publishing Archive

Round-Up: #1000BlackGirlBooks, Lack of Diversity in Publishing, and Playwright Wins Victorian Prize for Literature

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    From a kid challenging a lack of diverse representation in literature to a historical Victorian Prize for Literature winner, catch up on what’s going on in literary news: Eleven-year-old Marley Dias started #1000BlackGirlBooks, a book drive with a goal to collect one thousand books that feature black female

Round-Down: Same Booker Prize, New Booker Rules

The Man Booker Prize was first described to me by a writing mentor as “the book prize of all book prizes,” its winning titles fast-tracked to literary canonization and international renown. With so many novels vying for that golden spot, the prize judges have a little bit of reading

The Ploughshares Round-Down: Stop Fearing the Business of Writing

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Last week, Guernica published an interview with art critic Ben Davis, which begins with Davis questioning the premise that “the central tension of the art empire is that between creativity and money.” Davis says there can obviously be tension between what sells and what an artist wants to express, but he argues that money also funds

How To Fall in Literary Agent Love

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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 a few other tips I’d picked up over the

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 wrote about my shifting body image—and feels compelled to email me,

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

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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

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 books, and that everyone else we meet is here

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: 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,