FAQ - Do I Need A Literary Agent?

FAQ - Do I Need A Literary Agent?

If you want to sell your book to a major New York publisher, you need an agent, no question. As with anything in life, there are rare exceptions, but do you want to drastically narrow your chances in hopes of winning the lottery? If so, why? A good agent has relationships with editors and publishers, they know who’s looking for what, they know how to sell a book, they know how to negotiate a good contract, and

3 Simple Mistakes That Will Kill Your Novel's Opening (+ how to fix them)

3 Simple Mistakes That Will Kill Your Novel's Opening (+ how to fix them)

You’re trying to juggle a dozen things at once – an unforgettable first line, a fresh voice, an original theme, complex characters, mood and tone and conflict and a sense of mystery, and so on and so forth. In so doing, there’s a good chance you’ve inadvertently lost the most important element of all – clarity. 

How to Think Like a Publishing Gatekeeper

How to Think Like a Publishing Gatekeeper

Once upon a time, I was a magazine editor with an inbox full of pitches from writers and publicists. Many of the senders probably submitted those queries and imagined me waiting for them to come in, reading through each one carefully to decide whether or not it had merit. 

Here’s what was really on my mind each time a new pitch pinged through:

How I'm Revising a 300-Page Novel Without Losing My Mind

How I'm Revising a 300-Page Novel Without Losing My Mind

Triage. I didn’t come up with this myself. I heard it from the editor Sol Stein, who likens revision to battlefield triage - treating patients in priority order, not first come first serve. For a book, this means tackling the big stuff first. The stuff that is most likely to make a huge overarching impact on the book. 

We’re talking about things like character arc, plot, point-of-view, entirely new scenes...

FAQ - Should I Self-Publish?

FAQ  - Should I Self-Publish?

Most people I know have a strong opinion one way or another. I have two strong opinions. First, I think self publishing is of tremendous value to readers, writers, and the publishing field. Second, way too many writers self publish for the wrong reasons. 

Here’s what I love about self publishing: It allows writers to find readers, and that’s the point, right? Before the internet and e-readers, the barriers standing between writers and their readers were preposterously high. No other art faced such obstruction.

Learn Scrivener in 2 Minutes

Learn Scrivener in 2 Minutes

If you just need a tool to organize a long document, you can change your life in a couple of minutes. Totally worth the investment, even if you never take advantage of all the bells and whistles.

One of my clients is in dire need of organizing a seriously complicated project, so I made these quick screencasts to show him how I use it and how to get started. They’re nothing pretty, but they’ll let you see if Scrivener might help you.

FAQ - Is Publishing about WHO You know?

FAQ - Is Publishing about WHO You know?

When I was an aspiring writer, I often heard other wannabes bitch about the unfairness of it all. You know the conversation –  it’s not about the writing, it’s all about who you know. The only people who get ahead are those with trust funds, who went to Ivy League schools, the types who rub elbows with New York gatekeepers and can slip agents manuscripts over drinks…yadda yadda yadda.  Stubborn idealist that I am, I refused to believe them. I’d been raised by movies that told me “If you put your mind to it, you can do anything.”