Month: April 2015

Making It Publishable

By Steven Pressfield | 15 Comments

What makes a book ready for Prime Time? What takes our manuscript from “almost but not quite” to “Wow, get this one under contract TODAY!” In one word: editing. It’s the editor, not the writer, who whips the book into shape. It’s the editor who identifies what’s working and what’s not working—and helps the writer bring it all together into a saleable, publishable work. Today I’m thrilled to announce to our blog readers that Shawn Coyne’s much-anticipated book, THE STORY GRID What Good Editors Know, is on sale at Black Irish Books. On Friday the book goes out to the…

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Protect Yourself: The Contract

By Callie Oettinger | 9 Comments

Working without a contract is like walking a tightrope without a net. Doable, but risky—with the potential to do real harm if you slip (depending on the height at which you’re walking and the conditions awaiting below). Working with a contract you don’t understand is just as risky. There’s an ever-growing list of bankrupt artists with wealthy publishing/recording/etc houses, of artists who have lost ownership of their work because they didn’t understand what they were signing, or who went unpaid because their contract didn’t protect them/their work. For the above reasons, my advice to young artists, particularly those slogging through…

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Files I Work With

By Steven Pressfield | 29 Comments

A week from now is the official launch of Shawn’s terrific and much-anticipated new book, The Story Grid. I’m gonna use today’s post to describe one way that I employ Shawn’s principles when I work. Right now I’m on the sixth draft of a fiction project. (In other words, NOT the first draft, which goes by completely different rules.) When I start to work each morning I open onscreen five files: 1. The actual draft I’m working on. 2. A file I call Scene By Scene. 3. Culls (meaning everything I’ve cut). 4. A file I call MissingMissingMissing. 5. Conventions…

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Readers First

By Shawn Coyne | 8 Comments

[Join www.storygrid.com to read more of Shawn’s Stuff] Here’s something I think is true. It’s a riff on my 10,000-reader rule, which I think is the magic number of readers per title a publisher must reach before she can be satisfied that she’d done all that she could.  After exposing 10,000 interested people to a book, she’ll either concede defeat (for whatever reason the book just didn’t generate enough word of mouth to survive) or she’ll start reaping revenue from the title year after year. What’s important isn’t selling 10,000.  What’s important is having 10,000 people read the book!

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An Ask Too Far

By Steven Pressfield | 36 Comments

[The blog is hors de combat this week, as we prep for the launch of Shawn’s wonderful new book, THE STORY GRID, coming in a couple of weeks. Here’s one of my fave posts from a couple of years ago:] In the past year or so I’ve become aware of the verb “ask” used as a noun. I simultaneously like it and am appalled by it. An “ask” is a request for an action or a favor. I was reporting the contents of a long e-mail to a friend; she interrupted: “What’s the ask?” Meaning, “What does the e-mail writer…

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Exile Revisted

By Callie Oettinger | 17 Comments

Two weeks ago I wrote about Dave Danelo’s book The Return and “Exile,” which is to The Return what “Resistance” is to The War of Art. Last week, Shawn wrote about the “Groucho Marx Syndrome,” of an author spooked by the possibility of success, of actually achieving what he wanted. This past week, a friend e-mailed about an artist friend of hers, asking for suggestions to help share his work. Upon receiving my ideas she replied with doubt, that she didn’t think he’d go for it. He was an artist and just wanted to create. The artist Shawn wrote about…

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When Truth Doesn’t Work

By Steven Pressfield | 31 Comments

I’ve been working on a project that has a strong autobiographical component. One thing I’ve discovered is that you can’t tell the literal truth. The truth doesn’t work. Instead I’ve had to fictionalize wildly. And the weird part is, the more extravagantly I fictionalize, the more like the truth it sounds.

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The Groucho Marx Syndrome

By Shawn Coyne | 13 Comments

[Join www.storygrid.com to read more of Shawn’s Stuff] A friend of mine is the best literary agent in the business. She is extremely conscientious, knows her chosen genres better than anyone else, and does that rare thing most agents choose to avoid at all costs.  She not only tells her clients what’s wrong with their stuff, she literally re-writes their material to show them how to fix it. Telling a client what’s weak (the primary skill set of an agent and a crucial one at that) is so much easier than showing them how to actually fix it…You need more…

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Love in the Time of Resistance

By Steven Pressfield | 33 Comments

There’s a certain kind of relationship that often seeks out and torments writers and artists. Maybe you’ve had one. Maybe you’ve had more than one. In this type of love, one of the partners has become aware of her Resistance and is taking active, courageous steps to counter it. She’s writing her novel, she’s initiating her startup, she’s turning her life in a positive direction. Her lover admires and respects this. He’s drawn to her by her drive and her commitment. She has an energy. Good vibes radiate from her. It’s fun and exciting to be around her. Her lover…

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