Publishing Archive

The Ploughshares Round-Down: That Time A Famous Author Failed And Blamed Ebooks

Author: | Categories: Publishing 1 Comment
Last year, I was talking to a romance novelist who self-publishes her books. She had decided to go this route after submitting a manuscript directly to Harlequin and not hearing back from them for months. What forced her hand was that she had kids, she had been working part-time,

The Self-Publisher Who Changed the World of Baseball: On Fool’s Gold by Bill James

Author: | Categories: Book Reviews, Publishing No comments
Under review: Solid Fool’s Gold: Detours on the Way to Conventional Wisdom by Bill James (2011, ACTA Publications, 224 pages) Whenever I think of Bill James I think of the following Margaret Mead quote, which probably appeared on the walls of half my high school classrooms, the words arranged

POC vs PLOT: The MFA, Chipotle Cups, and Narratives We Crave

Author: | Categories: Publishing, Writing 2 Comments
By now it seems everyone’s read Junot Diaz’s MFA vs POC blog on the New Yorker website. Even my freshmen at Cornell these days say to me, “Dan, was it really like that?” Usually I just shrug in response. I was a notorious recluse in my MFA. I had a girlfriend—now fiancé—in New

Off the Rails Quarterly

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The Ploughshares Round-Down: Is It True You Can’t Make Any Money Writing Books?

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When I was making the switch last year from being an editor to being an agent, I heard from older agents that I was making a huge mistake. Advances are shrinking, they said. Midlist authors are going without contracts, and everybody is self-publishing. The whole industry is falling apart!

Prepare Your Battlements: Six Ways to Survive Reviews

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If you’re putting your writing out into the world, you’re going to get reviews. Maybe not in newspapers, or even from the woman on Goodreads who’s determined to start every single review with “I wanted so much to like this book,” but from your MFA workshop, your college professor,

People of the Book: Mara Mills

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People of the Book is an interview series gathering those engaged with books, broadly defined. As participants answer the same set of questions, their varied responses chart an informal ethnography of the book, highlighting its rich history as a mutable medium and anticipating its potential future. This week brings

Let’s Get Small: On Loving Miniature Books

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“The miniature is mysterious. We wonder how all those parts work when they’re so small. We wonder ‘are they real?'” -Lia Purpura I just made a shamelessly sentimental purchase on eBay: a replacement for a tiny dictionary I once found in the toe of my Christmas stocking as a

Writing in a Changing World: Craft, Readerships, and Social Media

Author: | Categories: Publishing, Writing, Writing Advice 3 Comments
What do you wish your MFA program had taught you? How is the literary world—and media in general—changing? How should we change with it? These are the questions that motivate Stephanie Vanderslice‘s work as a writer, professor, and HuffPost blogger. I heard Vanderslice speak at the International Great Writing Conference this June, where she

Revising Like Alice(s)

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There has been a flurry of praise for Alices lately—Munro for her much-deserved Nobel, McDermott for her highly-praised new novel Someone—and it has me thinking about why these two authors are having a cultural moment. They write about women, often small domestic lives, the kind of characters and plots