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Your query letter—or your jacket copy—KNOWS. It knows if you’ve got a whole story in there, if there’s an arc of change, if there are stakes, if there’s a why now and a why this and a why her/him. You just have to be willing to listen. Julie Artz, query coach extraordinaire, and KJ talk about mistakes writers make in our queries—and more importantl…
 
Your query letter—or your jacket copy—KNOWS. It knows if you’ve got a whole story in there, if there’s an arc of change, if there are stakes, if there’s a why now and a why this and a why her/him. You just have to be willing to listen. Julie Artz, query coach extraordinaire, and KJ talk about mistakes writers make in our queries—and more importantl…
 
Okay, some us (hand up here) start ALL THE THINGS. But some of us don’t like to start what we don’t think we will finish (and even those of us who start a lot sometimes beat ourselves up for that). But if you don’t start stuff you cannot finish stuff. So: here’s Becky Blades, author of Start More than You Can Finish (which—and this is a big deal—wa…
 
Okay, some us (hand up here) start ALL THE THINGS. But some of us don’t like to start what we don’t think we will finish (and even those of us who start a lot sometimes beat ourselves up for that). But if you don’t start stuff you cannot finish stuff. So: here’s Becky Blades, author of Start More than You Can Finish (which—and this is a big deal—wa…
 
On this week’s episode, Jess and KJ talk to Kristen Mei Chase, an OG mommy blogger, journalist, former professor, podcaster, CEO of the Cool Mom Picks Network, and now, novelist. Her book, Thousand Miles to Graceland comes out on January 24, 2002, and we discuss the long road to publication for her (very personal) story. #AmReading Kristen: Celeste…
 
On this week’s episode, Jess and KJ talk to Kristen Mei Chase, an OG mommy blogger, journalist, former professor, podcaster, CEO of the Cool Mom Picks Network, and now, novelist. Her book, Thousand Miles to Graceland comes out on January 24, 2002, and we discuss the long road to publication for her (very personal) story. #AmReading Kristen: Celeste…
 
Hello #AmWriters! Someone in the #AmWriting Facebook group asked about the best ways to connect and build relationships with bookstores, so we decided to revisit this older episode with bestselling author and Emmy-winning television host Mary Laura Philpott. Drawing on her many years working at Parnassus Books and launching her own books into the w…
 
Hello #AmWriters! Someone in the #AmWriting Facebook group asked about the best ways to connect and build relationships with bookstores, so we decided to revisit this older episode with bestselling author and Emmy-winning television host Mary Laura Philpott. Drawing on her many years working at Parnassus Books and launching her own books into the w…
 
A few assorted 2023 goals that I have no doubt I can achieve: * Finish this box of Wheat Thins * Take down holiday decorations before July. * Read … some books. * Let the dogs in. Hey, look at that. Already I can check off #1. Jess, Sarina and I just aren’t feeling the goals this year. Oh, we have them. But they’re mostly “do that again” or “yeah, …
 
A few assorted 2023 goals that I have no doubt I can achieve: Finish this box of Wheat Thins Take down holiday decorations before July. Read … some books. Let the dogs in. Hey, look at that. Already I can check off #1. Jess, Sarina and I just aren’t feeling the goals this year. Oh, we have them. But they’re mostly “do that again” or “yeah, stick wi…
 
We make a point of setting goals every year—and, even more importantly, actually looking back to see whether we achieved them, and why. We’ve talked a lot in past years about the importance of setting the right kind of goals (you can get a short PDF on goal-setting and a worksheet below)—by which we mean goals you can control. You can’t sell your b…
 
We make a point of setting goals every year—and, even more importantly, actually looking back to see whether we achieved them, and why. We’ve talked a lot in past years about the importance of setting the right kind of goals (you can get a short PDF on goal-setting and a worksheet below)—by which we mean goals you can control. You can’t sell your b…
 
Finishing a draft is glorious. Realizing you have to revise it—especially the first time—is … not. That’s the focus of this bonus episode. We’re thinking, maybe it’s post NaNoWriMo, it’s December, and you’re sitting on on a draft, a real honest-to-gosh draft of your first novel. And you should be thrilled, happy, pleased as punch. But since you’re …
 
My motto for 2023 is “good writing comes last” but it might as well be “story first”, which is why we’re re-sharing this interview with Anna North, author of three novels, most recently Outlawed—the January 2021 Reese’s Book Club pick. Outlawed has a powerful theme and message and what we call, in the interview, a “poke-in-the-gut point”—but it als…
 
My motto for 2023 is “good writing comes last” but it might as well be “story first”, which is why we’re re-sharing this interview with Anna North, author of three novels, most recently Outlawed—the January 2021 Reese’s Book Club pick. Outlawed has a powerful theme and message and what we call, in the interview, a “poke-in-the-gut point”—but it als…
 
Hooks, tropes, high concept. Comps. The publishing world tosses those phrases around like juggling balls, and I for one (as usual it’s KJ here) had a hard time understanding them for ages, especially the idea of a hook. But now I get it. A hook, in short, is the thing that gets someone—agent, editor, reader, movie-goer, etc—to say, following a one …
 
Hooks, tropes, high concept. Comps. The publishing world tosses those phrases around like juggling balls, and I for one (as usual it’s KJ here) had a hard time understanding them for ages, especially the idea of a hook. But now I get it. A hook, in short, is the thing that gets someone—agent, editor, reader, movie-goer, etc—to say, following a one …
 
Hi all, Jess here! I’ve been getting a lot of questions in the #AmWriting Facebook group and in my DM/emails about speaking, so I’m going to do a series of bonus episodes about the topic. There’s so much to talk about, but since so many of the questions are about speaking agencies (working with them, getting one, how much of a cut do they take, how…
 
Sometimes you have to start with a memoir (that you never publish) to figure out who you are and where you’re going. Today’s guest has a nice impressive bio—but 8 years ago, she was just a writer staring at a screen and working on, as many of us do when we first start, a memoir. Emily Grosvenor is the editor of Oregon Home magazine, Willamette Week…
 
Sometimes you have to start with a memoir (that you never publish) to figure out who you are and where you’re going. Today’s guest has a nice impressive bio—but 8 years ago, she was just a writer staring at a screen and working on, as many of us do when we first start, a memoir. Emily Grosvenor is the editor of Oregon Home magazine, Willamette Week…
 
Hey #AmWriters! Jess here. I recorded a bunch of videos to answer all of your questions about creating video for book marketing but in the end, I figured an entire episode needed to happen in order to really get into the topic. I started creating daily videos based on the content in The Addiction Inoculation because I wanted to the information out …
 
Hey #AmWriters! Jess here. I recorded a bunch of videos to answer all of your questions about creating video for book marketing but in the end, I figured an entire episode needed to happen in order to really get into the topic. I started creating daily videos based on the content in The Addiction Inoculation because I wanted to the information out …
 
Pain by Elsie Robinson Imagine discovering that one of the highest paid, most well known journalists in the world, whose voice dominated the Hearst media empire for more than 30 years, who wrote something like 9,000 published articles… has basically disappeared from living memory. That’s the story of Julia Scheer and Allison Gilbert’s biography: Li…
 
Pain by Elsie Robinson Imagine discovering that one of the highest paid, most well known journalists in the world, whose voice dominated the Hearst media empire for more than 30 years, who wrote something like 9,000 published articles… has basically disappeared from living memory. That’s the story of Julia Scheer and Allison Gilbert’s biography: Li…
 
Ever feel like some things are just outside your ken? I’m that way with literary magazines. And I’ve never found the right retreat or residency, or applied for a grant, and I know sometimes it’s just that I don’t think I belong in that world. But worlds don’t usually just reach out and drag you in. That’s a fave theme of ours around here—you can’t …
 
Ever feel like some things are just outside your ken? I’m that way with literary magazines. And I’ve never found the right retreat or residency, or applied for a grant, and I know sometimes it’s just that I don’t think I belong in that world. But worlds don’t usually just reach out and drag you in. That’s a fave theme of ours around here—you can’t …
 
Many of you have heard me (this is obviously KJ) whine about my revision in process. Well, I’m here to report that it’s done, and successfully. Below is a full description of the process, and in the episode you’ll hear me talking about it with Jennie Nash. I detail everything except the Peeps that fueled me, and I decided it was wrong to leave them…
 
Many of you have heard me (this is obviously KJ) whine about my revision in process. Well, I’m here to report that it’s done, and successfully. Below is a full description of the process, and in the episode you’ll hear me talking about it with Jennie Nash. I detail everything except the Peeps that fueled me, and I decided it was wrong to leave them…
 
Sometimes your first book is a gateway. For me—KJ—it was Reading with Babies, Toddlers and Twos, a book I wrote in 2006 with Susan Straub. Susan was the expert and I was a rising writer with a lesser expertise riding on her coattails. We pitched the book before I had many bylines at all—but adding the words “is the author of the forthcoming book…” …
 
Sometimes your first book is a gateway. For me—KJ—it was Reading with Babies, Toddlers and Twos, a book I wrote in 2006 with Susan Straub. Susan was the expert and I was a rising writer with a lesser expertise riding on her coattails. We pitched the book before I had many bylines at all—but adding the words “is the author of the forthcoming book…” …
 
I (KJ here) adore Nanowrimo. Tell me it’s impossible to write a whole novel in a month, especially a month with Thanksgiving in it, and I will set out to prove you wrong. My first novel, The Chicken Sisters started as a NaNo project, as did Playing the Witch Card (which is probably coming out in Fall 2023). I… cannot NaNo this year (yes it’s a verb…
 
I (KJ here) adore Nanowrimo. Tell me it’s impossible to write a whole novel in a month, especially a month with Thanksgiving in it, and I will set out to prove you wrong. My first novel, The Chicken Sisters started as a NaNo project, as did Playing the Witch Card (which is probably coming out in Fall 2023). I… cannot NaNo this year (yes it’s a verb…
 
Listeners, we’re sharing this interview again because if you’re not already subscribed to Theodora’s substack, you should be. We sent you a taste of it this morning on top of this episode. We adored talking to TT, as we like to call her around here—but now that she’s revved up her Substack, every single time we’re texting back and forth about its b…
 
Listeners, you KNOW we got granular with this one because there are just plain so many links! Terena Elizabeth Bell has been writing all her life. Her first short story was published in a literary magazine when she was in college—almost thirty years ago, and she’s published many since and won multiple awards. She’s also written for more than 100 pu…
 
Listeners, you KNOW we got granular with this one because there are just plain so many links! Terena Elizabeth Bell has been writing all her life. Her first short story was published in a literary magazine when she was in college—almost thirty years ago, and she’s published many since and won multiple awards. She’s also written for more than 100 pu…
 
If you’ve listened to any of us for any time at all you know we love Laura Vanderkam, author of I Know How She Does It and 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think. People often attribute to KJ a piece of advice she learned from Laura: People are a good use of time. We think of Laura every time we start to call ourselves “too busy” and then rem…
 
If you’ve listened to any of us for any time at all you know we love Laura Vanderkam, author of I Know How She Does It and 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think. People often attribute to KJ a piece of advice she learned from Laura: People are a good use of time. We think of Laura every time we start to call ourselves “too busy” and then rem…
 
Alexis Hall describes himself as a genrequeer writer of kissing books. You may know him as the author of Boyfriend Material and Rosalyn Palmer Takes the Cake, both of which we’ve talked about here. But like recent guest Emily Henry and so many others, those successes were far from his first rodeo. Head to his website, quicunquevult.com, to see the …
 
Alexis Hall describes himself as a genrequeer writer of kissing books. You may know him as the author of Boyfriend Material and Rosalyn Palmer Takes the Cake, both of which we’ve talked about here. But like recent guest Emily Henry and so many others, those successes were far from his first rodeo. Head to his website, quicunquevult.com, to see the …
 
Kids, this interview with Gretchen Rubin is just too good not to share again. Find more about Gretchen, and sign up for her always interesting newsletter, here. Want to know which tendency you are? Take the quiz here. And which tendency would you attribute to your hosts? Answers coming soon… (or maybe in the episode…) Don’t forget that Author Accel…
 
Kids, this interview with Gretchen Rubin is just too good not to share again. Find more about Gretchen, and sign up for her always interesting newsletter, here. Want to know which tendency you are? Take the quiz here. And which tendency would you attribute to your hosts? Answers coming soon… (or maybe in the episode…) Don’t forget that Author Accel…
 
THIS EPISODE. “Overnight success” Emily Henry reminds us that she’s not—she published three sad-and-serious YA novels before she embraced her real calling and wrote the book she craved—Beach Read, which she says “I never expected to send to anyone.” This discussion was so true to our hearts (KJ writing, Sarina co-signing). It’s hard to for some of …
 
THIS EPISODE. “Overnight success” Emily Henry reminds us that she’s not—she published three sad-and-serious YA novels before she embraced her real calling and wrote the book she craved—Beach Read, which she says “I never expected to send to anyone.” This discussion was so true to our hearts (KJ writing, Sarina co-signing). It’s hard to for some of …
 
WHOA heading into fall like Hope you’re feeling the fall mojo more than we are. Struggling here, which is a bummer because usually fall is the season that gives when it comes to forward momentum. We, a subset of three, can’t tell if this is a mood that’s overtaken us all, or if it’s life stage specific when you have kids leaving the house, or if it…
 
WHOA heading into fall like Photo by Gareth Harrison on Unsplash Hope you’re feeling the fall mojo more than we are. Struggling here, which is a bummer because usually fall is the season that gives when it comes to forward momentum. We, a subset of three, can’t tell if this is a mood that’s overtaken us all, or if it’s life stage specific when you …
 
It’s time to put this baby to work. What now? You’ll just have to listen. This is the last episode in the 10-part Blueprint for a Book Series. Start with Step 1, do the work (we’ll give you an assignment every week), and in 10 weeks, you’ll have a solid foundation for a first draft or revision of your project that will help you push through to “the…
 
It’s time to put this baby to work. What now? You’ll just have to listen. This is the last episode in the 10-part Blueprint for a Book Series. Start with Step 1, do the work (we’ll give you an assignment every week), and in 10 weeks, you’ll have a solid foundation for a first draft or revision of your project that will help you push through to “the…
 
If you’re not excited to dive in, something’s wrong. You’ve got a why, a point, an audience. You’ve thought market, found a way to drive your book forward. Found the one or two sentences that describe every chapter or scene and made yourself consider why those chapters or scenes belong and now—you should feel ready to write. But are you? Sometimes …
 
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