Finding Your Voice

I’m often asked how I got published. I’ve given a lot of to-the-point answers as well as longer explanations that focus on hard work, determination, and luck. The more I think about my eight-year road-to-publication, the more I’m certain writers who succeed do something pivotal during the process of drafting, revising, querying, and submitting. They… Read more »

Must-Knows When Picking Comparable Titles

Do you have trouble finding comparable titles for your book? Are you confused about how to use comparable titles in general? Or understand what they are?  Comparable titles (also known as comps) can be extremely helpful when writing and pitching your book to a literary agent or editor.  They are also a huge way to… Read more »

#5onFri: Five Ways to Protect Your Finances as a Freelancer

Writers often struggle with fiscal matters. After all, few things are less creative or elegant than a calculator or a checking account. Even so, it doesn’t change the fact that a successful freelance career is dependent on sound finances. Here are five simple ways that you can care for your freelance finances without getting too… Read more »

Publishing Lessons from Julia Child’s My Life in France

You can’t mention Julia Child without thinking about Mastering the Art of French Cooking. If you’ve seen the film Julie & Julia based on Julie Powell’s memoir, you’ve already seen much of Julia’s story from her autobiography with Alex Prud’homme My Life in France. The surprising part for some admirers may have been that Julia… Read more »

The Secret Formula to Author Newsletter Joy

Newsletters seem to have a way of intimidating many authors. If they don’t get tripped up over what to say, then it’s the commitment to a frequent schedule, or even the lack of a jump in Amazon rankings after each new issue. Many lose themselves to the drone of obligatory promotion blasts once a month… Read more »

Trust Your Gut: My DIY MFA Story

Seven summers ago, I walked into a small conference room at the Writer’s Digest Conference, wondering what I was doing there. The topic was YA literature, and while I was interested in YA, the novel I was working on was for adults. I think it’s safe to say that if there had been anything more… Read more »

The Negative Balance of Writing

When I taught Comp I, I was always surprised by how many students deemed my class unnecessary. They would scoff and say, “I never write except when I have a paper.” But they do – we all do. We write tweets and Instagram captions and Facebook updates that are way too long. We write emails… Read more »

Boost Your Creativity

Since the start of our first COVID-19 shutdown in DC back in March of 2020, it’s felt like everything has existed in a constant state of freefall. Though I have tried for a consistent daily routine, I haven’t had a traditional 9-5 working schedule since leaving my communications job at the end of 2018. Prior… Read more »

Resolving to Doodle On

When I began to write for DIY MFA, my second post, “Resolving to Draw More,” welcomed the New Year (remember 2019, that sweet time when small annoyances seemed important and everyday joys passed by unappreciated?). It included this fact: “You need three things to draw: paper, pen and ink. Or just two, if you use… Read more »

Making Goal-Driven Publishing Decisions: Wide vs. Select

After she’s written her manuscript, after it’s been edited, formatted, and proofread, an indie author makes a goal-driven publishing decision: wide or select? There are plenty of good reasons to choose either pathway, but it’s important to consider your long-term author goals before you decide. What does “wide” mean here? What is “Select”? “Select” means… Read more »