memoir won't sell

Why Your Memoir Won’t Sell

Everyone has a meaningful story to tell, but not everyone’s story (or writing) is going to deserve a commercial publishing deal. Here are the most common problems I encounter in memoir pitches and manuscripts.

Nonfiction book proposals

5 Research Steps Before You Write Your Book Proposal

Writing a nonfiction book proposal—a good one—requires not only sharp clarity about your idea, but also how that idea, in book form, is relevant and unique in today’s market. You’ll have a much easier time writing your proposal if you take time to conduct market research beforehand. Step 1. Explore and understand competing titles. Searching for […]

mailboxes at night

Going Beyond Truth-Telling in Personal Essay

When I was a teenager, I had braces, but quickly stopped wearing my retainer after the braces came off. Now, twenty years later, I’ve sorely regretted my lack of diligence. It turns out that teeth have a long memory about where they used to be, and wander back to their original starting position. So I visited an […]

Memoir Class

A New Memoir Class Starting April 17: Perfect for Beginners

Memoir, as William Dean Howells said, is the “most democratic province of the republic of letters.” Indeed, the genre is evidence that every person in the world has a worthy story to tell, that it’s not what the story is but how it’s told that engages a reader.

ebook publishing resources

How to Publish an Ebook: Resources for Authors

In this post I regularly update the best resources I know of related to learning to publish an ebook, finding the right distributors and services, and staying on top of changes in the industry.

map and pins

Suffering From Writer Envy? There’s a Map Only You Can Make

Any accomplished writer is also a reader—and usually a reader first. For the writer who is the least a bit humble, this sets up one of the most significant psychological barriers to pursuing a writing career: How could I ever produce something as wonderful as [admired writer / admired book]? This is an area that Steven […]

story ending

When a Story Ending Doesn’t Satisfy

Sometimes endings are designed to satisfy, answering the questions posed along the way. Endings that allow you to leave as easily as you came in. But what if the ending isn’t designed to satisfy?