Traditional Publishing

The World Of Book Publishing Is A Mystery To Many, So We Did Our Best To Show You Behind-The-Scenes – Monday December 19, 2022

Just because an author's name is what's on the front of the book, doesn't mean they're the only one involved!

Do you ever think about how something can go from words on a document to a gorgeous bound book you can hold in your hands?

For books that are traditionally published, this process can take several steps and many different people behind the scenes. So, we wanted to dive in and see what a day in the life might be for folks who are in some of these positions, and luckily, we get to share that with all of you!

Quick reminder, though, that every publisher is different, and every process is different.

Let's imagine this as a journey for our completely and totally made up author Will Shakespeare. Hi, Will! (See below.) In this piece, we'll go through some of the steps you might see in the course of a book's voyage and talk to some epic people who are part of these journeys. Let's get into it.

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Q & A with Literary Agent Vanessa – Monday December 19, 2022


I am a literary agent at The Authors Care Agency Ltd. My wonderful, talented authors include USA Todaybestseller, Parker J. Cole, who writes historical fiction for Mills & Boon; Nichola K. Johnson, psychological domestic thriller author; and renowned vocalist, Lloyd Wade, who has a very successful music career and writes within the crime and thriller genre. The list is growing and I thank God for the great success achieved so far. 

Tell us about your role as a literary agent
A literary agent’s main role is to sell their authors’ manuscripts to publishers. Agents are their authors’ biggest cheerleader and, at times, counsellor. Personally, I like to make sure my authors are doing OK, and if they have writer’s block, we talk through the manuscript together to come up with ideas. Usually, it’s a matter of the author just needing to take a break. I tend to help promote my authors’ books when they are on the market. I check royalty payments, statements and contracts. The role is very varied and I really enjoy it.

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How To Publish Your First Book and Sell It Online? – Saturday December 17, 2022

Are you an aspiring author who dreams of seeing their name on the bestseller list? Publishing a book can be an incredibly rewarding experience, but it can also be quite challenging. In this blog post, we will outline a step-by-step guide on how to publish your first book and sell it online. We’ll also discuss some helpful tips and tricks that will make the publishing process easier for you. So, if you’re ready to take your writing career to the next level, keep reading!

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Could an A.I. Chatbot Rewrite My Novel? – Saturday December 10, 2022

During one of my more desperate phases as a young novelist, I began to question whether I should actually be writing my own stories. I was deeply uninterested at the time in anything that resembled a plot, but I acknowledged that if I wanted to attain any sort of literary success I would need to tell a story that had a distinct beginning, middle, and end.

This was about twenty years ago. My graduate-school friends and I were obsessed with a Web site called the Postmodernism Generator that spat out nonsensical but hilarious critical-theory papers. The site, which was created by a coder named Andrew C. Bulhak, who was building off Jamie Zawinski’s Dada Engine, is still up today, and generates fake scholarly writing that reads like, “In the works of Tarantino, a predominant concept is the distinction between creation and destruction. Marx’s essay on capitalist socialism holds that society has objective value. But an abundance of appropriations concerning not theory, but subtheory exist.”

I figured that, if a bit of code could spit out an academic paper, it could probably just tell me what to write about. Most plots, I knew, followed very simple rules, and, because I couldn’t quite figure out how to string one of these out, I began talking to some computer-science graduate students about the possibilities of creating a bot that could just tell me who should go where, and what should happen to them. What I imagined was a simple text box in which I could type in a beginning—something like “A man and his dog arrive in a small town in Indiana”—and then the bot would just tell me that, on page 3, after six paragraphs of my beautiful descriptions and taut prose, the dog would find a mysterious set of bones in the back yard of their boarding house.

After a couple months of digging around, it became clear to me that I wasn’t going to find much backing for my plan. One of the computer-science students, as I recall, accused me of trying to strip everything good, original, and beautiful from the creative process. Bots, he argued, could imitate basic writing and would improve at that task, but A.I. could never tell you the way Karenin smiled, nor would it ever fixate on all the place names that filled Proust’s childhood. I understood why he felt that way, and agreed to a certain extent. But I didn’t see why a bot couldn’t just fill in all the parts where someone walks from point A to point B.

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Sam Lipsyte on the What and the How of Writing – Friday December 9, 2022

Content and style are not separate things. They are different aspects—the what and the how—of the same thing. By the how I mean the way certain syntactical arrangements of words set off chains of thought and emotion and even physical sensation in the reader, create a kind of energy field within which one experiences the text. By the what I just mean whatever somebody is writing about: love, work, art, war, school, politics, sex, faith, family, death. Life, basically, life with others and life alone, the end of life. This is the content. Style is your filter on all of this, the way you see it and feel it— tragically, tragicomically—and how it summons language in you, how life comes to be alive on the page.

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Writing Fan Fiction Gave Me Community and Creative Freedom – Thursday December 8, 2022

When the pandemic erupted, I was in the midst of leaving my lucrative corporate job and transitioning to graduate school. I had returned to my parents’ home, logging onto client meetings from my childhood bedroom during the day, losing hours to fanfiction on Archive of our Own (Ao3) at night. As the terror of the pandemic appeared in push notifications on my phone, scrolling through fanfictions about Draco and Hermione’s imagined lives after Hogwarts soothed me. Escaping into stories that continued the plot of a childhood classic also comforted me as I came to terms with leaving the stability of my career for the instability of pursuing my passion. 

I had always wanted to be a writer, but as the only child of two Chinese immigrants, financial security was a religion in my household. I interpreted part of my inheritance to be the achievement of the upward mobility for which my parents had immigrated. Writing, especially the popular conception of a “starving artist,” did not fit into that framework; I spent my first year post-college trying to see if I could repress and extinguish my literary aspirations for a more stable career path. 

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Creative Writing Prompts to Get Your Brain in Gear – Tuesday December 6, 2022

Writing is an easy way to escape reality and enter into a world of your own. Unfortunately, writer’s block is a nasty beast that loves to rear its ugly head at the most inopportune moments. Inspiration is undoubtedly the most effective weapon against this monster. Explore these five creative writing prompts to get your imagination moving and your pen flying across the paper. 

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Print on demand pays off – Tuesday December 6, 2022

When I founded Mensch Publishing, I determined to use the business to test out different ways of doing things. At an author level my terms involved zero advances, world rights all languages, and a relatively high net receipts royalty. Most of the books I have published are brilliantly supported by the Bloomsbury salesforce worldwide and by using their excellent production and rights departments.

But I wanted to try an experiment using print-on-demand technology for an out-and-out trade book with the author’s and agent’s permission. The book in question is Philip Norman’s wonderful memoir of Fleet Street high jinks and catastrophes, We Danced on Our Desks, which we are publishing in original paperback and e-book on 12th December.

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AI Reveals the Most Human Parts of Writing – Friday December 2, 2022

A WOMAN HAS been working on her book, a young adult fantasy novel, for hours. At some point, she gets the familiar itch to check her email: She can’t think of what to write next. She stares at the screen. She’s lost her words. She could bang her head against the wall, or maybe turn to a favorite book for inspiration, or lose her momentum to distraction. But instead she turns to an AI writing tool, which takes in her chapter so far and spits out some potential next paragraphs. These paragraphs are never quite what she wants, though they sometimes contain beautiful sentences or fascinating directions. (Once it suggested a character sings a song, and also generated the lyrics of the song.) Even when these paragraphs fail, they make her interested in the story again. She’s curious about this computer-generated text, and it reignites her interest in her own writing.

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So You Want to Start Reading (or Writing) Fanfic – Wednesday November 23, 2022

Buckle up babes, we’re all in tonight. In a ridiculous moment of hubris a few weeks ago, I posted on Twitter that I was debating between writing fanfic and doing work while on a plane home from a work trip. My editor saw it, and now, wouldn’t you know it, I’m doing a whole slideshow to introduce you to fanfiction, fanfic, or just fic. Life is funny. (I posted that fic I wrote on the plane last week, btw, I’m very pleased. You will never find it.)

Let me take you on a journey through fanfiction—the history, the drama, the good, the bad, the ugly. All of it deserves its moment in the sun. Or on your screens. We’ll figure it out together.

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