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A Writer’s Life

Does Age Matter for Writers?

Hi Rachelle, I’m 62 and about to retire; I’m preparing to dedicate my retirement years to writing full-time. I wonder whether “age discrimination” would enter into my efforts to get published. I realize the quality of the product is the most important thing, but do you think my age would detract from consideration of my…
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Questions to Ask a Small Publisher

If you’re reading this, then there’s a good chance you’re a writer and you’re going to be published someday if you’re not already. In today’s publishing environment, there are plenty of options (as you know) and if you don’t have an agent, you may find yourself talking to a smaller, independent publisher. It’s hard to…
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target-on-your-back

When a Writer Becomes a Target

Once you’re a published author, you’re going to have a target on your back. You will offer up your words to strangers, and not everyone will like what you write. You’ll be naked and vulnerable in front of the world. You’ll make mistakes, you may offend people. And you may not feel safe. They will…
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Botched Communication

  I want to tell you about an incident at a writers’ conference that was sort of heartbreaking for me. We agents have a lot invested in these conferences, just like the writers do, and sometimes we have disappointments too. I met with a writer who pitched me a couple of projects. She seemed like…
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Target

Where Your Passion Meets the Market

Recently, I wrote a post about building a long-term writing career (Are You in this for the Long Haul?). In my list of things writers can do to develop a long-haul career, I said: Pay attention to where your passion intersects with the market. I want to expand on that because it’s so crucial. Most…
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runner

Are You in this for the Long Haul?

I have a lot of conversations with clients about their writing careers. Usually they say to me, “I want to be in this for the long haul.” It’s given me the opportunity to have some great discussions about what helps a writer accomplish this goal – and what can sabotage their efforts. It’s an important…
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Challenging Our Assumptions

I’ve noticed that when entering the writing and publishing journey, people have a lot of assumptions that aren’t necessarily true. Here’s a little true/false quiz to pinpoint some assumptions you may have. Do they need to be challenged?   True or False: The best time of day to write is the morning. In order to…
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Focus on Writing the Best Book You Can

It seems in the last few years, dialogue about all-things-publishing has been focused on platform, marketing, increasing output, distribution platforms, technology, and self-publishing.  But I think it’s important to call our attention back to the work.  In January 2014, I posted a prediction for the coming year: “I think authors will re-focus on the foundational…
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Will I Have to Pay Back My Advance?

Do authors ever have to pay back their advance? This is a question agents hear a lot. Often a writer is nervous about possibly being asked to pay back the advance if the book doesn’t sell enough copies. If you’re publishing with a reputable traditional publisher, then you don’t have to pay back your advance for…
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The Power of Negative Thinking

Thomas Edison, in talking about inventing, is quoted as saying, “the first step is an intuition—and comes with a burst—then difficulties arise.” To me this is similar to the bursts of inspiration and motivation we sometimes get when writing. The trouble is that the burst subsides and “difficulties arise.” Edison is famous and became successful…
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Hourglass

Success in 90-Minute Increments

In the past, I’ve blogged about “interval training for writers.” I referred to the growing body of research on human performance suggesting we’re most productive when we move between periods of high focus and periods of rest, rather than attempting to maintain high focus for long periods of time. I wrote that: 90 minutes is…
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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…
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Sometimes Drastic Measures are Required

I’m reading Michelle Obama’s book, Becoming, and finding it fascinating. It’s a terrific read so if you’ve been on the fence, I recommend it! There’s an interesting tidbit about when Barack got a contract for his first book, Dreams from My Father. It was long before he entered public office, and at the time apparently he had a…
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Despair

There Is No Time For Despair

Here are some truths:  • Publishing is in flux and no one is quite sure what the future looks like. • Publishers are merging, resulting in fewer places to submit manuscripts. • Many authors who have published numerous books are finding their advances going down, not up. • With self-published books now plentiful, there are more books than ever…
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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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