Tag Archive 'publishing'

The Crushing Weight of Expectations

Rock Slide by ActiveSteve (Flickr)

It is a truth rarely acknowledged that the act of writing often comes with an entire catalog of weighted expectations attached to it. For published writers, it is SO easy for our self worth to become wrapped up in our commercial performance; it is almost inevitable that the weight of those hopes and expectations will leak out into our work. Maybe this book will bring us the coveted significant advance, or maybe this is the [...]

In Praise of Paper Books

I recently started rereading a book I bought many years ago – one volume of an eight volume collected set of The Spectator, a London daily periodical from the early 18th century.  William Addison and Joseph Steele wrote most of the The Spectator’s 2500-word, witty and wise essays on serious topics of social value.  A typical piece warns against the dangers of using “party lying” (i.e. propaganda) to advance a political cause.  Another is an extended meditation on eternity.  Several [...]

Are You Publishable or Not? Reading the Tea Leaves.

Flickr Creative Commons: stillthedudeabides

Writing never feels more lonely than after you’ve sent your manuscript out to every agent and publisher you can think of and gotten nowhere.  Of course, you can always take comfort in the long list of massively successful books that were initially rejected by nearly everyone who saw them.  But for every brilliant book that gets rejected out of blindness or stupidity, there are thousands that get rejected because they’re just not very good.  How can [...]

Hugh Howey: “When the People of Publishing Are Set Free”

“Waiting to be interviewed.” Hugh Howey earlier this month in Taiwan at TIBE, the Taipei International Book Fair.

Porter here, to introduce a special post written for us by Hugh Howey in our “Inside Publishing” series. In my Friday piece, Sir Hugh and the Snail, I wrote about how Howey’s career has surprised some observers because he embraces not only self-publishing but also traditional publishing contracts.

I believe there are those in my own country who want to blaze new trails and [...]

The Book-Promotion Balloon: Where’s the Helium?

Regarding the graphic above, man, was I glad I was able to bear down on those lolling tuna boats Dickens and Hugo—they need to get up from their on-deck hammocks and at least think about hitting the book-peddling accelerator before I catch them. Though I do hope I didn’t peeve dear Charlotte; however, she being the eldest of the sisters, she’s learned how to take these roller-coasterings.

But alas, all that glitters is not gold stars: this image of my book [...]

Dealing with Setbacks

In these days of relentless self-promotion, we authors generally avoid sharing our bad news. Our posts and tweets, our websites and interviews emphasise the positive: a publishing deal, an interesting writers’ festival, a new creative partnership. Sometimes  we talk about fighting our way through adversity to achieve a goal. But only rarely do we feature the professional setbacks we experience along the way. The message we want to get across to our readers is that we’re doing just fine!

While I’ve [...]

I Know Nothing of Your Work


An artist is one who does not live on the timeline that connects the events that take place around us.

That’s Brian O’Leary. Know him?

Rather, the artist sees the actors, events, and collisions all at once, from a vantage point that few others share.

Brian O’Leary

O’Leary is one of the most committed thinkers we have working in publishing today. A consultant to industry players and organizations, he’s a former Time production director; an adjunct professor in NYU’s publishing [...]

‘Wins’ Without Losses: Agreeable Disagreement

Provocations graphic by Liam Walsh

Five Quite Recent Provocations

Langdon gasped. If he’d deciphered the symbols correctly, Jesus had married Joan of Arc at Stonehenge! If not, it was a recipe for meatloaf.

— Dan Vinci’s Nunferno (@Nunferno) May 24, 2013

Provocation One: Man Booker Irrational?

When the American novelist Lydia Davis was given the £60,000 Man Booker International this week in London, the prize administration rushed to its site to quote one of her short works:

“I was recently denied a writing prize because [...]

Book as Symbol: Perennial as Spring

Convenience comes at the cost of a grave loss: that of the book as a symbol, as an artifact of learning, poise, wisdom and moral fortitude. While this loss may seem trivial, a simple matter of changing times and customs, the symbols we are losing permeate society and have long been shaping the fortunes of publishing.

 François Joseph de Kermadec, Publishing needs to build new symbols for the digital age at O’Reilly Media’s Tools of Change

What [...]

Writing an Outline

It’s the first thing an agent or publisher is going to see, after your query letter: the outline of your book. So, important. But also, confusing, to try to decide what might work. Some people assert it should be short. Others, long. Descriptive. Analytical. Comparing the work to other authors’. Steering well clear of that. Giving the full story. Only giving a teaser.

I’ve been writing outlines to hook publisher-fish for more than twenty years now, and for more than fifty [...]

Maybe If We Tried Writing Well

Bath’s Prior Park in England’s West Country features a rare Palladian bridge in a landscape garden devised in the 18th century by Alexander Pope and Lancelot “Capability” Brown. Photo: iStockphoto / Eric2x


I don’t necessarily agree with everything I say.

– Marshall McLuhan


I’ve been putting together some thoughts recently on our collective readership.

Not us when we read. Not our delegation here of Unboxed Writers.

And not even the wider community of writers, local and [...]

‘Social’ Media: ‘Sharing’ our Narcissism

Even our photos of a church group, or a friend’s birthday, or exercise at the YMCA are, if we admit it, about us. Every photo is a “selfie.”

Alex Miller Jr., The Myth of Narcissus Goes Social

If you donated money to a hurricane relief charity via a website, you may have been asked if you wanted to share news of your donation with your Facebook friends. You may have said yes.
Jeff Bercovici, Congratulations, You [...]