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Louise Marley's Blog

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Sep.14.2009
Several years ago the great writer Ursula K. LeGuin sat down for a chat with a half-dozen of us mid-career writers.  (She is the most generous and helpful of colleagues, by the way.)  She began by saying that "publishing has always been in trouble".  Of course, publishing is in even more...
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Sep.11.2009
Somerset Maugham said, "There are three rules for writing a novel.  Unfortunately, no one knows what they are."  I've quoted this a hundred times, but I still have to remind myself of this home truth as I begin a new book. Looking back on my bibliography, and recalling the process through...
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Sep.06.2009
Like the age-old query about women, this one has no simple answer, but a frustrated email from a colleague this morning made me think about it.  Is it possible to quantify what readers are looking for?  Is it possible--even remotely--to predict what readers will like?  I suspect the best we can do...
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Sep.01.2009
Cracking the agent puzzle was one of the hardest things for me when I was ready to sell my first novel.  I did almost everything wrong, and irritated a few people, but in the end, I got lucky.  One thing I did right was to sign with the agent who told me he liked my novel, but that it needed...
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Aug.31.2009
It's one of my screeds that the biggest challenge facing a modern writer is to eliminate distractions.  The book Brain Rules, which I've blogged about before, supported my foggy theory that multitasking means mediocre work.  Now comes a study from Stanford with a new word to me--unitasking--and...
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Aug.30.2009
In the Wall Street Journal, of all places, is a comprehensive article examining the phenomenon of the literary novel--you know, the one you're supposed to read, but don't really want to?  It's worth a few moments to read this excellent overview of what happened to literature with the early...
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Aug.27.2009
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Readers are always surprised to find that authors have no control over the covers that appear on their books.  (The exception is small press.  More about that in a moment.)  It's a terrible feeling to open the package that arrives from New York with your cover flat in it, and to feel your heart...
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Aug.24.2009
At the teen writers' workshop I taught last week at one of our wonderful public libraries (facilitated by an even more wonderful young adult librarian), a young writer said something I treasure.  She stays up too late working because, she says, her day isn't complete unless she's written.   I have...
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Aug.18.2009
When I was starting out as a novelist, my writers' group used to agonize over how to write a query letter.  One of us--arguably the best line-by-line writer among us--created rather arch, intriguing letters that were fun to read.  My approach was one of brevity:  get in, get out, hope the receiver...
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Aug.12.2009
An editor-who-shall-not-be-named recently told a colleague of mine that the cost to a publisher of creating an ebook (such as a Kindle or Sony edition) is in the neighborhood of ten thousand dollars.  Another colleague, the sort of writer who pays real attention to the business of writing,...
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Aug.09.2009
Warning:  this blog post--charmingly titled "Give Me Your Tired, Your Confused, Your Huddled Masses Yearning to Know What the F***'s Going On"-- is not for the writerly faint of heart.   If you're in that waiting mode, though, you might find it intriguing.   Don't be daunted!  Just be...
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Aug.06.2009
I received an advertising email this morning from Amazon.com.  The Kindle is now a fashion accessory!  I can choose from thirty or so covers in various colors and materials, priced from $16.99 to $119.99!  I think I need several, to match my shoes and my handbags.  Don't I? My favorite is this one...
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Aug.05.2009
The late great Erma Bombeck began her writing career in her garage, with a board balanced on two cardboard boxes.  She claimed she told her children not to bother her unless they were bleeding.  Jean Kerr, author of Please Don't Eat the Daisies, said she wrote in the car, waiting for her children...
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Jul.31.2009
Somerset Maugham famously said, "There are three rules for writing a novel.  Unfortunately, no one knows what they are."  I'm pretty sure, despite my deceptive title, that no one knows the rules for submitting to agents and editors, either.  It helps a lot, however, for a writer to peek...
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Jul.23.2009
USA Today has announced that, as of today, Kindle sales will be included when they determine their bestseller lists.   The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America posted the whole article on Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=127029469873&ref=nf Wow.  This happened...
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