Today, our problem is not finding more great things to read. It’s finding time to read the great many wonderful things that are published.
A “clueless ask” is when a well-meaning stranger asks for an investment of a successful person’s time and energy. What are such people owed, if anything?
If you want to publish your book, here are the steps you should follow to assess your work’s potential, then research and pitch editors and agents.
In my many years of critiquing queries, I see the same weaknesses again and again. Here are the biggest issues that afflict novel queries and how you can fix them.
If there’s something at the heart of the story that still interests you, that keeps pulling you back, that still haunts you years later, then that’s probably a sign that there’s something worth struggling for there.
Everyone has a meaningful story to tell, but not everyone’s story (or writing) is going to deserve a commercial publishing deal. Here are the most common problems I encounter in memoir pitches and manuscripts.
Writing a nonfiction book proposal—a good one—requires not only sharp clarity about your idea, but also how that idea, in book form, is relevant and unique in today’s market. You’ll have a much easier time writing your proposal if you take time to conduct market research beforehand.
Everything you need to know to start writing a book proposal for your nonfiction book.
Whenever you produce titles fast, you’re making trade-offs.
Here are the latest stories that are causing confusion (and sometimes moral panic) where it’s not deserved.
Some agents and editors say that personalizing a query letter can backfire. Others say the opposite—that it’s mandatory. What should you do?
A detailed look at how NetGalley’s Stuart Evers and Myfanwy Collins went from manuscript to publication, with marketing and PR advice.
Writer Katherine Vaz discusses an assignment that is given to every student at her university: to write about “the most important thing ever to happen to me.”
Authors need help with digital book marketing—the kind of help that traditional publishers rarely provide. Co-ops and collectives can help fill that gap.
I’m delighted to announce that I’ve been working with The Authors Guild on the creation and release of their new resource guide on e-publishing.
If you dream of a full-time freelance writing career, don’t be discouraged by the largely negative messages about how difficult it is out there.
Memoir, as William Dean Howells said, is the “most democratic province of the republic of letters.” Indeed, the genre is evidence that every person in the world has a worthy story to tell, that it’s not what the story is but how it’s told that engages a reader.
We order; we catalogue. It is, simply, what the human mind excels at.
Discussions about the “resurgence” of print and the comeback of independent bookstores amounts to wishful thinking, not an understanding of the industry.
If you’ve given up on the self-publishing route and want to try traditional publishing, then there are several approaches you can take to interest agents.
Is it better to have a long or short book description on Amazon? What should go in the first line? How do you research appropriate categories and keywords? Learn principles and tools to master the power of descriptions and reach your target market.
In this post I regularly update the best resources I know of related to learning to publish an ebook, finding the right distributors and services, and staying on top of changes in the industry.
Sometimes that first draft is never going to become a final draft. That doesn’t mean it’s a waste, though.
The Mall of America residency isn’t going to be an appropriate opportunity for even a majority of writers. But it’s the right opportunity for someone.
Did you know Amazon’s print book sales grew by 15% in 2016—and the gain was primarily driven by Amazon’s own discounting on print?
A course’s success depends on anticipating and understanding the needs of writing students and producing the outcomes they most desire.
In my latest column for Publishers Weekly, I discuss the potential of online education for book marketing, particularly prior to publication.
The most important thing any author needs to know about book distribution is that more than half of all book sales (regardless of format) take place online.
Any accomplished writer is also a reader—and usually a reader first. For the writer who is the least a bit humble, this sets up one of the most significant psychological barriers to pursuing a writing career: How could I ever produce something as wonderful as [admired writer / admired book]? This is an area that Steven […]
Sarah Miniaci at Smith Publicity and Kristina Radke at NetGalley review the marketing and publicity strategies that can help increase your book’s discoverability, word-of-mouth, and reviews, using NetGalley and Goodreads in particular.
BEA is a quality industry event, and it is a legitimate marketing and promotion opportunity. But for the majority of indie authors, it does not make sense to invest what are likely your limited resources in BEA.
My industry newsletter for authors, The Hot Sheet, released a special (and free) issue last week with original reporting from Digital Book World.
Pronoun works with independent authors to distribute their ebooks to the five major online retailers: Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Google Play. Pronoun charges authors nothing upfront, and doesn’t take a cut of ebook sales either.
Sometimes endings are designed to satisfy, answering the questions posed along the way. Endings that allow you to leave as easily as you came in. But what if the ending isn’t designed to satisfy?
Is it better to look for a literary agent first, or to approach editors and publishers? Much depends on the commercial potential of your work.
Every year, I share hundreds (even thousands) of articles and reports on book marketing. Here, I look back on the best of what I found in 2016.
If you’re preparing to pitch your nonfiction work to agents or publishers, you may have heard about the necessity of platform. What if you don’t have one?
A list of the best blogs and websites focused on literary fiction and culture
A round-up of important 2016 publishing news and trends that will affect authors in the years to come.
How a self-publishing poet achieved visibility for her book—and landed a book deal with traditional publisher Andrews McMeel.
Defining a “hybrid publisher” is difficult; you will hear different descriptions depending on who you ask. Here’s what you need to know to evaluate one.
It’s sometimes easier to cut a piece of writing if you can’t see how to fix it. Just remove the offending bits, job done. But it can deaden a piece.
There are many analogies drawn between writing and sports: exercising your creative muscles, learning to go the distance, pushing up against your limits.
A round-up of the best and most popular advice on writing craft and technique I’ve featured since 2010.
When embarking on a process that is new or unfamiliar, often you don’t know what you don’t know. A checklist helps you recognize what you don’t know, so that many months later, you’re not beating yourself up for complete ignorance. Without further ado, here are some of my most favored checklists, from sources I trust.
Before you buy another pen-and-pencil set for that writer in your life, consider some gift options that take their digital lives into consideration.
But being able to truly see if you’ve been successful in writing a compelling work requires objectivity and distance than can be hard to achieve on your own—and this is where a professional editor comes in.
This week, I was a guest on the Create If Writing podcast, discussing traditional and independent publishing.
Getting traction for your online presence—especially a new blog—can feel like an impossible task when you’re an unknown writer. But it can be done.
Author Kurt Rheinheimer discusses how the most precious vein for material is from just before he knew who he was and what was going on.