Saturday, July 24, 2010

Your Book Starts Here--Online Class *or* The Surprising Benefits of Online Learning While You're Writing Your Book

When my novel, Qualities of Light, was published last fall, I celebrated as anyone would, enjoying the readings, book signings, and kudos fully. The book did well, got some good reviews. I even had my brief moment in the sun, being interviewed on WNPR.

Then the furor died down. I unpacked my suitcases, went back to my writing desk, and faced my next book-in-progress.

Post-publication is a bit like the aftermath of a great party.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Emotional Truth--What You're After in Your Book, After All

Each book we write, each essay or story idea we decide to commit to the page, signals a kind of journey for the writer that is very personal and unique.  It's a journey of emotional truth, and because of this it has everything to do with the writer, very personally.

It's simplistic--even foolish--to think we're just scribing stories.  If our books contain any emotional truth, it's because we've learned about ourselves in the process of writing.

A reader from another country recently wrote me a beautiful letter about my novel, Qualities of Light, which was published last fall.  These communications always arrive when I'm discouraged about my writing life.  They are the real reason I write books.  I love the miracle of a topic I'm deeply concerned about also touching another soul.

Monday, July 12, 2010

What's a Successful Book Launch?

After you spend hours, months, years on your book, after it's ready for publishing, after you get that amazing phone call that says, "We'd like to publish your manuscript," or you successfully travel through the land of self-publishing, the fun begins.  It's called a book launch.

Mary, a former student who's been through my book-structuring workshops, recently got her memoir accepted for publishing.  This is great news for her and for her future readers, since it's a good story that needs to be out in the world. 

She's going through all the normal flurry that precedes a book launch and sent me a good question:  What exactly is a successful book launch?  The publisher has their ideas, and you have yours.  Will the two ever meet?  And how can an author tell if she's done everything she possibly can to get her book into the hands of readers?

How Publishing Has Changed--Now It's Up to You
I first began publishing books in the 1980s.  Life in publishing was very different then, a luxury adventure for authors compared to the working one now. 

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Looking Back: When Backstory Helps and When It Hinders Your Writing

When we begin writing our books, we feel an urgency to catch the reader up, bring them over the hurdles of history in our story. We have a lot of past to pass along. We think this past is essential: If the reader doesn’t know Jane was traumatized as a child, how will she understand why Jane is so careful with her adult relationships? If the reader doesn’t know the entire history of the Scout troop, will he get why the boys are intensely loyal to each other?

But what’s more important—to make sure your reader understands why you are telling this story?  Or to get that reader engaged so they'll keep reading?