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Advice for New Authors: Two #1 Lesson...

Advice for New Authors: Two #1 Lessons

I recently led a discussion with a group of professional speakers about writing a book as part of a business strategy. We didn’t have time to address all the questions submitted in advance, and these two related but distinct questions about advice for new authors got shelved: What’s your #1 piece of advice for new […]

Book Marketing? First, Answer These 4...

Book Marketing? First, Answer These 4 Strategy Questions

Grow your social media following. Give away free copies. Become a guest blogger. The number of possible book marketing tactics is overwhelming. Online articles can convince you to pursue tactics that ultimately don’t support your business goals or strategy. Take a step back and think about what marketing is intended to do. Marketing helps: make […]

How to Stay Motivated to Write: Butt-...

How to Stay Motivated to Write: Butt-in-Chair Advice

  “I hate writing, I love having written.” —Frank Norris, novelist (often attributed to Dorothy Parker and many others) One of the most common questions I hear from newer writers is “How do I stay on track to finish writing my book?” Or a variation of it: “How do I stay motivated to write when […]

Creative Satisfaction: Does Your Book...

Creative Satisfaction: Does Your Book Support Your Heart?

When I speak with potential clients or colleagues interested in writing a book, I often find they have several ideas and don’t know which book to write. I sometimes offer strategic advice with my business hat planted firmly on my head. Which idea aligns with your long-term goals? What topic does your client base ask […]

3 Writing Techniques Nonfiction Autho...

3 Writing Techniques Nonfiction Authors Can Borrow from Poetry

(Welcome to guest blogger Rita Lewis, my editor extraordinaire!) It’s spring! It’s what you’ve all been waiting for… National Poetry Month! I can hear the eyerolling now. Nonfiction writers who want to change the world may find poetry a bit… irrelevant. Rhyme? Compressed language? Alliteration? Poetry can be all that—but so much more. It requires […]

Print vs Digital: Three Strategic Rea...

Print vs Digital: Three Strategic Reasons to Publish Paper Books

I love books. I have shelves and shelves of books in the basement—not to mention assorted “pretty” books on display in the living room and stacks and stacks of to-be-read books in my office. Sometimes I wonder if it would be easier to get rid of them and read everything on Kindle. And then I […]

Revision: You Mean I Don’t Have...

Revision: You Mean I Don’t Have to Get It Right the First Time?

When I first said, “I want to be a writer,” I took oodles of creative writing classes that incorporated “workshopping,” a process in which each student shares a draft and the group critiques it. After all the students had offered feedback, the instructor invariably would say, “I think your story starts on page three; cut […]

Opportunity Cost: What’s the Tr...

Opportunity Cost: What’s the Trade-off for Your Book?

“You have one dollar,” our teacher said. “You can spend it on a comic book or on candy—but not both.” She let us think about our choice. “If you choose candy, you can’t have the comic book. And if you choose the comic book, no candy. Whichever item you don’t choose is your ‘opportunity cost.’” […]

Trouble Getting That First Draft on t...

Trouble Getting That First Draft on the Page? Speak Your Book

When new acquaintances learn that I help business professionals write books, they often remark, “I have so many good ideas, but when I sit down to write, they just don’t come out the way I want them to!” After asking a few questions, I often suggest that instead of writing their initial content, they speak […]

Birthday Reflections on Finding Your ...

Birthday Reflections on Finding Your True Self

My heart broke when I saw the news of Ursula K. Le Guin’s death this week at age 88. As a child I found her fantasy and science fiction writing mysterious and subtle and confusing all at once. Her Earthsea trilogy had the greatest influence on me, and the first in that series, A Wizard […]

The Automatic Table of Contents: Your...

The Automatic Table of Contents: Your Secret Writing Weapon

You start with a writing plan—maybe it’s a mind map, maybe a detailed point-by-point outline, maybe just five key points and a few jotted subpoints. It’s your choice, depending on whether you’re a pantser or a plotter, whether you’re doing self-contained or emergent writing. Now you start writing. As the pages grow (because you are super-committed […]

How to Generate and Organize Ideas wi...

How to Generate and Organize Ideas with Affinity Mapping

So you have an idea for a book. You can see your title and your first paragraph AND NOTHING ELSE. The rest is an uncooperative snarl of shifting concepts that refuse to jump onto the screen and fall into a neat outline so you can begin. Enter affinity mapping, a quick way to brainstorm, categorize, […]

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Why, yes, I DO have an opinion…

My goal is to offer useful information, not only about the craft of writing but also about the strategy of writing and how to integrate your book into your business plan.

And sometimes I write just to amuse myself…

KEY5 Speaker Podcast

Speakers, check out the KEY5 Speaker Podcast on iTunes. Each episode is 15-30 minutes chock full of speaking advice. Yours truly is interviewed in Episode 110 and Episode 302.