Never Tell Me the Odds

I often talk with authors who want to pursue publication but worry about the sometimes-overwhelming odds involved in finding an agent and a traditional publishing house. Some turn to self-publishing not because they want to self-publish, but because they’re overwhelmed by the odds. In the immortal words of Han Solo, “Never tell me the odds.” …and don’t let them be the reason you decide on a publishing path. Self-publishing is a fantastic option for people who want to self-publish, whose talents are a match for the process, and who want to become an author-publisher. Self-publishing isn’t a good decision for people who simply feel overwhelmed or “tired

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Crafting the Perfect Elevator Pitch (Part 1)

An “elevator pitch” is a hook, high concept, and/or logline-style pitch for a novel (or other creative project) which a writer presents to an editor, agent, or other unsuspecting victim who ends up trapped in an elevator (or other awkward social situation) with the author. Good pitches are short, distinctive, and make the listener want to know more. The pitch is the way you persuade someone to read your manuscript or novel. Authors need a solid pitch for every project (and series), whether the work is published, unpublished, or in progress. Also, the pitch must be deliverable in less than a minute,  preferably in a single breath–regardless of the genre or complexity of the work. A

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Mount Mizen, Biting Flies, and Sacred Deer

During last summer’s research trip to Japan, we spent the night on Miyajima, a sacred island off the coast of Hiroshima. The island is home to Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines (specifically, Itsukushima, whose Grand Torii gate is one of Japan’s most iconic images) The deer wander the island unimpeded, many so tame (and used to handouts) that they approach or follow visitors, begging for food or a scratch behind the ears. Signs on the island warn visitors that the deer are wild, and ask people not to feed them, but it’s clear the deer don’t read the signs, and they hope the people don’t read them either.

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