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Is 'fiction novel' the 'pin number' of books?

news.yahoo.com – Tuesday December 14, 2021

"It's a fiction novel."

When you hear that, does it go right by? Or do you think: "Did you, now? Did you drink some wet water?"

Not everyone has an opinion on "fiction novel," but those who do tend to have strong ones. Benjamin Dreyer, author of Dreyer's English and copy chief of Random House, calls the term "appalling." A novel, as he explains, is by definition a work of fiction. And yet, "[l]ately one encounters people referring to any full-length book, even a work of nonfiction, as a novel," Dreyer observes. "That has to stop."

He's not alone in the opinion. As author Casey McCormick discovered, among literary agents, "'fiction novel' is considered an automatic 'you shouldn't be querying if you don't know why this is wrong' thing." It shows you're clueless about something that is considered core knowledge: Novels have been fiction by definition for more than three centuries, since authors like Daniel Defoe first started writing long, coherent, fictional prose narratives.

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Can “Distraction-Free” Devices Change the Way We Write?

newyorker.com – Monday December 13, 2021

For a long time, I believed that my only hope of becoming a professional writer was to find the perfect tool. A few months into my career as a book critic, I’d already run up against the limits of my productivity, and, like many others before me, I pinned the blame on Microsoft Word. Each time I opened a draft, I seemed to lose my bearings, scrolling from top to bottom and alighting on far-flung sentences at random. I found and replaced, wrote and rewrote; the program made fiddling easy and finishing next to impossible.

I’d fallen into the trap that the philosopher Jacques Derrida identified in an interview from the mid-nineties. “With the computer, everything is rapid and so easy,” he complained. “An interminable revision, an infinite analysis is already on the horizon.” Derrida hadn’t even contended with the sirens of online life, which were driving writer friends to buy disconnected laptops or to quarantine their smartphones in storage bins with timed locks. Zadie Smith touted Freedom, a subscription service that cut off the user’s devices—a chastity belt for procrastinators.

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From reporter to the corner office: a self-publisher’s maiden voyage

poynter.org – Monday December 13, 2021

Self-publishing, once derided as ‘vanity publishing’ reserved for losers who couldn’t find a traditional publisher, has gone mainstream.

Four simple questions recently changed my life, and I hope they’ll change yours, too.

As a journalist, freelance magazine writer and author, I’ve been working for publishers for 50 years. They were shadowy figures in suits, sometimes glimpsed in the elevator, but rarely stepping into the newsroom. Often, they were just a name on my paycheck.

Nevertheless, they controlled my life, and the lives of those in the newsroom, and not just through the wages they paid. While leaving editorial decisions to editors, (usually) they ruled over the business side: printing, marketing, promotion, distribution, and all the other work required for the daily miracle of newspapers, monthly deadlines for magazines, and those for books that may stretch for years.

This fall, dissatisfied with the marketing and promotion of my last three books, I decided that it was time for a change. I wanted to control my own publishing destiny.

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Michael Pietsch Looks at Publishing’s (Near) Future

publishersweekly.com – Saturday December 11, 2021

The publishing industry had an unexpectedly good year in 2020, despite the many challenges created by the pandemic. In the essay below, Hachette Book Group CEO Michael Pietsch uses lessons from last year to make some educated guesses about where the industry may be heading in the near term.

The essay is part of a larger piece that appears in the Publishers Weekly Book Publishing Almanac 2022: A Master Class in the Art of Bringing Books to Readers. Published last month by Skyhorse Publishing and written in cooperation with PW, the almanac is designed to help authors, editors, agents, publicists, and anyone else working in book publishing understand the changing landscape of the business.

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Insider tricks that will help you find a publisher for your book

irishtimes.com – Thursday December 9, 2021

Lockdown offered many frustrated writers a key to unbolt the constraints of daily routine and an opportunity to work on the novel or work of nonfiction that has been gathering dust in their minds or in a bottom drawer for years. If 2022 is the year to take your book to the next stage, we asked authors and publishing professionals for their advice on how to make that happen.

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How a small publisher survived the digital age

spectatorworld.com – Monday December 6, 2021

In The Truth about Publishing, Sir Stanley Unwin writes: “It is easy to become a publisher, but difficult to remain one.” David R. Godine has accomplished the difficult task of remaining one for fifty years, and in the beautifully designed and set Godine at Fifty — would we expect any less from a Godine book? — he tells the story of the company’s beginning and survival and of each book he has published over the years, chock-full of reproductions of the company’s covers, woodcuts, and illustrations. This is a book about books for book lovers.

Raised in Boston, David R. Godine got his start in printing at Dartmouth, where he met the head of Dartmouth Publications, “a scholar of the history of graphic art, a fine teacher and a devoted mentor.” Godine worked with him for three years in his shop before spending a term at Oxford’s Bodleian, two weeks at France’s Bibliothèque nationale, and a week in Greece.

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Level Up Your Reading: Become a Literary Magazine Volunteer Reader

bookriot.com – Thursday December 2, 2021

For avid readers, sometimes books can lose their appeal. You might get burned out or are unable to find the joy in keeping up with all the latest book releases. You could take a break in reading altogether, but there are other opportunities to level up your reading skills while putting your eye for detail to good use. One of those opportunities to become a literary magazine reader.

I had the great privilege of reading for two literary magazines in the past — The Missouri Review and The Masters Review — and both experiences proved invaluable to me as a reader and writer. It opened up my eyes to the blood, sweat, and tears that editors and readers put into these small but mighty publications. From a writer’s perspective, it also created an added respect for editors.

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The Ultimate Guide To Become A Food Writer

salonprivemag.com – Tuesday November 30, 2021

Becoming a food writer is not easy. It takes lots of dedication, time, and determination to make it in this industry. If you’ve ever dreamed of becoming a food writer, the world of writing is wide open to you. It doesn’t matter if you want to write about restaurants, cookbooks, or even your recipes.

There are plenty of opportunities out there for budding writers who want to make their mark on this industry. Just follow these five steps, and soon enough, you’ll be writing articles for publications like Bon Appetit Magazine and The New York Times Food Section.

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So you want to become a better writer? Be a better reader.

eu.usatoday.com – Tuesday November 30, 2021

People who write habitually – for work or for fun, journal entries or blog posts, book reports or short stories – often want to put their better foot forward, but the eccentricities and minutiae of the English language can be extraordinarily daunting.

As a professional word person, I know this as well as anyone: There’s always so freaking much to remember, from the basic differentiation between treacherous homophones (their, they’re, there), to the fine points of grammar (subject-verb agreement! the dreaded subjunctive!), to where to put the punctuation. (Some days I’m tempted to save up all the commas, colons and periods and dump them at the end of whatever I’m writing and leave it to the reader to sort out.)

These things are important, to be sure: God is in the details, they tell us, but so, they tell us, is the devil. And sometimes I’m simply asked for simple big-ticket advice on improving one’s writing. 

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Writing for our young readers is the most important fiction of all

independent.ie – Sunday November 28, 2021

Some years ago, the novelist Martin Amis gave an interview in which he asserted that the only circumstances under which he would write a children’s book were if he had suffered a serious brain injury. “In my view,” he said, “fiction is freedom and any restraints on that are intolerable.”

Leaving aside the fact that it’s ridiculous to think that writing children’s fiction places any restraints on the author at all – if anything, it has the opposite effect – the most surprising element of the quote is Amis’s haughty disregard for young adult fiction. One could make the case that it’s the most important fiction of all. After all, is there a serious adult reader or writer out there who has not enjoyed a lifetime of reading because they discovered a love of books when they were young?

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