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The Plot Bunny Farm
Living at an angle oblique to reality
intro to publishing 
16th-Mar-2006 03:26 pm
bunnies
First, a little history. Back in 2004, kyleri, nickigirl, and I started meeting to talk about progress during NaNo. A couple others came from time to time, but we were pretty regular. We continued to meet when NaNo was over, although eventually Nickigirl bowed out because she wasn't writing anything. Last year, I became Municipal Liaison for the Lehigh Valley area for NaNo, and I tried to encourage others in the area to come to the still on-going meetings. Some months, only one or two people show up. This month, there were four of us.

At this meeting, questions came up about publishing and about editing. I said I'd try to help with some pointers. I'll be posting these on my LiveJournal and over on the NaNo forums. I can't cover everything, and wouldn't want to try. I will post links to other blogs, to articles, to Web sites--in general, to other sources of information.

If you want to learn about publishing, read what the professionals have to say.

alg, an editor at Tor, has a series of posts on demystifying publishing.

Teresa and Patrick Nielsen Hayden (both also at Tor) have the marvelous blog Making Light, which covers many things besides publishing. Good posts to find in the archives include Slushkiller and On the Getting of Agents.

Author Jim MacDonald, who assists the Nielsen Haydens with Making Light, also gives advice on writing over at Absolute Write. For his distilled wisdom, see Uncle Jim, undiluted.

M. J. Rose did a guest article on Irene Goodman's Web site What Your Publisher Never Told You (But Should Have).

For details on things you probably never need to know as an author, check out the Worsley Blog.

Agents are a wonderful source of information. Irene Goodman has The Career Doctor with advice on her Web site. Miss Snark is very open about how publishing works, and other agents chime in occasionally to agree or disagree with what she says. Kristin Nelson is less abrasive in her approach, and includes links to client blogs. The Knight Agency frequently has chats with authors. Jet Reid Literary Agency is a new agency; it might be instructive to watch how an agency grows. agentobscura has been running a sort of "Choose Your Own Adventure" on her blog. arcaedia blogs about publishing, the life of an agent, relations with clients, why rules are the way they are, and the value of courtesy. The Zack Company talks about clients and their books.

(This seems like a good point to mention: do not pay an agent up-front. Agents get paid by selling your work; they get a cut when you get paid. There are many scams out there. Good places to check out include Writer Beware and Preditors & Editors. Oh, and the Writer Beware Blog, by Victoria Strauss and A. C. Crispin.)

And find authors in your field who blog and read their blogs. That will keep you up to date on what's happening in the genre, tell you about how other writers work, and occasionally, serve as a crash course in literary theory. Reading blogs outside your genre can help, too, so range as far afield as you want. Here are a few to get you started (genre classification may be arbitrary):

Romance
Romancing the Blog http://www.romancingtheblog.com/blog/
Alison Kent http://www.alisonkent.com/blog/
Brenda Coulter http://brendacoulter.blogspot.com/
Rosina Lippi/Sara Donati http://www.tiedtothetracks.com/storytelling/

Thriller
Tess Gerritsen http://www.tessgerritsen.com/blogs.cfm
M. J. Rose http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/members/BkDoctorSin/ (recommended for everyone!)

Mystery
J. A. Konrath http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/
Lee Goldberg http://leegoldberg.typepad.com/
David J. Montgomery http://www.crimefictionblog.com/
P. J. Parrish http://pjparrish.blogspot.com/
Sandra Scoppettone http://sandrascoppettone.blogspot.com/

SF/Fantasy (a tip of the iceberg of ones I read)
Tamara Siler Jones http://www.tamarasilerjones.com/blog/index.html
Paperback Writer http://pbackwriter.blogspot.com/
Elizabeth Bear matociquala
Neil Gaiman http://www.neilgaiman.com/journal/
John Scalzi http://www.scalzi.com/whatever/
Jay Lake jaylake
Sarah Monette truepenny
Michael A. Burstein mabfan

If you want to find out if a particular author has a blog, type their name into a search engine.

Now, trying to keep up on all of this--let alone read all the archives--takes time. You should devote time to your education as a writer and a publishing professional. However, don't let it interfere with time to do your actual writing and editing.

Speaking of editing, that's a post for tomorrow. Hope you're not too disappointed at the wait, adais.
Paw prints 
17th-Mar-2006 09:41 am (UTC)
And I appreciate that you know you need to edit and de-crapify before thinking about publishing what you've written. Not everyone gets that. That's one of the reasons for this post--to remind people that there's more to it than getting down the first words that come to mind, as hard as that can be.

But take some time whele you write and edit to look around at the industry and learn about it. It'll stand you in good stead when you've finished editing. At least the first round of it. ;-)
17th-Mar-2006 09:05 am (UTC)
Nice job, Erin. Lots of interesting stuff.
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