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A Writer’s Life

Your Queries Say a Lot About You

Over the last year, I’ve given you numerous examples of things not to say in a query letter. One of the most unhelpful things you can say in your query is something like, “my book will win the Nobel prize” or “it’s bound to be a blockbuster bestseller.” Or even the more restrained, “This book…
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Do You Have a Story to Tell?

What’s the difference between a person with a story to tell, and a writer? What’s the difference between a person with something important to share, and a writer? This is a tough one. I honestly think that everyone – yes, every single person – has a story to tell. Everyone has something valuable to say.…
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Establish Your Identity

Okay, this might seem like a really nitpicky complaint. I’m sorry. But here goes, a mini rant. Trust me, it’s just one more way I’m trying to help you, dear writers, understand how to begin creating a positive, professional image for yourself, from the very first time you come in contact with an agent or…
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Prepare Yourself for Success

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re dreaming of getting that first book deal. But what are you doing to prepare for the reality of being a contracted author? When you sign with a publisher, you’ll have new demands on your time. The publisher will act like they own you and every minute of your…
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Why I Write

I have to admit I was overwhelmed by the responses to Friday’s Q4U post. I wasn’t able to read them as they were coming in since I was busy on the ski slopes (someone has to support Colorado’s #1 industry), but I read them all on Sunday and took some time to think about them.…
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The Passion of the Writer

I have just come from a superbowl party after watching that AMAZING game. Apologies to all you sports haters, but I am going to use a football metaphor in today’s post. You know I love pop culture – and the superbowl is about as pop as it gets. And wasn’t that an EXCITING last few…
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The Elevator Pitch, Part 1

It has come to my attention that I’ve failed you. I asked you to send elevator pitches, without previously teaching you about elevator pitches. Mea culpa, mea culpa. I’ll try to make up for it over the next three days by giving you lots of tips about how to craft a successful pitch. (I won’t…
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On Being a Brick Wall

I’m sure most of you are familiar with Randy Pausch’s story and his book, The Last Lecture (co-written with Jeffrey Zaslow). In his lecture and his book, Randy spoke with great wisdom about achieving your childhood dreams. One of the things he said that resonated with me was that the obstacles to our dreams are…
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When the Truth Hurts

You didn’t think you’d avoid an American Idol post, did you? (Serves you right for showing up here the day after the premiere!) Can I just tell you how much fun I have with this show? It’s always such a terrific metaphor for the publishing business, and in many ways, life itself. I can’t help…
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Encouragement and Courage

Happy holidays! Can I just say how amazed I am that SEVEN people sent me queries on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day? What’s up with that? Does an agent’s in-box EVER get a rest??? Apparently not. Well, I’m on vacation now so anything that comes in will be unanswered until January. The following is a…
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10 Really Good First Novels

Looking for some terrific holiday reading? Need some inspiration to get that first novel finished? Here is a list of 10 great books that were the first novel published by each of these authors. (In some cases, the only novel they published.) This isn’t meant to be discouraging. Every writer has a first book… sometimes…
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A Holiday Q4U

Here we are in the Christmas season, and many of us are struggling to find just the right gifts for those on our lists… for just the right price. But today, let’s dream a little… and let’s take a moment to be utterly selfish. If money were no object, what is the ONE THING you’d…
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More Wise Words from Agents

News about the poor economy continues to rock the headlines, including more announcements from publishers about belt-tightening and cost-cutting. I think it’s important for writers to look at market realities and understand that this isn’t going to be an easy road. (But really, when was it ever easy?) To find success, we may need to…
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Responding to the Difficult Economy

I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.Charles Swindoll The biggest news in our world today is the economy, and many are suffering the effects. Last week we were bombarded with news of difficult realities in the publishing industry. What should our response be? I…
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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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