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.
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.
Whether you’re an emerging author or one that is well-established, it can be challenging to figure out what belongs on your website’s homepage and what to say about yourself on the front door to your online presence.
In a great story, character and plot are inextricable from one another. The seeds of the story conflict lie in the character.
Do you know what time it is in Mumbai, India? Knowing time differences in the countries where you sell books is key to social media engagement, and ultimately sales.
While Amazon sponsored ads haven’t been a marketing miracle, I also haven’t lost that much money—and copies of my YA novel have sold at a steady pace.
Reader analytics measures the strength of reader engagement with a book. This data helps publishers more effectively market and promote books to readers.
Plugins are one of the most wonderful and useful things about Wordpress. Here are some of my favorites for writers.
A self-published author breaks down her expenses and resulting sales after promoting on social media and email, paying for reviews, advertising, and more.
When I work on a project—with clients, but particularly with my own writing—I start by acknowledging a blunt but important truth: Nobody cares about what I have made.
Social media is just one component of your author platform, and not necessarily the most important component. It works best as part of a holistic book marketing and promotion strategy.
Pitching agents at a writers conference can be a difficult task for the new writer. Here’s how to make it a little easier on yourself.
Are you getting the most from professional feedback, or are you inadvertently sabotaging your progress? Look for these patterns in your response.
This is an introductory guide to the major self-publishing options available to authors today, and how to choose the right service for you.
I’m offering a month-long master class in author platform in August 2017, in collaboration with Writer House in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Here’s a word I have eliminated as fully as possible from my information and advice lexicon for writers: passion.
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.
The two biggest mistakes in book publicity pitches: they are too long in length, and not pointed or provocative enough.
You should consider how secret you want to be about your true identity. Maintaining secrecy is difficult. The higher the level of secrecy, the more complicated the process
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.
When submitting your short form literature to a magazine or journal, your cover letter is often the first impression an editor sees. It serves as an introduction to your thoughtfully crafted art. As such, it is significant, but it shouldn’t be intimidating or even take much of your time to write.
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.
Marketing FOMO is more debilitating than distracting—and if you suffer from marketing FOMO, your marketing tasks will never be done.
How do agents—generally considered the gatekeepers to publishing companies—approach the issue of diversity in the publishing industry?
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?