Blog

The New Author's Conundrum: My Woeful Platform

“Start with the actual and build a bridge to the potential.” That’s lit agent Sharon Pelletier during her session, “The 10 Best Secrets for a Winning Nonfiction Book Proposal,” at DFWCon 2017. But before we get to what she’s talking about, let’s discuss the elephant in the publishing house: PLATFORM. Michael Hyatt didn’t coin the… Read More »

The Tone of Your Book Proposal

“Match the tone of your proposal to the tone of your book.” That’s lit agent Sharon Pelletier during her session, “The 10 Best Secrets for a Winning Nonfiction Book Proposal,” at DFWCon 2017. This piece of advice fell under her fourth point, that everything an author writes should display their ability to write. What did she… Read More »

The Brutal Truth about Earning Out

“Seventy percent of authors don’t earn out.” That’s publishing guru Jane Friedman during her excellent and information-laden workshop, “How to Get Your Book Traditionally Published” at DFWCon 2017. What does earning out mean? When an author signs a book deal with a publisher, the publisher pays the author in the form of an advance on… Read More »

The Book Has to be Good

“The self-publishing craze has made people forget that the book has to be good.” That’s literary agent Eric Ruben during the “Bad Marketing Advice” session of DFWCon. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of truth in Eric’s words. For all the benefits of self-publishing—I’m a fan, to a point—its most egregious drawback is also its most appealing… Read More »

The (Dreaded) Query Letter, Part 2

“Find a stranger and have them read your query. Ask them what they think your book is about.” That’s literary agent Abby Saul at the end of “Ask an Agent,” the first session I attended at DFWCon 2017. Doesn’t she know that asking strangers to read our work is terrifying? I’m kidding—but only a little. The… Read More »

The (Dreaded) Query Letter

“It’s easier to write the novel than the query letter.” During the first Ask an Agent session of DFWCon, literary agent Barbara Collins Rosenberg offered this line. I wasn’t sure many people heard it. If they did, I wonder if they understood its importance. How could writing a few sentences be more difficult than writing a few… Read More »

Find Your Audience

“If it’s published on your blog, that’s not published.” I believe that’s from Christopher Rhodes during the first session I attended at DFWCon 2017. He was speaking to the kinds of writing experience that’s worth putting into a book proposal. While your writing chops may be on full display on your website, that doesn’t mean much unless… Read More »

Writing to Trends

I’m trying something new with my blogging: I’m going to have fun with it. (I know: what a trendsetter.) Instead of seeing this space as a place I have to fill because PLATFORM PLATFORM PLATFORM, I’m going to throw caution far into the wind and write shorter, funner—yes, funner—posts that, I hope, will also be insightful, helpful,… Read More »

What Style Guide Should I Use?

Friend and author Darren Sapp recently emailed me with a few choice questions regarding style guides and writing books. Because of his post-graduate degrees, the Turabian style guide is thoroughly lodged in his brain. But because he’s writing and publishing his own novels, he wanted to know if another style guide is better suited to… Read More »

What Does an Editor Most Want from an Author?

At the beginning of 2017, I was given the glad opportunity to write a monthly column for The Write Life, one of my favorite writing websites. Every month, I consider a topic from an editor’s perspective. I’ve covered how to find an editor, what you can expect to pay an editor, and how to format… Read More »