5 Key Questions Every Book Proposal Must Answer
The book proposal may require as much time to prepare as your first draft of your manuscript. Or perhaps your fifth. While there are several schools of thought on what agents specifically look for in an effective book proposal, Gary Smailes, the author of several history books for children including the Brave Scots and Modern Hero series, […]
“How I Evaluate Full Manuscripts” (Porn for aspiring authors)
But high as my standards are and tough as my editorial vision is, I do love the whole process of reading a potential client’s manuscript — from the exciting request to the potential treasure trove of the full to the rare manuscripts that sparks my imagination.
7 tips for aspiring children’s writers from author Audrey Vernick
For many years, New Jersey children’s author Audrey Vernick wrote literary short fiction, where a big success is “selling” your story to a literary magazine that pays you with free copies of the magazine. Honored twice by the New Jersey State Council of the Arts with its prestigious fiction fellowship, Audrey has published seven children’s books […]
Television as Teacher: 5 things we can learn from TV writers and their characters
A few weeks ago I attended the Writers Faire at UCLA. There were over 45 seminars on the craft of writing, presented by a humbling variety of the nation’s finest authors, poets and screenwriters—who just happen to teach at UCLA. (I’m salivating as I write this. I live just a few hours south–too far to […]
How authors make money. No, really.
Writing your first book (or second, third…) is no small undertaking. In the best of times, getting an agent and finding your book one day in a book store was a long, arduous journey. The task facing today’s aspiring authors can often seem unsurmountable, but the truth remains: a writer must write. One’s story must be […]
Better your writing with a little help from your friends – 5 ways
All writers have at least one friend who can be trusted with their babies–both their actual child AND a writing-in-progress. Perhaps you are blessed with an arsenal of buddies, pals, and mentors who are avid readers, writers, editor,s or English majors? Fabulous. You know who turn to when the words have been written. But can […]
Crafting the Perfect Outline Identifying 5 Major Plotpoints
We can all agree on one thing: there is no one perfect recipe for cooking up a good story. The same goes for crafting an outline. Trust me, I’m elbows deep in it, and everywhere I seek advice, I’m given a different perspective. I am a big fan of Dramatica‘s approach, but at the same […]
What Took You So Long? (I’ve been too scared to try)
It’s difficult to say “how long” I’ve been writing Radio Head. What’s that, now? Aren’t I writing a fiction novel about a “hopelessly dysfunctional Orange County family unraveling at the seams”? Why yes, but the truth of the matter is that (way back in 200…3?) I queried a few agents with a book idea I […]
8 points to consider when writing your synopsis
As I regrettably procrastinate over writing my novel synopsis, cherished writing time slips through fingers that ought to be on the keyboard. There simply isn’t time for procrastination, either. This summer ought to be my most incisive lesson on focus; with my children’s wildly varied summer schedule requiring me, your humble fiction writer must perform […]
Act 1, Scene 1, Page 1. Need your critique!
OK, my writer and reader friends, I need your help. I’m attending an exciting event in July, the Pen on Fire Speaker Series at Laguna Beach Books. On hand will be literary agents Barbara DeMarco Barrett, Jamie Weiss Chilton, Jill Marr and Sally van Haitsma who have agreed to review a single page of selected […]