Starting to Write?

40 video/audio lessons that take you step-by-step from idea to finished novel, taught by an award-winning, best-selling novelist and nationally acclaimed writing teacher. Easy, understandable, foundation elements essential for every genre. Learn Skills, Secrets and most of all... Story.

Rewriting and Editing?

A great book isn't written. . .it's rewritten. Learn how to analyze and fix your novel’s problems with this unique “self-editing” system. . .then arm yourself with over 40 Advanced Fiction Classes and rewrite your story into publication.

Ready To Publish?

You’ve worked too hard to quit now. Your story is nearly ready, but now it’s time to sell your novel. Learn the steps to creating a powerful proposal, secrets to pitching, the key elements to your marketing plan, a social media primer and how to create rabid reader fans. It’s time to ignite your career.
Rachel Hauck

Emily Post On Author Etiquette

Let me see… Emily Post etiquette book on page…

Hmmm, seems Emily didn’t directly address author etiquette!

But it’s something that should be talked about from time-to-time.

Show of hands how many went to some form of kindergarten? Then we should remember the most basic rules of any kind of etiquette.

But when it comes to interacting with authors, and the vast world of social media, we can apply some details to our inner-author-publisher-reader relationships.

  1. Be nice, polite and considerate. I know this seems beyond obvious but at times these basic etiquette qualities get trampled. My challenge to us all is to be nice, polite and considerate when no one is looking. When other authors, editors or agents are around.
  2. Share. In this social media world sharing is easy and almost expected. Social media is about dialog. It’s not a bull horn to promote your book but an exchange of 140 word conversations. Listen to others every bit as much as you want to be heard.
  3. Watch your words. Believe it or not, people read your Facebook, blog and Twitter posts. I know it seems at times no one is “listening” but trust me, they are. Editors and agents skim your FB profile to see what you’re really about. I’m not saying shy away from posting your view of things — I’ve ventured a political post or two — but I use language that invites a conversation. And I don’t allow rude, cutting and argumentative posts from others. In the publishing world, watch what you post about another author, publishing house, writing group or agent.
  4. Congratulate the Winner. Listen, I’ve had my share of entering a contest and not being a finalist. I do my best to go to the finalist Page’s and congratulation them. If I final but didn’t win, I congratulate the winner. Tweet about it. Give a shout out. Because one day it might be you and wouldn’t you want the world to rejoice with you. Never, ever publicly put down an author or book that bested you and yours. Even if you think your book is better. And who doesn’t think their book is better? But you know, in reality, don’t put the winning authors and books down at all. In public or private. Why fill our hearts with such pebbles and stones. Even if no one is listening, God is listening.
  5. Don’t post your stuff on other people’s wall. Once in awhile a new author posts their book news on my wall. “My book is out, buy it.” Wait. This is MY wall, where MY readers gather, and post on my are for things I’m interested in or promoting. I will not post about an author or book I do not know or trust. Indie authors, I know it’s hard to build an audience — been there — but don’t use another author’s Fan Page for your promotion. If you want an author to promote your work, ask them. But the best advice is to meet authors, build a relationship first and they will be more than happy to promote your work.
  6. Reputation is Gold. Back to #4 and 5, your reputation will take you farther than any amazing writing talent. If you esteem others higher than yourself, if you respect authors and the industry, if you honor the work of publishers and writing organizations, it will show. Somewhere a long the way, someone will report back to you the condition of your reputation. And if you’ve behaved more like Jesus than, well, yourself, you’ll be rewarded. Serve. Honor. Pray.
  7. Don’t complain. I mean, it seems obvious, but in this industry, there can be so much to complain about it. I’ve tripped over that wire so many times. And it’s just not healthy, or worth it. At the end of the day, publishing is a business. Money must be made for people to be paid. Complaining about how unfair it is gets you no where. Keep focused. Work. Write a great novel. And then another one and another. That will get you way farther than complaining. Listen, editors and authors, readers, love hanging around someone who’s easy to get along with and who works hard at the craft, who is turning out one good book after another.
  8. Communicate. Let others know how you’re doing. Last year I got in a bit of a bind with a sudden physical issue. I kept it to myself for a a week or two until I realized it wasn’t passing. Then I let my writing buddies know, asking for prayer. I called my editor and gave her a heads up. Eventually, I had to tell my publisher because it was impacting my view of the book. Had I not told them in time, my book would’ve ended up in the wrong sales catalog and while that could be managed, it would not be optimal or idea, and prove to be some what of a set back. So communicate. It’s hard for authors to ask for things or to fess up when a book isn’t working — we tend to feel we’re one foot out the door — but if we wait too long to speak up, it could have unwanted ramifications.
  9. Be a resource. This one is a bit of a challenge but if you can, provide information on your FB Page or Twitter, your blog, about things people might be interested in. Or things related to your book that your readers might find interesting. I try to post news about the UK royals from time to time. I’m passionate about prayer and worship, so I try to post information about worship and prayer, post things that might encourage others in their spiritual journey. I post book news for author friends. I get “thank yous” from my readers  for recommending good books.
  10. Be involved. As best you can, reply to tweets and Facebook comments. At the very least, hit the Like button. Remember the people who are buying and reading your books. :)

This is not an exhaustive list, but I think you get where I’m going.

Keep the Golden Rule and you’ll be golden. :)

Go write something Brilliant!




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Need New Inspiration? Borrow Someone Else’s Brain

I have been involved in a traditional critique group for a while, which has been enormously beneficial; not only to tighten my writing and hone technique, but to encourage me—especially when I was a knee-trembling newbie.

However, inspired by the class taught by Susie and Rachel at the ACFW conference and by the Huddle Up! MBT Peptalk last October, I wanted something to take my writing to another level.

My writing partner and I decided that we needed to bounce around plotting ideas with other writers. We found a couple other writers and last month our new group was born. We don’t have a fancy group name yet, but the four of us that get together once a week and just talk shop. Instead of working on line-by-line edits we focus on plot, character development, and themes. We “borrow” each other’s brains to inspire new ideas.

Last week, since there were only two of us available, we plotted an entire short-story series and worked out some character issues with my second book. Sometimes we read scenes out loud, or just talk about the issues that need tweaking. Our sessions are very casual, sometimes involve brownies, and the times is divided between us to make sure everyone gets a chance to share. We all write different genres and have different strength and weaknesses, which helps to provide fresh perspective on our own.

I cannot tell you how helpful this new type of writing group has been. Instead of feeling bogged down by a snarled scene, I can come to my group and we brainstorm ways to untangle it. Instead of worrying about editing scenes to perfection before I share (which is a major hindrance to this perfectionist), I can focus on making the scene strong and worry about editing later. As a result, I have written more in the past month than I have in a long while. And besides the accountability, it just makes the whole process a lot more fun! I don’t know about you, but I can talk story for hours. Inevitably, brainstorming other people’s stories somehow sparks new ideas for my own.

If you are looking for something new, something to revitalize your passion for your story, think about pulling together three or four friends once a week, or even once a month, to just plot together. You never know what exciting ideas will be born!


Connilyn Cossette has a passion for writing stories of timeless grace that draw readers into a personal encounter with the rich ancient world of the Bible, and its Author. Her debut novel, Counted with the Stars, will be released with Bethany House Publishers in Spring of 2016. Connect with her at




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Create an Awesome Marketing Plan—Part 6: Printed and Bonus Materials

OTM logo--marketing planWoohoo, we’ve reached the final post in a series of posts about building an awesome marketing plan to go in your novel’s proposal. Just to clarify, this plan is something you’re going to put together before your book is even contracted! Once a publisher has contracted your book, you’ll likely take this plan and expand it even further. But the goal for now is simply to wow the agents and editors you’re pitching to with your stellar marketing expertise.

In case you need to catch up on earlier posts first, you can check them out here:

Part 1: Intro

Part 2: Media and Speaking Engagements

Part 3: Internet Presence

Part 4: Libraries and Launch Teams

Part 5: Cross-Promotional Opportunities and Events

Today, we’re going to tack on Printed Materials and Bonus Material, plus I’ve got a quick note about endorsements.

Printed Materials

Yep, when it’s time for your book to release, chances are your publisher will help you out with printed materials like bookmarks, postcards, promotional fliers or posters. Every publisher is different and what they’ll provide likely varies. BUT in this section your goal is to say, hey, whatever you provide, I’m going to a) supplement if possible and b) make sure I’ve got a good plan for distributing it.

So in my marketing plan, I made it clear that I would make in-person stops at local libraries, bookstores, coffee shops, basically any place I could think of that might be willing to display bookmarks or the like. It was as simple as adding two or three sentences to my marketing plan but it let my prospective publisher know I not only had ideas for printed materials, but I knew what I was going to do with them.

Bonus Material

Bonus material is anything extra you can think of related to your book that you can use to promote it. Things like: deleted scenes, fun character profiles, discussion questions, artwork, maybe even a short story or novella related to a side character…anything you can provide on your website or in an author newsletter that you plan to use to help promote the book. Extra points if you’ve already written or come up with this material! But if you haven’t, that’s no problem. As noted above, the goal at this point is to acknowledge things you want to and are willing to do to help market your book.

And a word about endorsements…

I’ve seen a variety of different novel proposal templates and styles. Some include potential endorsements in the marketing section of the proposal. Others keep them separate. Regardless, if you have authors who have already agreed to endorse or consider endorsing your book, you’ll want to include that somewhere in your proposal, whether in the marketing section or as its own section. As an aside, one thing I don’t suggest doing? Listing authors’ names without actually talking to them first. :)

So there we have it, all the different pieces of a stellar proposal marketing plan.

To emphasize the note I made above, this is the plan you’ll include in your novel’s proposal. When it comes time to prepare for your book’s release, you’ll likely take each section from this plan and expand on it in detail…coming up tasks and to-dos and even more ideas. But the goal right now is to let your prospective publisher know you’re willing to play a role in getting your book into the hands of readers.

Do you have any questions about your proposal’s marketing plan?


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