Into the Swamp

Into The Swamp

Very often I like to think of the writing worlds as a swamp. A big swamp infested with crocodiles and quicksand and rattlesnakes, and deep in the heart of the swamp is buried treasure. And of course the new author is like an intrepid explorer, foraying into that swamp with a single purpose, to retrieve […]

Building a Better Battering Ram

“When do I begin approaching agents?” I get that question at least once a week, and my answer is always the same: “When your novel is done. And by that I mean, well done!” I think that it is human nature to be eager. When we are working on a novel, and we’re excited about […]

How Good is Your Agent?

Every day on my Facebook page or in my emails, I hear authors proudly proclaim, “I’ve been approached by a literary agent!” in tremendous excitement, and my first question is “Which one?” Now, there are some great agents out there. One of my clients was approached by a superstar just yesterday. But then there are […]

Writing a Bestselling Series, Chapter 13: Strange Reviews

Most writers kill their own careers.  For decades now I’ve studied promising new writers, and sometimes after a writer makes a great debut, a few years later I wonder, “Where did so-and-so go?”  Many authors will start great but then quit the race. The most common mistake that a new author makes is that the […]

Building a Better Battering Ram

Last night, a new writer who is preparing his first novel asked, “When do I begin approaching agents?” I get that question at least once a week, and my answer is always the same: “When your novel is done. And by that I mean, well done!” I think that it is human nature to be […]

Stories and Stables

Many years ago, I heard a renowned magazine editor Gardner Dozois remark, “I don’t want just a great story in my magazine, I want a great writer in my stable.” He was talking of course about why he didn’t pick up new writers on their very first stories. He had a policy: if a new […]