Saturday, August 29, 2015

What Is Irony? (With Examples)

What Is Irony? (With Examples)

Recently I was walking and talking with my co-worker, who happens to be a freelance writer and aspiring journalist. We were talking about the fact that our employers were providing us with a Thanksgiving lunch the day after Thanksgiving, and she said, “It’s so ironic!’’ – all emphasis and drawing-out of syllables possible used on the last word.

This is a smart girl I’m talking about. She’s a college graduate and has done her fair share of writing and reporting. And even so, she doesn’t know the definition of irony.

Merriam-Webster defines irony as:

1: a pretense of ignorance and of willingness to learn from another assumed in order to make the other’s false conceptions conspicuous by adroit questioning —called also Socratic irony

2: a) the use of words to express something other than and especially the opposite of the literal meaning
b) a usually humorous or sardonic literary style or form characterized by irony
c) an ironic expression or utterance

3: a) : incongruity between the actual result of a sequence of events and the normal or expected result; an event or result marked by such incongruity
b) incongruity between a situation developed in a drama and the accompanying words or actions that is understood by the audience but not by the characters in the play —called also dramatic irony, tragic irony

A simple way of putting it is that irony usually signals a difference between the appearance of things and reality. For instance, here is how Wikipedia defines it: “Ironic statements (verbal irony) often convey a meaning exactly opposite from their literal meaning. In ironic situations (situational irony), actions often have an effect exactly opposite from what is intended.”

Confusion is such that there is even a website,, where you can post your own question about whether or not something is ironic. Readers will cast their own vote – you can see the percentages of the votes – and the website will provide the final yes or no verdict.

Here are some examples of irony (or the lack of):

Is it ironic that I posted a video about how boring and useless Facebook is on Facebook?
Reader’s Verdict: 93% NOT IRONIC; 7% IRONIC. Final Verdict: NOT IRONIC.

Is it ironic that the name of Britain’s biggest dog (until it died recently) was Tiny?
Reader’s Verdict: 75% IRONIC; 25% NOT IRONIC. Final Verdict: IRONIC.

Is it ironic that I can’t go to church because I have a theology test to study for?
Reader’s Verdict: 95% NOT IRONIC; 5% IRONIC. Final Verdict: NOT IRONIC.

Is it ironic that someone steps into a puddle and you make fun of them… and the next thing you know – YOU step in one!?
Reader’s Verdict: 94% IRONIC; 6% NOT IRONIC. Final Verdict: IRONIC.

Has Alanis Morissette spoiled irony for us forever? Perhaps my generation is just in recovery from her 1995 lyrics. What do you think – do you understand the meaning of irony? Do people around you?

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

How to Become a Best selling Author by Jason Oman

If you're planning on writing nonfiction, then the first question you have to ask is whether or not you think yourself capable of embarking on this trying yet rewarding journey. With general non-fiction, there will always be space for a good new non-fiction book in the market. So, what makes a non-fiction book a best seller? Firstly, your book should be able to attract a considerable amount of readers; it has to be something that is new and interesting, preferably a topic that no one else has broached. Or, if you're writing on a topic that isn't new, then you should come up something that's new and interesting to contribute to the whole concept.

So, why write non-fiction? Having your own non-fiction book published still holds a certain distinction and people generally associate a book author as someone who is an expert on the subject. If used the right way, your book can act as a helpful PR tool. But, don't ever make the mistake of thinking that you can retire to the Caribbean's on the proceeds of its sales.

Here are a few tips on how to become a best selling author:

* Choose a good title for your book - The title is one of the most important aspects for marketing your book. With non-fiction books, like every other form of marketing communication, the title of the book has to suggest some kind of benefit to its readers. It's the title that draws everyone's attention to the book, whether it is placed in a bookstore or whether it is available online. So, make sure you come up with something that's catchy and interesting. Sub-headings are also very fashionable and work quite well.

* Writing your own book - If writing your first book seems like a daunting prospect, then you should probably approach this task in a methodical manner. Don't think of your book as a tough project. Think of it as a fun activity. As you start working through the book, you will get a stronger sense of achievement, as the completion of each chapter will seem like you've overcome a major milestone.


* Planning the book - While planning the outline of the book, never rush it. Carry a notepad around with you so that you can jot down little ideas and other forms of inspiration. With non-fiction, it always helps to work to a closely defined structure. Spend time planning the chapters and make sure they all run in the right order. If you need research material, you must first assemble it and then file it under each chapter.

* Write it up - Now that all your work is done, you need to take the plunge and get started. Since you have mapped out the subject matter carefully, you'll find it easier to start writing. Your job comes down to linking and smoothing out the plot, rather than having to think of what the next chapter will contain. Once you've finished your final chapter, take some time off from the writing project. Go through your work and make the necessary changes.

In reality, most publishers don't really do a good job of marketing books. This can be really annoying when you consider that they take the lion's share of the proceeds from the sales. So, you have two choices for effective marketing of your book:

* Hire a good publicist - This is quite a popular option amongst the famous public speakers and business gurus who don't have the time but have the money to get the job done.

* DIY - Do it yourself! You can market your book without really spending a lot of money.

So, whether you're writing career books or you are writing memoirs, these few marketing and writing techniques should go a long way in helping your writing career get kick started. So, if it's a bestseller status that you're looking out for, remember that it isn't too hard to get. With the right methods and the right style of writing, your first no-fiction book should be a blooming success. The New York Bestseller List couldn't ask for more!

About the Author:
Jason Oman is the author of #1 best-selling Conversations with Millionaires. As well as being the President of Money Systems Technologies, a marketing firm that focuses on book marketing, author publicity and writing resources. Jason is an author's strategist specializing in helping clients achieve their goals of becoming a best selling author.