A Writer’s Life

Books, Books, Books

I’m a great believer in reading. Shocking, huh? I believe that you, as a writer, should read lots of books in the genre or category in which you are writing. If you write literary fiction, you should read literary fiction. If you write suspense, you should read suspense. It’s a great way to learn. I…
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Recovering from a Writers Conference

I just returned from four days at a writers conference. I had something like 30 one-on-one meetings with writers, taught four 1-hour workshops, ran two late-night critique groups, had a few lunches/dinners/coffees with editors, and still managed to get out each morning for a 2-mile jog to and from Starbucks. Phew! I really enjoyed this…
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Time Management

Rachel asked: Do you have any tips for managing your time? I know you have kids and other responsibilities. I’m always interested in how other people manage to keep being productive with those competing interests in play. Well, Rachel, I wish I had some great advice based on my own fabulously successful time management skills.…
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Tis the Season for Writers’ Conferences

Oh my gosh, wasn’t that the BEST.IDOL.FINALE.EVER???? Congratulations Kris Allen! Now for today’s post. We’re now fully into spring and that means… writers’ conferences! Many of you are probably planning to attend at least one conference in the next few months. There’s quite a bit of information available online about preparing for conferences, but I…
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First Things First

or… Don’t Put the Cart Before the Horse If you’re a writer, here’s what I want to ask you today: Are you getting ahead of yourself? There are seasons in a writer’s life: Seasons for focusing on the art and craft of writing, and seasons for focusing on the business of writing. And seasons where…
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Giving Reasons for Rejections

Let’s talk about rejection letters! Lately I’ve been thinking about how writers wish they had a “reason” when agents reject their work. I’ve explained before (ad nauseum) all the reasons we can’t always give reasons. (And by the way, even though my policy states no response = no interest, I still respond to as many…
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Don’t Take it Personally

Happy Monday and I hope you all had a nice Easter weekend! Today I want to talk about that age-old platitude, “Don’t take it personally.” I think writers probably hear this a lot when agents and/or editors decline to take on their work. But I don’t think you hear what we mean when we say…
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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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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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