Category Archives Uncategorized

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 working with started telling me about a woman she knows,…

In September I had the great honor of interviewing Mary Karr, whose claim to fame is this little feat of having penned three best-selling memoirs(!). Karr’s new book isThe Art of Memoir, and reading it is like having a front row seat to one of her exclusive graduate seminars, which you’ll never get into in real life because they’re so…

It seems to be a law of the universe that otherwise rational people get a little whacky leading up to their publication date, and it can continue well into post-publication too. Becoming an author is an angsty life event, and even the most grounded among us become unglued. A lot of the authors I’ve worked with over the years have…

Good novel and memoir writing hinges on scenes. Scenes are the building blocks of good story, and practiced storytellers know that a book is a series of scenes with strong transitions connecting one to the next. My colleague Linda Joy Myers, President of theNational Association of Memoir Writers, equates the scenes of a book to the pearls on a necklace.…

Writers struggle with their inner critics more than most artists, I think. But they suffer from outside criticism more than most artists, too. I get asked nearly every week some variation of this question: How do I know if my writing is good? Good enough? Worthwhile? If readers will like it? If readers will care? Part of what makes writing…

Imagine my dismay this week to discover that one of the Big Five houses has a policy that bars its authors from endorsing print-on-demand books. Sadly, it’s not surprising. Traditional publishing actively works to position itself against nontraditional publishing yet has no issue whatsoever with scooping up self-published success stories. Double standard? Yes. I’ve written previously about discrimination against POD…

It’s time to blog about returns. Not because it’s a glamorous subject, but because it’s an important piece of the book publishing business that too few authors (and readers) understand. The fact that books are returnable in the first place is cause for frustration, and it should be cause for concern. I’m hard-pressed to think of another returns-based industry like…

Shopping for an agent or an editor is an important step on the journey to getting published. For a lot of writers, it’s the first time they’re getting outside feedback from professionals about their work; for many, it means that countless hours spent in silence, toiling away in solitude, is coming to an end. But when do you shop for…

Close