Open up your creative flow with my signature techniques in this online course.
“Amy Scher is a brave warrior and a wonderful writer”
“Amy Scher understands the pivotal role of the body, mind, and spirit in attaining true and complete healing.”
“Amy has a unique ability to highlight the exciting creative aspects of a project while also strategically outlining exactly what publishers need to see from a business perspective in order to make an offer.”
“Every writer needs an Amy in their corner. She will work tirelessly to help you craft your project, even during those times you want to give up; her support and enthusiasm is unflagging. She knows the in's and out's of the process and industry and guided me so expertly at every stage (and pushed me where I needed to be pushed) that what initially felt impossible became totally doable.”
“I was completely stuck when Amy swooped in, and in only two sessions, got me completely back on track. I have now finished my project (that dragged on for years!) and was inspired to start my next one immediately.”
“Working with Amy is a true partnership. She possesses the right balance of creativity, strength, and collaboration needed to produce a successful project. I sold my book to a great publisher and couldn’t be happier!”
“WOW. Amy is a master Sensei! She helped me totally unlock my work and turn it into an actual reality.”
“So much has gone well since working with Amy! In just a couple of months, I accomplished writing a first draft of a middle grade novel I’ve wanted to write for so long - 40k words!”
“I'm signing a book deal! I’m grateful for Amy's help. She was critical to this process.”
“As a literary agent for over 13 years, Amy has shown me the ability to help her clients organize, structure, and powerfully present work that thoroughly engages the editor and their publisher, assuring the salability of any book or project.”
From wishing to be a writer “one day” to publishing four bestselling books (and a fifth coming in 2024), I’ve come a long way.
But it wasn’t because I knew what I was doing or because I spent years learning. In fact, I don’t even have a college degree. It’s because I showed up. Over and over. Even when it was hard. That is the difference between writers who make it and writers who don’t.
I feel so lucky to be where I am today. One of the biggest obstacles of getting to the place I am is harnessing the confidence and belief in yourself.
I show up for and with writers, helping them gain the confidence and momentum they need to get those words on the page—with more fun and flow along the way.
Being stuck or blocked is the #1 challenge that people come to me with.
Here’s the truth: Your ability to create and your ease in creating is directly tied to how you feel.
Over the last decade, I have worked with writers, artists, and creatives—from novices to celebrities—who are blocked or can’t find their flow. When we feel stuck, we tend to push harder to try to move forward. But this rarely works. Why?
When we don’t feel good, we can’t be the channel our work requires; which can cut us off from our source of creative energy, inspiration, and joy. In my experience, creative blocks often stem from a depressed creative energy, or rather the literal depression of self—usually, from being buried under the stress and stuff of life.
I give writers, artists, and other creatives the clarity, confidence, and support — no matter where they are in their process — to get unblocked and move forward on their path. My approach, which is a blend of intuitive and practical rules and tools, will get you feeling, thinking, and working better. It’s the trifecta that’s gotten so many people unstuck and back to work already. You’re next.
I know that figuring out what you want to do or how to do it can feel overwhelming. But here’s the thing. Writers, it turns out, often write about everything. Artists create art in so many ways. You get the idea. So start there. If you’re a writer, start by writing snippets of what you care about without boxing yourself into a genre. If you’re a painter, paint in little bits. From there, you may find you are drawn more to one path or another. So you’ll create a little more on that. And so on. But starting small and in snippets is the way to explore your life as an artist.
Any snippet can then be turned into a larger project later. This is how all my books start. I write totally out of order and in little pieces that don’t connect to each other at all. But it’s the way I start, and continue, when I don’t know what’s next.
Already know what you want to write or create? Same advice as above (snippets!)—but also set a timer. Make yourself sit, even if you can only bear to set the timer for 5 minutes at a time. There’s no way to be a writer without writing. No way to be any kind of artist without actually doing it. Promise yourself you’ll do at least a few minutes every day; not in order to create something “good,” but to practice the art of connecting to your work. when you are inconsistent in your creating, you lose your creative flow; and every time you sit down, you start all over again.
Specifically for writers ….
So many people dream of writing a book, but the follow-through is what counts. If you have an idea for a book and there are people who would want to read it, you are already on your way. But either way, writing isn’t enough to make you an author. The bottom line is that if you want to be a creative professional, you need more than an idea and the words, you need a plan. You need a structure. You need to know what you’re writing and who is going to read it. You need a framework for your project so you can convince publishers (or even just know for yourself) that you have a solid project.
For writers: Before you write that book, let me share something that most potential authors don’t know. You don’t need the written book to sell a non-fiction book. You need a proposal to sell your non-fiction book.
Whaaa? Always? (read more below)
The simple answer is: almost always, yes. The exception is maybe if you’re super famous of if you plan to self-publish (although as a previously self-published author myself, I will insist every book that begins with a proposal, even if no one but you reads it, has a better chance of success). Proposals are a document that allows you to outline your entire project — from concept to marketing to potential audience — and everything in between. Agents use book proposals to pitch your project to publishers. Many agents require you come to them with a proposal, but some will allow you to work on the proposal once they’ve signed you as a client.
Even though book proposals are a lot of work, they make writing the actual book so much smoother. Once you have a finished book proposal, you essentially have the framework for your entire book. As a bonus, you also have a clear vision of what market you’re writing for, who your competition is, and how to write it in the most engaging way. In my opinion, having a great proposal helps you write a better book than you’d ever write without it.
There is no magic number for how long a proposal should be. But if you have all of the right elements in it, it will be lengthy. Here are the six standard sections you should include: Overview, About the Author, Manuscript (how long it will be and how long it will take to write), Market (audiences), Marketing (how you’ll market the book), Outline (outline of chapters with chapter summaries), and Sample Chapters.
As a reference, all of my book proposals tend to be around 100 pages, which include the sample chapters. But I’ve seen many that are between 50 and 80 as well.
Platform, platform, platform. I’m sure you’ve heard a lot of talk about this requirement for a book deal. A platform is essentially the people you can sell your book to when published. Simply put, it’s your audience. Your platform comes from essays you’ve written for large publications, your social media following, any professional or social groups you belong to, and more. Publisher requirements vary greatly for required platform. The smaller presses may require only a small platform; with some of the larger publishers requiring a social media following of thousands to hundred of thousands, and wanting you to have bylines in major publications. During the proposal writing process, I’ll help you describe your current platform in the most complete, robust (but honest) way possible. This will give you more opportunity when going out to sell your book. I will also help you by offering ways in which we can build it so you can add that into the proposal immediately.
I’ve had experience with both: self-publishing and traditional publishing. My first book was self-published and later picked up by Simon & Schuster for traditional publication. I always recommend authors try the traditional route first. Even though I was self-published myself and give much credit to those who go it on their own, the industry does not view self-published authors with the same status as they do traditionally published. As a self-published author, I found it difficult to get bookstores to carry my book, secure speaking engagements, and more. In addition, publisher support in terms of cover design, editing, etc. can be priceless. On the flip side, and to be fair, getting your book out into the world is a great thing no matter how it’s done. So if you don’t have or want to build the platform you may need to get a traditional publishing deal, there is no shame in exploring self-publishing. But I still always recommend aiming for the stars and then adjusting your plan if necessary. Even if you decide you want to pursue self-publishing, having a proposal to use as the framework for your book will help you in ways you can’t imagine. I recommend every author put one together regardless of their publishing preference.
I’m so glad you asked! Writing essays or short stories for major publications is one of the best ways to enhance your author profile, get attention, and build your platform, making it easier to get a book deal (if that’s your goal). I learned an indescribable amount of crafting and pitching the perfect personal essay from Susan Shapiro, bestselling author of The Byline Bible and professor at The New School. You can sign up for her free events and classes at www.susanshapiro.net.
If you’re ready to get unblocked and back to work, I can help you. No overwhelm, guaranteed. It doesn’t matter what type of art you’re creating or what type of genre or format you’re writing in, I’ve got you.