choosing a pen name

How to Choose and Set Up a Pen Name

You should consider how secret you want to be about your true identity. Maintaining secrecy is difficult. The higher the level of secrecy, the more complicated the process

writer worst fear

A Writer’s Worst Fear

Every writer’s pet fear stems from the mother of all fears: What other people think of what I write is more important than what I think of what I write.

opening scene

The Importance of a Strong Opening Scene

No pressure, but the opening of your book is the gatekeeper in determining whether your novel will sell. If your opening is weak, it won’t matter if chapter two is a masterpiece. Editors and agents and booksellers and librarians and readers will stop reading before they get there.

freelance writing

4 Freelancing Myths That Are Holding You Back

Misconceptions about getting started often hold new writers back. You may think that to be successful as a freelance writer, you need a J-school degree, an impressive database of editorial contacts, and a truckload of supplies. Not so—read on to learn the most common myths that can sabotage you before you start.

How to Get Violence Right in Your Fiction

For new writers, throwing in a few combat scenes can seem like an easy way to add some excitement to a novel, but the reality is that violence can be incredibly difficult to pull off effectively.

Ira Glass on taste

On Tastemakers and Making

Taste is not static. Rather than a fixed endpoint toward which one toils away, it’s a target that moves over the course of a lifetime.

Debra Eckerling

5 On: Debra Eckerling

Debra Eckerling (@WriteOnOnline), founder of the writers’ support group Write On!, discusses common writer challenges, the value of blogs, what it means to take writing to the next level, tragic networking mistakes, and more in this 5 On interview.

nonfiction authors lawsuit

5 Things Nonfiction Authors Can Get Sued For

Unlike pure fiction, nonfiction is grounded in the real world, with real people, real names and real places, and this inevitably creates an environment where a legal misstep can occur.

The Value of Writing Retreats

Why must writers schedule time for residencies and retreats? Because in doing so, we honor an annual appointment with writer self-care.

editorial control in contracts

Negotiating Editorial Control in Publishing Contracts

Today’s guest post is from writer and Sidebar Saturdays blogger Matt Knight (@mattknightbooks). One of many worrisome areas for writers negotiating publishing contracts is who has final word when editing a manuscript for publication. Publishing agreements define the right to creative control over the manuscript in the editing clause. Typically, that right goes to the […]

magnetic attraction

How to Attract a Readership Based on Concept Alone

Ultimately, concept is far less important than character when it comes to determining the overall quality of your story, but your audience is attracted to your story based on your concept alone. Does your concept have what it takes to draw people in?

multiple viewpoints

Using Multiple Points of View: When and How Is It Most Effective?

Some stories require greater scope, more voices, or a different context than can be delivered through the eyes of one protagonist. When you find this to be the case, consider using multiple viewpoints. However, you must think about several factors before launching into this greater undertaking.

keys to great writing

A Key to Great Writing: Make Every Word Count

If I could teach only one key to great writing, it would be this: Make every word count. Recognize the power of a single, well-chosen word. Trust it to do its work. As a rule, the more economically you use language, the more powerfully you will deliver your message.

believable chain of events

Building a Believable Chain of Events in Your Novel

Every action in your novel should be justified by the intersection of setting, context, pursuit, and characterization. They all need to make sense. They all need to fit. If you have to explain why something just happened, you’re telling the story backward.

short term campaigns

How to Run Short-Term Social Media Campaigns

A short-term marketing campaign is a series of strategies designed to reach a goal in a defined period of time, and include projects such as book launches. A short-term campaign has four definite phases: planning, pre-launch, launch, and follow-through.

push-or-pull marketing

Are You a Push Marketer or a Pull Marketer?

If you want to be successful at selling today, you need to quit pushing your needs (please buy my book) and messages at potential readers and concentrate on figuring out how to pull them in by putting their needs above yours. Give them something valuable.

Caroline Leavitt

5 On: Caroline Leavitt

Author Caroline Leavitt reveals the fears behind her middle-of-the-night writer anxieties, the contents of her colored book tour folders, her reaction to the praise her latest novel is receiving, and more in this 5 On interview.