The Byline Bible: Get Published in Five Weeks

Writer's Digest. Aug. 2018. 256p. illus. ISBN 9781440353680. pap. $19.99. COMM
OrangeReviewStarAccording to award-winning writing professor and best-selling author Shapiro (What's Never Said), "The best way to break into publishing is with a great three-page double-spaced personal essay." Combining hard-won experience, practical lessons from teaching more than 25,000 students (who have since published 105 books), Shapiro exemplifies the truism that simplicity is indeed the last thing found—and offers her own: "Instant Gratification Takes Too Long." Considering the book's subtitle, readers with impatient literary ambitions will learn not only how to identify and "target" editors but when, why, and what to pitch. Shapiro's work is distinguished by providing actual student-written service pieces, op-eds, essays, plus the author's own successful pitch letters. An oft-noted criticism is that few universities teach students how to employ writing and editing skills. And while the New School offered the author an opportunity to change that, she is quick to add that so long as one has a potent idea, three great pages, and a seasoned editor or guide, nothing else—higher education, experience—matters. The worst that will happen, notes New York Times editor Peter Catapano, is "No, thank you."
VERDICT For novice writers and professionals alike, this comprehensive desk reference will prove invaluable.
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