A Writer’s Dream: The Case for Great Expectations

writers dream

About four years into my publishing career I had an author conversation that hurt my heart. At the time I was working at Plume, a paperback division of Penguin USA. Part of my job was to shepherd the repackaging of “backlist” books. A backlist book is one that was published years ago (as contrasted with … Read more

The Four Pillars of a Kickass Book Title

book title

If you’re an author, chances are you want to get your work out into the world as widely as possible. So—what’s the single most important factor in achieving that goal? Is it writing original, never-been-seen-before content? Is it perfecting your gorgeous, or hysterically funny, or deeply moving writing style? Is it crafting the best version … Read more

Building an Author Platform: Show Them the Money

building an author platform

Lately I’ve been working closely with a client on a book proposal for a self-help book. A proposal, if you’re unfamiliar, is a marketing document used to sell your book. It includes everything a publisher will need to know about you and the book in order to acquire your project for their company—or not. One … Read more

Five Tips for Actually, Really Writing That Book

writing that book

You’ve been thinking about it for years. Maybe even talking about it with a few select friends. So tell me—why haven’t you written that book? According to one survey, a whopping 81% of Americans believe they have a book in them. That’s basically everybody, people. But how many of us actually sit down and write … Read more

It’s Not About the Grammar

grammar

One of the persistent archetypes of the editorial world is that of the tight-lipped, punishing grammarian wielding her red pen with ferocious delight. This editor slashes mercilessly at the page, eviscerating all instances of bad punctuation, misspellings and sentences that end with a preposition. But I gotta be honest: That’s not the kind of editor … Read more

How I Worked the Publishing System (And You Can, Too!)

publishing system

This past weekend I had the pleasure of speaking at the Hay House Writer’s Workshop in Chicago with Reid Tracy and Nancy Levin. The headliner for the weekend was Mike Dooley, creator of “Notes from the Universe,” a daily email I’ve been loyally reading for several years. It was pure entertainment to hear him recount … Read more

What’s In a Word Count?

A couple years back, I started writing a novel. (It’s still…in progress. Ahem.) I remember assigning myself a daily word count—I wanted to write 1000 words a day minimum. That’s one of the “do’s” I recommend to our clients: When you’re writing a book, it can be a great help to assign yourself a daily … Read more

Do You Need to Write a Book Proposal?

write a book proposal

Back when I was an editor in NYC, I read a lot of book proposals. Good ones, bad ones. Boring ones. Exciting ones. Proposals for memoirs, self-help books, how-to guides, business advice, diet manuals…you name it, it came across my desk. In my dozen-or-so years as an acquiring editor, I probably read over a thousand … Read more