Your problem isn’t your idea. It isn’t your words. It isn’t your lack of credentials or your fledgling platform. It’s your pitch

Photo by Gift Habeshaw on Unsplash

To place your article or sell your book, you have to know before anyone else does why it is needed — at this moment, from your voice, for your reader. And you have to put all that certainty into a pitch, whether to an editor or to an agent in your book proposal.

Solve that missing link — of the “Why now?” and you’ll pave the way to a fervent yes!

Urgency Is the #1 Missing Ingredient for Your Pitch

We writers are sorcerers of the word. We pair words for a love match. Words dance and mingle, flirt, and seduce us into an immersive whirlwind. …


Photo by Elemi on Unsplash

Yes, we miss our old lives. Or we don’t. We want to shout into the wind, and perhaps need to shout at ourselves. We’re finally immersed in the monotonous details of our every day.

There was a tropical storm this morning. Dark and swirling. Threatening flash floods.

Get away from the windows.

Come downstairs.

Get off the porch.

The trees are old and tall. Canopies sway and twist, holding against the wind and risking themselves. The upturned leaves of the knotty oak stretch to funnel the rain to its feet.

Our dinky pier is swallowed by the muddy, brackish river…


Photo by Karine Germain on Unsplash

My daughter has a thing for words said out loud. It might be that, at eight, she has a power to make anything fun. But I think it’s more than that.

Hearing her play with these words in her mouth, rolling them around and laughing with them. Well it’s just joy.

Are we a family of logophiles? Possibly. Of bibliophiles? Probably.

Among her favorites:

suburban (suh-BUR-bin)

sassafras (SASS-eh-frass)

typical (TIP-eh-cuhl)

purple clams (PER-puhl KLAMS)

Me? Certain words charm me. I confess, I am a word junkie.

I love how they look in long-hand, weaving their ways with my hand chasing their inevitable path. Loopy and rounded, layered and tasty. The whole experience of writing, listening to my archival ink pen dig across the notebook paper, the smooth takeoff trail at the…


Conjure the wisdom of Mister Rogers and your Grandma.

Photo by Giuseppe Argenziano on Unsplash

Yes, we miss our old lives.
Or we don’t.
We want to shout into the wind,
and perhaps need to shout at ourselves.
We’re finally immersed in the monotonous details of our every day.

There was a hurricane this morning. Dark and swirling. Threatening flash floods.

Get away from the windows.
Come downstairs.
Get off the porch.

The trees are old and tall.
Canopies sway and twist, standing against the wind and risking themselves. Our dinky pier is swallowed by the muddy river.

The air hangs still despite the ruckus.

In this new normal, we must lean on ourselves.
We…


Photo by Richard Brutyo on Unsplash

When our dear Loretta died, we had a silent six months of doglessness.

Twelve years before, she found us at a Raleigh animal control shelter, quiet and waiting. The other dogs erupted in raucous song while this lanky shepherd sat patiently. Too old to appeal to the “puppy seekers,” she had missed her marketability window.

Her eyes invited me to sit. Moments later, I was cross-legged on the concrete floor of her kennel. She crawled into my lap, her kennel card said “GSD Puppy.” Together we endured the chaos for 45 minutes until the paperwork was complete.


5 Practical Steps, starting with Be Yourself.

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

In the beginning, Facebook brought us closer to our long lost friends. Then, the funniest content and our favorite celebs. Yes, Amy Poehler, I’m talking about you. Then, our work went digital and we started counting follows and likes.

Now, Facebook’s algorithm has changed. Again.

FACEBOOK prioritizes personal pages and original content.

What does this mean? Let’s dig in.

This means your followers’ feeds will prioritize original content from personal profiles, based on those profiles’ engagement. Translation, your profile’s engagement needs to work in your favor.

Here are five steps to curating a winning engagement Facebook profile.

1. ORIGINAL CONTENT ONLY. Never ever cut/paste into your post. Even if you’re cutting from a Word doc or another…


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Your manuscript is polished. Your query is snappy. Are you ready to query?

Nope. Let’s just SLOW YOUR ROLL lest you hear “writer, writer pants on fire!”

You may be writing from the heart but your book is not your baby.

The book proposal is the marketing plan and the sales forecast. It positions your book and compares you to all other writers. It must glitter.

You can do this. IF you put on your agent hat.

Picture our friendly literary agent.

She’s paid only on sales. She spends her days on her current clients’ work. She’s pitching those writers to publishers. And she still hasn’t been paid for that work. …


Look familiar? #2 pencils are your friend. Photo by Frank Vessia on Unsplash

It seems like forever ago that we all said, “Screens are bad!”

Oh yeah? That was yesteryear. This is now. And our kids now spend 10 hours on screens each day. Still, our 3rd and 6th graders are not enjoying our daily schedules. I can’t imagine why.

7:30 a.m. WAKE UP. You’re tired? Dangit, we’ve been up since 6. Brush your teeth and hair. Try again. Get dressed in clothes you did NOT sleep in. Feed the dogs. Yes, give them water too. All living things need water. Stop fighting.

8 a.m. EAT breakfast. Why we have to point this…


The simple act of holding hands is healing. //Photo by Gert Stockmans on Unsplash

People are dying alone. With Covid-19, there is no hand-holding. No family to offer comfort and confidence.

Hayes C. Larkins was a veteran of WW2, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. He was wounded twice and received two Purple Hearts. He spent most of March and April quarantined in an assisted living community; no family visits allowed. After his move to Hospice of the Chesapeake, his family was finally allowed by his side. He died two days later.

The widely accepted rights of the dying, as documented by Dr. …


Welcoming life’s experiences: a craving, a dance, a hug, a question, a laugh, a sob, and sweet LOVE!

Your grandma is always the wisest person in the room.
Your grandma is always the wisest person in the room.
Photo by Cristian Newman on Unsplash

Big shouting sneezes run in our family. They’re not the feminine kittycat sniffs that some families boast. These are large announcements that startle even our senior dogs from their ever-slumber. To make matters worse, I married a shouting sneezer whose sequence of three sneezes sounds like a war cry.

“HAAAAAATCH … CHHHHHYYYYAAAA!”

“HAAAAAATCH … CHHHHHYYYYAAAA!”

“HAAAAAATCH … CHHHHHYYYYAAAA!”

That’s a far-flung cousin of the nicey-nice achoo that is acceptable nowadays. And our shepherd Hank lurches to his feet, howling. Good boy, you’re okay.

Thank you to the researchers who put together that today’s pronunciation of “achoo” is a learned phenomenon…

Allison Lane

Untapped gumption, marketing for storytellers, everyday whimsy | P.S. I Love You, The Startup, Better Marketing | Author Strategy Coach @allisonlaneliterary.com

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