The Three Best Things You Can Do for Your Writing Career

You know I’m not usually one for these “Number of Things” articles, but this is something I repeat so often—because I really believe it—that I figured it was an appropriate follow-up to the Elements of Fiction series.

You’ll find plenty of advice about how to improve your writing craft. Read widely, write a lot…that sort of thing. All true, of course.

But this list is about how you can develop your writing career. Continue reading

Upcoming writers conferences

I am a big believer in writers attending conferences. Next to belonging to a great critique group, it’s the best thing you can do for your writing career. You’ll build relationships with writers and others in the business that will help you pursue your career. You’ll take classes to improve your art. And you’ll have the joy of being around people who understand what you mean when you say, “My hero went a completely different direction than I expected. He really surprised me.”

I’ll be on faculty for two Florida conferences that are coming up. Continue reading

What is Speculative Fiction, anyway?

Realm Makers

One of the great things about attending the Realm Makers conference is that when you say you write fantasy, people grin and say “cool, what kind of fantasy?” and then let you go on about whether you have dragons and magic or not. Because unlike other Christian writers conferences, this one is just for those of us who write speculative fiction.

In the real world, often as not, “I write fantasy” draws blank stares and comments like “what does that mean, exactly?” Continue reading

How to pitch a book

When attending writers conferences, many people get extremely nervous about meeting with editors and agents. I know I certainly have. It’s understandable. The key to remaining calm when you pitch a book is realizing, first, that agents and editors are just regular folks doing their jobs, and second, that you will get many, many rejections before you get an acceptance. When you start understanding “no” as just another tick on your list of things to do, it gets much easier to move on. Continue reading

How to Design a One-Sheet

Also called a pitch sheet, a one-sheet is basically an advertising flyer for your book. Many writers use them at conferences to help break the ice with agents and editors, as I mentioned in my post about what to bring to a writers conference.

Designing a one-sheet is relatively easy. I’ve heard tell of writers paying graphic designers to do this work. At the risk of angering my graphic designer friends, that is overkill. You don’t need to be a designer to put one of these together. You also don’t need a full-on design program like InDesign. Microsoft Word will work well enough, but Apple Pages is better if you have a Mac. Continue reading

How to design your writer’s business card

A professional business card is the one thing you must have, especially when you are attending a conference. You do not want to be scribbling your contact info on Post-it notes or torn-out notebook pages.

There are lots of places to buy business cards: any of the big-box office supply stores, Zazzle, and others. Expect to pay about $20 for 250 business cards, which will last you for ages. Continue reading