Four Key Tips for Building an Author Website

Your author website serves as your calling card and the place where the universe of you comes together – your writing portfolio, bio, blog, and more. Building your own website can be daunting, so I’ve gathered four of the most important lessons I learned along the way. 1. Know what you’re looking for. Each website platform service offers largely the same basic features and functionalities, but there are some key differences. If you’re just getting started, Jane Friedman has a comparison of WordPress vs. Squarespace, and Bookbub has a breakdown of the pros and cons of several platforms. A few specific questions…

6 Tips to Help You Be a Better Beta Reader

This is the first installment in a two-part series on beta reading tips for readers and writers. If you’re a writer, you know that one of the most important parts of the process comes after you’ve finished your manuscript, and before you start querying and pitching: it’s the magical world of beta reading. And if you’re part of a writers’ community, chances are you have been asked by a colleague to beta-read for them. There are few things more rewarding than helping a writer sharpen their story. As a beta reader, you feel like you’re part of their journey to…

How to Make Time for Writing, Even When You Feel Like You Don’t Have Time

Raise your hand if any of the below is true for you: You have a day job. You have children or other dependents. You have responsibilities. You have to sleep. At least sometimes. Maybe. You’re burning to write your story and you just can’t find the time. I’ve had this conversation multiple times with writer friends, and it’s always the same: I wish I had more time. I’m not writing enough. My word count is too low. I’ll never get this book finished. The hardest part of writing isn’t the writing itself, it’s learning how to make time for it even…

Marketing for Writers, or How to Build Relationships, Not Customers

Welcome to the first installment of What I Learned, a new blog series on the lessons I’ve learned from books: writing craft, character development, the business of writing, and everything in between. My current read (from the White Plains Public Library, naturally) is The Art of Asking, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help, by Amanda Palmer. This book is a revelation. Amanda (I feel like she wouldn’t mind me addressing her on a first-name basis) has taken everything she learned as a street statue performer, a stripper, a barista, an artist, a musician, and an all-around fearless human being and…

Short Story: Out of the Woods and into the Fire

On Thursdays, I host a flash fiction challenge on twitter at the #PhotoStoryPrompt hashtag. The rules are simple: write a story based on the photo prompt, and follow that week’s challenge (today, the challenge was to include a shovel in the story, and have your main character say the words, “it has to”). This week’s photo prompt inspired me to write a longer story: One of my writer friends, Thomas Norman (who doesn’t like to go by “Thomas,” but too bad, since this is a formal introduction), is writing a fantastic novel, and we decided to challenge ourselves even more…

How to Manage Distractions When You’re Writing

This week, one of my writing group colleagues, Tiffany, challenged us to blog about our strategies for coping with distraction when we’re trying to write: “What distracts you the most when you are trying to write (internet, life, people trying to talk to you, etc) and how do you work around it?” Let me set the scene for you. You’ve brewed yourself a fresh cup of coffee or tea, the early morning sun is shining brightly, you sit down at your desk with the delightful anticipation of sinking into your story … and realize twenty minutes later that you have…