Kelly’s Pick: The Craft & Business of Writing

Kelly’s thoughts on The Craft & Business of Writing: Essential Tools for Writing Success:

The Craft & Business of Writing is something of a champion reference book. Clocking in at 400 pages, it showcases the very best articles from the annually updated Writer’s Market series—which includes such publishing directories as Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market, Guide to Literary Agents, Poet’s Market, Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market, and, of course, Writer’s Market.

The book is divided into five accessible sections—Getting Started/General Business, Fiction, Nonfiction, Children’s Writing, and Poetry—with each section looking equally at technical writing instruction and insider information on publishing.

Plus, the instruction comes from some of the best names in the industry. For instance, you’ll learn:

•    Points to consider before your book is released from internationally best-selling author M.J. Rose
•    Romance writing strategies from award-winning novelist Jennifer Crusie
•    Methods for successfully approaching literary magazines from novelist and former editor-at-large for Zoetrope: All-Story Will Allison
•    Tips for writing nonfiction for popular magazines from author and freelance success Jenna Glatzer
•    Ways to conduct and write a stellar interview from noted nonfiction author Philip Gerard
•    Techniques from writing young adult novels from Sloppy Firsts author Megan McCafferty
•    Tools for finding fresh topics for your poetry from accomplished poet John Drury

The book also contains some great practical advice writers of all genres can use, like how to professionally address problems with an editor. In “The Writer-Editor Relationship,” author William Brohaugh says:

I can roughly translate many of the questions I field from writers into a single question: How can I light fires under editors?

The need for such editorial ignition stems from a variety of problems: the editors (or agents) in question are slow to respond, to take notice, and even to pay. The writers who encounter procrastinating, inefficient, or uncaring editors want responses to their queries and especially payment within a reasonable time. They also want to be given the courtesy they deserve as working professionals and the ability to have control over their situations.

There are a variety of ways to solve these problems, to gain control, to light fires. Some of them involve specific negotiation tactics, which I’ll describe in a moment. Most, however, involve a general attitude you must employ in dealing with editors. It’s a businesslike, professional and distanced attitude that will first give you perspective on the problems you’re encountering, and will next allow you to handle the problems without placing a self-destructive fire under yourself.

So, while The Craft & Business of Writing clearly isn’t one of those light-hearted writing books filled with prompts and exercises, it truly can provide you with a whole new understanding of what it takes to produce quality work—regardless of genre—and find publishing success.

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