How to Get Your Money’s Worth from a Book Publicist

Why does one book achieve robust sales while another struggles to gain traction? While the ultimate test of a novel is what’s between the covers (the quality of the writing, the intricacies of the plot, the fascinating characters), there is no doubt that if a reader is not aware your book exists, they aren’t going…

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What Makes a Great Antagonist

Every novel needs conflict and the best way to do that is by creating a unique real-life antagonist, a flesh-and-blood character who stands in direct opposition to your protagonist and has to be conquered before your hero can achieve his goal. If you’re not sure how to create an antagonist that’s compelling and well-developed, here…

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Once the Party’s Over

I thought I’d prepared myself. I thought I knew what to expect. I was wrong. My novel, Truth and Other Lies, released into the world in early March. It was a labor of love for four long years. I lived through fifty agent rejections before signing with a small press which then proceeded to go bankrupt. I dusted myself off,…

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Naming Your Baby

You finally type those final two words – THE END – and sit back in your chair, put your hands behind your head, and let out a deep sigh. The manuscript is done. You’ve revised the plot, you’ve deepened the characters, you’ve proofread each line and corrected the typos and the dangling participles. But believe…

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We’d love you to speak. P.S. We can’t pay you.

Because my first book publishes in March, I’ve been approached for a few months now to speak at various events, primarily on the subject of debut novels and my journey to publication. None of these venues have offered to pay me, though others on the panels are being paid either a speaking fee or given…

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The Agony and Ecstasy of Choice

I’m a first-born. So of course my parents thought I walked on water (until my siblings came along at least) and they sent me a clear message—I could be anything I wanted if I put my mind to it. The trouble was I heard it wrong. I thought they said I could be everything I…

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Why This Story?

Ever find yourself wondering why you’re writing a particular story? Out of all the myriad tales out there, why do certain themes seem to pop up in your fiction more often than others? Why, when you analyze the themes you gravitate to, do they bear a startling similarity? Maybe you find yourself writing about the…

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Writing Retreats are Back

I’m just winding down from my first in-person writing retreat in what seems like fifty years. This one was within driving distance of my home in Milwaukee, was small (14 people) and affordable and I have to tell you, it reminded me of all the reasons I’m such a conference junkie. Yes, I’m that person…

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Advice to a Young Writer

Two weeks ago I took a workshop through International Thriller Writers from Lisa Unger who was describing her career as an author, including the 20-something books she’s written and I was suddenly struck by the fact that given my age and my career trajectory, there’s no way I will ever write that many books in…

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Eight Tips to Get Your Short Fiction Published

Eighteen months ago, when I became Managing Editor for the literary journal The Write City Magazine, I got 1-2 submissions daily in my in-box. This year that number has doubled. Perhaps it’s due to the pandemic and writers having more time. Perhaps more people are trying their hand at fiction and starting with short stories.…

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