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Lisa Tener’s Writing and Publishing Blog

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Find articles on your most pressing book-writing questions.

The Squirtgun Approach to Motivation

Many writers find it challenging to sit down and write at will. They might schedule the time in their calendar to write, but when the time comes, they suddenly notice the grimy buildup inside the stove (time for some steel wool) or they head to the fridge to fix themselves a snack–anything to avoid writing….

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Is 2009 the Year for Your Book?

How to Write a book in 2009: You’ve pictured yourself on Oprah and run through the interview a million times. Now it’s time to actually write the book that’s going to prompt the interview. 1. Make the commitment: Hey, if you don’t commit, it won’t happen. Good intentions are like snowflakes. They eventually melt. Commitments…

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Are You Writing the Next Blockbuster?

The Wall Street Journal had an interesting article this weekend addressing the huge advances that publishers will pay for a title that goes to auction. Why, in this economy, are they taking such risks? And how can you have it work to your advantage? Anita Elberse, author of the article and associate professor at the…

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Small Publisher or Work on My Platform & Hold Out for the Majors?

What would you do in her shoes? Today I received an e-mail from a client asking me “writing coach” advice. I’ve changed a few details to protect her anonymity. It’s the kind of question you might be asking yourself, even if you don’t have a publisher yet. “Lisa, I was offered a “direct” publishing contract…

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Free Publicity to Expand Your Platform or Promote Your Book

I have a great free publicity tip for you today and it can work whether you’re working on creating more of a fan base and platform before your book is even published, or you’re looking to promote your just-published book. A new client recently called me for help with his book–an MD with prestigious credentials…

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E-books, Websites, Publicity: Answers to John’s Questions

John Perini asked a number of great questions about e-books and publicity as a comment to another post. I am answering them here as a post, because I thought the Write Your Book community might find them enlightening: 1. Do you feel it is OK to write a book for publication as an e-book and…

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Is it Harder to Sell a Book to Publishers in a Recession?

The unfortunate answer to this question is, “Yes.”  Yet, sometimes, “Obstacles can be turned into opportunities,” as my friend Patricia Raskin is fond of saying. I sent an e-mail to an agent two days ago for a very exciting how-to book, with a clear audience, from a first time author with some regional (but not…

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What if My Memoir Can Hurt Others?

Mary Beth asked, in a recent comment in response to my blog post Too Painful To Write: “I know that some day I will write a book that will help ME, but I’m terrified that people reading this book would be very hurt by it.  Just by telling my story from my point of view,…

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Writer’s Block

I just ready Cathy Stucker’s blog on Writer’s block and she brought up a good point about fear being a common cause of writer’s block. And, of course, the thing to do to get rid of fear is to do it anyway. However, As a writer and writing coach, I find that stress and depletion…

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Top 10 Reasons to Attend Harvard Medical School’s Publishing Course

I recently received the brochure for the 2009 course, Publishing Books, Memoirs and Other Creative Nonfiction, which is offered March 26-28 at Boston’s Fairmont Copley Hotel. Several of my writing coaching clients have told me they’ll be there. Will you? Even if you’re not a medical professional or health writer, I can think of a…

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How Do I Organize My Book and Reach My Audiences?

I am writing in response to Mary O’Connor’s comment/ question for the writing coach: “What advice would give to someone with a fully formed book about addicted mothers of young children? I don’t know how to frame the format and include my personal story, my professional story and the macro effects of current policy on…

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Answers to Kathi’s Questions about Agents and Publicity Expenses

I often hear questions about literary agents’ fees and book promotion expenses, such as those asked by Kathi McKnight in response to my last post. I’m sure many of my readers, students and writing coaching clients are burning to know the answers; so, rather than answer them in a comment, I decided to write a…

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Literary Agents: Worth Their Weight in Gold

Aspiring authors often ask me whether it’s important to have a literary agent. My answer, as an experienced writing coach, is always yes.  Recently, that answer really hit home when my client, Dr. Ellen Weber Libby, e-mailed me to say that her agent, Regina Brooks of Serendipity Literary Agency, had not only found her an…

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Thinking About The Power of the Written Word

I had been asked to participate on a panel for the Rhode Island Birth Network‘s Second Annual Fall Forum (which took place today) to discuss empowered decision making around birth. Erin Goodman invited me on the panel to share my birth experiences: a c-section in the hospital followed by an empowering and completely natural home…

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Too Painful to Write?

Sometimes I hear from someone who’s finding it too painful to write their story. Usually, they’re referring to a memoir, but sometimes they’re writing a self-help book that touches upon a painful real life story, or even a novel based on the author’s life.

My best advice is…

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Back from Retreat – Writing from the Heart

I began my retreat with an ayurvedic massage, followed by a walk in nature that led me to a beautiful labyrinth. As I walked the labyrinth, I found myself feeling peaceful. Afternoon yoga brought more peace and feeling centered in my body. By the time our writing workshop began at 7:30 pm, I felt ready…

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10 Hours and Counting…

My writing retreat starts tomorrow morning at 8:00 am as I drive north and westward. I’m only taking notebooks (the paper kind). Not sure why, but something is telling me I need to write long hand. I’m tempted to bring notebooks and folders full of notes for a couple of books I am thinking about…

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Create Your Own Low Budget Writer’s Retreat

The last two posts have been in anticipation of my personal writing retreat next week. Carol posted a comment saying she’d never been on one and can’t wait for her own turn. This post is for Carol and anyone else who thinks they have to wait for their turn. I will attempt to address every…

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Still Dreaming

I am still dreaming about my writing coach’s writing retreat. One week to go.

How does one prepare for a writing retreat? In the past, I’ve packed up all my notes on the book I’m working on, maybe some research to read over, and thought hard about what I would accomplish.

This time, my writing coach (me) suggested I try something new. I’m clearing my mind in preparation. I’m not even sure which book I’m going to work on. I probably won’t take any of my preparatory notes for my works in progress.

I admit, this is my book writing experiment…

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Writing Coach Retreat

As a writing coach, I think I have one of the most fun jobs in the universe. I love the process of helping people:

* Clarify their book ideas
* Learn the secrets of good writing
* Write a compelling book proposal
* Attract a top agent and publisher
* Enjoy the benefits of being a published author

There’s just one problem…

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