Posts

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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Write an Author Bio They’ll Remember

Sometimes it’s hard to believe how difficult it can be to write about yourself in a bio—after all, you’re a writer! But I understand it’s not as simple as that, so here are a few tips to make it easier.   Write your bio in first person for query letters, third person for most other purposes including proposals, book…
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12 Mistakes Authors Make in Connecting with Readers

The whole idea of “building a platform” and “marketing your book” is to get people to read what you’ve written. Whether you’re traditionally or self-published, connecting with potential readers is crucial. There are many good ways to do this (although it’s not necessarily easy), and plenty of resources to  help you. Today I want to…
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gatekeeper

I Am Not a Gatekeeper

People in and around this business have long used the word “gatekeeper” when referring to those in publishing tasked with choosing which books to publish or represent. Since the rise of self-publishing, it has become a debate—often heated: Down with the gatekeepers! Hooray for the gatekeepers! But gatekeepers are not what you think. There is…
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When Will My Agent Contact Me About My Book Deal?

It’s always exciting to hear from your agent that a publisher is interested in your story and is considering offering you a contract. Right? Of course it is! Once you hear those cherished words, it’s hard to wait for the next step. An unpublished author recently wrote me: I have an agent who has always…
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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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