Featured Blog Posts – November 2015 Archive (22)

[BREAKFAST WITH THE MUSE] The Joyful Writer: Tidying Up the Writing Life

I resisted reading Marie Kondo’s best-selling book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” I’m skeptical of organizing schemes. Also, “tidying up” sounds too much like housework. Yet, I kept hearing good things about the book, and when NPR called it one of the most important books of 2014, I gave it a try.

Kondo’s advice is deceptively simple: Keep things not because you might use, wear, or read them;…


Added by Jill Jepson on November 30, 2015 at 7:30am — 16 Comments

[SWP: Behind the Book] Hysterical: Anna Freud's Story—18 Months after Publication

In 1973 when I was 20, I drove cross-country in a beautiful, orange (borrowed) karmann ghia coupe with my friend Beth to see her father, who was a major entertainment lawyer in Los Angeles. We stuffed our marijuana inside our bras…

Added by Rebecca Coffey on November 26, 2015 at 10:00am — 8 Comments

Grammergency #26: A Hyphenation How-To, Part One

One of my absolute favorite sections of The Chicago Manual of Style (CMS) is section 7.77, entitled “To Hyphenate or Not to Hyphenate.” It’s a quandary that almost every writer encounters at some point, yet very few people are clear on all the many rules surrounding the shortest dash on their computer keyboard. That’s why I’m here—to help you make sense of where to place this…


Added by Annie Tucker on November 24, 2015 at 10:00pm — 6 Comments

Tracking Your Marketing Efforts Is Tedious, but Important

When your book comes out, it's natural to want to shout it from the rooftops--and you should! So many people want to write a book, yet few actually do, so you should celebrate your hard work. It's fun to say "Hey, I wrote a book!"

If you want your book to sell, however, you need to do more than just announce that it's out there. And that takes a different kind of work, one that isn't as fun. Promoting a book involves continuous…


Added by Maria Murnane on November 23, 2015 at 7:00am — No Comments

Best Practices for Selling Your Book to Agents and Editors (or How to Avoid Being Delusional about Getting Published)

Deciding you’re ready to publish is a huge deal; it’s also the point where you hand over control to someone else, putting the power in the hands of an agent, an editor, the universe.

Most writers have traditional publishing aspirations. They want an agent to fall in love with their project and champion…


Added by Brooke Warner on November 19, 2015 at 1:01pm — 7 Comments

[THE WRITER'S LIFE] Body of Work

There was a pile of 3.5 floppy disks safely protected in a wooden box on the bookshelf I was dismantling to make room for...well, nothing. We just wanted more roominess in our home office. Judging from the labels, there didn’t appear to be anything really earthshaking housed on those thin magnetic films, as there were as many things crossed out and written over as there were true identifying labels. (As a computer lab instructor, I used to…


Added by Cindy Eastman on November 18, 2015 at 11:00am — 7 Comments

Memoir Platform

Oh, that word, “platform.” When I hear or read it I inhale with tension and exhale in surrender. What’s a memoir writer to do when she can’t keep up with platform content and all its connection points? I’m beginning to find myself being distracted, if not, preoccupied to the point of losing sight on the writing itself.

I listened to a presentation by Dan Blank (www.wegrowmedia.com). I liked what he had…


Added by Nancy Chadwick-Burke on November 17, 2015 at 12:30pm — 7 Comments

[REALITY CHECK] - Two Steps Forward & A Huge Hurdle Ahead - by NancyKay Sullivan Wessman

NancyKay Sullivan Wessman is the author of Katrina, Mississippi: Voices from Ground Zero. This week, she tells of her [REALITY CHECK], which is basically, what do you do after you have written your book?

Like Karl Malden used to ask: "What'll you do? What WILL you…


Added by Zetta Brown on November 17, 2015 at 7:30am — No Comments

The Things We Carry

Unlike personality, state of mind is constantly changing. But that doesn’t happen in a vacuum, not for people and not for characters. How we feel in any given instance is a complex interaction of who we are, what we face, and what we carry with us: our recent experiences, our relevant past, our concerns, our hopes and our fears. Progressing and expressing state of mind is critical to generating tension in fiction, as well as to forging an…


Added by Ellen T. McKnight on November 16, 2015 at 6:00pm — 14 Comments

Slow Lessons in Kickstarter Times

There are many paths to publishing today, some more circuitous than others, and in my experience, you need to explore and discover which way is the best for you and your book. 

I hybrid-published my first…


Added by Lone Morch on November 16, 2015 at 2:30pm — 3 Comments

Use Blind Copy in Marketing Emails

Given all the hard work that goes into writing a book, when yours finally comes out, of course you want to shout it from the rooftops. And you should! There's nothing wrong with sending out an email to announce the big news. Just be sure to use the "blind copy" feature in your email program.

If you're not familiar with blind copy, it's the "Bcc" option underneath the "to" field, usually right next to the "Cc" (carbon copy) option. When you…


Added by Maria Murnane on November 16, 2015 at 10:00am — 3 Comments

Self-Publishing Romance: How Short Justifies a $2.99 Price Point?

I was reading this post on The Passive Voice (great self-publishing blog, by the way) about the recent changes to Amazon’s KU payout structure, when I ran across the following comment, which inspired this post.

What Is a Short Story, a Novella, a Novel?

Here are the limits one writer’s organization uses.

***Short Story:…


Added by Yuwanda Black on November 16, 2015 at 9:00am — 7 Comments

[BREAKFAST WITH THE MUSE] Introducing One of My Muses

A seventeen-year-old girl, corseted, bored, bursting with constrained energy, sits at a dining room table amid the clink of teacups and the sounds of male conversation. The year is 1856. The girl is Sarah Goff,  Lady Sarah Goff, as she is constantly reminded by her uncle Robert, who has raised her.…


Added by Jill Jepson on November 16, 2015 at 8:00am — 6 Comments

8 Things That Can Go Terribly Wrong at a Book Event (And How to Avoid Them)

Is your first book launch coming up? Do you have a signing scheduled? Are you ready to go on tour?


If you are planning to do a physical book tour, you’re likely racked with nerves and excitement. Going store to store isn’t for everyone, but if you’re planning to get some face time in with your audience, don’t fall victim to these unfortunate (and common) mishaps.


You’re Not on the Schedule




Added by Christelle Lujan on November 12, 2015 at 2:30pm — 5 Comments

Travel writing

To keep me on task and trying new things, I enrolled in an online Travel Writing course this semester.  Our first assignment was a travel essay, conveying the feeling of a place through storytelling.  Here is my first attempt.

Mes Chausseures

Last summer my daughter and I spent several weeks in the South of France.  As temporary residents of a small seaside village, we spent our days swimming in the Mediterranean with…


Added by Elizabeth Brown McGriff on November 12, 2015 at 1:00pm — 1 Comment

Grammergency #25: Five Shortcuts to Self-Editing Like a Pro

Writing a book is a goal that a lot of people have but do not all achieve. So if you’re one of the courageous souls who are forging ahead with a manuscript, congratulations. Now you get to go out and tell your friends and relatives and even perfect strangers what you’re up to, and then you get to bask in the glow of their exclamations of delight and envy. And you deserve your moment in the…


Added by Annie Tucker on November 10, 2015 at 10:00am — 6 Comments

Book Marketing Is an Emotional Roller Coaster

I get a lot of emails from authors who are discouraged because they aren't having much luck with their marketing efforts. They want to know what my "secret" is because they think I have it all figured out.


Can I tell you something?

My "secret" is that I get discouraged too! 

Let me share a true story: A few months ago I began chatting with the organizer of a book club that wanted to read my latest novel, …


Added by Maria Murnane on November 9, 2015 at 9:00am — 6 Comments

3 Lessons I Learned about Podcasting to Build My Author Brand

As a new author, I knew I would struggle to get more eyes on my writing in an already highly competitive environment. I was already blogging and using videos, but I wanted a medium that would put me “on a new playing field” as an author, help me grow my platform and reach a larger audience.

Let me just say that from the minute I started podcasting back in 2013, I loved it! honestly, I didn’t think I would initially, mainly because I thought of…


Added by Dorit Sasson on November 8, 2015 at 6:30am — 10 Comments

[SWP: Behind the Book] Mindful Editing and Revising

A  term used for a particular stage in  Buddhist meditation practice, Mindfulness is referred to as sati, a  form of remembering, perhaps suggestive of  “memoir” which also derives from “remembering".

In a state of Mindfulness, the meditating individual checks in with herself to just listen and see, in order to reconnect with her mind and feelings, ensconced in the world around her.  A state of active, open…


Added by Diana Y. Paul on November 6, 2015 at 12:30pm — 7 Comments

No One Glorifies the Grind Because It Sucks

It’s human nature to compare ourselves to our peers. It starts in grade school, or even earlier among siblings. We look to others to see whether or not we measure up. We do this in school, in jobs, in parenting, and in our creative endeavors.


Last week a writer I’m…


Added by Brooke Warner on November 4, 2015 at 4:30pm — 12 Comments

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