Why You Should Find an Editor BEFORE You Start Writing

Find an Editor

If you’re an independent spirit like me, you might feel like: You should “already know how to write a book.” Asking for help before you’ve completed a first draft means you’re “not a real writer.” You might think that “real authors don’t need help.” I totally understand. But with all due respect, you’re totally wrong. … Read more

The Pros and Cons of Using a Pen Name


Let’s face it: Putting a book into the world can be a vulnerable thing. You’re putting your words…your story…your ideas…dare I say your heart, right out there. And if you’re lucky and do your job right, people are going to read it! And judge it! And most frighteningly, write Amazon reviews about it! (Cue the … Read more

Quick Start Guide to Building Your Author Platform

author platform

As an aspiring author, there is (no joke) so much you could be doing at any given moment. But perhaps nothing is as freaky-scary-frustrating to new authors as the concept of building a platform. Your “platform” is the audience that’s ready and waiting to buy your book when it hits the shelf. Publishers want you … Read more

Why Done Is Not Good Enough for a Book

Done Is Not Good Enough for a Book

Not long ago a friend told me she had someone she wanted to introduce me to. Let’s call this person Cathy. Cathy, my friend told me, had just published a book! As an editor, I’m intimately aware of how much time, effort and energy it takes to cross the threshold from “writer” to “author.” Anybody … Read more

How to Tell Your Story (Even If Mom Won’t Like It)

What if Mom gets mad about your book

This weekend, we in North America are celebrating Mother’s Day. I think it’s a fairly normal thing to have complicated feels toward our mamas. We love them with all we have, but they are human, too. It’s a part of life. But the mother-child relationship can be especially flummoxing for those of us who write memoir. Because many of … Read more

Someone’s Already Used Your Title…Now What?

The fact is, over 300,000 books are published every year. As original as each of us is, we aren’t that original in certain ways. As an aspiring author, you may bump up against this lack of originality in one particular—painful—way. During the research phase that is de rigeur for any author on the rise, you … Read more

How to Make Money Writing Books

how to make money writing books

Back in college I took a class on the great works of Hemingway and Fitzgerald. Never had two more romantic figures entered my view. Starving artists just trying to find a clean, well-lighted place to write. Parisian nights and Barcelona days. Champagne and cigarettes; war and women. My schoolgirl heart was enchantée, to say the … Read more

The Truth about “Bestsellers”

The Truth about “Bestsellers”

A big part of my job as an editor and a book publishing educator is to explain how book marketing works. There’s one point that really gets me fired up. That’s the question of what the term “bestseller” means. Stick with me—I’m about to get controversial. There is a widely recognized, standardized usage for the … Read more