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Changing Agents Gracefully

By G. Miki Hayden
Instructor at Writer's Digest University online and private writing coach

firstwriter.com – Thursday August 29, 2019

I’m leaving Dork Associates, Mr. Dork. But it’s nothing personal.

Most agents are, in reality, pretty nice people. Your own current agent might be witty and charming—but you don’t have an agent for entertainment sake. You want someone to represent you who is both connected and knowledgeable. 

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Want to Learn How to ‘Nail the Jelly of Reality to the Wall’?

nytimes.com – Tuesday August 27, 2019

A well-formed sentence, Joe Moran writes in his humane and witty guide to meaning-making, “is a cure, however fleeting, for human loneliness.” We all write more sentences now than ever, but how hard do we think about the shape of these etheric objects? A good sentence is a considerate gift; or maybe it’s an easeful, mapless walk with your reader, through a new city — but it might also be a high-wire act (audience agog for disaster). Moran’s book contains many such metaphors for the sentence, and at least one for figurative language itself: “Metaphor is how we nail the jelly of reality to the wall.” Is the sentence a transaction, or is it an artifact? Polished performance or open invitation? “First You Write a Sentence” is a “muted love letter” to the form, arguing in its genially opinionated way for sentences that make our lives more democratic and more pleasurable.

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Edinburgh International Book Festival 2019 : How To Be A Writer For Life

theedinburghreporter.co.uk – Monday August 26, 2019

Lauren James is only 27 but she’s already a highly successful author. Her books include The Quiet at the End of the World, The Starlight Watchmakers and The Loneliest Girl in the Universe. She sold the rights to her debut novel The Next Together while she was still at university – and where she studied not English but Chemistry and Physics.

David Almond’s writing career took a little longer to get off the ground – his breakthrough novel Skellig was published in 1998, when he was 47 years-old, though he’d had some success with short stories before that. Skellig won both the Carnegie Medal and the international Hans Christian Andersen Award, and since then Almond has been unstoppable, writing many more novels, plays, picture books, graphic novels – even opera librettos and songs – over the past 20 years.

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Knowing Your Worth: Finding Value in Self-Publishing

publishersweekly.com – Saturday August 24, 2019

An author and publisher explains why writers shouldn’t let industry validation determine the value of their work

“I need to find out if my book truly has value,” the author sitting before me said, by way of explaining why she’d be shopping her second book to traditional publishers. Her comment struck me like a blow, coming as it was from a former client and student, an author on the She Writes Press roster who I thought should know better. Or perhaps I felt I’d failed her, because I aspire to free the authors on my list from the mentality that industry validation equals legitimacy.

Of course I understand any author’s desire to get published traditionally. After all, the seduction of going that route is strong. To be chosen, to have one’s work paid for, to have someone else shoulder the risk—these remain goals and dreams and ambitions that most authors continue to carry, even after they’ve independently published one or countless books.

But value and its cousin worth are sneaky little beasts. I have my ears well-tuned for the ways in which these words show up in conversation with women writers in particular. Value and worth are tricky because they’re words that connote money and finances, yet they encompass so much more than that. After all, it’s rarely the material things in life that top the list of things we most value or that make us feel most worthy.

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A grab bag of common writing mistakes to ponder

startribune.com – Saturday August 24, 2019

Lest you come home from the Minnesota State Fair empty-handed, here’s a grab bag of parting gifts — a collection of common writing mistakes and ways to correct them.

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Why Beatrix Potter Ended Up Self-Publishing The Tale of Peter Rabbit

mentalfloss.com – Friday August 16, 2019

The Tale of Peter Rabbit was Beatrix Potter’s first book—and is still her best known. But had the beloved author not had the confidence to publish the book on her own terms, we might not have ever known her name (or Peter Rabbit's) today.

The origin of Peter Rabbit dates back in 1893, when Potter wrote the beginnings of what would become her iconic children’s book in a letter she sent to Noel Moore, the ailing five-year-old son of Annie Carter Moore, Potter's friend and former governess. “I don't know what to write to you, so I shall tell you a story about four little rabbits whose names were—Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail and Peter,” the story began.

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Cheating on my crime series to write a romcom on the side

irishtimes.com – Tuesday August 13, 2019

About five years ago, I found myself with a dark secret. Instead of writing about the murders, lies and traumas I was contracted for, with my Paula Maguire crime series, I was sneaking off behind that book’s back. I was writing about love, flirtation, a turning-30 life crisis. I was making jokes about Beyoncé and online dating. I was writing….a romcom.

Chick lit. Rom com. Commercial women’s fiction. We don’t have a good way to describe this kind of book. When I say I write crime fiction, people get it right away. But when I say I also write another kind of book, under the name Eva Woods, I start to stumble. “It’s like romance,” I might say. “But it deals with serious issues.” Or: “It’s called uplit now.” Turns out no one outside publishing has heard this term, coined to describe a kind of sad-but-happy book in the vein of Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, or my own How To Be Happy. My agent describes the tone as “laughter through tears”, and the books often cover death, abuse, serious illness, suffering. Despite this they are extremely likely to be given a pastel-coloured cover.

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To Self-Publish Or Not To Self-Publish: What’s The Best Option For Me?

authorlink.com – Friday August 2, 2019

Got your manuscript ready to go? Now you just need to send it away to literary agents, right?

Not necessarily. Read on to learn the pros and cons of self-publishing vs traditional publishing, with some tips for how to get started with each.

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Why is Irish literature thriving? Because its writers and publishers take risks

theguardian.com – Tuesday July 30, 2019

Much has been written about the boom in Irish writing, buoyed by the apparently ceaseless tide of new voices: not a smattering of talent making a splash but waves and waves of writers, going beyond much repeated names such as Sally Rooney and Eimear McBride to the equally talented and ambitious Mike McCormack, Sara Baume, Colin Barrett, Anakana Schofield, Gavin Corbett and Lisa McInerney.

Now there’s more. Having been an all-American affair in 2018, this year the shortlist for the Sunday Times Audible Short Story Award (the world’s richest short story prize – £30,000 for a single story!) is dominated by the Irish: Kevin Barry, winner of the award in 2012 and just longlisted for this year’s Booker; Danielle McLaughlin from the Republic and Louise Kennedy from Northern Ireland. Joining them on the shortlist are Joe Dunthorne (Welsh), Paul Dalla Rosa, based in Melbourne, and Emma Cline, the sole representative of the US.

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James Patterson: ‘I've got too many ideas to write all my books myself!'

express.co.uk – Sunday July 28, 2019

THE WORLD'S biggest-selling thriller writer has told how he relies on an army of co-authors to create his books - because he has too many stories in him to write them all himself.

James Patterson has a 4in-thick file where he stores the torrent of ideas pouring out of him every day. He says: "I have so many stories to tell. There are only so many books you can put out there and I could not possibly do all of them myself, so this is one of the attractions of co-writing." By outlining the plots and using emerging talent to write the first draft, which he then edits and rewrites, Patterson has become a one-man publishing phenomenon. With more than 200 adult and children's books to his name, he has sold 385 million copies across the globe.

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