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Diving Into a Sea of Books–The Forest for the Trees: An Editor’s Advice To Writers

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As an avid reader, I get excited about the great number of books out there to read, either for entertainment, education, inspiration or with some books, all three. The quantity available in print, audio, and e-books reminds me of the vast amount of life in the oceans, so I call these book reviews “Diving Into A Sea of Books”. As with diving into an ocean looking for interesting objects, diving into books means you come across mixed results: over here, a book you don’t bother to finish, over there, a “treasure”—one that you like so much you can’t wait to reread it, and over there, a book you read and think, “Meh”.

The Forest for the Trees: An Editor’s Advice To Writers by Betsy Lerner, appears on suggested reading lists of different blogs about writing. The author, with years of experience as writer, editor, and now, literary agent, is well-qualified to write this helpful book.

In Part I, “Writing”, the author talks about traits of writers she knew, worked with, or read about. She points out the things writers are known for—introversion, perfectionism, working in solitude—have their downsides. This part of the book dragged for me, I have to admit, but her compassionate tone for writers was evident early on, and my interest in the book shot up when I started reading the second part of the book, “Publishing”.

Part II gives writers a valuable insider’s perspective on editing and traditional publishing. The author addresses questions such as: “Why is it taking so long for my editor to get back to me?” and “What is my publicist doing?” She emphasizes the importance of patience and politeness in the writer’s dealings with the various people involved in bringing the writer’s creation to the outside world. Ms. Lerner describes the many steps involved in a book’s publication, from the time a writer turns in the final draft of the manuscript to the time the book hits the bookshelves or appears online. Among other topics, she writes about dealing with rejection, what an author can do if the publisher doesn’t have much of a publicity effort going, and the reasons a book may not do as well in the marketplace as the writer hoped. Part II sounds like the advice and empathy you might find at a writers’ conference.

Language Alert: for readers who find certain words/phrases offensive (aka “adult language”), a few of those appear.

©P. Booher

 

 

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Diving Into A Sea of Books–Writer To Writer

divers-underwater-ocean-swim-68767.jpeg

Photo Credit: Pexels.com

As an avid reader, I get excited about the great number of books out there to read, either for entertainment, education, inspiration or with some books, all three. The quantity available in print, audio, and e-books reminds me of the vast amount of life in the oceans, so I call these book reviews “Diving Into A Sea of Books”. As with diving into an ocean looking for interesting objects, diving into books means you come across mixed results: over here, a book you don’t bother to finish, over there, a “treasure”–one that you like so much you can’t wait to reread it, and over there, a book you read and think, “Meh”.

Writer To Writer, subtitled Lessons from a Lifetime of Writing, by Cecil Murphey, is based on Mr. Murphey’s blog. Each of the book’s entries is short, one page in length, so the information is easy to digest. Mr. Murphey discusses using proper grammar, confusing words (which/that, for example), displaying professional behavior in interactions with other writers, editors, agents and publishers, following writing guidelines, dealing with writers’ block, handling rejections, having work edited, and many other facets of writing.

Mr. Murphey points out that if a person really wants to improve his writing, there are many ways to do it, such as books, blogs, classes, and conferences. He also points out that it takes time to learn to write well.

Comment: I hesitated buying this book; for me, it was a bit on the pricey side. However, I am glad I bought it. I refer to it often. One downside: my paperback edition published by OakTara doesn’t have an index, which in my opinion would have been helpful. However, there were several blank pages at the end, so I made my own customized index, listing answers to questions that repeatedly come up.

P. Booher

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