"You need not expect to get your book right the first time. Go to work and revamp or rewrite it. God only exhibits his thunder and lightning at intervals, and so they always command attention. These are God's adjectives. You thunder and lightning too much; the reader ceases to get under the bed, by and by."
~Mark Twain, Letter to Orion Clemens, 23 March 1878

"When you catch an adjective, kill it. No, I don't mean utterly, but kill most of them - then the rest will be valuable. They weaken when they are close together. They give strength when they are wide apart."
~ Letter to D. W. Bowser, 20 March 1880 (as quoted on Mark Twain quotations site, from Mark Twain's Notebooks and Journals

”Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere. Start by getting something - anything - down on paper. What I’ve learned to do when I sit down to work on a shitty first draft is to quiet the voices in my head.”
~ Anne Lamott, author of the excellent "Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life"

"Argue for your limitations, and they're yours."
~Richard Bach

"A deadline is
negative inspiration.
Still, it's better
than no inspiration
at all."
~ Rita Mae Brown

"Write without pay until somebody offers pay; if nobody offers within three years, sawing wood is what you were intended for."
~ Mark Twain

Quick Links

Find Authors

Getting published (starting out)

Authonomy, publisher HarperCollins attempt to use online popularity as a guide to choosing which books from the slush pile to read. (The slush pile is unsolicited manuscripts, not represented by agents or asked for by editors.) In Is Authonomy Authentic?, Kate Eltham quotes others on whether HarperCollins site has moved from "potentially innovative to concretely exploitative," with its offer to publish titles from the online slush pile as POD books (for a fee).

Author Enablers (Book Page's blog of advice for aspiring authors, by Kathi Kamen Goldmark and Sam Barry of "Don't Quit Your Day Job" Productions, authors of Write That Book Already! The Tough Love You Need to Get Published Now)

Boxers, Briefs and Books. John Grisham's op-ed piece on what hard work writing is, one theme of the forthcoming collection Don’t Quit Your Day Job: Acclaimed Authors and the Day Jobs They Quit, ed. by Sonny Brewer (with stories by Grisham, Pat Conroy, Rick Bragg, and many other authors).

Book Doctors:
When and whether to hire an independent (consulting) editor or book doctor

Book Doctors: The Real Deal (Susan A. Schwartz on what to look for in an editor)
The Doctor Will See You Now (interview with Lisa Rojany-Buccieri, who explains the difference between book doctors, editors, and ghostwriters and offers practical insights into what a book doctor can and cannot do)
Finding an Editor (Writers and Editors blog)
Kinds of editors and levels of edit--what every writer should know (Writers and Editors blog)
Common Rates for Editorial Services (Editorial Freelancers Association). See also How Much Should I Charge? (which you can read as a potential client)
Frequently Asked Questions about Editors (Tara K. Harper, who doesn't put much faith in book doctors)
Independent Editors and Assessment Services. Writers Beware (SFWA's) excellent articles and sage advice on what editors do, when a fiction writer needs an independent editor, what editing can't buy (a magic fix, bestsellerdom, an agent's interest), and what to watch out for.
A Professional Critique: What Should You Receive for Your Money? (Margot Finke)
Nine Signs of a Scam Book Doctor (Jerry Gross, an old hand in the business, 12-21-11, on Writers, Agents & Editors Network)
What a Good Editor Will Do for You (Jerry Gross interviews Viking editor Beena Kamlani on what to expect from an editor in a publishing house, Writer's Digest, 2-11-08)
"You write to communicate to the hearts and minds of others the fire that is burning inside of you.
And we edit to let the fire show through the smoke."

~ Arthur Plotnik, author of The Elements of Editing (1988)
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18 strategies for brainstorming a title, an excellent synthesis of approaches to creating great titles, from Developmental Editing: A Handbook for Freelancers, Authors, and Publishers by Scott Norton, posted on Scrib'd

Everything You Need to Know About Writing Successfully: in Ten Minutes (Stephen King's now-classic article, which appeared in The Writer in 1986, reprinted on the Great Writing site).

Formatting Your Manuscript for the Designer
Preparing Copy (Part 1 of 3, Help Your Designer, Help Yourself). See Part 2: Obtaining Images and Part 3: Submitting Revisions
Advice for Writers: Preparing Your E-Manuscript (Carol Saller, Subversive Copy Editor blog, 7-5-10)
Formatting Your Manuscript (Nathan Bransford 2-14-07)
A Quick Guide to Manuscript Format (Moira Allen, Writing-World.com)
Creating a Manuscript that is “Designer/​Layout Friendly (Peri Poloni-Gabriel, Publishing Basics, 1-30-12). See especially Other typical formatting mistakes made in manuscripts.

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Free downloadable e-books on writing, from Michael Allen:
On the Survival of Rats in the Slush Pile by Michael Allen: http:/​/​www.kingsfieldpublications.co.uk/​rats.PDF
The Truth about Writing ("an essential handbook for novelists, playwrights, and screenwriters" by Michael Allen, free on Scribd):http:/​/​www.scribd.com/​doc/​17414179/​The-Truth-about-Writing
How to Write a Short Story That Works (by Michael Allen, via Scribd)
Discovered throughJohn Kremer's Book Marketing Tip of the Week: http:/​/​www.bookmarket.com/​

Harvard Writing Project. This excellent series of Student Writing Guides (PDFs)may be helpful to any writers writing from sources. See online: Harvard Guide to Using Sources, including its section on plagiarism.

Information in a Nutshell Radio. Felice Gerwitz interviews experts about writing and publishing (including marketing).

What advice do you give a writer? Mike Shatzkin writes: "...when we discussed with a leading agent a panel we’re planning for our January Digital Book World conference called 'Stalking the Wild Blogger: Scouting Blogs and Self-Published Content for Fresh Voices,'which is about agents and editors finding authors through blogs and self-published books, he said that is now something that 'every agent does.' He explained: 'it is now the standard way to find new clients.' That means that blogs and self-published books using ebook and print-on-demand models are now part of the overall commercial structure of publishing. They are not something separate and inferior, as 'vanity publishing' was in the past." ~ The Shatzkin File, 8-25-09

Writing Five Books (of varying sizes and qualities) A Year: How To Be A Disciplined and Productive Writer (Josh Hanagarne, World's Strongest Librarian, on his blog The Night Wieners, talking about the bumpy road to success for his book The World's Strongest Librarian: A Book Lover's Adventures

Harlan Ellison, the Great Ranter, writer of "speculative fiction"
Harlan Ellison: A Kind of Twisted Fantasy, Kurt Andersen's interview with Ellison on Studio 360 radio program (and check out the Bonus Track: "Harlan Ellison uncut")
Click here: http:/​/​www.sundancechannel.com/​digital-shorts/​#/​series/​20958611001/​20977196001 for readings and film clips starring Harlan Ellison, a series of Sundance "digital shorts (breakthrough Web videos for progressive minds)." Most ranters get boring; Ellison's rants are as verbally creative as his "speculative fiction."
BEGINNING WRITERS: In particular watch this one: Pay the Writer
"I have never written science fiction...What I write is a kind of twisted fantasy." ~ Harlan Ellison

Websites, organizations, and other resources

Blog roll, too
and communities of book lovers
Best reads and most "discussable"
Fact-finding, fact-checking, conversion tables, and news and info resources
Recommended reading
long-form journalism, e-singles, online aggregators
New, used, and rare books, Amazon.com and elsewhere
Blogs, social media, podcasts, ezines, survey tools and online games
How much to charge and so on (for creative entrepreneurs)
And finding freelance gigs
Blogs, video promotion, intelligent radio programs
See also Self-Publishing
Indie publishing, digital publishing, POD, how-to sources
Includes original text by Sarah Wernick
Multimedia, cartoons, maps, charts and so on
Plus contests, other sources of funds for creators
Copywriting, speechwriting, marketing, training, and writing for government
Literary and commercial (including genre)
Writing, reporting, multimedia, equipment, software
Translators, indexers, designers, photographers, artists, illustrators, animators, cartoonists, image professionals, composers
including essays and academic writing
Groups for writers who specialize in animals, children's books, food, gardens, family history, resumes, sports, travel, Webwriting, and wine (etc.)
Writers on offices, standing desks, rejection, procrastination, and other features of the writing life
Contracts, reversion of rights, Google Books settlement
Plus privacy, plagiarism, libel, media watchdogs, FOIA, protection for whistleblowers
And views on the author-editor relationship