Building worlds to reach readers + Libraries, Writing Advice, Publishing Tools & News

World-building goldilocks conundrum; upcoming workshops; the dewey decimal system's dark past & present; writing & publishing tools; craft advice tarot; industry updates; a new press; tea and salt

Greetings readers & writers,

“I thought the author did a great job building this world.”

“I don’t think the world-building feels quite accessible and clear enough.”

“This is a really fascinating, vivid world…”

“I’m having a hard time feeling fully grounded in the world.”

“A very intriguing world with a lot of fascinating elements…”

“I felt that the worldbuilding hindered the pacing and narrative tension at times, making it hard to be fully immersed in the atmosphere and story.”

These are all actual comments I’ve received about my manuscript, each from a different editor, each as part of a rejection. Knowing the dedication I’ve put into creating a robust and interesting world for this story, how much I’ve written and rewritten to make it accessible, it feels like some kind of gag, a Goldilocks joke. Too much, too little, to simplistic, too complex.

My agent assures me that world-building is a highly subjective. To lessen the sting of rejection, it helps me to consider how that subjectivity of the reader connects to the subjective lens of the world-building. I talk about this in my world-building classes (like the one I’m teaching in October), how the stories we tell are shaped by the worlds we construct and vice versa. In class we speak specifically to how characters define/are defined by the intersection of their identities and the expectations of their world.

I remind myself that this is true of readers as well. From a marketing perspective, I talk all the time about understanding your audience. Thinking deeply about the lenses through which you tell your story can give you clues and information about potential readers and their lenses. Who will best be able to connect with your characters? Who will be inspired by the world you’ve built? How you you reach those readers specifically?

I have my fingers crossed that there’s an editor on our list who can see the same audience for my book that I do. Who is as moved by my protagonist’s story as I am. I’m hoping this for you too, for the story and characters you’ve brought to life, just waiting for that perfect reader: the one who thinks the world-building is just right.

Do you have a book releasing soon? There are still a handful of open slots for Book Marketing Now guest posts! Fill out this form if you’re interested in participating!

Check your email for the upcoming guest post from children’s book author Rajani LaRocca! Hear about her publishing journey and the varied marketing strategies she’s used to promote SIX new titles in a single year.

Upcoming (Virtual!) Seminars

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Writing/Marketing Resources:

Reading Corner

Book Rec: The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

The Bear and the Nightingale was gifted to me as part of an (anonymous!) book exchange and it was a perfect pick. It’s a chilly, magical, slavic fairytale that puts me in mind of Spinning Silver, one of my all time favorites. Vasya can see and speak to the spirits of the hearth and forest, but to fend off her resentful stepmother, a vain priest, and the dark evil growing in the woods, she must come into her powers to protect herself and her village. The writing is lovely and layered and I look forward to reading the other two books in the trilogy.

Industry News


It was so hard to pick from Shafa Blend’s delicious selection when I discovered them at a farmer’s market this summer! I settled on their Balanced Being blend, a subtle and warming rooibos tisane perfect to curl up with in the evening. I also snagged their Himalyan Sea Salt grinder, which I have been using on ev.ery.thing.

Thanks to the generosity of Book Moon in Easthampton, MA, I’ll be doing two awesome book bundle giveaways soon, one of which is exclusively for subscribers! Stay tuned!!

Happy writing!

Writer & Marketing Coach
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