Writing tips
Common mistakes in book proposals
On June 19, 2012 | 0 Comments

Last week I explained what a book proposal is and what it should include. This week I asked my friend Diane O’Connell, a former editor at Random House who now has a consulting business to help aspiring authors get published, for the biggest and most common mistakes she sees in book proposals. Here’s what she […]

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What is a book proposal?
On June 12, 2012 | 1 Comments

You may have heard the term “book proposal,” but chances are you have no idea what one really includes. Don’t worry, you’re not alone! If you’re working on a non-fiction book and looking to get it traditionally published, you don’t have to submit the entire finished product to pitch either a literary agent or an […]

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Using word count to stay on track
On June 5, 2012 | 1 Comments

People often tell me they would love to write a book but have no idea how they would fill that many pages. “It just seems impossible!” they say. “How do you do it?” they ask. “Baby steps,” I tell them. “Baby steps.” Think of it this way: if you write just one page a day, […]

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Use exclamation marks sparingly!
On May 29, 2012 | 1 Comments

I just finished reading a novel in which the author used a lot of exclamation marks in her dialogue. In fact, she employed them so often that I FELT LIKE THE CHARACTERS WERE SHOUTING AT ME THE WHOLE TIME I WAS READING! (As you can see, using all caps also has that same effect.) Here […]

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When you cut a scene you like, save it
On May 15, 2012 | 6 Comments

As you begin a novel, you may have an idea where you’re going, but you probably don’t know the exact route you’ll take to get there. I’ve now written four complete novels, and in only one of them did I (loosely) adhere to an outline. I’ve found that plot lines often take on a life […]

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Don’t cook your family, Rachael!
On May 1, 2012 | 1 Comments

The other day, a friend who shares my passion for good grammar posted the following picture on Facebook: While this example may be a bit extreme (yet hilarious), it shows that punctuation is important! Too often writers are lazy about using commas correctly, but as demonstrated above, one or more missing ones can completely change […]

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Three grassroots marketing tips to put in place today
On April 24, 2012 | 0 Comments

For many authors, both traditional and self-published, marketing a book is harder than writing one. If you don’t have a background in marketing, you may feel confused, overwhelmed, and even a little freaked out by the idea of it. Plus you may equate marketing with advertising and immediately think, Marketing is expensive, there’s no way […]

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Between you and ME
On April 3, 2012 | 1 Comments

In my last post, I discussed the importance of using pronouns. This week, I’d like to address the importance of using the correct pronouns. One particular – and extremely common – pronoun error that drives me crazy is the misuse of I. At some point, most children get chastised for using the pronoun “me” instead […]

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Don’t be afraid to use pronouns
On March 27, 2012 | 1 Comments

Imagine you’re having coffee with a friend (we’ll call her Julie), and she says “Oh my gosh, I have the funniest story to tell you about that guy John I’ve been seeing!” You smile and sip your pumpkin spice latte, ready to listen. Then imagine that Julie begins her story like this (read aloud for […]

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Two mistakes indie authors should avoid
On March 6, 2012 | 1 Comments

Recently I had coffee with Jennifer Wilkov, an award-winning writer and host of the popular “Your Book Is Your Hook” radio show. She also runs a successful business helping authors navigate the writing and publishing process. I told her that I write a blog for aspiring authors and asked her what advice she’d give specifically […]

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