What Next? 15 Questions to Help you Decide Your Next Writing Project


I was lucky enough to get an Advanced Reader Copy of Chip and Dan Heath’s new book, DECISIVE: How to make better choices in Life and Work. You may know the Heath brothers from their previous books, SWITCH: How to Change Things When Change is Hard and MADE TO STICK: Why Some Ideas Survive and […]

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Author Bios: Concise, Relevant and Fascinating

Just as you need a bio ready for multiple purposes, you should have author photos ready. I try to have a photo in 100x100 pixels, 250x250, 500x500 and at least one with a 300 dpi (high resolution) for print situations.

When you write an author bio, what you include depends on, well, you. Bio for Query Writing a query letter requires a compressed bio of just a couple sentences. Here, you want to touch on the highlights of your career. I might write: Published in eight languages, I have books with Greenwillow/Harpercollins, Philomel/Penguin, Houghton Mifflin […]

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Writers Must Be Readers

Darcy Pattison Reading

What comes out depends on what goes in. Garbage in, garbage out. Literature in, literature out. But what if there’s nothing going in? I’ve been reading less lately and it shows in less coming out. Well, that’s not strictly true. I’ve been reading, but mostly internet articles, websites, blogs–not books. This week, though,I’ve read two […]

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Advice to a Beginner

Advice from the Sage One

Writing for Kids? It’s easy, right? Recently, I’ve talked to several beginners and here’s some of the most common advice I give. Main Character to Relate to and Identify With What age are you writing for? Adults? Then, you need an adult main character. Teens? Then, you need a teen main character. Elementary age kid? […]

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Geoff Herbach: 2K11

Low-res used under Fair Use

Replace Abstractions with Concrete Detail! Guest post by Geoff Herbach Introduced first in 2007, debut children’s authors have formed a cooperative effort to market their books. I featured Revision Stories from the Classes of 2k8 and 2k9 and this feature returns this year with the Class of 2k11. Class of 2008 Class of 2009 MORE […]

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Social Media for Authors: Start Slow

In Social Media: the turtle wins.

In a recent post about Facebook Author Pages, Nathan Bradford said: When fan pages were first created, I think people were kind of nervous to get started on them due to the whole “fan” thing. It seemed a bit presumptuous to have a fan page when one wasn’t a celebrity. But Facebook pages are increasingly […]

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The New Facebook Page for Authors

Darcy Pattison

Today, everyone should be rolled over to Facebook’s new Page features. Why should authors care? Because it gives us new ways to interact with each other and with our readers. LIKE my Facebook Page: I know there are neat, nifty little buttons you can put here so you can LIKE my Page without going there. […]

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Snow Days: 3 Tips for Unexpected Days Off


Arkansas was blanketed with snow yesterday, up to 2 feet in NW-Arkansas, and about 6″ (officially) in central Arkansas, although it looks like much more to me. When you have an unexpected day off, what do you do? Read. I had already bought Paolo Bacigalupi’s book, Shipbreakers, which just won the Printz award for best […]

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Author as Publisher?

Richard Curtis in a recent EReads post asks a provocative question: Do authors make good publishers? The question is in the context of ebooks, keep that in mind. They point to high-profile authors who have tried this route this year: Cory Doctorow, Seth Godwin and J.A. Conrath. Curtis concludes that the services of a publisher […]

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Advice for Younger Writers

Dori at 21

Guest post from Dori Butler What advice would you give to your younger self? I’ve always wanted to be a writer. Always. But wanting to be a writer is probably a lot like wanting to be a baseball player. Or a movie star. A lot of people want it, but most will settle for something […]

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PR Starts with Websites: Keywords


PR Notes: Start with Optimized Websites The first thing you should do for book publicity promotion is a website (or a blog). I know. Most of you have one. But let’s do a check to see if it’s the most effective it could be. 1) Put your name into a search engine. Great. Your website/blog […]

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Weaving Background.


In a recent post, Gail Carson Levine discusses how to get background material into a story without the use of a flashback scene, along with tips for when you do use a flashback. Weaving in Backstory Poem. She points out that in her story, The Two Princesses of Bamarre, she uses an epic poem: everyone […]

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3 Keys to a Successful School Visit


I just finished a great school visit. Driving home, I realized there were some keys to making it great. Communication. It’s essential to communicate with the venue effectively right from the first contact through the actual event. I try to respond within 24 hours to requests for

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