Friday, October 26, 2012

The Writers' and Artists' Yearbook Guide to Getting Published by Harry Bingham

Written emphatically from the author's point of view, this is an expert guide to the process of getting published, from submitting your work and finding an agent, to working with a publishing house and understanding the book trade. 

Together with interviews from authors, agents and publishers (including the CEO of Harper Studio, and the Editorial Director of Macmillan New Writing) as well as buyers from Waterstones and Asda, it offers advice on: * finding an agent or publisher * successful approaches for covering letters and synopses * understanding contractual terms * working with publishers and the editorial process * your role in helping to publicise your work.

The Writers' and Artists' Yearbook Guide to Getting Published will enable you to market your work more professionally, understand the relationship you will have with both agent and publisher and offers a contemporary inside view of the publishing industry. Along with the essential contacts in the Writers' and Artists' Yearbook, this is a professional tool you will not want to be without.


I like to know stuff.  Hence too many reference books on random subjects that worry visitors to our house.  Why yes, I am very interested in how to raise ancient Babylonian demons! Aren't you?

I'm also a fan of how-to books when it comes to writing and screen writing and the writing craft in general.  This isn't a book that's going to tell you how to create better characters, how to write fun believable dialogue or how to churn out a thriller that will win awards.

This books is about a writer's job.  The stuff that leads up to becoming agented, published and what comes after.  A lot of general "how to" books touch on these subjects briefly towards the end of the books but none really delve very deep into the ins and outs of contracts, on percentages on self-promotion and marketing and such.

This book by Harry Bingham does.  It's written with humour and style and I chuckled a lot whilst reading it.  The language is low key and informal and very direct.  I spotted someone on Amazon in their review mentioning that it brought home several truths about the publishing industry - and they weren't really things the reader wanted to know.

But that's the thing - you have to know.  You have to know what to look at when you are handed a contract by an editor or agent.  You have to be able to figure out who will look after you the best if you have multiple agents interested in representing you.  How do you handle edits from an editor - all these things are important and not a lot of it gets covered in the average how-to book.

The Guide to Getting Published, as I mentioned, doesn't beat around the bush.  Harry includes several opinion pieces from people within the industry, he cites his own examples from his long career and he also has snippets of information from other contributors.  I like that he gives advice on various things and yet fully expect you to be wearing your big person pants and make informed decisions.

Subjects covered are all pertinent - some more pertinent to me now than before and together with a copy From Pitch to Publication newbie writers should pretty much be set to be able to handle all kinds of stuff the industry throws at them.

Subjects covered: writing a synopsis and submission letter to an agent / editor (things to do and not to do), deciding if your manuscript is ready to be sent out (it usually isn't, I was guilty of this too oh so many years ago now).  The pros and cons of having an agent, what an agent actually does, decoding a bit of language and terms which is always helpful.  Looking at a standard agency contract...What happens when you get a book deal, what does it mean to you / your agent / the publisher etc.  What happens after that, about second books, and your career? How do you sort out tax and a lot of very grown up business-related stuff.

I'd recommend a copy of this wholeheartedly to writers who would like to know more, apologies if it sounds like I'm a voice-over from Starship Troopers, about the industry, how things fit together, how they work.  It's a book that is of interest, I suppose, to writers who are looking to, I don't know: "level up" before taking a bigger, further step.  It's always good to know stuff and GTGP is packed full of usual (and funny) information and advice.  A good buy, for sure.

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