We've all heard some know-it-all business expert say something like, "The book is the modern-day business card. Write one to grow your profits." Yet Amazon is flooded with forgettable books that entrepreneurs put considerable time, effort, and money into that aren't producing returns. Check the lack of reviews on most of these books, and you'll see what I mean. It's no surprise, is it? Most people hate business cards.Read More
If you’re like most authors, you’re probably not super excited about marketing. It’s unknown. It’s scary. It might make you feel sleazy.
But you’re likely resigned to the idea that you’ll have to do it at some point. You just hope to delay that point as long as possible.
Maybe, if you wait, your publisher will wave a magic wand and you’ll be on the Today Show and Terry Gross without any grunt work on your part and NYT bestseller list here you come!
Here comes the tough love…Read More
Many, many people harbor secret dreams of writing a great book and finding recognition and success as an author.
And yet, many of those same people won’t even cop to being a writer when you ask them. And I know, I talk to lots writers.
My editing colleagues and I go to packed writers conferences and ask everyone we talk to, “Are you a writer?” You wouldn’t believe the amount of “Well…sorta,” responses we get.
How on earth are these people going to get from wanting to be a writer to actually writing and then to building an audience and putting a book into the world?Read More
Sometimes I get stuck in the writing process. At first, it's just some metaphorical mud I must trudge through. Then, it seems that I've stepped in a big pile of poo that ruins my favorite boots. Then it's quicksand pulling me under; I'm going to die.
When I get to this place, and I remember to take a deep breath, it's clear I need to step back and either consult my outline or, if I haven't already, I need to create one.
The outline is one of my favorite writing tools.Read More
One the questions I get most frequently from authors is this: “There are so many possible marketing and outreach activities, how do I decide which to do?”
It’s an especially important question given that most authors would like to spend as little time and money on their marketing efforts as possible.
My favorite trick for deciding on how to wisely spend your marketing resources involves nothing fancier than a paper and pen.Read More
There's a big problem with most writing groups.
They don't actually help people become better writers.
That's not to say these groups aren't well intentioned -- but sitting around letting a group of people correct your punctuation and criticize your words choices on an early draft is a waste of time.
If you want to write the best book possible, first and foremost you need a strong story foundation. And, sadly, most critique groups just won't get you there.
But, that's not to say you should throw out the idea of a writing group altogether.
We’ve all heard of the stereotypical drunk and depressed writer as an ill-romanticized icon. Writers are taught that struggle is inherent to the job. We expect to “bleed on the page” to complete a publishable manuscript. But what if extended periods, effort, and pain are negotiable, possible to mitigate? What if finishing that first draft could be simple, if not easy?
While editing and re-writes are required after a first draft, I have some tips and tricks that will help you overcome the blocks of a first draft (and move onto your second draft) by clearing a path toward a great story that have assisted many of my editing clients through what would otherwise be some pretty dark times. Sure, these tips and tricks might not work for everyone, but if you’re stuck, what have you got to lose?Read More
We’ve launched a podcast! We’ll talking book launches and editing (heavy on the book launches) as we do a real-time case study of the launch of my middle grade novel The Cat, the Cash, the Leap, and the List. Along the way, we’ll be talking to a variety of writers and be joined by the Pages and Platforms editors to talk about how to write a compelling story and what it takes to get it an audience.Read More
How well do you know your secondary and tertiary characters?
A common early-draft issue is minor characters who act as mere props for the protagonist’s arc. Need a crisis for a main character? Subject a secondary character to an accident or illness. Need a contrast to your heroine? Pick a few top-of-mind traits (the nerd, the bully, the class clown), assign them to a body in the scene, and designate the body “Sidekick.”
And that’s okay. Your creative mind is giving you placeholders so you can get the heart of your story onto the page.
But when it’s time to revise, it’s your job to interrogate every one of those minor characters; to replace clichés with original ideas; to be sure that everybody in the whole story is tightly bound to your theme and plot.Read More
If you’re confused about the different types of editors (which to hire and when), rest assured that you’re not alone.
For example, writers often confuse line editing with copyediting or proofreading since all three types of editors focus detailed attention on the use of language and involve "marking-up" a manuscript. But they are different processes, requiring different professional skill sets, and should occur at very different times during the writing process. Most beginning writers haven’t even heard of a developmental editor and mistakenly think they’re ready to pitch to an acquisitions editor as soon as they finish their first draft.
Uh oh. That’s a sure fire way to close some doors on their writing career.Read More
Pages & Platforms is dedicated to helping you write a great book and get it out into the world. To help you better, we'd like to understand the hurdles you're facing and what you've already tried to get over those hurdles.
Please take a couple of minutes to help us support you. Thanks in advance for your thoughtful responses.Read More
From a male client working on a novel:
I have a question on a sensitive topic and it’s a bit scary for me to ask. I’m thinking of using a boss of mine as a model for [Character X, an antagonist]. People get criticized for making women “shrill” or “too emotional” and I know this sounds weird, but I get scared about writing a woman doing bad things for these reasons.
[Client follows with a humorous anecdote about this woman boss’s imperious behavior towards her underlings.]Read More
The short answer is, “Yes.”
If you want to meet the professional standards now expected by agents, publishing houses, and audiences.
If you want to make your story the best it can be.
If you’re going the self-publishing route where there is no possibility of a gatekeeper catching a problem with your manuscript.
If you already know you need to be growing an email list and sending out regular content to your subscribers — Bravo! You’re ahead of most authors, even some of the big ones.
But if you’re stuck on how to actually execute an author newsletter, read on for some dos and don’ts.Read More
One of the things I love about being a writer is the endless pursuit of improvement.
Here are just a few of the books that have made my editing colleagues and me better writers at every stage of the process.Read More
Many authors look forward to marketing their books about as much as they look forward to major dental work. Maybe they think marketing involves being sleazy and self-absorbed, or maybe they just don’t know where to start. Either way, they put it off, despite their own best interests.Read More
We all know sharing is caring and we all know how a share from lots of people — or a share from just the right person — can make a big impact online.
But, as authors what we often don’t consider is that when we ask for shares, we can show we care by making it easy for people.Read More
Obviously, you don’t have limitless time, energy or appetite to build your author platform and grow your audience.
That means you need to think strategically about how to invest the time you do have.
One of the biggest time and energy mistakes authors make with marketing is with their approach to social media.Read More
Taking a close look at what you value in a newsletter is one of the best ways to help you figure out what kind of sign-up you should offer to your subscribers and what your ongoing newsletter content should be. Offering a great piece of content right out the gate will immediately endear you to your audience and motivate them to keep on opening your emails.Read More
There’s a lot of overthinking and overspending that happens with author websites. Do you need to spend multiple thousands of dollars on your online home? For most writers, the answer is no. A small investment, good copy and mastery of a few basics will give you a professional looking author website that will help you attract and retain readers.
Here are the basics to concentrate on.Read More