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!

As for whether your idea will sell, no one can guarantee that. But if you’d like to give yourself the best shot, here are some tips:

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.

I also highly recommend joining a writer’s organization relevant to your genre, in order to get up-to-date information about who’s buying work like yours, and if possible attending a conference that brings together writers, readers, and publishing professionals.

After—and only after—I know you AND your writing very well, I may be able refer you to my agent or editors. However, please be very suspicious of any coach or editor who charges you money to give you publishing contacts. The Writer Beware® website has excellent information on how to avoid literary scams, including agents who charge reading fees, agent-editor kickback schemes, and other nefarious doings.

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.

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 is dated, but the principles are sound. Have fun!

Q: Do you have any writing advice?

Yes! You might enjoy these free resources:

To that, I’ll add that 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 there are some great ones), but a real live writing group, class, community group, open mic, creative organization, coach — 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.

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

  • The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron – on finding and holding to your creative path.
  • Wild Mind and Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg – on writing as a practice, with easy, repeatable exercises for generating new work.
  • Unstuck by Jane Anne Staw – on working through creative blocks.
  • Wonderbook by Jeff VanderMeer – visual, engaging, and smart on the nuts and bolts of fiction.
  • Writing the Other by Nisi Shawl and Cynthia Ward – wonderful guidance and prompts to help us steer clear of stereotypes and cultural appropriation, while increasing our skill and sensitivity in portraying difference.

Q: How can I find someone to read my work / my manuscript / my proposal? Will you read it?

In addition to joining writerly communities as mentioned above, people who join courses often stay connected, sometimes for years afterward, supporting each other to complete their projects.

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 a personal critique, please check out my Manuscript Massage services. For customized advice on how to hone and present your ideas in their best light, please get in touch about a Private Coaching session. (See what other writers say about this.)

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

Coaching is about work you’re creating now. If you want help to complete your project(s) — building your storytelling skills, accountability, work-life balance, narrative structure, encouragement, prioritizing, working through blocks — then Private Coaching is your best choice. This personal mentoring relationship is charged by the hour, and also includes some free reading time.

Massage is about the body of work you’ve already drafted. If you need me to critique or line-edit 40+ pages, you’re looking for a Manuscript Massage. Massage is charged by word count, and also includes some talk time before and after.

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

Q: I have more questions… 

Cool! Schedule a coaching/personal mentoring session with me right here.