Posts

Introducing Gardner Literary

  Hey friends! I’ve opened a new agency. Here’s the full press release: Literary agent Rachelle Gardner, formerly of Books & Such Literary Management, announces the formation of Gardner Literary, a full-service agency representing diverse authors at the crossroads of faith and culture. Gardner has been an agent since 2007 when she joined WordServe Literary.…
Read More

What’s the Secret to a Great Query Letter?

Query letters! We all have to write them (yes, even agents) and they’re SO important. What’s the secret? It’s understanding this most important point: The purpose of a query is get someone to want to read your manuscript. Nothing more, nothing less. It’s not to explain your whole book or tell your whole story. It’s…
Read More

What is Considered a Strong Author Platform These Days?

Platform! Everyone’s favorite subject. If you’re writing a nonfiction book, you’ll need to build a platform before getting a publisher and ideally, before you submit to agents. Think of platform as a fun and positive part of the journey. Your goal is to build a community, to engage in conversations, and to become a trusted…
Read More

Do I Need to Write My Whole Book Before Finding a Publisher?

Should you write the whole book first? Quick answer: Fiction: Yes, a complete manuscript is required (assuming you’re a debut author) Nonfiction: You typically need three solid chapters along with a book proposal. You don’t have to write the whole book. Some notes based on my experience: If you’re only sending 3 chapters, make sure…
Read More

There is no rejection, only redirection

This is a quote from author Matt Haig in his book “The Midnight Library.” But I think — maybe? — he wrote it with a wink toward his fellow writers. Isn’t it freeing to think of rejection as REDIRECTION? I’ve always said that every “no” gets you that much closer to a YES. Every “no”…
Read More

Can I Write in Both Fiction and Nonfiction? Can I Write in More Than One Genre?

  Oh writers, you’re so darn creative. Always wanting to branch out! Wanting to write different kinds of books! Okay, so, as an artist, you have complete freedom to do what you want. However as a published author, i.e. a businessperson, you have to think of things besides your creative freedom. There’s branding — will…
Read More

Should I Edit as I Go, or Save the Editing for Later?

Who’s excited about the crappy first draft??!! That’s what we’re shooting for. While a few writers find success through editing along the way and making everything perfect as they go, MOST are better off writing whole chapters or even whole books before going back for revisions. Some authors use a technique called “fast drafting” in…
Read More

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.…
Read More

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…
Read More

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…
Read More

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…
Read More

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…
Read More

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…
Read More

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…
Read More