Path to Publishing Newsletter Archive

Below, please find an archive of our previous Path to Publishing newsletters. For more information and to register, email ptp@bookpassage.com

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April 11, 2020: The Process

Dear writers,

I hope you are healthy, comfortable, and have everything you need. And I hope maybe you are able to get lost in your work. These two recent articles focus on essential skills that can help anyone improve their writing.

Lit Hub has a quick, satisfying excerpt from Elizabeth George's new book, Mastering the Process. The excerpt's title says it all: My Writing Schedule is for Satisfaction, Not Fun. Besides being a NYTimes and internationally bestselling author of more than twenty books, she is the Founder and Executive Director of the Elizabeth George Foundation, which gives grants to writers. Check it out.

Speaking of the Times, Harry Guinness' recent piece, How to Edit Your Own Writing is essential reading. You may have heard much of this advice before, but every writer will benefit from this quick summary of what to look for.

Register for the great virtual author talks now being hosted by Book Passage. Next up is #1 NYTimes bestselling children's author Katherine Applegate, author of the inimitable soon to be movie The One and Only Ivan and many other favorites. Once you're registered, you can watch the surprisingly intimate author conversations that have already taken place: Annie and Sam Lamott; Isabel Allende and Don George; Cara Black and her editor Juliet Grames.

You can reach me at this email on Mondays.

Be well,
Nancy

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March 10, 2020: How to Make Your Self-Published Book Succeed

Hello writers,

As this article says, "Taco Bell Quarterly is doing the Lord’s work." IT'S TRUE! A literary magazine from Taco Bell... who'd a thunk it? Don't have anything to say about tacos? You'd be surprised. Some of the writing here is wonderful and it's another opportunity to have your work read by others. Anytime you can have your work published after passing through any editorial board, that's a real opportunity. Book editors read publications like this, looking for interesting new voices.

This sentiment is echoed by Linda Carroll in this Medium article on why self-published books fail. There's a ton of great advice here. The article could easily have been framed positively—think of it as "here's how to make your self-published book succeed."

I hope you're safe and healthy,
Nancy

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February 24, 2020: Perseverance and Belief

Hello writers,

Anyone interested in being published will benefit from reading this NY Magazine article about Kate Elizabeth Russell and her just published novel, My Dark Vanessa. Here are my take-aways:

  • She worked on the book for TWENTY years.
  • Despite many discouragements, nothing turned her away from telling the story she wanted to tell. 
  • In order to be published, you must be be able to convey to others: Why tell this story, and why tell it now?
  • Even after earning her MFA, Russell's manuscript was turned down SIXTY times.
  • She persevered, found the right agent, and got a SEVEN figure advance.

Not everyone should hold out for seven figures—Russell's a unicorn, long in the making. Kern Carter, on the other hand, has sold a few thousand copies of his novels without the backing of a publisher. In this article he shares how he pulled out the stops: "I’ve done billboard campaigns, sold my books in-store at bookstores, I even made door hangers and went door to door around my neighborhood."

Finally, this short item about Natalie Goldberg's Writing Down the Bones got me thinking. Reminded why I've loved the book for years, I reached for it this morning and reread the introduction. "Writing," Goldberg wrote, "keeps me honest, teaches me how to endure the hard times and how to drop below discursive thinking, to taste the real meat of our minds and the life around us."

Now get to it,
Nancy

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February 4, 2020: Creating/Augmenting Your Platform

Hello writers,

For many first time writers, developing a "platform" is one of the most challenging parts of the publishing process. In fact, what the heck even is a "platform?" I hope these three articles help demystify the concept. Take the advice you need and leave the rest.  

After you wrestle with all that, give yourself a treat and check out this article with writing advice from a contingent of masters, including such disparate voices as JK Rowling and Charles Bukowski. When was the last time you saw them cited together?  

E me if you need me,
Nancy

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