How I’ve Written: A Voyage of Exploration

I don’t think there’s a “One Weird Trick” approach to building a writer’s toolkit that will work for everyone. The ways I’ve written in the past don’t work for me today, and today’s method may not work for me a year from now. What’s important is that your infrastructure blend into the background; you should use it, without being aware that it’s there. And when it doesn’t work, change it up.

The Mysterious Art of Preparing a Fiction Synopsis

Although publisher/agent guidelines vary in the specifics, most novel queries require a cover letter, one to three sample chapters and a synopsis. Synopses, however, tend to bedevil early-career writers. They’re presented, usually, as an afterthought, or as some sort of back-of-the-cover tease — and therefore, the synopsis becomes the silent killer of what otherwise could have been a perfect pitch.

Writers’ Conferences: 12 Tips for Success as an Attendee

Writers’ conferences open several valuable opportunities to authors — the chance to learn from peers, to buy books, to network with other writers, to stumble upon new potential markets, etc. But before you sign up for every conference in a 150-mile radius, consider your goals and the conference’s agenda. Even a free conference might not be worth what you paid to attend it.

Give Yourself the Gift of These 12 Most Useful Writing Tools

Many authors rely on Word or Writer and they do just fine. But those programs weren’t designed for long-form creative writing in mind. Word and Writer are ubiquitous; people tend to have these programs and they already know how to use them, so they use them. And no one begrudges them that. But wouldn’t it be great to use the right tool for the job? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to make use of programs designed for long-form writing and optimized for use with publishing software, or to add plugins to Word to make it more useful for long-form writing?

An Author’s Guide to Book Covers and Interior Design

In the very large publishing houses, authors typically have zero control over the formatting of a book’s interior or the design of its covers. Even well-recognized writers often don’t know what the book will look like until it’s delivered into their ink-stained fingers. The smaller the publisher, however, the more the author can exert influence over a book’s aesthetics.