Written by Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry, aka The Book Doctors
Available on Amazon here.
Written by experts with twenty-five books between them as well as many years’ experience as a literary agent (Eckstut) and a book doctor (Sterry), this nuts-and-bolts guide demystifies every step of the publishing process: how to come up with a blockbuster title, create a selling proposal, find the right agent, understand a book contract, and develop marketing and publicity savvy. Includes interviews with hundreds of publishing insiders and authors, including Seth Godin, Neil Gaiman, Amy Bloom, Margaret Atwood, Leonard Lopate, plus agents, editors, and booksellers; sidebars featuring real-life publishing success stories; sample proposals, query letters, and an entirely updated resources and publishers directory.
I bought this book after being lucky enough to work with The Book Doctors one-on-one. I knew from working with them that they know this industry inside out, give great advice, and have a wonderful sense of humor…all of which shone through in this book.
If I could only recommend one writing book to an aspiring writer, it would be this one. It’s the only one of its kind that I’ve come across—one which covers everything you’ll need to know from brainstorming your book to finding an agent to publishing it either traditionally or through self-publishing.
First off, this book was enjoyable to read, something I have never said about a how-to book. Their senses of humor come across through the pages, making me smile and even laugh while talking about subjects as mundane as writing a synopsis. So you’ll be learning about publishing, AND learning by example how to inject voice into your own writing. Their advice is interspersed with interviews with top level agents, editors, and writers, giving you a well-rounded picture.
Some examples of their humor and voice:
- It helps to have the right guide dog to help you across the street. We are honored to be your dog.
- You’ve chosen your venues, set up your profiles, figured out who you’d like to follow and befriend. Now you have to start putting out. Content, that is.
- On what to look for in critique partners: someone who is “nice enough to tell you when you’re got a bit of food on your lip without making you feel like a miserable loser.”
Before I read craft books and how-to books, I tend to drink two cups of tea in preparation for a study session, similar to being back in school and learning dry material. But I actually enjoyed reading this book. It felt more like reading fiction. I skipped around, reading the sections most applicable for me right now, but I found myself reading other chapters that followed even if they didn’t apply to me just because it was interesting. After just an hour, I felt like I knew more about an industry that before felt so expansive and elusive.
There are plenty of craft books out there, but not many that tell you about agent contracts, what the submission process will be like, or how to choose between agents. I read this prior to going on submission with my agent, and I felt like it gave me a good grasp of what to expect and how the process would work. They explained preempts, auctions, and gave advice on how to choose between publishing houses.
There’s so much information in here that I often re-read sections when they become relevant to my writing journey. Each time, I realize I missed several nuggets of information the first time around.
The Book Doctors often have deals giving away consultations with a purchase of the book, so I recommend signing up for their newsletter here to keep an eye out for these opportunities.
Happy writing and querying!