An AUTHORNOMICS New Year with Andrea Hurst

Andrea is offering a developmental edit of up to 600 words! Comment on this interview within the week to enter!

With a publishing industry that is ever in flux, it can be hard for an aspiring author to figure out what information is relevant and what she needs to do to be successful. Recognizing this, literary agent Andrea Hurst and writer and blogger Katie Flanagan present a series of weekly interviews with publishing industry specialists. The AUTHORNOMICS Series features literary agents, editors, authors, marketing experts and more talking about their opinions on the publishing industry, writing, and what a writer needs to know.

How to Start the New Year Write with Andrea Hurst

Andrea Hurst Signing Her Books

President of Andrea Hurst Literary Management, Andrea works with both major and regional publishing houses, and her client list includes emerging new voices and New York Times best-selling authors. Andrea represents high profile adult nonfiction and well-crafted fiction. Her clients and their books have appeared on the Oprah Show, Ellen DeGeneres Show, Good Morning America, National Geographic network and in the New York Times.

In addition to working in the publishing field for over 25 years, Andrea is a published author, skilled development editor, keynote speaker, and educator. She is the founder of, a site that offers expert instruction and resources for writers. She enjoys working with authors who have something meaningful to share and are driven by their enthusiasm and desire to create books that touch lives and make a difference. Author of The Lazy Dog’s Guide to Enlightenment and Everybody’s Natural Food Cookbook.

1. This New Year, what are some realistic resolutions writers can make to write more?

I saw a funny magnet at a writer’s store and it said, “Back away from the refrigerator. Good. Now go back to your desk and write!”  That about sums it up.  Where ever you need to put that sign to remind yourself to write, that is my suggestion.

2. What are the do’s and don’ts when setting writing goals?

I find that if I set my goals too high it is easy to get discouraged and use that as an excuse to stop writing. Often I underestimate how long a project will take to finish.  So the best tip I can give is to be reasonable with your goals and no matter what keep going back.

3. What are some of your writing resolutions this year?

I will finally have the draft done for my first novel in a day or two.  And I will celebrate! For me it is a struggle when I tend to put working on everyone else’s book before my own.  My number one resolution this year is to make sure my own book gets edited and published. (Interesting thought, I may just take my book straight to Kindle and Nook format.) I am a much happier person when I put my work on the same priority list my authors I work with get.

4. What are realistic publishing goals for a writer to set this year?

Getting your book published is a whole new game these days.  Anyone can do print on demand publishing or produce an eBook.  I suggest really looking at your goals and ask yourself:

  • Is my book written and edited to the best of my ability?
  • How can I best reach my audience? What is my marketing plan?
  • What is my time frame for getting my book out?
  • How important is distribution?
  • Should I go traditional or the Indie route?

If you decide to look for an agent, realistically this could take many months.  The same goes for finding a publisher.  If you book is picked up by a publisher, it usually will not come out to book stores for at least a year.

5. Where can a writer turn for advice and direction?

There are many excellent blogs for writers including Chuck’s Sambucino’s blog on finding an agent, Jane Friedman’s blog for writers, and Michael Larsen’s blog on publishing and writing.  For fiction and memoir writer’s I also recommend The Writer’s Journey, Writing the Breakout Novel and Self Editing for Fiction Writers. Writer’s Digest offers wonderful classes and I will be teaching a webinar for them in March.

6. What are some tricks for getting over writer’s block?

Last week I asked this question at Just Write, my free writer’s drop-in group that meets on the pier every Wednesday in Coupeville, WA.  There were many suggestions, but the one that has worked for me is to lay the project down you are working on and start another one. Going for a walk always helps too.  Sometimes it is all the voices in our heads that tell us our work is not good enough, or we will never finish, or no one will ever buy the book, etc.  I had to get to the point where I really did not care what anyone else thought of my writing, and just decide to write the book for the pleasure of it.  All books have an audience and I know my book will find one too.

7. Let’s say a writer has just finished writing a manuscript. What is the first step in the revision process?

After you have done all of the self-editing you can, I highly suggest you have a professional editor that comes recommended review your work.  Yes, your husband or your best friend may be good at grammar, but unless they are experienced book editors, they may not be the best choice.  Always have your work copyedited before you send it out to agents, editors or the public.

8. How do you see the role of the literary agent changing in the coming years?

Many agents I know and work with are diversifying. Many agents are acting as consultants or working with clients who want to publish non-traditionally.  At our agency, we offer separate author services through our consulting division for both authors seeking traditional and alternative ways of publishing their book. Everything is changing in publishing and agent’s roles will probably change as well.  One thing that remains constant is that readers want a good story and a well-written book.

Everyone at Andrea Hurst Literary Management wishes all of our readers a happy and successful New Year! Here’s to all of your writing and publishing dreams coming true!

The winner of Laurie McLean’s three-chapter critique is Marcy Kate! Thank you for reading our blog!

Andrea Hurst has over 25 years experience as a published author, developmental editor for publishers, and skilled literary agent. She works with both major and regional publishing houses, and her client list includes emerging new voices and New York Times best-selling authors. Andrea represents high profile Adult Nonfiction and well crafted fiction. Her clients and their books have appeared on the Oprah Show, Ellen DeGeneres Show, Good Morning America, National Geographic network and in the New York Times.

Katie Flanagan is a fiction major at Northwestern University. She is currently an editor with Booktrope Publishing and Pink Fish Press. In the past, she has interned with Andrea Hurst Literary Management and the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts. Her favorite genre is women’s fiction, but she reads any fiction put in front of her. Check out her blog about the writing life at and follow her on Twitter at @K_Flanagan.



  1. Great post, Andrea! In addition to the “fridge magnet as coach” idea, I would add: spend as much time working on your writing project as you spend on social media!

  2. Oh, the magnet comment made me giggle. I am (embarrassingly) aware that my writer’s “tell” as to what stage a draft is in is how many times an hour you see me running for the fridge. If things are going well, I forget what food is. If I’m frustrated, I’m devouring every last lick of the peanut butter jar. *guilty smirk*

    Thank you for the lovely interview and your encouraging insight. And congratulations on being so close to finishing your novel draft (yay for placing your book on equal priority with those you work so hard for)! I’m excited to see where you take it!

    Happy New Year. :0)

  3. Congrats on finishing that first draft!

  4. Refrigerator magnet? What a wonderful idea! Thanks!!

  5. Thank you. Lots of great insight here. At this point what resonates with me most is the celebration aspect. I never celebrate achieving writing goals. I get too caught up figuring out what the next goal is. Thanks for the reminder.

  6. Great inspiration to start the year!

  7. Thanks for the great tips! Congratulations on your manuscript. I reward myself with new shoes when I finish a first draft.

  8. Thanks for the interview!

    Congratulations, Andrea, on almost being finished with your draft. If your celebrations are anything like mine, they involve crazy dancing of some sort. I approve.

  9. The refrigerator magnet is inspired. Another thing I do to avoid working on writing is to embark on cleaning projects. Sometimes it is necessary, really!

  10. Andrea, What a great start for the new year. I sure like what you’re doing in terms of helping authors explore options for publishing in this time of change in the industry. And I wonder, what has it been like for you, writing this first novel — any new insights that you didn’t have before as an agent?

  11. Happy New Year, Andrea. I agree with your suggestions for writing blogs to follow. I might also add the Passive Voice to your list, since he is up-to-date with recent and relevant writing articles for the publishing side.

    I just wrote in giant black letters on my whiteboard, “Write today – It’s a MUST do.”

  12. Andrea –
    A great post for the New Year. Think of all the calories one could avoid by following that bit of magnetic advice! It is certainly true that I seem to need to chew when I’m writing — and even more so when I’m not.This year I’m investing in gum.

  13. Happy New Years! Great tips! Thank you so much. And thanks for giving us the opportunity to win an edit.

  14. Very glad that you have given finishing your novel enough priority to get it done. Many thanks for your service to the writing community here and at Whidbey.

    I could use some developmental editing as I finished the first draft of my novel in November.
    x0 n2

  15. Great post. I write with several small goals. This year I’ve resolved to set aside an hour to write in the evenings. So far so good.

  16. This is the second time I’ve read this week that going for a walk cures blocks. It’s time to get off the computer and leash up the dog.

  17. I just decided today to switch from one project to another. It’s nice to be reaffirmed by your advice.

  18. Great interview! Going for a walk cures my blocks too! As does switching between projects when one isn’t flowing freely.

    Thanks for the great post!

  19. I have so much to learn! I tried working on multiple pieces and,like many I know, ended up with one more unfinished work. At first it was discouraging, but now that I’ve a little more experience I realize that what I truly have are multiple opportunities. Thanks for validating my thoughts.I have also found that a reasonable goal of writing 300 words per day works for me. Once I get that far into my story I’ve lost track of time and word count. Best wishes for the New Year to you and your staff.

  20. I’ve participated in several Writer’s Digest webinars–a great resource. Thank you for the blog tips.

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