A Writer’s Life

Why is it so Hard to Find an Agent?

Ah, the age-old dilemma. How to get an agent? Why does it seem like such an uphill battle? It even sometimes feels like agents are actively trying to keep you out! Exactly WHY is it so hard? First, let me be clear: we agents love nothing more than saying YES. Our favorite things are finding…
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Do Debut Authors Have a Chance at Getting Published?

New writers often worry that there’s no place for them in publishing. I constantly hear writers calling it a catch-22. “You can’t get published if you’ve never been published.” That couldn’t be further from the truth! Publishers are in constant need of fresh voices, so they’re always looking for a strong debut author. In fact,…
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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…
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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”…
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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…
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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…
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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…
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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…
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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…
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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…
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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…
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Do You Need an Author Website?

Short answer: Yes! Whenever an aspiring author asks what they need to do to prepare for the publishing journey, I always tell them to put first things first: start with an author website. It’s the place on the internet where both readers and publishers will go to find your work and learn more about you.…
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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…
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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…
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