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6 Questions for Your Brand Strategy

When writers ask how to create a brand strategy, I share with them what many a wise marketer has shared with me: "Your brand is what other people say it is." In other words, people trust their friends and acquaintances far more than they trust clever slogans. Word of mouth is the most powerful form of communication we have. The key with brand development is to focus on what peo [...]

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39 Law & Order Episodes in the Arts

No matter where you are in the world, Law & Order is playing on a screen somewhere. While there are several brand spinoffs, I'm partial to the original series. When it debuted in 1990, I arrived in New York City, sight unseen, as a new editor at HarperCollins. I remember how exciting it was to walk all around Manhattan and to see different production sets on location.  [...]

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Write by Hand

I love Bette Davis. The other night, I caught her film In This Our Life on TCM. Released in 1942, there is one part where her uncle and father are waxing and waning for the good days. You know the ones. The days of honor, duty, personal responsibility. Some things do not change. And that, my friends, is how I feel about writing by hand. Just because the world runs on [...]

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Why You Need a Reader Persona

One of the unwritten rules of growing up on a farm is not to name the animals. After you name a chicken, pig, calf, or goat, you'll never be able to slaughter it for food. Naming creates a relationship, a sense of intimacy.  Peanuts, a Black Angus calf I named after he was rejected (within minutes of his birth) by his mother, wobbled against my leg for balance. From [...]

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Anya AchtenbergPoet and Novelist                 

Melissa provides an extraordinary combination of powerful support, creative thinking, and a real knowledge of business and the publishing world. With her support, I now realize fully what my truest gifts are and how to create my writing and teaching life, which not only uses these gifts, but also fulfills my most central values and beliefs. 

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A New Growth Spurt

It's mid-July, the corn is high, and I'm celebrating 10 years of working with writers, artists, and creators of all kinds. I feel deep gratitude for my clients, friends, and family. Your examples of courageous creating inspire me to be a better coach and human being. Working one-to-one with clients and facilitating workshops, I'm in Awe of how people express the best of th [...]

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7 Keys to Changing Agents

It is mid-July and that means one thing: summer writers' conferences are in full bloom. In addition to networking, refining craft, and reading their work, many writers hope to meet the literary agent of their dreams. At these conferences, you will also meet a good percentage of agented writers who want to change agents. On any given day, there might be 100 good reasons to [...]

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Why You Need a Reader Persona

One of the unwritten rules of growing up on a farm is not to name the animals. After you name a chicken, pig, calf, or goat, you'll never be able to slaughter it for food. Naming creates a relationship, a sense of intimacy.  Peanuts, a Black Angus calf I named after he was rejected (within minutes of his birth) by his mother, wobbled against my leg for balance. From [...]

Continue reading»

Write by Hand

I love Bette Davis. The other night, I caught her film In This Our Life on TCM. Released in 1942, there is one part where her uncle and father are waxing and waning for the good days. You know the ones. The days of honor, duty, personal responsibility. Some things do not change. And that, my friends, is how I feel about writing by hand. Just because the world runs on [...]

Continue reading»