Guest Bloggers

Best Writing: From the Heart

Guest Blogger Sarah Chauncey writes about increasing energy, exploring ideas, and preventing burnout: You’re driving on a long stretch of highway when you have an insight about your main character’s childhood. Or you’re mid-hair-rinse in the shower, when you suddenly understand how to bring together the braided strands of your novel. Or you wake up at 2 a.m. with the resolution to that thorny plot issue you’ve been wrestling. Have you ever noticed how many ideas arise when you’re not sitting at the keyboard?  As writers, we’ve all experienced the law of diminishing returns—the point at which our writing stops being generative and begins to feel like we’re pulling each word from our synapses by hand. I spent the better part of a decade investigating how to create what I half-jokingly call a “law of increasing flow.” How might writers support our writing practice in a way that doesn’t leave us mentally…

Guest Bloggers

3 Things I’ve Learned About Storytelling (and Life) from Performing Narrative Nonfiction

Guest Blogger Anastasia Zadeik writes: The bar is hushed. I stand at the podium, bright lights partially obscuring the crowd. I see a blur of faces and blank spaces, hear ice clinking in a glass somewhere to my right and murmurs from the back of the room where drinks are being ordered and served. I am about to start speaking when I remember a tip I was given by my first performance coach, Jon. “Before you begin,” he said, “take a deep breath and remind yourself to . . . slow . . . down.” This, I have found, is good advice and, as Oscar Wilde famously said, “The only thing to do with good advice is to pass it on” so… 1. Before you start a story (or anything new)—take a deep breath and remind yourself to slow down. I begin to read the narrative nonfiction piece printed on the…

Places to submit

University Presses

“The backbone of many university presses’ trade programs is probably familiar: local and regional history, cookbooks, photography books, and other sorts of consumer-friendly titles with an obvious connection to the area or university. But many also offer a home for books that are niche, experimental, challenging in various ways, and/or just kind of weird.” —Adam Rosen, Why You Should Consider a University Press for Your Book, Jane Friedman’s Blog, April 5, 2022 A few university presses Fourteen Hills, The San Francisco State University Review The Green Hills Literary Lantern, Truman State University Bayou Magazine, University of New Orleans

Just Write

‘Tis the season . . . NaNoWriMo

‘Tis the season for NaNoWriMo. National Novel Writing Month is held during the month of November. Have you ever done it? Have you thought about it and wondered if you could or should do it? I say: Go for it! What do you have to lose? And, you might gain some excellent writing. “National Novel Writing Month began in 1999 as a daunting but straightforward challenge: to write 50,000 words of a novel in thirty days.”  Sharon Oard Warner says “A work of fiction that logs in at 50,000 words is actually a novella . . .” So, if the idea of writing a novel is overwhelming, consider writing a novella. Prepare for NaNoWriMo Julie Artz writes about her NaNoWriMo experience on Jane Friedman’s blog, “Want to Win NaNoWriMo? The Secret is Preparation.” Learn from her mistakes to get “that coveted NaNoWriMo win.” Prolific author Bella Andre wrote about her struggles…

Guest Bloggers

Help might be where you least expect it. Just ask.

Excerpted from “Where Do You Hang Your Hammock?: Finding Peace of Mind While You Write, Publish, and Promote Your Book” by Bella Mahaya Carter. When you’re out there promoting your book, you’ll have to ask for all sorts of things. This might feel hard. You may make up stories, such as I don’t want to “bother” people or be a nuisance. You may feel as if you have no right to ask for what you want. You may even feel, deep down, as if there’s something wrong with asking. Of course, nobody likes rejection, either. We don’t want to hear the word “no.” But how people respond has more to do with them than with you. If you can blow by the nos, you’ll pick up enough yeses along the way. So don’t let that stop you. Those stories running through your head, that make asking for what you want seem unsavory, doesn’t mean…

Guest Bloggers

Just be yourself.

The definition of marketing is connecting with people in a human way and doing it as authentically as possible. Writing can heal and transform lives. Guest blogger Bella Mahaya Carter shares her epiphany about newsletters and marketing. Sometimes I want to lay down my ambition, hit cruise control, and glide through life.  But as an author (and human being) there’s so much I don’t know and want to learn. Case in point: I had a wonderful experience publishing my memoir with She Writes Press. I’ve come close to selling out my 1000-book print run—except for a few boxes left in my garage, which remind me of this important fact: books don’t sell themselves.  The realization that I (along with most authors today) need to take responsibility for the business part of my writing life has been sobering—but also, surprisingly fun. I’ve been reading marketing books the way I used to read craft books as a young writer—inhaling…

Just Write

Myths and Realities of Blogging

I recently spoke at a meeting of the Writers of the Mendocino Coast, a branch of the California Writers Club, on the subject of blogging. I recommend the blogs and books mentioned below. And of course there are many other blogs, books, and information about blogging on the world wide web. Highlights from my talk on “Myths and Realities of Blogging” If you don’t have a blog, but think you should, something to think about is why? Why should you have an author blog? “Blogging is simply a medium that allows you to connect with people who love the same books, hobbies and activities you do.”  — Gabriela Pereira, May/June 2018, Writer’s Digest magazine Author Blog Find Your Target Audience: Read the reviews of books in your genre on Amazon or Goodreads. Use words from the reviews for your headlines and tags in your posts. What to Post Stories about…


“The key to a good essay is conflict, and . . . Victoria Zackheim

“The key to a good essay is conflict, and the story’s (and character’s) arc. People have to change during the story, whether fiction or non-fiction. — Victoria Zackheim, interviewed by Chris Jane in Victoria Zackheim is the author of the novel The Bone Weaver and editor of six anthologies: He Said What? Women Write About Moments When Everything Changed The Other Woman Twenty-one Wives, Lovers, and Others Talk Openly About Sex, Deception, Love, and Betrayal For Keeps: Women Tell the Truth About Their Bodies, Growing Older, and Acceptance The Face in the Mirror Writers Reflect on Their Dreams of Youth and the Reality of Age Exit Laughing: How Humor Takes the Sting Out of Death and the upcoming FAITH: Essays from Believers, Agnostics, and Atheists (Feb. 2015). Victoria’s play, The Other Woman, based on her first anthology, will be featured in OneNight/OnePlay, and her play Entangled, an adaptation of the memoir Entangled:…

Guest Bloggers

Guest Blogger Amanda McTigue talks about marketing your book

So, you’ve got your book written, or almost written, or you have an idea for a book, but you’re stuck dead in your tracks because you detest the marketing aspect of the book business Amanda McTigue says, “No doubt about it: we writers love to write, hate to sell. How could it be otherwise? We’re the odd balls who’d rather spend vast quantities of time alone in our imaginations. And yet these days, we’re told not only must we craft (and sometimes publish) our works, but also find readers to read them: a daunting challenge compounded by our own dread. What’s a writer to do?” Amanda shares resources on one of our least favorite challenges: marketing yourself and your book. “The Psychology of Writer Promotion. How to Promote Yourself,” Chuck Wendig “Book Marketing 101,” Jane Friedman “Five Mistakes You’ll Make on the Way to Publishing Success,” Carmen Amato via Jane…