Featured Blog Posts – May 2015 Archive (27)


When I teach Blogging for Beginners at the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto, we get everyone's blogs set up, but that’s the easy part. Learning how to use Wordpress, Blogger, or SquareSpace will get your blog online, but it won’t make you a great blogger. Great blogs have five things in common—quality design, great content, clear layout,…


Added by Meghan Ward on May 28, 2015 at 8:30am — 4 Comments

The Art of Submission: Creating a Submission Wish List

One of the things that I often hear people talking about when it comes to submissions is having a "wish list," a list of journals and magazines you want to publish in, in order of difficulty. 

Let me be clear: I do not have one of these.

My M.O. is more to cobble together a…


Added by Emily Lackey on May 27, 2015 at 9:00am — 11 Comments

Grammergency #13: When Quotation Marks Attack

For the past few months, I’ve been working on a little photography project, inspired by signs around California that use quotation marks incorrectly and that I find hilarious—especially when I can’t figure out for the life of me what purpose the quotes are meant…


Added by Annie Tucker on May 26, 2015 at 9:00am — 6 Comments

Do Bookstore Events Sell Books? Who Cares. They're Awesome.

Last Wednesday, I took a 6:40 a.m. flight home from San Francisco. Why so early? So I could land in New York in time to have dinner with my kids. (This month, I really needed the in-two-places-at-once time travel app I gave the main character in my novel!) In just four weeks, I'd been to…


Added by Kamy Wicoff on May 25, 2015 at 4:30pm — 8 Comments

Does Your Dialogue Sound Realistic?

Most of us read books because we love to escape (temporarily) from reality and immerse ourselves in alternate worlds inhabited by colorful, interesting characters whose lives are much more exciting than our own. That's certainly why I read! However, while the lives these characters lead might…


Added by Maria Murnane on May 25, 2015 at 10:30am — 1 Comment

Pinterest Power!


Ever find yourself logging on to your Pinterest account for quick inspiration--and 46 pins, a glass of wine, and 30 minutes later you've been sucked into a Pinterest hole? Why not maximize on this addicting platform and utilize its features to benefit your…


Added by Janay Lampkin on May 20, 2015 at 3:00pm — 15 Comments

[TIPS OF THE TRADE] What makes you smile -- and why it matters

It all began with a clarinet.

I played the clarinet when I was a girl, but after the audition for college orchestra went badly, I put the instrument away in a closet (a series of closets, actually), and didn’t touch it again for three decades.…


Added by Ellen Cassedy on May 20, 2015 at 6:00am — 13 Comments

[REALITY CHECK] What NOT to Do With a Podcast Guest - Catharine Bramkamp

Last week, Catharine Bramkamp talked about…


Added by Zetta Brown on May 19, 2015 at 11:30am — No Comments

What Indie Authors Can Do about the Book Industry’s Discrimination Problem

As a country, we grapple with more than our share of discrimination challenges—where people of color, LGBTQ folks, and people with disabilities (to call out only a few of the bigger groups) feel its blow every single day. And while it’s frustrating at best, and often devastating, at…


Added by Brooke Warner on May 18, 2015 at 10:00pm — 30 Comments

[Breakfast with the Muse] 4 Compelling Ways to Write Emotion

One of the easiest things to write badly is emotion.

Long after a writer has learned to create interesting characters, construct strong plots, invent believable settings, and come up with convincing dialogue, she might still be writing sentences like, “Marissa felt really, really angry” or “Jake was…


Added by Jill Jepson on May 18, 2015 at 7:30am — 10 Comments

[THE WRITER'S LIFE] Seven Things

Sometimes I go on the Internet when I should be writing. I know, it’s a startling confession, but it’s true. (Even now, I have my email screen open alongside my Word doc, so I guess I should just close it...wait...J Jill has a sale...)

What I tell myself in these situations is that I am looking for…


Added by Cindy Eastman on May 16, 2015 at 7:30am — 23 Comments

[SWP: Behind the Book] The Stories We Need to Tell

When I started the search for a publisher for Again and Again, a high-profile friend referred me to a big-name agent (we’ll call him Mr. Big). “He wants women writers,” she told me. “Your novel is just what he’s looking for.”

Mr. Big worked the old-fashioned way: no electronic…


Added by Ellen Bravo on May 15, 2015 at 5:00am — 21 Comments

3 Marketing Scenarios Where Authors Need to Pay to Play

Despite what the glamorous life of J.K. Rowling may imply, being a writer does not a rich person make. It is a profession of passion, with an average salary at best.

So when you are faced with the personal expenses of promoting your book, you have to get choosy about where your dollars will be spent. An abundant budget would be nice, but most authors are faced with the strategic decision of where to put their marketing money, and when to do it.

While there are free ways to grow…


Added by Christelle Lujan on May 13, 2015 at 9:30am — 7 Comments

How I Found My Way to She Writes Press, Naturally - Part Two: The Convoluted Path Continues...

(This post is a continuation of Michelle's first post here.)      

Having been rejected by over 200 agents and still trying to figure out this…


Added by Michelle Cox on May 13, 2015 at 7:00am — 7 Comments

How I Found My Way to She Writes Press, Naturally - Part One: The Big Baby

            Sometime in 2013, I wrote my first novel.  Originally, I began it not because I had a burning story to tell the world or because of some inspiring experience I had had, but because I found myself, for one reason or another, with a lot of extra time on my hands (no, I wasn’t in…


Added by Michelle Cox on May 13, 2015 at 7:00am — 6 Comments

The Art of Submission: Inquiring After Our Work

So I did a little experiment.

In my last blog post I wrote about whether or not inquiring after overdue submissions was worth it or whether it would incite the ire of managing editors everywhere. My mind wasn’t exactly changed after writing that piece, or after reading…


Added by Emily Lackey on May 13, 2015 at 4:00am — 6 Comments

Grammergency #12: Confounded by Commas

The comma indicates the smallest break in sentence structure of all the punctuation in the English language, but that doesn’t mean it’s always user-friendly. Some people are prone to overpunctuating with commas, crafting staccato sentences that feel too formal or too choppy, while other people write entire…


Added by Annie Tucker on May 12, 2015 at 8:30am — 5 Comments

[REALITY CHECK] - Podcast Guests? Three Tips to Better Bookings by Catharine Bramkamp

Hi everyone!


I have been very lucky by having guests…


Added by Zetta Brown on May 12, 2015 at 7:30am — No Comments

Who Is The Real Me?

Who is the real me?

Everyone's personal story has drama, but most people don't see their life play out on a made-for-TV movie. In 1990, I watched one of the biggest stories of my life on television, and the experience gave me a whole new opportunity to reflect on who "the real me" was.

As a child, my adoption was never concealed from me, but neither was it openly discussed. I was happy growing up in Texas with my mother and grandparents, but at age ten I began having terrible…


Added by Shannon Kincaid on May 11, 2015 at 11:00am — No Comments

How to Properly Tag an Article

There's a lot that goes into creating a quality blog post or online article. You've got to think about SEO (that's search engine optimization, or how people are going to find your article when they "google"), your keywords, your headlines, when to use an H1 or an H2 ... and this could just as easily…


Added by Kristin Bustamante on May 11, 2015 at 10:30am — 15 Comments

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