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How To Write A How-To …

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Whenever we are asked how we do something we know how-to do well, we are becoming an advisor on that subject, even if it’s only how-to clean windows with newspaper. To write how-tos we need to have a modicum of experience in that given field, and the more ambitious our writing, the more we need to know about the subject. Anyone with snippets of advice to impart can contribute to Howopia, or write fillers and letters for magazines and newspapers (see How-To Write Fillers and Letters) providing we follow the submission guidelines of each individual target market.
All How-Tos need an introduction, a middle and a conclusion – what we are writing about, how to do it and why (when and where) we should do it.
The best how-tos are inclusive rather than exclusive. They draw the reader in to be shown how-to do something (using the familiar ‘we’), not be told in a patronising manner (using ‘you’).
Study your intended target market and see how previous material has been submitted. Many how-tos are set out in bullet-points – how many will the editor require for a filler or longer article?
Longer pieces can also be turned into how-to articles for the various lifestyle magazines – keep your eyes open in your favourite publications for opportunities.
Full-length how-to books are one of the most popular non-fiction genres, and there is little difference between starting off with a humble snippet in a weekly magazine, and progressing to a 45,000 word typescript. We just need lots more information and the ability to follow the publisher’s house style.
It doesn’t matter, however, whether we’re writing a short filler or a full-length book, we still need to study the marketplace and conform to the house-style, and know what has gone before. Look on book-sellers’ shelves to see what’s on offer.
Where possible, back up your how-to with contacts, sources, web sites, etc.
Every single day we carry out tasks or gain experience in living and coping. That information could help someone else and earn you a few £££s at the same time.


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How To guides

Howopia is a new website dedicated to bringing together a community of experts to create the most useful 'How To' guides, to help you to achieve almost anything.

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