WORK WITH SUZETTE IN PERSON IN 2023!!

Your Story Matters

Don’t Read the Comments

I’ve finally arrived as a writer because now I know why they say “Don’t read the comments.”

Insert sad face.

If you’ve read my latest newsletters or you follow me on social media, you know that I had an essay go viral on today.com.

Haven’t read it yet? Here it is!

What a high that was to have that piece published and to hear that it was one of the site's most viewed posts that week.

And then the comments by members of the general public rolled in…

There were 3 categories of comments.

Some were lovely:

“This is a beautiful story. I applaud her!”

“So brave!”

“Love the Slinky story!”

Some were in the vein of: “I’m not a lesbian and I drive a Subaru.” 

Are there really that many people incapable of understanding irony or taking a joke?

Or as one commenter wrote: “The number of y’all declaring your heterosexuality because of an inside joke in the LGBTQ community is both...

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What's My Story Really About Anyway?

My essay “The Subaru Should Have Been a Sign,” went viral on today.com.

I still can’t freaking believe it.

In case you haven’t read it yet, click on this link.

Barb from Subaru Customer Service reached out to say that her colleagues were in awe of the piece. “It really resonated with us,” Barb said. “Everybody at some point needs to take a big leap and follow their heart.”

My heart took a little leap at that moment, and I may have even gotten a bit choked up. Because isn’t that what we all want as writers? To know that our writing connected with a reader. That we touched someone’s heart. That they felt seen or known or less alone.

And the interesting thing for me—so far—has been that I’ve heard from at least as many straight readers as I have from readers in the queer community.

Because my piece wasn’t about being gay or coming to terms with my sexuality later in life. That was the...

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My 15 Minutes of Fame

Hi Suzette, the email began from an editor I had pitched two months earlier.

I am so sorry for the delay in responding to you! But I love your essay and I’d be happy to publish this on TODAY.com.

Have you already placed it elsewhere? Please let me know if it’s still available.

"Holy shit!" I screamed at my sister from the passenger seat of the car.

A few days later, "The Subaru Should Have Been a Sign," was published.

The editor emailed two days later to say that my essay had been one of their top performing pieces all week, with over 250,000 views. 

I won't deny it: the 15 minutes of fame have been a blast.

Subaru has reached out—as has a reality TV producer! Don't worry, I'm not planning to be the next Real Housewife, although the new face of Subaru might not be a bad gig.

But more important than the 15 minutes of fame is that I've taken my writing to a new level. I'm more confident. I'm less afraid of putting...

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How to Write An Effective Query Letter

Have you ever been brought to your knees by 300-400 words?

Truth be told, I have. 

Ahh ... the dreaded query letter. A three-paragraph email sent to an agent or editor with a single purpose: to entice them to read your book proposal or manuscript.

The first time I queried agents for Graveyard of Safe Choices, my memoir about reclaiming myself at midlife, was in the winter of 2021. I had set a deadline for myself to have queries sent before I turned 60.

I met my deadline. Hooray!

But my queries were met with form rejections or silence. A sign that the query was NOT working—no one, apparently, wanted to read more.

I went back to revise the query—and ultimately the manuscript.

You see, an unsuccessful query isn't always just about the query: often it reveals problems with the manuscript.

When your query is fuzzy and vague, it can indicate that you really don't know what your book is about.

And...

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The OMG Email

The road to publication can be long, as I've shared in a recent post

It also can be filled with rejection and never-to-be-answered queries.

And then there are those moments like my client Sarah had the other day. I won't tell you too much about her book—yet—as there are more steps on its path to publication.

But an OMG!!! email is a time to celebrate.

As soon as I read Sarah's "OMG! Can you call me?" email, I picked up the phone and seconds later I was on the verge of (happy) tears.

A dream agent had offered her representation.

He GOT her book. WHY it was important for women. Why it was important NOW.

And the book proposal that got this agent's attention?

"It's one of the best I've ever read," the agent told Sarah.

I can't lie—that comment was the icing on the cake.

My clients and I work hard—often for many months—on these proposals—which are documents that make the business case for their book. 

What their...

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Stories Bring Hope and Light into a Dark World

client stories Jun 29, 2022

Today is the last day of Pride Month. Normally I'd write an upbeat post celebrating the LGBTQ+ community I'm now part of—sparkly rainbows and all.

But frankly, I'm not feeling very upbeat or sparkly these days with the stripping away of women's rights and marriage equality likely next on the chopping block.

Instead of wrapping ourselves in rainbows, my wife and I are researching the best places for LGBTQ+ folk to live if—when?—things get worse in this country.

Some days feel very dark.

Then there are those unexpected moments of hope when glimmers of light shine through the cracks. The light that's always there even when we can’t see it.

This week my clients—LGBTQ+ folks & allies as well as passionate advocates for women's rights—have been those glimmers of light for me.

Here are some of their stories:

  • An unexpected journey to parenthood that leads to the courageous decision to step into this person's authentic...
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The Long Road to Publication

publication publishing Jun 21, 2022

When I connect with a friend I haven't seen in a while or a new acquaintance who knows I've written a memoir, inevitably I will be asked a variation on one of these questions:

What's happening with your book?

When can I buy your book?

When's your book coming out?

Most people can't imagine why it's TAKING ME SO DAMN LONG TO WRITE AND PUBLISH MY BOOK!

Truth be told, when I started this memoir journey 4+ years ago, I had no idea it would take this long either!

A few months ago, I blogged about my memoir journey

  • 2018 - 2019: 1st draft
  • 2019: Revision and beta readers
  • Early 2020: Thought I was ready to query. A book coach told me I wasn’t. “You don’t know what your book is about yet.” Ouch. I took a break. Thought about writing another book. Ate a lot of sourdough bread and drank a lot of wine.
  • Summer 2020: The memoir wouldn’t leave me alone. I tackled another revision.
  • Winter 2021: Drafted a proposal and query letter. Surely my...
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Tell An Author You Love Their Book

Uncategorized Jun 15, 2022
 

Recently I blogged about the protestor who showed up at my wedding and why it's important to be visible and share our stories.

Here's the post in case you missed it »

Lots of you responded to the post. Thank you! I love getting feedback from readers because sometimes as a content creator, it feels like I'm writing into a black hole.

So here's a tip for those of you who are readers—which I'm assuming are all of you!  If you read a book you love, post about it on social media and tag the author. Trust me. It doesn't matter how "big" an author they are—they will appreciate the fact that you took the time to reach out.

That book you just read likely took years to create. Years where the writer experienced self-doubt. Where they wondered what they were doing. Where they asked themselves if anyone would even care.

Let them know you care!

So here's a tip for those of you who are readers—which I'm assuming are all of you!  If you...

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My Wedding Had a Protestor

"We had a protestor at our wedding," my wife tells anyone who will listen. "I consider it a queer badge of honor," she always says, with a smile.

Maybe she's right, but a year ago when I spotted a man on a step ladder blurting obscenities through a megaphone at our wedding party, I felt horrified—and afraid.

Would he follow us through the streets of Lancaster? Were there more people like him around every corner? Would a fight break out? Would my wedding day be ruined?

I had no such worries on my first wedding day, thirty-five years earlier. The day where I wore my mother's Priscilla of Boston wedding gown and my father walked me down the aisle of the Wellesley College Chapel to my soon-to-be husband.

The man I would build a good life with. Have two sons with. The man whose heart I would eventually break when I came to terms with my sexuality late in life. The man who let me go with grace and compassion. The man who continues to extend both to me.

No, that...

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No More Transphobic Bestsellers

A few weeks ago I was doing some competitive title research for my Write Yourself Out Foundations writers. Competitive titles, also known as comparable titles, are books that a writer's ideal reader would also be reading. When a writer is drafting a book proposal, which is a detailed business plan they use to pitch their nonfiction book, there's an entire section devoted to competitive titles. The point of the section is to show how your book will fit into the marketplace. How is your book in conversation with other books in its category?

I surfed around Amazon and landed on the LGBTQ+ Demographic Studies category—and what I discovered was truly horrifying.

Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters by Abigail Shrier, a disgusting book with an even more disgusting cover, was #1 in the category.

When I checked today, it had fallen to #2.

Now I don't even want to dignify this piece of trash by giving it a lot of air time. If you...

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