A Writer’s Life

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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More on Writers’ Conferences

I know a lot of you will be attending writers’ conferences, so I wanted to mention a few more things here. First, I can’t overstress the importance of having a verbal pitch ready. There are numerous opportunities at conferences to give a brief pitch of your book, sixty seconds. This can be at a meal…
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Dreams

Whenever I (or other bloggers) write about marketplace realities in publishing, there are always a wide variety of responses, ranging from pragmatic acceptance to mournful disappointment to angry lament. My observation – and I could be wrong – is that the sad and mad responses are from writers whose passion for being published burns hot…
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Let’s Talk About Writing, Publishing, and Coaching

  I was interviewed on the Lead Stories Podcast with Jo Saxton and Steph O’Brien. Listen in, if you’re interested! (It’s about 45 minutes.) We talked about: What I look for in someone I might represent as an agent What coaching looks like and why it is worth it How I redirect people who aren’t…
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Hot Tips for Conferences

We’re in prime writers’ conference season and lots of people are giving their advice (some of it different from mine). So I thought I’d drop a few hints your way just to increase your chance of conference-success. • First up, everyone says “don’t be nervous.” Agents and editors are just people, right? Sure we are.…
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Trust Me, You Need a Good Editor

I just finished reading a self-published book on a topic I’m passionate about, by an author whose blog I occasionally read. As I’ve mentioned before, I regularly read indie-pubbed books, and the fact that I work in traditional publishing doesn’t mean I’m biased against them. It does, however, mean I’m aware of the ways a…
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The First Draft is Just the Beginning

I spend a lot of time working with my clients to edit and revise their proposals and manuscripts. I give notes and suggestions for improvements. Sometimes I take them through draft after draft, until everything seems just right. I know it’s tiring for them, and sometimes frustrating to be pushed to go over it again…
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When Will My Agent Contact Me About My Book Deal?

It’s always exciting to hear from your agent that a publisher is interested in your story and is considering offering you a contract. Right? Of course it is! Once you hear those cherished words, it’s hard to wait for the next step. An unpublished author recently wrote me: I have an agent who has always…
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Have it Your Way

Hold the pickles, hold the lettuce, special orders don’t upset us, all we ask is that you let us… serve it your way. If you were born much later than, say, 1970, then you may have missed that tasty morsel of a Burger King commercial. But for the rest of us, it lives on in…
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Colorado trail

7 Keys to Planning Your Career Path

Most people who have successful careers are asked at some point, “How did you get here? What steps did you take to end up on top?” People in some careers are able to answer definitively; for example: “I did well in school, got into a great medical school, did my residency, took on a prestigious…
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How Do You Know If Your Work is Any Good?

  A question from a reader on Facebook: Outside of selling, how do you know that your work is actually good? You may pitch a book, and it might be good but might not be what an agent likes. So how do you validate that what you are doing is good? Always a good question!…
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Why?

So, you’re a writer. Yeah, maybe you’re also a bank teller or a schoolteacher or a Starbucks barista (don’t knock it till you’ve tried it). But when you think about who you really are, you think… I’m a writer. You slip away from the TV room in the evenings to get a few pages in.…
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Friends

Preparing to Be a Published Author

When you’re hoping to be a published author, you’re preparing for a whole new job in a whole new field. When you look at it from this perspective, you can see why agents are always stressing the importance of preparation and education.. Being a writer might be something you’ve always done. But being a published author…
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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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