Posts Tagged With: Publishers

Answered: Your Most Burning Questions About Editors

James Persichetti, Developmental Editor at Lost Hat Editorial Services

For every brilliant manuscript that grows into a best-selling novel, untold thousands of others get dumped into the recycle bin. What’s the crucial difference between them?

Ask Jamie.

Over the years, James Persichetti has seen more unpublished manuscripts cross his desk than most people could read in a lifetime. He started out at the incomparable Nelson Literary Agency (Bird Box, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, etc.).

Now, he’s launched Lost Hat Editorial Services, a boutique editing business that helps writers like you succeed. Here he is, in his own words, to tell you how to find the right editor, polish your book to perfection, and avoid the biggest mistakes aspiring writers make. Continue reading

Categories: For Writers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Outline a Novel (Even If You Hate Outlines)

how to outline a novel

Outlining a novel is kind of like building a wall — one brick at a time. Flying monkeys optional.

Getting overwhelmed at the prospect of starting (or finishing) your novel? Feeling the pressure of hundreds of blank pages staring at you, waiting to be filled?

No sweat. Planning out a story is like building a wall:

You just do it one block at a time.

Just like a towering brick wall is made up of individual bricks, your manuscript is made up of individual parts.

You just have to break it down into small, easy-to-handle chunks, and then build it up from there. Here’s how.

Continue reading

Categories: For Writers, how to write a book, how to write a novel, writing, writing a book, writing a novel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Dinner with Satan

Dinner with Satan ... or is it Seitan?

It’s pronounced SAY-TAHN. Yeah, it is.

I recently discovered, much to my dismay, that I had eaten Satan for dinner.

This is a true story. Allow me to explain.

In the midst of a snowstorm, my wife and I decided to try a new restaurant.

We ended up at a brightly lit, very mod, hipster-friendly place that put an emphasis on fresh food.

Hey, I’m cool. I love fresh food.

But what landed on my table bore no resemblance, by any stretch of imagination, to the gyro I had ordered. Continue reading

Categories: book business, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Don’t Kill Your Pitch: 5 Ways You Might Be Sabotaging Your Story

Nervous about pitching your work to an editor or literary agent? Just avoid these five deal-breaking mistakes and you’ll put yourself well ahead of the competition.  Continue reading

Categories: For Writers, how to write a book, how to write a novel, writing a novel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Keep Readers Turning Pages: 3 Things You Must Do

Q: I’ve got a basic plot planned out for my novel, but I’m worried about being repetitive, because the story is about doing the same thing several times (the main character has a list of people he needs to “off”). Do you know of any way to pull off a plot like that without boring the reader or becoming predictable?  Continue reading

Categories: For Writers, how to write a book, how to write a novel, writing a book, writing a novel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Best Writing Tool You’re Not Using

Writing a novel on a typewriter? Hard.
Finishing your novel by any means possible? Smart!

Are you stuck in the middle of your novel? Do you keep going back to “fix” things in your story? Believe it or not, you might need a typewriter.  Continue reading

Categories: For Writers, how to write a book, how to write a novel, writing a book, writing a novel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The #1 Secret to Finding Time to Write

“We live and die by the clock.”
–William Broyles Jr.

Too bad he didn’t have the
Datexx Miracle Cube Timer.

Want to get more writing done this week? Just follow this one simple trick. It works every time, no matter what you’re writing or how busy your schedule is.  Continue reading

Categories: For Writers, how to write a book, how to write a novel, writing a book, writing a novel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kill Your Laptop: Extreme Ways to Finish Your Novel

I get a lot of emails from writers who think they’re suffering from writer’s block. But are they? See if this sounds familiar to you:

“I keep going back to fix things.”

“Sometimes, I hate the words I just wrote.”

“When I watch what I’m typing, I write much cleaner sentences with less typos, but I feel like I’m never going to finish my novel.”

Ring any bells? Continue reading

Categories: For Writers, how to write a book, how to write a novel, writing, writing a book, writing a novel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Don’t Make This Legal Mistake in Your Novel

Q: Is it legal to write a novel based on a true story, and use the real names of the people involved?

A: Yes, but it’s probably more trouble than it’s worth. Since I’m not a lawyer, none of this is legal advice of any kind, FYI. But here’s what you’re up against:

Writing about a living person who is not a public figure may put you at risk of libel allegations. For that reason, journalists have to keep painstaking notes so that they can prove everything they put in print.

For example, I can write “Joe Lefty is a one-armed man” if I can back that up with a photo of Mr. Lefty sans limb. But if I want to write “Joe Lefty is a one-armed hit-man,” then I’d better have proof that he was convicted in some kind of murder-for-hire scheme, or I could be hearing from Lefty’s lawyers: Dewey, Cheetam & Howe.

On the other hand (sorry), you might have more leeway if Lefty is a public figure, like a politician, since the court might consider him to have given up a right to total privacy.  Still, you need to be careful. Writing about a real living person is fraught with legal issues, so if you’re serious about it, check with a lawyer first.

But wait. Before you give up completely, remember that you’re a fiction writer. A novel is a fictitious work, meaning that you can write whatever you want, as long as you don’t present it as fact. Even if your story is a thinly-veiled version of the truth, you can still change the names, insist that it’s a work of fiction, and get away with… well, I don’t know about murder, but you can get away with a lot.

Hope that helps. Have fun writing!

Do you have a question about writing a novel? Ask it here.

Categories: For Writers, how to write a book, how to write a novel, writing, writing a book, writing a novel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The #1 Writing Secret Every Writer Should Know

Q: Hi! I’m currently writing a book, and I want to get it published, but I’m in high school and that makes things a lot harder. Could you please explain the basic process of how it would get published?

A: I’m so glad you enjoy writing! I started writing short stories when I was 16, and I wasn’t sure of the next step: send it to an editor, try to find a publisher, or what? For me, reading Writer’s Digest magazine every month made a big difference, so I’d recommend starting there. Also, here are some great books about writing that you can find at your library or bookstore (or in the sidebar at left):

  • On Writing by Stephen King
  • The 38 Most Common Fiction Writing Mistakes by Jack Bickham
  • Save the Cat by Blake Snyder

(That last one is about writing movie screenplays, but much of what he says about storytelling applies to novels as well.)

When it comes to getting published, writers have more options now than ever before: ebooks, print-on-demand and traditional publishers. The world of publishing is complicated, but basically you have two paths:

1) The traditional route. This means finding a reputable literary agent who loves your work and can sell it to a publisher. My agent’s blog has a ton of good advice: http://pubrants.blogspot.com

2) Self-publish an ebook. This means doing all of the work yourself: the cover art, the editing, the promotion, and all of that. For some people, it works out great (just search online for Amanda Hocking), but probably 99% of self-published authors sell very few ebooks, if any.

But don’t worry about that yet. Long before you think about getting published, focus on the number-one writing secret every writer needs to know:

Before you do anything else, you need to finish writing your book.

You’ll learn so much just by doing it that by the time you get to the last page, you’ll be a much better writer than when you started. I know this from experience, and so does every author who ever finished a book. Writing your first book is an education in itself.

Don’t be tempted to go back and “fix” your old chapters as you go. Keep pushing ahead. Write one page after another until you reach “The End”. That’s an accomplishment you can really be proud of.

And above all, have fun writing!

Do you have a question about writing a novel? Ask it here.

Categories: For Writers, how to write a book, how to write a novel, writing, writing a book, writing a novel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.