Posts

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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The Art and the Industry

I watched a YouTube video from 2016 that featured Pharrell Williams giving a Masterclass with music students at NYU. The thing that’s really neat about this clip is that it captures the moment recording artist Maggie Rogers was “discovered” by Pharrell. It’s fun and heartwarming watching his reaction to her song. (Start watching around the 23-minute mark.) Things went nuts…
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What Does a Book Edit Look Like?

Whether you’re working with a traditional publisher or you’re self-publishing your book, the only way to ensure excellence in your final product is to put your work through a rigorous editorial process, consisting of more than one round of editing. Following are the three basic types of editing that your manuscript may go through. Every…
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Big Dreams and Realistic Expectations

When was the last time you had a terrific conversation about writing and your publishing journey with your fellow author friends? Talked about your dreams for the future and tried to identify any roadblocks that might be holding you back from pursuing them? It’s often difficult for writers to “dream big” or set lofty goals…
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Writing Craft: Foreshadowing

Today I thought I’d talk about an aspect of novel-writing that I don’t see addressed very often, even though I deal with it all the time when editing novels. It’s the technique of foreshadowing and its black-sheep cousin, telegraphing. Foreshadowing is when you purposely drop tiny hints about what’s going to happen later in the…
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Advice for Beginning Storytellers

Ira Glass: “Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it…
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About Those New Year’s Goals…

With 2019 fast approaching, I imagine I’m not the only one reviewing the last year and setting some new goals. I’ve been thinking a lot about goal-setting and reading different sources on the psychology of it. I want to share some insights that have changed the way I do things. These thoughts have helped me…
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Let Your Agent Be the Bad Guy

One of the primary advantages of having an agent is that you have an advocate who can handle all the negotiations with the publisher and navigate difficult territory, allowing you to maintain a positive working relationship with everyone at your publishing house. This positive relationship can have huge implications when it comes time for a…
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What Not to Say in a Query

“Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been a huge fan of candy corn.” Okay, I know you’d never put that in your query (unless your book is about candy corn). It tells me something about you, yes, but it’s not actually relevant to the project you’re pitching me. You know better than to do…
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Should I Hire a Freelance Editor?

Lately more and more people have been asking me if they should hire an editor prior to submitting to agents. Here’s my take: Using a freelance editor can be a great idea – if you use it as a learning experience. You need to do most of the work yourself. I think it’s wasted money…
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Why Didn’t I Say Yes to Your Novel?

When an agent or editor requests your partial or full manuscript, it’s nerve wracking to wait and wonder, day after day, if they’re reading it and whether they like it. If they finally decide not to offer representation, it hurts and you just want to know… why? Most agents try to offer some kind of…
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God Told Me to Write This Post

People always ask me about the clichés we hear in queries, and last week someone asked me what makes my eyes glaze over in a pitch. Here it is, hands-down: “God told me to write this.” And let’s not forget its many variations. God laid it on my heart. God gave me this idea. God…
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The Writer’s Voice

Many people have asked about “voice” lately. It’s a big topic and I’m sure we’ll discuss it more than once. But let’s get started! What do we mean when we say we’re looking for “new voices”? What do editors mean when they say it’s the writer’s voice that captures them—or doesn’t? Let’s start by identifying…
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Ask the Agent: Walking the Line

Dear Rachelle, I have written a crime mystery that involves abuse, revenge, a murder, inappropriate conduct by a pastor, and a cover-up. There is no sex in the story, but there is some rough language. There is a message of redemption and truth. I’m not sure if this is CBA or ABA. What I think…
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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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