Writing

That All-Important First Line

Let’s talk about the opening line of your book. The first thing to know about “first lines” is that they are not going to make or break you. Sure, it’s a lot of fun coming up with great ones. But as long as the first line makes someone want to read the second line, and…
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Focus on Writing the Best Book You Can

It seems in the last few years, dialogue about all-things-publishing has been focused on platform, marketing, increasing output, distribution platforms, technology, and self-publishing.  But I think it’s important to call our attention back to the work.    Two years ago in January 2014, I posted a prediction for the coming year:   “I think authors…
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Utterly Original: A Rant

“To my knowledge, nothing like this has ever been written. Ever. It is utterly fresh, mine and complete.” That was a line in a query I received. It’s hard to explain how this sounds to agents and editors who get pitched everything under the sun, are typically well-read, and are aware of what’s going on…
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5 Things To Do Before Hiring a Freelance Editor

More writers are hiring editors these days, whether they’re going indie or just making sure the manuscript is polished before submitting to agents and publishers. If you’re a newer writer, unpublished, here are some things I think you should do before spending your hard-earned money on a freelance editor. (1) Get objective feedback. It’s best to have…
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Create a Compelling Book Title

I’ve been coaching several of my clients through the process of coming up with a good title for their book, so I thought I’d share my tips with you. Let’s start by acknowledging a few things. The publisher is usually responsible for the final decision on title, and in the query stage, it’s not that…
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How to Write an Author Bio They’ll Remember

Sometimes it’s hard to believe how difficult it can be to write about yourself in a bio—after all, you’re a writer! But I understand it’s not as simple as that, so here are a few tips to make it easier. Write your bio in first person for query letters, third person for most other purposes including proposals, book jackets,…
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Crumpled paper

Nobody Writes Good First Drafts

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…
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Target

Where Your Passion Meets the Market

Last month I wrote a post about building a long-term writing career (Are You in this for the Long Haul?). In my list of things writers can do to develop a long-haul career, I said: Pay attention to where your passion intersects with the market. I want to expand on that because it’s so crucial.…
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Motivated Novelist

5 Habits of Motivated Novelists

Last year at this time, I introduced RescueTime, an online productivity tool that helps people make the most of their time while on the computer. Once again this year, RescueTime is teaming up with writers participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and offering a free month-long membership in RescueTime, complete with their premium productivity tools.…
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Minimize the Obstacles

I’m blogging at Books & Such today. Here’s a preview: 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…
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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…
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Walden on Wheels

Are You Afraid to Tell the Truth?

I am a reader of memoirs. I love them as much as I adore good fiction. I love the way great memoirists unflinchingly bare themselves to us, showing the good and the bad, the admirable moments and the shameful ones. I just finished reading an unusual memoir (Walden on Wheels by Ken Ilgunas) which is…
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Exclamation point

Those Annoying Exclamation Points!!!

Over many years of editing books, it seems I have become a heartless eliminator of exclamation points!!! Seriously, I developed a hatred for them! People tend to WAY overuse them! Not to mention italics and bold, and that oh-so-effective use of ALL CAPS!!!!!!! Here’s a hint to avoid coming across as amateur: Use the above…
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Target

How to Create a Style Sheet for Your Manuscript

If you’ve been writing books for long, you may have come across the challenge of keeping the details straight so that you can be consistent throughout the book. If the hero has blue eyes on page 1, he shouldn’t have green eyes on page 50. If your non-fiction book capitalizes “Servant Leadership” in the first…
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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.