I have been speaking at the Midwest Writers Workshop in Muncie, Indiana, continuously since 2003. Here’s why I keep returning, year after year.
There’s a very famous piece of advice from Anne Lamott that occasionally makes the rounds on social media. She says: “You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.” This advice, especially when shared out of context, makes me cringe.
I regularly round up and comment on book marketing advice that have writers buzzing. Here’s what sparked discussion in 2017.
My favorite digital media tools that have enhanced my productivity and creativity as a teacher, author, and entrepreneur.
The more your book is optimized for search at Amazon, the more often it’s going to come up in searches, and—consequently—the more you’ll sell. Part of making your book more discoverable is understanding how to set your categories and keywords on Amazon, which is accessible to any indie author.
Memoirists have to write their story, the events of their life, from a future perspective. From NOW. Now brings with it maturity, wisdom, insight, and grace. The mature self speaks from a place of distance but not detachment.
How authors can blog successfully for long-term platform and book marketing efforts, with tips for online writing, strong headlines, and good SEO.
While there are seven deadly first-page sins I commonly encounter, there is one that’s most deadly of all: default omniscience. No point of view = no story.
Issues touched on: Barnes & Noble woes, the maturity of the self-publishing market, Wattpad profits, traditional publishing’s problem launching blockbusters, and the growth of the Amazon ebook sales/borrows
While it’s not easy to launch a book without any kind of online presence, many first-time authors are in exactly that position. Here’s a 4-step game plan.
A step-by-step guide to finding literary agents, plus how to select the right agent for you and your work.
Novelist Sophie Chen Keller offers an incisive look at what’s different about writing a novel for adults when the narrator is a child.
What should writers do if they feel that an agent isn’t honoring their obligations, contractual or otherwise? What’s the best way to speak up?
Yes, it is possible to have a very successful writing career later in life—and doing something new later in one’s career helps to keep you young.
The gist of all marketing advice for authors essentially boils down to: try everything and see what works. Here’s what didn’t work for me.
Anthology advances are small, contributors have little stake in the sales of the book, and branding a collective group is hard. But anthologies are still valuable and worth the effort. Here’s why.
I started writing seriously after being diagnosed with early onset Parkinson’s. Now was the time to do it, or quit talking about it.
What’s the overriding reason for an author to find an agent and a traditional publishing deal? Is it possible that the reasons may be flawed?
More books are translated in France than in any other country: 1 out of every 6 books has been translated from a foreign language, many from English.
I have an uneasy relationship with sales because I came to writing through academic means, and academics still live with an idea of meritocracy as the way people get recognition for what they do.
If you plan to pursue writing as a professional, long-term career, I recommend starting and maintaining an author website even if you’re unpublished.
Opera is the single Western art in which voice determines character, or, more closely, expresses character. For writers, opera offers a set of finger exercises, if not pointers.
Over a last year, a consistent theme has emerged in my discussions with writers around the country: They feel distracted. What is to be done?
At its core, a query letter is a sales document, and so it’s meant to sell. But opinions differ on the best possible sales approach in a query.
I would never tell someone to publish with a hybrid publisher—every writer’s goals are unique, plus hybrid publishing puts the financial risk on the author.
Author Jay Swanson discusses how he’s succeeded with Patreon, which allows fans to pledge monthly financial support to his creative efforts.
Many people want to be rock stars—and many people want to write books. But there are many ways in which a writing dream can crash and burn. One way is to be unclear about what you want with what you are ready to do.
I’m a contributor to a new essay collection, WHAT EDITORS DO, edited by Peter Ginna and published by University of Chicago Press.
Each scene in your book requires a beginning, middle, and end. Here are four paths to launching your scene—plus the questions you should ask about each one.
Giving characters painful backstory makes them feel credible to readers. But when it comes to describing what happened, many writers jump headfirst into an info dump, hoping a summary will create a shortcut to empathy and “catch readers up.” Unfortunately, this can have the opposite effect.
I’m the featured guest on the new Backmatter podcast from Leanpub, which is focused specifically on the publishing industry and its latest trends.
There’s a term thrown around in the world of writing that I’ve never fully understood: emerging writer. To emerge as a writer, or anything else for that matter, you must emerge from one thing into an entirely different something else.
Any author can successfully launch their book through crowdfunding if they are willing to put in the effort. However, it may not be the right path for everyone.
Fiction writing, while not closely associated with affecting one’s real-life relationships, can indeed have that power and develop one’s empathy.
Four lessons for YA: Make it real, get rid of parental oversight, feature topics making the headlines, and include hope.
Lisa Tener shares important lessons learned when writing her first book, the ups and downs of co-writing, the most important platform writers should have, and more.
When I hear professional publicists offer advice to authors, one theme that comes up again and again is: start where you are.
There are many good reasons to hire a professional editor, but also a number of compelling reasons to hold off and save your money.
Print sales for traditional publishers are increasing this year—up by 2.6% compared to the first half of 2016. Ebook sales are continuing their decline.
I believe a successful social media strategy is driven by one’s personality and strengths, as well as the qualities of the work produced—leading to a unique approach for each writer. A
Social media is widely considered necessary by authors and publishers for book marketing. But is it as important as an optimized author website?
If you’re pitching your book to agents or editors, the perfect title for your book will define your subject and grab their positive attention. It should be a label they can confidently share with colleagues in editorial board meetings and use to convince the powers-that-be to release money to acquire your book.
All writers have to find a way to deal with the internal negative voice that tells them their work is crap and not worth pursuing.
Series have become extremely popular, and secondary characters are now in the spotlight. Readers enjoy trying to spot the next potential hero or heroine.
Is MailChimp the best choice for your email newsletter? Here’s a breakdown of the pros & cons of the three biggest email service providers that authors use.
Sometimes guidelines for writers discourage perfectly private, internal envy, anger, indignation, etc., directed toward other writers, or toward agents (or publishers) rejecting work. But that hardly seems realistic, nor is it fair to ask humans to stop being human.
There’s no quicker way to intimacy with a lead character than first-person point of view (POV). But numerous challenges also come with this POV. One of these is the natural limitation of being stuck in one perspective throughout the story.
For a platform that powers a quarter of the websites in the world, Wordpress is surprisingly insecure. The default settings leave a site open to being hacked a half-dozen different ways.
Ideally, we’d have all the creativity and energy and desire we need to write amazing stories. However, the truth is, sometimes we hit roadblocks while following through. Here are some of the most common roadblocks and how you might solve them.
Word doesn’t export to EPUB, but you can still produce an editable file quickly, without buying software or using a “meatgrinder” conversion.