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Traditional Publishing – First Contact With Acquisitions Editors

Traditional Publishing – First Contact With Acquisitions Editors

In today’s tough book business, you can’t just write a manuscript, mail it off, and expect a bidding war to start. Chances are that the manuscript will be returned to you without being read. A query letter provides first contact between the author and literary agents or acquisitions editors. Here’s some advice from a New York book editor and literary agent.

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9 Mistakes that Authors Make—And How to Fix Them

9 Mistakes that Authors Make—And How to Fix Them

You’re going too fast Every author needs an editor, but authors need to know how to edit themselves too. Carefully evaluate what you’ve written and then go back to improve it. Are you saying everything you have to say? Is your argument clear? Are your characters...

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The Challenge of Writing Good Fantasy

The Challenge of Writing Good Fantasy

I read a lot, but it's mostly just for entertainment. It's not often that I tell myself, "Damn, I wish I could write like that!" and start studying someone else's work for pointers. In this essay, I'm going to tell you about someone whose work hit me that way,...

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Writing a Book. The All-Important Opening.

Writing a Book. The All-Important Opening.

Novels that most of us read while in school probably opened very differently than successful novels of today. In the past, an author was allowed the luxury of giving the reader details right away about the main character's past, sometimes even going back to their...

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Writing Historical Fiction that Sells

Writing Historical Fiction that Sells

I'm in a book store perusing the aisles when I run across a novel that takes place during a time period not well-known to me. I slip the novel from the shelf, read the back cover, and realize I've discovered another piece of historical fiction I'm going to buy and...

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Revelations of a Ghostwriter

Revelations of a Ghostwriter

My life is blessed with ghosts. Those of my grandfather, my father and my uncle, specifically, all of whom wanted to be writers. My grandfather snagged the boat over from Ireland and became a Boston shoe salesman instead. My father ended up a stockbroker in New York...

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Prolific Novelists on How It’s Done

Prolific Novelists on How It’s Done

Writing one novel is hard enough. But how about 50, 100, even 500—all of them published, and with more to come? We asked six super-prolific writers for their secret and were unsurprised to learn that there is none. It’s all about work and passion. A calling? A...

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Good Indexes Sell Books

Good Indexes Sell Books

Put yourself in the mind of a librarian or professor searching through the year's new crop of nonfiction books, deciding what to purchase for the library or the college. The pile of suspects is overwhelming, there's no time to read each book, and decisions must be...

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Editing a Nonfiction Book

Editing a Nonfiction Book

I find that many of the nonfiction writers I work with are maybe just a little too smart for their own good. I say this with affection and appreciation for how hard it is to communicate paragraph after paragraph of complex information and insight in a coherent way....

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