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In anticipation of our first annual publishing conference, we’ve rounded up advice from your favorite authors to help demystify the daunting task of honing and proving your skills as a published author. Read on to glean valuable insider advice about the virtues of sitting down (and staying that way), from bookseller extraordinaire and author of Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures, Emma Straub.

1. Acquire a cat. Train the cat to sit on your lap while writing so that it is harder to get up when you feel antsy.

2. Always have three things on your person: a book to read, a book to write in, and a pen. Other things (chapstick, wallet, keys) are secondary.

3. Don’t wait for the muse to visit. Write every day, on a schedule. Treat it like a job, because it is a job.

Emma Straub is from New York City. Her first novel, Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures, was published by Riverhead Books in September 2012. Her debut story collection Other People We Married, arrived in February 2012, also published by Riverhead Books. Her fiction and non-fiction have been published by Tin House, The Paris Review Daily, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Vogue, and many other journals, and she is a staff writer for Rookie. Emma lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband.

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