Thursday, October 28, 2010

GOALS: Author Cheryl Lage's Take on The Word

Author Cheryl Lage is proof that success does spring from the slush pile. Back when I was an agent, I would read through many, many submissions. Cheryl's pitch for her prescriptive (how-to) guide for maintaining a healthy twins pregnancy and successfully navigating the first year of a twins pregnancy was professional, clear, and totally charming; I already felt I had struck up a great friendship with this got-it-goin'-on Southern mother of twins. But she had no platform. Bummer! So we chatted. I really liked the idea of this book, loved the totally accessible tone, and celebrity twin pregnancies were the hot headlines of the day. Cheryl won me over. Not only was she professional, receptive and totally sweet, she was willing to do some major work to create a platform...really putting herself out there, creating a name for herself and her future book! About 18 months later, I sold Twinspiration: Real Life Advice From Pregnancy Through The First Years (for parents of twins and multiples) to Taylor Trade. The book continues to be a top pick for twins (and multiples) expecting mamas and Cheryl continues to thrive as successful twins expert, author, blogger and mom.

So, naturally, I thought this woman who had single-handedly raised her own platform while writing a book AND being a great mom to twins under the age of two, would be the right voice to pull into our GOALS discussion this month. Her answer surprised me.

I asked my former client and always friend, Cheryl:

As a busy author, blogger and mother of twins, how important has setting clear, definable goals been in your writer's life?

CL: Go ahead and consider it blasphemy if you wish, but goal-setting is not my mode.

The word goal assaults me from the page or screen; it’s too in my face. Intimidating. Daunting. Always dangling a threat of the elusive unachievable, or worse, the possible---even probable—likelihood of failure. Undeniably, the word tends to motivate others, but it resoundingly thwarts my typically Pollyanna-like confidence.

TLC: I would never have guessed this in a million years! Cheryl exuded confidence and poise at every step of the publishing process from start to finish...but I get her point.

CL: Semantics are important to writers...and equally important to folks like me, those more accurately defined as self-transcribing talkers. Using the word goal somehow provides leeway for rationalizing the inability to attain. A seeming excuse for the target missed, the finish line uncrossed. Yet the word dreams seems too ethereal; aspirations too lofty.

Strong desire dictates thoughtful discernment, so let’s talk terminology. If it’s a personal mandate, give your goal a new name. Re-title it a responsibility.

After all, goals imply trying. To quote an ancient Jedi master, which trust me, I don’t do often, “Do or do not. There is no try.” As a ‘busy author, blogger, mother of twins,’ freelance writer, full-time ad agency post-production producer and wife of an amazing man fighting cancer, I have no goals. I have responsibilities. Duties. Priorities.

Setting clear definable “do’s” is not only important, it’s imperative---in my life as a writer, and as a woman.

TLC: Well said, Cheryl. While I do think it's important to face those issues and words in a writer's life that stimulate fearful thinking and feeling - it's what I coach - if renaming a process or term helps you wrap your brain, confidence and ability around succeeding, do it! Keep moving forward, whatever it takes.

Your Action: What makes you fearful about the creative or publishing process? Take time this weekend to pinpoint your main issue(s), own up to them honestly and commit to working your way around this fear. Don't allow fear to keep you from achieving your goals, responsibilities, bench-marks or to-dos!

About the Contributor:

A mother of two and wife of one, Cheryl Lage is the author of Twinspiration: Real Life Advice From Birth Through The First Year (Taylor Trade, 2006). Read more of her heart-filled, but entirely goal free - perspectives at Twinfatuation.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Q&A with The Lit Coach, Part Two

I wanted to give this next question special attention, it's own posting, because it warrants a special kind of encouragement.

Q: I'm a young author, as are a few of my friends. I've been told we shouldn't try to write a novel or get published because:

a) agents won't take us seriously

b) our style changes as we get old so we'll regret publishing now

What do you have to say on the subject? I'd love some advice as would my friends who follow this blog religiously (as do I).

A: Thanks to you and all your friends for reading and thanks for your question. I've been thinking about my response for several days.

When I was an agent, I received queries from a few teen (but maybe you're not teens?) authors, which I passed on because their stories didn't resonate with me, just like I would any other "adult" writer. And just like considering any other project, I would have gladly offered representation if I loved the story, the writing was great, the market identifiable and the young author able to handle the rigors of the publishing world (with support from their parents or caregivers, of course). I know other agents would feel the same. Besides, what better marketing hook could a publisher hope for than a young, prodigy writer (or maybe you're in your early twenties). Ever hear of the Eragon series? So that takes care of the agent issue.

As far as voice goes, your voice won't be the same fifty years from now due to all your life's experiences. It's all about perspective, isn't it? At age 17, S.E. Hinton published The Outsiders, now an American classic, as a result of not being satisfied by what was being published for the young adult reader. What did she write about? Social stuff that happened at and around her school in Tulsa, Oklahoma. All she did was bring her own perspective and great writing to the table. She also identified and filled a void within the publishing world.

Then there's Mary Shelley, authoress of that little novel called Frankenstein, the Romantic era Gothic classic that encapsulated the tension between the religious beliefs of the day and some major new discoveries in science (and much more). She was 21 when her immensely influential novel was published. While this is a very dated example, I realize, it just goes to show how important and valuable discipline, dedication and attention to craft are in any writer's life.

The best thing you can do, my dears, if you really want to grow as writers, is turn off the tv. Turn off your cell phones, take a break from texting, ignore your social media once in a while (ok, maybe a lot), and pay attention to detail. Look up. Go outside. Engage. Catalog detail in this life like you're Charles Darwin or Walt Whitman. Read voraciously. Realize also you'll learn more about writing by studying the really old stuff because so much of it is symbolic of something else and every word best writing instructor was my Middle Ages Literature professor (which I survived and to this day is one of my favorite classes). Your best writing will come from a place that is totally connected and aware to human nature and how everyday drama unfolds and resolves.

I hope this advice helps keep you on track and firmly motivated to grow and learn in your craft and further your approach to the publishing world.

Let us hear about your successes as you move along.


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Q&A with The Lit Coach

Q: "My question is one of submitting when interested in all writing. Freelance and fiction. Just pick some publications from the Writer's Market and take a chance? Is there a specific, organized method? Or just jump in?"

A: In beginning of any profession, craft, path, there is usually always a method and there is most certainly always an organized way of doing it.

It's time to bring focus and organization into your life before you get started down this path seriously. Let that focus and organization carry through to your approach to writing and further, your approach to the publishing world. I understand your passion for writing. That's a good thing. But if you let that passion run wild with all your aspirations, you'll find yourself running in circles. Focus, organize, research, write (to the 10th degree), connect. Repeat.

For fiction, reflect on the stories you've read in the past that have moved you. What kind of characters are you drawn to? When you walk into a bookstore, where do you wind up? Lingering around the new trade paperback table? Do you lose track of time looking through mysteries, romance, chick-lit, YA, sci-fi, suspense, literary or poetry? Dig deep. Could you follow one of these various genre writing formulas or do you see yourself writing something more book club fiction - stories that appeal to a broader audience with a little more attention to language...but not literary.

Freelancing, on the other hand, will be based on where your interests and expertise lie. Magazine and news editors will choose the writer with more experience within the field they're writing than one who has limited to no experience....but there are always exceptions. Be ready to spend some major hours devoted to research and possibly travel; likewise, budget accordingly.

When you're considering publications to submit to, online and in print, you'll want to read through several months of back issues to get an idea of their editorial direction, the tone of their pieces and regular featured segments in the magazine or paper. What section speaks to you? Next, research their submission guidelines and follow them to the letter. I suggest you read Writer's Digest Handbook of Magazine Article Writing for some in-depth information.

Good luck!
Q: "How do you know if it is your query letter that is holding you back or something else like my genre? I have sent several query letters out, I had some positive feedback but the one comment that haunts me is I had an agent tell me that they liked my writing but would not know how to market my book? What do they mean by this comment? How do I know my exact genre, when my manuscript seems to cross over a couple of genres. Mystery, romance, thriller, and a bit of fantasy, it's all in there!"

A: Not knowing whether this agent read your manuscript or just your query, it's a little hard for me to give you a straight answer. It could be a combination of both. When considering new clients, agents have to think like a publisher's marketing team...what audience will buy this book? Is that audience large enough to garner loads of book sales? So, think about it...where does your novel's heart lie? If you could pick ONE genre, which one would it be? There are romance novels with a hint of suspense, but ultimately, they're romance novels. Likewise with mysteries...some are thrilling and full of suspense with a romantic connection to boot, but ultimately, they're mysteries.

So, in your query, choose the best genre that fits your work and market it to appropriate agents as that genre (by appropriate, I mean agents who accept work within that genre). Leave out the line, "Audiences who love romance and thrillers will also love this book." or anything remotely similar to that. That's a red flag to an agent. Genre schizophrenia makes you appear like you don't know the book world well enough and it could possibly signal your greeness as a writer.

Now, if your book is about a misunderstood psychopath who finds true love with a mysterious woman from the third dimension who is always two steps ahead of the police...then I think we've got problems. Time to narrow down the plots and get to the heart of your story you really want to tell. ( :

Tell me how it works out!

Q: "Memoir is classified as nonfiction and said to be sold as fiction. Information seems to conflict regarding the need for a proposal vs. a completed manuscript. What percentage of the fully finished book is enough to begin querying agents?
And how are you supposed to shape a proposal about your own life. It's daunting --worse than writing the book itself has been. I'm befuddled. What's the skinny?"

A: This one made me pause because I was wondering who was saying that memoirs sell as fiction? Would love to know where you heard/read that. It made me wonder if things had changed that much since I was an agent. So I pulled in lit agent (and TLCG contributor) Claire Gerus to back-up what I thought I knew and share her insight:

A memoir is definitely sold as nonfiction! A proposal should consist of an overview (why people will want to read this) and an about-the-author couple of paragraphs, plus a couple of chapters and possibly a T of C. It is never considered fiction--unless it's fabricated!

If the memoir is fabricated, then it's narrative nonfiction or better yet, a novel!

As far as proposal crafting goes, there are lots of great books to help you shape your proposal (and this is also a service of mine, pardon the plug!). Check out Author 101: Bestselling Book Proposals to start.

Hope this clears up the confusion!

Q: There is an agent whom I think I might like to query, and she asks that writers submit the first five pages of their manuscript along with the query letter. But, those first five pages are a prologue! Should I skip it and just send the first five pages of chapter 1?

A: This one made me giggle a little because I've been in so many disputes about the real value of a prologue. I LOVE prologues as long as they are truly worthwhile to read and most of all, important to the story. Don't you love prologues from ages ago that address the reader? Dear Gentle Reader...yeah, that won't happen today. I digress.

While I'm sure your prologue holds value, I would send the agent the first chapter sans prologue. The agent will already have your synopsis where he or she can get the gist of your novel. They want to see the quality of the writing, the flow and ultimately, to fall in love within those first crucial pages, if not page one.

Good luck!

More questions answered to come, my dears! Look for part two tomorrow. Have a great Monday, all!


Friday, October 22, 2010

Hurdling The Obstacles: Book Sales

It's getting trite to say the following, but it seems to need repeating: long gone are the days when an author could just sit back after the publication of their book and let their publisher and book sellers sell their work. Today, authors are expected to sell their books from the trunks of their cars, off their websites, promote it from their various social networking sites and blogs, and quite literally place it in the hands of a book buyer.

The publishing business has continued to shift in the last ten years from considerably nice advances in the mid five figures (or a bit more or less) or lots more, if they're banking on your book being a bestseller, with an equally impressive print run to today's more conservative, low advance...lower five figures or less with an equally conservative print run. I know this seems dismal, but really, writers, this helps you in the long run. Earning back a low advance and running through your first print run in a short amount of time (under a year), makes you look like a rock star! After all, the first thing a publisher will look for in an author with a second book is: did they earn back their advance; and how many print runs has their first book gone through.

I know selling your own book seems intimidating. Many of you are uncomfortable with self-promotion, but it's the expectation of your publisher that you, the author, will use your best efforts and resources to sell your book. You want to publish again, don't you? And you love your book! So does your publisher! Be confident about the successes you've enjoyed this far and let that confidence carry through to your salesmanship. This is where it gets FUN!

Let's look at a few opportunities for promotion and sales.

1. Event sales. Most authors I know do the obligatory book signings at a few book stores, but more are thinking outside the box and holding special signing events in more and more unique places. Art galleries, retail stores relating to their subject matter, restaurants, clubs, coffee shops, bars, art walks, festivals and other outdoor community gatherings, schools, vacation destinations, just about anywhere public.

Really, you want to exhaust all possible ideas for ideal locales for your book signing. Let's say you have a YA novel where the protagonist is a hot shot soccer player. In most cities, youth sports is an enormous market. Volunteer to speak to as many soccer clubs as you can, talk about your book and your characters, get to know your audience, and by the way, bring a box of books to sign and sell. Get to know your market then sell them your book. This approach pretty much works across the board from youth events and clubs to the more literary circles to genre loving groups to a wide panoply of opportunities nonfiction authors have available to them. Make friends, sell books, repeat.
Now, yes, you will get so tired of talking about your book. I had one client, who to this day, is out selling her books on a monthly basis (the books were published early/mid 2000). After her book had been out for about a year, she was tired of hearing herself talk about her book and herself. Understandable. But she eventually got over this...she is a very successful full time freelancer, after all. She knows it's another part of her job...what keeps her in print and doing what she loves doing - writing for a living!

Book store signings. I have mixed feelings. I've attended signings at large chain book stores and indie book stores and have heard many, many stories from my past clients and other writers about the ones that went horribly bad and the ones that were a hit. If you're going to do a signing at a large, chain book store, it's up to you to promote the heck out of it because they don't have any advertising dollars in their budgets for promoting your event. Remember all those friends you made speaking to those special groups, clubs and organizations? Send them info about your signing, follow up with them, get thee to all your social networking sites and tweet, chat, blip about your book signing. Leave no stone uncovered when it comes to inviting people to your event. When you're there, ignore all the stories you've heard about the lonely author who sat for 4 hours with a tepid cup of coffee and only sold 5 copies of their family members. Avoid that doomed fate and become the bookseller! Relax and have fun. Chat up the customers and...make friends! Yes! You will be doing a lot of this so it's time to get personable.

Now, book signings with independent book stores, in my experience, seem to always turn out well. The more established the store, the better you'll do. I'm going to pick on Village Books in Pacific Palisades. This is a community that loves their local and only book store, where patrons know when the signing/reading events are because the bookseller has a vested interest in keeping their customers informed, interested and coming back! They've worked hard to build a community. Anyway, when we arrived, the store was packed with people we didn't know (we did minimal advertising...but you should follow the leave-no-stone-unturned standard above)...with two cozy Queen Anne style arm chairs set up for the authors...and warm cookies to boot! We were immediately welcomed and made to feel so at home. My clients were not New York Times bestselling authors, but they were treated like a community where a multitude of Hollywood's finest live atop the Santa Monica Mountains with a killer ocean view. I've heard many similar tales from authors across the country who've done events with local indie booksellers who've offered just as much warmth and community.

Special events. These are usually book/literary fairs or festivals your publisher has arranged your involvement with or you have independently. You may speak on a panel and/or you'll most likely sit or stand near a table of your books and talk to interested (and interesting) folks. Again, focus on making a connection, a new friend. People are more apt to buy your book if you crack a smile and aren't afraid to chat. Or you'll meet someone who'll lead you to other wonderful opportunities. Will you be doing some hard core selling? It depends. Do what you're comfortable with. These events help you gain exposure and make you look like a rock star. Go with it. Again, it's all about making friends. Are you sick of hearing that yet?
This effort needs to come from the heart, writers. Approach this business of selling your books proactively but authentically.

Now, it's your turn. Published authors, tell us what's worked for you! You can even promote your book or provide a link to your site/blog. This IS about book sales, after all.

Your Action: For those of you who are published, think of at least 5 events you'd like to hold from now through the holidays to sell some books! Perfect time to have events, right? The season for giving is around the corner.

Yet-to-be-published writers, imagine you're looking through the greatest book signing event scenario catalog. Which events can you see yourself in? Start making a list (and saving some money for advertising and other promotional purposes) of where you'd like to hold events. Get to know your local booksellers be they in the big chains or indies. Build relationships now so you'll have a little less ground to cover when you're book is out.

Have a fabulous, enjoyable weekend, my dears.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Hurdling The Obstacles: Agent Limbo

Let me preface this piece by saying there are many wonderful, talented, ethical and got-it-goin'-on agents out there - more than I refer to on this blog.

Second preface would be no agent is better than a dead-beat one. Allow me to illustrate...

Agent limbo, for the purpose of this blog entry, refers to an agent who does one of the following:

1. Keep you in their hip pocket should they find the right editor for your work.

2. Hold you to a unreasonably long contract agreement where you are tied to the agent or agency for over 18 months, despite your voiced/written displeasure in their business practices.

3. Have sent your work only to a small handful of editors or not at all, despite having been with them for several prime months.

Let's look at the hip pocket agent. To be in an agent's hip pocket means they've taken a look at your work, appear to like it and lean toward representing you but haven't extended a contract, letter of agreement or handshake. They love to flirt! They keep you trailing along. They also are non responsive when you inquire directly about representation. Weeks go by with little communication from them until they send you a blip that'll no doubt give you some glimmer of hope. It looks like this..."I had lunch with Senior Editor McFabulous today and told them all about your book! They can't wait to see it!" But then suddenly, not soon after, their attention is diverted elsewhere and you're left with waning hope that this agent will ever come through and rep your work.

Writers, this agent is just not that into you. Move on and find true love with an agent who really sees the potential in you, your work and isn't afraid or too disorganized to offer you representation.

Hip pocket can also refer to a mutually agreeable professional agreement that should an agent find the right editor for your hard to market work, they'll give you a ring. Again, this is something that's mutually agreed upon from the start and is up to you and the agent to work out. Just make sure all expectations are made clear well before a deal with a publisher is made. And I stress...this usually happens when an agent may love your work but can't see where it will fit in in the market and you, the writer, are in no hurry to publish or have no desire to search for another suitable agent. This works out just fine, in your mind. Let me know if this is foggy and I'll go into it further.

Scenario 2. Any agent who holds you against your will to an unreasonably long contract (over 18 months, in my professional opinion), is questionable (however, if you are sure this agent is the one you want to work with, negotiate for a 12 month contract). But there's a lot to this. First, make sure you know what you're getting into with an agent contract. Question anything that seems suspect or unclear. Personally, I didn't offer contracts when I was an agent; I offered a letter of understanding which laid out my responsibilities and the client's responsibilities. I felt if the author was ever uncomfortable with my representation, he/she was free to leave, no hard feelings, which was very successful. But, a lot of agents do work with their own contracts and that's fine, just make sure it's no longer than 12 months and that you agree with everything else within the contract. If at the 12 months nothing has happened despite the agent's best efforts to sell your work and you'd both like to continue on together, you can. By agent's best efforts, I mean, there is a detailed track record of submissions and you've got the rejection letters to prove it.

Making sure your professional relationship is clear from the beginning is a great way to avoid most agent limbo situations. This is your work, your career, so protect it!

Then there's the agent from scenario 3 who will hold on to a writer for years with a limited track record of attempts to sell the work (or none at all), telling their client things like "Do you know how lucky you are to have an agent? Most agencies are closing shop!" Unfortunately, I've heard this line more than a few times. Uh, can you say abusive relationship? First of all, if you're in this situation, you need to see it for what it is...a "professional" relationship that is going nowhere with a totally unprofessional agent. No agent is better than a bad one. You're wasting time. Exit stage left. Pronto!

When you enter a positive, professional relationship with an agent you can expect clear, timely communication. You can expect their best efforts to respect you as a writer. You can expect them to submit your work, as long as it's to their standard, to the best editors possible and available and you can expect feedback as to when your work will go out, what house it's going to and receive all feedback from those editors (make sure you are clear on how they'll let you know all this important stuff before you agree to become their client). Anything extra they're willing to give is gravy, so appreciate the heck out of it!

Now writers, here's the deal. If you're with a great agent who is truly working hard for you and you know it, value them. Don't expect them to drop everything to deal with your issues, respect their time and expertise and keep your professional commitments. Always show a high level of professional integrity and you simply cannot go wrong.

I hope this was helpful for you all in your agent search and navigation. For more info on your writer's rights, check AAR.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Next Up On The Lit Coach's Guide

Join us Monday for another session of Q&A with The Lit Coach! My goodness, writers, I have collected some fabulous, wide-ranging questions from a lot of you. I think I'll create two posts to answer them all instead of one...or maybe three. We'll see. Don't miss it!

As always, thank you so much for all your kind comments and feedback. I really do appreciate it!

Tomorrow, we're back on the Hurdling The Obstacles track with Agent Limbo. Friday is all about book sales! Woohoo!


Hurdling The Obstacles: Query Letter Hell

Good golly, where to start.

There's lots of great advice out there on how to craft great query letters. Literary Agents, Kristin Nelson , Nathan Bransford and Jessica Faust have devoted space on their blogs for such crafting advice and tips. Ms. Nelson also posted on this blog a lovely, extensive piece on approaching agents, so do check that out too.

This post will not focus on query letter crafting; rather, we'll discuss some basic survival tips during your obligatory stay in query letter purgatory or query letter hell - your choice!

Writers, agents just do not have enough time to give each submission a thorough read. If they're not captivated by the writing within the first 10 pages (some agents are more or less particular), they will kindly pass on your work and most likely send you a form pass letter. These letters show no hint of what the agent actually liked or didn't like between their sterile lines. Don't put too much emotion or energy behind picking apart the meaning behind these letters when you get them, and you will. Just file 'em away, use them for kindling or let your kids use them for scratch paper.

The next brand of letter are those that come from agents who took more than a glimpse into your work. They possibly read the work entirely and have given you some glimmer of valuable feedback regarding the writing and/or market/timing for your work. Save these. If you start hearing the same tune from other agents or editors, you may want to consider their feedback and head back to Revision Land and Platform Buildingville. Remember, actual detailed feedback from an agent or editor is rare. Appreciate the feedback for what it is, a seasoned professional's educated opinion. Consider it, professionally and objectively.

Then there are the mind-boggling, head-spinning, rejection letters that make you say, "huh?!" One I've read recently said, "We loved your work and are impressed with your platform but we'll regretfully pass on the opportunity to represent you at this time. We have no doubt another agent will feel differently." This made no sense to me as the agent said they loved the work, found the author's platform acceptable and they clearly represented work within this writer's genre. This writer also carefully researched this agent's client list and considered her approach to the genre comparable. What gives? Here's how I think you can break this mind-numbing pass down.

1. The agent has too many clients like this writer and it's not in their best interest to take on too many like-genre authors. A good agent will not take on several writers within the same niche or sub-genre. Essentially, they would be making their own clients compete for the right editor. But most agents will say this up-front.

2. They didn't actually love your writing. Why they feel the need to make you feel better with those promising words, I don't know. It's not helpful or constructive. Really, you just gotta laugh and move on.

3. The agent is incompetent, myopic or just silly. Move on.

My dears, 99.9% of writers pay their dues in query letter hell. It's part of the process. You may receive 10 and then land an agent or get a book deal, or you may find success after you've filed away 100. As long as your writing is sound and there is a market for your work, your chances of representation or landing a book deal will only improve the more you keep those query letters circulating to the right agents or editors for your work.

If you're getting no response whatsoever with your query letter, it's time to revise your query. Check out the resources listed above (or email me to inquire about my query and synopsis crafting services).

Keep moving forward, writers. Don't lose hope. You shall be delivered!


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Hurdling the Obstacles: Revisions

Many, many challenges you face as a writer will no doubt come from an agent or editor's negative feedback about your work. As a former agent, I can't tell you how many times I've passed on writing that just wasn't ripe. As a publishing consultant and coach, I can't tell you enough how important it is to have your work completely and utterly finished, polished and well-crafted before you consider sending it to an agent or editor.

Most writers fail in connecting their work to an agent or publisher because it just isn't good enough and ultimately translate this to:

I'm not talented enough.

I'm not good enough.

I don't have what it takes.

Hold up, writers. They said IT wasn't good enough, not YOU weren't good enough. The great news is, you can only better your craft. You can research more, read more, write more and get the education you need to make your writing better! From MFA programs to undergrad writing courses to local community center or library programs, you have options to become a better writer. So put your pride aside and use these tools. No excuses.

But what if you have an MFA...or are a really great writer... and have enjoyed success publishing your pieces in literary journals, papers, magazines, etc., and revising your novel or nonfiction work seems like another animal altogether. The mis en scene is all there but you're stuck on plot points, having issues with your characters, climaxes, big picture, pivotal stuff. Time to pull in your workshop comrades and/or several well-read, somewhat book savvy readers to help identify where you went wrong. With their perspective you might be able to identify where you left the track and work your way back on it.

Take the time you need, however long it takes, to make your writing the best it can possibly be. Promise me you'll not allow half-baked work leave your desktop! Once an agent/editor/publisher requests your work, that is your golden opportunity. Yes, this is a subjective business, but great writing is great writing. Your lag time in getting your book to print will be markedly lessened if you're writing captivates the reader on page one.

Oh, and one more thing...after you've sent an agent the whole package...query letter and synopsis or actual pages, don't email them asking if you can send a revised version. The ship has sailed, my dears. All the better to be prepared!

Tomorrow we'll discuss query letter hell!


Friday, October 15, 2010

GOALS: Hurdling the Obstacles

"When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don't adjust the goals, adjust the action steps." Confucius

Writers, I know many of you are dealing with obstacles right now. I've heard from several of you recently. You're having issues with focus, clarity and discipline. You're having trouble with your revision. You're stuck in query letter hell. You've got something on your hands you know is great (others, well-read, super-smart others, have told you!) yet you can't land an agent. You've got a published book, yes actually published(!), but it's not selling as quickly as you had hoped. You have this goal - to be a successful author - but all this stuff is getting in the way, dang it!

My dears, let's break this down. I'm going to do this blog post a little differently this week. Today, we're focusing on issues with focus, clarity and discipline. Revision issues will follow on Tuesday; query letter hell on Wednesday; agent limbo on Thursday; and book sales on Friday. We're not gonna let these issues get in your way! Let's keep moving forward. Keep your goal, change your action steps.

Issues with focus and clarity. Ok. You know you're passionate about writing but don't know where to start and how to stay on track. This is an issue with knowing your authentic voice and knowing your audience. If you were to choose a writing career path, what would it look like? What are you passionate about besides writing? What issues do you connect with mind, body and soul? Do you love travel (and actually travel often)? Do inspire others into action? Are you a natural born advocate with a lot specialized knowledge/training in a particular field? Love genre fiction (romance/sci-fi/thriller/YA/suspense, etc....though not all in one!)? Feel your heart lies in narrative nonfiction, literary fiction or short stories?

Hone in on what interests you and hang out there a while. Read loads of books on your subject of interest/genre of interest. Learn. Then write like some of your favorite authors. Try on their voices and see what happens. But ultimately, this getting to know you phase is meant to help narrow down your interests and get you working on finding your own voice. For more on this topic, read my blog with editorial consultant Marcela Landres. [Side note, before Marcela became an independent editorial consultant, she was a phenomenal editor at Simon and Schuster who for several years oversaw their Spanish language imprint, Libros en Espanol. She rocks.]

One you're focused on what you want to write, see it. Visualize yourself actually writing it. Outline your novel or nonfiction book. How does it take shape? Imagine the cover, the blurbs, the reviews. Now see it in the context of your life. Is this work something you want to continue with...the genre, I mean? A traditional publisher wants an author who, beyond having a great platform, has another couple of books up their the same genre. I know...a lot of you want to publish cross-genre, but your publisher doesn't care about those aspirations...yet. They want to see how you can establish yourself as a YA or Mystery author, for example. Once you're bringing in the dough and you've established your name...they may consider letting you try your pen at something else, as long as it's not too far from your home base. As in, it's doubtful a chick-lit author will get to publish a cook book unless there's a great, easily identifiable hook.

For more on how to attain Clarity, check out these past blogs about Clarity Through Goals and Clarity Through Workshopping, with bestselling authors, Chelsea Cain, Chuck Palahniuk, Suzy Vitello Soule and award-winning broadcast journalist, Diana Page Jordan.

Discipline? Just do it. Just find the time, carve it out, sacrifice an hour from TV here, an hour of sleep there, an hour from housework, from whatever and do it! We're all faced with challenges that get in the way of our creative time. C'est la vie! Make the choice to work around them! Now, of course there are times when you're just too emotionally fragile to write (or you're sick like I was this weekend, ugh!) By all means, take a time out...a big one. Get the help and support that's necessary. Take care of yourself. You need to. But please, do come back to the table where you'll be welcomed with open arms! Read author and writing instructor at Boston University, Michelle Hoover's blog about her long journey to publishing her novel, The Quickening, to inspire your inner Rocky, Rudy or Billy Elliot (your choice...I love all three, but Billy is my favorite)!

Now, writers. During this time of honing your focus and gaining clarity about where you want this writing career to go, try not to get buried in all the "how to get published" stuff out there. Let that be your focus when you're ready for that step...when your work is finished. Focus on your voice and craft. Voice and craft. Voice and craft. All the best advice on how to lure an agent isn't going to help you if you haven't crafted something truly remarkable and compelling. Publishers publish great writing, not great ideas. Got it? Great!!

Stay tuned. Tuesday we'll get into how to tackle revision issues.

Have a great, productive Monday, everyone!

Your Action: For my Focus/Clarity/Discipline challenged souls, no assignment other than reflect on this post and re-read the other suggested postings for clarity and inspiration.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Q&A with The Lit Coach

It's that time again...I'm collecting all your questions for another round of Q&A with The Lit Coach! Send me your questions about anything related to the writer's life: finding that creative/work/family balance; deciding on self-publishing or going the traditional publishing route; decoding agent speak; how to make the best of a book name it.

Send me your questions at

Deadline for questions is Thursday, Oct. 21st. One question per writer, please. Thank you!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Goals in This Writer's Life: A Blogshop with Author Michelle Hoover

I'm often asked time-frame questions from writers: How long does it take to find an agent? How long does it take to make a book deal? How long will it take before I can start living off my writing? My answer to all of these questions is usually the same - anywhere from a week to several years....followed by, what's your hurry? Yeah, yeah, I hear the stories about the writers who've found success seemingly overnight. Good for them, I say! But folks, they are the exception.

In Michelle Hoover's case, it took 14 years to finish one novel and find an agent. Through that decade (and then some), she dug into her craft, faced the reality of creative sacrifice and found within the stamina only seasoned marathon runners access to create something truly noteworthy, her novel The Quickening.

Michelle's Midwestern stick-to-it-ness impressed me, so I had to ask her:

"You spent several exhaustive years crafting and re-shaping The Quickening (Other Press). Did you start the process with a goal in mind or did you take it day by day? How important has setting goals in your writer's life been to your overall success?"

I am a very goal-oriented writer. Since I run my life on an academic schedule, I set deadlines for the end of December, April, and August. But in truth one’s goals don’t always take into consideration one’s limitations, especially when a writer is young. Through high school and college, I had several teachers tell me I should write. But when I started The Quickening at twenty-three, I had far more chutzpah than know-how. I planned to have my first novel under contract before I finished graduate school, to have a second book on the shelves by the time I hit thirty. Even typing these sentences now curls my fingers. Not only did I imagine these things possible, I believed I must accomplish them in order to matter as a writer at all.

This kind of thinking is common for young twentysomethings, but it is also endemic to our society. When compared to other countries, American high school graduates rate relatively low for skills in math, science, and writing, but they top the charts when it comes to confidence. The gap between skill and will is alarming, and it doesn’t necessarily narrow with age. My own focus on end-goals—publication and authorhood—over process—a good day’s work creating flesh and blood—likely delayed my novel for years.

TLC: Great point, Michelle. While I will be the first to say Confidence in a writer's life is so important, it's a virtue I coach, the craft MUST be there. That said, traditionally the more literary or midlist works do take longer to find their way to a publisher than your more straight-forward nonfiction titles. Take time to develop your skill, writers. There is NO hurry to publish, unless you've got something very timeworthy you can belt out in a matter of days (only the seasoned, platformed writers need apply).

Are goals more a hindrance than a help? Of course not. My Virgoian self still makes lists of deadlines, but more out of an attempt to control chaos than anything else. Instead of not making goals, make the right kind:

Focus on what you learn, not what you produce

Writing is something you learn only by doing. Instead of focusing on page numbers, consider the following: I want to learn to imply backstory through my character’s present-day actions. I want to learn to create conflict out of my character’s petty concerns. I want to use setting as a metaphor for my character’s inner life. I want to write a dramatic scene in which my characters say nothing at all.

We fight to learn how to write our entire lives. But think how successful you will feel if you attempt something more meaningful than counting words. After all, you’re writing a book, not a grocery list.

Ignore the applause

Get a giddy feeling after completing that first draft? You and everybody else. Writers need to feign genius in order to convince themselves they should write at all. But then they need to get over it. Reach that goal of 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo? Congrats! Have you written a novel? No! Get over yourself and get back to work. You’ll save yourself years if you keep a lid on your desire for adulation and focus on true accomplishment.

TLC: Writers, truly you need to feel good about your accomplishments. You should feel totally elated after finishing your first or last draft. Everyone needs a pat on the back, but as Michelle says, get back to're not finished yet, my dears.

Be willing to fall backward to move forward

Take yourself seriously enough to realize that sacrifice is a part of growth. We writers avoid making necessary revisions because they require more work than we believe we can handle, cutting tens even hundreds of pages that took years to hone. The time you’ve spent working makes no difference to the amount of work you have ahead. Your upcoming fiftieth birthday doesn’t matter either (except for the cake). The final product is what counts. Once you get over your hurt feelings about the time you’ve lost, you might just realize that you’ve gifted yourself and your book the air and energy to forge ahead. And in truth, you needed to complete that lost writing in order to understand that you didn’t need to do it at all.

Don’t wallow in failure

Does missing a self-set deadline make you feel like a loser? Do you spend hours telling friends about your despondency, your failure, your terrible hack-self? Goals aren’t about feeling bad. They’re about inspiring you to do your best. If you don’t make your desired page count, remember that without the goal in the first place, you might not have written a page at all.

TLC: Right! Everyone gets off track once in a while. If this happens, have your mini-pitty party and then get back on track, already! There is nothing more deadly to some quality creative time, not to mention forward movement, than self-loathing. Doesn't that seem like a supreme waste of time? What is there to learn? Nothing, that's what!

If you've fallen by the wayside of your goal, simply refocus your energies where they are better spent - on reaching your goal, piece by piece.

Your Action: Understand this path to publication is not a race; create your goals with this in mind. Be flexible in your plans - if you find you need more education, time or experience to make your work sing, by all means allow it - no matter how long it takes. Just keep moving forward even though it may seem like you're taking two steps back.

About the Contributor

Michelle Hoover teaches writing at Boston University and Grub Street. She has published fiction in Confrontation, The Massachusetts Review, Prairie Schooner, StoryQuarterly, and Best New American Voices, among others. She has been a Bread Loaf Writer's Conference scholar, the Philip Roth Writer-in-Residence at Bucknell University, a MacDowell fellow, a Pushcart Prize nominee, and in 2005 the winner of the PEN/New England Discovery Award for Fiction. Her debut novel, The Quickening, was released in June and has been shortlisted for the Center for Fiction's 2010 Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Next On The Lit Coach's Guide

Join us Monday on The Lit Coach's Guide when Michelle Hoover, author of newly relesased, The Quickening (Other Press) stops by to discuss how GOALS have played an important role in her writer's life. She'll share four important tips that have kept her craft strong and productivity moving forward.

Michelle teaches writing at Boston University and Grub Street. Her novel, The Quickening, has been shortlisted for the Center for Fiction's 2010 Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Big Goal: An Installation in Parts

When I stood below this massive Dave Chiluly glass installation at The Joslyn Art Museum, I wondered how in the world he managed such graceful execution with all these very unique and intricate pieces of blown glass. Looking at it from a distance, it's breathtaking. Standing directly underneath with your eyes turned upward, a nose away from the smoothness of one of his curly, balloon-like pieces of Technicolor glass, it feels like you're about to be swallowed by a most bizarre tidal wave.

Looking at publishing from a distance is pretty cool, too. Getting nose close to the reality of all you need to do to be a successful writer can be, well, overwhelming.

Ok, let's be honest. Who here feels like the proverbial frightened babe in the woods after researching all the trade how-to-sign-with-an-agent or how-to-get-published articles and blogs (ahem...) to find that this gig you're so passionate about is so totally time consuming and hard! There's tons of advice to follow (some good, some bad), everybody's suggesting helpful webinars (some worth checking out), weekend literary conferences (again, worth your time)....there's just so much advice to follow and stuff to remember! And you feel like you need to do it all! And then...somehow you lose sight of why you're doing this exactly because you're focused on the mountain of work that's piled ahead of you instead of your big dream.

Step back from the big picture. Give yourself some distance. Turn off your computer, my dears, and take a breather from your feeds (after you read this, that is!). Relax a minute and reconnect to why you're on this path and where you see yourself going...don't concern yourself with all the how-to stuff. Don't get me wrong...there's lots of really great information and resources out there, but sometimes, one can become overloaded and overwhelmed with this well-meaning stuff.

We're talking about goals in the writer's life all month. As I wrote in my previous post, when I chat with new clients, our initial conversation is usually filled with me getting a good sense about where they want to go with their writing. I ask a lot of questions. Some writers know exactly what they want and just need someone to help keep them focused and on track. Others know what genre they want to become well-known within but don't know how to approach the publishing industry, while others still are finding their unique voices. Whatever the stage, the method of creating the goal is the same. Take the big picture goal and break it down into bite sized pieces. Then, go after your goal one piece at a time. Nothing new here, writers, but it's worth repeating.

What does that look like for you?

Nonfiction writers, listen up!

Before you dive into writing your how-to (prescriptive) book, look at the big picture from a distance. What does your ideal how-to book writing career look like? Traditionally, the portrait of a nonfiction writer looks like a very busy professional expert who has written a book based on their years of research and professional practice. Usually this writer began their career as X expert and eventually added a blog, a slew of magazine pieces on their subject of specialization, maybe even a regular column. They're not afraid to get in front of a crowd and preach their message or share their stories to roomfuls of people. This breed of writer usually comes to publishing after already establishing their professional base.

Now step closer to this picture and answer these questions: What makes me an expert in my field and am I recognized as such? Am I communicating to my core audience effectively? Do I have a book-buying following? Can I fill a room with those who will care to listen to my message and will they line up to buy my book? Am I professionally, emotionally and financially prepared to fulfill a publisher's contract should a publisher make me an offer?

If you answered in the affirmative to these questions and/or were able spit out some impressive numbers and stats about your core audience you've already built a relationship with, skip to the next paragraph and read on. For those of you unsure of how to answer, start with square one: Are you expert enough to write the book you want to write? Are you a credible source? Do you have special training, years of expertise in your field, advanced degrees and/or other endorsements? Most authors who approach the publishing world need to build this very important piece of their publishing goal - their platform. If your overall training and platform are in need of development, put your book on the backburner for now. Focus on your development in your field, then focus on gathering a following. When you've done that, then start thinking about your book proposal. No traditional publisher will invest in an author lacking in professional credibility and following.

Your task of creating a nonfiction book proposal and sample chapters is pretty formulaic. Get the books you need or hire a professional to help craft this formula. Get familiar with the formula and then most importantly, insert your voice and personality into your proposal. It's an agent and editor's preview of your book's voice and how you'll present in person at your events. Keep your voice consistent to the message of the book and ultimately authentic to you...while remaining polished and professional, of course.

Let the Research Begin!

Now it's time to decide what avenue you want to explore in getting your book published. Not every writer is sold on the benefit of having an agent but many feel having an educated advocate for their book is the only way to go. Research the possibilities and do what feels right to you. Can you sell your book to a publisher without the help of an agent? Yes, but it's up to you to really do your research to make sure you're approaching editors appropriately and getting the best possible deal for your work. Will an agent help this process of finding a publisher move along more quickly and help make the whole process a lot less overwhelming? Maybe and yes. A reputable agent will do their best to sell your work no matter how long it takes. Obviously they want to sell it as soon as possible because that's how they earn their supper, but it could take a week to two years or more to sell a work depending on many variables outside their control. Will they make the process less overwhelming for you? If you find a good one, yes.

But maybe you want to self-publish or only have your book available as an e-book. My goodness, the trade news is flooded with success stories about authors taking their publishing dream in their own hands and self-publishing their book. This avenue will work well if you're willing to hire additional experts to help shape you and your work into bestselling material and a PR team who will get your book noticed. If you go this route, be ready to invest financially in your publishing success. Plan wisely.

All You Fiction Writers in The House!

The question I'm often met with varying degrees of "ummms" and "weeellls" is who do you want to write for? Knowing your audience is the second most important thing to know after the Why do I want to write? soul searching question. Who is your audience? What books do they buy? What are their interests? What moves them? How do they buy books? Time to think like a marketer for a bit, my dears. I know, it's so icky, but guess what...that's publishing. If you're unsure, look at your favorite authors for guidance. What's the common thread holding their work together? Do they skip around from genre to genre? Not usually. If they do, they've already built a name for themselves and have a huge following. Talk to your local bookseller. Ask them what sells and what doesn't.

Next, create authentically for your audience. Craft and revise until the work you have is as perfect as you're going to get it. Set deadlines for yourself all along the way and stick to them! Then, craft your pitch letter and ONE PAGE synopsis you'll eventually send to the right agents, if you so choose. Have these two pieces read and critiqued by several well-read, professional people you trust. Nothing is more of a turn-off for an agent or editor to get a revised synopsis or sample pages after they've already received these drafts once. Suzy Vitello Soule, a TLCG contributor, told me her approach to writing and pitching is measure twice, cut once. Wise advice. You only get one shot with an agent or editor, unless they see real promise in your work and are willing to take another look after you've revised your work based on their recommendations...but that's rare. So be like Suzy, measure twice, cut once.

Or maybe you'd like to self-publish or e-book it. Like I said above to the nonfiction writers, this route can really work in your favor if you're willing to bring on additional pros to help shape your book into something truly polished and compelling. Bring on that PR agent to start talking you and your book up before the book pubs and that short window of time after. Or, research how to do this yourself and successfully publish and promote your work solo.

Altogether Now!

No matter what kind of writer you are, step back from your big dream long enough to see how all the pieces fit together. Then step forward and take it apart. Work on putting this big goal of yours together one piece at a time.

Look at that amazing structure above. It was put together piece by piece by an artist who knew everything about his craft and where he was going with it. What a stunning accomplishment!

Your Action: Today, take apart your goal. Write down what steps you'll need to take to achieve that goal giving yourself deadlines along the way. Commit to taking the necessary action to achieve those mini-goals. Throw just as much passion and energy into achieving these small goals as you would your writing. Most importantly, when you've achieved these mini-goals, REWARD YOURSELF however you see fit. Tell somebody about it! Be proud of what you've accomplished! This is not an easy path, writers, you need all the positive reinforcement you can get.

Remember, you'll reach your BIG goal only through reaching all your little goals.

Have an absolutely wonderful, fruitful weekend, writers!


Sunday, October 3, 2010

Goals in The Writer's Life: The Big Picture with Literary Agent, Claire Gerus

First, have a definite, clear practical ideal; a goal, an objective. Second, have the necessary means to achieve your ends; wisdom, money, materials, and methods. Third, adjust all your means to that end. Aristotle

By now, if you've read a few posts, you know my major message in creating and living a successful writer's life is not only about getting out there and putting action behind intention but making sure you're clear about the rules of the road, the tools you'll need to succeed with your dream and the personal strength and fortitude it takes to make this trip successfully over and over again. This is not unique. Everyone who has spent a few years in the publishing industry will tell you the same - welcome to Publishing 101.

Now it's time to dig a little deeper. One of the first questions I ask my clients is, What kind of a writer do you want to be? Where do you see yourself 5, 10 years down the road? Who's reading your work? Are you a one hit wonder or do you have several titles (within the same genre, please) on your shelf? What are you doing to continually build and fortify your platform? Do you have a column? Have you won any awards?

As a coach, I do not expect my clients to come prepared with the answers to these job is to help uncover the ideal writer's life they want to achieve and set up a clear plan of action to help them reach their goals. What this plan of action looks like, specifically, is a bunch of clearly defined mini-goals with deadlines. It's when you've achieved your mini-goals, you'll have achieved your BIG goal...whatever that looks like to you.

Sadly, though, for many writers, it seems the only goal keeping them motivated is to land a great agent - truly, a worthy goal that may help lead to other successes, but the path doesn't end there.

I recently asked lit agent Claire Gerus, "In considering taking on new authors, how important is it they come to you prepared with clear goals and an action plan to meet them?"

CG: An interesting question, Erin! In fact, I have yet to find an author approach me in a query with an action plan and clear goals--at least initially. I can tell you what does factor in my decision to take on authors:

First, there's the writer's ability to create a work that truly moves me and says "This is special!" It's the sense every editor and agent has when an exceptional reading experience (fiction or nonfiction) looms up and insists on being recognized.

At the same time, a writer's first contact with me should be grammatically correct! This comes from my 10 years as a corporate communications consultant and my 30 years as an editor. As soon as I see misspellings or typos, it tells me the offering isn't topnotch and that editors will question whether the writer is ready for serious consideration. So any author should be sure to have that query letter, as well as the actual proposed work, professionally proofread, unless they're really confident they don't need it.
Apart from "feeling the magic," I also look for the potential that the writer's work will positively affect the lives of those who read it. By this, I mean that readers would feel satisfaction, enjoyment and even--if possible-- a sense of illumination after finishing the book!

And of course, there's chemistry. I'm very much aware of the author's personality when we email or chat, which can reveal how easy or difficult it might be to work together. A sense of mutual respect and an appreciation of each other's roles is key for any collaboration to work well.

TLC: Writers, resist the urge to get super friendly and cute after a few positive emails with a potential agent. Sure, show them your personality...nobody wants to work with a cardboard cut out of you, but keep it on the professional side.

CG: Ultimately, of course, any successful game plan for potential publication must include the author's awareness that he or she will have to get involved in the book's promotion. As we all know, it's rare that a publisher, even one of the biggies, will offer sustained PR efforts for an acquisition. So to protect the fate of the present book and ensure that future books won't be doomed by sluggish sales, the author must be willing to take on some financial support for his or her creative efforts. Without good promotion, even the best book can be doomed to the remainder tables.

TLC: This is HUGE, my dears, and everyone in publishing has been talking about this issue for a few years. Just know right now that YOU are going to have to sell your book. One of your goals should be, "Sell X books." Go ahead, get specific! Maybe your first print run won't even amount to that goal, but set it anyway. Most importantly, KNOW how you're going to reach it. Now, you're not going to have all the answers at first. But over time, they'll come to you via lots of research, connecting and inspired thought.

Having a publishing success action plan and knowing how many books you're going to sell isn't a pre-requisite to signing with an agent but showing an agent (or editor if you're sans agent) a feasible plan about how you aim to get your book in the hands of thousands of book buyers will certainly earn you some credibility and a few bonus points, moving you from the "NO" pile to the "Strongly Consider" pile. And then, be ready to carry out your plan!

Later this week, I'll break down more of the GOAL questions I ask my first time clients and show you how to create specific mini goals that will ultimately lead you to your big fabulous goal. For now, just digest this bit and start letting your mind explore where you want your writer's life to go. Have fun with it.

Your Action: Start thinking about your big fabulous writer's life goal. And by big and fabulous, I don't mean anything glamorous, necessarily...I mean whatever sounds ideal to you. Maybe your big fabulous writer's life goal is writing your novels or nonfiction books in the peaceful quiet of the countryside. Or maybe it's going on a speaking tour after your fifth NYT nonfiction bestselling advice book. Maybe you've won the Caldecott Award or Newbery Medal for your work in children's literature. Make it your own and be specific. You'll start planting the seeds for those goals soon.

About the Contributor

Claire Gerus has been Editor-in-Chief of two publishing houses, worked for seven major publishers, including Harlequin, Rodale, Random House, Doubleday, John Wiley, Kensington, and Adams Media, written articles for U.S. and Canadian magazines and newspapers, and taught corporate communications to such clients as IBM, Kelloggs, Mutual of Omaha, and Procter & Gamble.

In 1996, she established a thriving business as a New York literary agent, selling publishers books on a variety of subjects: business, history, memoirs, religion, health, spirituality, psychology, politics, pop culture, and women's studies.
She sold a 3-million copy health bestseller and brought film star Esther Williams’ story to Simon & Schuster. It went on to become a New York Times bestseller.

In 1999, she joined Kensington Publishing in New York and founded TwinStreams Books, a complementary healing imprint. Later, as Executive Editor at Citadel Press, she acquired and edited titles on celebrity biography, self-help, relationships, spirituality, new age, diet, Judaica, and health.

From 2001-August, 2002, she was Executive Editor at Adams Media, where she published the first biography of Laura Bush. She also published a wide range of new age, business, self-help, and inspirational books.

She is presently working as a literary agent and book development consultant. Among her clients are an ex-CIA agent, three psychologists, a policewoman, a District Attorney, an Assistant Attorney-General, a business communications consultant, a women's safety advocate, a best-selling psychologist,the Wall Street Journal's Soviet specialist, a former Miss Connecticut and inspirational columnist, a diabetes spokesperson and many more with equally fascinating backgrounds!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Next On The Lit Coach's Guide

Join us Monday as Literary Agent Claire Gerus stops by to discuss how writers can best present themselves to her agency. I'll be talking about why setting clear goals is so important to your publishing success BEFORE you approach the industry and how to impress an agent or editor with your action plan to get there! GOALS will be our focus this month.

Have a wonderful weekend, writers!