Basic Advice

Thick Skin: The Key to a Writer’s Survival

How many times have you heard the new-writer’s advice: Develop a thick skin. You’d think this would be even more of a requirement for an agent. It’s good advice for anyone who’s visible on the Internet, frequently giving their opinion on things. So all in all, you probably think I’d be a person with a thick…
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Living in Paradox

Last week I wrote a post about following your passion as a writer, versus trying to write what the market wants. I concluded that it’s a false dichotomy—you need to to both. It’s not easy living in two worlds, and it got me thinking of all the ways writers and publishing professionals have to live…
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Why Can’t I Find Your Email Addy?

I do not understand why so many writers have websites and/or blogs, but do not have their email address or a “contact me” link easily visible. It’s a frequent source of frustration for me. Why would you even bother putting yourself out there without giving people a way to contact you? There are two circumstances in…
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Action is Character

Advice from Hollywood, part 3 In real life, it’s not what a person says that shows us who they are. It’s what they do. The content of a person’s character is revealed in action and behavior. Who a person says they are, or thinks they are, doesn’t necessarily reflect their true character. In screenwriting, the…
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Nobody Knows Anything

Advice from Hollywood, part 1 Back in the early ‘90s I was an L.A. girl working in television and writing screenplays on the side. Every single Saturday morning our screenwriting group would meet at my home (50 feet off the beach—it was a rough life) and critique our weekly ten pages in excruciating detail. We took…
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Advice for Writers Getting Started

Like all agents and many published authors, I frequently receive emails with questions from writers. Sometimes they’re specific questions about the business, but often they’re sweeping and general, like: How do I get published? I have several templates I use to answer people’s questions, but I’m getting bored of my same old answers. So help…
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Heard it Through the Grapevine

(Repost)I’ve been extra busy lately, what with all the holiday activities, and I haven’t been preparing my blogs in advance like I normally do. So yesterday I was sitting at my desk pondering the 177 emails in my box, and the manuscripts that needed reading, and the proposals I’m preparing for submissions, and amidst all…
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A Few Hints on Twitter

By now most people either know how to use Twitter, or they hate the whole idea of it and have sworn to never go over to the dark side. Wherever you stand, I’m not going to try to change your mind. But if you’re using Twitter, I have a couple of helpful hints, based on…
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The Tools of Your Trade

Since you’re reading this blog, I assume you’re probably pretty good at knowing your way around the computer. This is a very good thing! It’s vitally important that you’re comfortable with technology. You should also know that the standard program used by publishers in working with manuscripts is Microsoft Word. I don’t want to hear…
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Your Questions, My Answers

Okay, here are more questions I’ve received lately. I’ll warn you right now, my answers are NOT FUNNY. They are, in fact, boring. Sorry. JR Beasley said:I have queried multiple agents. One agent has requested a full manuscript and three others are reviewing partials. When offered representation by an agent, what is the proper protocol…
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Your Questions Sweetly Answered

Kati Patrianoceu asked…Do you get tired of writing about the same things on your blog over and over? Do you enjoy writing dozens of blogs about good-and-bad-queries, or does it drive you nuts?I like writing the same things over and over. I like writing the same things over and over. I like writing the same…
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Stuff You Pay For

A client of mine was reading over his contract with a Big Six publisher and he emailed me wondering, If my book needs an index, do I really have to pay for it myself? “Yep.” And how much would it cost? “Depends, but most likely in the neighborhood of $500 to $1200. Don’t worry, the…
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How to Become a Better Writer:

11 Completely Non-Writing-Related Ideas 1. Be creative any way you can. Cook new recipes. Paint a picture. Design a garden. Compose a song. Build something with Legos. Organize the garage. 2. Pay attention. Observe the mannerisms of people around you. Listen to how they speak. Marvel at the way they’re dressed. Notice their shoes and…
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Writing a Series

(Today’s peek into my mailbox.) Dear Rachelle, I’ve been writing a series of novels, and have completed six books. My question is: How do I go about submitting a series? I have a query that describes the series an includes an excerpt from each book. Would this be the correct way to present the series?…
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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.