That All-Important First Line

That All-Important First Line Let’s talk about the opening line of your book. The first thing to know about “first lines” is that they are not going to make or break you. Sure, it’s a lot of fun coming up with great ones. But as long as the first line makes someone want to read the second line, and that line makes you want to read the third… you’re on the right track.   The second thing to know is that the opening line might be the very last thing you write before your book is finished.   That said… don’t you just love a great opening line?   The fun thing about writing a book is that you get to choose what kind of opening line you want, what type of sentence appropriately sets up your book. You can choose to set a stage or create a setting. You can reveal a character. You can...
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Focus on Writing the Best Book You Can

http://www.rachellegardner.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/10227386_s-300x233.jpg It seems in the last few years, dialogue about all-things-publishing has been focused on platform, marketing, increasing output, distribution platforms, technology, and self-publishing.  But I think it’s important to call our attention back to the work.    Two years ago in January 2014, I posted a prediction for the coming year:   “I think authors will re-focus on the foundational importance of writing a good book. Conversations will be more about mastering the craft and less about the logistics of publishing. People are becoming aware that while options are expanding because of self-publishing, and it may be easier than ever to get your work out to readers, the process of writing a good book is the same as it’s ever been. It’s challenging, it’s grueling, it’s...
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10 Things Editors Look for in Nonfiction

10 Things Editors Look for in Nonfiction Got a terrific nonfiction project you’re trying to sell? Wondering if you have what it takes? Here are some signs of potential future success as a nonfiction author:   1. You’ve previously written a book that was at least mildly successful… maybe something like The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.   2. You have a recognizable name. For instance, Bradley Cooper. Or Oprah.   3. You are currently a top candidate for President of the United States.   4. You have recently won several gold medals in the Olympics. In a sport people care about.   5. You have come up with a life-changing, magical method of organizing people’s stuff. And it involves talking to your stuff.   6. You are the founder of Microsoft.   7. You are the…....
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Utterly Original: A Rant

http://www.rachellegardner.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/02/snowflakes-2-150x150.jpg “To my knowledge, nothing like this has ever been written. Ever. It is utterly fresh, mine and complete.” That was a line in a query I received. It’s hard to explain how this sounds to agents and editors who get pitched everything under the sun, are typically well-read, and are aware of what’s going on in the publishing marketplace. The book might be unique but not to the extent the writer seems to think. When pitching your work, you have to walk a fine line: Be confident, but don’t come off as grandiose. Stress your original and fresh voice, yet don’t be afraid to acknowledge there have been other books similar to yours, whether in plot, style, theme, whatever. Yes, you want to be unique, but you can’t make wild claims that just aren’t...
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5 Things To Do Before Hiring a Freelance Editor

5 Things To Do Before Hiring a Freelance Editor More writers are hiring editors these days, whether they’re going indie or just making sure the manuscript is polished before submitting to agents and publishers. If you’re a newer writer, unpublished, here are some things I think you should do before spending your hard-earned money on a freelance editor. (1) Get objective feedback. It’s best to have a critique group or partner, if possible. Try to get the most honest feedback you can—not on grammar and punctuation, but on the overall content of your book. Are readers finding the book engaging? Are they reading to the end? Are they confused? (2) Edit & revise your book using reputable sources. Find fiction resources HERE. My favorites for the revision phase are Self Editing for Fiction Writers by Browne &...
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