Tag Archives: writing

What’s your publishing resolution for 2015? Talking books on New Day Northwest

New Day Northwest picWe had the pleasure of talking with Margaret Larson on New Day Northwest this morning about resolutions that matter, namely getting a book deal in 2015! To that end, we talked about our upcoming retreat, Women & Words at Willows Lodge. From January 31–February 1, women are invited to come to the Willows Lodge in Woodinville and refocus on their book project.

No matter your genre or where you are in the writing process, our publishing retreat will give you all the tools and intel to complete a slammin’ proposal and submit with confidence in short order. Nothing makes us sadder than thinking about unsubmitted manuscripts. We demystify the process and break everything down into doable, digestible tasks you can complete in just a few weeks. We promise. Check out our New Day Northwest segment here.

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Give the gift of publication with our January publishing retreat

We’ve got the perfect gift for you or the writer in your life!

With the holidays behind you, refocus on you and your book proposal in the new year. We are hosting a publishing/writing retreat at Willows Lodge in Woodinville, WA from January 31-February 1, 2015. Whether you have a glimmer of a book idea or a polished draft ready to send to an agent, this weekend retreat will be both practical and motivational. Attendees will be treated to insightful, hands on workshops to move their book project forward, as well as time to put new ideas into action and onto the page. Find out more here.

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Publishing tip o’ the week: What is a book proposal?

Your path to publication all starts with a solid book proposal. Here, we offer our manifesto on the importance of a book proposal, the roadmap for your publishing journey.

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6 ways to create a great writers’ group

GroupWritingBeing a writer can be a lonely business. You, your computer, your cup of coffee–it’s no wonder you get stuck, and find yourself unsure if the last thing you wrote is brilliant or drivel. If you have a book project you’re trying to move forward, a writers group can be invaluable.  Sure, many writers cringe at the idea of sharing their own work and holding it up for critique. But if your goal is for your writing to eventually reach an audience (which includes reviewers), you might as well get used to that idea now. A trusted group of peers can offer encouragement, constructive criticism, and insights into your work that you simply couldn’t see before. Plus, the structure it provides gives members something perhaps even more vital–deadlines.  Here are some tips to keep in mind when forming your own writing group. (If you’re already in one, we’d love to hear your own–and what you’ve learned along the way.)

1. Keep expectations realistic. It’s great to be motivated enough to envision weekly meetings with your group, but it’s probably not doable. Think about monthly meetings to start.

2. Choose wisely. Tempting as it may be to populate your group with friends, think long and hard about who will be the best asset to your group–and who will be committed to it. Ideally, group members have a similar experience level, are comfortable giving and receiving honest feedback, and have opinions you trust. If you’ve taken a writing class, cherry-pick from your classmates.

3. Size matters. How many people to include in your group is a subjective call. A good number to start with about six to eight. Think of it this way: Chances are, at least one member will miss each meeting, and you want at least four other people reviewing your work in order to ensure the best possible discussion. Too many voices and the conversation can get muddled.

4. Give and take. Don’t expect to have your work reviewed every single time you meet. This is a group endeavor, and you’ll need to commit time and energy to other people’s writing. Plan to create a workshop schedule and alternate who is submitting work and who is reviewing it. You may also want to assign a workshop leader for each piece, so someone is responsible for kicking off the discussion and keeping it on track.

5. Manage your time. If your writers’ group routinely runs overtime, you’ll lose members. To keep everyone on task, have a time limit for talking about each person’s work before you move on, and stick to your schedule.

6. Set clear goals. In order for any group to work, you have to have to know your purpose. Some writers’ groups meet simply to write, without any more structure than that. Others meet to work on predetermined writing exercises, to talk about the writing process, or to workshop each other’s works-in-progress. Decide what your own goals are at the get-go, and revisit them with your group as necessary.

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January retreat! Women & Words at Willows Lodge

Willows3Saturday, January 31–Sunday, February 1, 2015

Do you dream of publishing a book, but aren’t sure what path to take—or even how to start? We’ve heard this a lot and we’re here to help. The good news is that it’s not that hard; in fact, it can be exhilarating, especially if you are guided and encouraged throughout the process!

To that end…

Start the new year by taking care of you and your book idea by coming to our one-of-a-kind retreat for women writers! Whether you have a glimmer of a concept or a polished draft, we have structured a weekend retreat to help you get published, no matter your genre. During this practical and inspirational weekend, you’ll be treated to hands-on workshops and receive individual attention to move your book project forward in a significant way. It all takes place at Woodinville’s acclaimed (and cozy) Willows Lodge, where distractions feel a world away.

Here’s what you’ll experience during this one-of-a-kind retreat:

  • On Saturday, we’ll focus on your book project and crafting a proposal. After a state of publishing overview, we’ll settle into the agenda, offering up-to-the-minute intel about what publishers and agents do and don’t want from new writers. After lunch, we’ll guide you step-by-step on how to create a killer proposal in a hands-on workshop. You’ll have a chance to meet other writers over drinks and dinner from the Barking Frog, before gathering for a late-night writing jam in your pajamas. We supply the milk and cookies and writing prompts!
  • On Sunday, we’ll turn our attention to the submission process and the ultimate goal of getting published. After an informal publishing chat and continental breakfast, get ready to brainstorm in a book marketing workshop. Fun exercises will result in a creative marketing campaign for your book and a solid author platform that you can present to publishers. We’ll end the day with an insightful and encouraging talk about submissions, query letters, and staying focused and motivated through the process.
  • Retreat attendees can add on optional activities, including a Sunday lunch or spa treatment.
  • A special room rate will be available for attendees who would like to arrive on Friday. We will be on hand Friday evening for an informal publishing chat and one-on-one time.

Rates starting at $756.50 per person (excluding tax and gratuity) based on double occupancy. To make your reservation, please contact Kathleen Boyd at 425-424-2589 or via e-mail Kathleen.boyd@willowslodge.com.

There will be a 7 day advance cancellation policy and package price will be charged at that time.

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Upcoming Business of Books Workshops and Appearances

Summer has arrived but we aren’t taking a vacation from our Business of Books offerings. And we hope that you are using the coming months to work on your book project. We can help. We are teaching around the Puget Sound area, sharing our 40+ years of combined publishing experience with aspiring authors.

Here’s the schedule of our upcoming workshops:

August 13: “Craft a Winning Book Proposal” workshop, Seattle, WA. It’s back! Our popular 3-hour workshop, held at the Hotel 1000, will take you through all the various elements that comprise a killer book proposal. No matter your genre or preferred route to publication, this class will strengthen your change for publication.

September 28: “Craft a Winning Book Proposal” workshop, Seattle, WA. In this 4-hour workshop, learn how to create a savvy and professional proposal that will make publishers and agents sit up and take notice. As industry insiders and authors, we will walk you through the key elements of any successful proposal—including title/subtitle, opening pitch, author bio, and marketing ideas—and help you polish each one with hands-on exercises.

October 25-27: Various workshops, chats and panels, Whidbey Island Writers Conference, Coupeville, WA. We’ll share our “Secrets of a Successful Book Proposal” and participate in a Publishing Panel during this literary weekend on charming Whidbey Island.

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6 ways to create a great writers’ group

GroupWritingBeing a writer can be a lonely business. You, your computer, your cup of coffee–it’s no wonder you get stuck, and find yourself unsure if the last thing you wrote is brilliant or drivel. If you have a book project you’re trying to move forward, a writers group can be invaluable.  Sure, many writers cringe at the idea of sharing their own work and holding it up for critique. But if your goal is for your writing to eventually reach an audience (which includes reviewers), you might as well get used to that idea now. A trusted group of peers can offer encouragement, constructive criticism, and insights into your work that you simply couldn’t see before. Plus, the structure it provides gives members something perhaps even more vital–deadlines.  Here are some tips to keep in mind when forming your own writing group. (If you’re already in one, we’d love to hear your own–and what you’ve learned along the way.)

1. Keep expectations realistic. It’s great to be motivated enough to envision weekly meetings with your group, but it’s probably not doable. Think about monthly meetings to start.

2. Choose wisely. Tempting as it may be to populate your group with friends, think long and hard about who will be the best asset to your group–and who will be committed to it. Ideally, group members have a similar experience level, are comfortable giving and receiving honest feedback, and have opinions you trust. If you’ve taken a writing class, cherry-pick from your classmates.

3. Size matters. How many people to include in your group is a subjective call. A good number to start with about six to eight. Think of it this way: Chances are, at least one member will miss each meeting, and you want at least four other people reviewing your work in order to ensure the best possible discussion. Too many voices and the conversation can get muddled.

4. Give and take. Don’t expect to have your work reviewed every single time you meet. This is a group endeavor, and you’ll need to commit time and energy to other people’s writing. Plan to create a workshop schedule and alternate who is submitting work and who is reviewing it. You may also want to assign a workshop leader for each piece, so someone is responsible for kicking off the discussion and keeping it on track.

5. Manage your time. If your writers’ group routinely runs overtime, you’ll lose members. To keep everyone on task, have a time limit for talking about each person’s work before you move on, and stick to your schedule.

6. Set clear goals. In order for any group to work, you have to have to know your purpose. Some writers’ groups meet simply to write, without any more structure than that. Others meet to work on predetermined writing exercises, to talk about the writing process, or to workshop each other’s works-in-progress. Decide what your own goals are at the get-go, and revisit them with your group as necessary.

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30 Days to a Winning Book Proposal Intensive Workshop Scheduled for 5/18

With our wildly effective proposal intensive, let 2013 be the year that you get a sweet publishing deal! Back by popular demand, we are offering our highly rated 30 Days to a Winning Book Proposal course. We are offering a full-day workshop on Saturday, May 18. We created this intensive program to illuminate each step of the book proposal process, breaking it down into an easy-to-follow 30-day plan. We will cover every aspect of the development process, detail how to write various components, and provide “homework” so you can move your proposal forward efficiently on your own. You’ll leave with a plan for an on-point proposal, ready to send to publishers or agents.

Included in this results-oriented workshop is the Publishing Toolkit: A Hands-on Resource for Burgeoning Authors. This binder is filled with all the notes and materials to develop your successful proposal from start to finish—including step-by-step advice, helpful exercises and worksheets, key information on creating a targeted submission list, and real sample proposals that have sold to publishers.

During this all-day workshop, learn how to build your proposal with a successfully proven 4-part program:

Part 1: Research & Refine Your Idea
Develop a winning book idea that will rise out of the slush pile. You will:

  • Hone a viable nonfiction or fiction idea
  • Learn how to research the marketplace and competition
  • Brainstorm formats
  • Develop a publisher and agent wish list

Part 2: Sell Your Book—and Yourself
Create a killer author platform and marketing plan that will demand attention. You will:

  • Uncover the many strengths and attributes that you can bring to the table as an author
  • Learn how to leverage social media and other venues to build a strong platform
  • Brainstorm a robust and creative marketing plan for your title

(At this point in the day, you’ll have an hour to grab lunch on your own.)

Part 3: Craft Compelling Copy
Focus your proposal with a great title and introduction, and reel in editors and agents with compelling text. You will:

  • Develop a strong opening pitch
  • Learn how to create a complete, detailed outline and on-point sample text

Part 4: Submit Your Proposal
Lastly, create a savvy final package and target the right publisher. Learn how to:

  • Draft an arresting query letter
  • Develop your submission list for agents or publishers
  • Discover the pros and cons of self-publishing
  • Get a basic grasp of advances and royalties
  • Put the final touches on your proposal submission.

Here are the details:
Saturday, May 18, 9:30am-5pm

Hotel 1000, 1000 First Ave., Seattle
$299
Register now

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Our “30 Days to a Winning Book Proposal” Workshop: What’s It All About?

Jen%20and%20Kerry[1]If you’ve been around us in the past year, you’ve probably heard us talking up 30-day program for creating your book proposal. But what you may not know is what it entails. Far be it from us to assume so we thought we’d break down what exactly we do in our all-day workshop.

First of all, let’s say right up front that you’ll leave with a clear plan for a proposal that publishers and agents want. In a recent workshop, we had someone say, “I went from feeling doomed to feeling excited.” She was excited because she could break down the process into doable chunks and she could see a light at the end of her publishing dream tunnel. Here’s how it works. During our all-day workshop, learn how to build your proposal with a doable 4-part program:

Part 1: Research & Refine Your Idea
Develop a winning book idea that will rise out of the slush pile. You will:

  • Hone a viable nonfiction or fiction idea
  • Learn how to research the marketplace and competition
  • Brainstorm formats
  • Develop a publisher and agent wish list

Part 2: Sell Your Book—and Yourself
Create a killer author platform and marketing plan that will demand attention. You will:

  • Uncover the many strengths and attributes that you can bring to the table as an author
  • Learn how to leverage social media and other venues to build a strong platform
  • Brainstorm a robust and creative marketing plan for your title

Part 3: Craft Compelling Copy
Focus your proposal with a great title and introduction, and reel in editors and agents with compelling text. You will:

  • Develop a strong opening pitch
  • Learn how to create a complete, detailed outline and on-point sample text

Part 4: Submit Your Proposal
Lastly, create a savvy final package and target the right publisher. Learn how to:

  • Draft an arresting query letter
  • Develop your submission list for agents or publishers
  • Discover the pros and cons of self-publishing
  • Get a basic grasp of advances and royalties
  • Put the final touches on your proposal submission.

Wait. It gets better. Included in the $299 workshop is the Publishing Toolkit: A Hands-on Resource for Burgeoning Authors. This 100+ page binder—a $99 value!—is filled with all the notes and materials to develop your successful proposal from start to finish—including step-by-step advice, helpful exercises and worksheets, key information on creating a targeted submission list, and real sample proposals that have sold to publishers.

Rad, right? We want you to nab that brass ring of a book deal in 2013. Register here for our Feb. 9 workshop and you’ll be well on your way to publication.

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What’s in a Name? When It Comes to Book Titles, More than You Think

41+-uU7IeCL._SL500_AA300_Jen was sitting in a theater last week, watching Raiders of the Lost Ark and marveling at how perfect it was, soup to nuts (and no, she didn’t travel in a Delorean back to 1981). Then she started thinking about the title and realized it was pretty spot-on as well. Not only did it evoke adventure and a certain disregard for the rules, it really does a great job at describing WHAT the movie’s about.

When we go about titling our book projects, we might focus on either something that’s going to be sexy or intriguing, OR descriptive and literal.

Guess what? It’s important to consider both.

Most nonfiction books also have a subtitle, and possibly an additional “reading line”—an extra line on the cover that specifically conveys a promise to the reader. When beginning to ponder your title/subtitle, there are several things to keep in mind: It should be intriguing, of course, but—particularly if it’s nonfiction—it also needs to clearly convey the book’s concept and be easily searchable for those shopping online.

Keep these considerations in mind as you work on your title:

Still think titles aren’t that big of a deal? Well, imagine if these bestsellers had been titled differently:

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother
OR
Using Traditional Chinese Parenting Techniques to Raise a Successful Child

Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
OR
Men Who Hate Women (original Swedish title)

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference
OR
The Theory of Memetics in Everyday Life

Learn how to craft a great title, subtitle, and reading line, as well as the 8 other key proposal elements, in our Feb. 9 All-Day Workshop, 30 Days to a Winning Book Proposal.

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