Writer’s Life

Reading

Fiction Readers are Better People

The title of this post is a bit exaggerated — but not as much as you might think! I’ve always loved both fiction and non-fiction, and I have a hard time understanding people who say they don’t read novels because they prefer to read things that are “true.” I try to explain that sometimes, fiction…
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Unexpected

I Didn’t Sign Up For This

I don’t know a single writer whose publishing dreams included being a full-time marketer for their books.   The writing and publishing dream usually includes visions of spending several hours a day at the laptop, sending manuscripts off to a publisher, receiving big checks, getting fabulous starred reviews in Publishers Weekly, hearing from awe-struck fans…
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Walden on Wheels

Are You Afraid to Tell the Truth?

I am a reader of memoirs. I love them as much as I adore good fiction. I love the way great memoirists unflinchingly bare themselves to us, showing the good and the bad, the admirable moments and the shameful ones. I just finished reading an unusual memoir (Walden on Wheels by Ken Ilgunas) which is…
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Billy Coffey

The One Thing Every Writer Needs

Guest blogger: Billy Coffey (@BillyCoffey) I’d heard how it sometimes happens—quick and violent, like a spasm that spares the body and strikes the soul. I never really believed it was true. Couldn’t happen, not to me. It was just another myth, on par with writer’s block and the notion that persistence without talent will eventually…
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Scarcity

Letting Go of Scarcity Thinking

I have noticed that our culture is permeated with scarcity thinking, and the world of books and publishing is no exception. Do any of these thoughts sound familiar? ♦ Another author just got a 2-book deal. That’s two less spots for me. ♦ An agent just announced a new client. There goes my shot. ♦ Look how many…
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afraid

What Would You Do If You Weren’t Afraid?

Lately I’ve been hearing this question over and over again: What would you do if you weren’t afraid? It’s a good question, meant to inspire us to dream beyond our boundaries, to “think big,” to pursue our goals. But I think we tend to hear it and then brush it off, not really spending time with…
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thinking negative

Try “Thinking Negative” for a Change

I’m an optimist by nature — I usually expect things will all work out. But I find that I’m more successful and experience less disappointment when I practice “thinking negative.” What do I mean by that? When I “think negative,” I factor into my habitual “positive thinking” a realistic assessment of the difficulties, challenges or obstacles…
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7 Ways to Look Good on Your Webcam

Have you been on Skype lately? Had a meeting via Google+ hangout? Done any video-blogging? These days more of us are communicating via video rather than just voice or the written word — and I highly recommend it. People seem to like it because  communication is more effective and memorable when you can see the…
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lonely tree

The Lonely Life of the Writer

People often ask me what I do for a living. If I say “I’m a literary agent,” I’m likely to receive a blank stare. I quickly tell them I work with authors to help them get their books published; sometimes I’ll say, “You know how actors and athletes have agents? Well, authors have agents too.”…
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Reading

Who Should Read Your Unpublished Work?

One of the most common pieces of advice writers are given is: Get outside feedback. Published or not, writers typically show their work to beta readers, critique partners, friends, family members or anyone who will read it, to get feedback before submitting to an editor, agent or publisher. I’m one of those who frequently gives…
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Change your thinking

3 Ways to Change Your Thinking Today

The writing and publishing life can be hard on the equilibrium. It’s full of ups and downs, hopes deferred, dreams dashed, dreams realized, ego strokes and debilitating criticism. We wonder if we’ll ever reach our goals. We swing between high-on-life optimism and crushing pessimism. We decry that this path shouldn’t be so difficult. We rail…
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Don’t Feed Your Discontent

Back when I was in my 20’s, I went through a phase in which I was extremely unhappy with my looks. My hair, my face, my weight, my clothes — nothing was right. I was buying more expensive makeup, going on fad diets, and spending too much money on clothes in the attempt to feel better…
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Blocks

The Facts vs. The Story You Tell Yourself

As an agent, I spend a lot of time talking writers through the obstacles and difficulties — both tangible and emotional — of a publishing career. We’re constantly making important decisions together and solving problems. One thing that persistently thwarts a writer’s ability to stay positive and optimistic is the tendency to see a set of facts…
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What’s Your 2013 Focus?

Happy new year! I’ve been on a blogging break, and while it was refreshing, I’m excited to dive back in. Since we just celebrated New Year’s, I decided to start by to discussing our areas of focus for 2013. Many of us have spent time over the holidays evaluating our lives and our work, and…
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Your Path to Publishing