Posted on Jan 19th, 2014 | 112 comments
I just finished reading a self-published book on a topic I’m passionate about, by an author whose blog I occasionally read. As I’ve mentioned before, I regularly read self-pubbed books, and the fact that I work in traditional publishing doesn’t mean I’m biased against them.
It does, however, mean I’m aware of the ways a book could have been better, had the author availed themselves of the best assistance available, whether in design, writing, editing, cover, or even title.
I was excited to read this book—a memoir—and it started out promising. But it quickly devolved into a self-focused, rambling hodgepodge of preaching interspersed with bragging. I did finish the book (luckily it was rather short) but I ended up with strongly negative...
Posted on Jan 16th, 2014 | 46 comments
In our house, we’re getting ready for competition season in gymnastics to begin this weekend. My daughter is a USAG level 7 gymnast with some pretty ambitious goals and it takes a lot of the family’s time and focus.
But recently my daughter was convinced she needed to quit gymnastics (after seven years and thousands of hours in the gym). Her coach and I were asking her why and she told us:
She didn’t feel like she was doing well and didn’t feel successful.
She’d had some setbacks (injuries) and was finding it hard to recover.
It felt like it was taking forever to improve.
Her coach just looked at her and flat-out said, “You’re too good to quit. I need you on my team.”
After that, the coach began...
Posted on Jan 5th, 2014 | 58 comments
Happy new year! As we begin 2014, talk is everywhere about our goals, resolutions and plans. Many of you have chosen “one word” that will serve as a focal point throughout 2014. Choosing a word has become popular in the last five years or so, and I like it because it’s a concise way to distill the theme of all my new year’s goals into one simple expression.
So I wanted to share my word for 2014 with you. It is:
Over the last year, I’ve become increasingly aware of the need to bring my best energy into every aspect of my life. I have to be intentional about showing up with zeal, and approaching every task with the urgency it deserves. I have to keep my momentum going and not allow it to falter.
It seems obvious—like it would go...
Posted on Dec 25th, 2013 | 41 comments
Yeah, you, the one sitting alone in your basement hammering out a thousand words every morning before you go to work.
And you. The one filling out your registration for a writers conference and terrified to click “send.”
And you in the back, there… frantically taking notes in the writing workshop, attempting to be invisible.
And what about you, about to sit down at your first-ever meeting with an agent, trembling with nervousness.
And you, the writer who’s signed your first publishing contract and suddenly feel the pressure of deadlines and marketing and expectations.
And you, the multi-published author, thankful for your good fortune and praying everyday the words continue to flow.
I just wanted you to know that I see you. I know you’re...
Posted on Nov 21st, 2013 | 89 comments
In publishing, we’re constantly asking writers—typically a rather introverted bunch—to get involved, to engage, to network, to join groups and go to conferences. I often find myself wondering how many of you cringe every time you hear that kind of advice.
Maybe you’re not into the whole publishing “scene.” Maybe you don’t enjoy being in a critique group where people discuss your work.
Maybe you don’t want to be part of a crowd, you don’t want to go to workshops, you don’t think of writing as a group activity.
Maybe social media is not your thing. The thought of promoting your book gives you hives. You don’t want to be a speaker or a blogger or a Facebook expert.
Can such a person find success in...