You’re Too Good to Quit

You’re Too Good to Quit 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...
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Focus on Writing a Great Book

Focus on Writing a Great Book 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. (This blog is no exception.) But as I noted in this post at Author Media , I think it’s important to call our attention back to the work.    It may be easier to get published these days because of self-pub and the proliferation of indie publishing options. But it’s not any easier to write a good book.    In fact, it may be even harder to write a good book than it was in days past, because both you and your reader have more distractions. You’re tempted by the Internet, your ability to concentrate for long periods of time has been compromised, and deep focus is more...
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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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How to Make the Most of a Conference

How to Make the Most of a Conference Guest Blogger: Dabney Hedegard (@dabneyland) I’m not a writer, per se. I’m a speaker who learned the craft of writing and secured a contract by her second writers’ conference. But intense work was involved; especially since I didn’t know how much longer I had to live. Let me explain. At age 36, my cardiologist predicated a heart transplant was in my future. Nothing ignited my inspiration like a failing organ. I put a hot pink sticky beside my bed that read: “If you had six months to live, what would you do with your life?” Documenting my four near-death experiences was always the answer. And since writing made my throat constrict, I thought if I pitched my story at a conference to a publisher during a one-on-one meeting, surely they would purchase my memoir and pair me with...
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Try “Thinking Negative” for a Change

Try “Thinking Negative” for a Change I’m an optimist by nature — I usually expect things will all work out. But I find that I’m more successful and experience less disappointment when I practice “thinking negative.” What do I mean by that? When I “think negative,” I factor into my habitual “positive thinking” a realistic assessment of the difficulties, challenges or obstacles that may be in front of me. I attempt to understand any potential risks or pitfalls in my path. Wherever I’m headed, whatever my goals might be, I can’t afford to be unreservedly positive. There are several clear advantages to “negative thinking,” including: ♦ When you’re focused on “thinking positive,” you may not be adequately prepared for the challenges of...
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There Is No Time For Despair

There Is No Time For Despair Here are some truths:  • Publishing is in flux and no one is quite sure what the future looks like. • Publishers are merging, resulting in fewer places to submit manuscripts. • Many authors who have published numerous books are finding their advances going down, not up. • With self-published books now plentiful, there are more books than ever before for readers to choose from. • It is difficult figuring out how to effectively market books. • A book’s potential sales are highly unpredictable. • Many authors’ books don’t live up to the publisher’s sales expectations, meaning the publisher might not want to renew their contract. • Poor sales figures can make it difficult or impossible to get another traditional book deal. • Writing can be...
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9 Reasons to Quit Writing

9 Reasons to Quit Writing The publication journey isn’t easy, no matter how you approach it. I’m always encouraging people to be patient, persevere through the obstacles, and doggedly pursue their dream. For some people, this means persistence through years or decades. But… is there a time when you should give up? Maybe so. I could be wrong but I think there are a few signs the publishing journey is not for you. You may want to stop pursuing publication if… 1. You’re only doing it for the money. (In the majority of cases, the money’s not that great.) 2. You expect the publication journey to be anything other than the hardest job you’ve ever done. (The ups and downs alone can drive you crazy.) 3. You have an aversion to hearing bad news. (The path always seems to be strewn...
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The Highs and Lows of a Writer’s Life

The Highs and Lows of a Writer’s Life Guest blogger: Jody Hedlund It was a glorious day. I was basking in all the love and encouragement from blog readers. My inbox was filled with wonderful comments about my new website and redecorated blog. I was beginning to get positive reviews on my debut novel The Preacher’s Bride. The writer’s life was looking pretty good. All that hard work was paying off. I could take a breather and enjoy the view for a little while. Just as I was getting comfortable with a fresh cup of coffee and clicking through the pages of my lovely new website for the hundredth time, I got an email from my editor at Bethany House. He wanted to arrange a phone call to discuss Book 2 which I’d turned in a month ago, and he said, “We’ll be talking about a pretty significant rewrite, but I’m...
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Dreams and Reality

Dreams and Reality Recently I was corresponding with a client whose book is fairly edgy and in some ways, counter-cultural. He knows I totally believe in him and his book, but in this one email I used some cautious language. I told him we were “walking a tricky line” trying to find the right publisher for the book—one who was liberal enough for the subject matter, yet not objecting to the underlying Christian message. My client wrote back with a gentle reminder to let go of the fear of failure, and to stop thinking small. He had a good point. I don’t think small. If I were thinking small, I wouldn’t take on a book that’s somewhat risky and definitely challenging. I’m thinking this book could be huge, and could definitely change lives. That’s why I took it on. So...
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What’s Holding You Back?

What’s Holding You Back? Guest Blogger: Joanne Kraft Walking towards the help desk, I sized up the assistant manager. Skinny jeans, lip ring, black circular tattoos nicely framing his elbows. “Hi, I’m Barrett” He reached his hand out, “You need some help?” “Nice to meet you, I’m Joanne Kraft. I live in the area and have a parenting book that’s going to be released through my publisher in a few weeks: Just Too Busy—Taking Your Family on a Radical Sabbatical. I want to make sure the Borders in my hometown has copies on hand before my book launch party.” I smiled, handing him one of the 1,000 colorful marketing postcards my pub house had sent me. Walking over to a computer, Barrett found my book and confirmed that they already knew about it and even shared where it was going to be placed in their...
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This Is Where the Rubber Meets the Road

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_5cLmD8GqnKY/S3v2zrjwfmI/AAAAAAAADlk/nancu_qwuKM/s320/TireTracks.jpg I’m taking a blogging break this week. Hope you enjoy this post from my archives. When I decided to become a literary agent, I received advice from several wise people who knew what I was getting into. They told me it would be a steep learning curve, it would be challenging to build my business from the ground up, and that it would take a few years to really start seeing results. Numerous times over the last three-plus years I’ve felt challenged nearly to the breaking point. There have been moments I’ve wanted to give up. But something always made me think back to the beginning and all the great advice. Then I’d think, “Oh yeah, they said it would be hard. I guess this is what hard feels like.” Realizing that things were progressing exactly as expected,...
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Just to Say Thank You

Sorry, I don’t have an April Fool’s post for you. Encouragement Week continues. I’ll be back next week with all-new posts. *** Hey… you. 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,...
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Fighter

Continuing with Encouragement Week… featuring posts from years past, each offering a little inspiration for your writing journey. I’m away from the blog, but I’ll be back next week with all-new posts. Enjoy! *** Everyone knows getting published is an uphill battle. With few exceptions, it’s a long, difficult and often frustrating road with the possibility of heartbreak at every turn. (I’m so optimistic today, aren’t I?) Many of us have a desire, a dream, a passion to write books. And we want to be published authors. So today I want to remind you that you are going to have to fight for it. You’ll have to fight off impatience and develop fortitude. You’ll have to fight off insecurity and believe in yourself and your God. You’ll have to...
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Embracing the Silence

Encouragement Week continues. I’m featuring posts from years past, each offering a little inspiration for your writing journey. I’m away from the blog to observe Holy Week, but I’ll be back next week with all-new posts. I hope you enjoy this series. *** “The best time for planning a book is when you’re doing the dishes.” -Agatha Christie Lately I’ve been having conversations with a friend about the importance of the menial, everyday tasks in our lives, and how they provide wonderful opportunities to let our minds loose to roam, explore, and process. We live in such a noisy world. Whenever we’re driving or folding laundry or jogging, it’s tempting to always have our iPods or cell phones in our ears, or the TV or radio on in the...
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