Beginning Writer’s Answer Book

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The Beginning Writer’s Answer Book
by Jane Friedman
Writer’s Digest Books, 2006
ISBN 1-58297-365-2
$15.99 paperback, 432 pages

If you’re new to writing, then you’ve probably had more questions about it than answers. How do you get started? How you do you break in without experience? How do you know if you’re any good?

Completely revised and updated, the Beginning Writer’s Answer Book is an indispensable resource that gives you the basic tools you need to write and publish. You’ll discover must-have information about book and magazine publishing, freelancing, literary agents, copyrights, and much more. Divided into 29 specific subject areas, with cross-references throughout, you’ll find informative answers to such questions as:

  • How do I submit my work to editors?
  • How do I find an agent?
  • What information should my query letter include?
  • When and how should I follow up with an editor if I don’t receive a response?
  • Can I submit my manuscript to more than one publisher at a time?

Beginning Writer’s Answer Book is an excellent primer for anyone who wants a better understanding of the publishing world. Make it the first book you buy for your writing reference shelf.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: Do I have what it takes?
Ability, discipline, and other questions that depend on you

Chapter 2: Do I need further education?
College degrees, writing courses, conferences, and groups

Chapter 3: What do they mean when they say … ?
Everyday publishing jargon

Chapter 4: How do I get published?
Understanding markets and queries

Chapter 5: How do I format and submit my work?
Manuscript formats and submissions

Chapter 6: How do I find an agent?
How and when to search for a literary agent

Chapter 7: Why am I getting rejected?

Chapter 8: How do book publishers work?
What happens after your book gets accepted for publication

Chapter 9: How can I write a successful novel?
The essentials every beginning novelist needs to know

Chapter 10: How do I sell my nonfiction book?
Refining and marketing your nonfiction book idea or manuscript

Chapter 11: How do I write and sell articles?
The basics of magazine article writing

Chapter 12: How do I start a freelance career?
How to survive as a freelance writer and where to find paid work

Chapter 13: How do I conduct effective research?
Finding the best sources in the most efficient way

Chapter 14: How do I conduct a strong interview?
Securing interviews and asking the right questions

Chapter 15: How do I revise?
Learning to rewrite and improve your work, as well as a develop your style

Chapter 16: What are my rights?
Your rights and how to protect them

Chapter 17: What are the rights of others?
How to properly quote, excerpt, and seek permission

Chapter 18: Can I use other people’s
names and stories?
Problems associated with appropriating other people’s lives and names

Chapter 19: Should I use a pen name?
Why to use one and how

Chapter 20: When and how do I provide art?
Complementing your work with art, illustrations, and photos

Chapter 21: Should I collaborate on a project?
Advantages and disadvantages of writing partners, ghostwriting, and collaborations

Chapter 22: What business know-how do I need?
Information on basic business, tax, and legal matters

Chapter 23: How do I write and sell short fiction?
Succeeding with short stories

Chapter 24: How do I publish my poetry?
Succeeding with poetry

Chapter 25: How do I break in to children’s writing?
The basics of writing and selling work for children and young adults

Chapter 26: How do I market my scripts?
Pitching your movie and TV scripts to Hollywood

Chapter 27: How do i sell my songs?
How and where to sell your song lyrics

Chapter 28: How do i write for newspapers?
How to freelance for newspapers

Chapter 29: Should i self-publish my book?
Questions and quandaries related to self-publishing and print-on-demand

Appendix 1
Fiction Genre Descriptions – Word-Count Guidelines – Sample Magazine Query – Sample Nonfiction Query – Sample Novel Query – Standard Manuscript Format – Publishers and Their Imprints – How Much Should I Charge? – Helpful Web Sites

Appendix 2: Complete Catalog of Questions


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