Posts

A Time to Write…

Are you in a critique group? Do you regularly share your writing with a friend / writer / editor who gives you suggestions for changes and corrections? Are you frequently sharing pages of your work-in-progress (WIP) with someone else who copy edits you along the way? That is, making word changes and suggestions, correcting grammar…
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Questions on Queries

Here are a few questions I often receive about queries and what I say in response: You said “don’t pitch a novel unless it’s complete.” Do you feel the same about query letters? Do we only query completed works, or are ideas fair game? If you are sending a query to an agent, only pitch…
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Hot Tips for Conferences

We’re in prime writers’ conference season and lots of people are giving their advice (some of it different from mine). So I thought I’d drop a few hints your way just to increase your chance of conference-success. • First up, everyone says “don’t be nervous.” Agents and editors are just people, right? Sure we are.…
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Write a Captivating Opening Line

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 in a novel of a hundred-thousand words, we have to keep those first twenty-or-so in perspective. As long as the first line makes someone…
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Tightening Your Writing

There comes a time in every writer’s life when an editor requires them to reduce their word count. Ack! Not my precious words! Even if an editor hasn’t asked you to do this, most writers would benefit from tightening up their manuscripts before submission. (I, for one, would appreciate it. ) But how do you…
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Announcing Author School’s Next Session

This past spring, my partners and I launched Author School with our inaugural course, “Pen to Published.” With 160 students enrolled, we had a great time walking through the basics of writing, publishing and platform-building. The responses at the end of the course were uniformly positive (well, raving actually!) as in this review from student…
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How Long Will It Take?

One of the most frequent questions I get is, How long? How long should I wait before following up with an editor on a submission? If I get an offer from a publisher, how long before they send a contract? How long until I see my first check? When will my manuscript be due? When…
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Non-Fiction Platforms

I’ve had some people tell me lately that they’re starting to hate that word platform. I’ll let you in on a little secret: I sometimes wish the whole idea of platform would just go away and we’d be free to simply publish the books we love. Like you, I wish it were all about original…
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Questions About Author Platform

I seem to receive more questions about platform than anything else, so I’m answering some basics today. What is a platform? There are various kinds of platforms. A train platform is the area from which you board the train. A diving platform is a structure from which you careen your body into a pool of…
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Decisions, Decisions

A writer asked: If you have a bunch of book ideas, how do you decide which ones are viable?     FOR NON-FICTION: Spend some time on each idea, one by one. First work on a rough outline of what the book would be. List the themes and topics you’d want to cover. Ask yourself:…
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Don’t Send Me Everything You’ve Got

I’ve written previously about authors arguing with me when I send them a rejection. They write back trying to convince me that I’m wrong and I should take another look. There’s another kind of “not taking no for an answer” I get sometimes that seems like a better approach because it’s not an argument, but…
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Art & business

Your Artist Self and Your Business Self

One of the biggest challenges for many writers is being able to separate the artist self from the business self, and figuring out ways to nurture both. I find this to be an issue for unpublished authors more than those who are published. Once a writer is published, they seem highly motivated to stay published,…
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Trust Me, You Need a Good Editor

I just finished reading a self-published book on a topic I’m passionate about, by an author whose blog I occasionally read. As I’ve mentioned before, I regularly read indie-pubbed books, and the fact that I work in traditional publishing doesn’t mean I’m biased against them. It does, however, mean I’m aware of the ways a…
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The First Draft is Just the Beginning

I spend a lot of time working with my clients to edit and revise their proposals and manuscripts. I give notes and suggestions for improvements. Sometimes I take them through draft after draft, until everything seems just right. I know it’s tiring for them, and sometimes frustrating to be pushed to go over it again…
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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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