Forget about Snowflake—it’s time for “Up Lit” and Other New Words

We need “up lit” books as an antidote to so much negativity in politics.

Snowflake is last year’s cliché, while Brexit is so 2016.  It’s time for a fresh batch of new words, or at least newly repurposed words. Read the full post »

Neither Predictive nor Prescriptive, “The Bestseller Code” is Anything But

Book Review: “The Bestseller Code: Anatomy of the Blockbuster Novel” by Jodie Archer & Matthew L. Jockers, published by St. Martin’s Press, 2016

We’ve all read about studies that made us scratch our heads—research results that told us things we already knew, such as a healthy diet is key to living longer and people who exercise are in better shape than couch potatoes. “The Bestseller Code” is one of those studies. Read the full post »

Small Presses: 3 Publishers Want Literary, Romance, Speculative Novels

New year, new opportunities! You may submit to these publishers even if you don’t have a literary agent if your manuscript falls under these categories: literary, romance, and speculative. Read the full post »

Top 5 Blog Posts: Prologues, Literary Snobs, & Unagented Submissions

Photo by Hypnotica Studios Infinite on VisualHunt / CC BY

Time sure flies! Since this blog’s launch on Feb. 15, 2014, I’ve published 255 articles on writing, reading, publishing, books, and movies. The five most popular articles focus on effective prologues, signs of a literary snob, and publishers that accept unagented and unsolicited manuscripts. Read the full post »

In Praise of the Lowly Comma

One tiny comma can sometimes make all the difference when it comes to the meaning of a sentence or a contract for that matter. Strunk and White advocated for the Oxford comma in their classic book, “The Elements of Style,” while the AP Stylebook doesn’t require series comma. If you’re an Oxford-comma proponent like me, a recent federal court ruling will reinforce your position. Read the full post »

Did You Know? How “Red Herring” Originated

Dashiell Hammett’s seminal detective novel, “The Maltese Falcon,” opens with the mysterious Miss Wonderly hiring private eye Sam Spade and his partner, Miles Archer, to follow a man who eloped with her sister. It’s a classic red herring. Readers of mysteries, crime fiction, and suspense novels love red herrings, but where did the term originate? Read the full post »

The Giving Season: 7 Gifts the Writer in Your Life Actually Needs

Need a gift idea this holiday season for the writer in your life? The spiffy journals and coffee mugs with literary quotes are nice, but skip them this year. If your writer is anything like me, he or she needs certain things many people don’t think about. Read the full post »

Would Artificial Intelligence Open Doors for Authors or Aid Copyright Violation?

Photo credit: Orminternal via Visualhunt.com / CC BY-NC

Elon Musk thinks artificial intelligence can be very dangerous, such as when it’s applied to warfare. How about when it’s used in publishing? There’s no doubt AI could open doors for authors if it means easy and cheap conversion of print books into audio books, as well as foreign translations. On the flipside, AI could be used to aid and abet book piracy. Read the full post »

#PitMad: Pitch Your Manuscript to Literary Agents & Publishers

Photo via Visual hunt.

Do you have an unpublished manuscript? Join the Twitter party known as #PitMad to pitch your work to literary agents and publishers. On Dec. 7, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST, you may tweet a maximum of three different pitches for every manuscript. Read the full post »

5 Publishers Seek Experimental, Mystery, Literary, YA & Romance Manuscripts

Unagented writers seeking publication should submit their queries and/or manuscripts for consideration before the holiday season begins.  Five small presses are interested in experimental, literary, mysteries, romance, young adult, and children’s books. Read the full post »