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Tips, Inspiration, & Resources

Movies to Inspire Authors

"I wish I had started writing sooner."

"It's too late for me to be a writer."

"I don't have what it takes to write this story."

"I don't know if anyone cares what I have to say."
"I have no idea where to start."

"I wasted so much time."

"I wasted so many opportunities."

"I'm not good enough."

 

If any of this sounds familiar, then you need a big dose of encouragement, inspiration, and faith. Something that will motivate you to carve out a tiny bit of your day, your week, your month, for realizing your dreams. 

In short, you need to watch these movies.

 

And don't feel guilty--they're good for you. Check them out for a life-affirming shot of energy that will make you believe you can do it! Read More 

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What Publishers Look For On Your First Page, and other submission tips.

Querying can be a lonely, scary business. You send out these pages you've been laboring over for months, years, and sometimes it feels like it's been dropped into a black hole. It feels like it's out of your control, and in many ways it is. However, there are some things you can do to give your submissions the chance they deserve. 

 

THE FIRST PAGE OF YOUR BOOK.

 

Why is your first page all-important? Because it's all about grabbing the reader's attention. Think about what you do when you're browsing for a book in a bricks-and-mortar bookstore or online. First, it's the title and cover art that attract you. Then, you read the cover blurb. If it's catchy and appealing enough, you'll open the book to read the first page. If the first page doesn't grab you, you might not be patient enough to read the second page. Then you're on to the next book. 

 

Multiply your short attention span by at least a factor of 10, and you can imagine how little time an agent or an agent's assistant has to read through dozens of queries in a single day. If the first part of the query, which should read pretty much like jacket copy, doesn't grab them, they may not even read the first line of your first page, let alone your entire first page. And if that first page isn't gripping, then it's on to the next query. 

 

So how do you make that page compelling?

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7 Myths About Novelists

[Image courtesy of The British Library, from The Novels of Captain Marryat, page 208]

Let's bust up the seven biggest myths about novelists. If you're a novelist, an aspiring novelist, a devourer of novels, or all of the above, may the following illuminate, encourage, and inspire you.

 

I spent much of my life buying into all those "Truths" about novelists. Some of them were assumptions I made over a lifetime of reading novels, and others I picked up from various books and blogs on writing.

 

When I started writing, I figured that if I didn't fit into one of those so-called Truths I'd read about, there had to be something wrong with me. It took me a long time to realize that it wasn't a question of right or wrong; rather it's that what works for another novelist might not work for me, and vice versa. Read More 

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Writing Your Author Bio Without Blushing

Photo by Abigail Keenan on Unsplash

Most of us have no problem telling others, in detail, about what our dearest friend has accomplished. We can easily help that friend write a resumé or a dating profile or even rattle off their perfections while introducing them at a gathering. When it comes to singing our own praises, however, we can get tongue-tied. It may embarrass us. It may confuse us. It may leave us with absolutely nothing to say.

 

And then there's that author bio we're supposed to write for our book proposal. And the shortened form of it that's supposed to go on our agent query letters. How do we break through the wall of resistance and write a bio that expresses who we are and why we are the right person to write this book, that shows we are a promotable, passionate author with something to say? Read More 

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How NOT to hate writing a book proposal

I know what you might be thinking. Give me one good reason why I shouldn't hate the idea of writing a book proposal. I'LL GIVE YOU THREE GOOD REASONS.

 

1.   A good proposal serves as a blueprint for a compelling and coherent book that is unique in the marketplace and serves the needs of your target readers. Isn't it better to have that blueprint before you start than risk the chance of having to tear down what you've built and start from scratch because you didn't research the market or refine your idea?

 

2.   The process of researching and writing your proposal can get you all fired up about how great your book is. If it's having  the opposite effect, then it can inspire you to re-think your concept and come up with an idea that really keeps you fired up for the long haul.

 

3.   It serves as the foundation from which you will eventually publicize your book when it gets published. By the time you've perfected your proposal, you've become such an expert on how this book touches a chord with the public that you are able to succinctly and brilliantly express your conviction to other people.

 

Many writers of nonfiction books who are experts in their fields are not necessarily experts in explaining why people should want to read their book. Often we are so close to the work that we can't express ourselves clearly in terms that the sales department of the publishing house can repeat to the bookstores.

 

But after having worked on a good book proposal, you the author will be an expert in explaining why the public should buy your book and what they will gain from it.

        

So, now you know why it's good for you. But let's say you still feel less than enthusiastic, or intimidated, or overwhelmed. I'm going to show you how to break through those blocks with a powerful exercise.

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