About Me, Marketing, Self-promotion, The Writer's Life

This Could Be a Problem

I like languishing in obscurity. Languishing is my love language. This could be a problem. Well, not yet. But it will be if I reach any of my writing goals for the year, which include: a little book based on my #thewritinglife Twitter updates; the first novel in a YA series; a contemporary adult novel that’s been six years in the making; a few more blog posts; at least one provocative tweet. You can’t have a successful writing career unless you embrace marketing and self-promotion. I get it. If no one knows about you or your book, the book won’t…

Read More

Beyond Categorization, The Writer's Life

Sticks and Stones and Words

Thick skin. That’s what they say you have to have if you’re going to be a writer. Because someday someone will skewer your novel. Not may skewer it. But will. It’s a given. A law. A little like Murphy’s law. A lot like the law of gravity. Someone is going to hate your book. Really, truly despise it. This will inevitably make you want to do one of the following: a. Dig a hole. Climb into it. Stay there. b. Push the writer of that review out of a helicopter without a parachute because anyone who can’t see the subtle brilliance…

Read More

Self-editing Tips, Writing tips

How to Increase Your Novel’s Word Count

Word count is the devil you have to love, or at the very least, respect. This is a true statement if your goal is to be published (through traditional methods) someday. Those of you who don’t care about traditional publishing can leave the room now. Go play cricket or bake a souffle or save the whales. Then write about it. Use as many words as you like. The rest of you, please select an abacus from the abacus cabinet and have a seat. Unless you’ve already had significant publishing success or your last name is Rowling or King, you’re going…

Read More

General, Meaningless Drivel, My Thoughts, The Publishing Process, The Writer's Life

7 Writing Myths I Just Made Up So I Could Debunk Them

Yes, there are lots of actual writing and publishing myths out there worthy of review. But everyone else writes about those. Surely you’ve stumbled across a post or two debunking such common myths as “literary agents are out to kill your writing dreams” and “first-time novelists don’t have a chance in hell of getting published.” You don’t need yet another post about those myths, do you? No, you don’t. What you do need is this post in which I make up some writing and publishing myths of my own. Just so I can debunk them. Isn’t this more fun anyway?…

Read More

General, Meaningless Drivel, My Thoughts, The Publishing Process, Writing tips

Writing Advice You Should Definitely Ignore

The title of this post is not some clever reverse psychology trick. You really shouldn’t listen to this advice. It’s bad for you and it goes against everything you’ve ever heard from all those lovely and wise literary agents out there. The Chips and Nathans and Janets and the rest. (I’m not being sarcastic here. All the agents I’m thinking of are completely lovely and incredibly competent and smell like cupcakes.) So why am I writing this post? Because sometimes advice that’s perfect for The Many is perfectly wrong for The Few. I’m not saying it’s bad to be among…

Read More

General, The Publishing Process

Good Agent, Bad Agent

Let’s pretend for a moment that you’re a really brilliant un-agented, unpublished writer and you’ve recently finished final edits on a truly brilliant novel. Yesterday you queried a bunch of agents and today you got five “The Call” calls. Don’t laugh. We’re playing “let’s pretend,” remember? How do you decide which agent will share 15 percent of your inevitable Very Nice Deal? By gleaning great wisdom from this handy-dandy agent guide, that’s how.* A Good Agent…will have some difficulty managing her excitement about representing you, occasionally letting slip words like “amazing” or “lyrical” or “compelling” in the course of her…

Read More

My Thoughts, The Publishing Process, The Writer's Life

Inspiration, Perspiration and Aspiration

Thomas Edison is famously known for coining the oft-quoted phrase, “Genius is one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.” Some folks hovering in the shadows of the publishing industry have glommed onto this quote as a rallying cry for aspiring authors. “It’s not about talent – it’s about hard work,” they say. Well, they don’t actually say “it’s not about talent,” but the implication of Edison’s statement when recklessly applied to creative genius is that anyone with even a penny’s worth of an idea can work hard enough to someday achieve their publishing goals. Nope. Not true. I’ll wait while…

Read More