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Author Archives: Guest Column

How to Write a Mashup Novel


BY PAUL CICCHINI Mashups seem to be one of the hip, ‘in vogue’ things these days, although in actuality the idea is not new at all. For the uninitiated, a ‘mashup’ novel is … Read more

Do You Have What Publishers Really Want?

New Headshot Nina Amir

BY NINA AMIR If you are a writer who dreams of landing a traditional publishing deal, you might have a nagging question in your mind. It’s probably phrased something like, “Is my book idea what a publisher wants?” In fact, a better question to ask yourself is, “Do I have what publishers really want?” What publishers seek in an aspiring author doesn’t only involve your book idea or even your writing. These are a big part of what they consider in their decision making process, but they are not the only things. Read more

8 Strategies to Build Your Freelance Writing Career


BY ROGER MORRIS Use these 8 strategies to turn occasional assignments into steady paychecks. Read more

9 Steps to an Effective Virtual Book Tour

Dana Sitar head shot

BY DANA SITAR You can easily waste a lot of effort producing guest posts for little gain if you don’t have a solid plan. Follow these steps to ensure you get the most out of every guest post appearance. Read more

Copywriting: A Crash Course for Writers Looking to Break In


BY ATHENA SCHULTZ The market for freelance copywriting is bigger than ever—and so is the potential to break in. Put your writing skills to work on the side, and you might just hit the jackpot. Read more

The Pros and Cons of Writing a Novel in Present Tense


BY DAVID JAUSS The best writers almost always seem to know, either consciously or intuitively, when to use present tense. Many of us, however, do not. Present tense has become something of a fad, and we often use it even when past tense would serve the story better. Whatever the causes for the prevalence of the present tense in today’s fiction, it is important that we understand its advantages and disadvantages so we can better decide when to employ it. Read more

6 Tips for Writing About Music


You know more about music than any of your friends and can hold your own with all of these so-called critics. But where to begin? How do you break through to the printed page and music blogosphere? Here’s how. Read more

25 Tips To Make You a Better Nonfiction Writer


Try these 25 tips out for size and your nonfiction writing will improve almost immediately. Read more

5 Writing Lessons Inspired by Famous Writers


Visits to literary landmarks reveal powerful lessons every writer can carry home. Read more

Tales From the Writing Life: Fear and Loathing and Fitzgerald (5-Minute Memoir)


5-Minute Memoir is exactly what it sounds like—a personal essay on some facet of the writing life, be it a narrative or a reflection, pensive, touching or hilarious. Enjoy this installment from Steven Rowland. Read more

8 Reasons Every Book Needs a Business Plan to Achieve Success

New Headshot Nina Amir

No matter how you want to publish, and whether you write fiction or nonfiction, you should produce a business plan for each and every book you write and publish—before writing a word of your manuscript. Let me offer you eight good reasons why I believe this is an important practice if you want to achieve success as an author. Read more

When Flaws Go Too Far: Avoiding Unlikeable Characters

Angela Ackerman

Here are a few tips to make sure you don’t go overboard with negative personality traits. Read more

3 Most Common Complaints About Agents by Scriptwriters


Television writer Chad Gervich breaks down the most common complaints made by scriptwriters about Hollywood agents. Read more

5 Lessons I Learned From Writing A Memoir


So how does one approach the monster once you’ve decided to write a memoir? Following are some lessons memoirist Nancy Spiller learned from writing her own. Read more

How to Create an Antihero That Readers Love


If you dare to write about less-than-charming characters, you don’t need to always redeem them with an ending in which they see the error of their ways, mend their faults and allow their flinty hearts to be transformed into a choir loft of goodness. You see, Hollywood movies have greatly influenced audience expectations to such a degree that bad people are expected to become good, endings are expected to be tidy and hopeful, and outcomes are expected to be laced with sunshine. Fiction can, and should, mimic life, with all its messes and discomfort and disquiet. Fiction should also prove just how complicated and troubled many people are. Read more

Is Your Partner a Shadow Writer?!

Take this quiz to determine if your beloved is joyful or jealous of your way with words. Read more

The 5 Differences Between Professional and Amateur Novelists

Finch-author photo C#18626A

There are some crucial differences between the professional ones and the ones who want to be professional. These are the five that I’ve noticed during my career. Read more

13 Survival Reminders for Writers


One writer says to survive as a writer you need to allow yourself to accept these 13 things. Read more

28 Simple Steps to Write, Raise Funds and Publish a Children’s Book


If you’re reading this, you’re probably asking yourself “how do I published my children’s book idea?” Well, I have good news for you. It’s simple! Just follow these 28 steps, and your book will soon be available to customers all over the world! Read more

How Hugh Howey Turned His Self-Published Story “Wool” Into a Success (& a Book Deal)


It’s not just an amazing success story, it’s a new precedent for authors everywhere: Thanks to Hugh Howey, you don’t have to choose between the allure of self-publishing and your dreams of big book deals. You can have both. Read more

Write Better: The 7 Qualities of High-Concept Stories


Stumped by submission guidelines calling for “high-concept” romance, suspense, young adult or other popular fiction? These 7 qualifiers will help you gauge how (and where) your work fits in. Read more

6 Insider Tips for Finding and Applying to Writers’ Colonies


Writers’ colonies are little-known treasures: they exist all over the United States and abroad, but many writers have never heard of them. Here are six ways to find (and apply for) these hidden gems. Read more

The Real Story Behind Low-Residency MFAs


If you think low-res writing programs are second-rate, think again. Here’s why they might just be the best way to become a better writer. Read more

Writing Fiction or Nonfiction: Make Your Choice


As a writer, are you going to write fiction or nonfiction?. The latter spans a wide range of subjects. This category is made up of literary works that can retell events that … Read more

7 Ways to Create a Killer Opening Line For Your Novel


Writing a dynamite first line that captivates readers and encourages them to read on is difficult. Here are several different approaches to writing a killer opening line (and examples from classic novels to accompany each). Read more

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