People sometimes email me sometimes with questions about publishing. How to get a book contract, how to find an agent, how to publish a bestseller, how to get a job as an editorial assistant. Happily, the internet is a rich source of such information, much of it penned by smarter, better, and more experienced folks than yours truly. Here are some of my favorite, most-cited articles and resources for information about publishing. See anything missing? Email me--I'm always looking for more!
Writing and Publishing: The Big Picture
- Seth Godin's Advice for Authors. Seth knows more about how ideas spread than anyone I know. His advice to authors about building a permission asset can be tough to hear, but worthwhile for aspiring authors.
- 5 Tips for Writing a Memoir by Will Boast. From Publishers Weekly, solid advice.
- How Do You Know If It's a Book? Kamy Wicoff of SheWrites interviews author Valerie Boyd, agent Erin Hosier, and former Seal Books publisher Brooke Warner about how to figure out whether your great idea is book-worthy--or not.
- Valuable to Others, or Only To You? by Derek Sivers. The title says it all.
- Disrupting How Bestsellers Are Made. Portfolio author Ryan Holiday's exhaustive case study of how his book Growth Hacker Marketing came to be. This is definitely one of the craziest publishing experiments I've ever been a part of.
Writing: Technique, Skills, Style
- The Pleasure and Perils of the Passive by Constance Hale Advanced usage lessons in use of the passive voice.
- V.S. Naipaul's Advice to Writers. Aimed at beginners, but good for all levels.
- Much ink/many pixels have been spilled about the hazards of dangling participles, but this blog post by Mark Damen has some funny examples. (After being whipped fiercely, the cook boiled the egg.)
Editing and Being Edited
- The Four Stages of Editing. What's the difference between a line edit, a copyedit, a developmental edit, and a proofread? Literary agent Jessica Alvarez spells it all out.
- Ten Commandments of Editing Someone's Work by Nathan Bransford Former literary agent Nathan Bransford's blog is a treasure trove of information for authors, particularly novelists, but I love his advice for editors, too.
Want to run your writing past a robot before you try a real, impatient, unsympathetic human? The Writer's Diet is a free web-based application that will help you catch and kill the adjectives and muscle up the verbs in your work. Hemingway will help you identify jargon, passive voice, and other devices that rob your writing of clarity and verve.
Want to find an agent? For the price of one Seamless meal a month ($25 as of this writing) PublishersMarketplace gives you access to a database of every editor, every agent, every merger, and (almost) every deal that occurs in the mainstream publishing world. If you want to be an agent, author, editor, or other type of publishing professional, it's worth every penny. I have subscribed to Publishers Marketplace without break for the past eight years and I've never gone a day without checking it once. (OK, maybe on my wedding day.) (Probably.)
Want to start publishing articles in popular blogs and magazines? Or find a job in publishing, TV, blogging, or magazines? Check out Mediabistro. Aspiring journalists, authors, and editors can access things like their industry blogs and job database for free, but members get access to their archive of Pitches that Worked--worth the price if you land even one paid writing assignment in a national magazine.