3 Tricks for Character Names

For a long time I hated naming my characters. No sooner did I settle on a name and I would realize another book (or three) used the same name. The main reason I got myself into this renaming mess was because I followed some widely accepted writing advice, I used charts of popular baby names …
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Pitching 101: Twitter Fishing for Agents

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If you have pitched a novel in the last few years, chances are you have at least considered using a Twitter event. Pitching a manuscript to agents and editors this way is not without tribulations, and frankly it’s a bit like fishing. You’re casting your best tweet into the teeming waters of the hashtag feed …
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Pitching 101: Query Letters

The dreaded query letter! I think this pitch makes every writer slightly stressed out, and with good reason. It’s 250 words that might change your whole life. No pressure there! But before we get busy talking about some tips, let’s review the two cardinal rules of querying: Rule 1: Never give an agent an easy …
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Pitching 101: Finding Perfect Book Comps

The cornerstone of all marketing is the pitch. It is used to sell everything from political candidates to dish soap. I think every writer should know how to pitch, even if they have no interest in working with agents or publishers. Don’t you want to pitch your books to readers? And should you want to …
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7 Tips for Better Book Swag

Swag is the term used for the colorful marketing goodies authors give away to promote their books and brand. Swag is a big part of many book promotion packages, and it’s increasingly important in a crowded marketplace because it sends every prospective reader off with a little something to remember the book and author by. …
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5 Overlooked Pixar Storytelling Tips

I bet most writers have heard of Pixar Studios. They are the huge animation powerhouse that is now owned by Disney. They’re best known for a string of huge blockbusters films, all earmarked for family viewing. Even if you don’t make a point of watching Pixar films (and by the way you should), you may …
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6 Ways to End a Book in a Series

It’s not surprising that many writers want to create a book series. A series will often sell more books, and they can be faster and easier to write. Writing a series is such a big deal it’s not uncommon to hear aspiring novelists, many of them still working on the first draft of their first …
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