Guest Post: Rachel Michael Arends Offers Top Ten Writing Tips

ArendsFeatureIn past guest posts, we’ve often featured bestselling authors who have successfully published their work — both traditionally and through NOOK Press — many times over. But today, we asked a debut author to take a moment as she launches her novel and share the top ten tips that helped her in the process of writing and publishing her book.

In As Is, Rachel Michael Arends introduces readers to decorating guru Gwen Golden, a heroine with a very perfect, very public life. When her secrets are exposed, Gwen must learn to rebuild her life and rediscovers herself in the process.

Here are Arends’ top ten writing tips that helped her finish and launch her novel:


  1. Seek out honest advice. When you’re just starting out, friends and family can be initial sounding boards, but they may not be fully honest to spare your feelings, and they’ll likely burn out on the second draft or the twelfth. Some writers have great success using writing/critique groups to exchange feedback. With my first novel, I hired a freelance editor when I thought I had a good draft. I hired a different freelance editor a few years later with another draft. For me those experiences were invaluable; because of them I’m now able to do a good job editing my own material. Whatever method you use for getting feedback: be open to it, and learn all you can.
  2. Criticism is a gift. Even if you disagree with it, remember that someone put effort into offering it, and that should be honored. It’s much easier for someone to noncommittally say, “Oh…that was nice,” than for them to offer honest feedback, especially if it’s tough. So remember your manners, and remember you asked for it.
  3. Develop your own sense of who you are as a writer. This will help you build confidence and resiliency. You will need both!
  4. If you’re serious about being a writer, always have something new you’re writing. Don’t put all your energy into one completed manuscript, but improve your odds and attitude by completing the next one. And the next.
  5. Never burn bridges. If you get shot down by an agent or editor, thank them and move on. Not only because publishing is a very small world and it’s unwise to be rude, but also because life is short. Any energy you put into arguing with someone about how they’re wrong and you’re right is energy you will no longer have for writing, cooking dinner, or walking the dog.
  6. Honor your work by continuing to improve it, and to re-shop it, for as long as you have a fire for it.  If you still believe in it, keep trying to find it a home.
  7. Don’t take rejection personally. We all struggle with this. No one gets to publication without having had some rejection, usually a whole lot. And we’re people—so why not take the rejection personally? Because if you do, it will eat you alive.
  8. Ask yourself what success looks like to you. Fantasizing about being a household name bestseller is all fine and good, but it’s also very, very unlikely. So ask yourself: What is the minimum level of “making it” that I would consider a win? The key word being minimum. Instead of fantasizing about extreme success, ponder the more realistic outcomes. The lower your expectations, the more likely it is that you can achieve them.
  9. Remember that life doesn’t begin when you reach your goal. Life is going on all the time—so pay attention to it, enjoy it, and try to live in such a way that whether you reach your ultimate goal or not isn’t the true measure of your happiness. If you hold your breath waiting for your dream to come true, then you’re not breathing. And what kind of a life is that?
  10. Be a good example. When you get what you want, it’s easy to be happy and upbeat. You win! Hooray!  When you’re rejected, and rejected, and rejected, and rejected, and rejected (I could go on, and on, and on), that’s when you have a real opportunity to show what kind of a person you are. If you’re a mom or dad, remember that your kids are watching you, and they’re learning how to handle disappointment. Pick yourself up and either try again or try something else. The main thing is to pick yourself up.

About As Is

As Is (Small)Gwendolyn Golden and Armand Leopold have been America’s go-to couple for home decorating tips, letting the cameras into their So Perfect house, their So Perfect life, their So Perfect marriage. 

One problem: it’s all an act. 

Actually, two problems: America just found out it’s all an act.

When a picture of Armand kissing another man hits the newsstands, everyone knows the jig is up. Both are evicted from their home and eviscerated by the press. While Armand deals with his very private life becoming very public, Gwen Golden returns home to Riveredge, a quiet town where her sick father, her angry sister, and the guy who got away still live. 

After years of pretending, Gwen has to rebuild her life for real. But while turning a new house into a home, and starting the next chapter of her life will be tough, reconnecting with the man she once loved may prove to be the most difficult of all.

With humor and charm to burn, Rachel Michael Arends has written a beautiful novel of rekindled romance, home improvement, and how only the truth can really set you free.


  1. Deb Tuitel says:

    Great tips. Congratulations on your debut!!

  2. Congratulations! And great advice!