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Platform? Say What?

by Laura Munson

For all you writers out there, here’s the deal-- with a golden solution at the end:

(The news as it was delivered in June, 2009…and what happened when I paid attention)

“What’s that you said?  Platform?  I’m sorry, I don’t think I heard you right.  Must be the truck that just ran me over.  Could you come again?  I think what you said is that it’s practically impossible to get my books published in today’s market without a Platform.  Is that correct?” 

Big-time New York publishing-world person responds. 

Turns out I heard right.

“I need to sit down.  I think I’m going to throw up.”

Big-time New York publishing-world person says something about it being good news.  That I don’t have to throw up.  That social media is the new frontier and it’s full of Platforms.  Exclamation point.  Smiley face.  Like she’s just come back from a blogger’s convention or took a hit of Ecstasy or something.  more...


Embrace Your Editor
(but Not in a Weird Way)

by Erin Brown

You’ve slaved for months, years, decades even, to finish your manuscript. You’ve tackled all-nighters, tear-your-hair-out rewrites, grueling, self-imposed deadlines; you’ve grappled with creative juices that either flowed until you were drunk with brilliant narrative or dried up to leave you parched, devoid of inspiration, sobbing onto your keyboard. You get my drift. You’ve poured your heart and soul into this baby of yours and then, finally, you get it into the hands of an editor—whether it be a freelancer (like moi—the best kind, of course) or an editor at a publishing house (wow, also fabulous and just like me—at least in my past Manhattan life). You couldn’t be happier! Finally, someone to tell you how wonderful your writing is! To affirm what you’ve known all along; that your novel/memoir/epic saga/brilliant tome will change the literary world as we know it. more...

Writers Can Reach Multitudes, Multitudes

by James A. Haught

In 2002, elderly Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia gave fervent Senate floor speeches against the looming U.S. invasion of Iraq. But the Washington press corps ignored him. He drew little coverage nationwide by newspapers, television news or wire services. Byrd's voice was mostly lost.

Then an amazing thing happened. That global marvel, the Internet, took command. War opponents began e-mailing Byrd's speeches to friends, who forwarded them to others. Before long, they had spread to thousands of Americans, plus more thousands overseas. His words blanketed the planet, spontaneously, spread by avid readers. They were posted on many Web sites for everyone to read. Byrd became an international hero to war-questioners. His speeches were assembled into a book.

There's a lesson here for every writer, political or otherwise.  It's a new ball game.  more...



by Jennifer Paros

Several years ago, a social worker named Julio Diaz was mugged during his subway commute to the Bronx.  A teenage boy threatened him with a knife and Julio gave him his wallet.  Then Julio offered him his coat to keep him warm, and suggested they have dinner together.  The boy questioned him but agreed. They went to a familiar diner; the mugger took note of how nice Julio was to everyone, saying, “I didn’t think people actually behaved that way.”  Diaz offered to treat for the meal but said he’d need his wallet back to do so; the boy returned it without hesitation.  Then he gave the teen twenty dollars and asked that he give him the knife.  And the boy did. 

Diaz later said, “I figure, you know, if you treat people right, you can only hope that they treat you right.” 

We are often taught that trust is to be reserved for those situations or people who present themselves in such a way as to inspire trust within us – those who have proven themselves trustworthy.  This is an idea that makes a kind of mathematical sense, but in no way speaks to the greater power of trust, the tremendous benefits it can garner, and doors it can open. more...


What Does It Mean to Be an Author in Today’s World

by Terry Stevens-Ayers

What does it mean to be an author in today’s world?  Five years ago, it started with the blessing of an agent to represent you, hopefully proceeded to an investment from a publishing house, and ended with a physical copy of the book in your hands.  You could walk into a bookstore or public library and find something you wrote sitting on the shelves.  I had that wonderful feeling when my Star Trek book was published in 2006.  Since then, however, the game has changed.  

With the Internet explosion, information can reach the reader instantaneously. With the release of the Kindle, the Nook and other e-reader devices, the book paradigm has also shifted.  Now authors have the opportunity to make their works available to the general public without involving an agent or publisher at all. more...


The Stages of a Character Arc

by Jason Black

The most common piece of advice you're likely to hear about creating lifelike, fully three-dimensional characters is to give them a character arc.  "Let the character grow and change throughout the story," you'll be told.  "Show us that the character has emerged from the story as a better, wiser human being."

Great.  But that doesn't simply mean adding a scene in which the character realizes he has a problem, decides to act differently, and is immediately cured.  Like magic!  That's not how life works.  Personal growth is a process, and there’s a framework you can use to guide that process in your novels. 




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