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An EXCLUSIVE Peek Inside WU’s First Book: Author in Progress

The Writer’s Digest team and I are in the last stage of pre-production for Author in Progress. We’re reviewing final pages, doing a last nip-and-tuck before those pages head to the printer and then the stores. I thought I’d share an annotated Table of Contents (TOC) with you today, which will reveal a few of the book’s surprises.

James Scott Bell has written a fantastic foreword for us, which I was just able to preview yesterday! Thank you, Jim!

The xxx’s circled in purple above mark the spot where page numbers will eventually appear. Otherwise–wouldn’t that be fun? A game of ‘guess the page!’

I shared the Introduction I wrote with you a while back, but for anyone who missed it, you can read that HERE [1].

The Community Conversation header, also circled in purple, marks the first of a series of five special essays. Not only are the essays themselves tremendous, but they’re followed by expansive comments by some of WU’s most engaging and thought-provoking commenters. Big thanks to C.G. Blake, Vijaya Bodach, Paula Cappa, Valerie Chandler, L.J. Cohen, Ron Estrada, Tonia Marie Harris, Natalie Hart, Barry Knister, Donald Maass, Barbara Morrison, Bernadette Phipps-Lincke, Thomas Henry Pope, Alisha Rohde, Susan Setteducato, Mike Swift, Dee Willson, and Grace Wynter for participating in this truly unboxed initiative!

A further twist to the Community Conversation essays: When you purchase the book, you’ll have the opportunity to link to these same articles on WU and join the conversation via private QR codes.

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Some articles have special headers. The duet of articles above, by Jael McHenry and Catherine McKenzie, features a debate of sorts between two perspectives– should you or shouldn’t you try for an MFA. Below, you’ll see another–a debate about plotting v. pantsing, featuring Anne Greenwood Brown and Ray Rhamey.

Untitled 3You’ve probably noticed the section breaks. Author in Progress is broken into seven parts, which I believe represent the seven stages every writer should go through when writing a book. They are:

Part Three, INVITE, is one of my favorites. Receiving feedback is crucial to evolving a writer and a book.

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Oops! I found an error here: WU contributor Brunonia Barry was listed as a guest, which I whited out before Bru noticed and reached out to ask if I needed to tell her anything. ;-) I’ll report the glitch back to Writer’s Digest. Little things like this are common in the end-stages, and emphasize the importance of reviewing final pages with your publisher. Even with half a dozen smart people reviewing pages, there are bound to be a few mistakes.

Also circled in purple, you’ll see a new essay category, Eye on the Prize. These articles show you how and why the same skills you learn throughout each of the stages as a not-yet-published author repeat as a published author, in ways that might surprise you. They’ll also suggest things you could or should do as you work on your novel, that can help you once you’re published. This particular article, by Sarah McCoy, features great outtakes from an array of published authors: Melanie Benjamin, Matthew Dicks, Karen White, Jane Green, Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke (who write as a team), Benjamin Percy, and B.A. Shapiro. (Other published authors appear in a few of the other essays, but I have to leave some surprises unspoiled, right?)

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In the coming weeks, you’ll have the opportunity to purchase several of these essays as advance mini-books, which will be made available on Amazon.com and through Writer’s Digest’s website. These mini-books contain essays by Porter Anderson, Kathleen McCleary, Ray Rhamey, John Vorhaus, and Heather Webb. (The full essays will also appear in Author in Progress.)

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I’m thrilled to feature two guest essays in Author in Progress. Our first guest essay, by Victoria Strauss of Writer Beware, is a must-read article called Tired Writer, Take Care. It’s filled with brilliant advice that can help exhausted and sometimes disheartened writers from falling victim to scams.

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Just because you’ve finished the book doesn’t mean you’ve finished the journey. Articles in the final section, RELEASE, feature Allie Larkin, our second guest (and former contributor) M.J. Rose, and Sophie Masson.

[You can see a somewhat enlarged version of the Table of Contents here, by the way: AIP TOC (002) [2]]

Oh, you guys, I can’t adequately convey how proud I am of this book, and the incredible team that gathered for the effort. I have the pages in front of me now, and I’m just beyond happy with them. Every essay is great. Every essayist delivered. It’s a moment, for me, for WU, and hopefully for you, too, once the book is published. Speaking of — you knew I’d include some pre-order links, right? You can find Author in Progress on Amazon [3], Barnes and Noble [4], and Indiebound [5]. It has a soft-release date of November 1st, though many will receive pre-ordered books in mid-October. Consider, too, adding it to your ‘want to read’ shelf on Goodreads [6].

Thank you to the entire WU team for your incredible support for this book. Write on.

p.s. If you’re interested in receiving an ARC of Author in Progress to review on your writer-centric website, please send a note to me via our contact form [7]. Please include your name, the URL of your site, and a description of your site’s primary audience. (Need an ARC primer? Ironically, Jael McHenry posted about ARCs just yesterday [8].)

p.p.s. If you’re as excited about Author in Progress as we are, please help us spread the word by sharing this post! Thank you!

About Therese Walsh [9]

Therese Walsh (she/her) co-founded WU in 2006 and is the site's editorial director. She was the architect and 1st editor of WU's only book, Author in Progress [10], and orchestrates the WU UnConference. [11] Her second novel, The Moon Sisters [12], was named one of the best books of the year by Library Journal and Book Riot; and her debut, The Last Will of Moira Leahy [13] was a Target Breakout Book. Sign up for her newsletter [14] to be among the first to learn about her new projects (or follow her on BookBub [15]). Learn more on her website [16].