October 20, 2019

Building Books with Big Enough Ideas (Writing Tips)

Are your ideas big enough for a book? Or, are they more chapter size? Or, a three-volume set size? Ideas need to fit their container without too much stretching or crimping. I’m a big fan of Oprah’s O Magazine. Its number of pages has grown and shrunk over the past two years. The March 2012 […]

Dialogue in Fiction Book Proposals

Writer’s Digest offers an excerpt from Jeff Gerke’s The First 50 Pages (Writer’s Digest, 2011). (The book was published in early November 2011.) As Jeff says, “Great dialogue may not get you a publishing contract, but lousy dialogue will often prevent you from getting one. Awkward, unrealistic dialogue is a common reason acquisitions editors and […]

Focus Your Book Proposal with 3 Questions

Have you ever heard (or said), “I know who my readership is, but I am not quite clear on what I want to say to them?” If you are at the planning or proposal stages, and if this is your sentiment, then you may need to do more research on your readership. Working on your […]

Mike Well’s Secret Formula for Book Synopsis

  Mike Wells is an American who teaches creative writing at Oxford–and who happens to be a best-selling thriller and suspense author. Readers talk about his fast-paced, “unputdownable” novels. Every story contains the same five elements. Identify these in their most undeluded, potent forms, and (Mike claims) you will draft a beginning, two-sentence synopsis of […]

Getting Ready to Contact a Literary Agent

When are you ready to contact a literary agent–or a dozen? Usually it’s when your manuscript has been scrutinized by your critique group or a writing coach or experienced book editor, and you have used the extensive notes on each chapter to do a major re-write–or two. Alexander McNabb, in a guest post, details his […]

Non Fiction Book Proposal — Sample Chapter

Tamara Palmer, The Feast, posted an exclusive look into Eddie Huang’s sample chapter of his book proposal. Eddie has just gotten a deal with Random House for his memoir about growing up as a Chinese American. A New York restauranteur, his bun was voted best in 2010. In his memoir, he reveals that his SAT […]

Visualizing Author Breakthrough Experiences

As an author, what keeps you going? What holds you back? Last month, I participated in a conference call featuring Bryan Franklin, “The $10 Million Business Coach”–that’s a million per year, and he has done this for over 10 years in a row. (Yes, through both 9-11 and the Great Recession.) Authors are artists aiming […]

Book Proposal Examples: One of Two Secrets to Getting Published

Julie Coulter Bellon has posted “Two Secrets to Getting Published.” Her two secrets are (1) read more and (2) attend writers’ conferences. She got some push-back from reviewers about how useful these secrets really are. Here I want to explore how these Let’s take a look at her first secret: reading more books. Why would […]

Creating Time for Creative Writing

  Paul Graham, an internet pioneer, distinguishes between two types of schedules: the manager‘s and the maker‘s schedule. “The manager’s schedule is for bosses. It’s embodied in the traditional appointment book, with each day cut into one hour intervals. You can block off several hours for a single task if you need to, but by […]