Rachelle Gardner

Identify Your Novel’s Genre

Writers often ask me, “How do I figure out what genre my book is?” While the answer is straightforward for some people, it can be a tricky question for others. It becomes even more complicated if you’re also resisting the idea that you have to put a classification or label on your novel at all.…
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Is This What You’re Feeling Right Now?

I sat down to write this post and just kind of stared at the screen for a while. Found myself clicking over to Facebook for a bit, then resolutely back here to write. Hopped over to check email but there’s nothing new since ten minutes ago. Has anyone texted me lately? No. Back here to…
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Minimize the Obstacles to Publication

When you’re a debut author trying to break in to traditional publishing, one of the most important things to remember is this: Minimize the obstacles. You already know it’s not going to be easy to break in, so you want to avoid making it even more difficult on yourself. This is why agents give so much advice…
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Announcing Author School’s Next Session

Two years ago, my partners and I launched Author School with our inaugural course, “Pen to Published.” Since then we’ve had a great time walking through the basics of writing, publishing and platform-building with 700+ students. The responses at the end of the course have positive (well, raving actually!), as in this review from student…
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Finding Comparable Books

When you’re trying to interest an agent or publisher in your book, you’re often asked to provide “comps” — other books that could be compared to yours, or books that might compete with yours. A good book proposal always has a “Competition” or “Comparable Books” section, and even if you’re self-publishing, it helps if you…
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Free Workshop! Tuesday 9-15-20

. Hey writers, I’m offering a free 1-hour online workshop in advance of the next session of my Pen to Published course at Author School (which starts Sept. 29th and registration is open https://authorschool.com/rachelle/). In this free workshop, we’re going to cover eight things you need to focus on as you pursue publishing. There will…
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Knowing What We Don’t Know

When facing massive uncertainty, as exists in today’s highly interconnected global economy, it is essential to appreciate both what one does know as well as what one does not know.  ~Vikram Mansharamani Publishing has been operating in an atmosphere of uncertainty for years now. Right now we’re in a pandemic which has affected all businesses as…
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Write Like It’s 2020

Sometimes when I talk with writers about the guidelines and conventions that are expected in today’s fiction—for example, don’t go overboard with description, or… show, don’t tell—writers push back with the classic “classics” argument. They’ll say things like, “But what about Charlotte Bronte? What about F. Scott Fitzgerald? You’d probably reject THEM if they came…
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Write Another Book

Recently I had lunch with two writers, one published and the other not yet, but close. The most impressive thing about these two women is that they’ve each written more than a dozen books. Because of that, I think they both have strong writing careers ahead of them. I work with a lot of first-time…
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Are You a Reader?

Read. It seems obvious. If you’re a writer, you have to  read! I know most of you are readers. But I’m regularly surprised at how many writers confess to not reading widely in the genre they’re writing. Or any genre, for that matter. Read in the genre you want to write At one conference, I met with…
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Do You Need an Author Website?

Short answer: Yes! Whenever an aspiring author asks what they need to do to prepare for the publishing journey, I always tell them to put first things first: start with an author website. It’s the place on the internet where both readers and publishers will go to find your work and learn more about you.…
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Should Authors Stay in Their Lane?

These days authors are expected to have a “platform” and engage with others in the public space, which typically means online in social media, blogs and podcasting. In our current cultural climate — the first half of 2020 — the public space is noisy and combative with people sharing conflicting views on racial issues, the…
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Are You in this for the Long Haul?

Recently several clients have said to me some version of, “I want to be in this for the long haul.” It’s given me the opportunity to have discussions about what helps a writer accomplish this goal – and what can sabotage their efforts. It’s an important topic for consideration, because sometimes we have to make…
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What if We Reject a Bestseller?

A writer asked: “How many bestsellers have slipped through reputable agents’ hands? I am curious to know how an agent deals with such a loss when a bestseller was in their hands and they rejected it.” This is an interesting question, because most editors and agents have passed on books that went on to success (if not…
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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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