Writing

Have you been to a writers’ conference?

  📚 Even if you’re published, conferences can be a great way to network, make friends, continue your education, and most of all, be a part of the writing community.   📚 Writing is a solitary endeavor, so it’s helpful to be reminded that you’re a part of something bigger.   📚 Plus, those friendships…
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How do you determine the difference between heavy competition for agents vs. if your work is just not good?

So you’re sending out submissions with no luck. Why? Well, your query may need work. The book idea itself may need work. OR… Your query and your book might be just fine. But because there are so many other queries in the queue, and perhaps bad luck and lack of serendipity and an annoying scarcity of fairy…
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What’s a good subject line for a query email?

A basic but important question: what do you put in your query subject line? . I’m sure there are plenty of possible creative answers to this, but I’m going to err on the simple side. I like a subject line that includes the word “Query” along with your book title, and possibly the genre. .…
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Is there anything you should avoid in a query that would lead to an automatic rejection?

  Is there anything you should avoid in a query that would lead to an automatic rejection? . People ask me this question all the time, and I want to start by saying that every agent is different, and we probably have different things that make us immediately decline a query. . For many agents,…
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“Write what you know.” Is this good advice?

  Writers are often told, “write what you know.” Is this good advice? . Absolutely! It’s great advice… if you understand what it means. . You can’t take it literally to mean something like, “Only write about things for which you have specialized knowledge.” Nobody has specialized knowledge of fairies or monsters or vampires, and…
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How Many Queries Should I Send Out?

  When you are looking for an agent, how many queries should you send? . The short answer is: as many as it takes! . There are several hundred literary agents out there. Once you’ve narrowed it down to agents who rep your genre, you’ll probably still have a pool of 100, 200, or more.…
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What would make my memoir stand out to a publisher?

📚 First, it’s important to know that a memoir is not your life story (that’s an autobiography). Your memoir is a piece of your story, centered around a particular time or event in your life that sent you on a different trajectory. 📚 Make sure you know your theme. Is it a coming of age…
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Should you pay for a critique or professional edit?

If you’re looking for an objective opinion—one that doesn’t come from your writing partner, critique partner or your best friend—then paying a professional editor may be a good idea. Someone who hasn’t been involved all along in your brainstorming and writing process can look at your book with a fresh mindset and point out things…
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Should you enter writing contests?

  ✍🏼 It’s a personal decision, but there are a few good reasons writers enter contests. ✍🏼 First, the prize money! That’s always nice. ✍🏼 But what if you don’t win? Was your time spent entering the contest wasted? ✍🏼 Entering the right contests can be helpful for writers of both fiction and non-fiction. The…
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How Do I Find Comps for My Book?

The dreaded comps! When you’re trying to interest an agent or publisher in your book, you’re often asked to provide “comps” — other books that could be compared to yours, or books that might compete with yours. A good book proposal always has a “Competition” or “Comparable Books” section, and even if you’re self-publishing, it helps…
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Can I Use Song Lyrics in My Book?

Song lyrics! It’s oh-so-tempting to use them in your novel, isn’t it? Or your memoir. Songs can be so evocative… they can express that exact right feeling in the exact right way. But hold up. Sometimes it’s not the best idea. If you’re going to include lyrics – or excerpts from poetry – you’ll need…
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Why Would Someone Want to Read Your Book?

You probably know why you’re writing your book. But do you have a good handle on what would make someone want to read it? It’s important for you to not only know this, but make sure it comes through any time you’re talking about your book — pitching it, writing a query, writing a proposal…
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Help! Someone is Using My Book Title!

  Book titles! Here’s the important thing to remember: **YOU CANNOT COPYRIGHT A TITLE.** This is why you see the same titles on multiple books, movies, songs, albums – any creative work. Nobody has a claim on any particular title. You want to name your book The Godfather? Go for it. When you’re thinking about…
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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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