"Obsession produces a book. You get up with it every morning and go to bed with it every night. (No, it's not that new mattress you found after concluding whether the koala vs ecosa mattress would be the best one for you). You keep a pad next to the bed so when you wake up in the middle of the night … [Read more...]
The blog for writers
The Book Deal
Write a killer memoir: My 9 top tips
Want to write a memoir that's powerful and inspiring? One that has impact, and appeals to a broad popular market? Here's how. These 9 tips come directly from my 50+ years of working with authors as a developmental editor in major publishing houses and with private clients. 1. Create a … [Read more...]
What 4 top agents desire in a memoir
Sometimes it seems like everyone's writing a memoir. You too? So how can you break out of the pack and and persuade an agent to take a look? Here are four accomplished literary agents, and they’re all selling memoirs. Scroll down to see some of the books they represent. These agents are the … [Read more...]
Toni Morrison: Write, Erase, Do it over
When Toni Morrison talks about writing, I listen. I've taken a keen interest in what she's had to say ever since I began working with her in 1968, when I acquired, edited, and published her first novel The Bluest Eye. More on what it was like working with Toni here. The Bluest Eye was a … [Read more...]
Have you ever written something you later regretted?
I sure have. It was 1964 and I was on assignment for The Nation magazine to write a review of the Beatles at Carnegie Hall, their first live appearance in the United States. No Soul in Beatlesville There I was, standing on a shaky balcony seat trying to see the stage over a mob of hysterical, … [Read more...]
Staying connected: You’re not alone
When you're writing in the zone, you feel confident and creative, ready for prime time, readers, agents, and publishers, right? But it doesn't always come that easily. When writers get stuck, those good feelings can drop away quickly. A lonely occupation Writing is a solitary business for … [Read more...]
Prequels build buzz!
Have you heard what some savvy authors are doing to build excitement and attract readers to their upcoming books? They're writing prequels: tantalizing teasers in short story form that preview the key characters and settings of an upcoming novel. Some prequels predate or provide backstories … [Read more...]
Happy Birthday Tom Robbins! Time to revisit your advice to writers
I’ve never known a great author to be more generous with useful advice about the craft of writing than Tom Robbins. If you’ve yet to discover this fabulous author, Robbins has written many bestselling novels including Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, Jitterbug Perfume, Skinny Legs and All and … [Read more...]
Walking in your character’s shoes: Writing with authenticity
Bestselling crime novelist Patricia Cornwell inhabits and writes from inside the mind of her lead sleuth, Dr.Kay Scarpetta, the medical examiner in a blockbuster series of 20 forensic thrillers and counting. To get the details exactly right, Cornwell has hung out in a coroner’s morgue to study … [Read more...]
Ask the editor: Is it OK to cross genres?
Q: Is it ok to write a book that crosses genre lines, like a mystery with time travel, or a romance with extraterrestrials? A: The short answer is "Yes, absolutely!" That's the truth, despite the fear that agents and publishers will avoid a book that falls into more than one genre. But … [Read more...]