Publishing U: Advice for Aspiring Authors from Publishing Professionals

Publishing UUsually, we at Booklist concern ourselves only with the end product of an author’s efforts: the finished book. We read the books and then review them, offering librarians advice on what to purchase, what to recommend, and what the big books are likely to be.

But that’s not to say we aren’t also interested in how books are made. We do sometimes interview authors about their inspirations, their writing processes, and all the intangible things that don’t fit between the covers. We’re also aware many of our readers are interested in even more practical information. Rare is the avid reader who doesn’t feel they have a book inside, who finds herself wondering just what it would take to write and publish that book.

Our goal is simply to share practical
and inspiring advice from people who
have learned how publishing works.

Starting next week, on Tuesday, January 20, we’ll be inaugurating a new series of educational posts, called “Publishing U,” on The Booklist Reader. Our goal is simply to share practical and inspiring advice from people who have learned how publishing works, from the authors we review to the editors who edit them to the agents who sold their books. The first post, “Is It Too Late to Write That Book?” offers insight from picture-book author-illustrators Lori Nichols (Maple and Willow Together) and Elizabeth Rose Stanton (Henny) AND their agent, Joanne Volpe (president of New Leaf Literary & Media). For the next half-dozen Tuesdays, we have more posts planned, addressing everything from writing query letters to finding an agent to deciding whether your idea is worth a trilogy, a series, or just single book.

After that, who knows? We’ll share more Publishing U posts when we have worthwhile advice to share. If you’re in the business and have insight to offer, feel free to send pitches to kgraff@ala.org. We’re looking for posts 750–1,000 words long, each one focused on a single aspect of the path to publication. What does an editor do? How do royalties work? Is e-only publishing viable? How do I decide whether traditional publishing or indie publishing is right for me? What form of self-marketing is most effective? Those are just a few of the questions we’d be happy to have answered.

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About the Author:

Keir Graff is Executive Editor of Booklist Publications and the author of five books. His most recent is the middle-grade novel, The Other Felix (2011). Follow him on Twitter at @Booklist_Keir.

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