A Blog Challenge for You

I sort of stole this idea from Nathan Bransford but he’s a pretty cool guy so I don’t think he’ll mind. (Think of it as flattery, Nathan.)

You’ve no doubt noticed that I often use guest bloggers, usually on Thursdays. I typically get the guest posts from amongst my clients and other friends in the industry. But today, for the very first time…

(drumroll please)

I am taking auditions for guest posts from YOU, my faithful blog readers.

I need about ten guest posts from readers to provide me with one per week for the rest of this year. (I already have some lined up from clients.) So the “prize” for this challenge is getting your post on my blog. Maybe not a huge prize, but hey, I’m getting more than 10,000 page loads per week so it’s not bad exposure for you.

Here’s how it will work:

→ In the comments to THIS POST, pitch me your guest post idea.

→ Do NOT email me your pitch.

→ Do NOT write your whole post.

→ I want a pitch in no more than 100 words.

→ Remember that a good pitch can include a note about your special qualifications to write about your topic (always true when pitching non-fiction).

→ Auditions will remain open for ONE WEEK, closing 11:59 pm ET on Friday, September 4th.

→ Once all the pitches are in, I’ll choose ten of them to become guest bloggers sometime from September to December.

→ If yours is chosen, you will write a post between 500 and 800 words, and you will provide me with a 1-2 sentence bio, links to your own websites/blogs, and a photo of yourself.

→ I will determine the date your post will appear on the blog.

→ I reserve the right to edit your final post and/or reject it should it not meet my expectations based on your original pitch. (Get used to that kind of contractual language!)

→ If you have a question, leave it in the comments.

Important: I’ve giving you 100 words, right? It’s in your best interest to use them up. Besides pitching me a topic I like, you also have to show me that you can write. (This is good practice for writing a query.)

Sharpen those pencils and get to work!

Rachelle Gardner

Literary agent at Gardner Literary. Coffee & wine enthusiast (not at the same time) and dark chocolate connoisseur. I've worked in publishing since 1995 and I love talking about books!


  1. Gregory Despain on March 25, 2012 at 5:12 PM

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  2. cheap computers on October 13, 2009 at 2:10 AM

    >This is good practice for writing a query.

  3. Ron Vanderwell on September 4, 2009 at 6:52 PM

    >Topic: Guilt is out. That’s so Bible Belt fundamentalist. Glad that’s over.

    And yet…if we’ve outgrown our guilt, then why do so many believers still feel vaguely second-class in their Christianity? (In a reverse Lake Wobegon kind of way). Maybe not feeling guilty, but not feeling quite innocent, either. Maybe a little numb. Why?

    Qualifications: Ron Vanderwell knows the Christian subculture from the inside out. The son of a preacher, raised in a Midwest town where no one mowed their lawn on Sunday. Over the years he’s slowly discovering the questions for which his faith offers answers.

  4. Robyn Campbell on September 4, 2009 at 5:55 PM

    >Topic: Does adding God to my MS mean it's for ONLY a Christian publisher or agency?

    Qualifications: I just wrote a MG novel that has two thirteen year old girls lost in the mountains with their horses. I have already heard from numerous people that I can only query agencies specializing in that type of book. That simply is not true. I am a christian but I mention God, because in that situation I feel he would be mentioned. I even have the girls talking about it. I know they would. How many folks have been told the same thing as me?

  5. Jason Black on September 4, 2009 at 2:55 PM

    >My name is Jason Black. I'm a freelance editor, recently featured as a speaker and book doctor consultant at the PNWA 2009 Summer Writers Conference.

    As an editor, I specialize in character development. I've seen countless mistakes in the way aspiring novelists portray their characters, most of which fall into a few clear cut categories. My guest post would illuminate three of these and include concrete, hands-on tips for avoiding them.

    Samples of my other character development tips are available at http://www.plottopunctuation.com/blog, and starting in October, also in a monthly column for Author Magazine (http://authormagazine.org/). Contact me at jason@plottopunctuation.com.

  6. Jacqueline Lichtenberg on September 4, 2009 at 2:30 PM

    >How Do You Know You're Cut Out To Write To Sell?

    Yet another High School student email-interviewed me recently. My answers can bullet-point a list of traits that support a career in commercial art.

    QUALIFICATIONS: Jacqueline Lichtenberg is creator of the Sime~Gen Universe, primary author of Star Trek Lives!, founder of the Star Trek Welcommittee, creator of the term Intimate Adventure, winner of the Galaxy Award for Spirituality in Science Fiction and the first Romantic Times Awards for Best Science Fiction Novel. Her work is now in e-book form, audio-dramatization and on XM Satellite Radio. She has been sf/f reviewer for The Monthly Aspectarian since 1993. With Professor Jean Lorrah, she teaches sf/f writing online. Bio and Bibliography at http://www.simegen.com/jl/

  7. Christina in Texas on September 4, 2009 at 1:36 PM

    >Do You Wanna Be My Agent?
    Circle Yes or No

    I've found my dream agent and I am convinced we are a perfect match! There are just two problems. He doesn't even know I exist and it will take more than a third grade-inspired note to get his attention.

    Two weeks ago I'd never used the term query letter in a sentence and now it dominates my thoughts. Add to it an addiction to Query Shark and it's easy to understand why I'm a mixture of excitement and doubt.

    A fresh look at the query process and the one reason we take our chances at the circled yes.

  8. Jeanne Veillette Bowerman on September 4, 2009 at 1:02 PM

    >What Does Your Writing Desk Say About You?
    An intellectual, artistic, out-of-the-box family raised me… and we’ve never been neat. Coincidence or just Sanford & Son genes? I set out to explore the desks of my Twitter followers. The twitpic submissions of brave, vulnerable writers were revealing of not only their neuroses, but also their procrastination tools. An unexpected question emerged as well: Did the desks fit our perception of their Twitter personalities? Raw, fun, revealing… and honest.

  9. Judith Mercado on September 4, 2009 at 11:50 AM

    >In a society whose racial, religious, and cultural labels increasingly blend into one another, how can a writer reflecting that reality find her genre niche? Born in Puerto Rico, I moved to the U.S., where my parents became evangelical ministers. My fiction explores the tensions among conflicting religious points of view, as well as those between Latino and Anglo cultures. My writing is too religious for the secular market and too secular for a CBA-type market. How can I remain true to the vision guiding my fiction: that we are all wrestling to define the meaning of redemption? http://www.judithmercadoauthor.blogspot.com

  10. Shelli on September 4, 2009 at 10:58 AM

    >Branding is how we identify ourselves to others. In addition to having an author brands, book brand, and personal brand, everyone has a Shadow Brand – the hidden brand holding you back from success. How do you identify your Shadow Brand and keep it in the dark where it belongs?

    I have a MBA with a Marketing Specialization combined with 18 years of experience. In 2000, I opened a marketing firm and have worked with clients such as Spanx. I’m currently represented by Alyssa Eisner Henkin and shopping my tween paranormal. I also run a well-visited marketing blog for authors.

    (so sorry about the email!! – I totally missed that and I read the rules many times – DUH! 🙁

  11. Nicole Amsler on September 4, 2009 at 10:10 AM

    >Crash Diets and Binge Writing

    The desire to write well and to lose weight requires the same disciplines. Yet I am inclined to crash diet and rush through the writing process, expecting instant results.

    A Tae-bo session doesn’t result in baggy pants nor does one writing marathon result in excellent storytelling. Both practices are a daily habit—not a one time deal.

    How are these two disciplines related? Why do we struggle with glacial results? How can we accumulate good, lifelong habits?

    My qualifications include an intimate knowledge of crash diets and the (occasional) discipline of writing.

  12. Jill on September 4, 2009 at 8:24 AM

    >TOPIC: Can you tell the difference between a stalker and a writer?

    A tongue-in-cheek look at the writing-related activities that keep us from actually writing.

    My qualifications? I have extensive experience with WRA (writing-related activities) that have kept me from writing. And I'm funny. Everyone says so, but I wouldn't mention that to you because you've already commented that you're not impressed with a recommendation from someone's mother.

  13. Marla Taviano on September 4, 2009 at 7:47 AM

    >I went on this Big Adventure with the hopes of writing a book about it. My agent turned the proposal down, a publisher said no, and finally (finally!) I got a big break and when (WHEN!) I get a book contract, I would love to guest blog about believing BIG when your chances seem slim. 🙂

  14. yes on September 4, 2009 at 6:04 AM

    >Guest blog: With all the rejection a writer has to face on a sometimes daily basis, it can be easy to fall into a hopeless frame of mind. Giving up, giving in, and giving out are all aspects of this hopelessness that can strip away the ability to think, the will to act, and the drive to succeed. A closer look at these three will show a spiritual side that can not only sustain a writer through the rough times, but can carry a believer through the valley. As a teacher, a writer and a believer, I know this well.

  15. Andrew on September 3, 2009 at 8:57 PM

    >If we are allowed a second shot – this is one idea I not seen, and it might be useful…

    What’s in a name?

    For your characters, almost everything. The names you choose for your paper children describe their ethnicity, social standing, relationship with their fictional parents…their names are the fletching on the arrow of their lives, arcing through your story.

    Take Tom Clancy’s recurring character, Jack Ryan. Knowing the basic context of Clancy’s novels – present-day America – you can say, Irish Catholic, parents probably admired Jack Kennedy, so Jack was born around 1960. Jack is the diminutive of John, so Mr. Ryan should be pretty informal. All of these fit.

    Choose the right name, and the character is partly formed.

  16. Susan Cushman on September 3, 2009 at 5:33 PM

    >Finding the Right Genre. After drafting a fiction novel and hiring a freelance editor to work it over, I woke up to the realization that I was trying to disguise my own story in fiction. The result? Characters who were often stifled and a plot with an agenda it couldn't fulfill. So I switched to creative nonfiction. After a couple of CNF workshops and a few writing group critique sessions, I began to submit my personal essays to various journals and magazines. EIGHT PUBLISHED ESSAYS LATER, I'm at work on a book-length memoir. Once it's done, I'm going to resurrect that fiction novel, set its characters free, and watch them soar! I'd love to share what I'm learning about the importance of finding the right genre with your blog readers. Visit my blog to read my published essays. Thanks for giving us this opportunity.

  17. Tami Boesiger on September 3, 2009 at 4:54 PM

    >I long to shed ten pounds by tomorrow morning. If my teenagers lost their hormonal attitudes today, I’d be doing the happy dance. And wouldn’t it be nice if slapping a few clever phrases on a page made me a writer?

    But some things take time. Writing involves a process that cannot be rushed. Like great athletes or musicians, writers need years of practice to reach proficiency. There are no shortcuts.

    So what’s an aspiring writer to do while they learn? I’ll tell you how I’m patiently getting the most out of my learning to write days.

  18. Rachel Starr Thomson on September 3, 2009 at 3:27 PM

    >I'd like to write on keeping the heart in writing. As a full-time freelancer, I know how easy it is to be sucked into learning, marketing, Twittering–and suddenly find myself with nothing to write, because somewhere in the busyness my heart got lost. “Where there is no vision, the people perish,” and where there is no purpose, writing quickly becomes the saddest sort of vanity. In my post, I would address the importance of vision, how to identify the heart of your writing, and practical ways to safeguard what matters most–the wellspring from which your writing flows.

  19. T. Anne on September 3, 2009 at 1:13 PM

    >Rachelle, I'd like this opportunity to share my personal bad experience with an agent, that went awry. I'd like to warn people what to look for in a good agent and stress the importance of research. I won't be naming names (my old agent is safe) but I cannot stress enough how invaluable it is to understand how easily my experience can happen to anyone.

  20. Chris on September 3, 2009 at 11:29 AM

    >Hi Rachelle,
    I'm an editor with Moody Publishers, and I'd be interested in doing a guest post on what we (as editors and marketers) look for and think about when we consider a book proposal. My email address is on the About page at my blog, http://greatcloud.wordpress.com/ .

    Chris Reese

  21. Jim Rubart on September 3, 2009 at 10:19 AM

    >What Good Is Owning A Stradivarius If You Can’t Play That Pup?

    Do we really need more instruction on the mechanics of Twittering or using Facebook?

    Please, no.

    We need guidance to how to be more compelling.

    We’re teaching people how to build a marketing Stradivarius, but offer little coaching on how to play anything worth listening to.

    Where is the training on how to write scintillating content?

    Are there guidelines to developing surprising, funny, informative posts that will make authors stand out?

    I have a few ideas.

    Jim Rubart- sometime Marketing Guru. Columnist—Quantum Marketing—Christian Fiction Online Magazine

  22. Maria I. Morgan on September 3, 2009 at 10:16 AM

    >It takes talent and persistence to succeed as a writer. There's an unwritten responsibility that comes with ability.

    Whether an athlete, a musician, or a writer, the individual must decide how to use his/her talent. Will the goal be self-serving or sacrificial? Do we crave fame and fortune, or are we willing to submit our agenda to the One who gifted us with the ability?

    I'd like to challenge fellow-writers with ten simple, yet profound words, written by an author himself, the Apostle Paul, "…whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." (1 Corinthians 10:31b, KJV)

  23. eseckman on September 3, 2009 at 10:06 AM

    >See? My limited skills stop me from deleting one of the posts. Is this akin to showing up to an interview fifteen minutes late? What can I say? God puts up with me.

  24. eseckman on September 3, 2009 at 9:56 AM

    >Topic: An honest, courageous examination of when I, an aspiring writer should with few skills or knowledge, should just go scrub the john.

    Qualifications: I am fully self-aware and educated in social work. I am not opposed to the 'physician healing thyself'.

  25. eseckman on September 3, 2009 at 9:35 AM

    >Topic: A courageous, honest look at my place in the writing industry. I have little knowledge and few skills. Who am I to dare to break into this business? And at what point should I just concentrate on cleaning the john?

    Qualifications: I am fully self-aware and trained in social work. I do not see a conflict of interest in the 'physician healing thyself'.

  26. Josette on September 3, 2009 at 8:52 AM

    >There are too many resources writers need to accomplish their goal of being published. They need writings classes, critique groups, networking opportunities and writing related reading materials. A writer could go crazy trying to find these resources, let alone broke. The problem is the average new beginning writer doesn’t realize they can find all these resources in one place: the American Christian Fiction Writers. I would like to write a blog post detailing how much the ACFW has helped me in my pursuit to accomplish my dream of being published.

  27. sarah on September 3, 2009 at 8:50 AM

    >My parents held high positions in the synagogue. They were respected and admired, but behind closed doors they beat and bullied my sister and I. They taught me God was punishing, demanding and cruel.
    Based on those lies I lived my life believing it had no value or purpose. I became wild, out of control and believed I had no right to exist. The deception hardened after I had been kidnapped,held for six months and raped.
    My story is written to inspire others to understand the true nature of God.

  28. Sharon Ball on September 3, 2009 at 8:25 AM

    >Rachelle, thank you for this audition. Here goes…

    Title – If I Only Knew

    I’ve finally graduated and now I’m in the “senior class” as a writer. I’ve written prattle my dog enjoyed, but wasn’t fit for human consumption, and I’ve walked, tripped, bumbled, skipped, and waddled down the road to publication. While I’m not published, I sense that I’m darn close. Along the way, I’ve collected pieces of wisdom from the rocky terrain south of the beaten path that other writers might find useful. Perhaps my post could save someone from buying a ticket on the trail and error train.

  29. Kory Wells on September 2, 2009 at 8:50 PM

    >Topic: How to Win at Writing Competitions, Even When You Don’t Place

    If you’re spending a lot of time on contests, some writers say, then you aren’t focusing on publishing. You aren’t building relationships with editors. And you’re sure to lose money in the long run, even if you win a contest or two. But my own experience – and that of over 50 writers I’ve surveyed – disputes those admonitions. In this blog I’ll discuss the many benefits of entering competitions as part of your career strategy.

    Qualifications: I’ve entered, won, administered and judged numerous contests at regional and national levels.

  30. katdish on September 2, 2009 at 6:52 PM

    >Wait…Can I enter more than once? Yes? Okay, thanks:

    Topic: Brownie in a Cup

    Single Serve Chocolate Deliciousness or personal affront to Betty Crocker?

  31. ElanaJ on September 2, 2009 at 6:39 PM

    >Topic: Revising for an agent – without an offer in hand.

    I write for the QueryTracker blog, as well as carry a healthy following on my own blog. I’ve done specific revisions for an agent without the promise of an offer. This is a scary place to be, yet hopeful at the same time. I’d like to give my advice—from the author’s side of the equation—on how to handle revisions requested by an agent. How to communicate. What questions to ask. In today’s market, where this might become more common, I think this could be valuable information.

    Thank you!

  32. Gina on September 2, 2009 at 5:41 PM

    >Book Blogging for Beginners

    What would possess someone to start a blog devoted to the works of just one author? It takes passion, dedication . . . and just a little bit of insanity. Find out how and why I launched my own blog dedicated to Dickens — and hear about some of the similarly impassioned folks I've met along the way who are running blogs about Austen, the Brontes, and Poe. Yes, it's possible to blog about a favorite author without getting completely sick of him — and to get nominated for an award for doing it!

    (Thanks, Rachelle!)

  33. Lattice on September 2, 2009 at 3:01 PM

    >Sorry–trying again while signed in…

    In 100 Words or Less: a Short Treatise on Appealing to Today’s Audience with Concise Precision

    A topic on which I am miserably UNqualified to share (if you need proof, just read my blog!), I am in awe of today’s audience and admire several authors who have honed the skill of writing concisely. I would appreciate the motivational challenge to research and report on this writing style that’s in such demand.

    A wife, mother, caretaker for elderly relative, home educator, and aspiring-but-amateur writer (in that order), I tend to write memoirs that illustrate fresh manna I encounter daily.

  34. Lattice on September 2, 2009 at 2:50 PM

    >In 100 Words or Less: a Short Treatise on Appealing to Today’s Audience with Concise Precision

    A topic on which I am miserably UNqualified to share (if you need proof, just read my blog!), I am in awe of today’s audience and admire several authors who have honed the skill of writing concisely. I would appreciate the motivational challenge to research and report on this writing style that’s in such demand.

    A wife, mother, caretaker for elderly relative, home educator, and aspiring-but-amateur writer (in that order), I tend to write memoirs that illustrate fresh manna I encounter daily.

  35. Erica on September 2, 2009 at 1:04 PM

    >We all have dreams; unfortunately, we also barely have time to deal with reality. Finding time to work on things we love and enjoy isn't easy. I will write a guest post for you about making the most of every moment we are given. Such a post would include details on being goal oriented, task management, scheduling, & identifying time-traps. As an aspiring writer who has struggled with balancing life { wife, mother, student, career-woman } & who was tragically reminded of how short life really is, I have learned the necessity of critically evaluating what fills my days. I would love an opportunity to share what I have learned.

  36. gina on September 2, 2009 at 11:33 AM

    >Topic: Who do you write for?

    Qualifications: I had a terrible personal tragedy a few years ago that completely changed my perspective on my relationships, my dreams, and my entire view of the world. I sit on my deck and write it all out by hand in spiral notebooks. Will the book ever get published? I seriously doubt it, but that was not why I wrote it. Sure I would love to be a famous author who does book tours, speaking engagements, and inspirational tours, but even if that never happens then purging it all out of my system is good enough for me. My blog entry would exam the reasons that people write and how the human language can be therapy in itself.

  37. Heather Sunseri on September 2, 2009 at 10:25 AM

    >Topic: Writers can't stray from faith on the path to publication.

    Through pangs of self-doubt, stinging critiques, the inevitable onslaught of query or manuscript rejections and even negative reviews after publication, a writer must have faith in God, first, and in one's self to overcome challenges on the path to success.

    Qualifications: I've developed a blog to encourage and inspire writers on the path to publication at http://www.heathersunseri.blogspot.com.

  38. Faye on September 2, 2009 at 9:42 AM

    >As HR administrator I interview job applicants: police officers, wastewater operators, budget analysts. Though the jobs are completely different the rules of good interviewing are the same and I would bet the same rules apply when pitching an idea for a book. The following tips will help get you to the top of the stack.
    1. Remember there are hundreds of other folks competing against you.
    2. A job resume or query letter is the first impression. You’re saying much about yourself when you don’t take the time to make a resume neat and completely error free.

  39. katdish on September 2, 2009 at 8:45 AM

    >140 comments already? Sheesh! Okay, here goes (AHEM!):

    Topic: The fine art of shameless self promotion: Why good writing is not enough.

    Most writers are by nature introverts, more likely to study the crowd than join it. Yet the need to build a recognizable name is more important than ever in today's publishing market. Fortunately, savvy use of social media gives authors a myriad of opportunities to build a strong platform.

  40. Whidget on September 2, 2009 at 7:30 AM

    >How to Catch a Doctor:

    From the time boys started yanking my hair on the playground, my mom has said the same thing about every guy I bring home, "Is he a doctor?" I finally married one. And no, I wasn't pregnant when he popped the question.

    If you're single with a doctor-crazy mom, I bet you want to meet your XYMD, too. I can help you smoke them out of their hidey holes.

  41. Dr. David and Lisa Frisbie on September 2, 2009 at 7:09 AM


    Can you name these authors?

    Who wrote: "The Power of a Praying …..?"

    Who wrote: "A ….. After God's Own Heart?"

    Whether you can name them or not, these authors are known by most Christian publishers, editors, agents, and others. The reason? These authors have established a strong brand identity.

    Trying to break in? You'd be surprised how much it matters if you can find a "brand" that represents what you do. Publishers love that; so do editors and agents.

    We'll write a post about creating your own brand identity, based on a seminar we're doing at the San Diego Christian Writers Guild Fall Conference, Sept 25 and 26.

    BTW: Answers are Stormie O'Martian and Elizabeth George.

  42. Jodi Whisenhunt on September 1, 2009 at 9:13 PM

    >Topic: Cut it Out!

    Writers are paranoid people. We fear if we don’t build up enough intro, our readers won’t get what we’re saying. Sometimes that leads to explaining our characters and giving excuses for their behavior instead of allowing them to live their lives out on the page.

    Prevent explanation problems by cutting the first three pages of each chapter of early drafts. Don’t be afraid to jump right into the story. It plunges the reader right into the action and gets him interested immediately. It keeps him reading to discover motives and quirks.

    I am an avid reader, freelance editor at Aim for Perfection Editing, and Christian Writers’ Group director.

  43. Stephanie Shott on September 1, 2009 at 8:26 PM

    >Tips for Non-Fiction Writers
    Facts without a well thought out presentation leave the reader bored and ready to close the pages of a potentially life-altering book. The essential elements of creativity and personality are equally necessary for the non-fiction writer as they are for those who write fiction.
    What is it that makes one non-fiction book stand out more than another? How can an author tuck her own personality neatly between the lines? What can non-fiction writers learn from those who write fiction?
    Sharing lessons I’ve learned (and am still learning) on my publishing journey.

  44. Jodi Whisenhunt on September 1, 2009 at 7:33 PM

    >Topic: The Elusive RT

    I long for the elusive RT, or retweet, the ultimate Twitter compliment. It’s offered only when the Tweet-er posts something profound, informative, or enlightening. As a writer, I thrive on validation. A retweet tells me someone found value in what I said. It excites a mini-adrenaline rush similar to receiving an agent’s or editor’s acceptance letter.

    Social media has become instrumental in developing author platform, networking with industry professionals, and promoting published pieces. When people retweet industry opportunities and publishing information, they provide an invaluable service to me. My post promises to exploit the benefits of Twitter and will include numerous follower suggestions.

  45. Gini Grey on September 1, 2009 at 5:49 PM

    >Writing From Your Heart and Soul.

    How does one open their heart and connect to their soul in order to share deeper insights and higher perspectives through their stories, articles and books? I'll guide readers through a process on your blog site.

    I am a transformational coach, writer and spiritual teacher. I have published one book, From Chaos to Calm, and am looking for an agent and publisher for my new book, Your Treasure: A Journey of True-Self Discovery. I have blog site where I write Insights & Inspiration articles and Spiritual Insights articles.

  46. rfgainey on September 1, 2009 at 4:35 PM

    >Writing with a fresh voice and humor: What if an aristocratic, well-educated dog was having a hard time getting published? I am an agented writer with a first novel, based on an award-winning short story, that can't seem to find a home. Publishers tell you they are looking for something NEW and DIFFERENT. Yet, when presented with same, they return: "don't know where to place it on the shelf". Do they really yearn for the unique? My blog entry will examine the trials and tribulations of coming up with something fresh and staying true, albeit pennilessly so, to the work.

  47. Amy L. Sonnichsen on September 1, 2009 at 3:56 PM

    >Confessions of a Closet Writer

    I still can’t talk about it without getting flustered. Most times I don’t talk about it at all. I never bring it up.

    If people ask me about it, I try to give them a concise answer. Then I change the subject.

    But I’m doing better, much better. Blogging and blog reading helped. I even joined a critique group. It’s nice to know I’m not alone. There are lots of us out there.

    Hi, I’m A.L. Sonnichsen, and I’m a Closet Writer.


  48. Jill Kemerer on September 1, 2009 at 1:16 PM

    >Title: Don’t “survive” the unpublished years—thrive!

    Is the honeymoon phase of your writing over? Join me as I present tips to get you through “for better or for worse.” Don’t let your dream of becoming a published author slip away because of unrealistic expectations. Love won’t get you through the unpublished years—commitment will.

    Qualifications: I’ve been pursuing publication for three years, and every day I get more excited about the path I’m on. I offer motivation and encouragement for writers at my blog (http://jillkemerer.blogspot.com).

    Thank you for this opportunity.

  49. Dineen A. Miller on September 1, 2009 at 11:50 AM

    >Hey Rachelle,
    I'm late getting here and wow! you have lot's of ideas already. But just in case…

    "Do your advertising materials reflect you and your genre?

    Or, though I'm just breaking into bookcovers, I could talk about that process.

    Thanks! 🙂

  50. Nicole on September 1, 2009 at 10:29 AM

    >To Do or Not To Do? . . . the Question of Self-Publishing

    Having accomplished the dirty deed of self-publishing not once but twice, I can tell you one writer’s reason for choosing custom-publishing. Not an easy choice or an inexpensive one and certainly not the one which makes you a headliner to the royalty publishing crowd, self or custom-publishing remains a viable option for publishing your book. If you’re considering this road to publishing, you need to be familiar with the terrain—and the attached stigma.

  51. Rebekah on September 1, 2009 at 10:07 AM

    >Topic: To potty train or not to potty train, the ultimate toddler dilemma.

    As a mom of three boys I fight the urge to compare and compete. I don't want my kids to be left behind. I'm doing better. I'm learning to release this temptation. This was a hard lesson learned when I brought home a little video sure to do the potty training trick. A reality check is always good for me, and I'm not afraid to laugh at myself for the benefit of other moms in the trenches.

    Qualifications: A published humor columnists since 2005.


  52. Carol Coven Grannick on September 1, 2009 at 9:49 AM

    >Pitch: Becoming an Irrepressible Writer. How to learn and maintain resilience – the most important tool in a writer's toolkit. Martin Seligman's "Learned Optimism" has serious and important implications for writers, who lose out if they cannot deal with adversity. Learn how to apply the proven, international research and theories of the Positive Psychology movement to the vicissitudes of the writer's life and increase energy, productivity and creativity.

    Qualifications: Carol Coven Grannick is a published writer for adults and children and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker whose column, "The Irrepressible Writer" appears regularly in the Illinois SCBWI PRAIRIE WIND http://www.intelligentlight.com/PrairieWind).

  53. Carol Coven Grannick on September 1, 2009 at 9:45 AM

    >Pitch: Becoming an Irrepressible Writer. How to learning and maintain resilience – the most important tool in a writer's toolkit. Martin Seligman's "Learned Optimism" has serious and important implications for writers, who lose out if they cannot deal with adversity. Learn how to apply the proven, international research and theories of the Positive Psychology movement to the vicissitudes of the writer's life and increase energy, productivity and creativity.

    Qualifications: Carol Coven Grannick is a published writer for adults and children and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker whose column, "The Irrepressible Writer" appears regularly in the Illinois SCBWI PRAIRIE WIND http://www.intelligentlight.com/PrairieWind).

  54. Julie Weathers on September 1, 2009 at 9:29 AM

    >Why Finding The Perfect Agent is Like Buying A Horse.

    Finding the perfect agent sometimes seems like an impossible task. Writers spill blood on the page until they have to be treated for anemia, and yet, when it comes to agents, they’re willing to settle for anyone who says yes.

    If you go to a horse sale, the first thing you notice are catalogues gripped as tightly as the family bible with the proof they’re related to Blackbeard.

    Research. That’s where it begins, but I’ll show you the rest of the journey. Just watch where you step. Stuff happens.

  55. Jeannie Campbell, LMFT on August 31, 2009 at 10:31 PM

    >Character Therapy

    If one out of every four people has a mental disorder and sees a therapist, wouldn't it serve to reason that fictional characters have the same issues? Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Jeannie Campbell explains what "character therapy" is and how it can help with things like plot feasibility and psychological consistency.

    Avoid cliched or stereotyped characters. Pick the therapist's brain so you don't have to pick yours.

    Would offer a free manuscript assessment (up to three chapters), as well as a character assessment of one major character to one lucky blog commenter that day. Assessments are posted to The Character Therapist blog.

    Jeannie Campbell
    Where Romance Meets Therapy

  56. Andrew on August 31, 2009 at 9:17 PM

    >“Can we talk?”

    “About what? Let me guess…you want believable dialogue for your novel, hmm?”

    “I’ve read Hemingway, I’ve read Steinbeck, I’ve read RICHARD BACH, even. They make it look easy. But when I write it’s dead or it’s stupid or the characters are just giving speeches and it’s like watching wood rot.”

    “No kidding…I’ve read your…”

    “What? What?!”

    “Nothing. Look, dialogue isn’t your characters having their own private story, leaving the reader behind. And it’s not you making them into mouth-puppets for your message. Dialogue is where you put down your author-mask. It’s where you really meet your reader.”

  57. LoriStrongin on August 31, 2009 at 7:42 PM

    >Believe it or not, agents get accosted at conferences while in the bathroom, napping, and even during their presentations. The perpetrators have one thing in common—they made an impression. A bad one.

    Don’t be the joke of the conference. Former FWA conference director Lori Strongin will give readers a trial-by-fire checklist on how to maximize agent one-on-one time. Master the art of the successful elevator pitch. Discover what business cards really say about you as a professional and as a writer. And learn about the fine line between confident and cocky in, “Do’s and Don’ts of the Conference Circuit.”

  58. Cindy on August 31, 2009 at 5:58 PM

    >Where Persistence Meets Passion: Know the Market, But Know Your Heart Better

    Because many who visit your blog are aspiring writers, this post will encourage and explore passion in writing. With a huge emphasis on platform and awareness of market trends these days, it takes a look at three topics that will spark writers to approach writing from a new outlook—and one that comes from the heart. These topics include Loving Your Genre, Knowing Why You Want to Write, and Believing in Where You’re Going.

    I have two novels contracted with OakTara Publishers and a blog for new writers.

  59. Liesl Robbins Shurtliff on August 31, 2009 at 12:04 PM

    >Just tell the story.
    Show, don’t tell.

    Learn the rules. Abide by them.
    Throw the rule book out the window.

    Your story must be new.
    There’s no such thing as a new story.

    Don’t let criticism tell you how to write your story.
    You must listen to criticism.

    For every piece of writer advice I’ve received, I’ve also received the opposite. Some of these contradictory statements I’ve heard from the same author! There is no advice that blankets every situation. My topic will address how we take our contradictory advice and use it to strengthen and center our writing.


  60. Lori O on August 31, 2009 at 11:43 AM

    >The Synopsis. The Root Canal of The Novel

    Many writers would rather sit through a root canal than write a synopsis, but like an abscessed tooth that cannot be ignored, sooner or later the synopsis will need to be written.

    A synopsis, like a root canal, clears away all of the debris, driving home the root of the story, outlining main characters, major conflict and main plot points. Like a root canal, writing a synopsis isn’t so bad, and once it’s finished it’s a tremendous relief.

  61. Matthew Meadors on August 31, 2009 at 11:41 AM

    >Topic: Roots before branches, and what does that mean to me?

    More than just a great song lyric, or a pithy phrase, this concept has been on my mind since I heard the song by Room For Two. What does it mean for this middle-aged, aspiring author in terms of his personal life and his writing? I believe that I’ve discovered, or rediscovered, if you will, some truths that can apply to my personal life as well as my writing aspirations. And since I’m just an average Joe, they just might apply to others as well.

  62. David A. Todd on August 31, 2009 at 11:10 AM

    >Internet Content Sites: Any Value for Writers of Books?

    One type of writing available, that does pay, is Internet content sites. Demand Studios, eHow, About.com, Suite101.com, Examiner.com, Bella Online, and others, all hire freelance writers to provide content that people using search engines will find. Payment to writers is based on a number of models from up-front to ad revenue share.

    My blog post will list a number of these sites, compare their business models, and discuss how they might bring value to the aspiring writer.

    My experience to write this blog post comes from my time as a writer for Suite101.com: My profile and articles there.

  63. Ruth Logan Herne on August 31, 2009 at 11:01 AM

    >Oh my stars, how much fun is this???

    Newly contracted and agented author Ruth Logan Herne would love to blog about how to make the square pegs of 80,000 word single titles fit into the round holes of 60,000 category romance. Included in this blog, but not limited to blog-mania, is advice on how to re-dress the lone unchosen book of the series to raise its marketability in other lines.

    Understandably the blog author refuses any and all responsibility for the reader's angst and possible hair loss as a result of following directions on said blog.

  64. Mary Connealy on August 31, 2009 at 9:58 AM

    >My blog post, ABC’s for Writers is a pithy run-through of fundamental writing skills.

    I’ll teach you to:
    Set the Scene,
    Use the Five Sense,
    Understand POV,
    Avoid Backstory Dumps,
    Use Dialogue, and
    Explode your Story from the Beginning.
    As always with my posts, I issue this disclaimer: Following my advice often leads to disaster, the author is not liable for said disaster and assumes no responsibility when the inevitable said disaster occurs.
    My Website

  65. Alan Hutcheson aka Plumboz on August 31, 2009 at 9:53 AM

    >Hi Rachelle,

    When I first discovered online writers' sites I couldn't help being drawn in by the promise of a community of like-minded souls. The opening chapters of "The Baer Boys" made the first Short List on YWO. "Boomerang" was one of the first to make it to the Editor's Desk on Authonomy. But the experience hasn't exactly been all positive. How to Get the Most Out of Writers' Sites (Or Should You Bother?), would be my subject. I'm currently writing a follow-up novel to "Boomerang" and blogging about it on Writing a Novel, Living a Life.


  66. Penmad on August 31, 2009 at 8:50 AM

    >Grow a Writing Career Anywhere

    You can build publication credits and a reputation as a writer no matter where you live or work. Learn to find, exploit and leverage opportunities around you.

    Qualifications: Despite living in the northern mountains of New Hampshire and working as an accountant, I launched a business writing career that led to paid publication in respected publications, including the Boston Globe. My first nonfiction book grew out of volunteer work at a historical society, as did my novels.

  67. Terresa on August 31, 2009 at 1:07 AM

    >Topic: Why do we write? (And what motivates an unpublished writer to keep writing?)

    Qualifications: I have a BA in English lit and a MLIS. I've worked in libraries (public and corporate) and a publishing company. I currently write from the chipped kitchen counters of my life, at home with my four young children.

    I write because at the end of all I do, washing the twentieth fork and picking up the last bread crust tossed to the tile floor in my suburban America, I want to know there is something of me left. A thought, a mind, a will.

  68. Cheryl Wyatt on August 31, 2009 at 12:31 AM


    Full proof advice for authors aspiring toward rejection.

    -Top notch advice from well-rejected author for aspirings craving anti-personal, unsigned, coffee-stained, rapid-fire form rejections from bleary-eyed, overworked, underpaid publishers, minus the muttered cuss words also entering the envelope. Apply one Advice Bullet to submission to better your chances of rejection. Apply all Bullets to receive a SASE containing real bullets daring you to pitch ms at conferences under different title.

    Example Bullet: –Douse manuscript with perfume. Mail to asthmatic editor.

    Cheryl Wyatt

  69. Michael Gray on August 30, 2009 at 11:10 PM

    >Rachelle, would you prefer topics dealing with some aspect of writing (writing process, life-of-an-author, publishing industry, etc.) or are you interested in other topics as well? It seems that most of your guest bloggers deal with the former. As it happens, I specialize more in writing about the latter. 🙂


  70. R. Holloway on August 30, 2009 at 8:56 PM

    >Topic: Confessions of a Christian Counselor

    The world is more messed up than people think. Believe me, I hear their secrets, their stories.

    But, humans, when they are at their best, are conduits of God's love.

    I have a lot to write about… And, need to write…

  71. Stacey on August 30, 2009 at 6:36 PM

    >Online Research for Writers

    There’s nothing more convincing than the truth. I'll show your readers how to use Web resources to enliven their writing with historical context, accurate settings and appropriate slang. We'll browse archived issues of the New York Times. Finally, I'll explain how to hone query responses with Google’s advanced search features.

    Stacey Dennick found so many useful resources while researching her MFA in Writing thesis that she created a website to house them all. http://www.writersquest.org is a free portal for all things writerly, from forensics for writers, to writing prompts.

  72. Mechelle Fogelsong on August 30, 2009 at 6:17 PM

    >Cheeto Dust (an excerpt):

    Janet Evanovich claims she eats cheese doodles while she writes. I’ve often wondered how she accomplishes this without getting doodle dust all over the keyboard.

    M&M’s rock my world, but if I switched, would my writing improve?

  73. Mechelle Fogelsong on August 30, 2009 at 5:56 PM

    >Topic: Keeping the Orange Cheeto Dust Off Your Keyboard

    Post Theme: Which foods make the best snacks when writing, and which snacks are the best foods for thought?

    Post will end with an interactive question: What do you snack on when you’re writing, and what does it do for you?

    Author Qualifications: I snack when I write.

  74. Sherri Woodbridge on August 30, 2009 at 4:56 PM

    >Blog Post: Writing Through the Pain

    Someone once said ‘Life is hard, then you die.’ Chronic illness is hard but you have to live with it. How do you take something you love to do – write – and keep pressing on through the pain?

    Join me as we explore obstacles writers with chronic illnesses face and how they can be successful in overcoming those hurdles.

    Diagnosed with Young Onset Parkinson’s disease (YOPD), I write articles on living with YOPD and other PD related issues and was featured in the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation newsletter, regarding my life and writing.

  75. C.C. Harrison on August 30, 2009 at 3:16 PM

    >Blog Topic: THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS WRITER'S BLOCK: It's Called Lack of Planning

    I don't leave home without a map and if I'm going more than 100 miles, I need a Triptik. Here are some tips to avoid "hitting the wall" in the middle of your story.

  76. C.C. Harrison on August 30, 2009 at 3:10 PM

    >Blog Topic: THE WRITING LIFE, or Close Out That FreeCell and Get to Work.

    I've always been interested in knowing how writers write their books (their process)and how much time they spend doing it (their schedule). It was years before I learned there was no ONE WAY to write a book. Here's what I do.

  77. C. C. Harrison on August 30, 2009 at 2:58 PM

    >Suggested blog topic: L. L. Bean and Me: Story Characters

    I've never, never, never EVER used people I know or any other real people as characters in any of my three published novels. So where do I find my story characters? I'll share with blog readers how my story characters come to me, and offer more tips on creating interesting story characters.

  78. Heather on August 30, 2009 at 1:16 PM

    >What makes a true hero? What is a true her, anyway, and why does it matter to us as Christians?
    My essay "The Making of a True Hero" answers these questions, as well as providing examples from popular fantasy fiction and giving a list of qualities that heroes should exemplify or strive for.
    Thank you for your time!

  79. Mark Hayes on August 30, 2009 at 12:39 PM


    Guest Post Topic:

    How to go from being a first-time blogger, to securing a book deal.


    After deciding to change lifestyles, I stopped being a translator for the Irish Navy, and moved to L.A to pursue my dreams. I decided to document my random adventures in a blog I set up, and this week signed my first book deal. All of this is within 7 months of writing my first ever blog post. The first step of many in a new journey!


    Life is Beautiful!


  80. Sharon A. Lavy on August 30, 2009 at 11:22 AM

    >I would love to see a guest on your blog: Mary DeMuth.

  81. Joylene Nowell Butler on August 30, 2009 at 11:02 AM

    >The 3-Act Story Structure: the secret to writing a best-seller.

    Once you get over the concept that everything in fiction, movies, etc is scripted or has a formula, you begin to appreciate what it takes to create a blockbuster. Story breakdowns are invaluable. Doesn't matter if you've published five book or none, we owe it to our readers to write the best story we can write. …

    I.e.; Fifteen minutes into [Collateral] the movie we meet the hero, know the theme is chance meetings can drastically change your life, see love interest, see set pieces and witness central story question.

  82. Matilda McCloud on August 30, 2009 at 10:28 AM

    >A complaint about amateur screenwriters is that their dialogue is too "on the nose." Characters talk openly about their feelings, rather than revealing them through action or unspoken subtext.

    In my post, I would like to expand on this concept for fiction writers. Are your characters and plots too "on the nose"?

    For example, an anti-social tattooed biker is on the nose. But the biker who says "Bless you" to his mutt when it sneezes is off the nose. If he wears an "I Brake for Unicorns" t-shirt, however, the reader might find him too far off the nose!

  83. Amy A. W. Bonaccorso on August 30, 2009 at 7:32 AM

    >Book Proposal Prep: Profiling Your Audience

    A critical part of book proposals is demonstrating that you know your audience and can sell books. That’s why it can be important to test-drive your material with your audience before pitching books to publishers or agents.

    I’ll talk about my strategy of using online communities, traditional publications, and friends to test my material, get to know my audience, and gather statistics. This information is most important for first-time authors who don’t yet have a lofty platform or publishing history. The knowledge gives insights into how to effectively market and shape a book.

  84. Laura Martone on August 30, 2009 at 1:52 AM

    >Wow! There are some terrific topics here. Good luck choosing, Rachelle. Nathan's guest blog posts have worked out pretty well… I'm sure yours will, too.

  85. swati on August 29, 2009 at 11:35 PM

    >"Second Book Blues"

    Getting your first novel published is a high like no other, but there is a dark side that is rarely discussed: the second book blues. This blog will explore why it's hard to talk about the sbb, why others' expectations keep us away from the keyboards, and will suggest some strategies for overcoming them.

    Qualifications: After an incredible day where my debut novel went to auction and was sold in a 2-book deal, I found myself humbled and terrified to write the second book. But, after nearly a year of procrastination and stress, my second book has legs!

  86. Frank Redman on August 29, 2009 at 11:20 PM

    >Rachelle, thanks for this opportunity.

    Seize the Story

    Storytelling is a God-given talent. Just as an individual has musical or athletic ability, so does a person innately possess storytelling ability. A singer is not wowing Simon Cowell because her voice carries for miles, but because she can SING IN TUNE and be heard for miles. That cannot be taught. Voice lessons may help, but being heard for miles while singing off-key is as painful as eating a cactus.

    Now writing CRAFT is a different story.

    The purpose of this guest post is to discuss the ramifications of having, or not having, a talent for storytelling.

  87. Cathy Bryant on August 29, 2009 at 9:48 PM

    >How NaNoWriMo Changed Me From An “I Can’t” to An “I Did”

    As a writer with seven unfinished novels, I’ll share how participating in NaNoWriMo 2008 helped me complete my first novel (now a 2009 ACFW Genesis finalist in the Contemporary Romance category). Getting through that lousy first draft is often the biggest hurdle for novelists. After all, you can’t improve something that’s non-existent. My post will include how I ‘pre-wrote’ the novel, as well as the process of planting yourself in front of the computer and cranking out a 50,000-word novel in thirty days.

    catbry1 at yahoo dot com

  88. Frontline Ink on August 29, 2009 at 9:36 PM

    >Ghostwriting: the Invisible Stepping Stone

    The post will open with a brief description of ghostwriting and will be divided into three parts.

    The first, Why Ghostwrite?, will discuss benefits, including paid practice, the chance to bolster credibility, and the potential for income-producing referrals.

    Nuts and Bolts will cover how to find jobs, what to charge, and what to include in the contract.

    What’s in it for Me? will present ghostwriting as a stepping stone for a stand-alone career and will encourage writers to deny ego and focus on learning the craft.

    Qualifications: published both as stand-alone writer and ghostwriter.

  89. Lori Stanley Roeleveld on August 29, 2009 at 8:43 PM

    >Topic: The Write Way to Change

    Through the part-time YMCA job I took to support my writing habit, I’ve discovered the power of using writing exercises to help people reach their healthy lifestyle goals. Engaging the imagination is a powerful tool for motivation.

    After working with over two hundred people for two years, I’ve found the pen can be mightier than the treadmill for making lasting change in weight loss, stress levels and exercise habits. God surprised me with an outlet for my writing gift that has nothing to do with being published and everything to do with serving others.

  90. Robert A Meacham on August 29, 2009 at 8:06 PM

    >Topic: Book Signings

    Imagine yourself sitting at a playing card-size table draped with a bright color cloth and a poster-size picture of the cover of your book flanking the table in a stand facing incoming customers.
    I, once intimidated by this vision, found a way to not only do a successful book signing, but also build a relationship with a life styles editor at a local newspaper, acquire cooperative advertising with a bookstore chain, and network with new people.
    My blog will show you how to get er done step by step. You will not be disappointed with the results.

  91. Lynne williams on August 29, 2009 at 6:17 PM

    >The recent death of author Dominick Dunne reminded me of a decades-ago encounter with Dunne, when I was a struggling law student. During the OJ trial, I had the opportunity to eavesdrop on Dunne’s dialogue with a charming Irish bartender, and learned that the law can be poetic, theatrical, and just and unjust at the same time. Most of all, I realized that the law was not about codes, or constitutions or cases, but about people, thus changing me from a legal practitioner into a lifelong teller of stories. This storyteller is now a civil rights attorney and playwright.

  92. God and Ponytails on August 29, 2009 at 5:27 PM

    >Oh and my Qualifications:
    Jennie Allen- a mom and pastor's wife writing to the hearts of women and children- Hopefully making God bigger. MABS from Dallas Theological Seminary

  93. Matt Mikalatos on August 29, 2009 at 5:26 PM

    >Embracing Your Inner Weird

    A friend helped me stop writing toward the perceived needs of agents, editors and publishers and encouraged me instead to write something I truly loved. I warned him, “It’s going to be a weird book.” He encouraged me to give it a try. This led to getting an agent, completing the manuscript, and multiple offers on the book, which releases in April from Tyndale/Barna Books.

  94. God and Ponytails on August 29, 2009 at 5:04 PM

    >Writing to change lives~

    There are moments when words on a page come together and mean something. Not just something, the words actually come together and they move us. I believe as writers we all want to write words that change people. And I believe that we are writing to a generation that reads to be moved… to be different after they read the last page of a book.

    The rise of the memoir is one indicator that readers are looking for authenticity… voices that speak out of their experiences, not just their expertise.

  95. Mark Adair on August 29, 2009 at 3:48 PM

    >“Larry King Interviews Mark Adair”
    (a sneak preview of my future life as an absurdly successful author)

    Tonight, we take an inside look at the most famous author of any era, Mark Adair. We’ll ask him about his amazing journey from relative obscurity to the blazing limelight of super stardom. In addition, he’s agreed to give us an exclusive peek into his hectic and opulent life. We’ll finish up by finding out his advice to the struggling writers of today, who might be the Mark Adair’s of tomorrow.

    Tonight at 8:00, on Larry King Live.

  96. Susan Marlow . . . on August 29, 2009 at 3:03 PM

    >Sorry for the deletion, but I forgot a couple of things, and there's no place to "edit comment" is there?

    Topic: Mistakes Beginning Writers Make

    Oh, those writing mistakes! Those mistakes that brand a new writer as a "beginner" to the editors and agents they hope to impress with their work. What separates the beginner from those who go on to become mature (and perhaps published) writers? It's how quickly they identify and overcome these common mistakes.

    I presented these mistakes (and how to fix them) on BlogTalkRadio this week for the Information in a Nutshell Writing and Publishing program.
    Writing and Publishing

    (But it might take up 2 posts) 🙂
    Susan K. Marlow
    Circle C Adventures

  97. Weronika on August 29, 2009 at 2:49 PM

    >Great opportunity for us, Rachelle; I'm sure Nathan is flattered.

    Here is what I have to offer:

    PITCH: Creating the Online Web Presence – a collection of suggestions/instructions for and insight into making the most of the Internet through both traditional (facebook, Twitter) and non-traditional (Red Room, Amazon Authors, etc.) mediums; when to start, how to accommodate for later success, and where to draw the line between personal and professional

    QUALIFICATIONS: Self-published novelist that relied on the Internet for sales; blogger who, with marketing efforts, witnessed a nearly 10x growth in readership and page hits over two months

  98. Laura Cross on August 29, 2009 at 1:59 PM

    >Topic: Building Your Author Platform Before Approaching an Agent

    Qualifications: Ghostwriter of numerous published nonfiction books. Author of the nonfiction writing blog True Story Ink. I also teach nonfiction writing workshops. My first 'credited author' book, titled "How To Hire A Literary Agent", will be commercially published late autumn 2009.

    Thanks for the opportunity.

  99. Carol Newman Cronin on August 29, 2009 at 1:21 PM

    >Topic: The unexpected places a good story can take its author.

    For Christmas 2007 I wrote a story for my nephew. When it wouldn’t let me go, I sent it to a publisher… and now I’m scheduling book signings for “Oliver’s Surprise” all around the country.

    While writing, I forgot about word count, genre, or what anyone but a twelve year old boy would think. While selling, optimistic perseverance and blind luck came into play. Now I'm taking a look back at how I became a published author … and working on a sequel.

  100. Natasha Fondren on August 29, 2009 at 12:26 PM

    >Healthy Typing and Mousing from a Classical Pianist

    Working as a writer is challenging enough; no writer should have to work through pain or have surgery, too. Knowledge of the proper way to use the arms, hands, and fingers can both prevent and heal repetitive stress injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome and tendinitis.

    As a classical pianist who overcame those injuries without surgery, I've taught others how to play the piano pain-free. That same technique can be applied to typing, so all my writing friends can write healthy and pain-free, too!

    PS: Can format and include embedded video/pictures to demonstrate technique.

  101. Joelle Anthony on August 29, 2009 at 11:49 AM

    >Chris Crutcher said, “Simple fact. If I don’t read, I don’t write.” Seems obvious, but if you ask many aspiring authors what they’re reading, the answer is often, “I don’t have time. I’m busy writing.” It’s very hard for writers, especially ones with jobs and families, to accept that reading is not simply a guilt-ridden pleasure, but a necessity if they want to learn their craft. I propose a blog post called The Need to Read, based on the three year, self-designed reading program that I believe propelled me from a “writer of interest” to a 2010 debut novelist.


  102. Marcia on August 29, 2009 at 9:53 AM

    >The pitch: It's not just about selling books. Most authors hate book signings. Some hate any and all social gatherings where they are "out there." After publishing 3books and doing all of the above, I've discovered it's not just about selling books – it's about the 'divive appointment' that's waiting for you. Like the young woman who aggressively challenged me about my novel, set in the Yukon. "So, have you even been up north?" We discovered we had history in common and that led to a heart to heart about her sister's death. It ended with, "I really needed this. Thanks." And she bought the book.

  103. ginny martyn on August 29, 2009 at 8:48 AM

    >It Takes a Village(read: Platform)

    If you are anything like me you are in the genesis of your writing career. That means your champagne wishes and caviar dreams of becoming a published author have been rejected more than a Saturday morning telemarketer. In your Holy Grail quest to get published you’ve probably uncovered a dirty, eight-letter word called platform. If creating a cult sized following that can only be rivaled by Oprah makes you sweat like a sinner in church, take heart, it isn’t as bad as it sounds. I will show you how I turned 40 readers into 4,000 in just four months.


  104. nkkingston on August 29, 2009 at 7:59 AM

    >ePublishing: Why piracy is like doing your laundry by hand.

    You can do your own laundry for free, but it's an arduous task. As laundrettes and washing machine manufacturers persuaded people to exchange money for convenience, so must the publishing industry. Would you have given up your mangle if the laundrette was charging you to wring your clothes by hand? So why does the industry hope people will give up downloading pirated books when they're charging you for the inconvenience of DRM?

  105. Maya / מיה on August 29, 2009 at 5:54 AM

    >(I'm obeying the word limit this time!)

    Every writer must research, whether we're composing historical fiction (like me!) or chick lit. My post will help writers master the Google search with tips like these:

    1. Search for the question, not the answer.

    2. Use Wikipedia to reach reliable information (plus a hilarious example of Wikipedia's unreliability).

    3. Find personal rather than clinical answers.

    4. Separate kooks from experts.

    5. Use Boolean search operators for good, not evil.

    When I'm not writing about ancient Persia, I teach research skills to AP English students. I blog here: howtobeisraeli.blogspot.com

    Thanks for your consideration!

  106. BriMaresh on August 29, 2009 at 4:40 AM

    >Topic: The Writing Teens

    Most human goes through puberty once, but writers go through it twice—physically, then in their writing. In writing, much like in life, the phase is riddled with difficult names, odd fashion explanations, and mean parents.

    As a moderator on a popular Y.A. author’s official forums, I’ve spent hours telling writers they will get better, the dreamy agent will talk to them–or at least reply to their query letter–and that someday their prints will come. I’ve never seen an article about this particular phenomenon, but I know it well enough to write one.

  107. Kimberlee Conway Ireton on August 29, 2009 at 3:32 AM

    >Dear Rachelle,

    In several non-fiction books I read this summer, even ones I thought were good, the dialogue was off—sometimes way off—which drew attention to the dialogue and away from the story.

    My proposed 800-word post, “Dialogue that Delivers: Tips for Non-Fiction Writers,” will outline four simple rules to eliminate the dialogue issues I encountered. Concrete examples will show readers how to revise lousy dialogue into great speech.

    I am the author of The Circle of Seasons: Meeting God in the Church Year (InterVarsity Press, 2008) and of articles for Weavings, FullFill, and TheThoughtfulChristian.com.

    Kimberlee Conway Ireton

  108. Richard Lewis on August 29, 2009 at 2:35 AM

    >Many great ideas here (and I'm sure more to come). I look forward to reading those you select. (I'm the one who deleted the comment immediately above, with a topic idea, because I decided I'd rather just sit back and enjoy)

  109. Joanna Penn on August 29, 2009 at 2:22 AM

    >TOPIC: Web 2.0 Tools for Authors: How writers can use the internet to build their author platform.

    Qualifications: I am an IT consultant and (self-published) author specialising in online tools and tips. I have recently written an Author 2.0 Blueprint which guides authors in these areas.

    Many writers are not very tech savvy and don't realise the amazing potential of what is available to help them online. I know you blog about blogging, and platform building tips. This would be a list based post of the top tools available that are easy to use.

    Thanks, Joanna

  110. The Decreed on August 29, 2009 at 1:04 AM

    >“That Sneaky Christian (or Christianesque) Fiction”

    As a Christian writer currently in the thick of secular academia (a big-campus hyper-liberal university), some responses to my manuscripts in my creative writing classes amaze me. I’d love to share some of them, and then widen the scope. Somehow, despite adamant resistance, that sneaky Christian(esque) fiction won’t go away. And it doesn’t take a Christian to write it. Three reasons for this: 1) Blame the Romans way back when, 2) Christian fiction is sheepish now, and 3) Christianesque fiction snuck in by accident. Excerpts and life examples included!

    Thanks for the opportunity.

  111. Jan Markley on August 29, 2009 at 12:23 AM

    >Sour Ju Jubes, Sushi, and the Sasquatch: A good and bad writing day

    The good day consists of a bowl of oatmeal, exercise, and good solid writing time. It ends while our intrepid writer cooks a healthy meal with fresh garden vegetables and wonders what her characters would eat.

    Our writer subsists on sour ju jubes, sushi, colossal chocolate brownies and endless cups of milky tea during the bad writing day. She pulls a classic Sasquatch move when she eschews human contact with her neighbours, who think she’s a recluse, and steals raspberries over the fence as she leaves her lair. The day ends with her practicing her book launch pose with one too many glasses of red wine as she watches a re-run of “Reba.”


  112. Empress Awesome on August 28, 2009 at 11:09 PM

    >What about the subject of blovels?… nlogs…? Blog novels. You write them directly onto your blog without prior planning , which makes them a wonderful way to stretch your creativity, strengthen your writing chops, and motivate you to finish it. And let's face it, they're a lot of fun. I'm writing one myself, and I've noticed that it's boosted my awareness and I've been doing better in school. The fact that it's the first week and we haven't been graded on anything yet is irrelevant.

    Over 50% of novels get published by chance. Your blovel could be next.

  113. Valerie Comer on August 28, 2009 at 8:55 PM

    >Why a Crit Group?

    We write in a void, blind to our own idiosyncrasies. That first critique can sabotage our self-esteem, eliciting a vow to never write another word. Or we can ignore every comment made, blindly positive the reader just didn't 'get it.' Instead, a teachable spirit–in response to kind but honest critiques–can propel your writing forward. But wait, there's more. Did you know your OWN writing will improve the more you critique?

    A veteran of both crit partnerships and groups, I'd like to provide some guidelines and encouragement to join the give-and-take.

  114. Rosie on August 28, 2009 at 8:32 PM

    >"Her sister died yesterday. Today she wanders amid a family in turmoil. She’s a strong and constant figure in their lives, but the passing of this woman — someone she’s nurtured from birth — is as fundamentally changing as anything that’s ever happened to her. She questions her role. She wonders at life. She experiences a profound change in the beating of her heart."

    Writing my sister’s memoir is the most challenging thing I’ve ever done. It’s a fabulous, emotional journey, but the story has the capacity to hurt the living. I’d like to discuss the methods I’m using to neutralize this.

  115. Megan on August 28, 2009 at 6:51 PM

    >TOPIC: Without meaning to, emerging writers often get a big head. Whether it be a break in literary journal or winning a competition, some of those little achievements in life can make one think, "wow, I am pretty good, aren't I?"

    I myself have had those moments, and have seen the repercussions in my fellow writing student's eyes.

    My post will explore how it is necessary for emerging writers to remain level-headed in this industry and not let fame – or lack thereof – get to them.

    I blog at:

  116. Kirsten on August 28, 2009 at 6:41 PM

    >Editing a novel is a lot like tweezing eyebrows: Every hair gets us one step closer to perfection. My analogy machine and I would like to blog about how to pluck drafts down to size — and how sexy, smooth eyebrows are a lot like bee-oo-tiful finished novels.

    I'm an expert eyebrow tweezer and aspiring novelist whose novels and eyebrows tend to be on the bushy side.

  117. Firefly on August 28, 2009 at 6:40 PM

    >Topic: What a new/aspiring writer learned from attending a writer's conference for the first time–

    What to expect, meeting agents, participating in a pitch slam.

  118. Precision Editing Group on August 28, 2009 at 6:34 PM

    >TOPIC: The Science of Writing Your First Novel. . . and you thought it was a Creative Art

    Creativity vs. Science (why it’s both); Your Target Market (why this is the first thing you need to consider); Schedule (how to finish that book); Character Sketching (the on-going process); Point of View & Tense (what’s hot right now); Conflict (so your reader doesn’t fall asleep); Hooks (the 3 most important hooks); Creating a scene (layering); First draft vs. second draft (messy to methodical); Editing (bad vs good)

  119. jmartinlibrarian on August 28, 2009 at 6:25 PM

    >Topic: Why every author should have a librarian in his or her corner…

    Armed with a master’s degree in “finding the good stuff,” a librarian is an author’s ace in the hole.

    National and state library associations sponsor book awards, book conferences, book clubs, blogs, readings, and author visits. Library related publications produce the world’s most respected and widely used book selection and review tools. Put a good story into the hands of a school or public librarian and watch a spark of interest ignite into a blaze of book sales.

    We’re librarians. We’re book pushers. We’re an author’s best friends.

  120. Rachel on August 28, 2009 at 5:47 PM

    >Fab idea for your blog! I'm not auditioning, but I have had fun reading through these comments. Some good contenders. 🙂

  121. Haste yee back ;-) on August 28, 2009 at 5:17 PM

    >R.K… LOL, that would be annihilation of the negation!

    Haste yee back 😉

  122. Real Reedy on August 28, 2009 at 3:55 PM

    >Topic: Writers Conferences – Balancing it all

    I will be attending a writers conference at the end of September with my children and parents while hoping to pitch my nonfiction book proposal to an editor and wanting to network with other attendees. Crazy to think I can do it all? Probably, but I'd like to share my experiences of how it balances out.

    Thank you for this opportunity!

  123. Portia on August 28, 2009 at 3:45 PM

    >Topic: Self-editing for writers

    Perfection spills from your pen onto the page. You can't cut a word. Not one word. Oh, I so know the feeling. But after 10 years in the publishing industry—most of which has been spent on publications with small staffs—I know one thing. You gotta edit yourself. I'd like to share techniques (including budgeting time for editing) that work whether you're writing for newspapers and magazines or working on fiction and nonfiction.

    I have 10 years of experience in the magazine business and have also worked on special projects, including nonfiction books.

    portia.stewart (at) gmail (dot) com

  124. Robert McGuire on August 28, 2009 at 3:36 PM

    >Topic: Mantras and affirmations helpful for each stage of drafting and revising.

    I found great advice from a favorite writer when I was working on the first draft — "Keep telling yourself . . ." That worked very well to keep me focused and motivated when I was discouraged but wasn't applicable in subsequent drafts, so I always took time to develop a good short-hand mantra of some kind. They were . . .

  125. Cassandra Frear on August 28, 2009 at 3:22 PM

    >As Christians, we bear witness to human life with God. We are called to offer a cup of water to a thirsty world. As writers, we fill that cup with stories, with reflections, with instruction, and we extend God in us, God with us, to strangers.

    It's hard work. The cup that satisfies thirst can only hold what we know, what we have lived, in an authentic, meaningful life. We must fill our well, even as we draw from it, so that we don't run dry.

    I'd like to create a space where we can talk about it.

  126. Nicole O'Dell on August 28, 2009 at 3:13 PM

    >Topic: When you DON'T Need an Agent

    …because if I can get you, literary agent to the stars, to let me put a post like this on YOUR blog…well….

    Qualifications: I've secured four book contracts without an agent.

    Don't worry, I'll finish my post with all of the reasons why I want an agent really bad now!

    In all seriousness, there is a need to convey that the order of things doesn't always fit into the prescribed mold. One skill of an industry-savvy writer is to identify when it's necessary to deviate from that mold and break the proverbial rules.

  127. Camille Cannon Eide on August 28, 2009 at 2:46 PM

    >Topic: What Do You Mean My Hero Isn’t Sexy Enough? Surviving Your First Editorial Revision Letter

    I’d like to share the exhilarating and mind-numbing experience of receiving my first Editorial Revision Letter. Qualifications: I am a manic novelist & client of WordServe Literary.

  128. SM Blooding on August 28, 2009 at 2:00 PM

    >Angie Ledbetter has a very definate vote from me! That blog entry sounds…hilarious!

  129. Timothy Fish on August 28, 2009 at 1:07 PM

    >Topic: Plot Development with FreeMind

    Summary: FreeMind is a free mind mapping tool that can be used for anything from project planning to creating a knowledge base. For authors, it is ideal for outlining and plot development, as well as providing a means to store character information and background in a conveniently accessible platform. In a 500-800 word blog post, I can provide specifics on how your readers can utilize this tool in the development of their tales and/or as a means of maintaining consistency as they write.

  130. R. K. Mortenson on August 28, 2009 at 1:06 PM

    >Haste yee back, I don't know if I dare mention McKee here again. My earlier comment was zapped into oblivion. (Might that be a literal occurrence of the "negation of the negation" in action? Just kidding.)

    My guest blog pitch: "From pipe dream to published book: How to fuel the frenzy." I gave a talk with that title at an SCBWI conference two years ago. For the blog post, I'd give the bulleted, highlights version. (And I won't even mention McKee's STORY.) 🙂

  131. Tara on August 28, 2009 at 1:02 PM

    >Rejection stinks, but have you ever stopped to consider maybe your writing does, too?

    When their work fails to attract interest, many writers blame the industry or the agent or the editor who took a peek at it. They miss the errors professionals find. So what can one do to reduce the risk of rejection? I’d like to offer a few suggestions, as well as the reasons why they can help.

    Tara McClendon works as an editor for InspirationForWriters.com and Writers Research Group. You can view blogs she maintains at eyefeathers.blogspot.com and inspirationforwritersinc.blogspot.com.

  132. R. K. Mortenson on August 28, 2009 at 12:53 PM

    >What happened to my earlier comment? It's like it never existed. Eerie.

  133. Elizabeth on August 28, 2009 at 12:51 PM

    >Contest Circuit

    I love writing contests. They nourish my writer’s soul.
    I loathe writing contests. They can dampen my unique voice.

    Join a contest junkie as she shares advice on:

    (1) The Right Match: picking your contests well

    (2) FEEDback: separating the bitter and sour from the sweet and meaty

    (3) Judging: growth by giving back

    I’m Elizabeth Langston, a writer of YA fiction and multi-finalist in the Golden Heart® (RWA®), Maggies, Golden Opportunity, as well as a judge for too many contests to list.

  134. susiej on August 28, 2009 at 12:43 PM

    >It ain't easy being a wife, a mother and a writer. Husbands, children and best friends don't quite understand "work" without paycheck. And puppies don't care about money at all. They just want you to get off the computer. One might go insane or get cranky. I try to find the humor in it. And I believe it makes me a better writer.

    Qualifications: 19 years of marriage, 13 years of parenting, owner of 4 pets and one large fantasy epic in constant state of revision.

  135. Martha Ramirez on August 28, 2009 at 12:34 PM

    >Title: How To Survive Rejections

    Rejection, it's all a part of life, we all have to deal with it, but how do you keep on keeping on as a writer?

    I know firsthand what it feels like to be rejected, but I feel it is a path I had been chosen to take, so that I may help others along this so called "rocky road to success."

    I am a reviewer for BookPleasures and a writer. Working as a reviewer has given me insight on the rejection process.

    "Rejections are often gifts of direction"
    –Paul Young

    Thank you, Rachelle.

  136. Mira on August 28, 2009 at 12:26 PM

    >This is really cool! Thanks so much for giving folks the platform. I'm looking forward to seeing the winning entries. All the topics sound so interesting.

    I'm new here, but can I especially put in a vote for the non-fiction proposal? So much on agent blogs is targeted toward fiction.


  137. Henriette Power on August 28, 2009 at 12:13 PM

    >Sports and writing don't mix. Can you imagine Faulkner putting down the whiskey to go for a run? Or Virginia Woolf psyching herself up for a swim meet? But, as a rower and writer, I've discovered there are writing lessons to be learned in my backward-looking, forward-driving sport. From specific structural issues, to the strategy of creating a career, I've found useful answers while training on the Charles River. Now if I could only figure out how to stay up late revising and still get up for those crack-of-dawn workouts.

    I'm a competitive sculler (that's a kind of rowing) and a fiction writer with a small number of published short works. As a kind of cross-training, I write The View Finder, reviews, ruminations, and commentary on movies, books, and language–at henriettepower.com.

  138. Sarah on August 28, 2009 at 12:00 PM

    >I write about psychology and spirituality in the garden: it's the first place I go when I want to pare down to the essentials and produce work that comes from my heart. I am a pastoral psychotherapist in training with a goal of incorporating my lifelong-love of horticulture into my practice. Metaphors abound and serenity abides in the garden.

  139. Shelley Adina on August 28, 2009 at 11:57 AM

    >Topic: Gossip Girl, meet Gospel Girl: Five Tips on Writing the Christian YA novel

    I'm a multipubbed YA writer with a six-book series (All About Us, from FaithWords). Writing for teens in the Christian market has a few basic differences from those in the secular market. I'll give five tips on how to satisfy teen readers … do you really need to name-drop designer labels? Or include a vampire?


  140. Roxane B. Salonen on August 28, 2009 at 11:52 AM

    >Topic: Working Toward Publication on a Shoestring Budget

    In light of “these current economic times,” I’d share insight on how I sought and obtained publication within the confines of tight resources, not to mention five children at my heels. I would offer ten or more practical tips on making the budget factor less daunting. The idea actually came to me from a recent post of yours, in which you addressed a comment from a reader who has grown weary of hearing advice about the need to network at conferences and such when resources are limited.

    Thanks for the opportunity!

  141. heather on August 28, 2009 at 11:39 AM

    >Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, and Dean Martin recorded Silent Night. The same lyrics, the same melody, the same harmonies. But any fan of crooners could identify the singer in the opening line.
    It's about voice.
    Nothing's new under the sun. When authors tell the same story, the voice makes it unique.
    Finding Your Voice: A Musician's Look at Writing gives ideas to help writer's develop their distinctive voice and the voices of their characters.

  142. Reesha on August 28, 2009 at 11:27 AM

    >Christian Art: Things to consider to avoid letting the one water down the other.

    I'm a technical writer working for a secular business who employs people entirely from my church. We deal with mixing Christianity and business all the time, and learn how to avoid mixing them too much. I’ve seen watered down Christianity because of writing, and I’ve seen watered down writing because of an attempt to inject Christianity unnaturally into it. My post will be an interesting conversation about the philosophy of art and faith. I won’t try to come to a conclusion, but would like to spark people thinking about it.

  143. Kathleen MacIver on August 28, 2009 at 11:23 AM

    >Sooner or later, every author in today's Internet-savvy world will need to know the ABCs of building an author website. How do you capture your visitor's attention? What common, avoidable errors cause potential readers to click away?

    I've been marketing and designing websites on the Internet since 1999, I'm a fellow aspiring author, and I'm currently co-authoring an author website review series on http://jordanmccollum.com. I'll share the basics that any author can use, whether they hire someone, build it themselves, or use WordPress.

  144. Wendy @ All in a Day's Thought on August 28, 2009 at 10:42 AM

    >From Novice to Natural

    Highlighting six of the most common mistakes that impact writing goals, I’ll reference the antiquing of brass in order to demonstrate how polished and valued writing takes time and a willingness to learn.

    “I wrote a book, now I need to query”

    Impatience…must happen now mentality

    Not quieting the haranguing internal editor

    Listening to the wrong voices

    Focusing on marketing too soon

    Caught in the social media web

    I’m an expert on this topic because I’m guilty of all the above. I know I’m not the only one frantically searching for oars in this boat.
    ~ Wendy

  145. Angie Ledbetter on August 28, 2009 at 10:28 AM

    >Guest post topic ~~ Writing Ailments & Hazards

    Are you afflicted with Spouse-itis, G'out, Terrible Ts or one of the other writerly syndromes plaguing prose and poetry penners today? Is it possible you could have some fatal combo plate of these dis-eases and not even know it?

    Get the answers in this blog post and mini-quiz which are crafted with writing parents in mind. Readers will enjoy a dose of laughter, if not actual cures.

    I am uniquely qualified to write this post as I have suffered from every single one of these maladies.

  146. Lynnda - Passionate for the Glory of God on August 28, 2009 at 10:17 AM

    >Good morning, Rachelle!

    Thanks for the invitation to audition for a guest blog spot.

    Title: Writing a Proposal: From Clueless to Savvy

    Writing a proposal for a non-fiction book is an intimidating endeavor. It requires skills and techniques that, if you work for a publisher, are developed over time. For an aspiring author that needs to meet those professional expectations, writing that first proposal can feel either like jumping off a cliff into the ocean or like taking swimming lessons in the deep end of the pool. Both can be scary, but one is a lot safer than the other!

    I want to share what I learned taking lessons in the pool.

    Have a great week-end.

    Be blessed!


  147. Mark Crumpler on August 28, 2009 at 10:12 AM

    >Words have a flammable power. One old poet who tried to stifle his words found that they became "like a fire shut up in my bones." I've had days when I'd have been glad to see a slight wisp of smoke. Unlike California's raging wildfires, my words and message often feel more like a backyard barbeque. Where does the fire come from? How do those of us who love words stoke them for greater impact? As a pastor who teaches weekly and writes daily for a congregation, words as dying embers disturb me. Maybe others share this concern.

  148. Shannon Taylor Vannatter on August 28, 2009 at 9:57 AM

    >Hi Rachelle,

    I'm busily getting my name out there through public speaking. I'm shy and hate speaking in front of crowds, but after an initial case of quivery voice, I got past it and I'm having so much fun. Maybe because I love my topic: Writing. I'd love to blog about it.

  149. Haste yee back ;-) on August 28, 2009 at 9:57 AM

    >R.K. Mortenson… I'll vote for you if you'll give me your perspective on McKee's NEGATION of the NEGATION!

    Haste yee back 😉

  150. jimnduncan on August 28, 2009 at 9:49 AM

    I mentioned to you the other day about posting regarding my experience recently with receiving an offer on my novel, trying to get an agent to rep it, and the varying perspectives I got regarding my story in the process. I think your blog would be a great venue for that story and would be something the readers would like to hear.

  151. Erin on August 28, 2009 at 9:37 AM

    >Get Over It!: Leaving behind fear and gaining insight from writers workshops

    As a hack writer and editor for a travel newspaper, stepping into a class full of MFA students was intimidating. Particularly since it was a creative writing workshop. I’d love to share my experiences to help budding creative writers get over their fear of workshopping, as well as offering some tips for getting the most out of a workshop as both a writer and a reader—particularly for first-timers. I can attest to the nerves involved (I, uh, threw up in the car before workshopping my first long essay) but also the invaluable skills that can be gleaned from it.

  152. SM Blooding on August 28, 2009 at 9:26 AM

    >Moving on! How to move onto the next project and query with less heartache.

    Querying is downright brutal. Research. Query. Reject. Lather, rinse, repeat.

    So how do you get past the utter failure? We fall back on what we do best, on what we are. We write. However, moving onto the next project, whether it be Book 2 of the same series (that might not sell) or Book 1 of a new series (that might not sell) isn’t as easy as it sounds. How do you continue to write when your ever growing pile of rejection letters scream, “You suck!”?

  153. Dee Yoder on August 28, 2009 at 9:11 AM

    >Maintaining a Healthy Body: Can Writers Do That?

    Snacking through revisions, writing when the house is finally peaceful–at 2 AM, and fueling energy with caffeine…we all do it! Is it possible to maintain a healthy body as a writer? It is possible and essential. As a writer with diabetes, I've learned the hard way to pay attention to my body's HELP signals. I'll give tips on how to improve our health while we unchain the muse. Exercise, good food, and supportive equipment will go a long way toward improving the writer’s body and mind. And, we might even grow to enjoy the effort!

  154. Ralene on August 28, 2009 at 9:10 AM

    >Topic: First-time conference advice and observations—the lighthearted musings of a newbie.

    The ACFW conference in September will be my first writing conference! The very thought fills me with such a whirlwind of emotions. My blog post would summarize my experiences and offer advice learned first-hand, sometimes the hard way. I can’t anticipate what I will learn, or what will stick out in my mind, but if this experience is like any of the big events in my life so far it will be chock full of humorous anecdotes, shoulda-woulda-couldas, and a plan for making it work next time.

  155. MarcyKate on August 28, 2009 at 9:08 AM

    >TOPIC: It’s Not You, It’s Me — Speed-Dating for Writers, AKA the Query Process.

    A humorous take on rejection, navigating the hopeful high of a partial/full request, and staying sane while pitching your baby, ahem, book to agents. Putting it all in perspective using the speed-dating process as a model for demonstration.

    Qualifications: I’m a writer in the midst of querying agents for the first time.

  156. DebraLSchubert on August 28, 2009 at 9:04 AM

    >Ready to find an agent? Let me help you write a kickin' query.

    My query was recently honored by NY Times Best Selling author Allison Wynn Scotch, author of “Time of My Life.” Here’s what she said: “I'm going to wrap up the query week here at Ask Allison with an example of a query that I think does just about everything right. It's snappy, it provides enough detail to set it apart, it has a good energy to the writing that I think would interest an agent.”

  157. yarnbuck on August 28, 2009 at 8:51 AM

    >Dawson McAllister is still a kid for Christ. From his start-up of a California coffee house ministry, through his 1973 founding of Shepherd Productions, to his present radio audience of a half million listeners in over 425 (Christian & Secular) markets, and through http://www.dmlive.com Dawson’s been standing in the Gap for teenagers for over 30 years. He’s written and conference-led 18 manuals as well as several books including: Please Don’t Tell My Parents and How to Know If You’re Really in Love.

    Pitch – Interview Dawson. “The more things Change, the more they remain the Same.”

    Qualifications – I served Dawson’s Board for 5 years, a Christian school Board 15 years, and Published Arrows in 2007 (a novel about internet porn).

  158. D.D. Scott on August 28, 2009 at 8:39 AM

    >Could your readers use a writer's go-to-gal for muse disorders? If so, stop looking 'cause you found her. I'm D. D. Scott, an agented, romantic comedy writer and a muse therapist in-the-making.

    Muse Therapy – D. D. Scott style – is all about injecting life into tired and/or stressed out muses. I'll give writers fun and fabulous tools to analyze their muses' funks, rein in their creative divas and up their page counts.

    Discover what makes muses tick. What ticks them off. And what makes them dance like nobody's watching.

    Thanks for this fabulous opportunity, Rachelle! Hope to see you and your readers "in therapy". LOL!

    Sexy, Sassy, Smart Muse Therapy Wishes — D. D. Scott

  159. Miriam S.Forster on August 28, 2009 at 8:33 AM

    >Topic: Serenity, Courage and Wisdom

    A post that discusses the importance of the things AUTHORS have control over, including research, networking and writing more books. The post will be based around the Serenity Prayer.

    Qualifications: I'm a writer under contract with OakTara Fiction, an active social networker and a consistent blogger. Most of these lessons I learned while waiting for my first book to make it out of publishing limbo.


  160. Neil O'Donnell on August 28, 2009 at 8:23 AM

    >Blog Post Topic: Handling and Learning from Rejection Notices

    Most writers have received a rejection letter from a publisher or literary agent (or, in my case, both). Instead of sending a nasty reply, I suggest ways to handle those rejections and use them to guide a writer's future efforts.

  161. Lexi on August 28, 2009 at 8:22 AM

    >Celebrity novels: why celebrities shouldn’t write them, and why you shouldn’t buy them.

    I will speculate on why a celebrity, successful in one field, should want to enter another he has no experience of; i.e. writing a novel. After all, you won’t find a politician/television gardener/comedian giving a piano recital, or performing on the flying trapeze; they haven’t the skill, and they know it.

    So what makes them think fiction is a piece of cake? And why do we buy the darned books once they’re published, as they inevitably are?

  162. Steph Bowe on August 28, 2009 at 8:11 AM

    >My topic: Online networking: It's like networking, only you can be anti-social.

    I'm a fifteen-year-old aspiring author who write a blog called Hey! Teenager of the Year (http://heyteenager.blogspot.com), which is well-known among Australian publishers and authors of children's and YA fiction. I also have a lot of readers from around the world. In just a few months I have learnt a lot about online networking, and my blog has led to me having my YA manuscript requested by a publisher, and been invited to a writer's festival. I can write a post about online networking, the simplicity of it, the rewards, how to get your blog and self known, etc.

  163. Diane on August 28, 2009 at 7:58 AM

    >Theme: Only you can prevent forest fires and only you can motivate yourself and get 'er done.

    Mine will have humor since that's the way I'm wired. :O)

  164. tamara hellgren on August 28, 2009 at 7:13 AM

    >My pitch: I'm participating in the International 3-Day Novel Writing Contest for the 4th consecutive year. It takes place over Labor Day Weekend. After the big event I'll write a piece about my experience in the 2009 contest, how it compares to past years, and advice for anyone who's interested in trying it!



  165. ~Aimee States on August 28, 2009 at 7:08 AM

    >Topic: Getting over the hill (the first one, that is).

    The moment you realize that you aren't the new kid on the blog/query/convention circuit anymore, but you still have along way to go. What now?

  166. Vonnie on August 28, 2009 at 7:02 AM

    >Topic: How Our Society is Losing It's Grammar and Spelling Skills

    As a former English teacher, I have seen the decline of the correct use of our language. With the popularity of texting, blogs, and social networks, the next generation is writing, but they don’t know how to spell or make a complete sentence.
    Even many writers are asking me, the Christian Writers Forum in-house Grammar Grammy, for help because they are having trouble with their parts of speech and punctuation.

  167. Heather Long on August 28, 2009 at 6:21 AM

    >Topic: Making the Most of Your Author/Editor Relationship

    I've worked with three or four different editors, each comes at a project with a different style, but ultimately provide the author with invaluable feedback. I've also interviewed three different book editors for my blog on the Daily Dose.

  168. Jessica on August 28, 2009 at 4:38 AM

    >Oooh, what a cool idea! I can't wait to see what people come up with.
    (but not me, no ideas here and not many qualifications, *snort*)

    Amy's sounds good. I've read some stuff about international rights and getting our books bought by foreign publishers, so her topic would definitely be relevant, I'd think.

  169. AmyBoucherPye on August 28, 2009 at 2:22 AM

    >Topic: Why you need to reach an international audience, and how to do it.

    Qualification: I’ve lived with one toe on each side of the Atlantic for nearly a dozen years, working in Christian publishing.