U is for Ugly

U is for Ugly

U is for Ugly. There are some ugly truths about writing, things no one wants to talk about, no one wants to admit. I’m talking about the emotions we all try to hide away. What emotions?  How about: Anxiety (or its cousins, Fear and Frustration):  Some authors fear they’ll never be able to capture the stories they see inside their heads; they fear they don’t have the skill, the ability to communicate those images. Even when an author succeeds in...

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T is for Traditional Publishing

T is for Traditional Publishing

T is for traditional publishing. Prior to around the year 2000, the adjective “traditional” wouldn’t have been necessary—publishing was publishing. There were large presses, sure, and small presses, and various publishers were known for their work in specific genres. But one major model existed: an author wrote a book and sent it to a company that published the book, creating physical copies and distributing those books to various points of...

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S is for Synopsis

S is for Synopsis

S is for Synopsis. After a query letter, a synopsis might be the most challenging form of writing you ever create. In common parlance, a synopsis is a summary of a book’s plot.  To the rational writer, though, a synopsis is much more. It’s a document written in paragraph form, in the present tense. Composed in third person, it tells a complete story; there are no “spoiler alerts” and no pulled punches about the plot resolution. It has one...

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R is for Research

R is for Research

R is for Research. As an author, you have two basic needs for research.  First, you need to research markets, including how publishing works.  Second, you need to research specific facts for use in your books. Different strategies work best for each of these goals. Researching for your Career As an author, you owe it to yourself to conduct exhaustive and ongoing research about your career. You should understand all the key markets in your...

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Q is for Query

Q is for Query

Q is for Query. Once upon a time, nearly every published author had mastered the art of the query letter. Most authors sent query letters to agents, tracking down a representative to serve as a middleman to an editor.  Even authors who worked without agents had mastered querying those editors directly, reaching out to seek publication of their book. (Yes, a tiny fraction of authors attended a conference or knew an editor personally and pitched...

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