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How (and How Not!) to Write Queer Characters: A Primer

Tips for avoiding stereotypes and tokenism, and presenting more interesting, complex, three-dimensional queer characters.
3 Common Pitfalls in Memoir Queries

3 Common Pitfalls in Memoir Queries

Memoirists have a lot of leeway in choosing a pitching strategy. But with freedom comes great responsibility, and it's easier to get into trouble when there isn't a tried-and-true formula to follow.
Why Agents Don’t Give Feedback—And Where to Get It Instead

Why Agents Don’t Give Feedback—And Where to Get It Instead

Providing feedback to every pitch would leave agents no time for their existing clients. Instead, check your own first pages for weak spots.
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Amazon Ads: Step-by-Step Walk Through for Beginning Authors

Amazon ads are a valued (and sometimes expensive) tool for authors and publishers to drive book visibility and sales. Here's a guide to getting started.
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Looking for a Beta Reader? Flip That Question Around.

Beta reading for others can be a creative education. Lean into that, and your future books will be all the better for it.
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Is Hybrid Publishing Ethical?

As in any industry, business ethics are about a commitment to transparency and integrity. Here’s how writers can select a trustworthy partner.
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Getting Book Endorsements (Blurbs): What to Remember, Do, Avoid, and Expect

Seeking blurbs—quotes and endorsements—is a task that most writers absolutely hate. Here are some tips that can get you closer to a yes.
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The Hybrid Publisher Debate: Do You Have the Right Mindset?

Not all hybrid and paid-for publishers are the same, and picking the right option depends on every author’s own thorough self-assessment.
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Promote Your Book with Your Values

Thinking creatively about book events might allow you to align the things you care about with the time you spend on promotion.
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The Julie & Julia Formula: How to Turn Writing Envy Into Writing Success

Dedicated and even obsessive engagement with another creator’s work can open unexpected doors for your own writing.
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Nonfiction Writers: Find Your External and Internal Why

Does my story matter? Is it good enough? They’re questions every writer asks, and the way to answer them is to connect to your why.
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How a Little Psychology Can Improve Your Memoir’s Setup

The early part of your memoir should reveal the short list of narrator flaws and problems you’ll resolve by the end of your book.
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Why Write When the World Is on Fire?

In times of sickness, cultural upheaval, and real existential threats, perhaps stories matter more than ever.
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Your Journal as Time Machine

The pages of your journal can be a time machine, transporting you from the here and now to snapshots of your internal world, over the years.
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To Nail Your Memoir’s Beginning, Stop Looking in the Wrong Direction

Your book’s ending must reveal the story’s resolution. Once you know what you’re resolving, you can establish a clear path for getting there.
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The Vital Difference Between Plot and Story—and Why You Need Both

By spending as much (or more) time weaving a dynamic Story as you do creating a flashy Plot, readers will walk away feeling satisfied.
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Not a Journal Person? Post-Pandemic Might Be the Perfect Time to Start

Here are some of the many ways that a journaling practice can serve as a laboratory for your writing, and your life.
Photo of Alan Davis with quotation: "Publication, literary fame and monetary compensation either come your way or they don’t. Either way, writing well is always the best reward."

The Benefits of MFA Programs: Q&A with Alan Davis

One professor addresses common questions and criticisms about MFA programs.
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We All Need to Be Defended Against Predatory Publishing Practices

Brooke Warner, founder of She Writes Press, responds to a recent UK report about unethical practices in the hybrid publishing realm.
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Is Journaling a Waste of Writing Time?

Not only can a journaling practice sustain and inspire your writing projects—a commitment to it can inform and improve your entire life.
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Writers, Stop Using Social Media (Like That)

A social media following doesn’t guarantee sales. Building an audience that’s engaged with your work—your mission—requires more varied tools.
Quote from Becky Tuch: "What it comes down to, and I’m not sure people talk about this enough in creative writing programs: If you are passionate and obsessed then you will get it. You will find your way."

How the Literary Journal Landscape Is and Isn’t Changing

The publisher of the Lit Mag News Roundup discusses current trends, editor pet peeves, diversity, how to handle rejection, and more.
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Why Frankenstein Still Sells 40,000 Copies a Year

The more important and perennial a problem that a book addresses, the better the chances it will survive the test of time.
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Tell Your Story with 3 Tarot Cards

The imagery and symbolism in a tarot deck can help an author achieve clarity on character and story arcs, internal and external journeys.
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How to Gracefully Leave Your Writing Group

Wanting to leave your writing group doesn’t make you a jerk. Departing with grace is an act of kindness that furthers your development and the friendships you cherish.
Why So Many Blogs and Newsletters Aren't Worth the Writer's Effort

Why So Many Blogs and Newsletters Aren’t Worth the Writer’s Effort

Many writers are told to blog or send an email newsletter without much idea of how to approach it. Here are the most common mistakes they make.
Why Your Amazing Writing Group Might Be Failing You

Why Your Amazing Writing Group Might Be Failing You

The real reason writing groups sometimes fail us has nothing to do with the lovely people in them. The failure is due to a mismatch between what you need and what the group offers.
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Why You Should Consider a University Press for Your Book

University presses are not just for scholars, and many are far more open-minded than you may think.
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The Secret Ingredient of Successful Openings

A story intro that shows internal trouble, signaling the beginning of a character arc, makes agents and editors sit up and take notice.
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Weaving Flashbacks Seamlessly into Story

Flashback is a powerful tool for weaving in important backstory—but as with any power tool, using it well requires knowledge and care.
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Children’s Dialogue: They Don’t Talk Like Adults

Children aren’t miniature grownups. When writing a story with a child character, take time to really listen to how kids of that age talk.
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Which Social Media Platform Is the Best?

Identifying the right platform for you comes down to your personality, what you like to do and, most importantly, what you want to achieve.
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How to Make Money Through Social Media Without Being an Influencer

You don’t need to be famous or a tech guru. All you really need is an Instagram account, a PayPal link, and something to offer your audience.
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A Thousand New Email Sign Ups in a Week? It’s Possible.

You don’t need to start strategizing newsletter content or setting a delivery schedule in order to begin building your email list.
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The Value of Percolation

Setting an idea or draft aside for “percolation” allows the brain’s subconscious to arrive at insights while we’re busy with something else.
Mansi Shah

When You Change Alongside Your Book: Q&A with Mansi Shah

THE TASTE OF GINGER author discusses challenges in her quest for publication, writing about the immigrant experience, and much more.
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What Your Writing Is Training You For

To survive and be happy in a creative career, focus on WHAT you’re doing and WHY—and have faith that everything will work out in due time.
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13 Ways to Freaking Freak Out Your Horror Readers

For horror writers, here are some ways to frighten a reader so badly that they text someone at midnight saying, “You have to read this!”
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What If Your Memoir Is Middle Grade?

What makes a memoir suitable for YA or middle-grade readers isn’t shying away from tough topics but approaching them with a child’s eyes.
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If You Can’t Stand the Sight of Your Own Blood, Don’t Step Into the Ring

It’s difficult yet important to develop enough confidence in your work that you’re not sunk every time someone dislikes it and says so.
Laura Zats and T.S Ferguson

How Important Is Genre When Pitching and Promoting Your Book?

Two literary agents discuss the usefulness and limits of assigning a genre to writing, and how it’s perceived by publishers and readers.
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You Are Not Your Traumas. But Here’s How to Write About Them

Writing sustainably about trauma requires practicing moderation, focusing on meaning, and working in ways that limit your exposure.
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How to Pitch Like a Hollywood Pro

How to put your best foot forward, from the new book PITCH LIKE HOLLYWOOD: What You Can Learn from the High-Stakes Film Industry.
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How to Write a Thought Leadership Book

Defining your why, who, what, and how is the start of writing a powerful thought leadership book that conveys your vision and impacts lives.
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A Year Without Social Media as a Freelance Writer

For freelancers, forgoing social media can mean giving up crucial visibility. But it can also provide time to focus on being a better writer.
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3 Shifts You Need to Make to Finish Your Book

If you’ve been seeking external solutions to your writing problems, these internal shifts might have a more profound effect on your progress.
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3 Things to Ask Yourself Before Writing about Trauma

Writing about trauma isn’t like ripping off a Band-Aid. Here are some strategies for assessing whether you’re ready and proceeding gently.
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Want to Write a Great Novel? Be Brave.

Imbuing a character’s story with your own life experience—the good, bad, ugly and transformational—unleashes your book’s full emotional power.
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Use Telling Details to Connect Description to Character

One key to compelling fiction is in how details are conveyed. Not everything warrants description—only details that matter to the character.
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When a Writer Dies: Making Difficult Decisions About the Work Left Behind

When an author’s death leaves a manuscript unfinished, her husband tries to put together the pieces and complete the book.