Before and After the Book Deal: A Writer’s Guide to Finishing, Publishing, Promoting, and Surviving Your First Book

Catapult. Jan. 2020. 384p. ISBN 9781948226400. pap. $16.95; ebk. ISBN 9781948226417. COMM
In this readable, well-organized how-to by Maum (I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You), the author draws on her publication experiences to distill what she learned into a useful guide for would-be writers publishing either fiction or nonfiction. The book is organized in two parts: before and after the book deal. Maum starts at the very beginning, before a writer signs a contract; she encourages writers to finish that project they’ve worked on indefinitely (developing their voice, revising) and then discusses how to get the book “out there” and how to deal with rejection. Next, she covers finding an agent, negotiating an advance, dealing with contracts, working with an editor and others at the publishing house, promotional activities, book clubs, social media, and more. Far from dry and dusty, this account is laced with humor not for its own sake but to make a point—eschewing “perfectionism,” Maum claims, “bad writing is the only way you’re going to start writing well.”
VERDICT Highly recommended for anyone who thinks they have a book in them.

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