News, Perspectives, and Insights on Writing and Publishing

From the Staff of The Editorial Department

November 6, 2016

A History of the Great Divide: Literature vs. Genre Fiction
Breathing life into a post-modern Prometheus

I was once involved in a near knock down drag out fight that began with my assertion that John Irving’s The World According to Garp was a great piece of “literature.” The wine-swilling MFA fiction writer seated across from me at the bar took umbrage at the idea that Irving […]
November 2, 2016

Evaluating Nonfiction: One Editor’s Approach
What can set your nonfiction manuscript up for success... or doom it to the reject pile

Fiction lives or dies by the author’s storytelling and writing skills (and perseverance and some luck). For nonfiction, then, one might assume that likewise, an interesting topic well elucidated will do the job. However, the publishing industry and readers regard nonfiction a bit differently. Subject Matter Publishers generally […]
October 26, 2016

Writing With Voice
Editor Shannon Roberts on building your authorial voice in unexpected ways

Confession: When I first started writing, I copied. Not ideas—not consciously anyway—but voice Initially I modeled my work after one of my (at the time) favorite bloggers and web-comic writers, Jerry Holkins. I started to fold in some Terry Pratchett and I sampled from Robert Heinlein. Whenever I […]
October 19, 2016

Publishing Your Work is Hard Work
What I wish I'd known before I started: Part 2

This blog is part of a series. For “What I Wish I’d Know Before I Started: Part 1” please click here. And so as the sun slowly set over the peaks and valleys of composing a first book, I bid a fond farewell to creative writing as I prepared […]
October 12, 2016

You Need a Good Editor
What I wish I'd know before I started: Part 1

Now that my novel, Flaming Harry Sweeney, is self-published, I can offer a hearty congratulations to none other than myself—and more importantly, advice on “What I Wish I’d Known Before I Started” to you fellow travelers and aspiring authors. First off, do it! Writing a book turned out to […]
October 5, 2016

Five Short Steps to the Reject Pile
Keep your book out of the reject pile by avoiding these five common mistakes

Oh, the dreaded reject pile. Often we like to imagine the (probably imaginary) good old days when editors searched for traces of gold in the rough ore of a first draft and worked with the writer to refine it. Recently, an editor at a major publisher offered a […]