The classic dystopian novel 1984, George Orwell's story about a futuristic totalitarian state, has been in the midst of a spontaneous sales explosion, catapulting to the top of bestseller lists at Amazon, the New York Times and independent retailers. No surprise. The "alternative facts" … [Read more...]
The blog for writers
The Book Deal
Are you obsessed with writing? Good news!
"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...]
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...]
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...]
Eavesdropping for story ideas and other tips from a veteran novelist
Today we have some sage advice for writers from a proven practitioner of the art and craft of literary commerce who's had a successful career as a writer for more than 50 years. Warren Adler has published more than 32 novels and short story collections, including The War of the Roses, which was … [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...]
How to grab, delight or shock your readers right from the start
"Every time mama came down on that shabby floor, the bullet lodged in my stomach felt like a hot poker." Claude Brown and I hunted through his manuscript for two days to find that moment and move it to the opening of his classic Harlem memoir Manchild in the Promised Land. We wanted to detail … [Read more...]
How to find a hungry agent
Here's a literary agent who's very specific about the kind of book she'd like to see in her inbox: Working on anything like that? Or something close? Want to know more about this agent? Well you can find her on Twitter. She's Annie, of the Annie Bomke Literary Agency, tweeting as … [Read more...]
Ask the Editor: Memoir or novel for my true story?
Q. I have an amazing true story to tell, but publishing it may step on some toes. Should I write it as a memoir, and tell it exactly like it was? Or should I write it discreetly as a novel, so I can disguise the lurid details and stay out of trouble? If I don't write this story, the truth will … [Read more...]