Writing

Will an Agent Be Interested in My Self-Published Book?

So you have an indie-published book and you’re thinking about pursuing traditional publishing? That’s fantastic. Welcome! Most agents and publishers aren’t interested in your already-published book. Instead, we want to see your NEXT book. I’ve seen wonderful indie-published books that have sold units in the six figures, and traditional publishers still didn’t bite. Why? Partly…
Read More

Do Debut Authors Have a Chance at Getting Published?

New writers often worry that there’s no place for them in publishing. I constantly hear writers calling it a catch-22. “You can’t get published if you’ve never been published.” That couldn’t be further from the truth! Publishers are in constant need of fresh voices, so they’re always looking for a strong debut author. In fact,…
Read More

How do I Know if I Need a Literary Agent?

There are different kinds of publishers you can approach – from traditional, full-service publishers that operate on the advance + royalty model; to smaller publishers that use a co-op or hybrid model (author and publisher share costs); to self-publishing companies in which the author pays the costs. Most of the publishers in the first group,…
Read More

What’s the Secret to a Great Query Letter?

Query letters! We all have to write them (yes, even agents) and they’re SO important. What’s the secret? It’s understanding this most important point: The purpose of a query is get someone to want to read your manuscript. Nothing more, nothing less. It’s not to explain your whole book or tell your whole story. It’s…
Read More

What is Considered a Strong Author Platform These Days?

Platform! Everyone’s favorite subject. If you’re writing a nonfiction book, you’ll need to build a platform before getting a publisher and ideally, before you submit to agents. Think of platform as a fun and positive part of the journey. Your goal is to build a community, to engage in conversations, and to become a trusted…
Read More

Do I Need to Write My Whole Book Before Finding a Publisher?

Should you write the whole book first? Quick answer: Fiction: Yes, a complete manuscript is required (assuming you’re a debut author) Nonfiction: You typically need three solid chapters along with a book proposal. You don’t have to write the whole book. Some notes based on my experience: If you’re only sending 3 chapters, make sure…
Read More

There is no rejection, only redirection

This is a quote from author Matt Haig in his book “The Midnight Library.” But I think — maybe? — he wrote it with a wink toward his fellow writers. Isn’t it freeing to think of rejection as REDIRECTION? I’ve always said that every “no” gets you that much closer to a YES. Every “no”…
Read More

Can I Write in Both Fiction and Nonfiction? Can I Write in More Than One Genre?

  Oh writers, you’re so darn creative. Always wanting to branch out! Wanting to write different kinds of books! Okay, so, as an artist, you have complete freedom to do what you want. However as a published author, i.e. a businessperson, you have to think of things besides your creative freedom. There’s branding — will…
Read More

Should I Edit as I Go, or Save the Editing for Later?

Who’s excited about the crappy first draft??!! That’s what we’re shooting for. While a few writers find success through editing along the way and making everything perfect as they go, MOST are better off writing whole chapters or even whole books before going back for revisions. Some authors use a technique called “fast drafting” in…
Read More

Minimize the Obstacles to Publication

When you’re a debut author trying to break in to traditional publishing, one of the most important things to remember is this: Minimize the obstacles. You already know it’s not going to be easy to break in, so you want to avoid making it even more difficult on yourself. This is why agents give so much advice…
Read More

Knowing What We Don’t Know

When facing massive uncertainty, as exists in today’s highly interconnected global economy, it is essential to appreciate both what one does know as well as what one does not know.  ~Vikram Mansharamani Publishing has been operating in an atmosphere of uncertainty for years now. Right now we’re in a pandemic which has affected all businesses as…
Read More

Write Like It’s 2020

Sometimes when I talk with writers about the guidelines and conventions that are expected in today’s fiction—for example, don’t go overboard with description, or… show, don’t tell—writers push back with the classic “classics” argument. They’ll say things like, “But what about Charlotte Bronte? What about F. Scott Fitzgerald? You’d probably reject THEM if they came…
Read More

Write Another Book

Recently I had lunch with two writers, one published and the other not yet, but close. The most impressive thing about these two women is that they’ve each written more than a dozen books. Because of that, I think they both have strong writing careers ahead of them. I work with a lot of first-time…
Read More

Are You a Reader?

Read. It seems obvious. If you’re a writer, you have to  read! I know most of you are readers. But I’m regularly surprised at how many writers confess to not reading widely in the genre they’re writing. Or any genre, for that matter. Read in the genre you want to write At one conference, I met with…
Read More