Since May 2016, I’ve published 20 books.

This doesn’t include ideas that I abandoned, poetry, or pieces that I wrote for clients. I’ve lost count of those, but we’re talking in the hundreds, if not thousands.

Even though I have a degree in Creative Writing, writing commercial fiction is very different to the more academic style that they teach you at university. I basically had to learn to write all over again in order to make my books marketable and appeal to my target audience.

(If you want to find out more about the different genres that I publish in, you can check out my Kristina Adams author website.)

Many of the rules of writing commercial fiction can also be adapted for content writing, particularly long-form content writing.

That’s because you want to ensure that people keep reading, what you publish is engaging and appealing to your target audience, and you want to get as many people as possible to the end.

Get them to the end, and you’re much more likely to hook them in. And have them become a customer purchasing your next book if you’re an author, or going on to buy your product if you run a business.

So, here’s what novel-writing has taught me about writing long-form content:

Readability is vital

Readability is super important if you want to ensure that people engage with your writing.

If your long-form content consists of big walls of text, it’s not engaging to read.

People will turn off and you’ll lose prospective clients because of things that could have been fixed really easily.

Regardless of who your target audience is, optimising what you publish for readability never has a downside.

Your audience will self-segment because they’ll have a better idea of what you do.

And people you’re the right fit for will connect with you faster because they’ll know you’re exactly the type of person who can make their life easier.

Your product/service should make your customers’ lives easier. Why shouldn’t your writing make their lives easier, too?

Where you put words changes how something is read

The way you use language can change how someone reads something. The first and last words of a sentence, or of a line, can really stand out to your reader.

Book descriptions use this tactic to include the most memorable or unique words at the end of a sentence. To grab readers and whet their appetites ready to read the book.

You can use this in your long-form content as well by making sure keywords, unusual words, or numbers are at the start or the end of a line.

For example, if you’re talking about employee engagement, you could put that ‘engagement increased by 52%’ rather than ‘there was a 52% increase in engagement’.

As well as guiding the reader’s eye with this style, it’s a shorter sentence which makes it easier to read.

Grammar isn’t everything

I know for some people this is blasphemous, but grammar does not make the world go round.

You need to know and understand the rules of grammar to be able to use it to your advantage, but you do not need to abide by it strictly as you did when you were at school.

No one is here to grade your writing.

Your readers want to hear what you have to say.

And I’m assuming you want them to react to what you publish as well.

For them to do that, what you publish has to be readable.

And sometimes the most grammatically correct writing is the least interesting and/or accessible.

Everything can be poetry (and that’s a good thing)

Poetry is another written art form that uses language to an even greater extent than a novel or even a short story.

For example, I write a lot of micro poems. These are often four lines or fewer. This means every word has to work for its place.

It’s a lot easier to spot when you can replace a word with something punchier in four lines compared to something that’s several thousand words long.

But there’s no reason you can’t do this for long-form content (especially if you work with an experienced content marketer. Like me ???? ).

If you abide by the rule of keeping your content shorter and more readable anyway, in the editing stage you’ll be able to spot more instances of where you can replace one word with something more impactful.

(See what I did there? I could’ve said ‘powerful’, but ‘impactful’ is a much more…impactful word.)

Conclusion 

Here are just some of the many lessons that publishing 20 books in the last seven years has taught me.

There are many more, some of which I’ve probably never even realised.

I hope they help you with your long-form content publishing, but if you need any extra help, you can check out my long form content packages.