Derek Murphy

Derek Murphy is a book editor turned book designer with a Ph.D. in Literature. He's been featured on CNN and spoken at dozens of writing conferences around the world. These days he mostly writes young adult fantasy and science fiction, while helping authors write and publish bestselling books. FREE GUIDE: Sell your work without selling out.

Best editing software to proofread your book (ProWritingAid vs Grammarly for authors)

The short version: Grammarly finds more typos and actual mistakes. In a full manuscript, it found 7 while ProWritingAid only caught 1. However, ProWritingAid sometimes catches things that Grammarly misses, and has very useful more advanced features that can help improve your writing by flagging slow passages, complex paragraphs, or repetition. I recommend using both before publishing. Grammarly | ProWritingAid Editing …

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Can you ever forgive me? Fraud and plagiarism in the publishing industry

This is a post about authenticity and craft vs. fraud and plagiarism, but it’s not a moral tirade. You can look elsewhere for that. The reason I don’t want to point fingers or make ultimatums is because ethical concerns often ignore market conditions. As we dig deeper into this subject, you’ll find I’m skeptical about demonizing certain tactics in indie …

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Velvet Buzzsaw: art is murder, and critics deserve brutal justice

Netflix’s Velvet Buzzsaw is a fun horror flick based on a nearly universally accepted belief about art: that “real art” is done for the passion, not the money. In this particular version, a dead artist’s paintings come to live and brutally murder his critiques. More than that, Jake Gyllenhaal as a snobby art critique, goes through a character arch of realizing …

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How to Identify and Understand Your Target Audience as an Author (And Why This is Crucial)  

identify your target audience

Recently someone in one of my Facebook groups wrote how frustrated she was that her books weren’t selling, and she had no idea why. This is almost always because the book isn’t designed to sell to the right audience. What genre is it? Scifi? Fantasy? Contemporary? This has to be immediately clear from the cover and blurb, and you should …

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The six signs of weak writing (how to tell if your book sucks)

the six signs of weak writing

I made this video in the last few days of Thailand, while in the process of reviewing several dozen applications to write with me – to be fair, none of the samples we received “sucked” … some were infuriatingly “good”, but didn’t hold my attention, were too wordy, trying too hard, overwritten and distracting. I boiled it down to six …

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Dear BookBub, I’m breaking up with you

When I first started writing fiction, I needed someone to believe in me. I was ecstatic to get my first BookBub deal – a deal that helped me get 20,000 downloads for book one in my series and earn $8,297 in the same month. I thought I’d made it. Together, we were unbeatable. But now you’re always busy with other …

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