Celebrating the Power of Revision

Celebrating the Power of Revision

 Celebrating the Power of Revision

I want to celebrate Emily and her writing journey. She is one of our writers from the Writing Gym program, currently writing a novel set in ancient Egypt during the New Kingdom period. 

“I’m an elementary school teacher and I had this vision two years ago to write a novel set in ancient Egypt, because I studied and taught the theme,” Emily states. “I have a real story to tell about the artist’s life in Egypt. What it’s like working on the temples, working on tombs and more. It was a very respected lifestyle, and quite high up on the caste system in the dictatorship in Egypt.” 

Tackling middle-grade historical fiction is no small undertaking. So, kudos Emily. 

I met Emily at a local bookstore where I was running a class with some local writers.

“I was pretty much surprised, myself, that I went to your class,” Emily says in hindsight, “I really enjoyed it. It was at that point where I was trying to work up the courage to take writing more seriously. I immediately thought: ‘That’s someone who I could actually work with.’”

Emily, before we met, had already written and finished her longer story. She revised it a couple times but “it was in this sort of a standstill.” She wasn’t ready to submit and knew that she needed professional help with the submission process. 

“That’s what I thought it was kind of going for, but then when I talked with Annalisa, and being able to revise it and learn about writing has been the gift. She made that really clear when she described what the Publishing Mastermind was. That maybe the end result is getting published. But throughout it all you’re going to learn a lot. That’s what I’m celebrating.”

Once Emily and I started digging into her manuscript, her energy was so high with so much to celebrate. I asked her what that moment was like. 

“During that writing period, I used it to understand techniques and learn other techniques, experiment with other techniques, know what’s out there, know others who I might have overlooked, and read some different styles of writing within my genre.

“It made me rethink my story and how my characters needed to be doing more, speaking more, and interacting more. Sometimes, it’s those character moments where one character is thinking one thing and the other character is also thinking something, but they’re both saying something out loud. That has a whole other form of communication you can do in writing, but you can’t really do it in other forms of storytelling.” 

Emily also thinks that the inspiration that our Writing Gym community brings makes the experience so much more powerful.

“It’s really confidence-building. It makes me like writing more.” 

One takeaway that stands out to her as a bigger celebration than others is that confidence-building:

“Now I have the confidence to know that I can write a longer piece and have other projects as well.”

“Be alert and take risks. Know that there is potential out there.”

So, what is the Writing Gym? Why should you care about this? 

“Annalisa Parent is an incredibly professional who leads this inquiry-based study that is the Writing Gym. You, as the guide, ask the right questions to make you grow on your own.” 

Thank you so much, Emily. We appreciate you at the Writing Gym. 

The Truth About the Publishing Industry

The Truth About the Publishing Industry

The Truth About the Publishing Industry 

I’ve been in the publishing industry a long time, I’ve been a writing coach for a long time, and I’ve been a professional writer for a long time.

I’d like to think that I’ve seen close to everything when it comes to writing and publishing.

I know that it is easy to get sucked in by people who tell you what you want to hear:

  • “It’s so easy to get published.”
  • “I’m gonna make you a bestseller.”
  • “All you have to do is write a novel in a month during NaNoWriMo and everything’s gonna be wonderful.”

I see authors waste money on whatever it is these people are peddling – they waste $100 at a time, $200 at a time, $2,000 at a time–and get 0 results. What they bought is what they wanted to hear. But the truth is: publishing a book is an investment of time and money.

Here at the Writing Gym, we give you programs that actually work.

  • Do you want to finish a novel?
  • Do you want to publish a novel?
  • Do you want to sell a novel?

We have three separate programs for each of these at the Writing Gym. We take the time that’s thorough enough to get you to a point where your book is actually publishable. We speak with agents and editors and publishers every week to make sure that your manuscript is the quality product that they’re looking for–and not just some kind of schlepped-together garbage that you threw together in a month.

If you’re not ready to make that real investment in yourself and to face the reality of what the publishing industry is and what they’re looking for–then it’s just not time for you.

Is there an exception? Can entering NaNoWriMo, writing in one month, or even a week work sometimes? Of course. For every rule there’s an exception–you’ve heard me say that before. But that is not always the case.

Here at the Writing Gym we tell you about real results based on hard work and on investing on yourself as a writer so that you can live that author lifestyle–whatever that means to you.

And that is the truth.

If you’re interested in investing in your author lifestyle, let’s chat

To speak with the Writing Gym Team about where you are, where you'd like to go & how to get there, choose a time by clicking below.

Want to watch the video on the truth about the publishing industry? Click here: 

How Long Should My Book Be?

How Long Should My Book Be?

How long should my novel be?

1to1headerbg1One of the most common question would-be authors ask me is: how long should my novel be?
It’s an important consideration, as the length of a novel can either make or break you when it comes to publishing.tweet able writing tips
Here’s the skinny:

The optimal length of your book depends on two things: your genre and how you plan to publish.tweet able writing tips

The length of your book depends on genre

Each genre has its own industry standard, however, most genre, or commercial, fiction sits firmly around 80,000 words. Once you’re an established author such as JK Rowling or Stephen King, the word limits fly out the window, but for first-time or unknown authors, the limits are in place, and you’re better off sticking to the rules

Think of is as a test. All of us commuters are stuck with the speed limit, but the tried and true, the trained professionals can drive at hundreds of miles an hour. Why? They’ve got the track record.

Thank you; I’m here all week.

But seriously, until you’re James Patterson, stick with the 80,000 mark as your target goal if you’re writing genre fiction.

What is genre fiction? 

Typical Word counts by genre:

How long should my novel book be word count






The length of your novel depends on how you plan to publish

Traditional publishing houses stick to genre limits for first-time authors. They’ve found that 80,000 is the magic number that will get readers to buy books.

Always remember publishing houses are less interested in your art and more interested in sales. (It’s one of those “sad but true” truths of the publishing world.)

As a consequence, agents are more interested in what’s marketable than in what’s beautiful. Like all rules, this isn’t always 100% accurate, but remember: no matter how much an agent likes your book, agents don’t make money unless your book sells.

If you want to go the traditional publishing route, you’ll have to play by the rules. The trade off for limiting your word count to industry standards is backing from a big name, and some marketing support.

Because of the strict rules and lack of emphasis on aesthetics-over-marketability, many authors choose the self-publishing route.

Self publishing has nearly no rules, depending on what company you go through. In fact, many companies incentive longer books because the more pages you publish with them, the more money they’re making in printing costs from you. For this reason, most self-publishing companies have no limits on how small or large your book will be, and many relish the fact that so many authors have difficulty telling their story succinctly.

If you choose the self-publishing route, just keep your audience in mind. You want to tell your story in the most concise and compelling way. Why? The better a page-turner you write this time around, the better chance readers will rush to buy your next book–and that’s publishing gold.

Ultimately, a writer’s job is to “tell the very best story he or she can,” as Literary Agent Eric Ruben said in a recent Writing Gym interview.  Focus on your story first; be sure that your pacing is impeccable–a real page-turner, and then worry about how to fit within word limits and about how you will publish your story.

Have questions about pacing your novel? Work with a coach to ensure the highest quality story possible.

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