How to write a world-changing manifesto

When I sit down to work with a new author, I always ask them about their goals for their book, and invariably I get a version of the same answer: They want to make a difference in people’s lives. Very often, they want to change the way people think, elevate a conversation, and bring new understanding to a vexing problem.

That’s a great mission. We all want to have an impact on the world, and most of us would like that impact to be a positive one. But changing the world through a book begins with changing the mind of one reader, and then the next. Most of us are stubbornly attache... keep reading


Writing groups: what they are and how to join one

You might stumble across them in libraries and coffee shops across the country: a circle of writers surrounding a paper-covered table. Armed with their notebooks and a desire to master the use of language, these writers have committed to their writing groups, and you may want to as well.

At its core, writing groups (or writing circles) are places for you and other writers to come together, share ideas, and get feedback on your work. They might be a peer critique in your living room over a glass of wine, a workshop or class with an instructor, or even a Facebook discussion group with ... keep reading


8 Writing Habits for the Enlightened Author

As writers, we consider it our duty to sit at our desks every day and put down ideas that we hope will inspire the masses and make a meaningful contribution to society.

Doesn’t mean we have to enjoy it. In fact, writing is very often painful, boring and difficult.

But it doesn’t have to be. By making some adjustments to the way you write–and the way you think about writing–you can produce more in less time and even enjoy doing it. Here are eight writing habits that will transform your work sessions from bitter and barren to the best and most productive par... keep reading


How to Write a Killer Book Introduction

Of all the book chapters you will write, your introduction is likely to confound you the most. What should go in it? How long should it be? Is anyone even going to read it? Most authors find themselves scratching their heads over questions like these. I hope to answer them here.

A book introduction isn’t strictly necessary in every book, but most non-fiction books will benefit from having one. If you’re going to include one, it’s critical to get it right. Potential readers often skim the introduction to help them decide whether or not to buy a book. An introduction that’s eng... keep reading


Action! Engage Your Audience with Book Trailers

Think back to the last time you bought a movie ticket–I’m willing to bet you chose the movie in part because you’d seen a trailer for it first. Trailers are one of the most effective ways to get someone interested in your content, and they  work for books as well as movies. Book trailers have been steadily growing in popularity, with some getting hundreds of thousands or even millions of views. And while early book trailers were often dismissed due to a lack of quality, that doesn’t have to be case–the book trailer for national bestseller keep reading


Escape the Deadly Writing Trap that the Smartest Authors Fall into

I was working with an author last week who was struggling to find his way with his manuscript. “When I talk about these ideas, I’m succinct, relaxed, sometimes even funny. But when I sit down to write, the words come out all formal and stiff. Why can’t I be myself in my writing?”

Sure enough, his chapter draft was dry, stuffed with extraneous details, and weighed down by industry jargon. I knew him to be a lively, quick-witted person of passion and deep empat... keep reading


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


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