Archive for June, 2010

Memoir Writing

June 30, 2010

My office is abuzz with talk about memoir writing at the moment since our July/August issue of Writer’s Digest Magazine hit newsstands last week. It’s an exciting time for memoir writers as memoir gets a lot of exposure these days. Our feature package in the magazine has some great coverage of the topic with a round up of top literary agent’s thoughts on the subject of memoir (compiled by WD’s editor Jessica Strawser), plus a great article on finding a hook by Paula Balzer, author of the forthcoming Writing & Selling Your Memoir (due June 2011).

I’m currently working with Balzer on her upcoming book and I think anyone interested in writing memoir is in for a real treat. Balzer is Brooklyn-based literary agent a huge fan of memoirs herself… she has some great insights.

Crafting the Personal Essay by Dinty W. Moore

Another great book to check out is Dinty W. Moore’s Crafting the Personal Essay. This is an inspiring book for anyone interested in writing creative nonfiction whether you’re writing a book length memoir or a shorter piece. While Moore’s book is more closely focused on different kinds of shorter essays- ranging from travel essays to humor essays to spiritual essays- the process of delving within to find your inspiration is the same. Moore’s book is one of the best books I’ve had the opportunity to edit and I highly recommend it for writers of any genre, really. The book comes out in August, so keep an eye out for it. For a preview check out this piece Moore wrote for AARP on writing life stories.

Also, check out these online courses for memoir and personal essay writers.

Need help with your book proposal?

June 15, 2010

Martin & Flacco navigate the rough waters of the publishing industry.

Working on a book proposal and need some help? Authors of Publish Your Nonfiction Book Sharlene Martin and Anthony Flacco may be able to help with their live webinar event 10 Secrets to a Winning Book Proposal this Thursday, June 17

I worked with Martin and Flacco on their recent book- it’s full of great  info on self-promotion for writers. They’re drawing on their considerable knowledge of the publishing industry for this live event, so it should be a good one.

Grammatically Correct

June 10, 2010

Advance copies of Anne Stilman’s Grammatically Correct arrived on my desk yesterday afternoon. This book was a lot of work to edit- heck, the author is a grammar expert, so we went over everything numerous times. Thought about different ways to present the material. Really went over it all with a fine tooth comb. I’m so happy to see how great the book turned out.

This is the 2nd edition of this book with lots of new material and revisions- great additions to a text that has been a standby for writers and students for well over a decade. If you need a good grammar reference for you bookshelf, I’d highly recommend it.

While it’s rarely anyone’s favorite topic, grammar is important for obvious reasons. All writers should have references available for a quick double check and should brush up on the rules from time to time. WD’s online courses are a good place to do just that. Check out the Elements of Effective Writing: Grammar and Mechanics course for a good refresher. And please don’t check my grammar as you read this blog.

Your First Page

June 4, 2010

Author Peter Selgin

The first page of your novel (or story) is crucial. If an editor or agent isn’t interested by the first page, then chances are they won’t read any further.

Novelist and writing instructor Peter Selgin (author of 179 Ways to Save a Novel and By Cunning & Craft) decided to address this very topic by starting a blog titled Your First Page that helps writers with the first page of their work. Writers can submit their first pages and receive feedback (first from Selgin himself and then from other writers).

Getting objective feedback is one of the most important things you can do improve your manuscript. Selgin’s blog is a great way to get started. Some other ideas include joining/starting a writing group (Becky Levine’s excellent book The Writing & Critique Group Survival Guide has some great insights into how to go about this); or check out WD’s peer critique studio.

Self-publishing advice

June 4, 2010

Sue Collier

Marilyn Ross

An evergreen hot topic for writers is self-publishing- when to do it, when not to do it, what should one know before diving in. Self-pub experts Marilyn Ross and Sue Collier have made it their mission to educate writers about this topic. I’ve been lucky enough to work with them on their latest edition (the 5th) of The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing (due in July 2010)… a book that is just that. It’s a compendium of book industry knowledge that gives you insight into not only creating a self-published book, but also navigating through the often-tricky publishing world.

In a recent Q&A with Ross & Collier, they tackle topics like “the true meaning of self-publishing”, advice for marketing and self promotion, and the importance of treating writing as a business.

Another good source to check out is WD’s own Jane Friedman’s Self Publishing 101 webinar, which is available for download.