Jacket copy is never going to be “perfect.” It’ll never capture everything you want readers to know about your book or your achievements as an author. So give up on trying to pack it all in and just accept the fact that this is supposed to be, much like the descriptions on a menu, a teaser. First throw your hands in the air, and then use them to karate chop all the extraneous elements into submission. What’s left over will be in fighting trim.

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Everyone wants to have won an award, yet writing contests are something of an outlier in the book publishing world. Why isn't entering a writing contest a regular in a writer’s promotional plan? The fear of competition?

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One of the biggest benefits of NaNoWriMo for me is the creative momentum it spawns, even beyond November. Each year I’m energized by the imaginative sparks (and sometimes flames) that result from immersing myself in writing. I also learn (and relearn) important things about time management, discipline, and the value of writing with others.

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Traditional publishers have long held an exalted position. They determined who was in and who was out, who was worthy and who was not. They decided what the public could read and what messages or entertainment to issue. They were the gatekeepers of ideas.

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And what writing tools do you use?

Curious how J.K. Rowling, Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, and many others get the writing done? Picture your favorite author writing a new book. Where is she sitting? What is she using to write? A computer, a typewriter, pen and pad, taking notes on an iPhone? The famous authors in the infographic below (from NinjaEssays.com) are all pretty lo-tech when it comes to the composition process — which, of course, isn't a stunner when you're talking about Agatha Christie or Mark Twain. But a few of the other examples did surprise me.

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Writers can find inspiration, tips, and tricks just about anywhere. The internet is filled with blogs that offer unique insight into the writing process. But maybe you don’t need to sift through all those well-meaning mentors. Maybe you only need to make a trip to the library. Take a look at what some of your fellow book lovers are reading. Do you feel a kinship with any of them? If so, it is time you followed their lead. Read a book and improve your writing; you’ll be glad you did!

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When you first started composing your masterpiece, you probably thought the biggest hurdle was actually getting it done.  By now, you’ve learned there are many more challenges than just the writing process. You need to find an editor, a publisher, a peer review group.  And, you need to engage in some serious marketing – of yourself and your book.

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