Get Rid Of Your Publishing Anxiety Once and For All

Get Rid Of Your Publishing Anxiety Once and For All

Get Rid Of Publishing Anxiety Once and For All


One question people ask me a lot is, “Is publishing a do-it-yourself activity?” “Why do I need help, can’t I get published on my own?”

It’s true, people get published all the time on their own, but often I see a lot of wasted time and effort.

When people try on their own, they struggle because they don’t know how to start, what the standards of the publishing industry are, or they’re not familiar with the industry itself.

They’ll bang up against the wall again and again, eventually giving up. Or, they’ll self publish and have mediocre results, only selling a couple of hundred books.

For the people who get help, for the people over in the Writing Gym, what I see is they’re having a whole lot more fun.

When you’re working with other people who are doing exactly what you’re doing, are as serious about publishing as you are, and have the same dreams, goals and aspirations as you do, “you’re in your tribe” as one of our writers said. (Shout out to Stephen!)

Those are your people. They want what you want. They’re a great sounding board for you, and it’s wonderful.

And while they are having more fun, and fun is good, fun doesn’t get published necessarily.

What else is great about getting the help that you need?

Well, if you’re working with the right professional, as the people over in the Writing Gym do, things happen.

I am making phone calls on behalf of my writers to literary agents and publishers, fast-tracking them to publishing and avoiding that slush pile.

Somebody said to me recently, “Oh, you know, I saw one of your Facebook lives, so I decided I could do it on my own. I’m going to call the publisher, and it’s going to work.”

Maybe it will and maybe it won’t, but I can tell you that I spend a lot of time getting lunch with publishers, agents, and so on. By doing that, I can pick up my phone and say, “Hey I got this great YA novel, here’s a brief synopsis,” and then give them the elevator pitch and ask, “How would you position this?”

Nine times out of ten when I’m on the phone with them, they say they’d love to see that project, and ask to send it over right away. 

The other day, I was on the phone with an acquisitions editor, chit-chatting with her about the industry, and got talking to her about one of our writers. She said “Please send me both manuscripts,” and off those manuscripts went.

So working with others brings you more fun and better results.

Writers in the Writing Gym get together, write on a regular basis, and receive a specific kind of feedback based on the way your brain learns and creates the best.

This process allows you to gain more confidence so when you get those rejections, you can see okay, it’s not what that particular publisher is looking for, rather than taking rejection as a setback. You’ll understand how to process feedback, integrate it into your writing, when to listen to and when to say “Thank you very much, but that’s not for me right now.”

These are all the advantages that writers have over in the Writing Gym. If this sounds like something you’d like to explore, let’s chat.

Until next time. Happy writing.

The Behind the Scenes Scoop on How to Publish Traditionally

The Behind the Scenes Scoop on How to Publish Traditionally

The Behind the Scenes Scoop on How to Publish Traditionally


One of the questions writers ask me a lot is: “What does it take to get published?” or “How do I do this thing called publishing?”

Some of you have heard about the work that we do over in the Writing Gym, and the results we get.


Today, I’m really excited because I get to celebrate two of our amazing Writing Gym Rats–we call them that.

It doesn’t sound very nice, but, they’re Gym Rats. They’re working out. They’re working their writing toward publishing, and I’m super excited about it!

First, I want to tell you first about my work with Jim.

Jim has been writing this great book. We finished working on it about eight months ago. He’s been putting together his package and querying, and we are in negotiations with an agent. 

We’ve gotten some great feedback from one agent, and we’ve gone back and forth a couple of times with revisions on that piece. You may not know this, but sometimes an agent will like a piece of work, but will want some changes made.

They might say, “I want to represent this, but I need to see a version where Chapter 3 happens before Chapter 1.”

In Jim’s case, he has moved some of his chapters around, moved some of his content, and now it’s back in the agent’s hands. Congratulations, Jim!

I also want to make a shout-out to Vivian.

Vivian just had THREE requests for full manuscripts!

Many of you know that agents will typically ask for five pages, ten pages, fifty pages, a hundred pages. They put their toes in the water, thinking, “Am I interested enough to read the whole thing? Because I don’t want to waste my time.”

When you get asked for a full, it’s kind of like going from dating to being engaged. It’s a switch in the investment that the agent has on you.

This is an agent saying, “This is interesting enough to me that I’d like to see the whole thing.” And to get THREE requests for a full manuscript within the course of about two weeks is amazing!

Vivian is rocking her querying and her submissions. She and I worked really hard on those submission materials.

Yesterday, I was chatting with a publisher. As you know, I speak with publishing industry professionals every week, all week. I’m always chatting with someone about what’s going on in the publishing industry. She and I were having a chat about negotiating audiobook contracts: how audiobooks become part of the book deal you get when you publish, and how we can work toward getting better publishing contracts for the people who are in the Writing Gym–those Writing Gym Rats.

And over the course of the conversation, she said, “I would love to see some pieces from your writers.”

This happens pretty frequently when I’m speaking with publishers and editors and agents because in the industry, I’m a known entity. People know that the writing that comes out of the Writing Gym is going to be high quality. It’s ready to go.

That doesn’t mean, as we saw in Jim’s case, that they don’t have some changes that they want to make. But it’s going to be polished, not something typed up during NaNoWriMo and sent in. 

As I was speaking to this woman, she said, “I’d love to see some of the writing that comes out of the Writing Gym,” and I asked her what kinds of pieces are really interesting to her these days. She said, “I’m really interested in environmental pieces these days.” And I said, “Well, I’ve got a story to tell you.”

I told her about the novel that Vivian has been working on, and she said, “That sounds amazing! I absolutely love that concept.”

I asked, “Can I send you a query and a synopsis?”

And she said “I absolutely want to see that.”

So, that’s how things happen in the Writing Gym. It’s sort of like having a matchmaker to find you your mate. Having somebody to help pair you with the right person can be absolutely essential.

You can do it on your own. If you want, you can go out and write your book, and try to revise on your own, and try to find an agent.

But, I spend some time trolling around in other people’s groups and listening to the kinds of things that writers are saying, and the things that I hear are: “Agents are jerks.” “Why is it so hard to publish?” “They keep rejecting me. What’s the deal?” “Why are they so snobby?”

I hear all kinds of things like that, and I understand the frustration of trying and trying without positive results. That can be really frustrating, and you might think that the agents you’re submitting to are just jerks. You can try to do it on your own, or you can stop running on that constant treadmill of frustration and find a solution that works.

I’m sure Jim and Vivian would tell you that it feels a whole lot better to alleviate the stress, to submit and manuscript that they knew was ready to go with a query in tip-top shape, and an interesting synopsis.

All the pieces they needed were in order, and I could pick up the phone and call these people and ask them: “You want to see this synopsis? Would you like to see that query? Are you interested in this book?”

That’s what happens for people who invest in themselves and in their future.

I want to be really clear here: There are no guarantees. I do not have a magic wand where I can make the people in the publishing industry do what I want them to do. But I am part of the publishing industry, and that makes a huge difference.

Think about the people in your community, whether it’s the fellow parents who drop their kids off to school with you, or maybe people your church or your temple or your Rotary Club. Those are the people you know. They are the folks you can call when you need something. They are your people.

When it comes to your book, you want to work with someone who has people she can call too.

Now, this isn’t for everyone. This isn’t a magic pill, and I’m not going to give you some magic thing  to get your novel to publishable. The Writing Gym is for people who are looking to become the kind of writer who can publish time and time again, who want that publishing career and are committed to doing the work and putting in the time.

If that sounds like you, I’d love to have a chat with you. Let’s talk about where you are, where you’d like to go, and how you can get there. Until next time, Happy Writing!

What are Literary Agents REALLY Looking for in a Manuscript?

What are Literary Agents REALLY Looking for in a Manuscript?

What are Literary Agents REALLY Looking for in a Manuscript?


 One of the questions I frequently get asked, whether on social media or when I’m speaking at a conference, is:

“What are agents really looking for? What is it that they want? Why do I keep getting rejected?”

So, what are agents looking for?

If you’ve watched any of my videos in the Facebook group, you know I’m on the phone with agents every day, asking questions about the industry. I ask agents what they’re looking for, but another question I ask is, “What trends are you seeing in the marketplace?”

Like any marketplace, the publishing industry is volatile. Things change from day to day, right?

There was a book, “American Dirt,” that came out about a month ago, and really influenced publishing industry trends. The London Book Fair was cancelled because of this virus that we’re all dealing with. There are countless other examples.

Things are always changing in the industry, and knowing what the trends are, what’s impacting the industry, and what kind of books are getting published is key.

I recently had a conversation with an agent friend, and one of the interesting things we talked about was a recent trend in the publishing industry. Changes are taking place, and there is a shift from looking at the book as the product to looking at the author as the product.

What does that mean for you?

It means you better know how to create a product that is viable in the traditional publishing marketplace, and that’s exactly why we do things the way that we do them in the Writing Gym.

First and foremost: we get our information straight from the horse’s mouth.

I’m meeting with industry professionals every single week so I can bring that information to the writers in the Writing Gym.

I’m able to say: “Okay, here are the things that we want to target. How does your book fit into that?”

The second thing is that the Writing Gym is a comprehensive program.

If you got an MFA (a Master’s in Fine Arts), you might learn how to write, which is pretty important.

But that’s about all you’d learn. In the Writing Gym VIP Program, we start by teaching you to write a quality draft that is movable quickly into revision for publication.

People who go from the VIP into the Publishing Mastermind—those who are accepted—are doing the market research. We’re talking about what agents are looking for, and our writers have gone to presentations where I presented an agent to them, had a publicist from a publishing house ask them questions, and allowed them to ask their questions in real time and get them answered.

Our writers are gaining an understanding of the industry, which is very important.

During that time, I’m also reading their manuscript, not once but twice, sometimes three times, and I’m getting on the phone to agents to say: “Hey, I’ve got this manuscript about, say, cows. What do you think?”

Frequently, that conversation leads to: “Hey, when it’s done I want to see it.” 

wWe go from writing the novel in the VIP to doing market research in the Publishing Mastermind. This creates the foundation for their platform.

Next, we move into the revision phase.

This is important, because they’re getting the right kind of feedback, learning who they are as writers, gaining confidence, and revising a novel to publishable. They move on to the Publishing Bootcamp, where they submit  their manuscripts and I make introductions to editors, publishers, and agents on their behalf.

Here’s the part I want to talk about today.

There are two ending programs that happen after the book is finished: Paths to Pulitzer, where writers are improving their craft; and Novel Selling U, where they’re creating their author platform.


If the product isn’t just the book, but also the author, then it’s awfully important to know how to package yourself.

I’m sorry to put it that way, but publishing is a business, and if you don’t know how to address it as a business, if you’re thinking of your book as an art and you as an artist, then you’re missing out on what what can happen and the potential of what your book can become.

This is what agents are looking for.

They may love your book and writing.

They may love your concept and your protagonist.

But if they don’t have a package that they can pitch to the Publishing House, you aren’t getting any further. That was the confirmation I got this week in a conversation with my agent friend.

With the emergence of audiobooks, Alexa devices, and all of the changes we see in the publishing industry, we’re at a turning point now.

If you don’t know how to market yourself or how to package yourself, you’re going to be lost. It’s no longer about writing a good book, it’s also about knowing how to place yourself in the market.

If you’re ready for real results, I would love to chat with you.

This isn’t for everybody. It’s for people who are serious about having a publishing career.

This isn’t something that happens in a week or a month or even sometimes six months.

This is a long-term process to build a career, because that’s what we’re doing over in the Writing Gym.

If that sounds like something that you want, and you’re ready to stop spinning your wheels and to get real results, I’d love to talk with you about where you are, where you’d like to go, and how you can get there. You can put yourself right into my calendar and we can chat sometime in the next week or so.

Until next time, Happy Writing!

What does it take to Publish?

What does it take to Publish?

What does it take to Publish?


One question writers ask me a lot is: “What does it take to get published?” or “How do I do this thing called publishing?” 

Well, a lot of you know of the work that we do over in the Writing Gym, and I am excited to announce that two of our Gym rats (yep, that’s what we call our clients at the Gym), Jim and Vivian, are getting publishing offers from agents!

I want to talk to you about my work with Jim. We finished working on a book around 6-8 months ago, and he’s been in the process of putting together his package and querying. We are currently in negotiations with an agent–super exciting! 

The agent has given us some great feedback for revisions. Jim moved around some of his content, and now it’s back on the agent’s hands. 

Now, onto Vivian. Vivian is a quiet type of gal, but believe it, she has gotten three requests for a full manuscript! Now many of you know that agents will typically ask for 5, 10, 50, or 100 pages–to test out the waters. That’s when they ask themselves “Am I interested enough to tread the whole thing?” They don’t want to waste their time. 

To get a request for a full manuscript is just amazing.

I speak with publishing professionals every week, all week. Yesterday, I spoke with a publishing agent, and she mentioned that she would look to see some pieces from my writers at the Writing Gym. This happens frequently.  After all, I am a known entity in the publishing world. 

The agent mentioned that these days, environmental pieces are the ones that interest her the most. I said, “Well, I’ve got a story to tell you,” and explained the novel Vivan has been working on. The agent absolutely loved the concept. 

These are the kinds of things that happen at the Writing Gym.

Many people know the writing that comes out of the Writing Gym is going to be high quality, not a half-finished piece. 

You know what makes the difference? A professional who can help you get your manuscript ready to get published.

At the Writing Gym, we make sure that Jim and Vivian’s submissions were ready, their manuscripts were ready to go, their query letters were in tip-top shape, and their synopses were good to go–all of the pieces they needed were in order. 

I can pick up the phone, call these agents, and talk to them about my writers and their works. When you’re a part of something, when you have access to something, then those are your people.

If you wanna work with someone who has some people who she can call and if you are ready to make an investment for yourself, book a call with me. 

Let’s talk about where you are, where you’d like to go, and how you can get there. 

Until next time. Happy writing.


Exciting News On How To Find A Literary Agent

Exciting News On How To Find A Literary Agent

Exciting News on How to Find a Literary Agent

Many of you have probably wondered:

  • How do I get published?
  • What is this thing called publishing?
  • How do I find an agent?
  • Why is publishing so hard? 




Answering these questions is something we do in the Writing Gym.

In the Publishing Mastermind, the second phase of the Writing Gym, we help you get your novel from revised to published.

See the timeline of the Publishing Mastermind below:

  • Part One: Revise
    • Focus on revising global issues of the draft
    • Regain focus on creativity and get mental space away from the project
  • Part Two: Publishing Bootcamp
    • One-on-one time revising the manuscript section by section
    • Focus on details and line edits, polishing the manuscript to be agent-ready
    • Work with me to find and query the agent that is right for the project

Participants at the Writing Gym have the opportunity to have their work exposed to literary publishers and agents. I meet with industry professionals on a regular basis to talk about manuscripts, what they’re looking for, and to get the edge for the writers in the Writing Gym–to get that “leg up.”

During my meetings, I mention these authors and their works then show the publishers and agents their publication packets and materials. Later on, they get requests for full manuscripts and full length responses form agents.

This is the power of these types of connections and programs that we run here in the Writing Gym. We are your liaison, we are your bridge to publication.

If you are interested in hearing more about what we do in the Writing Gym and want to talk about where you are, where you would like to go, and how you can get there–I’d love to chat with you. I’ll get you right into my calendar and we can talk about how we can get you published.

Why does my manuscript keep getting rejected?

Why does my manuscript keep getting rejected?

Why does my manuscript keep getting rejected?


Many of you know I often spend time speaking in New York City, and while I am there I catch up with some of the industry pros.

I recently got back from one trip, and I want to share what I heard with you.

Look, guys, the outlook isn’t good.


They tell me writers are still submitting sloppy manuscripts, submitting directly to publishing houses without an agent, and breaking all the submission rules.

The people I spend time with tend to have a sense of humor, but they were not laughing about this. They were upset, not only because Sloppy Joe Submissions waste their time, but also because writers who don’t follow the rules, don’t follow the right channels, and don’t submit materials are up to Industry standards… don’t get published.

Agents and publishers are human, and they don’t like rejecting people any more than any of us do, but they’re also a little stuck.

What can you do with sloppy work that doesn’t follow the rules? They’re busy professionals. They have no choice but to reject it.

It makes me sad, too. I see so many writers who would like to be authors, but who aren’t willing to truly invest in their dream. They don’t invest in the resources to create the kind of submission that gets published.

I don’t know how many times I’ve heard this story: someone who thought they could do it on their own, Googling their way to figuring it out.

This method has a 100% result rates–for failure.

When you read my book Storytelling for Pantsers, you’ll hear me use the hockey analogy a lot. Publishing a book is the NHL of the publishing world.

Do you think players end up in the NHL because they google how to play hockey? No.

Industry experts know what’s what. They can spot a fake a million miles away.

That’s one of the major frustrations editors, publishers, and agents brought up to me on my recent trip: writers not treating them like the professionals they are, respecting their expertise.


Imagine you show up for NHL practice in figure skates. Maybe you think they’re good enough, but the industry experts will not be fooled. They have no patience for it. They’re tired of it.

Why aren’t you giving yourself the very best chance for publication by showing up on time with the right materials and the right skills?

As a writing coach, I  help writers to finish manuscripts and bring them to agents and publishers everyday. I work closely with best-selling authors, publishers, editors and agents to get the most current information the writers I work with.

If you’re serious about publishing, want to get out of the slush pile, have no interest in being a sloppy joe but really want tip-top publishing for your book, let’s chat.

**This opportunity isn’t for everyone. It’s only for fiction writers who are SERIOUS about publishing a high-quality manuscript.**

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