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Writing in the time of great editors

mysanantonio.com – Tuesday April 4, 2017

Editors are the invisible hands that guide publishers and help writers strengthen their craft to achieve greatness. When thinking of greatness, I am reminded of Malvolio’s soliloquy in Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night when he says: “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon ’em.”

Scrivener & Sons’ editor Maxwell Perkins was one of those born great. He edited Ernest Hemingway’s liberal use of salty language and fear of semicolons, resolved F. Scott Fitzgerald’s hesitation for book titles (Perkins replaced “Trimalchio in West Egg” with “The Great Gatsby”) and hacked off Thomas Wolfe’s purple prose and redundancy.

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What Is Camp NaNoWriMo? 7 Tips For A Successful Writing Month

bustle.com – Sunday April 2, 2017

At some point, all budding writers have fantasized about leaving their hectic lives behind and heading off to a cabin in the woods for some uninterrupted writing time. Sadly, most of us are a little too busy to do that — but the upcoming Camp NaNoWriMo in April might be the second best thing. Camp NaNoWriMo describes itself on its website as "an idyllic writer's retreat, smack-dab in the middle of your crazy life" — and can you think of anything more perfect than that?

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How to get a job in digital publishing

thebookseller.com – Wednesday March 29, 2017

No doubt you’ve heard many times about how competitive publishing is - and I’m not going to say otherwise. However, as someone ‘on the inside’ who recruits new employees for entry-level roles in the ebooks department at Penguin Random House, it’s part of my job to hold open the door for newcomers. Who might just be you.

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7 Tips For Writing A Bestselling Science Fiction Novel

femalefirst.co.uk – Monday March 27, 2017

Don’t try to write a best-selling book. Because you can’t. One, if you just try to copy the current set of bestsellers, you’re already behind. If you can spot a trend, it’s because you’re behind it. Two, because no one really knows what things are going to be bestsellers. Publishers spend a lot of money promoting books that they want to be huge that don’t sell, while other books seemingly come out of nowhere and just perch on the top of lists.

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‘Writing is not about youth but about spark’

irishtimes.com – Monday March 27, 2017

I’ve noticed recently that letters to young writers are becoming fashionable, for example, Colum McCann’s forthcoming book. But, in my case, I didn’t get my first story published till I was 30 and my first collection launched till I was 37. I wasn’t so much a late starter as a late knuckle-downer. So, this piece is for the not-so-young writers who should still go for it and make an impact on the world. Here are my pearls of wisdom (hopefully not paste):

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Eight reasons that even a good book is rejected by publishers

scroll.in – Sunday March 26, 2017

Several years ago, as an aspiring novelist with stardust in my eyes, I used to spend most of my waking hours in Yahoo’s Books and Literature chatroom in the company of fellow aspiring writers. I clearly remember how one of the main topics of conversations used to be the number of rejection slips one had received on that particular day (or the previous week), agents/publishers who had requested a synopsis or proposal, and those who had just not bothered to respond. All of us were united by the looming sense of uncertainty, suspense, and the palpable realisation that the odds were firmly stacked against us.

Today, having spent more than seven years on the other side, first as a consultant and then an agent, I think many writers have wrong notions about rejections. While most books are rejected because of poor quality and incompetence (as they should be), there are several other factors that play a role in publishing decisions. And these affect “good” books too.

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The Publishing Industry Relies On Midlist Authors

goodereader.com – Wednesday March 22, 2017

The publishing industry constantly bemoans the lack a true bestseller that generate significant revenue. Novels such as 50 Shades of Grey, The Hunger Games and Harry Potter not only sell millions of units in a short period of time, but consistently become huge income earners over the course of many financial quarters. Booksellers such as Amazon and Barnes and Noble also benefit from these types of novels, as they transcend a small minority of bookhounds and become mainstream success stories. The main problem is that a true bestseller only comes along every few years and it is the midlist author that sells between 20,000 to 100,000 units that become the bread and butter of the publishing and bookselling industry.

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The rise of the Irish literary magazine

independent.ie – Tuesday March 21, 2017

A vibrant new wave of Irish literary journals are offering insights into contemporary trends as well as giving new ideas and new writers an audience

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'It's no longer about the vanity press': self-publishing gains respect — and sales

cbc.ca – Sunday March 19, 2017

Vancouver-based author Sharon Rowse was thrilled when after years of trying she finally landed a book deal with a New York publisher. 

"It had always been my dream to be published," Rowse said. 

Her novel, a historical crime story that takes place in her home town, had been "a bit of a hard sell" for the American market. 

But reality poured a big bucket of cold water on her dreams when the publisher was bought out, and its mystery section discontinued. 

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Is writer’s block a real thing, or just a figment of the imagination?

theguardian.com – Friday March 17, 2017

What do you do when you get writer’s block?” someone asked me the other day. I was happy to answer. I get up from my desk and wander around with a self-pitying expression on my face, sometimes clutching at my scalp in an agonised fashion. I buy sour gummy chews and eat too many; I compulsively click “refresh” on Twitter; I start to hate myself, and express it by snapping at others.

On reflection, I see why this response didn’t satisfy my questioner: he wanted to know what I do to overcome writer’s block. I’ve no idea. I keep eating the chews and snapping, and eventually it’s bedtime, and in the morning the block has usually gone. Feel free to try this solution yourself.

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