Help for Writers FAQ


Q: I finished / am finishing / am working on a book. Can you tell me which grants to apply for to fund my writing? Can you put me in touch with an agent / editor / someone in publishing? Can you tell me if my idea will sell?

First of all, congratulations on your work, that’s fabulous!

For help with grants and proposals, please see The Creative Art of Proposals, which is chock full of everything I know to help you get your work funded and supported.

agents_GuideThere are many good resources on agents, publishing, and how to do your own market research out there. Poets & Writers magazine publishes a fantastic Guide to Literary Agents that tells you everything about the process.

If you are a writer of South Asian descent, I highly recommend getting involved in DesiLit, joining or organizing your local chapter, and attending one of the national DesiLit conferences that brings together writers, readers, and publishing professionals.

If—and only if—I know you AND your writing very well, I may be able refer you to my agent or editors. My friend Mary Anne Mohanraj has a more detailed response to this question on her website, including excellent advice.

As for whether your idea will sell, no one can guarantee that. But if you’d like to give yourself the best shot, with customized advice on how to hone and present your idea in its best light, please get in touch about a Private Coaching session.

Q: Can you read my work / my manuscript / my proposal?

I love to coach other writers through various stages of the writing process, and I love to read and critique manuscripts. I only work with writers if I think there is a good match between my skills and your needs. If you’re interested in working with me, please check out my Private Coaching and  Manuscript Massage services.

(Please note that my services do not include connecting you to an agent/editor/etc. You should be suspicious of any manuscript consultant who charges money for such connections.)

Q: My book is about to come out. Can you give me any tips on marketing and publicity?

Yes! I’ve pulled together some resources and ideas from a panel discussion that I moderated with other authors and performers at the 2009 DesiLit convention, in this blog post. The technology may be a bit dated, but the principles are sound. Have fun!

Q: Do you have any writing advice?

Yes! I answer questions about the creative life in my quarterly advice column, Ask the Unicorns.  Read the column here or ask a question now.

You may also enjoy my blog posts about writing and the creative process.

In general: The #1 way to get good advice and support for your writing is to be part of a community of writers and creative peers.

By this I don’t mean a Facebook community (though I do love me some FB), but a real writing group, class, community group, open mic, creative organization, coach, and/or some combination of these, that meets regularly and keeps you in touch with people who are able to assist each other. Finding or forming your own writing community, and/or hiring someone to help you, are really the best ways (imho) to get advice at the level you need it. I’ve done both in order to write my books, and I’ve found it well worth every minute and penny that I invested in these activities.

People who join my online workshops often stay connected, sometimes for years afterward, supporting each other to complete their projects.  And coaching is a great way to get confidential, one-on-one support to make rapid progress. (See what other writers say about this.)

Finally, as writers, books may be our greatest teachers.  I turn to these classics again and again:

Q: How do I know whether to choose Private Coaching or Manuscript Massage? What’s the difference?

In short: Coaching is about your process in creating work. Coaching is charged by the hour.

Massage is about the body of work you’ve already drafted. Massage is charged by word count.

If your primary need is around process — structure, encouragement, working through blocks, learning skills for getting to the next level — then Private Coaching is your best choice. This personal mentoring relationship also includes some reading time.

If you need me to critique or line-edit 40+ pages, you’re looking for a Manuscript Massage. It also includes some talk time.

Still confused? Request your 30-minute FREE introductory session now, and we can figure out what’s right for you.

Q: I have more questions… 

Cool! Send your questions, and I may answer them in my next Ask the Unicorns! column.

Or schedule a coaching/personal mentoring session with me right here.


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