Personal editing. Professional results.
October 16, 2021
What to do to get your book picked up

You've finished your book — or at least made it as good as you can. Now you want it to get picked up at a publisher or earn a spot in an agent's pool. What's next? You want to get picked up by readers, agents, or editors. This is a good time to think about […]

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July 13, 2021
Quick Tips to create better query letters

Fly your flag high for your book The Bookends Literary Agency posts videos to lead authors through the submission process. The agents at Bookends suggest these to-do's for your query process. Use your book's title and a word count range Use the right agent's name; don't query "Dear Sir" or "To whom it may concern" […]

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October 30, 2020
Using scenes to win a NaNoWriMo challenge

This Sunday starts a new challenge for National Novel Writing Month. Every November, untold novelists try to write 50,000 words in just 30 days. I've attempted this a dozen times since I started on novels in 2004. I have never written that many words in one month. However, even my failures taught me plenty. November […]

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September 19, 2019
Three key mile markers for a story's journey

Summarizing who’s in your story, plus a single sentence that guides the story, and writing a synopsis, are golden nuggets to mine. When you share your work for editorial evaluation, these are the mile markers. The synopsis is the hardest. I had to do one for Sins of Freedom back when it was called Monsignor Dad. I […]

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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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December 28, 2018
Publish yourself — but truly publish

This week a mystery author asked me about my plans for publishing my forthcoming memoir, Stealing Home. My book is the story of a father and a son on a road trip to the perfect game. I choose to self-publish because midsize and larger publishers have a limited appetite for memoirs from writers without a […]

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October 16, 2018
Use the power of premise to pump your stories up

Most of us start a story with an idea. You develop it into a concept. Then you build a character to turn that concept into a premise. Secrets of church history hide in plain sight. What if the DaVinci art held the secrets? What if a professor of Renaissance art found secrets of church history […]

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August 22, 2017
Themes, power, and how they make queries easier

Theme is among the most mysterious and powerful elements of storytelling. In the classic pyramid of writing crafts from the Iowa Writer's Workshop, theme stands at the pinnacle. It's called symbol up there, and theme can be illustrated by symbolism. Think icons, as in physical items that recur through your book, such as candles in […]

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