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Rachelle Gardner

Botched Communication

  I want to tell you about an incident at a writers’ conference that was sort of heartbreaking for me. We agents have a lot invested in these conferences, just like the writers do, and sometimes we have disappointments too. I met with a writer who pitched me a couple of projects. She seemed like…
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Target

Where Your Passion Meets the Market

Recently, I wrote a post about building a long-term writing career (Are You in this for the Long Haul?). In my list of things writers can do to develop a long-haul career, I said: Pay attention to where your passion intersects with the market. I want to expand on that because it’s so crucial. Most…
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runner

Are You in this for the Long Haul?

I have a lot of conversations with clients about their writing careers. Usually they say to me, “I want to be in this for the long haul.” It’s given me the opportunity to have some great discussions about what helps a writer accomplish this goal – and what can sabotage their efforts. It’s an important…
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Challenging Our Assumptions

I’ve noticed that when entering the writing and publishing journey, people have a lot of assumptions that aren’t necessarily true. Here’s a little true/false quiz to pinpoint some assumptions you may have. Do they need to be challenged?   True or False: The best time of day to write is the morning. In order to…
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Announcing Author School’s Next Session

Last year, my partners and I launched Author School with our inaugural course, “Pen to Published.” We had a great time walking through the basics of writing, publishing and platform-building with nearly 400 students. The responses at the end of the course were uniformly positive (well, raving actually!) as in this review from student Taryn…
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Focus on Writing the Best Book You Can

It seems in the last few years, dialogue about all-things-publishing has been focused on platform, marketing, increasing output, distribution platforms, technology, and self-publishing.  But I think it’s important to call our attention back to the work.  In January 2014, I posted a prediction for the coming year: “I think authors will re-focus on the foundational…
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Book made of money

Can I Make More Money via Traditional or Self-Pub?

These days, authors are carefully considering the merits of self-publishing versus traditional publishing, and many are doing both at once. (My e-book: How Do I Decide? Self Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing, will help with these decisions.) I’m having almost daily conversations with my clients, most of whom are already traditionally published, about various ways they…
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Why You’re Getting Rejections

Awhile back, Nathan Bransford had a terrific post on “Why You Are Receiving Rejections.” He says if you keep getting rejections, it boils down to two reasons: either your query isn’t strong enough, or your query is fine but your project isn’t resonating with agents. So true! He’s nailed it! He’s absolutely right! But I have…
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Create a Compelling Book Title

I’ve been coaching several of my clients through the process of coming up with a good title for their book, so I thought I’d share my tips with you. Let’s start by acknowledging a few things. The publisher is usually responsible for the final decision on title, and in the query stage, it’s not that…
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5 Things To Do Before Hiring a Freelance Editor

More writers are hiring editors these days, whether they’re going indie or just making sure the manuscript is polished before submitting to agents and publishers. If you’re a newer writer, unpublished, here are some things I think you should do before spending your hard-earned money on a freelance editor. (1) Get objective feedback. It’s best to have…
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What if You Build It, and They Don’t Come?

I want to say a little something here that nobody seems to be saying. Here it is: It can be more painful to publish a book that nobody buys… than to never have published a book at all. Do you agree with me?   If you’ve published a book, you have the excitement of holding…
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Will I Have to Pay Back My Advance?

Do authors ever have to pay back their advance? This is a question agents hear a lot. Often a writer is nervous about possibly being asked to pay back the advance if the book doesn’t sell enough copies. If you’re publishing with a reputable traditional publisher, then you don’t have to pay back your advance for…
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That All-Important First Line

Let’s talk about the opening line of your book. The first thing to know about “first lines” is that they are not going to make or break you. Sure, it’s a lot of fun coming up with great ones. But as long as the first line makes someone want to read the second line, and…
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Searching

How Do You Find a Literary Agent?

I asked readers on my Facebook  page for questions they’d like me to answer on the blog. It seems many are dying to know the secret to getting an agent. Stephanie asked: What is the single most important thing when approaching an agent? Aleah asked: What’s the best way for a first time novelist to get…
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I love words.

I love books and publishing and talking incessantly about them.

I love authors and all the intricacies of managing a writing life.

I sell. I negotiate. I coach. I brainstorm.

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