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How to Write a Killer Villain

Just like your hero, your villain should be fully three-dimensional: fallible, flawed, and complete with a backstory that explains being so downright nasty.

The Complete Guide to Query Letters

This post was originally published in 2014. It is regularly updated with new information. If you’re seeking one-on-one help with queries, I offer a critique service. The query letter has one purpose, and one purpose only: to seduce the agent or editor into reading or requesting your work. The query letter is so much of a […]

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Why Do Writers Hire Book Coaches?

Book coaching is much more than editorial support. Coaches help clients complete a transformation—from someone who wants to write a book into someone who has created a book they are proud of.

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The Wonderful Thing About Line Edits

The point of line edits isn’t to say, “My way is better!”, but to give a fellow author the gift of a fresh pair of eyes and ears and alternatives to reflect upon.

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The Pros and Cons of Present Tense

To convey a sense of immediacy, nothing beats the present tense. But for readers to want to stay in that moment, your scenes must be suspenseful and compelling.

How to Reach Out to Influencers for Book Promotion

You don’t need an influencer’s clout to make your book and brand successful, but it can help expose your work to a larger audience. Before you reach out, here are some important do’s & don’ts to keep in mind.

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The Value of Touching Details

The point of fiction is to make believers out of us. Small details provide authenticity, making an invented world feel real enough to invest in emotionally.

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How to Improve Your Amazon Book Descriptions

Most people don’t read websites; they scan. The same is true for your book description. In this guest post, Penny Sansevieri offers tips to make your promotional copy appealing enough for readers to linger.

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How to Convert Book Readers into Email Subscribers

Obtaining readers for your book is hard enough. Once you have their attention, how do you make the most of it? Dave Chesson suggests “reader magnets”—incentives that turn strangers into subscribers.

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7 Common Mistakes in First-Time Memoir

Readers come to a memoir in hopes it will shed light on their own life experiences. Stay on the right track by focusing on what makes your story unique and engaging.

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3 Critical Things You Won’t Learn in an MFA Program

Writing takes grit and so does publishing, but your odds are better if you understand what you’re up against. In this guest post, author and educator Susan DeFreitas shares some “secrets” everyone should know.

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The People in Publishing I Learn From

The funny thing about being any good as a publishing commentator: it requires talking to many others, learning varied perspectives, and writing about ideas you didn’t come up with.

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What Happened After I Lost My Agent—Twice

A series of setbacks can easily lead to feelings of failure. In this guest post, author Rachel Pieh Jones offers lessons on overcoming discouragement, refocusing, and getting back on track.