Getting published (starting out)



Ask a Reporter archive (Read how New York Times reporters have answered students' frequently asked questions about such beats as international events, elections, education, science, technology, culture, religion, sports, and photography). See more Q. and A. | Times Reporters Answer Student Questions on the NY Times Learning Network (which is in process of designing something new to replace this).

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)
http:/​/​www.scribd.com/​doc/​18092726/​How-to-Write-a-Short-Story-that-Works
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.

How The Writer's Center Helped Me Get Published (Sonja Williams, Personal Reflections, First Person Plural, Writer's Center, 7-13-15) Sonja praises David Stewart and Ken Ackerman for their nonfiction workshops and critiques, among other things the WC offered to help her make the jump from academic prose to something for a broader market. She also praises C.M. Mayo for helping writers find their literary voice.


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

The 100 Best Websites for Writers in 2015 (Carrie Smith, The Write Life, 1-19-15)

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

What Every Writer Needs to Know About Editors (listen to audio of literary agent Scott Edelstein, interviewed by Paulette Warren). Is your editor a friend, a partner, or an adversary? Why do so many editors not do what they say they’ll do — or do it much later than they promised? How can you get editors’ attention in the first place? Most writers know the importance of having good working relationships with editors, but may not know how to go about establishing them. Scott explores writers’ most common misunderstandings about editors and provides advice to help make the most of the writer/​editor relationship.

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")
http:/​/​www.studio360.org/​episodes/​2009/​05/​29
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
http:/​/​www.sundancechannel.com/​digital-shorts/​#/​series/​20958611001/​20972302001
"I have never written science fiction...What I write is a kind of twisted fantasy." ~ Harlan Ellison