Update

Your Questions Answered

Here are some questions I’ve received from readers lately, and my brief answers. I’m stuck on my second draft. When is it a good idea to bring in an outside editor? You should bring in an editor when you can’t go any further on your own. Try a critique partner first—it will save you money…
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5 Ways to Deal With Failure

(Today’s post can be read in its entirety on the Books & Such blog.) When I first started this job, I was repeatedly surprised at how often it seems to bring a sense of failure. Whether or not I’m actually “failing,” it’s amazing how often I feel like I am. I don’t sell every project…
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sigh

Query Lines to Make an Agent Sigh

I was going through my current batch of query letters, and while many of them are very good, it reminded me how difficult it is to write a strong pitch. You have to accomplish so many things in a concise format: introduce your book in a way that the agent wants to read it; give…
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Tape over mouth

What NOT To Blog About

Yesterday on the blog, we discussed online presence, and what our social media activity tells the world about us. Today I want to get a little more specific and highlight a few online no-nos. It can be easy to fall into a “letting it all hang out” mindset with blogging and social media, but from…
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light bulb

Possibly the Best Blogging Tip Ever

My post last Friday received the highest number of comments I’ve ever had on a single post (over 500). It was not because it was such a great post. Rather, I think it was because: 1) The post gave helpful information, but most importantly, it was about the reader — not about me. 2) The post…
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10 Things Editors Look For in Non-Fiction

Got a terrific non-fiction project you’re trying to sell? Wondering if you have what it takes? Here are some signs of potential future success as a non-fiction author: 1. Established platform. (A tribe of dedicated fans and potential bookbuyers). 2. Experience, expertise and/or credentials in the subject area of your book. 3. A new and…
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Nanowrimo

4 Tips for Writing a Quick First Draft

National Novel Writing Month starts in three weeks! For those who don’t know what this is, you can go to the NaNoWriMo site here and learn all about it. The point is to write a 50,000 word novel between Nov. 1 and Nov. 30. I think it’s great for discipline and for getting that first…
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Secrets of a Great Pitch

Next week I’m headed out to the ACFW conference (American Christian Fiction Writers) and I’m sure I’ll see some of you there! Rachel’s post yesterday on the Books & Such blog gave some great advice about talking to agents and editors at conferences: It’s Not All About the Pitch. But I know many of you…
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How Do Authors Benefit From Agents?

Many times on my blog, I’ve answered the question of why you, a writer (singular), might need an agent (also singular). But today I want to answer a slightly different question. How do authors, collectively, benefit from agents (plural)? How does the existence of agents in this business help all authors? → Read the complete…
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When Should You Write Your Memoir?

I just finished reading Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, a memoir by Cheryl Strayed. This is an incredible book, a bestseller since its release in March, about the author’s 1,100 (that’s eleven hundred) mile solo hike through California and Oregon. She undertook the hike as a way of coping with devastating…
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How Does Your Publisher Make Money?

If you read the publishing blogs and follow industry Twitter feeds, you’ve no doubt gathered that there’s a firestorm of controversy over Pearson, the parent company of Penguin Books, purchasing a company called Author Solutions (ASI), a well-established self-publishing company. You can read numerous diverse opinions on this acquisition and plenty of astute commentary (links…
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Should Unpublished Novelists Be Platform-Building?

A couple of weeks ago I blogged about My Love/Hate Relationship with Social Media, and the vocal response in the comments confirmed that many of you feel the same way. Some of us love it, some of us hate it, most of us are just trying to keep up. We all recognize the potential hazards of…
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climber helping

Self-Published Author Seeks Agent

More and more, I get emails from people who have self-published, asking me whether I take on self-pubbed authors, or whether they even need an agent if they’ve already gone the DIY route. This is a topic that will require several posts to completely cover, but I’ll get it started today by answering a few…
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writing for money

Keep Money in Its Place

Today I’m going to tell you the quickest way to drive yourself crazy and lose the joy in your writing journey. You thought I was going to say “Reading agent blogs,” right? Good guess, but no, that’s not it. The quickest way to lose the joy is to expect that your first book contract is…
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