I Didn’t Sign Up For This

I Didn’t Sign Up For This I don’t know a single writer whose publishing dreams included being a full-time marketer for their books.   The writing and publishing dream usually includes visions of spending several hours a day at the laptop, sending manuscripts off to a publisher, receiving big checks, getting fabulous starred reviews in Publishers Weekly, hearing from awe-struck fans who loved your book, being interviewed on the Today Show… and reaching the top of the bestseller lists.   And even for those whose dreams are more modest, the vision usually includes writing books and getting them sold to publishers, going through the editing process, and being available for whatever book promotion the publisher wants to do.   Blogging? Sending out newsletters? Maintaining a huge following on...
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What Would You Do If You Weren’t Afraid?

What Would You Do If You Weren’t Afraid? Lately I’ve been hearing this question over and over again: What would you do if you weren’t afraid? It’s a good question, meant to inspire us to dream beyond our boundaries, to “think big,” to pursue our goals. But I think we tend to hear it and then brush it off, not really spending time with it. Maybe we think we’re not afraid of much. Or the opposite — thinking about our fears overwhelms us. Maybe we don’t have time for such silly exercises. I had a hard time wrapping my mind around the point of the question. And I found myself getting defensive, if only in my mind. I’m doing the best I can. Why must I feel bad for not doing MORE? But then I decided to honestly consider the question. What would I do if I weren’t afraid? Maybe...
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Big Dreams vs. Realistic Expectations

Big Dreams vs. Realistic Expectations I was on a retreat last week with a few dozen Books & Such clients and had numerous terrific conversations about writing and the publishing journey. We talked a lot about our dreams for the future and tried to identify any roadblocks that might be holding us back from pursuing them. I noticed that it’s difficult for writers to “dream big” or set lofty goals because they’re constantly being told — and shown — that publishing is a difficult journey and writing is a career in which huge success is a long shot. It got me pondering the advice I regularly give to writers: I encourage them to follow their dreams and to keep persistently pursuing them, while also advising they keep their expectations in check and be realistic about their possibilities. It’s...
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What’s Your Brick Wall?

What’s Your Brick Wall? I’m sure most of you are familiar with the late Randy Pausch’s story and his book, The Last Lecture (co-written with Jeffrey Zaslow). In his lecture and his book, Randy spoke with great wisdom about achieving your childhood dreams. One of the things he said that resonated with me was that the obstacles to our dreams are like brick walls, put there to test how badly we really want something. He wrote that those brick walls “stop the people who don’t want it badly enough.” Of course, he meant those other people. (Not you or me.) Reading his positive spin on “obstacles” was freeing for me as a literary agent, because I am frequently one of the brick walls with whom writers collide in the midst of chasing their dreams. I come across so many good...
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