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How to get your own book published: a step by step guide

theguardian.com – Thursday August 11, 2022

“Atop-of-her-game literary agent tells us she receives about 3,000 submissions a year,” says Joe Sedgwick, the head of writing services at The Literary Consultancy. “Of those, she requests to see the full manuscripts of about 70. Of those writers, she will take on maybe five to 10.”

Faced with these odds, many people who dream of getting their writing into the hands of readers are turning to self-publishing.

Do it yourself

Paul Ilett self-published his first novel, Exposé, in 2014 and sold about 35,000 copies worldwide. He is about to publish his second, Exposed. “Second time around, I haven’t considered anything apart from self-publishing. I am very comfortable being completely in control of my book – its look, content and promotion.”

[Read the full article]

Why We Need Independent Publishers

newsletters.theatlantic.com – Tuesday August 9, 2022

Along with most everyone I know who works in or otherwise relies on book publishing for their livelihood, I’ve been following the Biden administration’s antitrust case against the proposed Penguin Random House/Simon & Schuster merger. Last week, as John H. Maher of Publishers Weekly live-tweeted us through the opening days of the trial, my timeline was filled with [skull-emoji] quote-tweets of things that many of us aren’t used to hearing folks in publishing say out loud. PRH lawyers have argued that “after the merger, the market dynamic will be just the same,” while the DOJ maintains that combining two of the “Big Five” publishers into one would decrease the number of offers an author might receive, lower book advances, and make it harder for writers to support themselves. In a pretrial brief, the DOJ stated that if the merger goes forward, it “would … give the merged company control of nearly half of the market to acquire anticipated top-selling books from authors”—a point underlined by Stephen “My name is Stephen King, I’m a freelance writer” King when he took the stand last Tuesday. “Consolidation is bad for competition,” he said.

[Read the full article]

8 Steps to Follow When Writing an Early Death Scene

nofilmschool.com – Tuesday August 9, 2022

Do you want a supporting character's death to be impactful? Then follow these steps!

The fourth season of Netflix's Stranger Things introduced many new characters that we quickly learned to love or despise. While many side characters feel like archetypes rather than fully formed characters, one stands above the rest because of how impactful her story and death were. 

Although Chrissy Cunningham’s (Grace Van Dien) story is incredibly short, lasting only a single episode, her impact on the main characters and viewers was undeniable. In five scenes, the audience empathized with Chrissy’s trauma and hardships and even swooned over her blossoming friendship with Eddie (Joseph Quinn), all to watch her die a horrific death. 

How did the writers maximize Chrissy’s story to get such a high emotional payoff with her death scene? Schnee breaks down what to focus on when writing an early death scene that has a lingering effect on the rest of the main story, and how you can approach an early death in your next project. 

[Read the full article]

The Art of Accidentally Writing a Thriller

crimereads.com – Tuesday August 9, 2022

Let me start by admitting something that may be a little shameful, a little anathema, on a site like this: I’m not a crime fiction aficionado. Honestly, I read other genres much more extensively. I’ve never read Agatha Christie (gasp!), Lee Child, Gillian Flynn, Harlan Coben, Dean Koontz, James Patterson, John Grisham etc. Sadly, the list goes on. Are you still reading? Am I still invited to this club? Maybe, maybe not. 

Let me also say, I fully enjoy the thriller/crime/mystery genre. I love Tana French, Kate Atkinson, and Val McDermid; I especially enjoy thrillers that toe the line between other genres like Julie Phillips’ Disappearing Earth or Jeff Vandermeer’s Annihilation. But I don’t read fiction to watch car chases, solve clues, or guess who dunnit. The truth is, I often don’t really care. Oh man, I AM gonna get kicked out of this club! Let me explain.

[Read the full article]

Why I Chose Travel Writing As My Retirement Career

travelawaits.com – Monday August 8, 2022

I love to work, explore new possibilities, get out of my comfort zone, live a full and exciting life, and hang out with my husband. I chose travel writing as my retirement career so I could enjoy all those things and live a good life.

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Dollars, Cents, and Being Left With the Bill: Jillian Medoff on Breaking Up With Her Literary Agent

lithub.com – Saturday August 6, 2022

In 2008, after 13 years together, my literary agent and I parted ways. (To preserve her anonymity, let’s call her Michael Ovitz.) Between 1995 and 2002, Michael Ovitz sold two of my novels, including my debut, Hunger Point. By any measure, our partnership was a terrific success. Michael Ovitz and I were more than just agent-writer, we were mentor-protégé, friends, confidantes. She invited me to stay in her country home. I corresponded with her daughter. She met my parents. We bought each other gifts. “You’re a part of the family,” she liked to say.

Business isn’t emotional, but people are. This is especially true in the highly subjective book industry, where an author’s imagination, manifested on the page, is the product. Michael Ovitz is an attorney, and the smartest, savviest woman I’d ever met, like Ari Gold from Entourage, but with a maternal affect. Near the end of our first conversation, she asked if I had any questions. I was so wowed I could barely speak. “Who else do you represent?” I blurted out. “Can I see a client list?” (This was before agents posted their client rosters on websites, but Michael Ovitz was way-old-school, anyway. She wouldn’t accept electronic submissions, corresponded only by hand on heavy cardstock, and didn’t adopt email until well into the aughts.) “Oh, Jillian,” she said, chuckling at my farm-girl faux pas. “That’s simply not done. Those names are confidential.”

[Read the full article]

Writing Insights: Why don't agents tell you why they rejected your book?

authorlink.com – Monday August 1, 2022

Many writers ask why agents don’t give more specific reasons for rejecting a book submission. A standard answer is: “not the right fit,” though a submission is in the same genre they represent.

There can be a number of reasons why a literary agent rejects a work. When an agent says a work is not the right fit for them, it may or may not relate to the writing itself.

The agent could have more submissions than they can handle at the time, or they have just sold a similar title, or they know an editor is looking for a particular story angle, and your submission doesn’t fill that story angle. It could be that the agent doesn’t see the work slotting into a particular category they represent. There are different kinds of thrillers, for example. Maybe the agent knows they can sell psychological suspense but doesn’t know where to go to sell a medical thriller. Maybe the agent doesn’t feel the story targets a large-enough audience or the market is glutted with similar titles. It can also mean the agent simply doesn’t have time to thoroughly read your story, but a quick read tells them it doesn’t fit a need. Or, maybe they are tired and just had a bad day. Agents are human, you know. So, don’t take it personally.

[Read the full article]

5 Creative Cures for Writer's Block

psychcentral.com – Saturday July 30, 2022

It’s stressful when the words don’t come, when you’re sitting at your desk staring at the blinking cursor or the barren page. Minutes feel like hours. Hours feel like days.

Deadlines loom, and you’re still stuck and staring. A kind of dread begins building in your stomach and travels to your throat, and then peaks between your temples. It’s reminiscent of firecrackers exploding.

“Writer’s block, or any creative block, is really about fear,” according to Miranda Hersey, a writer, editor and creativity coach. The fear of not knowing where to start or we’re headed. The fear that we’re not good enough.

Blocks are tough. They can feel big and intimidating and impossible. But where there’s a block, there’s also a way out. Here are five ways to break through writer’s block.

[Read the full article]

Meet the People Behind Some of Today's Best Small Publishers Specializing in Crime Fiction

crimereads.com – Tuesday July 26, 2022

Bless the small press! We talk a lot about how to make the big publishers accountable and more diverse, but let’s not forget there is another level of publishing where people have the freedom to follow their taste rather than having to justify each book’s profitability. I think most people in the publishing business feel like they could put together a damned good imprint given world enough and time. I do. So I gathered the founders and publishers of some of crime and crime fiction’s best small presses: Paul Oliver of Syndicate Books, an imprint devoted to bringing forgotten authors back into print; Charles Ardai of noir publisher Hard Case Crime; Sara Gran, whose brand-new imprint is Dreamland Books; Gregory Shepard of reissue enthusiast Stark House; Jason Pinter of Polis Books; and the late but welcome addition of Michael Nava of Amble Press. We talked quality, representation, resurrecting old books and conjuring new ones.

[Read the full article]

Storyville: Writing Psychological Horror

litreactor.com – Sunday July 24, 2022

So the first thing I want to establish is some sort of baseline understanding of what psychological horror actually is. Here is a good definition from Wikipedia:

Psychological horror is a sub-genre of horror and psychological fiction with a particular focus on mental, emotional, and psychological states to frighten, disturb, or unsettle its audience. The sub-genre frequently overlaps with the related sub-genre of psychological thriller, and often uses mystery elements and characters with unstable, unreliable, or disturbed psychological states to enhance the suspense, drama, action, and paranoia of the setting and plot and to provide an overall unpleasant, unsettling, or distressing atmosphere.

Based on my own writing and the books (and films) that I enjoy, I sometimes wonder if everything I consume is psychological horror. So let’s look at a few things that might NOT be considered psychological horror:

1. Graphic horror—horror that relies mostly on violence and gore to scare.
2. Action/jump scares—horror that relies mostly on cheap tactics or superficial elements to try and get a physical reaction from the audience.
3. Monsters—horror that relies mostly on creatures to scare you.

So let’s dig deeper to not only identify what the key elements of psychological horror are, but how you can best employ them in your fiction.

[Read the full article]

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