across the Smashwords distribution network which includes retailers such as iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, the Smashwords store and others.

The other day I was browsing our February 2014 Smashwords bestseller list at Publishers Weekly and realized that all the top 25 bestsellers were written by women.  Cool beans.

Wondering if this was a fluke, I looked at our December 2013 Smashwords bestseller list at PW and bingo, same thing.  All 25 books were written by women.

Then I looked at the bestseller list for November 2013.   Same thing again.  100% women.

Our ebook bestsellers for October 2013?  You guessed it, 100% women.

If you’re wondering why I skipped January in the examples above, it’s because we and PW decided to shift the publication schedule to increase timeliness, so we skipped January and published February in March.

Why are women dominating the Smashwords bestseller lists, other than the fact that…  Continue reading here:  http://blog.smashwords.com/2014/04/female-authors-dominating-smashwords.html

3 Questions Your Professional Writing Bio Must Answer

You’re writing your cover or query letter, and it’s time to add your bio. But what information do you include and what should you leave out? Whether you’re a professional writer or just starting out, deciding how to describe yourself and your publication credits (or lack thereof) can be a challenge. By answering these three important questions, you can be sure to write a bio that literary agents and editors will find professional and interesting.

Who Are You?

In most cases, you should begin your writer bio with your education and work experience. However, if you have a personal detail that is specifically related to the work you’re submitting—your piece invokes the proper stance for juggling flaming chain saws, and you juggle flaming chain saws as a hobby—you can open with that.
Also, keep in mind that this isn’t a resume. Don’t list all the places you’ve worked—editors and agents aren’t really interested. You can include your hobbies, interests, and volunteer work to give your letter a personal touch (keep it a brief, light touch!), but save this personal information for the close of the paragraph after your publishing credits. Speaking of publication credits…

What Are Your Publishing Credits?

Lead with the best publishing credits (credible publishers and journals, published books you’ve worked on that have gotten recognition, etc.), then list lesser known publications. Only include self-published projects if the work has received significant recognition or had strong sales.

Don’t freak out if you don’t have any publishing credits to your name. Everyone has to start somewhere! And don’t …  continue reading here:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/22/writing-bio-_n_4644142.html

6 Of The Best Pieces of Advice From Successful Writers

I’ve been reading some advice from successful writers lately and exploring what their routines are like to see what I can learn about them.

pen

Here are six of the most common pieces of advice I came across that have helped me a lot improving my writing here at Buffer.

It also features actionable tips for you on how to implement them in your own writing.

 

1. The best ways to get over the “blank page hurdle”

 

I write because it comes out — and then to get paid for it afterwards? I told somebody, at some time, that writing is like going to bed with a beautiful woman and afterwards she gets up, goes to her purse and gives me a handful of money. I’ll take it. — Charles Bukowski

Unlike Charles Bukowski, writing well doesn’t come so easily for a lot of us (including me). It takes a lot of mental energy, strains your working memory and often makes you feel vulnerable if you try to be open and honest in your work.

 

The pure effort of writing is hard enough, but coupled with the pain of putting your work out into the world and letting others judge it, this can be enough to stop you from getting started at all.

 

The trick to overcoming this isn’t easy, but it’s surprisingly effective: give yourself permission to write badly, and just start.

Anne Lamott, author of Bird by Bird wrote an excellent essay on why writers must start with horrible drafts:

I know some very great writers, writers you love who write beautifully and have made a great deal of money, and not one of them sits down routinely feeling wildly enthusiastic and confident. Not one of them writes elegant first drafts. All right, one of them does, but we do not like her very much.

Anne’s essay makes me feel much better about the hard work of writing great content, as she makes it clear that all great writers struggle with their first drafts:

We all often feel like we are pulling teeth, even those writers whose prose ends up being the most natural and fluid.

So to get over the biggest hurdle–the blank page–just get writing. Don’t be afraid that your draft might be bad (it probably will be, but that’s okay.)

Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere. Start by getting something – anything – down on paper.

10 Rules for Writing First Drafts

 

(Great infographic from Copyblogger)

2. Discard clichés: How to stop writing like “you’re meant to write”

Down with the cliché! If only it were that easy. Clichés surround us, and it’s surprisingly hard to avoid using them.

Put simply, in writing, clichés are bland and overused phrases that fail to excite, motivate, and impress your readers or prospective buyers. (6)

Clichés dominate our language both in speaking and writing. This is because we hear them all the time, so they become the first phrases that come to mind when we want to express ourselves. Which is exactly why they’re a problem:

Given that clichés are the phrases that have struck our eardrums uncountable times, we either don’t associate them with particular ideas and products, or we associate many products and ideas with a particular cliché. 

The fact that clichés are so generic you can attach them to any idea makes them ineffective. (6)

This actually has a lot to do with how we take in words and phrases when we read. The more familiar a term or phrase becomes, the more often we start skipping over it as we read, rendering it ineffective.

 

The best way to avoid this problem is to use different language to explain familiar concepts.It’s a careful balancing act between being so different that your readers are turned off by the effort of understanding your content and being so familiar that your work becomes trite.

In other words, your audience has to feel your content is new, but also credible. (7)

 

3. Don’t make it sound like writing, instead “Write like you speak”

 

It is only by writing, not dreaming about it, that we develop our own style. — P.D. James

Novelist and screenwriter Elmore Leonard knew how important the reader was. More important than his English Composition teachers, that’s for sure. He never let “proper” writing get in the way of telling a great story and making it engaging for the reader.

If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it. — Elmore Leonard

Writing like you speak is harder than it might sound. For some reason, it’s easy to “put on” a tone when you start writing, without even realising it. This is something I’m still working on, and it takes a lot of practice.

 

In Kurt Vonnegut’s list of rules for writing with style, he explains how much better his writing is when it sounds the way he talks:

I myself find that I trust my own writing most, and others seem to trust it most, too, when I sound most like a person from Indianapolis, which is what I am.

One thing that’s really helped me to improve in this area is a trick that Leo taught me:imagine someone sitting in front of you as you type, and write as if you’re talking to them.

Continue reading # 4-6 here:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/belle-beth-cooper/6-of-the-best-pieces-of-a_b_4628690.html

Rejection from Publishers: What to Do Now

Rejection from Publishers: What to Do Now

by: Keith Henry

So you’ve written a book and now, you want to share this work of art with the world; publishers are the only people standing in your way. It doesn’t really matter what genre you specialize in, the fact of the matter is, when you send your work to editors or publishing houses, you can get rejected.

Nothing can be more frustrating than getting rejected by publishers and here’s how you can deal with the rejection. Instead of sulking at home, refusing to write another word, you can try sending your manuscript to another editor. When that’s done, you can sit back, relax and spend your time doing other things besides thinking about your book. More often than not, publishing houses and editors work under strict guidelines with manuscript submission and you’ll be putting yourself in danger by sending your manuscript to other editors at the same time.

Meanwhile, you can keep a close eye on your email for a letter from the publishers. When you receive a letter, expect a no. Expecting the worst will be easier for you when you do get the worst. For this particular circumstance, you can scream and shout, rant and rave for a few minutes about how these people just let a good thing pass them by. You then get back to reading the rest of the rejection letter. Here, you’ll be given a number of tips how you make your work better. When all these tips have sunk in, you can start submitting your manuscript to another editor.

Simply repeat the process of sitting and waiting, keeping an eye out for a letter from the publisher, etc. For the first rejection slip you’ve received, you can file this letter away or you can simply throw it out. Remember that that was just one publisher’s opinion. You have a long list of publishers to go through. In the meantime, you can continue revising and editing your manuscript. When you think you’ve made it even more perfect, you can send this out to another editor. Rejection from publishers is just a part of the process for becoming a successful writer.

About The Author

For more information about publishers, visit the Bookpal website.  http://dlaryj.blogspot.com

Creating A Blog That Has Personality

Creating A Blog That Has Personality

by: TJ Philpott

When creating a blog you generally want to give it some personality. Most popular blogs display a certain style or attitude in the way they deliver their updates which makes them more distinctive within their own niche. Another advantage is that in most cases the personality any blogging platform assumes is generally that of the blog writer! This makes the writing process much more natural and therefore easier for the person updating the site.

Here are 3 simple ways you can add ‘personality’ to any blogging platform to make it more distinctive enabling it and you to stand out more within your niche.

Share Opinions

When appropriate do not be afraid to share your opinion on a subject or particular issue if you have one. Although not everyone may feel the same way as you most people are usually interested in what others may think. In fact most popular blogs will offer opinions simply for the sake of provoking a response from their readers in order to initiate some type of discussion. Interactivity like this helps encourage visitor involvement and create a stronger sense of community!

Be Passionate

As a blog writer allow your ‘feelings’ to show in your writing if you are passionate about a subject or issue. This tends to draw people further into the content you have posted and makes for much more interesting reading! This passion also helps you be more persuasive or influential in terms of swaying the opinions or perspective of others pertaining to the subject you are blogging about. Once again by getting people more involved in what is being posted on your blogging platform you are increasing their interest along with your own ‘uniqueness’ as well! Remember others do not have to agree with what you are saying for them to find your perspective interesting or thought provoking!

Maintain Your Convictions

Do not ‘cave’ in to the opinions or feelings of others if you do not share them. Maintain your own convictions since if they are strong enough there must be a reason why! Explaining your reasons, if they are compelling enough, will make for interesting reading and likely will also provoke more thought and stimulate further interaction.

Creating a blog that ‘displays’ a certain personality helps to make it more distinctive allowing for it to better stand out from the crowd. In most cases the blogging platform normally ‘mimics’ the personality of the blog writer which helps make composing new updates more natural and thereby easier for them. The 3 simple suggestions above serve to help you introduce personality to your own platform. As you can see it is not a complicated formula to follow and done correctly will succeed in helping to make your blogging platform more noticeable. In this way it is likely you will attract more visitors and hopefully evolve into one of the most popular blogs in your niche!

About The Author

TJ Philpott is an author and Internet entrepreneur based out of North Carolina.

To learn more about creating a blog with personality and to also receive a free instructional manual that teaches valuable niche research techniques for your online marketing needs simply visit:http://blogbrawn.com

EBooks: Friend or Foe?

EBooks: Friend or Foe?

by: John Joseph Burhop

Publishing is a $35 billion industry. Up until just a few years ago, that meant almost exclusively books, magazines, newspapers, and other small items such as brochures and business cards. The internet has changed all that in more ways than one. Enter the eBook, or downloadable electronic book. Although early versions of the eBook have been around since the 1970’s, it wasn’t until late in 2007 that Amazon’s eBook Reader, the Kindle, was released, and not until 2009 that dedicated reading hardware was produced. According to the Association of American Publishers, eBook sales rose 176.6% to $169.5 million in 2009. Another report, this one conducted by Forrester Research, an independent research company that provides pragmatic and forward-thinking advice to global leaders in business and technology, predicts that eBook sales will cross the $1 billion line in 2011.

When I first realized that eBook Readers were already starting to render the paperback book obsolete, I became distraught. That’s because I had been working on my science fiction novel, on and off, for the better part of the last twenty years and it was very near completion. My novel was always meant to be a paperback; a handy little book that could easily fit in a backpack or a purse. I even knew what the cover art would look like: planet Earth in the background with my main character leaving orbit in his tiny spaceship while two unfolding alien spacecraft approached. I had it all figured out. I knew the printing industry was already getting hit hard but I figured the unique tactile act of reading a paperback book still had a good decade left in it. I don’t believe that anymore. Of course, there will be die-hard paperback fans for many years to come, but eBook Readers are already starting to mimic the experience of having an actual book in your hands. It finally dawned on me that eBook Readers were not my enemy, they were, in fact, very much my friend.

Finding a publisher who is willing to invest their time and money to print thousands of copies of a book written by an unknown author is extremely difficult, to say the least. However, with services such as Amazon.com and Smashwords.com, an unknown author can publish a completed novel, poetry manuscript, or collection of short stories and make it available for sale to basically anyone with internet access in a single day. And the best part is that It’s Free! There are, of course, many more online publishers than just Amazon and Smashwords but many of them are not free. I did finish my novel and published it to Amazon.com’s Kindle platform and Smashwords.com for sale at $9.99. It’s very exciting to see copies of my eBook being bought by people who somehow found my novel among the millions of titles already available through a number of online publishers. I then decided to publish a collection of poetry that I compiled from my high school and college years.

So if you’ve written your memoirs, or have a book length manuscript, or even a collection of short stories or poetry, I highly recommend that you put them up for sale at Amazon.com’s Kindle Store and Smashwords.com. Remember, it’s totally free. Simply go to www.Amazon.com and find the “Self-publish with Us” link at the bottom of the page. Then simply click the “Get Started” link in the Kindle Books section of that page. From there you can set up your account, upload your manuscript, and then name your price. According to the research I’ve done, it’s wise not to price your book too low or potential customers will get the impression that it’s of lesser value than the higher priced options available in the same category. I decided that $9.99 was a reasonable price for my book since it consisted of 36 chapters containing nearly 120,000 words- the length of a decent paperback. $9.99 may seem high for a paperback-length book but there are thousands of eBook titles selling successfully in the $20-$30 range. Granted, many of those higher priced titles are best selling books that have been available to the general public for decades in print form. But because your book is new, it just may attract a customer base that could put some extra cash in your pocket or simply get you noticed for other potentially profitable projects.

Make sure that your manuscript starts out strong because one of the services offered by eBook publishers is a free sample of your work, usually the first 20%. Selling your book is a tough business, but for those of us who believe that what we’re writing is worthwhile for others to read, there’s always a chance for great success. And remember, your customers don’t even need an eBook reader to enjoy your book; they can download it to any PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, Blackberry, or Android. I invite all the readers of this article to sample the first few chapters of my science fiction novel “Rise of The Kek” and my poetry manuscript “The Universe Can Never Be Complete” for free. Simply search for either title at Amazon.com or Smashwords.com.

About The Author

John Burhop is a 44 year old author who graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing: Fiction from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. His science fiction novel “Rise of The Kek” and his poetry manuscript “The Universe Can Never Be Complete” are both available for instant download at Amazon.com and Smashwords.com.

How to Make Money Writing Online and Content Marketing

How to Make Money Writing Online and Content Marketing

by: C.A. Perez

Article writers using content marketing often overlook content readability when composing their articles. Writing articles online for money must not only consider motivating readers to buy a product. To make money writing online, authors must also provide readable quality content.

With the advent of Google’s stated goal to improve a user’s search experience, many websites and articles lost their coveted positions in Search Engine Ranking Positions (SERPs). It is now, more than ever, that quality website content writing is king. Writing online for money as a means of ‘gaming’ the search engines through keyword stuffing, article blasts to thousands of article directories, and weak, poorly structured website content writing are gone.

Readability

Readability measures the grade level needed to understand any document. There are several schemes that are used to determine readability. The Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level is one of better known and most used measurements. Your content writing can be much improved if you incorporate this measure into your article writing.

Although it has come under criticism for its simplicity, Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level scale is still widely used and can give you an idea of your article’s readability.

You can determine your article’s readability with the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level scale which assigns a grade level to the written material. MS Word provides a readability statistics feature found under the spell check tab that determines your article’s grade level reading score.

There are free utilities on the web that allow you to copy and paste your document and the utility will return the grade level score. There are others. Online-Utitility.org is one. You can find them with a ‘free readability tools’ search on the internet.

You can also use the Google ‘more search tools’ feature found at the bottom of the left navigation bar when doing a Google search and choosing ‘reading level’. The organic results will show ‘basic’, ‘intermediate’, or ‘advanced’ reading levels for each of the page results.

Although, the results may not be 100% accurate, they do give you an idea of the grade level that your article or page is written at. It may seem that I am putting much emphasis on readability and quality content. It is important to note when writing for the web that the content be easily understandable by your targeted reader. You make make money writing articles online by targeting your reader.

Ideal Reading Level

If you dumb down your website content writing, the reader may feel insulted and dismiss your words. If your words are too pedantic, readers may accuse you of flaunting your knowledge. You may have quality content, but not readable by your targeted audience.

What is the ideal reading grade level? The answer eludes me. Many claim that the national average reading level is eighth grade and that article writers should write at that level or lower when writing for the web. I have yet to find any evidence to substantiate that claim or that you will make money writing to that grade level.

Studies have been conducted by various governmental agencies under the U.S. Department of Education and by independent private agencies on various aspects of literacy throughout the United States, but I have yet to find any authoritative data that specifically identifies the national reading average to be at the eighth grade level.

Adult Literacy in America

The study most often cited as the source of the eighth grade reading level claim is a 1993 study, Adult Literacy in America: A First Look at the Results of the National Adult Literacy Survey, by Irwin S. Kirsch, sponsored by the National Center for Education Statistics. You can review the results yourself at the National Center for Education Statistics.

However, the study does not specifically state that the national reading level average is at the eighth grade level. In fact, the study’s committee “… agreed that expressing the literacy proficiencies of adults in school-based terms or grade-level scores is inappropriate.”

The study did survey levels of literacy skills ranging from Level 1 to Level 5, with Level 5 being the most difficult or the highest skill level. The survey did show that about half the population performed at levels 3-5 and half performed within the lower levels 1 and 2.

SERPs and Readability

Nevertheless, if we accept the various reading level scales like, Flesch-Kincaid, article writers can improve their content marketing to more closely match the acceptance of targeted readers. In addition, Google and other search engines may or may not look favorably on the webpage or article and rank it higher than one that Google deems to be written at an inappropriate level as evidenced by the Official Google Blog

For instance, an article written at the twelfth grade level about building a tool shed may not be looked upon as worthy of Google’s definition of maximizing the user search experience. An article on the same subject written at the sixth or seventh grade level might well fair much better in the SERPs.

On the other hand, writing an article on the Literacy Statistics of Migrant Workers at the fourth or fifth grade level would not fare well with academic readers and probably not with the search engines.

The point is that article writers should consider readability when writing articles. The effort does not need to be an all consuming effort. Readability can easily be checked with one of the tools I mentioned earlier.

Be aware of the end user. The more you comply with Google’s goal of “providing the best user experience possible,” the more favorably the search engine will rank your writing for money efforts.

About The Author

Writing articles online for money can be very profitable. Start off on the right foot, learn how to write and structure your article and increase your sales and traffic by following the rules of the road in my new e-book: “Writing For The Web:An Introduction To Article Writing”. Find out about it and more at http://WritingFortheWeb.info.