Traditional Publishing

The best way to polish your writing? Read it aloud. – Friday December 30, 2022

In 2009, the internet was blessed with a comment on 4chan’s video games board that can only be described as a monument to the importance of reading aloud: “Has anyone really been far even as decided to use even go want to do look more like?” Users shared their confusion across various platforms and eventually made it into a meme.

The advice that one should read their work aloud before sharing it with an audience borders on cliché, but it remains a crucial part of the writing process. Some prefer the authorial voice that echoes in their heads as they silently review their work in dulcet tones to the potentially awkward experience of hearing their voice fill the room and finding it unpracticed and less self-assured. While you may feel a little silly, the wealth of information gleaned from the physical act of reading aloud is worth the embarrassment.

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How Self-Published Writers Can Become A Bestseller – Friday December 30, 2022

Landing on a bestseller list from media giants like The Wall Street Journal or USA Today can alter the course of a writer’s life. It’s an “I’ve arrived” moment—the same sort of head-turning community recognition a young athlete gets when they have their first big game. It will, of course, help your book gain momentum and spark even more sales. But it can also potentially open doors for you, such as more press, more speaking engagements and higher-paying clients and gigs.

Hitting either of these bestseller lists is a lot to attempt for the self-published writer, but it’s possible. Here’s my road map to making it happen.

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Why Writing a Timeless Story Is Impossible – Friday December 30, 2022

Screenwriting is a daunting process that can fill you with so much doubt. While you might know how to hit the story beats, create a beautiful outline, and follow the rules of screenwriting to a T, there is always a feeling lingering in the back of your mind that you have to write a timeless story.

But what makes a story timeless? How do we know what will and won’t stand the test of time? 

I recently rewatched films from my childhood that I loved that didn’t stand the test of time, but I can watch films from the 1940s that send a chill down my back because of how relevant that is to current society. What may be successful today might not exist in the zeitgeist of cinema in 10 years, no matter how badly you want it to, and vice versa. 

This is a realization that came to many of the writers who were invited to the Hollywood Reporter’s 2022 Writers Roundtable. Filmmakers and writers Jordan PeeleRian JohnsonChinonye ChukwuTony KushnerMartin McDonagh, and Daniel Kwan sat together to discuss all things screenwriting. During that conversation, Johnson and Kwan broke down why it is impossible to write a timeless story. 

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The “Plotter vs. Pantser” Writing Divide Has Been Exaggerated – Wednesday December 28, 2022

When it comes to outlining vs. improvising, I’ve found that we all do the same steps in a different order.

Many writing conversations (whether on panels, in blog posts, etc.) discuss a plotter vs. pantser binary, plotters being outliners, authors who plan work thoroughly before beginning, while the pantser, from the expression “fly by the seat of your pants” plunges into writing the beginning without a plan. I myself am certainly the plotter archetype, producing reams of notes, spreadsheets, and outlining a whole series before beginning Chapter 1, but the more I talk with friends who fit the pantser archetype, the clearer it becomes that the two methods are not as different as they’re made to seem. The real difference is not what we do, but what order we do it in, which steps we do before, which during, and which after drafting the text.

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Literary Agents

By Lakshmi Raj Sharma
Novelist and Professor of English – Wednesday December 28, 2022

Literary agents and their meticulous work fascinate me. I presume several other authors feel the same about them. Perhaps agents are equally immersed in and captivated by the publishing process. Theirs is most definitely a labor of love. Agents have to be fervent about good ideas, unstoppable at the bargaining table, shrewd in judgment and advice, and brilliant at editing. There's no doubt that we authors need literary agents in the contemporary publishing scenario. Without them we are like fishes out of water. They know things that authors do not. They, therefore, bridge the gap between publishers and them, and, in some cases, become protectors. Authors feel insecure in their professional worlds without supportive agents. Of course not all agents are the same. Some who fall into the wrong profession can become the cause of authors dwindling into nothing.

I propose to hold the mirror up to agents and do for them what they have very kindly been doing for authors. Fully realizing the complexity of their job, I will try to suggest how agents might help authors even better. I believe I can do this because the work of literary agents lures me and I read with interest virtually everything related to them. What I say here will include some of the problems faced by authors living in countries like India. Living in such countries and writing to the world at large is no easy task because of confusions that arise because authors and agents belong to different cultures.

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Big Names in Little Magazines: On Thomas Pynchon’s Very First Literary Journal Appearance – Thursday December 22, 2022

“Thomas Pynchon is a young writer, just twenty, who has previously published fiction in Epoch. He is a Cornell graduate and now lives in Seattle.”

Writers know that the time between when a piece is accepted by a literary magazine and when it is actually published can be rather protracted—my longest span was three years—and by the time Thomas Pynchon appeared in the Spring 1960 issue of The Kenyon Review, he was a still-young 23. He’d just graduated from Cornell, his time there split by a stint in the Navy. He worked for Boeing in Seattle—writing for Bomarc Service News, an internal newsletter.

Although tasked with writing technical pieces about anti-aircraft missiles, Pynchon was characteristically wry. In “The Mad Hatter and the Mercury Wetted Relays,” Pynchon informs readers that Lewis Carroll’s Mad Hatter had gone mad from “chronic mercurialism” or “hatter’s shakes,” which could affect Boeing workers if certain wire-wrapped glass capsules explode. “When dealing with mercury,” Pynchon warns, “even in small amounts, respect it and play it safe. Don’t become a ‘Mad Hatter,’ you might find it to be much more unpleasant than attending a mad tea party.”

The same jaunty rhythms mark “Entropy,” Pynchon’s story in The Kenyon Review. Although he would later dismiss the piece as an example of “overwriting,” something “too conceptual, too cute and remote,” the story is playfully chaotic—the type of glorious excess for which literary magazines are made.

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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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The 10 Best Platforms for Publishing Your Audiobook – Monday December 19, 2022

Writing a novel is difficult, but it’s only the first part of your journey to being an author. Once you’ve created your story, you need to produce and distribute your work, and that’s only the beginning.

Over a quarter of Americans listen to audiobooks, which is a very significant market to simply ignore. Audiobook production, publication, and distribution can be difficult tasks. Luckily, there are a wide variety of different services available out there that can handle parts of the process for you.

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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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