Why would you want a literary agent?
* you want to be traditionally published
* you want someone experienced to help guide your career
* you want to learn how to edit like a pro
* you want to sell foreign and movie rights
* you want answers to your newbie questions 2/
Why you might *NOT* want a literary agent:
* you want to self publish
* you're not willing to compromise on your edits
* you don't think their expertise is worth 15% of your advance
I... can't think this way. Literary agents have been crucial to my career. 3/
So, how do you get a literary agent?
1. Have a finished, revised, edited, polished manuscript.
2. Write a query letter for your book
3. Send your query to agents who rep your genre and are open to submissions
4. Repeat steps 1-4 until you're offered representation. 4/
So, let's go through those four steps. First of all, you must have a finished, revised, edited, polished book, and it must be sellable. That is, you can't sell a 600k picture book or a 40k adult Fantasy, etc. You must read extensively in the genre you're writing. 5/
Every now and then an idea sticks with me like that corner of tortilla chip that just won't go down your throat. It happened with SPARROWHAWK, which began as 40k of a YA story, died, and was reborn as a comic, thanks to @christopher_j_r and @boomstudios. And now... 2/
It's happening with THE WILLOWS, a short story that you'll see in @UncannyMagazine next year. This Southern Gothic horror story began as an attempt to sell my next Romance to @AbZurdity after the Blud books in 2014 or so. And she didn't buy it. Guess why? 3/
Turns out, it wasn't a Romance! It was Southern Gothic Horror. Even the bones of it screamed strangeness, not sexiness. I loved the taste of the world, but I hadn't found the right story yet. Tried to write it 2 more times and failed. Until I finally understood what it was. 4/
So I took the 50 pages I'd written and cut half of them, twisting the story around from a gothy Romance inspired by the band the Civil Wars and turned it into a spooky descent into madness. And it looked back at me from the abyss as if to say, DUH. Sometimes... 5/
Here is the thread of practical advice for you.
EXAMINE YOUR MOTIVES. Why do you want to write this?
Are you trying to solve racism/sexism/colonialism with your work?
As writers we love stories about heroic writers whose work has changed the world. And as such we like to look to our own writing to solve societal problems.
And I understand this completely, not the least because I’ve felt the pull.
But if you’re looking to play saviour with your words, it is unlikely that you will do the marginalised people you are trying to save justice.
And I understand this very often comes from place of good intentions, but there is a reason that most of the moralising plays written by white abolitionists are deeply uncomfortable to read.
It is incredibly easy for works looking to play saviour to become patronising or traffic in simplistic stereotypes that ultimately hurt the people they are looking to rescue.
In Asheville, North Carolina, go buy or order some great books by authors you love (hint, hint) via @Malaprops! #NationalAuthorsDay
In Chapel Hill, NC visit @FlyleafBooks. If they don't have my books in stock, I bet they'll order them for you! This is also true for other authors! #NationalAuthorsDay
In New York and NJ visit @wordbookstores! Ask for my books if they don't have them, and also buy lots of stuff by other authors! #NationalAuthorsDay
In Washington, D.C. visit @PoliticsProse for all your #NationalAuthorsDay needs. Ask for my books and those of hometown hero @baratunde and also buy cute objects!
In 2017, I finally wrote it.
In 2019, thanks to the fine folks at @DelReyBooks, you'll all get to read it.
I'm pleased to announce my epic fantasy debut. Formerly: "Fullmetal Pokémist." Now:
STEEL CROW SAGA.
Seriously, everyone, I can't tell you how thrilled I am to share this one with you. The world is far-flung and weird, and the characters live lives so far removed from mine, but STEEL CROW SAGA is honestly the most personal and autobiographical thing I've ever written
Yeah, I guess I should address that early. STEEL CROW SAGA is not a trilogy. This is a standalone book. I left doors open for someday, but my plan right now is for each of these three books to be its own
holy crappppppp i see A THREE BOOK DEAL hidden in there too!!!!!!!!— do i dare to eat a \U0001f351 (@NicasioSilang) October 31, 2018
Last thing I'll say here: I couldn't have asked for a better team than @DelReyBooks to work with--particularly @tnarwani, who just Gets this book. In our call, she casually cited a semi-obscure Korean movie from ten years ago, unaware it'd been a key influence. That's when I knew
Anyway. Plenty more to tease in the coming year. Thanks again to my friends who got me through it, and especially to @dongwon who saw this weird Toonami regurgitation and immediately believed in it. Today is my triumph, but it's also theirs.
In 2009 a few of us organized an outdoor screening to commentate the 40th anniversary of “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” at the Tribeca Film Festival. Writers such as Tony Gilroy, Aaron Sorkin, David Koepp & Scott Frank each spoke to praise Bill...
As each discussed how Bill had been instrumental in inspiring, teaching and supporting them, it really sank in as to what an extraordinary impact this man has had on the landscape of cinema...
Also at that screening we’re 5,000 people who had come to watch one of their favorite movies on a chilly April night by the Hudson River. Bill touched millions that never got the chance to know him personally, but got to know his films like close, enduring friends...
There are few screenwriter who have made the impact William Goldman has - on the form, on the culture, and on fellow writers. He is a world treasure. And though he is no longer with us, his films will be with us as long as people still have a love for cinema...
Most agent offer calls come with a discussion about editorial support and expectations on both sides. If an agent says they work editorially, both of you can talk about what you hope this will look like. This may include:
Rounds of overall revision to plot/character/structure/setting, or tightening to a genre guideline, based on an "edit letter."
Line edits/sidebar comments by your agent. I always stress these are suggestions to achieve a goal. How author arrives at that goal is up to to them, but
I should make it clear to you what the goal of the point is: heighten emotional moment, untangle complicated scene, drive a relationship, clarify stakes, etc. I may suggest HOW and you can use my suggestion or come up w/your own solution. As long as the goal is attained.
But I'll always be honest if the changes came up short, too. It's a conversation, a development, open-door for challenge.
I DO put foot down abt blatant "rookie mistakes." Or major arc problems,sensitivity issues. I don't do this to be obstinate;but you should stay flexible too.
These questions are based on Hollywood screenplays, the hero’s journey, and the work of writers who are much smarter than I am—looking at you @RachaelHerron and @LaniDianeRich and @darynda. I didn’t invent any of this.
And, it's totally okay to do no outlining and just wing the whole dang thing! Or do your planning in a wildly different way. But I've found these questions useful. So.
To start, you’ll need a main character. Let’s assume your main character is an orphaned boy whose horrible extended family has forced him to live in a cupboard beneath the stairs. Question #1: What’s missing from your main character’s life?
All of us are missing something. Maybe it’s a feeling of danger or true love or a sense of higher purpose. Maybe it’s a large animatronic penguin that can dispense boba tea through its nostrils. For our orphaned boy, it’s a sense of belonging.
I think I've figured it out.
THREAD: The four elements of writing style:
Pardon me while I open a wormhole into your brain and thrust style advice into it.
See, that’s an example of style.
I could have just said: "And now let’s learn about style."
Four elements of style I'll cover:
• Your voice
• Your presentation
• Engaging the senses
• Engaging the imagination
Part 1: Your voice
Ask your friends what it's like to talk with you.
Perhaps they’ll mention your:
• Tone of voice
• Sense of humor
Convey those traits in your writing, and readers will recognize your voice.
In other words, voice is not your choice of words. Voice is your unfiltered self.
Writing can help you process something, document your work, let you review your progress, improves your documentation and communication skills.
Writing about your personal insights and experiences can help younger designers who aren’t at your stage in your career: you can inspire.
If you write in another language: It’s not important that your English isn’t the best. There are people who can support you and help you with editing. You will learn with each new piece you write. Ask them for feedback and writing patterns that you can improve.
Tip for interviews and Q&As: Record yourself or imagine recording yourself answering questions, let it flow, and write it down. This helps you reduce the pressure and your first draft is done in no time!
(And by the way - it's not like that was the first thing that was said; we'd actually exchanged small talk about various things over the course of their meal and my work.)
Okay, on the way out of the bathroom as they were leaving her friend apologized & said I just got them on a bad day for that, & I said no worries, no need to apologize & she said "Well regardless she shouldn't've used the word 'old' like that" & I literally laughed out loud
Not that it matters, when I said I'd never heard the world manspanation, which I thought was a good word, she said she was pretty sure her friend had said "explanation" and so it's possible I heard it incorrectly. (Does this matter? No. Should I get back to work? Yes.)
SHE WROTE TO ME! She saw this thread on Reddit and realized it was her and she reached out! Oh my god it was so sweet. And she really made me laugh at the end cause she said basically “PS which one of us was right, me or my friend?” (About their disagreement) (it was her)
Me: Write a million words.
Follow up: “Hah but seriously.”
Me: Start with 20,000 words. Everyone gets to that 50 times in their first million.
Follow up: “No seriously.”
Me: Nobody expects 10 Quick Tips To Play Violin At Carnegie Hall.
The Internet is so much better at teaching writing than the traditional educational system principally because it removes an artificial and limiting constraint on output imposed by ability of gatekeepers’ limited time to evaluate output.
(Interestingly in fields where we actually care about performance we’re good at encouraging students to practice when no one is watching but for writing we basically assume all the value is created by the teacher-minute of attention. Teacher-minutes are scarce and rationed.)
If you ever want to be deeply, deeply disillusioned about the state of the world, compare what we do where we care about output quality and what we do where we don’t, and which domains sort into which column by revealed preference.
1. Free Writing Editing Tutorial - Get Your First Draft Written Right!
In this course, you will :
Create a good first draft
Write page after page even when you don't feel "inspired"
Understand what inspires and motivates you
2. Business Writing
In this course, you will learn
Write effective emails, letters, memos, reports.
Analyze a writing situation and determine the appropriate communication strategy, format, style, and content.
3. Beginner's Guide To Copywriting (EASY 12 STEP METHOD)
How to influence people to take action after reading your copy
How to grab the reader's attention
How to create a burning desire for your product or
4. Copywriting that sells:
In this course, you will learn:
How to identify your target audience
How to research your target audience
How to write texts that will convert for that target audience
You will be able to put together a content
1. Write Atomic Essay
2. Post image on Twitter
3. (Bonus) Copy/paste text as thread
4. Find relevant Question on Quora. Copy/paste Atomic Essay + image.
5. Copy/paste again on Medium.
6. Again on LinkedIn
Guide below ✍️🚢👇
Step 1: Write Atomic Essay
I really enjoy writing right inside the Figma template. It helps give me a good sense of exactly how much "real estate" I have/have left before my time us up and I'm out of space.
Once finished, I export the image and send to my phone on Slack.
Step 2: Post image on Twitter
Before I publish my Atomic Essay on Twitter, I use the Edit/Photo Markup function on the iPhone to highlight standout sentences.
These are usually power-phrases: things the reader skims and thinks, "That's interesting," prompting them to read more.
Step 3: For the Ship 30 for 30 challenge, I only turn Atomic Essays into threads if...
1. The piece is SUPER actionable and lends itself well to the thread format (lots of bullets, quick points, lists, etc.)
2. I'm referencing research and want to link to the pieces.
Step 4: Find relevant Question on Quora. Copy/paste Atomic Essay + image.
Search on Quora around the topic you wrote about. Find a related Question. Copy/paste the whole Atomic Essay as your "answer" (& fix formatting). Then include image so it appears in the thumbnail.
Writing tip: let\u2019s talk about the INACTIVE PROTAGONIST. I\u2019ve seen a lot of amazing books lately with incredible plots, intricate worlds, and just really great writing with one recurring issue, which is the inactive protagonist. I think it can get tough when you\u2019re writing (1/10)— Briston Brooks (@briston_brooks) January 26, 2021
Often, our protags are just trying to survive overwhelming odds. Survival is an active choice, you know. Survival is a story. Choosing to be strong in the face of the world ending, even if you can't blast a wall down to do it, is a choice.
It's how we live these days.
Western editors, readers, and writers are too married to the three-act structure, to the type of storytelling that is driven by conflict, to that go-getter individualism. Please read more widely out of your comfort zone. A lot of great non-western stories do not hinge on these.
Sometimes I wonder if you're all so hopped up on the conflict-driven story because that's exactly how your colonizer ancestors dealt with people different from them. Oops, I said it, sorry not sorry. Yes, even this mindset has roots in colonialism, deal with it.
If you want examples of non-conflict-driven storytelling google the following: kishoutenketsu, johakyu, daisy chain storytelling/wheel spoke storytelling. There was another one whose name I forgot but I will tweet it when I recall it.
On ideas: 'Stories are everywhere, they are ordinary human things that happen to each one of us. Within the boringness are the most extraordinary tales.' Also, 'We are an imaginative species, even deciding what you are having for dinner is an act of imagination.'
On the writing mind: 'The terrifying thing about a book is that it doesn't look like a mind. They look at the book and think it's perfect but they don't see what comes before [the notebooks]. People think writers must have a special type of mind but we all have the same minds.'
On bringing writing out of the head: 'Stationery, notebooks and pencil cases make writing physical. Thinking through a problem in a story can make it harder. Doodling and playing [in a notebook] can help to release the imagination.'
'It's important to remember how close the written word is to the voice. If you can speak a sentence without stumbling it's probably okay, if you can sing it without stumbling it's probably really good. It accentuates that words are not just beautiful black marks, they are sounds'
I have spent a long time think of this an many months writing and rewriting it I have found it very difficult to put into words my feelings about what has
happened to the Republican Party. I will say to the chagrin of my many liberal and democratic friends that I was once a Republican. I did not change the Republican Party left me, today I don’t even recognize the Republican Party for it is truly the Party of Trump.
It has morphed into a party that hates anyone who is not a hardcore Trumper who will not blindly devote themselves to Trump, Republican ideals be dammed.
I say to you, If you want to save the Republican Party leave it, for they have left you,
I will say without hesitation the rank and file of the Republican Party hates you, and no sir, it is not a small minority of the Party. Let their be no doubt this is the Party of Trump
Before Trump I thought I was pretty middle of the road, a middle right American
I support a women’s right to choose, even though it would not be my choice
Myself I am not a religious person, I consider myself Spiritual, I do believe their must be some kind of creator, what it is, is beyond my comprehension. What you believe is your right and
But colleges charge you 120k and still do a terrible job teaching it.
Instead, here are 9 writing frameworks that cost you nothing and will save you hundreds of hours:
1. Start with building your writing habit by leveraging @jamesclear's Four Laws of Behavior
Atomic Habits from @jamesclear changed my life.— Dickie Bush \U0001f6a2 (@dickiebush) March 10, 2021
In Atomic Habits, James lays out the Four Laws of Behavior Change.
1. Make it obvious
2. Make it attractive
3. Make it easy
4. Make it satisfying
Here's how to leverage them to build a daily writing habit (\U0001f9f5\u270d\U0001f3fc):
2. With your writing habit down, study these 10 tips from the world's most legendary marketer: David Ogilvy.
One of the most legendary marketers of all time: David Ogilvy— Dickie Bush \U0001f6a2 (@dickiebush) June 2, 2021
In 1982, David wrote an internal memo to the employees of his advertising agency titled "How to write."
And in just 10 bullets he put together a masterclass in effective writing.
Here's a breakdown of each one: pic.twitter.com/MxRYuQRLyA
3. Then, immerse yourself in the takeaways from the bible on business
Business writing is a superpower.— Dickie Bush \U0001f6a2 (@dickiebush) June 8, 2021
But schools and employers do a horrible job teaching people to write.
In 1981, two advertising executives wrote a timeless guide for how to write in the business world.
And here are 12 of their tips you should staple to your desktop: pic.twitter.com/w0hh0qBOG4
4. Like to learn on the go?
Dive into the creative process of the world's best writers in these 10 episodes of the @timferriss show.
I've listened to every episode of the @tferriss show.— Dickie Bush \U0001f6a2 (@dickiebush) March 3, 2021
And some of my favorites are when Tim interviews prolific writers, diving into their creative process to improve his own.
If you are looking to build a writing habit, these 10 episodes are a must-listen:
If it's hard to get yourself to write,
I surveyed 100+ people to identify how they overcome their blockers.
For writing blogs, books, screenplays:
Blocker #1: Procrastination
If you procrastinate occasionally, that’s normal—forgive yourself.
However, if you procrastinate endlessly, that’s a problem.
Procrastination is the result of two reflexes:
• Indulging in immediate rewards like browsing YouTube instead of writing.
• Avoiding work you perceive to be uncomfortable or tedious.
Let's tackle these two blockers.
A. Avoid distractions
Have you noticed how much writing we can get done on airplanes—despite having our knees and shoulders uncomfortably squeezed together for hours?
Why is that?
It's because there's nothing else to do on an airplane.
This reveals a truth about writing: needing a comfy chair, room, or "the right ambience" is a myth.
If you're waiting until your room is the right temperature to begin writing, you're lying to yourself.
Your blocker is not comfort, but rather distractions.
It sucked so bad. Good thing, I made friends with people who taught me how to write.
Copywriting is the #1 skill for entrepreneurs. You write emails, articles, landing pages every day, and it helps you grow.
This will 10x your copy 👇
First, let's talk fundamentals:
Users on different stages of awareness will respond to a different language.
• Most aware readers understand your solution and are ready to purchase
• Product-aware readers are learning about your product. Free trials, demos will help conversion
• Solution-aware readers are considering solutions to their pain/problem
• Problem-aware readers are dealing with pain/problem
• Unaware readers haven’t experienced the problem
Make sure, that in the copy you:
• talk the language that mirrors the reader's stage of awareness
• move them from that stage to product/most-aware
• prompt them to take action
Focus copy on users.
Instead of saying "we offer" or "our solution," rewrite the copy to address your customers.
• begin with the word “you.”
• on landing pages, start your sentence with a verb.