Traditional Publishing

Writing Grief in Fiction is a Work of Love – Friday November 11, 2022

On a weekday morning in February, age twelve, I was shunted from the warm ignorance of sleep and propelled into a world where my Uncle Theo no longer existed. My mother’s keening was the thing that woke me; a sound I had never before heard or simply neglected to remember before that time. A sound that, from that moment, became part of everything I would associate with mourning; with grief.

The memory I have is of standing at the foot of my parents’ bed, barefoot and frightened, watching my father do his best to console my mother. I was invisible and I think even then, as a child, I understood something new and terrible: grief is the same colour as madness. It moulds us in ways we did not think we could bend. It is not neat and its messiness can be alarming. Following the death of my Uncle Theo, there were other losses, each one a simultaneously unique yet familiar blow to our collective gut.

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How to navigate the writer-editor relationship – Monday November 7, 2022

Consider: you’ve just had your first or latest book accepted by a publishing house (congratulations!) and you’ve been assigned an editor to finesse the manuscript into publishable form. Or you’re a newbie editor who’s at the start of your career and wanting to know how to navigate the potentially tricky conversations with writers who are understandably a little protective about their words.

ArtsHub has gathered voices on both sides of the publication divide to offer some tips on how to successfully manage the writer-editor relationship.

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10 NaNoWriMo Tips for Success from Editors and Agents – Friday November 4, 2022

NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, is right around the corner — starting annually on November 1. Though the concept of writing 50,000 words in one frenzied month sounds utterly insane, hundreds of thousands of writers attempt it every year, relying on the sense of camaraderie, accountability, and group momentum of the NaNo community. (Think “Night gathers, and now my watch begins” — but for writers who’ve been putting off starting their novels. Minus the dramatic cloaks, unfortunately.)

If you’re taking on the challenge this year, I’ve asked 10 editors and agents for their advice to help you succeed. These are professionals who offer editorial services on Reedsy, who I’d like to thank for letting me tap into their community of experienced publishing professionals!

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Lee Child and Andrew Child on Discipline, Dread, and Writing Late at Night – Wednesday October 26, 2022

Lee and Andrew Child’s new book, No Plan B, was released earlier today, so we asked them a few questions about writing routine, advice, and influence.

What time of day do you write (and why)?

Lee Child: I’m ruled by my biological clock, which mandates one unshakeable conclusion: nothing of value is ever achieved in the morning. Typically I get up late and spend a couple of hours moving from a comatose state into something resembling human life. Then I’ll start work about 1 or 2 in the afternoon. I have learned to sense the point when quality starts to diminish, which is usually about 6 hours later, so I’ll stop then. Often I get a second energy peak around midnight, so I’ll do another couple of hours before bed, especially in the later stages when the story is really rolling. Usually a book takes between 80 and 90 working days, spread out over about 7 months.

Andrew Child: My favorite time to write is at night. I like it best when darkness falls and the world shrinks down to the size of the pool of light that spills from my laptop screen. That just leaves me alone with the story I’m telling, nothing to distract, nothing to interfere.

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It’s Time To Save Literature From The Woke Publishing Industry – Tuesday October 25, 2022

Joyce Carol Oates is a fixture in American letters — she’s won the National Book Award, two O. Henry Awards, the National Humanities Medal, the Jerusalem Prize, and she’s been nominated for the Pulitzer five times. She taught at Princeton for 36 years, and is, of course, an outspoken Trump critic. A Google search for “Joyce Carol Oates” and “feminist” yields more than half a million results.

And even she thinks the publishing industry has become intolerably politically correct. On Twitter, she recently observed, the “category of straight white males is the only category remaining for villains & awful people in fiction & film & popular culture.” Oates isn’t alone in observing the problem — in June, ubiquitous author James Patterson, whose potboilers have sold more than 400 million copies, said white male writers now face “another form of racism” in the woke publishing industry, before he was bullied into backtracking on his comments.

Of course, if you’ve set foot in a large bookstore recently, what Patterson is saying has obvious merit. On a recent trip to Barnes & Noble, a friend actually took photos and counted up the books on the six new fiction shelves displayed up front. Male authors made up less than 25 percent of the nearly 200 books displayed in the front of the store, and obviously, the percentage of men who were white and/or heterosexual was notably smaller than that.

Oates and Patterson are only now saying what many men with literary ambitions have long known. Iowa Writers Workshop graduate Alex Perez recently gave a scorched-earth interview to the Hobart Literary Journal where he discussed how male-centric literature was being deliberately shut out of publishing. During the interview, he had some choice words for the woke and disproportionately female gatekeepers of the industry:

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Andrew Wylie, ‘The Jackal’ of books: ‘Amazon is like ISIS; it takes no prisoners’ – Sunday October 23, 2022

The world’s leading literary agent speaks about Salman Rushdie, Stephen King, Donald Trump and the e-commerce giant

Among the literary giants included under the letter B on Andrew Wylie’s endless client list are Giorgio Bassani, Jorge Luis Borges, Saul Bellow, Paul and Jane Bowles, Joseph Brodsky, William Burroughs and Roberto Bolaño, eight of the twentieth century’s most important writers. Under C, one finds Guillermo Cabrera Infante, Italo Calvino and Albert Camus. Andrew Wylie, 74, is the world’s most powerful literary agent. His agency has offices in New York and London, and they employ 50 people. His reputation for ruthlessness in managing his clients’ rights has earned him a nickname in the publishing industry: the Jackal. However, he maintains that his goal is to defend authors whose books are of high literary quality but don’t often sell many copies. He asks the new agents he hires to prioritize the emotions that a book arouses in them, not how well they think it might sell.

Nobody, living or dead, has a list of clients as impressive as Wylie’s, which includes Milan Kundera, Antonio Muñoz Molina, Salman Rushdie, Art Spiegelman, Yasmina Reza, Shakespeare, Orhan Pamuk, Susan Sontag and Louise Glück. The agency represents so many luminaries that Wylie is unable to recall off the top of his head how many Nobel Prize-winning authors he counts as clients.

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Why querying is hell for neurodivergents – Monday October 17, 2022

Literary agencies have taken steps to make their submissions policies more inclusive—and some simple adjustments can throw the doors wide open.

Querying: the word itself makes it seem straightforward. You query an agent—“Hey, would you like to represent my novel?”—and they say yes or no. It’s actually incredibly complicated, consisting of learning unique skills and new acronyms like R&R, FR and CNR. If you don’t know the terminology either, R&R is revise and resubmit, FR can be a full request or a full rejection and CNR is could not reply. Querying can make you consider: is my love for this book worth the challenges of pursuing publication?

Querying being difficult is not an experience unique to neurodivergent people and may not be everyone’s experience, since every neurodivergent person is fundamentally different—it’s in the name. But this article offers an insight into how agents can make the process more accessible and inclusive. The problems start early because there isn’t a set “guide” and no clear benchmark to measure how you are progressing. The percentage of partial or full requests a querying author may receive might be good for YA fantasy but not for adult cosmic horror, and it can change month on month. Add to this varied, long and intense wait times and it can cause serious issues for neurodivergent writers.

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