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Blog Posts

The Mindsets that Keep You From Starting (and Finishing) Your Book: Part II

Posted by Alissa Johnson on October 24, 2014 at 7:30am 0 Comments

Last week we talked about the "I Don't Knows"—how the weight of everything you think you need to know before you write your book can keep you from starting. In reality, you can write your way to answers, replacing "I don't know" with "Let's figure it out." Once you've trained yourself to spot the I Don't Know mindset, overcoming it is simply a matter of practice.

But there's a second mindset that can bring your writing to a screeching halt, and it's sneaky because it masquerades as truth. Have you ever been convinced that you know exactly how a story will end, only to find out that getting it there is a struggle? That's the second mindset at work: the belief that you know what your book is about and how it's going to go.

Not too long ago, a friend of mine sent me an essay-in-progress. She has published two books and…

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What Makes A Book A Success?

Posted by Kamy Wicoff on October 21, 2014 at 11:00am 34 Comments

A year after my first book came out, a then-friend said to me, over dinner at an Italian restaurant on a cold winter night: "Your book was a failure." My friend didn't say it harshly--though perhaps it's no surprise that we are not friends anymore. He said it matter-of-factly, as in, the things you hoped for when your book came out, like selling hundreds of thousands of copies, or establishing yourself as a cultural critic with a seat at the National Important People Conversation Table, didn't happen. He was right. My book didn't even sell through its modest first print run, and I never earned a cent beyond my advance. I appeared on national television and NPR but my message never caught anybody's attention beyond those book-related interviews. I only got to call myself a "bestselling author" because when…

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Before Order: A Poet’s Tale

Posted by Melissa Studdard on October 22, 2014 at 10:30pm 13 Comments

“Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up.” —A. A. Milne

 

I wrote my novel by the seat of my pants. I created characters I was in love with, and I let them tell me what they wanted to do. It was easy to “organize.” There was a plot, and I rolled along, adventure after adventure, discovering the way as I happened upon it. Organization was holistic, organic—as easy as breathing.

But that’s not to say the prose always flowed. There were times my mind wouldn’t turn that way, and I’d find myself instead engaged in a wild, messy, passionate affair with poetry. Between scenes, between chapters, between scraps of dialogue, I’d sneak off to a café and flirt with a…

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[REALITY CHECK] Self-Publishing: Adventures in Editing! by Patricia Robertson

Posted by Zetta Brown on October 22, 2014 at 7:00am 3 Comments

I don't care if you are self-published, indie-published, or NYC-published. Speaking as an editor, author, and publisher, it doesn't matter how many times you go through something you've written, you will either find a mistake or some minor thing you wish you could correct.



Perhaps the hardest thing when it comes to publishing (after getting published!) is to let go and let your book-child fend for itself. But like any responsible parent, you want to prepare your book-child as much as possible to defend itself, especially against critics. Having your work edited thoroughly helps strengthen your book and makes it harder for critical snipers to accuse your book-child of being sloppy.



Patricia Robertson shares what she has learned about self-publishing after…

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