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The Book Deal

What 4 top agents desire in a memoir

Sometimes it seems like everyone's writing a memoir. You too? So how can you break out of the pack and and persuade an agent to take a look? Here are four accomplished literary agents, and they’re all selling memoirs. Scroll down to see some of the books they represent. These agents are the … [Read more...]

Can writing a book make you a star? Yes it can!

Just ask my author Lenore Skenazy, whose debut book Free-Range Kids – How to Raise Safe, Self-Reliant Children (Without Going Nuts with Worry) led to her own reality TV show, among many other surprises. We had a lot of fun working on the book together, but I’ll let Lenore tell the story: Here's my … [Read more...]

Toni Morrison: Write, Erase, Do it over

When Toni Morrison talks about writing, I listen. I’ve taken a keen interest in what she's had to say ever since I began working with her in 1968, when I acquired, edited, and published her first novel The Bluest Eye. More on what it was like working with Toni here. The Bluest Eye was a … [Read more...]

Lessons from a great book jacket designer

The bright yellow cover of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson is instantly recognizable. The Wall Street Journal called the jacket, designed by Peter Mendelsund, one of the most iconic in contemporary fiction in the U.S. Mendelsund, Associate Art Director at Knopf, now has his … [Read more...]

Wouldn’t you love an agent like this one?

Kimberley Cameron is a great example of how one innovative agent is dealing with the stonewalling risk-averse attitude these days of many mainstream commercial book publishers. “Traditional publishers are rejecting so many quality books we’re submitting, by both debut authors and those with a solid … [Read more...]

Women mystery writers break out of the shadows

The tired old stereotype of a mystery writer as some hard-boiled noir guy with a cigarette in one hand and a tumbler full of whiskey in the other is obsolete. Over. Done. Make way for Sisters in Crime, a nationwide organization of women mystery writers who are achieving commercial and literary … [Read more...]

Eavesdropping for story ideas and other tips from a veteran novelist

Today we have some sage advice for writers from a proven practitioner of the art and craft of literary commerce who’s had a successful career as a writer for more than 50 years. Warren Adler has published more than 32 novels and short story collections, including The War of the Roses, which was … [Read more...]

How authors support their writing dreams

A few aspiring authors get to stay home and write all day. Think of them as the 1%. The rest need to worry about putting food on the table before they can focus on their literary dreams. Even the most successful writers I’ve edited, past and present, took whatever work they could find along the … [Read more...]

Ever wonder what a developmental editor could do for your book?

More and more writers are hiring their own developmental editors, whether they plan to self-publish their book or hope to land a literary agent and go for a book deal with a traditional publisher. To give you an idea what a professional developmental editor could do for your book, here’s a … [Read more...]

Ask the editor: Breaking the “write what you know” rule

Q: I have a terrific story to tell, but it didn’t actually happen to me. Is it possible to write with authenticity about something you haven’t experienced firsthand? A: Many great books are written by authors who seem to have nothing in common with their character’s experiences. Different gender, … [Read more...]