Tag Archives: Ploughshares Round-Down

The Ploughshares Round-Down: Four Kinds of Editors (and Agents) You’ll Meet In Publishing Heaven

A rule I learned as an editor: when you look at a book’s acknowledgments, the effusiveness of praise for an editor is inversely proportional to the effort he or she put into the book. If a writer goes on and … Continue reading

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The Ploughshares Round-Down: Ditch the Publishing Gods

In mid-March, Time published the first ever in-depth interview with Jonathan “Jony” Ive, the Senior Vice President of Design at Apple. In it, Ive described the experience of working toward an excellent—and aesthetically pleasing—product: Steve and I spent months and months working … Continue reading

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The Ploughshares Round-Down: Why Learning To Write Plot Matters

A few years ago, my cousin was just about to graduate from a small state school with an English degree. He told me he wanted to be a writer. I had never read any of his writing, so I was … Continue reading

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The Ploughshares Round-Down: “Die Empty”

If you’re on Twitter, you likely noticed that a new tool took over the twitterverse last week, allowing everyone to identify and re-post their very first tweets. My first? Ahem: I retweeted a friend’s observation that “The writers of the show He-man were frickin’ geniuses”. I … Continue reading

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

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 … Continue reading

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The Ploughshares Round-Down: Creativity Is Neither Magic Nor Madness

At the end of 2009, I was hunched in the passenger seat of a van, weeping down a midwest interstate. We’d just recorded an album with a Grammy-winning producer, paying for it with months of fan-funding hype. And we were … Continue reading

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The Ploughshares Round-Down: Why Your First Few Pages Mean Everything

Because I love transparency and being generally helpful to writers, or because I am a masochist, I let writers query me by Twitter. It says in my bio that if you can squeeze your pitch into three tweets I’ll respond. … Continue reading

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The Ploughshares Round-Down: Waiting on a Job? Grad School? Publisher? Wait Better.

Okay Writers. Confession: my last couple months disappeared in helpless Waiting: to hear from an interested publisher, to hear about grant funds, to get word on research, jobs, schools, where the hell I’ll be living in six months… It’s excruciating. … Continue reading

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The Ploughshares Round-Down: How to Make Your Book Popular

As an agent, it’s my job to figure out what’s going to be popular among readers. I’m looking not only for books that editors will like now, but that the rest of the world will like eighteen months from now. … Continue reading

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The Ploughshares Round-Down: Hey Poets. Get in the News.

YOU GUYS. On January 29th, headlines declared that a poetry-loving schoolteacher in Russia killed his friend for asserting that prose was “the only real literature.” (Read the (short) story here.) Um. This is not how you should get in the news. But … Continue reading

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