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.
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...
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.
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...
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.
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...