Publishing Scams and Schemes

Publishing Scams and Schemes

Although the publishing industry is generally honest, it has its share of scammers. It also has plenty of folks who don’t do anything illegal, but who prey on writers’ innocence, ignorance, or illusions. A... [Read more]

How to Write a Bestseller, Get on Oprah, and Walk on the Moon

How to Write a Bestseller, Get on Oprah, and Walk on the Moon

We Americans are obsessive optimists. We think we can achieve anything, if only we learn the right technique, study the right role models, get to know the right people, wear the right clothes, and maintain... [Read more]

The Biggest and Most Common Misunderstanding About Book Publishing

The Biggest and Most Common Misunderstanding  About Book Publishing

If you’re about to send a book or book proposal to publishers, your contacts will be acquisition editors—that is, people who acquire books for their organizations. (In Britain, the term is commissioning... [Read more]

Who Should Self-Publish–and Who Shouldn’t

Who Should Self-Publish–and Who Shouldn’t

“Scott, should I publish my book myself or go with a traditional royalty publisher?” People ask me this all the time, hoping I can give them a simple answer. But the only honest answer is, “It... [Read more]

How to Stay Out of the Slush Pile

How to Stay Out of the Slush Pile

When editors receive submissions, they (or their assistants) often sort them into three groups: 1) pieces to be read promptly; 2) pieces to be read within the next few weeks; and 3) the slush pile: pieces... [Read more]

Turning an Offer Into a Deal

Turning an Offer Into a Deal

Negotiating a publication contract is partly an art and partly a science, but mostly a dance. Sometimes when you request more money or better terms, you get exactly what you ask for; sometimes the other... [Read more]

When Payday is Publication Day

When Payday is Publication Day

You’ve gotten some good news: Hypothetical Magazine wants to publish your newest piece, and will pay you a reasonable sum for it. Congratulations! But pay close attention to the terms HM offers you—and... [Read more]

Protecting Yourself and Your Writing

Protecting Yourself and Your Writing

As a writer, you’ve probably been offered the well-intentioned advice to “Never let yourself be exploited” or “Make sure you don’t get taken.” These are worthy sentiments, but in practice they... [Read more]

Writing a Nonfiction Book? Don’t Be Misled

Writing a Nonfiction Book?  Don’t Be Misled

Does the following advice — which is exactly half right and half wrong — seem familiar? “If you’ve written a nonfiction book or book proposal, you need to write a detailed sales... [Read more]

The Uselessness of Querying Editors

The Uselessness of Querying Editors

First, some important definitions. In publishing lingo, a query is an email (or letter or phone call) to an editor that describes a manuscript you’ve completed and asks if they are interested in... [Read more]

The Paradox of Timing

The Paradox of Timing

“Timing is everything,” I often hear editors and writers say. “What’s hot today could be cold tomorrow, and what’s stone-cold today could be red-hot a year from now. The trick is to time things... [Read more]

When An Editor Wants A Rewrite

When An Editor Wants A Rewrite

Consider this common dilemma: you send a piece to an editor, who emails you back saying they basically like it, but need you to make some changes. As you review those changes, however, you realize you... [Read more]

How Books Earn Money — And How They Can Create Feasts or Famines

How Books Earn Money — And How They Can Create Feasts or Famines

When you publish a book with a traditional royalty publisher, you may earn millions of dollars (if it’s an international bestseller) or next to nothing (if it sells poorly and your per-copy royalty is... [Read more]

Know Your Rights

Know Your Rights

Whenever you write something—whether it’s an essay, a poem, a film script, a speech, or a diary entry—all rights to it normally belong to you from the moment you create it. It’s no different from... [Read more]

The Unacknowledged Power of Persistence

The Unacknowledged Power of Persistence

“Nothing can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful [people] of great talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.” Can you guess... [Read more]