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Blog Posts

What Makes A Book A Success?

Posted by Kamy Wicoff on October 21, 2014 at 11:00am 19 Comments

A year after my first book came out, a then-friend said to me, over dinner at an Italian restaurant on a cold winter night: "Your book was a failure." My friend didn't say it harshly--though perhaps it's no surprise that we are not friends anymore. He said it matter-of-factly, as in, the things you hoped for when your book came out, like selling hundreds of thousands of copies, or establishing yourself as a cultural critic with a seat at the National Important People Conversation Table, didn't happen. He was right. My book didn't even sell through its modest first print run, and I never earned a cent beyond my advance. I appeared on national television and NPR but my message never caught anybody's attention beyond those book-related interviews. I only got to call myself a "bestselling author" because when…

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Before Order: A Poet’s Tale

Posted by Melissa Studdard on October 22, 2014 at 10:30pm 1 Comment

“Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up.” —A. A. Milne

 

I wrote my novel by the seat of my pants. I created characters I was in love with, and I let them tell me what they wanted to do. It was easy to “organize.” There was a plot, and I rolled along, adventure after adventure, discovering the way as I happened upon it. Organization was holistic, organic—as easy as breathing.

But that’s not to say the prose always flowed. There were times my mind wouldn’t turn that way, and I’d find myself instead engaged in a wild, messy, passionate affair with poetry. Between scenes, between chapters, between scraps of dialogue, I’d sneak off to a café and flirt with a…

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[REALITY CHECK] Self-Publishing: Adventures in Editing! by Patricia Robertson

Posted by Zetta Brown on October 22, 2014 at 7:00am 1 Comment

I don't care if you are self-published, indie-published, or NYC-published. Speaking as an editor, author, and publisher, it doesn't matter how many times you go through something you've written, you will either find a mistake or some minor thing you wish you could correct.



Perhaps the hardest thing when it comes to publishing (after getting published!) is to let go and let your book-child fend for itself. But like any responsible parent, you want to prepare your book-child as much as possible to defend itself, especially against critics. Having your work edited thoroughly helps strengthen your book and makes it harder for critical snipers to accuse your book-child of being sloppy.



Patricia Robertson shares what she has learned about self-publishing after…

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Why Grammar Matters

Posted by Maria Murnane on October 21, 2014 at 8:06am 0 Comments

I recently began watching "The Wire" (yes, I realize I'm 12 years late), and I love it! So far it has lived up to the hype. It also gave me a good idea for this blog post. In one of the early episodes, one of the main characters (a police officer) spends a lot of time preparing a report about possible criminal activity at a housing project in Baltimore, and then presents it to a judge in hopes of gaining authorization for a wiretap. In this particular scene, we see the police officer sitting anxiously in his chair, so proud of all his hard work, just waiting for a pat on the back from the judge for following a very specific list of legal requirements to get what he really needs to stop the bad guys.

 

What does the judge do…

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Community Blog

Book Review: Here and again by Nicole R. Dickson

    This is a great historical novel with a twist. I loved the story and I was glued to the book until I finished reading it. Nicole weaves past and…

Self Talk

A: What's wrong with you?

B: Don't know. I feel so off.

A: Well, nothing wrong with feeling off; long as you remember to switch back on.

B: Sometimes, I wonder if I'm just trying to go crazy.

Thursday's Three on Art

Thursday's Three today presents a trio of art-related videos on, respectively, Turkish paper marbling, sculptures by Jung Ran Bae, and the restoration of Mark Rothko's 'Black on Maroon':

http://writingwithoutpaper.blogspot.com/2014/10/thursdays-three-on-art.html

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    Latest Activity

    Nina Angela McKissock commented on the blog post 'What Makes A Book A Success?'
    "So...I should dampen my dream of being interviewed by John Stewart of The Daily Show? (Gonna go cry) Kidding aside, I am quite proud of myself for completing this little gift to the world. It just may serve someone when the one they love is at the…"
    15 minutes ago
    Nancy Kricorian liked Kamy Wicoff's blog post What Makes A Book A Success?
    15 minutes ago
    Pamela Olson commented on the blog post 'What Makes A Book A Success?'
    "Awesome post, Kamy. And it's funny... the novel I'm working on now is about this very subject (to which I can fully relate!) It's about a travel writer whose first book sold quickly to a major publisher, but sales were disappointing,…"
    16 minutes ago
    Elizabeth Enslin commented on the blog post 'Experience Required: Be All the People You Can Be'
    "Beautiful piece, Anjali! I'm looking forward to meeting you at the IAAC lit festival in NYC."
    16 minutes ago

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