Month by Month: How to Write Your Book in a Year

“Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.” So goes the advice for which author and writing prof Anne Lamott named her classic instructional memoir.

Wise words if, like Lamott’s brother, you’re churning out a school report on ornithology. But the rest of us can learn a thing or two from her approach, too.

Writing a nonfiction manuscript is a big task. A year is a long stretch. At least one of those t... keep reading


How to Choose the Right Editor for Your Book

Hiring an editor can feel a bit like choosing a mate or business partner. Trust and shared vision are critical, and you’ll want to pair up with someone who brings the right strengths and assets to the relationship. Picking the right person will have a huge impact on your current happiness levels and your long-term success, so it’s worth taking the time to choose wisely. Here are some guidelines to help you find your perfect match.

1. Hire a pro, not your friend with an English degree.

Plenty of people can spell and use ... keep reading

Six steps to getting great book blurbs

It’s a good time to be a book lover. With 32.8 million books listed on Amazon, there is no shortage of choice for readers. Those same stats, however, are stacked against authors. With the average reader finishing only an estimated 15 books a year (and many picking up far fewer), you’ve got to squeeze through a pretty fine filter for a reader to pick your words over someone else’s.

With competition this fierce, high-profile blurbs and endorsements are more important than ever for building your book’s credibility and visibility. Reader reviews ... keep reading


Writing About Writing: How to Move Past Fear so You Can Finish Your Book

Any act of creativity will activate your fear in a big way. That’s how you know it’s working. Creative acts involve a swirling kaleidoscope of emotions, ranging from vision, exhilaration, industriousness, boredom and grandiosity to sheer terror. Sometimes there is shame too. We rotate through all of them along the way, repeatedly, throughout any creative act.

Everybody loves the fun part; the exhilaration, grandiosity and industriousne... keep reading


The five components of an unbeatable writing routine

Almost every successful writer has some kind of writing routine. Not only does a routine help you get into the mindset of writing, it ensures you have some time to actually put the pen to paper. We’ve found five components that most great writing routines share, but before we pass them on to you, we have a couple of disclaimers. First, your writing routine doesn’t need to feature all the pieces, but it should include the ones that work for you. Second, don’t wait ar... keep reading


How Editing Your Own Writing is Like Spring Cleaning

It’s Tuesday, which means I am working on my forthcoming book about writing. To inspire you to work on your own book, I promised to share my process and also offer a sneak peek at the work-in-progress along the way. Here’s a little excerpt from today’s chapter about self-editing. Do you hate editing your own work? Let me know what you think ... keep reading


Social media for authors: How to overcome shyness, with Michael Margolis

Social media is nothing new. Most of us have been on Facebook for close to ten years now; even my eighty-two-year-old auntie is on it. But if you’ve been using social media solely for cultivating personal connections, making the shift to using it as a professional author platform is not always easy or intuitive.

When you use social media in a personal way, it feels like hanging out in your living room with your best friends and family members. Conversations are candid, intimate, and full of inside jokes and personal references. When you start using it to court the attention of fans... keep reading


Writing About Writing: What Sprinters Can Learn From Plodders

Wow. Three weeks have passed since my last post. Where did the time go?

It has been too easy to push my book writing project to one side. After the initial buzz I got from sharing my outline wore off, I turned my attention elsewhere. I thought, I’ve got lots of time, and lots of other things calling out for my attention. There is urgent client work to complete, special projects to push forward on (Paris and I are creating an online course in how to build your aut... keep reading


Writing About Writing: Follow My Progress As I Write My Book

Last week I announced to the world that I am writing a book about writing a book, and promised to share my progress with anyone who cares to follow along. This post is my very first progress report! (Cue the tiny marching band! I believe in celebrating early and often.)

I’m doing this for two reasons. First, I want to share my experience as a first time author in the hope that it will encourage others to dive into their own... keep reading