20 Mistakes New Authors Should Avoid

Dallas literary agent Jim Donovan told an audience of aspiring, Arizona writers that he sees new authors make the same mistakes over and over. Donovan, a literary agent and author of A Terrible Glory: Custer and the Little Bighorn | The Last Great Battle of the American West, reduced his experience in the publishing industry […]

Pitching to Agent Michael Carr

Pitching a novel to agent Michael Carr couldn’t be easier, especially if you know what to avoid. “The Number 1 thing is don’t brag and say ‘I can make you millions,’” said Carr, an agent with Veritas Literary Agency. Carr doesn’t care if you’re a rookie. Can you tell a story? “If I can’t put […]

Direct Observer | A Camera’s-Eye Point of View

by Marylee MacDonald in For Beginning Writers, For Readers

 The Direct Observer point of view (also called the Third Person Objective) forces a writer to “show don’t tell.” Indeed, you can’t tell. You must only show, and if you want to portray characters with inner turmoil, you will have to figure out how to convey those feelings through dialogue. Direct Observer is a tough […]

Sagas | The Magic of a Storytelling Voice

by Marylee MacDonald in For Beginning Writers, For Readers

Sagas are one of our most enduring story forms. In sagas the voice of a narrator takes us back into a heroic time of grand deeds, power struggles, and families pitted against one another. Sagas are about survival. Something is a stake. That’s why sagas make terrific templates for new writers. Here you sit in […]

Breaking Into Libraries Without Getting Arrested

by Marylee MacDonald in For Writers Who Need Readers

If you present a library program that attracts an audience, you will help librarians achieve their goals, which are to bring information to the public and new patrons to the library. Let’s be clear about one thing, however. A library program  is not a reading. Unless your name is Amy Tan or John Grisham, no […]

Ten Honest Review Sites for New Authors

Books flood into review sites, and the sheer numbers overwhelm book review editors. They must make choices: the big New York publishers or the little guys? Publicists are Tweeting the editors and importuning them with e-mails. “Well, are you going to review my guy or gal or not?” Probably not. There’s just not time. And […]

Library Sales | Getting Books Into Readers’ Hands

You went to the library as a kid. When you were in junior high school, librarians helped you with your homework. Well, guess what? Libraries and librarians are still there, and a library is still a great place to connect with people who are passionate about books. Speaking at a library will help you connect […]

Kick Off Your Novel With a Great First Line

by Marylee MacDonald in For Readers, For Writers Doing Revisions

The first line of your novel could be the most important sentence you write, but don’t worry about perfecting it until you’ve written all the way to the end. Your first and last lines are what connect the arc of the plot, and if you don’t yet know how the story ends, you can only […]

Does A Pen Name Protect An Author?

by Marylee MacDonald in For Beginning Writers

Does the pen name Richard Bauchman mean anything to you? How about Robert Galbraith? Okay, here’s a third: Rosamond Smith. The true names of the authors above are Stephen King, JK Rowling, and Joyce Carol Oates. Unlike most new authors, these famous writers didn’t write under a pen name because they were afraid of getting […]

Could A Writing Getaway Improve Your Focus?

by Marylee MacDonald in For Writers Doing Revisions

A writing getaway can inspire you to write your novel or finish it. I plan a getaway when I’m doing my final edits and don’t want a lot of distractions. You know the kind of distractions I mean. People hoping you’ll put a meal on the table table. Laundry in the dryer. Weeds in the […]