When I got into book publishing I was an inexperienced 23-year-old whose previous work experience was waitressing and a couple of cherry college internships that had nothing to do with publishing. I worked my way up the ranks, learning publishing and how to edit books. I’ve made plenty of mistakes along the way—the kind that sting but make you better…

Because I host regular free webinars about memoir writing, I’m in contact most months with hundreds of memoir writers. And even though the topics I teach typically have nothing to do with libel or slander or misrepresentation, people’s questions always go there. Most writers are afraid of what will happen to them if they write their memoir. The consequences of…

This summer I was invited to the Mendocino Writers Conference, where at the opening reception in downtown Mendocino (where one can’t help but evoke Jessica Fletcher of Murder, She Wrote) each presenter was asked to come to the microphone to share their best piece of writing advice. I was inspired by what people chose to impart, but more important, I…

I get an inordinate number of questions about what the industry fondly calls “blurbs,” and here I attempt to cover them all with a detailed list of how authors can approach soliciting and choosing, and everything in between. In today’s book marketplace, blurbs still matter to publishers and the industry at large, in part because they’re a bit of a…

Last week a longtime coaching client of mine pulled the plug on her copyedit-in-progress. She wanted a full stop, she said, because she found another editorial company online that could do the edit for $500. We were charging $1800 for the same service. When I emailed my copyeditor, her response was swift: “You can’t save ‘em all.” This editor knows…

Hybrid concepts are all the rage in book publishing. As the publisher of what I call a hybrid press, I see it everywhere. There are hybrid authors (authors who publish traditionally and nontraditionally); hybrid publishing arrangements (where publishers and authors split costs and royalties in ways that work outside the traditional paradigm); and hybrid books (which cross or blend genres).…

This month I’m a new author all over again with the publication of Green-Light Your Book: How Writers Can Succeed in the New Era of Publishing. I wrote this book to answer the many good questions authors lob my way every day. One of the most consistent pieces of feedback I’m getting is that the book brings an entrepreneurial spirit…

Earlier this month I moderated a panel at the Bay Area Book Festival called “The Future of Book Publishing.” We had an esteemed group of panelists from all areas of the industry, with Jack Jensen, publisher of Chronicle Books as the traditional figurehead, and Mark Coker of Smashwords representing the self-publishing contingent. A question surfaced from the audience: Do some…

When it comes to the discipline of writing, there’s a lot of talk about showing up. Butt in chair. Schedule the time. Keep your dates with yourself. All of this is good advice, and the most successful and prolific authors have the disposition or the drive or the self-governance required to stay the course on the long and arduous journey…

As a former gatekeeper, I’m fascinated by the gatekeeper divide in book publishing, where the role gets falsely propped up by supporters of traditional publishing and completely dismissed by those who favor the indie space. In a January 2015 article on Slate, former Random House editor Daniel Menaker wrote about gatekeepers (defined as editors at major houses): In my judgment,…

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