Why Every Artist Needs a Confession Booth

Naming Our Truths as Creative People

You’ve just stepped into a confession booth, but don’t worry: I’m not a priest, and you don’t have to share your sins with me. This is a different kind of confession. I want to know your deepest fears and greatest hopes as a writer, artist, musician, leader, designer, or other creative role. What’s your deep […]

How the Right Mindset Leads Writers to Success

And How the Wrong Mindset Is Bad for Everybody, Especially Writers

Recently we had to send out the dreaded “OP” letter again. It goes something like this: Dear Author and Agent: We are writing to inform you that due to low marketplace demand for your book, we have decided to discontinue keeping it in stock. Sincerely, The Publisher “OP,” in other words, stands for “out of […]

Everything You Need to Know about Listening to Music While Writing

Sharing the Results from my “Writers and Music” Survey

First of all, thanks so much for your willingness to fill out my “Writers and Music” survey. (If you haven’t yet and you’re willing to help writers everywhere with two minutes of your time, click here.) This survey and blog post were born of my own curiosity. I regularly listen to music while I’m writing, […]

Nine Little Known Facts about Getting Published

Clearing Up Common Misconceptions among Writers

“We all want progress,” wrote C. S. Lewis, “but if you’re on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive.” If you as a writer pursue getting published with false ideas about how to get […]

How to Develop a Book Concept That Has Bestseller Potential

Identifying Readers’ Needs to Make Sure They’ll Be Attracted to Your Book

Recently a writer friend told me about her desire to write a book that wakes people up. “Everybody’s asleep,” she said, “they need to be woken up!” “OK,” I said, “but look at it from your readers’ perspective. What’s the need they would tell you they have that you want to help them with?” We […]

How to Write Your Book and Blog at the Same Time

7 Strategies for Succeeding at Both

Think of a drummer in a rock band. Somehow she manages to keep that bass drum going while rat-a-tat-tatting on all the snares and cymbals above. That’s what we want to do with our blogs and books. We want to keep our blogs dynamic and lively, releasing new posts regularly, while at the same time […]

How to Write a Nonfiction Book Proposal

7 Essential Elements and Ways to Stand Out

“It all starts with a book proposal.” That’s inevitably what I end up saying to a writer who asks me about publishing. As a 20-year publishing professional who has reviewed thousands of book proposals, I’m regularly asked for advice on how to get published. And that’s my answer: it all starts with a book proposal. […]

4 “Aha!” Strategies for Enhancing Your Writing

Simple Steps for Creating Epiphany Moments for Your Readers

Few videos are more mesmerizing to me than those that feature people who go from not being able to do something to suddenly doing it. In the following video, for example, an older colorblind man puts on special glasses and is able to see color for the first time. This is a beautiful example of […]

5 Ways Stories Can Make Your Writing Irresistible

Discovering the Many Forms of Narrative

The one thing all good writers have in common is the ability to tell stories. Stories draw us in. And when we read good stories from a particular author, we want to go back when that author tells more stories. It’s as if a transaction is always occurring just below the surface between author and […]