An anthology of publishing advice, conveniently organized by subject
Welcome to the waiting room of our book publishing urgent care clinic. Here you will find our brochure rack of common author problems and their treatment.
For this week’s newsletter, I asked my colleague Gabe to help me prepare something I’ve been meaning to put together for a while: an index of everything we’ve covered on “Glow” so far, organized by subject so it’s easier for all y’all to find useful information in the back catalogue. THANK YOU, GABE.
I’m going to make this the pinned post in our Substack archive, adding new posts to it every week from here on out.
The list is below. Posts in bold are ones I am particularly keen to wave in front of all your pretty author faces. This is because they contain particularly crucial information on navigating this industry or because they bust widely-held misconceptions about how literary agencies, publishers, and the book market work.
Lest you think this is Just a Clips Episode, there’s new content in here, too
The “Useful Reference Books” section of this index contains a list of books I wish every author would read. None of them focus on the craft or business of writing per se, but as you might have gathered over the years here, that’s not actually the kind of help most professional writers need. What they need is more spiritual and contextual: help finding more time, energy, psychic space, financial flexibility, self-esteem, etc. to enrich and enable their craft.
None of these books are by clients, and none are sponcon. I just like them.
What does a good agent/author relationship look like?
What authors and agents don’t understand about each other
Your literary agent is your business partner, not your boss or employee
AUTHOR ANXIETIES, COMMON
The “one to two months after the book comes out” freakout
The “we’re getting towards the end of the editorial process” freakout
The “we have to stop making changes to the manuscript” freakout
The “post-publication depression and anxiety” freakout
“Why isn’t my publisher doing more to publicize my book?”
The “what am I going to do for a book party” freakout
The “immediately after you accept a book deal offer” freakout
The “oh my God, people on the internet are viciously criticizing me” freakout
A scattergram of career developments (and whether to freak out about them or not)
What to do when you’re stalling or panicked
Common freakout junctures in the emotional life of an author
Nightmare scenarios in a publishing career, and what will happen if they happen to you
AUTHOR FEELINGS, BAD
The impossibility of certainty in book publishing
Other people have had (and will have) “your” ideas
“Am I struggling because books are hard to write, or am I struggling because I’m writing the wrong book?”
“What’s going to happen if I write honestly about my experience with gender-based violence, given the antifeminist backlash playing out in courtrooms?”
Career success will not deliver you from emotional pain, so get good now at setting those boundaries
BOOK PROPOSAL AND MANUSCRIPT DEVELOPMENT
The component parts of a book proposal (and why they’re so hard to execute well)
How to write a chapter outline
How to write (and select) your sample chapters
Identifying your target audience
The art, science, and spiritual meaning of a good author photo
Editors don’t want to know what your book is about: they want to know what it does.
The most common editorial issue book proposals have and how to fix it in yours
“Aren’t I supposed to be writing a proposal here–not the whole book?”
The "comps" section is single most misunderstood part of a book proposal
“But when will the proposal be ready?”
BOOK PUBLISHING INDUSTRY, MECHANICS OF
“What happens when the proposal is ready to go?”
The biggest surprises you'll encounter on your book publishing journey
What is a P&L and why does it matter
What’s up with the publisher’s marketing and PR questionnaire?
The publishing terms you might not know you're getting wrong
A primer on book deal finances and what to expect from them
How to streamline your creative gig work
What it’s going to feel like when you finally achieve your book publishing dreams
My best tips for publishing success
How to build your author platform
Being popular in publishing is like being a good art friend
What authors wish they'd known about publishing a book during a pandemic
Bitesize A to Z of publishing tips that are useful
On timing, timeliness, and time anxiety
What is and what can we do about the editorial burnout problem?
On "good" vs. "bad" advances, sales, editorial responses, and developments
Notes on the 2022-2023 HarperCollins strike (by us and by a HarperCollins editor)
BOOKS, NOT ABOUT WRITING OR PUBLISHING PER SE BUT NEVERTHELESS MASSIVELY USEFUL FOR A WRITING CAREER
When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chödron
Business for Bohemians by Tom Hodgkinson
A World Without Email by Cal Newport
Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
The magic words all pro authors know: "I hear the note behind the note"
How to send effective publishing-related emails
The networking habits of successful writers
Why pleading, complaining, and debating with agents and editors is likely a waste of your time
You don’t owe anyone an explanation for your choices or feelings
EMOTIONAL SELF-SABOTAGE, AVOIDANCE OF
Why perfectionism might be hobbling your writing career
Your weirdness = your power and purpose as a writer
The best question to ask if you really want to know s/o: “What *didn't* happen here?"
The blessings of having at least one publishing nemesis
What has to happen before you become a “good author”
Understanding arrogance and humility
How self-parenting will benefit you and your creative career
Why that problem you feel so stuck on is likely not the real problem
Hypervigilance won't keep you safe in your writing career or anywhere
Why “a diamond is just a piece of coal that did well under pressure” is BS
How to unparalyze yourself when you’re reeling from self-doubt, stuckness, or shame
You can’t plan or “manifest” your way to a successful career
Your readers need your presence on the page — not your ego, projections, aphorisms, or quips.
WORK HABITS, OPTIMAL
Serious about finishing that novel or proposal? DON’T make it a daily practice.
How to find your focus again in a time that’s making chiffonade of our brains
If you really want a book deal, make it your #3 priority
How to make time and space for your publishing career when you have neither
The problem with a can-do attitude
Being productive vs being compulsive
“Killing it:” notes on a toxic capitalist metaphor
Uncertainty and stuckness are not the same thing as backsliding
How to juggle a creative career and family, especially if you have little kids
How to sharpen your executive function
The only professional goals I recommend setting are anti-goals
Rituals for dissipating writer's block, easing anxiety, and re-centering your focus
The most important thing to keep in mind as you navigate the publishing industry is your own inevitable death
Make sure you’re nourishing all five of your senses as you work
Why you should take things even more slowly
How to use social media as an author
"Can I write about this?": navigating cancellation anxiety, rejection sensitivity, and Twitterphobia
On running your books like a business
SUBMISSIONS / PITCHING AGENTS AND EDITORS
How literary agents and editors scan for red flags in author pitches
Common editorial rejections on book submissions (and how to avoid them)
Our #MSSL (manuscript shit list)
Memoirs, essays, parodies, parenting, poetry, clever-conceit chapter structures, and other book concepts you’ll probably want to reframe before querying
Some easy ways to tell when your book (probably) isn't ready for submission
Typography: or, the part of your submission you’re probably not thinking about enough
SUBCONSCIOUS, YOUR: FIGURING OUT WHAT IS GOING ON IN
A tarot reading: what is it you need to find your way forward with that book stuff you’re stuck on
How surface your best ideas from your subconscious
WRITING CRAFT, IMPROVING YOUR
Fight, flight, fawn, freeze: how your signature stress response(s) are making your writing worse (and how to fix the problem)
On the power of limerence in writing
Everything you need to know about being a good writer is somehow encapsulated in “The Waking” by Theodore Roethke
How to build an emotional connection with your readers
Why we’re anti-“write what is true”
Readers' tastes are changing. Are you changing with them?
How to write a book that endures
superior compilation; a super resource
Dang, Anna (and Gabe), this is pure gold. Thank you so much for sharing and for being you!