Posts Tagged With: writing career

Should You Self-Publish Your Novel?

Ginormous Library

If you squint really hard, you can almost see my books … Oh wait, no, that’s James Patterson.

Which is better, self-publishing or a traditional publishing deal?

If you’re a hands-on, DIY type of person with an entrepreneurial mindset, then you might be better suited to self-publishing. If you’d rather focus on the writing and not deal with the rest of it, you might prefer traditional publishing.

I’ve done both. Here’s the truth: there are benefits and drawbacks to both self-publishing and traditional publishing.

Continue reading

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Win Literary Prizes and Help Fight Diabetes

Just a quick reminder that bidding starts Sunday for the Brenda Novak Diabetes Fundraiser.  This year, aspiring writers get a chance to win some incredible prizes.  Seriously, some mind-blowing stuff!  Like lunch with agents, editors and other Very Important People.  Or a chance to get your polished manuscript into the hot little hands of people who can actually get it published!

Also, this year, I’ve offered up my own humble donation:

Get your opening chapter into shape!

Get a critique of the first 25 pages of your novel manuscript, including personalized suggestions on how to polish this crucial part of your book.  (Submission must be made by November 1, 2011.)

Laurence MacNaughton is a writing coach and contributor to Writers’ Journal.  He teaches fiction writing at You Can Write A Novel .com.

Check out all the details:

http://brendanovak.auctionanything.com/Home.taf?_start=1

Remember: you can write a novel — and you can help a good cause!

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Meet a Literary Agent AND Help Kids Read — No Foolin’!

Listen up, true believers.  Think you can write a novel good enough to get published?  Find out this Sunday!

Literary agent and celebrated book genius Sara Megibow (of the incomparable Nelson Literary Agency) will lead a two-hour writing workshop open to any fiction writer.  (That means you!)  Aspiring writers from all over have benefited from her advice, and now you can, too.  Even better, 100% of all proceeds go to directly benefit the Boulder Jewish Day School.  So it’ll help your writing, and it’s a good cause!  What could be better?

Get all the unbelievable details here.  And have a great writing weekend!

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Nail Your Genre in 3 Easy Steps

Last week, I talked about how you can write a novel in any genre, as long as you know exactly what that genre is.  And believe me, you desperately need to define your book’s genre. As promised, here’s a nuts and bolts plan that shows you how to do it, in three outrageously simple steps:

1)  Pick a genre.  And by that, I mean walk into a major chain bookstore and wander the aisles until you find the section where your book belongs.  If it ain’t on a sign, bucko, it ain’t a genre!

2)  Find three recent, successful books in that genre that bear at least a passing similarity to yours.  Close enough that you could tell a complete stranger, “If you like this book, you might like mine!”

3)  Figure out the single most important thing that makes your story unique and fascinating.  You want to be able to say, “My book is like this one, except…” and then point out the key difference.  Example: “My book is like Robert B. Parker’s Spare Change, only the detective is a homeless man who can see the ghosts of the victims.”  Or whatever.

If it sounds like I’m coaching you on how to eventually approach a literary agent, then (BING!) check out your big brain.  I am.  You need to have this stuff figured out long before you send your manuscript to anyone.  (Bonus tip: you can start with the agents of the books you found in Step 2.  But not until you’re ready!)

Now, if you can’t find any successful books that are anything at all like yours — and I mean not even remotely — then I hate to say it, but you’re in trouble, my friend.  Rethink your concept and rework it until you can do the steps above.  Because if you can’t, then the marketing people at the publisher can’t.  And if they can’t, then your book is torpedoed.  Dead in the water.  Boom.

And nobody wants that. So get yourself to a bookstore, toots, and see what’s what!

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

Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, Now Featuring Yours Truly

If you’re a Colorado writer, you owe it to yourself to check out Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, a source of news, inspiration, critique groups, conferences and the occasional bestselling author. 

Editor extraordinaire Carly Willis puts together an excellent newsletter every month.  If you’re a member (or thinking of becoming one), check out the March newsletter, featuring an article by moi.  It’s absolutely jam-packed with life-changing writing advice that will make your life complete.  Or, failing that, it’s a good way to kill a few minutes while you’re sipping your coffee.

Either way, check out RMFW.org here, and join your local writers!

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What Kind of Writer Are You? Find Out!

Writers generally fall into three camps: hobbyists, aspiring professionals and working pros. The difference is not so much about your writing skills or experience as it is about your goals.

A hobby writer just wants to have fun with writing. You know what I mean: get together with friends, talk about inspiration, maybe write a few pages and share them with other people. The main goal here is to have fun and play around with creative writing. There’s nothing wrong with that; in fact, I imagine all of the best authors started out as hobbyists.
An aspiring pro, on the other hand, is serious about getting something published and making money at it, possibly even someday turning it into a living. This person writes something with the intention of eventually getting it in front of a literary agent and then an editor who will buy it and publish it.
A professional writer, by definition, is someone who writes and gets paid for it. The goal here is to keep a writing career going and growing.
Where you run into trouble is trying to pitch your tent in the wrong camp. If you’re a hobby writer and you try to team up with an aspiring pro, you’re both going to end up frustrated. You’ll think she’s being too harsh and not supportive enough — while she thinks you’re not “serious” about your writing.
Does any of this sound familiar?
As you learn how to write a book, ask yourself: What are my goals here? Am I trying to get published? Or do I just want to play around with writing? There’s no wrong answer. You only have to be honest with yourself.  I love cars, for example, but I’d never want to be a professional race car driver. Tuning up my carburetor and driving down to Cruise Night at the local diner is just fine by me. And that’s cool. With my writing, on the other hand, I’m focused on growing my career.
How about you?
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