News, Perspectives, and Insights on Writing and Publishing

From the Staff of The Editorial Department

November 10, 2015

A Writer’s Motivation: Who Are You Writing For?
Literary agent Adriann Ranta explores tough questions every writer should consider before attempting to publish

I’ve had some really interesting and unique life experiences, and my friends keep encouraging me to write about them. From a market standpoint, is it a better idea to write a memoir, or to use those experiences as inspiration for a novel/work of fiction? I wish I could […]
November 7, 2015

Words That Earn Their Keep

Economists talk about Gresham’s Law—in simple terms, bad money drives out good. When a country goes off the gold or silver standard in favor of paper money, many people hoard gold or silver coins. Which would excite you more, a shoebox full of paper money, or a handful […]
November 5, 2015

Query Questions

I’ve heard it’s pointless to query between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. Are there other times of year that are better or worse for agent responses? It’s true that publishing slows way down over the holidays (we’re people with families too!) and during the summer doldrums (we love the […]
November 2, 2015

Patience: A Sterling Virtue of Quality Publishing

When I was a kid, my mom — an impressively self-educated poor Tennessean with a high-school education and a fondness for annoying axioms — would say, in a sing-song voice, “Patience is a virtue, and it will never hurt you.” Keeping my mouth shut in the face of […]
October 27, 2015

A Guide to Sub-Genres in Fantasy and Science Fiction

Sub-genres of any kind can be difficult to nail down, but in the genres of fantasy and science fiction it’s not easy to even get them to hold still. The principle reason for this is that these two genres are often collectively called “speculative fiction” because they deal […]
October 23, 2015

Mainstream Publishers and the Acquisition of Successful Self-Published Titles

How interested are mainstream publishers in buying successful self-published books? I don’t mean hugely successful titles (Hugh Howey’s stuff, say), but books that have racked up impressive sales. And how many sales does it take to get a traditional publisher’s attention? This is a hard question to answer […]