Editing, Self-editing Tips, Self-promotion, The Publishing Process

What to Expect From Your Editor

I hear you’re interested in hiring an editor. Smart move. So what are you waiting for? Grab your checkbook (do those still exist?), your manuscript, and your realistic expectations and get to it. What’s that? You don’t know what to expect? Here. I’ll help. Ten Things Your Editor Can Do Your editor can see what your novel could be someday, no matter what it looks like today. Your editor can show you all the little pet phrases and words you repeat to distraction. Your editor can solve plot problems that would make readers want to throw your book into a…

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Beyond Categorization, My Thoughts, The Publishing Process, The Writer's Life, Writing Encouragement

#amwaiting

When the language gods sat down at their very expensive polished maple conference table to decide which term to use for the art of putting words together to tell stories, “writing” wasn’t their first choice. “Bloodletting” actually had the most up-votes and was likely to get the nod. But then one of the lesser gods – the one everyone mistakenly called Vern – felt compelled to mention how similar “writing” was to “waiting,” which they’d already determined would mean “excruciatingly long pauses where nothing appeared to be happening.” While he was publically showing his support for the already-popular idea of eliminating “writing” from…

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The Publishing Process, The Writer's Life, Uncategorized, Writing Encouragement

In the Company of Strangers

If you want to be a successful (i.e.: published, well-read, income-producing) writer, you’re going to have to get comfortable in the company of strangers. I’m not talking about the strange fictional people who inhabit your novel, I’m talking about the In Real Life kind. You know, those ugly bags of mostly water* you bump into while standing in line for your half-caff-soy-latte-with-a-double-shot-of-arsenic. If you’re anything like me (and I pray you’re not,  because this could lead to a sudden loss of cabin pressure), approaching strangers, let alone asking them for something, ranks right up there with public speaking, pregnant spiders,…

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The Publishing Process, Writing Encouragement

Writing Is Belief

Every novel begins as an idea you believe in. Usually, a really good idea. Humility (real or manufactured: pick one) might keep you from calling it brilliant, but you’ve had good ideas before and this one is a thousand times better than all of those. This is the book idea that’s going to make you into the author you always knew you were meant to be: a successful* author. So you sit down (or stand at your standing desk if you’re an overachiever with strong calf muscles) and start writing. First sentence? Perfect. So incredibly perfect. (Nearly perfect. You’ll fix…

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The Publishing Process, The Writer's Life, Writing tips

Two Paths

The path to writing well and the path to publication are two different paths. I’ll explain in a second. But before I begin, let’s dispense with the “good writing is subjective” conversation. Can we just work from the assumption that everyone in the room understands that my definition of “writing well” and yours differ at least in small ways, and perhaps also in big ways? We can? Cool. Four Truths About the Path to Writing Well 1. Writing well takes time. Period. There are no shortcuts to writing well. 2. Each person’s journey to writing well is unique. A select…

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The Publishing Process, The Writer's Life, Top Posts

Go Away Publishing Industry. I’m Writing.

It’s entirely possible that what you know about the publishing industry is killing your chances of being published. I’m not referring to perky and/or snarky agents* who tease you forward with a one-in-a-thousand opportunity they call “querying,” or clueless editors* who wouldn’t know brilliant literature if it bit them in the Franzen. I’m not talking about the endless hoops writers have to jump through whether chasing the graying hope of traditional publishing success or the shiny silver promise of self-published glory. I’m not talking about the dearth of bookstores or the preponderance of ebooks or the utter unpredictability of bestsellers.…

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The Publishing Process

7 Words You Probably Shouldn’t Use in Your Query

So you’re ready to query an agent. Good for you. I’m not going to tell you how to do that. There are plenty of excellent articles elsewhere on this subject. (Google it.) But I do have a smattering of advice, as indicated ever so subtly by the title of this post as well as the redundant sentence that follows this one. Here, now, are seven words you probably shouldn’t include in your query. Brilliant – I know. Your novel is brilliant. In fact, it’s so incredibly brilliant, Harper Lee decided not to publish a second novel because there was no…

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