Ploughshares Round-Down Archive

The Ploughshares Round-Down: Why Louie Is Like Great Literature

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Tasha Golden is on vacation from the blog this week, so covering for her on the Round-Down today is the writer Gila Lyons. Gila’s work has appeared in Salon, The Millions, The Morning News, Tablet, The Forward, The NY Press, The Faster Times, The Berkshire Review, and other publications. She lives in Boston,

The Ploughshares Round-Down: Do White Male Editors Only Publish White Male Books?

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For most of the nonfiction books I sell, the editors I’m selling to have a lot of objective information on hand to guess at a title’s potential success: the author’s Twitter following, other books on the same subject, other books by the same author, the popularity of magazine articles

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

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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 on about her editor, that editor did almost nothing.

The Ploughshares Round-Down: Ditch the Publishing Gods

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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 on a part of a product that, often, nobody

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

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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 unbelievably discouraging. Try a job in the real world,

The Ploughshares Round-Down: “Die Empty”

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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 mean, obvs my friend spoke truth. Still, by taking that

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

Author: | Categories: Publishing 2 Comments
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!

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

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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 touring to promote it, planning to release it ASAP,

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

Author: | Categories: Publishing, Publishing Advice 2 Comments
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. I’ll admit I have a few stock responses, but

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

Author: | Categories: Writing 2 Comments
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. And I’m not alone. Thousands of you are sending