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Building Your Brand as a Writer

Every well-known author has a “brand”. Think of Dr. Seuss, J.K. Rowling, Judy Blume, John Green. When you see their names and their books, you get a sense of what’s important to them and how they see the world.

You may have done our own branding, composing a banner for your blog


Writing Prompt: Who’s the Antagonist Here?

Did Dr. Seuss turn the antagonist-protagonist relationship on its head in The Grinch?  Hmmm… Let’s talk about it!


In Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the Grinch is the protagonist (main character) and yet he’s the bad guy. What he’s battling (the antagonist) is the whole idea


The Right Way to Set Goals for the New Year

In the January 2016 issue of Children’s Book Insider I wrote the article “Why Resolutions Fail”. My theory is that we don’t keep our resolutions because we don’t truly have a plan for completing all the steps involved. But it’s just as important to set the right kind of goals


Habits: Are They Holding You Back?

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”–Aristotle


What personal habits are keeping us (writers) from reaching our writing goals? Cluttered workspace? Unclear goals? Perfectionism? Taking on too many projects at one time? Disorganization? Lack of discipline?

Weeding out the


Real Time Management for Writers

Many of us have taken time management classes in an attempt to get more out of our days. However, sometime we don’t realize that writing and managing a writing career takes different types of time: actual writing time, time spent marketing, time spent communicating with clients (editors and others), time


Should You Surrender to Writer’s Block?

Last week a student complained about Writer’s Block. “When I try to write, I can’t get anywhere. What should I do?” He pointed down to the unfinished paper, to the point where his concentration and creativity broke down. He asked, “Should I finish the paper or just start over?”



Plan Your Career as You Would a Synopsis

Do you hate to write synopses? I do. After 34 books, you’d think that I could get it right, but writing synopses still gives me the heebie-jeebies. Maybe that’s why I also struggle in trying to plan a writing career. (A career plan—what’s that?)

Writing a synopsis and planning a


What’s Holding You Back?

You’re a writer. Perhaps you’ve just started your writing career and dream of becoming a New York Times bestseller. Or maybe you’ve been writing for a while and sold some short stories, but you have yet to reach your goal of selling a book.

What’s holding you back?




Survival Guide for Writers

We all know about survival guides. There are guides to surviving in the wilderness. (I’d rather not, thank you.) There are guides to surviving parenthood, divorce, the death of a loved one, job loss, and just about every other conceivable situation.

I’ve decided that writers also need a survival guide.


The Writing Conference Success Guide

You have the opportunity to attend a writers’ conference. You’re more than excited; you’re also a bit nervous. What can you do to make the most of it? What can you do to prepare for it?

After attending many conferences, I’ve come up with what I call my “conference success


To Build a Career, Give ‘Em What They Want

Nordstroms is a department store with a well-deserved reputation for providing not only quality goods but also quality service. Customer loyalty to the store is legendary. Associates are schooled in “the care and feeding” of customers.


Okay. You get it. Nordstroms is a great store. (And no, I’m not


Productivity and the Writing Life

We all want to be more productive. Too often, though, we approach this goal with no clear idea of how to make it happen. Saying “I want to be more productive” is not likely to bring results. Start with a plan.

  • Define productivity in personal terms. Do you want to

Glossary of Common Publishing Terms

What’s your writing IQ? Do you know the lingo used in the writing and publishing business? Take a look at the following definitions and see how many you know.

Let’s start at the beginning with basic terms:


Antagonist: the anti-hero or force who works to keep the protagonist from


Networking Can Help Your Career, and the World

In the March 2015 issue of Children’s Book Insider I wrote about establishing your networking goals to help you boost your writing career. I also showed you how to identify your networking personality. Once you’ve done all that, you’re ready to put it all together.

There are principles that can


Get Targeted Feedback Through Response Sheets

Writers need feedback. Unfortunately, feedback can be hard to come by. What to do?

Your first reader should, of course, be yourself. After you’ve read through the manuscript and revised to the best of your ability, find several other readers to offer critiques. These first readers are often referred to


From Mindset to Action – Full Course


Member Appreciation Gift


To say thanks for your loyalty and friendship, we’re offering a surprise bonus gift for you on a regular basis.  It will often be worth more — much more — than your entire membership!

This month, we bring you a potential life-changer.

The difference between


Why You Should Be Entering Writing Contests

I won my first writing contest when I was in high school. I had been writing for many years, but with the busyness and activity of high school, time with friends and family, I put away my writing. And then the `contest’ was announced. My biggest fan, my mother, encouraged


Video Quickie: How to Find the Time to Write


Ever wonder how some people seem impossibly busy — but also impossibly productive?  Or how some writers can maintain families, full-time jobs and prolific literary careers?

From decades of hanging out with these kinds of folks, I've figured out a few of their secrets.  And, in this Video Quickie, I


Video Quickie: How to Get Feedback & Handle Criticism

Getting honest feedback for your writing is absolutely vital — but necessarily a whole lot of fun if you don't have a thick skin. Jon's here with some thoughts on how to get unbiased input, and how to deal with criticism in a positive way




Video: When Should I Give Up On a Story?


Exercise: Past, Present & Future


Some of my favorite stories when I was young truly cultivated my imagination. These stories included images of flying cars and video phones and all sorts of other technological advancements. We may still be a few years away from a flying car, but there’s no reason why you can’t touch


Exercise: The First Time!

Before I became a writer, I started off as an actor. I think that being an actor can teach you a great deal about characters and stories in general and I highly recommend taking a class someday if you haven’t. One piece of advice I heard as an actor was

VIDEO – 95% of This Game is Half Mental!

As Yogi Berra said "95% of this game is half mental". So true, Yogi. So true. And it's the same with building a writing career: how you think will determine how far you'll go. Starting today, I'll drop in periodic videos to discuss the winning writer's mindset. If your attitudes,