Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Help For The Career Novelist

Writing is a solitary profession. If you have a novel in process or are one of the estimated 8 million people who have a novel in their desk drawer, where do you turn for professional help? (This 8 million number is in Get Published! page 64).

In this entry, I want to suggest a free resource for anyone who is working on a novel or already publishing a novel. In the mid-90s, literary agent Donald Maass wrote an excellent book, The Career Novelist: A Literary Agent Offers Strategies for Success which is still listed on Amazon. Maass offers a free download of the book in a PDF format on his web site.

In the book, he explains his purpose for this book, "If this book is about nothing else, it is about the practical, day-to-day solutions, methods, and techniques that I use to make my clients' careers happen. This book is the fruit of seventeen years on the job, of thousands of battles fought in the trenches. It is about marketing, contracts, hidden traps, strategies that work, ways writers go wrong—in short, everything I can think of that you might need to make your career a success." (page 15).

He started his career as a junior editor at Dell Publishing and shares his perspective saying, "It is a view that I wish to share with you. It is not the view of a jaded professional; I am still too enthusiastic about the fiction business for that. It is the view of a realistic, practical, hands-on professional. It is also the view of one who has worked on three sides of this business: in the author's study, in the editor's chair, and on the agent's phone." (page 16) What a valuable perspective for any writer to gain from these pages.

This book has a healthy dose of realism as Maass explains, "Fiction is, today, a tough business. Many agents would prefer to find some good nonfiction to sell. Placing novels is a slow, difficult, and discouraging process. It can take many books to get a career going. With nonfiction you need only one snappy idea." (page 17)

I love his concept that little steps add up and would encourage you to adopt this philosophy. He writes, "This book is about the little steps that add up, over time, to big results. This book is not for dreamers who want to get rich quick, though I have nothing against speed." (page 18) "Solutions, strategies, knowledge, practical plans, damage control, managing success . . . in short, the path of the career novelist." (page 19)

In yesterday's entry, I encouraged you to support good books. One of those methods was to write customer review for Amazon. While I downloaded The Career Novelist: A Literary Agent Offers Strategies for Success from this link on Donald Maass's Literary Agency website, if you enjoy the book as I did, I encourage you to give it a Five Star review on the Amazon page. I did.

OK, you follow the advice in this entry and download the book. Will you read it cover to cover and profit from the experience? The proof is in the application. I'm encouraging more than the reading experience. I'm encouraging application to your own novel.

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3 Comment:

At 11:25 AM, Blogger Phoebe Left a note...

This is an excellent book. I purchased it several years ago, and have referred to it more than once since then.

At 4:09 PM, Blogger Avily Jerome Left a note...

Thanks, Terry- looking forward to reading it!

At 11:28 PM, Blogger Janice Seagraves Left a note...

I tried to down load that book and couldn't do it on my laptop.

I guess I'll have to try on my old big computer.

And yes I would read it from cover to cover. devouring the words of wisdom, and hoping something will stick.



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