Willpower vs. Social Media

Thursday, November 19, 2015

I’m supposed to give y’all advice on how to write through distraction, but that’d be like an active alcoholic talking you out of a bender. I’m grateful to my Debutante Ball friends for picking this topic because it forced me to assess the gravity of my current situation: A year ago I had no book deal and was last man standing on avoiding social media. I wrote 4-6 hours a…


Guest Blogger Stephanie Gayle, author of IDYLL THREATS

Saturday, November 14, 2015

  Stephanie Gayle is the author of MY SUMMER OF SOUTHERN DISCOMFORT, one of Redbook magazine’s Top Ten Summer Reads, and IDYLL THREATS, the first in a mystery series featuring police chief Thomas Lynch. Her short fiction and non-fiction have appeared in Kenyon Review Online, The Potomac Review, Punchnel‘s, and several other publications. She has been twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Ms. Gayle is also the co-founder of the…


The Dream-Come-True Part

Thursday, November 12, 2015

The sales cycle for I LIKED MY LIFE went like this: edit, send to a handful of publishers, collect rejections, err, I mean feedback, repeat. We were on round three of this daunting process when I sent my agent—the amazing Elizabeth Winick Rubinstein—my latest revision. I no longer obsessed about when I’d hear back, exactly who’d be pitched, etc. I’d come to peace with my always-the-bridesmaid-never-the-bride lot as a writer….


She Says Tomahto, That Guy Over There Says Tomato: My Experience On Submission

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

This week we’re talking about our submission process, and what’s been interesting to me is how different each of those processes were. Louise’s path was deceptively easy — she was fortunate enough to impress a great editor with her first forty pages, but then she had to fulfill the promise of those pages and nurture that editor’s interest for three full years. Jennifer’s first novel died in submission, and she…


On Not Selling a Book

Rejection Just Ahead Green Road Sign with Dramatic Storm Clouds and Sky.
Tuesday, November 10, 2015

This week we’re talking about being on submission and selling our books. I’ve discussed being on submission before. And I think my fellow Debs will have plenty to say on selling books. So I’m going to talk about not selling a book. We constantly hear of famous books that didn’t sell. Gone With the Wind was rejected thirty-eight times before it was published. Yet the fact is they are famous…


It takes as long as it takes…

Thursday, November 5, 2015

I once participated in an awkward conversation that went like this: “I want to write a novel and need to know how long it’ll take.” “Errr, yeah, it’d be nice to know going in, wouldn’t it?” He stared at me. “Sooo… how long does it take?” I laughed. “How long does it take you to write a novel? I’m sure I don’t know.” I mean, really, let’s consider the variables: How…


NaNoWriMo, Or How I Cheated My Way to Finishing My Novel

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

In 2001—yes 14 years ago—a friend of mine said, “I heard about this writing challenge where you try and write a novel in a month. It takes place in November and you need to write 50,000 words.” “That’s freakin’ crazy!” I said. And then a moment later, “I’m in.” So what that I was working at a 70-hour-a-week job? So what that I was planning my wedding? So what that…


On Time

Monday, November 2, 2015

Nineteen ways a writer looks at time. No time to lose­–Do not wait another second to start writing your novel. It’s a long process. The time is now. Doing time­­­–The hours you put in studying craft, through reading, taking classes, participating in critique groups and workshopping your draft. Spare Time–Something you will never have, ever again. Writing a novel is a large undertaking, and your writing time has to be…


No, really, it’s fiction…

Thursday, October 29, 2015

I once attended a book club where a subplot of the novel explored the stress erectile dysfunction put on a marriage. The author had done a fantastic job, so fantastic in fact, everyone was convinced he’d written from experience. As the only fiction writer in the room, I jumped to his defense. “It was a plot tactic,” I argued. They shook their heads, certain. “A man wouldn’t know how it’d make…


Wait — What If People Actually Read It?

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

This week, as I’ve laughed at and sympathized with Louise’s and Jennifer’s posts about their publishing fears (or, in the case of Jennifer’s bovinaphobia, non-publishing fears), I’ve wrestled with how to explain mine.  I’ve wrestled with it because it seems so counterintuitive, and more than a little self-indulgent.  Every writer who’s about to publish a book has the same overarching fear that trumps all the night sweats over readings and reviews:…