Ploughshares Round-Down Archive

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

Author: | Categories: Publishing, Publishing Advice 5 Comments
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. Luckily, I only have to figure this out for

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

Author: | Categories: Writing, Writing Advice No comments
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 neither is this: in response to the poetry murder,

The Ploughshares Round-Down: Should You Self-Publish Or Not?

Author: | Categories: Publishing, Publishing Advice No comments
A few months ago, I met a self-publishing millionaire. In just eighteen months, she had gone from an underpaid office worker with a laid-off husband to a beloved romantic erotica writer pulling in $50,000 a month.  She was willing to entertain offers from a big publisher, though none were

The Ploughshares Round-Down: Why “Do What You Love” Is Bad Advice

Author: | Categories: Writing, Writing Advice 6 Comments
In 2005, Steve Jobs gave a now-famous graduation speech at Stanford University. “You’ve got to find what you love,” he said. “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great

The Ploughshares Round-Down: What NYC Editors Say They’re Looking For

Author: | Categories: Uncategorized No comments
What do editors really want? Why are they putting one thing in the rejection pile and preparing for an auction for another? The difficulty in answering these questions is that every editor opens every proposal the same way you open presents from relatives: with hope but trepidation. They never

The Ploughshares Round-Down: “The Wolf of Wall Street” and Its Backlash

Author: | Categories: Writing, Writing Advice 1 Comment
Okay writers, it’s 2014. And what better way start a new year than with an enormous media controversy surrounding a Scorcese film? I KNOW: perfect. If you’ve missed it (I’m sure you’ve had your noses to the ol’ writing grindstone), here’s the deal: The Wolf of Wall Street is a