Why Pursue Publishing?

Why Pursue Publishing? Sometimes when I open up my email and find the queries exploding all over the place, or I go to a party and random strangers find out I’m an agent and begin pitching me, it makes me get all philosophical. I begin to wonder: Why do so many people want to be published? I think about how storytelling has been part of human interaction since the beginning of time. And I think about how everyone just needs to be heard. And I think about our celebrity-driven culture and I assume some people want to be published because they want to be famous. But those are just my thoughts. What are yours? Why do so many people want to be...
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Avoid this Platform-Building Mistake

Avoid this Platform-Building Mistake Guest Blogger: Ed Cyzewski New authors routinely hear that they should build their marketing platforms by publishing articles in print magazines. There’s one problem with this advice: it rarely helps authors actually sell books. There are exceptions to this, and I’ll get to them. But I’ve spoken to publicists and authors, and examined my own book releases, and I’m convinced that print magazine articles rarely convert into book sales or fans who will eventually buy a book. If a platform is supposed to help you sell books, then publishing in print magazines should be a low priority on your “platform building list.” One award-winning reporter and widely published magazine writer I know noted that she rarely sees growth to her online platform through her magazine or newspaper...
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Winners!

Winners! Chuck Sambuchino and the Writers Digest team have chosen the three winners of the Worst Storyline Ever Contest 2.0. Here are the winners, and their winning Worst Storylines. Drum roll please…   Linda Hofke After his wife leaves him, an old, bald, former 80s rock star goes on a quest to reunite with his first love— his hair–but is he brave enough to endure a hair transplant or must he settle for a cheap wig in order to sport those big, long locks once again? Jennifer Ruth Jackson Karl wants nothing more than to watch the kitchen linoleum curl all summer long but, when his wife insists on doing a time-lapse project of the event, Karl’s “me time” becomes a forced “we time” he soon resents. Lyndsay Johnson When a family intervention forces hemophobic vampire...
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Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! Wishing you a wonderful holiday season, and a happy new year! I will resume blogging January 3rd.   “Merry Christmas” design by Mariana Musa, a wonderfully talented illustrator whose company is Floating Lemons. Her designs appear on cards, stationery, journals, phone cases and more. Feel free to visit her art blog or shop for her...
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What’s Your Holiday Writing Plan?

What’s Your Holiday Writing Plan? Ah, the holiday season. I have to admit, I absolutely love this time of year. I’m crazy about Christmas music, decorations, and Colorado sun shining on the snow. But the holiday season can lead to frustration when we’re trying to juggle work and family with the increased demands the holidays put on our time. The time available for writing dwindles and you start to feel behind and get stressed that you’re not meeting your goals or deadlines. So I propose that today, or this weekend, you take a few quiet moments to make yourself a Holiday Plan. Let’s face this time of year with a strategy that will take us through to January 2nd with the least amount of stress possible. How should you create your Holiday Plan? 1. Take a look at the next three weeks on the calendar...
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My Editor Wants Me to Change What??

My Editor Wants Me to Change What?? Guest blogger: Richard Mabry, M.D. (@RichardMabry) I had delivered my latest manuscript to my publisher, and a few weeks later received my revision notes from the editor. I was, to put it mildly, caught off guard. The notes suggested some pretty big changes. As I read through them, I kept saying, “But that’s not what I had in mind.” I wondered why the editor wanted to rewrite my manuscript. Aren’t I the writer here? Isn’t my name on the book? I wasn’t happy. But after sitting with it a few more days… I noticed that my in-house editor, my substantive editor, and my beta reader (yes, my wife) had all made the same suggestion for the opening. Hmm. I started rewriting, and amazingly enough, it was all coming together.  By the time I’d reached...
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Free Webinar: 7 Secrets of Effective Author Websites

Free Webinar: 7 Secrets of Effective Author Websites As an aspiring author, you probably realize that potential agents and publishers are looking at more than your manuscript when deciding whether or not to work with you. It’s common for publishing house decision-makers to Google the author during meetings. Your online presence can be an important factor in whether or not you are offered a contract. How to make a strong first impression. A website should effectively communicate your brand as an author. Think of your website as an opportunity to make a great first impression. It’s like the marketing equivalent of the first five pages of a novel. If you’re marketing yourself as a professional author, your website needs to make a strong professional first impression on your visitors. Your website is the key to your...
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Friday Fun

Friday Fun I came across this cute video on YouTube. Enjoy!
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Have You Ever Thrown a Book Across the Room?

Have You Ever Thrown a Book Across the Room? I’ve belonged to several book groups over the years, and recently one of my groups selected a book I knew nothing about. I began reading and quickly pegged it as a Really Bad Book. Not that I’d tell anyone, of course. But I couldn’t stop thinking about how poorly the book was crafted, how I would have edited, how cheesy it was. Normally when I read for enjoyment, I’m fairly good at turning off my internal editor. But not this time. Then I found out that Really Bad Book had been out for almost a decade, was a perennial strong seller, and had even been made into a movie (direct to DVD). Clearly others had a different opinion than I did. What gives? How can this happen? How can such a badly written book (in my opinion) go on to such success? Click here to read the rest of...
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Are You Ready for the Pain of Publishing?

Are You Ready for the Pain of Publishing? Guest Blogger: Ed Cyzewski (@edcyzewski) “Publishing a book would be neat.” I hear that all of the time from people when I mention I’m an author. I rarely tell them what my experience of book publishing has actually been like—except for this one time. A friend was just starting to explore writing full time with the goal of publishing a book. “You’re serious?” I asked. “Definitely,” he replied. “Are you ready for two or three years of rejection?” I began. “It could happen. That’s how long it took me to get my first book deal. I’ve heard of successful authors being rejected thirty, fifty, or more times.” His eyes widened as I continued. “And then there’s the chance of a contract being cancelled—that’s happened to me and several friends. And...
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Should You Send that Quick “Thank You” Email?

Should You Send that Quick “Thank You” Email? Since tomorrow is Thanksgiving here in the U.S., my thoughts turned to the idea of being grateful and saying “thank you.” One thing I’m thankful for this week is the fact that I’ve gotten on top of my email and it’s no longer a scary behemoth. Since email is a constant challenge for me, I’ve always been torn over whether to send quick “thank you” emails to acknowledge something, or to finish up an email conversation. I’m very hesitant to contribute to others’ email glut. But I will no longer struggle with this. I’ve concluded that I will always send a “thank you” email when it makes sense. Here’s why: 1. Gratitude is always appropriate. I don’t think it’s ever wrong to say thank you. 2. The...
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Does Your Project Need Funding?

Does Your Project Need Funding? Guest Blogger: Caleb Jennings Breakey (@CalebBreakey) Imagine finding hundreds of people eager to read your book. Now—are you ready for this?—imagine those same people financially backing you to write it. Enter the crowdsourcing awesomeness of kickstarter.com, faithfunder.com, and indiegogo.com. These sites are funding platforms for creative projects. But their concept isn’t centered on folks just shanding you money—it’s centered on connecting you with people who want exactly what you’re creating. Like your work in progress. SIX WEEKS, $10,000 I started my Kickstarter campaign after learning that enthusiastic backers pledged $100,000,000 to projects in 2011, a 300-percent increase from the previous year. How amazing, I thought. People believing in what their artists believe...
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Are Writers Too Insulated from Their Readers?

Are Writers Too Insulated from Their Readers? Guest Blogger: Mike Duran (@CerebralGrump) Each year, Writer’s Digest selects “101 Best Websites for Writers.” Sadly, their list is just the tip of the iceberg. I say sadly not just because I’m one of the plethora of writing blogs out there (although I don’t talk exclusively about writing at my website), but because of the effect that so many “writing sources” have upon authors and aspiring authors. Writing blogs potentially insulate writers from their real audience: Readers. To illustrate how this could be possible, read this excerpt from J.A. Konrath in The Value of Publicity: Here’s the deal: Readers are my customers, not writers. Readers don’t even know who the Big 6 are. They don’t care. I’m mentioned a lot in the...
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Announcing My E-Book Series

Announcing My E-Book Series In response to numerous requests over the last few years, I’m excited to finally announce my first series of e-books: “A Field Guide For Authors” I’m starting with four titles, which I’ll roll out in November and December: * * *   Taking a cue from the inimitable Michael Hyatt, I’m forming an official Field Guide Launch Team of 100 people to help me get the word out about the books. Members of the Launch Team will receive the following benefits: Free copies of any two of my e-books Membership in a private Facebook group for me and my launch team A listing on this blog that includes your brief bio and a link to your blog or website My undying gratitude! Membership on the Launch Team means you agree to: Help spread the word via all means of...
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