Features (2,344)

[Breakfast with the Muse] Indie Publishing and the Temptation to Rush Work into Print

Several years ago, I took an online writing class with seven or eight other students. One of the members of the class was a brand-new writer who’d just finished a draft of her very first novel.

I remember thinking that her novel had a lot going for it. It wasn’t very good yet, but it had promise—a…


Added by Jill Jepson on January 23, 2015 at 6:00am — 26 Comments

[REALITY CHECK] Attention to Detail, or The Importance of a Misplaced Penny by Patricia Robertson

Have you ever read a book and got annoyed or disgusted by some anachronistic error that totally broke the spell of the book, or some bit of incorrect detail that snapped your suspension of disbelief?

I have, and I don't like it. Some readers and fans love pointing out mistakes--like Trekkies, for…


Added by Zetta Brown on January 27, 2015 at 7:30am — No Comments

How Your Body Is a Gateway to Your Creative Expression

I read a stunning submission this week from one of my students that had all the elements of good storytelling minus one thing: body sensations. I found myself desperately wanting her to describe the sensations that must have been coming up for her as she wrote about what for her was a…


Added by Brooke Warner on January 26, 2015 at 10:30pm — 7 Comments

How to Craft a Compelling Book Description

Book descriptions can be an effective marketing tool, but they can also be tricky. Here are three keys to writing a good one:

  1. Show, don't tell: Much like an online-dating profile, if you toot your book's horn too much, it's a turnoff. If your book is funny, don't write, "This is a laugh-out-loud story!" Instead, write something funny to describe it. Another downside to the overselling…

Added by Maria Murnane on January 26, 2015 at 8:30am — 3 Comments

[NETWORKING FOR INTROVERTS] My Favorite Social Media Tools

Social Media: Sigh. We know we need to do it in order to build our author platforms so we can get agents and book deals and make money selling those books, but it can be exhausting. And it never ends. You tweet and you post and you circle and you link and you connect and you Instagram, and then you wake up the next morning and have to do it all over again. When are you supposed to spend time with your family and (IRL) friends? When are you supposed to get…


Added by Meghan Ward on January 22, 2015 at 12:30pm — 14 Comments

Funding Women Artists: “How Long? Not Long.”

Wow!  It has already been a momentous week… and it is not over yet.  It began Monday with the celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, a day of…


Added by Yvette Heyliger on January 22, 2015 at 8:30am — No Comments

[What's Next?] Time to Read

My path to writing began with reading. I think that great writers always stem from great readers, and while I would not say I have become the former, I definitely spent a good deal of time mastering the latter. When I was in middle school, I was the kid who had hair that often looked dirty and clothes that had never…


Added by Caitlyn Levin on January 20, 2015 at 5:00pm — 10 Comments

Grammergency #4: Semicolons—Where Periods and Commas Collide

According to Wikipedia, an Italian publisher named Aldus Manutius the Elder (1449–1515) is credited for having invented the semicolon. Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, however, states that the first known use of the semicolon didn’t occur until the year 1644. Whatever the facts are, the first person responsible for stacking a period atop a comma probably had no idea how many centuries’ worth of confusion would result from that seemingly simple act.

In the year 2015, the…


Added by Annie Tucker on January 20, 2015 at 9:30am — 7 Comments

[The Art of Submission] Go Slowly

I am not a patient person.

My tendency in all things is to go quickly, to get it out of the way, to get it over and done with already. This mentality comes in handy with certain things: moving boxes, cleaning houses, putting away laundry, anything that requires physical strength, really.

But my boyfriend…


Added by Emily Lackey on January 21, 2015 at 6:30am — 1 Comment

Introducing...Wishful Thinking, Chapter One.

For the past two and a half years, I've been sharing my thoughts, fears, questions, and a few (very few?) answers, as I have worked to complete my first novel at the ripe old age of forty-two. It has been so wonderful, and truly life-saving, at times, to have this community to turn to in a creative endeavor that…


Added by Kamy Wicoff on January 15, 2015 at 2:30pm — 11 Comments

[SWP: Behind the Book] The Nightmare of Publication and the Happy Afterlife of Books


Much has been made of the analogy between publishing a novel and giving birth to a child. Having given birth to two children and published three novels, I can say the two things have very little in common. One of the traits they do share is that the pain involved is quickly forgotten, almost…


Added by Nancy Kricorian on January 17, 2015 at 8:30am — 13 Comments

Watch for Repetition in Your Writing

My upstairs neighbor Alexandra, who is a big fan of my books, recently read one of my newest titles, Cassidy Lane. She told me she loved it, but she'd also lost track of how many times in the story Cassidy "walked home slowly." I thanked her for her honesty because I hadn't noticed my tendency to overuse that phrase. 


Neither had the developmental editor.


Or the copyeditor.


Or the proofreader.


But my neighbor had, and…


Added by Maria Murnane on January 19, 2015 at 8:30am — 5 Comments

[TIPS OF THE TRADE] Stuck? Go for a Walk!

We’ve all been told that the secret to writing is simply to sit down and write.

Every day, we’re told, we must chain ourselves to our desks and not get up until our daily quota of 500 or 1,000 or 2,000 words is complete. 

The German word “sitzfleisch”—literally, “buttocks”—means the…


Added by Ellen Cassedy on January 13, 2015 at 11:30am — 9 Comments

Don't Hate on #Hashtags

Hashtags are frequently overlooked by social media users, perhaps because they seem confusing or unnecessary. But believe it or not, they are integral to the way…


Added by Janay Lampkin on January 16, 2015 at 2:00pm — 12 Comments

[SWP: Behind the Book] In Memory

The morning of January 10, 2015, Lindalou Richards quietly took her last breath. Her contributions to this world were enormous, though, like the billions who never had the good fortune to enjoy the deep belly laughs that surrounded her like an announcement, she never seemed to appreciate her own value. 



Added by Marni Fechter on January 11, 2015 at 11:00pm — 2 Comments

[NETWORKING FOR INTROVERTS] How to Achieve Your Writing Goals for Just Pennies!

If you're a typical writer, you made all kinds of New Year's resolutions this month:

"I will publish 3 articles in national magazines."

"I will complete the first draft of my novel."

"I will get an agent by June."

"I will get my memoir PUBLISHED this year!"

And if…


Added by Meghan Ward on January 12, 2015 at 7:00pm — 3 Comments


Happy New Year, y’all!


We are halfway through the first month of 2015...how many of you still have resolutions? Don’t feel bad if you’ve fallen off the wagon. My resolution is, “No resolution shall go unbroken.”


But I will say that I’m doing something different this year that I…


Added by Zetta Brown on January 13, 2015 at 7:30am — 4 Comments

[Path to Publication] Top Resources for a Deal with a Top Publisher

I always say that the thing that played the biggest part in my signing with one of the Big Five publishers was luck. Given how many incredibly talented writers and moving stories exist out there (and in here, on She Writes itself), I deeply believe that luck, more than anything, ignited the whole process of my deal with G.P. Putnam’s Sons (which I wrote about earlier,…


Added by Tracy Slater on January 10, 2015 at 1:30am — 6 Comments

Another Example of Smart Marketing

A few posts back I blogged about author Cathy Livingstone's effective approach to soliciting reviews for her book. Today, I'd like to share a smart strategy for attracting readers to your blog.


Recently a savvy author by the name of Marlene Cullen contacted me via my website to tell…


Added by Maria Murnane on January 12, 2015 at 9:00am — No Comments

Memoir Bashing: An Examination of an Emotionally Complex Social Phenomenon

As a writing coach and publisher, I’m not supposed to take sides when it comes to genres. I work on all kinds of books—novels, how-to books, essay collections, anthologies, and even poetry collections; but memoir is my true love, and for me the most rewarding of all genres—to edit, to…


Added by Brooke Warner on January 12, 2015 at 11:00pm — 53 Comments

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