What’s on Your Sticky Note?

What’s on Your Sticky Note? We all have our daily challenges, and I think most of us have certain things we struggle with over and over. My biggest day-to-day difficulty is the sheer number of things that need to get done. Sometimes the to-do list is so long, I get paralyzed. So I have a sticky note right by my computer. It says: One thing at at time. First things first. Start now. Over the years, I’ve had various sayings that have motivated me or helped me stay on task, but this is the one that works right now. So what’s on your sticky note? What’s the one saying that helps you get through your days? Be Sociable, Share! Tweet
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What Do You Expect?

What Do You Expect? I might be getting myself into trouble by asking this but… What is the most important thing you expect from a literary agent? (Let us know if you have an agent, or if you’re seeking one.) Have a good weekend!   Be Sociable, Share! Tweet
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When Do You Read Blogs?

When Do You Read Blogs? I’ve been writing this blog for three-and-a-half years and this whole time, I’ve been on a Monday through Friday blogging schedule. So now I’m experimenting with posting on weekends, too, which I think will give me more time for some fun stuff like comics and questions and polls and contests and videos. But I’m wondering if people even read blogs on weekends. And that led me to wonder about your blog reading patterns in general. Do you have a regular time when you normally read blogs? Or is it random? Do you ever sit down to read blogs on the weekend? Do you only read at work (i.e. on the weekdays?) Do you read at home, or both? Inquiring minds want to know! Tell us about your blog reading patterns. P.S. Just to answer my own question…my own blog reading...
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Would You Rather…

It’s time for another installment of my kids’ favorite car game, in which you get to choose between two hypothetical options. If you’re lucky enough to have played this game with kids, you’ve probably had to choose between lovely alternatives like: “Would you rather be hairy all over or completely bald?” or, “Would you rather be the most beautiful person ever but really dumb, or the smartest person ever but really ugly?” My favorite question lately was, “Would you rather play World of Warcraft… or kill yourself?” (That was a tough one.) But today’s question for you is not so hard. Here it is: Would you rather give up writing for the rest of your life but have all the time you wanted for reading… or give up...
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How Do You Learn to Write?

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_5cLmD8GqnKY/ShIf3OjmjOI/AAAAAAAAC88/3CR6SuVRgFI/s320/penpaper.jpg We talk so much about the business of publishing on this blog, but it always has to come back to the writing, doesn’t it? I can’t overstate the the importance of taking the time and effort to master the craft. So how does an author objectively know the quality of their writing? People are constantly telling me how frustrating it is. They send their work out to editors/agents and get rejections but no feedback. How do you know if you’re headed in the right direction? I think the answer is that you have to learn any which way you can. You piece it together. You take the lessons where you can find them. This could mean: → You read books on writing, and books in the genre in which you write. → You’re a member of writers’ organizations and online forums. →...
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Tell Us About Yourself!

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-bqqOXQQ8C04/TafEmLIT8oI/AAAAAAAAEdI/vNgERtC0Byc/s320/woman+pointing.jpg It’s time once again for me to learn more about you. To the right in the sidebar, there are FIVE questions. Please answer each one as accurately as you can by clicking in the bubble. Then in the comments, tell us either: –Something interesting about your current work in progress (WIP); or –Something interesting about yourself. I look forward to getting to know you! Thanks and have a great weekend… © 2011 Rachelle Gardner, Literary Agent Be Sociable, Share! ...
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Tell Me the Truth Now

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-t0MP_x4F6TY/TZ6N-DKokrI/AAAAAAAAEcw/Kudoiv8ACUU/s320/heart+on+sleeve.jpg No matter what I blog about lately—no matter where we go in the blogosphere as a matter of fact—somebody always turns it into a conversation about two things: (1) Publishing is dead or at least in its final death throes; and (2) Everyone should pursue self-publishing and if you don’t, you’re an idiot with your head in the sand. Let me just say this: I completely disagree with both of those statements. Yes, publishing is undergoing a tectonic shift, nobody is denying that. But the shift cannot be accurately described as “dying.” And yes, self-publishing (or indie publishing or whatever designation you want to give it) is increasingly an attractive option for many people, which is a development I completely support. I am, after all, a person in business...
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What Do You Need From This Blog?

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-I7r9wM_ykkc/TYy-umUz-BI/AAAAAAAAEb0/wO5r59RWbos/s320/orangutan.jpg I read a lot of blogs, and I’m sure you do too. Some are great at always looking forward into the future of publishing, examining the digital future. Others are better at giving the nuts and bolts of how publishing works right now. Some offer encouragement (I try to do that as much as possible) while others are more focused on reality without any sugar coating. There are so many things to talk about in publishing! My question for you today is this: What are your favorite things to see covered on my blog? → Future of publishing→ Changing information about e-books/digital publishing→ General information about publishing as it currently works→ Information about how agents work→ Encouragement for the writer’s life→ Stories of other writers’ journeys I’m...
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Coming to the End of Ourselves

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_5cLmD8GqnKY/TUIFEOP3PPI/AAAAAAAAEWY/6MLqp5dXM5o/s320/incline.jpg I was out with my husband hiking the Manitou Incline here in Colorado – it’s only a mile to the top but 2,000 feet vertical gain. Then it’s about a 4 mile hike on a gentler trail to get back down. A nice morning’s workout. I got to thinking about all the ways I try to get out of my comfort zone, do hard things, conquer challenges that scare me. I purposely push myself to my limits and beyond sometimes, because it reminds me that I can always do more than I think I can. I learned to scuba dive because I was afraid of the ocean—as a California girl growing up body surfing, I was tossed by the waves and sucked into the undertow one too many times. Becoming a scuba diver didn’t take away my fear but it always reminds me of how attentive we need to be to...
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Should Agents Stop Taking Email Submissions?

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_5cLmD8GqnKY/TSVQUTjSGMI/AAAAAAAAETw/uK3rX2FuyTE/s200/mailbox.jpg A blog reader wrote…I think your in-box is being filled faster and faster as a result of agents now accepting electronic queries. I would bet that before you accepted email you got only a fraction of the number you currently receive. Now anybody with a computer can hammer out 80, 000 words and hit the go button. It took more effort in the old days. Only the really serious persisted.My response… I agree the electronic age has made it easy for some to think they can write and get published without putting in the work and the time. Alas, I can’t fix the system or stop the march of time and technology. Nor would I want to. A few agents have stopped taking email submissions and take snail mail only, but I’d never do that. The bane of my publishing life for 15 years was...
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Advice for Writers Getting Started

http://www.rachellegardner.com//HLIC/b06e32819dfb420f120026b85cfef7de.jpg Like all agents and many published authors, I frequently receive emails with questions from writers. Sometimes they’re specific questions about the business, but often they’re sweeping and general, like: How do I get published? I have several templates I use to answer people’s questions, but I’m getting bored of my same old answers. So help me out here. What’s your single best piece of advice for the person at the beginning of the journey to pursue publishing? Have a terrific weekend! © 2010 Rachelle Gardner, Literary Agent Be Sociable, Share! ...
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Q4U: Bookscan Numbers on Amazon

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_5cLmD8GqnKY/TQFXWYQC-5I/AAAAAAAAESY/zE9x2HvEQ0U/s400/bookscan.jpg The Internet lit up yesterday with the new development over at Amazon—the fact that they’re now giving authors their sales information from Bookscan. If you’re an author with an account at Amazon’s Author Central (if you have a book on Amazon, you’d better have an Author Central page!) then you can now access your sales reports by region and by time period. The numbers Amazon is reporting are from Bookscan, which is an admittedly incomplete picture of your sales since Bookscan doesn’t report on the entire market. From Amazon: “BookScan combines sales reported by participating retailers, including Borders and Walden, Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com, Target, and Buy.com. Some retailers do not participate, including Wal-mart and Sam’s Club. These...
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Blogs We Don’t Like

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_5cLmD8GqnKY/TPiAJ488CwI/AAAAAAAAENY/eeQ6nsVDv6g/s200/thumbs-down.jpg Somebody asked me recently, “What turns you off in writers’ blogs?” They wanted to know if there were certain things I saw that would make me not want to represent someone, or at least make me wonder whether I should. So I thought about it, and here are a few of my answers: → A humor writer whose blog doesn’t seem funny to me.→ A memoir writer whose blog consists of reflections on life (something I enjoy) but they’re just boring.→ A writer who rants and complains about the publishing business in general or agents in particular . (And I recognize the difference between ranting and simply processing inevitable disappointments.)→ A writer whose blog has irregular and infrequent posts.→ A blog that is really unfocused and doesn’t know what...
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Ask Me Your Questions!

I love answering questions about writing and publishing. For example, blog reader R.D. Allen asked: Once you have an agent, do you have to query them the same way for your next books as you did the first? And my answer is this: It depends on whether your agreement was that the agent would represent a specific project, or if she would represent you. Most agents, I think, would handle things less formally once they already have a working relationship with you. Hopefully, you’d just be able to shoot them an email asking if they’re ready to talk about your next project. I have several clients who are working on second and third books, and we usually have quite a bit of back and forth and brainstorming on them. Now it’s your turn: What questions would you like to see me...
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