Tag Archives: publishing

How To Fall in Literary Agent Love

In my last post, I shared with you the checklist I used to put together my own book proposal. It contained all the building blocks I’d become familiar with when working as an editorial assistant for an academic book publisher, plus … Continue reading

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A Checklist of Book Proposal Essentials to Go Through Before You Start Schmoozing Agents

In my wildest fantasies, an editor from Seal Press stumbles upon that personal essay I wrote about the awkwardness of babymaking sex—or the blog post I wrote about landing a husband despite being a crazy cat lady, or that other piece I … Continue reading

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

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 … Continue reading

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The Ploughshares Round-Down: How Publishing Looks From the Agent’s Side

If I were forced to write a mission statement, it would be short and sweet: “Help authors. Have fun.” It’s easy for anyone in this business to lose sight of the fact that we do what we do because we love … Continue reading

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

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 … Continue reading

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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: 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: 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: 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: Why “Do What You Love” Is Bad Advice

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 … Continue reading

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