Category Archives: Writing Advice

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Of All Things: The Signature

Congratulations! You’ve published a book, and people are lining up to buy it. Now begins the trickiest part of an author’s journey: signing your own book. You’ve read an excerpt, charmed the crowd. You’ve perfected the swooshy drama of your signature. … Continue reading

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The Ploughshares Round-Down: Labels, Action, and Confidence

A couple weeks ago, author and marketer Ryan Holiday wrote a piece for Thought Catalog titled, “Can You Call Yourself a Writer?” In it, he argues that “[j]ust because you have done something, doesn’t mean you are something.” In other words, calling yourself … Continue reading

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YA vs MFA

I’m not a rule-breaker. I like order and organization (lord help you if you try to cut in front of me in the burrito line). And generally I don’t go looking for trouble. Except when it comes to writing YA. … Continue reading

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A Checklist of Book Proposal Essentials to Go Through Before You Start Schmoozing Agents

In my wildest fantasies, an editor from Seal Press stumbles upon that personal essay I wrote about the awkwardness of babymaking sex—or the blog post I wrote about landing a husband despite being a crazy cat lady, or that other piece I … Continue reading

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The Ploughshares Round-Down: Hashtags and Heresy

Hello again, Writers. So I was driving to New York City a few weeks ago for a conference at NYU, where I talked about the ways story and song benefit public discourse. To say I’d been obsessing over the political impact of storytelling … Continue reading

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Research Unleashed! And Leashed.

I knew I had a problem when I started envying my dog’s cone collar. Now, my dog’s problem was a hot spot. Allergic, itchy, hot, and double-coated, my German Shepherd had chewed her hind leg raw over the course of … Continue reading

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Writers With Responsibilities: Patience is a Way of Life

Dear Sally, I want it all, NOW! What do you have to say to that? Your friend, Veruca Salt   Dear Veruca, You can stomp and jump up and down all you want—but the truth is, if you’re a writer … Continue reading

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WWTMD? (What Would Toni Morrison Do?)

Lately, during the sad, unproductive stretches of writing my first novel, I stare at an empty page and whisper, “What Would Toni Morrison Do?” This is the closest I come to prayer. Please show me the way, I say to … Continue reading

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The Ploughshares Round-Down: Three Things Writers Can Learn From Solange and Jay Z

Between Jill Abramson’s indecorous firing and Amazon’s ongoing vendetta against Hachette, the publishing world gave me a lot of potential topics for the Ploughshares Round-Down this week, which I’m covering for Tasha Golden while she takes some well-earned time off. … Continue reading

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The Ploughshares Round-Down: How Publishing Looks From the Agent’s Side

If I were forced to write a mission statement, it would be short and sweet: “Help authors. Have fun.” It’s easy for anyone in this business to lose sight of the fact that we do what we do because we love … Continue reading

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