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Let's Get Real: Bravery & Accountability

let's get real Mar 30, 2021

Bravery means doing something scary—Elizabeth Gilbert

Writing is an act of bravery. Putting your thoughts, ideas, your story, your choices—your life!—onto the page for the world to see is scary. And it’s also exhilarating. 

>> We do it because the work matters to us.
>> We are not hobbyists. We’re creators.
>> We’re scared, and we write anyway.

Ask yourself: When does fear show up in your writing life? What are your strategies for handling it when it does? 


How to write: Stop not writing. Get and keep your butt in chair—Anne Lamott

Distractions, procrastination, self-doubt, and fear: all forms of resistance that keep us from putting our butts in the chair and writing.

Resistance is universal and insidious—all writers experience it so don’t beat yourself up when you do.

TIP: Find out what works for you and stick with it. My personal plan for getting my work includes non-negotiable time blocks...

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So You Want To Write A Book: Creativity and Fear

A few weeks ago, my whole body was shaking as my right index finger was poised to press SEND. The email on my laptop screen was a request for a “blurb,” aka a testimonial, for Graveyard of Safe Choices, my memoir about weighing the costs of authenticity and becoming brave at any age. I had a list of authors—some famous, some less than famous—with whom I had some personal connection.

Their testimonials would help elevate my manuscript as I pitched it to agents and editors—the gatekeepers in the book publishing industry.

That rush coursing through my body? I recognized it. It was fear. What if no one said yes to my request? What if no one even deemed my request worthy of a response?

I thought of the hours—truly the years—I had put into this book project. My story, my life, my choices, AND my ability to effectively communicate all of that on the page—were about to be put on display for the world to judge …

FEAR. It shows up for...

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Choose A Working Title

book coach clarity title Nov 25, 2020

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Choosing a working title is a clarifying exercise that helps you define your book idea before you’ve even written a single word of your manuscript.

Some quick dos and don’ts:

  • DO brainstorm your title. Try to come up with at least 15 possibilities.
  • DO narrow your list to your top 5, then do some research on Amazon. Are there other books with the same title in your genre? If so, can you tweak your title to be slightly different?
  • DO ask a few friends what they think about your top ideas. If there's consensus, adjust your list accordingly.
  • DO choose one title to be your working title—for now :)
  • DON’T get too wordy. One-word titles are super popular now. Think Untamed. Wild. Pivot. Platform. Educated. Caste.
  • DON'T choose something vague or confusing. If your title doesn’t communicate something central about your book idea or story, it probably isn’t going to be effective. Or if it makes you think the book is...
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Draft Your Jacket Copy

Uncategorized Nov 10, 2020

What is Jacket Copy?

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Jacket copy is exactly what it sounds like—it’s the copy you find on the inside flaps of  jacket of a hardback book. On a paperback—where there’s no jacket—you find it on the backcover.

Remember when we used to roam around bookstores and pull out a book? Jacket copy is what you’d read to discover whether you want to buy the book.

Jacket copy is sales copy. It lets the reader know what the book is about, why they should care, and ultimately why they should buy it.

Why should you care about jacket copy?

As an aspiring author, there are at least three reasons you should care:

#1: Jacket copy forces you to describe your book in a very succinct fashion. If you can’t do that, chances are you are still fuzzy about your book idea—the main point. It’s a sign you still have work to do.

#2: Whatever you choose for your publication path, YOU will ultimately be number one marketer of...

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Nail Your Elevator Pitch

The Elevator Pitch is an important step in building the foundation for your nonfiction book. Your Elevator pitch—or your logline (what they call it in the movie biz)  is the 1-2 sentences you want to glide easily off your tongue when someone asks you what your book is about.

If you do the hard work now, you will save yourself a lot of heartache and embarrassment and the uhh … my book is kind of about this … and it’s about ... Trust me, I know all about fumbling when it comes to describing your book.

Photo by Russ Ward on Unsplash

Why an Elevator Pitch?

An elevator ride is about the amount of time you have to capture someone’s attention. If you stammer and hesitate, that elevator door is going to open and your audience is going to walk out … you will have missed your chance to tell them about your book.

Let's talk about WHY it’s important to have an elevator pitch. 

Once you decide to write a book—you should...

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Why It Makes Sense to Plan Your Book First

There's value in building your book’s foundation first, even if your preferred style is to just “get the words out on the page.” Planning doesn't have to squelch creativity. 

Two different styles of writers: Pantsers & Plotters

Pantsers comes from “fly by seat of pants”—just getting your words onto the page.Freewriting: the proverbial "shitty first draft," memorialized by Anne Lamott in Bird by Bird . Some writers do find their story, their message by writing first.

Plotters plan out the PLOT or the trajectory of their book. Some  like to plan out every detail in advance. They like to know exactly where going before they write a single word so then they just have to execute.

In my experience, the style of writer usually mimics their personality style. If you are familiar with the Myers-Briggs personality test, take a look at the fourth set of personality pairs: “Js” & Ps—judging and...

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From Idea to Publication: Key Decision Points Along the Way

Sometimes the book-writing journey can feel like a long winding road. 

While every journey is different, there are common steps and common decision points in every journey:

Every book starts with an idea. Test your idea. Talk to colleagues. Do some research. Make an initial decision: Go or no go.

Decide on your genre: Memoir? Self-help? Something in between. Each genre will have implications for next steps and for your structure. 

Decide on your publication path, at least make a tentative decision early on. With my clients we talk about this early in our process: their goals and the pros and cons of traditional publishing vs. self-publishing.  This is a big decision. It will set in motion your next steps. Do I write a book proposal or draft my manuscript? It also will have a huge impact on your timing.. If you are self-publishing, you can get your book out much more quickly.

Another big decision: do I go it alone or get help? That was an easy...

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5 Steps to Building Your Author Platform

author platform Sep 23, 2020

Author Platform is a scary and mysterious term for many writers. Let’s unpack it.

Michael Hyatt, author of Platform, says platform "is the stage you use to connect with readers. It’s how you get noticed in a noisy world."

Tim Grahl, author of Your First 1000 Copies says author platform is “code for how you are going to sell your book.”

Platform is finding the people who connect with what you write, building real relationships with them by being, as Tim Grahl says, “relentlessly helpful,” and then offering them a product—your book—to purchase when it’s ready.

Notice, I didn’t say ANYTHING about having thousands of social media followers. This is one of the biggest misconceptions about “platform.” Platform does NOT equal social media or number of followers. Social media is useful in building your platform - but it’s only one of many tools. 

5 Key Steps

Step 1: Get absolutely clear and be...

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Let's Talk Money!

money publishing writers Sep 16, 2020

The universe is divided into two kinds of writers

#1: Writers who don’t care about making money with their books.

#2: And writers who do care.

The writers who don’t care—the creatives, the artists—they have a story they HAVE to share … regardless of whether they make money or sell many books. 

Many memoirists fall into this category. They have a lived experience that has meant so much to them that they have to get their story out of their head and their heart … and hopefully some people will read—and buy—their books, but making money is not why they write.

To be clear, it’s not that these writers are opposed to making money, it’s just that money isn’t what’s driving them. They’d write even if they didn’t make a single dime. And many of them will spend many, many dimes to help them write the best book they can:  on writing conferences, book coaches, self-publishing, and...

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Newsflash: People Are Still Reading Books!

books genre publication Sep 08, 2020

Great news for authors! People are still reading books!

Here’s the big picture based on data from 2019:

  • Printed books continue to dominate the industry
  • Audiobooks are the fastest-growing product in the publishing industry.
  • Self-publishing remains hugely popular.

What GENERATION reads the most books? 

The answer may surprise you. It's MILLENNIALS, those born between 1981-1996,  followed closely by baby boomers.

As the parent of two millennials, this surprised me! All the handwringing my peers and I did, worried that “technology” would be the end of reading.


Gen Z: humor, Millennials: health and wellness books, Gen X: crafts and hobbies, Baby Boomers: cookbooks, and the Silent Generation: biographies and memoirs.


If you are someone who is thinking about writing a book, may I state the obvious? You need to be reading in the genre that you are planning to write in. If you’re...

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