Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New book on the shelves – #Writers – Mini Style Guide by Editor Denise O’Hagan

Welcome to editor Denise O’Hagan and her new release, Mini Style Guide: An Introduction to Good Writing and Manuscript Presentation which will be useful for all of us who write and create our books ready to be published.

About the guide

An easy-to-use guide for writers, editors and students

The Mini Style Guide covers the fundamentals of good writing and explains how to present a manuscript for publication. It is written in a direct and accessible manner suitable for all ages and backgrounds, and assumes no prior knowledge of the writing trade or the publishing industry. Explanations are accompanied by plentiful ‘real life’ examples, and each chapter opens with a humorous quotation. The book consists of three parts.

Part 1 covers the essence of good writing, both factual and non-factual. It covers the principles of Plain English; words that are often misused or misspelled; and common grammatical and punctuation errors. Differences between Australian, British and American English are explored; inclusive writing is defined; and copyright law as it applies to writers is clarified.

Part 2 explains the technicalities of how to present a manuscript. It examines the advantages and disadvantages of working exclusively on computer and working partly on hard copy; outlines the structure of a manuscript and the order of its various components; and explains how to compile a contents page to reflect the heading hierarchy. It explains how to treat quotations, lists, abbreviations and numbers; offers advice on presenting illustrations, tables, charts and graphs; and discusses bibliographical material and indexes.

Part 3 explores possible publishing avenues; that is, commercial publishers, literary agents and self-publishing. It defines the role of each; explains which one is best suited to which type of writing; and includes advice on how to write a synopsis, select sample chapters and draft a covering letter.

The Appendix contains templates of standard forms and letters that can be photocopied and tailored to suit individual needs.

The Glossary contains commonly used terms to do with writing, publishing and printing.

The Bibliography contains sources used and recommended.

Foreword by Robert Fairhead, book reviewer at Writing NSW.

An early review for the guide

I believe that this is the first style guide aimed specifically at the independent or self-published author. It’s a joy to read and will give writers the confidence needed to produce and publish their own books.

Indie writers and editors need to know as much about desktop publishing, and the marketing and distribution of books, as they do about the rules of grammar and punctuation.

The Mini Style Guide delivers both; the familiar devils of ‘there’ and ‘their’ are dealt with but, just as usefully, templates for copyright permission requests and artwork briefs are included.

Even if you’re going down the traditional publishing route, advice is given on how to compose a synopsis, and choose your sample chapters.

I particularly like Denise O’Hagan’s use of quotations, both humorous and serious, as in her quoting of Churchill, ‘Broadly speaking, the short words are the best, and the old words, when short, are best of all.’ She has followed his advice well.

O’Hagan has years of experience working as an editor, both in the UK and Australia. Her knowledge shines through and I thoroughly recommend this easy-to-use Guide to writers and editors alike.

Head over and buy the guide:

And on Amazon US:

Also available at other online bookstores:

About Denise O’Hagan

After many years of editing educational and other material, I am excited to be offering editorial services for independent publishers.

If you are a writer or aspiring writer, fiction or non-fiction, I can help you consider your goals, shape the structure of your manuscript and, when you are ready, edit it, with a view to publishing under your own imprint or under that of Black Quill Press.

As an editor, I have the luxury of immersing myself in content and working with the author to shape and refine it; as a publisher, the requirements are more pragmatic, wide-ranging and involve a constant striving to protect the integrity of a book in an increasingly marketing-driven world.

Independent publishing is not new, but the plethora of publishing packages facing writers is, and it is easy to feel overwhelmed. In an age when – or so we are told – everyone can be an author, the market is flooded with self-published books of varying quality which has hardened booksellers’ resistance to stocking ‘indie’ books. So, it is very important to put the focus back on to good content, well produced. Only then do issues of marketing and publicity become relevant.

In liaising with editors, typesetters and designers, printers and distributors, and in assuming responsibility for marketing, I am supported by and indebted to a small team of publishing professionals without whom there would be no Black Quill Press. It is great fun working together on a common goal, and each contribution is utterly invaluable.

Connect to Denise O’Hagan


Thank you for dropping in today and I am sure that any of you who are writers will find the guide very useful.. thanks Sally.


10 thoughts on “Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New book on the shelves – #Writers – Mini Style Guide by Editor Denise O’Hagan

  1. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up – Grassed up, Grandmas and Fried Rice.. served up with a bagful of talented writers. | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

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