Instead of wasting my time writing and becoming a highly underpaid professional author, I have been investing my time in a bit of research, planning, preparation… you can never read too much about how to write I say.
To that end, I present to you my four favorite blogs for elucidating the culture of publishing and a fifth that I am expecting to become so. There are a couple notable runners up, and hundreds I haven’t found yet. Analogous of my count of five, think of this as my ‘fistful of publishers’ post. Expect ‘for a few publishers more’ down the road. In aggregate, these blogs form a triumvirate of publishing experience (except for the part where five isn’t exactly three, but I didn’t think pentumvirate was a word). They encompass agenting, editing, copy editing, self-publishing, and cover art. If I knew more, I’d know I left something out.
Miss Snark – is not nice. I think she claims somewhere to tell it like it is without any sugar coating, but I am pretty sure she goes a step further and splashes a little vinegar on it. Miss Snark is an agent.
Trusty poodle by her side, Miss Snark, fields reader questions about the relationship between would be author and actual agent. What should be in a query letter, how many pages 5 is, what to do when the post office ups the price of a stamp and your SASE is now defunct, what to do during the 90 day wait, the slush pile process, and why you need an agent all make it to her doorstep in the 212. Throw in a pail of gin and Clooney to round out the daily or daily plus postings.
I don’t know that she has a passion for skewering nitwits, but she sure has a knack. I advise educating yourself or lurking for a significant period of time before becoming one. Eventually someone else will ask the dumbass question you we thinking of sending.
Bottom line for snarklings: write well.
Evil Editor – is not nice either, but he’s wry. Or one of those words that people use when they can tell a smart person is trying to be funny and just don’t get it themselves. Evil fields many of the same wannabees as does Miss Snark, but with a comical tack.
Send him a query letter and he will revise it for you–the exception that proves the rule for GIGO. This guy works in volume as well and you should figure on reading more than one post a day. Recently he added ‘New Beginnings‘, an outrageous plan to re-write the first ~150 words of your novel. No matter what you send his way, expect it to be shorter and tighter than it was sitting on your keyboard.
I find myself skipping to the Notes section at the bottom of each post for his explanations even though he peppers the original submissions with hilarious comments that force me to put down the coffee.
Bottom line for minions: Less is more.
Deanna Hoak – is a hot copy editor. I mean a SF/F copy editor. She has a little less topic focus than Snark or Evil, but mainly shares stories of copy editing that are more interesting than you might imagine. If they aren’t interesting, then they are at least useful.
Deanna also does a great job of helping would be and be authors understand there are many people involved in making a book. Her enthusiasm and devotion to what most of us probably consider the literary grunt work is astounding. Her post on the stylistic reasons an author might choose ‘jeez’ over ‘geez’ and how she decides which word they meant to use when there is contention reminds me of telegraph operators that could read the ‘hand’ of compatriots in another town and know who was transmitting and who was on lunch break.
Bottom line: likes words and she’s hot.
POD-dy Mouth – sifts through the crap so you don’t have to (sift through the crap).
Bottom line: 2006 still all crap.
The Art Department – wraps up all the above. This is the newest publishing related blog I have added to my list thanks to Scalzi. I am enjoying it so far, but it is a little early to make much of a summary.
Targeted at artists, it covers how to get your work in front of the art director. So far there have been a number of artist profiles and shout outs.
Bottom line: Don’t judge a cover by its book.