Personal editing. Professional results.
February 19, 2020
Traditional deals mean genuine distribution

Debut authors have many choices to make, from selecting an agent if needed, to choosing self publishing versus small press or hybrid publishers. That last category can differ quite a bit between providers. One marker to watch is distribution: the channel that gets sales for a book. Many hybrid publishers—who by definition require authors to […]

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February 2, 2020
You could start your own press. With enough money.

Last year, an entity called Skin Horse Press grew up in my office here in Austin. I chose the name of this independent imprint based on a favorite book, The Velveteen Rabbit, as well as a nod toward my spot in a writing career. I'm 40 years in on my professional writing and editing, so […]

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January 30, 2020
I want a great cover. What is that, anyway?

Everybody wants a great cover on their book. That's a few things at once, the greatness. Sales. Storytelling. Beauty. Creating a cover concept meets one or more of those needs. If the cover does none of those things well, you won't know until the book goes on sale, or when your novel is considered for […]

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January 10, 2020
Buy books if you read. Pay authors, to be fair

Some studies show that only 35 percent of Americans read a book last year. Out of that modest number, there might be the same percentage who read paperback editions. The paperbacks which pay authors are purchased new. Those paperbacks are available at bookstores, at spots like Amazon, even from the authors themselves. Authors get paid […]

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December 27, 2019
Writing contests: what to watch as you enter

Authors need validation from the outside. It can be as simple as getting a friend or a loved one to read and praise the early writing, or as complex as following a 2,700-word instruction manual for submitting a 7,500-word entry in a contest. Many steps lie between those extremes. Above them all are the ultimate […]

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November 8, 2019
Choosing Amazon to unleash your books

Photo by Bank Phrom on Unsplash It's the start of production season for an author whose book I've just edited. His collection of essays will be in print and might become a hardback, too. It's time for him to consider how he will manufacture his self-published indie book. I'm not calling what we're doing publishing […]

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October 29, 2019
You can dream up a debut with a radio boost

Eric Gray's new book is Bases to Bleachers, a collection of stories from fans about each one's favorite baseball game. He reached out to the world for stories after his friends got him started. His book was on WBUR's Here and Now radio show earlier today. Radio is with us even today, just as baseball […]

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June 11, 2019
How to write a decent review

Lots of us have friends who are authors. Every author needs reviews, and you may be asked to write a review of a book you've read: a review that is fair and honest. You might have received the book for free in exchange for a review. But oh so many of us haven't written a […]

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May 21, 2019
How a proposal can get your book published

Every book needs a game plan to play its way into a publisher's lineup. Things like comparable books and the heartbeat promise of a story are the same for fiction and nonfiction. Unlike what you might have heard, every publisher makes an investment and wants to earn it back when they buy a book from […]

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May 19, 2019
A Perfect Postcard for the Next Life

In my creative workshops we use an exercise — we write a memory we could carry into the next life. It's gotta fit on an index card. Here's one of mine. It's from my forthcoming parenthood baseball memoir, Stealing Home: A Father, a Son, and the Road to the Perfect Game. That night I didn’t feel […]

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