Month: May 2016

Always be Closing

By Shawn Coyne | 9 Comments

So you’ve got a cover image that you’re happy with. The title and the image Yin and Yang around the territory of the global theme of the work. You’ve also got a solid short quote from a respected source and/or a respected figure in the book’s genre featured prominently on the front. Something like “The best book on extreme spelunking bar none!” –Lon Fuller So you’re done right? NOPE. Don’t forget the back cover copy. This is a fundamental mistake self-publishers make again and again. They go all the way to the finish line and then they half ass the…

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Cover the Canvas

By Steven Pressfield | 12 Comments

Is the first draft the hardest? Is it different from a third draft, or a twelfth? Does a first draft possess unique challenges that we have to attack in a one-of-a-kind way? Yes, yes and yes. A first draft is different from (and more difficult than) all subsequent drafts because in a first draft we’re filling the blank page. And we know what that means: Resistance. We were talking last week about the “Blitzkrieg method” for attacking a first draft. Here’s another way of thinking about it. This is my main mantra for first drafts: “Cover the canvas.” I think…

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Don’t Swing Big All the Time

By Callie Oettinger | 11 Comments

In The Science of Hitting, by Ted Williams and John Underwood, there’s a a section titled “Smarter is Better,” which starts out by talking about Frank Howard, then of the Senators. “He hit a lot of home runs, he’s the strongest man I’ve ever seen in baseball, but he wasn’t getting on base nearly as often as he should. He struck out a lot, he swung at bad pitches, he swung big all the time.” When Williams finally had an opportunity to work with Howard, they focused on NOT swinging big all the time. “Halfway through the 1969 season he…

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The Blitzkrieg Method

By Steven Pressfield | 12 Comments

Continuing our new series on First Drafts … Blitzkrieg is German for “lightning war.” It’s a technique of battle that was developed in the ‘30s by certain German and British generals, foremost among them Heinz Guderian, and put into practice with spectacular success by the Germans in the assaults on France, Poland, and the Soviet Union at the start of WWII.

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My One Fail-Safe Rule for Packaging

By Shawn Coyne | 8 Comments

If I had to give one and only one piece of advice about how best to generate a cover for a book, it would be this: Yin and Yang the Image/s and the Word/s. Huh? Here’s Chip Kidd’s cover for his book on graphic design that I highly recommend… It’s supposedly for kids and kids will absolutely love it, but I find it remarkably helpful too. And I’m on the back nine of my life: See what I mean? It even works in translation… The image and words don’t match, which is inherently intriguing.

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The Magic of TK

By Steven Pressfield | 20 Comments

  On Shawn’s storygrid.com this week there was such a great piece that I’m ripping it off lock-stock-and-barrel here to share with my peeps. It’s on the subject of writing a first draft.

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The Social Media Skinny

By Callie Oettinger | 27 Comments

Last month a nonfiction author-in-progress told me she has over 20,000 Twitter followers, which she interpreted as a sales forecast. While she knows 20,000+ followers might not equal 20,000+ book sales, to her, 20,000+ followers do equal thousands of book sales. I gave her my spiel about being careful to avoid equating social media numbers with sales, that followers often “like” and “tweet,” but don’t always take action. She replied that she might be the exception, as many of her Twitter followers are journalists who follow her work. In the sage words of Bart Simpson, “au contraire mon frère.” Those many…

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“Help! I Can’t Find My Title!”

By Steven Pressfield | 10 Comments

  Regular readers of our recent posts will know the answer to this cry for help already. Theme. Theme is a golden highway to a great title. Consider Brooklyn, starring Saoirse Ronan. The story is about a young Irish girl who emigrates from the Auld Sod in the early 50s and winds up in Brooklyn. After a period of struggle and assimilation she starts to find her way professionally, meets a wonderful young guy, accepts his proposal of marriage. Wow, things are going great! A family tragedy compels her to return briefly to Ireland. Once there, her newfound American self-confidence…

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