Posts

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

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…
Read More

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…
Read More

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…
Read More

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…
Read More

Find What You Control, and Take Action

Here are some truths:  We are in the midst of a pandemic and everything is off kilter. Publishing is going to be affected and no one is quite sure what the future looks like. Even before the pandemic, it has always been challenging for writers to get their books traditionally published. With self-published books now…
Read More

So Many Ideas, So Little Time

Are you the kind of writer who has several book ideas (or even written several books), possibly in different genres? If so, you may be wondering where to start. Which book should be the first one you write, or pitch to agents and editors? It’s a question worth asking, and you’d do well to put…
Read More

How to Handle Social Media During a Global Pandemic

Hey writers! I know most of you are already adjusting your online marketing and social media activities to match these crazy times. If you’re putting time and effort into figuring out how to alter what you normally post — what you’d already prepared and planned to post — then you’re doing the exact right thing.…
Read More

11 Things Happy Authors Don’t Do

Some authors are mildly successful but still happy. Some aren’t even published yet, but they’re still content with their journey. Other authors have great success, yet are still pretty unhappy. What makes the difference? How do we avoid behaviors and circumstances that rob us of joy and steal our contentment? Here are a few ideas. Happy…
Read More

Welcome to the Shark Tank

If you’re a writer trying to wrap your mind around the business end of publishing, I hope you’re watching ABC’s Shark Tank. The show has nothing to do with publishing, but it has everything to do with understanding exactly what you are doing when you put your query or proposal in front of an agent or publisher. Whether you…
Read More

An Introvert at a Writer’s Conference

There’s plenty of advice out there about how to make the most of a conference. But what about those of us who are introverts? We may have trouble even wanting to attend a conference, let alone making the most of one! Potential for awkward social situations is around every corner. Oh, how we envy our extrovert friends!…
Read More