Some required reading before NANO

By Dawn Frederick

Yes, it’s that time again – required reading (as far as I’m concerned) to help one on the publishing journey.

Before NANO kicks into high gear, here are a few more materials to add to your writing reference library. Some items to read now, others to read later.

YOU CAN’T MAKE THIS STUFF UP by Lee Gutkind (Da Capo Books, 2012) – This was a great recommendation by my friend Rick, who kindly shared this book several months ago. Being the obsessive nonfiction reader, let alone nonfiction agent, I believe Lee Gutkind’s book will now be required reading for all of my authors (especially those in the nonfiction category).

I was able to read the book quickly. Plus the final product was a marked up/post-it noted/highlighted book. My impression:  Lee Gutkind’s book is filled to the brim with great advice, good discussions and opportunities for writers to become more familiar with the nuances of good creative nonfiction. For anyone writing any type of book in the nonfiction category, head to the nearest local bookstore and buy this book.


The Authors Guild Summer 2012 Bulletin – As we all know, it was a busy summer (gone are the days of summer breaks in publishing).  The newest bulletin is proof. From discussing the DOJ antitrust lawsuit, to BEA, to the Google Book mass digitization project (and more), I was reminded yet again of how incredible our industry is, and that each of us brings a different perspective and experience to the table.

I particularly enjoyed the article by Benjamin Busch on his personal tour across the U.S.  in the article “One Book, 50 States.”  He cuts to the chase on the important of one-on-one time with readers locally within any community.  I truly believe this is the type of personal touch that put me on the path I am today.  And for that, I’m still optimistic that if writers reach out to readers in person, their reach and audiences will grow steadily.


Writer’s Digest Oct 2012 Issue – As usual, the newest issue was chock full of good advice.  Some articles I’d highly recommend are:  “How to Lose Assignments & Infuriate Editors” by James Roland (as his advice would definitely apply to book publishing too), Mary Kole’s article titled “Write the Perfect Query Letter,” and Barbara Poelle’s no-holds barred Q&A in “Ask an Agent Anything!” (I’m still laughing about the woman who informed Barbara of the prophetical nature of their meeting…lol)  If you’re going to subscribe to a magazine (print or electronic), it’s a good idea to consider subscribing to Writer’s Digest.


READ THIS! Edited by Hans Weyandt (Coffee House Press, 2012) – Long before I was a literary agent, I worked on the frontlines in publishing. Nothing prepares a person for publishing until s/he has worked in a bookstore.  It is the best of experiences; so much that it will alter one’s perception on life, work, and play (in the best of ways).

Upon learning about READ THIS! from Chris Fischbach earlier this summer, I knew without a doubt it would appeal to my book-obsessed self.  I’ve been to some of these bookstores; hence it was a treat to see their recommended reading lists.  And just when one thinks she has read “everything,” there’s a good chance another few hundred books will come into the radar after reading Hans Weyandt’s book.

For my OCD self, it would fabulous if future print editions included an index (at the end) of books referenced along with their respective page numbers.  Last but not least, if you need further motivation to purchase this book, the statistics at the end are worth the purchase.  Plus READ THIS! is the type of collaborative project that deserves lots of attention.

To all our readers who are preparing for NANO, Jennie and I wish you lots of success and an enjoyable experience when Nov. 1st rolls around.

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